Before school started up again, we wanted to try to get away for a quick weekend. After debating between two cities, we decided to go with Chicago. Zach lived there for a few months after college, and one of my closest friends recently moved there, so we knew we’d have plenty of suggestions of where to go. It was a PACKED 3 days. Here was our itinerary!
We arrived in Chicago around 8am and were lucky enough to be able to check into our hotel room to freshen up after our super early flight. We were starving but anxious to get started with our day, so we stopped for breakfast at Little Branch Cafe.
Our first stop after breakfast was the Field Museum. We paid extra to see The Jurassic World exhibit, which brought so much excitement to these 90s kids’ hearts. Two hours flew by while we looked at the endless animal displays, but the most fascinating were the man-eaters of Tsavo. If you have not seen The Ghost in the Darkness, it’s a MUST!
We headed to Shedd Aquarium, which was WAY overcrowded. Travel tip: if you choose to stack the museums, do the Aquarium FIRST. My friend Ashley recommended Pickwick Coffee, so we stopped there on our way back downtown. It was tucked away in what felt like an alley, and had the most instagrammable storefront!
The weather was beautiful for strolling, so we decided to walk until we became too tired to go on. We ended up covering ALL of the Magnificent Mile and ended up at Eataly for dinner. If you read our New York post, you know we visited Eataly three times in one weekend and absolutely loved it. By the time we were finished for dinner, our feet were aching, and we felt exhausted. We had racked up 30,000 steps on the first day. HUGE MISTAKE!
After waking up, we hit a quick 30-minute upper body workout, because our legs were too tired from all that walking the day before. We walked through the CUTEST area called Maggie Daley park, saw the Bean, and grabbed coffee at Dollop.
After coffee, we walked to Navy Pier. I was fully envisioning a pier similar to the Fairhope pier, which is maybe 25 feet across. My mistake. This one is super famous for a reason. We walked and walked until it was time to meet my friend for brunch. One of her suggestions was Beatrix, which I had read about on multiple blogs. We enjoyed our food SO much that we considered going back for brunch the next day…and dinner the next day. It was the cutest atmosphere, and all three of us inhaled our meals. Hands-down a place to visit. I mean, just look at these desserts! We took home three.
We took a rest at our hotel, before it was time for church. We knew we were having dinner near Lincoln Park, so we scouted out St. Vincent de Paul, which was gorgeous. Dinner was at Mon Ami Gabi, which is known for steak frites. From the beautiful outdoor seating, the food, the drinks, and the DESSERT, this place was 10/10.
For our last day, we ventured back down to Toast in Lincoln Park. We got our own breakfasts and split the strawberry/cinamon crepes (with Nutella), which was life-changing. For our coffee stop, we checked out La Colombe, where I got a latte ON DRAFT. It was incredible. We checked out the Lincoln Park Zoo, but the weather was ominous and many of the animals were still inside. We walked ALL along the lake from Lincoln Park to the John Hancock building…and continued walking. Eataly was our lunch spot of choice, partially due to our location, and partially due to my gelato craving. We racked up another 28,000 steps before it was time to the leave to the airport.
Zach has always been an avid podcast listener. My podcast addiction started this summer when I found myself running errands and tackling projects that I put off during the school year. The music on the radio sucks, and I can only listen to Pat Green radio on Pandora for so many hours. I referenced Juli Bauer’s list of podcasts and started with Serial. I couldn’t stop, told everyone about it, and got my mom and sister hooked.
I tackled two series of Someone Knows Something and Accused, before my husband said I needed to quit with the true crime. So I moved on to the next topic that fascinates me: health, fitness, and nutrition. I started light with Paleomg Uncensored, and found myself CRACKING up in public. Juli Bauer of paleomg.com covers topics from Crossfit, Orange Theory, conquering sugar addiction, social media, and my favorite-the Bachelorette.
Serial: If you like a good episode of Law & Order: SVU or James Patterson mystery-esque novel, this is for you. I thought the Adnan series was better than Bergdahl, but still…if you’ve already listened, tell me what you think in the comments below.
Someone Knows Something: The first series was about a little boy, Adrien, who went missing while on a fishing trip with his dad, siblings, and family friends. He disappeared literally without a trace, and the journalist explores all sorts of possibilities. The end is fascinating, because they may or may not have found something to help the closed investigation. The second series was about a 20s-something girl named Cheryl who went missing the day after she became engaged on national TV. I’m 99.99% sure it was her boyfriend who killed her, because the situation is suuuuuper sketchy.
Accused: A college aged boy finds his girlfriend murdered in the apartment that they share and is immediately the number one suspect. He is tried for the murder (and again for “wrongful death”?-correct me if I’m wrong) and both times, the jury found him innocent. No other leads were officially investigated, but the journalist covers a lot of leads.
Girls Gone Wod: Two avid Crossfitters, Claire and Joy, have been podcasting for years together and are pretty funny. One is a new-ish mom and shares how that changed the fitness game for her. At first, I picked the ones I wanted to listen to, but then decided to go back to episode 1. I love hearing how they venture into so many different approaches to nutrition–vegan, paleo, macros, zone, and whole 30.
Fed & Fit: Cassy hits a lot of paleo topics, but she also talks about things like brown rice vs. white rice, healthy swaps you can make, how alcohol affects your fitness, and holistic health like non-toxic beauty and sleep health.
Rose Pricks: If you watch The Bachelor/The Bachelorette, this is a must. They totally roast the characters, which is a little mean, but it’s hilarious. Their imitations of Eric and Bryan’s mom have me CRACKING up, because they’re so accurate. They basically say what we’re all thinking about this silly show, anyway.
Zach’s favorites: Here are some of my recommendations as well as personal favorite podcasts!
Barbell Shrugged: This one is an oldie and a goody. The crew will cover anything an everything from CrossFit, to nutrition, alternative medicine and philosophy. Mike Bledsoe, Doug Larson and the rest of the crew have a wide array of interests and wildly different personalities, which helps to keep everything light hearted and interesting.
The JuggLife: Chad Wesley Smith and Max Aita do their best “Step Brothers” impression on the podcast, full of dry sarcasm and an infinite knowledge of strength sport, programming, competition tips and analysis of some of the best 80s and 90s films. If you love barbells, cheesy jokes and some of the best guests in Strength Sport then this is a great podcast for you.
Mark Bell’s Powercast: The podcast that started it all for me, this may be the single greatest combination of some of the greatest guests in training and barbell sport, business, jokes that make you absolutely laugh out loud and a little bit of knowledge here and there. From the biggest names in CrossFit, Powerlifting Strongman and even celebrity trainers and the biggest personalities in business. Caution things can get a little immature…but if you find that hilarious like me, then you’re in for a treat.
Power Athlete Radio: With over a decade playing in the NFL John Welbourn has some of the greatest stories from life inside and outside of the league. Joining him are Luke Summers and Tex, all great coaches who routinely drop knowledge bombs about training, nutrition, lifestyle and talk shop about hunting, cars and the NFL life. With some of the most knowledgeable guests from barbell sport, former NFL players, military personnel and some of the brightest minds in medicine and nutrition this is a podcast you will definitely want to listen to. Prepare for some of the driest and most berating humor you can imagine, its like being in a high school locker room all over again.
We’ve added one meal into rotation to have once a week. When I was younger, I called it “sausage chicken” and the name stuck. It’s super easy and nutritious, so I thought I’d share it with you! There are few measurements to this recipe, because it’s that simple
- Place however much chicken on a pan. Place 1 tsp of butter on each breast or tender of chicken.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Flip the chicken over. Add chicken andouille sausage all throughout the pan. Make sure it’s cut up so that the flavor can permeate the chicken.
- Some of the butter will have melted in the pan. Spoon it over the chicken again.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- DONE! 🙂
We typically serve this with any greens. Okra, zucchini, or asparagus are our favorites right now.
When Zach and I first started dating, my roommate and I joked that she would make flashcards and quiz me on all the “CrossFit” terminology that he regularly used. Many of these are not actually affiliated with CrossFit, but once upon a time, I assumed everything that wasn’t Flywheel or Yoga to be CrossFit. After asking for clarification a million times, I’ve gotten most of them down. That learning curve wasn’t easy, so I thought I’d save you some googling and organize everything here.
WOD: Workout of the Day: self-explanatory. Many organizations post their own programming each day, so it’s called a WOD.
Metcon: Metabolic Conditioning: usually intense breathers, also functional training shoes from Nike (linked below)
AMRAP: As Many Rounds (or reps) As Possible: These usually have a certain time attached to them & you complete a certain movement/set of movements as many times as possible in that time period. Example: 5 min. AMRAP of 10 burpees, 10 squats, 10 push-ups OR 3 min. AMRAP 150-lb back squat.
For Time: There would be a set amount of movements and you just do them as fast as you can!
EMOM: Every Minute on the Minute: Movement(s) to be done on the minute. When complete, rest until the next minute.
PR: Personal record
CTB or C2B: Chest to Bar: a pull-up variation
Tabata: 20 sec work + 10 sec rest for 4 minutes
Reverse tabata: 10 sec work + 20 sec rest for 4 minutes
RX: “prescribed”: doing the workout exactly as it’s programmed vs. scaled (see below)
Scaled: programmers will often provide scaled down versions to make the workout achievable for everyone. I.E. lighter weights or box step-ups instead of box jumps.
1RM: 1 rep max. A lot of programming calls for doing a lift at a certain percentage of your one-rep max. It helps give you an idea of just how heavy a certain workout should be.
#X#: Whichever number is first is the amount of sets you do. Whichever number is second is the amount of reps you do! Example 3X2 = 3 sets of 2.
This week, we had the opportunity to try out Speed Flex in Dallas. We were stunned to find out that the studio has been open for 3 years! It is the first of its type in the entire country. This 30 minute class uses machines that elicit isokinetic contractions. This class is meant to provide a personalized intensity of workout, because it’s resistance-based, meaning it allows for “a professional athlete to train alongside a retiree”. There should be little to no muscle soreness after taking the class, because it is made up of solely concentric movements. The class we took was a HIIT-type modified Tabata, spending 20 sec at each station & 8 sec to rotate. We wore heart rate monitors around our chest, and mine said that I burned 360 calories in 30 minutes. I did wear my Polar watch, as well, but that only said I burned 180. It was a fun upbeat class, and we would definitely attend again! Info can be found at the link below.
I refuse to eat nothing but chicken breast, broccoli, and sweet potatoes. I would probably reach my goals a bit faster if I did, but I would also not be a nice person. I like food too much. You may or may not know that I track macros, and on some days when I need to get some extra protein in, I don’t have the willpower to eat chicken or drink a shake. Here are some of my favorite things to do with protein powder. I’ve shared the recipes and macros according to my exact ingredients. Obviously, you can manipulate the macros to fit your needs based on which protein powder you use or what add-ons you choose. I’m no chef, so hopefully these directions are easy to follow.
Chocolate protein pancakes: In a bowl, mix together 1 scoop chocolate whey protein + 1 egg + 6 egg whites. Add water until it’s the consistency you like. Pour into a pan, flip once until it’s cooked through. Top with 1/4c berries + 1/3 banana. Your macros will vary depending on the type of protein you use or if you substitute 3 more egg whites for an egg. Macros: 37P 22C 7F (the carbs come mostly from the berries + banana, so you can do without for a low-carb option)
Vanilla Protein Pancakes: See recipe above. Substitute vanilla protein instead of chocolate. If I still need carbs in my day and choose berries instead of a banana, I’ll add 1/4 cup oatmeal. This makes the pancake extra hearty and filling.
Vanilla spiced proatmeal: Put 1/4 cup oatmeal + 1/2 cup water in a bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir in 1 scoop of vanilla protein powder. Top with 1 tsp of chia seeds + 2 tsp of pumpkin spice. Macros: 27P 18C 4F
Acai bowl: In a blender, mix 1 scoop vanilla protein powder, 1 scoop Amazing Grass greens powder, 1 Sambazon Acai pack, 1/2 cup frozen mango. Add water (or liquid of your choice) until it’s the consistency you like. Pour into a bowl. Top with 1/4 cup granola of your choice. I use the cherry almond granola from Whole Foods. I also topped with 1 tbsp Justin’s Vanilla Almond Butter. Macros: 24P 48C 15F
I hope you enjoy these recipes! Let me know YOUR favorite way to use protein powder in a new recipe!
Happy Monday! I’ve decided to list my workouts without weights. While I’m not by any means a licensed trainer, these are the true workouts that I do every week. Starting this past week, I’m trying to get in three lower body days:one squat-focused, one deadlift-focused, and one that I can accomplish in my apartment gym or outside. I am going to try to get in at least one chest-centered, one shoulder-centered, and one back-centered. That didn’t exactly happen for me this week, but it’s the goal. I love to hear about when people try my workouts, BUT I do encourage you to work with a trainer so that your fitness adventures stay safe and healthy. I love finding inspiration in other people’s workouts, and I hope mine can be that for you! Some of my favorites come from A Southern Drawl, Whitney Simmons, and Pen & Paper Strength.
Two years ago, my friend invited me to a 5:30am Flywheel class before work. It took a couple invitations to get me to go, and even when I did, I was half asleep for the first ten minutes. These days, I bop into the gym around 4:15 bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (for the most part). Here are my secrets:
- Great tasting pre-workout: I don’t know about you, but I crave sweets in the morning. A donut? Waffle? Muffins? Yes, please. So a sweet pre-workout can literally get me out of bed. My favorites right now are PEScience prolific in raspberry lemonade OR Optimum Nutrition in Blueberry Lemonade. I try to drink this as I’m getting dressed and gathering my things. That way, the caffeine has started to set in by the time I walk into the gym and start warming-up.
- Go to bed: I’m always exhausted in the evening times. It’s the nature of my job. But knowing I can get up and get a good morning workout in always motivates me to close my eyes when I want to keep scrolling Instagram or reading my book. I personally don’t feel the need to use it, but the bedtime alarm system on the iPhone is fascinating!
- Remind yourself of the benefits: Fitness at anytime won’t hurt, but these articles are great to read if you need a little push in the right direction. #1: Bodybuilding.com or #2: Cosmopolitan.com
- Make use of the extra time in the day: This really turned into a habit for me when I was planning a wedding. I was constantly meeting with vendors after school and knew that if I waited to work out, it wasn’t going to happen. If I work out in the morning and want to go to happy hour with a friend, I can, because I’ve already worked out. I can stay as late as I want at work (which isn’t late!), or I can take a nap–is there any better motivation than that?
- Find your Mindset: When people ask (because they do…often) WHY on Earth I would workout at 4:15am, I always respond with my true reasoning. I’m not trying to lose a certain amount of weight or get in shape fast. It’s mental. If I can get up and workout for an hour BEFORE I start my day, I know I can handle whatever the day throws at me. Lifting heavy weights by 4:30am reinforces the idea that I am strong, and if I’m strong in the gym, I can be strong in my classroom and in my family. And besides? Have you heard of an endorphin rush? I’m a much nicer person when I’ve worked out in the morning.
I’d love to know when YOU like to workout and how that helps you!
On Saturday, we went for a walk along the Katy Trail in Dallas. Once upon a time, I lived Uptown and brought Zach to the Katy Trail on his first trip down to visit me. Maybe it’s the sentimental part of us or maybe its just the paved shaded path, but this is one of our favorite places to get some outdoor activity. We love to park near Knox/Henderson, grab a coffee at Starbucks and walk about 1.5 miles and back. If you haven’t checked it out, definitely give it a visit.
1/4 cup oats
1/2 cup water (or milk of choice)
1/2 tsp flaxseed
1/2 tsp pumpkin spice blend
1 scoop vanilla protein
Pour oats and liquid into a bowl. Microwave for 1-2 min. Stir in protein–I used BodyTech by Vitamin Shoppe. Top with flaxseed and spice (and berries if you have them!).
Macros: 4F, 27P, 18C