Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chocolate pancakes, the weekend, and why I CrossFit

What a great day today!

It's 1-rep max week at CrossFit this week... score! :) This means I should be in bed right now and not blogging. Oops. It has been an interesting few days, though, so I wanted to tell you all!

Today we tested cleans (squat cleans) and power cleans. I managed 120-lbs for both, which was awesome. There's nothing like everyone cheering you on as you're struggling to stand up. :) Coincidentally, that was a 5-lb PR, so that was awesome. Then I got my butt handed to me by the WOD, which was squat cleans and pullups.

Honestly, today was the first time I ever got close to losing my breakfast. I think I ate too close to working out. And it was one of those exhausting, on-the-brink-of-tears finales. I'm far too stubborn to quit though.

On that thought, over the weekend, it was brought up at the photographer's lunch table that I was a powerlifter. An older lady turned to me, wrinkled her nose in disgust, and asked why.

Oh, all the reasons I could have said, but I gave her my megawatt-endorphin-smile (see photo below), and simply said "Because I love it!"

Then the heavy-set, vegetarian older lady next to her proceeded to carry on about her life, husband, circumstances, how she was the strong one in the marriage and he was dragging her down, blah, blah, blah, for the rest of the meal. So I got to thinking about why I work out. Why I lift. Why I Cross Fit.


That first moment I bent over at home to get something out of a cupboard, and I felt my glutes fire as I stood back up.
I can help my husband move furniture.
I can move furniture myself.
I can kindly thank the gentlemen that offer to help me with groceries... and then decline while chuckling inside.
I can stand at a wedding show all day long without my feet hurting.
I can open sealed jars easily.

...and the big things:

There is no greater feeling than discovering my mind and body are powerful.
Pushing myself to the limits always yields results.
Each success brings more self confidence.
Every new measure of strength helps me walk with my head held higher.
Nothing can bring me down when I am assured in myself and my abilities.
If I am determined enough to get through a workout that nearly has me puking and crying all in a span of 15 minutes, I can get through anything in life.

I don't know what image the word "powerlifter" brought up in her mind, but I'm imagining it was fat, hairy balding men grunting, snorting, listening to heavy metal, and bench pressing.

In short, the reason why I do what I do is for the quality of LIFE.

Moving on. Mini heart-to-heart done.

Here's my official new member picture from awhile ago:

They insisted on taking it post-WOD. Lovely. And me being the photographer: "Can I see it? Ew, it's blurry! .... oh, wait. That's perfect." ;)

After the WOD today, there were free 10-minute massages by area students. It was awesome. I was trying out the the panorama feature on my phone finally. And I love it. Except for poor Inna here in the first one...

On a slightly related note, we got news a bit ago that we're moving to a new, huge space in June this year. I'm super pumped!

After that, it was the usual groceries, then back home. And then the dog ran away from me (again). Sigh. I wanted to strangle her. Yesterday she was mad at me for leaving her all day while I was at the photo convention. I didn't think she held grudges...

As I was rushing around to eat lunch and get ready for my chiro appointment, the doorbell rang in the middle of my shower. The dog was barking, the doorbell was ringing, there was pounding on the door, and I managed to throw a few towels on to go kill whomever was at the door.

Turns out, it was the Fed Ex guy with my newly repaired camera body and lens. Okay, I guess that was worth the hasty shower. 

Welcome home, my lovelies. I can't wait to use my new and improved lens!

The rest of the afternoon was pretty normal.

Speaking of normal. Or the absence of normal. This was a crazy weekend! Friday night started the WPPA (Wisconsin Professional Photographer's Association) spring convention which continued each day until Monday. The speakers were great, and it was fun to reconnect with some past friends and meet some new peers!

This was the view from the skywalk looking farther into downtown Friday evening.

And this was the speaker on Monday.. he talked about weddings, sales, marketing, and we had great fun learning from his posing and photographing demonstration. He's incredibly talented.

He started out with a bang... I loved this thought: Do you live to work? Or work to live?

Going back a day, Sunday offered another lovely wedding show.

These really sap the energy out of me... but I love it. I was told by two different future brides that I was their favorite photographer they had talked to that day. Another couple came back and asked if they could look through my albums some more because they liked my work so much. Talk about heart-warming!! I could hardly fit through the door to leave from my big head and inflated ego. ;)

And I haven't changed the teal and green at all.. because I get so many positive comments and feedback. "Oh, you're the teal and green lady!" Yes! My branding is working! ;)

Monday evening, I also had a wedding professionals networking meeting where I got to see a lot of my friends/other vendors from the wedding show and catch up with them. It was great.

The bummer part was, Joel was working out of town all week, and only home for the weekend. Thankfully I was still able to see him in the evenings, and he even helped me set up at the wedding show. I love that. :)

Okay, so back to today.

I was hungry for pancakes this evening. Again. It seems like an every other day thing since being off the Whole 30. Weird.
I'm keeping them clean though.

So, I loosely followed this "recipe."


1-ripe plantain or banana
1/4-cup nut flour (I used hazelnut this time, as the store was out of almond. Don't get me started on that.)

1/2-tsp of baking soda
1/4-cup cocoa powder
2-3 drops of vanilla stevia (optional)


They're pancakes, not rocket science. ;)

1. Blend. I used my awesome immersion blender. Buy one. Make this. And squash soup.
2. Cook them. I heated my pan, put coconut oil in, and poured the batter in.

3. Flip and top them with any variety of berries, fried apples or bananas, coconut milk, coconut cream, pure maple syrup, nut butters, etc.

I worked hard for those frozen raspberries. They were on sale at the store, so there were only a few bags left. I had to step up and nearly crawl into the freezer to grab some! I can't let a great deal on my favorite organic frozen berries go to waste.

Now.. off to bed finally. Tomorrow's lift is the snatch and power snatch! Woo hoo! :)

PS. I turned off anonymous comments. I hope you can still comment if you like, but I was getting sick of the spam. Let me know if you have issues.

PPS. I stumbled across some pictures the other day from New Years' Eve. Those will have to get on here soon. Along with our ugly sweater/men-cook-the-food-potluck from Valentine's Day. Fun times.

PPPS. And this was a great article. But I can't pin it due to lack of images. Boo! So it's linked here for me to remember. Food Logging, What I Learned

PPPPS. Kidding. ;)

Friday, February 22, 2013

Thanksgiving... 2012!

I'm only 4 months late.. ;)

We rented a house in Galena, Illinois, and all met there for Thanksgiving. What a fun time!

I don't care that this is blurry. :)

We all took a walk. It was a bit chilly...

... and windy!

Ticket to Ride... interesting game. :)

Biding their time until Thanksgiving dinner...

... and the women were hard at work. Except me. I was taking pictures.

Downtown Galena was so stinkin' cool.

I should have just bought these... I haven't found any I like as well since!

This Paleo pecan pie was my downfall. Completely legal ingredients, sweetened with maple syrup, and an almond meal crust. Wow. It was amazing.

It was a great weekend! One of my aunts and her family plus a cousin couldn't make it, but the rest of the family was there. Fun times!

Ps. I'm tired of the 3-4 spam comments per day that I've been getting.... so I'm going to restrict the comments again and see if that helps. Let me know if it doesn't work for you! :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Keep calm and play music.

When you've already done this ...

Source: google.com via Mariah on Pinterest

... sometimes you still have to do this...

... and then record it. ;) Because what is life, really, if it's not recorded and uploaded via instagram, facebook, youtube, etc., etc.

I don't know if it's just because Joel's gone. Or I'm tired. But I've been in a funk the last few days. So I spent some time this evening doing what I used to do to ease my frustrations.

Enjoy, but don't judge too harshly, please. Yes, I know the piano desperately needs tuning. And I made a few mistakes. I seem to crack under pressure. ;)

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Best "Shake My Head In Amazement" moment: 4:08

Or the incredible box jump at 2:14.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Day of Love

Here's some visual chocolate...

just a few things I thought were funny that popped up in my news feed today!

My Valentine's Day went pretty well...

I treated myself with chocolate and sugar for the first time since doing the Whole 30 back in January. Yum!!

This chocolate is amazing. And so is the macademia/brazil nut butter. And so was the cocoa cashew butter. :)

The hubby sucked it up and took me to Serious Burger. He doesn't really like it that much, but between the whole birthday thing and Valentine's Day thing, he obliged. :)

It was delicious! :)

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 11, 2013


There has been a thought that keeps coming to me... about life in general, love, and especially lifting. I've been tossing the words around in my brain for the last month or so, but finally settled on these:

The greater the risk, the greater the chance for disappointment in failure, but also greater the depth joy in success.

In lifting terms, there's a great amount of risk to loading up heavy weight on the bar and deadlifting. The risk of failure is pretty great. There is a slight risk of hurting yourself physically. There's a risk of failing the lift and hurting your pride. But if you take the risk and succeed, your happiness is uncontrollable. Such joy.

In cooking, it's sometimes a risk to try new recipes or spice combinations. And sometimes things don't work out. But when they do, you find out you actually love green beans. And squash soup. Who knew?

In love, it's a great risk to open up your heart completely to another person. There are so many examples of heart-breaking failure. We humans get in our own way so much. We mess things up and make mistakes. There's a greater chance for disappointment. But when love works out, how wonderful and incredible it is. The joy is incomparable.

As as it applies to lifting, I have known failure. It is crushingly defeating to fail a lift that I completed the week before. But those successful days... there are few things on earth that bring that kind of elation.

And as always in life, it seems there are just enough disappointments and failures to keep us soft and compassionate of others, but enough sweetness and success to make it worth it.

I originally posted this picture a long time ago... and I still love it. :) I created the image with roflbot.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Mariah and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

.... or in other words, my birthday last week.

Let's call them birthday surprises.

Started off with a funny one: running out of toilet paper. Lovely.

Then Aunt Flo made her presence known. That bugger is always early for our appointments.

Unfortunately, that skewed things for my body fat test, measurements, etc. later that morning at the gym.

Speaking of the gym, I dropped a 65-pound, loaded bar on my shin. It was pleasant. Note to self: do NOT lose concentration at the bottom of an overhead squat.

It's still pretty painful. But, on a side note, my sweet Adistars were my early birthday present a few months ago. :) I love them.

After the gym, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things. I stepped in a super deep puddle by accident and found out my little suede boots were the opposite of waterproof. Freezing cold, sloshy socks... brr.

And on the way home from the store, I managed to hit a massive pothole on the highway. Literally, there was a chunk of the road missing. Thankfully, I wasn't traveling highway speed because it was a bit snowy/slushy. Regardless, the tire was flat within a quarter mile, or by the time I made it down the offramp of our exit.

Thankfully, I have a hubby that loves me. He was there within 25 minutes, swapped out the snow tire/rim with one of our summer tires/rims in a couple minutes, and I was on my way home. Nothing like eating lunch at 2:30!

We also got the snow tire replaced yet that afternoon, which was great... except for the massive pothole sized dent it left in our checkbook. ;)

The rest of the day went a little bit more smoothly with only a broken lock button on my phone to finish the day off.

I might have done some lounging around in yoga pants that evening. :) And ate bacon. Hey, I'm only human.

Good thing it was my birthday... all the Facebook posts, messages, texts and the few phone calls really brightened my day. :)

And thank goodness my birthday only comes once a year! Phew!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I joined CrossFit... finally!

Well, I did it!

I'm finally a member at our local CrossFit box, CrossFit Appleton.

I had my first workout this morning, which was awesome. Lots of friendly coaching, which is exactly what I need. Better technique = fewer injuries. ;)

After 6 long rest days with only one night of ice skating for physical activity, I also tried re-maxing out on my deadlifts yesterday. I know I can do 240. I am positive. But then I can't do weight math and try for 250 instead of 240... And that was the end of that.

Sigh. Oh well, there's always another day, right? I'll keep my 235 for now. :)

I am also finishing up my Whole 30 (well whole 41, to be exact) on Thursday with measurements, my weight, and a body fat test. I'll take a few "after" pictures too. However, I'm pretty sure those will not reflect the true changes that the Whole 30 has taken me through.

So usual metrics aside, these have been my standards/benchmarks for change: (Sorry, these might get personal.)

-My hormones. I feel like they're finally balancing out. Finally. I still get mood swings, but they seem fewer and farther apart. I guess the true question would be to ask Joel if I'm any easier to live with. Maybe I don't want that answer. ;)

-My complexion. It got worse for awhile in the middle... when I was OD'ing on coconut cream (oh, so yummy), but then evened out after I gave that up.

- The Sugar Dragon. I feel like I've conquered it. You know that thing... where you have cravings for sweets? Especially at the end of meals? Or right before bed? Yeah. Me too. Nearly gone. Now, old habits die hard, but I got some serious work done on this one.

-Like I mentioned earlier, I had discovered how delicious coconut cream is halfway through my Whole 30. And since it was technically legal, I went for it. I used to be that way for almond butter... but that was pretty much off limits for me because it's what they call "food-without-brakes." And that's just like it sounds. Food that you can't stop eating once you start. Speaking of, that is the real beauty of the Whole 30....

-The physiological effect of food. They really delve into your emotional attachment in the book, It Starts With Food (which I highly recommend reading). This is why they say no to things that you can make or create within the guidelines, that still end up being comfort food and mess with your mind. Pancakes is the first one that comes to my mind. Also pizza. You can Paleo-ify these quite easily, but it's still a no-go. They actually call this "sex-with-your-pants-on," which they describe much better than I ever could. ;)

-My digestion is better. I'll leave it at that. ;)

-I'm eating more food than I ever have before. And I feel lean. This is amazing.

-I will never, ever keep track of calories, protein, carbs, fats again. Ever. If I'm hungry, obviously my body needs something. How can my conscious brain know what my body needs better than itself?? I'm still keeping a food and workout log, but no numbers.

-I feel a lot more in tune with my body. Now, I'm not going to start chanting, meditating, and saying Namaste, trust me. What does that even mean, btw? It's a good feeling though.

-My fingernails have skyrocketed. It feels like I'm cutting them every other day. (Random.)

And of course, about the food:

-I can survive 30 days without bacon. Granted, I have connections to sugar-free, junk-free, humanely-raised bacon. It's called U.S. Wellness Meats. But consuming that on a daily basis is waaaayyy out of our price range. And I'm normally okay with spending decent money on quality food.

-I discovered hot plates and weekly cook ups. Basically, you spend one day in the kitchen: you cook up a bunch of meat (ground turkey, beef, etc) and prep a bunch of veggies. Then you can throw your veggies in the pan with oil, add your meat, add in any spice you like (Asian, Mexican, etc) and BOOM. Dinner's on in 10. Yum.

-I developed a taste for green beans. Whaat?

-It's really easy to plan ahead for meals... more than I thought! :)

-I gave up my daily (and sometimes most of the time, 2x daily) protein bar. For good. I gave the rest away. Now I eat meat and sweet potatoes after my workouts. I get some strange looks... ;)

Anyway, this is just a small sample of some of the changes I've noticed, but if you're even thinking about trying it, definitely read their book. They explain everything in detail, but make the science and facts behind their theories so easy to understand.

And this is just funny to me. A lot of them really hit home. You know you're doing the Whole 30 when...

In other news, Joel and I went to my parents last weekend for family pictures, ice skating, and general laziness. It was perfect. And my lovely mother even let me cook everything in coconut oil rather than butter. And I said no to fresh Blue Bunny ice cream. And multiple other sugar-laden nuggets of deliciousness. High five! ;)

I didn't take along any cameras, so no pics here. You'll survive. :) We had a good trip.

Back to regularly scheduled programming... I'm exhausted and headed to bed. :)
(PS. None of these links are affiliate links, just fyi. I'm not making any money off of the Whole 30 program or US Wellness Meats, but I definitely believe in them.)
Disclaimer: I am not a registered dietician, I do not have any type of medical training, and my workouts and training are only intended for my personal recollection and your curiosity. Anything documented on this blog is my personal opinion or a learned experience. All images are subject to a personal copyright unless otherwise noted and cannot be used without permission. If you read to the end of this, congratulations.