Friday faves 21: supplements, sweets, and some really cute valentines

February 10, 2017

Hello Friday! It was a cold, gray day here in Chapel Hill and I’m settling in on the couch with some wine. The perfect end to a busy week! I hope you have some fun plans lined up this weekend. We don’t have much going on which I am more than fine with.


Let’s get into my latest loves, shall we? Here are some of the things I’m enjoying right now…


Friday faves 21

Honey lemon ginseng and matcha tea from Celestial Seasonings – I am not a hot tea person. If I’m drinking tea, it’s iced. Matt picked up some green tea at the store the other day and I’m totally into the honey lemon ginseng green tea. It’s actually quite soothing and I love the flavor. Haven’t tried the matcha one, but will do so next!

A Fit Mess

JP’s Pastry cookies – I have to laugh at this pic. Here’s a wrapper for you guys. Well, I would have taken this picture sooner had I not immediately stuffed the cookie in my face. It was delicious. JP’s Pastry is an online gluten-free pastry company located in the Raleigh-Durham area. I picked this up at a recent trip to Coco Bean Coffee and I (obviously) loved it!

Having a random weekday lunch with these two cuties. We LOVE Moe’s! #alltheguac #allthetacos

L-Glutamine, BCAA, Uber C powder – I have been taking all three of these supplements post workout and I love the combo. The Uber C powder is great for boosting the immune system during the cold and flu season.

How cute are these lunch bags from Wildkin? They come in a dozen different designs. Madison chose the mermaids and Ashlyn went with the robots. Love their individual styles!

On the topic of lunches – I picked up a few of these lunch blox containers by Rubbermaid to pack cold items in for the girls. They’re great because they have a divider in them and they were only $5 at Target.

These Paleo vanilla bean cupcakes look perfectly divine! I’ll be making them for a Valentine’s Day party at M & A’s school on Monday.

RUNNING! For the most part, our weather here has been mild. I’ve enjoyed a lot of great days outside. <3

I do think I need these ‘Live In’ leggings from Zella, thank you very much!

How darling are these Valentine’s Day cards? I was going to let the girls pick theirs out, but then…

A Fit Mess

I recently loaned my copy of The Whole30 cookbook to my girlfriend and it reminded me how much I love the recipes and cooking instructions in it. It’s seriously a great resource whether you are doing W30 or not.

Wings! These are a tad healthier because they are baked – not fried. And ohhhhhsooogood.

Study shows running four hours after learning improves long term memory. I wish I knew about this when I was studying for exams in college!


You’re turn…what are you loving these days?



{Recipe}: Easy crockpot turkey chili (Paleo, gluten-free)

January 16, 2017
A Fit Mess

Hey friends! How was your weekend? For those who have the day off, I hope you are enjoying the holiday. We had a party at the girls’ school and now we are home getting ready for a nap. I’m certain all the activity the girls got today was negated by the sugar they just consumed. 🙂


Is it chilly where you are? Our temperature has been up and down, but right now it’s cold and gray, which makes me crave all the comfort foods. One of my favorite cold weather meals is turkey chili. It’s warm, filling, and perfect for cold, dark evenings. And preparing this dish in the crockpot makes it super easy to throw together. It’s loaded with veggies and packed with flavor. Definitely one of the favorites in our house!

A Fit Mess


There are a lot of variations available for this dish. You could sub chicken or beef for the turkey meat here or make it all veggies for non-meat eaters. If you are doing Whole30 then you could easily omit the beans. Toss it all in the crockpot, leave it for 5-6 hours and then pat yourself on the back for whipping together an awesome meal.


A Fit Mess



  • 1 pound of ground turkey (or chicken)
  • 1/2 white onion, chopped
  • 1 whole green pepper, chopped
  • 1 can of kidney beans, rinsed (you can also use pinto or black beans)
  • 14 oz. can of chopped tomatoes,
  • 4 oz. can of green chilies
  • 1 cup of marinara sauce
  • 2 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon of chili powder
  • salt and pepper to taste



  1. Get out your super-duper crockpot.
  2. Spray bottom of pot with cooking oil.
  3. Add onion, pepper, beans and chilies.
  4. Add turkey, tomatoes, and sauce.
  5. Toss in garlic and spices.
  6. Heat on low for 6 hours.
  7. Top with avocado.
  8. Devour.


Please let me know if you try it. Enjoy!

What’s your favorite cold weather meal?



What I’ve learned from Whole30 + why I’ll never do it again

September 30, 2016
A Fit Mess

Hey, hey. Has this week flown by or what? Things have been busy for us and I honestly don’t know where September went. Like at all. Our weather has started to accept that it is fall (we had a crazy heat wave last week) and I’m looking forward to the cooler temps and crisp mornings. We have some fun things planned this weekend, like a trip to the pumpkin patch and a much needed date night. It’s been forevvvverrr. Who knows, maybe I’ll get crazy and go to yoga. 🙂


My posts have been a bit lean this week, mostly due to my early (tiny) risers! I skipped writing several times for morning snuggles and I don’t regret it one bit. Today’s post is all about my decision to end Whole30, what I’ve learned this time around, and why I’ll never do it again.


My last day on Whole30

I’m on Day 25 of Whole30 and, after giving it a little thought, have decided to call it quits. I’m ending my Whole30 (or Whole25) early for no other reason than because I’m ready. Sure, I could go the extra few days and make it to 30, but I don’t want to. This is my third time doing the program, and I feel like I got exactly what I needed from it. The reset that I was desperately craving after a summer of indulgences has been achieved. I’m back to reading labels, eating clean, and getting tons of veggies in my diet. Mission accomplished for me.


How I feel today

Overall, I feel great. I’m definitely ending the program on a high note. My energy has been up, I don’t feel nearly as bloated/sluggish after meals, and I once again have a sense that I’m in control of what I eat and how I feel. The most noticeable improvement has been my SLEEP. This seems to be a consistent result every time I do W30. My head hits the pillow and I sleep a solid 8 hours. Sure, I have an occasional kid cry that wakes me (Maddie is a sleep talker), but other than that I get great rest. I typically wake up a few times per night and I always thought it’s been due to anxiety or stress, but I think it could be connected to sugar and alcohol. I just don’t sleep well if I have either of those things late in the day. It’s definitely something I am aware of now and will pay attention to more.


And while the arthritis in my feet hasn’t gone away, I didn’t think it would. But I feel great overall and that’s what matters to me. I have seen a marked decrease in my shin pain, but that could be because I am experimenting with a minimalist shoe (more on that later). I’ve realized I need to be more mindful about properly fueling for workouts and making sure to prioritize my recovery.


One of the central ideas behind Whole30 is by eating clean, wholesome food your body will get the nourishment it needs to heal itself. This leads to less inflammation, a healthy metabolism, balanced hormones, and improved energy. I personally feel like I have experienced each one of these benefits.


What I’ve learned from Whole30

One thing I love about Whole30 is that it forces you to look at your relationship with food. I’ve drawn some solid conclusions about myself this time around.


  • A complete overhaul is needed to break a bad cycle – I was getting into the habit of grazing and snacking all the time. Often, my meals would consist of finishing the leftovers off my kids’ plates. And I was slipping into a routine of having dessert and wine every night instead of one or the other. Unless I actually cut the cord, I’m going to keep having little things here or there. Having grains, sugar, alcohol, and dairy off limits forced me into better habits.


  • It isn’t “hard,” but it’s definitely challenging at times – The Whole30 program is all about “tough love.” There really are no exceptions or bending of the rules. However, in the grand scheme of things, not having sweets and processed foods isn’t a big deal. It’s easy when compared to real hardships that others are going through. But I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t torture to attend a birthday party and not have a slice of cake. And on those very long days at home with two toddlers, I definitely wanted to throw it all in for a glass of wine.


  • Sugar and alcohol are the devil – We all have our vices. Honestly I could take or leave cheese. Dairy doesn’t do much for me (and I can’t have it anyway). And I already eat mostly grain-free, aside from rice. But chocolate and wine? I need those in my life. The key is balance and to understand the consequences. Sure, I’ll enjoy myself at times, but I will feel like crap after. Some days it will be worth it and some days not.


  • I do much better when I have a plan – The first time I completed Whole30 I spent a lot of time reading ingredients, looking up recipes, and prepping food. It was very time-consuming. It got infinitely easier the second and third time around because I knew what meals I could throw together and how much prep time was involved. If I can prepare in advance I am good to go and I don’t feel deprived or hangry.


Why I’ll never do Whole30 again


I am glad I decided to do a September Whole30. It was exactly what I needed to get back on track. Yet, I’m almost certain I will never complete another one again. I hate sounding so definitive, but it is how I feel. Let me explain…


My first Whole30 was eye-opening. It really helped me understand the effect that food can have on my body and it made me become more critical of the everyday items I was eating. The skills I have learned have continued to stay with me over the last year. And even though I got away from some of those clean habits, once I got back on the program I quickly picked things up. So while I do believe the Whole30 was helpful for me the first time, I don’t think I need to go 30 days to get my reset. I think I would do a Whole7 or Whole10 if I felt like I needed a fresh start.


It’s super easy to let good habits slip away. And with the holidays approaching (seriously, I already see Christmas decorations in stores) I want to be sure I know where my limits are and what works for me. I already know sugar makes me feel horrible. I’m lactose-intolerant so I can’t have large amounts of dairy. And while I do okay with grains, having gluten makes me feel sluggish and tired. But knowing all of this is key. In evaluating ourselves and our food choices, we can decide whether we really want to eat something and what the results will be. Yes, it’s okay to indulge, but are the consequences worth it? Maybe there are times when it is. And I know that I can always come back to Whole30 if I need a reset.


Anyone else on September Whole30? How are you feeling?

Recent eats, how I’m feeling, + last week’s workouts

September 26, 2016

Hi there! How was your weekend? Ours was pretty good. I filled my time with a massage, a run outside, a dri-tri at Orangetheory, visit with a friend, bike rides with the girls, two trips to Target, and lots and lots of coffee. Busy, busy.


Recent Whole30 eats

I have to admit, I’m getting pretty bored with my meals. I feel like I’m eating the same things over and over. And I’m not feeling inspired to try new foods. I’m getting a bit tired of eggs and zoodles and I really want to start having all of these pumpkin desserts I’m seeing everywhere! #yeahcouldyounotpostyourdelicioustreatsthanks



Two eggs + chicken sausage + okra

A Fit Mess

Raspberry chia pudding topped with coconut and walnuts

A Fit Mess

Banana-raspberry pudding topped with cinnamon and nut butter

A Fit Mess


Chicken salad mixed with everything in my fridge

A Fit Mess

Salmon “bacon” + turkey and zucchini and carrot potato noodles

A Fit Mess

Turkey burger, sauteed bok choy + mashed sweet potatoes

turkey burger and sweet pots


Chicken crockpot stew (this was awesome!)

A Fit Mess

Ground turkey + zoodles and carrots


Meat loaf, cauliflower and zoodles

chicken loaf

We also ordered take out from Nantucket Grill on Friday night. I got grilled salmon with steamed veggies on the side. It was really good, but definitely not the right dinner to have the night before the triathalon. More on that below.

I have one more week on Whole30 and I think I need to put a bit more effort into my meals so this week I’m going to focus on adding variety and flavor. If anyone else has any tips on how to stay inspired on W30, please let me know!


How I’m feeling

I’ve been feeling good overall. My sleep has been the best part, I think. But I’ve also felt more energetic and awake. It’s also helped me to become more aware of labels and ingredients. I can easily pull away from reading items.


I’m not sure if this is related, but the tendonitis in my feet is raging again. My toes and feet ache all the time and my shin splints are back. I’ve also noticed that my recovery in between workouts has not been great. This week I took two rest days, but still felt really sore.


What really made me take notice was my performance at the Dri-Tri on Saturday. I flew through the 2,000 meter row and 300 rep weight challenge, but when I got to the final 3 mile run I had ZERO energy. After 0.25 miles in I felt like someone dropped me into the ocean. Normally, a 5k is no big deal for me. In fact, I wasn’t worried about the run at all. But I struggled through it.


I later realized that it was most likely due to the fact that I haven’t been fueling myself properly for the amount of activity that I do. My dinner the night before was protein and veggies. No carbs at all. And I skipped breakfast in the morning (I KNOW!). I also went back and looked at some of the Whole30 information and read that your athletic performance can really drop during the month and to be mindful about scaling your workouts. Ohhhh. This was a good reminder that I definitely need to eat more starchy and carb-dense foods before and after my workout. Maybe the reason I’m not recovering is because I’m not eating enough of the right things (sweet potatoes, fruit, etc.). I’m going to focus more on that going forward.


Alright, gotta get ready for work! Have an awesome day!





Last week’s workouts

Monday – LEGS

  • dumbbell squat with weight plates under feet
    • 2 sets of 15 at moderate weight
    • 2 sets of 15 at heavy weight
  • leg press (narrow stance)
    • 4 x 8 (I got up to 160 lbs)
  • walking barbell lunges
    • 3 x 30, total
  • single leg barbell squat (foot on bench)
    • 3 x 8, each side
  • standing calf raises
    • 3 x 20 (holding two 25 lb DBs)
  • AB work: alternate every 30 seconds: leg raises / forearm planks. Repeat 8 times.


Tuesday – UPPER BODY

run 800 meters to warm up

3 rounds of the following:

  • (10) barbell curl (I used 40 lbs.)
  • (10) alternating hammer curls
  • (10) weighted dips
  • (10) skull crushers
  • (10) DB curl to lower
  • (10) overhead tricep extension


v-up / push up challenge: alternate exercises from 10 -> 1 and then work your way back up to 10. For example, do 10 v-ups and then 10 push ups, 9 v-ups and 9 push ups, and so on…


Wednesday – REST


Thursday – Orangetheory


Friday – REST


Saturday – Dri tri at Orangtheory



Run outdoors – 3.65 miles