Halfway There – Pregnancy Purchases (or make-dos)

I’ve spent a fair amount of time perseverating over whether to buy certain products (mostly clothes) while pregnant, and which ones. I thought I’d share what I’ve found it worth my dollars to spend money on so far in my pregnancy (and what I’ve somewhat regretted). I’ll probably do another post like this near/after the end of my pregnancy.

I may also do a post on our baby registry, which required way more research and thought.

Hopefully this is helpful to someone! Jumping right in:

Workout bottoms:

  • Lululemon high-waisted full on luon ankle tight (non-maternity)I bought these around 11 weeks pregnant in a size 8. I’m normally a size 6. (Ankle length fits me full-length.) I figured they would work for the first part of my pregnancy and again after birth. They’ve been great, and they’re still working at 22.5 weeks (and a big bump) without slipping down below the belly too much. (I actually originally purchased these in a 10, since I’d seen a recommendation to go two sizes up, but they seemed too large, so I returned them for the 8.)
  • Lululemon high-waisted full on luon crop (non-maternity): I bought these at the same time as the ones above, in a size 10. I decided to keep these in a size 10, thinking I’d probably still need the room to grow. However, at 11 weeks I had to constantly pull these up during a workout. And the same is true now at 22 weeks. They don’t stay up on my bump as well as the 8s. So I guess I should have just gone one size up after all. Still, I’ve been using these regardless (especially now that I’ve started prenatal yoga that allows for more pulling up than CrossFit does), and I’m glad to have the second pair.
  • Ingrid & Isabel ‘Active’ maternity leggings: Around 19 weeks, I finally broke down and bought a maternity pair of workout pants. I got these in a size small, which is my pre-pregnancy size for most leggings. Hopefully these will last me til the end. They’re super comfortable and good for all kinds of workouts, plus lounging (if they’re not already sweaty from the day’s workout…). If my Lulus stop working, I might need to get another pair.

Workout tops:

  • GapFit Maternity Breath short sleeve crew tee: So far, this is the only dedicated maternity workout top I’ve purchased. I got a medium, as I’m often between a small and medium in shirts (pre-pregnancy). A small probably would have worked fine so far, but the medium is fine too and I’m only going to get bigger. I only started wearing this around 18 weeks or so because it really accentuates the belly. But hey – I really have one now.
  • Other than that, I’ve just used longer Ts that I already had on hand for a while, though I think that is coming to an end. I’ve also been able to wear my Sweaty Betty Athlete tank tops (I had one already and then purchased another recently in a sale, both size M), and I also purchased an Athleta Speedlight tank (size small) when I was in Colorado because I forgot a workout top. It’s still working. I have NOT been wearing my Lululemon racerback tanks since about 11-12 weeks because they would ride up and be super stretched out (the SB and Athleta tops have that grippy stuff around the bottom hem that helps keep them down below the bump).

Sports bras:

This has been the area of biggest frustration for me. Many years ago, I decided that investing in good, supportive sports bras is worth it, even though they are expensive. So, I’ve been annoyed that I’ve had to invest in MULTIPLE, and even some of those aren’t really working anymore. Here’s what I’ve been wearing (only the last three were new purchases):

  • Sweaty Betty Victory padded run bra: I bought this in a 34C (my pre-pregnancy size) JUST before I found out I was pregnant (at about 4 weeks). I was able to wear it through… maybe 8-10 weeks? #frustrating
  • Lululemon Enlite bra: I had this pre-pregnancy in a 34C. I was able to wear this until maybe 16 or 17 weeks.
  • Moving Comfort Juno bra: I had this pre-pregnancy in 34C. I was also able to wear this until maybe 16 or 17 weeks.
  • Sweaty Betty Victory padded run bra: When the two bras above started getting tight AND SB was having a holiday sale, I bought this again in a 36D. I bought this at 16.5 weeks, probably started wearing it at 17 weeks… and now at 22 weeks, it’s already too tight. Gaaaaaah. This one is the most frustrating. It was only $32 on sale, but still. 5 weeks of use?! Maybe it’ll be useful post-pregnancy. I don’t know. #veryfrustrating
  • Moving Comfort Juno bra: This bra is a recurring theme. I love it. I also had this one pre-pregnancy in a 36D, saved from several years ago before I’d lost some weight and when I had bigger breasts. Hallelujah! I’m still able to wear this at 22.5 weeks, but it’s getting tight.
  • Juno bra by Brooks: I just purchased this in a 36DD and wore it for the first time this morning (22.5 weeks). This version is slightly different than the Moving Comfort ones I already had, even though I know Moving Comfort is by Brooks. I think this one still has a little room to grow… (thank god).

So let’s take stock of my current sports bra situation. As of today, I can wear the 36DD Juno, the 36D Juno (but it’s tight)… and the 36D Sweaty Betty Victory if I can handle being fairly uncomfortable. The last two aren’t going to last much longer at this rate. SIGH. I think it’s so important to have a good fitting high-impact sports bra, but this is EXPENSIVE.

Casual bottoms:

  • J. Crew signature leggings (non-maternity): I bought these very shortly after I found out I was pregnant, knowing that I would want something that was stretchy as my body started to grow but before I really had a bump. I tried a small and medium. Normally I would have kept the small, but since I was purchasing them to have room to grow, I kept the medium. I haven’t tried these on in a week or two, but so far they’re still working, though they don’t really have much to keep the waist band up on the belly instead of below it. I might start wearing them with my belly band (see below). I think they’ll work for a while. I’ve thought of getting maternity leggings, but I’d prefer to make do with what I have while I can.
  • JUSTBLACK Maternity skinny jean in dark grey from Stitch Fix: When I was about 8 weeks pregnant and realized I needed some maternity clothes but didn’t know where to start, I decided to start with a Stitch Fix box. I ended up keeping all five items in it (a questionable decision, as you’ll see). I got these in a size 28, which I thought was too big, but now is probably about right. I’m usually a 27 or 28. I still wear these with my belly band (see below) to hold them up, but I think they fit right in the hips/thighs. Hopefully these will work all the way through! I wear them a lot.
  • GapMaternity full panel best girlfriend jeans: Got these in a size 28. They’re roomy in the hips and thighs. I guess I’m glad I got these to have another jeans option, but I usually just wear these at home on telework days or weekends. If I’m going out of the house, I’ll usually wear the grey jeans above. I probably could have foregone this purchase.

Work bottoms:

  • LOFT Maternity skinny ankle pant: I got these in a 6 petite, which is usually my pre-pregnancy size. I started wearing these around 12 weeks, and they’re still working great.

Tops:

I was able to wear my pre-pregnancy tops for maybe the first 12 weeks. Since then, it’s been more limited to certain sweaters (generally longer ones) and some button-down shirts. Most of those are starting to become inappropriate, so I’m down to a few maternity tops. Purchases include:

  • Bowie 3/4 Sleeve Dolman Knit Top from Stitch Fix (non-maternity): This was in that one StitchFix box I got (size small). I think I’ve worn it twice. It is roomy and flowy and was advertised as being good for the in-between period, and it seemed it would be. But I just don’t love it, and the in-between period really only lasted a few weeks. While it’s roomy and flowy, it’s not super long, so (I just tried it on again) it doesn’t completely cover the pants belly panel, especially if I raise my arms. But I should wear this one or two more times before it really becomes impossible. And maybe it’ll be useful post-pregnancy for a bit.
  • Chiana Graphic Open Drape Cardigan (non-maternity): Also in that StitchFix box, size S. I’ve never loved the super-long cardigan look, but I actually LOVE this and wear it all the time. It was great for the in-between time and now the early bump time. I imagine it will take me through to the end and beyond.
  • Loveappella Charlote Ruched side maternity knit top from Stitch Fix: Also in StitchFix box, size S. Since this is clearly a maternity shirt, I didn’t start wearing it until 17-18 weeks. But I love it.
  • H&M MAMA Jersey top (maternity): size medium. In addition to the Loveappella top above, this is one of three maternity tops I own right now. Essential. If you’ve seen me in the past four weeks, I was probably wearing this or the Loveappella top, the chiana cardigan, and my grey maternity jeans.
  • Old Navy maternity classic white popover shirt: Size small. This is bordering on the tent-like-maternity-shirt-necessary-in-the-third-trimester, but given my shortage of shirts, I wore this for the first time to work yesterday. Roomy, so far.

Dresses:

  • Renee C Lior Maternity Cross Front Aline Dress from Stitch Fix: Size M. This was the last item in that StitchFix box. With the 25% discount they give you if you buy all five items, sometimes it doesn’t make sense to return an item. I haven’t worn this yet, but I’m just now probably getting to wear I’m pregnant enough for it to make sense. The print is a little louder than I’d normally choose, but I decided I liked it enough to keep it (especially when the marginal cost is free). It could be nice for a shower dress or for work.
  • GapMaternity 3/4 sleeve wrap dress: Size S. This dress, along with the LOFT pants and couple shirts above, rounds out my work wardrobe for the most part. (Plus Le Tote, see below.) This one should work all the way through, and I don’t think I’ll need to buy more work clothes, though maybe another shirt or two. I only go into the office 3x/week, and one of those (Fridays) I can typically wear jeans. So my LOFT pants one day, my dress another, and my jeans the last. That’ll do for about 6 months, right?
  • Kimi & Kai Lace Maternity Skater Dress: After a) realizing that it costs at minimum about $45 to rent a dress and b) that I have three weddings to go to in the next four months, I decided it would be worth it to spend $90 on a maternity dress that I can (hopefully) wear to all three and that I can guarantee I like (which isn’t always true of rentals). I ordered no less than 8 dresses from Nordstrom to try on, including this one in teal and a medium as well as in black and a small. I kept the small, black one. I’ll wear it to a wedding next month in Houston and hopefully to another in April and a final in mid-May. There’s definitely room for belly growth, some room for boob growth, and generally otherwise forgiving. Fingers crossed.

Hosiery and Undergarments:

  • H&M MAMA tights 100-denier: The denier indicates opacity. These are pretty opaque. Size medium. I needed tights to wear with my dress.
  • H&M MAMA tights 30-denier: Size medium. Again, just generally need tights in the winter. I’ll wear these to those weddings (but don’t want to wear them every day, because they’re pretty thin and therefore colder and more likely to snag).
  • Belevation Maternity Support Belly BandSize medium. Belly bands are advertised as being for women who want to keep wearing their pre-pregnancy pants so that they can wear them unbuttoned and this will keep them up. Well, I only wear this with maternity pants. I’m not sure why, but the panel in maternity pants isn’t enough to hold the pants up… they start to slip down and pull my underwear with them. It’s very uncomfortable. It’s probably for a similar reason that I ALWAYS have to wear a belt with regular jeans. I think I’m just shaped funny (and have proportionally larger thighs than waist, although now I don’t have a waist, so who knows). Anyway, whatever the reason, this has vastly improved the maternity-pant-wearing experience. I’ve also worn it once on a long run with my Lulu Wunder Unders, and I’m going to start wearing it with my non-maternity J. Crew leggings.
  • ThirdLove Classic T-Shirt Bra: Size 36D. This (and by ‘this,’ I mean a bigger bra) became a desire around 10-11 weeks and a must around 11-12. It was a little too big when I got it, but now (22.5 weeks) fits quite well and is starting to approach maybe too small. This is the only real bra I have that fits. I wear it a lot. Like, most days if not every day. I’m getting close to buying a new one, but I would like my next purchase to be a nursing bra, so I want to get closer to estimating what my final bra size is going to be. Like sports bras, I believe in investing in good quality regular bras, but unlike sports bras, I’m comfortable not washing this after every single use. Also, I have two Patagonia Barely Bras that I had pre-pregnancy (size M) that I wear when I’m at home (which is 2x/work week and on the weekends). I wouldn’t wear these out of the house at this point, though.

Other Clothing ‘Purchases’:

Not wanting to buy a lot more clothes but knowing I’d want some more variety over the last five months of pregnancy, I decided to try LeTote’s subscription service. They have a maternity option. I selected the one where you pay a flat fee per month and get three clothing items and two accessories per box. Why pregnancy necessitates new accessories, I still can’t explain. You can wear the items as many times as you like and then return them, at which point LeTote will send you another box. Boxes are unlimited and you get to select the items you’re going to get in your box. In my first box, I only wore one clothing item (a size M Seraphine black pencil skirt) and the two accessories. The other two clothing items (a VERY low-cut dress – why are so many maternity dresses V-neck??? – and a tent-like maternity top) were no good. I just got my second box last night, and I will wear the shirt for sure, the sweater most likely, the accessories definitely, and not the dress. So. I cancelled the subscription. I’ve only paid for one month and got several days’ outfits out of it (while avoiding making unnecessary purchases), so I’m okay with having made this purchase, but also think it’s right that I cancelled.

Other purchases:

  • Honest Organic Belly BalmI started using this around 20 weeks. I haven’t noticed any new stretch marks so far and there’s no real evidence that using something like this prevents them, but why the hell not try? It supposedly also helps prevent itchy skin which commonly occurs as the belly skin stretches. So far so good.
  • Thorne D3/K2 dropsMy early pregnancy bloodwork indicated that I’m ‘deficient’ in Vitamin D. I’ve paid enough attention to people like Chris Masterjohn and Chris Kresser to know that that statement is more complicated than people suggest, so I put off doing anything about it for a while. I did try to make a more concerted effort to get sunshine during the day, but then temps were in the single digits for a few weeks and work was super busy and that just didn’t happen. So I decided it wouldn’t hurt to try these. I use 2-4 drops (which is only 1,000-2,000 IU of Vitamin D3) per day.
  • PaleoValley GrassFed Organ Complex: Because I’m not even pretending to try to eat organ meats right now. And, assuming this is as potent and real-food-like as it claims it is, this is so much easier.
  • Rosita Extra Virgin Cod Liver OilBecause I haven’t been making salmon a priority, and I want baby to have all the DHA he needs to grow a fully functional brain and nervous system and I trust Liz Wolfe.

Those supplements, along with the prenatal vitamin and probiotic I was taking well before I got pregnant, make me feel like I’ve turned away from my real-food roots and am succumbing to the supplement hoo ha. Maybe I am. But just for pregnancy. I expect to go back to assuming my diet fulfills all my needs as soon as I’ve given birth. Or as soon as I’m done breast feeding. You know. Eventually.

Assessment:

So there you have it. Those are all the things I’ve spent hard-earned money on (or in some cases already had) as a result of being pregnant. Not a short list. That’s depressing. But I really feel like most of it has been worth it, with the possible exceptions of the second Sweaty Betty sports bra, the Bowie knit top from Stitch Fix, and maybe the Gap jeans and Stitch Fix dress.

I also have my eye on this cozy sweatshirt. I’ll probably break down and buy it. But unlike the other items I’ve bought, which I intended to buy as living essentials (to work out, go to work, have clothes that fit, etc.), this one would be pure luxury. I want it just because I want it. We’re going to Telluride for almost a week in February, and I want this to go with me. We’ll see.

 

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Lately – February 2017

Lately:

Things I’ve been reading:

  • The Bone People. About three people – a man, a woman, and a child – all damaged. Set in New Zealand. Really beautiful, really hard to read at points, and really wonderful.
  • Big Little Lies. I read this on a short vacation in Park City last weekend. I was in the middle of reading Underground Railroad, but switched to this so that I could start watching the HBO series. I thought I had read it already, but I hadn’t. (Instead, I’d read The Husband’s Secret by the same author.) Anyway, a quick, fun, suspenseful read!
  • The Underground Railroad. Currently reading. Isn’t everyone? I’m going to a book club for this book on Wednesday (in three days!) and I’m only 30% into it. I should not have deviated last weekend to read Big Little Lies. Sigh. Anyway, I’m into it, it’s not that I’m not into it. I was just feeling a little beaten up after The Sympathizer and The Bone People and not wanting to read something with torture and abuse. Hence the deviation. But I’m back at it, and maybe I’ll be able to read enough by  Wednesday.

Things I’ve been watching:

  • Big Little Lies. I’ve watched the first two episodes. I think it’s good. It’s so hard to watch things based on books I’ve read. So far, it has only minor deviations from the book. I think it’s good. Certainly good enough to have on while I’m cooking dinner!
  • The Putin segment of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. I don’t actually usually watch these types of shows (I group this with The Daily Show, SNL, Colbert, etc.). But I always wish I watched them more, and on the particular evening I watched this, I really wanted some perspective and comic relief on the media.

Things I’ve been eating:

  • Many of the recipes from Cassy Joy Garcia’s Fed & Fit book, including:
    • Cold Cut Roll-ups
    • Basic Pork Tenderloin and Easy Parsnip Mash
    • Roasted Fruit Pops
    • Anti-inflammatory Smoothie (I added spinach.)fullsizeoutput_aa9a
    • Buffalo Ranch Bison Burgers and Braised Greens (Really enjoyed these, and have been eating the leftovers in a salad with roasted sweet potato chunks and leftover homemade paleo ranch dressing, also from the book.)fullsizeoutput_aa99
    • Plantain Protein Pancakes with Salted Raspberry Jam (Yum.)
    • Sausage & Cranberry Stuffed Acorn Squash with Rosemary Orange Cream Sauce (thought I would love this, but I think I could have cooked my acorn longer, and citrus-y anything is really hit or miss for me. The orange cream sauce was a bit of a miss.) (Photo is from before I cooked it. You couldn’t see any red after I cooked it.)fullsizeoutput_aa98
    • Lemony Kale & Sausage Soup (wasn’t sure I would like this because, again, citrus. But turns out it was delicious and the lemon wasn’t lemon-y tasting, just bright.)
    • Sweet Potato Breakfast Hash Casserole (quite a lot of prep but pretty good).a2e19108-4b8a-401e-ba8e-3a1021aea263
    • Buffalo Chicken Casserole (made for the Super Bowl, and made with spaghetti squash instead of potatoes, which I didn’t have. Very good.)

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  • And… HelloFresh! Dan and I tried it out for two weeks. We meant to only do one week (we had an introductory offer), but I forgot to cancel it in time. I have to say, all the meals were really, really, really good. Easy to prepare, not too time consuming. I’ve always sort of pooh poohed these home delivery dinner things, since I have no trouble prioritizing grocery shopping and making dinner. But. It was convenient and delicious. And I was able to make them all paleo/Fed&Fit compliant. We’re trying Blue Apron with an introductory offer next week 🙂 (but those will be more difficult to make paleo/compliant). Some photos:

Races I’ve registered for:

Fitness I’ve been doing:

  • Still CrossFitting at CrossFit Federal Hill. 3x week, except the past two weeks. I developed some fairly intense low back pain throughout January, and it got so bad a few weeks ago that I totally put the halt on everything. Then I saw a PT and met with the gym owner and gained back some confidence to keep moving but taking it easy. So now I’m back at it, with lower weights.
  • Still running 2x week. Yesterday, I did a 6-mile trail run in Patapsco State Park. I combined the Soapstone Trail with the Grist Mill Trail and road, then the River Trail, and returned on the Grist Mill Trail from the swinging bridge. Clio had a blast (so did I). It was near 70 degrees! I’ll be doing more trail runs to get ready for the half marathon. Fun!
  • Easy C1 yoga at CorePowerYoga in Fed Hill and Canton. This has been amazing for my back. I hadn’t been in a while, but have been 3-4 times over the past two weeks.
  • Skiing at Snowbird and Deer Valley in Utah last weekend.

So that’s that! I’m going to do a cooking class tonight with Baltimore Delta Gamma alumnae at Pier Point Restaurant. Looking forward to it!

Eating and Skiing in Park City

Dan and I had a romantical weekend in Park City, UT last weekend. Here’s what we ate:

  • Handle. We ate here our first night. We shared four starters (beet salad, mushrooms, smoked trout, and buffalo cauliflower) and one entree (venison). They’re famous for their buffalo cauliflower, apparently, and it was good… but I could have taken or left it. It was probably good to have because Dan was hungry. But the beet salad (with a duck egg), mushrooms (with crusty bread slathered in some kind of fat), and smoked trout (with pepper jelly and ricotta cream) were really great. The venison was simplegreat but not the star. The service was pretty good (definitely acceptable but not impeccable), and the atmosphere was nice.
  • Firewood. We ate here our second night in Park City. This restaurant has only been open for about 8 weeks, I believe, and you could tell. As I mentioned in my Charlottesville post, the entry process at restaurants can make or break the experience for me. When we arrived, there were several other groups in the entryway of this restaurant. It was unclear what they were all doing, but it seemed that one was waiting for a table, one was getting their coats hung up (nice touch – something I looked for and was missing at Handle). But the walkway to the host podium was clear, so I walked up to it, where the hostess was looking down at her iPad. And continued to look down, doing stuff. And continued. After a minute or so, she finally looked up and greeted me. Not. Cool. Then we had to ask to get our coats hung (the coat hang lady didn’t realize we were not part of another group or waiting for that, but that’s forgivable). Finally, we were seated. When our server walked up, he had a card in his hands, and he too, was looking down at it (I think reading from it, actually), as he approached our table, and he did not make eye contact for the first several seconds. He ended up being a fine server, though a little awkward. The food was really good, though. We split two starters (oak wood roasted acorn squash with baby greens, goat cheese and cardamom spiced pumpkin seeds – YUM!; and the applewood smoked burrata with beets and tarragon pesto) and each had a main (Dan had the rack of lamb with lentil ragout, and I had the berbere spiced duck). All very, very good. Especially that roasted acorn squash. God.
  • Wasatch Brew Pub. Nothing special, just burgers and beer (my burger was pretty salty, actually). But the service was notable. Again, nothing special, very casual… but very well-timed, no awkwardness. It was in stark contrast to the evening before at Firewood. (We overheard that our server was also a server at a fancy restaurant, I believe at Deer Valley, so that might explain it.

We skied at Snowbird and Deer Valley. Snowbird was white out conditions – not my fave. Deer Valley started out with some windy, white out conditions, but the weather improved, and I had a really, really enjoyable day. I didn’t want it to be over! (Usually by 3 I’m ready to cuddle up with my book and a drink in the lodge, but not this day.)

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Revelstoke

Six or so years ago, my husband and his best friend spent a day skiing with a classmate of my husband’s and her father. They raved about the skiing in this place called Revelstoke in British Columbia, Canada. I think it was a new resort at the time. (Wikipedia just told me it opened in December 2007.) My husband and his best friend have fantasized about skiing there ever since.

The two of them have been skiing together out west at least once a year (and usually more) for the past ten years. For the first six of those years, it was just the two of them and occasionally me and/or someone else who was available for a somewhat random ski hill meetup, like with Dan’s classmate. But for the past four years, it has been a bigger group/reunion, with a core group of six of us that all went to the same college, plus a few other friends or significant others each year. Four years ago, we rented a house outside Park City. I believe there were 7 of us that  year. The next year, we got a house (the best house ever) in Big Sky, Montana. We were… 12? that year. Again, friends from college, Atlanta, a friend of mine from Madison, and friends of friends. Last year was thrown together a little late – we were 8 staying in a not-as-great house in Salt Lake City and driving to ski resorts, but I had one of my favorite days skiing ever at Powder Mountain. And this year, finally, we made the trek to Revelstoke, Canada. This year there were 8 of us total.

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It took 17 hours of traveling to get there, and 17 hours to get home yesterday. Both travel days, we had to wake up at 3 am local time. But it was worth it.

We got to see friends:

 

There were some amazing views of Revelstoke and the Columbia River:

 

And Lake Louise in Banff:

 

Plus I got to go for a short 3-mile hike, all by myself, fresh tracks, in Mount Revelstoke National Park (with snow up to my waist when I accidentally stepped off the path – the pictures don’t quite capture it):

 

And see wildlife. In the middle of the Trans-Canada Highway:

 

And eat good food. Some of which was only good-tasting if not good for me:

As far as eating goes, our MO has become a huge Costco shopping trip as soon as we arrive to purchase food for the week. Each person/couple takes a night to cook and populates a shared grocery shopping list in advance. We spend the last night (or in this case, two) eating leftovers. One or two people also take on sandwich-making duties each morning for everyone for on-mountain lunches. It works out great. Our Costco trip for 8 people this time for the week was under $500. That’s about $60/person for food for the week. Not bad. And everyone makes really good food. In the picture above, Dan is eating a taco filled with mole chicken we made together. For dinners, we ate:

  • Saturday (arrival day): burgers and sausages, salad, and sweet potato fries
  • Sunday: meatballs and pasta (atop kale for me)
  • Monday: homemade pizza
  • Tuesday: chicken in mole sauce, plus taco fixings
  • Wednesday: tofu stir fry
  • Thursday and Friday: leftovers

We did pretty well this time not wasting any food. In past years, we’ve eaten at least one dinner out. This time, we didn’t do any (though I did fill up on that poutine in the picture above on the last day at the Lake Louise ski resort), but we probably should have eaten out the last night. We were really scrounging. But we got back from Lake Louise late after a harrowing 3.5 hour drive through fog and snowy roads along the Trans-Canada Highway and then had to get up at 3 am the next morning to drive 2.5 hours more, so eating out wasn’t really in the cards.

I skied 4 days – 3 at Revelstoke and 1 at Lake Louise. Two friends and I (we are known as the ‘Blue Crew,’ but have sort of graduated to the ‘Blue-Black Crew’) took a private lesson on the second afternoon that was a lot of fun. I like doing stuff that challenges me (i.e., not just the blue groomers), but I like having my hand held when I do it.

Revelstoke was amazing. It has the longest vertical in North America (5,620 feet). The longest run (the green run that goes from the top all the way down) is 9.5 miles long. It was exhausting. We got a fair amount of snow mid-week and had a lot of powder on Wednesday, which was incredible. So fun. Longer lift lines, unfortunately, but worth it.

Lake Louise was okay. It was kind of icy in parts and had less varied/interesting terrain. The view across the valley of Lake Louise was incredible, though. Pictures don’t do any of this justice. And I was sort of cold that day and pretty tired from the week. I only skied about 3.5 hours. Then I went to the pub and drank a hot toddy and ate poutine.

I always try to hike at least one day while on these ski trips. I love hiking in the snow. I’ve been fortunate to find  hikes that are manageable without snow shoes. (Except for that time two years ago in Big Sky when Dan and another friend and I hiked six miles into a canyon and definitely should have had snow shoes.) This hike was easily accessible from town, didn’t feel too remote to make me feel nervous, and elevated my heart rate at times but didn’t leave me exhausted. It was a rest day, after all.

All in all, a very good trip. I’m very glad to be home, though, and back to my routine. Like  most Sundays, yesterday I grocery shopped and made lunch for the week. And I was back at CrossFit this morning at 5:30 am…

Tri Tri a Duathlon

Exactly a year ago, I saw my new neighbor, hot and sweaty, carrying her bike into her house. She had just finished the Iron Girl triathlon in Columbia, MD. I’ve always been interested in doing a triathlon, and she was very supportive (in a motherly I’ll-take-care-of-you-and-make-it-not-scary sort of way), so I pretty much decided on the spot to do it with her the following year. She stayed on me throughout the fall to make sure I signed up. It’s 1,000 m swim, 16 mile bike, and 5 k run.

The event was today. I joined a gym from mid-June through July and have been swimming there at least once a week for the past six or so weeks. Dan’s been able to go with me. I started doing ‘brick’ (new term for me) workouts on the weekends maybe five weeks ago, mostly with my supportive neighbor and/or my husband. For the past three,  I’ve done almost the whole distance, swimming 1,000 m at Hammerman Beach, biking 12 miles, and then running 3 miles around the park. For the first several weeks, I kept up my regular schedule of running 3 miles every Tuesday and Thursday morning, but toward the end that fell off a bit. I kept it pretty light this past week. I started CrossFit Foundations classes on Monday, did that again on Tuesday, and ran 3 miles Thursday morning. I felt really good going into the weekend and really excited to complete my first triathlon.

And then we all found out Friday morning that the swim was cancelled!! For good reasons. We had a pretty bad storm last weekend (which caused major flooding and damage in nearby historic Ellicott City), and the lake water is still too toxic for swimming. So, you know, I’m glad they cancelled it. BUT I WAS REALLY DISAPPOINTED! Part of this whole thing for me was just trying to figure it all out. The things that have kept me from signing up for a triathlon ever before, honestly, were: 1) I don’t understand what you wear (even after I figured out that things like tri suits existed, I was still unclear about what to do about a sports bra for extra support) and 2) Transitions?! What? And like… swimming without lanes? So, I just wanted to figure all that out. But alas – no swim, so this morning, I completed my first duathlon! Run 0.25 miles, bike 16 miles, run 3.1 miles (but guys… that last ‘0.1’ mile was way longer than that).

Anyway, it was a lot of fun! And I still feel pretty prepared for whatever future triathlon I do.

Transition area yesterday and this morning pre-race:

Post-race!

For breakfast, right before I left home at 5am, I drank a smoothie I’d made a couple days ago with almond milk, almond butter, a banana, and spinach. At about 6:30 (an hour before the race), I ate another banana. Post-race, before the hunger set in, I had another banana! It was the only post-race food that was #Whole30-compliant! They also had chicken salad (weird, right), maple water (? never knew that existed), and bagels. Oh, and snow cones.

And then we sat around for an hour to wait for the awards ceremony because my supportive neighbor and another neighbor both placed in their respective Athena categories (!!!). And that’s when hunger started to set in. So I had… another banana. Four bananas before 11 am! Eeek. All day sugar high. We finally went back to the transition area around 11:30 where I had some nuts, and I shoved those in my face.

At home, after putting everything away and showering, I finally got to really eat. I heated up leftover roasted vegetables from last night’s dinner and a half of a leftover chicken breast from a couple days ago and then added two eggs and some chopped green onion. Since it was mostly from leftovers, it was super quick and easy (thank god!). Plus more coffee. (I’ve been trying to limit my coffee consumption to 1-2 cups per day this month, and so far have been successful. But… treating myself today. Sugar-and-caffeine-high-all-day-all-day!)

Overall, pretty good experience. I think I’ll do it again.

She Eats (and Hikes) in Charlottesville

I spent the weekend in Charlottesville with a good friend who lives in DC but is doing a law internship in Charlottesville for the summer. I had never spent time in Charlottesville before, though I’ve driven through/near/around several times, and was glad for the opportunity.

I drove down Friday after being let out of work early for the 4th of July holiday weekend. I’d driven to the DC Metro red line in the morning instead of taking the MARC train as I usually do, so was able to start driving from north of DC around 3:30. With DC traffic on a Friday afternoon before a long weekend and several thunderstorms, I didn’t arrive in Charlottesville until 7pm. I had NPR, the Minimalists (Episode 28), Liz Wolfe and Cassy Joy Garcia (Balanced Bites Episode 250), and then some poppy music to keep me company along the way.

Soon after I arrived, we went to Monsoon Siam for dinner and sat on the porch. Our meals were delicious (and actually spicy) – my friend had Kapow Jae to maximize the vegetables, and I had the pik pow with added broccoli – but the entry process was annoying. It wasn’t clear where to enter or who to talk to about putting our name in for a table (or even if that was necessary). Things like that drive me crazy. Then, once we got seated, a server didn’t come for probably at least 20 minutes. My friend ended up going to the bar for waters, and then ultimately went back to the bar for beers before we ever had a server come. To be fair, they seemed understaffed and overbusy. I probably would have been more forgiving if not for the initial entry process confusion. Anyway.

After dinner, we walked along the pedestrian mall and went to The Southern to see some music (Rob Cheathem & Co.).

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On Saturday, I woke up at 5:30 like usual (annoying) and was out for my triathlon training workout by 6:15. I didn’t bring my bike, so I borrowed my friend’s hybrid. And Charlottesville is hilly. I biked west of town and back in a big loop, and then I ran 3 miles down through the UVA campus and back to her house. I was pooped. Did I mention it was hilly? While running, I snapped a photo of this church. Yay, equality.

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To get the day started, we went to the Charlottesville farmers market downtown and then to Bluegrass Grill for brunch. At the farmer’s market, my friend bought tomatoes, and we both bought a bucket of peaches. It seems early for peach season, but man, they’re delicious. For brunch, I had a potato scramble with (some sort of weird, fake, but still meat) chorizo, egg, peppers, onions, and tomatoes.

After an unfortunate locking-of-keys-in-trunk incident, we spent the afternoon being lazy on her lawn, snacking on nuts and fruit.

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We went to a barbecue at one of her friends’ houses that evening, where we ate some delicious salads, steak, and sausage.

On Sunday, we ate breakfast at home (Greek TJ’s yogurt, nuts, and banana for me) before setting out for a hike. Shenandoah and other mountainous areas were a further drive than we wanted, so we went to the Fortune’s Cove Nature Conservancy about 35 minutes from Charlottesville outside Lovingston, VA. The hike was five miles-ish and relatively steep both up and down. The day was overcast and foggy so the views weren’t great, but it was still pretty. Parts of the trail had a lot of growth; the trail to the top of High Top mountain, a slight detour off the trail, was particularly overgrown. And not worth it at all, due to the lack of views and the creepy I-feel-like-I’m-in-an-episode-of-Lost gated building. But overall I’d recommend the hike. It was very well marked, a great workout, and pretty.

We didn’t see a ton of wildlife, but what we did see was super unexpected. First, we ran into a turtle. Next, near the top, were a TON of these three-dimensional spiderwebs. And finally, where the trail crossed a fire road on the way down, we saw some large animal that we’re still debating: was it a dog? A coyote? Or, where I think we’ve settled, a fisher weasel? It looked kind of like a raccoon, except four times as big. And kind of like a dog, except it… ambled more… like a bear. Who knows. We saw it from behind, and its most defining characteristic was its very bushy tail. I wish we’d taken a picture.

The nature preserve was just across the road from Mountain Cove Winery, so we stopped for a tasting before heading home. It’s apparently the oldest winery in Virginia!

We were starving (it was late afternoon), so we stopped at Al Carbon for rotisserie chicken that totally hit the spot. It was delicious. So were the roasted vegetables and sweet potato sides that I got. My friend liked her chicken, but thought some of the sides were too rich and creamy.

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Due to the late lunch, we didn’t need a proper dinner, so snacked on more nuts and fruit (and TJ turkey sausage) for a late evening snack.

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For my last meal in Charlottesville, we went this morning to the Oakhurst Inn Cafe and Espresso Bar for breakfast. It was so charming – in a house, with pretty wood tables and enormous cups of coffee. I would love to stay at the Inn. My friend and I both got the baked farm eggs, and I got a side avocado salad that I’m pretty sure had an entire avocado in it. The baked eggs were delicious (and a little spicy), but the dressing on the avocado salad was my favorite part of the meal.

And finally, after returning home early this afternoon, I made myself a salad with the last of the Trader Joe’s turkey salami, a tomato from our farm box, part of an avocado, and a peach from the Charlottesville farmers market. Yum.

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Humpback Rock

On a ridiculously foggy weekend in May, Dan and I drove to Virginia for a wedding near Charlottesville. On the way there, we stopped for a hike at Humpback Rock. My colleague, who’d been to both Veritas Vineyards, the wedding venue, and Wintergreen Resort, where all the wedding guests were staying, recommended it as a good workout with nice views.

I’m sure the views were very nice. We could only see about five feet in front of us. But it was still a lovely hike. We saw only a few other people on the trail, and it was a good uphill bit (maybe one mile) that got the heart rate up, followed by a leisurely, lower-grade three miles downhill. Another friend did the same hike the following (sunny!) weekend (after attending a different wedding at the same venue!) and posted pictures that looked great! Maybe someday we’ll go back.

And the wedding we went to was fun too!

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