The city of roses

I spent this last week in Portland, Oregon, the city of roses. I was there for work covering The Opening, a summer showcase for blue-chip high school football players held at NIKE World Headquarters.

NIKE WHQ was amazing. The campus was everything I thought it would be. Our workroom was inside the Tiger Woods Center. And the fields were right outside. The hospitality and organization of the event was top-notch.




IMG_7094 copy




My media credential got us into the Nike employee store. Everything was wholesale and essentially 50 to 60 percent less than you would find in stores. I did a quick once-over of the apparel and such, added a few things to my bag (an Oregon running tank, a Federer cap, tennis shorts, a shirt for my brother, a pair of Zoom Fit trainers, slip-in’s, and Nike’s new international release sportswear kicks for Wimbledon).  One of the best parts is they shipped it home for me from the store for only $30. It was a good thing I was with a group and didn’t want to hold anyone up, or I could have spent another hour in there.




But as beautiful and sophisticated as Nike headquarters were and as exciting and fun as getting new gear was, the best part of the week was the work. Hands down. I tell myself all the time how lucky I am to have a job that doesn’t feel like a job, and this week was just another perfect reminder.

I get to watch elite athletes live out their dreams, talk to them about it, dig for their sources of motivation, and write about their stories for an extremely plugged-in audience. Sports, sweat, dreams, travel, writing, story telling, and people… I couldn’t ask for more in the daily grind. When I get in my element, I develop a tunnel vision and will stop at nothing. It’s similar to endorphins after a workout. That tired feeling at the end of the day when you’re exhausted and know you’re waking up in six hours to do it all over again…well, I live for it.

“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both.” – James Michener






For dinner, we went out each night. One night I had mussels, bone marrow, oysters and sausage! Pacific Northwest seafood at its finest. A different night I had a salad with blackberries, feta and shrimp. Again, delicious! In Portland’s airport, I ordered a salad with fresh mahi mahi. For lunch out one day, I ate Lebanese lamb, chicken and hummus at my second favorite restaurant of the week called Al Amir in downtown Portland. It was a family-run business and the former home of Portland’s Archbishop.






My favorite spot of the week though was called Eat: An Oyster bar, and it was so, so good. I looked it up online, it was nearby, and it had great reviews, so I visited it on of the first nights I was there alone. It didn’t disappoint. I had blackened catfish and three baked oysters that had spinach and parmesan cheese.




I flew to Portland a day early to see the city. Downtown was very unique (rather crunchy and earthy but fun to explore) and I spent my time exploring restaurants, the infamous Powell’s bookstore, and the Portland Japenese Garden and International Rose Garden, the latter of which is the oldest public garden in the United States. It was absolutely beautiful and a great way to see the nitty-gritty of much of what Portland has to offer.






Before Portland, I traveled to Chicago a day early to explore the Windy City in the summer. I’ll always favor the South, but it’s hard to beat this place in the summer. It has so much to offer. I scalped a ticket to the Cubs game on a whim, and ended up having awesome seats inside Wrigley on the 4th of July. Bucket list item, check.


I think traveling by yourself can be so invigorating. You not only get to go by your own schedule and move at your own pace, but you really get in tune with your strengths and weaknesses. I practiced not letting travel inconveniences alter my temper, not trying to “do it all” in one day (going with the flow) appreciating new perspectives, and last but not least, not stressing when pizza was the only thing on the menu.

Gratitude, kindness, compassion, humility, mindfulness, patience… these are the areas that I hone in on especially during travel.

I’m flying back to Indy now and have two days to regroup before hopping on the plane again. This time I’m headed to the East Coast for a couple weeks at home with my family, which for me means two weeks of vacation at the beach. Did I mention how much I love July?



Drop sets (!!!)

Friday was my first day doing drop sets.

Drop setting is the practice of working to almost fail with a single weight, then stripping off approximately 10 to 30 percent of the weight to complete more reps to fail this time – with no rest in between. You repeat this process continually until you’ve stripped away all of the weight. You need to do it with a partner or trainer for most exercises, so they can drop the weight for you, thus minimizing the rest time.

Compared to straight sets, drop sets are super effective in inducing hypertrophy (muscular growth) but not conducive to speed or power (so it’s more popular with power-lifters and body builders instead of athletes). By adding a drop set and stripping off weight and continuing the set without rest, you must recruit “reserve fibers” and use everything in the tank to complete the set. After you complete one entire drop set, make sure you rest at least three minutes before doing another.

According to ALLMAX Nutrition, “The primary focus of drop setting is to shock the muscle by adding stress to a standard set. This added stress induces hypertrophy within the muscle amplifying muscle growth.”

I did my drop setting on bench and the end of my upper body workout, but you can do it at the beginning, too.

A1 Pull on Smith machine (4×10)

A2 Push on Smith machine (4×10)

B1 Reverse bench press (2×10)

B2 Upright row (2×10)

C1 Bench press drop set (4×10)

Rest 3 mintues

Give it a go!!



Focus Friday

Not a super insightful post today, but here are pictures of my new home in Broad Ripple (Indianapolis).










This weekend I’ll be working, doing some car shopping and meal prep, and of course, brunching.

Lovely links:

I love Nike as much as the next person (actually way more), but I had to SMH when I opened this email yesterday. I’m sure it’s one helluva wind jacket and its so stylish, but that price???

How original does this grain-free cauliflower conscious recipe from Well+Good look?



Focus Friday

I need to share with you a recipe I’ve pretty much perfected for the best peach smoothie.

The trick is getting as much peach out of the peach (make sure it’s ripe and soft) as possible. Cut super close to the core and salvage any juice that inevitably drips out when slicing it. I used ice cubes and more almond milk the first go around, but the combination of the two watered it down a bit too much, so the next time I used less almond milk, more Greek yogurt and put it in the refrigerator for 15 minutes after it was blended before drinking. I swear Carolina peaches are the best.

Peach protein smoothie

Serves 2

In a blender:

– Approximately 5 peaches, cut and peeled (squeeze any excess juice into blender)

– 1 scoop of vanilla Shakeology (or protein powder)

– 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt

– 1/2 frozen banana

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– Dash of unsweetened almond milk

I topped mine off with bee pollen. Feel free to omit the powder if you don’t have any, but it won’t fill you up nearly as much as it will lack protein. Adding honey and reducing the yogurt to 1/2 cup is an option if you want a sweeter taste.




Also as promised on Insta last night, here’s the recipe to the easiest, most original and delicious breakfast/brunch item that’s healthy, too. They’re great to serve with guests or at a shower because it will look like you spent a ton of time on it. They’re basically finger food, so that’s another plus as well.

Bacon and egg “cupcakes” via Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar cookbook:

Serves 6 individual cupcakes

– 6 slices of bacon (uncooked)

– 6 eggs

– parmesan or feta cheese (optional)

– fresh basil or other herbs (optional)

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin tin with real butter. Line each holder with a slice of bacon. Crack an egg inside. Top with cheese and herbs if desired. Cook for 15 minutes.

We had breakfast for dinner last night, and along with the cupcakes, I served sugar-free and gluten-free granola with a choice of Greek yogurt or unsweetened almond milk, plus grapes and peaches.



I’m off to get my nails done with Mama and take her to get my favorite omelette before dropping her off at the airport. We accomplished so much this week in terms of getting my new house in order, and I couldn’t have done it without her.

Lovely links:

A recipe for a fiber-full breakfast complete with a balance of protein, fat and carbs (And, it’s not eggs, protein pancakes, avocado toast or overnight oats)

Loving this series from Becca Caddy titled “Food for Thought.” This week: When healthy food doesn’t always lead to a healthy mind-set 

As you know, I don’t like the taste of avocado by itself (but here’s how I get around that and still get my fix of avo’s benefits). I do love guac, though, and I can’t wait to try this five-ingredient pineapple guac recipe.



Focus Friday

It’s Friday already? This week has flown by! I was in Raleigh (home) last weekend for my brother’s college graduation. It was great seeing so much family and so many friends.






Last but not least, a home-cooked meal Carolina style: poppyseed bread that melts in your mouth, honey-baked ham, butter beans, deviled eggs, berries, steak and chicken

But back in Indy, I am going to a hot yoga class on Sunday, and while I don’t always agree with the literal wording that yoga teaches, I am an advocate of turning the often eloquent and spiritual inspiration into something that I can parallel with my own religious beliefs. I take yoga for what it is! I believe it’s important to incorporate a form of exercise into your routine where you don’t feel the need to push yourself to the point of exhaustion. Even if it’s only once week, I love going to the yoga studio. It’s a totally different experience from my rigorous strength training. For a competitive person, who pushes herself hard to excel in everything she commits herself to, it’s a lovely change of pace to embrace being an amateur at something!

Lovely links:

Adore this Aussie nutritionist! I think (as girls especially) this post from Jessica Sepel is so important and relatable. Who hasn’t struggled with this one way or another? For me, points No. 4, 6, 8 and 10 resonate strongly.

Along the same lines as the aforementioned link: Food shame: The Morality of Eating  —> thought-provoking read!



Derby pictures + today’s workout

Tough getting back at it today after a weekend of bourbon, pizza and ice cream. But just making yourself get back on track the sooner the better makes it easier in the long run, promise! Why is it always hardest to workout when you need it the most?




Today’s workout:

A1 Hang clean press (3×10)

A2 Squatting bicep machine pulls (3×10)

A3 Alternating dumbbell press (3×20)

B1 Front squat (3×10)

B2 Hack squat with dumbbell (3×20)

C1 Plate pushes on hardwood (30 seconds)

C2 Dumbbell burpee (30 seconds)

C3 Ball throw-down (15 seconds, each side)

D1 Squatting ball press (30 seconds)

D2 Bench hops (30 seconds)

Now it’s errands and work before heading back to Raleigh on Wednesday for my brother’s college graduation and Mother’s Day festivities!



Book review: The New Health Rules

Disclaimer: I enjoy reading books about nutrition, fitness and health. The kinds I have to reread the pages of because they don’t always make sense the first time, considering I don’t have a degree on the topics.

The book I’m about to tell you to navigate to Amazon asap to buy doesn’t fall in that category.

It’s titled: The New Health Rules: Simple Changes to Achieve Whole-Body Wellness, and it’s written by Dr. Frank Lipman and Danielle Claro.


Yes, it’s a book about health, including nutrition, fitness and wellness.

But this is how long the pages are, FYI, and they’re accompanied by gorgeous pictures. I’m only on pg. 32, and I can’t put it down.



The book is divided into five sections: Eating, Moving, Boosting, Healing, Living

It literally contains everything in a concise, short, easy-to-read format that you need to live a healthy and happy life.


I got my first copy from the library, and after three pages, I bought my own copy online. I not only wanted a copy for own to keep, but it’s the perfect coffee table decor!



Final Four recap

Covering the Final Four has been one of the many highlights of my career in sports reporting thus far. From writing about Sam Dekker’s fabulous performance en route to taking down the former undefeated Kentucky Wildcats to interviewing Duke senior Quinn Cook in the locker room after he had just cut down the nets as a national champ, I can’t express how much I loved every minute of it.


I also got to meet one of my favorite female athletes of all-time. Tennis superstar Caroline Wozniacki was in attendance with Houstons’ defensive end J.J. Watt.

It truly is amazing the kind of raw emotion you see from these athletes when they have given it their all. Whether it’s tears of joy or sadness, it strikes a cord with me that compares with nothing else.




Today it’s all about errands, working out, laundry and PACKING! Heading to Charleston tomorrow for a long weekend to visit my best friends from college! We’re coming from all different places to spend time with each other and I couldn’t be more excited.

For my workouts, I plan on doing some sand sprinting and HIIT training on the beach while I’m there. We’re going to beach it, shop, head to the spa and of course soak up every minute with each other.

This week is also the week of the Masters, so of course I’ll have to sneak my fair share of watching it on TV.

Check back in next week!



Workout review: Orangetheory

I’m staying in Atlanta for most of this week, so trying out Orangetheory Fitness was a must on my list after reading about it on well+GOOD. And, after the hour-long workout and 461 burned cals later, I’m glad I did. Totally worth the three (four) Uber drivers that couldn’t find the location to pick me up later that day.

What is Orangetheory? 

photo 3

1. It’s a company that launched in Florida in 2010 with a workout concept that combines treadmill intervals, water rowers, strength training (using weights, TRX systems and medicine balls) and abs in a 60 minute workout.

2. It’s designed to maximize the effect known as afterburn (formally known as EPOC or excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). It sounds more complicated than it is. Just know that high-intensity training sessions force the body to work harder and longer to build its oxygen stores back up resulting in more calories burned than if you’d exercised at a lower intensity for the same or even longer period of time.

3. You wear a heart rate monitor during class so that you can see your heart rate zones on a screen as you work out and keep track of how hard you’re working and pushing yourself. The goal is to work out as much as you can in the “orange” and “red” zones. The orange begins at 84% of your max heart rate (subtract your age from 220). Everyone has their own max heart rate and therefore their own orange zone.

My experience:

When I first arrived (they ask that you arrive 30 minutes early for your first session), the class instructor, Alana, walked me through the heart rate zones and gave me a tour of the studio. She was super helpful and very clear in her description. 

photo 1

At 8:45 a.m. on the dot class began. Half the class starts on the treadmill and half with the weights. My first “learn as you go” experience started with finding my “base” pace and “push” pace. Base should be a pace that you can keep up for 25 minutes. Push is when you start to feel uncomfortable and wouldn’t be able to hold a conversation. Sprint is obviously all out. Alana led us through intervals based on those paces. The more you go Orangetheory, the better you’ll get at pushing yourself. It took me a few rounds to figure out what speeds I should be running.

photo 2

After 10 minutes on the treadmill, we switched over to the weights. We did circuits of single-leg bench squats and pause squats 10 minutes. Then, it was back to the treadmill for a different round of intervals. The back to the weights for something new. Rinse and repeat for approximately 50 minutes. We then did water rowing intervals for five minutes, which is one of my favorite full-body workouts you can do. The last five minutes we hit the mat for abs which included planks, scissors and sit-ups.

After class, you get emailed a rather detailed report of your workout, including how many calories you burned and how long you spent in each zone.


  • Expensive? Kind of. Single classes are $34, but packages are much more reasonable.
  • The pros: Class-like environment that also caters to the individual in that you are in control of how fast you run and how much weight you lift… Love seeing how much I’m really maxing out my heart rate in real time on a big screen… The mix of “cardio” and “weights” really gives you a full-body workout… Every class is different in its mix of treadmill usage and weight-based exercises… It’s hard to plateau because as you get better, your base, push and sprint speeds increase! (<<< my favorite part)
  • The cons: None that I found! However…

Can’t you do interval-based treadmill running on your own? And can’t you lift weights on your own? Yes and yes. If you love taking classes, being held accountable by a teacher, and letting tangible numbers lead the way for how hard you work, then this is for you. Otherwise, you can get away with a set of barbells, a trusty old treadmill and a commitment to intervals for 60 minutes for the same workout.