Monthly Archives: March 2017

Celebrating New Heights in Aspen

Disclaimer: In 2016 I was a member of the Beef Expert Bureau.  This trip was sponsored by The Beef Checkoff.

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One common theme in my gratitude is the internet.  I’ve gained so much from the world wide web, and the opportunities and experiences that have come my way because of my love of interneting. This is an amazing privilege all around; the people I’ve met, the places I’ve visited, the opportunities for education, and experience, and deliciousness.

Last fall I took a trip to Aspen, Colorado with the Beef Checkoff that was filled with just that: great people, opportunities for education, experiencing local sites, and of course, delicious food!

The people! This was a great trip because it was about 50% being reunited with internet friends and “beef staff” I adore and 50% falling in love with the new friends I was meeting for the first time on this trip. I could absolutely go on and on and on about the wonderfully talented, encouraging souls with brilliant minds I’ve met through working with the Beef Checkoff over the past several years. This long list of smart and creative folk I have in my network is a bonus compliment to the seemingly perfectly mirrored personalities in my friends on the beef team.

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The places! Aspen is such a cool city. Landing was the most gorgeous of any air plane trip I’ve been on, dipping in between spans of mountains covered in bright yellow Aspen trees. The city was quite adorable with lots to see and do in the small space of town I explored.

We stayed at a terrific resort in the heart of Aspen, The Little Nell.  It was a gorgeous property and a fantastic room filled with luxurious comforts and beautiful details throughout the resort. We visited a handful of other great locations throughout our trip, too, including the Cooking School of Aspen, Elk Camp, and Lynn Britt Cabin.

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And the views! Holy moly was I spoiled this year with all the fall foliage colors I was able to take in.  I was in Aspen at the very end of the aspen peak season and these photos do not even come close to doing the beauty that is Colorado justice!

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the experiences! One morning we went on group guided hikes which was one of the most breath taking experiences of my life this far. I had such a great time moving along the trail with some of my fellow bureau members and other friends in our group.  I decided to leave my phone and camera in my room and focus my energy on taking in the views in real time.

We were also given the gift of time with the Executive Chef of Element 47 at The Little Nell, Matt Zubrod. Throughout our week together Chef Zubrod gave a cooking demo and lead food discussions during several of our meals.

Each and every meal we had during this trip featured a delicious plate of food and terrific food discussion with wonderful people.  This is usually the case when I’m traveling with the Beef Checkoff, but the food talk this trip was especially memorable and has had lasting effects on my approach to food, from meal planning to where I turn for celebration dinner menu inspiration.

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the opportunities! The theme for our time together was ‘Celebrating New Heights in Food and Health’ and was a combination of educational sessions and creative discussions on beef topics, health topics and blog/internet topics.

One of my favorite sessions was “Watch What Happens Live: Building Your Skills to Shoot Live Video and Interact with Food in Real Time.” This session took place at the stunning Elk Camp in Snowmass. One of my favorite women rocking the internet, Regan Miller Jones shared with the group the benefits of live video to communicate and along with Vijay Karunamurthy, co-founder of Nom.com, reviewed tools, techniques, tips and steps to get started.

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I learned a bit from each of the discussions and presentations throughout our trip.  Here are three main takeaways from other sessions from our time in Aspen:

3 Major Takeaways from the Celebrating New Heights in Food and Health LiveWell #KnowYourBeef Experience

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Takeaway: I want to give my future self the gift of health. 

Session: Aging with Vitality – Beef Throughout the Life Cycle

Early last year I was in a FUNK. It was nothing serious, but a simple lack of motivation to make healthy choices or do anything to make my life better. I was stagnant and though I knew I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t ready or willing to do anything to find the happiness I knew I was, if history was accurate, capable of finding and living with.

This session gave me a new perspective on motivation.  For the first time I really thought about the need to take care of things now to make it easier on myself in the future.

I’m no spring chicken now, but I am younger today than I ever will be in the future. I want to take advantage of every day and give my future self the gift of health.

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Takeaway: Lots of nutrition questions can be answered with meal planning.

Session: Building Beef into Your Family’s Weekly Meal Plan

The topic of meal planning came up time and time again throughout our week together, which was a great lead up to a session from Jessica Fishman Levinson, a dietitian and nutrition consultant who serves up healthy, delicious content at Nutritioulicious

I’ve been in a fairly regular habit of meal planning and food prep over the past several years, but it’s always nice to have a refresher discussion with my peers about tips and tricks they are using in their own kitchens to make the most of the habit.

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Takeaway: You have something valuable to share; don’t believe me? look outside your immediate community.

Session: Putting Our Work into Practice

During our last session, my friends Melissa and Toby presented on how beneficial partnering with other creators can be and Tera Miller lead us through creative planning exercises.  Collaboration can cover a wide range of involvement and interaction, and is a great way to show support for others’ work you appreciate and respect, while also taking the opportunity to work towards results for yourself, such as an introduction to an existing audience or working with an experienced creator of a specific field.

Cross collaboration can be such a powerful tool [and one I’ve been known to get preachy about from time to time!]  Of course, partnering with the bloggers/influencers in my close network who cover the same topics and have the same expertise and audience as I do makes sense.  Swapping guest posts, partnering for a twitter chat, or offering an Instagram takeover is an easy way to work your creative muscles and interact with a new following in a safe space.  But when I look beyond my immediate circle of influence I can reach much further potential.

Melissa and I have partnered with one another a handful of times in the past.  As a Registered Dietitian and award winning, nationally recognized food and nutrition expert, Melissa brings the smarts and science to the table, along with her winning personality, creative ideas, and brilliant communication skills.  I bring my willingness to share my real-life experience of trying to fight for my health that Melissa’s clients and followers may also be facing, along with a tiny bit of know-how about internet tools and the power of online community.  When we work together, we are building each other up and offering more to the work we are doing together, because we are doing it together.

Twosday XCVI

Favorite Travel Snacks I Enjoyed in the Air Last Week

  1. DIY Snack Mix Mix. I dumped a bag each of Goldfish Mix Honey Mustard and Pretzel, classic pub snack mix, and extra mini pretzels into a large bowl to create an ultimate mix of mixes! I filled a small reusable to go container with the mix for my carry-on, and enjoyed it during two of my four flights along with a tequila and orange juice during beverage service. 
  2. Jerky Duo: Teriyaki Beef and Original Chicken.

Favorite Louisiana Meals

  1. Cocktails, Dinner and Dessert at Restaurant R’evolution. The chef’s interpretation of Beef Wellington was tender and so flavorful my mouth watered as I enjoyed each bite.  The Mascarpone Grits were rich and comforting the way Southern food should be, but I made sure to stop eating early enough to save room for a little dessert. We enjoyed our dessert so much that we returned the following night to indulge, again.  Throughout the two evenings I tried several flavors of the house made ice cream: chocolate coconut, toasted marshmallow, and crunchy peanut butter. 
  2. Lunch at Sammy’s Grill. Our waitress was witty and AMAZING and had great recommendations and descriptions of dishes which brought me to choose one of the menu items she recommended: The Prime Rib Po’ Boy.  WHAT A SANDWICH. This is the kind of dish that I was sincerely sad I was too full to keep eating; I could only eat half! I think I’ll be dreaming about this sandwich for a long, long time.  Maybe a DIY recreation is in my future?

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New Orleans Tourism “Musts” We Crossed Off the List

  1. Café Du Monde. We did what you are “supposed to do” when in the French Quarter: get beignets and café au lait. It was….fine?
  2. St. Charles Street Car through the Garden District. Such beautiful homes and University buildings!

New Orleans Tourism “Musts” We are Saving for January

  1. The National World War II Museum.  About a dozen people recommended it to us, but we didn’t have the time to get over to the museum this trip.  We will be back in town in January 2018 for a  tradeshow and this is definitely on the list of things we hope to do on that trip.
  2. New Orleans History Tour.  There are several available that interest us!

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Travel Media: Movies I Downloaded from Netflix and Watched in the Air

  1. Best Worst Thing That Ever Could Have Happened.
    I had noticed that this documentary had shown up on my Netflix recommendations, but after I read Glen Weldon tweet, “So BEST WORST THING THAT EVER COULD HAVE HAPPENED is streaming on Netflix and you – every last damn ONE of you – needs to watch it YESTERDAY” and the thread that followed I decided to download it for flight consumption. I have been thinking about this movie daily since I watched it and I highly recommend it to anyone who has an interest in Broadway musicals. 

    You may not be familiar with the story of Merrily We Roll Along, a Broadway musical that closed after sixteen performances in 1981, despite being the talk about town leading to the opening.  This film shares the story of the creation of Merrily and the young performers whose lives were changed by being a part of it. Best Worst Thing is directed by Lonny Price and features many members of the original cast, lending to a greater understanding of the impact the original

  2. Sing Street.
    As I’m writing this, I now realize that both of the movie I watched on this trip come recommended from Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast folks, as Sing Street was on Linda Holme’s list of 50 Wonderful Things from 2016. It’s got a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and I totally understand why; would highly recommend this coming of age modern musical featuring a love for the music of the 80’s and a beautiful focus on a variety of relationships. 

Travel Media: Television I Downloaded from iTunes and Watched in the Air

  1. America’s National Parks at 100 from the Smithsonian Channel
  2. LA Clippers Dance Squad from E!

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Reading in 2017 Updates

  1. I remain WAY ahead of schedule in my Good Reads Challenge to read 12 books this year, having finished 9 books as of now.  At the start of the year I made a stack of books in the apartment that I hadn’t read and have been working my way through them, one by one.
  2. I have made very little progress in March.  Everything I started reading I lost interest in and ended up putting back on the stack. I decided to take a break from the pile and gave myself permission to purchase some used books that interested me in an attempt to get back into the reading groove again.  I’ve only read two of Meg Wolitzer novels at this point, which is the only hesitation to my stating that she’s my favorite fiction writer, so I decided to search for some good priced used copies of her other works to read next.

Meg Wolitzer Novels Up Next on My Reading List

  1. The Ten-Year Nap. “a feverishly smart novel about female ambition, money, class, motherhood, and marriage-and what happens in one community when a group of educated women chooses not to work.”
  2. The Uncoupling “a funny, provocative, revealing novel about female desire.”

This Week I Will 40

A weekly post of healthy-intention goals for the sake of accountability; [inspired long ago by Jess and her #sayitdoit style]

A review of last week’s goals:

Healthy Travel Intentions: As usual, I rocked some of the intentions, had a “meh” response to others, and flat out ignored one, too.  I didn’t spend ANY time writing in my journal when I was in New Orleans, but I got right back on the Morning Pages habit when I got back to my apartment and computer so no harm there.

I managed hotel room yoga twice, hit my step goal daily and definitely enjoyed my trip. I chose Freggie-heavy meals sometimes but it was definitely not a focus of my mindset when looking at the menu.

Seek Calm. Setting this goal and arming myself with a list of calmness inducing activities was a big help, too. There were a couple of times that I was feeling anxious during the trip and used deep breathing exercises to calm and center myself and another time where I stepped back to get organized before moving forward with work tasks and felt a lot of comfort in the exercise.  Every morning before leaving my room for the day I would read over the back of my Seek Calm card and set positive intentions for the day.  I’m keeping the card in my suitcase so I have it handy for my next trip, too.

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Rest. I would say that I definitely took it easy in the big easy. There was a lot of time spent sitting, waiting, taking in the sites and scenery, and simply sitting still.  Rest achievement unlocked!! Although sleeping wasn’t necessarily the easiest goal to obtain, since my hotel room windows looked out on Bourbon Street. Those hotel ear plugs came in handy!

Plan. I’ve got 6 weeks of easing back into a running routine written out in my calendar, aiming for a 5K taking place nearby the first weekend of May. After being in the warm weather last week, I feel extra eager to get this training show on the road and am excited to have my first few interval runs scheduled for this week!

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This Week I Will

Walk Home as Often as Possible. Between snow storm Stella and traveling for work last week, it’s been a bit of time since I last walked home from the office. [I’m on a quest to see how quickly I can hit 100 days of walking home; my current tally is 14 days.] The beginning of the week looks a bit rainy, but as long as the wind stays slow and doesn’t turn stormy I’m willing to whip out my umbrella.  The end of the week looks sunny and the spring temps are on the rise, so I definitely want to take advantage of that as much as possible this week, too.  

Start My 5K Training Slow and Steady. Now that I have a plan laid out for the next six weeks, I am eager to get started. I need to remember that I haven’t been running regularly in several months and haven’t been truly focused on training for something since 2014; I can’t expect to be as fast or fit as I was back then. I don’t want to make the mistake of pushing myself too hard trying to get back to where I was two years ago.  Instead I want to gauge where I am, and set goals to improve – slow and steady. Operation: NO INJURY is now in session. 

Set April Goals. I’ve been digging a monthly goal setting habit this year. I simply set 3-5 general intentions for the month, write them in a place I keep visible at home, and check in with them during my weekend to do list writing and drafting these “This Week I Will” posts.

Read. I didn’t bring a book to New Orleans and haven’t spent any time reading since I’ve been back. I know a break from screens and noise is good for my brain and overall wellbeing, so sitting with a book is on my MUST DO list for the week.

What healthy intentions are you setting for the week?  Tell me about them on twitter and show me the proof on Instagram by using the #Make1HealthyDecision hashtag!