Sunday, October 12, 2014

Pumpkin Cheesecake: Because Basic White Girls Like Protein, Too

Fall would not be complete without something pumpkin.  I make pumpkin pancakes and waffles on the regular, but that cheesecake I made a few months ago really had promise for pumpkin makeover.  I've been meaning to make a pumpkin version foreva, but I needed to restock on my Ultra Peptide Cinnamon Roll before I proceeded.  Luckily, GRN once again saved the day, and I was finally able to create some deliciousness.  This did not disappoint, y'all.  Seriously.  It tastes EXACTLY like the inside of a pumpkin pie.  I'm even contemplating feeding this to my parents to see if they can tell that it's a healthy treat.  The recipe is pretty much identical to the protein cheesecake recipe that I posted previously, with only a few simple substitutions/additions.  So, here you go, my fellow pumpkin lovers.  Behold the pumpkin protein cheesecake:


12 oz 0% Greek Yogurt
12 oz fat free cream cheese
2 scoops Ultra Peptide 2.0 Cinnamon Roll protein powder
1 1/2 c pumpkin puree
2 eggs
3/4 c splenda
Pumpkin pie spice (I don't measure this - I just dump a bunch in.  Who cares?)
1 t vanilla extract
1/4 t salt
1/4 c almond milk

Mix all ingredients together with a hand mixer for about 2-3 mins.  Do not overmix.  Spray a 9" circular cake pan with cooking spray and pour the cheesecake mix into the pan.  Bake at 325 for 30-35 mins and then drop the heat to 200 and bake for an additional 50-60 mins.  I'm still playing around with cooking times on this, as the pumpkin adds extra moisture.  I cook it a little longer than the regular cooking times, so I would suggest keeping an eye on this after you hit the 60 minute mark at 200.  Let the cheesecake cool completely before you cut into it.  It'll be hard to resist, but you'll ruin it if you cut into it too early.  I'd even recommend putting it in the fridge overnight.  But I realize some of y'all out there have shitty willpower.  

Monday, May 5, 2014

Protein Cheesecake, Where Have You Been All My Life??????

So I was farting around on the interwebs last week, trying to find a new and fun recipe to try, when I stumbled upon a few protein cheesecake recipes on   Protein cheesecake, you say?  How good can that taste?  I started to read the ingredients and my interest was definitely sparked.  It seemed pretty legit, but I was still skeptical.

I was skeptical, because, let's be honest here: protein baking usually tastes like shit, especially when people try to to fat free protein baking.  News flash: egg whites + protein powder = shit.  Honestly, I'd rather just have the real thing than be super depressed by something that feels and tastes like a friggin frisbee.  Additionally, most people truly have no concept of what a really good protein powder actually tastes like. Optimum Nutrition, come on.  That stuff is sawdust, so stop lying to yourself.

Enter the God of all protein powders, Xtreme Formulations Ultra Peptide 2.0.  If you've never had UP 2.0, please don't talk to me until you've tried it.  Here's what it looks like:

You can get it from my favorite online supp store, GetRippedNutrition (  Tell them Beth sent you when you checkout :)  Anyway, UP is the nectar of the Gods.  It's thick and creamy and wonderful.  I'm convinced it's made with rainbows and fairy dust.  It has a higher fat content than most other powders, which yields a much better mouth-feel (TWSS), especially when baking.  I use UP all the time, and I have almost every flavor sitting in my house right now.  Lemon cream pie is, HANDS DOWN, BY FAR, the best-tasting powder you will ever consume.  If you don't agree, I'll buy your tub from you.  I am not a lemon person, either, folks.  But it's the bomb.

So I decided to make a lemon protein cheesecake to see if I could actually produce a decent finished product.  Friends, I have to tell you, it is heaven.  Look, even Trotter is 'mirin.

The texture is pretty on point; when I make this again, I will probably be cooking it just slightly longer as I felt it was just a tad under-cooked.  But, really, who cares?  It's all going to end up in the same place anyway.

12 oz 0% Greek Yogurt
12 oz fat free cream cheese
2 scoops protein powder
2 eggs
3/4 c splenda
1 t vanilla
1/4 t salt
2-3 T Jello sugar free/fat free pudding mix (optional)
1/4 c almond milk (optional if you use the jello)

Mix all ingredients together with a hand mixer for about 2-3 minutes.  Be careful not to mix too much, otherwise you'll end up with cracks all up in yo' cake.  Spray a 6 or 9" circular cake pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.  Spray your paper, too.  Bake at 325 for 30-35 mins and then drop the heat to 200 and bake for an additional 50-60 mins.  The internal temp should be about 165, or bake it until the outside is pretty done but the middle still jiggles a little when you wiggle the pan.

The macros are pretty awesome on this: about 130 cals/slice with over 20g of protein, < 11g carbs, and <5g fat.  Not too shabby :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Chocolate Cake, because.............chocolate cake

I turned 31 on July 1st (gross, I don't wanna talk about it, I'm old as fuuuuuuuuu), and I had a craving for my mom's Wacky Cake recipe.  What is Wacky Cake, you ask?  Only the best thing you'll ever shove in your cake hole.  My mom discovered the recipe back when she was a nutritionist working with obese children on Duke's Rankin ward.  The recipe contains 0 eggs, 0 milk, and 0 butter.  But where was taste, you ask?  The secret is in a few of the wet ingredients, which you'll see below.  My mom used to make this for me EVERY year on my birthday and it is such an indulgence.  The taste immediately returns me to my childhood and reminds me of home.

The problem with this cake is that it's SO good that I've eaten about 2-3 pieces in 1 sitting.  I cannot be stopped.  So I decided to make it fit my healthier lifestyle a little by adding in some protein powder, subbing out vegetable oil for less processed coconut oil, subbing a sugar baking blend for the real thing, and switching regular white flour for almond meal.  The result?  The EXACT same flavor with a lot less guilt.   From my mama's kitchen to yours - enjoy!

2 scoops Ultra Peptide 2.0 chocolate protein powder
1 c almond meal
2/3 c stevia baking blend (use a blend, not just all stevia)
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 t salt
1 t baking soda

Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until all the lumps have been smoothed.  I like to use a fork here and smash all the lumps.  Ain't nobody got time for lumpy cake batter.

1 t vanilla
1 T white vinegar (yes, vinegar)
1/3 c coconut oil, melted
1 c cold water

Take your mixed together dry ingredients and make 3 indentations in it.  1 small, 1 medium, and 1 a little bigger.  In the smallest indentation add the 1  t vanilla.  In the medium indentation add the vinegar, and in the largest, add the coconut oil.  Once that's done, pour your cup of cold water over the top of everything and mix well.

Here's what the 3 indentations look like before you add the water.

Spray square cake pan with coconut oil and bake at 350 for 30-35 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  Let it cool and enjoy the noms.  I actually prefer to eat this cake chilled.  That's how the Polissons like to eat their Wacky Cake.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chinese Fried Rice

Last weekend I wanted to make a nice dinner for Allan while he was visiting.  I had a tasty flank steak marinating in my secret recipe (kidding, not secret, I'll share it below), and it has a lot of Asian-inspired flavors.  I had a flashback to my teen years when my dad would make his pork fried rice.  It always tasted so good.  I emailed my Pa Dukes to ask for the recipe so I could try to make it.  It was a labor love, but it came out dericious!  So dericious, in fact, that both Allan and I started craving it in the middle of our workout the next day.  This recipe is full of some good carbs and fats and has a decent amount of protein, too.

Chinese Fried Rice
3/4 C dry rice, parboiled until very al dente (under cook and don't stir)
Peanut oil
Sesame oil
4 oz. finely chopped protein (pork, shrimp, chicken, whateva)
1/2 C coarsely chopped onion
1/2 C sliced celery
1/2 C coarsely julienned carrots
1/2 C coarsely chopped bell pepper
1 can of sliced water chestnuts (optional - I despise water chestnuts, so I left them out)
2 chopped green onions 
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 eggs at room temp
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
1 tsp of dry mustard
white pepper to taste
low sodium soy sauce to taste

First use a hot skillet or over medium to high heat...not low otherwise the stuff will just stew.

In 1-2 Tbsp of peanut oil and saute the pork/shrimp/chicken bits until brown and crispy...remove from the pan, but leave the "crud" (my dad's word, not mine) in the bottom of the pan to then saute the onion until translucent...then add celery, carrots, bell pepper, water chestnuts, green onions, and saute until until just barely wilted.  Add the pork bits back to the mix and finally the minced not burn.

Move the ingredients to the perimeter of the pan, then add 1-2 Tbsp of sesame oil to the pan, then stir in the under-cooked rice, sauteing over medium to high heat (it should crackle)...use spatula to keep from sticking.  Add a bit more peanut oil if necessary, but not too much or it will get greasy and sticky.  

Add the ginger, mustard, and white pepper (you can also use Schiracha sauce) to taste (it should be a bit piquante).  When the rice has been fried, so that it is coated with all of the crud and sesame oil, move all ingredients to the outside perimeter of the pan again leaving a bare space in the center.  Crack 2 eggs into the space and let the heat begin to cook the eggs then very coarsely scramble.

When the eggs are done, stir everything together and douse with soy sauce to your taste.

The texture should allow you to recognize all of the ingredients and the veggies should be cooked but still al dente.

I used a regular saute pan for this; the next day I IMMEDIATELY went out and bought a wok.  Unless you have a HUGE saute pan, this recipe is a pain in the ass.  It was tough to move everything around in the pan without sloshing something over the side or burning something.  If you're going to use a pan, make sure it's, really big.  

Asian Flank Steak Marinade
1/2 c red wine
1/2 c soy sauce
1/4 c raw honey
1 T fresh ginger (seriously, don't use powder, you jerks)
1/2 t red pepper flakes (optional - can use more or less depending on how hot you like it)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

New Stuff

What a craaaaaazy year.  Just crazy.  Jaysus.  If you had asked me 365 days ago where I'd be today, I would NEVER have told you that I'd be a full-time CrossFitter.  Nor would I have imagined that I could give 0 shits about measuring my food anymore.  Sometimes I am truly fascinated how the smallest decisions and life choices can completely change the course of our lives.   Not only MY choices, but the choices of others, as well.

An ex of mine introduced me to CrossFit last year, and I fell in love with it.  People talk about drinking the kool-aid all the time.  I don't have the patience to explain why I like it in this blog, because I've already explained it once.  Now that we've settled that, I'd like to discuss how my training has evolved this year.  I no longer train in body part splits.  I did that for 4 years, and while it had its place for aesthetic purposes, that's no longer what my training is about.  Now I train for function and for performance, not a look.  I'd rather be able to clean and jerk my body weight, not have the best glute-ham tie-in.  I do not think 1 form of working out is superior to the other...they're just different.  I'm having a blast with my training.  I feel strong, athletic, powerful, and beastly.  I feel better than I have in years.  Every time I step into the gym I try to best my most recent performance.  I compete against myself, I use others to push me, and I thrive off of the energy in the room.  If it's a cult, count me IN.

My eating habits have changed this year, too.  CrossFitters typically follow the Paleo Diet.  For those who are unaware, Paleo instructs us to eat what the caveman used to eat: meats, nuts, seeds, fruits.   Processed foods bad, T-Rex good.  I agree with parts of Paleo, and I vehemently disagree with other parts.  Here's what I like about its implementation for the general public:
  • Elimination of processed buuuullllshit
  • Eat whole, real, naturally-occurring foods
  • Compose meals mostly around protein, veggies, and clean carb/fat sources
  • Don't fear fat!
Here's what I dislike:
  • Carbs = bad and should be avoided 
  • Keep nutritious carbs (fruits, etc) to a minimum
  • Use fat as your energy source
  • Dairy is bad
  • Glute/inflammation are the root cause of all illnesses and should be avoided at all costs
I read a lot of pro-Paleo articles that absolutely villainize carbs.  Carbs apparently are the #1 reason we're all fat and dying, didn't you know that?  Yeah, no.  A caloric surplus is the #1 reason we're all fat.  There are some people who will swear up and down and left and right that fat gain is not a result of being in a caloric surplus.  I can't say this enough, people: you gain or lose weight/fat by controlling your CALORIES.  You reduce the fat on your ass by reducing the # of calories you consume in a day, whether that be by eating LESS overall food or by moving that ass a little more, or a combination of both.

This is where I think Paleo loses a lot of people: it can be overly-restrictive and not practical for most people, especially most athletic people.  What's funny is if you look at the top performers in CrossFit, they don't adhere to Paleo like you may think.  Rich Froning, for example, drinks a shitload of milk.  Dairy is a no-no on Paleo.  But homeboy should really just have his own cow at this point.  Athletes typically need carbs, and a lot of them, to perform at the highest levels.  Paleo can look dangerously close to keto, and that's really my biggest problem with it.  Keto sucks so bad and is so, so stupid, unless you have a medical condition.  If you want to ruin your metabolism and completely eff up your body's ability to process carbs, then follow keto.  And fibrous vegetables are NOT carbohydrates.   So stop with that.

I guess the take home message for me on Paleo is this: eat whole foods as often as possible (at least 80% of the time or more).  Also, I'd like to say this: our boy, the caveman, is extinct.  We evolve as a species, and I think our diets should also evolve.  Sometimes innovation is a good thing...........just sayin.'

So, on my quest for nutritional perfection, I've created some new, really tasty recipes.  I've also discovered some ridiculous food blogs, which are linked over on the right side if you want to get your taste buds tingling.  

Protein Brownies

Protein is still a staple obviously, but I have a sweet tooth.  These are a perfect blend of sweet and healthy and I can eat 2 of them as a meal replacement without feeling like a jerk.

2 scoops whey (I used Ultra Peptide 2.0 Triple Chocolate)
1 c almond flour
1/4 c cocoa powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1/2 c stevia for baking or any baking blend
2 room temp eggs
2 t vanilla
1/3 c coconut oil, melted
3/4 c almond milk
1/2 c dark choc chips (optional) 

Mix wet and dry ingredients separately and then combine.  Bake at 350 for 20-25 mins, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  You can add about 1/2 c applesauce to this for denser brownies, if you'd like. 

Protein Ice Cream

So I recently purchased an Ice Cream maker on Amazon.  This one, to be exact.  It's the tits.  All I do is mix up 1.5 cups of almond milk and then add 1.5 scoops of any protein powder of my choice.  Blend in Magic Bullet, pour in ice cream maker, and poof!!  Deliciousness ensues.  I've made a bunch of variations:

UP 2.0 Lemon Cream Pie + honey drizzle

Protean Vanilla Mint Swirl + homemade caramel + choc chips

UP 2.0 Butterscotch + homemade caramel

UP 2.0 Lemon Cream Pie + homemade gluten-free granola

UP 2.0 Lemon Cream Pie + blackberries + honey drizzle

I've found that Ultra Peptide 2.0 yields the best ice cream, as the fat content is higher than in most other protein powders.  The end result is a creamier texture.  Regular powders can be a bit more like ice milk than ice cream.  My favorite flavors are Chocolate Mint, Butterscotch, Lemon Cream Pie, and Cinnamon Roll.  Have fun with this easy recipe, guys - it's meant to satisfy that sweet craving that you have at the end of the night while also providing you with some extra protein for your mooscles.

Alright, that's it for now.  More later.  Holla!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Hanging Up the Heels

I've been thinking long and hard these last few months about whether or not I want to continue to compete.  I was originally planning on competing at the OCB Presidential Cup in DC in August, but I don't really feel like it anymore.  I know that sounds childish, but competing should be 100% personal; the drive should be internal, not external.  Maybe it is all of the major, major life changes that I've experienced since January that have made me re-think things, or maybe it's that I've been doing this for 3 years now and am over it: whatever the case may be, I simply don't feel like dieting, spraying myself with tanner, and donning my stripper heels to walk across a stage for 10 seconds.  Some may call me a quitter, and that's fine; I don't think I'm "quitting" anything.  Let's not forget that this isn't a "real" sport.  That's actually part of why I'm losing interest in competing.  It's not real.  Nothing about this sport is REAL.  The majority of the people I encounter are fake, superficial, and extremely narcissistic, contests seem to be rigged, people shoot drugs into their asses to get an advantage........I simply don't have time for that.  We all work hard and train hard to get to the stage, so why be a fake, cheating bitch?  Last year at the OCB show, some girl made it her mission to look me up and down backstage at least 20 times.  I wanted to ask her what her problem was, but I ultimately decided that she wasn't worth my time.  I just don't like to be surrounded by that kind of negativity.  In REAL sports, people encourage, support, and motivate.  That's not what I see in the physique industry.  There are a few exceptions to the rule, and I've made some excellent girlfriends through competing.  So, don't get me wrong - there are good people in this industry.  But I'm exhausted at seeing Facebook posts about chicken and friggin asparagus, how much cardio people are doing, and how someone is eating chicken out of a bag in the airport.  Live your friggin' lives, people, because I tell you what: competing is NOT real life.  And I'm tired of the same people being rewarded simply because they're managed by a particular group or train with particular people (who promote drug use and sleeping with judges).  It's high school bullshit.

The other reason I've decided to not compete is because I want to live my life.  I haven't celebrated my birthday in 3 years because I've always been dieting for a show.  I want friggin' birthday cake this year.  AND..........this is a milestone birthday for me - the big 3-0; I want some cake, goddamnit!  I'm in a great place with what I'm eating, with what my body looks like (I really don't believe in having an "off season" and an "on season" wardrobe, folks - you shouldn't be gaining that much weight!), and with how I'm training, and I just don't want to mess with that.  My boyfriend is super active and I love working out with him - we have such a good time.  I've been playing around more in the gym, doing more CrossFit style workouts, and not really being strict with my programs.  And I tell you what: I feel SUPER athletic these days.  I feel stronger, more powerful, more agile, and more flexible than I have in years.  I'm so relaxed and so at ease with everything, and the mere thought of hoovering dry chicken and cold sweet potatoes into my pie hole makes me cry inside. I want to be an athlete above all else, and I always have.  I got into competing because I was bored and didn't have an outlet for my competitive energy.  If I get into CrossFit more, and Tough Mudders/Rugged Maniacs (which I plan to), that void will be filled.  I just don't feel the need to compete anymore.

Lastly, this shit takes a toll on your body.  It ages you prematurely and it's exhausting.  Even though I always prep sanely (ie minimal cardio and lots of food), it still wears on me.  I hate feeling exhausted, fatigued, and I despise feeling hungry all the time.  I'm a food-lover (hence the name of the blog), so starving myself and being hungry 24/7 is so counter-intuitive to me.  I want to play in the kitchen, I want to eat at great restaurants, I want to be able to go on vacation and shove my face full of alcoholic beverages and ice cream if I so choose.  I want to be ME and to live my life as a happy, healthy, athletic woman.  I don't want to be some starving, dried up old hag who is desperately trying to hang with the youngins.  No es bueno. 

So, it looks like 2012 will come and go without me competing, and that is juuuuuuuuuuust fine.  In 2013, I will be looking to get my badass on at CrossFit Durham a little more (I like using it as my cardio a couple times a week - that shit is fun), and I'll also be looking into getting my dirty on at some mud runs.  Because, let's be honest: BP + mud + exercising go together like Kim Kardashian and Apple Bottom Jeans.  Goodbye stripper heels, helloooooooooo dirt.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

No Regrets

I wrote a blog post for Beast back in March about some recent life changes of mine.  Not everyone here follows the Beast blog, so I wanted to take a few minutes to update everyone on what I've been up to for the last few months, why I've been on such a writing hiatus, and where I'm headed within the next few months.

In late January, Jim and I broke up.  Yes - after 5 years, we ended our relationship.  An external observer would never have seen this coming.  We never fought, were 100% committed and faithful to one another, laughed constantly, never ran out of things to talk about, and genuinely enjoyed each other's company.  So what went wrong, you ask?  I never got a ring put on my finger.  Looking back, I could maybe have been more vocal.  But my girlfriends will argue that I shouldn't have had to be more vocal: after 5 years, you either know or you don't, right? Shit, after 2 don't you??  Maybe even 1?  Really, 5 years is just too long and we grew too comfortable.  We also had differing views on marriage, which I only discovered AFTER all of this went down.  What disappoints me the most is that, somewhere along the way, Jim's concept of marriage changed.  I'm not sure if it was his sister's or his best friend's divorce that changed how he viewed marriage, but it definitely deviated from what we had once discussed.  To me, marriage is more than an engagement ring and a piece of paper that says we're legally married.  To me, marriage represents a deeper level of commitment.  It's a solemn vow that you make in front of your friends and family - a vow to stay with the other person, through good and bad times.  A vow to not throw the relationship away when times get tough.  A vow to work, every day, at communicating, sharing, loving, respecting, listening to, and worshipping each other.  For me, marriage is forever.  There is no divorce, unless my husband cheats on me, beats me, or verbally/emotionally abuses me.  Otherwise, you work, you fix do whatever needs to be done.  But you don't give up.  When you get married, you become one, and you are a team.  There is no more individuality.  I firmly believe in that.  When we broke up, an engagement ring was referred to as a "trinket," and marriage was referred to as, "some jewelry and a piece of paper."  Ouch. 

I went back and forth with my decision to end things on an almost daily basis within the first week of breaking things off with Jim.  Was breaking up the right thing to do?  Will I look back on this decision in 2 years and realize that it was the biggest mistake of my life?  The answer to both of these questions is, "Who knows?"  Who really knows?  We can only make decisions with the information we're given at the time of the choice.  For me, 5 years and multiple marriage conversations should have been enough for someone to know A) if they want to marry me and B) that I definitely see myself as a bride and a mother.  My ovaries and eggs won't wait around forever, and neither will I.  I've got shit to do. 

The breakup was not easy.  If you've never been in a long-term relationship, you can never understand the loneliness that comes with sitting on your couch by yourself on Friday and Saturday nights.  My weekends were always spent with Jim.  From Friday at 8pm through Monday morning, we were inseparable.  So, to go from constant companionship to none was extremely difficult for me.  The first few weeks, I cried every night.  Not so much because I missed Jim, but because I missed companionship.  This realization is what eventually made me understand that I made the right decision about ending things.  I missed the presence of the person more than the actual person.  But then that made me feel like a Goddamn terrible human being.  How could I so easily dismiss a 5 year relationship?  How could I get over it so quickly and be so ready to move on?  How could I be ok with breaking up with someone who treated me so well for so long?  I think it is partially due to the fact that I knew LONG before I broke up with Jim that I shouldn't be with him.  I knew after 2 years that he had commitment issues.  They had nothing to do with ME, but more to do with his previous relationships.  Regardless, they affected ME, and that, in turn, affected the way I viewed the relationship.  For the majority of the 5 years I was with Jim, I never felt he was as committed to me as I was to him.  I can't tell you how much that hurts.  And that hurt and distrust is ultimately what caused our demise.  And maybe I buried those emotions, or maybe I just wasn't fully aware of them.  Whatever the case may be, they slowly worked their way to the surface, until one day, I simply could take it no more.  Perhaps it was coming back from Las Vegas in December with no ring on my finger, or perhaps it was my parents getting upset that I still didn't come home for Christmas with a fiance.........who knows.  All I know is that I literally woke up one day and decided I was going to breakup with my boyfriend.

Jim is a wonderful person.  This blog post is not, in ANY way shape or form meant to be disrespectful or slandering of him.  We've all got our own shit and emotional baggage to deal with: I am not immune.  I have some trust issues, and it often takes me a while to let people in; I'm working on that.  Some of Jim's friends told him (and eventually me) that I was "disrespectful" for writing my Beast blog about this topic.  Those friends have since been deleted from Facebook, because I really don't need that bullshit in my life.  On the off-chance that this blog makes its way to Jim and his friends, I want them to know that was never my intent.  I want nothing but the best for Jim: I want him to move on, to find a great woman, and to (hopefully??) get married and have a family.  I am sad that he's upset and scared and hurt - I shed many a tear for HIS emotional pain.  But, damnit, I was hurt and scared and lonely, too.  Am I supposed to sit around and not move on?  Am I supposed to do nothing to help myself get over this shit?  Writing has been, and will always be, my I blogged........and I felt better.  So, suck it.  And it's my blog: I'll do what I want.

After a few weeks of hardly eating or sleeping, I started to feel better.  I was starting to get used to being alone, and it no longer bothered me.  I adopted new sleeping habits (going to bed at 2am every night is NOT ok), started hanging out with new friends, was able to get more shit done around the house, and spent more time with Trotter.  I was feeling better by the day.  This was not an overnight change: it took me a while to feel comfortable in my own skin again after this breakup.  But it was the best thing that's ever happened to me.  I'm a COMPLETELY different person, mentally and physically. 

This breakup coincided with a job change, as well.  I started as a Line Manager at Parexel International, and have about 25 people reporting to me.  The new job was/is stressful, and requires a lot of time, attention, and organization/planning.  So, that coupled with the breakup made my March a really interesting month.  I also went to the Arnold in March with Beast, which proved to be a much-needed getaway.  I met some great people, was able to finally connect with the Beast family, and it provided me with an opportunity to get the hell out of North Carolina for a while.  Praise Jesus.

So, where am I today?  I'm great: I quit teaching spin at Sync in order to free up some time for ME, I've been enjoying my extra time with the fluff, and I've obviously been enjoying more time in my kitchen BY MYSELF. 

For my competitions this year, I'm going to start with the OCB Presidential Cup on August 11th up in Washington DC.  After that, I'm going to try to do 2 more, probably each about 2-4 wks apart, and then that'll be it for me and competing.  Sad, but true.  I've had my fun with it, and I'm really enjoying where I am in my life right now without competing.  Everything is perfectly balanced for me, and I don't need to step foot on stage to prove anything to myself or to anyone else.  I'll be updating more frequently as I prep, so stay tuned!!