Celebratory Weekends: It's all About Balance

So far, 2016 has been a year of major changes. I moved to a new city, started a new job, and I think I've figured out my new 5 year plan, which I'm really excited to work on, but not quite ready to share yet. But, when I am ready, I will share the hell out of that plan! I also recommitted to maintaining a healthier lifestyle, and if I can take a minute to brag, I'm kind of nailing it. I'm exercising regularly, and making a conscious effort to make healthy decisions when it comes to the food I eat. Instead of convenient date nights several times a week, Casey and I spend our time together in the kitchen. In addition to having more control over what we're putting in our bodies, we've also significantly reduced our food spending compared to what it was when we lived in Austin.

All this isn't to say I've been eating nothing but salads and seeds since January—we've gone out for casual meals, and we've celebrated birthdays at the fancypants restaurants here in Asheville—we've just tried to be much more thoughtful about choosing when to go out, because it's all about balance. And the balancing act seems to be something that's working well.

We recently spent back to back weekends with friends and family, one weekend in Atlanta with my Best Good Friend and the following weekend with my parents here in Asheville. As expected, both weekends were chockablock full of eating and drinking.

chips and salsa
We enjoyed lunch at Minero, because when you find out Sean Brock has a Mexican restaurant, you go.

I thought ordering a salad might help atone for the tacos, chips, salsa, and wine, which is basically the equivalent of ordering an extra large Diet Coke with your Super Sized Value Meal.

In an effort to incorporate some fitness into our fun, we did make it a point to walk whenever we could. Kara and I walked to the Georgia Aquarium, which was a little over two miles, then proceeded to walk around the aquarium. We also managed to go into a few exhibits with low ceilings intended for younger visitors, so our squat game was pretty strong that day. Balance!

We also learned that the Georgia Aquarium serves beer, and you can walk around the aquarium with it!

No Best Good Friends hang would be complete without brunch and bloodies

If you know me, you know I like delicious beverages and adorable dogs...

And when the two meet, it apparently results in an abundance of attempts at capturing the perfect dog selfie.

Needless to day, the balance skewed a little more toward fun than fitness, but that's okay! We went grocery shopping first thing Monday morning, and got right back into the swing of things.

Here's a sampling of what I made during the week:

In case you missed it, I made a super tasty ramen last week

power bowl
This salad was delicious and super filling. Sautéing the kale and tomatoes added some texture, and if you have all your veggies cut, you can have this on the table in about 7 minutes. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was inspired by an Instagram feed called Meal Prep On Fleek

Also tacos. Because, well, tacos.

I was really excited to have my parents come visit. Casey and I haven't exactly been social butterflies, and it was a great excuse to get out and about in our new city!

We had lunch at Buxton Hall Barbecue, which was a beautiful space, but the consensus was that the salad I ordered was the best thing at the table, which is to say the food, and the service, were somewhat of a letdown.

We shared with my parents the glory that is Vortex Donuts.

We checked out Wicked Weed's Funkatorium, and while I think it proved a little too exotic for my parents' tastes, I experienced some major lady wood over the Parking Lot Grisette—Wicked Weed's Collaboration Beer with Jester King.

This beer was really nice-it smelled like Jester King's typical farmhouse-style beer, with a hint of citrus. The taste was slightly funky, with an orange-citrus flavor, that gave way to some dank hopiness as I continued drinking. I picked up a bottle, and I'm looking forward to trying this again in the comfort of my own home!

We also stopped by the French Broad Chocolates factory to check it out and try some samples.

Feeling appropriately-to-overly stuffed, we headed back to our house to relax.

The following morning, we had breakfast at King Daddy's, drove around Historic Montford and the Grove Park Inn, and stopped by Well-Bred Bakery & Café at the suggestion of our friend who is well-versed in sweet treats. Then my parents headed home, and we proceeded to get into some fun kitchen experiments—more on those in another post! We also went grocery shopping on Friday, so we wouldn't have any excuses when it came time to get back into our healthy routine come Monday.

Was I a little more reckless in what I chose to eat and drink over those two weekends? Absolutely. And I know there are a number of other things you can do to acknowledge a special occasion that don't involve eating and drinking, but I like both of those things, and if a prime opportunity to do those things presents itself, I'm going for it!

Historically, I've faced a couple of challenges with weekends like these. The first is that I become so excited about a given menu that I end up ordering almost everything on it—Odd Duck Brunch, I'm looking in your direction. While I didn't make the healthiest food and drink decisions over the two weekends, I also managed to avoid making excessive amounts of bad food decisions. I've also always had difficulty returning to a routine—being tired after a weekend of fun results in not going grocery shopping, which snowballs into a week, or weeks, of takeout.

Recognize an occasion for what it is, and do what you can to set yourself up for success, because unless you have a severe food allergy or dietary restriction, spending the days and weeks before an event agonizing over what you will and won't be able to eat is no way to go through life.

Everything in moderation.