Nov 25

A Relaxing Weekend

This weekend was relaxing.


My version of relaxing… which is active relaxed.

This was the first weekend in a long time where I didn’t HAVE to do anything productive.  I still did lots of things, but it was nice to not have a set agenda.

Friday night I had an impromptu dinner with my mom at local Italian restaurant Double Zero.  We had a great time catching up and eating. I hadn’t seen her since my competition!

My favorite dish was the grilled octopus with pancetta hash, asparagus puree, and citrus vinaigrette, but the lamb farro was a close second.  It was a smoke and braise lamb shoulder with apricots, figs, fresh ricotta, and a poached egg.  Next to all that the beet salad was underwhelming.

Double Zero


This next morning I woke up ravenous, so I threw together some quick pancakes.  I am not the Pancake Queen, so I was surprised when they turned out to be quite good!

I posted this Almond-Chocolate Pancake recipe here.  The topping was the icing on the (pan)cake. I used Lorann Oils Irish Cream flavor in it!

Almond Chocolate Pancakes


Then it was off to the gym for a glute workout with some of my teammates.  I normally workout solo and forgot how much fun it is to have a gym morning with friends!

After the workout we stood around talking about food (of course), and my friend Rachael revealed she hadn’t been to Whole Foods before!   I suggested a post-workout trip and off we went.  2 hours later, we were full of samples and hot bar boxes and Rachael learned why we lovingly call it “Whole Paycheck.”  She Instagrammed her finds – have you ever tried any of these items?  Black bean pasta and no-salt mustard are awesome!

Whole Foods finds


Saturday night I had a friend date with Kat.  I’ve been looking forward to catching up with her for weeks!  We talked and laughed for hours. You know those friends who just “get” you?  That’s Kat.

We ate at the bar at Kimball House.  Their cocktail program is incredible!  Their take on a Manhattan used cola bitters – coolest thing ever!  The food was ok… I’d go back for a pre-dinner drink or a nightcap.

Their take on a Manhattan with cola bitters, sautéed mushroom salad, and beef tartar


I took an “artsy” shot!  Sort of:

kimball house


Sunday was a beautiful day in Atlanta.  It was sunny and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky!  I decided to go for a run and enjoy the weather… as soon as I stepped outside I realized that – despite the sun – it was in the 30s.  About a mile into it I thawed out and enjoyed myself.

I love the trees with the red leaves.  They look like they’re on fire!


When I returned I had a lot to do in the kitchen.  All fun creations!  It was kombucha-brewing day.  I have been brewing my own for over a year now.  It’s really easy, especially if you have a starter kit (you need a “mother” called a scoby).  Mine was from Brooklyn Kombucha, but you could also beg a friend who brews for a scoby.

This week’s flavors are cranberry-ginger-lemon and blackberry-lemon-mint.



I also did some baking for the Sunday evening end of season party at my training gym, House of Payne.  I’ll share my #strangebugood brownie recipe next week. ;)

This is what happens when a bunch of competitors get together for a post-season party.  It’s ok… we’re bulking… 


There were plenty of green veggies, clean sweet potato casseroles, and protein.  That pic just wasn’t as much fun.

I am so thankful to have found Steve and his gym.  This group of competitors is top-notch.  Everyone is kind and always willing to lend a hand.  They are funny, genuine people who I am proud to be associated with.

Team House of Payne


Linking up to Katie’s MIMM again – I’d say this “relaxing” weekend was pretty marvelous!



I’m 100% enjoying food freedom again.  Bulking season is my favorite.

When was the last time you had an agenda-free weekend?

Have you been to Whole Foods?  Do you remember your first time?  



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  1. Melanie @ Nutritious Eats

    What a fun weekend! Mine was not so great in comparison, but I will live vicariously through others. ;) Those pumpkin chips look interesting!

    1. Laura

      They were ok… not as pumpkin-y as I’d like.

  2. Christine @ Love, Life, Surf

    I love having a weekend with no agenda and being able to do whatever I want! I kind of do love Whole Foods and even more so because they are opening one literally a block from my house…although it could be dangerous!

    1. Laura

      1 block?! I’d be a goner… ;)

  3. Sue

    My weekend was agenda-free, too, and it was lovely. Unlike you, I was very lazy, though. I was recovering from a nasty cold, and refused to leave the house.
    Sadly, we don’t have Whole Foods in Germany, but I enjoy my occasional trips to the local health food store. They have so much amazing food!

    1. Laura

      I hope you’re feeling better!

      I can’t feel bad for your lack of whole foods… all those yummy pastries you have over there! ;)

  4. lucie@swissfitchick

    Oh Whole Foods. I was there for the first time June this year and I was in HEAVEN. Seriously, the longer I walked around, the shorter my breath got!! I went back for about 789 times in these 2 weeks and 3/4 of my luggage weight was food. LOL.
    Sounds like such a great weekend filled with awesome get togethers!! Friends and Food is best. And a run in the sun too, so jealous, we’re drowning in fog and snow here!

    1. Laura

      It was COLD… but at least no snow. Hope you’re warming up!

  5. Choc Chip Uru

    Grilled octopus? Sounds classy my friend, great weekend :D
    Relaxing and delicious!


    1. Laura

      Have you had it? So good!

  6. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    Agenda free is the best! And grilled octopus? Interesting…was it good???

    1. Laura

      It was delish! One of my favorites – if it’s done right it’s not chewy at all. Had it again last night, but in squid ink.

  7. Jan @ Sprouts n Squats

    The weekend we just had was very agenda free, I spent a lot of time relaxing and watching back to back episodes of a tv show something I’ve not done in ages.

    I wish Australia would get on board and get a Whole Foods it looks amazing!! Glad to hear you had such a relaxing weekend!

    I’ve not tried Kombucha but I really need to change that!

    Happy Monday!

    1. Laura

      You should try it! Do you guys get the GT’s brand there? The Citrus flavor is a good one to start with.

      1. Jan @ Sprouts n Squats

        Hmm I’m not sure but I will have to have a look and see if we do, thanks for the tip on starting with citrus :)

  8. Davida @ The Healthy Maven

    First time at whole foods was when I discovered that heaven really does exist…and then quickly discovered heaven can be damn expensive haha

  9. Miz


  10. Miz

    I cannot recall my first time.
    Ive been giving all my monies there for far too long.

    1. Laura

      I’m the same way… I nearly grew up with it. Should have bought stock… ;)

  11. lindsay

    i’m still shocked at your friend. has she been living under a rock? haha i kid i kid… kinda

    1. Laura

      Sort of… really small town. ;)

  12. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    I love more laid back weekends! When we moved to Houston, it was the first time there was a Whole Foods just 5 minutes away and now we’ve got one 10 minutes away, so yeah, we’re hooked.

  13. Linz @ Itz Linz

    i don’t know if itz the cold weather or being pregnant, but my weekends lately have been way more relaxing than they used to be! and i like it!

  14. Maureen

    THIS weekend was agenda free and it was perfect! I slept in, I worked out, I drank wine, I spent TWO hours on Pinterest and didn’t feel guilty at all! :)

    1. Laura

      That DOES sound perfect! Wine-ing and pinning go together. ;)

  15. Heather (Where's the Beach)

    This weekend was anything but an un-agenda weekend. But lately, many of mine have been so I can’t complain. Love that you have found such a fantastic gym. I’m jealous!

  16. Courtney @ Star Systemz

    My first time at Whole Foods..I will never forget although I am more of a Mother’s market fan not sure if they have those in Atlanta but it is very similar except smaller and with a cafe instead of hot/cold bar. Love seeing all of your eats when you dine out! Love the cocktails! Lots of love C

    1. Laura

      Never heard of Mother’s. It sounds like a place I’d love!

  17. Sam @ Better With Sprinkles

    I’m pretty sure I’ve only been to a Whole Foods three times in my life. It’s definitely not enough, although I’m sure my wallet appreciates it!
    I pretty much stayed in this weekend due to a ton of snow – I’m not really complaining ;-)

  18. Jody - Fit at 56

    What a wonderful weekend for you Laura – yo needed that after months of training!

    I have quite a few not busy weekends since I am not working n=right now.. errands but nothing crazy… Whole Foods – crap, if I were rich I would live there! :)

    1. Laura

      I wish they’d give me a restraining order… LOL!

  19. Tina @ Best Body Fitness

    Love those weekends without anything pressing or on the schedule…even if they do still end up being filled with fun things. I think its the go with the flow undertone that makes it so rejuvenating. Glad you had a good one!

    1. Laura

      Totally agree – go with the flow busy is a fun way to be. :)

      Hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

  20. Hannah

    I miss you that is all.

  21. Jolynn @ Lift Pray Love

    Our weekend was pretty relaxing {but active} too! We got some Christmas shopping done, the tree up, house semi decorated, lights up, baked a sinful but delicious recipe.. ah the good life.

    1. Laura

      It’s so hard to believe it’s time for Christmas!

  22. Bonnie

    What a great weekend! Mine was fun too – full of many of the same: friends, food freedom, celebrations, and a few workouts although here at home solo. Glad you’re enjoying eating on your own without as strict a plan, working hard in the gym (seems like a great community!) and can’t believe you went for a run – I even haven’t done that for ages! lol Role reversal! ;) Off to work now…love Mondays b/c I don’t start until noon! Walking to work in the brisk air but bright sunlight. Catch ya later!

    1. Laura

      I don’t know what got in to me! It wasn’t a long run, but it felt good in the sunshine.

      Hope you are having a great weekend!

  23. Alex @ therunwithin

    such a fun weekend! that last picture of all of you is adorable.

  24. Lee

    I have to say – I wasn’t impressed by Kimball House. The food was really small for the price. And I’m not trying to compare it to the huge portions at other restaurants. And they just didn’t have certain things – like crackers for the oysters or cranberry juice.

    1. Laura

      The price wasn’t as annoying as the fact that it wasn’t worth it. The food was just ok. But those drinks… you need to go back in a few months! ;)

  25. Kat

    Thank you for “getting” me too. I love you, friend!

  26. Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl

    I spy PUMPKIN chips!! Yum, those sound fantastic!

    1. Laura

      They were ok… I wanted them to be more pumpkin-tasting!

  27. Megan @ Fiterature

    Great pics! I’m not sure I would have been able to stomach octopus, but great lookin’ weekend!

    1. Laura

      Octopus easier to eat grilled – I still can’t do it as ceviche!

  28. She Rocks Fitness

    YEAH for a relaxing weekend! They seem to be so rare these days, but when you have them, they’re so enjoyable and a great way to just decompress, recharge, and enjoy some “me” time. I haven’t had a full free weekend, but usually I try to make Sundays my day of rest and making a nice butt impression in my couch. I love my couch. ;)

    1. Laura

      There’s nothing like a good couch. Or a perfect matress. :)

  29. Whitney @ To Live & Diet in L.A.

    I live for agenda free weekends! Looking forward to one this weekend actually.

    I can’t believe your friend had never been to Whole Foods, what a tragedy! Thanks goodness you filled her in. I hope you showed her the sushi and hot bar too :)

  30. Debbie @ Live from La Quinta

    I had my first agenda-free weekend too! No more cross country, which meant I didn’t have to wake up at 4 am and hop on a yellow school bus! Hurray!

    It sounds like you had a lovely weekend, doing things you love with people you love.

    1. Laura

      I bet that IS a nice break!! 4am is too early to be alive. ;)

  31. Tara @ Sweat like a Pig

    The only thing I don’t like about my new job is that it’s not a five minute walk from the biggest Whole Foods in London like my last job was! Probably good for my wallet though… Hurrah for bulking!

    1. Laura

      That’s the danger zone… ;)

      And OMG bulking is the best thing ever.

  32. Lauren @ Sweat The Sweet Stuff

    That first meal sounds/looks great! That is an artsy shot. And yay for bulking! I was looking forward to that back in the summer but can’t really do that now since I’m not lifting or I’ll get huge and not in a good way! Haha. I don’t have as big an appetite anymore anyway. It’s crazy how your appetite varies depending on your workouts!

    1. Laura

      The appetite thins is crazy! I was all excited to eat whatever when I was recovering from surgery last summer, but I was so sedentary I barely wanted to eat. Not fun!

  33. Arman @ thebigmansworld

    If there is one thing I could get to bring to Australia it is Wholefoods…yes its a rip off, yes it can be overrated, but damn its good. I can still taste their crack infused tofu.

    1. Laura

      I guess the American store doesn’t sell crack? ;)

  34. Meghan@CleanEatsFastFeets

    I had a complete relaxing weekend as well, but I barely left the house and kind of lived around the fireplace. I wish I could do it again this weekend. Maybe I’ll shoot for Friday.

    Your weekend sounds picture perfect, literally, when you factor in the fall foliage. :)

    1. Laura

      If I had a fireplace, I don’t know if I’d ever leave the house.

  35. Heather @ Better With Veggies

    It seems like ages since I had an agenda-free weekend, but it’s probably only been a few months. I can’t wait for that again this weekend, although I have some possible agenda items in my head, so maybe that doesn’t count. I’m ready for ski season – and figuring out how to bulk without too much around the middle. Haha! :)

    1. Laura

      You are long over-due!!! Hope you have fun tonight!

  36. Heather @ Kiss My Broccoli

    Dude, I don’t remember my first time! How sad is that?! Does that make me a foodie slut? ;) Love you marvelous relaxing weekend…complete with firey trees, artsy bar shots, and lamb dishes that nearly cause me to fall out of my chair! Oh and the whole begging a friend for a scoby? Consider me graveling at your feet now…and if you would be so kind, I will see you innnnnnnnnn TWO WEEKS! :D

    1. Laura

      Hahaha! You probably just drank too much kombucha. ;)

      TWO WEEKS!!! Actually, I’ll have a scoby ready about that time. It has your name on it!

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