Big Changes Are Coming, Y’all

Photo by Ashley Caroline Photography

If you follow along on social media it is no secret that Mike and I are Charleston obsessed. We vacationed there almost 3 years ago and I totally fell in love (he had been before for baseball tournaments but this was my first time). During that trip we loved it so much that we went around to all different islands/areas/neighborhoods to see which we liked the most and then looked at a few homes. Not too seriously, just to give ourselves an idea of what was on the market. We knew that when the time came we wanted to buy down south. Not only is it cheaper than living in the CT/NY area but it’s a different way of life down there. People are so genuine and kind, EVERYTHING is pretty (seriously, I take a billion pics any time we go down), the weather is awesome, beaches are beautiful, food is so good and there’s a big emphasis on enjoying the smaller, simpler things in life.

From our wedding which I’ll hang in our house! Photo by Caroline Ro

Fast forward to currently: We’ve been to Charleston a bunch since my first time down, got married there, have looked at lots of homes and we found OURS. Ok, it’s not ours until the keys are in our hands but we are under contract and are set to close the beginning of July! I can’t even believe it! We are so happy, nervous, excited…. basically all the feels.

That being said, we’ve got a lot of shit to do. Likeeeeee whoa. New business proposals, selling stuff in our current apartment so we don’t have to move much down, figuring out how we’re going to get things down there including 2 crazy dogs (one of which hates the car), getting new furniture, doing a few things to the house and the list goes on and on and on. It’s super exciting but stressful AF.

And all I can think about is decorating. I’m becoming obsessed.

I’ve always liked that sorta thing but never did much of it, our current apartment is basically a bunch of mis-matched furniture and decor from mine and Mike’s previous places. A new home that is ours is a big clean slate for me and I can’t wait to get in there and do my thang. Or try to at least, we won’t really know if I’m any good at this until we see a finished product. *Fingers crossed*.

My life is very much about health and fitness. I love helping others achieve goals of losing fat and getting stronger. I love creating simple yet healthy recipes (which I can do so much more of once we have a kitchen with counter space!). I love coaching clients on how to do an exercise properly to prevent injury and make workouts more efficient. It’s what I’ve been doing for 10 years. But it isn’t my whole life. And sometimes I feel that when I blog or post on social media I have to hide other parts of my life because they aren’t health or fitness related.

Well, that ends here. Coach Cait will be getting an overhaul in the next few months (once I figure out how the heck to build a new website!). I may even change my biz name. But I’m telling you this because I want to share more with you, I want to make this a lifestyle blog that encompasses my everyday life, activities and interests.

You betcha real life involves champagne. Photo by Ashley Caroline Photography

Of course there will be tons of content on wellness, nutrition, fitness, recipes (all gluten free, duh) and motivation. That is a huge part of who I am and it’s not going anywhere. In addition to the healthy sections you may begin to see some wedding stuff (because how the heck have I not posted about our southern wedding yet?!). You’ll also start to see some home and design inspiration. When we move you’ll  join me in the process of fixing some stuff up, decorating, seeing what type of organic mattress we end up buying (yes, that is super important!). I’ll be posting different guides for Charleston as far as gluten free restaurants, best hotels, cool spots for drinks etc. because you all need to come visit at some point. Seriously, it’s just the most amazing place.

Basically, you’re gonna get the ins and outs of life with the McDonnells. And maybe you want to stay up to speed on everything or you might just like the workout stuff or are only interested in our house hunting journey. That’s cool too. Blogs are so easy to navigate giving you the ability to look up what you want and leave the other stuff behind. No biggie to me, as long as I’m contributing something helpful/inspirational/or just entertaining you.

This ride is certainly not going to be perfect. But I can promise you that I’ll be honest and transparent with you. You’ll get to see the beautiful mess that moving forward in life creates. You’ll also get to see me freak out when my OCD goes a little cray and there are a billion boxes and no furniture in our new home. That’ll be entertaining to say the least.

Please continue to share feedback on what I’m posting here and email me if you have anything you’d like me to write about. As always, thank you for reading and taking part in this with me. It’s my sweet little group of followers who keep me going and motivate me to create more content and not give up on this new lil’ business of mine. <3 <3 <3

3 Intense Workout Finishers

Over the past few years a cool thing has happened in the online health and wellness world: We are learning to love our bodies a little bit more and judge them a little less. Body shaming is a real thing. We’re constantly looking at hot bods all over social media so it’s easy to “wish our arms were as toned as hers” or to comment #AbGoals on someone else’s picture.

It’s almost beach time! FINALLY.

There have been some very influential voices in this industry, however, who say “Hey, you’re fine just the way you are.” We’re realizing we can love ourselves, flaws and all. I think this is really great as it allows us to show respect for ourselves and others while not feeling the need for comparison. I can read a post from a woman my age who has an amazing body and think “Damn, she works really hard to maintain that physique, good for her,” and I feel more inspired than jealous. That’s HUGE and I think/hope more people are feeling this way.

That being said, I see nothing wrong in wanting to change your body for the better. I mean yikes, it’s my friggin job to help people achieve this! Where the mix-up lies is the reasoning behind it. Do you want a six-pack because it’ll make you feel more worthy? Mehhhh, probs not a good reason. However, I think a six-pack would make me feel pretty badass and I KNOW that in order to achieve this I’d need a kickass workout routine. I’d have to be kind to my body when it comes to nutrition and I’d need lots of discipline –> And there’s nothing wrong with those things. 

I got to thinking about all of this because now that it’s getting nice out we are going to start seeing lots of material about getting “beach body ready.” And a few people will definitely come through and say “Noooo, your body is so great just the way it is, love yourself, be who you are, don’t change just so you can feel comfortable in a bikini!”

But, what if I want to change? What if I want to lean out a bit for the summer because:

A. I wasn’t being super mindful of my nutrition over the winter and gained a few pounds and

B. Having nicer abs and an overall strong looking body makes me feel really good?

Is that so bad? Am I an awful human for saying that if I look better I will feel better about myself? I think the point certain people are trying to make on this topic is that having a goal to make yourself better should come from a place of self-love rather than self-hate. This makes sense but can be a tough mindset shift. Personally, if I look at my mid-section in the mirror and am not loving what I see, I will feel more motivated to workout and eat well on a consistent basis rather than thinking “Oh I see a little more fat there than I’d like but I am beautiful just the way I am. Now let me go workout because it’s so wonderful for my mind, body and soul.”

See the difference there? We all have different reasoning behind wanting to change and to me, one way of thinking is no better than the other as long as we aren’t constantly throwing negative thoughts at ourselves. To me, what’s important is that we want to strive to be better for ourselves and our loved ones and that we do so on a healthy and mindful journey.

Ok enough of the inspirational, self-worth talk. It’s honestly not my area of expertise, the above is just my two cents at this moment in time. It’s also my reasoning for the next bit of this post:

3 workout finishers that will make you a lean, mean, fat-burning machine. LOL, did I overdo it there? I had to. Because it is my personal opinion that if summer being just around the corner makes you want to lean out then that is totally ok. Get it going.

Eat well, work hard and feel friggin good. 

These 3 finishers can be added into your workout at the end (hence why it’s called a finisher). (And you should feel really, really spent when done. If you don’t then you aren’t working hard enough.)

Ready..Set..GO.

Numero Uno:
>1a. Row 150 meters
1b. Plank shoulder taps 8x each side
**Row, Plank then repeat for 10-15 minutes

Numero Dos:
1a. 15 kettlebell swings
1b. 30 sec mountain climbers
**Swing, Climb then repeat 10 times

Numero Tres:
1a. 30 sec sprint on cardio equipment of your choice
1b. Rest 30 sec
**Sprint, Rest then repeat for 10-15 min

Give these a try and let me know what you think! And if you feel you need a modification for an exercise head to the “contact me” tab on my page where you can either email me or message me on social media 🙂

Weekly Workouts

This week was a little subpar with workouts. There were one or two days where I really MEANT to get to the gym, but didn’t go. It happens to all of us right? I said I’d go after sessions but then I was too hungry so I’d go after lunch instead, but then the dogs needed to be taken out and I had to answer emails and program for clients. Then it was time to make dinner and the thought of going to workout was not appealing. 

Luckily on days like this I can go for a nice long walk with the dogs and still get moving. It’s also important to understand that if you don’t exercise, you don’t need to eat as much on those days and so I keep that in mind. It’s all good and lesson learned: If the workout isn’t written down in the schedule, it very well may not get done. So write that ish down! 

Sunday:

Long dog walk

Monday:

Rest

Tuesday:

BB reverse lunge 3×8 ea
KB OH press 3×8 ea
Ab wheel 3×8
Lat pulldown 3×8 ea
THEN:
Stairclimber 20 min

Wednesday:

Rest (unintentionally)

Thursday:

Long doggy walk

Friday:

Barbell sumo squat 5×5
Chin ups 5x 1-2
Single arm plank 5x 15-20 sec
THEN:
Ski erg 5x 20 sec
90/90 stretch 5×1 min

Saturday:

Bench press 5x 8/6/6/3/1
REST, THEN:
Pallof press 3×10 ea
OH tricep rope extension 3×10
DB lateral raises 3×10

 

Yummy Side Dish: Roasted Cauliflower + Leeks

Let me start off by saying this recipe is so ridiculously easy and delicious. Even if you don’t love cauliflower you’ll like this because it doesn’t taste like cauli. It’s a must try.

I didn’t have any intention of making this dish today but when I finished my client sessions this morning it was raining (yet again) and I decided to run into Whole Foods to pick up some food for today thru the weekend. Going to the grocery store without a list usually turns into a long-ish trip for me, I tend to roam around the store. So I wandered past the cauliflower and threw it into my cart along with 1 large leek. By the time I got home I was really craving this dish and have already eaten quite a bit of it! It can be eaten alone or used as a side dish with dinner. I’ve also put it into my salads for lunch. 

Print Recipe
Yummy Side Dish: Roasted Cauliflower + Leeks
Cuisine Side Dish, Veggie
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Cuisine Side Dish, Veggie
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400° F.
  2. Remove leaves and cut cauliflower stem off
  3. Cut into quarters. I then cut again so the florets begin to break apart
  4. Soak in water to clean and drain
  5. Slice leek and clean, then dry on paper towel
  6. Toss cauliflower with olive oil so it's evenly coated
  7. Add in salt, pepper, garlic powder and oregano and mix
  8. Place cauliflower on greased baking sheet (I put foil down with some olive oil greased over so it doesn't stick) and put into oven. Set timer for 20 minutes.
  9. Put leeks in same bowl cauliflower was prepared in and add a touch of olive oil, salt and pepper
  10. Once the timer goes off, move/flip the cauliflower around so it cooks evenly. Add the leeks to the baking sheet and put back in oven for another 20 minutes
  11. Note: This recipe makes the veggies a bit charred and very yummy!
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Weekly Workouts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Monday! It’s a gloomy day here in CT but I’m trying to be optimistic about getting a lot of shit done rather than hopping on the “OMG I hate Mondays” train, which is usually my preferred mood. BUT I will be happy for the start of a new week yay! (Insert eye-roll here).

6 months flew by! (Taken by Caroline Ro)

The weekend was busy but with good stuff- Mike and I celebrated 6 months of marriage woohoooo! We went to dinner at a place in NYC called Quality Meats, we’ve been there a few times now and the steak is just ridiculously amazing. Soo I hate oysters, crab + avocado, some bites of Mike’s caesar salad (hold the croutons), a 10oz. filet and brussels sprouts. I’m kinda drooling right now thinking about it. I really like going to restaurants like this because we just eat lots of protein and veggies but it’s so delicious and by the end we aren’t even hungry for dessert. I’m not a big dessert person anyway, especially at a restaurant because there aren’t many gluten free/ dairy free options available. I’d rather drink my dessert– I had a glass of champagne and a glass of rosé with din, perfection. Sunday I woke up feeling great rather than like crap for eating sooo much. Cause when you eat crab, avocado, brussells, oysters and steak you really can’t be mad at yourself, ya know?

I think sometimes we go to restaurants and go overboard with ordering too much and a lot of carbs, leaving us feeling like shit later on. It really isn’t necessary. There are tons of dishes available that are on the healthier side and if you’re really a dessert person maybe order one to split with the table. You won’t feel deprived and you’ll probs be very pleased with your level of willpower and respect for your body. It’s a win/win: still eat yummy food just not a TON of it. Totally possible, right?

Now that I’m making myself hungry discussing this let’s get onto last week’s workouts so I can go grab a snack 😉

Sunday:

KB swings 5×15
TRX pikes 5×10
Barbell overhead press 5×10
Airdyne sprint 5×20 sec

Monday:

Rack pulls 3×8
TRX row 3×8
Bench press 3×8
Ab wheel 3×8

Tuesday:

KB rack squats 5×8
Double KB bent-over row 5×8
KB single arm(SA)  overhead press 5×8 each
THEN:
Ski erg 30 on 30 off 10x

Wednesday:

Rest day/ doggy walk

Thursday:

Barbell hip thrust 4×10
DB bicep curl then overhead(OH) press 4×10
Single leg(SL) deadlift 4×10 each
Row 200 meters 4x

Friday:

Treadmill sprints 30 on 1 min off, 20 min

Saturday:

Rest day

 

Aaaand that’s all she wrote, enjoy the week! xoxo

 

Weekly Workouts + Motivation

Oh Hi! Holy cow it’s been a busy couple of weeks filled with online coaching clients and a house hunting trip in Charleston but we’re back in CT now (yay?) and I want to share this week’s workouts with you. Luckily it’s been really nice these past few days which helps with motivation. I was having some trouble finding the energy/desire to go to the gym while it was raining and chilly and a few of my clients felt the same way. We all have moments like this and it’s ok, as long as we do our best and don’t fall into a rut.

Let’s talk about this for a min. One client of mine was having a particularly tough day and skipped her workout. She then got home from work and ate 2 slices of pizza, chicken parmesan, a cookie, brownie and a beer. WHAT. I’ve been there (pre-celiac days otherwise I’d probs be dead after all of that). She said, “What does it even matter, I was exhausted, in a crappy mood and didn’t workout so why not continue with an awfully unhealthy meal?” Ah, yes. The “I’ve been bad today so may as well keep going and start fresh tomorrow” attitude. NO. We can have days that suck, we feel tired, busy and miss a workout. That doesn’t mean go eat every single carb in sight because the day has gone to shit. 

Let’s try this approach instead: You didn’t workout today for whatever reason. Therefore, you don’t need to eat as much because you didn’t burn calories during said workout. Trust me, after a healthy dinner you’ll go to bed feeling much better than if you were to eat 4 days worth of calories in one sitting. Regardless of getting a sweat on that day or not. 

Moral of the story: Shit happens and we miss workouts. Cut yourself some slack, do your very best (always) and move on. 

That’s my rant for the day 😉 Now spring is finally here and we all seem to be in better spirits! Here’s what I did activity-wise for the week:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday: 

Barbell hip thrust 3×15
Curl to press 3×10
Barbell reverse lunge 3×5 each
Plank reach 3×8 each
Airdyne sprint 3x20sec
**This took about 30 mintes

Tuesday:

Went into NYC with Mom and walked a TON

Wednesday:

Lots of Complete Coaching with Cait client check-ins and programming, exhausted by end of day. Took Jax for a long walk.

Thursday:

Pistol squats 5×3 each
Chin ups 5×1
THEN:
KB overhead press 3×5 each
KB goblet squat 3×5 each
THEN:
15 min treadmill sprints 30sec on/ 30sec off

Friday:

Barbell deadlifts 5×5
Barbell chest press 5×5-6
Side plank resets 5×10 each
THEN:
Cardio rower 3x200m
Ball slams 3×10

Let me know if you try any of these workouts!

Two Healthy Breakfast Ideas That’ll Make You a Rockstar

Lately I’ve been calling myself the Breakfast Queen and feel like I’m holding out on you if I don’t share some of these ideas. A lot of us don’t eat much, if anything, for breakfast. We don’t have time (aka we don’t *make* time), we aren’t hungry in the morning, breakfast is boring etc. Well guess what? I’m gonna change that nonsense for you. 

Is it the most important meal of the day? I don’t really know, that is dependent upon the individual. But what I do know is our days start in the morning (unless you work a night shift I suppose) and fueling properly sets us up for success. 

What happens when we eat well first thing? Our neurotransmitters fire better so we think well and more clearly. That makes us more efficient, we have more energy and get more shit done. Who doesn’t want that?

What do we need in order to make this happen? A balanced meal. Carbs, proteins and fats. 

BUT WHO HAS TIME FOR ALL OF THOSE CRAZY NUTRIENTS IN THE MORNING?

Oh puh-lease. Don’t get me started on that question. YOU have time if you wake up 20 minutes earlier, so there. Don’t like that answer? These breakfast ideas can mostly be prepared in the evening and then heated up when you’re ready to eat. Not hungry before you leave for work? Take it with you and eat at your desk. 

I’m sure there are more “I can’t eat breakfast” excuses out there and if you really don’t want to try these then whatevs. But note if you’re quickly shoving down a granola bar or bagel in the morning you’re doing yourself a disservice.

For those of you who do want to get an awesome and healthy start to your day, here you go!

Meal #1 is what I call a Breakfast Bowl and it’s SO delish. 

– Prepare a batch of quinoa or rice ahead of time and keep in fridge for easy use.
-Prepare a steamed veggie ahead of time and also keep in fridge.
**Veggie ideas: Steamed swiss chard, kale, broccoli , spinach, asparagus
– Add quinoa/rice to a bowl with steamed veggie and eggs. Make the eggs however you like. I usually do 2 fried and leave em’ a little runny. Add avocado, salt, pepper and even a sprinkle of cayenne pepper.

With this breakfast bowl, you only have to make the eggs in the AM. Everything else can be done ahead of time. Don’t like eggs or have a food sensitivity? I hear you, I used to also. In that case you can get pre-cooked sausage. I like Applegate chicken sausage or Niman Ranch bratwurst. Add this to the bowl in place of the eggs. OR you can grill some chicken breast and use that. The possibilities are endless. 

This Applegate sausage is good too, it comes frozen:

The next breakfast option I call A Lil’ Bit of Everything, it’s also really yummy.

Again, prepare the veggie ahead of time. I always have steamed broccoli or baby broccoli in the fridge but sometimes mix it up with whatever was leftover from dinner. That’s why there are some sautéed mushrooms and swiss chard pictured in this. 

Cook up the protein (sausage, chicken breast, leftover steak from dinner, eggs) and fry half a sweet plantain in grass-fed butter. I did this in a cast iron skillet while cooking the egg and heating up the sausage. Cook the plantain just til they’re brown on each side. Throw veggies, plantain, egg, sausage on a plate and eat! You can add some sliced avocado with sea salt and cayenne pepper to this too. Also, you don’t need sausage AND an egg. I had just finished a workout before eating this and was feeling extra hungry.

What kind of eggs do you normally use? I used to buy cage-free but did some research and now use pasture-raised. The difference is huge- from the color of the yolk to the way I feel after eating them. Yes pasture-raised is more expensive but it’s well worth it to me. My favorite brand is Vital Farms:

So there you have it. Two satisfying, nutrient-packed breakfasts to get your day off to a strong start. Try making one this weekend and let me know what you think!

Happy Eating!  🙂

A Sweaty, Stress-Eliminating Workout

Oh my goodness. Mike and I have been doing a lot of virtual house hunting this week and I’m mentally exhausted. You can find us on our computers in the library, at a coffee shop, on the couch, in a restaurant..literally anywhere that has wifi. We’ve got to keep going though because homes in Charleston are selling like cray cray. (Yes, we want to move to Charleston!). I’ve decided that in the midst of the computer work and the house hunting we’re going to the gym to give our brains a break. I’m craving a high intensity workout that’ll get us sweaty and burning calories long after we’re finished. 

So what do you say, are you in?!

The Sweaty, Stress-Eliminator:

(Begin with a 5-10 minute warm-up)
1a. 10 Goblet squats 
1b. 10 Push ups
1c. Plank – 30 sec
1d. 10 TRX rows
1e. Walking lunges (with DBs held at sides) – 10 each leg
1f. Rowing machine – 200 meters
*Repeat as many rounds as possible (and pretty!) in 30 minutes
*The weights chosen for this circuit should be as heavy as you can go while still executing the movements with proper form

This should do the job– get a good sweat on and free our heads from anything and everything. Enjoy and let me know how you do!

 

<3,
Cait

The Sweetest GALentine’s Day Brunch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Um whaaaat! I don’t know why I’d never heard of GALentine’s Day before but I stumbled upon this idea and ran with it. I wanted to do something special for my girlfriends and decided on having them over for brunch. The cool thing about this is it can be done any time of year, it’s just an excuse to make a pretty tablescape, drink champagne and show your girls how much you love them!

Decor:

Cute heart garland and heart straws from Paper Source, “love” napkins, little tags with pink polka dots (for their take-home gifts) and pretty bouquets around the house using white hydrangeas and limonium flowers in a light purple color were all part of the decor. I arranged everything on a plain white table cloth and broke out our brass candlestick holders from Restoration Hardware (even though I realized too late that I didn’t have candles to put in..whoops.). Our dinnerware is the Textured Dinnerware Set from West Elm in white which I’m loving. It has a nice clean look but the different texture options allow you to mix it up a bit. Oh and that pineapple cheese board is from Anthropologie and I’m obsessed with it. 

Drinks:

Easy peasy for drinks. We had rosé champagne the entire time but I did have regular champagne with grapefruit and cranberry juice as an option. I also filled up a glass pitcher with lemon + lime slices for ice water and put the heart straws in those glasses. Dipping the champagne glasses in honey and then coating with pink sugar added to the decor and the girls loved it! 

Food:

 

Everything was gluten free. I cooked a frittata for the first time ever– mushroom, leek and gruyère cheese. Holy crap that was good. For side dishes I made chocolate chip banana walnut muffins from PaleOMG which were delish. We also had baked avocado fries (recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo) with a sriracha-mayo dipping sauce and these heart-shaped home fries (which are totally the cutest things ever, we kinda felt bad eating them!). The girls brought over fruit and gluten free (heart shaped of course) linzer tarts.

Take home goodies:

I got cute gold frames from Home Goods and put a picture of us from my wedding into it. These ladies were my bridesmaids only 4 months ago so I wanted them to have a picture from that day. If it weren’t for this idea though I think I would have done cute Valentine Day cards and little flower bouquets for them each to take home. Also- writing out these tags made me realize I need to take a calligraphy course. Pretty handwriting makes everything better. 

You know I had to get a picture of my gals in here <3

 

I had so much fun planning this brunch I’m actually a little sad it’s over. As we get older and begin to start our own families it is tough to get everyone together. So when it happens, spoil your gals with lots of hearts and champagne. <3

Have more decor ideas or recipes, or did you have a GALentine celebration of your own? Comment below!

Mushroom, Leek + Gruyère Frittata

This was my first ever attempt at a frittata and it was really good, if I do say so myself 😉

You can change out the mix-ins but remember to cook (or sauté) them first so they don’t water it down (such as onions, tomatoes, zucchini etc).

Print Recipe
Mushroom, leek + gruyère frittata
Cuisine Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18-25 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Cuisine Breakfast
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 18-25 minutes
Servings
servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Heat butter or oil in 10 inch cast iron skillet over medium heat.
  3. Sauté mushroom and leek slices until soft and lightly browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Beat eggs and milk together in a mixing bowl. Pour over mushrooms and leeks and sprinkle cheese on top. Let cook for 8 or so minutes until the edges are set and can separate easily from the side of the pan.
  5. Place in oven for 10-15 minutes. It's done when the eggs are no longer runny and the center is firm. Do not overcook-- check 5 minutes before it's supposed to be done to play it safe.
  6. Slice into wedges and serve.
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