Pittsburgh: Making The Move

BOXESIt seemed like the day would never come. Once I signed the lease for my new place in Pittsburgh I immediately started packing. If you ever have to make a long move, Starbucks boxes are the absolute best! I never took a final box count, but I was truly amazed how much “crap” I had. It truly was freeing to sell, donate or trash a bunch of stuff I simply never used.

My original plan as to rent a trailer from UHaul and attach it to my Kia SOUL. The more I thought about it, I became more and more fearful that one of two things would happen:

  1. Everything wouldn’t fit into the trailer on moving day and I’d have to leave a lot of my stuff behind,
  2. The trailer would cause me to wreak and I, along with all of my belongings would burn up in a fiery crash.

I decided to contact Budget Truck Rental and get a price for a moving truck. I think the Lord truly was looking out for me because Budget was running a special and I was able to rent a truck with unlimited miles for half of the price it was going to cost for the trailer and hitch from UHaul. (The total for the truck was only $180.00 which is unheard of!)

LOCKAfter handing over the keys to my old place to my landlord, it still didn’t hit me that this was the end of my time in Columbia. Placing the lock on the moving truck, my contents inside, represented closure to a great chapter of my life in South Carolina. Thank you to the friends who have made my time in South Carolina so great. I’ll never forget the memories and the years we spent together. You’ve truly shaped my life. South Carolina, I certainly won’t miss your 100 degree summers!

The drive to Pittsburgh was slow and steady, stopping to spend the night in West Virginia. Killian did an excellent job riding in the SOUL, sleeping during most of the drive. While I drove the beast of a moving truck, my friend Cynthia enjoyed XM radio and the comforts of the SOUL. I think we were both thankful for copious amounts of coffee. 546 miles later we safely arrived in Pittsburgh!

IKEAConsidering my love of IKEA it seemed only fitting that immediately after unloading the moving truck our first stop would be IKEA. (I had to buy all new bedroom furniture since I sold mine prior to the move.) What a joy it was to assemble multiple pieces of furniture using the wordless directions that IKEA provides. A huge thank you to my friend Cynthia for her help with assembling the furniture. Who knew that there could be 37 steps to assembling a chest of drawers?! I don’t think I’ve ever cussed at an inanimate object as much as I did that #&@*$&% chest of drawers.

Pittsburgh: My New Home

VR_gallery_foto_0673MYup, you read the title of this post correctly. As I mentioned in my previous post, the past month has been a whirlwind of change. On May 31st my employment as the VP of Human Resources for Vision Property Management ended. By far the hardest part of leaving VPM was leaving behind an amazing team of talented and passionate individuals who had become a second family during the three years I worked there.

While it’s been a secret to most, for the past few months I have been seriously considering relocating northward. Boston and DC have both been the frontrunners in my search for a new city, but after visiting Pittsburgh in late May, it quickly became apparent that what I intended as a vacation would instead serve as a tour of my new home. I began my apartment search June 1st and two weeks later I signed a lease on an apartment. The past few weeks have been spent packing, selling furniture and preparing to move in late July.

A new state. A new town. Hopefully soon a new job  as well. While I’m taking a major leap of faith and moving without having found a full-time job, I honestly believe the job search will be easier once I complete the move and can go to interviews in person instead of via phone or Skype.

We’ll be having a Going Away Party/30th Birthday Party on July 13th. If you’re in the Columbia area, I would love for you to attend! Get in touch via the Speaking + Contact section of this site.

UPDATE: Promises: Half Marathon Training | My 180

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Much has taken place during the past month, most of which I’ll share in a post later this week. I wanted to post a quick update regarding my training for a Half Marathon. In mid-May I became sick with a pretty nasty case of pneumonia. After numerous antibiotics and several trips to the hospital, It took about three weeks to fully recover. I’m finally back running, slowly working to increase my mileage.

I’ve decided that it’s best that I not run the Half Marathon on July 7th. Instead I’m planning to run one this fall once the weather cools down.

Featured In: The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking | My 180

575826_10151475333384503_2104057636_nToday I’m excited to announce that my transformation story will be featured in The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking by Bill Staley and Hayley Mason of The Food Lovers Primal Palate. I just received my preview copy today and let me assure you, Paleo or not, this is a cookbook you’ll not only want to add to your collection, but you’ll quickly find yourself using nightly!

On June 10th 2010, I never expected that at 26 years old I would find myself surrounded by doctors and nurses, lying in the cardiac ward of my local hospital. That event served as my wake-up call. I realized that I needed to lead a healthier life. The past three years have been an amazing journey, a complete 180 of sorts. Down from a 44 waist to a 34 and after shedding 100lbs, I now wake up daily knowing I am in the best shape of my life.

The truth is, it can be pretty overwhelming to make a huge lifestyle change. New Year’s resolutions come and go. We often find our selves saying, “I’ll start tomorrow.” Thee years ago I could have never imagined that making a change in my diet as well as beginning to exercise daily would have launched me to where I am today. Sure, there were (numerous) moments I wanted to give up, but with the tough love of my friend Mark Nash and the support of my friends and family, I am truly proud of where I am today. I’m also incredibly thankful for the resources provided by Bill and Hayley of The Food Lover’s Primal Palate. From their website to the blog, and even the MyKitchen Meal Planner + App, eating healthy has never been easier. Now with The 30 Day Guide to Paleo, there’s no excuse for not taking the steps to begin your own transformation journey.

Filled with 75 mouth watering recipes, a weekly meal plan, detailed shopping guides, and even an “Express Eats” guide with quick and easy recipes (which I love as a busy bachelor), The 30 Day Guide to Paleo is literally a step-by-step guide through your first month of following the Paleo diet. The 30 Day Guide to Paleo will be available in bookstores beginning June 11th 2013, or you can preorder now via Amazon and save over $10.00 off the cover price. Once you’ve received the book and begin cooking some of these awesome recipes, share your creations via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #30Paleo.

Promises: Half Marathon Training | My 180

Promises. We’ve all made them. Many of us have broken them. What happens when you make a promise to yourself then make the mistake of sharing it with Heather Price? She holds you to it. 

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At the start of 2013 I promised myself I would run a half marathon before my 30th birthday. Several weeks ago I received a text message from Heather reminding me of said promise and the fact that my birthday is oh too quickly approaching. With July 17th only months away, it’s time to kick it in high gear and make good on my promise to run a half before I hit the big 30. Heather has been an amazing friend and coach, writing me a daily training schedule, going shoe shopping with me and even running side by side with me during some of my daily runs. What more could a guy ask for??!

What goals are you currently working toward? Who inspires you to push hard to reach your goals? Join in the conversation by commenting below.

Hello Pittsburgh

The first weekend in May was perfect for a long weekend visit to Pittsburgh! While there I got to meet two long time friends, Bill and Hayley, food bloggers for The Food Lovers Primal Palate and authors of the best-selling books Make It Paleo, Gather and The 30 Day Guide to Paleo Cooking (releasing 6.11.13). I began following Bill and Hayley in 2010 when I began my journey toward better health and fitness. For the past few years I’ve been greatly encouraged by them and have valued the recipes on their blog and in all of their cookbooks.

Our first stop after they picked me up from the airport was a local farm. There we stocked up on fresh duck eggs. Their Shih Tzu, Charlie barked at the pigs and chased after the baby ducks. (The little guy forgets he weighs on at only 8lbs.)

The weekend was full of trying new recipes. The first night I was there Hayley prepared an entire Thanksgiving themed feast, complete with a 15lb turkey. My favorite meal was General Tso Chicken from their latest cookbook, Gather. This meal was truly a healthy take on Chinnese food, all while preserving the taste you’d expect in a well-known recipe like General Tso Chicken. I was speechless. I think that night we ended up eating about 6lbs of chicken. It was so good that Bill and I had the leftovers for breakfast the next day.

While I was there Bill and Hayley hosted a Book Release Party for their latest cookbook, Gather. We had a great time at Bar Marco, in the Strip District of downtown Pittsburgh. I also had a great time driving around town with Bill in his Honda S2K with the top down. Pittsburgh cool spring weather was perfect as well for some sightseeing and enjoying a meal at The Square Cafe downtown.

It was also a privilege to meet and spend time throughout the weekend with Stacy Toth (blogger at Paleo Parents and author of Beyond Bacon), Aimee Buxton (photographer for Beyond Bacon), and Mike Weyer (aka: The Traveling CrossFitter and a kick ass guy). It was encouraging to meet and converse with others who are passionate about leading a healthy lifestyle and daily give their all to encourage others to do the same.

The 30 Day Guide To Paleo | My 180

564173_629171327097739_1814750635_nWordPress is telling me today’s been a busy day on my site. For those of you that found my site via The Food Lover’s Primal Palate post on Facebook today, welcome!

It’s true: The morning of June 4th 2010 hit me like a heart attack- literally. I never expected that at 26 years old I would find myself surrounded by doctors and nurses, lying in the cardiac ward of my local hospital. Thankfully I made it though, hints why you’re reading this. That event served as my wake-up call. I realized that I needed to lead a healthier life.

I’ve taken deliberate steps toward getting healthy: a new eating plan and workout routine are in place. We’ve all tried fad diets. They work for a few weeks, but soon we’re tired, frustrated, hungry and sometimes less healthier than when we started. For me, a Paleo diet and working out daily have become a lifestyle. Some days are easier than others, but with the support of amazing friends, thus far I’ve dropped 100lbs, gone from an XXL shirt to a medium and a size 44 waist to a 34!

The transformation hasn’t just been physical; this journey is about far more than just pounds lost. When I began I was unemployed, had zero self-confidence and was stuck in an abusive relationship with my father. It’s been a hell of a journey, but I’m glad to say the fight has been worth it!

My goal is simple — to help inspire people to engage in living healthier, more active lifestyles. My hope is that this site will become a resource for anyone looking to begin your own 180.  Look for the My 180 tag for stories, inspiration and motivation for wherever you are in your own journey.  Maybe I’ve inspired you to begin your own 180 or you’re interested in having me speak to you’re group. Either way,  click the Speaking + Contact link above to get in touch.