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Reviews Venture Meridian

Best Pizza in Idaho is the best in the World?

August 14, 2016

During our trip through New York, Italy, Malta and Chicago we were in some of the best locations in the world for pizza. Being pizza lovers, we decided to do some research and sample pizza from highly rated restaurants at each of these stops. A “world pizza tour” if you will. We were definitely not disappointed, but quite surprised at the results.

The first stop was the best rated pizza joint in New York, Juliana’s, which was located just across the bridge from Manhattan in Brooklyn. This pizza set the bar high for the rest of the trip. We ordered a traditional margarita pizza and paired it with a glass of wine (Lacey) and a local beer (Mat). The crust was thin, so of course we folded it, New York style. The basil on the pizza was extremely fresh and flavorful, with just the right amount of sauce and cheese. We easily ate the entire pie.  Juliana’s blend of Italian style with New York style is delicious while the authentic feel of their restaurant beneath the Brooklyn Bridge completes the experience.

The next stop on our pizza tour was Gusta Pizza in Florence, Italy. Gusta Pizza is famous for making pizzas in the shape of a heart. These pizzas were just as delicious as they were adorable. This Italian pizza had amazing fresh mozzarella piled on and thin, flaky crust. The basil didn’t taste as fresh or flavorful as Juliana’s, but something about drinking wine out of a paper cup made the entire experience feel authentic.  We were both pleasantly surprised with the quality ingredients and flavor of Gusta’s pizza and charmed by the adolescent “date night” feel of the restaurant.  Who wouldn’t want to share a heart shaped pizza with a love interest? #adorbs

The third stop on our world pizza tour was at Ir-Rokna’s Restaurant on the Mediterranean island of Malta.  Ir-Rokna’s was established in 1975 and is officially the oldest pizza joint on the island.  Trip Advisor awarded this place with a certificate of excellence so our expectations were set pretty high even before walking in.  Their wood burned pizza did not disappoint.  Similarly to Juliana’s in Brooklyn, Ir-Rokna’s pizza is a blend of NY style with Italian style.  The fresh ingredients, most noticeably being the basil, accompanied with the family recipe sauce make each bite more flavorful than the one before.  The owners and staff were fantastic to us the entire night, especially being that we arrived late and were the last patrons in the restaurant by the end of the night.  We never felt pressured to leave or do anything other than enjoy their delicious food and local wines.

Our final stop was one that we were both looking forward to the most; Gino’s East in Chicago, IL.  For 50 years, Gino’s has been serving up their legendary, deep dish, Chicago style pizza from their Superior Avenue location in the windy city.  This old school, graffiti filled, restaurant was where we visited the last day of our trip.  Being veterans of Gino’s (been there once before), we knew that two people have absolutely no chance of finishing a large pizza.  Gino’s pizza is the definition of “deep dish”.  It is about 3 inches thick and has a very dense crust that is unlike any pizza we’ve ever had.  That being said, we ordered a medium this time and still didn’t finish it.  If you’re unfamiliar with authentic Chicago style pizza, the cheese makes up the first layer above the crust and the sauce is on top of the cheese.  It looks kind of funky if you’re used to seeing a regular American style pizza.  Gino’s pizzas require over an hour to bake due to the thickness.  Their sauce is amazing and there is a lot of it on each slice.  It perfectly balances the thickness of the crust and layer of cheese to make sure each bite is juicy and full of flavor.  The original Gino’s East location is full of memorabilia from all of the celebrities that have visited this location over the years.  It makes the experience even cooler knowing that past presidents, hall of fame athletes, and world renown musicians have dined in the very spot you may be sitting in.  We love Gino’s!

After our “World Pizza Tour” wrapped up and we were back home in Idaho, we started reminiscing about all of the wonderful pizza experiences we had during the previous 15 days.  The basil of Juliana’s in Brooklyn, the heart shaped and heart warming Gusta Pizza in Florence, the family recipe pizza in Malta, and the legendary thick crust of Gino’s in Chicago.  It’s hard not to get hungry just typing that sentence.  Anyways, which one did we like best? After a lengthy discussion, we agreed that Julianna’s was our favorite.  Surprising right? Didn’t you think we would pick Gino’s East? So did I.  What was even more surprising to us after our choice was our answer to the following question; “Would you rather have Juliana’s pizza or Idaho’s own, Chicago Connection pizza?”  Without hesitating, we both answered “Chicago Connection”.  Does this mean the best pizza in Idaho (our opinion) is also the best pizza in the world?  You be the judge.

As always, please check out Venture Meridian Magazine and show them some love for supporting us by letting us have our monthly column!

Best Pizza in Idaho

Chicago Connection Pizza in Downtown Boise, ID

Best Pizza in Idaho

Best Pizza in Idaho

Gino's East, Chicago | DitchingNormal

The original Gino’s East in Chicago.

Gino's East Celebrity Wall | DitchingNormal

Gino's East Chicago Style Pizza | DitchingNormal

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Weekend in Chicago

Juliana's Pizza Brooklyn New York

Juliana’s in Brooklyn, NY

Juliana's Pizza Brooklyn New York

Juliana's Pizza Brooklyn New York

Juliana's Pizza Brooklyn New York

Gusta Pizza Florence, Italy

Gusta Pizza in Florence, Italy

Gusta Pizza Florence, Italy

Gusta Pizza Florence, Italy

Ir Rokna Pizza Malta

Ir-Rokna Pizza in Malta

Ir-Rokna Pizza Malta

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Travel

Off on our Big Trip!

May 18, 2016

Lacey and I are currently off on our biggest vacation adventure of 2016!  So far we’ve made stops in New York, Florence, and Rome.  We are currently on the beautiful island of Malta.  Tomorrow we head back to Rome for a full day before jumping on a flight headed for Chicago where we’ll spend the weekend.  While we’d love to give you all the details of our trip right now, we’re either out having too much fun or we’re too tired from having too much fun.  Believe us, we’ll give you more than enough of the details when we return next week. This may be forever known as our For now, you can keep up with what we’re getting mixed up in by checking in on our social media profiles. Links to our profiles are at the top of this page.

For those that don’t know, this is the biggest trip Lacey and I have ever booked with credit card rewards points.  We saved over $10,000 on this trip!  It’s super easy for anyone to do the same.  To see the full story on how we made this trip happen (for free-ish) check the link here.

We can’t wait to tell you about what we’ve experienced!

Azure Window Our Big Trip

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Venture Meridian

Venture Meridian Magazine – May Issue

May 15, 2016

Venture Meridian Magazine has just released their May issue!  Our second ever column is included and we are more than excited for you to give it a read.  Each issue of Venture Meridian Magazine focuses on a specific key word in which all of the included content relates to.  May’s issue revolves around the word “future”.  We put our own spin on this topic and wrote an article describing how to go about making sure your future is a happy one.  The tips we give in our column will help you to keep looking forward to your future while still enjoying your present.  Check out our column and the rest of this month’s issue and let us know if you have any additional tips or ideas for ensuring a happy future!

2016 Game Plan

 
Venture Meridian

Teaming up with Venture Meridian Magazine!

April 1, 2016

Following a recent photo shoot we did with the good folks at Venture Meridian, we were lucky enough to be offered a monthly column in their magazine!  We couldn’t be more excited for the opportunity and are hopeful that we’ll be able to consistently provide helpful tips and stories to their readers.  Spoiler alert! Our columns will focus on downsizing, traveling, and having a fun budget-friendly lifestyle.

The April issue of Venture Meridian magazine was released earlier today.  You can find our first column on page 38!  Check out this magazine and show them your support as they are busting their butts to provide an awesome magazine for Idaho!

(The featured image used on our homepage linking you to this post, along with numerous others in the Venture Meridian Magazine are compliments of Ali Smith Photography)

Venture Meridian Magazine April 2016

Venture Meridian Magazine April 2016

Venture Meridian Magazine April 2016

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Venture Meridian

Couples Workout with Venture Meridian Magazine

March 3, 2016

We are so excited to be a part of this month’s issue of Venture Meridian Magazine! This article is right up our alley focusing on a fun couples workout routine! We have been gym partners for years and love to motivate each other while of course, making exercising fun. We were fortunate enough to get to work with the amazing Ali Smith from Ali Smith Photography. We have worked with her in the past and her photography never disappoints; she is so great to work with!

Check out the March issue here and let us know what you think!

 

Couples Workout

Couples Workout

Couples Workout

Couples Workout

Couples Workout

Couples Workout

Couples Workout

Couples Workout

All photos in this post are copyright of Ali Smith Photography.

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Lifestyle

Game Plan for 2016

January 16, 2016

Instead of making New Year’s resolutions, we decided to make an entire game plan for 2016.  A lot of our goals will require weeks or months to plan so we’re starting now to make sure we get as much of this stuff done as possible.  From travel, to home remodeling, to learning new languages…our list is kinda all over the place.  Check out our process and decide if making your own list might help you achieve more this year.

Right away we noticed some immediate benefits from making this list.  First of all, making our list forced us to think about and talk about 1. WHY it was a goal? and 2. HOW could/would we be able to accomplish it? Adding notes to our goals helped us get an idea of how much time and planning each goal will require.  Sharing our list with you guys is already resulting in us feeling a greater level of accountability for achieving these goals.  We realized that now that we have this list, we can check back in on it every month to track our progress.

We set our sites on a few lofty goals because we want to do our best to keep up with the eventful pace we set for ourselves in 2015.  You can read more about that here.  I don’t think we’ll ever be able to top last year (cuz we got married!), but below is how we’re going to try…

Visit at least 10 different cities

  • With 7 cities already being booked (with rewards points), we should be able to hit this mark.  So far, we’ll be visiting San Diego (for Rihanna), Houston (for the Final Four), New York City, Florence, Rome, Malta, and Chicago.  If all goes well in the coming months, we should be adding Maui to this list
  • To make sure we get to the last few cities to complete our goal of 10, we’re going to keep learning about the points planning/travel hacking process through our friends at 10xtravel.com
Florence-Duomo | DitchingNormal

very excited for Florence in May

Continue Downsizing junk and bills

  • Right now, we have 2 cars.  While it’s pretty awesome to have 2 cars, we don’t need both and could eliminate about $4,000 in bills by getting rid of one of ’em. That being said, anyone wanna buy a suburu outback sport?
  • We’re about to do some major spring cleaning and plan on getting rid of any unnecessary items we find.
Donation Bags | Ditching Normal

Haven’t worn it in a few months? Take it to GoodWill!!!

Continue Paying off Mortgage ASAP

  • We’ve been able to keep up with paying double on our mortgage for the past 6 months or so, but we’re hoping to paying a bit more once we ditch a car.
  • How are we going to do this? By utilizing credit cards rewards points to discount our travel costs.  You can read more about this process here.
Downtown Boise Condo | Ditching Normal

Hopefully we can pay off this little guy soon!

Spend More Time with Family and Friends

  • Travel, live events, and life in general is more fun when you’re spending it with loved ones.  Get ready to spend more time with the Thompsons this year!
  • We’re going to reach out to friends and family to travel with us more along with other things.
excited to meet this crew in Malta this summer

excited to meet back up with this crew in Malta this summer

Improve our non-existent Photography Skills

  • This includes getting a decent camera and finally learning how to use one.
  • We’ll be bugging our friend Vlad from Radion Photography a whole lot for help!
Muir National Park | DitchingNormal

A favorite pic from 2015

Bedroom Remodel

  • Our downtown condo was pretty beat up when we purchased it as a short-sale a few years ago.  We’ve successfully remodeled every room except for the bedroom so far.  A bedroom remodel, including some new carpet/flooring, larger bed, and a better closet space, are LONG overdue.
  • How are we going to do it? Well, with some help from YouTube DIY videos, we’re hoping to cut costs by doing the work ourselves.  We’ll likely use the money from (hopefully) selling a car, to help us get a king sized bed.

More Collaborations

  • We’re looking forward to working with as many creative minds as possible this year.  Photogs, bloggers, travel addicts, and anyone else that has a passion for making life exciting.  If you fall in this category…hit us up!!!
  • How are we going to do this? By stepping out of our comfort zones and initiating communication with the talented folks we’ve grown to admire.  Emails and social media messages will likely lead the way!
Vintage Style Bride

recent collaboration with Radion Photography, Ira and Lucy, and Next Adventure Studio

Save $15,000 or more by Traveling with Rewards Points

  • Wouldn’t that be awesome to say at the end of the year?  We’re over half way there so far.  It’s going to take some serious planning to finish out this goal though.  We’re all ears to any tips you may have.
  • How are we going to do this? By continuing to plan a head with reward points traveling.  The planning we did last year has resulted in us saving nearly $9k already this year.
Our recent trip we booked on points was featured on 10xtravel.com

Our recent trip we booked on points was featured on 10xtravel.com

Continue Gradually Learning a 2nd Language

  • Lacey’s going to be working on Spanish while Mat keeps puttering through Italian.  The plan is to try and make traveling a bit more comfortable while visiting these countries.  Comprende?
  • How are we going to do this?  We have the Rosetta Stones for these languages and are going to start scheduling at least 2 days a week to sit down for an hour or two of studying.  Once we get the basics, we’ll look for some in-person classes we can sign up for.

Start Mixing in Some Yoga

  • We’ve had a few more aches and pains over the past year that are likely due to our lack of flexibility.  While lifting weights is fun, we need to start taking care of our joints as well.  We’re thinking of trying out Sage Yoga in Boise.
  • How are we going to do this? This ones fairly straight forward.  We’ll get signed up for classes at Sage! Stay tuned for possible review of Sage Yoga.

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Lifestyle Reviews

Top 15 from 2015

December 30, 2015

Being that it’s New Years Eve, Eve…we thought it would be appropriate to look back on some of our more memorable experiences from 2015.  We narrowed it down to 15 simply because “Top 15 from 2015” sounded kinda cool.  In 2015, among other things, we watched some sausages race each other, hung out at a waterfall, walked 100 stories over a city, dropped it like it’s hot, and participated in a very important ceremony 😉

When we were putting this post together, we were a little intimidated with trying to figure out a way to make 2016 live up to the year we just had, but that’s a problem we look forward to dealing with. We have been so fortunate and blessed to have had the chance to experience so many amazing events in just 12 short months.

Here are our top 15 for 2015. Hopefully you won’t be surprised with what landed at #1…

15. Brewers vs Cardinals (Milwaukee)

Our seats at Miller Park were AMAZING! It also didn’t hurt that the home team (and underdog) won! Not much better than a sun-filled day at a stadium eating hot dogs and nachos.  Mat was super excited to see the mascot go down the slide after a home run.  We also got to see the famous racing sausages in the 7th inning stretch!

Sausage Race. Miller Park, Milwaukee

The Sausages ran right by us!

14. Halloween

For being last minute outfits, we loved how they turned out! Not to mention we got to hang with our closest friends and have an epic dance party. Don’t play Rhi Rhi unless you want Lacey to put on her own concert.  Our friends had some epic costumes as well.  There was a seductively creepy Bob Ross, Wayne & Garth, Ace Ventura, and some Minions.

Halloween-Day-of-Dead

13. Christmas Snowboarding

Santa (Mat) successfully hid a snowboard under the tree for Lacey to find Christmas morning.  After a couple cups of coffee in our pajamas, we headed up to Bogus Basin for a half day of snowboarding.  There was plenty of snow and plenty of room for us to hit jumps, eat shit, wipe the snow off our heads and do it again!

Mat & Lacey Bogus-Basin

12. Collie Buddz (Phoenix)

On our way home from Cabo during Thanksgiving week, we had an overnight layover in Phoenix.  It turns out this was a blessing in disguise because Collie Buddz was performing that same night!  Collie Buddz is one of our favorite Reggae/Hip-hop artists and he sings the song (Gimme Love) that we used as our first dance song at our wedding reception.

Collie Buddz Phoenix

11. Michael Franti (Boise)

Another of our favorite musicians came to town this summer to perform at the beautiful Botanical Gardens.  This super high energy show was one that left us reminded of what’s truly important in life.  …enjoying each other, loving each other, and having an awesome time while doing it!  Michael Franti is the artist behind the song “Life is Better with You“, which became the theme of our wedding in Cabo.  #LifeIsBetterWithYou!!!

Michael Franti Boise, ID

10. Snoop Dogg (Boise)

I think we were both very surprised that this concert made our top 15.  We both knew the concert would be fun, but had no idea just how much fun we would have.  It was a blast!  Mat rapped every line of every song, taking him back to the age of 13 when he used to listen to Snoop religiously AND Lace booty popped and c-walked to the sick rhymes Mat was bustin’.  Toss in a couple of good friends and this results in the #10 best experience of the year!

Snoop Dogg Drop it Like It's Hot

9. Water Slide Birthday Party (Hagerman)

Lacey’s family were the creative minds behind this awesome idea.  We pulled up to their house to find a GIGANTIC bouncy castle-like water slide set up in their back yard.  The day resulted in tons of (sketchy at times) fun for us and everyone else that attended.  You can check out the full details along with the video in a previous post here.

Lacey Water Slide | DitchingNormal

8. Jump Creek Falls (Marsing)

Jump Creek is a hidden gem about an hour away from where we live and we had no idea it was there until this summer! This waterfall destination ended up being quite spectacular, much to our surprise. Read more about this day trip here.

Jump Creek | Ditching Normal

7. Luke Bryan (Boise)

It is going to be hard to top this concert. Everything just fell into place for us to see Luke Bryan. When the tickets first went on sale they sold out before we could grab any. Mat was able to purchase floor tickets just weeks before the concert was in town, which worked out way better than our original plan. We had margaritas at home before riding our bikes to Taco Bell Arena and rocking out just feet away from the stage.

6. Bachelorette Party (Portland)

Lacey got to experience Portland for the first time while attending a friend’s bachelorette party and had an absolute blast! They stayed right downtown at Hotel Modera, shopped at Nordstrom (obviously), ate to their hearts’ content at the many food trucks and danced the night away at Holocene. Finding a dance club in Portland was difficult, but they knew it was “their spot” when they walked in and Rhianna’s “B**** Betta Have My Money” was playing. On a classier note, the girls even had a fancy dinner at Departure which sits on top of The Nines Hotel.

Lacey-Bachelorette Party Portland

5. Willis Tower (Chicago)

Chicago quickly became a favorite city of Mat’s following his visit this summer.  While Gino’s East had delicious pizza and the baseball game at Wrigley Field was amazing…nothing will top the experience from the top of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower).  Standing in the glass box looking down 100+ stories will make for a life long memory.  The full details of this trip can be found in a previous post here.

view from the Skydeck Ledge in the Willis Tower, Chicago | DitchingNormal

The Skydeck “Ledge” was an experience I’ll never forget. 103 stories down.

4. San Francisco Weekend Getaway (September)

We fit in so many experiences in the long weekend that we were in San Francisco. This city holds a special place for us because it is where we met nine years ago (exactly nine in a few weeks!). We walked across the Golden Gate Bridge and hiked in Muir Woods. We had breakfast at The Mill then hung out in Alamo Square Park like the Tanners. One of the most amazing experiences of the weekend was drinking cocktails while looking at the views of the city from the 39th floor of The View Lounge. Our last morning we sipped coffee at the hidden rooftop garden of the One Kearny building. You can read all about our San Francisco trip in this post and this post.

Golden Gate Bridge | DitchingNormal

3. Thanksgiving (Cabo San Lucas)

Our highly-anticipated vacation to an all-inclusive resort in Cabo fully lived up to our expectations. This week was packed full of food and delicious pina colladas. The gorgeous weather and surroundings definitely accounted for one of the most memorable weeks of our year. Read a recap of it here.

2. Make the (wedding) Cake Party (Cabo San Lucas)

On the eve of our wedding, our friends and family gathered in the kitchen of our villa to help us make our second most memorable event of the year….and our wedding cake. That’s right, our closest friends and family helped us make our wedding cake the night before our ceremony. Talk about special! This also ended up being a little rowdy because some tequila and flash tattoos were involved. It was such an amazing feeling to have everyone that we loved and loved us be involved in this intimate activity. Mat was the mastermind behind this idea and it was a huge success. Read all about it here.

Lacey Stirring Wedding Cake Mix | DitchingNormal

1.Wedding Ceremony (Cabo San Lucas)

A very special group of family and friends gathered in a white domed gazebo in the Pedregal Hills overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  One of our best friends officiated the ceremony and many of our family and friends shared stories, advice, and loving words with us.  Lacey’s father wrote and recited a blessing over our marriage while our guests stood around us.  We couldn’t have asked for a more intimate, heart felt, personal, and beautiful wedding ceremony.  This is undoubtedly our #1 experience of 2015…and likely of our lives.

Wedding Ceremony Cabo | Ditching Normal

 

Needless to say, it’s going to be hard to top the year that we have had, because it’s not every year you get to marry your best friend. 2015, you rocked our socks!

We are so excited for what experiences lay ahead for us and look forward to continue simplifying our life to make room for what is important: making memories with family and friends. And of course traveling as much as possible.

Happy New Year to all of you!

Bring it, 2016!

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Lifestyle

8 Ways to Make the Gym More Fun

September 15, 2015

Gym | Ditching Normal

We get it- going to the gym doesn’t always sound like a blast. But since we are aiming to live to be super old geezers, staying healthy is important. That’s why we have come up with 8 ways to make going to the gym more fun.  While Mat and Lacey both agree on the main points below, we both share our individual perspectives on each.

1. Choose the right gym partner.  Lacey – A gym partner is not just someone that can spot you, it’s someone that can help you set and reach goals, celebrate successes, someone to attend a new class with, hold you accountable, and most importantly, to have fun with.  Mat – your gym partner can make or break your mood on any given day.  Choose someone that’s positive and upbeat.  You’re going to have days when you don’t want to be there, it’s their job to pick you up.  …as it is your job to do the same for your partner.

Gym Partners | Ditching Normal

 

2. Music.  Lacey – The importance of a good playlist can’t be stressed enough! For me, it’s my girl Bey and Rhi Rhi. Yes, we are on a nick-name basis. 😉 Sometimes I get a little caught up in my play list and end up dancing more than lifting, but hey, whatever works.  Mat – play what I call your “ahhh shit” music when you work out.  By that, I mean when that song comes on, you automatically go “ahhh shit, this is my jam”.  This will instantly boost your mood and energy.  For me (right now at least) it’s Old School Hip-Hop.  Funny stuff like Kris-Kross and Young MC.

Kris Kross Pandora | Ditching Normal

 

3. Laughter. Lacey – Especially when you do something silly like trip in the middle of the gym. Or fall on your face when going until failure on push-ups.  Mat – everybody messes up or embarrasses themselves in the gym.  I usually trip over something or bonk my head on a bar or anything hanging.  You can’t take yourself too seriously.  Laugh at yourself as much as everyone else who saw it happen is laughing at you.

Laughing at the gym | Ditching Normal

4. Try new things.  Lacey – So you hate lifting legs? Try one legged squats instead of regular squats. I promise you will be focusing so much on your balance that you will forget you hate lifting legs. Dislike cardio? Mix it up with some sprint intervals. You don’t have to do them as long as steady cardio, and it burns more fat!  Mat – agreeing with Lacey.  Whenever leg day comes around, my mission is to trick myself into thinking I’m not really doing legs.  Jump squats, box squats, clean to a front squat and other “different” leg lifts help keep my mind off how much I dislike lifting legs.

5. Give positive reinforcement to yourself and partner.   Lacey – If you notice an increase in strength in yourself or your partner, point it out! Any reason to celebrate is a good idea.  Mat – if you’re working out, you’re likely trying to make yourself more fit (whatever that may mean to you).  It’s always nice when your gym partner or significant other points out that your hard work is paying off.  With that in mind, pay others compliments when you notice how hard they’re working.

6. Engage in a little friendly competition.   Lacey – This can be with your partner or yourself. It’s always fun to win!  Mat – I’m more of a compete against myself type of person, but it never hurts to engage in some friendly ball busting with your gym partner.  Just enough to motivate each other to keep getting better.  If you know your partner could have put more effort in to their last set, don’t be afraid to call ’em a Sandbagger to let ’em know they’re better than that.

Curls | Ditching Normal

7. Be efficient.  Lacey – It’s easy to dread a two hour workout, but a 45 minute one? That’s not a big deal! A good workout can be done in 45 minutes if you super set lifts, include quick bursts of cardio between sets and keep the energy up. 45 minutes is less time than an episode of Game of Thrones, so you should have time for it.  Mat – there’s nothing worse than going to work all day and thinking about how you have another hour and a half at the gym, then a quick dinner, then bed…then repeat.  Get your workout done in 35-45mins.  Anything more than that is overkill in my books.  That way going to the gym doesn’t seem like that big a part of your day.  …an additional recommendation would be to do it in the morning.  I know, it sounds awful, but once you’re done you literally have the rest of the day to do whatever you want.

8. Candy. Lacey – Yep, you read that right, candy! I was definitely excited to include this in our gym routine. Something about glycogen levels or something. I didn’t really care, because it means I get to eat gummy bears after I’m done!  Mat – ha, going off of what Lacey wrote…yes, eating certain candies immediately following your workout will boost your glycogen levels allowing your other post workout supplements to process quicker/easier.  Lacey and I grab about 5 gummy bears each and follow it with some whey protein, glutamine, and creatine.  You can read more about this from fitness celebrity Jim Stoppani here.

Gummy Bears at the Gym | Ditching Normal

Got any other tips you’d like to add?  Feel free to drop ’em in a comment below!

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Lifestyle

Intimate Wedding in Cabo

September 7, 2015

Wedding Ceremony Blessing | Ditching Normal

Since today marks our six month anniversary of marriage, we thought it would be a fun time to post about our wedding. After getting engaged in June 2014, we knew we didn’t want a long engagement. We also knew we didn’t want the typical, local, big wedding. We had elopement plans ranging from a house in Italy (near where we got engaged) to a rooftop in San Francisco (where we met). Lacey was really pulling for a surprise wedding disguised as an engagement party, but Mat wasn’t on board.

We decided to rent a villa for a week in the Pedregal Hills of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. This was a happy medium and a good compromise for everyone. Since we were planning this wedding on a strict budget, we decided to focus on what we really cared about, and what we wanted our wedding to feel like for guests. We also wanted to make sure it was unique. Continue reading to see how we created our own, very “Lacey and Mat” wedding.

  1. We knew we wanted more more than just one night with our guests. We have been to countless weddings where we were able to talk to the bride and groom for MAYBE five minutes during the reception, but that was it. We didn’t want to feel rushed, and didn’t want our guests to feel like just one of many. That is why we chose to rent the villa for a week and have this time to spend with family and friends. We had an itinerary which invited everyone to participate as much or as a little as possible-hey, it was their vacation and they can choose how to spend it!
  2. We wanted our guests to feel included. The way we look at our relationship is that we wouldn’t be where we are now without the help and influence of those that love us; kind of like the whole “It takes a village” thing. We had our close friend marry us (which was AMAZING, by the way), we had nine people speak during the ceremony, two speak during the reception, our mothers performed the beginning of a ring blessing ceremony and Lacey’s dad wrote a prayer that he prayed over us right after our exchange of rings. Everyone also helped out a TON, including a close girlfriend that did Lacey’s hair and make up, and Mat’s sister who did all of the flowers.
  3. Focus on the ceremony. We understand most people go to a wedding for the party after the ceremony, and not the ceremony itself. Don’t get us wrong, we like to party at weddings as much as the next couple, but we always feel a little cheated when the ceremony is so quick. We wanted our guests to leave knowing they had witnessed an extremely important proclamation of commitment, and not just a party. We planned to put our energy into writing our ceremony, and then go out dancing in downtown Cabo for the “party” portion of the evening. Also, our Make the Cake party turned into a real party!
  4. Don’t make people feel obligated to come. This was the main reason we chose to not have bridal parties. We didn’t want to force anyone to be there that didn’t absolutely want to.
  5. Above all, we wanted to the ceremony to feel intimate. We were literally surrounded by the people we loved during the ceremony.  We wanted them to feel the love we shared for each other and we wanted to feel the love and support from our guests.  This is why we chose to have the chairs set up in a semi-circle around us, rather than chairs in rows facing us.

We know that this type of wedding isn’t for everyone, probably not for most, but we absolutely loved it and wouldn’t change a thing! We will forever be grateful to those that traveled to spend this time with us and help us celebrate the most important decision we have made thus far. We love you all and want to do it all over again every year!

Clara Vist Villa, Cabo San Lucas | Ditching Normal

Wedding Table Setting | Ditching Normal

Post Wedding Drink | Ditching Normal

Wedding Drinks | Ditching Normal

Mat Before Wedding | Ditching Normal

Mat Before Wedding | Ditching Normal

Laughing & Crying Wedding Ceremony | Ditching Normal

Lacey Bride Walk Out | Ditching Normal

Lacey Wedding Dress | Ditching Normal

Lacey Wedding Dress | Ditching Normal

Lacey Bride and Mom | Ditching Normal

Lacey Bride and Mom | Ditching Normal

Bride and Groom Ring exchange | Ditching Normal

Bride and Friends | Ditching Normal

Bride Wedding Dress Beach | Ditching Normal

Mat and Lacey Kiss the Bride | Ditching Normal

Wedding Invitation Cabo | Ditching Normal

Wedding Party Cabo | Ditching Normal

Mat and Lacey 1st Dance Wedding | Ditching Normal

Wedding Dinner Cabo | Ditching Normal

Wedding Dinner View Cabo | Ditching Normal

Wedding Ceremony Cabo | Ditching Normal

Wedding Ceremony Cabo | Ditching Normal

 

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Lifestyle

Outdoor Workout on the Oregon Trail

August 31, 2015

Lacey Box Jump | DitchingNormal

When the weather is perfect and you don’t want to waste the day working out in a stuffy gym, why not do an outdoor workout?  Maybe find some nice scenery for a backdrop and knock out an O.F.P. (own f***ing program).

Last weekend, Lacey and I did just that.  We grabbed our Bose blue-tooth speaker and a drawstring backpack that we filled with rocks to serve as extra resistance.

Below is a 30 min total body circuit workout we completed while overlooking Boise, ID on the Oregon Trail.

  • 2 sets- incline push-ups superset with 1 min of high knees
  • 2 sets- decline push-ups superset with 1 min of jumprope
  • 2 sets- tricep bench dips superset with 1 min of body weight squats (we added the backpack with rocks for weight)
  • 2 sets- bicep curl (with weighted backpack) superset with jump lunges
  • 2 sets- side shoulder raises (with weighted backpack) superset with 1 min of box jumps
Outdoor Workout | DitchingNormal

Check the O.F.P.

Outdoor Workout | DitchingNormal

Get the weights ready

Outdoor Workout | DitchingNormal

Crank the music & start!

Inclne Push up | DitchingNormal

Incline Push up

Inclne Push up | DitchingNormal

Incline Push Up

High Knees | DitchingNormal

High Knees

Decline Push Ups | DitchingNormal

Decline Push Up

Jump Rope | DitchingNormal

Jump Rope

Jump Rope | DitchingNormal

Jump Rope

Tricep Bench Dips | DitchingNormal

Tricep Bench Dips

Tricep Bench Dips | DitchingNormal

Tricep Bench Dips

Body Weight Squats | DitchingNormal

Body weight Squats

Body Weight Squats | DitchingNormal

Body Weight Squats (w/backpack)

Bicep Curl | DitchingNormal

Bicep Curl

Bicep Curl | DitchingNormal

Bicep Curl

Jump Lunge | DitchingNormal

Jump Lunge

Side Shoulder Raise | DitchingNormal

Side Shoulder Raise

Lacey Box Jump | DitchingNormal

Box Jumps

Outdoor Workout | DitchingNormal

Done!

Outdoor Workout | DitchingNormal

Done!

Outdoor Workout | DitchingNormal

Getting ready for the hike down

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