Summertime Kale and Cauliflower Salad

Hey friends!  I hope you are all finalizing your calendars and gearing up for an epic Summer 2017.  With the way mine looks, it’s bound to be a memorable one as always!   Summer means bbq’s, friends, bikes, beers, sun and tons of fun, which is why I thought now would be a good time to share with you my summertime twist to the Cauliflower and Kale Detox salad so you have something new and fresh to take to your patio parties.

 

I changed a few things to give it more of a summery-citrus vibe by adding more lemon, some balsamic vinegar, sunflower seeds and dried cranberries.  It’s addicting and oh so good.

The Salad

  • 1 Head (or bag) of Cauliflower crumbles
  • 2ish cups kale, chopped
  • 1 bunch sliced green onions
  • 2 oz. bag slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup roasted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries

The Dressing

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 4 cloves crushed garlic
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
    • Note: the balsamic vinegar will turn the cauliflower brown, so if that weirds you out, you can omit and replace with more lemon juice.

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Cheers!

Fulfilled Purpose

For those who have followed along on my escapades over the years know how much I try to live a life of purpose and intent and do so with involvement and a present mind.

I like to do.  I like to experience.  I like to break barriers.  I like to set goals and destroy them. I like to push myself.  I like to serve others.  I like to involve myself in things that have a larger purpose.

One being a Master Trainer for Beachbody Live.

In 2015, I set out with a goal and a purpose.  I conquered the first goal of auditioning and proving to myself that age and body-type don’t have to be barriers for a role as a Master Trainer for a fitness company.   And for two years I trained and educated the minds of current and future fitness instructors.  And it was incredible.  And purposeful.   And was for a larger purpose.

And it was fulfilling.

Today I tell you that I am an officially ‘retired’ Beachbody Live Master Trainer.  I have hung up the hat and packed away the jacket.  I am happy.  I am content.  My cup runneth over with two years of certifications and the opportunity to experience things outside of my comfort zone and meet people I’d never have crossed paths with before.

It’s been a helluva ride and I loved the journey.

To all my peeps I have met along the way, thank you.  Thank you for trusting me and living out this dream with me.  What a ride.

As for the future, I am going to continue doing me and all that I love.   Work, teach fitness classes, ride my motorcycle, hang with the hubs, attend more concerts then my bank account can handle, drink my PBR’s, enjoy happy hour with my girlfriends, spend more time in the weight room, help my husbands business on the weekends.  Who knows what you’ll see me getting into now that I won’t be traveling and certifying on the weekends. I have a hunch you will see and hear about it along the way.

On that note, please allow me to share the many pieces of my heart from the last two years.   To all of those in these photos (and those photos that I missed) please know you impacted my life in an incredible way.  Thanks and see y’all on the flip.

Cheers!

   

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Employee Spotlight

My division at work does a really cool “Employee Spotlight” feature once a month.  Our division is fairly widespread and it’s not uncommon for me to only see some of my colleagues once or twice a year at large staff meetings due to proximity and job responsibilities.  This feature was added about a year or two ago and it has become one of my favorite emails to receive.  I love reading about people and learning a little more about them other then the work-face we interact with.   I don’t know about you, but the “career me” is considerably different then the “real me” in regards to personal interactions and conversations.

My spotlight was last week, so I thought it’d be fun to share with my readers as well!

Cheers!

Name:    Jordan Pirtle

Position:  Director of High School Outreach

City of residence:  Omaha, NE

Inhabitants at my residence:

  • Clint (husband)
  • Kyle (the college-going 20 year old bonus kid who appears at our house once a year, if we are lucky)
  • Harley (the cat)
  • The real Harley (my baby who sleeps in a garage and not in a crib)

Start date:

  • August 2011 (Associate Dean of Instructor, Academic Affairs)
  • January 2014 (Director of HS Outreach, Student Services)

My role at IWCC:  I am going to keep it incredibly vague.  Under the guidance of the Iowa Department of Education’s Senior Year Plus programming and NACEP accreditation, I oversee all operational and administrative aspects of College Early Start which allows High School students to enroll in college classes.  Natalie oversees the Southwest Iowa Workplace Connection focusing on connecting high school students and teachers to local careers, through work-based learning experiences and Jake, Secondary CTE Advisor, promotes career and technical education via a variety of practices.  Natalie and Jake work very closely together on initiatives.

What brought me to IWCC:  Prior to IWCC, I was a music teacher for South Page Community Schools in College Springs, IA and Omaha Public Schools for a combined 6 years.   After finishing my Masters programs I was ready for an administrative role and began applying for leadership positions at the Secondary level.   In 2011 I went through a promising AP interview process but was passed over by an internal candidate.   That bummer experience ended up being a blessing in disguise as it opened my eyes to post-secondary education and the Associate Dean position at IW.

What I like best about working for IWCC:  I specifically enjoy my position as it keeps me heavily involved in the secondary school system, which was my first true career love.  The position keeps me on my toes with the ever-evolving State legislation changes and NACEP accreditation requirements.   I enjoy the challenge and the immense knowledge I’ve gained and the professional growth I’ve experienced from working at IWCC.

Best job before IWCC:  Working for South Page Community Schools.   I was the Director of Bands, 6-12th grade Choral director, competitive cheerleading coach, dance team sponsor, junior class prom sponsor, etc.  Listen. When you are a teacher in a rural district, you don’t just teach.  You do everything.  I loved every second of every day when I was around those students, and with my lineup of responsibilities, I basically lived at the school.  From 6am rehearsals/practices, to late night games, to cheer competitions across the state. You name it, I was there.   I was young and fresh out of undergrad and had a ton of fun learning and growing with them.

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I’m happiest when:  I’m on my Harley, the sun is shining and an ice cold beverage is on the horizon.

My biggest fear: Alzheimer’s.  Losing my cognitive ability at a young age.

I’m proudest of:  As a teenager I faced some adversity that some would allow to change them, or use those experiences as excuses for bad decisions.   I was presented with two paths I could have followed, either one impacting my future greatly.  I chose the middle road. I chose to take my experiences from the evil and the good in my life and create a middle ground that fit me.  I am proud of that.   In 2006 I went through some crazy life changes.  I call it my quarter-life crisis.  It was the real deal, y’all.  At 25 I quit my job, moved out of my beautiful country home in Clarinda, left my bff’s and family and the only life I had known for 25 years and moved to Omaha with no job lined up, a U-Haul with all of my belongings and settled into a house in West O with two High School friends who opened their arms and hearts.   It was a life-changing few years that followed and I wouldn’t trade one single experience, the good and questionable, from those years.   I am proud of that.

I strive to live life in the present moment. 

I don’t take things for granted. 

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What I do when I’m not working at IWCC:  I am teaching fitness classes at IWCC and the YMCA or I am training future fitness instructors on the weekends as part of my Master Trainer role.    I am attending concerts (total junkie) with friends or chilling with my hubs in our backyard around a campfire.  I am on the Harley by myself for some solo and self-reflection time or I am riding with 30+ of my biker friends cruising the back-roads of Nebraska and Iowa.

Top three highlights of my life:

  1. Not being afraid of starting over at the age of 25.   That reset button was hard to push, but it was completely worth it.
  2. Auditioning to be a fitness Master Trainer at the age of 34.  I consider myself a non-traditional fitness spokesperson and I didn’t let age or body type stop me from pursuing that dream.
  3. Marrying Clint in 2011.  And not just because of all that mushy love yuck.  But because we compliment each other.  He gets me to see the world through a relax and don’t try to control every aspect of life lens.   We operate as a married unit but also as individuals with our own lives.  We respect each other, encourage each other to seek out new opportunities and set higher goals and we both love sushi.  Win!

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People would be surprised to know:

  1. I used to play clarinet for the Nebraska Wind Symphony.  While I was teaching for South Page, I also traveled to Omaha from Clarinda (and back) every Monday evening for rehearsals.  I took a hiatus for a few years but am auditioning to be a part of the 2017-18 ensemble soon.
  2. My 25 year old brother Gabriel is a dwarf.  He’s the coolest cat you could ever know and challenges me to find the “art” in life.  Not that I want you to stalk me on the world of social media, but I did a little fact sheet on Gabe and included additional information on dwarfism if interested in a little education: Click here.

Work-related hidden talent/special skill:  Not Excel, that’s for sure.

Favorite song, or book, or movie, or food (or all four!):

  • Song:  Impossible to choose.   Music junkie in all aspects, remember?
  • Current book: The Mindful School Leader by Valerie Brown.  I am in a grad level class for CEU’s to keep my K-12 administrative license active. I recommend it as it’s been a great read!
  • Movie: Sweet Home Alabama
  • Food: mashed potatoes

Best vacation:  All of the vacays spent on the Harley.   Sturgis!  Specifically our first visit when Clint proposed at Full Throttle Saloon on the bridge.  Our second visit we made it on TV for our 5 seconds of fame, thanks to the Full Throttle TV series.  Sadly FTS burned down in 2015, shortly after our third visit.   Bikes, Blues and BBQ Rally in Arkansas takes a top spot as well.   WOAH!   Arkansas is gorgeous and even better from the seat of a motorcycle.

 

 

Colorado Dreaming

In less than 24 hours our family will be heading out for our 5th Annual ski adventure to Copper Mountain!

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This years adventure will be minus the two patriarchs of the family due to priorities at home.  Can you all please do me a favor and keep your thoughts and prayers with Gr’pa Drake, my mother-in-laws father, as he faces declining health.  Gaylen and Debbie have chosen to stay back this year to be with her parents and let us kids continue on with the skiing adventure.  We have promised a TON of photos, GoPro videos and memories made so that we make it feel like they are right there with us.

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Each year brings new adventures, more wipe-outs, daring jumps and good quality family time.   We are always so thankful and appreciative of this trip.

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From family dinners and card games, to pool challenges, trips down Kokomo, terrifying journeys up the lifts (It is no wonder I keep it together when the lift stops mid-way and starts swinging), beers on the mountain, to snow ball fights while we wait for shuttles and everything in between.  This trip ranks high amongst the favorites each year.

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Cheers!

 

Bikes, Blues & BBQ 2016

Now that winter has set in and the cold has forced the two-wheels into hibernation, it only seems logical to rub salt in the wounds and reminisce on 90 degree weather and wind in the face, right?

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Arkansas

I had no idea how beautiful a state Arkansas is.  The trees, the hills, the hidden gems, the miles of curves.   Hands down my favorite rally trip so far, minus the time Clint did that little down on one knee number in Sturgis.

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On Wednesday, September 21st, a small group of us took off from Omaha to make our way down to Fayetteville, AR for the annual Bikes, Blues & BBQ rally.   It was a relatively easy and quick ride down there (I’ll bypass how much my seat SUCKS).  We made a pit-stop at the The Garage in Harrisonville, MO where we signed our names to the wall.  Score 1 for me as I found some fellow friends signatures who had been there a few days before us!

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We only made three official stops on the way there for fuel and to stretch, so we made great time!  Far cry from the ride to Sturgis!  Once there we set up camp and awaited the arrival of the Sullivan’s before we settled in for campsite brews and laughter.

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When on vacation, we are in no rush to get anywhere at anytime.   No rules.  No schedule.   When everyone is up we all decide where to go and what to do.   This particular rally included a lot of riding and a lot less walking around and boozing.  During the day anyway.  That might be due to the fact that towns in the hills are few and far between and they apparently don’t believe in bars.   This rally is the complete opposite of the Sturgis experience and I think is why it might have taken over the #1 spot in rally experiences.   #beentheredonethat

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Our first day of riding was pretty spectacular.  The sights, the curves, the beauty!

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Tourist alert

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We found ourselves a pretty incredible BBQ joint called Rivertowne BBQ in Ozark, AR.   The sweet potato fries and accompanying sauce to dip them in was to-die-for!

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Bellies full, beer craving satisfied and back out on the road we went for several more hours, winding our way back to Fayetteville for campsite shots, brews and relaxing.

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The next two days consisted of a lot more riding…

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Parking lot rest-stops while waiting on a few lost riders…

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Getting lost collectively…

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Dancing while lost…

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Roadside beers FINALLY thanks to a random roadside convenience store…

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Ever wanna take a back road?  Or put a little gravel in your travel?  Tear down two lane country roads?

We feelin’ ya, Rodney Atkins.

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I wouldn’t necessarily say we were lost again.  Just exploring…

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Tracy has this fun way about her.  And when I say fun, I mean she holds a convincing personality that gets me to do things I wouldn’t normally do.  Last year Sturgis?  She had me ziplining.

This year?

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It. Was. Incredible!  I need a helicopter hook-up, like stat!   So fun and slightly terrifying when the pilot pulled some funny stomach dropping business.

Thanks, Arkansas Helicopters for the fun!

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A little lawn-tractor pull action to close out our campsite experience was entertaining thanks to a very drunk redneck.

Y’all.  This guy was redneck.

Feel free to re-watch his awesomeness from my saved Snap here.

Should I remind you the pulls were lawn tractors.

It wasn’t really that cool.

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My take-aways from Arkansas.

1. Take beer in the saddlebags anytime you leave camp

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2. The official campsite of BB&B doesn’t really have anything official going on so bring your own entertainment.

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3. We should have used Uber to get to the action on Dickson Street.  This is a reminder for next year!

4. If you don’t sit next to the girls they will create snap stories about it.

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5. Find the camping spot with the fans!  Drowns out the interstate noise and the flysimg_0658

6. If one trailers a bike to a rally, one will always get made fun of.

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7. Twinning is appropriate

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8. Time spent with the hubs is always the best.

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Cheers to BB&B 2017!