Back In Action – And The Weekly Meal Plan

Palm Trees in Florida

Every spring, I take a trip with the same group of incredible friends – it’s a tradition that I truly look forward to, and I highly recommend! Some years we stay local, last year was London! This spring we took a week long trip to Disney World to run the Princess 5k. We ran the 5k – and it was fabulous! – but our real endurance event was a four day park hopper – we were averaging 12-16 miles a day! Florida was warm and sunny, which was just what I needed. I also picked up a new pair of Sanuk yoga mat flip flops – a great find!

Now that I’m back, there is much on my mind, and much work to be done! I’m feeling energized and rejuvenated. Here are some of my current adventures.

:: I’m expanding my strategy work with businesses – helping companies think up creative ways to drive business in the digital space. I’m also bringing my experience as a project manager to my consulting projects to help teams optimize internal systems.

:: I’m expanding my photography work to do more of what I love – portraits, product photography, and pitching some new brands for partnerships. I’m working on building out my portfolio – a fun challenge. How do you choose which work represents you?

:: I’m taking a six week fitness boot camp with Amanda Tress, incorporating carb cycling into my diet. (A week in – spoiler – I’m eating more food, more whole food carbs, and I have more energy for my workouts. I’m hoping for a better transition into triathlon training – I wasn’t feeling the motivation this winter.

:: I’m turning Secrets of Self Care into a self-guided e-course. I’ll still be offering group sessions and individual consults, but I’m building out the program so that folks can take it whenever they want on their own time, so I can reach more people!

:: At the same time, I’m working hard to build my (still un-named) corporate wellness startup. The company is focused on “not-so-corporate” wellness, for startups and mid size businesses. I don’t have a name yet, but I’m building out a beta program right now – if you know of a company (maybe yours?) that could use my services, I’d love setting up a call to talk with you. In the short term, I’ll be using my expertise in health and wellness (coupled with my experience in building internal programs / mobile health and fitness apps / environmental studies and architecture) to do corporate wellness audits as I build out our services and programming. These are smaller scale assessments of your current business, benefits, and recommendations for quick wins and building systems for ongoing company wellness programming. Beyond the one-off step challenges!

And that’s the tip of the iceberg!

But of course, most importantly at The Second Lunch, I had some great meals planned for this week! Here’s what I’ve been eating. Yep, I planned to post this Sunday, and it never got up!

:: The Weekly Meal Plan: Week of March 6th, 2016 ::

This week’s prep: cook chicken sausage, ground beef and cabbage, roast butternut squash. Boil a batch of Rancho Gordo beans, roast potatoes.

Sunday: baked chicken and cabbage, with mashed potatoes. This was another Blue Apron meal that I adapted to fit my nutrition goals.

Monday: shakshuka with spicy chicken sausage. I also got some Kite Hill almond ricotta that I planned on spooning on top, but it ended up being a little too tart for my taste.

Tuesday: Devon had a show at the Middle East so had some stuffed grape leaves before the show. I had my eye on their mjudra (lentils) or their lamb shank, but I forgot to take some home with me! I ended up eating hummus and fried eggs for dinner.

Wednesday: scallops with rice and peas. This was just comfort food! Light, healthy, goodness in a bowl.

Thursday: roasted sweet potatoes with beef and tahini sauce, and broccoli. Inspired by Jules Clancy’s recipe on Stone Soup. I’ve been meaning to make this again for a while. So delicious!

Friday: out! or as we do these days – takeout and an On Demand movie at home.

Weekend Thoughts

It's Cold Outside

Happy Sunday, everyone!

Here’s what’s going on in my little corner of the interwebs.

This week I’ve been reading Oliver Sacks’ memoir ‘On The Move‘, and could not recommend it more. It’s been such a comforting read during the bracing Real Feel -30 nights in New England. I’ve been making a concerted effort to read more memoirs lately – I find solace and comfort in the fact that so many incredible people spend much of their lives feeling a little lost and trying to find their place in the world. The best of them do it with a spirit of adventure that I’d like to emulate!

As for my adventures: Monday (tomorrow!) starts my third session of Secrets of Self Care, a course I designed to help people feel their best to be able to do good work in the world. There are still a few spots left if you are interested. Sign up here.

I also created a free Facebook group for those interested in health, wellness, and productivity: it’s called the Productivity and Wellness Percolator. If you’d like to join, simply sign up for the wellness wisdom mailing list, and then request an add to the group here!

Dinner wise, my week looks a little bit abbreviated because I’m traveling on Thursday – to Disney for the Princess 5k! I ordered a Blue Apron box (I’m on the fence about most meal planning services, but they *are* convenient when the weather is freezing and you are short on time.

Dinners this week:
– cheesy chicken with brussels sprouts
– Mexican spiced salmon with black rice, avocado, and orange salad.
– Lebanese lamb and beef arayes with broccoli
– chicken and mashed potatoes with maple carrots

Stay warm this week!

From my new corner office

ikea home office

Welcome to my new office! Now that I’m working from my home several days a week building my business, I finally decided that I needed to get off the couch and get myself a desk. It feels so good to have a place to strategize, dream, and create! I made a big trip to IKEA and went wild. All I have to do now is add some art, plants, a lightbulb in my new lamp, and I should be good to go.

cart: raskog // tabletop: linnmon 59” // trestle: finnvard // side leg (out of shot) kallax bookshelf // chair with sheep

I have a secret goal to write a list every week in 2016 and publish it on The Second Lunch. One of the key ways to build a successful goal is to share it with others! So here you go. I’d like to hold myself to this practice, at least for the next month, when I’ll sit down and re-evaluate if it’s a thing I really want to do! I hope it is!

Here’s what’s happening over here:


I have a friend Traca who cooks multiple incredible recipes a week for a project she’s currently working on. She’s really pushing herself consistently to learn new things, taste new ingredients, and try new techniques. Each week she posts the list of her global conquests – Mole Colordito Enchiladas, Sichuan noodles and pork shoulder chop, complex recipes from Ottolenghi, Naomi Duguid, and more. I cook a lot of simple meals around here, and it’s really inspiring me to up my game! This week I’m doing the chicken thighs with caramelized onions and cardamom rice from Ottolenghi’s Jerusalem.


This week I’m taking a ten day natural light shooting challenge with my accomplished friend Kristin Tatem. She has a stunning studio in Lexington, KY – if you are local, consider taking a class with her! She also has online courses! It’s a good excuse to get some practice, and she’s such a capable teacher!


I’ve started a new EdX course – Berkeley’s The Science of Happiness. It’s a 10 week self paced course that delves into the science of happiness, exploration of global and cultural happiness practice, and helps add to your own happiness toolkit. I’m looking forward to sharing some of my learnings with my clients!


I made my way out to an independent bookstore for a book group this week, one of Book Riot’s read harder book clubs. I follow the organizer Jessica on Twitter, and I’m glad she tweeted about it! It’s an “any book book club” which actually works out great, because you get to talk about all different kinds of books, and we all got Book Riot Read Harder Challenge printables. Mine is going up on the wall!

I’ll also be participating in the Newtonville Books reading challenge, working my way through the Man Booker long list, and slowly working my way through the BBC Big Read – a long term project that I started a few years ago.

This week I’m reading: How to Cook a Moose // M Train // On The Move

Secrets of Self Care – Starts Monday!

Sam Tackeff Secrets of Self Care

Second Lunchers! A quick post tonight to let you know that my next 4 week wellness program starts on January 11th, 2016. I’d love to have you a part of it! 

Secrets of Self Care is a 4 week program for those who have been focused on career, family, or business, and lost themselves a little in the process.

  • Are you lacking inspiration to make simple, healthy, and seasonal meals?
  • Are you feeling tired with the change of seasons?
  • Does your energy wane in the early afternoon?
  • Do you find yourself making sub-optimal food choices when you don’t have better options?
  • Do you feel like curling up on your couch with a cup of tea, and not leaving?

Join me for this adventure in which we’ll focus on being kinder to ourselves, supporting our needs and desires, and nourishing our bodies.

What you get:

  • Daily weekday emails providing journaling and action prompts.
  • Supportive online accountability
  • A personal coaching consultation with Sam (via Phone, Hangout, or Skype)
  • Additional email support for the duration of the course

What we cover:

  • goal setting and mindset training
  • gratitude and journaling practice
  • meditation and (non-traditional meditative practice)
  • adding more joyful movement into our lives
  • building better eating habits (and cultivating an abundance mindset)
  • and much more!

Here’s how it works:

  • The winter session of Secrets of Self Care starts on January 11th.
  • Participants are expected to put in the work! Accountability is the name of the game – the more you put in, the more you get out.
  • Participants will be added to an online accountability group with other vibrant and kind women!

The cost of the course is $179 for the 4 weeks, including a 1-1 personal coaching session.

We start Monday – I’d love to have you join me – we’ll be thinking, writing, dreaming, and bringing good things to life, and I’ll be doing the work right along side of you!

Triathlon for the Every Woman

Triathlon for the every woman Meredith Atwood

Tonight’s reading – three quarters of the way through Triathlon for the Every Woman by (Swim Bike Mom) Meredith Atwood. She says it, and I’ll say it – YOU can be a triathlete. Yes. You.

Two years I bought my first bike in over a decade and a half, and signed up for a triathlon on a whim. The race itself wasn’t too pretty, but I spent the entire time smiling. I was hooked. Since then I’ve completed a few more sprints, taken a triathlon course at the YMCA, ran a whole lot of running races, and am gearing up for my first 70.3 this spring. Not only do I get to learn about one sport, but I get to learn new things about three, and consistently push myself to places I’ve not been before.

A few small (okay, sort of major things I need to work on this winter)

  • bike maintenance (I still can’t adequately change a tire – even though I used to know how to do this)
  • new tires – I currently have knobby tires on my cross bike (Bianchi Volpe), which I plan on racing with because it’s generally light enough – but 56 miles means that I really need to get a pair of smooth tires on her!
  • nutrition – 6-8 hours of physical activity requires smart fueling. I’d like to focus on real food sources as best that I can, but I know I’ll likely need some liquid nutrition. More research (and recipe testing!) to come
  • clipless pedals – no excuses, I’ve just been lazy about this.

This list is only going to get longer as I start thinking more about it.


Today it’s Veterans Day in the United States, and I’ve been thinking a lot about those who have served, and are currently serving in our military. If you have served, or are a military family member: thank you for your service! It is a selfless act that keeps us all safe at home, and it does not go unnoticed.

My friend Courtney is former Army Engineer Captain, Combat Veteran and Bronze Star Medal Recipient who served in Afghanistan. She’s also an incredible entrepreneur, owns multiple businesses, is a kick-ass personal trainer, and is the founder of DropZone – Veteran’s Resources Vetted by Vets. Please watch her story here!

If you can contribute – even $5 will help make DropZone – Veteran’s Resources Vetted by Vets – a reality. Here’s the link to her Indiegogo campaign:

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