Lucky Clover

Clover sign

This post takes us back ‘several’ years to when I was stumbling around the Gonzaga University neighborhood looking for a good house party.  This was not a difficult task.  One of the easiest and most convenient houses was the Hico House which acquired its name simply due to its location behind the Hico gas station.  I can’t say I spent much time here but enough to know what the place looked like, which was a dumpy college house that hosted one too many parties.

Fast forward to today.  I had heard that there was an amazing new restaurant in Spokane named Clover (http://cloverspokane.com) that was organic and using local ingredients as often as possible.  The other thing I heard was that it was located in the lovely and charming Hico House.  This I had to see!

We arrived for our dinner reservation and as I walked up to the restaurant I was already impressed with what had transpired.  This place had little resemblance to any place I had ever darkened the doorway of in college.  There was a festive outdoor seating area with both a fire pit and live music to enhance the dining experience.  I proceeded up the stairs and upon entering the restaurant I was mesmerized, this place was transformed, it was gorgeous!

We were seated outside next to a very large bachelorette party, which had the potential to completely ruin our evening, but before we could pass too many judgments our server, Brian Throop approached the table to welcome us and to tell us that the large party would not effect the kitchen’s ability to get our food to us.  With all of our worries tucked away we ordered cocktails and an appetizer and sat back to soak in the wonderful Spokane evening.

Towards the end of our dinner my new friend Brian and I were taking pictures together and I had coerced him into giving us a tour of the property.  We started in a small house on the back of the lot, where they prepared baked items, some gluten free, and all available for purchase to take home.   The bakery produces all the baked goods for Clover and will be also supporting several other upcoming restaurants by the Proprietors, Scott McCandless and Marta and Paul Harrington.

Our tour moved on to the main restaurant where I was able to see even more of the character and transformation.

When I asked Brian what he thought about Clover he said he was proud to work there, he didn’t have to sell it, it sold itself and when you believe in what you are doing it is effortless.  You could see the pride as he spoke of his experience as well as the management and ownership of Clover.

Beyond the wonderful ambiance and the extraordinary service I loved the quality of food.  Clover and Chef Scott Schultz pride themselves on offering its diners quality organic food.  They source locally when possible and get their beef and pork from Snake River Farms and their chicken and eggs from Hangman Valley Farms.  In addition to the produce they grown onsite in the greenhouse tucked out back they also procure from Otis Orchards, which is located just North of Spokane.

I shared a grass-fed organic steak with my friend and it was delicious.  The beef comes to Clover in primal cuts and they dry age them onsite for 14 days.  I asked Brian a little too late what would be the healthiest option from the menu and he indicated that they would be happy to alter anything to make it healthier and that he would have chosen the fresh halibut, made to order without breading and a fresh mango salsa.  After that description I almost wanted to order another meal!

I will definitely be putting Clover on my list of places to revisit in the Spokane area!  I love to see these amazing places popping up around Spokane, offering local and organic food and a quality dining experience.  You should however be prepared to pay a bit more than you would for a college kegger, oh and there are no red solo cups.

Clover is located at 913 East Sharp Avenue in Spokane, WA.  (509) 487.2937

Clover Bakery Montage

Clover Montage

An Introduction: Farm Girl Fit

Farm Girl Fit Collage 1

I was headed to my old stomping grounds of Spokane to spend some time with my family and friends prior to hitting the Interstate.  I knew I wanted to find a trainer in the area however, having not lived there for so long I had no connections.  I hopped online and almost immediately found Farm Girl Fit (http://farmgirlfit.com).  The website was engaging and I was interested in what an all woman gym would provide in terms of a workout.  I sent an email explaining my project and received a response within a day from the Founder,  Jenni Niemann.  She was enthusiastic and excited to help me kick off my journey.

I showed up on Monday afternoon to meet with Jenni, tour the facility and participate in my first Grind. I knew from the website that this was not going to be a typical all women’s gym feel.  There were weights, rings, ropes, weighted balls and a plethora of kettle bells throughout the space.

I positioned the Farm Girl Fit headband that she had given me as a gift on my head and stretched in preparation for my Grind.  The class was full of women of all ages, shapes and sizes.  Per usual,  I started the class with a fairly high level of anxiety however as the class progressed I couldn’t think of anything other than breathing as I was being worked….hard!

As I lay on the ground panting in recovery Jenni introduced me and my blog to the class.   The support from the women there was incredible.  It felt good to have worked side by side with these women, inspired by their strength and then lifted up by their encouragement and support.

I unfortunately did not get to meet the Co-Founder of Farm Girl Fit, Jaunessa Walsh and for that I am sorry, I would have loved to spend time with each of their trainers.

If you are a woman and looking for a trainer in Spokane you should seriously consider Farm Girl Fit. I know if I was living in the area I would have already signed up and had a handful of Grind workouts under my belt.

Here is a link to a summarized version of Jenni’s answers: http://www.haikudeck.com/p/hPA5jlGTCs/farm-girl-fit

Q. How long have you been training?

A. I received my B.S. in Exercise Science in 2004 and I’ve trained since 2008. I began my own training in this particular style as a way to get fit for my wedding in August of 2008. I knew I needed to take the additional steps in becoming a trainer after I was initially inspired by my own results.

Q. What is your fitness philosophy?

A. Fitness should be a way of life and not seen as a chore or punishment. I want to be fit and capable of any task- weight lifting, running, biking, swimming, tennis, moving boxes up and down the stairs with ease, squatting with my baby on my hip or whatever it is! Your fitness should increase your standard of living, your health, your perspective on life. Fitness has a direct correlation to your health and longevity (which is SO IMPORTANT for a happy life!)….and workouts should be fun and social!

Q. Why did you become a strength coach?

A. Strength is extremely key to fitness! I find it my personal goal each day to inspire more women to lift and be strong. This issue of “strong” vs. “skinny” comes up almost daily at Farmgirlfit and we handle the question with ease. Although more women are beginning to understand that being strong translates to being lean, fit and all around better at any sport, there are many that are intimated by weights. At Farmgirlfit we have created a unique, safe, and unassuming atmosphere for women of all ages to learn (and perfect) their lifting skills that increase their overall strength. It is so important to be a strong woman and for our future generations to have strong female idols.

Q. How do you customize your program to adapt to different fitness levels?

A. Every movement, exercise, and lift we do is functional and can be broken down or modified for people off all levels. We can also vary the timing, repetitions, rounds, or intensity (weight) for each level. Our programming is based off our experience in training over the years, and therefore adaptable. Although the levels in the “Grinds” are preset, they allow for a very diverse population to work-out together and create a unique camaraderie. With our training, nobody is good at everything and everyone has a skill or weakness to improve on. Just because you do Level 2 one day doesn’t mean you can’t or won’t do Level 3 or 4 the next. It’s very motivating to work out with women of all sizes, shapes, and abilities each day.

Q. What do you do in Seattle to stay in shape outside of the gym? [Did you mean Spokane?]

A. Outside of the gym I enjoy playing just about every sport- basketball, tennis, volleyball, softball or whatever is going on at the time. I also enjoy running, water sports, yoga, and speed shopping J Specifically in Spokane- there are tons of trails and stairs to challenge yourself with.

Q. What do you do to continue your fitness education?

A. I like to read books and articles that are relevant to our members, trainers, and training style. There is a lot of information out there so I tend to lean toward the ones that avoid the “quick fix” approach to fitness. As I mentioned, I believe fitness is a lifestyle and a dedication to increased health so I look for information that reiterates that belief – instead of fitness trends or fads. I’m always trying to think ahead and consider what our members need to know. There are a few more certifications that I’m interested in accomplishing  in the near future that I believe would benefit my own training as well as our members.

Q. Do you have a success story you are most proud of?

A. I believe my recent pregnancy was quite a success. I completely enjoyed being pregnant and at no time felt sick or debilitated. In fact, I felt very strong and fit during my pregnancy and competed in many running and fitness events. I worked out through the entire pregnancy…doing the same work outs that I do now because it felt good and I knew it was good for me and the baby. I also attribute my pre-baby fitness to my ability to lose the weight very fast after he was born. I got back in the gym 10 days after having Jack and I was able to climb a 20 ft. rope and do double unders (jump rope). He is 7 months old now and very healthy, happy, big and strong baby

Q. What is your favorite workout soundtrack or song?

A. My music preference changes daily, like my work-outs! I really like to work out to older music with a good beat- like Outkast! I also really like Macklemore right now too!

Q. What is your most embarrassing gym moment?

A. I don’t really have one that comes to mind but I totally get embarrassed or anxious at traditional gyms with lots of machines and little space. I don’t know how to use the machines…one time I got super pissed because my treadmill (I hate treadmills) wouldn’t work and the guy next to me reached over and put in the safety pin thing that stops it if you fall on your face. Oops!

Q. Do you have any specials that you offer your new clients?

A. We always offer 1 free trial day! We like women to come in and meet us and get a better feel for what our gym is all about, since half the battle can be walking through the door!

All of our new members are required to participate in a Foundations class. This class goes over the basics of most of the lifts and exercises we do and reiterates the importance of form first, then intensity. It’s also a great one on one time with a trainer to ask questions and get a better understanding of Farmgirlfit.   We also offer Student, Teacher, Military Discounts…as well as the occasional promotion!