The Quiet Commute

Washington, DC is known for many things; the White House, the Capital, the President, the Redskins (I like to think so), and its HORRIBLE traffic.  Washington, DC has the 2nd worse traffic in the United States, behind Los Angeles.  But today was one of those rare days in which everyone is on vacation and there is zero traffic.  I knew something was wrong when I made it to Starbucks in 12 minutes (usually takes 25 minutes if I’m driving).  I was at work in 35 minutes, including a run into Starbucks.  Wicked awesome if you ask me.

This week, Neal and I met up with Wizard and Nancy for dinner at Guapos.  It had been a while since we all had met up, and it was just what we needed.  Sadly, Wizard’s boyfriend Rosco is out of the country for the next 6 months so our posse is down to 4 until January.

We started out with a few drinks… Sangria for me, Corona Lite for Wizard, Margarita for Nancy, and an ice cold Coke for Neal.

My drink was sooooo good and it was just what I needed.  It was my “I finished summer school, got a new job, and kicked my schedule’s butt this summer” drink.  For dinner I had steak tacos and substituted corn tortillas for the flour tortillas dinner normally comes with.  Did you know that one flour tortilla has anywhere from 120-200 calories?  Multiply that by the 3 tacos you get with dinner and you’ve got 360-600 calories worth of tortillas on your plate.  By replacing the flour tortillas with corn (50-70 calories per tortilla) you can save 210-390 calories!! That is SOOOO worth it!  I also only had two of the tacos, so that saved me some calories too.

Wizard ordered a vegetable burrito, Neal ordered cheese enchiladas, and Nancy (nickname) ordered chili rellenos (my absolute favorite mexican meal).

After dinner we grabbed some frozen yogurt and found a place to sit outside so that we could play a rockin’ game of Yahtzee on the iPad.  We missed having Rosco there to kick our tails, but it was still fun!  Neal ended up winning (yay babe)!!

We had a lot of fun and I’m so lucky to have such a great group of friends!  I also have a pretty rockin’ boyfriend 🙂  Last night we watched the very first episode of Friends, since Neal bought me ALL 10 seasons for our anniversary.  The first episode is so cute and I can’t wait to watch all of the seasons.

Well Happy Friday everyone!!! Just 8 more hours until 2 days of freedom!

Any fun plans this weekend? 

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The Duffel Bag

Yesterday was such a fantastic day…. I FINISHED BOTH OF MY GRAD CLASSES!!! Although both of my classes were fantastic, I was thrilled to submit my final projects early last night.

After a long commute home, Neal met me at Ted’s Montana Grill for a yummy burger.  I have been craving salty foods like whoa, so the Blue Creek Burger was calling my name.  Buffalo meat, blue cheese, bacon, veggies, and a toasted bun… YUMMY!

We had a wonderful dinner together and were able to catch up on some of the many happenings going on.  Yesterday was a big day for Neal as his book, What It Means to Be a Hawkeye, reached #1 on the college and university chart on Amazon.com.  I’m just so proud of him!

Once we were back at the car, Neal went into the trunk and grabbed his duffel bag.  I was confused as to why he had a duffel bag with him, but then he asked me to open it.  It was an anniversary present 🙂  The duffel bag was his method for wrapping the gift.  I opened up the bag and there before me were ALL 10 seasons of Friends!!  I was so incredibly excited!!  It was such a fantastic present.

Have you ever been so surprised by a gift someone gave you?  What was it?

Key Lime Pie Throwdown!

Neal and I have a few traditions, which I love!

  • Watching Peanuts movies on various holidays each year like It’s the Great Pumpkin, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and  Be My Valentine… and secretly I’m hoping we’re watching Snoopy’s Getting Married soon 😉
  • Wickedly awesome Wednesdays… Neal’s turkey burgers and our DVR (Top Chef, Chopped, and Next Food Network Star tend to be on the docket, though I have an evil plan to get Project Runway on the Wednesday night lineup)

But one of my new favorite traditions falls on our anniversary each year.  Over the past two years, Neal and I have found ourselves each July conducting our very own throwdown!!  Last year for our anniversary we went to Philly and found ourselves having a Philly cheesesteak throwdown.  It was awesome!

So this year when we went to the Florida Keys, I just knew a key lime pie throwdown was in order.

We made our way down Duval Street in Key West and found 2 unique key lime pie shops, The Key Lime Pie Company and Kermit’s Key West Lime Shoppe.

We bought 1 piece of original key lime pie from each store and found a nearby bench to conduct the throwdown.

The Key Lime Pie Company (seen on left) was light and creamy, perfectly sweet and tart at the same time.  Kermit’s Key Lime Pie (seen on right) was a completely different constancy, having a thicker consistency with a tarter filling.  They were both fantastic and yet so different.

Neal was in heaven and I couldn’t complain either!!

In the end, the Key West Key Lime Pie Company was the clear winner.  It was so creamy, well balanced, and had a wonderful graham cracker crust.  It also happened to win Bobby Flay’s Throwdown, which is awesome (Neal has a man crush on Bobby Flay).

Neal and I had a blast conducting our second anniversary throwdown and I can’t wait to see where year 3 takes us.

Great News

I’ve mentioned this a little, after going MIA at the beginning on July, but I interviewed for a job earlier this month and was offered the job last Friday!!  I happily accepted the job and will be back working in college athletics. I am overjoyed and am so excited to move into the next phase of my professional career.

This summer has been wild.  2 graduate classes in 6 weeks, job interviews, freshmen orientations for my current job, and lots of random to dos…. overall though, it has been stressful crazy hectic overwhelming fun.  This week I’ll submit my final projects for my grad classes and have a celebratory dinner planned for Thursday night with the crew (Neal, Wizard, and Nancy).

August is going to be an awesome month and I’m really looking forward to a few things:

  1. Visiting my brother in Las Vegas
  2. Ending my current job
  3. Starting my new job
  4. Having 3 weeks off from Graduate School
  5. Creating a training program for the Will Run For Chocolate 15K Neal and I are running in December
  6. Going to Iowa for FryFest, Neal’s book signing, and opening game
  7. Continuing my Scaleless Summer 

July has been amazing in the end and I’m really looking to some down time in August!!

How has your month been? 

Florida Keys: Day 2

Day 2 in the keys… Love!  On Thursday of last week, Neal and I headed down to Key West for a little day trip.  Key west was about 2 hours away from where we were staying, so we packed out swimsuits and some munchies and hit the road.

The drive down to Key West was absolutely beautiful!  The traffic wasn’t all that bad, but the 1 lane roads were definitely getting to me.  God love slow drivers, I’m dating one, but an hour behind one stinks!

Once in Key West we found parking and then made our way to Duval Street.  Neal is a published author of two books, Hawkeye Greats By The Numbers and What It Means to Be a Hawkeye, and had a phone interview with a columnist for the Cedar Rapids Gazette a little after we arrived in Key West.  We found this super cute restaurant, found a table, and Neal started his phone interview.  I’m incredibly proud of him and loved reading the article last night.

While Neal was on his interview I ordered us some ROCKIN’ french toast.  It was called “Bananas Foster French Toast” and let me tell you, it was amazing!!

After the interview we started making our way down Duval Street towards the southern most point.  There were lots of cute shops, but even more strip bars and XXX stores…. not all that appealing.  Key West was an interesting town to say the least.  All I’ll say is “been there, done that”. It did have one extremely positive attribute…. KEY LIME PIE!!  (check out tomorrow’s post “Key Lime Pie Throwdown”)

We finally made our way down to the southern most point, being only 90 miles from Cuba.

We also dipped our toes into the ocean (totally left our bathing suits in the car 😦 )

please note that the shoes Neal is holding are what's in focus... we're working on his multitasking skills 🙂

We had a great time in Key West and are really glad we took the drive down there.  Like I said, the key lime pie alone was worth the drive!!

Stay tune for more vacation updates.

2 Years…

2 years ago today, Neal and I went on our first date at the Nationals ballpark.  As I shared the other day, Neal and I met through Match.com and have been happily dating since.

Over the past two years, we have gone on a lot of dates, been on a lot of adventures, and have watched a LOT of sports!!

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I love you Neal!!

Florida Keys: Day 1

Neal and I have been in Florida since Wednesday.  Wednesday morning we made our way to the airport; settled in and grabbed some Dunkin’ Donuts.

Ok, not the healthiest start to the vacation but sometimes a girl just needs a chocolate cake donut.

Our flight was delayed a good hour and a half or so but we got into West Palm Beach safely and began our drive down to the keys.  Now I’m not sure  the last time you rented a car, but paying 12 extra dollars a day to have two drivers just isn’t worth it… so I volunteered to be the only driver.  I really enjoy driving, but driving down Rt. 1 in Miami was just about pure torture.  Stop light after stop light… It took forever to get out of Miami.

By 4PM we were pretty hungry, so we searched trip advisor on Neal’s android and found this awesome Mexican restaurant in Homestead, FL called Taqueria Morelia.

Neal opted for the chorizo burrito where as I had the carne asada burrito… just what I needed, IRON!!

Once in the keys, we drove around a bit and took a few photos on the beach.  It was absolutely breathtaking!

I’m so happy to be here, right now!  Things have been pretty stressful these past few weeks.  With graduate school coming to a close for the summer and things being up in the air with my job search, I’ve been living in a stressful limbo.  Being able to go on vacation has been really beneficial and I’m really grateful for this time away and to be with Neal.

After settling into our super cute hotel, Neal and I headed out to find some Key Lime Pie.  We found the Conch House which was recently featured on Man vs. Food!!  We ordered the famous conch fritters and 2 pieces of key lime pie to go.

I was pretty happy and was looking forward to changing Neal’s opinion of Key Lime Pie!!

So you might be wondering, “what could possibly make this day any better?”.  A killer sunset!  You guessed it!

The mosquitoes were pretty bad, but this sunset was well worth it!

I also loved the adirondack chairs.  It’s the little things in life I tell ya.

Overall, day 1 was fantastic!!  Wednesday was a long day, but there’s nothing better than going on vacation and settling in.  Check out the day 2 recap soon… a day trip down to Key West!