Seasonal Clif Bar Giveaway!

Last night I met up with one of my bridesmaids, Becky, for dinner at Mama Ayesha’s.  The restaurant is about a 10 minute walk from the Woodley Park metro station, just over Rock Creek Park on Calvert Street.  As you cross the bridge you will see this crazy/awesome mural on the side of the restaurant.  I mean come on, Mama Ayesha herself with 11 presidents.  Classic!

Dinner was awesome!  We started with hummus

and then split two dinner.

We ordered Menzalah, which was layered eggplant topped with ground beef, pine nuts, almonds and tomato sauce baked and served with rice

and Mushakal Mashawi, which was shish kabob, shish taouk and kifta kabob served with rice and grilled vegetables.  Both dinners were awesome!  I loved the eggplant in the first dish and the grilled chicken in the second dish.  Oh man, and the hummus was truly awesome!

A cup of decaf and 2 desserts brought our amazing meal to a close.  I’m so thankful for my friends and love that Becky will be one of my bridesmaids.  Tonight we talked about the bachelorette party, oh yeah!  Vegas anyone?

While at dinner, I received a text from Neal’s sister Jill that baby Annabelle was born tonight!!  Seriously, Jill is A-Mazing.  As of 2PM this afternoon, she was sitting on her couch watching elf.  4 hours later she had her baby girl in her arms.  Who does that?  I am seriously in awe, considering Annabelle is her first baby but man are we excited to welcome Annabelle to the world!  Happy Birthday Annabelle!  In honor of Annabelle’s birthday, I thought a giveaway would be appropriate!!

Seasonal Clif Bar Giveaway

Clif Bar has 3 seasonal flavors this year and I thought 1 lucky winner would like to try all three!

We’ve got Peppermint Stick!

We’ve got Iced Gingerbread!

And we’ve got Spiced Pumpkin Pie!

Who’s excited?

To Enter the Seasonal Clif Bar Giveaway simply:

  • Leave a comment on this post about your favorite ethnic food and/or favorite Clif Bar flavor

  • Earn an extra entry by tweeting: “I want to win @CoffeeCkeCardio’s Seasonal @Clifbar Giveaway!” (Just make sure to leave a second comment on this post with your tweet)

  • Earn an extra extra entry by signing up for a subscription to Coffee Cake and Cardio.  (Just make sure to leave a third comment on this post saying you’ve subscribed to Coffee, Cake and Cardio). 

I’ll randomly pick a winner on Thursday morning (October 27, 2011). (Please note that you must live in the Continental United States to qualify).

Celebrations at the Melting Pot

Tonight Neal, Liz, Matt and I went to the Melting Pot to celebrate Liz’s and my birthday, Neal’s and my engagement, and Matt’s return to DC.

Liz, Matt, and Eric (the buffalo stand in)

It was so nice to have a dinner date with the gang, as Matt has been out of town on business for the past 5 weeks.  We started dinner with the Wisconsin Cheese Trio fondue.

We then had a wonderful main course (herb chicken, terriaki steak, filet mignon, Tuna, and shrimp).

We also enjoyed a few cocktails!!

For dessert we had a WONDERFUL dark chocolate fondue with marshmallow and oreos.

It was great catching up, making plans for the winter months, and talking about Eric’s return to DC in February.

Liz can’t wait to have her man back!! We all miss Eric a lot!

Tonight’s dinner was the perfect way to end the weekend and a great way to start the week.  This week is going to be REALLY busy, but I’m looking forward to getting a lot of stuff done at work, continuing our wedding planning, and cranking out a LOT of graduate work!

Weekly Plan: October 24-30









1 egg, 1 slice turkey bacon, on sandwich thin, banana

Veggie patty on sandwich thin, small salad

Pumpkin fluff, honeycrisp apple

Dinner at Mama Ayesha’s

Dinner with Becky


Elliptical and Weight Lifting

Multigrain cheerios, banana

Lunch with Melanie

Pumpkin fluff, apple pear

Turkey tacos

The Biggest Loser


3 mile run

1 egg, 1 slice turkey bacon, slice of tomato on English muffin

Leftover turkey taco meat on salad

Pumpkin fluff, apple pear

Dinner at Cosi

Dinner with Katy and graduate work


Elliptical and Weight Lifting

Multigrain cheerios, banana

Leftover turkey taco meat on salad

Pumpkin fluff, apple pear

Food tasting with caterer

Graduate Work


30 min run

1 egg, 1 slice turkey bacon, slice of tomato on English muffin

Leftover turkey taco meat on salad

Pumpkin fluff, apple pear

Salad @ home

Wedding Planning with Neal — visiting venue #4


6 mile run

Oatmeal, sunflower butter, banana

Smoothie and wrap from Tropical Smoothie (post run tradition)


Dinner at Neal’s (turkey or chicken burgers)

Long run and lots of graduate work



Multigrain cheerios, banana




Wedding Expo at one of our venue options and lots of graduate work

This week, my goal is to continue my Get-in-Shape Checklist and to accomplish a lot on my to do list.  I am also having a GIVEAWAY on Tuesday… so stay tune for that!

Have an amazing Monday and a great start to the week!  What are your goals for this week?

27th Birthday Recap

I had an amazing birthday!!  This week started out with a bang as Neal proposed on Monday night!  I didn’t think it could get any better… but it really was an amazing week.  Although Neal and I both got really sick this week, living on cloud nine kept my mind off of my runny nose, sore throat and cough.

This morning Neal and I went on a 7 mile run, part of our 15K training.  I was so excited to see a birthday cake on my FT7 this morning!  Too cute!  But today, I wore by new Garmin Forerunner 305!  It was a birthday present from my parents and I just couldn’t wait to use it today.

The weather was absolutely amazing today.  The air was crisp and there was this amazing breeze.  Neal and I started our run along the George Washington Parkway on the Mt. Vernon Trail at mile marker 12.

Our run took us past the airport, around Gravelly Point (right where the airplanes take off and land), and right to the 14th street bridge.

It is so amazing running past the monuments.  Runs like this remind me of why I love Washington, DC so much.

Neal and I had a fantastic run and felt great afterwards!

7 miles

  • Mile 1- 00:11:57
  • Mile 2- 00:11:42
  • Mile 3- 00:11:28
  • Mile 4- 00:11:38
  • Mile 5- 00:12:15
  • Mile 6- 00:11:42
  • Mile 7- 00:11:39
  • Total time- 01:22:24
  • Total calories- 1180 calories burned

Afterwards we headed strait over to Tropical Smoothie Cafe!  Nothing better than an ice cold fruit smoothie after a long run.  Once we were cooled down we headed over to Whole Foods (Kombucha drinks, honeycrisp apples, bananas, NuGo bars, and sunflower butter) and Giant (a few odds and ends).

Once home, we settled in and watched the Redskins game.  Sadly they lost but I got a rockin’ 20 minute nap in during the 2nd quarter!

After the game, Neal and I got dolled up and went out to dinner.  Over the past 2 years, we’ve gone to the Cheesecake Factory for both of our birthdays.  It’s become a birthday tradition I guess.

Dinner was awesome and I’m happy I burned those 1180 calories this morning!  After dinner we headed over to Barnes and Noble where I did a little perusing for wedding ideas.  Here’s what caught my eye…

Place seating board with clothes pins

Antique dinner plate table numbers

Isle decorations-- LOVE!

Reception decorations.. Love Love Love

I had a wonderful 27th birthday!  I’m so thankful for all of the birthday wishes and appreciate all of the wonderful people in my life.  Last year was a lot of fun and I’m really looking forward to all that this year has in store.

I’m starting out today with a 30 minute run with Neal and then am planning to use my free Starbucks birthday coupon before heading into work.  After work I’m having dinner with Randy, the other love in my life!

This week I’m focusing on eating 9 servings of fruits or vegetables a day and drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day.  Two mini goals but I know they can impact my diet in a huge way.   Oh and be sure to check out my 28 goals before turning 28 next year!

Have a very happy Monday everyone!  Any plans this week?  What mini goals do you have this week to impact your health in a very positive way?

Not Just Any Old Columbus Day: I’m Engaged!!

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Columbus Day!  On one hand, I hate that I have to work each year while the Government is closed.  On the other hand, no one is on the metro!  It’s a day I love to hate.

Empty Metro Parking Lot

Today started out with an awesome 30 minute run with Neal.  We did a small hill loop 3 times and got an awesome workout in.  I showered and then made an awesome breakfast…

English muffin topped with 1 egg, 1 slice of turkey bacon, shredded cheese, and a slice of tomato.  It was awesome.  With a big huge cup of tea to go along with my breakfast sandwich, I was ready to take on Columbus Day!

This is the coffee mug I painted at a paint your own pottery place a month or so ago btw, I LOVE paint your own pottery. Highly recommend it if you haven't been before.

After work, I met Neal at the metro.  Neal planned a date night for the first night of “birthday week” and we decided Monday night was the ideal night for us both.  Although I wasn’t all that excited to go downtown to see the new MLK memorial, I knew Neal would love it.  The plan was to go down to see the monument and then head over to Bobby’s Burger Palace for dinner.

DC is such an amazing city and I’m reminded of that every time I go downtown.

Neal and I headed down to the tidal basin and headed towards the new MLK memorial.

As we got closer to the MLK memorial, Neal and I headed down a path that was closer to the water.  It was such a beautiful night and I was loving being outside with my amazing boyfriend.

Since last week, Neal has been talking about “Birthday Week” and his plan to give me a gift each day, starting with small gifts and building up to a large gift.  While we were walking, Neal began explaining to me that he may have lied, “You know how I said I was going to start with small gift and end with a large gift? Well yeah, I lied”.  It was then that I knew, Neal was totally going to propose.

Neal pulled me in close and told me how much he loves me.  Of course a crowd of people walked by just then, but after they passed and I stopped saying ” OMG, are you serious?  No way”, Neal got down on one knee and asked me to marry him!

Our Only Witnesses

I surprisingly didn’t cry but I think it’s because I was in shock (and still am)!

Check out my nasty hair and manicure ... clearly I had no idea he was going to propose.

The ring is gorgeous!!  I am so incredibly grateful and am truly engaged to the man of my dreams.  Neal loves me for who I am and who I dream to be.  He supports my goals and balances me out so well.

After a few minutes of OMG’s, Neal and I found a bench and started to call our family and friends.

We’re kinda excited!

As the sun started to set, we headed over to the MLK memorial…

Took a few photos…

And headed off to dinner.  Now Neal said Bobby’s Burger Palace was just a decoy and that I could choose anywhere for dinner… but burgers are so Neal and I.  I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Bobby’s Burger Palace was just OK.  It wasn’t the “most amazing burger I’ve ever had” but it was pretty good.  In all honesty, I was just overjoyed to be engaged to Neal!

As of this morning, Columbus Day was just another holiday but now, Columbus Day (10.10.11) is the day the love of my life asked me to be his wife.  I am so excited and can’t wait to marry this man!

Cleveland Rocks!

This past weekend Neal and I went to Cleveland, OH to visit Neal’s sister Jill and her husband Rob.

We set off on our adventure after work on Friday, hitting the road at 5:17PM.

The drive up to Cleveland wasn’t bad at all, but the Pennsylvania Turnpike at night is a little scary.  Neal and I split the driving in half, getting us into Cleveland at 11:59PM. Neal was a champ, driving the last leg of the trip while I napped.  I really appreciated him helping me drive.

Rob and Jill have the most adorable house in Cleveland.  I just loved the layout and how they had decorated it.  It definitely made Neal and I excited about our own house hunting, when the time comes.

After a cup of coffee and some catching up, we headed out to the West Side Market.  It reminded me of Eastern Market here in DC and the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia.  Still, it was unique and had some wonderful vendors.

Neal and his adorable sister Jill

The market sells lots of produce, meats, cheeses, and breads.  One of Jill’s favorite venders sells cannolis, which are out of this world!  I’ve never seen so many cannoli flavors.

We ordered the apple pie, pumpkin pie, oreo, double chocolate, original, pistachio, hazelnut, and peanut butter chocolate.  My favorite was the peanut butter chocolate, but the pumpkin pie was also very tasty.

Neal and I also bought some handmade garlic parsley gnocchi from a vender and can not wait to try them this weekend!

After an amazing time at the market, we headed over to the Souper Market for lunch.

Neal and I split a bowl of caramelized onion, Parmesan and potato soup and Jill ordered an Indian Lentil soup (Mulligatawny).  Both were rockin’!!  I loved how light yet flavorful both soups were.  After lunch we headed over to Coventry in Cleveland Heights.  Coventry is a street in Cleveland Heights with cute little shops and various restaurants.  After a relaxing drive over to Coventry, I knew a cup of coffee was in order.

We stopped into Pheonix Coffee, where I ordered an Almond Mate Latte.  A mate latte is more or less a hot tea (mate) steeped with hot (skim) milk.  It was awesome!  I would definitely order it again.

After shopping along Coventry, we headed back home to meet up with Rob.  Neal and I were exhausted, so we took a quick 2 hour nap.  After that nap I knew that something was up with my body.  There was no reason for being that tired.  I had a funny feeling I was starting to get sick.

Once Rob got home we went for a lovely walk in the Cleveland Metroparks.

Jill and Rob are an absolutely adorable couple.  They got married last October and are expecting their first child in the next couple of weeks.

It was so great being able to see them before the baby arrives.  It was also really fun seeing where they hang out and get their walks in!  Jill was a runner in college and Rob was a pole vaulter, so health and fitness are extremely important to them.  It was neat seeing the parks they had found and how they incorporated daily walks into their lives (I’m sure they’ll be runs after the baby arrives).

After our walk we put in an order to Melt and headed off to Lakewood to see the Cleveland skyline.

Now Melt is this amazing grilled cheese restaurant but with an hour – 2 hour wait on a Saturday night, ordering out was the ticket!

Rob and Jill ordered the Gyro Melt (slow roasted beef & lamb, tzatziki cucumber yogurt sauce, fresh tomato & sweet onions, feta, muenster), Neal ordered the Buffalo Chicken (Super crispy breaded chicken breast, spicy authentic buffalo wing sauce, celery and blue cheese slaw, melty blue cheese, cool ranch dressing for dipping), and I ordered the Porky Cheese (honey ham, crisp bacon, smoked gouda).  These sandwiches were AWESOME– though far from healthy.

Saturday night after dinner we all settled in and watched a little football.  I, of course, fell asleep on the couch before moving into the bedroom around 11:30PM.

Sunday morning we all got ready for church and then headed over to The Root Cafe in Lakewood.  Now this cafe was AWESOME!! Organic, Vegan, Gluten Free; you name it, they have it!

I ordered a raspberry and white chocolate scone with a soy chai, Jill also ordered the raspberry and white chocolate scone, Neal ordered a frittata, and Rob ordered the vegan french toast.

After church we quickly packed the car, ate some leftovers, and said our good byes.  I could tell from the moment I got up that my body was fighting something, so I wanted to make sure we left around 1PM so that we were home by 8PM.  I wanted to be able to organize myself before the week ahead and to take some meds if needed.

We hit the road at 1:39PM and made it home at 7:39PM on the dot… kinda crazy that it was 6 hours exactly.

I was snuggled up on the couch by 9PM and probably asleep by 9:30PM.  I slept sound until 7:00AM and woke up rather sick today, sadness.  Still, the weekend was wonderful and I’m so glad we had the chance to visit Jill and Rob before the baby arrives.

If you haven’t been to Cleveland before, you really ought to go!  It wasn’t what I expected.  I figured it would be extremely industrial, but it really was a cute city with lots to offer!


A Little Punkin’ In My Life

After Iowa lost to Iowa State yesterday afternoon, Neal and I just had to get out of the house.  After an impromptu haircut for Neal, I convinced Neal to go see Contagion with me.

I’m going to give it 4.5/5 stars!  I thought it was a really good movie and gets you thinking about if a breakout where to occur.  I thought the movie was realistic and had just the right amount of suspense.

After the movie we went to one of our favorite restaurants, Lost Dog Cafe.  This restaurant has an extremely unique menu, featuring tons of sandwiches and some of the best pizzas in DC!  They also have a wicked good beer selection, both on tap and bottled. The Lost Dog Cafe is also where Neal and I went on our second date, so it holds a place not only in our stomachs but also in our hearts!

When I saw these little beauties staring at me from the beer case I knew what I was ordering…

As they had Dogfish Head Punkin Ale on tap, I opted for an ice cold glass and bought a 4 pack to take home.

Neal and I ordered a Greek salad to start

and The Italian Pie for dinner.  I really prefer cheese or veggie pizzas, but I thought I’d compromise and get a meat pizza to split with Neal.  Oh the sacrifices we make for our partners.

The pizza was fantastic actually, topped with homemade tomato sauce, genoa salami, hickory ham, pepperoni and sliced onions covered with mozzarella cheese and a pinch of oregano.  Neal picked well and I was thrilled that it wasn’t overly greasy!  My favorite pizza of theirs is the tomato and feta pie.

For a spontaneous date night, we did really well and had a fantastic time!  I was home around 10PM, asleep by 11:30PM and woke up at 7:30AM on the dot.  I felt GREAT this morning!  I felt well rested and ready to enjoy a beautiful Sunday!

This morning Neal and I met up for our weekly long run.  We’re in the beginning stages of our 15K training, so although we’ve run longer distances this summer, we had 3 miles scheduled for today.

The run was actually really rough today.  It was rather hot out and Neal and I were both pooped 1.5 miles in.  I thought we were running really fast and Neal thought we had run a lot further than we actually did.  I mapped our run when we got home, just in case, and we definitely only ran 3 miles.  Granted we are run/walking on a 2:1 ratio but we were running really slow today!  After our run we walked around Old Town Alexandria and wandered over to Le Pain Quotidien.

Although this restaurant is a little more expensive, they have a wonderful menu filled with vegan, organic, and super fresh products.

I started off with a pot of coffee.  Caffeine!

and Neal started out with a Mint Lemonade.

After looking over the menu, Neal and I decided to order two things off their seasonal menu and to split them.

We ordered the Bacon, Scallion, and Sour Cream Omelet and the Whole Wheat Cherry Scone.  Both were FANTASTIC!

Neal loved the omelet and I loved the cherry scone.

After walking around the hoity toity Old Town Alexandria Arts Festival, Neal and I headed to Giant for some grocery shopping.  Now we’re watching football, I’m blogging and working on graduate work and Neal’s working on book number 3.  It has been a beautiful weekend… I’m sad to see it end.


Flying High

Who says you can’t drink wine out of a straw?

OK, maybe not but it was a fun picture!  Last night Neal and I went out to dinner with his parents at the new Italian restaurant in town, Napoli’s.  As they don’t have a booze license yet, we brought our own wine… which was awesome!

The meal started with hot rolls and dinner salads.  For dinner I ordered the chicken cacciatore with spicy marinara sauce.  Neal ordered the sampler, Neal’s mom ordered lobster ravioli, and Neal’s dad ordered a seafood dish (can’t remember the name).

We also ordered a cannoli and piece of strawberry cheesecake for dessert.  The cannoli was so awesome!  I just loved the filling.  I could totally do without the fried pastry, but the filling is just amazing.

This morning Neal and I got up early to get in a run before breakfast.  We headed down Main Street and ran over to Grinnell College.  The campus is beautiful and it is also the site of the first University of Iowa football game.  Although Iowa, formally known as the State University of Iowa (SUI), lost that game it was really cool to see the field where the Hawkeye’s first played.

We ran for about 40 minutes, burning 453 calories and running about 4 miles, give or take (this is why I need the forerunner).  We also ran past some gorgeous houses with beautiful gardens.

After our run Neal and I had breakfast with his parents.  I ordered an omelet with an English muffin and Neal ordered a breakfast combo (pancake, eggs, hash browns, etc.)

I love dining with Neal and his parents though I must admit, I’m looking forward to getting back home to my oatmeal, eggs, salads, and new recipes!

Now we’re at the airport, waiting to fly back home.  I had a wonderful time in Iowa and am so grateful for Neal’s family.  They are so welcoming and it’s amazing to have a great relationship with them!

Weekly Plan







20 min run (E) in Iowa (Check!)

Omelet and an English muffin

At the airport…

Traveling back home


Spin AM

Homemade smoothie pre workout, oatmeal and iced coffee post workout

Vegetable stir fry (Trader Joe’s), apple sauce, granola bar

Quinoa and asparagus

Back to work… grocery shopping and organizing things at home after work


2 mile run (E)

1 egg, 2 egg white sandwich, fruit

Leftover quinoa and asparagus

Grilled veggie and goat cheese sandwich

Cooking and graduate work



Homemade smoothie pre workout, oatmeal and iced coffee post workout

Grilled veggie and goat cheese sandwich, Figs

Taco Soup and seven layer dip

Dinner with the gang: Planning on making Taco Soup


20 min run (E) and weight lifting

1 egg, 2 egg white sandwich, fruit

Grilled veggie and goat cheese sandwich, Figs

Leftover taco soup

Enjoy a relaxing Friday night!



Pumpkin oatmeal and coffee

Lunch at Neal’s

Leftover taco soup

Alexandria’s Festival of the Arts and Iowa vs. Iowa State game


3 mile run with Neal

Protein bar pre workout, post workout ??

Leftover taco soup

Homemade pizza with Neal

Redskins vs. Giants and plenty of graduate work

It looks to be a busy week, but it’ll be good getting back into the swing of things.

Happy Labor Day Everybody!