My Wedding Planning Binder

Today was much better than yesterday, though I totally have to tell y’all, Neal stop by last night to give me flowers!  It was so incredibly sweet of him!  He knew I was having a bad day and wanted to cheer me up.

This morning Neal and I met up for our 4 mile run.  It was super windy and a little chilly at first, but it was awesome running weather.  I wore my Forerunner 305 again, YAY, but totally forgot to restart it thus my timing and mileage was off.  Oh well.  We still had a great run.  I’m not sure how Neal felt, but I felt like we ran the 4 miles with ease… which is great since we are running 8 miles this Sunday!

After work, Neal and I had dinner with Heather and Greg at Maggiano’s.

Thursday, October 20 – Food Journal

  • Pre-Workout – banana
  • Breakfast – 1 cup of coffee, 1 sandwich thin, 1 egg, 2 slices of turkey bacon, and 1 slice of cheese (homemade breakfast sandwich)
  • Lunch – 1 sandwich thin, 1 veggie patty, apple and pumpkin fluff
  • Snack- banana
  • Dinner – Calamari, salmon salad with green beans, tomatoes, red onion, and dried noodles, a few bites of pumpkin cheesecake

When all was said in done, I…

  • Ate 3 serving of fruit and 6 servings of vegetables (9 out of 9 servings)
  • Ran 4 miles with Neal this morning
  • Drank 8 glasses of water (8 out of 8 )
  • Took a multivitamin and vitamin D

Tomorrow is an exciting day for me, as Neal and I are going to check out my favorite wedding venue thus far.  It is this 200 year old barn and I just LOVE the pictures!  We’ll see how it looks in person, but I’m really excited.

To help me with my planning, my Aunt Donna and my Cousin Taylor made me the cutest planning binder ever!

I loved the wrapping paper.  White, black, and teal is so cute in my opinion.

The binder had so many adorable sections, which will allow me to organize the material I receive, my notes, and my ideas.  I just love what my Aunt and Cousin made for us!

I have such an amazing family and I’m really excited to celebrate my marriage to Neal with them next summer!   Seeing the barn in the morning is exciting and I hope it takes us a step closer to having a reception venue.  Have an amazing Friday everyone!

28 before 28

I love setting goals and creating to-do lists, so I thought creating a list of things I want to do or plan to do before turning 28 next year would be a good idea!  As I shared the other day, this is the first year that my age has really hit me.  Maybe it’s because Neal and I are getting married and we’re starting to talk more about our future, but either way I feel like I’m getting older.

Health and Fitness

1.  Meet with a nutritionist/registered dietitian
2.  Eat more fruits and veggies
3.  Cut back on sweets
4.  Reach 199 pounds!
5.  Create a weight lifting routine
6.  Continue to run after 15K and maintain ability to run 8-10 miles with ease
7.  Become a certified spin instructor


8.  Continue to develop Coffee, Cake and Cardio
9.  Redesign Coffee, Cake and Cardio
10.  Host a giveaway each month on Coffee, Cake, and Cardio

Neal and I

11.  Plan a nice date night once a month with Neal
12.  Downsize my apartment (and encourage Neal to do the same) before we move in together
13.  Move into Neal’s and my first home together!
14.  Plan our wedding and stay under budget
15.  Get married!
16.  Plan out 2012 trip to Australia
17.  Plan our 2013 trip to Europe
18.  Develop a savings plan


19.  Graduate from Kansas State University with my masters degree
20.  Take tap dance classes
21.  Finish my high school scrapbook
22.  Learn how to knit hats
23.  Plan a girls weekend
24.  Recover all of my photos and documents from my old laptop
25.  Save and organize all digital photos in one, safe place
26.  Buy and iPhone
27.  Read 4 non graduate school related books
28.  Pursue coaching discus and shot-put at a local high school

Here’s to another great year!

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!

Tuna Casserole and a 6 Mile Run

Today started out just like any other day with a 6 mile run!  The weather was absolutely amazing.  The air was crisp, the sun was warm, and thankfully the trail wasn’t terribly crowded because the Army 10 Miler was going on.

My legs on the other hand, were not in the game.  From the start they were achy, crampy, and just all around tight.  I stopped a few times to get some extra stretching in between miles 1-3 and started to feel better after mile 3.

As I shared last week, it takes me a good 3-4 miles to get warmed up and into the groove.  In the end though, Neal and I ran 6 miles, woop woop!  The longest run of our fall training so far.  I don’t have any splits, but we walked 1/4 mile, ran/walked the 6 miles and then finished with another 1/4 mile walk in 1 hour and 18 minutes.  That’s right in line with our 12 minute mile pace.

I also burned 1118 calories (crazy) and got a nice tan.  Always a plus.  After our run we went grocery shopping and then pick up some smoothies for the ride home.

This afternoon I had every intention of cleaning my house and working on graduate work, but yeah, it didn’t happen.  I started watching the Eagles vs. Bills game and knocked out.  1.5 hours later I was waking up to make dinner for Neal and I.

Over the past month or so, I’ve been trying out one new recipe a week and have not limited myself to “Neal friendly meals”.  Lets just say Neal claims to not be the biggest fan of a lot of different foods, but I’ve made it my mission to try out different recipes with the goal of showing him just how tasty vegetables, for example, can be.

For tonight, I wanted to try out a Tuna Casserole recipe from Everyday Food.  I changed it up a bit, as usual, but here it is.  Oh, and here is the nutritional information.

Ashley’s Tuna Casserole

  • 1 box bow tie pasta
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups skim milk
  • 2 cans of tuna (drained and flaked)
  • 1 cup frozen corn
  • Garlic salt
  • Ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  In a large pot of boiling water, cook pasta 2 minutes less than package instructions.  While the pasta boils, heat oil in pot over medium-high heat.  Add onion and season with garlic salt and pepper.  Cook until softened.

Now my trick is to measure out my flour, milk, and chicken stock ahead of time that way I just have to pour when I am making my sauce.

Add flour to onions and whisk to coat onions.  Slowly whisk in broth, then milk.  Cook, stirring constantly, until sauce comes to a boil.  Reduce head and simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce is thickened (took about 10 minutes for me).  Stir in pasta, tuna, and corn (recipe actually calls for peas) and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Transfer tuna mixture into a baking dish and top with panko bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.  Bake until sauce is bubbling and crust is golden, 20 minutes.  Let cool for 10 minutes before serving. (sorry, I totally didn’t take a picture of it after it was served).

So I’d like to say that Neal loved this dish, but he didn’t.  I honestly would only give it 2 out of 5 stars.  It didn’t have all that much flavor.  On top of that, Neal hates tuna.  I tried to wait to tell him but he saw the recipe on my computer before hand and I think it took him out of the game mentally.  I really don’t think he would have known it was tuna!   Oh well, first time he’s hated disliked a dish of mine.

Tonight I’m going to work on some graduate work, pack for tomorrow, and do a little planning.  This week is “Birthday Week”, according to Neal, so he has plans for us tomorrow night downtown DC.  I’m really looking forward to it!  OH, and I got an amazing package from Neal’s Mom on Saturday.  She is such a doll and got me some amazing birthday presents.

She got me an umbrella, lanyard, hat box cosmetic case, and the metropolitan bag from Vera Bradley!  I was so incredibly excited and can’t wait to use them.  All of them are in the “happy snails” pattern, too cute!  Thank you Norma, I really appreciate the birthday presents!!

I hope y’all enjoy the last bit of your weekend!  Look out for my Weekly Plan tomorrow morning!

What did you do this weekend? 

Facing My Age

I love birthdays.  I mean LOVE birthdays.  I love planning things for others birthdays, wishing people a happy birthday, and of course, counting down the days until my birthday.  My birthday is on October 16th and I CAN NOT WAIT!

Last week while on an early morning run, Neal told me that we’re going to be celebrating my birthday this year for a full week!  AHHH!  He’s calling it “birthday week“.

This coming Monday (October 10th) will be the first day of birthday week and I am stoked!  This is really the first year that I’ve felt “old”.  I always look forward to my birthday and am usually excited about my age, but this year it kinda hit me… “OMG, I am turning 27“.   Now I know, 27 is “young” but for whatever reason, it’s really hitting me that I’m getting older.

Still, I’m having a lot of fun!  I have an amazing job, I’m almost done with graduate school, I have the most amazing boyfriend, I love love love my family and friends, and I live is an incredibly vibrant city.  I have so much to be grateful for!   I’ve accomplished a lot in 27 years and I have a whole lot of living left to do!

Speaking of living, tonight I’m going out with my TEAM in Training BFF Becky!!  I adore her and am SO incredibly excited to hang out tonight.  I missed out on a hang out with her and our other BFF Dina last week, so I’m stoked to make it up tonight.

We’re planning to meet in Chinatown, grab some drinks, grab some dinner, and then we’re going to see “What’s Your Number?” staring Anna Faris!  I’m really excited to have a girls night.

Have an amazing Friday everyone!!

Have you had a birthday when your age really hit you?  If so, how old were you and what were you thinking/feeling?

Weekend Recap: October Style

This weekend was awesome!  It started out with dinner at Liz’s on Friday night

Liz made a fantastic vegetable lasagna, which included carrots!  I had never had lasagna with carrots, so it was quite the surprise.

I also left her place with enough cat hair on me to form another cat, but it’s well worth it when I get to see Isabel and Luna.

On Saturday, Neal and I braved the weather and went out to the Del Ray arts festival in Alexandria.

Thankfully it didn’t rain too much once we were there so we were able to enjoy the venders and all of the art.  I was able to see my favorite photographer, Matthew Parker, and am eye balling a few of his prints.

After the art festival, we headed over to Mancini’s our favorite breakfast place!

Neal ordered a chorizo, egg, and veggie sandwich with a key lime soda

And I ordered the “Frenchman’s omelet” which was made with bacon, spinach, leeks, and brie.  It was awesome!  After a Costco run and a few other errands, we called it a day and stayed in for the evening.  It was great getting laundry done and catching up on our DVR.  OH, and we watched Patton… one of Neal’s favorite movies.

Today Neal and I both slept in, so running in the morning was totally out.  Instead we ran to the grocery store and watched the Redskins game.  After getting some graduate work done during the 1st and 2nd quarters, I fell asleep during the 3rd quarter and slept for a good hour or so.  I got a lot of sleep today, but my body needed it I guess.

Around 5:30PM we decided it was time to get out 5 mile run in, better late than never.  We decided to run on the Mt. Vernon trail in Old Town Alexandria, which takes you out to Reagan National Airport.  We both had a fantastic run!  We were feeling great and I honestly could have kept running, if it weren’t already dark out.

I’ve found that after 4 miles, I’m usually warmed up and ready to go.  I have to keep that in mind when I’m feeling lousy in my first 3 miles.

I really had a fantastic weekend and feel good going into the week ahead!  Have a fantastic week everyone!

Hodge Podge Monday

Today’s post is rather hodge podge as there is so much I want to share.  First off, who has seen this commercial?  I cried the first time I saw it and it still gets to me every time…

It’s really a beautiful take on life but it makes me happy and sad all in a one minute commercial.  Darn you Lowes!

This weekend was a lot of fun but also consisted of a lot of hard work.  Friday night Neal and I went to the National baseball game at Nats Park.

This weekend was their last home series of the season, so we had to make it out there (and buy their nachos…. sooo bad for you good).  We had a wonderful time and the park was just beautiful that night.

Pretty nice considering it rained all day!  Although the Nats lost, Neal and I had a fantastic time… right Neal?

Saturday morning I went to the Annapolis, MD Amish Market with my Aunt Danielle and had a wonderful time!  Remember you still have a chance to enter the Amish Market Giveaway!  A winner will be selected Wednesday morning.

Sunday Neal and I both woke up late so we didn’t go out for our scheduled 4 mile run.  Instead we stopped at Grounded Coffee, went grocery shopping and then made our way back home.  I had a lot of graduate work to do, so I spent the after working on a project.

Around 5PM Neal and I went for a 1 hour walk, which was a really nice change of pace.  I’m really proud of our 15K training so far, but it was really nice to just go for a walk.  Confession: I really have a hard time running!  I always feel great afterwards, but it really is challenging for me.  What I’ve learned though is with time, your body will adapt and running will become easier!

We made up our 4 mile run this morning, running at just over a 10 minute pace.  We finished 4 miles in 43:51 (running on a 2 minute run, 1 minute walk interval).  Neal had a great run and I’m really glad he pushed me this morning.

Tonight the Washington Redskins play the Dallas Cowboys in Monday Night Football, so I’m making Chunky Beef Chili and Jalapeno Cornbread for the occasion!  I’m really looking forward to sitting back and watching some football.

Happy Monday Everyone!

Any fun plans this week?  Last week of September…