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?

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!

A Little Coffee Love

Happy Thursday everyone!

This week has been rather good but I am totally looking forward to the weekend.  Isn’t it interesting how we’re always looking forward to the weekend.  Kinda weird how we want 5 out of our 7 days each week to fly by.  I love my job, so that has absolutely nothing to do with my week days, I think it’s more that the weekend is my time to relax, go on adventures, and not have an agenda (sometimes).  Still, Monday through Friday can be wonderful…

This week so far…

Monday — Ran for 40 minutes with Neal before work, made butternut squash mac and cheese for dinner, and then cranked out a learning profile project for graduate school.

Tuesday — Worked out on the elliptical for 20 minutes and then lifted weights for 40 minutes (squats, chest press, chest pulls, core exercises, and hamstring curls), had dinner with some friends at Matchbox in Chinatown after work (ordered the veggie pizza, yummy), and then watched the Biggest Loser.

Veggie Pizza and an onion ring 🙂

Our tables' dessert trio!

Wednesday — Ran for 30 minutes with Neal before work (we weren’t feeling it yesterday) and then met up with my Daddy and Neal for dinner at Ted’s Montana Grill.  Neal and I love Ted’s and I ordered the blue creek burger, my favorite!  It was wonderful seeing my Dad!  I love him so much.

This morning I have a doctors appointment, so it was nice being able to sleep in and put a little extra effort into getting ready.  Today I’m wearing heels to work– YAY!  After work the plan is to lift weights at the gym, make tuna casserole at home, and then crank out some more graduate work.  OH, and I was finally able to weight myself this morning…

Biggest Loser Challenge Week 2

  • Starting Weight: 226.6 pounds
  • Week 2 Weight:  225.2 pounds (up .4 pounds from last week, but I have eaten out the past two nights)
  • Total Weight Lost: 1.4 pounds

Now for a little coffee love from Pinterest….

Only 9 More Weeks?

Yesterday I received the most startling e-mail… We are only 9 weeks from Black Friday!! AHHHH!  I’ll be honest, I had a small panic attack as I haven’t even thought about the holidays yet.  They creep up on me every year and every year I think to myself, “self, next year you’re going to start saving, prepping, and shopping in September/October for the holidays”.  Well now is my chance!


Ways To Save

  • Use resources like Mint.com to help you to create a holiday savings plan
  • Make a list of who you want to shop for this holiday season and create a spending budget per person.  This will help you create an overall budget.
  • If you have a large family or group of friends, ask if everyone is interested in doing Secret Santa or creating a rotating schedule each year that way you only have to shop for 1 person/couple/family instead of multiples.
  • Set aside $10-$20 (or any amount you’d prefer) a week, placing the savings in an envelope labeled gifts/party/decor/etc..  The trick is to shop only using the money you’ve placed in the envelopes.  This helps you to budget and to use your savings wisely!
  • Take advantage of the fall festivals as they often have local vendors selling adorable handmade gifts (earrings, paintings, photography, etc.)
  • Etsy anyone?
  • Keep an eye on current sales!  Sales don’t just occur between Thanksgiving and Christmas.   You’d be surprised what you can find cheaper in October vs. in December.
  • Check out Ebates!  What’s better than cash back?
  • Begin creating handmade gift!  Knitting scarfs, baking baked goods, or making homemade thank you cards are great ways to wish someone a happy holiday without breaking the bank!
  • Shop for that “ugly sweater” or a cute holiday outfit at a local consignment shop or thrift store.
  • Don’t hesitate to go into gifts with multiple people.  Instead of spending $60 on that new purse for your Mom, see if your siblings or significant other want to chip in.

Although it’s only 9 weeks away, I am extremely excited.  Black Friday shopping is a HUGE family tradition of mine and I haven’t miss a Black Friday in 14 years!  This Thanksgiving my sister is coming into town and I can not wait!  I’ll definitely miss having my mom there, but I know she’ll have fun in Texas.  I’m also hoping to drag Neal Black Friday shopping, as I did last year!

Black Friday 2010

So around 4:30PM yesterday I was overwhelmed with the craving for a bison burger.  I don’t know if you’ve ever tried bison, but it’s wonderful and is incredibly lean.  My go to Bison burger restaurant is Ted’s Montana Grill.  I texted Neal right away in hopes that he’d be up for an evening out and thankfully he was totally game.

Neal ordered our favorite burger, the blue creek burger, which has blue cheese and bacon on top.  I ordered a new burger called the Avalon.  Although it sounds like an apartment complex, the toppings sounded delicious; blue cheese, bacon, garlic aioli, arugula and caramelized onions!! I was so excited.

We had a wonderful dinner together and were able to talk lots about blogging and book writing.  We’re both really enjoying our hobbies and it’s so fun to share our experiences and joys with each other.  After getting my bison fix, I headed home and tackled homework.  Graduate school is kinda kicking my tail this semester, but I’ll get through!  4 more classes… 4 more classes… 4 more classes….  That’s what I have to keep reminding myself.  May 2012 can’t get here soon enough, in regards to school that is.

This morning Neal and I ran for 30 minutes.  Hopefully we got a little under 3 miles in, but I’ll have to use Map My Run later to know for sure.  It’s really interesting how different we both can feel on a given day.  I’ll have an off day and he’ll feel great and vice versa.  This week I learned that either way, it’s just about getting out there and doing it.

Well, off to work I go with Dunkin Donuts Keurig brewed coffee in hand.  Hopefully the rain will let up today that way Neal and I can make it to the Nationals game tonight!  I’m going to miss baseball season….  Happy Friday Everyone!!

What’s your approach to holiday shopping and savings?

Counting Calories

Happy Monday Everyone!

Hard to believe that this will be my first full week of work in over 2 weeks.  Vacationing in Iowa gave me a two day work week two weeks ago and then Labor day gave us a 4 day work week last week.  Back to normalcy I guess, and hopefully weather wise too!  I’m not sure if I can take any more earthquakes, hurricanes, and flooding.

Last night, after watching the Redskins beat the Giants, Neal and I made the most delicious hamburgers.  We began by sauteing onions, which Neal chopped with his new knife. We then cooked our beef burgers, from Whole Foods, on our stove top grill.  The burgers were so incredibly juicy and the onions were so sweet.  Once everything was cooked we assembled our burgers.  Bun, beef burger, slice of blue cheese (Trader Joes), onion, a little mustard, and a little BBQ sauce.  PERFECTION!

This week I really want to focus on my calories in and my calories out.  I have a hard time because I know I’m eating “good” food but my portion sizes are just too large.  It’s great that I’m eating healthy, but 2000 calories is 2000 calories, whether I’m eating whole wheat pasta or potato chips.

I also feel like I often “ruin” a day with a random binge.  Last week it was Chex’s new Muddy Buddy mix.  I polished off a bag with Neal when we were at the movies on Saturday.  Not my finest moment.  Portion control is my biggest struggle and I hope counting my calories this week will show me where my portions should be.

This week I am going to log my food intake into My Plate.  I just need to gain a better perspective on how many calories I’m consuming.

Do you journal your food intake online?  What website do you use?

Here is this week’s weekly plan:







20 min. run (E) and weights at work

Bowl of cereal with blueberries

Ham sandwich with swiss cheese and garlic hummus, grapes

Mexican turkey meatloaf with mashed potatoes

Cooking and graduate work



Oatmeal with peanut butter

Leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes

Good bye party after work and graduate work


2 mile run (E) and weights at work

Bowl of cereal with blueberries

Leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes

Dinner with Liz

Crocheting class with Liz



Oatmeal with peanut butter

Ham sandwich with swiss cheese and garlic hummus

Pasta with tuna and a side of asparagus

Graduate work


25 min. run (E) and weights at work

Oatmeal with peanut butter

Ham sandwich with swiss cheese and garlic hummus

I’m really looking forward to the crocheting class Liz and I are attending on Wednesday night.  I’ve been wanting to learn how to crochet for some time, and I’m excited to have found a studio that offers classes.  I’m going to be crocheting blankets before you know it!  I haven’t confessed this yet, but I have a little bit of a knitting obsession.  I enjoy it for many reasons…

  • It’s a fun hobby
  • It’s good for stress management
  • You create beautiful gifts for loved ones
  • It keeps your hands busy (when traveling, watching tv, or when you’re looking to pass the time)

I also need to get a lot of graduate work done this week, so I’m hoping to get to bed at a reasonable time each night that way I have energy on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday to crank out some graduate work after work.

I hope today goes well for you and that you have a fantastic week!

Rain, Rain Please Go Away

What a rainy and nasty week it has been!  Since Neal and I return to DC Monday night it has not stopped raining.  It rained all day Tuesday, all day Wednesday, all day Thursday, and has yet to let up today.  I don’t mind the rain but I just hate the gray sky.  I miss the sun.

Check out the flooding not too far from my house.

This weekend’s weather is still up in the air, but I’m hoping to see a little sun!  The gray sky tends to bring my energy levels down and leaves me with a lack of motivation.  After work this week I haven’t really had the energy to accomplish my to do list.  I’ve been slacking big time on my graduate school work, so I’m going to have to make up for it this weekend.

Today really has been a great day, despite the fact that Neal and I didn’t go for our run this morning.  To make up for it, I am going to go for a run after work today with Liz at her gym.  Side note, Liz made a ROCKIN’ dessert last night and I just had to share.  She made a low fat chocolate trifle which tasted a-mazing!

Instead of topping it with chopped chocolate, she topped it with English toffee bits!  It was fantastic.

In other news, I have cancelled by gym membership (eek!).  As Neal and I are back into our running routine, spending $89.99 a month to attend 4-8 spin classes just isn’t worth it.  In addition, I now have access to my gym at work so why pay for an additional gym if I don’t have to?

I think training outside this fall/early winter will go well, but I’m a little nervous about January-March.  Those months are always tough on me, so I’m thinking I may join Crossfit at that time.  Ali from Food. Fitness. Fashion. has really inspired me to look into Crossfit and I’m thinking it’d be a great addition come December/January! It’s a little pricey, but I know I would love it!

In even greater news, Sprint PCS is going to carry the iPhone 5 starting in October.  I am stinking thrilled!! I can’t wait to get rid of my blackberry!

Weekend Sneak Peak

Friday night — Running with Liz and then relaxing!!  I need to get some good rest in and will need to get to bed early.

Saturday morning — Grad work and lots of delicious coffee

Saturday at Noon — Iowa vs. Iowa State football game

Saturday night — Grad work, laundry, and relaxing

Sunday morning — 3 mile run with Neal and the Old Town Alexandria Art Festival

Sunday afternoon — Weekly planning for next week, grocery shopping, and the Redskins vs. Giant football game!

What plans do you have for this weekend? 

First Taste of Fall

It is an absolutely beautiful day in Iowa today!  The sun is shinning, the wind is blowing, and it is a crisp 70 degrees outside.  It is just gorgeous!

Last night I had some incredibly random/obscure dreams.  Dreaming is not uncommon for me but having 2 big dreams in one night is kinda crazy!  I tend to dream about things on my mind, but it’s really funny to see how those themes play out in my dreams.

My first dream started out in Philadelphia as I was prepping to go out for a run.  While out on the city streets I ran into a facebook friend (friend of a friend whom I’ve only met once in person) and she went on and on about how I was suppose to meet her on the other side of the city for our run an hour ago.  I clearly had no idea what she was talking about, but we continued our run.  We ended the run at her apartment and she invited me in to meet all of her friends.  As we made our way around her house I ran into Neal by the patio door, which was weird because he had never met this girl nor did I think he knew where she lived.

As it had been raining outside, Neal had an umbrella with him and he led me out onto the patio.  The umbrella was incredibly weird, as it had wires lining the inside… which Neal began to light with a lighter.  I was like “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” and he just told me to wait and to be patient.  Well the wires in the umbrella were actually fireworks which he had taped in there, again, so random!!  After the firework display, Neal got on one knee and proposed… Crazy, I know!  The ring was made up of 6 little rings, which when put together were one engagement ring.

My second dream was a little more dramatic as I was being sued by some of my clients at work because they had found my blog and were upset about the content.  They even started a facebook group about suing me… can you believe it, lol? Thinking back on the dream it’s actually really funny but I seriously woke up in a panic.  I kept telling my boss “I never blog about work” but she still said that my clients were going to sue me.  Craziness!

This morning for breakfast I had a cinnamon raisin bagel topped with all natural peanut butter and a sliced banana.  With a cup of coffee along side and my graduate work to do list written, I was ready to start the day!

After finishing up my graduate work, Neal and I volunteered to tackle some errands for his Mom and Dad. Personally I was just excited to be outside!

While at Walmart I came across this incredibly weird wine … has anyone ever seen this kind of wine before?

When Neal and I got to our last we were really close to Main Street so I decided to just walk back home.

Isn’t this just the cutest town?

Most of the stores are closed on Sundays, but I stopped by the town’s grocery store to pick up a Gingerade Kombucha and the new Rachel Ray magazine.

I have a huge confession… I never use to like 30 Minute Meals but I just love Rachel Ray’s TV show and her magazine.  I have fallen in love with Rachel Ray and I’m no longer afraid to say it.

I also picked up this Smores dessert dip mix at the town’s marketplace, which I can’t wait to try next weekend!  Today has been wonderful so far and I can’t wait for this evening.  Neal and I are going for a  run in an hour and then we’re going out to dinner with this parents at this new Italian restaurant in town.

I hope all of y’all are enjoying your Sunday and that the weather is as beautiful as it is here in Iowa!