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!


A Bench Press Beauty

It’s Tuesday, which means it’s Biggest Loser night!  I haven’t forgotten about my Biggest Loser weigh-ins (week 1 and week 2 recap), but I still need to buy a new scale.  My scale at home is jacked.  No excuses but I’ll totally update y’all on my weight soon!

Today I continued my Get-in-Shape challenge and am feeling great!

Tuesday, October 18 Food Journal

  • Breakfast – 2 cups of coffee (wasn’t hungry when I woke up)
  • Snack – Banana
  • Lunch – Sweet potato, lettuce with dressing, pear, mango kombucha
  • Snack- pumpkin fluff, apple, cottage cheese
  • Post Workout- Luna protein bar
  • Dinner – Salmon with lime, lentil pilaf, side salad

When all was said in done, I…

  • Ate 3 servings of fruit and 4 servings of vegetables (7 out of 9 servings)
  • Lifted Weights
  • Drank 8 glasses of water (8 out of 8 )
  • Took a multivitamin and vitamin D

My workout today was fantastic.  I really love lifting weights and felt great both during and afterward my workout.

  • Bench press — 2 sets of 10 at 65 pounds
  • Bench press — 3 sets of 8 at 95 pounds
  • Wide grip bench press — 3 sets of 10 at 45 pounds
  • Leg lifts (abs) — 3 sets of 10
  • Snatch — 3 sets of 8 at 45 pounds (bar only as they did not have bumper plates at the gym)
  • Leg Press — 4 sets of 8 at 225 pounds
  • Lat. Pull down — 3 sets of 8 at 70 pounds

My knees have been giving me a little trouble lately, so I focused on my upper body today and incorporated a little leg press.  My knee pain is usually linked to tight hamstrings, IT band, and weak quads.  Stretching has been key and working on my leg strength.  If it continues though, I may have to make my way to the doctor as I don’t want an injury to develop.

As for tomorrow, there is a LOT of rain headed towards DC so Neal and I have moved our 4 mile run to Thursday morning.  I actually love running in the rain, but it’ll be good to have a day off tomorrow.

I hope y’all had a great Tuesday and I hope you have an even better hump day!

Get-in-Shape Checklist

The trees are starting to change colors here in Washington, DC.

I just love walking to work and passing all of the shades of yellow, red, and orange.

Especially when I have a Starbucks in my hand!

Lets just say I was one happy girl this morning, especially with a 30 minute run under my belt.

While perusing The Knot, I found this awesome Get-in-Shape Checklist.  I LOVE how simple it is.

  • Eat 9 servings of fruits and/or vegetables a day
  • Exercise each day
  • Drink 8 glasses of water
  • Take a multivitamin

Today was my first day using the checklist and I thought it was fantastic.  Eating 9 servings of fruits and/or vegetables was actually really tough.  Here’s what my day looked like…

  • Breakfast – Bowl of Special K cereal with skim milk
  • Snack – Pear
  • Lunch – Veggie patty on 2 slices of potato bread, apple, pumpkin fluff, yogurt
  • Dinner – steak tacos in corn tortillas with pico de gallo and sour cream

When all was said in done, I…

  • Ate 2 servings of fruit and 3 servings of vegetables (5 out of 9 servings)
  • Ran for 30 minutes with Neal this morning
  • Drank 8 glasses of water (8 out of 8 )
  • Took multivitamin and vitamin D

Focusing on eating 9 servings of fruits and/or vegetables really impacted what I ate today.  Looking back I could have added a banana to my bowl of cereal this morning and I could have had either a salad for dinner or the vegetable fajitas.  I also need to make sure I refill my Nalgene water bottle at the start of every work day, it makes a big difference in the amount of water I consume each day.

I really like how I’m feeling, even after 1 day.  Tomorrow (Tuesday), I am going to add fruit to my breakfast, add a veggie to my lunch, and add veggies to my dinner.  With those additions, I should be able to eat my 9 servings of fruits and/or vegetables!

What’s on your get-in-shape checklist?

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?

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!

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? 

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….