March 22, 2013

High Five For Friday!

Howdy Everyone! Today I am linking up with Lauren from 'My Grey Desk' blog and telling you about the five things I am excited about this Friday.

 photo H54Fbutton-triangle_zps678b65ba.jpg

/one/

Tonight we are going to hang out with friends at a bar/restaurant and watch some basketball. We have been cooped up in the house all week, so we are excited to get out, he is excited to drink and I am excited to pretend to watch basketball.

/two/

My college basketball bracket is doing awesome so far. 
I am only going to talk about it this once, I swear (maybe twice). 

I am not going to pretend to be that 'cool girl' who knows about basketball and March Madness and what not. I don't know about it really and I am not super interested, but I am competitive and this really stimulates the urge I have to beat my husband at all games.

So far, I am kicking his butt. Hard. 

Rock Chalk Jayhawk all the way!

/three/

I made this banana bread yesterday and it is super awesome. 


It is oil free, sugar free and I made it using a mixture of oat and whole wheat flour. It is delicious, really moist and not that sweet (it uses the dates and bananas for sweetness). 

When you split the loaf into eight slices, only 193 calories per slice.

(If you make the recipe, I made the following changes ... 
* Original called for 2 cups whole wheat flour, I did 1.5 cups whole wheat flour, .5 cups oat flour;
* Original called for 1 tsp cinnamon, I did 2 tsp pumpkin pie spice instead;
* Original called for 2 cups mashed bananas, I only had enough bananas on hand for 1.25 cups mashed, so I added organic unsweetened applesauce for the other .75 of a cup;
* I also added 1 tsp vanilla just because I am wild like that)

/four/

We finished Downton Abbey season 2 last night. 

I laughed, I cried, I cheered. 


/five/

We went running today for the first time since the marathon. We only went two miles, but it was good to get everything moving. I am still surprisingly sore in odd places (i.e. tops of my feet) and felt tired even after two miles. 


So that's all the awesomeness I got for now, but can I just talk about one thing I am super bummed about?? 

Who the hell at ABC decided to cancel Bachelor Pad?? 


In my superior to the execs at ABC's opinion, it was the best reality/game/dating show ever! It had everything I wanted!

Drama, romance, comedy!

It was the Shakespeare of our time. 

I literally gasped out loud when I read about the cancellation today. I had been looking forward to it all year and now....it's not going to happen. 

I need to make a petition.

~ With Love, Ashlee ~

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March 21, 2013

Scavenger Hunt

Since October my husband and I have been involved with Big Brothers, Big Sisters of America. 

They allow married couples to be 'Bigs' to one 'Little' which is really fun for us. 

Yesterday, to celebrate the first day of Spring, we went on our Little's first scavenger hunt. 



We gave him a disposable camera and set him free; occasionally helping him with clues.



We ventured all around our city.




Kesean wants to be a police officer when he grows up, so one of his clues was to find a police man and take his photo. The officer was so nice and let Kesean hop on in the car for a photo op. 



They were acting 'cool'


For solving all the clues, he got a victory hot chocolate :)


 As did we :)


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March 20, 2013

I'm Hungry

So one of the things that happens when you run a race is that they have professional photographers all over the course taking your photo.

They have nice cameras which really show a lot of details. 

Too much details. 

We got an email from the race photographer on Monday evening with all the photos that we were in. There were a few dozen and we each went to our separate computer and looked at our individual photos.

Our photos were bad. Real bad. Mine were really really bad. So bad that I cried. 

We both came to the hard conclusion that we could stand to lose a few pounds. It really took the wind out of my sails. I mean 36 hours prior I had finished a marathon, but after seeing those photos, I got really bummed out. 

It also just so happened that Monday night when we received the race photos, we were in the middle of watching the documentary 'Forks Over Knives' on Netflix. 


In case you don't know, this movie highlights the importance of having a plant based diet (veganism) using scientific arguments on the health benefits that occur once you remove dairy and meat from your diet. I won't get into the details at all because I am not an expert but I definitely recommend that you watch the movie to learn more about it. 
It is powerful but not 'in your face.'

When I was in fourth grade I became a vegetarian and did so for about five years (minus the occasional bacon indulgence here and there. I had a weakness!). In tenth grade I started eating meat again. Once I hit college, I went vegetarian for about a year and then turned to veganism. I was a vegan for about a year, ate meat for a year, became vegan again for about two years, went vegetarian for two years, then ate meat for the last 1.5 years. 

To say that my relationship with animal products is off/on again is an understatement. 

After watching the movie 'Forks over Knives' with my husband though on Monday, we both came to the conclusion together that we needed to adopt more of a plant based diet. We need to get healthy, lose weight and get control of our future.

We are doing it together and I am excited about that.

We are slowly easing into this. We have some dairy in the house we need to eat still and some meat in the freezer we need to cook. We are planning on doing one meal a week with the meat until we use it all up and basically limit our dairy intake by a lot as we slowly get rid of our cheese/eggs/butter. I am most likely going to go full-on vegan once we use up all the dairy and meat, while my husband will be fairly plant based, but still enjoy the occasional burger :)

We will see how this goes and we are really excited about doing this together (probably me more than him though. He just got a new grill for his birthday two weeks ago and grilling vegetables on it isn't quite the same as grilling meat).

So expect some vegan recipes to come your way during the next few months. I actually did a guest post on Kate's blog last week, Scathingly Brillant, about one of my favorite vegan dishes to make (total coinecende). 

Check out Scathingly Brillant (here) to see how I make a yummy Pakistani Dahl.


All in all, I definitely want to eat some bacon right now.

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March 19, 2013

Marathon - Done

Guys....

I did it. I finished a marathon. 

I got to be honest though, I am having some mixed feelings about the whole experience. I actually haven't blogged in a few days because I just didn't know what to say. I am honestly trying to process the whole thing and have been in a weird funk the past few days while trying to decipher my emotions. 

So here are just some ramblings on the training/race/aftermath (in no particular order)...

1) I really loved having my name printed out on my bib because everyone kept cheering 'Go Ashlee' and 'Keep Smiling Ashlee!' It was hard not to be pleased and be sweet to everyone because they made me feel so good by saying my name. 

2) I need to go purchase new running shoes asap. My feet were actually the first thing to give out on me. I walked more than I would have liked just because the bottoms of my feet became extremely bruised and sore.

3) I am so thankful that I didn't have any stomach issues before/during/after the race. I mean, if we are being honest here....one of the key aspects of long distance running is not trying to poop all over yourself. And hooray!!! I didn't poop on myself!! Hooray!!!

4) I accidentally got herded in the beginning of the race with the individuals who were the walkers of the half-marathon portion. I felt like a speed demon passing all these walkers and slow runners for the first six miles of the race though. There were so many people racing and I was literally the very last one of the runners at the beginning to start that it took me 15 minutes of walking from my pre-race starting point to even cross the starting line. 

5) If you are a race director, you really need to hand out peanut butter pretzels to people during the race. My spirit was so lifted for about ten minutes after eating my three little pretzels. 

6) For a bit I ran next to a man who was 80 years old and was competing in his 100th marathon. That man was incredibly inspiring. (and for the record, I beat him....not by much though). 

7) I wish that I had taken my training more serious before the race. I basically did the bare minimum and I know that I could have gotten a better time if I had put more miles into it during training. 

8) I feel happy and satisfied just knowing that I finished. I needed to walk for some miles and I wish that I could have done it faster, but I did it. I need to remember that and feel good knowing that. 

9) When I finished the race I was soooo happy. Happy to be done. Happy to have actually finished it and I swore to everyone who could hear me at the finish line that 'I shall never do this again. That sucked!' But I am gonna do it again. I already have my eyes set on a marathon in the fall. 

10) I was one of the last ones to finish. My husband finished the race before me and was waiting for me about 100 yards from the finish line. He broke through the race barriers and ran the last 100 yards with me. My lovely mother-in-law took this photo of the two of us approaching the finish line together. I honestly can't look at this photo without tearing up. It is one of my favorite photos ever of us. 


Thank you Diane (my mother-in-law) for visiting us this past weekend and meeting us at various points along the race to cheer us on and encourage us. Your presence was definitely appreciated!
 
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March 14, 2013

Stupid and Confused

Guys....

I am trying to become a real blogger over here but I am not there yet. I try to pretend that I am somewhat tech savvy since I have been running an online business for four years, but .... sometimes I am not. At all.

I just spend the last four hours trying to figure out how in the &$%#@ do you fix a broken link on a blog. 

Four hours folks.

Then I tried to read up on what all this Google Reader fuss was about. Should I be angry? Sign a petition? Go with Bloglovin'?

While doing that I realized that my 'Follow my blog via email' thingy (technical term) wasn't working and tried to fix that. So if any of you have signed up for my blog posts via email and haven't gotten anything...sorry about that. 

I am sometimes stupid and confused. 

I "think" that it is fixed, but I won't find out until 3-5pm EST tomorrow because that is apparently when my blog is updated?? 

Sigh...I don't know. 

I feel like this right now....

STUPID

An adorable puppy with a stinky running sock covering his snout. 
(I can be a real jerk sometimes)

CONFUSED
I opened up a package of beads last week from a new supplier to find them wrapped up in  an underwear catalog. This was one of those situations when I literally guffawed out loud. 

Can I just say that normally wrapping your supplies in old lady underwear catalog pages is bad, but in this case, I will definitely be back for more.

~With Love, Ashlee~


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March 13, 2013

Blog Vomit


I haven't been around these here parts for a few days and have lots of little updates, but nothing that I could really write a whole blog post on. 

Also, I have been suffering from a serious case of insomnia lately and am taking matters into my own hands by drinking wine at a very early hour tonight in hopes of getting sleepy and not falling asleep at 4am and waking up at noon.

So...being coherent right now isn't easy thanks to my 'medication.' 

So here is my blog vomit. Everything that comes to mind....

1) The winner of the $25 blog giveaway was Liz Lorent! Congrats girl! Be sure to check your email soon for the giftcard!! Thanks so much to everyone who entered.

2) This past weekend was the husband's 30th birthday and it needed proper celebrating. I got to watch him play in a law school basketball tournament. If there is anyone who knows how to play basketball it is certainly a bunch of second year law students. 

We also ate until our belly's burst at various places around town (burgers, pizza, bbq). I literally can not fit into my 'fat' jeans right now due to our delicious/unhealthy/delicious diet as of late.

 Birthday's boy dinner. 
Grilled cheese buns, two fried eggs, 1/2 pound of sirloin, six slices of cheese, six slices of bacon.

3) Today I almost electrocuted myself. I was toasting some bread, chatting to my mom and noticed that for some reason that there was a rubber band in my toaster oven which was dangling down. I exclaim to my mom about my utter bafflement as to the rubber band's presence and proceed to jab a knife in and out of the toaster trying to retrieve it. After about a minute of this, my mom had enough sense to remind me to unplug it.

4) I feel like when I am walking Cooper around my neighborhood, I am just begging in my head that he doesn't do anything that makes me look like a jerk to everyone around. Cooper is a 75 lb black lab and adorable, so stinking adorable, but he is a total ass to walk. 

He loves to lunge at people/pets/squirrels. He has a big smile on his face, but still a strange big dog lunging at you is scary. 

 I spend half the time that we walk apologizing to anyone on wheels. 

'So sorry ma'am. He just seems to love your motorized scooter.' 

'It's okay little boy. My dog just jumped at you because you have such a cool bike.'

Cooper also pees like a girl so every time he pees it looks like he could be pooping. I hate that he does this because then I look like a big old jerk who doesn't pick up their dog's poo (which I am not) from people's yards. I really need to train him to lift a leg. 

5) I ate all the girl scout cookies in the house this weekend. No shame. 

6) I have six loads of clean laundry on my bed that need to be put away but I probably won't until tomorrow. Maybe even Friday. Please don't judge me. I just don't want to do it right now and it is a chore my husband doesn't do. 

7) During my late nights this past week, I finished and read 'Gone Girl.' I won't say much because I think this book is one of those that is better if you go into it not knowing too much of what it is about. I found it to be suspenseful and really had a hard time figuring out how it was going to end. I felt the ending was too quick, too neatly wrapped up and wanted that part to be extended a bit longer. I definitely would recommend this book though. It's one of those guilty pleasure/easy to follow reads. 

8) I went running today for the first time in two weeks. I ran 20 miles two weeks ago to the day and haven't moved since. Today's run felt like this...


I wouldn't recommend my training regimen if you are considering running a marathon anytime soon. 

I would recommend googling 'Fat kid running' though.

Blaugh. Vomit completed. 

~With Love, Ashlee~

March 11, 2013

Only 2 hours left!

Hey everyone!

The second season of Downton Abbey arrived in the mail today (thanks Netflix!) so I am having a busy evening of drinking wine and pretending to be cooler than I really am. 

I just wanted to let you know that there is only a few hours left of my $25 Target gift card giveaway. 


Have a great evening and I promise to blog about something somewhat interesting (to me at least) tomorrow. 

~With Love, Ashlee~  


March 8, 2013

High Five For Friday!!

Happy Friday everyone! It's the 'official' birthday weekend of the husband so instead of doing things I think he might enjoy (aka sumo wrestling), we are doing things he will actually enjoy (aka drinking a lot and eating food that is really bad for us).

So I am linking up with Lauren to share some of my five favorite things today...

one.

photo by Ryan Russell
If you live in the Atlanta area, you most likely have experienced the awesomeness that is 'The Vortex.'

My husband loves it for its extensive beer menu and double coronary burger (half pound sirloin patty, topped with two fried eggs, six slices of American cheese, eight slices of bacon and is served between two grilled cheeses which serve as the buns).

I am much more delicate and enjoy it for its fried pickles and yokohana burger (pineapple slice, jack cheese and teriyaki glaze).

I am definitely going to be unladylike and will unbutton my pants about half way during the meal.

two.

Picked up some of these bad boys outside of Wal-mart today.

There is really no point in arguing that these are the best. Hands down.

PS....anyone else notice inflation? I mean, I'm addicted to them like crack, so the $3.50 price tag isn't holding me back, but can I say I remember the good old days when they were $2.00 a box?

three.

Tomorrow night we are going to an Improv show with some friends. We had a blast when we went about a month ago, so I am really looking forward to hearing more about drunk sharks and giggling to really bad Obama impersonations.

four.

Someone got their birthday present today!


My mom and stepdad got JE a grill for his birthday so he spent the evening building it and grilling cheddar-wursts on it for us. He absolutely loves it and is currently reading about grilling tips online while I write this.

Please excuse the mess - we were grill building.

five. 

Tomorrow my favorite yarn store in Atlanta is having a 20% off EVERYTHING sale!! Also, the first 50 people get a free gift. 

You best believe I am going to be there at opening and will not hesitate to throw the elbows to any old lady that gets in my way. 

Just kidding. 

(not really).

I hope you all have a great weekend!! Eat some girl scout cookies for me!

~With Love, Ashlee~


March 6, 2013

Cyberspace Corral!!

Working from home has many advantages as well as disadvantages.

Advantages for me ...

1) I haven't had to shower since Sunday
2) I wore yoga pants all day
3) I ate a lot of food and no one judged me
4) I can get puppy kisses whenever I want

Disadvantages for everyone else (aka my husband) ...

1) I haven't showered since Sunday
2) All I wear is yoga pants
3) I eat a lot of food without a care
4) I create songs that I think my puppy would sing to me if he could talk. I then proceed to sing them aloud all day in my puppy's voice.

And yeah, I've made a voice for him. I use it when him and I chit chat during the day.

An example of one of our songs. 
It is to the tune of the bubblegum pop classic, 'I Want Candy.' 

'I know a mom who’s tough but sweet.
She’s so nice, she can’t be beat.
She’s got rawhides that I desire.
Rubs my tummy until I tire.
I love Mommy. I love Mommy.
I love Mommy. I love Mommy.'

Now that I have thoroughly disappointed all of you, let's get to the topic of tonight's blog.

**Cyberspace Corral!!**

Alright, so here are some of the best things I found on the internet this week.

one.

Please watch this video. It had me cracking up.


I love pop music but the resemblance to goats is uncanny. 

When I was in Swaziland, we lived in a hut that was surrounded by hundreds of goats. Goat cries are really creepy and human-like, and sound just like little children crying. 
Or Miley Cyrus.

two. 

I may or may not have eaten this microwave cake-in-a-cup three times in the past 24 hours 

(surprise ... I did!)

I think the real goodness in this cake comes from the buttery, brown sugar topping. 

Buttery. Brown Sugar. Topping.

Done & done. 

three. 

Blowfish shoes is clearing out a lot of stock and is having a huge sale where $10 are taken off every pair of sale and clearance shoes. Plus free shipping on all orders.


I got these guys for $8.99 (and free shipping). 

If you have never worn blowfish shoes before, I really recommend them. Super comfy and pretty darn cute.


These guys are only $29.99! I wanted to grab them, but they didn't have them in my size. 

Curse all you big footed girls who grabbed them before me!

So yeah, that's what I found over the past few days. Hope you enjoy!

~ With Love, Ashlee ~


March 5, 2013

Target Gift Card Giveaway!!

It's no secret I love myself some Target.

What is there not to like about a place where you can get ...
1) a Starbucks beverage,
2) some laundry detergent,
3) some sensible flats,
4) a birthday card &
5) an oven mitt.

I worked there when I was 16 for a year and it was pretty cool. I had to work the cash register for a few months (not so awesome), but after the mandatory three months at the register, I put in a transfer request to grocery. There I got to organize the paper towels and cereal boxes for 4-6 hour shifts and let me OCD shine.

My life motto - 'Remember if it's not at a right angle, it's a wrong angle.'

Anywho...I love Target (pronounced Tar-jhay - btw). Who doesn't?

So, I have been getting some new readers around here and want to celebrate.

(please read the next few sentences in an Oprah voice)
Target for everyone!! Target for you! And Target for you! And Target for you! I love TARRRRRGETTTTT!!!

(back to Ashlee voice)
And by everyone, I mean one of you.

So enter in my giveaway and you can win a $25 gift card to Target for you to just go crazy with.

Want Taylor Swift's CD? It's yours!
Want a neon purse? It's yours!
Going to be sensible and buy groceries? It's yours!

Hooray!!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

March 4, 2013

Semi-Naked Sweaty Men

If I had asked my husband, 'Hey Honey, do you want to celebrate your birthday by having sweat tossed onto you while watching two almost naked men wrestle around?' 

I assume the answer would have been 'no, not really.'

I had stumbled upon a LivingSocial deal about a month ago which advertised a package including a sumo competition, sushi dinner and sake tasting. 

If those three things don't spell out, 'Hooray, I'm turning 30!' then .... I'm confused. 

Sunday morning after a month of secrecry, I spill the beans to my husband that we are going to go watch a sumo competition. After a lot of confused laughter, the excitement set in. Then like the true pupil he is...he began studying and read all morning about sumo culture, rules and fun facts. 


The event took place at the Opera house in downtown Atlanta. Nothing spells sumo competition like opera house. 



When we got to our seats, we were greeted with edamane and sake.  


My personal favorite was the Bonzai Bunny Blueberry Sake.


 We also got a pamphlet on sumo wrestling with all the US Sumo association sumo wrestlers and their stats. No trading cards though :(


 (sidenote: Did you know that there are female sumo wrestlers?? And I weigh more than a lot of them?????)


 Oh did I mention that I paid extra so we were VIP. That meant we got sit front row, center. Only feet away from the ring. 


The two men that we got to watch were Byamba and Kelly Gneiting. 

Byamba is from Mongolia and has been the World Sumo Champion three times and Kelly is from Idaho and has been the US Sumo Champion four times. 

Their stats - Byamba is 27 years old, 6'1" and 365 lbs. Kelly is 42 years old, 6'0" and 420 lbs. 

(Byamba left, Kelly right)










While they sumo wrestled, we ate sushi, drank sake and I was delighted to be a handed a cupcake when I had consumed my daily quota of raw fish.

Here's a video I took of their last match of the evening...

video

And lastly, afterwards we got to do a meet and greet with them.


Note to self: next time you get your picture taken with a sumo wrestler, do a thumbs up.

Colorado friends, I just looked at the LivingSocial website and the tour is heading to Denver April 27th and 28th. 

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