Good Morning from Lake Anna

Not too bad, right?

Someone is making himself right at home.

We rented a house in Lake Anna to celebrate one of our friend’s birthdays. So far lots of eating and drinking has been going on…not so much swimming. Apparently there’s a nuclear plant around that makes half of the water as hot as a hot tub. It’s pretty weird/gross/wrong on so many levels.
If we come back with green hair, an extra toe or so and Reddick turns into a cat. Blame it on the water.
Have a great weekend!

Adirondack Love

Hi everyone! I’ve been a little lazy about posting. There’s something about the Adirondacks that just makes me want to tuck my computer and cell phone away and disconnect from everything. I’ve been home since Thursday night and while the weather hasn’t been great, it’s already been an amazing few days.
The first thing I did when I got home was to go and visit my new baby cousin! She is six weeks old and is the smallest little bundle of cuteness. For a little baby, she has so much personality (or it could easily be gas, I’ll go with personality). Her smile is contagious and I’m so happy to have another baby in the family!
Yesterday morning, Reddick and I woke up to run around the lake. It’s about a 4.25 mile run. We were able to squeeze it in before the rain came in (and for the record, the rain hasn’t stopped…). Once we were done with that we made our rounds and visited my grandmother, aunt and her pup and then eventually this little one…
I’m so excited to see my little Reido again. We’re going to have such a fun week.
This was Reid working on her serious face…
Last night was my other cousin’s graduation. You’ll meet the rest of my family in the next post! And instead of going out, my sister and I decided to bake these last night. YUM.

Confessions to my Readers

I haven’t exactly posted much about what is going on in my head as far as the blog’s future goes, but I thought of a creative way to reveal these ideas to you. My life is changing and I want the blog to reflect the amount of excitement that’s going on in my life. I don’t have too much going on in my regular life right now (until things get crazy) so that’s why you’re seeing these kind of posts. There are some things I share with you and some things I don’t on the blog. I hope this posts helps us get to know each other a little better and keep your attention until school starts.
I’m just going to jump right in and reveal my little confessions to you:
  • My day to day life is not all that exciting. I don’t really think that blogging about my breakfast, lunch and dinner is all that entertaining. Now there are some blogs out there that I read every day that do just that. It’s not wrong, but I think my life is kind of regular most of the time. I eat a lot of Larabars and eggs. If I have a massive waffle with strawberries, bananas, whipped cream and nutella, I promise…I’ll show you.
  • I spend way too much money on froyo. I preach to you guys a lot about spending and saving money, and although I only go once a week, it still adds up. I should stop. Although I do make a rule for myself, if I spend over a certain amount, I’m not allowed to go back for a week.
  • I eat Pringles. MJW loves them and I always steel some when I put them on his plate.
  • I also eat Nutella right out of the jar. Don’t tell me you don’t. I know that you do.
  • Blogging about who to invite and picking our bridal party is therapeutic, unnecessary and completely stressful. I’m still on the fence.
  • I don’t like oats in a jar. I tried, but it’s not working for me. Sorryyy.
  • I want to blog about most details of the wedding but I will not talk about our budget. I will tell you how we are going to do everything we can to save money though.
  • I love sugar. I crave something sweet after every meal and usually it’s ice cream. I probably have a bowl every night. I don’t blog about it, but it’s 100% ok.
    • I’m slightly nervous as to what culinary school is going to do to my weight. We eat a four course meal every day. I have some ideas on how I’m going to deal with this (like not eat the whole thing) but I’m still a little nervous.
    • A few bloggers wrote whole posts on this topic, but I’ll just say it – MJW and I are far from perfect. He rocks and our marriage is going rock, but he makes me slightly bonkers sometimes. We have our issues and just because I don’t blog about them, doesn’t mean they aren’t shaping our relationship and making us stronger.
    • I love to lay in the sun. I use sunscreen, but let’s get real, this girl looks way better with a little color and sun-kissed locks. Although I’m going to work my butt off this summer, there will be some pool time.
    • And the biggest one at all…I’m going to start eating meat again. More on that tomorrow.
    Phew, that feels better.

Life is Good

First things first, have you all checked out my new header? I thought that considering the blog (and my life) is moving in a different directions, it was time to get a beautiful header to go along with it. I am in love with it and crack up every time I see it and see Reddick’s face. He wasn’t part of the original plan, but after learning how much you guys love reading about him and the suggestion from my sister, he got added in. I have to give a shout out to Char who designed the header. She was phenomenal to work with. I only wish that I had the funds to redesign my whole blog because I was so impressed with her work. She also designed Lisa’s blog, The Splattered Apron (which is so cute, by the way). If you ever need any design work done at an incredibly reasonable price, please contact Char at Delight Designs.
I’m in a pretty good mood so I thought I’d share this glow with all of you. Weird? Maybe. But you all know enough about me by now that I’m barely two shades of normal.
Life has been amazing lately. For the first time in years I feel like everything is falling into place.
I’m marrying my best friend. He really is my best friend. He was my best friend before we started dating. I’ve been waiting to marry him for over seven years now. I’m so excited to go home in a few weeks and start the process. We’re going to look at a few venue options at home and have an engagement party!
I’m living the dream. Honestly. It’s cheesy, I know, but looking back on old conversations I would always say “my dream would be to work for myself and work with food”. I don’t know why I ever thought that I didn’t deserve that dream. I’m glad I got my sh*t together and finally took the plunge. Life is way to short to be anything less than 100% happy.
I like living here. I always liked living here in Maryland/DC, but it was always really hard for me to be away from my entire family and most of my friends. I still get a little homesick and I still miss everyone, but I’m making a place for myself here. I’m not afraid to go out alone and talk to a stranger (not in a creepy way). I’ve made friends in my building, through blogging and many other ways. It took a little while for me to get comfortable enough to open myself up to these new groups of people, but it feels great to have friends here and to have a calendar full of plans. (I’m not that big of a loser, I promise.)
I’m over my fears. My grandmother always says things like, “oh you don’t have any problems starting anything, you make friends so easily, your so outgoing” and I was like that, until I stepped out of my little hometown bubble and saw how big and scary the world was. I admittedly hid under a rock for a long time. I didn’t want to meet new people. I didn’t want to try new things. I just liked being comfortable. Again, life is too short to be comfortable. Now I’m organizing blogger meetups, hosting parties, entering recipe contests and going on weekend trips without knowing anyone. I’m out of my little slump and it feels great.
I honestly don’t think I have any complaints right now. Things are stressful, sorting out my tuition, part-time job, bills and the tons of traveling we have to do this summer, but I’m ok with it. We will deal. I’m actually embracing my to-do list.
A lot of you have told me that you are envious of the courage that I have to quit my job and follow my dream. I can’t sit here and tell you that everyone is in the perfect place to do the same thing, because that’s not reality. But I do hope that somewhere in the near future you are at that place – mentally and financially – so that you can, too, follow your dreams.
If you don’t have the funds, start saving today. I’ve been saving for three years and it’s providing me a good cushion for the next few months.
If you don’t think you have the support system, look around this world. Your family and friends might take awhile to wrap their heads around your decision. The blogging community has been so incredibly supportive. It’s such a positive group.
If you have no idea what this passion is, it’s ok.  I honestly had no clue what I was doing until a few months ago. I talked to a lot of people. I visited different schools. I asked a million questions. I became quite the pain in the butt to those who are around me a lot (thanks MJW, Mom and Sister). It didn’t come to me overnight. You will sort it out. It might be tomorrow, it might be five years from now, but it will come.
Thank you for all your support! You have been amazing and I can’t wait to tell you all about the crazy year ahead of me!

Life Happens

I’ve been a very bad blogger. I haven’t posted since Sunday and I feel a little sad about it, but to be honest, there hasn’t been much to post about.

MJW is still away and as far as I know, he’s having a great time in Germany. His schedule is insane while he’s over there, but he’s been able to get a hold of me a few times. Reddick isn’t hiding in the closet anymore, but we did find an amazing new toy – a laser light. I’ll have to post a video of this hilariousness soon.
In case you missed it, my first post for Gaithersburg Patch went up over the weekend. I hope that you head over there and check it out. I’m really excited to start blogging for them. I’ll be sharing healthy eating tips. Any requests/suggestions?
This post isn’t very exciting is it? Life is just slightly crazy with a ton of normality that just doesn’t seem exciting enough to blog about. This is just another little speed bump on my trip to figure out this crazy little life I live.
In the meantime, I want to hear from you guys. What do you want to see more in my blog? Recipes? Reddick? Wedding planning? Do you like that it’s a huge assortment of my life? I’d love to hear from you.
Also, if you haven’t yet, I’d love for you to “like” ELH on Facebook and follow me on Twitter!
And, we can’t forget the exciting weekend that’s approaching…FitBloggin! I can’t wait, and I promise, I’ll have plenty to blog about from Baltimore.
Have a great night!

Happy Mother’s Day!

I hope all of the mamas out there are relaxing and having an amazing day. I’m always sad when I can’t spend the day with my mom and the other mothers in my life, but I hope they know I’m sending all the love I can up north to them! Here are some of the cool moms in my life!

Not only is my mom awesome but she’s also started her own blog! I would love if you took a few minutes to click over and say hello on her blog Simple Fortunes.
Have a great Mother’s Day everyone!

Tips on staying healthy during vacation

I don’t know about you, but the weeks (and maybe even months) leading up to a warm vacation are packed full with planning. I plan what I am going to pack, how I am going to travel and I also plan on getting into tip top shape. I try to watch what I eat more carefully and sneak a workout in whenever I can. Who doesn’t want to look fantastic while they’re sitting by the pool? And let’s be real, not all of us jump to the opportunity to workout while we are on vacation, right?
We also don’t want to come back unmotivated and, let’s just say, slightly unhealthier than when we left. It’s pretty normal for us to splurge on vacation and gain a very extra pounds, pack on the water weight, loss a little bit of the muscle mass we worked so hard for and, of course, come home with a sunburn. There are a few little things that you can do, if you’re willing to, to stay healthy while on vacation without going crazy. I’m all about a relaxing, carefree trip, so these tips are pretty minimal, but effective.

But by all means, drink that margarita! You deserve it!

When you’re at the beach…

Where at least a 30SPF on your first day. I know you want to get a golden tan, and it’s totally allowed, but don’t start off with the tanning oil. Let your skin adjust to the sunshine slowly. Don’t forget to re-apply.

Play in the sand. Sand is an amazing natural exfoliator. Go ahead and build a sand castle, get you’re hands dirty and rub a little on your legs and arms.

Go for a walk. Better yet, join the volleyball game that’s going on. Not only is it a fun physical activity, but it gets your body up and moving so you don’t end up with a splotchy tan. Nobody wants that.

Bring snacks and water. It’s really important to stay fueled and hydrated while you are outside for prolonged periods of time. My favorite beach snacks are bars, cut up fruit and crackers.

Go to the bar. Get out of the sun for a little bit and treat yourself to an early happy hour beverage. It’s allowed. (At least according to Megan and I it is.)

When you’re out to dinner…

If you’re so inclined, ask the waiter/bartender if they have a “skinny” version of your favorite tropical drink. Most bars can make a skinny margarita and they don’t taste awful.

Splurge on the lobster but ask for a side of veggies. Remember to keep your meals balanced. If you go from eating really healthy to eating crap, you’re body is not going to like you very much. I wish I could tell you to avoid the butter, but it’s just so delicious. I don’t blame you if you dunk every piece of lobster into that little tub of joy.

Order big salads. I love going south and getting fresh vegetables and fruit. I think a big colorful salad is one of the most refreshing meals out there. Ask for your dressing on the side and dip your fork into it before each bite. You’ll be amazed at how little dressing you need for that extra flavor. Plus eating a salad for dinner justifies the next tip.

Order dessert. It’s ok. I ordered dessert every night so I can’t really preach about not ordering dessert. I do know that I stayed away from sweets during the day so that I could splurge on desserts. I also followed every meal with a big glass of water before bed to start the digestion process. If you are nervous about the desserts, there are always alternatives. For example, try a new frozen yogurt place or snack on some local fruits.

Alternate drinks with water. If you are planning on having more than one daiquiri, glass of wine, tequila shot or whatever your favorite drink is order a glass of water to have on the side. Nobody wants to be hungover at the beach the next morning.

You should also…

Eat breakfast. Don’t break this routine just because you’re on vacation. I was lucky enough to have a kitchen and a large fridge to keep some things handy. Even if it’s just something small, like a bowl of cereal, it’s still going to jump start your day and prevent you from getting hungry while you’re at the beach and ordering that hot dog and fries.

Try a new gym. I didn’t work out a ton, but I did enjoy going to a different workout atmosphere. I like running in new neighborhoods (not without my phone though in case I get lost) and trying different machines in new gyms.

Bring food to the airport. Do you really want to spend three dollars on a Luna Bar? Do they even have Luna Bars at airports? You can always do what Caitlin did this morning, too.

Motivate others. I’m the health freak in my family. Everyone knows that I can be a little crazy with my ideas on food and working out. If you’re vacation company is willing to listen, spill to beans on how awesome it feels to work out and eat right. Take them with you to the gym. Have them try tofu at a restaurant. When I was little I was required to try at least three different foods while on vacation. Challenge your friends and family to do the same. I also took the opportunity to have Reid help me cook in the kitchen. I think learning how to work with food at an early age is very important.

Walk wherever you can. Walk to the beach, walk to dinner, walk to the pool, walk the outlets. It’s great for your butt, wallet and is the safest mode of transportation after having a few cocktails. Just don’t get lost.

Freeze water bottles. Best idea ever. Thanks Mom and Bambi! Every night, refill them and freeze them. If you were to use tap water or even water from the Britta, I promise you it will be warm in about 10 minutes outside. Not refreshing at all.

What do you do on vacation to stay healthy?

Now please bring me if you’re planning on a vacation soon. I’m ready…already.

Hello Sunshine

I am loving Florida.
The past few days have been spent by the pool and soaking up some rays that we’ve missed over the winter. Yesterday, Reid and I went solo while our moms golfed. We made dinner, too, but trying to teach a five year old how to cook and take pictures is pretty hard, so there are no pictures of the food, sorry! Today was another day by the pool and then we went to a little steakhouse down the street.
I plan on writing a few more “in depth” posts about my trip later on. But right now, while I’m actually on my vacation, I’m going to keep them pretty short and full of fun pictures.
 It’s a little bright out there! But nothing a good cap and sunscreen can’t fix.
Adorable shot of Bambi and Reid.
Reid being entertained.
At Cafe Tu Tu Tango! (a review post coming soon…)
Cutie. Pie.
 Check out those swimmies!
Reid made some friends.
She forgot her sunglasses, so these should work, too right?
and a veggie Quesadilla to balance it all off…
I think it’s suppose to rain on Tuesday so maybe I’ll squeeze in a few substantial posts. For now, I’m off to relax (some more) with the girls. We’ve got a busy day ahead of us tomorrow at the beach!

Starting my vacation early

Sunday morning I decided to continue my weekend down in DC and met up with Megan for some sightseeing. She was flying back down to Florida later in the day, so we had the whole morning to keep the DC-craziness going. I, again, hopped on the metro and planned on meeting her at the Smithsonian stop to go visit the Holocaust Museum. After finding out that the line was a little long, and I went the wrong way on the Blue Line, we decided to go and get brunch instead. Food solves everything.
We went up to Dupont Circle to meet her friend Keri. Keri suggested that we go to The Front Page and check out their brunch buffet. This was an amazing idea. The brunch was $21, which is more than what I would normally spend on a breakfast or lunch, but this was well worth it.
The brunch was stacked with a waffle bar, hot foods, fruit, amazing breads, salads and even penne pasta.
This was by far the best buffet decision – waffle with fresh fruit, syrup, homemade whipped cream and nutella.
The rest of the buffet was pretty amazing, too.
After we ate we decided to check out the Dupont Farmers Market. This is one of my favorite markets, but it wasn’t quite full yet. I can’t wait to get back down here in the summer when it’s full of people, music and good food!
Megan and I headed back down to the Holocaust Museum to sneak a visit in before she had to catch her flight. I have been a few times to this museum and I feel like I learn something new every time. I like going to museums over a span of visits so you don’t feel that you have to squeeze it all in at once.
Megan and I parted ways and she headed back to Florida. Thank goodness I’m right behind her! I need to get out of this cold weather. This weekend seemed like a little bit of a vacation because I was barely home,  out a ton and was all over DC. I’m ready for my real vacation though…come Thursday I’ll be in Florida and out of this cold.
This is my last post about this past weekend. There was so much that I wanted to share with you all, so thank you for being patient through all of the posts. Now it’s time for a mini work week and then I’ll be packing my bags for my own legit vacation. See you in Florida!

Planning To Plan

I find it hard to believe that we have been engaged for almost two months! Almost every day I find myself daydreaming back to Christmas Eve and wishing to relive that day over and over again.
I know a few other couples who got engaged around that time and they seem to have everything under control. Their planning has begin, date has been set, dress is picked out…it’s well underway. Our story doesn’t really go like that. Our planning has barely started.
I am a planner. I will be the first to admit that. At first I wanted to jump right in, set a date, get things sorted and have our wedding within the year. Now that I have had some time to think about it, I really want it to be perfect and we have decided to take our time and plan things slowly and carefully. Plus, I love being engaged! I love telling our story and showing people my ring. I think it’s a really fun time in our relationship that shouldn’t be taken for granted, because before we know it, our wedding will be over and done with. There are so many things that I want to happen between now and the end of my wedding, I should really slow down and take my time.
We do have three things that we need to accomplish first, and then we are smooth sailing (right, brides?!). I guess we could call this my first “wedding planning post”. So here it goes, the three things that once they are done, our wedding planning has officially set off…
Pick a date. Stating the obvious, right? If you read our entry for the contest, I said that a New Years Eve wedding would be our ultimate wedding date. It’s a great idea, but not set in stone at all. The cold kind of terrifies me but the snow is so pretty. A summer or fall wedding also makes perfect sense. I guess we need to pick a season and then a date.
How cute is this picture?

Pick a place. And by place I mean place in the world, church, venue, etc. (I guess this is multiple steps.) We live in the DC area. All of our family is in the Adirondacks. We had some awesome times in Orlando. And I’m sure that the Caribbean is a beautiful place to get married, but so is Paris, and Africa (MJW’s idea). We all know that it makes the most sense to get married up north, but who knows where we will choose…

A wedding on Lake Placid (this venue is where I had my prom)
A wedding somewhere in paradise

Selecting the wedding party. For me, this seems like the most stressful part. It kind of makes my stomach hurt thinking about it. I have amazing people in my life and it’s going to be hard to narrow it down. But my wedding mantra has been whatever we decide will be perfect. I’ll just keep saying that to myself over and over again.

My aunt had the cutest little flower girl in the whole world, my cousin Reid! By the time I make all my decisions she might be old enough to be a bridesmaid…
It looks like I have some pretty hard decisions to make, but they will be fun! I can’t wait for it all to begin.
Bring on the wedding advice! What were the first three things you checked off on your wedding planning list?