28th Birthday!

On April 21st, I turned 28! I guess I’m officially in my late 2o’s now… at 27 I could at least pretend I was in my mid-20s still.  All it all, it was a great birthday, and I had the opportunity to stretch it out over the course of a week.

Last Monday, I took my “birthday” day off of work, which was lovely.

On my actual birthday on Tuesday, I traveled down to Florida for work.  I got serenaded on the plane, got birthday shots, and lots of free food.

When I got back from Florida, my Dad & stepmom had us over to do a joint birthday celebration with my stepsister (and the kitties).  Grace is a teenager now! We just had a low key evening, played some bocce and had lots of unhealthy wonderful food.



It was a nice celebration – birthdays are definitely a lot more low key as I get older.

How do you celebrate your birthday? Do you ever do joint birthday celebrations?

Florida, Jewel Concert and the time I creeped on Wanda Sykes

Hey guys! I’ve missed you! I spent the last week in sunny Florida – doing lots of things, but sadly not a lot of getting tan.  But I made up for it by doing a million other ridiculous things!

So, on Monday, I took the day off for my birthday (on Tuesday).  My job is really awesome in that they give us a “birthday” day off. Michael also took the day off and we went to the courthouse to get our marriage license!!! That was a very interesting experience to say the least, but we are super excited to have that crossed off our list!


We are almost official!


On Tuesday, we departed for sunny Orlando!  I had a work conference to attend, and Michael was going to be taking a week and coming with me to have some nice R&R. The flight there was one of the best flights I’ve been on – which is good because Michael HATES flying.  They found out it was my birthday on the plane (thanks to my coworkers) and they sang me happy birthday over the loudspeaker!

When we landed, we took a cab to the hotel and promptly headed to the pool bar for some lunch.  The bartender proceeded to give me shots for my birthday! We got ready for the first night of the Expo and I got to catch up with a lot of my friends from the vendor we deal with.  After the Expo, we went to Maggiano’s for dinner.  They sang to me AGAIN and I had wonderful tiramisu.


Yum, poolside drinks!





On Wednesday, I worked all day at the conference.  My group (9 of us total) and Michael and I went out to a cool Cuban tapas place called Cafe Tu Tu Tango. They have local art on the wall for purchase and live entertainment.  Some of the dishes we selected: jalapeno mac n cheese, cajun chicken eggrolls, oriental steak skewers, duck confit salad, southwest chicken flatbread, etc.

On Thursday, we had a few great speakers.  Hamish Taylor – a Scotsman who was hilarious and brillant.  Our keynote speaker was singer/songwriter Jewel.  That woman is sweet, clever, and has come from such an interesting life. After a full afternoon  of my conference, we had a fun night at Universal!  They rent out the place just for us, and fill the park with food, drink, and dessert.  We can also ride all the rides with NO LINES!


Hamish Taylor – great, funny guy, and a very engaging speaker. Check him out on Twitter: @HamishWTaylor






One of the many rides we got unlimited access to!


I started feeling poorly on Thursday night.  I woke up Friday morning, and didn’t attend the last of my two sessions.  Michael and I had plans to sit poolside most of the day on Friday, but we only spent a few hours out there.  We had a lazy afternoon in front of the TV, which was just fine with me.  The flight home on Saturday was miserable.  The pressure changes in an airplane are never fun, but they are downright torture when you have sinus pressure.

On the way back, we saw comedian Wanda Sykes in the Orlando Aiport.  I creeped on her and took this picture.


Despite getting sick, we had a great time on the trip.  While it was for work, it was still a much more relaxed environment and our time of R&R was much needed.

Have you traveled for work conferences? Did you bring your significant other with you? How was your week?

Weekly Update – 4/13/15

I finally got three solid workouts in this week! I was very excited and proud of myself.  Its been a rough few months and it was good to get back to a more consistent routine.


I swear I’m never getting back into my Monday night routine of yoga.  I decided to attack the guest room and see if I could clear out enough room to get to the futon.  I was able to pack a lot of things away in the closet, although the setup in there is less than ideal.  I’m not making the best use of the space in there.  Got some laundry done, finally got the dishes washed (don’t judge me!) and took care of some bills and the like.


I worked out with Danny.  He was running a few minutes late….bad weather had caused some traffic delays.  I warmed up with 1600 meters rowing.  We did 3 sets of the following:

1. Overhead cable assisted squat (12)

2. Cable cross row, extend, y raise (6)

3. Overhead walking lunges

Seems pretty simple, but the focus was on form and stabilization.  Its harder than it looks!


No workout for me.  Even though I already thought I had plantar fasciitis, getting that truly diagnosed kinda sucked.  I did my first PT session and it was awful.


Nicole – and new machine day!!!  We did Jacob’s Ladder for the first time and its so weird.    We did 3 round of the following:

1. SA KB Swings (10 each side)

2. SA Clean and press (10 each side)

3. SA Suitcase Deadlifts (10 each side)

4. Jacob’s Ladder (1 min, 2 min, 3 min – increase a minute per round)

After my workout, Michael and I went to my friend Jessie’s house for our cake tasting!  She will be doing the cake pops for our wedding and she had an amazing spread for us of 24 different flavor combinations!


My dear sweet love gave me $100 to go shopping at Old Navy! I got lots of great summer clothes!


Danny was away at a class, so Nicole and I worked out together outside.

1.  10 hex bar dead-lifts/100 meter row

2. 20 wall balls/200 meter row

3. 30 resistance band side steps/300 meter row

4. 40 walking lunges with dumbbells/400 meter row

After my workout with Nicole, I headed home to do yard work for about 2 hours.  I sufficiently wore myself out, but got myself cleaned up and then mom and I headed off to the mall to get some more spring shopping done.  Victoria’s Secret got the bulk of my money!


Michael was out of town for the weekend, so after church, I headed to Erin’s house and we grabbed lunch at Noodles and Company.  After that, I headed home to do some errands, laundry, etc. Michael and I are going to Florida and had a lot to get done. I went to Kohl’s and got some new pants for work – I was LONG overdue.

2014 – First Half Marathon, Engagement and Life Lessons!

2014 was a fantastic year for me! I hope all of you feel the same way.  I think its really important to reflect on the year and focus on the positive!


I hadn’t started this blog yet, but it was brewing in my mind!  I started my training for my first half marathon!


I began this blog! It was one of the best decisions I’ve made.  I have loved the community that I’ve found with you guys! Its nearly impossible to articulate how encouraging each one of you is!

Michael and I celebrated our first Valentine’s Day together and he spoiled me rotten.

tiffany necklace

Its so beautiful!



I ran my first half marathon – Shamrock! Not only did I run my first half, but I completed the Dolphin Challenge by doing the 8k and Half Marathon in the same weekend. It was such a rewarding experience.

Celebratory beer and 8k medal

Celebratory beer and 8k medal

My race bling!

My race bling!

Michael and I celebrated our 6 month anniversary.

We know we are obnoxiously in love and we don't care! :)

We know we are obnoxiously in love and we don’t care! 🙂

Pretty roses!

Pretty roses!

We also went to see comedian Gabriel Iglesias!

At the Gabriel Iglesias show!


April was my favorite month this year!

Michael and I went to Florida and I got to go to Key West for the first time!

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Sunset Cruise in Key West


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Key West Sunset


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Sunset Cruise in Key West



Pool in Orlando


Beautiful flowers from Michael!

Beautiful flowers from Michael!

Hotel in Orlando

Hotel in Orlando

The water was so clear and warm

The water was so clear and warm

On April 19th, Michael proposed!



The ring!

The ring!

On April 21st, I celebrated my 27th birthday.

Michael's parents


In May, I ran the Chickfila 5k and logged my worst 5k time ever due to major sinus issues! But the Chickfila sandwich at the end totally made up for it.


I bought my wedding dress in June and did lots of other wedding things!

say yes to the dress

I said yes to the dress!



In July, I fell out of love with running, then made a re-commitment to get my act together for my fall races.


I started to focus a lot on a balance of different types of workouts and came up with a killer workout schedule that I kinda kept to….


September brought a lot of anxiety and stress, but also brought things like my 1 year anniversary and a great anniversary trip.

cape charles 2

cape charles 3

cape charles


October was a busy month.

I ran my second half marathon – Crawlin Crab.  I did both the 5k and the half marathon for the Shell Yeah Challenge.  I learned a hard lesson about proper fueling when I bonked early.

crawlin crab 5k 2014

Allyson and I after the 5k

shell yeah 2014

After the half!


shell yeah 2014 2

Shell Yeah Challenge bling!

Michael and I took a mini vacation to the mountains and got our engagement pictures taken.

engagement 2

engagement 3


Later in the month, I ran the Wicked 10k.

wicked 10k 2014

Wicked 10k 2014


wicked 10 2014 2

I’m such a cheeseball.



In November, I ran my third half marathon – Harbor Lights.  I was very pleased with my mental fortitude during this race as well as my fueling plan!

My AWESOME friend Diane who totally kicked butt!

My AWESOME friend Diane who totally kicked butt!


harbor lights finisher

Harbor Lights!



Hollie is a pro at taking pics!

Hollie is a pro at taking pics!


Who doesn’t love December?!

I ran my first 5-miler at the Surfin Santa. It was also my first twilight race.


Then of course, Christmas with my dear family and friends.

Merry christmas

Engaged ornament


2014 was a great year and 2015 promises to be ever more incredible!  Happy New Year everyone!



Florida Pt. 2

This is a continuation of Florida Part One. Sorry it took so long to get out…I’ve had some unexpected excitement! On Wednesday, we began the trek to Key West…my favorite part of the trip. We knew the drive was going to take about 4 1/2 hours, but we were willing to take our time.  The first part of our drive  until we got to Marathon was pretty uneventful. The second half was really slow!

Key West welcome center

Key West welcome center


My view for most of the drive

My view for most of the drive


Beautiful restaurant in Marathon.

Beautiful restaurant in Marathon.

Best Caesar Salad I've ever had!

Best Caesar Salad I’ve ever had!

This plane had crashed near Marathon days earlier and they were working to get it out

This plane had crashed days earlier and they were working to get it out

We arrived in Key West and navigated straight to the Cypress House, a cute bed and breakfast that was built in 1888.  They took our luggage up to our room and gave us a free parking pass.  We parked down the street and walked back to the room.  It was beautiful.

Porch outside of our room

Porch outside of our room

Cypress House Est 1888

Cypress House Est 1888

Front door to the Cypress House

Front door to the Cypress House

Cypress House

Cypress House

Pool at the Cypress House

Pool at the Cypress House

The most beautiful thing was sitting on the nightstand….a gorgeous boquet of flowers! Michael had snuck away from me while we were in Ft. Lauderdale and contacted the Cypress House.  They arranged to have an arrangement made and delivered to our room.  Do I have the sweetest guy, or what?!

Beautiful flowers from Michael!

Beautiful flowers from Michael!

We freshened up then hit Duval Street.  For those of you who haven’t been to Key West, this is the main street, where all the bars and shops are.  We hit up Irish Kevins for a pre dinner drink and then did some exploring.  We settled on Fogarty’s for dinner.  After dinner, we had a great dessert from a local bakery 🙂

We crashed early.  Got up the next morning (Thursday) and had breakfast downstairs.  We brought our coffee back up to the room and sat on our porch.  We each took turns getting ready and we set out for the day.  We went on the Conch Train to get a tour of the city. Key West has so much history and so much Cuban culture.  We got off around Southernmost Point (90 miles to Cuba).  We walked around for awhile, taking in the sights and exploring some nice hotels.

We went to a cute place called Two Friends Cafe for lunch.  After lunch we went shopping along Duval, much to Michael’s dismay.  We had dinner that night at Caroline’s and I had the best blackened Mahi Mahi I’ve ever had.

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My handsome baby!

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My sunburned self…

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Blackened Mahi

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Michael’s Cuban sandwich

On Friday morning we went through our normal morning ritual.  We spent some time hanging out in the room, then we went to Bo’s Fish Wagon for a snack while we were waiting for Dante’s pool bar to re-open from a private party.  We ate lunch, hung out, then went back to the room to get ready for our sunset cruise.

The sunset cruise was amazing.  The weather was perfect, the staff was funny, and the wine and food was incredible.  We had a blast and met so many interesting people.

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The happy couple

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We had a beautiful sunset!

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I love this picture of us!

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Saturday was the day we left Key West and I was so sad! We drove back from Key West to West Palm Beach to hang out with his cousins.  These cousins are the children of his aunt and uncle that we stayed with at the beginning of our trip.  We sat out on their porch, drinking and eating.

We got up on Sunday morning and drove all the way to the west coast of Florida to Ft. Myers.  We had an incredible lunch with two of Michael’s friends.  I decided to leave my beautiful flower arrangement with them so that they could enjoy it.  I didn’t want to just leave it in a hotel room!

After lunch we drove to Orlando.  We checked into our hotel and then had dinner at Cafe Tu Tu Tango with some of my friends from a vendor the bank uses. I had a southwest chicken flatbread and some jalapeno mac and cheese.  It was so yummy and it was so good to see them!

Jalapeno Mac and Cheese


Southwest Chicken Flatbread


Chocolate Calzone

We stayed at the Gaylord Palms in Orlando.  It was a beautiful 4-star hotel that I’ve stayed at for work before.  We spent the last full day of our trip lounging by the pool.  It was such a good way to close out the trip.


Pool at the Gaylord


Caesar Salads poolside!

Our flight out on Tuesday was uneventful.  We were sad to be leaving, but very happy to be heading home to familiar territory 🙂

And that’s it!  It was a great trip that I will never forget!

Florida Pt.1

As promised – stories from my Florida vacation!

We flew out on Saturday, March 29.  It was a nasty, rainy day when we flew out of Norfolk.  Our flight was supposed to depart at 11:15AM, so like good flyers, we arrived a bit before 9AM.  We parked the car in long term parking, checked our bags and got through security by 9AM.

Ready to go on vacation!

Ready to go on vacation!

I decided not to get any coffee because I would have to use the bathroom on the flight…and that did not sound appealing to me (even though the flight to Orlando was less than 2 hours).

What Michael and I didn’t know is that there was really bad weather in Orlando – thunderstorm and tornado watches/warnings.  They delayed our flight till 12, 1, 2, 3….then finally we took off at about 3:45pm. In the midst of one of those breaks, we decided that we needed Starbucks – these were the resulting pictures:

Very unhappy face

Very unhappy face

Yay Starbucks! Boo, delay!

Yay Starbucks! Boo, delay!

When we finally arrived, we had to get our baggage (which took forever) and get our rental car.  Then we had to drive about an hour to Leesburg.  I was NOT a happy camper, I was hangry.  I think it was about 8pm before we got there!

We stayed with his Aunt and Uncle (his dad’s twin brother).  They made us some fantastic tilapia, potatoes (red and sweet) and some vegetable I cannot recall at the moment.

We woke up the next morning  (Sunday) and had coffee and breakfast.  They make smoothies with their Vitamix every day.  They use chocolate protein powder and mix in strawberries, pears, apples, pineapples, blueberries and bananas.  It was SO GOOD.

They didn't know my affinity for owls when they gave my coffee to me!

They didn’t know my affinity for owls when they gave my coffee to me!

We then drove about 45 minutes to a nearby town called Mount Dora.  It was a quaint little downtown area where we had lunch on a balcony and walked around for a bit.

Overlooking Mount Dora!

Overlooking Mount Dora!

We also went to a swap meet/farmer’s market type place that was actually really neat.  I was enjoying myself too much to snap any pictures there.

We went back to Leesburg and I promptly laid down for a nap.  I was so tired from our travels the day before.  I woke up and we had drinks and snacks out on the screen porch.  We had a wonderful dinner of crockpot lasagna. Yum!

Mmm Corona :)

Mmm Corona 🙂

We woke up the next morning (Monday) and were headed to Ft. Lauderdale. Had our fruit smoothies and some coffee and got on the road. We stopped at Panera for lunch.  It truly felt like the start of our vacation since we finally got to be alone!

IMG_1825 IMG_1826

We had dinner with his aunt (his mother’s sister), cousin and her kids.  She made some wonderful, delicious food! We left there and headed to our hotel by the water.



We spent the next day (Tuesday) walking around, eating, shopping, and going to the pool.  I could have spent a ton of time in Ft. Lauderdale.  It was a beautiful beach and there was a ton to do! It was a good place to walk around and just enjoy the weather.

Cheese and bacon omelet on panini.  I'm not even going to pretend it was healthy!

Cheese and bacon omelet on panini. I’m not even going to pretend it was healthy!



Our beautiful hotel

Our beautiful hotel

The bridge over from the hotel to the beach

The bridge over from the hotel to the beach

Ft. Lauderdale Beach

Ft. Lauderdale Beach

Watching some parasailers

Watching some parasailers

The water was so clear and warm

The water was so clear and warm

Fish and broccoli

Fish and broccoli

Yummy Chicken Caesar Wrap!

Yummy Chicken Caesar Wrap!

View from the room!

View from the room!



Ridiculous boat in the rich area of town

Ridiculous boat in the rich area of town

On Wednesday, we got up early because we were heading to KEY WEST!  I had another omelet panini (hey, don’t judge) and we began the 4 1/2 hour trek to Key West where we would spend the next 4 days.  That’s a story for another post 🙂

Florida Trip Recap

Hey ya’ll! I’m back from Florida!

I plan on doing a post from each part of my trip, but I thought I’d give you a little sneak peak of some of my favorite moments!

We spent some time at Ft. Lauderdale.  Look how beautiful and clear the water is!

Ft. Lauderdale Beach

Ft. Lauderdale Beach

We left Ft. Lauderdale for Key West.  Michael arranged for us to have these flowers waiting when we arrived!

Beautiful flowers from Michael!

Beautiful flowers from Michael!

In Key West, we did a wind and wine sunset cruise on a sailboat.  It was a blast and we met some pretty cool people!

Sunset sail!

Sunset sail in Key West


Sunset Sail!

Sunset Sail in Key West

We spent the last part of our trip in Orlando at the Gaylord Palms.  Its a pretty awesome hotel with an atrium in the middle of the hotel.

Hotel in Orlando

Hotel in Orlando

So, there is your little teaser! I’ll be adding some more posts about the trip this week 🙂