3-2-1-DONE!

It’s official, as of March 4th, I’m 30, yikes/yay!?
Still working out my feelings on this…

I absolutely loved the idea of my 30 Before 30 List, I really tried to hold myself accountable for the things  I wanted to accomplish – many of which were things I’d been meaning to try, see or do. 

I’ve knocked a lot off my bucket list of things to do and still have a few more to tackle.
Here’s a quick recap of what I’ve done (and not yet posted) and where I’ve left off.

Keep Calm & Bake On

I challenged myself with baking 10 new cupcake recipes. This was really so I could put all my Sweet Tooth & Cupcake pinning to work. Luckily for my birthday last year my in-laws gifted me a Kitchen Aid Mixer. I added a little inspiration and the rest is history.

I didn’t limit myself to just cupcakes – I baked anything and everything. Some were great, some not so great.

Check out a few of my favs for this past year (including a few recipes & pics):

Margarita Cupcakes

Lemon Blueberry Cupcakes

 Cupcake Cones for Jason’s Birthday

Lemonade Cupcakes for Dizzle’s Birthday

 Snickerdoodle Cupcakes

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cupcakes

Cookie Dough Cupcakes

Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes (as mentioned in my Dinner Party post)

Oreo Pudding Poke Cake

Easy Cake Cookies

Happy Birthday To Me – Party Like It’s 1984!

As promised, I threw myself a big birthday party (dance party) with my nearest and dearest family and friends. We brought it back to where it all started, the 80s!

Everyone made an appearance – My Little Pony, Rainbow Bright, Pac Man, Ninja Turtles and More!

Thank you to everyone who made my birthday special!

Next up, I’ll be making a photo book of my birthday celebration and all my completed items and the few I’m sneaking in ASAP (below)

Re-Read Harry Potter – Harry I have missed you, at the top of my list.

Try Stand Up Paddle Boarding – I waited too long to tackle this one, so the first chance at warm weather I’m itching to get this item crossed off my list

 Take A Photography Class – a couple of classes fell through, looking at one in DC for April

 Walk The Entire National Mall  & Play DC Tourist for the Day– again, waiting on that warm weather. Anyone want to join?

Run Warrior Dash – unfortunately, couldn’t make the race but I’m registered for my next Half Marathon on May 31st – Zooma Series in Annapolis! Looking to add in a 10K for training too.

Take A Hot Air Balloon – I have hinted a dozen times to my husband about this – will be making this happen whether he likes it or not 🙂

Conquer my to-do list of DIY projects around the house – I’ve learned this is never ending – we have conquered quite a bit of painting and various projects unfortunately this one is always evolving.

Read A Classic – I’m currently reading Little Woman, should be finished in the next couple of weeks.

Watch Gone With The Wind – the movie is my possession and anxiously waiting to be watched. Setting a date with my mom and some wine so we can watch it together. She is the reason I put this on my list.

Cook A Gourmet Meal Once a Month with my Husband – this one is constantly evolving too and I didn’t monitor all of our efforts very closely. I love the idea of cooking at home and making the time to do it.

Make More “Me” Time – am continuing to make this a focus and forcing myself to relax; it’s a constant battle but practice makes perfect

Spend More Time with my Grandfather – will continue to make time for my grandfather. George rocked it with us as I turned 30 this week, woo!

And last but not least – Take  A Road Trip To Somewhere I’ve Never Been Before – my mom, sister and I are taking a road trip next month to Niagara Falls.

 Cheers to the next 30!

XOXO
Ash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast for Dinner – My First Dinner Party

Most recently I tackled my Host A Dinner Party challenge over Valentine’s Day weekend. Everyone knows we love to entertain and have hosted birthday parties, happy hours, BBQs, Halloween Costume Parties, the list goes on.  However, we’ve never tackled a true sit-down Dinner Party. I found this more challenging as we’ve always been a  throw the food on the table and serve yourself kind of hosts. We did keep with this motto a little but jazzed it up so we could call it a true dinner party. 

Our party was small;  6 friends joined us in their PJs for some breakfast (for dinner).

We kept everything simple – dressed down table and an easy menu.

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First Course
mini chicken & homemade biscuits (we cheated a little – thank you Chick-Fil-A)
cereal & milk shooters
egg salad on toast
Check it all out here.

Second Course
Egg & Chorizo Casserole
DIY Waffle Bar complete with spreads and toppings.

Third Course
Cinnamon Roll Cupcakes – yum!

What dinner party wouldn’t be a complete without some beverages – insert the Build Your Own Mimosa and Build Your Own Bloody Mary bar we created here.

I had a blast and am already thinking of our next dinner party theme, until then Bon Appetit!

Playing Catch Up…

Almost There…

My birthday is 4 days away, eeek! I can’t decide if I should be excited or mourn the loss of my 20s 🙂
As usual, I’ve been bad about posting my progress but have conquered quite a few more off my list the past couple of months and continue to tackle a few more before D-Day (I mean my 30th birthday).

Random Acts of Kindness

A simple but gratifying goal was to complete a Random Act of Kindness.  I decided to really get into the Christmas spirit and made holiday cards  with Starbucks gift cards to pass out as I best saw fit. Check them out here.

I got my husband in on the fun and we spread some holiday (and coffee) cheer to our mail man, strangers passing by and even our local supermarket clerk. People were surprised but grateful. It was nice to give back and we’ll  definitely be doing it again next Christmas as well as thinking of other ways to spread the kindness throughout the rest of the year! Check out the Random Acts of Kindness Fountain for some fun ideas.

Support Our Troops

Another goal was to send a present to a US solider. Some may think this is easy and a no brainer and it is but I’ve always gotten too busy or forget. This year I held myself accountable and continued with my Christmas spirit. I found the Give 2 The Troops organization  who has supported more than ONE MILLION deployed US Troops with care packages and letters. I assembled a holiday care package  with blank holiday cards for soldiers to send notes homes, candy, snacks and magazines.  I’ll definitely be making this an annual thing.

Ridin’ Solo

Next on my list, go to the movies by myself. I love movies – my husband and I practically live at Redbox and go to the movies whenever we can. Surprisingly, I’ve never gone by myself, I think I always thought it was a little intimidating. I took a personal day at work and decided to run some errands and end my afternoon with a movie – The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.
I loved going by myself – especially during the middle of the week – the theatre was almost empty and I could enjoy a kid’s combo pack  – complete with popcorn, fruit snacks and dinosaur soda cup –  without judgment! For anyone that has never done this I highly recommend it – it’s a nice way to unwind. And I swear it’s not that scary 🙂

Last 5 things before I turned 30!

Well folks, the day has come, my 30th birthday!!  I turned the big 3-0 on Feb 14, 2014.  While I didn’t complete EVERYTHING on my list, I felt like I still had a great year of fun and excitement 🙂  Here are the last 5 things I did on my list!

1. Go zip lining Feb 15 2014 ~ So although a day after my 30th birthday,  Mark and I did this while we were in Mexico for my birthday weekend.  Although it was fun, I wish it was more exciting.  We went fast but I was expecting FASTER!!!  We ziplined above the jungle of mexico which was pretty cool and the last “leg” of the tour was a water landing.  Sure enough I lost my shorts and bikini body on the landing!

2. Travel out of the country Feb 12016 2014 ~ Mark and I were thinking of going to Belize but once we gave in to the fact that we didn’t want to break the bank for that trip, we decided on Mexico.  We were at the Occidental Grand Xcaret in Rivera Maya and it was amazing!!  He has most of the pictures on his phone otherwise I would post one here.  Keep an eye out on FB for some 😉

3. Went cheese free for all of Jan 2014 ~ wow was this hard.  Every food I love has cheese in it, why?  because cheese is AMAZING!!!  It was so hard to go a whole month and I even slipped one day at a brunch at Lauren’s lol but no one has to know that but you all 😉

4. Tried a new food (almost) every month!  While I didn’t necessarily try a new food every month, I did try the following new foods throughout my year of being 29 (missed 4 new foods…):

– corned beef, bipimbap, drunken noodle, a cutie (tangerine), brussel sprouts, pho, seaweed salad, cactus and two cheaters 😉 homemade twice baked potatoes and chipotle flavored humus lol

5. Ring in my 30s with a bang!  Well although I didn’t have the normal bday celebration that I do every year, I did ring in the bang with my love in Mexico.  We relaxed the whole time, besides one day at an adventure park, he surprised me with a couples massage for my bday/valentines day and we eat a lot of guac!!

That leaves me with the following from my list that I didn’t complete:

  1. Hike Old Rag Mountain
  2. Fit into my size 6 jeans/pants again!
  3. Visit my grandmother at least twice
  4. Explore a part of VA I’ve never been to before
  5. Try a bikram yoga class
  6. Do 10 push-ups a week. Not on my knees. With good form. Build up to at least 10 a day!
  7. Learn to play tennis or racquetball
  8. Try crossfit
  9. Learn to rock climb (indoor or outdoor)
  10. Go on a picnic
  11. Conduct a random act of kindness
  12. Go line dancing
  13. Go skeet shooting
  14. Volunteer at least twice
  15. Go to Komi! nom nom nom

Although I may not track it, I hope to finish my list my first year in my 30s!

Good luck ladies!!

Sing, Sing a song!

I finally faced my fear of singing a Karaoke song at a bar in front of a crowd of people!
I did have the help of alkey-hol , my hubby, and friends in the audience… (Carrie and Mark)
My song of choice was Total eclipse of the heart… a classic is you ask me 🙂
I almost backed out at one point but thought “No I have to do this, it’s on my bucket list”

As you can see in the pictures, I was into the song!
In my mind everyone in the in the bar was singing along!
It was a blast even though I know I sounded like a dying cat.

It’s been a while…

It’s been a while since my last post but I have been busy crossings things off my list without even realizing it! Here are the updates. The first item to cross off was item 19. Get pregnant. On November 30, 2013 we found out that we will be bringing a child into this world. It’s totally scary, exciting, nerve wrecking, and beautiful all at the same time!
Xmas Card

The second item I crossed off my list was item 12. Try a new hobby. Well my new hobby is writing in my journal. I find that it’s a great way to express all of the things I’m feeling and experiencing with this pregnancy. I know many people blog about their pregnancies, but I’m not comfortable putting things on the internet for the world to see. This journal is a private walk down memory lane that I’m keeping for our son or daugther to read when they get older and can appreciate what it takes to bring a child into the world.

The next thing I crossed off my list was item 22. Start wearing contacts again. I say I crossed this off because I went and got fitted for contacts and tried them for about two weeks, but ultimately, I just can’t stand wearing them and I don’t need them that badly so I decided I don’t need to wear contacts.

The last item I crossed off my list was item 8. Visit a winery I’ve never been to before. In November we planned a wine trip to Charlottesville with a group of our friends in January. Little did I know I was going to be two months pregnant at that time. Coleman really loves wine and I love Charlottesville, and at that point just wanted to get out of the house and be around people, so we decided we would still go. In fact, I offered to be the designated driver. We rented a 12 passenger van, planned an itinerary of 5 wineries and the 8 of us set out on our tour. We visited Blenheim Vineyards (Dave Matthews’ winery), Cardinal Point Winery, Afton Mountain Vineyards (which was the one we hadn’t been to before), Veritas, and King Family. Although I couldn’t partake in the drinking (I had a taste or two), we had a great time, made it to all of the wineries, and only one person threw up. I call that a win!
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Two things to cross off!

Two things were crossed off my list in Dec!

1.  Get a Masters Degree

I finished my master’s program on Dec. 6, 2013!!  Although I don’t have the chance to walk until May 2014 (which I don’t think I will do), and I do not have my diploma yet (coming in the mail this month) I presented my final presentation on the 6th!!  It was a long two years and I couldn’t have done it without the help of friends and family!

2.  Relearn Snowboarding

A group of us rented a cabin in Canaan Valley WVA for the NYE holiday so while there I relearned how to snowboard!  I had only been 3 or 4 times when I lived in CO and was in middle school lol so I was really starting from scratch.  Mark was awesome at teaching me how to snowboard and was super patient with me, love this kid.   By the end of the day I was really getting a feel for it, although I was sore as anything and still have the bruises to prove I did it lol The second day of the trip I skied but we hope to plan a day trip in Jan for more snowboarding fun!

three things I’ve crossed off my list (more to write about!)

Skydive!
On a beautiful sunny day this summer, I willingly (and excitingly) forward rolled out of a perfectly good airplane. Free-falling from 10,000 feet was such an exhilarating feeling and cruising through the sky directing the chute was pretty amazing too.  For next time, I know not to scream and shout until after the chute has opened, or to at least be prepared for a serious case of cotton mouth/drool coming out the side of your mouth! 🙂  The one part I was nervous about–the landing–ended up being so  easy. This was something I did with my dad as part of his bucket list, and I would do it 100 times over again. It didn’t last long enough but I loved every minute of it!

christina in the sky

Visit the Space Needle
I went to Seattle for work and was very excited when Ashley decided to come along. She got to do way more sightseeing than I, though I got to live vicariously through her pictures. In my evening spare time we did get to eat at some cool places and trek to the top of the space needle! We were bummed that when we reached the top the view was completely fogged over, but the security guard assured us that in about 30 mins time, the fog would burn off and we’d get to see that magnificent 360 degree view of Seattle.  So, we settled in for a glass of wine, and sure enough, the skies turned blue again. So we walked all the way around for the second time, retook some pictures, and were glad we waited–it was certainly worth it. We even saw a proposal!

seattle

Join a skeeball team
My husband, cousins, and I signed up through Baltimore Barskee for some Wednesday night skeeball fun at a pizzeria tavern in Baltimore. Our team, “Aww Skeet Skeet” went 7-1 in the regular season, but lost first round in the playoffs. We enjoyed it so much, we signed up for another season, kept our same 7-1 record, this time making it to the second round in playoffs. Beers, pizza, and skeeball were a great way to break up the week, but with it being a 30 minute drive plus an additional 15 minutes to find city parking (we’re in the burbs now!) for just a 20-30 minute game, we decided that two seasons were enough. Interesting fact: skeeball lanes used to be 36 feet long, now they’re a short 10-13 feet. I bet I wouldn’t have the same great scores and luck with banking consecutive 40s if the lane was still that long!

skeeball

 

Until the next post!
~Christina

Time Flies When You’re Having Fun….

Can you believe it? Thanksgiving is only 11 days away. Where has the year gone? I guess time flies when you’re having fun. While I haven’t done the best job of documenting my #30before30 list, I have been hard at work crossing them off my list. A quick recap of what I’ve been up to….

Plant A Vegetable Garden

We planted our first veggie garden this Spring! We purchased a pre-built garden box to frame everything in. Perfect size for our tiny backyard. We then planted a little bit of everything – tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeños and habaneros – oh my!
Check out our first pick.

It was fun watching everything grow and super convenient – nothing like running to your back yard to grab a few veggies for lunch or dinner. We definitely learned a thing or two. Next year, we’re going to move the box so that our garden receives optimal sunlight. And less is more – we had a lot crammed into such a small space. We never saw any bell peppers, which I’m pretty sure it was due to lack of sunlight with all of the tomato plants growing on top of them.

However, we did enjoy lots of cherry tomatoes and jalapeños and habaneros. We had so many peppers; we’ve froze  a ton and are now enjoying them in Spicy Chilis and Soups.  Bon Appetit!

 Rock & Roll Half Marathon

We did it!!! 13.1 miles exactly! This is by far my biggest and proudest accomplishment. Woot Woot!
After 3 months of training, with family and friends I ran the Virginia Beach Rock & Roll Half Marathon. This was the longest distance I had ever ran. I play soccer, run occasionally for “fun” and have dabbled in a few 5K Races.  It was awesome to see how far I’d come since starting 3  months prior – at that point I hated even going 3 Miles. And in my training my longest run was 10 miles.

This particular race was a lot fun and I’m glad I chose it for my first half marathon race. Spectators and bands (rock bands, marching bands, jazz bands, you name it) cheered us on the entire way.  The surrounding neighborhoods offered up lively displays of costume themed parties, cold sprinklers, popsicles and blaring music. One house event blasted The Cupid Shuffle at mile marker 11. We contemplated stopping to join other dancing racers but figured it would be too hard to stop running. We decided instead to cheer and offered a few fist pumps while we enjoyed the entertainment

The first 10 miles we’re definitely my best; it was the last 3 that just about killed me though. No matter what I was crossing that finish line though. I crossed the finish line at 2 hours and 43 Minutes. Definitely not the best – but at least I finished! I kept telling myself and my friend, as long as you don’t puke in front of all of these people you will have done an amazing job 🙂

Kudos to my besties, I couldn’t have done it without them!
Our fans were pretty awesome too – we even got shirts made for us.

I’m definitely hooked and am looking to run another Half Marathong in the Spring- Zooma in Annapolis. This is for women only and includes shopping and wine. Let’s be honest, they had me at wine.  My goal: to beat my time.

First Time For Everything

Many of these goals / challenges I set for myself  are a first for me. Goal #18 though was to “Take A Vacation and While There Do Something I’ve Never Done Before”. The Rock & Roll Half Marathon was  quite the experience and vacation. We made a weekend of it, enjoying the beach, concerts on the beach (Daughtry, Smashmouth, Sugar Ray, Third Eye Blind – hello revival of the 90s) and of course a celebratory night out after the race.

We made our way to the 15th Street Amusement Park. There we decided to conquer the Skyscraper. This thing catapulted you 165 feet in the air at 65mph. I’ve always watched these rides but never quite had the guts to try it. Us girls figured we just ran 13.1 (and I’m sure a little liquid courage helped), so of course we could do this!


Horseback Riding

I haven’t been horseback riding since the 5th Grade. Flash forward almost 20 years later, I tried it again and LOVED it. We headed to Marriott Ranch  in Hume, VA for a Fall fun-filled day of horseback riding. We enjoyed a 90 minute guided tour. Take a peak of our ride here, here and here.

We coupled this with a double date with friends and headed over to Barrel Oak Winery. We set up outside on one of their many picnic tables, enjoyed a quick tasting, grabbed a couple bottles of wine and settled in for our homemade picnic. A great ending for the weekend.

 

Weekend Getaway

I killed two birds with one stone. I enjoyed my first Bed & Breakfast Stay.  We headed to Warrenton for an overnight stay at Poplar Springs Inn.

Before making our way to the Inn we enjoyed Old Town Warrenton. Old Town Warrenton has lots of fun shops, great dining and even a Farmer’s Market. We had lunch and some wine at Iron Bridge Wine Company. Definitely recommend this place –if for nothing else than their Lobster Mac & Cheese. Yum!

We then made our way to Marteralla Winery. Delicious wine and quite the view, even if it was a little cold and cloudy.

After an afternoon of wine we checked in at Poplar Springs. The inn was quiet and relaxing. We enoyed Happy Hour at the bar but ended up ordering Dominos in bed for dinner – classy!

 The next morning we decided to check out the surrounding area. We attempted to score some free corn stalks,  picked up some apples from Williams Orchard, and then headed for a Picnic at Skyline Drive! We lucked out as it had just opened a few days before when the Furlough was finally lifted.

Skyline Drive runs 105 miles long through the Blue Ridge Mountain. We enjoyed the scenic tour the mountain stopping to take pictures  along the way. Unfortunately, we didn’t pack a picnic but stopped at one of the food stops along the route. The restaurant had floor to ceiling windows so you could enjoy the mountain views while you grabbed a bite to eat.

…and the list continues. Almost there #30before30!

 

 

 

Knocked off two!!!

A few months ago, my family and I packed up all our things and headed down south to Myrtle Beach! I love it there, it’s just so different from where I grew up. Anyway, while I was there I had a chance to watch a beautiful sunrise and Patrick motivated me to run on the beach for the first time. Running on the beach is no joke!! My legs were killing me the next day. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures 😦 I did however pick up a few seashells for keepsakes. I’m planning on heading back to MB soon so I will be sure to take a few pics next go round.

-A