Good grief. Getting back into a strong weekly exercise routine isn’t as glamorous as it used to be. And by “glamorous” I mean that back in the day I didn’t want to hurl at the top of a massive hill after running 20 minutes…why not?…ah…well you see that’s because, back in the day, I was actually in shape.

Not gonna lie. I will certainly toot my own horn here and say that I was a good athlete. I rowed competitively for 8 years straight (all my love to the ladies and gentlemen from both the Conestoga High School and Washington College crew teams!). It set me in place for some of the most unbelievable life lessons that only the quiet strength of repetition through matching 8 oars as one stroke, 8 bodies in one motion, and 8 minds toward one goal can do for you.  It’s an amazing sport if you haven’t tried it yet. Then there was the bike trip in 2007. I cycled across America with 3 friends from college, and our mission (OTHER than to get safely from one side of the nation to the other) was to encourage Americans to quit smoking, and to promote lung health. “If we can ride across America, you can quit smoking.” That was our motto and we actually had an overwhelming amount of pledges. Despite the lactic acid filling our legs as we pumped each pedal to climb the Cascade Mountains in Washington, despite North Dakota’s extreme July heat pounding down on our every move, and despite the threat of massive trucks screaming by us as we pedaled fearfully along the side of the road…it was all worth it.

So yeah, that’s all lovely…but NOW what? I just have to re-train myself. It’s not easy, but looking back on all of the physical pain, the lessons learned, the medals won and lost, the friends made, and the feeling I got when I conquered personal goals – it’s all worth it. Sean, Stella and I all went for a run last Sunday and we successfully took on 5 miles. SO GOOD to say that again. To have both my man and my doggie each running with me was the most inspirational feeling. To keep things interesting, I also ran with Stella this afternoon. I figured, “I did 5 miles two days ago…what’s 3 miles today.” LEGS OF MUSH…THAT’S WHAT! My legs were super sore today. I ran most of it, then started to walk the last mile…and Stella got very confused. She kept looking up at me with that preciously puzzled face like something was wrong. How do you tell your dog “I’m out of shape” when she wants to run like the wind! So after she melted my heart a little, I gave in. We ran the rest of the way home, and we both were thankful.

Inspiration is everywhere. Past, present, and future…it’s everywhere. Rowing, cycling, and even running in past races have all been there for me in my past inspirations.

As for my present inspirations: Sean and Stella are my rockstars. My friends and family who hold exercising and healthy living to such a respectful level – they’re also constants in my life when it comes to inspirations. I also want to give a special shout out to a fellow blogger, friend, and former Washington College co-worker & alumna: Aundra. She has always been an inspiration with her ongoing projects, her blogging, both her meal and home project creations, her love of Zumba, and more recently – her reconnection with running. Check out her blog if you could use a little inspiration as well:


That leaves future inspirations. Now, I’m not held to the demands of a competitive team like I once was, I certainly haven’t been fundraising for a cross-country cycling expedition, and I don’t really have any new goals other than simply feeling athletic again. So…where do I look for future success? Two things:

I’ll admit it…I’m addicted to Pinterest. Whatever. At least it’s a healthy addiction! Seriously though, this gives me constant inspiration for future workouts & meals.

The second future inspiration of mine has been this bad boy:, showing me all of the upcoming races (5k, 10 miler, etc.) in my area. Once I register for a run – I’m immediately held accountable for not only showing up and running the race, but also to prove to myself that I’m still pretty awesome. This page also lets you create your own profile. Pretty sweet! I’m feeling special already.

Between the GLORIOUS weather this summer has brought us so far, the 2012 Summer Olympics right around the corner, and…ohhhh I don’t know….the overall well-being of your heart and soul – find your inspirations. And if anyone needs a running partner – you better let me know!

Happy sweating.

Hello, “love!”

Newlie has become a special little blog where I can archive my weekly attempts to balance an assortment of goodies in life: cooking, baking, exercising, catching up with family and friends, learning how to make a house into our home, etc. But there’s something that I haven’t written about yet. It’s kind of the reason and inspiration for my blog….


Like…shout it from the mountain tops while holding a radio over my head – kind of in love. And what’s even better than that? He loves meeeeee! And we’re getting maaaaaarried! Am I making you sick to your stomach? Should I stop talking? Too bad. We get to spend the rest of our lives together, and I can’t even begin to express the joy that brings us. Sean is truly the most amazing, kind hearted, hilarious, handsome man I have ever met. And now…comes a very exciting next step:

Wedding Planning. 

Goodness GRACIOUS there’s a lot that goes into this stuff. Seriously! First of all, there’s the wedding date to choose. Then there’s the wedding websites to pick from. Then you begin the search for the perfect: venue, caterer, photographer, cake bakery, ceremony music, reception music, wedding dress, save the date cards, invitations, color scheme, ceremony program, place settings, place cards, dinner choices, rehearsal dinner restaurant, accommodations, gift registry, thank you cards, flowers, wedding favors, minister, budget, hair and make up artists…and believe me…the list goes on and on. But you know what? I’m seriously loving every minute of planning. It has been such a joy to plan the day that we’ll become husband and wife. I know I’m not the only lady out there planning a wedding right now, or maybe for some of you ladies, SOON to plan a wedding? Ehh!? So I’d love to share the websites and companies I’ve worked with so far who have made the process easy, breezy, and beautiful. Enjoy:

I definitely sprinted to the computer to make a Pinterest board named “I’m getting MARRIED!!!!” within the week that Sean proposed. It’s so much fun. Probably too much fun, to the point of slight addiction, but my fellow Pinterest lovers will understand. If you want to check out some of my “Pin-spirations” just click the icon above.

Wedding Wire is an absolute dream in terms of helping me to keep track of everything like: our budget, the wedding guest list, seating arrangements (our wedding is not ’til December, so I haven’t used that part – but it looks like fun!), monthly check lists, vendor searches, making your own wedding website for your guests, and tons more. It’s a huge help, and I personally like it much more than (too many ads on that site).

Wedding Paper Divas has been a gloooorious help because it’s affordable, personalized, beautiful, and gave us an adorable template for our Save the Dates. Our Save the Dates were delivered to our home within the week. Then…are you ready for this?…..I lost them. Like, totally misplaced them, had absolutely no clue where they were. Now…please tell me…WHAT BRIDE LOSES HER SAVE THE DATES?! I couldn’t find them for weeks. Started to reorder them, and then found them one afternoon conveniently snuggled in the trunk of my car. Apparently I had taken them with me to Pennsylvania to show them to my family one weekend, and then just forgot where I packed them. Whatever – problem solved!
Once it was time for us to look into wedding invitations, I really wanted to go with a privately owned company. Wedding Paper Divas was great for our Save the Dates. But for our invitations, Sean and I both a very traditional and formal look, and for someone to talk to us about all the options; to make the process informative, seamless and personable.  Ideally we’d find a privately owned small business so that our budgeted amount for these invitations could go toward a small business. And did I mentioned we also were hoping for affordable? So naturally we though, “Uhh…is that combination even possible?” Apparently it is. I just happend to Google “Wedding Invitations D.C.” and came across this precious-beyond-words little company, Just Paper and Tea, located along P Street in heart of fancy shmancy Georgetown. I called their number and the woman who answered the phone was named Carolyn. “OOHHH!! HAH! YAY! That’s my sister’s name!” (who also happens to be my Matron of Honor), I enthusiastically replied. I tend to get a little excited about small things from time to time :). Carolyn was such a sweetheart, and proceeded to answer all my initial burning questions about costs and how it met various style expectations. We scheduled a visit for that afternoon, I was late….woopsiessss….but she and her husband stayed late anyway.
OH MY GOSH….you HAVE to check out there adorable store (seen off to the right). It’s a small cozy little two room space with stationary in the first room, plenty of tea options as you enter the second room, and then ENDLESS invitation binders of invitation samples off to the right. Carolyn’s husband, Nick, went through various designs with me so that I’d feel a little more educated on all the various invitation options. After an hour and a half, I had more of a grasp on the enormous world of wedding invitations. It was a little overwhelming at first due to the CRAZY amount of options that our world has produced for weddings these days. Once I knew what I liked, I made an appointment for the next morning and brought the man himself, Mr. Sean Karl Mason, back to the store with me. You think I was overwhelmed? HAH! Sean just kept saying “Wow….uh…..I had no idea there were so many choices…….” but Nick was fantastic. Any confusion, worries, or questions that we had, he answered perfectly. One week later, he delivered us our first proof. Super fast. I cannot recommend this place enough! Check it out when you’re in Georgetown next, even if you’re only looking for cute teas or stationary.
That’s all for now. I’ll try to write more about any other vendors that make the world a better place once we’re finished working with them. For now: It’s a beautiful day, I have Frank Sinatra singing to me through the powers of Pandora Radio, and I want to attempt to cook a mouthwatering meal that I’ve made before. It’s the recipe I made at the end of the “True Life: I have the day off (Part II)” post from March.
Love, and thanks for reading 🙂

Day Off (Part I)

Ever need a day to yourself when the rest of the world is working? One that frees you from work, an agenda, and permits your heart and soul to truly define the day?

Today is my day.

That’s right! I have the day off. “HOLLERRRR!” What to dooo!? Well, last weekend was spent in both Westchester County and Long Island, NY for work, so I intend to smush a weekend full of my wish list adventures into today. Special shout out to my AMAZING team (Andrew Bunting, Daniel Zimmet, and Mark Mansdoerfer) who I traveled with. Our mission was to host two admitted student receptions in those areas over the weekend. It was a TOTAL success!

Today’s post will come in two parts:

1) Part I: What I want to do with my day.

2) Part II: What I actually accomplished (both productive, and delightfully unproductive). I’ll deliver Part II after New Girl tonight, so stay tuned. Both for that show (9 p.m. on Fox) and for my little day off report that is 😉 And just because I’m excited…let’s take a little looksie at a preview of tonight’s show:

A day off is typically a day to sleep in and do nothing if your schedule allows for it, am I right? Well, not today. I have a wish list of all-things-delightful to accomplish, and I intend to takle it head-on. Not an agenda…just a wish list:

  • My day-off breakfast. Tales of this deliciousness coming soon.
  • Target time! I’m convinced that shopping at Target is one of the greatest things in life. I have things to buy, Starbucks coffee to enjoy, discounts to get excited over, and new decoration ideas to be inspired by.
  • A clean house. I adore coming home to a clean home…and call me old fashioned, but seeing the smile on Sean’s face when he comes home from work and the entire house is clean (this only happens when I’ve had the day off – don’t be fooled), is priceless.
  • Running with Stella. Remember when I was a rockstar last weekend? If not, read my last post! I need to keep up the athleticism, and today just so happens to be beautiful again. SO beautiful, in fact, that the sunshine just smacks a smile right on your face the moment you step outside. It’s time to exercise.
  • Wedding Wishes. 9 months from our wedding day may seem like an eternity, but the list of things to both plan, and RE-plan is growing by the minute. News on that later.
  • Pinterest. I mean let’s be honest, we all know it’s going to happen. Might as well add it to the list so that I can feel especially productive later!
  • Cupcakes! I love to bake. Red velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, anyone? I think it’s gonna happen. Work friends at Mason’s Office of Admissions – if you cheer me on in this task… you’ll be “sweetly” rewarded when I return tomorrow!
  • New recipe. I’m loving the ideas in one of my new recipe cookbooks. Tales of this deliciousness coming soon as well.
  • Cute new dress. I LOVE dresses, and would love a new one. Let’s see if I can fit this task in as well.

Oh my…it’s already 10:43 a.m….time to go. Who’s excited!? THIS GIRL!

Stay tuned.