Thinking Out Loud: Momma’s Birthday

First and foremost, I need to say happy birthday to the most important woman in my life…  Happy Birthday, Momma!  I love you so much!

DSC00448 on the Cape for my cousin’s wedding, summer 2013

Per tradition, the birthday boy/girl gets to choose where we dine on his/her birthday and this year my momma picked J. Gilbert’s.  We all love it – the seafood is my favorite, Ryan and Danny love their steaks, and my momma loves their bar (they make a mean cosmopolitan).

I’ve enjoyed Amanda‘s Thinking Out Loud link-up the past two weeks (read: week 1, week 2) so I’m letting my random thoughts flow again this week.  Sticking with the birthday theme…

Thought #1:  Chocolate or vanilla cake?  Chocolate or vanilla frosting?  Vanilla cake with vanilla icing. Unless it’s chocolate lava cake…

Thought #2:  What do you call it – frosting or icing?  I use the terms interchangeably (see above), but through a little investigation, I learned (via this post) that there are some who believe that there is a difference.  They say that frosting is thicker (butter/cream base), icing is thinner (simple sugar base), and even add a third into the mix, a glaze.


Thought #3:  If you could go back in time to any age, what would it be?  I’m actually very happy with my current age so I’ll stay at 24-years-old.  If I had to choose a different age, I’d prefer to fast forward than rewind.

Thought #4:  What’s your most memorable birthday party?  My momma spoiled my brother and me when we were kids.  Pinatas were essential, lots of food and cake was consumed, and oftentimes there was some sort of talent.  One year I had a puppet show which was pretty cool, but my absolute favorite party was my Power Ranger themed birthday.  I was super psyched to have the pink and green Power Rangers make an appearance!  We were instant best friends (ironic that pink and green are still my favorite colors?).

Thought #5:  Would you rather be surprised or in-the-know on your birthday?  I love surprises, but I’m nosy and as soon as I start to suspect anything, I start digging and looking.  Not to mention, when I’m on the flip-side (planning the party), I have a hard time keeping the surprise a secret…  I’ve been known to spill the beans.

Surprise Birthday

Thought #6:  Ice cream cake – yay or nay?  Yay!  The chocolate crunchies between layers are my favorite – I wish I could eat them straight from a bowl with a large spoon.

Thought #7:  How do you feel when you unwrap gifts in front of a crowd?  Awkward.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m incredibly grateful and thankful to receive the gifts, but unwrapping them in front of a crowd can be overwhelming.  Like that time my momma gave me lingerie at my bridal shower where both my friends and her friends were in attendance…  I turned 50 shades of red.

Bridal Shower

Thought #8:  What’s your favorite birthday tradition?  Birthday dinner.

Thought #9:  Do any celebrities share the same birthday?  There are a handful of hunky men who share my momma’s birthday but more women share my birthday.  Check your birthday here.

Thought #10:  Do you sing “Happy Birthday”?  Even if you’re out in public?  Yes!  We’ll be singing tonight ;)

Question:  Answer one or more of the thoughts above!

— Allison


Wonderful 48 Hours of Christmas

I hope that y’all had a marvelously Merry Christmas!

The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year!  Beginning with Thanksgiving and lasting through Christmas…  People are full of cheer, clothing is festive and gaudy, the eats are primarily sweet, the weeks are packed with holiday gatherings, and family and friends are eager to reunite.




Ryan, Charlie, and I have a tradition of opening our gifts on Christmas Eve because we spend Christmas day with our families.  This year we (rather, I) couldn’t wait until we got home from dinner so we exchanged gifts mid-afternoon.  We all were extremely happy with what we received, especially Charlie who immediately dug into a new bag of bacon bones.

Later in the afternoon we freshened up and went over to my momma’s house for a traditional ham dinner.  While dinner was being prepared, we sipped wine and snacked on shrimp cocktail and veggies – Ryan and I could easily eat a whole tray of shrimp cocktail by ourselves.  Dinner featured a HoneyBaked ham (always a delicious treat!), parmesan green beans, and red potatoes.  For dessert we had pumpkin pie and homemade icebox cake.

Have y’all ever had icebox cake?  My momma has made it for as long as I can remember, but it was Ryan’s first experience!  An icebox cake is chocolate wafers slathered with fresh, thick whipped cream and formed into a log that is laid on its side.  When you cut it on an angle it looks like chocolate ripples are flowing throughout.  It’s truly sinful!  You can also find the recipe on the back of Nabisco’s Famous Chocolate Wafers.




It took us a little longer than planned to get moving on Christmas morning – coffee was flowing, eggnog french toast was cooking, and we got too cozy on the couch watching A Christmas Story.  We finally made our way over to my momma’s house where we opened our stockings and exchanged presents by the fire.  Ryan also helped install her new Blu-ray player and printer which she was super thankful for because when it comes to electronics my momma is not so up-to-date.  After lunch Ryan and I went to his grandparent’s house where we met his family for our second round of gift giving.




For dinner I tried a new recipe and it turned out to be a tasty success!  It was super simple and I’ll definitely make it again when I’m crunched for time since it took about 15 minutes from start to finish, hence why I’m calling it Deliciously Simple Chicken Parm.  We ate dinner on the couch while watching The Switch – a cute and funny chick-flick with Jennifer Aniston.


It was truly a wonderful 48 hours of Christmas!

Question:  What’s your favorite holiday tradition?

Question:  Do you shop the post-holiday sales?

— Allison


Currently: Cravings, Foods, & Workouts


it’s Allison but the barista made a mean iced passion tea so I’ll let his little slip-up slide

Ryan:  How was meeting your momma?

Me:  Great – we walked around for a while but didn’t find any good linens and then chatted at Starbucks.

Ryan:  That sounds good!  Did you buy anything?

Me:  Maybe…

Ryan:  You did, I saw the Nordstrom bag!

Haha another example of how I am the least sneaky person.  I needed more probiotics and I haven’t had a Quest Bar for months and and I’ve wanted to buy a pair of TOMS for a while but know that I don’t need any more shoes…  But since I donated a couple bags of clothing and shoes during our move and my momma said that they’d be a good shoe for spring, summer, and fall, I thought they’d be a good “investment” ;)

7-5 Shopping

I’ve seen this survey floating around so I thought it would be fun to hop onto the bandwagon too…

1. What did you eat for breakfast?

Hazelnut coffee with Silk Light Vanilla Soymilk, green grapes, and Cinnamon Vanilla French toast topped with plain Chobani + Grape Nuts + raisins + lightly salted peanuts.

2. How much water do you drink a day?

I don’t keep track but if I were to guess, probably about 100 ounces?  I’ve noticed that I drink more water when I’m at work becuase I keep a huge insulated cup on my desk…  It’s one of those out of sight, out of mind kinda things.

3. What is your current favorite workout?

I started my first round of Best Body Bootcamp a few weeks ago and I’m loving it!  I haven’t run at all since the ZOOMA Annapolis Half on June 1st – it’s kinda crazy to think that I went from running double digit miles to nada.


4. How many calories do you eat a day?

Again, I don’t keep track – I did for a while years ago and it was exhausting.  I typically eat 3 “bigger” meals [breakfast, lunch, and dinner], a couple of snacks in between, and I always the end the day on a sweet note.

5. What are your favorite healthy snacks?

The past couple of weeks I’ve been hooked on 3-Ingredient PB&J Trail Mix.  I’m also a big fan of fresh fruit, rice cakes with hummus or peanut butter, cereal or yogurt bowls, or protein bars if I’m on the go.  With the temperatures creeping up close to 100 degrees smoothies sound more and more appealing.

6. What do you usually eat for lunch?

Fresh veggies, a piece of fruit, a sandwich, and some type of salty + sweet combo.  I’ve found that a good balance of fresh produce + healthy fats + protein + carbs keeps me the most satisfied.


7. What is your favorite body part to strength train?

My legs.  Holy heck, Tina‘s lower body workout this past week made my legs burn!

8. What is your least favorite body part to strength train?

My arms, they’re weak and they show it.  “Sexy and I Know It” just popped into my head, oh LMFAO…

9. What are your “bad” food cravings?

As long as I can remember, my dad always said that everything is “good” in moderation so I’ve never thought of any foods as entirely “bad,” with the exception of highly processed and artificial foods.  Most often my cravings are for sweets – ice cream has been a big craving lately.


10. Do you take vitamins or supplements?

Yup, every morning with my meds I take a women’s multivitamin, magnesium, and a probiotic.

11. How often do you eat out?

Whelp, we have at least a dozen restaurants less than 100 feet from our front door but we’ve only gotten takeout.  We’re trying to be a bit more frugal with our spending habits but that’s fine with me because I want to get back into the groove of cooking more often.

12. Do you eat fast food?

If you consider places like Chipotle, Panera, and Potbelly fast food, then yup.  Also, lately I’ve had a randomly intense craving for fried chicken and yesterday I spotted a brand spankin’ new Chik-fil-a so I may have to swing by there soon.

13. Who is your biggest supporter?

My momma and Ryan.  They’ve been by my side through my toughest times.

5-21 Baseball Game

14. Do you have a gym membership?

Nope, we ended our membership when we moved.  We couldn’t justify spending $100+/ month on a membership when we have access to a gym in our apartment complex and in my office.  I do miss going to classes though so I’m considering joining a cheapo gym that’s close by.

15. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?

Early to bed and early to rise – I usually fall asleep around 9PM and wake up anytime between 4-6AM.

16. Do you have a “cheat”day?

The former teacher in me doesn’t like cheaters so this term irks me…  I try to eat healthfully most of the time but I also indulge in my cravings when they strike.  Life is too short for deprivation.

17. Do you drink alcohol?

I’ve cut back on drinking since being diagnosed with lupus and IBS because of how it makes my body ache the next day, but I still like to enjoy a glass of champagne or wine occasionally.


18. Do you have a workout buddy?

Right now I’m sweating solo – I don’t mind it though becuase workouts are the one time that I can totally disconnect from the world around me.

19. What is the best thing that has changed about your life since committing to a healthy lifestyle?

Connecting with others who I can relate to and share similar interests.

20. What was the last healthy thing you did?

I ate breakfast – gotta break the fast!


Question:  What is your favorite and least favorite body part to strength train?

Question:  What was the last healthy thing you did?

— Allison