ashley nicole avenue

a journey to healthy balance

If the Shoe Fits… February 22, 2011

Filed under: Dessert,My Life,SIAB,Zumba — ansauls @ 2:19 am

Hey y’all! What’s up, buttercups?! Sorry for being MIA. It’s been a NUTZO couple of days. Grab some coffee/tea/PB 😉 and settle in…here’s a recap.

1. I had some fun with fat hehe….the baby plate was carrots and cucumbers with hummus; a bed of celery topped with chicken kelaguen, fresh salsa, and fresh avocado, and 1/2 apple.

The apple was lonely without some fat, so a dollop of this goodness somehow appeared on top…

[Source]

2. I tried avocado in a smoothie. It was a new ingredient for me that I LOOOOOOVED! WOW! It gives amazing texture.

Avocado Smoothie

In the confetti bowl:

  • 1/2 avocado
  • a few slices of frozen nanner
  • Twisted Power Powder (maca, cacao, hemp)
  • 1/2 scoop chocolate protein powder
  • toppings: blueberries, blackberries, cacao nibs

It. rocked. my. face!!!!

3. Then I had some fun with my newly-legal sistaaaa….it was a beautiful day, so we sat outside at On the Border. I had a Lime Skinny; she had a Swirls with strawberry. Her 1st margarita, which is my favorite, so I was a proud sister! She liked it!!

Lunch was a Citrus Chipotle Chicken Salad with no dressing. I did dip the lettuce in some salsa.

 Citrus Chipotle Chicken Salad[Source]

And I took her to my favorite fro yo place…Marmalade Skies!! I broke out of my vanilla-with-kiwi-and-raspberry-shell to have some vanilla, PEANUT BUTTER (YES!), and a little cappuccino yogurt topped with sprinkles and dark chocolate chips. I love the crunch of dark chocolate in yogurt. It was yummers!

A little later in the evening, I taught a ZUMBA PARTY at One Heart Yoga. Mira, the owner, and her husband Erik let me host a donation event for my Christian medical missions trip to South Africa. The Lord completely BLEW me away with the generosity of my participants! We packed the house out!!! Thank-you again to everyone that came out. We’re going to do another 90-minute donation class full of sweating and smiling in March ;).  Here’ s me teaching 😉

Saturday  night we had our community friends over for my sister’s 21st birthday (hey, we get a week of celebration around here!). Isn’t she precious?

My best friend Leslie was in town, so she came by to dance with me 😉 hehe What a treat!

Sunday was a quick trip to Charleston (what a beautiful day on Ashley Avenue hehe) to meet with the team for my trip. We’re trying to get a shoe drop in South Africa while we’re there. There will be TONS of barefooted children running around playing soccer that we want to give TOMS to. We’re going to take flip flops for them, but they need shoes so badly. If y’all have TOMS connections, please e-mail me.

Can you guess which ones are mine? hehe

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By having to take this weekend off from blogging, I’ve realized how busy my life has become and that I can’t give 110% to Ashley Nicole Avenue. That being said, I started this blog to share new and fun ideas to get on a journey to healthy balance. I don’t feel like I’ve offered really fun recipes and can’t afford to do fun product reviews (y’all are so great to have so many cool gadgets and ingredients) and want to give it so much more. I guess I’m more of a semi-homemade kind of girl. I still LOVE reading all of your fun ideas and recipes. I am also the girl who tends to operate better with a full plate, but I want to give this blog so much more than I have time to. So, this is going to be my final post. This hasn’t been an easy decision to make. Y’all have been so wonderful for reading my crazy/silly life and for commenting. Thank-you for joining me on this journey. It means more than you know! We’ve been through high heels, tennis shoes, and TOMS ;), but this time the shoe that fits is taking at least a blog break. I love each of you for taking your time to read.

Love and health,

ashley nicole

 

Last Shot at the Giveaway ;) February 17, 2011

What’s up, bloggies? It’s so nice that it’s not freezing here 😉 There’s nothing like not having to pre-crank the car for a 6 a.m. BodyPump class.

Workout today: taught BodyPump and Zumba, did a Hot Yoga class

My tummy was growling at 5 a.m., so I had a quick pre-workout snack that Lindsay gave me to try. I immediately read the ingredients (cashew, dates, agave nectar, coconut, cocoa powder processed with alkali, almond, sprouted flax), was OK with them, tore into the package and devoured it 😉 It was a little more “coconutty” than a Larabar but really good. I mean, who turns down chocolate at 5 a.m.? hehe (Thanks, Lindsay!)

 

I dreamed about breakfast all the way home from the gym…and came up with this beauty since I had a little more time than a usual weekday morning.

 

“Check-Out-that-Sunshine” Breakfast Sandwich

  • 2 pieces of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread, defrosted and toasted
  • ½ banana browned stovetop with a little oil
  • Sunnyside up egg

  • Toppings: Naturally More, Trader Joes’ Superfruit Spread, unsweetened coconut, organic pumpkin

Plus a side of greek yogurt (Fage, my favorite!) topped with blackberries and strawberries.

Yummy!!!

And my Yogi tea (oh, how I love thee) must have read the blog yesterday because this was my inspirational message this morning…

“Experience your own body, your own mind, your own soul.” How appropriate!

I made a quick to-go lunch for work…

A grain bowl: brown rice (man, was that brown rice gooooood!), black beans, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, green beans…

and lunch dessert: an organic pear and a black bean brownie and cookie dough hummus sandwich 😉

This was SUCH a filling lunch of good fat, protein, and some “clean” carbs 😉

Off to teach Zumba…

One last shot at the giveaway…winner chosen tomorrow!!!

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Reader’s Request: 5 Years from Now…

God would probably laugh at my plans, but I’d like to be a practicing PA, maybe in a serious dating relationship or married, exploring balance with health and fitness, using my passport as much as possible while still spending time with family 😉

Where would YOU like to be in 5 years? Oh, I can’t wait to read these 😉

 

Calling YOU Out

What’s up, buttercups? It’s been a day! Let me just tell y’all about it…

First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY LINDSAY!!! Thanks for your friendship…it’s been a blast!

Now onto today’s eats…check out the morning-after Blueberry Muffin “Larabars®”. Looks good to me! They were a little “wet” still, so I’d definitely recommend rolling with dried blueberries, but I could not find any that weren’t sweetened in our little grocery stores in town. (Note to self: buy at Whole Foods next time, or make some myself!) I liked the texture though. Perfect for crumbling 😉 hehe (insert sneaky smirk here)

I crumbled 1/6 of the “Larabar (R)” container on top of pumpkin oats with some real blueberries…

Check out this mug shot 😉 + Naturally More dollop.

Then I topped that with some Trader Joe’s Superfruit Spread. It was one of those days when I kept going back in the refrigerator for toppings.

Workout today: BodyPump, RPM, BodyFlow. I got “called out” today for overdoing it, but I truly felt great and had a great mix of cardio, weights, and flexibility training. When you’re a fitness instructor as a job, it’s important to keep up with your own fitness to be a good example for your participants. I would have left if I felt tired or sluggish…promise! I told the man who stopped me that he needed to check out my blog to see that yes, I do eat. It just really stuck with me today.

I came home to make this beast of a lunch in my baby plate ;)…Ashley Nicole Avenue salad beast and 1/2 sweet potato “Clare” style 😉 (I tried it FINALLY, Clare!)–with black beans, fresh salsa, and some ripe avocado. It was different for a change, but my tastebuds like baked beans on top better.

Dessert lunch: 1) Celestial Lemon Zinger hot tea (if you can’t say something nice, don’t! I miss my Yogi tea), 2) a square of 85% cacao chocolate…not as good as 100%, but it did the trick, and 3) the BEST smoothie! It tasted like ice cream + I added 3 slices of frozen banana…

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place ½ cup water and the almonds in a blender.
  2. Cover and refrigerate until the cashews have softened, at least 6 hours (and up to overnight).
  3. Add the ice, banana, and maple syrup.
  4. Blend until smooth and frothy.

After 3 hours of studying about metabolism of glucose and insulin, my tummy said: “Snack time, please!” So, went with 1) organic pink lady, a Ball of Energy (with Maranatha raw almond butter, Twister Power Powder from Whole Foods, unsweetened coconut, honey, rolled in some more coconut), and some Green Juice…

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place the grapes, spinach, ice, and coconut water in a blender.
  2. Let it fly!

 

I went to chat with my friend Mira who inspired tonight’s dessert ;), practiced for Zumba and getting ready for my Zumba party at One Heart Yoga!!! If you’re in town, please come by for some or all of it. Here’s the deets…

“ZUMBA PARTY!!!: Friday, February 18th from 6:30-8:00 pm. Zumba instructor Ashley Sauls will lead us in over an hour of hip rolling, salsa dancing, clapping, laughing fun all while building our core strength and giving us a great cardio workout. In lieu of the regular class fee we will collecting donations for Ashley’s medical missions trip to Africa. She will join a team of 30 medical professionals, students, and pastors. Their group is partnering with a local ministry called Emoyeni, which takes care of orphans whose parents died of AIDS. For more info check out: (www.emoyeni.org) Hope to see you there!”

Dinner was a grain bowl!!! Oh, how I have missed these. I just wanted something really clean!

In the bowl:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • black beans
  •  edamame
  • green beans
  • steamed mixed veggies (carrots, cauliflower, broccoli)
  • seasonings: nutritional yeast and Garlic Gold Nuggets

Soooooo yummy and super quick!

Dinner dessert: Mira-inspired Single Lady Spicy Hot Chocolate

  • 2 tbsp + a little more 100% cacao powder
  • 1/8 tsp Truvia
  • sprinkle of sea salt
  •  a little lot of cayenne pepper ( you pick your spicy!)

I have never tried one of these before. It was different. Definitely not sweet, but the cayenne complimented the cocoa well. Hmmm…I may need to play with this one some more (or go to Mexico and get a Mexican hot chocolate 😉 )

Plus, some grapes, a black bean brownie topped with some cookie dough hummus 😉

I’m fully satisfied! Definitely not stuffed but content.

Have you ever been “called out” at the gym? How do you handle it? I can’t wait to hear what you have to say.

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Reader’s Request: If you could look back at yourself at 16 years of age, what would you say to yourself/What advice would your give yourself?

( I have to indulge the birthday girl today!)

Well, for starters, I’d say…

  • Lose your dreams! Open yourself up to what God has for you. It’s so much better than what you had planned for yourself.
  • GET HEALTHY! and enjoy eating REAL food…go get some raw nut butter NOW!
  • Start saving for a VitaMix ; ) hehe
  • Get out of your comfort zone at least once a day!
  • Get off the couch and go outside, take a walk, dance barefoot in the grass, life is too short. (I used to come home from school, eat way too many snacks and watch TV until dinner while doing homework.)
  • Outer beauty is not everything, but a healthy balance is important.
  • Love who you are and embrace it. Don’t roll with the “popular” thing your friends are doing or who they want you to be.

I’m sure there’s a lot more, but that’s what came to mind first. Thanks for the request, Linds!

 

Dark and Bold…Just the Way I Like it! February 16, 2011

What’s up, buttercups?! How’s your day been? Mine’s been pretty good. My brain hurts from Biochem…any tutors out there? All these pathways and enzymes are a lot to handle. You gotta be BOLD! hehe

Having breakfast ready (or almost ready) in the morning has really helped my time management! Try it…you might like it 😉 Today’s SIAB for breakfast was very refreshing! I did a Pretty-in-Pink Smoothie (strawberries, keifer, banana, ice) topped with blackberries, blueberries, 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, and 1 tbsp raw almond butter. ahhhhhhhh!

Then it was off to the gym to teach Zumba and do some abs 😉 Gotta look good for that swimsuit in 2 weeks and 4 days, but who’s counting?

After a quick wardrobe change ;), it was off to the temp job. Pre-made lunch of leftovers from Sunday night plus some extra spinach just ‘cuz I needed some more green with those spinach noodles 😉 on a makeshift placemat (aka lunchbag).

I re-heated it all together (why are leftovers SO good?!), so the spinach was wilted with the pasta. Yummers!

And, even though it was a quickie lunch, it’s important to set the table for yourself and enjoy your meal. You made it! You earned it!

And every meal deserves dessert…an organic pear and a black bean brownie dessert sandwich with dessert hummus in the center. WOW!!! I left it in the frige all morning…seriously, it was like cookie dough (oh, how I’ve missed cookie dough. If I’d only known it was possible in healthy way 😉 )

Snack was an unphotographed Cashew Cookie Larabar. Since I missed my Hot Yoga class today because of work, I did an afternoon workout of 1 power hour of Power Yoga to stretch out really good. Zumba has me tight these days.

After a loooooooooooooong day of daydreaming about recipes studying, I took some time to cook tonight since Tuesdays are my night off from teaching Zumba. Out came the blender and food processor (a VitaMix would make life so much easier…maybe one day my fairy godmother will deliver one hehe).

1. Emergency Smoothie. I always try to keep one made for “emergencies”/ my-stomach-is-growling-and-I-need-something-healthy-now! (Impatient a little? hmmm!). Plus, it’s a great way to use random ingredients that I need to finish up. I’ll tell you more about it when it’s consumed 😉

2. Since-They-Won’t-Bring-Blueberry-Muffin-“Larabars®”-To-Me, I’ll-Make-Them-Myself

Ingredients

Servings: 6 bars

  • 1 cup(about 20) pitted dates
  • 1 cup almonds (mine had been soaked overnight)
  • 2 tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut
  • 1/2 cup dried blueberries (all I had was fresh ones, so I used 1 cup)
  • 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice (or sexy spice or apple pie spice)

Directions: Put all this goodness in the food processor (or VitaMix or BlendTec–Lindsay!, if you’re so lucky!) and let it fly. Mine are now in the refrigerator setting up. I’m thinking they may HAVE to appear at tomorrow’s breakfast. I licked the spatula as I was scraping the mix out…WHOA!!! Hey, half the fun of “letting it fly” is licking the utensils! (I’m in a sassy mood tonight..watch out!)

3. Thank-You, Lord for Making Brownie Batter (yes, I said it! Brownie Batter) hehe

  • 4 tbsp soft coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp (or more!) dark cocoa powder
  • scant 1/16 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp sexy spice
  • 1/2 a frozen banana heated in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften
  • optional: Feel free to sweeten, if needed (not needed for this chica!)

Blend everything (or mash with a fork).

I cut the recipe in half because it was for my dessert tonight, and I knew having extra around would be dangerous!

Then, I finally tackled tofu in the oven. Usually, I’m so hungry by the time it’s dinner time that taking the time to sit tofu on a paper towel THEN bake it THEN broil it is simply too much torture, but I had time tonight.

4. Goodness Gracious Great Balls of Energy

I made them this time with raw almond butter, unsweetened coconut, and honey and rolled them in coconut and cacao nibs.

Why-Have-I-Always-Been-So-Afraid-of-Tofu?

  • Press extra firm tofu with cookbooks or something heavy between paper towels for 30 minutes.
  • Bake at 400*F for 35 minutes.
  • Broil for 5 minutes.
  • Season with WHATEVER…BBQ sauce, oil and spices, etc. (I used mixed herbs and balsamic tonight.)

 But, I started with a small salad beast (herb mix, edamame, carrots, celery, cucumbers hummus, balsamic).

Now enters the tofu, 1/2 sweet potato sexified, some steamed green beans (about 1 cup) with Garlic Gold nuggets. Yummy!

Daddy brewed coffee tonight, and it smelled SO good that I had to have some while I watched my Heels play Wake Forest. It’s been a while since I had coffee all day long ;), so it really was dark and bold (and 1/2 caff)…just the way (uh huh uh huh) I like it! It’s nice to have it as a treat now and not all day long like I was before.

And finally…BROWNIE BATTER!!!! It was soooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good!!! topped with strawberries and blackberries. (Thanks, Katie!)

Valentine’s Day got me thinking about a couple of things I wanted to toss out to y’all to see what you think…

1. Sweet Stuff

Since I am out of agave, I did some reading today on sweeteners so I could have a substitute for my Balls of Energy. I came across this article and am interested in knowing what you think…what’s your favorite sweetie? why?

2. Shopping as a Single Lady (or Man)

How do cut the cost of grocery shopping while shopping for 1? I mean, so many places suggest shopping in bulk, but it’s not worth it to let food go bad if you can’t finish it all…how do you shop for 1?

Keep those reader’s requests coming for the giveaway!

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Reader’s Request: My Essential Foods

My typical grocery list looks a little something like this…

  • raw nuts (I switch up which kind. I’m always up for something new)
  • raw nut butter (clearly a staple. I usually don’t splurge on fun flavors (unless I get a sample packet) because I can’t afford it, but ILOVE reading y’all’s combos.)
  • a grain (quinoa, brown rice, etc.)
  • blueberries/strawberries/blackberries
  • organic apples/oranges/pears (whatever’s on sale)
  • Larabars (I always stock up when they’re on sale!)
  • organic spinach and some type of mixed greens
  • organic baby carrots
  • almond milk
  • 0% fat greek yogurt
  • keifer
  • plain hummus
  • organic canned beans (black, garbanzo, baked 😉 )
  • avocado
  • sweet potato
  • steamed veggies (green beans, brussel sprouts, broccoli, etc.)
  • edamame
  • 100% unsweetened chocolate
  • new ingredient that I’ve never tried before so I can make some new recipes and get creative so my palate doesn’t get bored  🙂

Hope this helps! Sweet dreams, loves!

 

Valentine’s Day for One…and a GIVEAWAY! February 15, 2011

Happy Valentine’s Day, my loves! I don’t know why the post I typed up last night didn’t post, but I’ll fill in as best I can 😦

This morning started with One Night Stand Breakfast Cookie Dough Cereal (because this process actually started last night hehe)

1. Make a breakfast cookie the night before…

  • 1/3 cup oats
  • 1/4 scoop SunWarrior (this is all I had left…usually, I roll with 1/2 scoop)
  • 1 tbsp Naturally More
  • 4 slices of frozen nanner…so good morning after 😉
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • toppings: blueberries and goji berries

Sit it in the refrigerator overnight.

2. WAKE UP SOOOOO EXCITED that breakfast is already made from your one-night stand ;)!

3. Top with 4 soaked raw almonds for crunch and blackberries and 1/2 cup almond milk.

Workout today: BodyPump, RPM, taught Zumba

I got called to my temp office job, so I threw together a quick lunch of the rest of my tahini garlic dressing, carrots, cucumbers, celery, and herb mixed greens. It’s nice to have the “dressing” in the bottom so that all the salad gets mixed in. It was a quick and dirty lunch but yummy!

Quickie lunch: brussel sprouts and 2 mini black bean burgers.

I was so full from this lunch!

I wasn’t really hungry for a snack, and I had a tummy ache, but since it was going to be 8 hours in between lunch and din din, I decided to eat an organic pink lady and a Love is Not a Green Monster…

  • 2 cups organic spinach
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 tablespoon flax
  • 1 banana
  • a few blueberries and strawberries
  • ice

Put in the blender, and let it fly!

After Zumba, I was huuuuunnnnngry! I rolled with leftovers from last night’s meal (see below..again, sorry it didn’t post for some reason 😦 ) and a small Ashley Nicole Avenue salad beast (herb mix, cucs, carrots, celery, edamame, hummus, and balsamic). Since I use these ingredients all the time, I’m officially naming this the beast of this blog 😉

So, last night’s dinner that disappeared into blog world…a romantic meal for 1 (with leftovers hehe)

1. Start with a small skillet of EVOO and garlic.

2. Add artichoke hearts, organic tomato slices, mushrooms, and some mixed spices and herbs. Cook on medium high heat and simmer down to low. Simmer to desired consistency.

3.  Add organic tomato sauce to veggies. Simmer a little longer 😉

4. Pour the simmered mixture over spinach noodlios. Mix well and let it sit to soak up all the flava!

5. Top with Garlic Gold Nuggets and FEAST!

Back to tonight…the highlight of the day was definitely tonight’s dessert. Since it is Valentine’s Day, I decided that some chocolate was in order 😉 hehe

a little almond milk, a black bean brownie, and a bowl of cacao nibs, mixed berries over MOUSSE!!!!! Chocolate mousse is one of my favorite indulgences, so I rolled with a clean version…

I used this recipe, and you should run, not walk (don’t throw your laptop) to your food processor and make some for you and your sweetie (or just you hehe), or you can have both servings. I just made 1/3 of the recipe for me.

Now I’m sipping some Bedtime tea, watching the Bachelor, and eating a 100% unsweetened chocolate square…still not full? hmmm…

What did you do to celebrate Valentine’s Day? Any romantic plans? Shouldn’t every day be Valentine’s Day?

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Our first GIVEAWAY!!! Fast, Fit, & Fab Cookbook

One of the clubs I teach at has a fabulous trainer in Florida who’s written an amazing cookbook. She told me she heard from several clients over the years that they didn’t have time to eat healthy, so she worked on developing a lot of healthier recipe options with minimal effort and minimal prep time! 🙂 It is a FANTASTIC cookbook with lots of “clean” options. It’s broken down into categories (breakfast, snack, lunch, dinner, desserts and smoothies). YOU have the chance to win a copy.

  • Just leave me a comment with a reader’s request.
  • Link back to this giveaway on your blog and let me know.
  • Both.

You can enter as many times as you’d like between now and Thursday night. I’ll pick a winner Friday morning!

 

Fridays Are For Cleaning Out the Refrigerator February 12, 2011

Hey y’all! I’m glad that y’all are liking the reader’s requests…keep ’em comin’! So, on Fridays I try to clean out the frige from all the leftovers from the week to come up with fun combos….so that I can make more over the weekend hehe

Enter: morning oats! These were REALLY good. I wish the bowl could’ve multiplied 😉

  • usual pumpkin-banana-chia seed oats
  • toppings: blueberries, Trader Joe’s cranberry apple butter, Naturally More

With some Yogi Get Regular Tea…it’s working 😉

Workout today: a 90-minute yoga/meditation class. How do you feel on ‘light’ workout days? I always feel the need to go “balls to the wall” with working out, so I feel weak when I just take in yoga on a day as my workout, but I did enjoy the stretching, and I’m hoping it’ll get me revved up to get a hardcore workout in tomorrow. I did try to push myself in the poses and got my heels to touch down in Down Dog for the first time. We did a restorative savasana (did I spell that right?) on a pillow with our back up like a ramp. I’ve never done savasana this way before. Meditation is a challenge for me as well as I have a hard time just being. I try to use that time to listen to God. I talk to Him a lot but rarely feel like I just sit and listen without my brain going in a million different directions. Yoga has become an integral part of my workout, and it’s challenging to my body (and mind) in a different way.

Lunch: everything that was in my refrigerator that was a vegetable ;)…a bed of kale chips (re-heated in the toaster oven for 3 minutes), celery, carrots, mushrooms, cucumbers, fresh salsa, edamame. I needed something quick, so I just dumped it all in a bowl. It had beautiful color and texture and crunch. I topped it with 1 tbsp of the tahini garlic dressing I made. Yummers!!! Salad beast for the day. DONE! Plus, the refrigerator is cleaned out 😉

I tried to be so good today because Amber and I have a traditional birthday dessert that we split that I knew was coming tonight.

Dinner: Champp’s. I went online to check out their nutritional info before I got to the restaurant so that I knew exactly how many calories I was getting into. Based on what I saw there, I ordered a side greek salad ( no dressing) and a side of roasted dinner vegetables. It was a  good mix for dinner.

I knew this was coming…

Mile High Ice Cream Pie: Rich French vanilla, mocha-almond fudge and classic chocolate ice creams, layered on a chocolate cookie crust and topped with whipped cream, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce and toffee pieces.

Oh yeah, Amber and I can do it all by ourselves…

Y’all pray that I’m not paying for this later.

Do you check nutritional information online before going out to eat?

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Reader’s Request: Wedding Planning

Yes, I am a wedding planner on the side. My business is … A Little Black Dress Event by Ashley Nicole Sauls. I thought all the way through college that I was going to be a wedding planner as a career and started this business my Junior year.

Event planning for me began when I saw The Wedding Planner and thought “I could do that.” I mean, Matthew McConaughey wasn’t too bad to look at 😉

[Source]

I joined the International Special Events Society the summer before beginning college and started networking with local event professionals. This landed me an internship as an event coordinator at the NC Museum of History where I learned so much and was able to really build my resume as they allowed me to run a lot of events on my own. Most of my events were wedding receptions, but I also was able to do proms, legislative events, receptions, birthday parties…and even able to do some writing and public relations for the museum.

I also worked with A Southern Soiree as an intern, which taught me a lot about the business side of things and how to own my own event planning company. Both experiences taught me so much, in different ways.

I had a couple other internships doing various other event planning for UNC General Alumni Association, bridal shows, wine experiences/showcases.

From there, I was able to start my own company as well as help out my girlfriends who were getting engaged and married.

What a ride! It’s a ton of fun! I can’t think of a better college internship…

Dancin’ at a reception. Yes, wedding planners can have fun too…after the cake is cut

When I got to the end of Senior year and approached graduation, I realized that this was something that I was good at (I hope that doesn’t sound selfish) and enjoyed but not something that I wanted to make a career out of. I still enjoy doing it on the side, and there is nothing like leaving a wedding reception after a long day and see the difference you were able to make in the lives of a couple, even if they have NO idea all the fires your had to put out (that’s what you prefer actually).

One of my favorite couples

I just felt called to make a difference in a different way in this world. Long story short, that’s how I ended up deciding to apply to physician assistant school. I learned that you can’t make every passion a career. I still like doing event planning on the side and in life in general…it’s a part of who I am, but I am so excited to be on the journey to becoming a PA if that’s what the Lord has for me.

 

GASP! Oats Without Nut Butter February 11, 2011

I woke up after 4 hours of sleep (thanks to the caffeinated coffee I had at dinner) to snow flurries, so I knew warm oats were in store…

It’s Snowing Outside (Blueberry Pumpkin Breakfast) Parfait

Layer 1: 0% fat greek yogurt sprinkled with apple pie spice on top

Layer 2: Blueberries

Layer 3: Maple Pumpkin Oats

  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oats, almond milk, water, organic pumpkin
  • 1/2 smashed banana (this really helped make it sweeter than last time)
  • splash of pure maple extract
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • sprinkles of sea salt and apple pie spice

Repeat until glass is overflowing full. It was delicious!

Plus some Yogi Get Regular Tea to keep my bones warm on this chilly morning 😉

After studying, I got called into work (I’m doing a quick temp job where I have to be on call for 5 weeks.), so I had to throw together lunch quick. For starters, I made a sandwich out of 2 toasted slices of Ezekiel cinnamon raisin bread that I with peanut flour sauce in the middle. I made the sauce without any real PB in it, and it was lacking, but I was trying to forgo the extra fat.

I hardly ever do sandwiches, but this was tasty!

I had about 2 tbsp of hummus left in a container, so I made a quick salad beast on the go ;). I poured a little balsamic on the hummus and topped the mixture with celery, edamame, sliced cucumber, carrots. It was quick, but don’t knock it! 😉

And even a girl on the run needs her dessert…some seedless white grapes and my last Ball of Energy sexified!

Snack time: an Apple Pie Larabar

I could believe how hungry I still was even without working out this morning, but I was hungry as usual. My workout today was a 30-ish minute Zumba practice sesh and then I taught a Zumba class.

 

I couldn’t wait to make dinner tonight! My thing-to-try today was savory oats. I’ve seen Angela make them before, then Clare, so I decided it was time to try oats without nut butter for a change. GASP!

“Cheezy Oats”

In my mix:

  • 1/3 cup old-fashioned oats 
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup soy milk
  • 1 tsp EVOO 
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • dashes of cracked pepper and garlic salt

Toppings:

  • brussel sprouts 
  • edamame
  • fresh salsa

To make: I put the oats, water, soy milk, olive oil, nutritional yeast, and spices into a pot and brought it to a boil and let it get frothy. Looks like this…

You may have to play with the heat (I started with medium-high and worked down to low) and stir frequently as the oats thickened up. It took about 10 minutes.

When it got to a desired consistency, I poured the oats over a bed of kale chips.

Then I topped the mix with brussel sprouts, fresh salsa, and steamed edamame.

YUMMY!!!! I LOVE savory oats, and I feel like I FINALLY got the cheesy taste I’ve been looking for from my nutritional yeast.

 What a great grain bowl!!!

And to drink replenish from Zumba, a Emerald Green Juice. What a pretty color! It made me want to put on my Dorothy shoes and click my heels, but I’m already home 😉

In the blender:

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Place the grapes, spinach, ice, and coconut water in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth and frothy.

Lots of frothy things tonight. I am checking off those Real Simple smoothies 😉

And dessert, of course, was a black bean browine topped with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Cookie Dough, a sliced strawberry and blueberries. I can’t get enough of this combo! I mean, protein for dessert, are you kidding me?! I had a little almond milk too.

There’s lots of giveaways going around now, so I figured why not have one for Ashley Nicole Avenue. I am now working on details from OUR FIRST GIVEAWAY!!!! Get excited!!! I’ll share ASAP!

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Reader’s Request: How I Feel About Carbs, Fat, and Calories

So, for those of your who have been around for a while, you know that sometimes I struggle with thinking about portions of food and wondering if I’m getting enough (I’m trying to get an appointment with an RD) based on the way I exercise and what I need to properly fuel my body. I really just learned how to eat at age 23. Yes, I know what carbs, fats, and proteins are, but the milligrams and percentages don’t mean a lot to me. I just need a meal plan that tells me what to choose from. Lately, I’ve been struggling with wondering if I’m eating too much, even if it’s “healthy.” Am I getting too much of a good thing. Do you know how to tell when you’re full? Or 75% full to stop eating? How do you fuel for your activity level?

Maintenance weight thoughts are a lot different from weight loss thoughts. I definitely bought on to the “Light and Fit” diet of low-fat and no carb way of eating when I first started losing weight. It’s amazing how the media has us fulled. It wasn’t until I started eating REAL food, full fat nut butters, and raw carbs that the plateau in my weight loss was overcome. I was a Public Relations major in college and took a lot of advertising classes, so I know how it works and what’s on the front of th package should be discarded. Flip the package over and really read the ingredients.

To wrap up, I am all for eating real food, having good fat and adequate carbs to fuel your body and help with digestion. Calories for me are a struggle as I get so caught up in numbers. It’s still a work in progress, but that’s my 2 cents for now.