ashley avenue

a journey to healthy balance

it’s beginning to look a lot like…Asheville November 30, 2010

Filed under: breakfast,nut butter,oatmeal,working out — ansauls @ 11:31 pm
Tags: ,

hey y’all! I hope that you are all having a very happy start to the week…amidst the icky weather (at least here) in Asheville. I am visiting just for a few days and loving it!

I am here with my Mom. We were craving good grilled fish, so we asked the concierge where to go, and he suggested…

I was honestly a little sketched out by the entrance. It was dark and underground, but the food was made up for it. There was also a guitar player that started a little later. He was really good…very “James Taylor”!

I had grilled salmon with an eggplant and olive salad that was served with a balsalmic reduction. I’m not usually big on balsalmic, but their’s was actually yummy! And I had a glass or Merlot, which rarely lets me down 😉

Mom had a rigatoni pasta special with chicken and spinach. She was impressed as well. The waitress took a little while to bring us our vino, so she offerred to comp dessert. I could NOT pass that up, sooooo this ended up on the table…

…chocolate torte for me (a marble cake in between lucious layers of chocolate and white chocolate mousse–I’m a sucker for mousse!) and a key lime pie for Mom. As usual, we finished the meal off with decaf coffees. Mom has me addicted to” after dinner decaf” as the perfect finish to any meal.

This morning began with a workout at the hotel gym, which I am usually not pumped about because of the lack of facilities and blah views, blah blah blah…I know! Stop complaining, right? All of the 4 cardiomachines were full when Mom and I got there. Well, luckily I had my iPod with my BodyPump music on it, so I did 74 and then finished it off with 30 minutes of intense cardio on the cross trainer. I cam back to the room a hungry beast to…

to pumpkin oats that I pre-made at home in case the hotel did not have a good breakfast, and to save some money. I LOVE oats-in-a-jar. I was so hungry that I forgot to take a mug shot until halfway through the jar. In the mix was:

  • 2 Tbsp pumpkin spice almond butter
  • 1/6 c oats, water, almond milk, greek yogurt, pumpkin
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • pinch of salt
  • toppings: TJ’s pumpkin butter, sliced almonds

and Wolfgang Puck coffee…the best hotel coffee!

I went shopping in Biltmore Village (new Christmas bowl coming soon!), then met my lovely discipler at Starbucks. It was my first sip of Christmas blend, which I really like. It’s a little spicy yet very homey and warm tasting. I hope I get some of this from Santa to brew on Christmas morning. They also have the cutest mugs and nesting cups….oh, I am SUCH a sucker for cute dishes!

I am off to a fun dinner with friends. More to come soon!


Family + Friends + Fun + Football + (Black) Friday November 27, 2010

Filed under: breakfast,my life,nut butter,oatmeal — ansauls @ 3:01 am
Tags: ,

Happy Black Friday!

Let’s recap yesterday as I did not even make it to my computer yesterday with all the fun festivities of friends and family; cheering on the Patriots, Saints/Cowboys (I like both teams and just wanted an excellent game, which it was!), and the Jets; and, of course, cooking.

I had to begin the day with Thanksgiving oatmeal



Then, a new tradition on our household as of last year, MIMOSAS while we cook! Just a little big girl OJ for breakfast 😉

Cooking commenced. My Mom and my sister cooking away. I didn’t get a picture of me in my lime green damask apron.

This year was challenging and fun for me because I made my own meal in “eat clean” fashion because my body does not digest processed food well. Thanks for several of my blog inspirations, I scoured recipes and put together…

My menu included: Gina’s sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, stuffing (with Great Harvest stuffing bread insted of Ezekiel bread), and cranberry sauce, and my own broccoli casserole (broccoli, brown rice, and cheddar Daiya. I also made pumpkin cornbread. It was interesting explaining to everyone why I had different food and how important eating real, clean food is important to me. The men in my family smoked turkey and brisket, and Mom baked turkey in the oven after an overnight brining.

Then the desserts came out…

pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving pie (pumpkin and pecan), lemon pie, Mama’s chocolate eclair, oreo dessert, ooey gooey butter cake with a twist from Paula Deen’s recipe. Everything was amazing!

At the end of the day, I felt great. I did get a good work-out in, but decided to take today off because…shopping!!!!!!

It’s a tradition that Mom and I get up at 3 a.m. and head out to shop. Even though we had an early start, I had a breakfast cookie in a black cup with a black spoon ready to go:

  • 1/4 cup oats
  • 1/2 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • 1 tbsp Naturally More
  • 2 tbsp almond milk
  • 1/2 mashed banana
  • 1 oz of goji berries
  • sliced other half of banana on top


We have no agenda, just spending time together and seeing what we see. We got to the mall around 4:30 a.m., tried on shoes…

…and had a blast! The day was the perfect shopping weather: 60s and rainy. We got home around 6 p.m. Now we are eating leftovers and sitting around with friends. Everything tastes even better on Day 2!

How was your Thanksgivng? How did you spend Black Friday?


shopping with a purpose November 23, 2010

Filed under: Fashion — ansauls @ 10:49 pm

yesterday’s post got me thinking about purposeful shopping, and today I received a Kate Spade e-mail about just that. I love Kate Spade as a brand, even though I can’t afford  it :(. I’m big on women’s issues and fashion, and Women for Women International brings it all together.

[Source]logo header

There are pieces in their Winter 2010 collection from ladies in Bosnia, a country torn by war. These ladies work for wages, are trained, and buying these items in a way gives back to them because it drives demand (oh, my marketing and econ classes are coming back!).


I am not one for pushing brands, and I’m not telling you to run out and buy these things (although I do love the bangle hehe). I just want to pose the thought to think about what you’re giving this year. The commercials are overwhelming and sales are tempting, but you ultimately control how you spend your dollar. Anywho, I just thought that this was really cool!


my favorite things November 22, 2010

Filed under: my life — ansauls @ 7:40 pm

so last Friday was Oprah’s Favorite Things, so I figured why not share with y’all some of my favorite things, since we’re just getting to know each other and all 😉

1. Bowls – I know, it’s weird, but it makes my oatmeal/yogurt/soup taste a little bit better if the bowl is cute

2. Spoons – again, maybe a little odd, but I LOVE soup spoons with the big round end and teaspoons with the skinny handle. I’m always on the lookout for fun new ones.

3. Coffee – i don’t know what I’d do without it each day, even if it’s decaf. Local coffee especially is so great! One thing to think about this holiday season, SHOP LOCAL! When you shop local, the money you spend goes back into your local economy and leave a smaller carbon footprint with shipping, etc….just a thought!

4. Naturally More – I use it on so many things, and it’s really helped with my digestion.

5. Coffee tumblers – I love to make them (see some of my other pictures) or buy them. Below is my latest heart’s desire for the holidays

6. lululemon yoga and running wear

7. cupcakes! – it’s really fun to have a treat once in a while

8. Larabars

9. per Erica’s comment, I have to add Doc to this list. He’s the love of my life!

10. frozen yogurt

…and then again, it seems like I’m guilty of falling into the materialism that our culture overwhelms us with this time of year. For me, it’s really the things you can’t buy in a store that counts. It’s the acts of kindness, your best friend’s famous chocolate chip cookies, Grandma’s vintage ring, Daddy’s pancakes on Christmas morning, the phone call from your sister when you need to talk, a spontaneous trip to the ice rink, making a family’s Christmas by donating a toy or making a Operation Christmas Child shoebox… that’s what really counts. Make your shopping count this holiday season.

What are your favorite things?


let’s recap the weekend…

Filed under: breakfast,my life,Sermons,working out — ansauls @ 2:37 am

hey y’all! so excited for all the encouragement i’ve received from the blog community so far. again, it’s an amazing group of women! Gina, Caitlin, Kath, and Erica especially have been so sweet!

Friday began with P90X with some gym friends at 5 a.m. then teaching BodyPump at 6 a.m. I have never done P90X before and have always wanted to try it. The group I worked out with was a group of guys who pushed me to work hard, but I hung in there! My Pump class was great. It’s not easy to wake up that early, but the group I teach makes it worth it! P90X was a good workout, but I didn’t sweat as much as I would have liked.

a previous BodyPump launch

Later Friday afternoon, I traveled to Chapel Hill to visit my little sister (and best friend)!

We walked down Franklin St. trying to decide what we were in the mood to eat, read tons of menus, and ended up at Carolina Brewery because of atmosphere and price. I TOTALLY splurged and had a burger, which I have been craving and can’t remember the last time I ate, with sweet potato chips sprinkled with brown sugar, and the Copperline Amber Ale. So yummy! My body’s been telling me to eat unhealthy lately after eating clean flawlessly for a few months. Does anyone else experience this? I need advice on how to handle it. We finished the meal with a stroll to Yogurt Pump, our favorite! I’m addicted to frozen yogurt and stop any chance I can. I have a small cake cone with half cake batter/half vanilla with rainbow sprinkles.

an earlier trip to YoPo as we affectionately call it

Saturday, I woke up to a breakfast cookie I had made the day before to bring with  me to Chapel Hill. It’s a recipe that I stole from Gina. This is the perfect quick breakfast for when you don’t have much time in the morning or are on the go. It’s such a life saver! It included:

  • 1/2 scoop of chocolate protein powder
  • 2 tbsp of almond milk
  • 1/2 smashed banana
  • toppings: goji berries, cacao nibs, the rest of my banana

so yummy!

My sister and I went to Open Eye Cafe for yummy, dark coffee…perfect and necessary start to the day. It is such a cool coffeehouse with an interesting, ecclectic vibe, and they really focus on local products, which I love.

Then I went to Dancers for Cancer, 2 glorious hours of Zumba and BodyJam (a Les Mills program) to benefit the Cancer Center of North Carolina (I’m in the front with pink tank top and gray crops). It was an amazing and sweaty experience filled with booty shakin’ and a few tears as we danced for survivors or in honor of ladies who’ve lost their battles.

 I danced for our family friend, Judy Sanchez, who has bravely overcome her battle.

me and Judy at Halloween

After sweating it out, I ran some errands and ended up at lululemon. It was my first time! The ladies were SO helpful! I figured out the I LOVE the Groove Crop, Flo Y bra, and the 50 rep bra. I’m going to have to make a wishlist until I start making more money, but they were all so comfortable. I also learned all about the TaTa Tamer and that I don’t have enough tatas to tame to need that ;).

Churchwas amazing this week, literally a “To: Ashley From: God” sermon about patience and waiting on His timing based on David’s story in 1 Samuel.

Today was full of football, family, and fun. I ran errands, met the family at Carrabba’s for lunch, did some Christmas shopping (I can’t help myself!) and grocery shopping for Thanksgiving!!!! Lunch was Chicken Bryan with green beans and the mediterranean salad…and half of my favorite ” sogno di cioccolata.” I finished the other half of the dessert for dinner that I had with a piece of leftover mahi mahi and broccoli, a honeycrisp apple and some red grapes. I really felt like I needed some fruit. Now I’m sippin’ on some “sticky buns” flavored coffee and winding down.

Thanks for reading.




Hello, blog world! November 19, 2010

Filed under: my life,nut butter,oatmeal,welcome — ansauls @ 10:05 am

Welcome to AshleyAvenue! It’s just life as I see it and live it. The “blog world” has changed my life and my perspective and it’s finally time for me to enter the conversation in hopes of helping others as the women who’ve I befriended along the way have helped me.

My journey to a healthy balance began my Junior year in college. My faith is very important to me, and I remember walking back to my dorm room praying to want to be healthy and to have a desire to take care of my body. I idolized what I thought was beauty.

At the end of my Senior year, truly through trusting the Lord, I began to get involved in group fitness and run. If you knew me at all, you’d know that this is revolutionary. I was the girl who tried to skip P.E. in elementary school to get out of the Mile Run. My goal on my bucket list was to run a 5K, but God had other plans…a half marathon. I was able to complete a half marathon in 1 hour 53 minutes, under my goal of 2 hours. I also took a personal health class and began to learn about the body. The body is enthralling! It was amazing to learn how and why my body was changing. I mean, I was 22 and had never really learned how to eat properly.

Because of all that has happened and changed in my life in the past year, I found the world of food blogs and feel like I have a whole new network of support to help me along the way…women that I’ve never met but that I feel I know and could definitely meet for a yummy dinner or a fun run. I have discovered a love for…


yogurt bowls,


…all in pretty bowls, with pretty spoons, AND with some form of nut butter (addiction!)

Please know that I am not a dietician, I’m just out on a journey to learn and to make friendships. I am happy to try new products (as long as they are “clean eating”) and travel (conferences, demos, trainings, etc.) to invest in this journey. What is life if not a journey? Why not make friends and be healthy along the way? Welcome to AshleyAvenue!