Monday, December 31, 2012

Christmas in Kentucky

I can't believe it is the last day of 2012!!  Doesn't seem possible!  Thought I better get in my Christmas in Kentucky recap before we head into 2013!  Hope you all have fabulous plans for ringing in the New Year!  Chris and I are headed to Albany to celebrate with friends...super excited! 

But back to Christmas in Kentucky...

On Christmas Eve, Mom, Dad, and I drove from my hometown of Livermore to Lexington where my brothers live now.  We got to Jordan's in the afternoon and started right in on the holiday fun by decorating cookies.

Then we headed over to Southern Lights to see the cool light displays.  I had never been before.  It is a very popular and well done display.  We all enjoyed it!

On Christmas, my sister-in-law had to work so we waited until she got home to have Christmas dinner and open presents!  Dad and I went to see Les Miserables in the afternoon.  It was a great story!  I'm not a huge fan of musicals turned movie, but it was very well done.  Great actors...and singers!

Christmas dinner was delicious and watching Brinley attempt to open gifts for her first Christmas was quite exciting!!

I got lots of great stuff from my family as well - gift cards, a couple books that I am exciting to read, a few DVDs, a mixer and some cookbooks, scrapbook stuff, and a whole slew of other fun goodies!!

The day after Christmas (and the next couple after that, too!), we all stayed at Jordan's.  Dad and I went to see Life of Pi one day.  I met up with one of my best friend from college, Ashley Gail, for lunch at Chick-fil-A one day.  We went shopping on more than one day.  And, of course, I spend lots of quality time with that little girl so very much!

And finally, on the 29th, I returned to NYC.  Chris picked me up from the airport and later that night we exchanged gifts.  He got me an IPad Mini.  So excited to start using it!!  It will be perfect for traveling.  He also got me a really cool book about Oscar winners. And ironically, we both got one another a card game version of trivial pursuit.  Too funny!  We finished out the weekend by seeing Django Unchained last night.  Much more of a comedy that I expected it to be when I saw previews.  Very good acting as well...a little bloody/violent in parts, but worth seeing for sure!

That about rounds out my Christmas in Kentucky (and briefly in NYC!).  It was a great time!  Look forward to being back there in May for my little niece's first birthday!!  It will be here before I know it the way time is flying these days!

Hope you all have a safe and exciting New Year's Eve!!  What are your plans??

Andrea :)

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sunday Stadium Review - Saints

New Orleans Saints 

Name of Stadium: Mercedes-Benz Superdome
Capacity: 73,208
Game Attended: NFC Championship 2010
Worked a game at this stadium? Yes.

Outside of Superdome...
Inside the Superdome...
With the playoff teams set for this season, I thought it would be a good week to review the Superdome since I worked an NFC Championship game there the one time I was able to experience it.  I mainly remember how extremely loud the fans were inside the dome.  I had on some old school headphones as a part of my responsibilities and you could just barely hear in those due to the loudness of the crowd.  It was a very high energy and high intensity game.  But you have to expect that when the Super Bowl is on the line!

Old school headphones...we've upgrade since then!
To be honest, I don't remember nearly as much about the stadium as I do about the week we spent in New Orleans!  I do remember thinking that the stadium was laid out very well and that it was fairly easy to navigate.  One of my responsibilities for the game was to make sure the visiting team's honorary captain was ready to go for the locker room trophy presentation should they win the game.  The honorary captain was Bud Grant, former Vikings coach.  He was a little hesitant to head down toward the locker room until the game was tied, but once that happened, we were on our way.  We made a slow, but steady trek to the field to watch the end of the game.  I'll never forget him saying to me in such a calm and matter of fact tone, "We're gonna lose this game.", just before Brett Farve threw the INT that essentially sealed the fate of the game at the close of the 4th quarter.  I didn't even know what to say.  At all.  He was such an impressionable man.  I enjoyed my roughly 20 minutes with him before his team did in fact lose the game.

Unfortunately, I have not had the experience of being a fan in the stands at the Superdome, but I am sure it is a great experience...well, as long as you are cheering for the home team!

Took this pregame as I was planning my route from press box to field...
Before I touch on a couple of the "must visit" spots when in New Orleans, take a look at Bourbon Street after the game...very crowded!

Absolutely packed!!!
Our group definitely made the obligatory stop at Cafe Du Monde for beignets.  No trip to New Orleans is complete without this pit stop!

 I also took the opportunity to visit Jackson Square.

And you'll never believe who we literally stumbled upon one night as we were headed home from the Bourbon Street area after dinner - JIMMY BUFFETT!!

We not only intruded on his private party in the back of the Margaritaville restaurant, but we also pretty much demanded a photo.  Classic picture with some of my colleagues for the week!

I am already excited about going back there for Super Bowl this year.  New Orleans truly is one of my favorite cities!  Always such a wonderful atmosphere and experience!  Can't wait to go back at the end of January!!

Andrea :)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Just wanted to wish you a very Merry Christmas!

We had a Charlie Brown theme this year :)

I'll recap more about my holiday time in Kentucky later this week!

Hope you all have a wonderful day with family and friends!

Andrea :)

Monday, December 24, 2012

30 before 30 - Month Five Recap

write letter to family or friend

 Since I sent out several Christmas cards, I decided that would count as my  letter(s) for this month.

Of all the cards I received this year, the one from my friend Danielle was the most unique.  She has a 14 month old daughter (who is adorable!) and she used her footprint to make a snowman for the seal on the back of the envelope.  So cute!

3 monthly goals 

1) Send out Christmas cards by Dec. 18.  DONE!

2) Finish 5 pages in Year Two scrapbook.  This one is gonna have to get pushed over to January.  There just wasn't enough time in December to get it all done!

3) Do something for myself.  I didn't do this in a way that I expected I would when I made it a goal, but I feel satisfied in saying I did it.

facetimes with Brinley

Jordan called me one day in early December when I was working late for a facetime with Brinley.  She was as cute as could be just looking at me and trying to grab the phone.  She is a doll!!  Getting to be such a big girl though!

We only did one facetime this month because I am home for a little over a week now for Christmas. Seeing Brinley in person is a million times better than facetime could ever be so that was ok with me :)

Date Night 

Chris surprised me with a fun date night this month.  Upon my arrival to Albany one weekend, Chris told me he made reservations for us at my favorite spot in town - Albany Pump Station!  Not only did he surprise me with dinner reservations, but he also had the sweetest card and some goodies for me as well!  I loved the cute little penguin and yummy chocolates he had for me!  He is the best!

Girls' Night

On December 17, Amanda hosted a cookie swap.  We had so much fun!  I made peanut butter no bake cookies.  They were so easy to make, and I think people liked them pretty well.  There were so many tasty treats at the party! 

My Peanut Butter No Bake Cookie...
All the cookies...I could only taste a little bit of each one cause there were SO many!!
All the ladies minus our FABULOUS hostess who was behind the camera :)
A few of my close friends at the party - Reba, Hostess Amanda, me, and times!
Hope you all have a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!

Andrea :)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Sunday Stadium Review - Bills

Buffalo Bills 

Name of Stadium: Ralph Wilson Stadium
Capacity: 73,079
Game Attended: versus Jets in fall of 2011 with Jordan, Christopher, and some of our Bills fan friends
Worked a game at this stadium? No.

via Wikipedia
Buffalo has always been one of the cities (and stadiums) that I looked forward to visiting.  I had heard lots about it ever since I met Christopher because many of his close friends are Bills fans.   

We started our time in Buffalo right...with wings at Anchor Bar the night before the game!  Delicious!

The next day, we headed to the stadium early for some tailgating action.  Buffalo is one the cities known for their tailgating.  They did not disappoint.  The fans were staging a white out that day and there were a group of tailgaters we saw in all white painters uniforms.  Too funny!  Anyway, we had fun people watching and catching up with each other before we headed into the stadium to watch pre-game warm-ups.  We had a big group - my brother, me and Chris, Chris' former roommates and hardcore Bills fans - Matt and Cara, and their friend, Nathan - a Canadian Bills fan!  I wish I had taken a group picture, but I didn't.  There were three of us supporting the Jets and three supporting the Bills.  That definitely made for an interesting afternoon!

Pretty good view of the stadium behind my brother and me :)
The game was very high energy since it was a division rivalry.  The crowd was almost entirely full of Bills fans though.  I was not very surprised by this, but it did make for an interesting game especially since my brother, Chris, and I were not in the beloved home team's colors.

I don't see much green in those stands, do you?
Jordan, me, and Christopher representing the winning team for the day!
Overall, I had great time at this game.  It may or may not have helped tremendously that Chris's Jets won the game :)  Seriously though, we had a wonderful time at this stadium.  Definitely a stadium I would revisit in the future.  And somehow, I'm pretty sure I will.  Just have to be sure it's before the weather gets too cold!

Andrea :)

Saturday, December 22, 2012


A little over a month ago, Chris and I went on a little weekend trip to Charlotte.  And life has been so crazy since then that I haven't had a chance to tell you about it.  Since I am home for the holidays, I've finally had a chance to relax and catch up on my blogging!  So, let me tell you about the fun we had in Charlotte!

We left on a Saturday for the long Veteran's Day weekend in The Queen City.  Upon arrival, we had plans to stop at a Chick-fil-A for lunch, but much to our surprise it was 2pm on a Saturday afternoon in the middle of the city centre.  Very odd.  And sadly, a recurring theme for the weekend.  It ended up working out well in the end because we were able to make it to Poor Richard's Book Shoppe for a fun and different bookstore experience before this independent, family owned and operated diamond in the rough closed for the day.  We both found a couple good books and the shop owners recommended the Belfast Mill across the street for lunch.  It was delicious!!  The fried pickles were what sold me...and they were so good!!

After lunch, we headed off to our hotel, rested for a bit, and then got ready for an evening of fun and food with my former roommate and her boyfriend that live in the Charlotte area.  We met up with them in downtown Charlotte at King's Kitchen, an amazing not for profit southern style restaurant!  I chowed down on the fried chicken, green beans, mac and cheese, and grits - SOOOOO good!

After dinner, Bri and Ryan introduced us to Crave - a dessert bar.  I was overwhelmed by the menu!  Everything looked like the perfect treat!  In the end, I went with the cupcakes...which were great!  But was also able to try some of Chris' bread pudding.  Bri and Ryan shared the slice of strawberry cheesecake goodness!

Me and Bri....old roomies :)
Delicious Strawberry and Vanilla cupcakes...great presentation!

After a wonderful and food-filled night, we rested up for the main purpose of our trip - the Panthers game.  Check out our game day experience and my thoughts on the stadium here.
After the game, Chris and I hopped on the lightrail and headed out of town to the end of the line.  We met up with his friends Ian and Elena and their 9 month old, Evan.  We went to a local spot for some wings and caught the rest of the games for the day there as well.  It was great to finally meet these friends of Chris'.  I had heard so much about them and his trip to visit them when they lived in Washington state.  Very nice little family :)
Group shot!
We struggled to get one with us all looking, but this one was cute :)
On Monday, Chris and I had spotted a BBQ restuarant nearby our hotel that we were planning to visit for lunch.  But as we had found to be common throughout the weekend, it was closed.  Luckily, there was a Brookwood Farms BBQ at the food court in the airport though!  We just headed there a little earlier than we had planned and made the best of the rest of our time in Charlotte there!
Loved that they included a fried pickle spear.
We had a great time in Charlotte.  Lots of yummy food and lots of fun with friends and at the game!  When we were planning the trip, we weren't exactly sure what we would do while we were there because we hadn't been able to find much listed online, but we found some really neat places once we arrived.  Hope you have enjoyed my very delayed recap of our fun trip!
Andrea :)