Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Let's Go Rangers!!

For Valentine's Day, I bought Chris tickets to the Rangers-Sabres hockey game.  The gift was a bit delayed from the holiday...and actually seemed more like a birthday gift since the game fell on Feb. 25th, but nonetheless, we had a great time!  And to top it off, the Rangers won!!  I had forgotten that hockey was so brutal though!  I had only been a couple of other times, but it had been a couple of years.  Chris hadn't been to a game in 18 years!!  The last time he went, the Rangers won the Stanley Cup.  Maybe he's their lucky charm...only time will tell :)

Rangers v Sabres...great game!
a fight breaks out 8 seconds into the game...interesting....

it lasted for a good couple of minutes...crazy!
playing nice again :)
we had a great time at the game!!
 Andrea :)

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Just wanted to take a few minutes to list some of my favorite things about you (there are many more, but for now)...

1. Your sense of humor
2. Your respectful and caring manner
3. Your ability to have a conversation about anything with anyone
4. Your strong beliefs
5. Your patience
6. Your willingness to try new things and go new places
7. Your love for sports
8. Your amazing smile and gorgeous eyes
9. Your perseverance
10. Your easy going and fun loving nature

Happy 31st Birthday, Christopher!!  Hope you enjoyed YOUR day :)  Here are some pictures from our celebration...

fun cupcakes and presents :)
classic surprised reaction to autographed Jets mini-helmet

blowing out the candles :)

Andrea :)

Saturday, February 25, 2012

9 + 1 =

the 2013 NYC Marathon!!!!

I began my journey to the 2013 NYC Marathon today.  You are able to qualify for it in a few different ways, but the best (in my opinion) is to run 9 New York Road Runner (NYRR) races and volunteer at one of them.  I am on my way...

I'll update you on Race #1 sometime this week.  It's Chris' birthday weekend so I'm more focused on celebrating with him for now :)

Andrea :)

Friday, February 24, 2012

And the Best Picture goes to...

I have been working really hard over the past few weeks to make sure I saw all nine of the nominees for Best Picture this year.  I may have done this before, but it's been quite some time since I can remember seeing them all prior to the Oscars.  I am quite proud of this accomplishment!  Here are my thoughts...

Ticket Price - $13
Viewing Details - 7:40pm show on 2/10/12 in NYC at Paris Theatre by myself
Synopsis - This is a silent film that follows the journey of a leading star of the silent film industry as the movie business transitioned out of the silent film business.  There is a bit of love story intertwined throughout as well.
Thoughts - Highly recommend this movie to anyone.  It was very clever.  I was a little surprised to find myself laughing (out loud) several times throughout the film.  I truly enjoyed this one.

Ticket Price - $10.50
Viewing Details - 10:10pm show on 1/28/12 in Indianapolis at Circle Centre Mall by myself
Synopsis - George Clooney’s character is a workaholic lawyer that suddenly finds his wife not only in an unconscious coma, but also in an affair.  He struggles with the predicament of knowing she’s only a few weeks from death, but also knowing that he’ll never get the answers he desperately seeks regarding the affair.  His two daughters make the situation even more complicated.
Thoughts - While this wasn’t what I’d call your feel good story of the year, it was a very interesting story.  The main plot line was quite serious, but the movie had just the right amount of humor in various scenes throughout.  George Clooney was terrific, but looked much older than normal.

Ticket Price - $7.50 (thanks to Emily's vouchers!)
Viewing Details - 6:55pm on 2/16/12 in NYC at Empire 25 Theater with Emily
Synopsis - The movie details a young boy’s journey all over New York City in the aftermath of losing his father in the 9/11 tragedy.  He is in search of the lock for a key he comes across in his father’s closet.  His journey is one of healing, but it is a difficult one for the child.
Thoughts - If your emotions aren’t stirred while watching this one, you are one tough cookie.  The performance by the young boy was impressive.  Certain scenes are difficult to watch because he does such a phenomenal job.  I wouldn’t say the film is uplifting (the theater was dead silent when it was over), but it does leave you with a feeling of hope.     

Ticket Price - $13
Viewing Details - 9:05pm on 8/8/11 in NYC at Empire 25 Theater with my roommate and her friend
Synopsis - Taking place in Mississippi during the 1960’s, this movie is a story about black maids and their relationship (or lack thereof in some cases) with the rich, white housewives and children where they work.  One bold, young, budding writer makes friends with a couple of the most outspoken maids and then begins chronicling their stories for a book she eventually publishes.
Thoughts - Amazing story! The actresses are wonderful and very moving.  The ones playing the evil housewives were just as good as the ones playing the maids because they made you hate them.  I read the book prior to seeing the movie.  Even though I usually go away thinking that the movie isn't as good as the book, this movie came pretty close.  I would recommend that anyone and everyone see the movie.  Many lessons can be learned about how to treat ALL people with dignity and respect.

Ticket Price - $17
Viewing Details - 6:45pm on 1/26/12 in NYC at Empire 25 Theater by myself
Synopsis - A young orphan boy finds himself managing all the clocks at a Paris train station.  As a part of this task, he often watches all the happenings of the station.  He steals food, little gadgets for a project he is working on, and really anything else he needs.  When he is caught by one of the shop keepers, he begins to integrate himself into this man’s family through a relationship with his granddaughter.  The two young spirits, through a series of very interesting adventures, eventually awaken the spirits of the old, bitter shop keeper and his wife as well.
Thoughts - Simply fantastic movie.  I saw it in 3D, which I typically don't like, but you couldn't even tell during this movie.  The story was great and very touching in a way that is sort of hard to put your finger on. I enjoyed every minute of the adventure.  Recommend it for anyone. 

Ticket Price - $2.18
Viewing Details - rented from Blockbuster Express on 2/7/12
Synopsis - Newly engaged, a couple heads to Paris for a mini-vacation with the bride-to-be’s parents.  They meet up with a couple friend of the bride’s, which the groom-to-be is none too excited about spending time with for the weekend.  The couple goes separate ways one evening and the groom-to-be finds himself in a parallel universe with the likes of Hemingway and Picasso.  He is transported to this world multiple nights at the stroke of midnight.  Many lessons are learned via these journeys.
Thoughts - I had the chance to see this movie during my flight to Europe this fall, but passed it up because Dad didn't give it overwhelmingly glowing reviews.  However, when I finally did watch it, I enjoyed it.  It was an interesting concept and I liked the idea, but the movie itself moved a bit slow.  Nonetheless, it was a movie worth renting, especially if you enjoy history.
Ticket Price - $9 (Groupon deal - 2 tickets and popcorn)
Viewing Details - 5:45pm show on 11/26/11 at Cinemart Cinemas in Queens with Christopher
SynopsisBrad Pitt’s character essentially turns around the Oakland A’s by using an unorthodox method of signing players in free agency.  He elicits the help of a young intern he snatches from the Cleveland Indians. 
Thoughts - Chris indicated that the movie strayed a bit from the book particularly in the way it portrayed Brad Pitt's character.  Not having read the book, I thought it was interesting.  It is definitely not your typical Best Picture nominee, but I liked Jonah Hill in it.  The dry humor in the film was great, but again not sure it really fits in with the rest of the movies on this list.

Ticket Price - $1.31
Viewing Details - rented from Redbox on 2/9/12
*Synopsis – This movie is the story of a family in the 1950’s in Texas.  The father is a source of much tension in the family.  The movie mostly shows various scenes from the perspective of the oldest child.
Thoughts - It was an assortment of various moments in the life of this family, but the scenes weren’t really connected in any other way.  Then there were completely random scenes with dinosaurs and scientific images.  I didn’t really enjoy it, and don’t think I’d recommend it to anyone, but I am glad that I stuck with it for the entire length of the movie.  The second half was a bit more comprehensible than the first half.

*Disclaimer – Wasn’t totally tracking during various parts of the movie. 

Ticket Price - $6.50
Viewing Details - 4:20pm show on 12/27/11 in Owensboro, KY at Malco Theater with Mom and Dad
Synopsis - The movie follows two characters that have been separated during WWI - a teenager and his horse.  The young man is devastated when his horse is sold for the war efforts.  Even though he isn't of age to join the military, he eventually weasels his way into the ranks in search of his horse.  The majority of the movie follows the horse's journey - it is quite a wild one.
Thoughts - I really enjoyed this one.  Definitely the type of movie that is synonymous with the Oscars.  It's also on Broadway right now.  I've heard it's phenomenal.  I'd be interested to see how they compared, but we'll see if I get around to it or not.   It was a very neat story that really comes full circle.  Would recommend it to anyone, but particularly history buffs and anyone that has owned or spent time with horses.
Stubs for the movies I saw in the theater...
My pick for Best Picture is HUGO!!  
What is yours??
Andrea :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Caucus Weekend

President's Day weekend I was able to enjoy what is most commonly know as Caucus Weekend to the locals of Albany.  Chris showed me a great time at a few of the events.  The events kicked off on Friday night with a reception.  There were several fun food stations set up.  My favorite was the penne in vodka sauce with broccoli - SO good!!  I also discovered that I like White Zinfandel :)

All dressed up for the reception :)

On Saturday, we were able to attend an SWV concert.  I love(d), love(d), love(d) their song Weak back in the day so I was pumped to be able to see them live.  They still have it, too!!  It was a fun concert.

SWV belting it out - amazing voices!

having fun at the concert!

Sunday, we went to see the new Denzel Washington movie, Safe House. We both liked it.  It was one of those where you are always thinking about what's going to happen or how they are going to get out of the situation they are in.  I like those kind.  It also didn't hurt that Denzel was one of the lead actors....even if they did make him look kind of old :)

 Monday, Chris had to work for a bit so I hung out at the mall.  Always fun to look around at a variety of places.  I even saw my cousin, Gary.  Completely random.  Guess Albany is a smaller place than I thought :)  The highlight of the mall trip was a spot I found in the food court area - Bettie's Cakes!  I got a creamsicle cupcake for us to share.  It was quite tasty.

I'm a fan!!  Very tasty!!
I had a great weekend.  It was sandwiched between two trips to Indianapolis, but it was worth it to be able to spend some time with Chris and enjoy the events of Caucus Weekend!  Hope you had a great long weekend as well!!

Andrea :)


Indy is slowly, but surely becoming my home away from home for the month of February.  Three trips back and forth in one month - the shortest of all months to top it off. I have spent 12 out of the 29 days in February in Indianapolis.  The first few were a blur due to SB XLVI, but the other two trips were a little more relaxed.  Both were for business, but the hours were a bit more regular! Good thing I like it there, and they have Chick-fil-A :)

 Andrea :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012


The Super Bowl XLVI experience began for me on January 27th with a delayed, then cancelled flight to Indy.  What a way to kick things off, huh?  It was a long day which turned out to be a reflection of most of the next 10 days or so of my life. The good news is that I eventually made it to work on that Friday - right around 6pm.  Some people would have just chalked it up to a lost day, but I trudged over to the Accreditation Center and got settled into my new home. 

Welcome signs at the airport
Where I spent my days...and some nights :)
The weekend proved fairly calm, but we stayed busy for a full 8-10 hours even on Saturday and Sunday.  I was able to grab dinner at Chick-fil-A one night and go to the movies late on the other night, but otherwise it was all business.

By the time Monday rolled around, we were in full swing.  Busy was the name of the game for the Accreditation Crew.  Don't get me wrong, we had a great group and made our own fun.  We just stayed busy roughly 12 hours a day.

Tuesday was Media Day.  I made the trek walked over to the stadium to congratulate an old pal on finally making it to the big game.  In the process, I apparently ended up all over NFL Network.  Seemed like every time I turned around the rest of the day someone was saying, "I saw you on TV." or "You're famous."  I was horrified.  Not exactly how I had intended my discreet journey to end up.  Little did I know this wouldn't be the most interesting occurrence of the week.

Behind the scenes look at the set up for Media Day
Just a mere 24 hours or so later, I found myself at lunch with the Commissioner.  Seriously, how do these things happen to me??  It all began when I sat my plate, coat, and purse down at an empty table before walking over to grab a bottle of water.  When I came back, I wasn't really sure what to do as one of the high level executives was now also sitting down at this table.  I wasn't exactly sure whether I should move altogether as completely awkward as that would have been or stay put which had the potential for the exact same level of awkwardness.  I didn't have long to contemplate because I was almost immediately engaged in conversation.  I decided to just go with it.  The Commissioner joined us shortly thereafter and a rather pleasant, yet indeed awkward at times, lunch conversation took place.  Definitely the most unique moment of my week!

On Thursday, my guests arrived.  I could NOT have been any more excited to see them.  At this point, it had already been a very long week.  We ended up going to dinner nearby where our friends Tony and Myra live outside of Indianapolis. It was nice to get away from the city for a little bit.

NFL Staff Hotel
Friday, Jordan and Chris went to the Media Center.  They LOVED it!!  They came back talking about player after player that they saw on Media Row.  I was so glad for them to have such a great experience.  Here are some pictures of their sightings...

Media Hotel

trophy and helmets set up for press conferences

Chris with Stevie Johnson of the Bills

the red rifle - Andy Dalton!!
Saturday, I was given tickets for Chris and I to both the Inaugural NFL Honors and Super Bowl Saturday Night Party.  Chris and I had a great night.  NFL Honors was an awards show hosted by Alec Baldwin and there were so many players and coaches there than we couldn't even keep track.  I spoke to Andy Dalton telling him that I was glad he was our QB and Who Dey :)  Chris spoke to D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Rex Ryan of the Jets.  I had to kind of talk him into it, but he was glad he made the effort afterward.  SB Saturday Night turned out to be a joint concert with Carrie Underwood and Steven Tyler for CMT Crossroads.  It was interesting and fun, but not quite what I had in mind prior to attending.  We had one fun celebrity sighting at the party - Bunk from The Wire.  We both spoke to him.  Here are some pictures from the evening.

Stage for NFL Honors

Ice Sculpture at SB Saturday Night Party

Steven Tyler and Carrie Underwood - CMT Crossroads

On Sunday, Jordan and Chris enjoyed NFL Tailgate and the Big Game while I was working inside the stadium.  Again, they had a wonderful time, and I was so happy to be able to give them the opportunity.  I was able to sneak away in the 3rd quarter to grab some pictures with them near their seats.

I met up with them after the game for a few more pictures before heading over to the NFL Post Game Party with Chris.

A couple of years ago, Jordan was able to meet the Commissioner at the post game party so we had been talking it up to Chris for a few days.  As luck would have it, it worked out perfectly for Chris to be able to chat with the Commissioner for a few minutes.  The only thing I really remember about the conversation is that the Commissioner told Chris that I "do a great job".  That kind of made me laugh cause I'm not 100% sure he really knows what it is that I do exactly, but also made me a little proud at the same time :)  Needless to say, I was able to snag a photo of the two of them.

After that interaction, we enjoyed the food and the entertainment of the photo booth as well as the company of several of my colleagues.  We basically shut the party down with my new buddy Jen and her two fun friends.  It was a long day, but a great way to end it.

On Monday, Chris and I met up with Jennifer and Jordan to take some pictures at the big XLVI letters and grab some last minute souvenirs.  This turned out to be a bit of a fiasco, but we made some good memories along the way.  We were trying, pretty relentlessly, to get a picture with the letters with no other people in it.  Seemed like the harder we tried, the more difficult the task became.  We have a couple that came close...and one that is a true classic, especially considering how much out of the way Jordan went to help the couple get some good pictures so they would move on and we could get ours...true classic.  Take a look...

Look closely...true classic!!
We were soooo close here...soooo close!!

This has been an insanely long post so I'll just close by providing the link to a behind the scenes of the Super Bowl podcast that Chris did with his friend Joe that blogs for the Albany Times Union.  It turned out great.  Check out his version of the SB XLVI here.

Andrea :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day

Christopher and I celebrated on the weekend before Valentine's Day since we weren't even going to be in the same state today.  I am headed off to a work trip in Indianapolis and he is in Albany.  Regardless, we had a wonderful night celebrating on Saturday.  We went to Club A Steakhouse on the east side of Manhattan for dinner.

It was delicious.  We arrived early for our reservation and the owner actually seated us so the night was off to a great start. There was live jazz music being played which really added to the atmosphere in our area as well. I tried the fried calamari for an appetizer which was quite tasty, but there was complimentary lobster ravioli sent to our table as well.  It was superb!  I ordered the filet mignon with mac and cheese. Chris had the hanger steak with potato puree.  I wasn't too fond of the mac and cheese, but otherwise everything was absolutely wonderful!  They also brought us a complimentary canoli for dessert that was the perfect ending to the meal. We had a great experience and definitely plan to return!!

After dinner, we went to see Red Tails at the theater nearby my apartment. We both really liked the movie as well.  It was pretty long (over 2 hours), but based on the true stories of the Tuskegee Airmen during WWII.  We had talked about going to a play based on the same story a few months back, but never got the chance to see that show so it was good to be able to see this movie.  We were both familiar with the historical context of the movie, but I was touched by many of the personal story lines outside of the framework of the war at hand.  I would definitely recommend seeing the movie if you haven't done so already.

We had an amazing night of excellent food, a great movie, and wonderful time spent together!

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Andrea :)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

All by myself....

I went to the movies...by myself...and it wasn't so bad!!! I actually enjoyed it (so much that since starting this post and publishing it, I've gone twice more on my own).  I saw Hugo in 3D the Thursday night before I left for Indy and SB XLVI.

It was a phenomenal  movie.  Mom and Dad had seen it earlier that week so it was fun talking with them about it afterward.  Of course, there was a bit of a mishap...would it be something I did (by myself to top it off) without one??  I mean, really...it's sorta how I roll.  So, I'm running late and I get to the theater about the time the movie is set to start.  I'm not worried because there are always 10-15 minutes (at least!) of previews.  So I buy the ticket and head up the first of hundreds eight or so escalators.  I thought it was a little odd that the guy who took my ticket didn't give me the 3D glasses, but amid my rush to get there before it started and my nervousness about having never done this sort of thing solo, I rationalized that they would surely be handing them out at the door...even 10 minutes into the previews...ha!  Needless to say, they were NOT handing them out. At this point, I finally began to think I might actually miss the beginning of this movie.  But on my way back to the escalators, resourceful me spotted the 3D glasses recycling bin and promptly recycled a pair of glasses right on the spot :)  Glad it worked out because I wouldn't have wanted to miss a second of this great movie!  I'm not usually a fan of 3D movies, but I highly recommend this one!

Andrea :)

Super Bowl - Recap

Wanted to do a quick recap of my past two Super Bowls prior to XLVI, but work and travel got in the way.  Here is the recap I had in mind....

Since my first year at the NFL League Office, I had always promised my brothers that I would take them to the Super Bowl if that opportunity was ever presented to me.  That opportunity came in 2010 with Super Bowl XLIV in Miami South Florida. Jordan and Jennifer arrived on Thursday so they were able to enjoy several of the festivities with me prior to McKinley's weekend arrival.  Here are a few pictures...

tweet up with Peter King - Jordan was able to get his book autographed

Rihanna at the Pepsi Fan Jam
Friday Night Commissioner's Party...

Jordan took plenty of photos with celebs/players, but I had to jump in for the Tebow pic!!

before heading to tailgate and the big game

at some point in the 3rd quarter, I was able to head over to their section for a picture

Saints celebrating their big win!

you have to look very closely, but all 3 Heflin kids are in this picture :)
In 2011, it was Mom and Dad's turn for a trip to the Super Bowl.  They drove down to Dallas North Texas arriving on Thursday before SB XLV.  Mom and Dad had a great time at NFL Experience and Tailgate prior to the big game.  Check out some pictures from their trip.

inside the stadium at some point mid-week

yummy dessert from our dinner with the McWhorters

on the friends and family bus headed to the stadium....

right before entering the stadium...

post-game picture right outside the stadium

Be on the lookout for a post about all the fun from Super Bowl XLVI with Christopher and Jordan in the next few days!

Andrea :)