Sunday, September 30, 2012

Sunday Stadium Review - Ravens

Baltimore Ravens 

Name of Stadium: M&T Bank Stadium
Game Attended: Thursday Night Football (9.27.12) against the Browns with my brother, Jordan
Worked a game at this stadium? No.

This past week, my brother Jordan and I experienced live football on a Thursday night for the first time.  It was fun!  My brother and his family had spent the week visiting the DC area and trekked over to Baltimore to pick me up from the Bolt Bus on Thursday afternoon.  We spent the day at the Inner Harbor.  It was awesome to get to play with Brinley for a few hours before heading to the game.

Cute as a button in her new stroller :)

Jordan and I took a shuttle to the game around 7pm.  By the time we arrived, the stadium was already full of Ravens fans.  Jordan is a Browns fan.  You could count on one hand the other people we saw wearing Browns gear.  It was actually pretty impressive to see so many people devoted to their team.  We found our awesome seats down around the 40 yard line 11 rows up from the Ravens bench.

Ray Rice being introduced.
Before the rain started its steady downpour

The stadium was nice.  I really liked the fact that the big screens were stretched out across both endzones instead of tucked away in the corners.  They likely lose more seating space this way, but it is really a great feature of the stadium.  The only annoying thing was that the big screens didn't incorporate the score.  You had to look at the ticker around the middle of the stadium for it.

This was a big game for us - our first Thursday Night Game and the first game back for the regular officials after their lockout.  The crowd was pretty intense probably in part due to both of those reasons as well.  We didn't have any issues rooting for the visiting team though I think we might have if our seats had been in a different section or the visiting team had won the game (which almost happened...well, they had the opportunity to tie the game in the final seconds).  However, I was not surprised to hear fans complaining about calls from the officials.  Seems like it doesn't matter if the real officials or the replacement officials are out there - the people won't ever be satisfied.  I'll leave you with a couple more pictures of the stadium itself.  Despite being rained on for pretty much three hours straight, we had a great experience!

First game back for the officials
Soaked, but still smiling

Andrea :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Happy Birthday, Dad!!

Last year, my mom, brothers, and I worked diligently behind my dad's back to throw him a surprise party to celebrate turning 60.  It was a grand success!  Everyone had a great time.
Decorations on the gift table.  I had all the guests fill out those cards and used them for a scrapbook.
the SURPRISE face - never seen Dad so shocked to see me in his life :)
yummy cake and a fun birthday hat!
Dad with me and my brothers

This year was different.  None of the kids were able to make it back to Livermore, but I did send some gifts and I tried my hand at a recipe he had recently sent coming up with this lovely and yummy creation tonight.  Check back on Wednesday for step-by-step instructions on how to make this quick (like 60 seconds quick) treat :)

Happy Birthday, Dad!  I love you :)

It's no secret that I am a daddy's girl.  We are like two peas in a pod.  We have birthmarks in similar spots.  We both have some quirks and can ramble on and on when we go off on a long winded tangent.  We have vivid dreams (but we don't talk about those until after breakfast). We just seem to get one another.  I am so glad to have so many special memories of the times we have spent together over the years.  I loved having him paint designs on my fingernails when I was in middle/high school.  It was always fun to go with him to weddings when he played the piano.  We always seemed to have an adventure when we took Mamaw to Owensboro (or really anywhere for that matter).  We shared pineapple cheesecake at Long John Silvers and snowball cakes from the IGA and still devour a whole watermelon together whenever we have the chance!  I'm looking forward to all the fun we will continue to have over this year and the ones to come.  I am so blessed to have such a wonderful man as a father.  I'm not sure what I would do without him in my life.

Andrea :)

Monday, September 24, 2012

30 before 30 - Month Two Recap

write letter to family or friend

I sent the letter this month to my "adopted" grandparents, Bill and Jean Miller. Unfortunately, by the time I was born, I only had two remaining grandparents - my mom's dad, Papaw, and my dad's mom, Mamaw. My Papaw passed away when I was still fairly young so while I do have memories of him they are far and few between. However, my Mamaw passed away roughly 10 years ago when I was beginning my sophomore year at Georgetown.  This was particularly difficult for me as we were very close.  There isn't a day that goes by when I don't think of her.  However, when I became grandparentless, Jean and Bill stepped in and played that role for me.  They are both great people, and I cherish my relationship with them both even though I don't get to see them as much now that I live farther away.

At Dad's surprise birthday party last year - not sure they knew I was taking a picture of them :)

3 monthly goals 

1) Floss daily.  I have done my best.  I might have missed a day here or there, but I was pretty diligent on this one.

2) Find someone to sublet or move.  I went with option #1.  She moved in on September 15.  Even though I absolutely loved having my own space, it was the right thing to do until a few more things get settled and sorted out.  Then, we'll see.  She is here until mid-February. 

3) Run Race #9 in under 11 minutes. DONE plus some.  I ran it in 9:45.  Check out the post here.

facetimes with Brinley

When we were in Pittsburgh over Labor Day weekend, I briefly was able to facetime with Brinley.  I attempted to introduce her to Chris' godson, Trey.  Not sure if that was exactly a success or not, but it was fun trying.

On September 12, we facetimed and Brinley showed me she had found her toes.  She was also making lots of funny noises.  Maybe she's gonna start saying some words soon...maybe :)

 *Also....beyond OVERJOYED that I will get to see this little beauty in person on Thursday!! COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED...SERIOUSLY :)

Date Night 

Chris is a big fan of the comedian, Bill Burr.  Bill Burr was scheduled to be at Caroline's this month.  Being the awesome girlfriend that I am, I bought us tickets to the show last night.  We had such a great time!  There were lots of laughs :)

Girls' Night

In early September, I stepped out of my comfort zone for a very enjoyable and different girls' night adventure.  We hit the streets for Fashion Night Out.  And we had a blast!  Here's the evidence...

I love Sprinkles...SOOOO good :)
two of my favorite gals at Michael Kors :)
group shot!!

 I marked 1 item off the list!!

18 - purchase (or receive as a gift!!!) Spanish Rosetta Stone and begin a journey to fluency*
 *it is supposed to arrive tomorrow...looks like I will have something to keep me busy for awhile!!

Andrea :)

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Sunday Stadium Review - Vikings

 Minnesota Vikings 

Name of Stadium: Metrodome
Capacity: 64,111
Game Attended: Monday Night Football versus the Bears in 2007 - this was my first work related trip for the NFL - my boss and I went to Minneapolis for a meeting and stayed for the game
Worked a game at this stadium? No.

via Wikipedia

A lot of things have changed for the Vikings in terms of their stadium since I attended a game there back in 2007.  Mainly, the roof of the stadium collapsed during an ice storm leading to the building of a new stadium that is currently in the works.  Since the trip to this stadium was technically my first work trip, it is kind of a blur.  I remember that we did spend some time on the sidelines pre-game and meet some members of the ownership, and we had great seats in the endzone.  I was also beyond thankful that we were nice and cozy inside the dome because it gets bitter cold in Minneapolis!  Also thankful they have an indoor above ground tunnel system in their downtown area much like Indianapolis.  I remember the crowd being pretty intense throughout much of the game.  It could get pretty loud in there!  They do have pretty interesting mascot situation.  There were multiple mascots - one in a costume and some people dressed up as Vikings like it was Halloween.  Those "live" Vikings blew a horn at various points in the game. Overall, the experience was positive.  I would like to attend a game with Jordan or Chris once the new stadium is built...whenever that might be!

Thought this was an interesting way for the team to enter the field...through a Viking ship!
From up near the press box area of the stadium
 Andrea :)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Race #9

  Name: NYRR Fifth Avenue Mile
Date/Time: Saturday, September 22 at 8:55am
Location: Fifth Avenue
Length: 1 mile
Bib Number: 2824
Official Time: 9:45
Average Time per Mile: 9:45

I have been excited about running this race for quite some time for two main reasons.  One - it was the shortest race of all my qualifiers.  Two - upon completion of this race, I'm officially qualified to be in the 2013 NYC Marathon.  Along the way, I also challenged myself to run this mile in under 11 minutes and was really hoping to get very close to the 10 minute mark.  If you have been following my journey to the marathon, you'll know that my average mile pace is closer to 12 minutes so this was no small feat I was hoping to accomplish.  

I trained, but probably not as much or as properly as possible.  I did a few practice runs attempting to hit under my goal time and seemed to fairly consistently hit 10:50.  While it was good to know I should be able to make my goal, I was really hoping that I would be closer to 10 minutes than 11 minutes.  I should have known adrenaline would kick in on race day!

Let me take you through the fastest mile of my life one quarter mile at a time.  The start for this race is a bit different as the various groups of racers hit the course in heats.  My heat was set to begin at 8:55am.  Chris and I arrived at the start a bit early, but that was good because I was able to get the lay of the land and decided I would prefer to start toward the back of the pack so that I wouldn't be bunched up at the start (and use the port-o-johns...always important!).  I got into place and Chris headed off toward the finish line.  I had also decided I would run without carrying anything (very unusual for me) so I stretched and waited until the race began.  Once it began I realized the time clock at the start of the race was attached to the lead vehicle so I quickly started counting the seconds off until I crossed the start line.  I was at roughly 40 seconds when I crossed the start.  My goal (in order to run a 10 minute mile) was to allow 2:30 for each quarter mile.  At the first quarter mile marker, I was very close to that mark at 2:40 (keep in mind that I was roughly 40 seconds behind the official time).  That was quick...and I felt it going into the second quarter mile, but I pushed through hoping to see something close to 5:00 at the halfway mark.  Again, I was pretty close, but fading fast.  I mentally regrouped, specifically thinking of Lane Goodwin and his fight with cancer (check out this post for more about his battle).  Those thoughts coupled with the finish line in my sights gave me the strength I needed to keep pushing.  I should have hit the third quarter mile at around 7:30, but it was a little closer to 8:00 when I passed it.  With only 5 more NYC blocks left, I dug deep.  I could see the clock at the finish when I was about 2 blocks out.  It read 9 something.  I was in shock!  I knew at that point that I would most certainly knock my goal of under 11 minutes out of the water, but I suddenly became motivated to cross the line around the 10 minute mark.  I crossed at roughly 10:30 on the clock, but my official NYRR time was a 9:45 minute mile.  I have never been so proud of myself or amazed by the human body!  Don't get me wrong, I was spent at the end of the race and likely couldn't have run at that pace for much longer, but I accomplished something great on this day.  It definitely motivated me toward the bigger picture goal of running the full marathon next year.  Although, I believe I'll stick to my 12ish minute miles for that one :)

Thumbs Up for Lane as well as my awesome time!!

Andrea :)

Friday, September 21, 2012

Thumbs Up!!

I am proud to be from McLean County, Kentucky - home to just under 10,000 people according to Wikipedia.  We have one high school - Go Cougars!! We have one stoplight in the whole county.  We have to take a 30 minute drive to get to Wal-Mart, the movies, or pretty much any fast food chain.  However, we have some of the MOST caring and community driven people in the entire world (at very least, per capita)!  Today, I want to briefly share the story of a local hero...a local 13 year old hero who recently made national news - that's HUGE!!  I don't know him.  I don't know his family.  But we are from the same place.  To be honest, that is enough for me.

His name is Lane Goodwin.  He has cancer - Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma Stage IV cancer - a rare and aggressive childhood cancer.

It has been attempting to take his life since he was diagnosed on March 4, 2010.  The battle has been up and down since that time, but he has fought...hard!  At this time, from what I can gather, he is home with his family praying for a miracle along with peace and comfort should it be his time to spend eternity with God.  And he's checking facebook to see who has left a new Thumbs Up picture and if his page has reached his goal of 100,000 likes (it is very close!!)*.  Please take a moment to pray for Lane and his immediate family (Angie, George, and little brother, Landen)...and then click here to like his page, Prayers for Lane Goodwin.

It is situations and circumstances like these when I truly realize how amazing it is to be from a simple, small place where you are never really alone.  What a blessing!  It also makes me understand more fully that tomorrow is not promised.  We must approach each day with a Thumbs Up attitude!!

Andrea :)

*Update: Lane has reached his goal now.  But keep on liking his page anyway!!

Monday, September 17, 2012

5 years

It is hard for me to believe that I have been working at the NFL for 5 years today.  

5 YEARS!!!

I can remember so clearly those two and a half months that I spent in NYC without a job.  I arrived on July 2, prepared to find an apartment and land my dream job at the NFL in the two weeks before my return flight to Kentucky where I would pack up all my belongings and drive back to the city.  Boy, could I have EVER been more wrong about a two week span in my life?!?  As you might have guessed, I found neither, but I did have some hope, so I decided to stay.  Instead of taking that return flight, I sublet an apartment in a section of Washington Heights where today I'm not so sure I would feel 100% comfortable walking around in broad daylight.  But it was cheap, and to be honest, I didn't know any better.  I remember doing more walking than I had ever done in my life that first month.  I remember eating cheese crackers for lunch (and sometimes dinner) cause I wasn't sure when or if my money was going to run out before I found a job.  I remember working game day for the Jets for $75 a day (before taxes) when it cost me nearly half of that to get out to Jersey just so I could keep my name out there.  I remember reading some good books from the library down the street and sitting at the fountains in Columbus Circle for hours.  I remember not knowing where I would live next, but trusting that God would provide something...and He did.  I remember lots of things about that uncertain, but exciting time in my life.   And when all you own is a couple of suitcases, it makes moving around a lot easier so that's exactly what I did.  I lived in six different places (albeit, some for only a week) for my first year in New York before I settled on my current apartment where I have been ever since.

 But back to the job.  It was September 11, 2008.  I had been to a few interviews meetings over the past couple of weeks, but nothing super intriguing.  So, when I wasn't networking or trying to find a job, I explored the city.  Since it was 9/11, I thought it would be appropriate to head downtown to the tower site.  A phone call kept me from going though.  As I was getting ready for the day, a call came from the NFL asking if I could come in for an interview that day.  I agreed and rushed around to get prepared.  I headed into the midtown a little anxious and a little excited.  I was living in Queens at the time and as I exited the subway in midtown Manhattan, I realized it was pouring down rain.  So, I got soaked.  Pretty much felt like a drowned rat, but somehow...I got the job.  Well, not on the spot, but pretty close.  I felt good about the interview and was told I would be contacted by Friday.   Sure enough, on Friday, I got THE call.  They wanted me to start on Monday, September 17, 2008....five years ago, today.  And, I did.

While there have been some definite ups and downs, I have made some forever memories in these past five years.  Most notably, I have been able to allow my brothers, my parents, and my boyfriend to attend the Super Bowl.  I've also taken a weekend work trip to Seville, Spain, been thisclose to numerous celebrities, Hall of Famers, and billionaires (often without even knowing it), eaten lunch with Commissioner Goodell (on complete accident), and, most importantly, made a difference in thousands of kids' lives through our HSPD programs.  My boss has been a staple these past five years, but I have had three very different and unique co-workers throughout the years.  I've learned many life lessons from each of these individuals.

I'm not entirely sure I know what the future holds for me in terms of career, but I do know that I have done a lot of growing up these past five years.  I'm not sure it would have been quite the same in any other circumstances.  So, I am thankful for these five years.  Here's to the next five...and wherever I might be then.

One for the five behind me...and one for the future :)
Andrea :)

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sunday Stadium Review - Colts

Indianapolis Colts 
*I have attended games at two different stadiums in Indy*
inside of RCA dome via Wikipedia
inside of Lucas Oil via Wikipedia
Name of Stadium: RCA Dome AND Lucas Oil Stadium
Capacity: 57,980 AND 62,421
Game Attended: I went to a Bengals-Colts game with my brother, Jordan, at the RCA Dome.  I worked a PPK event there as well.  The inaugural year of Lucas Oil Stadium, I took both my brothers, Jordan and McKinley, to a game there for part of their Christmas gift. I believe it was at this game when Jordan and I decided to try to visit every NFL stadium.
Worked a game at this stadium? Yes, I worked a PPK event at the RCA Dome and Super Bowl XLVI at Lucas Oil.

I liked the RCA Dome.  For some reason, it just felt like football in there.  We sat at the very top of the stadium, and we had a great view.  I liked the coziness of it.  I liked that it didn't seem to scream big business.  It was low key.

Nice and Cozy....only two levels :)
Me and Jordan in December 2006. Don't worry!  I accessorized in orange and black for my Bengals :)
Lucas Oil Stadium, on the other hand, is not one of my favorites.  It has a very corporate feel inside the stadium.  Don't dare go for the way up top seats because you will need binoculars - you literally have a bird's eye view.  I don't particularly like the glass window endzone...especially when the sun is glaring in on you through it!  And I'm not a big fan of the "I'm a dome...oh no, wait, I'm open air" stadiums.  You have to pick one in my opinion.  You can't be both.  It's just not natural.  You either are or aren't.  What I do like about the stadium at Indianapolis is that you can get there through a maze of indoor walkways.  You can get to a lot of places in Indy via this system.  I think that is pretty smart. Also, the stadium has a lot of neat little creative touches like horseshoes on the end of each row of seats, seat numbers inside a football shape background, and when the stadium is empty, a white horseshoe in the blue endzone section.  Here are some pics.

Not a big fan of the square shape either.
Endzone where we sat...way up at the top!
Window that I mentioned...and miniature people on the field :(

With my awesome brothers circa December 2008
Even though I don't count Super Bowls, I thought I would throw these in since I had already marked it off my list by this point - February 2012.
Not looking too much different, but I did enjoy the night game atmosphere better.
Now this is a good way to make use of the windows!!
 Andrea :)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pitt and USC?

What do those two college football teams have in common you might ask?   Well, I'll happily tell you...I've watched them both play in person since the start of the season.  Not so sure I've found a way to spend my Saturdays this season quite yet, but both games proved to be nothing less than exciting and fun - one for the camaraderie and one for the action on the field!!

Chris and his college buddies have a tradition of going to a Pitt football game each season.  The past three years that I have attended, the game itself has been a far cry from happy for this group though.  We'll just chalk it up to rebuilding...or something of that nature.  However, it is ALWAYS a great time catching up with everyone and enjoying a fun weekend.  Here are some pics from this year's game.

Finally making use of the Pitt shirt I bought last year :)

Had to throw this adorable one in there - Chris and his godson, Trey!
The following weekend, we unexpectedly came across tickets for the USC-Syracuse game that was being played at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey.  A friend of mine offered the tickets, and we gladly accepted.  It turned out to be a crazy day.  First, there was about as close to a stampede as I've ever experience as fans made their way onto one of the later trains from Penn Station to the stadium.  After narrowly escaping death on the journey to the stadium, we arrived just after kickoff.  It was a gorgeous day, but rain was in the forecast. 

Syracuse looking to make a play!
USC on offense...

At the half, I headed up to the concourse for some relief from the sun...and an Italian ice :)   It would have been a shame for my pale self to get burnt just as we headed into fall.  I'm afraid that would not be a good look.  As I returned to our seats at the end of the half, much to my surprise we heard an announcement that kickoff to the second half would be delayed and all spectators should take cover in the concourse area.  As it turns out, the rain (and possibly a tornado...what?!?!) made an appearance....for roughly an hour.  But, we stuck it out and finally the game resumed.  We were glad we did because it turned out to be an exciting second half. 

Second half kickoff - finally!!  Picture taken via Instagram - You should follow me: alhadventures
Needless to say, I won't be spending this Saturday watching any college football.  I must admit that it was fun to experience the excitement of it all in person these past couple of weeks though.  But from here on out, I'll be focused on Sundays (and Mondays...and Thursdays)...geez, the NFL is taking over, huh?

Andrea :)

Friday, September 14, 2012

Nail Polish Swap

Who doesn't love nail polish? 

And when it comes in the mail without you having to agonize over making a decision and picking out just one, it is even better!!  I hadn't ever participated in a swap before, but when I heard about the All Lacquered Up nail polish swap that Angela at Hairspray and High Heels and Megan at Shine On were hosting, I thought I would give it a shot.

All Lacquered Up

My partner was Mia at The Chronicles of Chaos.  She did an amazing job picking out some great polishes for me!  I was so thrilled when I opened my package to find these beauties!

I am particularly intrigued by the darker purple hue (Essie - No More Film) as I always want to try these types of colors, but never end up buying them on my own.  The red (Essie - Too Too Hot) and green (Essie - Mojito Madness) are a perfect fit for me.  I can't wait to try them all :)

Check out what I sent to Mia by visiting her blog here.

Andrea :)