Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Treats for Everyone!


I had fun decorating these Halloween funfetti cupcakes last night!  Hope you get lots of treats today!

I'm looking forward to seeing (only via facetime unfortunately) my little niece in her first Halloween costume tonight!  Chris and I were Salt and Pepper Shakers this weekend - check us out here.

I can't believe we are at the end of October already!  How has time passed so quickly this year?

Andrea :)

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

I survived!  Well, actually, I never could even really tell it happened from my little area in midtown Manhattan.  But I was off work for two days and pretty much stayed inside the whole time. I go back to work tomorrow.  I'll be interested to see what it looks like outside then.  The last time I was out, there was the calm before the storm.  Take a look...

You'll never see Times Square this empty again!
Street nearby my apartment...usually filled with people and street vendors
No broadway tickets on sale today!
Subway closed until further notice...
Totally empty street in midtown Manhattan...extremely rare!
Fortunately, I was safe and sound from the storm.  And even kept power.  Lots of others were not in the same boat.  Please pray for all those affected as well as the response teams working to get this city back up and running!

Andrea :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Book #1 - The Water Giver

As a part of my 30 before 30, I am reading 12 books that I own but haven't read yet.  The first one on my list was The Water Giver by Joan Ryan.  I think I picked it up at one of the Borders going out of business final sales sometime last year.  I remember being intrigued by it then.

The story is fascinating.  Initially, I thought it was going to be a story about the relationship between an mother and her adopted son with an attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, but it was much more than that.  It is the story of her son's battle and recovery from a traumatic brain injury and her journey through a second chance at motherhood along the way.  The book is written in three parts with short chapters in each section.

The first part gives you some background on the family.  The adoption.  The career minded parents.  The good and the bad, the highs and the lows of Ryan's youth.  It really details a struggle all of its own, but one that seems far less difficult to handle once part two begins.

Part two focuses on the accident and subsequent touch and go times for the family.  It is extremely well-written making it difficult to put the book down at this point.

Without giving too much away, part three details the struggles of recovery.  The setbacks.  The advances.  The setbacks.  It is a very touching story.  It is a quick read and if you like true stories then it is definitely the book for you. 

As you'll see, I prefer true stories.  My next book is an autobiography.  I will probably read two or three of those as a part of my 12.  Hopefully, I can get some reading done while I am homebound for Hurricane Sandy.

What good autobiography or true life tales have you read lately?

Andrea :)

Argo + Halloween Costumes

On Friday, I finally got to see Argo!  It was fantastic!  I love movies that are based on a true story.  This one was particularly moving since it also pulled at your Proud to be an American heart strings!  Go check it out!

Saturday started out with a run through a gorgeous park in Albany with my friend, Janet.  Toward the end of our run, I paused to snap this stunning shot.

I love fall.  So pretty!
After the run, Chris and I went to one of my favorite restaurants for lunch - Cracker Barrel!  I think we have found the ONLY one in the whole Northeast.  And I couldn't be happier - that place has the BEST food at such affordable it has a fun little store attached :)

yummy pumpkin custard for dessert
Later that night we headed to the main event for the weekend - a Halloween party!  We decided we would try a couple's costumes this year.  The past two years, we had fun dressing up, but never quite matched.
2010 - Old school rapper and a referee
2011 - Native American Indian and Rastafarian
So, this year, with a little help from my dad's creative mind, we matched!  We got a lot of laughs and had a blast at the party.
2012 - Salt and Pepper Shakers
Sunday, we were all set to watch some football and just relax until we saw that the MTA was pretty much shutting down NYC at 7pm - an hour and a half before my scheduled departure from Albany.  We sadly decided that it would be best for me to take an earlier bus to ensure I safely arrived back to the city in time.  After a quick lunch, Chris drove me to the bus station and I was off.  Upon arrival to the city, I wasn't sure what to expect - visions of disaster movies danced in my head on the three hour ride back.  However, things seemed pretty calm and the weather was perfect outside, but the lines inside the stores definitely made up for it.  They were INSANE!  Unfortunately, I didn't get a picture of them, but here is my In Case Hurricane Sandy Is As Bad As They Predict She Will Be loot.

Not too healthy, but tried to cover all the bases :)
Late Breaking News - my weekend has been extended via Hurricane Sandy cancelling work today and tomorrow!  I won't say I'm not excited about getting the free days off work, but I'll also say I really do hope this is a flop of a storm.

Hope you had a wonderful weekend!  And hope you steer clear of Hurricane Sandy if you are in the Northeast!!

Andrea :)

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sunday Stadium Review - Jaguars

Jacksonville Jaguars 

Name of Stadium: EverBank Field
Capacity: 67,246
Game Attended: December 2011 - MNF match-up with the Chargers the week following Coach Jack Del Rio being fired
Worked a game at this stadium? No.

Outside of the front of the stadium - love the statue!

One of my mentors had been working as Special Teams coach at Jacksonville for a couple of seasons.  I kept telling him I wanted to get down there to visit him and check out the Jaguars at home.  (He had graciously offered me tickets to Jags-Giants and Jags-Jets games when they came to New York in previous years.)  When the fire started getting hotter for Jack Del Rio, I knew Chris and I had picked the right season to make the trek to Jacksonville.

We had some fun around town before and after the game, but the game itself was quite an experience.  First of all, it isn’t often that MNF comes to Jacksonville so the crowd was amped.  We had great seats on the corner of the endzone.  The one thing we both noticed almost immediately were the tarps covering much of the upper level of the stadium.  I had never seen anything like that in my stadium quests and was honestly surprised by how much of the stadium they needed to cover with the tarps. The game was only competitive briefly so by the end of the third quarter there was hardly anyone left at the stadium.  That was also a strange feeling.  We were actually able to find my mentor’s wife and family based on him only giving us the section number prior to the game.  That is how empty the place got….and quick!  Regardless, after the game, we did some post-game tailgating with my mentor and crew.  It was great to see him even though I wish the circumstances had been much different.
One of the tarps is directly above my head in this picture.  They covered the entire section.  This picture was taken in the fourth quarter, but check out the non-existent crowd :(
Loved the big board.  There was one at each endzone.
Here are some of our pics from the other Jacksonville area adventures.  Definitely check out the Jacksonville Landing if you are ever in the area.  Neat spot.  We were there at the wrong time of the day, but I bet it is hopping at night!

Jacksonville Landing
Loved the palm trees outside the factory!
99 bottles of beer on the wall conveyer belt :)
Tons of shops (and tourist traps) in St. Augustine...
We had a fun little excursion down the road about an hour to St. Augustine!
Andrea :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

30 before 30 - Month Three Recap

 write letter to family or friend

This month I didn't send the traditional letter, but I did write a note to my mom.  She has worked as a librarian for 33 years.  Her retirement party was yesterday.  My brothers and I weren't able to be there so we sent an arrangement of 36 pink roses (one for each year she worked at the library and one to represent each of us) along with a note from each of us.  She loved it!  I'm glad we were able to be a part of her special day even if we weren't there in person!

My beautiful mom and her pretty flowers :)
Nice display with our pictures and the notes!
 3 monthly goals 

1) Layout pages in Year 2 scrapbook.

I was able to complete this task over the weekend.  Chris was away on a guys' weekend to Buffalo so I had plenty of time to work on this project then.  All the pages are laid out.  Now, the fun of cutting and pasting begins :)

2) Carve (or decorate) a pumpkin.

Chris and I managed to pick and carve our first pumpkin midway through October.  It was an interesting project for us, but I had fun.

We found one that was just the right size!
Ready to begin the fun!!
Scooping out the "guts"....Chris wasn't too fond of this part!
Carving out the face....
Happy (early) Halloween!!

3) Work out at the gym twice a week.

I didn't do quite as well on this as I had hoped.  I was shooting for Tuesdays and Thursdays.  The first week, I didn't go either day.  Not a good start.  The next week, I went on Tuesday and then ended up having to work the Thursday Night Game so I made a little progress.  The next week, I was determined to make it both days...and then the gym was closed for repairs on Thursday.  However, the last week, I was successful!  YAY!  I'm going to try to keep on going (and potentially adding another day) throughout the winter since it's far less likely that I'll be running outside then. 

facetimes with Brinley

Mom and Dad went to visit Brinley the second week of October.  I was able to dual purpose facetime with her and see them, too.  She played her little piano toy for me.  She got a little fussy and needed to have a bottle toward the end, but it was fun watching her.  Mom said she kept reaching out to the phone for me.  Facetime will definitely get more interesting as she keeps growing :)

This past Saturday, I was able to facetime with Brinley while she ate some baby food!  Yes, she is big enough for baby food now!  I can't hardly believe it!  She was making lots of noises and seemed to be eating at least a little bit of the food.  I am so grateful for technology so that I am able to see these little milestones!

Date Night 

Chris and I enjoyed a sushi date night toward the beginning of October.  We had a groupon for Mika in Chinatown that expired soon so we gave it a try.  It was such an easy trip on the subway which was a huge plus.  The food was great, too!  I had the California Roll and the AAC (Avacado, Asparagus, Cucumber) Roll.  Chris had the West Roll and the House Roll.  He is braver than me :)

Chris had the specialty rolls on the left while I stuck to the less adventurous ones on the right.

Girls' Night

There was a girls' night at the very end of September, but I didn't take any pictures.  I promise to do better next time!  We undoubtedly had fun.  It is always good to catch up with the ladies!

Andrea :)

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Stadium Review - Browns

 Cleveland Browns 

Name of Stadium: Cleveland Browns Stadium
Capacity: 73,200
Game Attended: versus Colts in November 2008
Worked a game at this stadium? Yes, for a PPK event.

via Wikipedia

This stadium appears to be built similarly to the Bengals' stadium.  Perhaps because the Brown family began here before starting up the team in Cincinnati.  Regardless, they resemble one another.  The one thing I distinctly remember about Cleveland Browns Stadium was the cold.  The stadium is practically located on Lake Erie and that does not make a good match in November.  My brother (a Browns fan..I know, it is hard to believe!) was able to come for the game.  He attended along with his wife, one of my friends from college, Danielle, and her (now) husband, Michael.  I didn’t get to visit with them much since I was working, but I know they were bundled up out there.

Me and Jordan on the field pre-game
Jordan and Jen
Danielle and Michael
While I wasn’t able to enjoy the game from the stands, I did spend a good deal of time walking around the concourse levels and the bowels of the stadium.  They were both very easy to navigate. The stadium was nice.  The fan base seemed fairly calm and good natured…well, unless you got too close to the Dawg Pound :)

You can see all three tiers of the stadium in this one.  Even though the top looks a little empty.

Outside the stadium...freezing!!
I wouldn’t mind going to see a Battle of Ohio game at this stadium someday.  Preferably in September!
Andrea :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Thursday Thoughts

Linking up with Sar for some Thursday Thoughts...

(1) Cancer is THE enemy!  Especially when it takes children before they've had a chance to grow and live and just enjoy so many of the normal, everyday things that we take for granted.  Lane Goodwin, who I blogged about here, gained his angel wings yesterday.  He was a true hero!  I was so amazed and truly touched by his global reach to spread awareness in his last month of life.  His family has plans to start a foundation so I'm interested to find out more about it in the coming months.  I wish this horrible disease didn't exist.  It is truly tragic.
(2) On a lighter note, I just love Sara Bareilles.  Definitely becoming one of my favorites.  Mostly thanks to my Adele Pandora station ironically enough!  *Note for anyone buying me Christmas presents this year:  I could see myself pretty thrilled to own her Little Voice album :)

(3) I am excited that the weather hasn't become too cold yet.  Trying to hold onto fall for as long as possible because these Northeast winters are no joke!  Hoping to get in at least one decent run outside this weekend!

(4) Couldn't be more excited to have 15 followers via GFC now.  I know that is beyond low for most of you fine folks, but I am way pumped!  My goal was to get 20 followers by the end of the year, but I may have to reassess.  Either way, I am taking #12 on my 30 before 30 list to heart and attempting to become a more active blogger.  I am loving it!  When I reach my goal, I want to reward myself by finding out how I can get a button made.  It might be simplier than I think...

(5) I'm also starting to get the hang of twitter and instagram.  I know, I know.  Am I from the Stone Age or what?  Maybe I'm just an old fashion pen and paper kinda gal.  Regardless, I am definitely making the effort!  You can find me on both - @alhadventures!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!! 

Andrea :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

Jazz + Pumpkin Picking

This Weekend, I had an amazing time with Christopher!! 

On Friday night, we watched the US barely win a world cup qualifier before heading to Cafe Capriccio for some lovely jazz music and yummy food.

Asparagus and Artichoke Ravioli
Jazz by Jd3 - excellent group!!
On Saturday, we picked a pumpkin from a nearby patch (which we later carved, but I'll save that for a separate post!).  Then, we headed to Vermont for some delicious hot apple cider and cider donuts before we hunted down a couple of covered bridges.
There were slim pickings, but we finally found a good one :)
This picture totally captures our lovely day in Vermont!
The Chiselville Bridge
The West Arlington Bridge
On Sunday, we had a busy day!  We went to church with friends at Loudonville Community Church and heard an awesome speaker, Dr. George Verwer.  Seriously, he was fantastic!  After church, we headed out to watch some football.  That turned out much better for Chris, the Jets fan, than it did for me, the sad angry bitter Bengals fan.  To cap off the day we went to see Taken 2.  We both enjoyed it.  Liam Neeson has a very particular set of skills...and he knows how to use them.  Truly a character.

I really couldn't have asked for more exciting and fun fall weekend.  Hope yours was just as great!

Andrea :)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Stadium Review - Rams

 St. Louis Rams 

Name of Stadium: Edward Jones Dome
Game Attended: mid-November in 2009 versus Saints
Worked a game at this stadium? No, but I was in St. Louis for work meetings then stayed for the game

via wikipedia

The Rams pre-Sam Bradford, the Saints pre-Bountygate - I saw two totally different teams than what play today.  But the game was great....shockingly close.  These Saints were undefeated at this point in their season and the Rams truly gave them a run for their money during this game.  These Saints also went on to win the Super Bowl that February.  And I didn't know it then, but I would be seeing these Saints again...actually two more times before the season ended.

But on to the game, I went with a friend and was able to get us field passes.  I have been on the field for who knows how many games, but it is always great to experience it with a first timer.  The joy, the awe, the excitement :)  Here are some of the pre-game pictures I took.

You know I represent with the black and orange on Sundays...even if I'm not watching my team :)
Steven Jackson - beastly!
Saints warming up before the game!
Unfortunately, I didn't get many good inside shots of the stadium, but I remember thinking it had a great atmosphere.  Especially for a team that was expected to get demolished in the game.  Lots of excited fans and a very friendly and welcoming environment.  I really enjoyed watching the game.

My only good picture of inside the dome.
If you ever venture to St. Louis for a Rams game (or a Cardinals game for that matter), but sure to visit the Arch.  It is a fun attraction just down the street from both stadiums.  There is also a cute little park nearby the arch with lots of statues and ponds.  I'll leave you with a couple of my sightseeing pictures :)

 Andrea :)