Saturday, May 31, 2014

Mini of the Month: May

When I saw that Neapolitan was the mini of the month, I was bummed.  I never liked Neapolitan ice cream...and I was guessing this wouldn't be much different in cupcake form.

I really like vanilla and strawberry both separately and together, but when you add chocolate to the mix it just doesn't taste right to me.  But after reading the ingredient list, I opened my mind and decided to give it a shot...

Ingredients: White Vanilla Cake, Strawberry Stuffing, Chocolate Icing, & Pink Chocolate Drizzle

Unfortunately, it was a miss for me.  I liked it a bit more than I anticipated, but it wasn't great.  I didn't really taste the strawberry at all, and the chocolate was just too overwhelming in the mix for me.  Maybe it would have fared better in my book if the stuffing was chocolate and the icing was strawberry...

Do you like the Neapolitan flavor?

Andrea :)

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Four Week Fit Challenge - Recap

Love, Fun & Football

I am excited to join Erin and Kristin for this recap link-up! 

Overall, this challenge was a success for me.  It gave me goals to focus on and strive toward.  I felt like I well surpassed my expectations for this challenge in two of the categories, but I didn't really do super well on the other one.  I guess two out of three is progress though!  Gives me something to continue to work on going forward!

Here is a recap of my progress on my three goals:

1) Go for a 2-6 mile run AT LEAST three times a week.  Racing season is back so I want to make sure I am properly preparing for a number of shorter (10k or less) races I have on the horizon.

This was my failure.  I think I managed one run each week.  I had a 10k race in the middle of the month which went surprisingly well for me considering I just wasn't feeling it from pretty much the start.  Otherwise, my month was just jam packed and super busy.  I know that isn't a great excuse, but I just haven't felt like running much lately.  I have a full race calendar in June though so hopefully I can find my grove again soon.

2) Complete each of the following 30-day challenges for arms, abs, and lunges.

Done. Done. And Done.  I could not have been any more proud of myself for sticking in there with these workouts.  There was only two days that I had to push it over into the next one, but I did double duty those two days to ensure I got all 30 workouts in!  These were not easy...especially toward the end, but I can totally tell a difference in my arm strength for sure.  I am going to research some additional options for similar, but new challenges for next month.

3) Track my eating habits on My Fitness Pal.  I have done this in the past and it really helped me to think about what I ate before I ate it.  It's time to dust off that helpful app again! 

Done. I tracked everything I ate for the whole month!  I had a few terrible days, but also a few great ones.  Going to try to keep this one up as well.

Looking forward to seeing all of your recaps today!  I just know you all did great! 

Andrea :)

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Meeting Denzel...

In the Spring of 2010, my life was forever changed.  If you've been following along, you'll know that is the when I met my now fiance', Christopher.  What you may NOT know is that I also met Denzel Washington that fateful Spring.  The memory is still fresh...

Meeting Denzel was on my bucket list.  And when my dad informed me that he read Denzel was coming to Broadway, I couldn't believe it!  This was my chance!  I quickly corralled my friend, Tarra, and headed straight to the box office to buy our tickets.  I wasn't accustomed to paying the price these tickets cost me, but I happily laid out the money for the opportunity ahead.

Tarra and I had a wonderful time at the show!  It was a truly spectacular performance by both Denzel Washington and Viola Davis.  Phenomenal, actually.  We were seated in the orchestra, and I'll never forget how excited I was when Denzel walked onto the stage for the first time.  The excitement didn't last long as I settled into the plot and was loving every minute of the story that unfolded before me.

Got this shot at curtain call. Not sure if I was supposed to, but I did.

There were other celebs in the house.  We saw Steve Harvey on our way in.  Tarra spotted Ben Stiller in the section next to us in the orchestra.  At a later performance, I happened to be passing by the theater and saw Oprah making a beeline from her car to the theater doors.  No one compared to Denzel though.

The night we saw the show, Tarra was totally on board to help me make this bucket list dream of meeting Denzel come true.  We weren't sure how packed it would be outside by the stage door, but we took our chances.  We were about two rows back, but when the man of the hour made his very quick appearance she was able to push me a little closer.  I was speechless and lost most of my ability to function (seriously, I was shaking!), but I did manage to yell out something to the effect of "You're beautiful!"  Odd, right?  Regardless, I was willing to count this encounter as "meeting" Denzel for the bucket list purposes because I *think* he looked me in the eye right before he got in the black Sedan and the driver sped away.  However, I knew I could do better...

So, I did.  I went back to the stage door a couple weeks later.  I wanted an autograph or photo proof or something.  I didn't have much of a plan the first time.  Yes, I went back twice.  The first time I discovered he doesn't sign autographs and he won't pose for pictures.  Total bummers.  I wasn't really prepared, but we did "meet" and I said something about the show and how wonderful he performed.  Lame.  On my third try, I had a plan...and we had a conversation.  An official meeting, if you will.  Back in my NFL Europa days, I had met, and obviously, befriended his son, John David.  He was allocated from the Rams, and we became fast friends.  Initially, I did acknowledge his father (and my insane love for his films, etc.), but I promised I wouldn't bring it up again...and I didn't.  JD was a nice guy and we had several talks about life over those couple months in Florida.  This, my friends, would prove to be my conversation starter.  Why hadn't I thought of this sooner??  I mean how could Denzel NOT want to talk about his own son.  So...out the stage door Denzel comes and I was prepared.  We had our roughly 30 second conversation.  I was pleased.  Denzel was nice and even told me that JD would be at the show the next night.  I contemplated coming back, but decided that was too stalkerish.  Instead, I walked home and very proudly marked an item off my bucket list!

Tonight, I will be seeing my friend Denzel on stage again.  This time in a story that I know well - A Raisin in the Sun.  I am very much looking forward to the performance, but in a much different way.  This one cost a VERY pretty penny (nearly double what it cost four years ago!) so I'm going alone.  I am in the orchestra again...and I'm sure I'll be quite excited when he walks out onto the stage.  But this time, he's no stranger to me!

Andrea :)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Review: The Lullaby of Polish Girls

Our book club at work decided on my most recent read - The Lullaby of Polish Girls.  I was intrigued by the title, but never dreamed I would enjoy it as much as I did.  It was a fantastic book!

The book unfolds via a series of flashbacks and current day snippets of life for Anna, Kamila, and Justyna.  The flashbacks take place in Kielce, Poland where the ladies spent summers together in their youth.  Anna was born in Poland, but moved to America very early in her life.  She returns to Poland to visit each summer and built a friendship with Kamila and Justyna during these youthful years.  In current day, each of the ladies is going through a rough patch in their life.  They haven't been in touch for some time, but all find themselves longing for the freedom of those youthful summers together.

I loved this story.  I really enjoyed the writing style.  It was fun to follow three totally different stories that all connecting in various ways.  I also really liked the addition of a note from the author at the beginning of the book explaining a bit about Polish language.  The book was full of Polish phrases and various words here and there.  I really enjoyed that aspect.  I was never at a loss while reading even though I wasn't aware of what any of the terms meant.  I thought it really added to the story in a lot of ways.

Dagmara Dominczyk (center) was a fun guest at our NFL Book Club.

Our book club was fortunate enough to have the author stop by for a discussion a couple weeks ago.  I thoroughly enjoyed her visit with us.  This was her first novel, but she shared ideas with us on a couple others she had in the pipeline.  She explained her writing process which I found to be quite interesting.  Dag was very down to earth and honest.  It was a pleasure to listen to her stories and vision regarding The Lullaby of Polish Girls.  It was clear how passionate she was about writing this story and that most definitely comes through in the finished product!

I would highly recommend reading The Lullaby of Polish Girls.  I'd say it is likely most enjoyable for the female reader, but could hold the interest of anyone.  I was sucked right into it from the beginning.  It does have some strong language and a few graphic scenes, but all necessary to paint the full picture of its characters.  I loved the book, and I know you will, too.

Hope you all have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! 

Andrea :)

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Runners Tell All: Favorite Running Photo(s)

I am so happy to be linking up with Amanda and Beka for this awesome monthly link-up!
I've done race recaps on pretty much all of my races over here, but today I'm highlighting my top five favorite race photos for you!

It's always fun to run with friends!  This was taken just before my first official 5K race!  Who knew it would lead to all the other running fun over the past five years? 

Roughly a year after my first 5k race, I managed to convince my brothers to run a half marathon in Chicago with me.  We were all training in different locations, but would talk about things that worked and didn't work over the couple of months leading up to the race.  We didn't end up running the actual race together, but we finished within 5 minutes increments from youngest to oldest.  I treasure this photo of us exhausted, but oh so happy to be done!

That November, I ran a turkey trot.  I trained hard for this race.  I was determined to meet my goal of finishing in under an hour...and I made it!  I was so proud of myself!

Fast forward three years to 2013 when I completed the NYC Marathon.  The race itself wasn't near as difficult as the training, but I wouldn't trade the whole experience for the world.  I intended for this to be my one and only marathon.  However, missing my goal time by a slim margin has me thinking I might give it another shot next year...

The NYC Half Marathon has been on my to run list for the past couple of years.  I managed to get into the lottery this year and thoroughly enjoyed the race.  Even though I had a short window of training time, I worked hard to be at my best and it paid off when I set a PR by over 5 minutes at the race in March!

What is your favorite running photo?

Andrea :)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Five on Friday


I was super excited to see Kelvin Benjamin get drafted in the first round last night.  He participated in our National 7-on-7 Tournaments for three years when he was in high school.  I remember talking to him then about keeping the important things first.  I'm hoping he does well in Charlotte with the Panthers, but only time will tell.  I'll definitely be cheering for him though!


Speaking of the draft, Christopher and I will be attending tonight.  I am excited to be inside Radio City for all the action.  This is the first year since I started at the League that I wasn't able to work the draft on Day One so I am extra excited to be a fan tonight! 


I am running the UAE Healthy Kidney 10k on Saturday morning.  This race is a special one for me each year since I personally know a handful of people that have experienced serious kidney issues in the past.  Thankfully, each of them are doing well now!  I plan to donate $1 to The National Kidney Foundation for each minute I am on the course this year.  In the past, my time has been 1:19/1:20 for the 10k distance in Central Park.  I'm hoping for closer to 1:15 tomorrow, but mostly I am hoping for an injury free race!


After one week, I am doing really well on my four week fit challenge goals.  I have done my exercises each day without too much issue.  I have been dilligent with recording what I am eating on my fitness pal - though I had a couple of not too great days when I was traveling for work earlier this week.  I am sticking with it though!  The running goal has been the most difficult to meet, but the extra couple of days at the beginning of the month have me least for this week.


I am already super excited for next weekend.  The countdown is on to seeing my family (every single one of them!) and having lots of meetings to work out wedding details in Louisville with Christopher!  It should be a great weekend!  As of today, the countdown is officially on...

Andrea :)  

Thursday, May 1, 2014

The Four Week Fit Challenge - Goals

Love, Fun & Football

I am excited to join Erin and Kristin for this great challenge and link-up! 

Here are my three goals:

1) Go for a 2-6 mile run AT LEAST three times a week.  Racing season is back so I want to make sure I am properly preparing for a number of shorter (10k or less) races I have on the horizon.

2) Complete each of the following 30-day challenges for arms, abs, and lunges.

3) Track my eating habits on My Fitness Pal.  I have done this in the past and it really helped me to think about what I ate before I ate it.  It's time to dust off that helpful app again! 

Looking forward to seeing all of your goals as well as linking up at the end of May to report on how my successes throughout the month! 

Andrea :)