Thursday, April 30, 2015

Thursday Thoughts - Sports Edition!

If there ever was a weekend full of exciting sports events, this is the one!!  The Mayweather-Pacquiao fight is certainly the highlight though the Derby just trails by a nose (pun intended).  And, of course, we can't forget about the NFL Draft kicking it all off in Chicago tonight. 

With the Draft being in Chicago this year, I am quite excited to see how everything plays out in a new venue.  I think it will be really neat.  To be honest, I never really follow the draft very closely.  I'm not a big college football fan so I usually don't know much about the players.  Unless they manage to get in trouble often or have character issues that garner a lot of press, I probably don't know their name.  It doesn't mean I value the draft any less though.  I think it is an amazing time of hope and promise for all teams...and I really love that!  I always tear up in the first round every year when I see those guys fulfilling their dream of being drafted.  It's a powerful thing!  My Bengals pick at number 21 this year so I'll definitely be looking forward to seeing who they select tonight!  

As a Kentuckian, the Derby ranks HIGH on my list of must watch events each year.  Not only do I absolutely LOVE the playing of My Old Kentucky Home just before the horses burst through the starting gates, but also I just really like horse racing!

I tend to pick my favorites based on the following factors in this order:

1) name of the horse 
2) jockey 
3) odds 
4) trainer

My two favorite jockeys at our wedding reception last October!

I'm not saying I win often, but I have a darn good time being at the track!  We'll be watching at home this year, but eventually we'll make it to the grandstands in Louisville on Derby Day.  For now, I'll just relive the memories of our time spent in the winner's circle this past October at our wedding reception.

As far as my picks, I am liking #2 Carpe Diem to take it all.  He doesn't have great position, but his odds look good...and his jockey and trainer are a plus.  He's not the favorite (#18 American Pharoah), but I'll stick with him. I do really like #14 Keen Ice as a long shot to win though.  And #10 Firing Line caught my eye as well.  Looking forward to seeing who claims the roses this year!!

Last, but most certainly not least, we have THE fight.  Of the year.  Of the decade.  Of the century.  Possibly, of all time.  Yeah.  It's gonna be wild.  And I don't even like boxing.  Chris and I have been watching all the coverage this past week or so leading up to the big fight.  We've watched documentaries, seen glimpses into their training routines, heard what the legends have to say, and even tuned in for the press conference.  We absolutely can't wait to see what happens Saturday night as these two boxing greats FINALLY face off in the ring.  I am firmly placing myself in the corner of Pacquiao.  Without. A. Doubt.  Not only does Manny seem like the better overall person, but he's also the underdog.  And it's refreshing to see that he loves God and doesn't seem to take himself so seriously all the time.  I genuinely like this guy.  I just hope neither of them end up a total bloody mess before it's all said and done. 

Are you watching any first round Draft coverage tonight?
Who's your horse for the Derby?
Are you in the Mayweather or Pacquiao camp?

Andrea :)

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

#MarriedMaitlands: Welcome Bags

Since nearly all of our wedding guests would be traveling a fair distance to spend our wedding weekend with us, we knew we wanted to really go all out on the welcome bags.


Our plan was to make them Kentucky centric because for many of the recipients this would be their first (and possibly only) trip to the great bluegrass state.

We were set on including a bottle of Ale 8 (Chris is a HUGE fan!) and some info about things to do in the Louisville area from the start.  Ale 8 tastes somewhat similar to ginger ale and is only manufactured in Kentucky so we bought it in bulk there.  Fortunately, the magazine and urban bourbon trail booklet we were able to include at no cost as our wedding planner was able to pick those up at a local visitor center.  

For snacks, we decided that trail mix would fit our Derby venue theme.  Then, we were exposed to the delicious cake dots by our caterer in our final meeting.  With flavors like bourbon, funfetti, and dreamsicle, how could we possibly pass?  So tasty!!

When I saw the door hangers on Etsy, they were just too cute (and inexpensive) to pass up.  And, of course, no welcome bag is complete without a little note and some directions from the soon to be Mr. and Mrs.

Did you do a welcome bag for your out of town guests?

Andrea :)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Our Honeymoon: Glass Making in Murano

Besides a luxurious trip through the canals on a gondola ride, there was one other MUST do item on my Venice checklist - a day trip to Murano and Burano!  I had seen pictures of the beautifully colored houses and thought it sounded like a fun adventure.

We met the tour guide at this statue...

I found a great deal on Viator and we quickly booked our tour for October 31.  We booked an afternoon tour that met nearby the Piazza San Marco boat dock.  We were surprised when our tour group consisted of just one other party - two full of life older ladies from Texas.  It was practically like having a private tour!  Our guide, Christina, proved invaluable to the experience as well.  She was full of neat facts and lots of historical information about the city of Venice along with Murano and Burano.

Enjoying this boat ride MUCH more than the gondola...

Our private boat took us through some of the canals in Venice before opening up at full speed for the quick trip over to Murano.  We even sped past a hospital and graveyard island as we ventured to the outskirts of Venice.

The hospital...

and the graveyard...just across the water!

Many of the locals in Murano are part of a long line of family glass making businesses.  We had an opportunity to watch the glass being made first-hand on the tour.  Each part of the process was carefully explained as we watched several glasses be hand crafted while we were inside the workshop.  Such a unique experience!

We had a chance to shop around in their fancy store afterward, but there were no pictures allowed in there.  Everything was insanely expensive...and thankfully Chris talked me out of buying one of the pieces I really liked in there!

Another local glass factory...

After shopping around, we slowly made our way through the town via boat before picking up major speed as we cruised to Burano.  Hoping to make it there before sunset...

Andrea :)

Monday, April 27, 2015

More Half Marathon

I signed up for this half marathon to give myself a running goal through early spring.  I knew it would be a major challenge for me.  First, I hadn't been running regularly for a few months.  And second, the course was set to be two loops in hilly Central Park.

I did fairly well sticking to my training plan and managed a long run of one and half loops in Central Park once.  I felt ok about the race, but not really as prepared as I would have liked.  I was excited that the race was a woman's only event.  It's always SO much fun to be out there with so many other women from all walks of life.

I started out pretty strong and a bit quick, but I leveled out around mile two and decided to just take the miles as they came.  At each mile marker, I would add 12 (and later 13) and try to do my best to see that new number at the next marker.  It was the absolute most perfect running weather.  And I managed to be consistent with the 12ish minute miles throughout the first loop.  It was particularly inspiring when the course leader passed to cheers and encouragement from our section somewhere around mile 3.  What phenomenal talent!

I saw Chris just before mile 6.  He handed off my chews, and I let him know that this second half of the race was going to be tough.  I was already dreading the second coming of the hills I'd just passed.  It was tough, but I hung in there with my +12/13 strategy.  I was tempted to veer toward the finish when it came time to push toward that second loop, but I trudged on.

Official Finish Time - 2:54:03

In the second half of the race, I did a little bit of walking...particularly on the hills, but I stayed close to my target pace.  I saw Chris again about a couple miles before the finish.  I was exhausted, but his encouragement helped push me.  I was surprisingly pleased at the end of the race even though I recorded my slowest half marathon time to date.  After all, two loops in Central Park is no joke.

Andrea :)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Announcing Saturday States...

Beginning next Saturday, I plan to recap my adventures through each of our United States.  As you all know, I love to travel!  I've mostly just filled you in on my European travel adventures so it's high time I talked a little about all the fun I've had right here in the US!

My parents made it a priority for us to travel growing up...and I couldn't be more thankful!  As a family of five we traveled to each of our lovely 50 states together.  It took us nearly twenty years, but we completed the challenge in 2010.  We went to Hawaii that January and Alaska that August.  Both were incredible experiences.  And since I had a digital camera by then, I'll be sharing much more detail about those two big excursions.

For the rest of the states, mom and dad are rounding up some old school photos that can be scanned.  I'll also be grouping a few states together along the way.  Hope you enjoy this walk down memory lane!  And who knows, maybe you'll see some place that sparks your interest, too!

Andrea :)

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Our Honeymoon: The Gondola Ride

No trip to Venice is complete without a gondola ride.

Well, at least that is what everyone told us before we left for our honeymoon.  We weren't sure.  I was more excited about the idea than Chris, but I also knew it would be a nice chunk of change.  I went back and forth with Chris just telling me that it was up to me.

We took the ride.  We weren't sure it was entirely worth the money, but we did it.

Chris is not a swimmer.  And I guess I hadn't clearly enough passed along the information that the canals in Venice aren't too deep.   

I took selfie after selfie without a care in the world before I finally figured out that he was concerned about falling out of the boat altogether.  Mid-ride I tried to convince him there was zero chance I'd let him drown if we did somehow manage to tip over.  He wasn't too easily reassured though.  I told him there was NO way they would put tourists on those boats without any safety instruction or life jackets if there was a true hazard, but he wasn't having any of my logic.

To be fair, we were rocking quite a bit.  And I was a tad nervous at times as well.  But I don't think Chris could have been any happier than when we had our feet back on dry land.

Andrea :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

#MarriedMaitlands - SIX months!

Last month, for the first time since our wedding, we had set plans for the 18th!  We attended the 1st ever Good Cider tasting event in lower Manhattan.  We had SO much fun.  And I also shared our Save the Date video with you on the blog.  We enjoyed creating it so I hope you had a chance to check it out!

Date Nights

-Cider Event

-Nighttime walk in our new neighborhood

-Italian Dinner Date with Kate and Sven

-Comedy Show
*We attended a CD taping featuring Paul Virzi - very funny dude! - as a part of NYC's Comedy Week.*

-LIC Flea and Food Opening Weekend

-Celebrated FIVE YEARS together!


(Review here.)
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Chris' Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The Age of Adaline
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Chris' Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
*Scored free tickets to this one via my AMC Stubs membership!*


-Dallas for the #sharpduet wedding.
*Dinner with the McWhorter's
*Toured SouthFork Ranch
*Visited The Sixth Floor Museum

Notable Events

-Hosted my 1st Book Club

-Celebrated Easter with Chris' family

-Legally changed my last name!!  Finally!

Andrea :)

Saturday, April 18, 2015

#MarriedMaitlands: Last Minute Insanity!

Being six months (today!!) removed from the craziness of planning a wedding, I can look back though a less stressed lens.  However, I simply cannot deny the last minute insanity that I am convinced occurs for every bride-to-be.  It's just life, really.  Things happen that weren't expected.  Time moves too quickly and you just can't seem to keep up.  Either way, the BIG day comes and goes and you're left trying to figure out how you'll ever fill all this new found free time!

Let's turn back time for a second.  It's late July 2014.  I have plenty of time to get all the final projects completed before our mid-October nuptials.  Plenty of time.  Then, I return to my apartment after work one day to find a notice that my building is being sold and I need to move by the end of August.  WHAT!!  This could NOT have happened at a more inconvenient time.  I didn't even know where to start with getting rid of/packing up all the crazy amount of stuff I had accumulated in the six years I lived there.  Thankfully, my amazing fiance' jumps right on finding us a place.  Our plan was to move into a new place after the wedding.  But, annoyingly, we were forced into a new plan.  We quickly found a great place, but the actual packing up and moving part proved much more difficult.  In the end, we had just gotten all our hundreds of boxes loaded into the new apartment when we headed to Kentucky for my bridal shower and our engagement photos.

That weekend in Kentucky officially put us at the one-month mark.  And all those final projects I had plenty of time for back in July.  Yeah.  They were overlooked while I packed up my life and moved across the river to Long Island City.  None of them were done.  Some of them not even started.  And the panic set in.  Spoiler alert: It all worked out!  And in the end, regardless of all the little projects and their status, we got married!!

All smiles in our new apartment!!

Thankfully, my cousin volunteered to help in any way that she could.  And she did!  Tricia was amazing.  Down the stretch, I could not have been more thankful or appreciative of absolutely everything she did for me.  Talk about coming through in the clutch!  I'll share more about the exact projects as I delve into the wedding posts these next few weeks, but Tricia took my idea for our centerpieces and made it a reality.  I had planned to make them myself, but it would have taken me days weeks longer since I don't have one of those fancy cricut machines.

Once the centerpieces were in excellent hands, I was able to fully focus on a few of the other DIY elements and the photo books I was putting together for our cocktail tables.  And the little pre-wedding week goodie bag for my bridesmaids.  There were many extremely late of which neither Chris nor I will ever forget.  But final party!

My colleagues at work surprised me with a little party the week before we left for the wedding. And Chris' did the same for him which was really nice.  I was so happy that each of them took the time to be there and show their support.  It was pretty simple with some pizza and cookies, but it was nice to chat with everyone for a bit about our upcoming BIG day.

Now, back to that one late night that will never be far from our minds...especially when booking flights in the future!  Our flight to Kentucky for the wedding was set to leave out of Newark on the Wednesday before our BIG day so we'd have a couple days to get our marriage license and take care of any final details.  In typical Andrea style, I had over committed my time in regard to putting the final touches on a few last projects.

It was the night before we were set to leave and I was scrambling around trying to finish up these projects.  And pack.  Which is a whole separate struggle for me...merely exaggerated with so much else going on.  Thankfully, my rehearsal dinner dress and wedding dress were both already safe and sound in Kentucky.  I say thankfully because it is a small wonder that I made our flight.  I worked on these final projects until somewhere around 4:30ish in the morning.

I started to hit the wall so I sleepily thought that I'd just take a quick 30 minute nap and then have enough time to pack up my clothes while Chris showered and got ready for our 7:30am car to the airport.  Well, let's just say none of that happened.  I shot up at 7am totally freaking out that I had nothing packed.  Chris hadn't realized that I put that task off until the morning.  But he will never forget the insanity that ensued.  I was a mess.  A total mess.  Crying and just saying over and over that I had no idea what to pack.  Chris tried to calm me down telling me it was ok and that I should just pick a few things and put them in the suitcase.  In my already somewhat hysterical state this strategy did not work too well. Finally he went down to meet the car and told me to come as quickly as I could manage.  I just grabbed a handful of clothes from the closet, stuffed them in the suitcase, and followed after him.  On the way to the airport I told him I had no clue what was in the bag.  Not a clue.  But I had managed to pull myself together.  And he was quite relieved about that!  Needless to say, nearly everything I wore that weekend we picked up at Old Navy after we arrived.

It was such a relief to finally be in Louisville for our wedding weekend though!  Our families arrived the day after we did.  We got our marriage license.  And held a few last meeting with vendors.  But soon enough our wedding party was arriving and it was rehearsal time....

Andrea :)