Saturday, April 30, 2011


Tomorrow is the Five Boro Bike Tour.

Am I seriously going to do this?

I'm not even going to lie, I have spent quite a bit of time this week contemplating putting my tour vest and helmet number up for sale on Craigslist. The tour sold out within one day, so I know there are people out there who want my spot. Who am I to deprive them, especially when letting them take my place means I can sit on my couch and relax all day instead of biking 42 miles?

But, thus far I have been able to talk myself out of chickening out and selling my spot. So unless my nerves really get the better of me and I start trying to give my number away for free to passerby on the street, I'm doing this.

All week long I have been saying a silent prayer: "Please, Lord, please, please, PLEASE let me be able to finish this ride." I don't care how long it takes me. I don't care how exhausted I am afterwards. I don't care what kind of a mess I look like in our finish line photographs. I just want to get there, using my own two legs on my bike. I know if I can do it, I will feel amazing. The problem is just that I don't have confidence in myself. Did I train enough? What more should I have done? Will I get too tired, too hungry, too thirsty? Will my poor thighs hold up? Can I manage the bridges? Can I make it 42 miles?

Well, you never know unless you try, right? So, off we go. Eric and I will spend some time tonight getting our bikes all ready to go - air in the tires, everything tightened and adjusted, bag packed with water bottles/snacks/sunblock/cameras/etc. We'll leave early tomorrow, probably a bit before 6:00 a.m. We will take the PATH train to the World Trade Center, then ride the short distance south to Battery Park to join the starting line. The race officially begins at 8:15, and then 32,000 riders will head off into New York City.

I've been keeping a close eye on the weather forecast all week, and I think we're looking pretty good. Although I would prefer it be a bit warmer, it looks like we'll at least have some sunshine, so I can handle that. I just have to hope my legs don't get too frozen in my bike shorts as we wait at the starting line at the crack of dawn. But overall, I think this is looking pretty good, especially considering the particularly rainy weather we've had lately:

I have posted it before, but if you want to see the route map to "follow along" with where we'll be going, you can see it here. Basically, we'll start off heading north from Battery Park (the very southern tip of Manhattan), up through midtown and Central Park, into the Bronx via the Madison Avenue Bridge, back into Manhattan on the Third Avenue Bridge, and south along FDR Drive. We'll cross the Queensboro Bridge (a/k/a the 59th Street Bridge, which will inevitably make me start singing Simon and Garfunkel - "slow down, you move too fast!") and ride around in Queens for a while before heading south into Brooklyn. Our final bridge will be the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, taking us into Staten Island, our final borough. We'll hang out at the festival there for a bit before finishing the last three miles of the tour to the Staten Island Ferry stop. We'll ferry back over to Manhattan, then ride back up to the World Trade Center to catch the PATH back to New Jersey. Then we will lay on the couch and never move again and order all sorts of terrible-for-you food to eat for dinner, just because we can.

Assuming I'm not near death the entire time, I may very well try to post updates on Twitter when we stop at the various rest stops along the way, so follow me there if you want to make sure I'm still alive and on my way through the boroughs. And of course, I'll be back to recap the whole thing next week!

In the meantime, say a prayer for me, or send vibes, or "secret" things out into the universe for me, or whatever it is you do to wish someone well. I need all the help I can get!

And if anyone can figure out exactly how my husband talked me into signing up for this thing, I'd love to know.

Friday, April 29, 2011

A Wedding Fit For a (Future) Queen

Prince William and his bride, Kate Middleton

Yup, I got sucked in. Royal Wedding fever!

Unless you live under a rock, you know that this morning Prince William married the lovely Kate Middleton. The impending nuptials have been the talk of..well, the world for weeks now. It has been well documented that I love all things wedding, so naturally, I got sucked in immediately. I watched everything I could find on TV about it, read magazines and articles, and got myself all psyched up for the big day.

Eric and I considered going into Times Square for their live viewing event, hosted by Randy of TLC's Say Yes to the Dress (how sweet is my husband to agree to do that with me?). But, laziness/sleepiness set in and I decided I wasn't up for waking up at about 3:00 in the morning to get out to Times Square and (hopefully) get a seat in the viewing area. That's just too much.

So, Eric and I set our alarm clock for 5:00 this morning and had our own little party at home. We cooked a delicious french toast breakfast and drank yummy mimosas while we watched the coverage on TV.

Cheers to the new Princess!


First things first, THE DRESS. I was so excited to see the dress. I just love Kate Middleton's style and I knew she would be stunning on her wedding day. She did not disappoint! Although I may have anticipated something with a little more glitz, I thought her dress was divine. It was classic and elegant, very Grace Kelly. I think it will be a timeless choice and she wore it beautifully.


I just loved watching this wedding. I loved the pomp and circumstance, the regality, the formality. Yet in the midst of all that "prim and proper" goodness, there were moments that I could identify with. For example, I loved seeing Kate's sister Pippa fulfilling her maid of honor duties. It reminded me of my sister doing so for me, and how sweet and attentive and concerned with making sure everything was perfect for me she was. Sisters are the best!

Sweet moment between Kate and Pippa when Kate arrived at Westminster Abbey
(Yes, I took pictures of my TV. What of it?)

My dear sister being the best maid of honor ever for me back in '07! I like to think she started the trend and Pippa was just following her lead.

Kate and William were very stoic at the altar, but every now and then they would exchange a sweet glance during the ceremony. I especially loved it when Prince William told her she looked beautiful when he first saw her. And of course, that made me think of Eric's face when he first saw me, and how he also told me I was beautiful (and even after today's events, he still maintains that I am the most beautiful bride he has ever seen). We held hands through our entire ceremony and he wiped my tears away when I cried. Awwww. Sweet, in-love men are just the best.

Exchanging vows

Beautiful bride

My wedding again, not Will and Kate's! Oh, memories.

After the Mass, the newlyweds exited Westminster Abbey and took a carriage ride back to Buckingham Palace, where they emerged on a balcony and gave a quick kiss for the crowd. The kiss was rather conservative (Come on! More romance!), and I'm told they did it twice, but I missed the second one altogether so that goes to show how drawn out and passionate it all was.

The whole family out on the balcony


Both the romantic and the former little girly-girl in me loved this wedding, because it just seems like a fairytale come true. Every little girl dreams of marrying their Prince Charming and becoming a princess someday, and Kate Middleton - er, excuse me - Catherine, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge is actually doing it! And it totally could have been me. William and Kate met during college at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. When I was in college (at the same time as Prince William, who is my age), I considered studying abroad - at the University of St. Andrews. I even had my dad pick up some information on the school when he visited St. Andrews. It has always been one of my biggest regrets of college that I never studied abroad, especially now that I know that if I had, I would totally be a princess right now. Ah, well. I'm pretty happy in my life as a lawyer's wife, so it all worked out for the best!

Also, can we talk hats? I have decided that American women need to wear more hats. The hats at this wedding were FABULOUS. What is it about a hat that is just so awesome? That whole wedding was like the Easter Bonnet Parade here in New York. Americans, why do we have to have a ridiculous Springtime Halloween event to have an opportunity to wear hats like that? Bring on the hats in everyday life!

Now that I have been up for five hours and polished off a bottle of champagne, it might be time for a nap. Thanks to the Royals for letting us watch their great celebration! Congratulations to William and Kate, and best wishes for a happy life together!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Bud Light Draft Party

Eric and I are in the middle of a very busy football-oriented week right now, and it all started with the Bud Light Draft Party at B.B. King Blues Club last night.

We'll be going to Rounds 2-3 of the NFL Draft tomorrow night, and we got those tickets through (the same place I got tickets to the Comedy Awards). Because we signed up quickly for draft tickets, we were also invited to the Bud Light Draft Party last night to kick things off. We had been meaning to see a show at B.B. King's, so we were excited to go to the party and check out the venue (although of course, this does not exactly count as a blues show).

B.B. King in Times Square

We met up at B.B. King at about 6:30 last night and got in line. We were allowed in to the venue between 7:00 and 7:30, where we easily found a booth and ordered some beers. Sadly, the Bud Light was not free. How does Bud Light sponsor a party and not have free beer? Not only were they not free, but a small draft was $5. I know I am far removed from dollar beer nights back at my old place of college employment in Gainesville, Florida, but doesn't $5 seem a little pricey for Bud Light? Ah well. That's New York for you.

Not free Bud Light

The main event of the party was the mock draft featuring six football Hall of Famers: Jerry Rice, Harry Carson, Franco Harris, Warren Moon, Anthony Muñoz and Shannon Sharpe. Jerry Rice was the emcee and each of the football guys went through their pics for the first round of the draft. They also answered some questions from fans and reminisced about their football days.

Hall of Famer jerseys above the bar

Jerry Rice, Warren Moon, Anthony Muñoz, Franco Harris, Harry Carson and Shannon Sharpe

Jerry Rice doing his emcee duties

Shannon Sharpe going through is first round picks

After the mock draft, the players took off and the music kicked in. Eric and I are old people so we didn't stick around much, just long enough to finish our overpriced Bud Lights and take some "red carpet" pictures.


Fun night out!

On our way home we passed the Empire State Building, as usual. However, last night there was this awesome fog swirling around it, that almost made it look like the top floors were smoking:

Wow! We just had to stop and stare at this a bit.

Doesn't it look like the building is smoking?

By the time we got back to Hoboken, the Empire State Building lights had been turned off. I learned a while back that they turn off the lights on foggy nights in the spring and fall, so as not to confuse migrating birds (who otherwise may end up flying into the building). On our walk home we had a great view of the fog topping the entire skyline.

Fog over midtown, including a dark ESB

Our football fun has continued today with the Madden NFL 12 cover shoot in Times Square (featuring Peyton Hillis of my Cleveland Browns!), and will keep on tonight at the NFL Draft Red Carpet. Stay tuned for recaps of all these football events!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Eggs, Sunrise, Bonnets & Lasagna: Our Easter 2011

I hope you all enjoyed your Easter weekend and had a wonderful holiday. As for us, we had a fabulous weekend!

Our Easter celebration got underway on Friday night, when we attended Good Friday church at St. Matthew Trinity Lutheran Church here in Hoboken. It was our first time trying this new church, and we really liked it. I didn't love the way they did their Tenebrae service - they read the Scripture and dimmed the lights throughout, but they did it in the first half of the service, so right away they turned the lights back on for the rest of the service. It was a little anti-climatic, I guess? But, the service ended with "Were You There," which gets me every time, so I was okay. The church itself is very old and much smaller than our last church, but it has a beautiful mural painted over the altar, with the phrase "This is none other than the House of God, and this is the Gate of Heaven" written above it in German. The people we met were very friendly and the sermon was good. All in all, we liked this church just fine and will probably go back.

Saturday day was a gross, rainy, muggy thing, and we spent our entire afternoon running around town in search of Achilles' favorite dog food, which apparently they don't sell in Hoboken except for in tiny bags at one nearby vet. Online ordering, here we come! Needless to say, after our hours-long trek around Hoboken in the rain, we were ready for a night in filled with relaxation and Easter fun.

We decided to forgo our usual traditional Easter meal of ham and potato casserole this year in favor of Eric's lasagna, so he spent Saturday evening making his homemade sauce. Honestly, this may be his best batch yet. It is GOOD STUFF. We also boiled up a dozen eggs, put The Ten Commandments on TV (classic!), poured some wine and got to coloring. As always, we had a lot of fun coloring our eggs, and came up with some nice color combos this year. Naturally there was a fair selection of orange and blue eggs happening, plus a Christmas-colored one by Eric, a patriotic one by me (although it really just ended up looking like a Pepsi logo), and a few other fun combinations. Good times!

Our work station

Eric at work on the eggs

I am much more excited about egg-dying than Achilles, apparently.

Silly Eric! You're not supposed to drink the egg dye, even if it is in one of our mugs!


A close-up of some of our eggs (including my Pepsi logo egg front and center)

For Easter church, we decided to attend St. Matthew Trinity's sunrise service, which was to be held at Castle Point on the campus of the Stevens Institute of Technology. Castle Point is the highest point in Hoboken, and has great views of the Hudson River. It is a landmark we had been planning to visit anyway, so this seemed like a good plan. Church was to start at 7:30 a.m.

As it turns out, 7:30 is a little late to actually be a sunrise service, and the sun was already up above the Manhattan skyline by the time we left at 7:10. However, it was so beautiful. It was so quiet outside, and very peaceful. Eric and I paused for a few minutes just outside our apartment to take in the view.

Easter morning view across the Hudson

Unfortunately, although we both had a vague idea of where Castle Point was located, neither of us knew exactly how to get there. We walked waaaaaaaay out of our way and all around the place before we finally found it (and later came to find that it honestly could not have been easier for us to get there if we had taken a direct route - it is only about a five-minute walk from our apartment). So, we ended up being about 15 minutes late. We enjoyed the service, though, and you just can't beat the scenery. It was such a change of pace, unlike anything I have ever done. Usually I'm all about the loud fanfare and celebration of Easter Sunday church, but this was very soft and peaceful. It was really nice.

Congregation assembled at Castle Point for Easter Sunday service, with lower Manhattan off in the distance

Cross at Castle Point

View of Midtown from Castle Point

After church (you may be able to tell by my rather sad hair that there was still a bit of moisture in the air after our rainy Saturday)

We walked back home through the Stevens campus, which was also quite lovely. Flowers are blooming, and the spacious campus with red brick buildings made me think back to my own college days at Florida.

Happy daffodils

Cool statue entitled "The Torch Bearers" on the Stevens campus

When we got back to our apartment we took time for a family photo and then dug into our Easter baskets. Mine was filled with candy (helloooo, Reese's Peanut Butter eggs!) and the Royal Wedding edition of Us Magazine (who else has Royal Wedding fever?), and Eric's had more candy and a ticket to this weekend's Golf Fest at Chelsea Piers. Thanks, Easter Bunny!

Official 2011 W. Family Easter Photo

A quick look at our Easter celebration: Easter baskets, colored eggs, and cupcakes, including a rather festive one (on the right) for Eric

We hung out at home for a bit, then changed clothes and set off into the city for what is quickly becoming an Easter tradition for us: the Easter Bonnet Parade on Fifth Avenue. You may recall our fun time at the parade last year, when we took Achilles with us (in his bunny ears, naturally) and he was an absolute sensation:

Achilles posing for the paparazzi

Despite the fun of last year, this year we decided to leave the pup at home rather than force him to ride the train (he hates it) then walk three miles (quite a lot for his tiny little legs). So, we went sans dog and had a wonderful time, as usual. It's such a sight to behold, and so nice because you can do it at your own pace. It's not so much an actual parade, but rather just dressed up people roaming the streets. Not to mention, the weather was FABULOUS. It got much warmer than expected (up to 80 degrees!) and the sun was shining all day, a great change after our super rainy week. I even broke a sweat! Outside! Without a coat on! I forgot what it felt like to be hot outside. It was glorious.

Crowds of people in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral during the Easter Bonnet Parade

Enjoying the beautiful day and the Easter festivity!

And there were just so many great things to see. Some people really went all out with extravagant costumes and bonnets, in sort of a "Halloween on Easter Sunday" spirit...

Her neck must be so sore at the end of the day!

That is quite a fetching hat

This was my favorite bonnet of the day! It's the house from the movie Up!

Cool TV Bunny...? I guess?

You're so distracted by the flowery bonnet, you may not even notice this guy is wearing two neck ties.

Love the shoes.

More fabulous bonnets

Another one of my favorites: a top hat made of jelly beans!

...while others seemed to embrace the original intent of the Easter Bonnet Parade (which was to show off your Easter finery along Fifth Avenue after church), and dressed in vintage styles with fabulous hats.

Festive family

Love it.

Babies and children got in on the fun...

Work those ears, baby.

Cute little flower child

So sweet.

...and of course, dogs...

This dog is wearing jeans, a hat, sunglasses AND shoes. And Achilles thinks he has it bad!

Great dog face.

Easter pooches

A couple of parading dogs being introduced to each other

...and even a bunny named Leopold!

I am quite clearly very excited to be taking a picture with a bunny.

We recognized a couple of people from past years...

Achilles met this guy's bunny puppet last year. We saw this guy twice this year, and his puppet had changed outfits. Uh huh. Make of that what you will.

This lady makes balloon hats and such for the kids

...and even that crazy guy we see everywhere was there, the one I just recently mentioned in my latest "random NYC photos" post! He had three dogs (with colored fur) in tow, and his trusty live bird atop his head.

His outfit is always different. This time he donned a lovely white gown with angel wings, and had his dogs in a stroller/cart thing.

Close-up of the bird on his head. The bird kept eating the flowers on his hat.

And then there were some people who didn't even have a hat, costume or animal to show off, but were just walking around being handsome.

My favorite person in the parade!

And of course, we had to stop to enjoy the Easter decor at Rockefeller Center.

Love those big ol' bunnies

In Rockefeller Center

On our way back home we stopped for a quick rest amongst the pretty spring flowers in Herald Square. It's just so nice to see everything in bloom after a long winter!

Relaxing after a long walk along Fifth Avenue

It was such a beautiful day!

When we got back home we made calls to family, and Eric prepared the lasagna. Can I just say how amazing this lasagna was? Honestly, people. I've said it before and I'll say it again: I highly recommend marrying into an Italian family, if for no other reason than for the food. It is some good eatin'.

Eric's lasagna

Dinner time!

Dinner was followed by our delicious cupcakes, and we spent the rest of the night relaxing on the couch. All in all, it was a fabulous Easter!

A quick note: I have many more photos from our Easter Sunday on the photo share site, including many, many more outlandish Easter Bonnet Parade costumes! Check it out!