Monday, July 30, 2012

Wine Time!

I spent Saturday with some of my best gal pals doing one of our favorite tasting on the Cayuga Lake Wine Trail! We traveled the only way there is to travel, with J & J Limousine so that we could all fully and safely engage in our day of fun. They hooked us up with an Escalade and a fun driver. We started off our morning at Swedish Hill Winery where I had to get their 2010 Riesling. Next we were off to Knapp Winery where crazy Jamie hit the strong stuff, i.e. Grappa. Grappa is not for novices. It can be anywhere from 70 to 120 proof. As far as I am concerned it is like drinking lighter fluid. I don't know what lighter fluid tastes like but I am confident it doesn't taste good. My favorite place was Bellwether Hard Cider. As much as I enjoy a nice glass of wine, I prefer a good hard cider. Bellwether offered lots of great choices, but I was sold on the Cherry Street. As I am writing the blog, I am beginning to realize why by the end of the day I was feeling under the weather. As the day went on we tasted at five more wineries-Buttonwood Grove (you can feed goats and cows here), Goose Watch, Hosmer, Lucas Vineyards and Montezuma. Check out the pic below if you are looking for some cool shades. Just to tally it up for you and my gal pals, that is eight wineries and approximately 40 tastings. Plus, we stopped at a bowling alley and had a beer. Thankfully, we had lots of delicious snacks to keep our bellies full and ward off or at least decrease the effects of the alcohol. The finger sandwiches my friend's boyfriend made us were super good. He even made us a variety-Italian with fresh mozzarella, Turkey with pesto, and Cucumber! We were drinking wine so of course we included cheese and crackers, and pepperoni for good measure. I made Red Velvet Brownie Cupcakes for dessert.

No girl's day or night is complete without games. We played the game of Quelf, which is best described as an unpredictable game that gives Random a new name. It involves hilarious trivia, performing ridiculous stunts, and obeying silly rules. A sense of humor is definitely required for this game.

Obeying a silly rule!
I had to wear it the whole game. I
couldn't take it anymore.

Performing a silly stunt!

Today's tip: You can turn any cake or brownie recipe into individual servings by making them as cupcakes, just be sure to check the cooking times as they may vary from the original recipe. Package the cupcakes in a plastic tumbler and tie them up with a bow or ribbon to instantly make your treat that much more special for the recipient. Plus, it is a lot easier to transport when packaged in that manner.

My future's so bright I gotta wear shades!

Good times and great friends! From L-R: Cindy Padula-Lamphere,
Domenica Padula, Jamie Burns and me.

Friday, July 27, 2012

We won!

You heard it hear first...Union Inn Freaks finally have a win under their belts. Better yet,  the win in game #5 was against the undefeated youngsters that make up the Cool Runnings team. Plus, no one suffered any injuries during the game despite the rain. The score was 9-6 and our girls even got some of the runs for a change. I sat this game out due to last weeks double quad pull and ankle issues from the mud run. I hope our win with me on the sidelines is not a sign I should stay there because I am looking forward to playing next week. 

Never be afraid to play or dance in the rain! Have a safe and happy weekend. It sounds like there is going to be alot of rain to play or dance in tomorrow.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

I gotta have...

Almost all of us have had the opportunity to live somewhere outside of the Capital Region or wherever it is we call home even if only for a short period of time. I, for one, have lived in a number of different towns or cities over the years. When I go back to visit those places I call home or former homes, there are always certain places I want to make sure I grab a meal or a snack at if for no other reason than nostalgia. Having recently had a friend visit from out of town who used to live here but headed south a couple of years ago we spent most of his short visit grabbing meals and snacks at all those places he misses since moving to North Carolina.

The first place we hit up for lunch was Jumpin' Jacks in Scotia. Jumpin' Jacks has been serving up Jack burgers, fries, ice cream and much more for sixty years! In 2012 they were voted #1 Kid Friendly Restaurant, #2 Best Burgers in the Area (tied), #2 Best Fries in the Area, and #3 Best Outdoor Dining in the Area. They are truly a local legend. They were devastated by Hurricane Irene but came back this Spring stronger than ever. Click on the link above for more information, menu and photos of this awesome spot for outdoor eating.


Jack Burger-basically a double cheeseburger with coleslaw!

Next up, an ice cream cone at Jim's Tastee Freez in Delmar! I know Guptill's is all the rave for so many of you around here, but Jim's got what I want in ice cream! It's soft serve with the option for dips, sprinkles, sundaes, blizzards, etc. It is some creamy and delicious stuff. Tastee Freez was born in 1950! Talk about nostalgia. You know businesses that survive that long are doing something, probably multiple things, right! Like Jumpin' Jacks you can also grab lunch at this outdoor eatery! They have everything from corn dogs to chicken or fish sandwiches. My personal fave is vanilla with a cherry dip!

As far as dinner-I have already blogged about it and neither I nor you need to go there again, i.e. Orchids Jamaican American Restaurant!

Moving on to breakfast the next day at Union Cafe. Again I already blogged about this great place earlier in the month! Check my past blog entries for more details on this sweet spot for breakfast! By the way, I tried the pancakes for the first time and they were fluffy and buttery perfection!

We spent most of our day driving up Route 7 into Bennington, Vermont. This is always a fun, no stress day trip! There are tons of cute shops along the way where you can pick up gifts for others or something for yourself.

No lunch today, but we did have a delicious snack! If you have never had a fresh mozzarella cheese ball, you have not fully lived life. Those cheese balls at the grocery store, delicious as they may be, are not fresh mozzarella cheese balls. To get the truly fresh stuff, head to Loudonville's Genoa Importing sub shop. If I am in the area of Genoa's you can be sure they are going to make a few dollars off me just in mozzarella cheese ball purchases. Genoa Importing is a great destination for all sorts of fresh and homemade Italian specialities. This is one of my favorite Italian Deli's in the Capital Region. (I'm also a fan of Perecca's in Schenectady.) At Genoa Importing you can get homemade breads, sauces, pastas, salads, subs, and of course Italian desserts. Don't forget to pick up a couple pieces of Italian Baci (mean's "kisses" in Italian) candy at the checkout counter. Each piece of Baci candy comes with a romantic love note! They truly are sweet!

Last, but certainly not least, was dinner at Ichiban Japanese & Chines Restaurant on Central Avenue in Albany.  There is also a location on Western Avenue. Another Best of the Capital Region winner for several years! No questions asked this is my favorite place for Chinese food. I have three favorites at Ichiban-Kung Pao Lo Mein, General Tso's Chicken, and Crispy Shredded Beef in Spicy Sauce. Most people have sampled Lo Mein and General Tso's Chicken so I am going to give you all the details on my other favorite. Crispy Shredded Beef in Spicy Sauce is shredded pieces of flank steak coated in carrots, scallions, bean sprouts and celery batter fried to crispy and tossed in a spicy sauce. There is a sweet side that balances the spicy to avoid overpowering you and despite being tossed in a sauce it retains its crispiness. Love is not a strong enough word for how I feel about this meal!

Crispy Shredded Beef in Spicy Sauce
If you were to move out of the Capital Region, what restaurant and/or foods would you have to have when you came back to visit? There may be a gift in store for someone who leaves me a comment about a restaurant or a food I have never tried in the Capital Region! For friends from the North Country, what is it that you have to when you go back home and Jreck Subs doesn't count in this comment request! For my fellow Le Moyne Alumnae, and friends and family out in the Syracuse area, what is your restaurant or food of choice in Central New York? I'll be there this weekend so maybe I can give it a shot!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

My Favorite Things!

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens (or dogs). Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens (or scarves). Brown paper packages (or any color packages) tied up with strings (or ribbons). These are a few of my favorite things. Who doesn't love that song, "My Favorite Things", from "The Sound of Music"? As my friends know I have countless favorite things and get my friends together around Christmas so we can all share some of our favorite things from makeup, movies, music and games to wine, beer and food with each other. Unfortunately, the holidays and my favorite girls night of the year is still several months away from today, but one of my favorite things is more fitting for barbecue season. Lucky you, I am going to share with you my favorite meal made by the world's best mom, which I get to claim as my own. My favorite meal consists of country style barbecue ribs. For those of you unfamiliar with county style barbecue ribs they are ribs that have a lot more meat on them than the typical spareribs. I love them slathered up with my mom's semi-homemade BBQ sauce. Sandra Lee has nothing on my mom, Toni Helmer. (Click here for her website where you can find the goodies that make her everyone's favorite too!) Mom's BBQ sauce is store bought BBQ sauce with the addition of beer (it's only natural to involve beer in BBQ'g), and honey. Next up, is the linguine salad. This is not your ordinary pasta salad. It has the standard ingredients: tomato, onion, cucumber, and Italian dressing, but there is also a secret ingredient. Unfortunately, the secret ingredient is only for my followers. If you want to know how to step up your pasta salad and want to be the hero of the next BBQ I guess you should follow me. The last, but certainly not least, component are the salt potatoes. Again, the salt potatoes are basic, but like Paula, my mom knows everything is made better with butter and lots of it, and like any good Italian woman, my mom loads those salt potatoes with garlic (another favorite thing of mine). After you mix the butter, garlic and salt potatoes together, smash them up a bit. I hope you enjoy my favorite meal. Don't forget to invite me to your BBQ.

We all have those foods that make us think of those we love. This is the meal that does that for me. When I make this meal for myself, it always makes me think of my mom. It also usually involves me calling her to see if I am making the ribs the right way. No matter how many times I make these foods myself they are never as good as when my mom makes them for me. Maybe, her really special ingredient is love! I'm glad she's shared that with me all these years. I'm a lucky girl for sure.

Leave me a comment about your favorite meal that a loved one prepares especially for you!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Eat Dirt...or Mud!

I'm really letting that six year old in me get out this summer. I've been playing kickball and this weekend I played in the mud.  My friends, sister and I participated in the Canton Pee Wee Mud Run. To say it was fun would be an understatement. We ran through the fields and the woods, crawled through mud pits and tunnels, over hay bales and walls, and slid down an awesome super sized water slide over the 4.7 mile course. It was made even more challenging given the uneven ground and my lack of coordination and balance, bad ankles and recent injury, but my sister and I stuck together (as family should) and got it done.  The rest of our team, "One Tough Mudder", got it done as well, but much quicker than me and my sister. I can assure that this will only be the first of many more mud runs for me. I even think I could get my friends to join me again.

Team "One Tough Mudder" looking nice in clean
before the race.
Dirty Girls!
Me and my sister, Amanda
They used to be white t-shirts.

Step out of your comfort zone. Lace up those old sneakers. Challenge yourself and get out there and sign up for a mud run or another activity today. For those of you eager to try a mud run, click here for information on the Run the Ridge event taking place at Maple Ski Ridge in Schenectady this Saturday, July 28th.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Kickball Game #4

We're still losers, but we had fun! We lost to the team, "My Couch Pulls Out But I Don't." Yes, you read that right. Last night we were quickly overcome and out kicked or out bunted by our competitors. The final score was 6-1. That makes us 0-4 for the season. You may recall that I was aiming for getting a run this week. Well, that flew out the window the one and only time I was up to kick. I bunted, quite nicely, and took off for first base. I almost made it and then some of the most excruciating pain (worse than my jaw surgery, worse than my numerous sprained ankles, worse than my broken foot, and worse than my bulging discs) coursed through the front of my thighs. I was down and out. According to sources (some reliable) I may have pulled or tore my quadriceps muscles. Let's hope it is just pulled muscles. Aside from the pain, the worse part was the possibility that I might not be able to do something I had been looking forward to doing this weekend. (Details on those fun weekend plans in a later post). I have been using the R.I.C.E. (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) method and it seems to be helping improve this predicament I am in right now. If all else fails and I cannot make it better, I'll make it numb with Icy Hot because I am planning on getting really dirty tomorrow. By the way that last sentence is a hint about my fun weekend plans.

Tried and true tip of the day: Always stretch appropriately before engaging in physical activity. I don't think I'll ever not do a quad stretch again before running around like a child at play.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Where not to eat!

I love to support local businesses, but those business have to make an effort to obtain ongoing support from the community. This week I thought for sure I would find a new local business to support in Orchid's Jamaican American Restaurant (the menu on the website lists far more items than the menu you receive at the restaurant) at 1113 State Street in Schenectady. Unfortunately, I was wrong, and my excitement for this restaurant was nearly diffused as soon as I walked into their new location on State Street. When my friend and I entered the restaurant our hostess did not immediately greet us, which I can get over if the rest of service is adequate. Our hostess turned out to be our waitress and once we were seated we soon realized we might not see her again unless we motioned for her to come back to our table. I do not know about you, but I think it is a safe assumption for a waitress to assume when she seats people and provides them with menus that they will probably be placing an order for food. Apparently, our waitress did not think that way since she was not too quick to return to our table to take our order. I still remained optimistic that the food would blow me away and our waitress would improve her service. I was wrong...again! The food was sub-par and was no comparison to the Jerk chicken, rice and peas, collard greens, and corn bread I came to love at Clayton's, which closed several years ago. Every bite of chicken I took required me to remove what felt like pieces of shrapnel from my mouth. There were unidentifiable pieces of "chicken". The cornbread was comparable to a dried up sponge. Did I mention that the waitress never came back to ask us how our food was (not good); see if we wanted refills on our drinks (we did) or if we needed anything else (hot sauce...please)? It was some of the worst service I have ever had at a restaurant. My friend and I were one of two groups of two dining in the restaurant so being busy waiting on other tables was not a reasonable excuse for our waitress. What was she doing all this time we were waiting for service? Leaning against the bar chatting it up with some of her girlfriends. The final straw was her refusal to take a valid entertainment book coupon because they do not take them anymore! Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but now you know my opinion! I give this place a few months before they are out of business! I guess we will have to wait and see what the future hold for Orchid's.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Don't forget about the pups!

I am an animal lover to the core! Dogs, mine especially, have a special place in my heart. Anyone who knows me, knows that it is virtually impossible for me to pass by a dog without petting it and getting a friendly kiss. When it comes to my dogs, I know they get treated better than some human kids. They seem to get special treats almost as much as I do. It's only fair, right? Right! One of my favorite treats to cool off this time of year is ice cream.  Accordingly, my "kids" also get ice cream. Check out the recipe below to make a nice frosty treat for you favorite four legged family member. Remember to ensure your animals have adequate shelter and water during these hot days (or any day for that matter) and NEVER EVER leave your pet in a car in the heat.

Frosty Paws

2 cups of plain low-fat/fat-free yogurt
1 tbsp honey
1/2 cup peanut butter
4 oz. banana baby food

Mix all of the ingredients together. Pour into Dixie cups. Stick a dog bone in the center. Freeze! When it comes time to serve, tear off the paper cup.

P.S. The batter did not taste half bad!

The finished product!

My kiddo's enjoying their ice cream cones!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Paddle for a Cure!

Today's dose of fun was the Paddle for a Cure kayaking event hosted by Dragons Alive on the Mohawk River! This was the third year my friends and I have donned our pink visors and participated in this FUNdraiser to benefit breast cancer awareness and research! Our tradition of participating in this event is always followed by lunch at Bombers. Almost everyone living in the Capital Region has enjoyed Bombers at least one time, but the best thing on their menu hands down are their Disco Fries. For my North Country friends, this is a twist on the infamous poutine we have all come to love. Disco fries are a delectable mixture of crispy french fries, lots of melted jack and cheddar cheese topped off with turkey gravy! Our tradition of participating in the Paddle for the Cure, however, would not be complete without a margarita! My favorite is the frozen Prickly Pear with a sugar rim.

From left to right: Original Margarita, Golden Margarita, Prickly
 Pear Margarita and Frozen Prickly Pear Margarita

Margaritas are great, but I want to leave you with something deeper than the mason jars Bombers' Margaritas come in. Remember, it is not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life. I will leave you with that deep thought and a picture of a few of the people I am glad and lucky to have in my life!

My girls! From left to right: Julie, Me, Karen, and Courtney

Friday, July 13, 2012

It seems we have a shot!

Consider this an extra extra to my earlier blog. I wasn't able to go to Union Inn (the bar sponsor of our kickball league) so I missed out on the fact that we apparently have an official shot! Our official shot is the "Sour Patch Kid!" Enjoy one tonight on a beautiful patio!

Sour Patch Kid

1.5 oz Smirnoff Vodka (or any vodka)
1.5 oz Blue Curacao Liqueur
1 oz Grenadine
1 oz sweet and sour mix

Sounds good to me! Drop a few sour patch kids candies in it for a little extra fun and flavor!

Kickball Games #2 & #3

It was a double header! The UI Freaks came so so close to winning this week, but no cigar. In our first game of the double header, we played the Alcoballics and lost by a single run, with the final score being 10-9. In our second game against Cool Runnings, despite our energy beginning to run low and injuries beginning to run high, we held our own. At the end we were tied 6-6, which resulted in two extra innings. Ultimately, we lost again by a single run. Unfortunately, my lack of knowledge and understanding of the rules may have contributed to one of the earlier runs that cost us the game. Fortunately for me, however, I got a little more action this week by playing catcher for both games. Plus, I was also able to run around a little more by actually making it past first base, all the way to third base a couple times. (Of course, not in one shot!) Next week I'm shooting for scoring a run.

Some of the most appealing moments of the night came from the eye candy presented by our opponents! I can understand how a woman could turn into a Cougar. Those twenty-five year old men are definitely attractive. The fact that they are friendly just makes them that much better. Speaking of Cougars, my fellow Cougar friend, Stacey, and I, had to laugh when one of our teammates (again a man in his twenties) said "You must have hated that song, 'Stacy's Mom', when you were growing up." Now, keep in mind my friend Stacey, is 38, and Fountains of Wayne released "Stacy's Mom" in 2003, i.e. Stacey was 29 and I'm sure all grown up!

In Honor or Stacey (who did score a run), who "...has got it goin' on" enjoy the video.

Friday's Fun Factoid (unrelated to kickball): Today is Friday the 13th! Click here to find out more on the origin, history, and folklore behind the most widespread superstition that is Friday the 13th!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Tee Time!

If you are looking for a new place to improve your golf game, try Schenectady Municipal Golf Course. If I only had one word to describe it the word would be "hilly." Thankfully, I can use as many words as I want since I'm the owner of this blog. Schenectady Muni as it is referred to is an 18 hole regulation course tucked away off of Route 7. I started playing as a sub on a women's league there this year! I think next year, I'll try to get in on the league as a full fledged member since the ladies are so nice...and patient. The grounds are well maintained despite the best efforts of the geese that congregate on several of the holes. There are great big open fairways, which are always nice when you have a tendency to hit curve balls. It also has huge greens, which present obstacles, but opportunities for improvement, for impatient putters like myself. Every few holes you do get some reprieve with a par 3 hole. If you are like me and take as many strokes in a 9 hole round as some people do in an 18 hole round, you cannot wait for the break provided by a par 3 hole. I know the suspense maybe killing you, but I will answer the question you have all been dying to know.... Yes, there is a beer (soda, snack) cart that comes around to ensure you stay hydrated. I beg you, however, if you are going to partake in the beer aspect of the snack cart, do so responsibly. DO NOT DRINK & DRIVE!

Extra: I haven't given you any food ideas in a few days so it's about time I shared some with you. Many of you golf on leagues right after work so you need a snack to hold you over until dinner. I recently made my own trail mix for my backpacking trip and it was delish. It's the perfect hold you over snack out on the course. Check it out below:

Sinfully Sweet Trail Mix

*Butterscotch Chips
*Mini Marshmallows
*Milk Chocolate Chips
*Gatherers Granola Squirrel Bait Granola made of pecans, maple syrup, and coconut (I purchased this at the Schenectady Greenmarket.)
*Our Daily Eats Sweet Maple and Sea Salt Pecans (Also from the Schenectady Greenmarket.)

There are no amounts listed because you make it the way you like it. If you don't live in the area and are eager to try the delicious products listed above, click on the links above and order away! Otherwise, use your imagination and your pantry for inspiration to create your own sinfully sweet trail mix.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Mr. Wasabi

It's no secret. I love Mr. Wasabi's Japanese restaurant located at 1671 Union Street in Schenectady. I have to admit there have been times in the past where I ate there three times in a week. I can attest to how great a lot of the items on their menu taste, but my favorites are their rolls and sushi. The fish is always fresh, which is critical when it comes to eating raw fish. The Miami Roll made of salmon or tuna, and avocado and finished with a spicy mayo is one of my favorites. If you are looking for something with a little sweetness in addition to some spiciness, then give the Hawaii Roll a shot. The Hawaii roll also comes with salmon or tuna, and avocado, but is finished with wasabi and sweet chili. No matter what you get for your main course, there is no question you should start with their green salad with homemade ginger dressing. The ginger dressing is so good you might want to drink it! If you are hankering for more ginger dressing, buy a pint or a quart of it to go and top off your own salads at home. If you are wondering if dessert is an option, the answer is yes, of course there is dessert! There are a few options, but I highly recommend the Mochi Ice Cream. Mochi ice cream are little blissful balls of ice cream.

Bonus: Mr. Wasabi's almost always throws you a bonus in the form of a free chef's choice (surprise) item for each person at your table. For my fellow couponers check out the "Clipper Magazine" that is mailed to most of the Capital Region or click here for coupons.

Monday, July 9, 2012


There is no food involved in this post yet, but it is about my kitchen so the topic of food will not be far behind this post! As many of you know, I have been in the process of remodeling my kitchen. This past weekend I came one stop closer to the finished product. My cabinets, aside from the end panels and hardware, are done. If you are looking for a way to transform and update your kitchen or bath cabinets, you have to check out Rustoleum Cabinet Transformations (this is a link-go ahead and click it). This is an amazing product that gives you professional quality looking cabinet updates on the cheap. The kit to do all those cabinets pictured below (and some that are not pictured) ran me $75.00! In a weekend I went from unfinished cabinets to finished cabinets. That's right my friends in a weekend you can turn those ugly and outdated metal, wood, or melamine cabinets that are nothing but an eyesore into beautiful and modern looking cabinets for under $100.00. Maybe it will be the inspiration you need to whip up same tasty treats in your kitchen and invite me over to taste test! Now, that you are all running to Home Depot and Lowe's to get your kits, I should also tell you that there is also a Rustoleum Countertop Transformations kit. While, I did not use the countertop product, if it works as well as the cabinet product you will not be disappointed in the results. 

The original eyesore! Kitchen-1950's style.


The other thing many of you know about me is I LOVE PINTEREST! In a Pinterest inspired moment, I made my basement door a chalkboard! Check it out below and I hope to personally welcome you to my new and improved (and finished) kitchen soon!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Union Cafe

Are you looking for a great new place for a lazy weekend breakfast? If so, I have the place for you! Union Cafe located at 1725 Union Street in Schenectady has quickly become one of my favorite go to places for breakfast! The outdoor seating is great for enjoying those beautiful summer mornings that Mother Nature has been good enough to share with us these days. If it is an air conditioned space you are seeking-the inside seating is for you. The menu has all the standard breakfast fare and daily specials. Check out thier eggs benedict special or their homemade corned beef hash if you are not counting calories. Everything we eat in the summer is fat and calorie free, right? The staff is friendly and attentive. You will be greeted with a smile; your coffee will not have a chance to get cold; your cup will always be at least half full; and you are sure to get a "thanks for stopping by" on your way out the door (or off the patio)! Union Cafe's appreciation for their customers and good food will keep me (and I am sure many others) going back for more limp, barely cooked bacon (that's the way I like it.)!

Friday, July 6, 2012


I am going to take some liberty with and expand on one of my friends postings on Facebook and say, "Monday felt like Monday, Tuesday felt like Friday, Wednesday felt like Sunday, Thursday felt like Monday, but FRIDAY feels like FRIDAY!!!" The "The Bangles" sing "I wish it were Sunday 'cause that's my funday" in their hit song  "Manic Monday", but Friday is my funday, my I don't have to runday. What is your funday, your I don't have to runday, and what are you going to do on your funday this week? I will be spending my funday doing some cabinet transformations in my kitchen! I don't know how fun it will be but it will be lots of fun when it is all done!

Friday's Fun Factoid: The "The Bangles" have a new album, ""Sweetheart of the Sun", and are going on tour! For all my 80's ladies, how fun would it be to go check out that concert...dressed in our 80's best?

My favorite ladies in thier 80's best!

Rockin' the NKOTB sleeping bag.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Schenectady Kickball League Game #1

Tonight my friend, Stacey, and I reunited with the 6th graders in each of us. We joined a coed kickball league and became members of the UI Freaks a/k/a Union Inn Freaks Team! Our first game was a loss, but as Stacey said, "At least we scored the first run." Unfortunately, the other team went on to score six runs. Oh, and our first run was our only run. We were clearly the "old" (in age only) ladies in the bunch, but I'd say we get props for not being the most out of shape ladies in a sea of twentysomethings.

As one of the "old ladies" in the league, I will say that "kids these days" are quick to judge, stereotype and label without taking the time to even say hello to the individual who is the object of their judgment. It was only a few minutes into our evening of kickball fun when we were able to identify the "mean girl". There is always one! We never caught her real name, so we'll stick with Mean Girl. As soon as two cute little Italian girls walked on the field, Mean Girl, proceeded to comment about their Jersey Shore-esque appearance-in her opinion only. Five minutes later, Mean Girl commented about short shorts on another girl. The kicker (pun intended)? The short shorts were the same as Mean Girl's only a different color. The guys seemed less quick to judge, but then again we are talking about two cute little Italian girls and short shorts.

Today's takeaway #1: "It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice."

Today's takeaway #2: Think of an activity that you enjoyed and made you happy as a child, and get out there and do it! I think there is still room in the Schenectady Kickball League.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

James Taylor

Last night's fun was spending the evening with one of my favorite couple's, the O'Brien's, while listening to music legend, James Taylor, at Tanglewood. For me the adventure was in finding a place to park ourselves for the night; finding some dinner; and seeing the spreads (including centerpieces and candles) people had for the show. I'm sure the adventurous part for Jeremy was his first ride as a passenger in a vehicle driven by me. No doubt, he now knows how I got that speeding ticket in his minivan!  Hopefully, he will still let Julie ride in a vehicle in which I am the driver. Over the course of the night, however, I did have a revelation and it will be part of the cocktail concoction I'm giving you today! Today's tip is...drumroll please...the secret to super good sangria (particularly, white sangria) is gingerale. Whip up some Peachy White Sangria  (Jeremy gets the credit for this cocktail concoction!) for your 4th of July party today.

Peachy White Sangria
· Chardonnay
· Gingerale
· Peach Schnapps
· Mangos, Kiwis, Oranges, Peaches
Mix as much or as little as you would like of the above ingredients! Experiment and Enjoy!
Enjoying some Peachy White Sangria in our red Solo cups!
The O'Brien's

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

White Water Rafting

  My idea of fun and adventure is not always met with a great deal of enthusiasm when it comes to my friends. Does that stop me? Never! I continue to persuade them and attempt to wear them down until they give in, if for no other reason, than to shut me up. The proposition of white water rafting on the Hudson River is just one of those examples. My friend, who shall remain nameless, really was not up for the feat, but being a good sport she went along for the wet and wild ride. Did she love it and would she do it again? Definitely not! Did she survive unscathed? She sure did and it's something she can cross off her bucket list, if it was ever on there. If you were wondering if there was food involved in our adventure-of course there was food! A good snack for your future river (or hiking) adventures is a flour tortilla stuffed full of raisins, granola, peanut butter and honey! If you want a little crunch, slivered almonds do the trick. Today's takeaway: Don't let fear of the unknown hold you back from making great memories with friends! Check out some pics from our adventure at White Water Challengers!

Getting up close and personal with our guide, Pablo!
We didn't lose anyone!