September 28, 2012

Things Are Looking Up!

I have been super MIA lately but A LOT has been going on!  So here goes ...

Yay!  If you have read my blog in the past you know that I put up this same picture about eight months ago.  Well, here it is again and I could not be more thrilled!  I pretty much landed my dream job!  If you know me, you know that I was very unhappy at my current agency.  I liked MY job and the work that I did but I was very unhappy with my supervisor and the management of my grant and the center as a whole.  Needless to say I am VERY happy that I will be leaving!  My last day is October 17th and I plan on taking a four day weekend before starting my new job.  I will be working for Policy Research Associates (PRA) located in Delmar, NY as a SOAR TA Center Project Associate.  I will be apart of a five person that provides technical assistance to national SAMHSA grants - essentially I will be helping agencies help people rather than providing direct service.  Halleluiah - no more direct service! I will be in charge of 10 states, mainly in the mid-west and will be responsible for providing technical assistance both on site and otherwise; which means lots of travel!  The position is also a HUGE jump in salary which I am thrilled about!  I am so excited and can't wait to start!
So the past couple weeks have been spent applying, interviewing, resigning and getting everything prepared for the person who will take over my position.  I have also been doing the Insanity workouts with my neighbor Jamie and it is INTENSE!  And by intense I mean ridiculously intense!  I have been sore for days!  The workouts are a ton of interval training, cardio, plyos and abs!

And lastly, I have also been enjoying football and we have been having ridiculously lazy and fabulous weekends - Sundays are normally full of sleeping in, a late (big) breakfast, an awesome workout at the YMCA, all day football watching, fun snacks/appetizers and then a big Sunday dinner - normally cooked in all day in the slow cooker!
Happy Friday!!

September 17, 2012

Vermont: What happens here, stays here. But nothing ever really happens.

The title is in reference to numerous bumper stickers I saw this weekend while in Vermont!  Vermont is gorgeous!  I love the mountains, the views, the greenery and the small town feel.  This weekend we went to Bennington, Vermont - which is only about 30 miles from Albany.  The purpose of the trip was to go to the Apple Barn but it ended up being so much more!  After picking up some maple candy, apple cider donuts and of course apples we headed to the most awesome cemetery!  Now if you don't know - I sort of have a 'thing' for cemeteries.  I think old cemeteries are great - I love walking around, looking at the dates and exploring the history (nerd alert I know).  And the cemetery is at the Old First Church is no exception!  Located in Bennington, it is were Robert Frost is buried as well as numerous known and unknown Revolutionary War soldiers; many whom fought and died in the Battle of Bennington.  Picture time!

Old First Church - Bennington, VT
Revolutionary War soldier's graves
David Redding
Executed 1778

'Around this stone lies buried many patriots who fell in the Battle of Bennington August 16th 1777'
Markers for the graves of Revolutionary War soldiers
This way!
The grave of Robert Frost and family.  This was actually the middle stone - the one on the left was for Frost's relatives who had already past and the stone on the right is reserved for family members that are still living.
Robert Lee Frost
March 26, 1874 - January 29, 1963
'I had a lover's quarrel with the world.'

Walking in the cemetery.
After walking around the cemetery for a little while we headed up to the Bennington Battle Monument which commemorates the Battle of Bennington during the Revolutionary War.  The monument is the tallest in Vermont and the view from the top is awesome!  Oh and one of the great things about Vermont is that there are moose sculptures everywhere - all painted according to the town or certain events and the monument was no exception!  
At the base of the monument
View from the top!
View from the top - again!
Me and the moose!
Me macking on the moose!
All in all a pretty fun day in Vermont - full of lots of nerdy history, great views, apples and of course - moose!

September 13, 2012

Who says there's nothing good on TV!

Since I wrote a post about what I have been reading lately I figured I would write a post regarding my favorite TV shows!  I will be the first to admit that I am a lover of 'trash' TV - Bravo, TLC, E! - if it is trashy I will at least check it out (although I do have my limits - Jersey Shore happens to be a no-go).  Although Real Housewives of (enter whichever city here) will always be tops in my book (please hold your judgement - I  talk about better TV later on).  Oddly enough my love of trash TV is countered by my serve love of the news - Today, Morning Joe, Nightly News, Meet the Press, etc ...  Over the last couple of years I have never been one to religiously follow a show - unless it is available via Netflix or some other medium; this is mainly because I often go to bed pretty early.   

Recently though I have been watching some shows that I think are great!  Luckily I know someone who subscribes to HBO and is willing to give me the password to his HBO GO account for my iPad!  Lately we have been watching a lot of HBO series that I think are great but we have also delved into an NBC and Showtime show.  So here are my recommendations for some good TV viewing ... 

Treme!  I love love love this show!  It takes place in a post-Katrina New Orleans, beginning right after the hurricane and as season three approaches at the end of the month we are now three years post Katrina.  The show follows various characters through the rebuilding and recovery process.  The show's creator broke down the series like this; season one - recovery, what happened in the months and year after the storm, season two - people begin to return but so does the violence and crime and season three - the money begins to come back.  I can't wait for the next season -  Treme is one of my top rated shows - if you can you should definitely check it out!

True Blood!  Who doesn't know about True Blood these days?  It has been on for five seasons and quite honestly it has gotten ridiculous (and not in a good way).  I loved the first and second season, season three was okay, season four took a noise dive but the show recovered slightly in season five.  It's just silly - vampires, fairies, werewolves, werepanthers, shifters and witches.  But the show still manages to hold my attention and if you take it for what it's worth it's a decent show.
The Newsroom!  This show was new to HBO this year, stars Jeff Daniels and is written by Aaron Sorkin.  The show is incredibly preachy but often make very valid points and the pace/language of the show is super fast - i.e. everyone talking in rapid fire.  As Adam would put it, "no one actually speaks like that in real life."  But the show is entertaining and brings up numerous good points and perspective regarding reporting the news and how much of today's cable news has either become fodder for a particular political wing or merely gives politicians a pass.  It's worth a watch if you can get past it's preachiness and frequent breaks from reality.

Girls!  Girls is an awesome awesome show!  It is hysterical and can be incredibly awkward/uncomfortable in parts.  It has been hailed as the 'real life' Sex & the City; and follows four young women (early twenties) making their way in NYC.  The show's producer Lena Dunham (who also plays Hannah - the main character in the show) is awesome and so funny (I can say this because I follow her on Twitter - hello stalker tendencies!).  It is a thirty minute show and is worth every minute.  Girls is definitely must-see-TV! 

Moving away from HBO now - Homeland is a great show on Showtime!  The plot follows Clara Dane's CIA agent character as she attempts to stop a terrorist who just happens to be an American solider bring hailed as a war hero after being rescued after eight years of captivity in Iraq.  Interesting plot line - I would say so!  Homeland is about to enter it's second season and after a pretty tense season finale it'll be interesting to see how season two comes together.  Most 'terrorist' shows (i.e. Sleeper Cell - which is AWESOME) tend to fizzle after the first season but last for at least one more - so I'm excited to see if Homeland will be able to survive the sophomore curse!
And last but certainly not least - a network show - yay!  Friday Night Lights!  This show began back in 2006 and I had heard about it when it first premiered but never had much interest in watching it (plus I was in college and who had time?).  Recently a couple of people had said that we should check it out so a couple of weekends ago we began working our way through the 76 episode series that is available on Netflix (can you say commitment?).  So far it is pretty good and very reminiscent of big time high school football in small town Texas.  If you have Netflix - give it a shot! 

So there you have it - my TV viewing habits in a nut shell.  The Newsroom and True Blood will not air again until next summer.  Girls will premier again in January, but Treme and Homeland come back this month - yay!  Can you say awesome fall TV viewing!

September 11, 2012

Books! Books! Books!

I have been trying to read more lately.  I have never been much of a 'reader'.  In the past I would read all the time for school and work so when I came home I much preferred to read a magazine, the newspaper or watch (somewhat trashy) TV.  But now that I am completely finished with school - Masters degree and B.A. in hand, benefits practitioner course complete, I figured I should read more.  So I have been trying more and more to hide the remote and crack a book.  

I have been working my way through a couple of Tom Perrotta novels.  I recently finished The Abstinence Teacher and I am now reading The Leftovers both take place and are about life in middle class Northeastern suburbs but they have very different plot lines.  In fact I recently learned that HBO is looking at making The Leftovers in a series!  The Abstinence Teacher caught my attention right away and is on a very timely subject.  The Leftovers has been a little slower to start but asks the question of what would happen to a community/society if all of the sudden one day hundreds of thousands of people were to simply disappear in what arrears to be a secular rapture (the Sudden Departure).

So, The Abstinence Teacher is the story of a woman (Ruth) who has taught sex education in a public high school for years; she is divorced and has two kids.  Over the past couple of years an evangelical church has made their way into the community and has begun to exert significant influence; suddenly all sex education has become abstinence based (hence the title) and uses scare tactics as well as incorrect facts to deliver the abstinence message.  (Sound at all similar to what is happening in many school systems around the country?)  At the same time another character Tim is a former hard core sex, drugs and rock n' roll rocker who has been born again through the evangelical church.  Tim also happens to be the soccer coach to one of Ruth's children and much of the conflict comes to light when Tim is caught leading the secular soccer team in prayer after a game.

Want to find out what happens next?  You should give it a read! 

September 10, 2012

Running For My Ovaries

This post is brought to you by ... 
Delicious homemade pasta caprese!
 (More on that later)

This weekend was lazy - but awesome!  I was feeling somewhat poor after having to pay a rather substantial deductible for my car - but on the bright side I got my car back Saturday morning (5 days before it was supposed to be finished no less) and it looks amazing!  The new hood and front bumper makes it look practically new.  I would definitely recommend the guys over at H&V Collision Center if you ever have the unfortunate need to use them.  Anyway - that sense of monetary deficiency lead to a very relaxing weekend with A LOT of home cooking!  Here was the menu (sadly in my hast to eat it all I failed to take pictures):

Pasta Caprese 
(Made by my wonderful man friend - woot woot for not having to cook. The pasta was  simple and so delicious - the recipe can be found at America's Test Kitchen!)

Homemade Pizza
(Made from all Trader Joe's ingredients.  Did I mention that I love having a Trader Joe's in Albany - it is pretty  much the best thing since sliced bread!)

Grilling time with some delicious hamburgers!

A homemade frittata with turkey sausage, red and green peppers and pepper jack cheese served with toast and jelly - delicious!  Then there was some homemade ranch dip (made with greek yogurt instead of sour cream) for the first Sunday football games.  Dinner was pot roast, cooked all day in a crock pot which not only made the meal delicious but it also made the house smell awesome all day.  And finally for dessert ... homemade apple pie a la mode!

So before I continue I should mention that I did not merely eat all weekend - far from it.  Saturday we did a little fall cleaning and cleaned the entire house top to bottom, ran a bunch of errands and then settled in as a HUGE storm came through the Capital Region and really cooled off the rest of the weekend.  

Sunday was a big day as I competed in the Teal Ribbon 5K which was held in Washington Park to benefit Ovarian Cancer research.  I lovingly said that I was 'running for my ovaries'.  It was a FAST race - two laps around Washington Park with a bunch of hill.  I finished in about the last 40 - 50 people so I thought my time must has been awful but it ended up being 34:20 which was less than a minute off my 5K time at Freihofers Race for Women in June.  I was pretty happy with my time since I have not been doing as much distance running lately (I have been focusing more on intervals and short but high intensity workouts).  However, y 15 year old running mate left me in the dust running her first 5K in 25:02 - congrats Elise!  It was a great event and raised funds for an awesome cause! 

Now it is back to the weekly grind - client and agency meetings, hot yoga and interval training, cooking dinner and trying to relax in between the business!  Hope everyone has a great week!

September 7, 2012


As many of you may know I currently work with individuals living with HIV/AIDS.  As the Housing & Employment Coordinator with The Albany Damien Center (ADC) I work to house individuals and then help them return to work!  The goals of my program - Foundations for Living - is to help individuals return to work so that they may be less reliant on benefits (SSI/SSD/welfare/food stamps) and housing subsidies (section 8/HOPWA/shelterplus care).  The ADC also maintains a member based community drop in center, runs the PAWS program which provides veterinary care, food and support to member's pets, operates a thrift store called the Treasure Chest and provides hot meals (lunch & dinner) to members on a daily basis!  All in all - we do a lot of good!  BUT - it's not cheap!

Every year The Albany Damien Center in association with CARES, Inc. participates in AIDS Walk which seeks to bring awareness and raise money for organizations supporting individuals living with HIV/AIDS in the Capital Region of New York.

Here are some stats! 
  • Since 1981, over 600,000 Americans have died of AIDS.
  • Every 9.5 minutes, someone in the U.S becomes infected with HIV.
  • Approximately 20% of people infected with HIV do not know it.
  • As of December 1, 2008, approximately 116,000 New Yorkers were reported living with either HIV or AIDS and NYS remained the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic, with 16 percent of all people living with AIDS nationally.
So after reading all of this your are probably wondering what you can do!  Well I have the answer my friends - DONATE!  If you have the means and are willing I would be SO GRATEFUL if you would consider donating to my AIDS Walk First Giving page!  It is super easy and can be done online.  Your donation will not only support me as I participate in AIDS Walk on September 29th but it will also support the Albany Damien Center and all the good work we do.

If you are interested in donating please click HERE.

September 5, 2012

My Poor Car :(

Yesterday I was in a car accident.  No one was hurt and there was minimal damage (comparatively) but was a very sad day.  I had never been in an accident before so it was scary and somewhat unnerving - I have been white knuckling it on  the wheel ever since!  It happened around 8:30 AM as I was going to work, it was raining which did not help.  The lady I rear ended had to slam on her breaks to narrowly avoided hitting the car in front of her; I unfortunately wasn't able to stop in time and rear ended her.  None of us were going over 10 MPH which undoubtedly reduced the damage.  But because the lady I hit had a Nissan Rouge and because I have a Honda Accord my car basically went under her's.  Hopefully all her car needs is a little paint job but my hood is crunched.  This morning I took my car in to be fixed and was able to get a rental car for work.  Hopefully the repairs won't take too long but they promise to be somewhat costly.  Blah - what a way to start the week.
Sad crumpled little car.  :(
Schnazzy new rental - Dodge Journey.  It ride really nice and I like being up high!

September 4, 2012

Nerd Fresh

I hope everyone had a fabulous labor day weekend!  I know I did.  Nothing major happened but it was great to relax, get together with some friends but mainly not have to work on Monday! 

A couple of week ago I entered a contest over at Jen is Green, an awesome blog about Jen, a twenty-something living in Albany, NY who is making majoring strides to maintain a healthy lifestyle through running and eating well.  Her blog is awesome!  She has given me some great recipes and since we both live in Albany I consider her blog somewhat of a guide for fun places to eat and things to do in the area.  Anyway - I entered the contest and won!  I won and entire case of Cheribundi Tart Cherry Juice.  This stuff is awesome.  It has been endorsed by a ton of people and is currently being used by major college athletic programs (W&M - you should get on the wagon!) as a way to recover after a hard workout.  The case came with all the flavors - some I am liking better than others and since they can be intense I have been mixing some of them with some seltzer.  If you have the chance to check out Cheribundi I would HIGHLY recommend it! 
My case of Cheribundi - all different flavors!
A few other things that have been happening.  This weekend we got together with some friends for a Labor Day picnic; I ended up making some awesome potato salad - my father's recipe no less!  It was such a hit at the party I forgot to take a picture.  I'll have to make it again and have a post solely devoted to potato salad - it is THAT good!   On Saturday they were giving away sunflowers at the Delmar Farmer's Market and I was more than happy to grab one.  Doesn't it look awesome!
Sunflowers make every room brighter!

I am also the proud new owner of an awesome bag from Land's End!  I was getting tired of having to use my old college track & field duffel bags whenever I went on a short trip or away for the weekend (I have a larger suitcase but a girl needs something for smaller trips).  So after some searching and research I ended up purchasing an extra large monogrammed canvas bag from Lands End.  The bag is HUGE and (in my opinion) is large enough for three or four days worth of clothes. 
New bag!
This weekend I also earned some major 'girl points'.  For the record - I do not have my ears pieced, up until about half a year ago I never really wore dresses and until a couple of months ago I never really polished my nails.  I have yet to pierce my ears but I have been wearing dresses more and doing my nails.  Next up was selecting a perfume.  My first trip to Sephora was VERY overwhelming but I made it through and selected some samples.  After a few days I believe I have decided on the one I like best!  Acqua di Gioia by Giorgio Armani!

And last but certainly not least - the explanation for the title of this post.  One of my best friends Carly has started a clothing line called Nerd Fresh!  I am so proud of her!  Right now she is selling t-shirts (women's and men's), hats and rubber bracelets!  The shirts are really nice looking and fit very well.  Who knows where her line will end up but I think it is awesome! 
Me wearing Carly's fabulous shirt!

 (If you would like to buy your very own Nerd Fresh shirt e-mail Carly at!)