Monday, February 28, 2011

Romantic Valentines Day

So, what's a couple to do after  a whirlwhind weekend in NYC and before a super relaxing Spa visit? Well, you certainly can't do NOTHING for valentine's day. So, you order Chinese food, get a nice bottle of wine (or two, cause we rock. hardcore) and a little heart shaped brownie. 

Hope you felt as loved as I did. <3

Saturday, February 26, 2011

End of Day 2 (and 101 things victory!)

After the TOTR, we went to the Broadway station in Times Square where we stood in line for a while waiting to get tickets. When we got up to the booth, they had 7th row tickets, so, there we go. Excited with our victory, we decided that we needed Cheesecake, or cannolli. We found a place called Roxy's in times square, so we settled in. The cheesecake was fine, but the HIGHLIGHT of the restaurant, was the menu. How to Speak Deli. Mike was beyond amused trying to get me to pronounce things properly without my southern coming through, so we had to take a quick photo to continue my education ;-)

Afterwards, we headed to the show. I hadnt heard about it, before Friday, but once we had tickets, there were billboards EVERYWHERE. 

The people were kinda creepy accurate. They could play instruments the same (head bobbing drums) and the accents and voice inflections were awesome. Standing outside, the door gives you a good sneak peak of the set up of the show. They go through the entire catalog..different periods with different costumes. 

Did I MENTION how close we were? The seats were incredible. My 101 things list included: See a Broadway show, On Broadway. CHECK! Awesome seats? CHECK! More than I could expect. Awesome :)

Mike went and got us a couple Magic Hats, which were served in these nifty collectible spill proof cups, that we now have in our kitchen. WIN! 

So, during the show: they show footage to get you in the mood, and randomly show audience members. It was really cool to watch people get so excited, and to see parents dancing with kids and grandparents doing the twist. Plus, of course, they played Let it Be. I teared. 

After the show, we caught the subway into Little Italy, for my only other "must" in NYC. Cannoli. We didn't make it to Ferrarra's, but we stopped at a smaller place along the way. It was ridiculously fancy but, its delicious, and thus, FOOD WIN. I have got to learn how to make cannoli.  We had heard Another late night train ride back to Long Island. Another long day. Another AWESOME day. 

No pictures from the next morning, but we spent some time hanging out with Mike's family and we went to brunch with his parents and one of his sisters and her boyfriend. We laughed and generally had a really good time. I can't explain how awesome this weekend was: the planning from Mike, the hospitality from his parents, the city itself. Simply amazing. Best Valentines Day ever. 

2/12/11 - Day 2

After getting some MUCH needed sleep, Mike and I woke up and went downstairs. Ladies and Gents, I ATE PASTRAMI! it's actually good. Its a red color that I hadn't seen before. We spent some time hanging out with his mother (who is quite lovely, by the way) before heading back into the big city. I really wanted to go up to the Top of the Rock (the views are incredible). So as we were walking towards Rockefeller Center, Mike Stops. Meerkat stance, eyes lit up. He's just looking at the Nintendo store. "Can we go?!" Oh, HOW could we not? So in we go and look at the Wii and the new DS and then upstairs was the Nintendo "museum"  where they have all the consoles and accessories (including the Duck Hunter gun!). I love this picture of Mike staring lovingly at Mario. I overheard some people telling their kids about the consoles from the 80s and 90s. I'm not a fan of "antiques" being from the same period I was born. Nope. 

ANYWAY, we played around inside for a while and then headed over to the Top of the Rock. It was most definitely the smallest line I've ever seen. Yes, it was quite QUITE chilly. BUT, the views were incredible, like always. (Again, the photo below was taken with Mikes phone,  but the colors in the clouds are beyond awesome)

 It was super romantic, and on the way up, they have those photo op things. I normally dont end up buying them, but the ones we took look really cute. They're at the house, and I need some new frame..mmmm

MOVING ON. Here's another shot from Mike's phone, taken longways. I love the clouds and how illuminated the city looks. 

So, you have to play right? "Hold up" the leaning tower of Pisa or the Washington Monument, put your face on Mount, WHAT WOULD YOU DO to the Empire state building?

Here's a couple, PRETTY AWESOME, options:

If you are Terri: You have seen A Christmas Story, or at least HEARD about licking metal poles in Winter. (Go youtube the scene from the Christmas classic..GO!) Ok, see...adorable. So, thats what I wanted to do. The face makes this: 

If you are Mike, you like smashing things, and have spent tons of time playing video games and you wanna touch the top: 

Either way: We are both pretty awesome. The views were gorgeous and we got an awesome picture to put on the kitchen table (see below) 

After NHM

So, we decided, post AMNH to head up the street to the Shake Shack. On the walk up, we started talking about going to other places. I really wanted to hit the Met up, (next time! it is all about making goals) and I mentioned that I had been to the Met and didnt really understand the crazy part of some "modern art." We happened to spot a dead bird on the street, in the middle of this chat, which we laughed about until we were tearing up. Then there was a dead mouse...which made it worse, or better..depending on which way you think. Anyway, we made it to the Shack: got the requisite Burger and Shake and tried to plan out the night. 

Mike really wanted to go to the Comedy Cellar that night to see Dave Attell, among others. The show was at 11:30 that night (now, keep in mind, we got up at the morning..before the sun...birds were angry because we woke them....ok) So, the only way to stay awake long enough, is to keep superduper busy. So, we did what any set of tourists will do. We went to Times Square. One of our first stops was the Disney Store. They've redone it since I was there last, so there weren't GIANT sculptures of favorite characters, but they did have huge displays of fluffy ones. The pooh bear wall brought back great memories for both Mike and myself (tut tut, it looks like rain!) and the Alice in Wonderland set was great too. (See, Me (red queen) and Mike and Oliveoi as the Cheshire Cat, ADORABLE) Also, Like I do: There were hats. I tried them on. Minnie Mouse ears were the best.

After that, we walked around Times Square more until I stopped. Dead. In my tracks. Wicked? Phantom? Love. Yes please. Thank You. THEN, I saw the Rain in the corner. Mike's ears perked up and he promised we would venture back into town the next day to try to score seats to the Beatles tribute on Broadway. (GO LOOK at the 101list, Broadway Show, on Broadway..SUCCESS)

We popped onto the subway and headed down to where the Comedy Cellar is. We found an Irish pub to sit at for a bit and have a few drinks, and coffees, and sugar packets (I was dying at this point..nap was needed) so Mike decided I should get out and walk around a bit. We stepped a few steps outside, COLD + SLEEPTERRI = GRUMPYTERRI. Mike put us on the wait list for tickets (very close to the top) and swiftly moved me around to find things to keep me from dying from sleepy. We found a small pizza joint near the club that we could SEE the stove from outside, so we went in. They only sold by the pie, so we grabbed one and a couple sodas and settled in - burning out mouths with cheese and listening to eastern european technopop. 

WELL, we made it into the show. I think we were both on the verge of either crying (me) or falling over in the street (him) from exhaustion. The show was hilarious and we both laughed for a couple hours..until Dave came onstage. We were quite disappointed, he'll tell you more. I'm still on a quest to figure out who the guy was from Flight of the Conchords. BONUS: on the way out of the club that night, Mike got to meet Ryan Grant, fresh of his Super Bowl win. He was a little start struck, and said the guy was genuinely nice to the fans that were meeting him and offering congratulations. 

Afterwards, we stumbled onto the train and back to Long Island. We finally made it back around 3am, which gave us a 23 hour day. An amazing, exciting, awesomely wonderful Valentines I can honestly say, I fell asleep before my head hit the pillow. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

The American Museum of Natural History

The first thing Mike and I did when we got into the city was head to the American Museum of Natural History. I'd been once before, in an absolutely horrible trip, so I was beyond excited to get to go back and explore. and play. and read EVERYTHING I could get my hands on. We walked first into the ancient animal hall. There were Dinosaur bones, studies on the skull sizes and shapes of different ancient animals and prehistoric beasts! There was also a large amount of art studies, sitting around and sketching. I peeked at their work as I was walking around. The one to the RIGHT however, was the best one I saw. I spliced the picture up with the bones he was sketching. Mike and I watched him work for quite a while before we finally walked away. Slowly. After making sure I got a really good shot.

As we were walking through, we took a ton of photos. I found some prehistoric turtles and Mike let me act silly. HE LOOKS SO HAPPY, so I had to make a similar Happy Face to Mr. Ancient Turtle.

I managed to get Mike in on the Sillyfest. Below : Mike or GIANT SHARK? Terri mouth or Megladon mouth?

Mike was really excited to go to the Brain exhibit that was the "special feature." We had tickets for a certain entry time, so we got to space out our Museum visit around the BRAIN exhibit. They did however, put these little stickers all over the floors, guiding you from the 4th or 2nd floor to the 3rd, then around the twists and turns to the exhibit. It was really cool. They also took special mention of the super NYC tapwater, luring unsuspecting tourists and city-ists alike into tasting water instead of filling up plastic and hurting the planet. (HA!) In all actuality, it was ACTUALLY really good. Why can't Raleigh water taste like that?

When we finally made it inside the BRAIN exhibit. There was a plethora of cool things. They had exhibits explaining why sight reading is much more difficult than performing something you've practiced (Ask Mike about the Mammal, Lizard and Human brains) Below are two of my favorite parts: On the LEFT: there were two brain puzzles, that if you thought far enough head of what moves you were going to make, you could complete the puzzle (with the necessary rules) within 16 steps. I DID IT. Yes, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! Hopefully this will help me out with chess vs Mike. On the right, is a Mona Lisa, made completely of spools of thread. Everyone knows that your brain sees things upside down then scrambles the signals (and No, that could not have been less scientific.) Well, there was the awesome little ball that if you looked through, you could see it upside down. Mike took the awesome shot below, with his iPhone4. jealousy. anyway, moving ON. 

On our way out of the brain exhibit, we both got insanely molecules. Oh, the things that define love. "easily distracted by molecules.." HA. THESE bad boys are why poison dart frogs are poison. You can kinda seen the tiny little frogs that are associated with each one. I kinda want dart frogs. You can buy them at exotic reptile shows with the chemicalproducing glands removed. :)

The only other exhibit Mike was really excited about (from the beginning) was Tibetan Medicinal Paintings. The exhibit just opened, but the originial paintings are from the 1600-1700s. They were recreated and describe the body and anatomy and various diagnosis and treatments. Mike was very very excited about the "Greater Elixir of Rejuvenation" and wants to recreate it ASAP. The other picture is just an example of how..well..creepy the depictions were. 

OK SO.  The last time, I was at the AMNH, I didnt get a chance to see the next exhibit. I was pretty much "not allowed" so, I WAS BEYOND EXCITED to get to go. I'm a dork. I love evolutionary biology and biochemistry. WHAT MAJOR FINDING IS AT AMNH that would matter to someone like me? LUCY! Now, super dork time, Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is a "special" song for me and Mike, so that adds some bonus to them. I was giggly, and almost heartbroken. I thought the museum closed at 5, so I didnt think we were gonna get to see her, but Mike asked, and NOPE, it closed at 6, so OFF WE WENT. May I present to you, Mike and myself, with Lucy. :)

After a full blown nerd afternoon, Mike and were on our way to a burger place his dad mentioned (next post, go look) we were walking up a few blocks as the sun was setting. It made the museum look suspiciously like Hogwarts. from multiple angles. Dorky ending to a dorky adventure. 

New York, how I've missed thee

I'm not even going to attempt to squeeze 7000 pictures into two posts and possibly make you lose your  mind. So, we'll go step wise, dont worry, I have your back. I was really excited to head up to New York. I love the city, its glorious, and I was kinda excitednervous to meet Mike's parents, plus it was on my list of 101 things to do (LINK!) ONWARDS!

 Like I said, we got onto our super early flight and managed to make it into NYC around 9. Mike's dad graciously picked us up from the airport and then graciously took us to a delicious diner. I was too excited to get coffee and food into my stomach, so no pictures there.

Anyway, we headed back to Mike's house (in Long Island) and dropped our stuff off, then headed to the train station. We ended up missing the train, luckily they come fairly regularly and so he mentioned stopping into this little coffee shop right underneath. As we walked in, he looked over and told me that the guy behind the counter was the same guy that worked there when he was in high school. We sat down at the bar and noticed everyone was staring at the television. At 6:00pm Egypt time, Mubarak's resignation was announced, and at the same time, we waltzed into a cafe and saw the exuberance on the face of "the guy behind the counter" as he told us of his Egyptian heritage and what this meant to him. A pretty neat coincidence and definitely a great way to watch something extremely historic happen.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Science of Wine - Feb 10th

If you know me, at all, you know that I love two things: Learning and enjoying life (and beauty.) 

What a fitting display. I totally stole the idea. 
On a Thursday night in February, Mike and I attended the "Science of Wine" and event held at the North Carolina Museum of Life and Science in Durham, NC. Fun Fact: My high school proms (YAY NCSSM! Go Unis!) were held at this museum. I dont remember anyone dancing, I remember people playing at all the exhibits. I'm going to have to dig up some old pictures of this. Anyway, I really wanted to take Mike here for his birthday. BUT, since we had the flu and were in no mood to go to a museum on a rainy January saturday, it will have to wait til March. ON TO THIS EVENT!!

It was brilliantly planned out, some cool science experiments, including how to get wine out of carpet (Mike said to use the enzymes in the laundry detergent..I was not a fan, as then I would have to get blue dye out of the carpet as well, HOWEVER, if you drop Red wine onto the carpet, you can use white wine to get it out :). ) There was also some experiments about the different tastes of wine based on whether they were decanted or not, and if you could tell from the smell of wine, what the different types were. Mike and I both went 0-3. Bummer. Then, there were different pH stations. I must admit that I didn't REALLY play with those much. There was also stuff about how alcohol affects your brain, and the different ways brains "signal" when someone has alcohol and is an alcoholic or not. It was cool to see research working on genetic links to addition studies in a wine tasting set up. My dorky side was thrilled. Mike enjoyed playing with the different sized glasses, and it turns out that a margarita glass holds as much a a martini glass or a tumbler. I seriously wasn't expecting it. They also had some people who were involved in home brewing. I have some experience with brewing beer and mead, to various levels of success. They had some people who specialized in Wine making there. Complete with the kits, which they obviously sell in their shop. Mike and I grabbed a couple coupons with the promise of returning when the financial situation allows for at home chemistry sets. Custom wine anyone? 

Experiments aside, there was some absolutely delicious new wines that we tried. Most of them were either from NC wineries, or were sold in wine stores that were only in Durham or Raleigh. We got to try quite a few favorite of them. I still think my favorite was the new one from Trader Joes. Luckily, I adore that place and definitely enjoyed having a new excuse attend. I know, I've lost your attention.  You're staring at the green and purple cheese on the plate aren't you? It's ok,be honest. 

 We were too. 

Not to worry, your fearless tasters were on the job. Results? The purple cheese, was some sort of delicious berry flavored cheese, while the green cube was very strongly herby. I know, I'm so descriptive. It was good, and I have no idea where to find more. But, I am hunting. 

We had a lot of fun, and I'm positive we'll be checking out the event next year. It was definitely a great bonus event. We were up bright and early the next morning (Hello 4:30, we are not friends. Oh, and the scalding hot coffee all over my hand, I don't like you.) to fly off to NYC, for Mike's Valentine's Day present. NYC :)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

2/18/2011 -Moment in Time

I love 80 degree weather in February. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

All Star Fun

So, how does a weekend begin with a late brunch, and end with free tickets to the NHL All-Star Game in Raleigh? (pictured above?)  Lemme tell you.

One Saturday morning, we woke up..late..ish, and decided that we would head into downtown Raleigh to get some brunch. Normally, we just head up the road, but, we were feeling adventurous. The weather was gorgeous, so we figured we'd walk around downtown for a bit. While driving around searching for a parking spot, we saw some sort of street fair and made mental notes to head back after we ate. After some food at Tir Na Nog, we grabbed some coffee and headed into the street fair. We soon learned it was the NHL All-Star Fan Weekend. Cool enough, so we started wondering around, with the promise of a Beer Garden and Mike teaching me various Hockey Teams and their respective mascots and names.

 Dont we look happy at hot coffee and beer?

 Around 3:50, we walked up towards the top of the fair to see what as there. There was a raffle at 4:00 for tickets to the All Star game. Why not, Mike asked, and so we did. Well, five minutes later, the universe aligns and we have tickets to the all star game. Well, that somewhat sealed the rest of the afternoon. We then scurried into the beer garden, (constantly checking to make sure the envelope with the tickets were still firmly in my purse.) They give you little cards with a certain amount of punches, and its up to the different vendors to punch out the holes. It took quite a while to finish up both our cards, and we continued the see-and-say game with Hockey mascots. Then, we decided to grab a small bite to eat at Raleigh Times, (pickle chips, YES) and afterwards went down the street to the coffee shop to finish up our night with some delicious (and pretty) coffees. 
Celebratory Food. 
Downtown Raleigh, FTW. 

Early, well..not that early, the next morning. Mike and I donned our Jerseys (New York Islanders and Colorado Avalanche, if you must know) and headed down to the RBC center to get a little pre-gaming in. After a little while, we went inside. I've been to a few events at the RBC center, I've even been to Hurricanes games, but this was an entirely different atomosphere. Mike wanted a 'Canes hat, so we stopped into one of the stores (shot glass!) and I snapped this pic. 

Play the "Identify the Hockey Team" game..its fun. 
We settled into our seats, and the game started. This was the first time that they laid out the All Star game with 2 "team captains" who each got to pick their team, like in school. It was really cool because Staal was one of the captains so there was definitely a "hometown" team, which made it great to pick sides to cheer for. The beginning of the game was adorable, with some little kids playing pick up and then they grew into the Hockey greats that came to play. 

Mike calls this "The Greatest Hockey Players in the world..and some kids"

The game was interesting, at the very least entertaining, and I dont think either one of us will make it to another All Star Game again. (maybe?) It was actually a really good experience and I was excited that a town like Raleigh, thats just recently become a "hockey town" got one of the coolest parts of professional sports in it's backyard. I read a bunch of reports afterwards and everyone seemed to have great things to say about 
Raleigh, the people in Raleigh and North Carolina itself. Made me happy. :) 

I love this pic. Thanks random lady!

Bonus Section!:

 After the game, we came home. I was cold, so I grabbed the closest blanket I could find, then plopped a hat on my head...don't ask why, but I did. Mike quickly snapped a picture as proof that he is slowly overtaking my mind, and my sports preferences. the Jets wasn't hard (I love me some football, and it is not hard to stray from the Panthers) and Hockey just seems awesome (so I have officially adopted the avalanche, because of the Jersey (til I can find a better reason) and of course the 'Canes (Raleigh pride, yo ) However, BASEBALL, I still have yet to learn. I know next to nothing about it, and have no team preference. I see Bulls games in my future, until I learn what exactly is happening. Maybe the Mets will come shortly?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Super Bowl Catch-up

Now, I realize that it's Mid Feb, and that a lot of things have happened since then, sooo, its time to start playing catch up. First up, Super Bowl Sunday. Mike was quite proud that 27 years ago, he was born on Super Bowl Sunday. He decided we needed to have a huge shindig at his house to celebrate the big game. So, we frantically cooked, a whole bevy of deep fried horrible for you delights.

Mike was super proud of his pickle frying skills. As was I. I was also proud of our ability to make 7 different dishes in 4 hours. The crowds came and we had our own special "Hummus Bowl" while the commericals failed to thrill and the game was somewhat sub-par. Green Bay won, which was kind of nice, Mike and I had a couple bets (long since forgotten) riding on the game. So, by the end of the night, both of us were completely exhausted.