Tuesday, August 30

Clint Eastwood

I keep a brown shawl in my desk drawer at work for the hypothermic days in the office. Every now and again I get made fun of for wearing it. I try to only wear it when I'm sitting at my desk, but sometimes it follows me around the office. It's probably not the most fashionable thing to wear to work but it is better than what I have seen at work for example, blankets, snuggies, sweatshirts, etc. I guess maybe I should invest in a black sweater type thing and leave that at my desk... ;)

The main poking, is referring me as Clint Eastwood...

My Shawl
Laugh it up!

Sunday, August 28

American Tobacco Trail Training Week #2

Training Schedule vs. Training Actuality
Week #2 8/22/2011

Week #2 - This week was still pretty successful even though it was again another tricky week for 2 reasons. I had to switch a few days around near the end of the week, but it all worked out. All in all I think I rested 2 days instead of 1. Still not bad due to a few factors. #1 Hurricane Irene decided to make landfall on the coast of N.C. on Saturday, making Friday (night)/Saturday (all day) very tricky to get outside. #2 My dear friend Jessica was here visiting us!

Left (scheduled training) vs. Right (actual training)

Monday - Strength & Strengthen vs. Leg workout
Tuesday - 3 mile run vs. 3 mile run
Wednesday - 30 min cross train vs. 30 min elliptical (while talking to Ashley P.)
Thursday - 2 m run & Strength vs. Rest (switched with Friday)
Friday - Rest vs. 3 mile run (switched with Thursday)
Saturday - 3 mile run vs. Rest (due to Irene)
Sunday - 30 min cross train vs. 3 mile run

Saturday, August 27

'The Dark Divine' Book Review

(Taken from Amazon)
Grade 9 Up—Grace Divine, a pastor's daughter, doesn't think she lives up to the name that her father tells her means "heavenly help." Her brother, Jude, a church volunteer whose faith seems unshakable, has always seemed to be the more "graceful" Divine. When his friend Daniel returns to town after a long and mysterious absence, Jude recognizes Grace's attraction to him but urges her to stay away with unusual vehemence. Against his advice, Grace begins a relationship with Daniel, whose reluctance to discuss his disappearance piques her curiosity. As she attempts to uncover the mystery of Daniel's past, Jude discourages her investigations with oblique references to an ancient evil and a transforming curse. The novel builds to a dramatic climax involving the surprise revelation of a Divine family secret and a violent confrontation that suggests a possible sequel. Despain's first novel mixes romance and the supernatural and offers true love as the ultimate defense against lycanthropes. This long novel is a slow starter, but as Grace discovers unexpected local connections to the mystery of Daniel's absence, the pace picks up and the suspense builds. Although not a novel of Christian fiction, the book's thematic investment in faith and sacrifice distinguishes it from traditional supernatural romances.

Title: The Dark Divine
Author: Bree Despain
Copyright Date:
Type of Book: Fiction
General Subject Matter: Young Adult
Pages: 400
ISBN: 978-1606840573
Price: $9.99 (new) or $2.77 (used from Amazon)

Short Book Review
I'm not really sure how I came across this book, but I've read a lot of paranormal vampire / werewolf book series including: The Twilight Saga (recommend), The Vampire Diaries (do not recommend books, but I like the TV show), and The Sookie Stackhouse Series (recommend). If your looking for something like Twilight, I'd say this is somewhat similar but this book is about werewolves, not vampires. As you can see I've read a few different series and have only really been disappointed with the Vampire Diaries book series. I tried not to get my hopes up with this book, as I did read some bad reviews and some good reviews. With that being said I lowered my expectations from the beginning. For some reason I haven't been able to put the book down. I will say that The Dark Divine is a very easy read, however it is quite predictable. Which sometimes isn't a bad thing to me, as that is why it makes it such an easy read.

Next in the book series
The Lost Saint - Already Released

The Savage Grace - December 2011

Per Author Bree Despain's blog http://breebiesingerdespain.blogspot.com, "The option rights were purchased last year by a production company in LA (same producers that did the X-Men movies), but where it goes from there is completely unknown and out of my hands. All we can do is hope the planets and stars align. Believe me. Nobody wants this more than I do."

Friday, August 26


This morning I was watching the news about Hurricane Irene and made me think about all the hurricanes I went through during my last years in FL. I had lived in Florida since 1993, at the age of 10 and moved away in 2006. I really hadn't been through very many hurricanes until the year 2004. that year was something pretty special for S. Floridians.

Hurricane Frances
September 4, 2004
Category 2
Frances then passed over the central sections of the state of Florida in the U.S. only three weeks after Hurricane Charley, causing significant damage to the state's citrus crop, closing schools and canceling a football game. Frances remained stable at Category 2 intensity with 105 miles per hour (169 km/h) maximum sustained winds while it battered the east coast of Florida between Fort Pierce and West Palm Beachfor much of September 4.

Hurricane Ivan
September 16, 2004 (Alabama, later to Florida)
Catagory 3 Alabama later to Florida as a Tropical Depression
Ivan was a strange one... the hurricane moved north-northwest across the Gulf of Mexico to strike Gulf Shores, Alabama as a strong Category 3 storm, causing significant damage. Ivan dropped heavy rains on the Southeastern United States as it progressed northeast and east through the eastern United States, becoming an extratropical cyclone. The remnant low from the storm moved into the western subtropical Atlantic and regenerated into a tropical cyclone, which then moved across Florida and the Gulf of Mexico into Louisiana and Texas, causing minimal damage.

Hurricane Jeanne
September 25, 2004
Category 3
Hurricane Jeanne was the deadliest hurricane in the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. Jeanne made landfall later in the day in Florida just 2 miles (3 kilometers) from where Frances had struck 3 weeks earlier.

Hurricane Wilma
October 24, 2004
Category 2/3
Hurricane Wilma was the most intense tropical cyclone ever recorded in the Atlantic basin. As a result, Wilma is ranked among the top five most costly hurricanes ever recorded in the Atlantic and the fourth most costly storm in United States history. Wilma emerged into the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 2 hurricane. As Wilma began accelerating to the northeast, gradual re-intensification occurred, and the hurricane became a Category 3 hurricane on October 24. Shortly thereafter, Wilma made landfall in Cape Romano, Florida with winds of 120 mph (190 km/h). As Wilma was crossing Florida, it had briefly weakened back to a Category 2 hurricane, but again re-intensified as it reached the Atlantic Ocean. The hurricane intensified into a Category 3 hurricane for the final occasion, but Wilma dropped below that intensity while accelerating northeastward.

Hurricane Irene
September 25, 2011
Category 2 or 3
Hurricane Irene is now forecast to stay a Category 2 storm and make landfall at Cape Lookout around 9 a.m. Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center.The Triangle could get 1 to 2 inches of rain and wind gusts up to 30 or 40 mph. This storm doesn't sound like it is going to affect the Triangle very much, but boy does this bring back memories of 2004... What a year it was...

Wednesday, August 24

Rainbow Brite

One of my infamous quotes that I created is: "It looks like Rainbow Brite threw up in my closet..." Just means that it's colorful. =)

Monday, August 22

Canada Ehh?

This year we decided to take a short trip for our anniversary to Canada. We flew late Wednesday, August 17 and returned early Sunday, August 21.
Contessa (left) and Norman (right)
They were being super sweet and loving before we left. All the harder to leave them.

Thursday, August 18th
Technically we left on Wednesday night, but by the time we arrived to the hotel in Niagara (ON) it was about 1:10am... I think i woke up around 7:45am and Joe said 'I let you sleep in'. Which is true, 7:45am is pretty late for me to wake up, but not going to bed until at least 1:30am I was still pretty tired.

Canadian Dollars
This first thing we did that day was walk down to the Falls. It was only about a 10minute walk from our hotel room.

Walking down to the Falls
Horseshoe Falls
Behind us is the American Falls (including the Bridal Veil)
Lunch (Canadian Beer!)
What a great view during lunch! You can see the American Falls behind Joe.
You can see the Horseshoe Falls behind me.
Journey Behind the Falls
This little adventure was totally worth it! We went behind the Horseshoe Falls to be up close and personal with the thundering rushing water! It was very misty.
Downtown Niagara
I was pretty shocked at how touristy and tacky the downtown area was. After a nice dinner at AG, we walked to the Casino (which you can see the tall building in the background). That's where we ended out night only down $5.00. I can handle that.

Friday, August 19th
Friday was our day to drive up to Toronto. The drive was only about 1.5hours north of Niagara. I must say it was a pretty awesome city.

Drive to Toronto
Distillery District
Our first stop was the Distillery District. It was a neat little area. I thought it was going to be more of beer stops, but it was more shopping, art galleries, and a few restaurants. Still very neat.
Toronto Eaton Centre
Of course Joe found shopping for me! It was def 3 stories of solid shopping. I think their may have been shops on the 4th floor but we didn't make it up that far.
Joe (sitting in chair in a shoe store)
Amanda (snaps and points to door)
Joe: 'Excuse me?'
Amanda: Did my hand stutter?

Dinner @ CN Tower
360 Restaurant on top of CN Tower
This place was really neat! At the 360 restaurant, the interior of the building rotated 360 degrees in 72 minutes to get amazing views of the city.

Image from the 360 restaurant

Glass View! ESHK!
I really didn't want to stand on top of it. Heights do freak me out a little.
Niagara Falls @ night
American Falls (blue through red) & Bridal Veil Falls (yellow)
Horseshoe Falls
Saturday, August 20th
This particular spot was right by our hotel entrance.
Saturday, we dedicated our day to a little more R&R. We visited 2 wineries in the area. Their wines are mostly french 'style'.

Chateau De Charmes Winery
Pellar Estates Winery
View at Lunch
Pellar Estates Winery
Chicks and Chocolates
We had never done a wine and pairing 'class' before. Pellar Estates offered one called Chicks and Chocolate (and yes there were other males). ;) It is quite amazing how the pairing process works and makes wine and chocolate taste that much better together. I'd love to do another one of these.

Return Home

The return home was absolutely exhausting. We had to wake up at 3:30am to drive back to Buffalo and catch a 6:15 flight that connected in D.C. We arrived back at RDU around 10am... Just exhausting...

Norman loves when I go shopping as he gets the bags as his Canadian present.

Sunday, August 21

American Tobacco Trail Training Week #1

Training Schedule vs. Training Actuality
Week #1 8/15/2011

Week #1 was a little tricky as we were out of town in Niagara falls Wednesday through Sunday. I think the Friday resting part was the easiest one to commit to!

Left (scheduled training) vs. Right (actual training)

Monday - Strength & Strengthen vs. 2 mile run (switched with Tuesday)
Tuesday - 2 mile run vs. Strength (upper body)
Wednesday (Depart for Vacation) - 30 min cross train vs. 30 minute elliptical
Thursday (Vacation) - 2 m run & Strength vs. Rest (does walking >5 miles on vacation count?)
Friday (Vacation) - Rest vs. Rest (does walking >5 miles on vacation count?)
Saturday (Vacation) - 2 mile run vs. Rest (ok not much walking on vacation this day)
Sunday (Return from Vacation) - 30 min cross train vs. Rest

Hopefully Week #2 will be a lot more productive with sticking with the training schedule.

Thursday, August 18

The Secret Project...

The Secret Project...

As I said before in the "Happy 3 Year Anniversary!" blog post on 8/16/2011, 3 of us had been working on a secret project. Megan, Jason, and I went to the Eno River State Park in Durham, NC on July 9th, 2011 @ 8am. We spent a few hours at the State Park taking pictures for the secret project. Initially I wanted to replace just one of the pictures that Joe has of me at his desk from a few years ago... Then I thought, well we need some pictures in our bedroom and decided it would be neat to put a few of the pictures above his dresser.

Side Story... Unfortunately on this day... I locked Joe out of the house at 7:30am... =/ Joe was working out back in the flower beds and I has told him that I was leaving. When I closed the sliding glass door, I ended up locking him out! Obviously it wasn't intentional! Our neighbors (Stephanie and Chris) who have an extra key were out of town so unfortunately Joe was locked out for about 5 hours. Of course I felt awful! Now the memory of this day is a little tainted with Joe's memory of being locked out... He still won't let me live that one down. ;)

@ the Cabin
In the Meadow...

@ the Creek

Amazing Tree!
Back at the Cabin...

Tuesday, August 16

Happy 3 Year Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary Joe English!!!

On Saturday, August 13th we decided to exchange gifts and go out to dinner a little early since our anniversary was on a Tuesday (today!). We didn't do anything crazy, we went to Tyler's Taproom and on the way home picked up a Chick-fil-a Cookies and Cream Milkshake. Tyler's is one of our fun places close to the house. It was nice to just get out of the house as we'd been working inside on the guest bathroom all day.

Joe and I have been married now for 3 years! We follow the traditional anniversary gift ideas and this year was Leather. These were the gifts I purchased for Joe:

Gift #1
Leather Fossil Watch
Gift #2
Yep Michael Westen style!
Gift #3 was given to him a little early (about 2 weeks ago)... Jason (the photographer) and Megan Self (creative director) were in on this little secret! On Saturday, July 11th the 3 of us snuck away to the Eno River State Park in Durham, NC to do a little project of our own. We spent a few hours at the State Park taking pictures. Initially I wanted to replace just one of the pictures that Joe has of me at his desk from a few years ago... Then I thought well we need some pictures in our bedroom and decided it would be neat to put a few of the pictures above his dresser. So if you ever want to see them you will have to come into our master bedroom.

Gift #3
Pictures of his Bride
I gave him the option to select a new one for his desk if he wanted to and he actually picked the center one...
These are the gifts Joe purchased for me!

Timex Running Watch
Leather Hip Bag
Which some of you have called a fanny pack! Looks much better on, than laying flat. You'll definitely see some future pictures with it on!