July 26, 2012

Let the games begin!

The Olympics are coming, the Olympics are coming!!!  Unless you're living under a rock, you know the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympic Games is taking place tomorrow in London.

The International Olympic Committee has been planning for the event for nearly a decade.  The athletes competing have been training for these games for years.  The Brits performed an impressive count down to the opening ceremony earlier this week...

But I am gearing up to cheer my head off in another uniform.  Thanks to my hubby, my game-watching outfit has already been planned for 4 years...

How's that for preparation??  Clothing aside, I'm really looking forward to the games this year.  I'm not exactly a sports fanatic, but there is something about the Olympics that excites me, and it's not only watching this guy swim up a storm...

U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!  U.S.A.!

But seriously, the Olympics remind us all who we share the world with.  During the games, every country has the same goal -- to win.  Although we're competing against one another, our teams' dreams are aligned.  For once, we're all fighting for the same outcome.  And while the races get intense as viewers watch their favorite athletes, for just a moment, it's almost possible to forget about all the violence, conflict and tragedy the world is facing.  Because for the few minutes we get lost in watching an event, we're all just humans, cheering our teams to what we hope is victory.

The Olympic Games represent a reward for all of the dedication, focus, hard work and skill the world's athletes possess.  Regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, religion, political affiliation or socioeconomic status, the event competitors all begin at the same starting point and compete on a level playing field.  And as a viewer it's so gratifying to witness the most qualified person getting the gold at the end of the competition.

Despite the many terrible and horrific things we read about in the news every day, it's comforting to know that at least once every few years we can set our differences aside and join together simply to showcase the world's best athletic competitors.  The Olympic Games are an age old tradition, and it's a testament to the effort of a great many people that we continue the tradition today.  It's a chance to see glimpses of and learn about a foreign country you've never visited, and it's a chance to hear personal stories about fellow citizens of the world.  The pride the athletes, their families and fans display is very moving.  I can't wait to see who takes the golds and earns a place in history this year.

To borrow Visa's slogan, "Go world!"

Derecho, derecho

go away and don't come back another day!

According to The Wall Street Journal:
Forecasters upgraded the entire tri-state to a “moderate risk” of severe weather Thursday, specifically noting that the New York City area will also have an unusually high chance of tornadoes as well. At the moment, the city itself has about a 45% chance of experiencing winds stronger than hurricane force in the evening.

Moderate risk forecasts are extremely rare in Greater New York, occurring only once on average every six years. They are even less likely to be issued more than 24 hours in advance, as happened on Wednesday.

Although I currently see nothing but sunny skies through my office window, I have a feeling the rain boots and umbrella I brought to work today are not going to cut it if in fact hurricane winds and torrential downpours.  I'll just keep my fingers crossed and hope for continued sunny skies.  The thing about the weather is that it's so unpredictable, it can change for better or for worse with the change of the wind!  Hopefully the weather reporters are wrong (I know, that never happens) and the derecho won't hit us after all.

Am I the only one who has never heard of a derecho before?

July 25, 2012

Summer Snacks

Summer = happiness for many reasons, not least of which is delicious summer snacks.  One of my favorite quintessential summer snacks is fresh cantaloupe.  It's sweet, easy to prepare, pretty and thirst-quenching all rolled into one!  Ahhh....

Upon arriving home from work this evening, tired and a little bit grumpy, I opened the fridge for a snack.  I'd totally forgotten about the melon we bought this weekend at the grocery store, so it was a *sweet* (pun intended!) surprise to discover it!  Tasty cantaloupe = tired and grumpy no longer!

Not only is cantaloupe tasty, but it's good for you, too!  Cantaloupe is a great source of Vitamin A, folate (a water-soluble B-vitamin), B3, B6, Vitamin C, Potassium, Fiber, Vitamin K and more!  The chart below lists the % Daily Value each serving of cantaloupe provides, courtesy of "the world's healthiest foods" website.


This site states the benefits of cantaloupe as including: promoting the health of lungs, preventing cardiovascular disease and reducing stress! I'm no doctor, but I can tell you that cantaloupe cured my case of the Wednesdays! ;)

So eat up and enjoy!

What's your favorite summer snack?

July 20, 2012

Anniversary Remembrance

July 20th is a very special day to me.  On this day in 1946 my grandparents were married.

Here's a photo of my Babci and Dziadziu that was taken in July 2008 at our engagement party, a week before their 62nd anniversary.

Growing up, I was in awe of their love.  The way they looked lovingly into one another's eyes, chased one another around the dining room table for kisses, always held hands and generally showed love and respect for the other person, even during a disagreement, was so inspiring.  I always thought while growing up that if I could find a partner even half as wonderful as either of them, I'd be very lucky.  Obviously no relationship or spouse is perfect, but to me their marriage was a shining example of the gifts of family and love.  I have and always will admire their devotion.

Sadly, my grandpa passed away in April 2009, the month before our wedding.  I'd dreamed of sharing a wedding dance with my new hubby and my grandparents for as long as I can remember, but unfortunately life didn't work out that way.

I feel so blessed that we all got to celebrate their 62nd anniversary that summer as a family up in Maine.  Lots of hugs, kisses, singing and laughs were shared that weekend for sure!  Here's a photo of the lovebirds after we serenaded them with Sto Lat and a celebratory cake.

I am so lucky that I have so many wonderful memories of many years spent with both my grandparents, and cherish the opportunity to create even more memories with my grandma!  I always count my blessings when it comes to my family, but on this day in particular I am especially proud to be part of my grandparents' legacy.

July 19, 2012

Pottery Barn Fall Open House

As you all know, I am no stranger to sales.  The Pottery Barn Fall Open House is something I had not heard of until now though...


That is of course until I received an email invitation to it.  I'm intrigued as to what the Open House is and whether it's worth attending.  Is it a sale?  Is it a sneak peak?  Or is it simply a marketing tactic with no actual value to consumers.  ;)  Their website doesn't really describe it so I'd love to hear from any readers out there with intel or experience on the matter!

Have you attended a PB open house?

July 16, 2012

Car Damage Woes

One Saturday morning in March, Shep came into the apartment exclaiming that he'd seen that our car had been hit in the garage while parked, but there was no note left and the garage attendants had no record of the incident on their video footage.  I thought:  "WHAT?!?!  The garage we pay a pretty penny to park in each month???"  Yep, that one.  Shep was, understandably, very upset that the car had been hit.  After all, our beloved CR-V is only 2 years old and we've been so careful with it!  I tried to reassure my hubby that if our car had to be hit the best possible scenario was for it to be hit while parked, with no one inside that could get hurt.  Although I believed what I was saying, I was still pretty annoyed.  What kind of person hits a car and then drives away without leaving a note?!?!  We went down together to survey the damage and saw this...

The first thought that ran through my head was "phew, it could've been a lot worse".  The next thought was "how much is this going to cost to fix" and "uh oh, are we going to have to pay for these repairs since there's no other party to blame"?  And if so, "is our insurance premium going to increase because of this????".

Scared, I attempted to call Geico, our auto insurance company, anonymously to investigate whether or not a hit-and-run-while-parked claim would affect our insurance rates.  Unfortunately, they weren't able to provide a definitive answer without looking into my specific policy.  I thought for sure that as soon as I identified myself that I'd be on-the-hook and would surely be told me new insurance rate would be approximately 1 billion dollars a year.  ;)  To my great surprise, I was advised by my claim specialist that although I would be responsible for our deductible (which is less than ideal since we weren't at fault for our parked car getting hit by a jerk that drove away without taking responsibility for his/her actions), our insurance premium would not increase as a result of this incident.  PHEW.  What a relief that was!  The Geico claim agent walked me through the process, referred me to a local body shop that could do the work, and told me he and his colleagues aimed to provide 10-star service.  I rolled my eyes as I thanked him for his time and hung up the phone.  To be honest, I was expecting to be lied to, ripped off, misled and more.... but let me tell you something -- we did receive 10-star service from the Geico claims rep, the on-site Geico adjuster at the body shop, and the shop personnel they referred us to.  All in all, it was a relatively painless process, given the situation.

Why am I writing this post?  A couple reasons:
  • to recommend Geico.  They really did everything in their power to make the process as simple and convenient for us as possible and we were incredibly satisfied with their service.  In case you're wondering, we gave them the 10 stars they earned on the follow-up survey we received.
  • to provide others that find themselves in a similar situation with some info on what to expect if you're the victim of a hit-and-run-while-parked.  (1) Don't panic.  (2) Snap a quick photo of the damage.  Try to obtain any security footage that may exist of the incident.  (3) Contact your auto insurance agency as soon as possible.  Although there was no time frame within which we had to make the repairs according to the Geico policy, I am sure this varies according to the insurance company so the sooner you look into it the better.
  • to highlight that random accidents happen all the time, and nobody can predict when/if this kind of thing will happen.  Of course, if your names are "Nicole & Shep" chances are higher it will happen to you.  ;)  Take this into consideration when choosing your auto insurance coverage AND deductible.  Yes, you can control your driving, you can take defensive driving courses and measures to keep yourself and your car as safe as possible, but there are no guarantees.  Life happens!  That's what insurance is for.  ;)  Just be sure that you can live with the policy and deductible you choose for yourself.

Well, that's our bad luck story!  Do any readers have any additional advice to share?  Has anyone been the victim of a hit and run, either on the road or while parked?

July 1, 2012

Happy July!

Happy July!!! Now that June has come and gone, it officially feels like summer! I cannot believe how quickly the past few months have flown, but I'm so happy to be enjoying this great warm weather. Here are some of the things I'm looking forward to this month:
  • July 4th... fireworks, flags, BBQ'd burgers & hot dogs; I love them all!
  • Visiting Shep's family in FL... we always have a ton of fun while we're down there!
  • My grandma coming up to NY for a visit... I can't wait to see her, and I'm hoping she'll get to see our new apt!
  • My cousin's wedding... will be lots of family there!
  • My handsome hubby's birthday!
  • Hopefully s'more moments like this (oh, I'm so punny):

Happy July!