Best of 2010

As we near the end of the year I want to take a look back at all the great moments from 2010.  I did a similar post in 2009 and 2008 and want to continue on the tradition. I love looking back through the posts and pictures and I'm reminded why I keep this online journal. Enjoy!

In January I ran my first half marathon with Alison, Mark and Nicole.  This was such a big accomplishment for me as I never would have dreamed I would run 13.1 miles, especially in the time that we finished!

We traveled to Beaver Creek in February with some of our best friends.  We hadn't skied since college and it was a little rough at the beginning but we picked up our groove and had a good time on the slopes.

My good friend Anna came to visit me in March.  Ryan had class all weekend and we were able to have the best girls weekend.  We spent a lot of time shopping, chatting, walking, laughing and of course drinking wine.  I think my favorite memory is our venture to CostCo.... :)

We also spent a weekend out in the country with our friends.  Ryan's parents hosted all of us and our dogs and we had a great time.  We had our fist adventure antiquing and it was a day I won't ever forget!

April was the month of travel.  I was fortunate to spend several days in the wine country with all the girls on my mom's side of the family.  Tons of laughs were had and several glasses of wine were drank... :)

Ryan also traveled to the Masters in Augusta with his brother in laws.  They had a great time watching golf and then playing a few rounds.  All the guys then drove to Kentucky where they met up with the girls.  We spent a weekend at Ryan's sisters house in Lexington and seriously had a great time.  The weather was amazing and we had another fabulous day out at Keeneland.  Unfortunately, our pocketbooks took a beating that day but we had fun trying :)

May was a fairly relaxing month as Ryan wrapped up his first year at Rice.  That month we had a fun spontaneous date night where we ended up a Phoenix concert.  We also celebrated our good friends accomplishments as Leslie graduated from Dental School and Sara from Law School.

We celebrated our third wedding anniversary in June.  I was actually in Orlando that day for a work conference but we had a great dinner out when I came home.  We also took a weekend trip to Austin that month.  One of our favorite bands, Passion Pit, was playing and we decided to make a weekend out of it.  We visited a local winery, ate yummy food and jammed out with all the high school rockers.... :)

That month we also celebrated my parents moving into their beautiful new house.  We popped a yummy bottle of Dom for the occasion :)

In July celebrated the 4th with our good friends.  We spent the day by Kim & Sara's pool and then watched the fireworks from their apartment rooftop.  We had an awesome view of Downtown Houston!  We also spent several weekends that month hanging out at my parents new house and laying by their new pool. I also signed up to run my second half-marathon in January 2011 and this time Ryan will be joining me!

My cousins all came down in August to spend a week at my grandmothers house.  We were able to celebrate a recent engagement of my cousin David and we are so excited about their upcoming wedding.  We also celebrated Benny's third birthday that month. 

In September we spent another long weekend at my parents house.  You see a theme here??  We spent Labor Day weekend out there with my brother, his fiance and some of their friends.  Lots of golf was played by the guys and lots of pool time was had by the girls.  

I also traveled to Norman, OK that month for work.  I was able to spend a night with one of my best friends, Kari, and we hit up all our favorite Norman spots.  I loved just being able to catch up and chat with her and of course I loved spending time with her baby, Bernie :)

In October Ryan and I took a fabulous trip to New England.  It has been on our list for sometime to see this area of the country in the Fall and we were able to do it this year.  We spent one night in Boston, traveled to New Hampshire next and then spent our last day in Portland, Maine.  It was one of my favorite trips by far!

In November we had our annual Rudy Rivalry as the Aggies took on the Sooners in College Station this year.  The Ags ended up on top this time but we had a blast tailgating and enjoying the game.  We also took our new neighbors with us and I think they had a good time as well :)

We spent Thanksgiving that year at one of Ryan's sisters house and I managed to bring a yummy dessert despite my baking failure.  We also spent time at my parents house and snapped a few family pics...

We traveled to New York City in December as this has always been on our list of things to do as well.  We had a great long weekend in the city enjoying the lights, the food and the general Holiday spirit. 

Lastly, I'll leave a pic of Ryan and I on Christmas Eve...

We've had a great year and I can't wait to see what 2011 has in store for us.  I already know we have several graduations in the family, a few weddings and a few trip ideas.  We'll see what else life throws at us!

Happy New Year from the Rudys!


Merry Christmas!

From Benny the black-nosed reindeer!

Cleary, he wanted nothing to do with being a reindeer.  He prefers to be treated as a human :)


Annual Christmas Dinner

Last year I hosted our first ever annual Christmas dinner with friends and last night we continued the tradition at Ali and Mark's house. I didn't get as many pictures as I would have liked but I did want to share this one I took with my phone...

The table was beautiful, the meal was delicious and the company was even better.  Seriously though, we sat at this table for hours with all our best friends and had a great time hanging out, laughing and celebrating this wonderful time of year.  I'm so grateful that we started this tradition and look forward to many years to come!


Merry Christmas

From our house to yours...

Ryan and I are off this week and enjoying every minute relaxing, spending time with each other, friends and family.  Hope you are all doing the same.  Merry Christmas!!


NYC Recap

As promised, here is the full recap from our fabulous trip to NYC! 

We arrived on Friday early afternoon and quickly dropped off our bags at the hotel and headed out.  We spent most of the day walking down 5th Avenue in awe of all the people and lights.  We ventured in several stores, decided we couldn't afford a thing, and walked right back out.  I failed miserably on Friday with my camera and only managed to get one picture on my iPhone.  I snapped this while in Saks.... I think I could have stayed in there for hours if Ryan hadn't dragged me out...

That evening we took the subway out to Soho and dined at Balthazar.  Balthazar is a famous French Restaurant and it did not disappoint!  We were not able to get reservations but we put our name on the list to sit in the cafe/bar area and walked around the neighborhood for a while and stopped at a pub to grab a quick drink.  We actually ended up chatting with another guy there who happened to be an Aggie who had noticed Ryan's ring.  He gave us some great restaurant suggestions and places to hang out.  We finally made it back to the restaurant and enjoyed the food.  I would definitely recommend if you are ever headed to NY!

The next morning we woke up late, bundled up and headed out for a day of walking.  We first headed to Central Park which is by far my favorite part of the city.  Even though most of the trees were dead and most of the water was iced over, it was still a beautiful site.

I could not believe how many people were out that day.  People were jogging, walking and just hanging out.  I couldn't think of a better way to spend a Saturday.

We walked around for about an hour and decided to head towards one of our fave lunch spots in the city.  We ate at Shack Shack last time we were there in 2009 and simply had to go back.  This time we went to the location in the Upper West Side. 

Mmm my mouth is watering just thinking about this food...

We were sitting next to the window during lunch and we overheard a little boy say, "Look Mom, there's Santa!  And another one!"  This had our attention and we were quite amused to see several people dressed as Santa Claus headed down the block.  Didn't think too much about it though as this was New York and people were pretty crazy there...

After lunch we walked back through the park to get to the Upper East Side.  That's when we saw a few more Santas.....

And then I was really intrigued.  And I had to get this on film.  I couldn't believe how many there were! 
And then we stumbled upon this....

I've never seen so many red suits and white beards in my entire life.  And I loved it.  We kept our distance though as these Santas were not ones that you let your kid sit in their lap.   I think it was only 1 pm and most of these Santas had been boozing since who knows when.  Yes, it was a full on NYC Santa Pub Crawl.  And yes, we googled it...

We spent most of the afternoon walking around and then headed over to West Village via the subway to have a change of scenery.  We were hoping to find a cute pub to park ourselves in that afternoon but were oh so disappointed when we discovered Santa didn't only hang out in Central Park.

We did manage to find a quiet spot (finally!) and then ate an early dinner at Extra Virgin.  We received this recommendation from a friend and enjoyed another delicious meal :)

It was fairly early in the night at that point and I convinced Ryan to head back down 5th Avenue so I could snap a few pics at night. 

Snowflakes at Saks...

Beautiful bows at Tommy Hilfiger...

Red Ribbon at Cartier...

Then we decided to man the crowds at Rockefeller Center.  Big mistake.  I've never seen so many people in my life!  There was no convincing Ryan to stop for a pic so I was able to snap this one as we feared for our lives to get out.... I kinda like it though :)

At that point we headed back to the hotel to rest our feet from a loonnng day of walking.

We woke up Sunday morning, refreshed, and ready to head out.  But unfortunately, this day it was raining.... I had come prepared though and brought an umbrella and thankfully Ryan had a hood on his jacket.  We grabbed a quick Starbucks and headed to the subway....

We were  headed to Brooklyn to eat lunch at the original Grimaldis.  This place is legit.  Cash only and you have to wait outside in a line to get in.  Thankfully there was a covered area or we would have been soaked!  The food was well worth the wait and we enjoyed every slice...

At this point it had stopped raining and we decided to attempt to work off all the calories we had just consumed and walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge. 

Here's one of the few pictures we have together from the trip.  It's a little cloudy in the background but you can sorta see the Statue of Liberty on the left....

It actually cleared up some in the afternoon and we wandered around Soho Village. We had dinner reservations later that night so we cleaned up at the hotel and then set out.  We dined at Osteria Morini and I think this was a personal fave for me.  I loved the atmosphere and the food was amazing!  

It actually started raining again later that evening and Ryan and I decided to try Rockefellar Center one more time on our way home.  We were convinved it would not be near as crowded because of the rain and for the most part we were right.  

So instead of having beautiful snow in the background we have rain.  Oh well, we were happy and it was a great moment! 

I also decided it was a good idea to take a picture with the gigantic Nutcracker :)

And to end the trip, we grabbed one more drink downstairs at our hotel.  Cheers to a fabulous weekend getaway in NYC! 

In summary, we walked a lot, we ate a lot and we had the BEST time!


We're Back!

Another great trip for the books!  Ryan and I traveled to NYC last Friday for a fun weekend getaway and came home last night.  I promise a full recap soon but right now we're both busy at work, Ryan's taking his last final for the semester, I'm trying to get the laundry done and my house desperately needs a cleaning...

Oh yeah, and I need to actually think about getting some shopping done since we're only 11 days away from Christmas! Until then, I'll leave you with this fun picture of 5th Avenue....

And yes, it's that fabulous in person :)


Thanksgiving Baking Failure...

My part for Thanksgiving dinner this year was to bring a dessert.  Not the turkey, not a side, but dessert.  Sounds easy, right??  Wrong.  At least for me...

Yesterday morning I was talking to my mom and we were discussing ideas for something I could bring that would be fairly easy and delicious.  Last weekend she had made this recipe for a party at her house and they truly were yummy.  I'm heading to my in-laws today and this dessert seemed perfect.  Someone else was already bringing a pie and I thought to myself, "who doesn't love anything with chocolate??"

I made note of all the ingredients and Ryan and I headed to the store after running a few errands yesterday afternoon.  As expected, the grocery store was packed but we managed to get in and out in a descent time. I had most of these ingredients at home but needed to pick up a few of the items.  We first stood in the baking aisle forever trying to find heath bits o'brickle.  We never ended up finding this exact bag but I think we found something comparable.  The next thing we  needed was eggs and milk.  We wandered over and grabbed a few eggs but couldn't find the milk.  I debated googling Eagle Brand milk but decided against it since 8 million people were standing around so I just grabbed a Kroger brand bottle of 2% milk.  I told myself Eagle Brand must be a specific brand found in Arkansas and that the Kroger brand would be just fine as a substitute.  Big mistake....

1 yellow cake mix
1 egg
1/3 c. butter
1 (14 oz.) Eagle Brand milk
1 c. chopped pecans
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1/2 c. Heath Bits O' Brickle
After following all the instructions I carefully placed the pan in the oven to bake for 30-35 minutes.  I thought it looked a little funny but convinced myself it was fine.  35 minutes later I pulled the pan out of the oven and knew something wasn't right.  I quickly took a picture and sent it to my mom asking her if hers looked like this last weekend.

She was nice and responded that hers was a little browner and that maybe I needed to put it back in the oven.  We wrote back and forth a few times then she just called me. We went over the recipe and decided I had done everything right.  Then she asked me if I had used sweetened condensed milk or evaporated milk because that might have made a difference.  I told her I used 2% milk.  And she laughed.  Then I laughed.  Then I decided that I should have just picked up a cheesecake to bring for dessert.

The first batch.  And yes, it was terrible....

I was then determined that I was going to make something for dessert and wasn't going to give up.  I asked Ryan if he would so kindly go back to the grocery store to pick up Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk and another box of cake mix.  If only you could have seen the look he gave me....

I grabbed my keys and braved the crowds once more.

I came home, popped open a Corona, and pulled out my already washed baking bowls and utensils.... 

I also decided to take pics along the way in case anyone else wants to make this recipe. 

Please note that if you use regular 2% milk it does NOT look like this.  If only I had taken a pic the first go round.  This is what it should look like if you use Eagle Brand milk....

Ready to go in the oven!  Once again, if you use regular milk it is much runnier than this.  I also used chocolate chips this time instead of pecans. 

And here's Benny!  He was always near the action in case I accidentally dropped something....

Right out of the oven... 

And the finished product!  I was actually able to cut these up.  They weren't runny and doughy like the first batch!  And yes, they are delicious.  I may have sampled one or two this morning :)

I also want to say Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!  Ryan and I are so blessed and we are looking forward to spending the day with his family and then my family tomorrow.