Friday, March 25, 2011

Back from NYC!

Oh my goodness. I'm back from New York City, and I have no idea where to begin with sharing stories and photos. I started doing some editing of photos tonight, and since I just started with the first one on my camera, we'll just go through this trip chronologically.

Which unfortunately begins with an emphasis on some site-seeing, not the focus of our trip but definitely a major bonus. I'll share some photos and information about the agencies the group volunteered with later.

I might share our crazy adventure to the airport and making it onto the plane in Indy later (believe me it was an adventure!), but I'll start off with actually landing in New York. This colorful display welcomed our group at LaGuardia.

When we got to our hostel, we had to wait to check in later in the afternoon. After storing our luggage, we took a walk a few blocks and found ourselves in Central Park.

Everything was definitely greener than it was in Indiana when we left, and the weather was enjoyable. We strolled around the big reservoir, finally getting a chance to get to know each other. The best part about Alternative Break trips is being grouped with strangers and bonding over a week of community service.

NYC buildings overlooking Central Park Reservoir

Before long, we were all very comfortable with one another. A couple of ladies on our trip even reenacted a scene from the movie Enchanted, skipping while holding hands and singing songs under a bridge in the park.

Our Group: Kai, Simon, Kathy, Stephanie, Kelsey,  Josh, me, Alex, Jon, and Matt
Time for a group photo. There were 11 of us. Our wonderful Site Leader Kyleigh is taking the picture, but here is everyone on the aforementioned bridge breaking in the newness of our friendships. Some were more reserved than others (scoot in Matt).

Throughout our entire trip we'd journey through the park, each time through different entrances and exits. It is absolutely crazy how big the park is, which  I thought was quite remarkable for being smack dab in the middle of New York City.

Eventually we headed back to the hostel, freshened up, and headed out to find some grub. We had our first encounter with the NYC subway system and spotted the only rat we saw the entire trip down in the tracks.

Group members on the subway.
Kyleigh, Kelsey, Jon, and Josh
Well, I thought about going on about arriving at Times Square, which also happened on our first day, but I'm getting sleepy and should probably go to bed.

I promise there is more to come.  Here's what we visited and what you have to look forward to:
  • Statue of Liberty and Staten Island Ferry Trip
  • Times Square
  • Wall Street and the Financial District
  • Rain on  Broadway
  • Brooklyn Bridge (What a walk!)
  • Grand Central Terminal
  • The Late Show
  • Lego Land, Rockefeller Plaza, and a taping of 30 Rock
  • World Trade Central Memorial
  • The Met
  • Volunteering, of course!
As you can see, our group had an awesome Site Leader. Aside from organizing awesome volunteer opportunities, she made sure we covered every tourist attraction in New York City. If I don't get back to visit for a few years or so, I'll be completely satisfied with my experience. We left exhausted from working and walking all over tarnation with cameras full of pictures, bellies full of fast food, and memories of an awesome spring break!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Playing with Photoshop

I learned a new trick today! Instead of having to master photoshop myself...which I've tried and can't seem to figure out, I found a way to get what I want without getting frustrated. No it's not cheating, it's borrowing what's available to me. MCP free ACTIONS!

I just downloaded the Pioneer Woman's actions from her website, since they're free, and applied them to a picture I had sitting on my flashdrive. I was on campus and didn't have any other pictures with me. And since I don't have Photoshop on my personal computer, I had to use what I had available.

Check out all the coolness below!
The Original

Black and White
Fresh and Colorful
Soft and Faded
Freaky Vintage

Old West
My Favorite!
It took me about a half hour to make all these changes, and I love the different tone of each picture. Definitely fun to play with once in a while, and it sure beats trying to figure it all out by myself.

P.S. Have you noticed the increase in posting lately? Yeah, we've hit spring break mode and have some extra time on our hands. I'll be taking off to NYC bright and early Saturday morning. Hopefully I'll have lots of pictures to share with you when I return! Happy Spring Break!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Spring has Sprung!

Campus has been looking pretty dreary lately. We spent months dealing with snow and ice. We had a weekend of nice, temptuous weather, and then we had a week(s) of rain and wind.

I'm a warm weather kind of gal. I love sunshine, heat, humidity...sunshine.

The other day, I was walking around campus and started noticing signs of spring: animals, blossoms, green. So, today I took out the camera and took a little stroll around one of my buildings.

Nothing to be really excited over, but these are little sprouts of spring in my book.

Freshly laid mulch. It didn't smell too pleasant, but I love the look of brand new, rich-in-color mulch.

Tulips coming out of their winter hibernation.

Of course, nothing is a more true sign of spring than construction equipment. When you start seeing all sorts of gigantic trucks, you know that warmer weather is on its way.

As I was walking around, I also stumbled upon this little memorial. Apparently, one of my lecture halls is located on the site of the first dorm at IU. Just a fun little fact for us history buffs.
Spring does begin on March 20th, the day I return from New York. So hopefully when I return from SPRING break, the weather will actually reflect the season.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Courtside Seats

Me, Kyler, Jordan, and Jason
It only took four years of buying season tickets, but we finally got the best seats in the house. On Thursday, the last home game of the season and my last game as a student, we sat in the second row, right behind the basket. And it was glorious!

1. remembered to take the camera,
2. remembered to charge it before leaving the house, and
3. took way, way, way too many pictures.

But here are some of the best ones, and there's a little surprise at the end :)

Kelli, sitting right behind the visitor's bench.
My parents and sister were able to make it down for the game. My dad's birthday was Saturday, so we got him these tickets. Kelli's friend(s) couldn't make it so I asked my roommate to sit with her. Then my roommate offered Kelli a ticket she had right behind the visitor's bench. Score for Kelli. Thanks Claire & BBrands!

Jordan Hulls. IU's sophomore VIP!
 Numero Uno is the love of Kelli's life, behind Austin of course.

Coach Crean
 After some bumps in IU's basketball program, he's about to get it turned back around and headed in the right direction. Check in next year, we've got awesome recruits coming in, and hopefully putting us back on the map.

Tip Off

Verdell Jones and Christian Watford
 I told you we were basically sitting on the floor!

Watford at the line

Will Sheehey
If things don't work out for Kelli and Jordan Hulls, I've already given my approval for her to chase this young man. What a heartthrob!

Shenandoah's own Caity Hinshaw on the big screen!

Wisconsin's main man
One night while watching ESPN during supper, the announcers were going on and on about this guy. Apparently he has the best body in the NCAA. Seriously, they just kept talking about his washboard abs and catching glimpses of him without his shirt on. Kinda strange, but it made more sense once we saw him up close and realized just how built this guy was.

The ref that ruined IU's momentum every other possession.

Hey look! There's Caity again!

The ref that made absurd calls.

Team Huddle
 I'm really not sure what's being said or done here, but I like to think he's asking for a little help from above. Despite the large margin at the end of the game, we were usually only 2-4 points behind the whole game.

One more picture of Jordan for Kelli.

Me and the littlest munchkin.
And since Kyler and I made it home this weekend for our shower, I just had to include one of my favorite parts about going home. Kaden had just woken up from a nap and was super cuddly. Plus, I had jingly beads on my shirt which kept him entertained, but I think he just likes hanging out with his soon-to-be aunt.