Monday, December 28, 2009

Christmas Vacation

Christmas vacation was a nice break from work.  I got to see a lot of people that I don't normally get to see.

After work on Wednesday, I went to Ohio for Bowmaster's party since Shawn was home for Christmas.  We had a pretty good time and had quite a random night after we left the bar to say the least.

Christmas Eve, I got back home and make the eggnog for later that night for Sylvia's house.  I love homemade eggnog...nothing like what you buy in a carton.  After that was made, I headed over to Frick Park where the big hill is over by the big blue slide.  There I went sled riding with Anne, Christian, and Mary.  It was pretty fun, I haven't done that is such a long time.  The hill was a sheet of ice because of everyone riding on it all week long, and the sleds they had were perfectly smooth on the bottom.  We flew down that hill like crazy.  The hill was so slippery that you could basically "ski" down the hill with just your shoes.  I did a little bit, but not on purpose!  This one woman was trying to stop herself and finally fell over 1/2 way down the hill, then only thing was, she fell into her sled and took off the rest of the way down.  I came home took a shower and went to Sylvia and Keith's for a good dinner.  We didn't quite have seven fishes this year, but it was still really good and a lot of food.

Christmas day was nice.  We had opened presents and had dinner with Meem, Pap, and Bill.  After that we went to Danny and Donna's for the annual Christmas family get together.  I got to see Maria for the first time since her wedding, and her two kids.  They were both a lot of fun.

The day after Christmas was spent shopping with the fam in Greensburg...probably the worst place ever to shop.  I tried to convince them to go to North Hills or at least Monroeville, but it was a no go.  That night Denny had a bunch of people over for the Meineke Car Car Bowl were Pitt beat UNC!  Saw a lot of people that night that I haven't seen in years.

Yesterday I had lunch with Sara at Boulevard bistro in Oakmost.  It was pretty good and was nice to see Sara.  She is another one I haven't seen since her wedding!  After that, I had a bunch of crap to do, gym (much needed,) groceries, and laundry.

This week is going to be so boring at work.  Most people are not here and I have absolutely nothing on my calendar all week!  I hate working the week between Christmas and New Years.

Still looking for a cheep ticket to Las Vegas for New Years Eve...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Presents Under the Tree...Check


I'm so glad that I got all of my Christmas shopping done early this year!  And since it hasn't stopped snowing since last night, I got all of them wrapped and bagged today.  This is great, I am not going near any of the malls until January!

First Big Snow


Today is the Pittsburgh region's first big snow.  It already ruined Meg and I's plans to have breakfast at the Doorstop this morning in Dormont.  I've been wanting to try that place since I saw it on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the Food Network.  Maybe it will be nicer tomorrow and we can try again.  I hate snow and winter.  I wish I could just move to Florida and forget about it.

Happy Hanukkah from Squirrel Hill


This is a funny site around Hanukkah every year in Squirrel Hill.  There are huge menorahs strapped to the top of people's car (most of which are mini vans.)  These actually light up and individually on each bulb depending on which day of Hanukkah it is.  Sorry the picture is so bad, but it was really dark when I took it.  It's not just one or two car that do this either, you can see this display all over the neighborhood.  I would be afraid the thing would fall off while I was driving.  Maybe I should strap a Christmas tree on top of my car so I can somewhat fit in!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

GNC Ross Park



I wrote about the new GNC in Ross Park Mall a few months ago and I still think this is one of the best GNCs around.  I always used to think if GNC of an overpriced store with people who will not leave you alone.  This is not the case at all in Ross Park.

I was there last night shopping for Christmas presents, browsed around the store for about 15 minutes and not once did someone come up to me and try to push products on me.  In other stores, the sales guy will run over to you as soon as you go in the store and won't leave you alone even if you tell them you don't need help.  It's usually some body builder wannabe dude that thinks he knows everything.  They'll be like "You should use this [insert name of product here] bro, it's only [insert some really high price here,] that's a really good deal!"  That was one of the biggest reasons I never went in that store, you could never browse on your own.  Also, never call me "bro!"

I think last night was the third or fourth time I was there and the experience is still great.  The store itself is pretty cool too.  It is much bigger than most GNCs and I don't know if I'm imagining things or not but I feel like the prices there are better too.  This store definitely gives Vitamin World and Vitamin Shoppe a run for their money.

Check it out next time you are at Ross Park.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Rivers

Big winnings!

Do You Believe?

I know I slammed Macy*s the other day saying that the windows they put up at Christmas are not as good as Kaufmann's were, but today they did something that I though was pretty cool.  As I was walking down the street and passing by the corner or 5th and Smithfield, I was handed a newspaper by these people dressed up like late 19th century newspaper boys (and girls) and the handed me a copy of "The New York Sun."  Actually, it was a marketing handout which reprinted the "YES, VIRGINIA THERE IS A SANTA CLAUSE" article:

The cool thing was, Macy*s was sponsoring a "National Believe Day."  The article titled "Today is Believe Day: give someone a reason to Believe and you might receive a bonus!" reads as follows:

This holiday, demonstrate that you believe in what the season's all about by lending a helping hand to someone you don't know.  If one of our Believe street teams catches you in the act, you could receive a $25 Believe Bonus from Macy's as your reward for doing a good deed.

I thought this was a cool way to tie into their "Believe" marketing campaign this year.  Although the newspaper I received had a huge advertisement in it for a Macy*s sponsored CBS special tonight and I am sure Macy*s in only doing this to make money, I still think it's a cool thing to do at Christmas time to encourage the Christmas spirit.  In case you are not familiar with the Virginia New York Sun story, here is the article from the paper printed in 1897 from Wikipedia.

Nice story, cool marketing campaign, okay windows (do a better job next year ;-) )

Merry Christmas and Do YOU believe?  I do.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

General Update

Everything is going well for the most part with me these days.  Looks like 2009 is almost over, and it will be a start of a new decade soon...crazy!

I have to get my Christmas shopping started soon.  I hate waiting until the last minute and have to go shopping when everything is packed.  At least this year, I know what I'm getting for the two people who always give me the most trouble (finding a gift that is) (Meem and Pap.)  I have some ideas from my mom, but not much for my dad or my brother.

Work's been good, and I think the team is adjusting just find to having a boss that lives in the Netherlands.  I thought it was going to be a little difficult at first, but it is not bad at all.  Should be an interesting 2010.

I'm still going to Gold's most days during my lunch break, but for some reason when the weather is cold, I have less motivation once I am in the gym and don't push myself as hard as I should.  This is one area where I really miss having a workout buddy.  When I went with Shawn last year we would always try to outdo each other which made for pretty good workouts.

Speaking of Shawn, I'm going to try to go to Las Vegas for New Years this year, but right now flights are $500-$600!  That is ridiculous for Vegas!  I am going to wait until the last minute and hope for a cheep flight.  If not, I'll be ringing in the New Year in the Burgh and visiting Vegas later in the moth when it is much cheeper.  I'm hoping for New Years though...

It finally got cold in Pittsburgh.  It was nice that it took so long this year to get there.  I had to pull out the winter coats this week though so that kinda sucked.  It sounds like I may even have to get the scarves and gloves out before the end of the week :-(

My kickball team decided to for a dinner club for the winter since we can't play in the cold.  I'm looking forward to trying some new places and getting to know the kickball people a little better.

That's about it for now.  What's new in your life?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Macy*s Windows

Here is a quick video of Macy*s Downtown Pittsburgh's Christmas windows.  There were people arround so I could not spend too much time on each window.



Can't see the video?  Try clicking here:
http://nickf84.blogspot.com/2009/12/macys-windows.html

Friday, December 4, 2009

Smoking Sucks

People should not be allowed to smoke in a bus stop. Especially of
there were non-smokers there before them!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Zwarte Piet



Today I learned about the Dutch Santa Claus named Sinterklaas and his black petes that follow him around called "Zwarte Piet."  Could you imagine if Santa had these guys in the US?

The iPhone STD

Funny quote that Jason found online:

 

@jayblackcomedy–If the iPhone is the world’s sexiest woman, AT&T is the STD you kinda know she has, but that you’re too horny to think clearly about.

The City Game

P-I-T-T Let's go Pitt!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Decorations

Today I decided to buy my Christmas tree and finish putting up the decorations.  This is probably the worst picture you can get from the outside but here it is anyway:


Looks pretty similar to other years except that the tree is a little shorter.  It is only about six foot.  Usually I have one around 7 or 7.5 feet.  O well, it doesn't look terrible.

I also got my Treasures for Children (like Toys for Tots) presents today.  The 2 year old girl got a baby doll and the 5 year old boy got a build a truck thing.  Should be nice gifts for the kids.  Although I never get to see them open the presents, I feel like these are the most important gifts I buy every year.  I had some great Christmases growing up and although the gifts are small, I really hope that they can bring a smile to a child and parent's face on Christmas morning.
Over the years, I really started to like giving presents more than receiving.  Seriously.  I spend so much (too much) time trying to find the perfect gift that really shows I care instead of just buying something like a gift card.  Sometimes I am successful, sometime I am not, but I feel like it is worth it when I do finally find that perfect gift.  This reminds me...I should start shopping for the people I know soon!  As for me, I never really know what to ask for anymore.  I really have everything that I need.  I still like surprises and don't really like to tell people exactly what to get me.  There is something special about someone buying you something that you love that they picked out just for you.

Anyway, those are my thoughts on Christmas gifts, and if anyone is wandering, you can get me a new iMac for Christmas this year!  That is one gift that would be awesome to get.  ;-)