Friday, December 30, 2011

Polar Bear Club 2012: Donate to Project Bundle-Up

Well, 2011, it's been...

Okay, you're almost over, so I'll try and keep all of the synonyms for "awful" under wraps in the spirit of moving onward and upward. 2011 was not the greatest year on record for this girl, but it's coming to close now. All that's left to do really is put on a sparkly dress, drink a bottle of champagne and dance the night away with friends.

And then jump into the Mon the very next morning.

That's right. I shall begin 2012 by jumping into the Mon in the spirit of idiocy and a need for a fresh start. If you care to make a donation to Project Bundle-Up and sponsor my silly idea of fun at 8:30 a.m. on New Years Day, visit the Project Bundle-Up site and remember to enter my name ("Allison Rowland"). Thanks, and...


EvBetPGH Best of 2011: Holy, Batman, Batman!

Throughout the month of December, I'll be returning to five of my favorite adventures/posts from the past year.

Date of Post: August 15, 2011

Title of Post: Holy Batman, Batman! - Pittsburgh as Gotham City

It was our normal this summer when Christian Bale and friends were using the streets and buildings of Pittsburgh as their sets for The Dark Knight Rises. Between catches glimpses of the action during a walk or bike ride and being a special guest of Warner Bros. during the day of Heinz Field filming, the summer of 2011 was the summer of Batman. And pretty soon we'll be in the midst of the summer of 2012, and this will be an event in and of itself:

Thursday, December 29, 2011

PGH T-Shirt Collection: December 2011, Volume 2

More t-shirts to close out 2011. Onward and upward!

T004: Zombie Shelter
Designer: The Cotton Factory
Where Bought: The Cotton Factory

T005: City of Bridges
Designer: Unknown
Where Bought: Wildcard

T006: Pittsburgh: City of Champions
Designer: Unknown
Where Bought: Heinz History Museum

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Night at the (Bike) Museum: An Unexpected Tour of Bicycle Heaven

A couple weekend ago, Neighbours, played the Get Hip Recordings holiday party, held in the Get Hip offices in a nondescript building on the North Side. As Zack and I were navigating the dark streets and trying to get the GPS to figure out where the hell we were, Carrie sent me a message letting me know that Get Hip was in the same building as Bicycle Heaven, a place that was on my "must see!" list since its opening earlier in 2011. (In typical Allison fashion, I had yet to cross it off.) After rocking out to Neighbs and drinking a few beers, Carrie snuck me out the back door of Get Hip so we could explore. Really had no idea what to expect, or who we would run into.

We tiptoed around, not really sure if we were allowed to be where we were or not. There were bikes upon bikes upon bikes upon bikes. Seriously. So. Many. Bikes. We ran into a guy as we started down the stairs to the main showrooms and he turned out to be Craig Morrow, the owner of Bicycle Heaven, who was more than happy to take us on an impromptu mini-tour of the place.

Sadly, because it was dark (and because we were a little drunk), Craig wasn't up for letting us test-ride any of the really odd bikes, but said to come back and give a few of these very different kinds of bikes a go. I will definitely be back.

Sorry, Carrie. This photo was too awesome not to post!

Going into the night, I never thought I'd end up in the middle of Pittsburgh's new bike museum, but that is one of the greatest parts of living in Pittsburgh. You never really know where your nights are going to take you, but one seemingly odd location being home to two awesome local businesses? That seems pretty standard, and good reasoning for such a fun Saturday night.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Pittsburgh Chocolate: Sarris Candies

I'm writing this from the living room of my dad's house. It's Christmas morning, but I'm the only one awake. We do most of our celebrating on Christmas Eve, so there's a big garbage bag full of wrapping present to my left and a pile of presents to my right. The only thing we save for Christmas are the stockings, and, without peaking, I know mine will be full of "Christmas balls" and other sweet treats from the best candymaker in the world: Sarris.

Sarris has always and will always be my favorite chocolate. Not that I'm an authority or anything, but I do have quite the sweet tooth. I would bring bars of Sarris back from Pittsburgh to share them with my Boston friends. This came to be known as "Pittsburgh chocolate" and also came to be expected. Not a problem! Disseminating amazing chocolate throughout the country is definitely a task I'm up for.

Allie and I took a drive out to the Sarris factory and store to stock up on some goodies before Christmas. It's a little overwhelming walking in there and becoming surrounded by chocolate, but we survived!

In the corner of the store is a wall of framed photos with the Sarris founders/owners with various celebs and important folk. Right there you'll see good ol' George W. But below...

Pittsburgh's classiest kicker in the history of life: Mr. Jeffrey Reed.

(And Jaromir Jagr! Circa-awesome curly mullet!)

There's a castle made of chocolate. I always forget that this exists, so it's always a pleasant surprise when I see it and think "OMG A CHOCOLATE CASTLE!"

There's also an old-fashioned ice cream parlor attached to the store. Allie and I split a sundae, but it was so big that we couldn't finish it. (It's not often that I leave ice cream on the table, but Sarris definitely had me beat.)

Pretty soon, my brother will wake up (sometime in the neighborhood of 2 p.m.) and we'll dig into those stockings. My supply of Pittsburgh chocolate will be replenished. And all will be right in the world.

Run, Kate, Run!

One of my favorite people and a most inspiring friend is planning to run her first marathon in 2012. She's got a few half-marathons under her belt already, but this here is a big challenge: preparing to run 26.2 miles and gearing up for it during a Pittsburgh winter. In addition to all that running, she's also raising money for The Pittsburgh Promise, an organization that offers scholarships to students in the Pittsburgh Public Schools. Click on the link below to donate and if you see this girl running up a Pittsburgh hill over the next few months, give her a cheer and a thumbs up!

(Me? I still absolutely ABHOR running. Seriously. Can't name an activity I would rather do less. But, I am toying with the idea of participating in this.)

Monday, December 26, 2011

A Very Phipps Christmas: The Winter Flower Show

It's quite arguable that Phipps is one of the most beautiful places in all of Pittsburgh. In December, there's no question: it IS the most beautiful place. It's sparkly and quiet and a good place to get lost for a little while on a rainy winter evening. And that's exactly what I did. Got lost. Here are some pictures from my excursion. Happy Christmas! (Hope it was equally as sparkly as a night in the gardens.)

Chihuly Glass: As if Phipps wasn't beautiful enough.

Candlelit paths throughout the gardens.

The train set was great. Except for one very minor detail.


Again: Where is the dinosaur I was promised?

The biggest Christmas tree I've seen this year. By far.

And this is what it looks like when you shake your camera and take a picture of some lights.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

The Twelve Days of a Pittsburgh Christmas: The Most Perfect House

On the twelfth day of a Pittsburgh Christmas, I'd love the most perfect house on the South Side Slopes or that firehouse in the Mexican War Streets.

I don't intend on leaving my apartment in Bloomfield anytime soon, but if someone wanted to buy me that house I fell in love with on the South Side Slopes or the awesome firehouse that's catty corner from Randyland in the Mexican War Streets, I won't turn them down.

Friday, December 23, 2011

EvBetPGH Best Of 2011: PGH's Best Night of the Year

Throughout the month of December, I'll be returning to five of my favorite adventures/posts from the past year.

Date of Post: Monday, October 31, 2011
Title of Post: PGH's Best Night of the Year: The Bloomfield Halloween Parade

Very honestly the night I anticipate more than any others in Pittsburgh. You are the best on this one night, Bloomfield.