Cyber Monday

After the turkey has been carved, the parade has passed Macy’s on 34th street and the relatives return home we come back to work on Monday, a little rounder around the belly. While we have enjoyed time away from the office, many people will return to work exhausted from the holiday festivities. And this is only the beginning. Now that Thanksgiving is behind us, we can focus on the remainder of the holiday season. For many of us, this means stringing lights, hanging ornaments and breaking out the Christmas music. It is the most wonderful time of the year and sometimes the most tiring. However, I for one, think it is entirely worth it.

After Thanksgiving, my mom sister and I participated in the craziness that is Black Friday. While my mom and Abby stocked up on Christmas presents for nearly everyone on their list, I concentrated on myself (talk about holiday spirit). As they walked around the store finding things for cousins, aunts, grandparents and friends, I walked around the stores picking up things for myself. This year, I am having a hard time coming up with good ideas for presents, and since I know what I want, it was simply easier to shop for myself. And clearly, I was trying to make the most out of the great sales! Unfortunately, when we returned and looked at our purchases, I realized that I was no closer to being complete with holiday shopping.

So now I am sitting at work, scanning the websites of stores. Cyber Monday is a marketing term for the Monday immediately following Black Friday, the Friday following Thanksgiving Day in the United States. The term made its debut on November 28, 2005 in a Shop.org press release entitled “‘Cyber Monday’ Quickly Becoming One of the Biggest Online Shopping Days of the Year”. In 2009, it was reported that consumers spent $887M online on Cyber Monday (excluding travel), the second highest spending day of 2009. Data has shown that Cyber Monday online sales have always been driven by considerable buying activity from work locations. That pattern hasn’t changed. After returning from the long Thanksgiving weekend with a lot of holiday shopping still ahead of them, many consumers tend to continue their holiday shopping from work. Whether to take advantage of the extensive Cyber Monday deals offered by retailers or to buy gifts away from the prying eyes of family members, this day has become an annual ritual for America’s online holiday shoppers.

So for anyone else who is sitting at work scanning the sales, here are some of the top deals going on right this very instant. So make yourself some hot chocolate, set your Pandora to Christmas music and let the festivities begin! (Please note that the first three sites are all part of my registry – what a strange coincidence!)

Crate And Barrel 

The Deal: Stemware, barware, dinnerware

Houseware giant Crate & Barrel is offering 25% off on all kinds of items, across the store, from martini glasses to starter dining sets.

Macy’s

The Deal: The better question is, what isn’t on sale?

The magic of Macy’s includes clothing, jewelry, home goods and kitchen tools. Just enter the code “CYBER” into the coupon code before checking out.

REI

The Deal: Up to 30% off winter gear, clothing and camping supplies!

Great gifts for all of those outdoorsy relatives. Check out the steep discounts on Padagonia jackets and Smart Wool socks. Just in time for winter!

Kohls

The Deal: Pillows, mattresses, watches, outerwear

Retail giant Kohl’s slashes prices on its site 35% to 60%, on everything from watches and jewelry to outerwear and home goods.

Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft

The Deal: 40% off EVERY THING plus free shipping

For the fashionista on your list. Use code “ENJOY” at checkout.

Victorias Secret

The Deal: Dresses, jackets, shoes

Victoria Secret is offering up to 70% off select bras, underwear and sleepwear. Shoppers who buy sleepwear will receive a free pair of slippers if they use the code VS10SLEEP at checkout–and anyone can receive free shipping on their order if they enter the code SHIPVS1. Get your holiday jammies before it is too late!

Check out these sites for other great deals:

Handmade gifts

Photo gifts

Sports gifts

Unique gifts

ND loves NYC

This past weekend, the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame took over the city of New York when their football team played the first ever football game in the new Yankee Stadium on Saturday. They took on the team from West Point and celebrated a 27 – 3 victory. And while New York is known for a lot of things, a football town is not one of them. However, Notre Dame changed that.

The weekend started with a performance by the Notre Dame band, where else, but in the middle of Time Square.

The celebration was taken out of Manhattan and into the Bronx as thousands of fans filled Yankee Stadium. The field was transformed from a baseball diamond into a football grid iron for the occation.

The game ball was delivered by members of the special ops as they parachuted out of a plane and into the stadium. One carried the ball, another an American flag and a third, the flag of Notre Dame.

The half time show, performed by the band, was incredible.  Unfortunately, I can’t find a good video that captures just how impressive the show was; you will have to take my word for it.

The only thing that can top this game will be the Notre Dame vs. Navy game in 2012 held in Dublin, Ireland.

GO IRISH!



DIY Bulletin Board Update

Last week I wrote a blog about my new office. Well, I am happy report that it is coming together. I have a few pictures hanging on my walls, some furniture for parents to sit in while I interview them and I found a solution to “martha-rize” my bulletin board.

Some advice from my crafty mother and a trip to the container store solved my problems. My mother suggested that I use contact paper on the bulletin board. Honestly, what do people actually use contact paper for? Do people actually line the drawers of the dressers with that stuff? I am all for organizing but that seems a bit ridiculous. You are just going to cover it up with shirts, socks and work out attire. Anyway, I went off to the container store last week and boy did I strike gold.

First I found this contact paper with fun designed. Unfortunately after reading the label closer, I realized that the paper was scented. While I love candles and perfumes, I was nervous that this smell would become over baring in my office. I had visions of parents going into a fit of sneezes and decided against it. Instead I found this fabric contact paper that came in a pretty design. While it wasn’t adhesive, the foam like quality would easily hide push pin marks, unlike contact paper. I purchased two roles and went on my way.

I cut the paper to fit and stapled it onto the bulletin board. I then added decorative grosgrain ribbon to hide the seams and add some “preppiness” to my walls. I am pretty happy with the way it came out!

On another, unrelated note, today marks 7 months until our wedding! I think that calls for a glass of champagne!

While I am super excited, I am slightly confused as to why Matt and I didn’t receive the kind of attention Price William and Kate are getting. Hopefully they don’t pick June 18th as the date to say ‘I Do.” I am not sure I could share the spotlight!

Happy Birthday from Your Friends

I have blogged about, or at least mentioned, Dunkin Donuts in 8 of my previous posts. Clearly I have a strong love for this company.

It makes me laugh because Abby (my sister) has a serious love hate relationship with Dunkin Donuts. While she likes their vanilla chai tea, she used to date a boy who worked at Dunkin Donuts. She first started dating this boy her senior year in college. After graduation she moved to upstate New York to coach swimming at Hamilton College. She tried to break it off with this boy countless times, but he was blinded by his love. He moved to upstate New York to be near her and when he couldn’t get a job, decided to settle for a position at Dunkin Donuts. He would work during the day and come over to visit Abby after work. When she first told me this, I thought “wow, that is awesome. Free donuts and coffee delivered to your door.” What I didn’t account for was the fact that the smell from Dunkins lingered on his clothes and would fill her apartment. Soon, she was bathed in the sweet smells of donuts and coffee. Apparently, this is NOT something that you want your apartment to smell like day in and day out. Unfortunately for Abby, she had totally captivated this boy’s heart, which was realized fully when he gave her “the deed to his heart” for her Birthday that year (yeah, I can’t make that kind of stuff up). No matter how much disgust she expressed for his odor (and eventually just for him in general), he wouldn’t go away. He was like a lost puppy.

Thankfully, Abby was finally able to end things with this boy. I am not sure how she did it… He was like a child who had to be told “no” over and over before he fully grasped the concept. I have a theory about this boy, but I will save that for another time… (don’t worry Abby, I won’t embarrass you THAT much) He eventually found a girl (now his wife and mother of his child) who appreciated his unmatched loyalty and devotion. It is worth mentioning though that she didn’t have to deal with his Dunkin Donuts “cologne”… however I don’t think that was the only thing Abby had taken issue with…

Thankfully, my relationship with Dunkins has always been a positive one. And now, we are taking our relationship to the next level. I received this early Birthday present in the mail last week. If this isn’t true friendship, then I don’t know what is. I can’t wait to use it one day on my way to work!

Thank you friends at Dunkin Donuts, for not only remembering my Birthday without the aid of Facebook, but also for the sweet present!

Under Pressure

As many of you know, on Friday I was featured on word press’ main page Freshly Pressed. I had an amazing response and a lot of new visitors to my blog. In the past three days, I received more than 5,000 hits, which is pretty incredible considering it took me five months before I reached that number of hits. It was quite a weekend and a truly surreal experience. Now I am faced with only one problem…

What to write about for my next post.

The pressure is unbelievable. I started having nightmares last night and have spent the entire morning brainstorming ideas… Should I feature a DIY project? Or a new recipe?  Should I write more about the Rockefeller Christmas Tree (it is standing now…)

 Or should I write about tonight’s highly anticipated Glee episode featuring Gwyneth Paltrow?

While all of these would make great blog posts, they didn’t feel “good enough.” I then got the idea to feature some of my fellow bloggers who commented on my post. However, more than 70 people commented over the weekend and I don’t think I have enough time to go through and write-up a summary about each of these wonderful blogs. Although, I am making a point to visit and comment on each of these blogs.

Then I decided that I would feature videos from You Tube that always make me smile.

(This is why I want kids)

 

(This is why I wish life was a musical)

 



(This is why no one fully understands Abby’s and my sense of humor)

 

(This is why I can’t wait to marry Matt!)

 

And while I hope that these videos brought a smile to your face, they still don’t feel like enough. Again, I am faced with the dilemma… how do I follow-up a post the received more than 5,000 hits?

This simple answer is, I don’t. I have come to the realization that I can’t change my blog just because a few more people happened to click-through to my site. If I did that, I would just be focusing on the big things because the little things would never seem good enough. The whole reason I started writing this blog was to keep a positive outlook on life. I can’t stop doing that because of the big things in my life. So while I am extremely excited to have been featured on freshly pressed and I spent the weekend approving comments and tracking my stats, my focus remains the same. I am continuing to focus on the little things in life.

Thank you word press for picking my blog and thank you readers and fellow bloggers for clicking through. I hope you continue to follow along, comment and spread PMA.

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Every year millions of tourists come to New York City to catch a glimpse of the famous Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree and skate a few laps around the world-renowned ice skating rink. The tree gives people a reason to celebrate. It serves as a symbol of hope, a beacon of peace and is the official sign that the holiday season is upon us. This year’s tree arrived in Rockefeller Center this morning and will be raised later today. No matter how hard I try to hold off on celebrating Christmas until Thanksgiving has passed, it is difficult not to be excited by this sight.


(A special thank you to Matt for stopping to take these pictures on his way to work!)

Although the official Christmas tree tradition at Rockefeller Center began in 1933 (the year the 30 Rockefeller Plaza opened),the unofficial tradition began during the Depression-era construction of Rockefeller Center, when workers decorated a small 20 foot balsam fir-tree with strings of cranberries, garlands of paper, and even a few tin cans on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1931. Some accounts have the tree decorated with the tin foil ends of blasting caps. Click here for a photo tribute and history of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree.

Many Rockefeller trees were given to Rockefeller Center by donors.Members of the Gardens Division of Rockefeller Center, scout in a helicopter for the desired tree in areas including Connecticut, Vermont, Ohio, upstate New York, New Jersey, and even Ottawa, Canada. Once a suitable tree is located, a crane supports it while it is cut, and moves it to a custom telescoping trailer that can transport trees up to 125 feet (38 m) tall, although the width of New York City streets passing through Rockefeller Center limits the height of the trees to 110 ft. This year’s tree is  74 feet tall and hails from the town of Mahopac (in Putnam County) which is located approximately 50 miles from Manhattan.  The 75-year-old Norway spruce, is especially meaningful since it comes from the yard of 9/11 first responder and firefighter and was found on September 11th of this year.

Once at the Rockefeller Center, the tree is supported by four guy wire attached at its midpoint, and by a steel spike at its base. Scaffolding is put up around the tree to assist workers in putting up 30,000 lights attached to 5 miles of wiring. The star that has topped the tree since 2004 is 9.5 feet in diameter and weighs 550 pounds and is made out of the famous Swarovski crystals.

This year, the annual Christmas at Rockefeller Center tree lighting celebration will take place on November 30, 2010.

Freedom Isn’t Free

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“To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with lots of pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations.”
– President Woodrow Wilson

Veterans Day (formerly known as Armistice Day) is a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good. The date, November 11th, is significant as it marked the end of World War I.

World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” – officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars” and is now the day when we honor those who served, and are currently serving, our country.

On November 11, 1921, an unidentified American soldier killed in the war was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.; the U.S. Congress had declared the day a legal federal holiday in honor of all those who participated in the war. The Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, is also known as the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and has never been officially named. The Tomb of the Unknowns stands atop a hill overlooking Washington, D.C.

In a time where so much of our attention is focused on the state of our economy, the ever changing political climate and the polarizing of our nation, it is important to remember that we are in a time of war. Men and women are risking their lives, so many have before them, to create a safer and better future for our nation and our world. As a result, military families find themselves adjusting their lifestyle to accommodate these changes. Thankfully, as troops return home, many families are reunited with their loved ones.

I am extremely proud of my Grandfather who was a member of the Army during World War II. Without him and other WWII vets, we would live in a very different world. My cousin is coming to the end of his service with the Marines. After a deployment to Iraq and then to Afghanistan, he has returned home and will be discharged in the spring. I am amazed by his decision to enlist and I am so inspired by his courage and selflessness. In a time of war, to join the military knowing that you will see combat, is truly a patriot act.

Thank you to all of the men and women who have, and are currently serving, our nation.