Category Archives: Our Favorite Things

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

 

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens is one of Pittsburgh’s most beautiful locations. Located in Oakland’s Schenley Park, Phipps offers many environments for visitors to explore—alone or with a tour guide.

Here are some things you can enjoy:

  • Visit one of the facility’s many gardens and plant exhibits, including an orchid collection, palms and desert plants. Statues, glass art, paintings and a variety of other artwork are also displayed throughout the gardens.
  • Attend one of the many events and shows hosted at Phipps throughout the year. The Summer Flower Show exhibit runs through Monday, Oct. 5. This year’s Fall Flower Show, which will showcase chrysanthemums and their importance in Japanese culture, will begin Oct. 17 and run through Nov. 8.
  • Take a class! Phipps offers a variety of programs on gardening, arts and crafts, healthy living, and sustainability for people of all ages and abilities.
  • Grab a bite to eat at the café, which offers organic, local food.

 

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Have you ever been to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens? What is your favorite thing to do there?

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: Lawrenceville

Less than three miles away from downtown, Lawrenceville has quickly become one of the most popular areas of Pittsburgh. With its always-changing atmosphere and its vibrant energy, it is no wonder people have begun to flock its streets.

There is something to do for everyone, with a wide variety of shops and restaurants, like Mid-Atlantic Mercantile or Industry Public House.

You can feel the creative atmosphere of Lawrenceville with art galleries lining the streets and view local artists’ work. There is an event in April called Art All Night where local artists create works all night long while you watch. If you don’t want to just watch the action and want to try your hand at creating something, stop into Paint Monkey or Pinot’s Pallete and make your own masterpiece!

If you are interested in music, the Thunderbird Café always has local or touring musicians stopping in to play a set.  There is also an annual outdoor/indoor walking concert event called R.A.N.T. (Rock All Night Tour) where bands play at different venues in Lawrenceville for 14 hours.

Or, maybe you just want to relax and take in a great cinematic classic at the Row House Cinema where they show a different selection of classic movies every week, chosen around a singular theme.

What are your favorite things to do in Lawrenceville? Let us know in the comments below!

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Our Favorite Super Bowl XLIX Commercials

Super Bowl XLIX is in the books, and though the New England Patriots came out on top, so did a lot of the commercials.

The Yearick-Millea staff has compiled a list of some of our favorites. Here’s a look:

Budweiser’s “Lost Dog”

Lauren: I enjoyed the Budweiser lost puppy commercial – for the way that it evoked emotion. It was obviously pretty cute, too!

Stephanie: A cute puppy works every time.

John: You can’t go wrong with the puppy and the Clydesdales.

Esurance’s “Say My Name”

John: As a “Breaking Bad” fan, I got a big kick out of the Esurance commercial starring Walter White (Bryan Cranston).

Discover’s “Surprise”

Heidi: I’ve watched YouTube videos with screaming goats because they’re so funny! Even though this commercial aired pretty early on in the night, it was definitely my favorite.

Loctite Glue’s “Positive Feelings”

Ian:  I liked it because the last thing I thought I’d see on Super Sunday was a hilarious glue commercial with a catchy beat and fanny packs.

NO MORE’s Domestic Violence PSA

Jay: This is a sensitive subject, but it was very well done.

However, not all commercials–serious or funny–are getting the thumbs up from viewers. Nationwide Insurance’s “Make Safe Happen” spot has received a lot of criticism for being too dark and depressing for the Super Bowl, and some viewers were confused about the insurance company’s intent. What do you think?

In your opinion, what were the best and worst Super Bowl XLIX commercials? Let us know in the comments!

Apple of My Eye: My Favorite Holiday Ad of 2013

They’re as much a part of the holiday season as lights, tinsel and ornaments: a ceaseless barrage of ordinary and less-than-ordinary Christmas commercials that is – thankfully, but only partially – reprieved by treasured classics such as Budweiser’s bell-jangling Clydesdales or (for Pittsburghers like me) Eat ‘n Park’s plucky gold star.

While most of the recent Christmas fare was indeed forgettable, one new holiday commercial had me setting down the remote every time it came on.

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Titled “Misunderstood”  and created by Apple, the spot features a teenager sullenly absorbed in his smartphone as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and siblings swirl around him in tumults of joys.  The plot twists cleverly and movingly when, on Christmas morning, the brooding loner shatters the archetype, commandeering the television to showcase a heart-tugging family video he has quietly been composing on his iPhone all along.

Ray Werner, the creative genius behind Werner Chepelsky & Partners, a classic Pittsburgh ad agency in its own right, recently told the Pittsburgh Business Times that great advertising “hits a nerve.  It makes you laugh or suck in your breath, or feel something and lets you in on the joke without taking you by the hand like a child.”

“Misunderstood” did that for me.  While the commercial likely won’t be shown beyond last Christmas, it will remain a classic in my mind because it conveyed all the powerful emotions that Mr. Werner said good ads should, while just as eloquently reinforcing Apple’s legendary brand.

Did you see any remarkable ads this holiday season?  Did “Misunderstood” work for you, or did it reinforce the idea that many of us have become enslaved to our cell phones and tablets, even as we should be celebrating the holidays with our families? Please comment. We’d love to hear what you think…

Favorite Brands on Twitter

Twitter can be a tricky for brands, finding what content suits your audience the best takes time, planning and commitment to a solid strategy.

We think these brands exemplify using Twitter perfectly; some are always on top of current events, and some are just down right hilarious, but all three know what appeals to their audience. So without further ado, some of our favorite brands on Twitter:

Oreo
They must have one killer graphic design team because they are constantly tweeting new photos based on current events with the famous cookie added in.

The newest addition to this Twitter strategy is their use of Vine, which they used on Halloween to create #OreoHorrorStories, parodies of famous horror movies with Oreos as the star – with titles such as “The Spilling” and “Night of the Bitten Cookie.”

But the one tweet that perfectly illustrates their use of current events is this one from the Super Bowl this past year:

Image via Twitter

Image via Twitter

Taco Bell and Old Spice
Both of these brands use wit and humor to reach their primarily male-dominated, twenty-something audiences. This interaction between the two accounts is a great example of using humor in a way that appeals to your audience:

Image via BuzzFeed

Image via BuzzFeed

 

Remember, what works for one brand does not necessarily work for the other. The best way to tackle Twitter is to think about who makes up your audience and why you are tweeting to engage them, then go from there and plan your strategy. It takes patience and commitment but it can pay off in a big way for your brand.

Our Favorite Pittsburgh Things: The Pittsburgh Pirates

Cooler weather in Pittsburgh means a couple of things – Football season has begun and hockey (and the snow, yuck) are right around the corner. This year, however, the fall-like temps seem to be bringing something else with them.

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Click for image source.

Renewed faith in our Pittsburgh Pirates.

For the last 20 years, Pittsburgh sports fans have shared the burden of a sub-.500 baseball team. But that all changed on Monday night when, for the first time since 1992, the Pirates secured win number 82 in Arlington, TX in a 1-0 shutout against the Texas Rangers.

While fall always brings some of our favorite things to the Steel City, this year it’s just a little bit more special. Since getting that elusive 82nd victory, the Pirates have gone on to snag wins 83, 84 and 85 in a four-game winning streak – They’ve secured a winning season and just nine more Ws put them into the playoffs. They arrived back at PNC Park last night to a standing ovation and an 11-game stretch on their home diamond. A fairy tale in the making.

So enjoy the chilly evenings on deck this weekend and, while you’re at it, throw on your Buccos hoodie and head down to the North Shore to catch some of the magic that the cooler weather has brought with it this year.

Let’s go Bucs!