Archive for September, 2009

September 24th, 2009

Another week of solitude

I’m once again alone at home. Sanna and boys are in Taivalkoski spending some quality time with grandparents. And I’m working like a dog here. Truth told, Sanna is working this week, too.

Speaking of the week, it has been one of the busiest during this fall. Most of my time has been spent in meetings, with documents, and in catching various items that have been left unattended for a while. The amount of work seems not to decrease, but at least I’ve got some free time to write here and complain about it…

The family comes back home on Sunday afternoon, so there should be plenty of time during the weekend to do the chores, work somewhat, read a book or two, and get bored. Sounds like a plan.

Inexpensive shoes

Timberland’s outlet in Woodbury Common Premium Outlets has been simply the best and also most inexpensive store in my life so far for buying outdoor shoes. Most of the space in the big outlet displays shoes, all kinds of them — all produced by Timberland, of course.

I’m not sure whether there was some huge clearance sale going on, but during our visit we purchased several pairs of shoes with low, low prices. For example, a pair of Timberland’s iconic yellow outdoor shoes for children cost $19.99. Plus taxes, of course. But anyhow, that is outrageously cheap. And there’s nothing wrong with the shoes, they are still in good shape after a lot of wear. We ended up buying two sizes. All sizes were available — which is usually rare in outlet shops.

The store sells also other items, but we found them quite uninspiring after spending half an hour with the shoe selection.

www.timberland.com, 498 Red Apple Court, suite #460, Central Valley, NY, USA, +1 845 928 4624

Urban and young

French Connection has a huge store in heart of SoHo on West Broadway. The two-level store has a plethora of stuff, mainly clothes, but also accessories, shoes and all kind of small stuff. The style is urban and young — most clothes fit you when you are a city dweller, between 20 and 30. They do sell also some more muted clothing, so chances are that you can find something worth buying while not being in the previously mentioned market segment. Their selection of jeans is also good.

The prices are quite okay compared to the stores on the area, but you can get similar kind of stuff much cheaper from H&M and Zara. The selection is between the price and the brand or the quality.

www.frenchconnection.com, 435 West Broadway, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 219 1197

September 14th, 2009

Visited Amsterdam

It has been once again a while that I’ve been updated anything here. I’ve been focusing on a huge development project at Exove, and been burning the midnight oil quite a lot recently.

Anyhow, I managed to chip a few days from my hectic schedules to a trip to Amsterdam. This time, no family around, just Sanna. Such a peaceful experience.

We flew there on Saturday morning (got really cheap tickets compared to flying on Friday), and came back on Monday evening. The Saturday flight took off 9:05 (or something), so for once it was nice to travel after sleeping a full night. Flying with KLM seems to be hassle-free, and we were in the town pretty fast. I coded during the flight — has not happened for a while — and got pretty far, surprising even myself. To be honest, no other soul was interested in my advances with PHP code.

We had a smallish room in a nice design oriented hotel a few kilometers south from the central station, easily accessible by trams. And by walking, we probably walked at least once a day to the city centre and back. The hotel was located in a shabby area, but was in top-notch condition inside. The price included free wifi and an excellent breakfast with really delicious croissants and a lot of other good food, too.

Saturday and Sunday was going around the town for various reasons. We had a bike rent hotel package, so on Sunday we rode local bikes for the best part of the day. They are really handy getting you from location A to location B in the city. Amsterdam is very nice place for biking as it is practically flat, and the Dutch go everywhere with their bikes. There were more bikes than cars, which is always nice.

I managed to find a pair of Boss sneakers that I’ve been looking for for some time now. First, I bought light coloured pair from the local department store, de Bijenkorf, despite Sanna being against them. Immediately after that we found a Boss store that had them in black. Fortunately, de Bijenkorf was kindly enough to refund the shoes with no questions asked, and I could lay my hands to the better looking pair. Would there be no refunds, I’d probably ended up with two pairs. For some reason, Boss sneakers are not that expensive — compared to the general image of the brand.

Amsterdam is really strong in shoes and boots. There are plethora of shoe shops, and the prices are decent. We ended up buying a pair for every member of the family; three pairs of sneakers, and one pair of boots (for Sanna) during the weekend.

Monday was more quiet day due to business reasons. Sanna bought a pair of fancy Prada boots, otherwise nothing worth reporting. We left the city around three o’clock, and had an eventless trip back home.

Huge and luxurious department store

Bloomingdales is a huge shopping complex for a department store, located a few blocks away from the busiest hustle-bustle of New York’s main shopping streets. It is worth the detour, as it conveniently enough collects a lot of interesting brands and items under a single roof.

All normal areas of life are covered, from infant clothing and toys to suits and dresses that can be worn in funerals. I’ve personally liked their luggage department, and have bought a lot of suitcases to carry everything that I’ve bought with me.

If you are a foreigner, consider popping over to their visitor services desk for a lot of help and hotel delivery. If you spend enough in the store, they will bribe you with a small gift — that have generally been quite usable, especially the bags that we still use when buying groceries.

www.bloomingdales.com, 59th and Lexington, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 705 2000

Midtown food oasis

Ernest Klein & Company food supermarket is a refreshingly well-stocked place to buy food among a number of shoddy convenience stores and mini-markets. They have a full selection of both fresh and packed food, including a sizable section for frozen foods.

For hotel dwellers, they have a good deli and prepared food counter that has soups, salads, and sandwiches. The list of available drinks, but alcoholic and non-alcoholic, is excellent. Also freshly packed fruits are a good option, especially as a healthy snack. The store is also a good starting point for a picnic in the Central Park.

www.ernestklein.net, 1366 6th Avenue, New York, NY, USA, +1 212 245 7722