Friday, February 25, 2011

My love for the Shamrock Shake!

Good Friday Morning!

Dan Wells writing, I hope this note finds you well and in good spirits!

March certainly brings many changes, like daylight saving time, the first day of spring, and bars around the country dyeing their beers green in preparation for St Patty's Day. (my favorite holiday)

AND.....(drum roll please) in McDonald's outposts across the land, one little menu change sparks a fury that only nostalgia could produce.

I'm talking about the annual appearance of the Shamrock Shake, a minty-green beverage that's developed a cult following even bigger than the McRib's. (Rob loves these)

These shakes, as you can imagine are popping up all over the country, to the delight-and sometimes the disappointment-of customers, who can't get them.

I mentioned the Shamrock Shake to a couple of my coworkers they too remembered childhood sips.

The shake has gotten harder to come by since its 1970 inception, but the past few years have seen a resurgence to meet the demand of the masses, who've started online petitions, sent angry emails to corporate headquarters, and even started a Web site devoted to tracking Shamrock appearances.

Uncle O'Grimacey was the Irish uncle of Grimace, a lovable goof from the McDonaldland era. He's responsible for bringing Shamrock Shakes from Ireland to the United States and Canada every March, but since the 1990s he's been falling behind (and fallen out of existence, ad-wise).

The shakes started appearing only in select markets; for example, they were 86-ed from Cincinnati for a while, supposedly because of low demand. But, as was the case with the McRib, removing them from menus only made people want them more. Thanks to public outcry, the shakes are making a bigger comeback these days-and with a fancy makeover to boot.

According to USA Today, some McDonald's locations are topping shakes with whipped cream and a cherry. Others have switched from paper cups to the plastic cups they serve coffee drinks in.

At this hour, I am now embarking on an emotional roller coaster to locate Shamrock Shakes , here in the Tri-state. Let me know if you find it, and HAPPY ST PATRICK'S DAY...EARLY!

Dan Wells

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Happy New Year!

"Mommy, those dragons won't come over here, will they?"

Hi, it's Sheila, and my family reveled in another culture a few nights ago. The Chinese New Year just wrapped up, and our family celebrated with the Wong family at Oriental Wok.

Each year, owners Mike and Helen Wong and their daughters Angela and Susanna, welcome people to their landmark restaurant to enjoy the culture of their homeland. Our special evening started with a video from Hong Kong's 2011 fireworks display and ended with Fort Mitchell fire crackers.

In between, the Wong's served up a 10-course dinner, as traditional as you can get. The food was amazing. My little guy Eric loved the crispy chicken, grabbing the legs off the large platter, and he really liked the Chicken Bau encased in a little bun. We enjoyed delight after delight like West Lake Soup, Rainbow Steak Tenderloin, and "Dragon" Lobster over Spinach. We even tried a Chinese delicacy -- chicken feet. Surprising how much meat a chicken has on its foot.

We also made some new friends at our table. Caroline and Eric had their three children with them. The kids got stickers and coloring books, along with kits to make bracelets, but their favorite part was the entertainment. Since the Chinese call 2011 the Year of the Rabbit, the kids had a chance to pet some baby rabbits from the Tewes Farm.

A quick fashion show displayed some traditional Chinese garments (that's my daughter Katie with the umbrella). My son Eric's remark about the dragons came during the Hua Xia Chinese Dance Troupe's Northern Imperial Lion Dance. He was fascinated, but he was a bit nervous until he realized there were people under those big masks. We also enjoyed the traditional fan and umbrella dances, and young violinists from the Beijing Opera performed too.

You are probably familiar with the story of Mike Wong travelling from his homeland in China to America back in the 70's. He's had a very successful life and career here, and the Chinese New Year party at Oriental Wok seems like his gift to his neighbors in Northern Kentucky.
The Chinese consider the Rabbit to be one of the luckiest signs, and I feel lucky my family got to enjoy this gift from Mike and Helen and their lovely family.

Gong Hay Faht Choy! Happy Chinese New Year!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Kentucky Wildcats

I made it down to Rupp Arena over the weekend.

Hello everyone. Rob here.

Even though I have been to UK many times in the past for football games, this was my first trip to Rupp Arena. The men's basketball team was taking on South Carolina.

We arrived in Lexington early afternoon for a 4 o'clock game. The first thing my producer and UK alum told me to do was go buy a blue shirt. I actually bought a shirt for half price, $9 at Hands On Originals. The first thing I noticed about Rupp Arena is that it is huge. Wikipedia says with an official capacity of nearly 24,000, it is the largest arena in the country specifically built for basketball. It opened in 1976, a little more than a year before the death of Adolph Rupp. In the second half the cheerleaders lead fans in the Kentucky cheer, I guess you would call it. It happens during the first time out in the second half. The cheerleader actually spell out K-E-N-T-U-C-K while lying on the hardwood. The "Y" is always someone famous. Magic Johnson, Ashley Judd and Lebron James have served as the "Y" in the past. Saturday it was Tim Masthay. He's the UK alum who is not a punter with Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers. My trip to Rupp was awesome. Hopefully not my last. Oh, by the way UK killed South Carolina. I called and told my friend and South Carolina alum Trey, that his team was getting slammed. Never heard back. One more thing. Try a slice at GoodFella's Pizza. Fantastic. Open until 3AM

Monday, February 21, 2011

Heart Ball, Staying Alive

Good Morning Everyone, Frank Marzullo here ... Did you know that heart disease and stroke are the No. 1 and No. 4 causes of death in the country? The American Heart Association has been on a mission for more than 85 years to wipe out heart disease and this weekend that fight continued. The American Heart Association held it's 18th annual Heart Ball at the Hilton Cincinnati Netherland Plaza Hotel. Over 400 people attended one of our city's premier social events of the season. For the second year in a row I was honored to host the event with my partner Katy Morgan. The theme of the evening brought usback into the 70's as disco and "Staying Alive" filled the room. It is fitting however, the theme was "Staying Alive". This year CPR celebrated 50 years of saving lives. Did you know that old 1977 Bee Gees hit could save someone’s life? Here’s why: that song has 103 beats per minute, a perfect number to maintain, and retain, the best rhythm for performing CPR. This tip helps rescuers keep the proper rate while doing CPR and it can help you too. Going too slow doesn't generate enough blood flow, and going too fast doesn't allow the heart to fill properly between compressions. Humming along with the Bee Gees is one way to stay on track. The evening was followed by the Heart Ball after party in the Hall of Mirrors at the Hilton. As co-chair of the Young Hearts Society, our goal is to continue to bring awareness of our countries number one killer, and to engage our cities young people in the cause. The dancing and fun continued into the early morning hours and fun was had by all.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Good Weather Is Good for YOU!

Good Friday Morning...Dan Wells writing!

I hope this note finds you well in good spirits! If you're like me you love this warm weather and I'm learning this morning our "spring like" weather is actually good for you!

According to Science Daily -- Get out -- for at least 30 minutes. The positive impact warm, sunny weather can have on mental health and mood are real, according to new University of Michigan research.

Apparently lingering outside when spring arrives can be especially beneficial, with pleasant weather improving mood, memory and broadening cognitive style (openness to new information and creative thoughts) as time spent outside increased, researchers found.

Hotter weather during the summer, however, lowered mood levels and the effect of pleasant weather was far less noticeable in other seasons.

"Being outside in pleasant weather really offers a way to re-set your mind-set,'' said Matthew Keller, the U-M post-doctoral researcher who led the psychology study. "Everyone thinks weather affects mood but the biggest tests of this theory in 2000 found no relationship, so we went back and found there are two important variables: how much time you spend outside and what the season is. If you go from winter to spring and spend enough time outside, there's a noticeable change."

A set of three studies involved more than 600 participants from throughout the United States. In one study conducted during the spring in Ann Arbor, participants who were randomly assigned to be outdoors during warm and sunny days showed improved mood and memory compared to participants who were outside when the weather was not pleasant and compared to participants who spent the time inside.

The impact of weather on mood and cognition has been difficult to demonstrate because people in industrialized countries, on average, spend 93 percent of their time indoors, making them largely disconnected from the impact of changing weather outside.

Get this, most people feel a little more blue in the winter and better in the spring, with the most extreme example being among those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a recurrent depression with typical onset during the fall or winter. Previous research has found a connection between hot weather and violent behavior, and sunnier weather improving stock performance.

The researchers also found the optimal temperature for mood for most Americans is 72 degrees, about room temperature, with mood decreasing if temperatures became significantly higher or lower. There were regional differences, however, with mood peaking at 65 degrees in Michigan and 86 degrees in considerably warmer Texas.

For weather to improve mood, subjects needed to spend at least 30 minutes outside in warm, sunny weather. Contrary to their initial expectations, researchers found that spending time indoors when the weather outside was pleasant actually decreased mood and narrowed cognitive style. They suspected this was perhaps because people resent being cooped-up indoors when weather becomes better in the spring or perhaps because improved weather can make normal indoor activities feel boring or irritating.

Happy Friday and Cheers to good weather!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Happy Hour For A Cause

Katy here… Good Morning! This morning I wanted to shine the spotlight on one of our morning producers, who will be hosting a happy hour tomorrow for a great cause. Our fabulous Fox19 Morning Xtra producer, Ashely Whittle, puts on a great show every morning from 9-10am. Now she’s been nominated for Cincinnati’s Finest Young Professionals in the community, and is looking to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. For those who may not know, Cystic Fibrosis is a devastating genetic disease that affects the lungs and digestive system. More than ten million Americans are symptomless carriers of the CF gene. Advances continue to be made in finding a cure, so Ashley is now asking everyone to help her reach her goal of raising $2,500. Tomorrow you can help her reach that goal by coming out to Pavilion in Mt. Adams. She’ll host a happy hour that starts at 7pm and lasts until 10pm. $10 donation at the door gets you a variety of drink specials. Come on out to support a great cause. If you can’t make it, you can always head to this link to donate online. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Little Things In Life

I gave myself a little birthday gift. I got my nails done.

Sheila here.

It may not sound like much, but I haven't worn nail polish for nearly four years.

A couple of weeks after we brought my son Eric home from the hospital, my daughter Katie, who was 13 at the time, remarked, "You have no life anymore!"

She wasn't EXACTLY right. I just didn't have the SAME life anymore. None of us did. If you have kids, you know why. The first months of having a baby mean giving up life as you know it. All of your time is spent taking care of a NEW life, giving up things like time with friends, trips out of town, and yes, getting your nails done.

Sure, I could've found time during the last three and a half years to go get a manicure, but I didn't really want to. I don't like to give up precious moments with my family, and not a day goes by when I think that Eric won't be a little guy like this for very long. In the blink of an eye, Katie grew into a young woman of 17 years. Instead of indulging myself in little things like getting my nails done, I have focused on other little things like watching my kids take their first steps, learn to ride a bike, playing on the floor with Woody and Buzz, and now in Katie's case, just sitting in the kitchen and catching up on the drama at school.

But a few weeks ago, I went to the salon and got a french manicure for an event, and now I am hooked on this little luxury. I find I can fit it in while Eric is napping, and it really does feel like I am being pampered to sit in the chair, clear my mind, and just enjoy the hand massage and polish.

It's a little thing, but the little things are what make me truly happy.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sheila's Birthday

Today is Sheila's birthday.

Hello everyone. Rob here.

Today is Sheila's birthday. I don't have the best memory, and Sheila's family must be aware. In fact late last week, Sheila's daughter reminded me. Truthfully, I knew her birthday was February near the middle of the month. However, the exact day escaped me. My family and friends know that I am the gift card king. I love buying them. I love getting them. Some people say gift cards aren't personal enough. I say, "BALONEY." You can find gift cards for all sorts of stores, restaurants, even to movie theaters. I discovered during Christmas, that Kroger is the best place to buy them. They are all in one spot. There's no running from store to store. It is truly one stop shopping. The small gift bags with tissue paper can be bought from the very same rack. The special bonus I discovered this morning, double gas points. I now have 525 points. With gas hovering at $3 bucks a gallon, it's a nice gift. A win for Sheila and a win for me. I was also able to do some grocery shopping.

Happy birthday Sheila.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Marzullo Here...So last week as we were forecasting highs in the teens I decided to not shave until we hit 55 degrees, well guess what we hit it on Sunday. Yep, 57 degrees was the official high yesterday out at CVG. It only took a week of not shaving but even just 7 days and I am already itching. Now I have had mAdd Imageany people on facebook tell me that it is way to soon and I should change it to 60 or 70 degrees! I look at it this way, it warmed up because I decided not to shave, so you can thank my beard for the warm up! We did not hit 55 degrees until the first week of March last year, in fact this time last year we were in the middle of a cold snap. So stay tuned at 7:30am get ready for ground breaking television as I will shave LIVE on the air. I am a little nervous that I will cut myself so I may have little tissue pieces on my face by 8am! Get ready for 60 degrees by later this week.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Day Ideas!

Good Friday Morning....

I hope this note finds you guys well and in good spirits!

Today in my blog it's all about Valentines Day preps!

Whether you're looking for the perfect roses, the most decadent dessert, or just a one-of-a-kind way to say "I love you," flowers, cards, gifts, and sweet treats, it's all out there, but do you want to celebrate Valentine's Day in a different way?

If so I think I have some answers.

We've collected a bunch of unique ideas - special ways to show how much you care about your spouse, family members and friends you cherish.

Check it out and Happy Valentines Day!

- Heart-Felt Valentine's Meal

Make up a batch of heart-shaped pancakes for a Valentine's breakfast or brunch. Just pour the batter in the frying pan in a free-form heart shape and serve with strawberries and whipped cream.

- Balloon Goodies

Insert candy surprises into balloons before inflating them - add a folded-up Valentine's message then inflate each balloon. Tie with a red ribbon and attach to your loved one's chair for them to find Valentine's morning.

- Family Affair

Have the kids help you prepare red Jello with cinnamon hearts mixed in, mashed potatoes colored with pink food coloring, heart-shaped cookies and any other creative ways to present your Valentine's Day meal.

- The Gift of Time

Give a hand-made coupon for some work you can do to free-up some time for your spouse or parent. For example, a coupon good for cleaning Dad's garage or for a full-house vacuuming for your wife. How about a coupon for your best friend - you can walk her dog or baby sit one evening.

- Coupon Day

Each of you can create individual notes, say 4 or 6 each, to describe a special surprise - a back rub, a special meal, etc. - fold up the notes and toss them into a jar. You can take turns having fun plucking a coupon from the jar and doing what it says.

-Less Fortunate

Visit a hospital or chronic care home to pass out small Valentine surprises to the residents. They will enjoy the care and attention from something so unexpected.

-Valentine Sharing

Plan some community work - help out at the local shelter, volunteer at your local church, work with other volunteers to spread some caring amongst your community.

Anyway, I hope this is food for thought as the big "love" holiday approaches!

Have a great weekend - Dan

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Wedding Planning

“Going to the chapel, and we’re gonna get married..” That’s the song that’s been in my head lately… Katy here, good morning! After recently getting engaged, I’ve walked into the wonderful world of wedding planning. It’s funny, though, because I’ve never been “into” weddings before. While my other girlfriends were picking out their wedding dress at age 10, I was in the backyard throwing a baseball around. But now that it’s happening, I’m really into it!! I never realized how big the wedding industry has become. It’s not just about the dress anymore. From cake to flowers, bands, and reception sites, it’s a little overwhelming at first. But I’m plugging through, checking items off my “to do” list one at a time. Ceremony site, Reception site, dress, photographer, band… check! I’m well on my way, but The Knot reminds me I still have 456 items left on my to do list. October will be here before I know it. Mostly importantly, though, I can’t wait to be married to my best friend, Tom (everyone together) Awww! But really. It’s going to be an exciting year! Drop me an email if you have any wedding planning suggestions!

Wedding Planning

“Going to the chapel, and we’re gonna get married..”

That’s the song that’s been in my head lately… Katy here, good morning!

After recently getting engaged, I’ve walked into the wonderful world of wedding planning. It’s funny, though, because I’ve never been “into” weddings before. While my other girlfriends were picking out their wedding dress at age 10, I was in the backyard throwing a baseball around. But now that it’s happening, I’m really into it!! I never realized how big the wedding industry has become. It’s not just about the dress anymore. From cake to flowers, bands, and reception sites, it’s a little overwhelming at first. But I’m plugging through, checking items off my “to do” list one at a time. Ceremony site, Reception site, dress, photographer, band… check! I’m well on my way, but The Knot reminds me I still have 456 items left on my to do list. October will be here before I know it.

Mostly importantly, though, I can’t wait to be married to my best friend, Tom (everyone together) Awww! But really. It’s going to be an exciting year! Drop me an email if you have any wedding planning suggestions!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Opening Day Is 50 Days Away!

Just 50 days until Opening Day!

Hi, it's Sheila, and I don't know about you, but I can't wait!
Our Cincinnati Reds and the folks behind the Findlay Market Opening Day parade are getting everything ready for Cincinnati's unofficial holiday.

It promises to be more exciting than ever, and this year, Opening Day in Cincinnati is making history. For the first time, we'll welcome our Reds to the field on a Thursday! Major League Baseball threw Cincinnati a bit of a curve ball, but our Reds stepped up to the plate, and Findlay Market is right there with 'em.

There are a few events leading up to the 92nd annual Opening Day parade, like an ice cream social at the market on Mar. 26.

And right now at the parade website, you can read some Opening Day memories. Reds CEO Bob Castellini was there to see Hank Aaron hit his 714th home run in Cincinnati back in 1974, and he shares the story. I wrote some of my memories too.

Opening Day is second only to Christmas in my book, and I can't wait to see our Division Champion Reds again! Find out more about the parade, the memories, and more by logging onto:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Grocery Shopping

I stop by Kroger almost everyday before work.

Hey everyone. Rob here.

Most people think it's crazy that I stop by Kroger before work. First because it's so early. Before work for me is around 3 a.m. They also think it's crazy because of the frequency. I stop by Kroger just about everyday. There are very few people there. Usually just employees maybe a few police officers from Newport and Fort Thomas. I can take my time and figure out what I want to eat for the morning. First stop is produce. Sometimes I get grapefruit. Maybe some cut up pineapple. This morning I settled on a honeycrisp apple. Now on to protein. I chose Faye brand greek yogurt. (read my earlier blog about why I am a fan.) I also bought some oat bran which is a nice alternative to oatmeal which I won't eat. Oat bran is closer to Cream of Wheat, but healthier. Working the Fox19 morning news is fun but it's long. The only time to eat is on set or between commercial breaks. My early morning stop at Kroger is the best way to nourish myself through the show in a healthy way. It may seem crazy, but early grocery shopping is a nice way to ease into my day.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Now This Is Snow ...

Good Morning Everyone....Did you have a super SUPER BOWL weekend ? What a game, right? Many sleepy eyes I am sure this morning but way to go Packers!! So I wanted to show you a picture of some big time snow and it's just not one snow event. Now do not get me wrong, we have had our share of snow this year, just over 30 inches when we average about 23 inches a season. However, up at my parents house right now in Cleveland a good 15 inches of snow pack is on the ground, covering basically mailboxes and working up the trunks of trees. Unlike here in the Tri-State when snow melts and we see grass from time to time, you can tell from this picture you really do not see the grass until Spring when you head north. Mr. Benson was exhausted from running in it, funny part is there was a tad of ice on the surface of the snow and it made it more of a hard surface so he did not sink into the snow. He ran so much that he was fast asleep Saturday night.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Is it Groundhog Day again?

Good Friday Morning! I hope this note finds you well and in good spirits!

If you missed it, Wednesday was Groundhog Day!

Yes, I'm from Pennsylvania so I have to blog about my good friend... Punxsutawney Phil! To the relief of the winter-weary, the world's most famous groundhog predicted an early spring. (right now I'm cheering while I write this)

Punxsutawney Phil emerged just after dawn on Groundhog Day to make his 125th annual weather forecast.

Now, here's the back-story, Phil has seen his shadow 98 times and hasn't seen it just 16 times since 1887. With that said let's hope he's right!

If you guys don't know the celebration takes place on Gobbler's Knob, a tiny hill in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania a borough of about 6,100 residents some 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. (it's actually a really cool little town, if you've never been)

The celebration is rooted in a German superstition that says if a hibernating animal casts a shadow on Feb. 2, the Christian holiday of Candlemas, winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow was seen, legend said spring would come early.

Zoological data suggests that groundhogs (like Phil) have a average lifespan of 10 years in captivity and 6 years in the wild, with a maximum lifespan of 14 years in captivity documented.

Punxsutawney Phil fans say that there is only one Phil (all the other groundhog weathermen are impostors), also every summer, Phil is fed a sip of the mysterious Groundhog Punch, which magically lengthens his life for seven years. This is done by Inner Circle members of the Groundhog Club. According to the Groundhog Club, Phil, after making the prediction, speaks to the Club President in "Groundhogese", which only the Inner Circle appear to understand, and then his prediction is translated for the entire world.

The celebration usually draws 10,000 to 15,000 spectators when it falls on a weekday. I've been to the event twice and can say it's truly a blast, so if you’re in the "good ole" Keystone State on February 2nd...check it out!



Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Banh mi

Bahn mi is a sandwich which combines French and Vietnamese cuisine.

Hey everyone. Rob here. It is one of my favorite sandwiches, and now I have a new option to get them. Pho Lang Thang is a relatively new restaurant at Finlay Market. It serves all kinds of Vietnamese food, but I've only ordered the bahn mi. The sandwich is a product of French colonialism in Indochina. It combines French ingredients like baguettes, pate and mayonnaise with native Vietnamese ingredients like cilantro, hot peppers, fish sauce and pickled carrots. I usually order it without the pate though. The sandwich is made of some type of grilled marinated meat (I get pork) or tofu. Ton top of that there's a huge helping of crunchy cucumber, carrots and daikon (Japanese white radish). It is delicious. Try it the next time you're at Findlay market

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nothing Says Love Like Soup

There's nothing better when you're sick than a hot bowl of soup.

Hi, it's Sheila, and my daughter Katie was home sick from school yesterday, so I cooked an extra large pot of one of my favorites, Rita Heikenfeld's Chill Chasing Vegetable Soup.

I like to make a double batch and put some in the freezer or share it with friends. It filled up my largest soup pot.
The recipe follows. I don't use tofu, but sometimes I make a vegetarian version with vegetable (no meat) broth. And I use barley instead of bulgur wheat, but you can cook up your own variation. It's fun to try different things. Bon appetit!

Rita Heikenfeld's Chill Chasing Vegetable Soup

1 pound very lean ground chuck or round
1 generous cup chopped onion
1 tsp. garlic
1 jar chunky style pasta sauce (19-28 oz.)
3 cans low sodium beef broth
1 can chopped tomatoes and chilies or 1 can diced tomatoes & 1-2 chopped jalapenos
1 bag frozen soup vegetables (16 oz.)
1 box frozen mixed vegetables (10 oz.)
1 can drained beans (I used black beans)
1/4 cup bulgur wheat
a few handfuls of fresh greens (like spinach)
a few chunks of extra firm tofu
low fat cheddar or parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS: Saute meat, onions, and garlic. Drain fat. Thaw frozen vegetables. Add remaining ingredients, except spinach and cheese. Bring to boil. Lower to simmer for 15 minutes or until vegetables tenderize. Toss in greens and cook one minute. Garnish with cheese.