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A Kid Friendly Visit to the HBH .@HofbrauhausPitt

Pittsburgh’s Hofbrauhaus (yes, a sister outpost of the Munich original) has been a happy hour hot spot since it’s opening.  It’s plenty loud, it’s got plenty of beer, and it’s cleaner than Hemingways, so what’s not to like?  Mr. Beez loves Oktoberfest and the HBH.  I typically run lukewarm with it.  I won’t refuse to go there, but it’s not where we’re going when it’s my turn to pick.

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We had a groupon to burn there (because I am a sucker and buy every single groupon that comes on sale), and since it is not valid for Saturday use, we decided to try it out on a weeknight.  Feeling adventurous, or perhaps foolish, or perhaps tired and just wanting someone else to cook our dinners, we strolled in around 6pm on a Monday.  Who would have thought that early weeknight dinner at the HBH is actually kid friendly?  Not me. It was a pleasant surprise.

Pretzel at the HBH

Baby Beez loved the oompah music and the pretzels. She loves pretzels.  Since patrons are encouraged to sing and dance and stand on benches, it was a perfect setting for a toddler.  She sang around loudly and dancy-danced and didn’t disturb a soul, since everyone was dancing along.

Mr. Beez ordered a schnitzel dish and was very happy with it.  The HBH, unsurprisingly, offers Bavarian-type fare.  Of the three German restaurants I’ve been to in Pittsburgh (HBH, Max’s Allegheny Tavern, and Penn Brewery), HBH is my least favorite of the three.  The food isn’t bad, but I think most people are really there to enjoy the atmosphere.

Schnitzel

I forewent the meat-and-potatoes Bavarian offerings and instead opted for a (meat topped) steak salad.  Virtually unheard of in Pittsburgh, this steak salad actually did not come smothered in fries.  This suited me very well because I actually did not want french fries.  The veggies were fresh and the salad generous.  It was a good meal.

Baby Beez was not the only little one in the dining room that night.  The HBH is apparently a popular place (on weekday evenings) for families with young children.  Everyone loves the fun and festivity! While I’ll only visit the HBH on a Friday or Saturday with exclusively grown up friends, it was a fun place for our family during the off hours.


Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh on Urbanspoon

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Marissa Mayer and the Yahoo! Culture Change

I can’t stand Marissa Mayer’s smug little face, which fueled my immediate outrage at her unexpected kibosh on working remotely at Yahoo! (read more about my disdain for her in my earlier post about her squandered opportunity to set a good example for maternity leave policies for working women)

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After a few hours of, you know, working and minding my own business, my disgust at this news somewhat subsided.  I learned that there was a bit more to the situation than the earliest reactionary headlines suggested.  In particular, Yahoo!’s policy change is designed to target employees who have been working solely from home, as opposed to working most of the time in an office environment, but with the flexibility to work from home when needed for family or personal reasons.

As much as I love to hate on Marissa, I can get behind spending the bulk of work time in an office environment when your job duties involve creativity and collaboration.  So it appears that the policy change is not so much about eliminating flexibility options for working families, as to change the work culture of the company.  I only hope that Yahoo! doesn’t eliminate the potential for occasional telecommuting when the need arises.  Because that would be a true jerk move.

Andlthough I haven’t seen nearly as much confirmation on this, I did hear whispers that she has also eliminated flex schedules.  That, my friends, I see as an unnecessary thumb-of-the-nose to working parents.  If true, elimination of flex time is inexcusable.  That deserves true scorn.

Working parents and their supporters so frequently demand, and praise, “flexibility” in the workplace.  But “flexibility” is so ill defined as to practically be meaningless. Similarly with “support” for working families.  We want the work environment to change to “support” working families, but what does that mean?

To me, a “supportive” work environment for working families means:

-The flexibility to work remotely when the need arises.

-Paid parental leave for a reasonable duration at the birth/adoption of a child.

-A workplace culture that trusts you to be a professional and accomplish your work (whether it’s at 3pm or 2am), without hovering over you and tying you to outdated notions of face time.

-Most importantly, a culture of flexibility. That means coworkers and superiors accepting that maybe you’ll be out for an afternoon here or there or sometimes you have to unexpectedly deal with illness or whatever, but not penalizing you for that.

-In an ideal world, employers would offer stopgap “Get Well” childcare.  Heck, it doesn’t even have to be paid for by the employer. I’d be happy to pay for it out of pocket. Just if the employer could have a service in place to provide emergency childcare when your kid’s got the flu but you’ve got a deposition that took four reschedulings to find a date where eight attorneys could all show up.

-A change in perspective that these flexible measures are not just for parents/kids.  Everyone can benefit from this kind of supportive work environment.  Everyone needs a little flexibility, whether it’s to care for a child, a parent, your beloved Fido, or a mental health break for yourself.  Flexibility is not a women’s issue, it’s an everybody issue, and it can benefit everybody.

What do workplace “flexibility” and “support” mean for you?

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The Attorney at Large’s Guide to Practicing Law: Volume I

The Attorney at Large has been a steady presence on my working-mom-lawyer blogroll for a while. Although she has traded in her traditional law practice for writing/editing/parenting, her observations in The Attorney at Large’s Guide to Practicing Law: Volume I are dead on.

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This is a helpful read for any newly-minted attorney.  I read the whole book in about 2 hours.  It was quick and light to read. The AAL has plenty of helpful insights about client relations and professionalism.  Although the first couple rocky years of practice are (finally) a memory for me, I would have been extremely comforted in knowing I was not alone in feeling lost, overwhelmed and stressed.

The AAL’s tips on professionalism were extremely helpful.  She wisely guides the reader through the often tricky balance between client’s expectations of assertiveness, zealous advocacy on behalf of your client and courtesies towards opposing counsel whom you’ll be working with time and time again.  That’s something you really have to learn through experience, but some helpful pointers may have made that road a little less bumpy along the way.

The book is even priced with starving new lawyers in mind, you can download it for $2.99, or if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can borrow it for free from the Kindle Lending Library.

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A Romantic Evening at Brasserie 33

Brasserie 33 constantly runs Groupon specials for a price fixe dinner or lunch.  In general, I’ve found that restaurants begrudgingly accept Groupons.  Such is not the case with Brasserie 33.  They are thrilled to have their Groupon patrons! And don’t let the price fixe setup scare you away, either– the price fixe menu features the restaurants best loved dishes in ample portions.

I love that Brasserie 33 has a small wine list, but that you can also bring your own, with a small corkage fee.  You can’t have a French meal without wine, and our wine fridge has been overflowing lately (yes, we are wine fridge people…truth be told, we have two wine fridges!) so it was nice to have the luxury of a dinner out but also get to enjoy some of that wine that has been crowding up the house.

The price fixe menu includes the selection of a soup or salad, an appetizer to share, an entree and a dessert.  Each dish we tried was rich, flavorful and all around delicious.

I started my meal with the French Onion Soup.

French onion soup at Brasserie 33

This soup was perfect.  The only potential downside was that it was extremely filling.  In my typical style, I couldn’t bear to only eat some of it.  I ate it all, and as a result was already pretty full by the time we moved on to the starters.

For our starter, we shared the escargot.  I can’t recall what all the options were, but Mr. Beez and I did have quite a time trying to decide between them.

Escargot at Brasserie 33

The escargot was a bit heavy with garlic, but it was prepared well and very tasty.

For my entree, I had the blanquette de veau.

Veal stew at Brasserie 33

Oh wow was this amazing.  It is an absolutely perfect comfort food. The stew was creamy and the flavors subtle.  I was pretty full even by the time I started this, but the taste was so delicious that I ate it slowly, waiting for digestion to give me just a little more room in my belly to keep eating.  Slowly but surely, I finished the whole darn thing.  I needed a nap afterward, boy did I ever.

Mr. Beez opted for the cassoulet, and he was extremely pleased with his selection as well

Brasserie 33

Again, Brasserie 33 was right on the mark with a flavorful offering that warmed the belly.

Even though we hardly had room for dessert, we stubbornly refused to depart without indulging in sweets.  I went for my usual favorite of a creme brulee and a coffee.  The custard was cold and crust was sweet and crispy, so delicious.

The staff was friendly and attentive, quick to fill our glasses, and eager to make sure that we were enjoying our meal.  We had a truly lovely date.  I noticed that there were several negative reviews on UrbanSpoon, and found our experience was not at all like the bad customer service described.  Our visit was very early in the evening with all the olds, so we avoided the issue of a busy or overwhelmed staff.  I’m an old boring lady and like going to dinner early anyway.  I’m too hungry to wait til 8pm to eat!

Brasserie 33 on Urbanspoon

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Some Sunday Sunshine

The gray gray sky, every single day. It’s too much. I need some sunshine. I’ve been turning my desk lamp on at work and that has helped a little, but I think I need to just go for it and buy one of those full-spectrum SAD lights that I’ve had my eye on for the last few years, but have never had the heart to plunk the cash down for.

The tipping point for me joining Weight Watchers and steeling my resolve to get to the darn gym was because a few months back, I hit an all time low with energy. It was like I was riding from coffee to coffee, just to keep myself functional.  I was getting enough sleep at night, but I wasn’t feeling rested in the day.  I knew that it would not get any better until I changed my habits.  I’ve still been fatigued, the short days and lack of sunlight do not help.  Yesterday, finally, I had a breakthrough!  I had energy! I was excited to get to the gym, and once there, I hopped on the treadmill and ran a whole 30 minutes!  The last time I ran was probably in October, and even then the longest stretch was about 12 minutes.  But yesterday, a whole 30 minutes! Victory!

I had a successful week at Weight Watchers, and I’m getting excited to hit my 10% goal in a few weeks and go SHOPPING!  I don’t have any specific ideas yet, but how cute are these:

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Mr. Beez says that no way no how do I need any more shoes, but how fun would it be to have some sunny kicks to up my energy at the gym?

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I’ve been grateful that work has been at the manageable end of the crazy-spectrum lately which has given me the flexibility and opportunity to focus on my health and well being.  I realized yesterday that March is going to be full-speed-ahead.  I’ve got an article, a significant brief,  a trial and a conference presentation all on my plate.  Feast or famine, folks. But I think that I am finally feeling refreshed from this somewhat quieter time, and I’m excited and ready to take on all these tasks.