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A moment of glam with @SwankHairPgh #StylishSundays

This past weekend was specifically intended to be a “quiet” weekend.  By quiet, I mean that I only had 2 obligations planned for each day, as opposed to 3 or 4.  But when I saw a tweet about Swank Hair Studio’s Stylish Sunday’s event, including free blowouts for bloggers, oh no I could not pass that up. So one more event went in the agenda. But so worth it.

I’m late to this game, but I have realized that a professional blowout means that my hair swings and shines better.  It looks picture perfect. It even usually stays that way for an extra day.  And yet, when I try to recreate the look myself, the result is:

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So a free blowout? I am IN.

Swank Hair Studio is in Lawrenceville, right next to where Dozen used to be (n’at). Lawrenceville has caught my interest lately, as it is on the short list of neighborhoods Mr. Beez and I are considering once we finally take that plunge and buy a house that actually is remodeled (and ditch this place of unfulfilled home improvement aspirations).

My usual attire for a Sunday involves yoga pance and a t-shirt.  Since the event was named “Stylish Sundays” I figured it would be worth my while to slap on some makeup and at least try to make myself appropriate for public presentation.  Was I ever glad I did.  The ladies who run this place are so stylish and fashion forward.  Even in my “with effort” outfit I felt a little mom-jeans. But the girls were still friendly and welcoming.

BEFORE.

BEFORE.

The salon space itself is very chic.  I loved the blue and white alongside the exposed brick.  Everything is so clean and orderly.

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The chandeliers add such a nice touch.

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And since this was a special event, there were also sweet treats from Bella Christie’s.  I CAN NOT resist me some Bella Christie’s, so I helped myself to only one brownie, and then skeedaddled.  If I lingered a moment longer, I would have chowed down a full tray. So good.

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The final result: so stylish!

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AFTER.

And yes, the texture held into day 2.  Swank Hair Studio has a friendly staff and a welcoming atmosphere.  Even though I am demonstrably uncool, they did not make me feel like that one bit.  A bonus: Swank is on a section of Butler Street where on-street parking is usually very easy to locate.  And if you schedule a service for the late afternoon, you can always stoll a couple of doors down to Tamari for a drink (and, of course, to show off your style).

Swank Hair Studio provided the blowout service free of charge, with the request that I post a blog about my experience.  My opinions are honest and my own.




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Legume: Take 2

Legume: Take 2

On the week that we went to Butterjoint and the NIN concert, we had dinner plans with our friends and their daughter. The plan was to go to the Butterjoint for their amazing burgers.  Tragically, the place was pretty full, and there was not a place to sit with our toddler and their infant.  Since it was a Monday, the fine dining crowd was not too crazy, and we were able to pick up a table at Legume instead.

This is my second visit to Legume, and again I found that the food was delicious, the service attentive, and all around it is a gem of a fine dining establishment.  The menu varies with the season, and on both occasions that I visited it was early autumn, so the selections were fairly similar. I loved the lamb chop I had last time, and lamb was on the menu again, but I wanted to try something a little different.  I opted for the skillet chicken.  It was generously portioned and tasty, although I must say that it was fairly typical for a well-prepared chicken dish.  If you value predictability, this is a wise choice.  I prefer surprises, and this is not a dish of surprises.

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I had started the meal with the kimchi-beef soup, and that was simply delightful.  You tasted the kimchi, but the soup did not overpower you with its spiciness or pungency.  It was worked in as a gentle complement to the beef.  I really enjoyed this soup, and would not hesitate to return just for a bowl of it.

The true star of the meal (well, apart from the sublime cocktails) was the dessert. Mr. Beez and I split the apple pie ice cream. We’re talking delicious vanilla ice cream with big chunks of apple pie mixed right on in. I love chunky ice cream. You can keep your chocolate shavings and raspberry swirls, I want ice cream I have to chew. And the huge hunks of sweet apple pie smushed in with the ice cream with the buttery caramel drizzle was just perfect.
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Autumn Activities and Stubborn Like a Mule

Autumn Activities and Stubborn Like a Mule

Baby Beez and I had quite the weekend.  Sadly, Mr. Beez also had a lot of separate activities going on, so I feel like I haven’t seen my husband for ages.  And we’ve got a busy week, so it’s going to be a few more days until I see him again. It’s a good thing we’ve managed to fit in a couple of date nights in the previous couple weeks. Because Husbaaaand, where are you?

So this weekend Baby Beez and I lived up the weekend activities. We started things off by visiting Zoo Boo at the Pittsburgh Zoo with our pals Sandy and Elena.  We have gone the last couple years as well, but this is the first year that Baby Beez was big enough to really enjoy it.  Her favorite animal at the zoo is the shark, and we did get to see a few sharks, so she was very pleased.  Also this outing to the zoo involved candy, and she was able to show off her newly learned “Trick or treat! Smell my feet!. . .” Of which she was very proud. (I plead guilty to that one).

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Today we continued with the Halloween festivities with a visit to Trax Farms with more friends.  This too was an ideal outing, because Baby Beez is now big enough to really have fun.  Things were temporarily derailed for a few minutes when Baby Beez got the HANGRY but then I filled her with granola bars and it was all good. Baby Beez is infamous for begging to ride a pony and then we stand in a big stupid long line for the pony, and then when we finally get up to the stupid pony Baby Beez decides she is stupid scared and won’t get on the stupid pony.  This year however was SUCCESS and she climbed upon the gentle beast, Tonto, and was very proud to take a little ride.

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Carnie food! The best!

Carnie food! The best!


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And since it is late October, and since for the last six years November has insisted on being the most absolutely insane month for work in the entire year, this weekend of course brought with it a ridonkulous amount of work that needed to be done.  The well-rested, conservatively scheduled, and possibly more prudent me would have called off the plans, spent my weekend mornings in the office, and squared away those things.  Over the last several years, and in particular as Baby Beez has gotten bigger and has exclaimed in her cute little voice “Mama, you’re my best friend!” I simply cannot bring myself to call off social events for this purpose. Oh yes, the work gets done. That point is non-negotiable. And thank goodness for good remote access and the ability to work on things on the couch while Baby Beez watches Monsters, Inc. for the 9,000th time. What I’ve found over the last several years is that in order to keep my family and personal life healthy, the work gets done at odd hours, whether that means getting up stupid early on a Saturday or spending that Sunday evening wind-down time not winding down at all, but rather getting work done.  Lawyers work on weekends. It’s in the job description. It’s nothing special or new. But I’m stubborn and have gotten stubborner about making sure I make that quality family time on the weekend (with work squeezed in before the kid wakes up, or while she naps, or while she watches TV, etc), because lord knows that QT during the week is minimal.

If you have work obligations on the weekends, how do you balance out family time and work time?

PS– Upon reviewing this post, I have no right to wonder where Baby Beez learned the word “stupid.”

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Consciously Rose-Tinted

Kate at Yinzpiration published a thought provoking piece yesterday about seeking out the “real” on the internet.  The balance between publicly sharing struggles, the gritty side of life, and the defeats against the (admittedly easier) sharing of successes and joy is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.  I toyed with sharing the private details of my life in a previous blog.  While it was a valued outlet at the time, and created a community of support where I thought none existed, exposing the “real” is no longer the right fit for me.

I’m surprised by the backlash against only posting the highlight reel of one’s life online.  Blogging to me is like Disneyland.  It kind of looks like life, but you really know it is fake, but it’s ok, you don’t care, and you have fun anyway.  When I publish posts about our outings and adventures, I leave out how the kid had a total meltdown at 4pm or that we got lost and Mr. Beez and I got in a big fight over directions.  I leave these things out for the sake of my own memories. This blog is my scrapbook, and when I read past entries, I want to remember the fun things, the things that made me smile.

Maybe from these posts, my life comes across as all-happy-all-the-time. It is not. No one’s life is like that. I don’t write like that to make others jealous or feel like they’re missing out.  I write like that, assuming that they know that Cinderella in her plastic wig is not a real princess.  She’s an exhausting twentysomething actress, caked in makeup looking for a break. We all know that, but we still smile and take pictures with her.

I value the bloggers who keep it real.  In my private struggles, I find meaning and support in seeing how others have similarly struggled and have overcome. I am glad they are there, I am proud for them, and I hope they keep sharing for their sake as well as the sake of their readers. But for me, sharing that struggle is outside my comfort zone.

There’s still a “real” in my rose-tinted posts.  It’s not the same “real” but it’s there.  This is by no means a criticism of Kate’s (and the bloggers she shouts to) initiative to give the full 360 of their experiences.  There is value in both, and certainly room for both in this boundless internet.

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31 Before 31: Movie Marathon. LOTR!!

On October 13 we had our MOVIE MARATHON! I had a WW meeting in the morning, and then I stopped at Market District to pick up a pint of Jeni’s Splendid Whiskey and Pecan’s Ice Cream, and admittedly got distracted by the amazing beer and wine selection they have accumulated, and also got stuck wandering around the cheese fridge, and managed to lose an hour in glazed-over wonder, because as much as I hated Market District when it first opened, they have stepped up their game and really are developing a selection of very nice things.

So anyway, by 11am, it was finally time to begin our movies. And more important than the movie watching, we ate like Hobbitses! I did a little internet research on appropriate LOTR menus, and persons more ambitious (and with more free time) than myself have developed truly ambitious menus. I, however, went with the approach of buying a ton of food that looks tasty, and then just eating all darn day long.

Our first dish of the day was spinach and cheese foccacia from Colangelo’s.  Foccacia doesn’t have any special tie to LOTR, other than hobbits like to eat a lot of bread. Really, we picked it up because Baby Beez had her ballet class in the Strip District on Saturday morning and I whined to Mr. Beez that he haaaaad to drop me off to pick up something tasty from the bakery. And foccacia looked the tastiest. So there we are.


Next up was lembas and leetle feeshes. I can resist yucky stale swedish fish, but something about not-stale swedish fish, despite their potent cough-syrup taste and my better judgment, I just. can’t. stop. eating. them.  Same with the shortbread.  I can’t help myself. So I ate these things until I had a ridiculous bellyache.  Because I am ridiculous.

 
In the late afternoon we ordered take-out from Piper’s Pub. YES I know this looks totally, totally, totally gross. But it’s shepherd’s pie, and I do not have the magazine worthy food styling skills that are necessary to make shepherd’s pie look palatable. But it was hearty and tasty (not like after many hours of steady eating I needed anything hearty, but still, not complainin). Mr. Beez got the beef shepherd’s pie and ate it all before I got a bite, so I guess he liked it. I usually prefer the lamb & chestnut shepherd’s pie, but on this particular day they had elk on the menu, and I am entirely too exciteable when it comes to trying new things, so ELK IT WAS. It was quite the belly filler, exactly like a stew should be, but I do admit that the lamb shepherd’s pie has stronger flavors, which I prefer. Even though I like lamb better, the elk was no slouch.

And, no question, the most essential component of the LOTR marathon was the beer! I assembled quite a variety of seasonal beers (oh how I love pumpkin beer), and the selection complemented our day of endless eating quite well.

And yes, we have a 3 year old. We let her watch the movies with us. I do think the movies are violent and scary, but we talked with her the whole time they were on, and she had the full opportunity to go do other things that did not involve watching TV. On the whole, though, she asked a lot of pertinent questions and made interesting comments, and was only scared for a short bit during Fellowship of the Ring. So I think we did not scar her permanently.

We took a couple of breaks, and the entire marathon took until midnight to wrap up. I did laundry and worked on a brief and poked around on the internet a little bit while the moves were on. Mr. Beez said that in a “real” movie marathon, you sit and attentively watch all the movies. I, however, am unable to even attentively watch a 30 minute TV show, so I declared that he’d either have to tolerate my multitasking, or nothing resembling a movie marathon will happen ever. He ended up conceding that it was a pointless issue to argue with me.

I am so over-eager to fill my days with this, that and the other event and outing that I really enjoyed having a day designated for being homebound. It was neat to watch all the movies back to back. Mr. Beez and I discussed our favorite characters. Mine are Gollum and the Ents. I saw the animated version of the Hobbit when I was a little kid, and I was just fascinated by Gollum, and he has been my favorite ever since. The Ents are just so strange and interesting. I love them. Mr. Beez’ favorite is Galadriel. I’m guessing he just likes hot-tempered, bossy women.