NaBloPoMo day 29: Shopping local for the holidays with @imadeitmarket @apricotandbee @smalltowerpress @goodsandevil

NaBloPoMo day 29: Shopping local for the holidays with @imadeitmarket @apricotandbee @smalltowerpress @goodsandevil

I’ve posted some Pittsburgh-focused gift guides in the past (2013, 2014 pt. 1, 2014 pt. 2). This year I made it out to I Made It! Market for their holiday event on Small Business Saturday. I picked up a number of great gifts for friends and family members, and Baby Beez got to do some shopping of her own with some birthday money she still had not spent. We had fun sorting through the things she wanted, and also working on math as she sorted through how much money she had and what she wanted to buy.

I Made It

In the past, I have found that craft fairs were at too high a price point for me to do much shopping. I do not doubt that an artisan put love and care into their products, but a $60 doll is not happening with me.  I was very pleased to find that not only were there a lot of products I just loved, but that the price points were also very accessible.

I Made It

For my niece and nephew, I got this adorable baby doll from Gingercake, the Gaggles of Giggles book from Apricot & Bee (Michelle personalized and signed the book for them, too!) and a digger from Mama Made them Toys.  Baby Beez also got herself a toy car with little people from Mama Made them Toys as well as her own baby doll from Gingercake. I have to tell you, though, she is obsessed with the baby doll. She’s been carrying it all around the house and won’t let it away from her side. She’s a kid that loves baby dolls usually, and she is absolutely crazy about this baby.  For those of you who are crafty, Gingercake also sells patterns in addition to the toys themselves.

I Made It

I Made It

Baby Beez also got this neat butterfly toy from Peg & Pin. It’s a little caterpillar doll, where you can replace the butterfly wings. They have all kinds of little peg dolls for lots of creative imaginative play.

I Made it

I’ve been moderately OBSESSED with this print since the first time I saw it several years ago in a different burgh-focused gift guide. I even reached out to the artist, Barry Gott, a few years back to ask if I could use the image as the banner on this site (and offered to pay him for the permission) and he graciously said that no payment was needed, he’s happy to agree as long as I credit the art as being his.  Ultimately I ended up having custom art made, but it was incredibly nice of him, and I still appreciate it.  So, I’ve wanted to get this print for ever and ever and I’m not sure why I never got around to it. But he was at the market today and I was like YES I AM FINALLY BUYING THIS!!  And I did. And now I have it. So happy!  Barry sells quite a number of adorable Pittsburgh-themed pictures through his shop, Smalltower Press.

I Made It

Mr. Beez was very excited to pick out this super cool Zombie Capital shirt from Goods and Evil. He’s always on the lookout for a clever shirt, and they had a few that he really liked.

Also, a couple of “honorable mentions” are in order for shops I loved, even though I did not pick up anything from them this visit.

Frost Finery

Frost Finery’s delicate handmade jewelry is just gorgeous. She has a few items that are Pennsylvania themed, but my favorite pieces are the elegant drop bead pieces.

I Made It

Resident Design makes these incredible mounted-animal-head paper kits. They sell the kit with instructions, and you assemble it yourself. It’s a really cool project to do with family members or teenagers.  Tristan also said he is working on a smaller-scale version that would be good for working on with school age children.  I, for one, am absolutely terrible with anything involving spatial skills or building things (or following directions for that matter), but if you are a normal person who can, for example, put puzzles together, these would be really cool and fun to build.

I Made ItFount leather goods makes these gorgeous leather bags that are just, wow. I have been wanting to invest in a chic but sturdy leather bag for work, and prefer something more contemporary than the typical briefcase. These bags are just gorgeous.

The I Made It! holiday event is over now, but many of the same vendors will be participating at the Handmade Arcade next weekend.  As you can see, we found some amazing things and were happy to support small independent businesses. Remember to Shop Small this holiday season!!


NaBloPoMo Day 27: Black Friday.

NaBloPoMo Day 27: Black Friday.


So today was actually the most laid back and wonderful day ever. Because we visit family in Maryland for Thanksgiving, we decided to make another turkey today so we could have leftovers. I made a couple side dishes like stuffing and potatoes. And then I roasted like 8 heads of garlic. Some of our friends came over, and they are the kinds of close friends that they were not worried about bad breath, they were like YES PLEASE PASS THE ROASTED GARLIC. Now don’t get me wrong, we did have a very nice Thanksgiving. But it was also nice to gorge ourselves with bad breath and without shame.

It was laid back, yoga pance were plentiful as was wine, and it was lovely. Then after they left, my husband decided to play his dance mix and Baby Beez decided it was time to dance to TURN DOWN FOR WHAT. And all was good in the world.

Wishing you all the best for you and yours.



NaBloPoMo Day 26: Black Friday

Does JC Penney still make its massive holiday catalog? As a kid, I looked forward to that behemoth ALL YEAR LONG and then it would finally come in the mail, and I would page through the toy section, over and over again, circling things I wanted.  We don’t get that legendary tome in the mail now, but various toy and book catalogs have been trickling in. I’ve handed them over to Baby Beez along with a pen, and she’s enjoyed the process of “window shopping” through those pages just as much as I have.  It’s adorable to watch her curled up on the floor, chattering away to herself as she makes her selections.  She told me that the one thing she wants the most this year is a Singing Elsa doll.  I have a feeling she’ll end up getting it (and I’ll end up wearing headphones around the house even more, because my mind is going to Let it Go if I have to hear that song again).

I didn’t grow up participating in the Black Friday shopping frenzy. Even though it wasn’t nearly as insane in my childhood as it is now, my family preferred to stay as far away as possible from crowded, crazy stores. A few years back I went to the mall at the midnight kickoff and it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  I think the most crazy is concentrated at electronics stores and Wal-Mart. I had not intention of going to either of those places.  There were a lot of people at that mall shopping and a lot of good deals, but no one was trampled.

This year I decided to try bringing Baby Beez. We visited family in Maryland for Thanksgiving. We drove there and back in the same day (ouch) and got home around 11.   I brought up the late night shopping thing to Baby Beez earlier in the week to see what she’d think. She did have some birthday money and gift cards left over, so I decided she could do some shopping for herself, too.  Mr. Beez and I had talked with her a few times this week about how there are kids who don’t have toys, so we are getting toys for them so that they can have a happy holiday season.  I told her that I needed her help in picking out those toys, but she would also get to spend some money she had from her birthday, and get some toys for herself.

As I expected, she slept through almost the entire drive back from Maryland. She woke up when we got home and said she still wanted to go (I wasn’t going to torture her–and everyone else who was out shopping– by dragging her out if she was exhausted and unhappy). I did let her go shopping in her pajamas. Because why not?

We went to Toys R Us and Target.  Since both stores actually opened at 5, they were fairly busy but certainly not crowded.  This, however, also meant that we missed out on some of the best deals, because those products had sold out hours before. It was fine though, we still got lots of great deals and lots of toys for the kids.


She’d been asking for one of these stuffed animal purses every time we went to Target, so she finally got one tonight. Baby Beez was impressively well behaved and enjoyed picking out the toys. We also managed to cross off a number of Baby Beez’ friends off the “to buy presents for” list tonight.  She liked talking about what kinds of things other people like and picking out toys for them.


Once we got to the checkout she was pretty punchy and it was clear that it was time to go home. She didn’t actually fall asleep in the car on the way home. I asked her if she likes Christmas music (in case you are wondering, NO I DO NOT LIKE CHRISTMAS MUSIC. Except for “All I Want for Christmas is You” because there is no one, not even me, who can hate that song). She replied that No, she only likes Nightmare Before Christmas music. So I put on the soundtrack, and we belted out “THIS IS HALLOWEEN HALLOWEEN HALLOWEEN!” on the drive back home.


NaBloPoMo Day 25: Thanksgiving

NaBloPoMo Day 25: Thanksgiving

This year, I am thankful:

  • For my family, and our love for one another.
  • For friends who are always there for me and my family, whether it’s to just grab a beer and relax, to take our kids out to do fun things, to explore the city together, or even sit around the table and share a meal.
  • For our home, our food, the heat and water and all the other comforts in our house. These little things bring comfort and security to everyday life, and are so often looked over.  We are lucky to have them.
  • That I have a job that I enjoy, that keeps me constantly learning new things and challenging myself, and which provides for my family.
  • That we are secure enough in the necessities of life that we can help others out. I’ve been doing 412 Food Rescue deliveries when I can.  This week I transported a donation of milk, and it made me so sad that there are families in Pittsburgh who aren’t able to afford milk on their own. I was thankful to be able to be a part of helping them out.


  • For Black Friday sales— I’ve never been one for the mayhem of Black Friday shopping, but the last few years I’ve gone out and taken advantage of the doorbuster sales to get toys for the Allegheny County Bar Association Young Lawyer’s Division holiday parties for kids in local shelters. The better the deals, the more toys I can get for more kids, and I’ve had a lot of fun with it.  This year, I’m taking Baby Beez with me to do the shopping, and I’m looking forward to teaching her about helping others.
  • To be a in a community where people care about each other and do want to help out.  I’ve seen a lot of posts on Facebook lately asking for people to help whether it’s donations for a holiday meal, or to provide clothes or toys for kids who don’t have anything. It breaks my heart seeing that those needs are there, but it is wonderful to see how Pittsburghers step it up.
  • For everyone who reads this blog.  It’s a fun and silly thing, but I have fun with it. As I’ve worked on it through the years, it has been fun to see it grow, and I love it every time someone tells me they read it and like it.  Thank you to everyone who is reading.

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!


NaBloPoMo Day 24: Not Much to Say but Sweatshirt Dresses.

It’s 9:42 and lately I’ve been wanting to go to bed around 8pm. I don’t have anything to say, but I don’t want to fall behind on NaBloPoMo either. So I’ll leave you with this: Today Baby Beez asked me when it’s going to be summer.

I had to give her the honest, but tragic answer.

I hate winter.

But I’m not so sad that it will soon be time FOR ALL THE SWEATERS NONSTOP.

So in lieu of actual content, I am going to share with you various sweatshirt dresses that I love. Click on the pictures to go to the websites where you can buy them.

Angie Roots Cabin Hoodie

traverse city sweater dress

Tobi Renegade Sweatshirt Dress

Mesh insert sweatshirt dress

All sweatshirts. All day long.