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The June Weekends, They Fly with @PghKids @BeerSince1933 @CLP_Tweets and @PghPassionFB

With a house all packed up and a 3 year old ready to GO GO GO, we’ve been out of the house a lot. She’d probably watch TV all day long if we’d let her, but no. Last Saturday and Sunday we filled the mornings and evenings with activity, with a nice big fat nap in the middle. Those naps. So glorious. This weekend looks to be shaping up similarly. Mr. Beez is out of town this weekend, so it will be adventures for us girls. We’ll be spending Sunday at my in-laws, as is appropriate for this Fathers Day weekend. We may also see them on Saturday, and of course a cake may be involved, since it is both of their birthdays.

Last Saturday kicked off with lots of playtime at the Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh. Due to the many events going on over the weekend, the museum was unusually quiet. This was absolutely perfect for us, as Mr. Beez and I are not tolerant of crowds. There were enough other people there that Baby Beez was able to chatter and play with other kids, but it was far from the chaos of a usual busy day at the museum.

Pgh Kids Water Room

This was our first visit since the new Water Play room opened, and we were really impressed. There are lots of different activities for the kids to do, such as water-painting on a special wall, playing with water whirlpools, putting boats and toys in a downhill stream, and my favorite: play in a crushed ice station.

Pgh Kids Water Room


Pgh Kids Water Room

This was the first visit in which we made any significant visit outside of the “Nursery” floor. I love the kids museum because it has activities for all ages of kids. We started taking Baby Beez there when she was a tiny infant, and she was able to lay and roll on the padded nursery area floor and reach for toys. As she’s gotten bigger, we’ve expanded to new rooms and new activities. This time she actually got to practice cutting and taping in the Maker Studio. We also spent some time in the fresh air, when she went in the museum’s backyard and played in the giant sandbox and even spitting mud pits!

Pgh Kids Maker Room

It’s hardly surprising that after all that fun, Baby Beez crashed hard in the car on the way home. Mr. Beez and I decided to swing over to Vecenie Distributing in Millvale to pick up a case of (be still my heart) VooDoo Love Child beer, which is, no exaggeration, the nectar of the gods.

VooDoo Brewery

Oh how I love thee

This adventure of course was followed up by a NICE BIG NAP. We needed to rest up, because Baby Beez and I had a busy evening planned with Sandy and Elena. I’ve been eager to provide Baby Beez with positive role models, especially of women in sports. A Pittsburgh Passion football game fit right into this priority, and promised to be a ton of fun, too.

Pgh Passion

Pgh Passion

Pgh Passion

Sandy and I love it, but the girls admittedly do not have the patience or self-control to sit through a full football game, even one so fast-moving and exciting as the Passion. Seriously, those women are skilled and tough. We were playing Philly that night, and we destroyed them. Just like they deserve. The small people were restless so we ended up leaving at halftime, but even then the score was 31-0. Sandy and I will be returning next season for sure, but probably leaving the small squirmy people at home (or possibly bringing along their male minders, a/k/a the husbands).

Sunday brought the much-awaited Carnegie Library Summer Reading Extravaganza! We went last year, and even though Baby Beez was too young to do a whole lot then, we still had fun. This year, she was able to enjoy almost everything, and we had an even better time. The CLPGH does such an amazing job with this event.

CLP Summer Reading

We started things off by watching a puppet show and eating healthy snacks. We also saw the performance by the kids of the Pittsburgh Musical Theater, and Baby Beez got crazy into it. She was singing along, bustin moves up and down the aisles. It’s hardly a surprise that we’ve got a performer on our hands here.

Trolley

Neighborhood Trolley, ding ding!


According to the report she gave her teachers at school the next day, Baby Beez’ favorite part of the day was getting to go for a ride on the trolley. She was so excited when the trolley driver said “Hi!” to her, and for the whole ride, she kept exclaiming “We’re riding the trolley! We’re riding the trolley!”

CLP Summer Reading

She also got to try her hand at icing her own Eat & Park Cookie!

Although we don’t have much firmly planned for this weekend, we’ll probably fill it up with all the many things going on around town. I’d list them all for you, but Play Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Mommy Blog are already killin it on that front!

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Contemporary Cocktails and Dishes at @TenPennyPgh

Contemporary Cocktails and Dishes at @TenPennyPgh

Ten Penny describes itself as “A Comfortable Culinary Experience,” and I couldn’t think of a more fitting description. They have a gigantic bar area, comfortable cushy dining tables, and space a-plenty. We went to Ten Penny for dinner with friends, and I quickly listed this restaurant on my “favorites” for downtown happy hours.

TP No. 1 Cup at Ten Penny

Ten Penny’s cocktails and small plates are their strengths. The visit was long ago that I don’t recall the cocktail I ordered, only that it was great. We started the meal off with an order of the giant cheese-filled meatball and crispy brussels sprouts. Both were excellent, and are perfect, filling bar snacks alongside a few cocktails.

Meatball Appetizer at Ten Penny

Crispy Brussels Sprouts at Ten Penny

I selected braised beef cheek ragout for my entree. Pasta’s not usually my jam, but the noodles were lightly al dente and the sauce hearty. I thoroughly enjoyed this.

Beef Cheeks Ragout at Ten Penny

The scallops were another delight. I can’t say I’ve had bad scallops anywhere (I’m sure it’s a possibility), but scallops are fairly straightforward, and if made correctly, consistently good. These did not disappoint.

Seared Sea Scallops at Ten Penny

The veal osso bucco and the blackened ahi tuna were both solid choices as well. Ten Penny does a nice job with the entrees, and is a good choice for diners who like predictability. The offerings are fairly standard on contemporary American menus and are prepared nicely, although with little surprise. I err on the side of whimsy and surprise, so for me, Ten Penny is a more desirable happy hour destination than a dinner location.

Osso Bucco at Ten Penny

Seared Tuna Steak at Ten Penny

While the cocktails and small eats are Ten Penny’s true strength, the desserts are Ten Penny’s weakness. Several of the desserts involve hazelnuts, which are a no-go for me. My dining companion picked the chocolate pretzel torte, and did like it.

Chocolate Pretzel Torte at Ten Penny

However, the s’mores gave me a big sad. The marshmallows and graham crackers are both house-made, but both are very dense and hard. I tried roasting the marshmallows over the provided little fire, but they wouldn’t roast in any reasonable amount of time. The Hershey Bar served to add a level of nostalgia, but this dish would be better presented the other way around, with store-made graham crackers and marshmallows and house-made chocolate truffles.

Smores at Ten Penny

Like any new restaurant, Ten Penny has a few hiccups to work out, but it shows strength and a lot of promise. The space, cocktail menu and small plates selection are all excellent. The quality of the dishes is impressive. It’s at a great location for pre-event eating both for events in the Cultural District and at the Consol Center.

Ten Penny on Urbanspoon

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No real title today

One thing you don’t realize when you get into litigation is that the busy times are actually manageable. When you have crisis upon crisis, you triage and get to work. It’s the more manageable times that feel more stressful. You’re so used to chaos that when things settle down a little, all the stress comes tumbling down. And even though the work itself is more manageable at those times, they’re more emotionally draining because it’s like you’ve stored up all that stress during the busy period and it all comes pouring out at once when you have a moment of quiet. This is a long way of saying that work is very manageable right now, but I’m still feeling stressed nonetheless.

If I’ve learned anything, its that the only effective way for me to burn off stress is to run, and I need to fit in a couple of runs this week. Also, I’m craving some TV binge watching. I don’t even know what I’d watch. I just want to sit and watch TV for hours on end. I was binge-watching Breaking Bad, but I only left seasons 1-3 out to watch, and all the rest of the DVDs are in storage (with the rest of our stuff). I’m considering re-upping my Netflix, if only to check out Orange is the New Black and House of Cards.

June will be a month of fun. On Friday I have us all signed up for the Riverview 5k….however I just learned that Meeting of Important People will be playing (for free!) at First Fridays at the Frick! I really love Meeting of Important People, but I feel like I’ll be a flake if I don’t do the 5k. I’m not running it with anyone, but feel like if I signed up to be somewhere, I should be somewhere. Then again, I think we will all have more fun at First Fridays at the Frick. What would you do?

Mr. Beez is out of town next week, so it’s girl’s night every night. I think I’ll take Baby Beez out to the Three Rivers Arts Festival, maybe even a few times. With our house all packed we still have to eat dinner out every night, so we might as well enjoy some chicken-on-a-stick and gyros while listening to some music. The third week of the month brings the Ben Folds + Pittsburgh Symphony concert as well as my Bench Bar trip to Seven Springs. I’ll be speaking during the Young Lawyers Division CLE on issues about social media, and I’m really excited about that.

We’ll be going on family vacation late in June as well. We’ll be flying in to San Francisco and spending a day walking around there, then driving up to spend the week with my Dad & Stepmom in Oregon. We drive back down on July 5, and (I’m really excited about this!!) will be taking a tour of Alcatraz Island before hopping on our red-eye flight back to the Burgh. What are your favorite activities in San Francisco?

June is filled to the brim with fun things to do in Pittsburgh. If you haven’t checked it out already, you really need to give Pittsburgh Mommy Blog’s June activity round up a look.

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Here we are in June

Here we are in June

Only moments ago I was whining about the unrelenting snow. Now here we are, nice and toasty in June, the flowers blooming and the sun shining. I, for one, love the heat. That’s probably little surprise given how much I love my savasana time at the Bikram yoga studio. I may not be so keen about trotting around town in a business suit when it’s super hot out, but I’ve promised myself that I’ve had enough whining about the weather for one year, so I’m going to focus all on the positive.

This weekend, my family participated in the first Pittsburgh Citiparks footrace of the season: the Greenfield Glide. It was an absolutely gorgeous morning for a race. I ran the course, and Mr. Beez walked with Baby Beez in the jogging stroller.

Greenfield Glide

I ran in my new Saucony kicks, which showed great promise for alleviating my blister problems. The course goes through Schenley Park’s trails, which means that the course was nice and shaded. Baby Beez and I will be walking the Riverview Park 5k this Friday evening. I love how excited she has gotten about these races. When I dropped her off at school this morning, she excitedly told her teachers “We ran a race this weekend!”

making wishes

This weekend we had a family outing to another of our favorite activities: the movies! We saw Maleficent, which is certainly not appropriate for every little kid. Our kid, however, loves movies with scary things and is remarkably good at sitting through a full movie. She loved it. Mr. Beez and I thought it was pretty good. It won’t rank up there in my favorite movies ever, but it wasn’t bad for an evening out. Speaking of movies and summer and all things we love, Cinema in the Park starts next week! We’ve always gone to Flagstaff Hill in Schenley Park, but with our upcoming move, it looks like we’ll be checking out Grandview Park soon.

I’ve been doing lots of reading lately, especially lots of light and quick summer-reading type books. Sandy picked The Spellman Files for our most recent book club book. I absolutely loved it. It’s a fun read about the kind of spazzy private investigator Izzy Spellman and her wacky private investigator family. There are 5 more books in the series, and I’ve added them all to my to-read list.

spellman files

I’m reading the second Game of Thrones book (A Clash of Kings, if you’re keeping track) right now. I’m only trying to read one GOT a year, because they are so long. I go nuts if a books is long and I don’t feel like I’m accomplishing anything. I want to see progress, and GOT are so darn long that it’s hard to see much. I balance my GOT reading with lighter, faster reading, because feeling like I’m not getting enough reading done is to read a second book at the same time, right? Right now this means I am reading Frog Music, which is fantastic, but is also so heavy with violence against women that it is frustrating and depressing.  The next book up in my queue is similarly depressing: My Story by Elizabeth Smart. But once I get through that dark book, things will take a turn for the whimsical, as I’ve got Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes and The Night Gardner waiting for me.

What’s on your reading list?