NaBloPoMo Day 10: Ten Things I like to Look At on the Internet @carnegielibrary @humansofny @The_Steel_Trap @theskimm @criminellelaw @mistyonpointe @usfws

I am one third of the way through NaBloPoMo, and I haven’t gotten distracted yet! Today I will share with you 5 things I like to look at on the internet. My blog reading has become kind of irregular lately, but there are a few features & blogs I just cant do without. These are my favs:

  1.  The Eleventh Stack— This is the CLPGH blog written by its employees with tons of excellent recommendations about books, movies, and interesting things in Pittsburgh. I can’t get enough of it.  I like that there are enough contributors that the blog doesn’t get stale, but also few enough that you can get an idea of each contributor’s style and preferences.

2.  Humans of New York.  Oh, all of my heartstrings. I think my face is leaking.

3.  Orcs of New York. For when I need a pick-me-up after crying all the way through the HONY site.

4.  The Steel Trap’s First World Problems. So real. So ridiculous. And it’s even more fun when I show my husband the posts and make him guess which first world problem was mine…

5.  The Skimm.  I reluctantly signed up for the Skimm, totally expected to hate it after a week and having to send a million “TAKE ME OFF YOUR MAILING LIST” emails. It sends a daily email newsletter with quick recaps of the biggest news items, with links to more in-depth pieces attached. The style is sassy and entertaining, so it feels more like fun gossip than your dreaded 10th grade current events report.


6. Criminelle Law.  Her bio description captures it perfectly: Young lawyer navigating and puzzling a general practice firm of middle aged men.   So funny because so true.

7. Unbrave Girl.  Sally is an actual for-real-life friend of Sandy’s.  Sandy introduced me to her blog because she thought I would like it. She was right.  Sally’s way braver than she claims to be, and is totally making solo camping a thing. She makes it look so fun that it makes me *almost* want to camp. Almost. For now I’ll stick to solo-hotel-rooming.

8. Draper James.  I know it’s not a blog, it’s a shop. But this post is things I like to look at on the internet, so it counts. And I CAN’T STOP window shopping Draper James. I grew up in California and have spent the last 15 years in Pennsylvania. I don’t “get” the South at all. BUT THESE CLOTHES. They are so adorable I can’t handle it. I want them all.And I want to hate Reese Witherspoon because I am crazy jealous of her success, BUT THESE CLOTHES, I just can’t.

9.   Misty Copeland’s Instagram.  Misty is absolutely incredible. Full stop.

  10. U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Instagram. Simply super cool.  

What have you been looking at and loving lately?


October Things

Wait, didn’t January just end? Where did my summer go? And I don’t care what you say, those were NOT snowflakes on my windshield today.

My mom got Baby Beez a subscription to the Children’s Theater this year and the first performance–Alexander Who’s Not Not Not Not Not Going to Move– was today. The difference between Baby Beez at 3 and and now at 5 is amazing. When she was littler, we would go to things and there was a 50/50 chance she’d completely lose it and scream her face off and make it a miserable time for everyone. Now that she’s bigger, she’s really starting to like things. As long as she isn’t starving or completely exhausted, she enjoys all kinds of different things. We’ve turned a corner to where we really are having fun together, and it’s lovely.

I ran the Wineglass Half Marathon at the beginning of the month and haven’t had much time to run since.  Today, though, I got in a 5 mile run when Baby Beez was in Sunday school. I have just started listening to Amy Poehler’s Yes, Please audiobook.  That hour zipped by while listening to this brilliant book.


And I think it is the best thing that has happened to me in a while. It is of course hilarious, but also so poignant.  I was barely choking back sobs while listening to her chapter on apologies. Sobbing and running do not go well together. This book is amazing.

Speaking of running, when I was running the Great Race in September, I saw this woman walking by wearing the most amazing silver Oxford shoes.  I considered running over and complimenting her on her shoes, but stopped myself, because that would just be weird.  I have never worn menswear style shoes, because I feel like they look strange on my large feet, and I don’t really know how to style them. But seeing her shoes, now I desperately want some gorgeous shiny silver oxfords or loafers. How I will wear them, I have no idea. But I want them.





When the news broke about the sequel to Wet Hot American Summer, followed by the collective euphoria of anyone who has ever gone to summer camp, I realized that I am probably the only person on earth who has not yet seen this movie. So I’m spending this evening watching it. Hilar.

Wet Hot American Summer


BeezusKiddo Holiday Gift Guide, Vol. 2: BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS! w @JJHENSLEY @YaJagoff @RachelBlaufeld and @JonathanAuxier

In my ideal, timely world, this post would have gone up the day before Thanksgiving. But life and such got in the way, so here we are a few days later. But hey, it’s still SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY, and authors are small businesses, so you can still get in your online order to sneak a local author’s book into your bookworm’s stocking this year. (Pssst- Click on the images of the books below to be directed to their sale sites.)

I am a HUGE fan of dark but fun kids literature, thinking Roald Dahl, Lemony Snicket, JK Rowling, etc. I saw Jonathan Auxier speak at a Creative Mornings Pittsburgh breakfast and immediately snapped up his books. They’re both imaginative, fun and a little spooky. My favorite of the two is Peter Nimble, and I’m looking forward to reading it together with Baby Beez when she’s a little older. (I guess we could read it together now, but I don’t have the patience to read anything longer than a picture book with that small maniac right now.)

PeterNimble_coverqnight gardener

If a thrilling mystery is more up your alley, check out JJ Hensley’s Pittsburgh-centric suspense novels Resolve (a murder mystery set within the Pittsburgh Marathon) and the newly-published Measure Twice.


If you have a romance reader on your shopping list, support Pittsburgh’s queen of all things sultry and steamy- Rachel Blaufeld. Rachel has published 2 books so far in her Electric Tunnel series, with more shortly to come!



And last on my list today is the upcoming debut of Ya Jagoff! blogger John Chamberlin into the print world! Ya Jagoff! promises to be a fun collection of pieces about the joy and craziness of our town!


Did you #ShopSmall today? My day was spent mostly on an outing to the zoo and a long and much-needed nap afterward, but I did squeeze in a visit to a local coffee shop and bakery. Even though Small Business Saturday has come to a close, I’ve still got quite a shopping list of goodies from local artists and businesses to pick up. I’m doing my best to keep it local this holiday season, to support our local small businesses and the whole community.


BeezusKiddo Holiday Gift Guide, Vol. 1

DUDE I LOVE HOLIDAY SHOPPING. Ok, I just love shopping. I love the feeling when you pick a gift for someone and it turns out to be JUST the right gift, and they are so happy. I love the feeling when I buy someone something and I see them use it over and over, because they love it. (Conversely, it breaks my lil heart when I buy someone something and it sits in the back of a closet. This is why Mr. Beez and I tell each other EXACTLY what to buy, so we get just what we want.)

Over the next couple days, I am rolling out a ‘burgh-centric gift guide in two parts. I planned to just write one “Gift Guide” post, but then I found way more things than I could put together in just one post. So the big plan is, Volume 1 today, and Volume 2: BOOKS, BOOKS BOOKS tomorrow! Mostly because I love books and ‘burgh authors so much that they deserve their very own post.

First up, for coffee lovers– LIKE ME– 19 Coffee Company  together with PA Mug Co. offers marvelous gift sets, including  wheel thrown and hand-glazed mugs and a bag of 19 Bold coffee. 19 Bold is a hearty, rich blend with a heavy aroma and wonderful notes of bittersweet dark chocolate, caramel and butterscotch. To buy these gift packs, you need to contact 19 Coffee company directly, by emailing ellen at 19 coffee dot com or 412-527-6985.

19Coffee gift

19 Coffee also offers a COFFEE OF THE MONTH club, where they ship 2 pounds coffee fresh from the roaster directly to you each month. This combines two of my favorite things: (1) Coffee, and (2) getting things in the mail.  The best.

19 coffee

When it comes to holiday decorating, I am terrible. I never seem to get around to it, and I would much rather focus my energies on seasonal baked goods than on hanging things around the house. Even with my attitude fast approaching the Grinch zone, I can’t help but LOVE the Gourds and Fruit wreath from Roxanne’s Flowers. in the Strip District. It’s seasonal, it’s gorgeous, and best of all, it’s not gaudy.


If you are interested in something more “holiday” than “harvest,” Roxanne’s also offers this gorgeous woodrose & pine cone wreath.


I’m always on the lookout for a perfect Chanukah Card, and Pittsburgh-based The Bird and the Beard got the right reaction with this one (ha ha, you see what I did there!)

Festival of Lights

As you gather around your Thanksgiving Table this week, you may discover that this mug from Pittsburgh Pottery is just the thing for some of your more talkative relatives.


Good old fashioned cookbooks are slowly phasing out in my kitchen, as almost all the recipes I use lately are ones I find on the internet. This Kitchen Dock,from Stak Ceramics in Pittsburgh, combines storage for your utensils with a stand for your tablet (or even a good old fashioned cookbook!) It’s stylish, simple and best of all– PRACTICAL!


After totally killing it on Shark Tank, Simple Sugars has gotten a lot of attention. Listen: it’s well deserved. This stuff is the best. The bomb dot com. Yes I just said that. Because it’s the absolute best. I included the Simple Sugars Collection in my Small Business Saturdays post last year, and I’m including them again, because OMG I love this stuff. Also, I bought a bunch of sugar scrubs on Small Business Saturday last year, but I didn’t specifically buy “The Collection.” Which needs to be fixed as soon as I get my next paycheck. In case you are just dying to buy me something wonderful, my favorite scents are almond, lemonade (only available in summer) pink grapefruit, and gingerbread. I’m also dying to try the cranberry and am sure I will love that as well. Heck, I have never had one I didn’t like.


For your favorite little Panther, this adorable Panther Crochet Hat! H2P!!!! P-I-T-T LET’S GO PITT!

(Yes, it does come in grown up sizes, too!)


I need this Biggy Smalls necklace from House of Hades in Pittsburgh. Need.

Biggy Smalls

And there’s no better way to show your Steel City pride than reppin’ in races in other Cities in this Steel City Runner tank from Fittsburgh. This makes me want to run a race in Baltimore, just to show them how it’s done. (If you’re wondering, it’s done very slowly. I never claimed to be a  fast runner.)


A Pittsburgh gift guide would be incomplete without a depiction of our lovely skyline. I’m loving this mod print from loosepetals.


Happy shopping, yinz!


On important things, like cosmetic gift sets and @Birchbox and @Sephora

I spend entirely too much time thoughtfully analyzing the comparative benefits and drawbacks of Birchbox vs. Sephora.

Through Birchbox’s subscription service, I’ve become more open minded and experimental with my make-up, and have even dared to try new perfumes that I would have otherwise ignored. Birchbox’s points reward system is also an amazing value. Seriously, amazing. Through it, I have scored some awesome discounts on very high quality products. Also, Birchbox is the exclusive merchant of the Beauty Protector Protect and Detangle spray, which is hands down one of my favorite hair products ever.  Through Birchbox’s sample subscription, I’ve been introduced to a ton of products that I otherwise would have simply ignored. My favorite discoveries through Birchbox, in addition to Beauty Protector, include DDF Ultra Lite Oil Free Moisturizing Dew, Benefit Benetint (not to mention discovering that Benefit is my absolute fav. makeup brand), and Stila Stay All Day liquid lipstick in Beso. The Stila lipstick is a BOLD red that I would have never tried on my own, had it not showed up in my monthly sample box (so I thought, what the heck, it’s here, might as well try it). It pushed me way out of my makeup comfort zone, but I got SO many compliments on it, that it has inspired me to be a lot more adventurous with makeup.

Sephora’s reward points are good, but not as good as Birchbox’s. However, when it comes to the holiday gift set selection, Sephora wins. I look forward to holiday time every single year, because I WANT WANT WANT everything. Also, Sephora carries some brands (like Make Up For Ever) that Birchbox does not. And I can make a quick run down to Sephora when I’m out of something, since there are several Sephora stores in Pittsburgh.

Because I love nothing more than window-shopping online, I have gathered here my best picks to fill the 8 days of Hanukkah with Sephora gifts this year. Shop away!!

1. Fresh Sugar Cravings Kissing Trio

sugar gift box

If you haven’t tried Sugar’s lip balms yet, you are missing out. They give a nice little hint of color (perfect for when you’re doing dramatic eyes, and want to have a little lip color, but need it to be toned down), and they have this AWESOME screw-on top that means that I don’t lose the cap in my purse. The texture is silky, and not too waxy or goopy.

2. Mia 2 Pure Glow Holiday Gift Set

mia 2 holiday set

I have to admit, I hate washing my face at night. I do it of course, but it’s a giant pain in the butt. I’ve tried those face washing wipes, but they don’t quite clean enough. Everyone I know who has gone the Clairsonic route raves about it. There are a number of different models out there. I have no idea what the difference is. I picked this gift set because it contains Philosophy’s Purity face wash, which is the face wash I absolutely swear by, because it keeps even my nasty, lazy skin in healthy condition. So somehow in my mind that pairing means that this is the Clairsonic model I approve of. But probably any Clairsonic model is better than what I do now, which is begrudgingly slap soap and water on my face and then get all mad about getting water around the sink.

3. Korres Beauty Shots Ultimate Mask Collection

korres beauty shots

If I could have things my way, I’d get a facial every 3 weeks or so. But facials are expensive, so a fancy mask is a nice alternative. I’m all into grapefruit everything right now, and have yet to meet a Korres product I do not like. This mask collection appears to me to be the best of all worlds.

4. Sephora Glitz & Glam Party Essentials Sampler

Sephora Glitz & Glam

Party time, yes PLZ! My usual NYE involves going on our annual double-date dinner with the Orange Chair Blog crew, and then coming home to fall asleep on the couch before the ball even drops. But with the fun and excitement of prettying myself up with a sampler like this, I could get excited about staying up past 10pm!

5. Make Up For Ever Beauty Kit

Make UP for Ever Beauty Kit

Make Up For Ever’s products are so simple and unassuming, but they are so freaking good and dramatic. I love that this set is perfectly composed for a fully-stocked travel bag, when you want to have good, reliable options when you’re out of town.

6. L’Occitane Almond Indulgence Duo

LOccitane Almond Indulgence

I’m not the most cheerful person in the morning, but the sweet cookie smell of an almond scented shower can’t keep anyone grouchy for long.

7. Deborah Lippmann Party Mix Nail Lacquer Set

Deborah Lippmann

My nail polish collection has gotten a little out of control, but really, there is no such thing as too many nail polishes. Especially when you get into the fun textures and color combinations.

8. Atelier Cologne Travel Spray Trio

Atelier Cologne

Seriously, have you smelled Atelier Cologne’s orange sanguine cologne? O. m. g. It is the most lovely spicy wonderful scent ever. I can’t get enough of it. I also can’t consistently remember to put on perfume in the morning, so a travel size is just the right size for me (or else the bottle will just get too old before I can use much of it.)

Honorable mention: T3 Featherweight 2 & Living Proof Gift Set

T3 Featherweight 2

This set gets an “Honorable Mention” because I already own a T3, but still wanted to mention it, because OMG THIS HAIRDRYER CHANGED MY LIFE (and I didn’t even know a hairdryer could change someone’s life). Here’s the thing with professional hairdryers- they are HOT. Which means they dry FAST and they blast the humidity right out of your hair. The result– once Mr. Beez got me this fine machine, my usually frizzy and out-of-control mane was silky smooth, with minimal product. I love it so much that I bring it with me whenever I travel, because hotel driers just don’t stand up anymore.