Talking blogging and beer with @RedPenMamaPgh

Long ago, well at the beginning of this year at least, I fully intended to do one interview a month on this blog of a blogger I read, but whom I do not know personally. Then work went nuts (as it is apt to do, in the trial lawyering world), and then we bought a house and sold a house, and basically all the time got away from me. Which happens. Life happens. It’s OK.

Many many moons ago, then, I met up with Dawn of Red Pen Mama for lunch and a brew at The Sharp Edge dahntahn. I had been reading her blog for several months, and had exchanged a few tweets with her from time to time, but that was the extent we had really talked. Once she sat down at my table, our conversation was fun and flowing, and totally reaffirmed my intentions behind the interview initiative– basically to break down that wall that communicating through a screen creates, and get to know the person behind the writing.

the Red Pen Mama herself

the Red Pen Mama herself

I felt a connection with Dawn because we both blog about our families, but we don’t fit within the usual stereotype of “mommybloggers,” also, we’re both working moms in Pittsburgh, and are both (in differing roles) professional writers. Actually, we are both writers in rather specialized fields. (After all, “Red Pen Mama” is a hat tip to her red editor’s pen, and role as a parent.) All of these similarities were good for getting the ball rolling.

We spent most of our lunch talking about the history and the future of blogging. I asked her if she thought blogging is dead, and if online communication will be relegated to tweets and status updates. She disagreed, and pointed out all the forms in which longer-form communication is alive and well. Blogging may not always be blogging in the same sense we see it now, but she doesn’t see the storytelling power that goes along with blogging disappearing anytime soon.

Our conversation also wandered to the topic of paid and sponsored content. Neither Dawn nor I do sponsored posts on our blogs, but rather our careers and income are closely related to writing. Dawn’s reason for not doing sponsored blog content– the blog is her space to tell her story, on her terms. This resonated with me, as I too use my blog as my opportunity to do the writing that I want to do.

Red Pen Mama explores parenting, responsibility, relationships and life in Pittsburgh. Her writing is approachable, and she is super friendly in real life, to boot. This week on her blog, she included a heartbreaking (but also heartwarming) anecdote that is really a must read. And of course, if you run into Dawn at the next PodCamp or TweetUp or what have you, make sure to say hello!


Hello, Monday

Hello World. It is Monday. I have lots to do this week! Bring on the coffee!

First up, we’re counting down to this week’s Breakfast and Blogging here at Clark Hill! There is still time to RSVP to join us for a bagel and to chat about the law! The other panelists and I sat down last week and worked through a lot of the program, and I’m really excited for this event. I think there are a lot of bloggers/social media enthusiasts out there who have a vague idea of how the law impacts them, but would like to learn more. This is a great opportunity to ask your questions and get some great feedback, and best yet– the program is free!

breakfast and blogging

On Friday, I was crazy excited to get my April/May issue of Edible Allegheny, where yours truly was featured in the Online Dish column! What a sweet pic of Baby Beez!


Finally, even though there is snow still in the weather forecast, I’ve decided that it’s full-on spring round these parts. Mr. Beez thinks that lawyers generally should have more grown-up manicures, but I say that the gloomy weather gives me no option. We need some COLOR up in herrrre!

spring nails

Wishin’ all yinz a fun & sunny week!


Trapped in a Cemetery, Pt. 1. Or: The time the internets kept me from getting eaten by zombies. Literally.

This Sunday I was living in my own little yuppie paradise. I started things off with a darling little brunch at a new French spot in the West End. Then i got our papers together for our accountant to do our taxes. I took Baby Beez to a kid’s yoga class, and even treated myself to a fancy pour-over. The only thing missing from this nice little weekend was a visit to the Home Depot.

The sun was shining, the air was crisp, and it was a perfect afternoon to take a nice little jog in the Allegheny Cemetery. If you haven’t been there before, it is enormous and gorgeous. I zipped up and down hills, marveling at families of deer lazily grazing and gaggles of geese waddling through the grass. The crypts were breathtaking in their size and richness in history.

Photo credit to FatherPitt.wordpress.com

Photo credit to FatherPitt.wordpress.com

My run was relatively undisturbed. I passed a few people out for a stroll, and one particularly grim looking man who may have hacked someone up with a machete behind a mausoleum. Nothing could break my stride. The weather and scenery were perfect for a leisurely jog. Groundskeepers even drove by a few times in their little service cars, and I had never actually seen groundskeepers out and about before. This cemetery was so attentively maintained.*

It was the late afternoon, and I was careful to mind that the cemetery would close at dusk. I am still traumatized by the time I got lost in Homewood Cemetery and then it got dark and then IT WAS DARK AND I DIDN’T KNOW HOW TO GET HOME, BUT THEN I JUST RAN FOR ANY BUILDING I COULD FIND, DEAR LORD GET ME OUT THERE ARE GHOSTS IN CEMETERIES. (I eventually got out of the Homewood Cemetery.)

But the sun was still shining, the air so crisp, and I had plenty of time. I made a few zigzags back and forth on the paths to even my run up to 3 miles, and made my way back to the Allegheny Cemetery’s magnificent Butler Street gates.

Photo credit to FatherPitt.wordpress.com

Photo credit to FatherPitt.wordpress.com



They were locked because the like 4 signs I ran past and paid absolutely no attention to all notified me that the cemetery does not close at dusk. The cemetery closed at 5:30. And it was 5:48. Those groundskeeper cars I was so impressed with before: nowhere to be found. I ran over to the groundskeeper house and knocked there: No answer either. The place was dead. (NOT FUNNY) I was LOCKED INSIDE.

Of course, the cemetery would not want car traffic all day and night, so it makes sense for the gates to be locked for the night. I reassured myself that they surely would leave a pedestrian door open. I tried the pedestrian door. Locked, too.

I called Mr. Beez. His response: “Oh.” Because me getting locked in a cemetery does not surprise him in the least. Also, he was busy working, and he saw it like this: either I was going to find a way out, or I was going to die in that cemetery. He’s the beneficiary on my life insurance policies, so what difference does it make to him? Ain’t nobody got time for that.

I briefly imagined myself deftly hopping over the gate. Yet I am both fat and old, and the grace with which I imagined catapulting myself in the air was not unlike the grace with which I have imagined myself able to gracefully ride a galloping horse into the sunset. (The last time I was on a horse, it just walked, and I was so scared that I cried.)

It was time to devise another option.

I retreated to the resource for the answers to all life and death questions: The Internet.


And I began racking my brain for who on my twitter feed might possibly have this vital information:


Ultimately there was some progress. I got some critical information from my fbook friends and from Tony Ceoffe (who I do not know in real life, but I knew he ran for City Council for the L’ville district, and he tweets about L’ville all. the. time. so why NOT ask him?) The news: THERE IS A BREAK IN THE FENCE NEAR LESLIE POOL! YOU CAN GET OUT NEAR LESLIE POOL! But….. I HAD NO IDEA WHERE LESLIE POOL WAS.

The tears were starting to come. I started my woeful walk back into the middle of the graveyard, hoping I could find an unlocked crypt and pile up Canada geese into a makeshift mattress, and maybe, just maybe, I could use my sweet kung-fu moves on the zombies and survive the night!

My gait began to drag as I envisioned the long, cold haul ahead. When, what was that? What did I see round the bend up ahead? A vision in classic L’ville, she with her nose ring and he with his beard and cardigan! So carefree and enjoying the crisp fall air! I would have offered them some of my delicious pour-over, but alas my provisions were long spent.

And who knew where to find the Leslie pool? THEY KNEW! They cheerfully pointed me off in the right direction (and as I stomped through the mud, I suspected that they were relieved to get away from this sweaty, tearful mess).**

A few moments later, I found it! The hole in the fence was real! And I WAS FREE. Husband’s gotta WAIT to cash in on those policies! I almost kissed the sidewalk, but this is Lawrenceville and if there is one place you do not want to kiss the sidewalk, it is Lawrenceville.

Sweet, sweet freedom.


* In retrospect it occurred to me that these groundskeepers were likely warning people that the gates were going to close, and probably shouted out a warning to me personally. However, with my music at near-deafening decibles, I was oblivious to all but (1) my pace, and (2) my internal debate on whether listening to “The Thong Song” in a cemetery was going to score me eternal damnation (remains unresolved). Alas, their efforts went unheeded.

**They also informed me that there is a pedestrian gate at the Penn Avenue entrance that is always open. So I was never really locked in to begin with.


Breakfast and Blogging on March 26 with @ClarkHillUpdate

I’m very excited to announce that on March 26th, my firm will be hosting “Breakfast and Blogging” a breakfast panel discussion about legal issues confronted in social media use. We’ve got a great panel lined up to cover a very broad range of topics. I’ll be covering First Amendment and Defamation/Slander/Libel issues, and we also have attorneys covering intellectual property, corporate & business issues and employer/employee relations.All the speakers are young, savvy folks who are personally well-versed in social media use.

This event is geared toward entrepreneurs, social media managers and anyone who has a general interest in social media use. There is no cost to attend! Feel free to submit some questions in advance! I hope you can make it!

breakfast and blogging


A Spot of Tea with Dobra Tea and @missbritt

A Spot of Tea with Dobra Tea and @missbritt

The late afternoon calls for a shot of caffeine, whether it’s coffee, tea or (my favorite) chocolate, and this is best enjoyed with some friendly conversation. Britt Reints, the happiness advocate behind An Amateur’s Guide to the Pursuit of Happiness, and I had been running into one another at recent events, and decided it was time to sit down and get to know one another better.

I suggested Dobra Tea in Squirrel Hill, mostly because I’d driven by it and never been inside. I expected a basic coffeehouse style outfit, just with tea. It turns out, Dobra is something quite different, in a unique and special kind of way. First off, Dobra’s tea menu is huge. It’s not just a menu, it’s a whole book. There is also a good selection of food, including PIE! Who doesn’t like pie? The pies are supplied by the Pittsburgh Pie Guy, and the featured pie is chai pie. I had never had chai pie before so I tried it out, and it was really good. The filling is a sweet but mild custard, and it’s topped with lovely candied nuts. The graham cracker crust was especially delicious, as it was very chunky and perfect to pair with tea.

Dobra Tea

I had oolong tea and I think Britt had green. Both of us like tea a lot, but we are not highbrow tea sippers. We are both proud to report that we liked our teas quite a lot. We were flying a bit blindly when we picked them, since the menu offered a selection beyond our zone of familiarity. For those who do not enjoy the “pick the option with the funniest name” approach as much as I do, the back pages of the menu contain a number of house recommendations. The staff also seemed pretty friendly, and would likely give you their take on good picks.

Dobra is an excellent option for hanging out, sipping tea and casual conversation. We did not feel at all rushed, and all the pillows and comfy seating make it welcoming for a leisurely visit. The architecture of the space was my favorite thing about Dobra. The space is separated into little semi-private alcoves with all kinds of seats and pillows. It has the feel of a hookah lounge without all the hookahs. Does that even make sense? Anyway, I’d love to show up with a bag with magazines and hang out there for a few hours of reading alongside a piping hot mug of chai.

Dobra Tea on Urbanspoon