Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Boxing Day

I hope all of you celebrating yesterday had a very merry Christmas.  Thanksgiving is my favorite, but this year's Christmas was pretty sweet too.  Santa brought me a dress-maker mannequin, meaning it's about to be like Project Runway errday at my apartment.

This year, my Mom decided to try out a new tradition, and bought materials for ginger-bread house making.  It was a contest of course, because in my family everything is, and at first I was thoroughly put out because it meant I would be competing against my architect-major sister in a house building contest, and my Mom wouldn't let me hire her to build my house instead of building it myself.  My Dad opted out of building and declared himself judge.  So, armed with half an hour, tubs of frosting, and a limited supply of graham crackers, we got to work.

My Mom, based her design on our actual house, complete with a pretzel fence and everything.

I decided to go for a more dramatic approach, and built my ginger bread house inspired by St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna.

See?  Spitting image basically.

The real Christmas miracle here was that the roof actually stayed up like that.

My sister, the Future Architect, got all modern and Frank Lloyd Wright on us.

Then I asked my Dad to take a picture of all of us since he copped out from his judging responsibilities and named the contest a 3-way tie.  He instead got a candid shot of us all clearly hard at work during the construction of the houses.

My Mom told me to clear the table before taking a picture, but I told her this was more authentic.  Then she moved my beer out of the picture.

The proud builders with their master pieces.

Today, in case you haven't heard, the NorthEast is besieged with blizzard like conditions, so boxing day has been celebrated with a fire, snacks and movies.  I'm making my parent's rent Inception on On-Demand, but first my Mom is insisting that we watch the weather channel so that we can make fun of the meteorologists freaking out over...wait for it... 6 INCHES OF SNOW GOD HELP US!!!!!

Happy Holidays. (even if it is what terrorists say).

Friday, December 17, 2010

Gym Rat

I have a new happy place you guys.  And it's the last place I ever thought I would like.  I am loving.... the gym.

Here's the thing, I am not a gym person.  Haven't been in one since college when it was free. I don't do Zumba, I don't use fancy exercise machines, I don't own cute matching work out clothes, and I certainly don't wear makeup while I exercise (unless I'm working out after work and the makeup is just left on from that morning.)

I scoffed at the people who sat in traffic to go sit on stationary bikes, and run in place like hamsters on a wheel.  I would lace up my running shoes, or walk down the street to the yoga studio, and relish in the fact that I was burning 30% more calories by exercising outside, and would feel superior.

And as a runner, I hate loathe utterly despise the treadmill.  I don't know what it is about that machine, but it makes even 3 miles excruciating.  And I can't do much more than that, even if you can watch tv.

BUT.  This winter decided to serve up the coldest December Pittsburgh has ever had since I've been here.  (And if this is December I shudder when I think about January, and start to weep at the thought of February.)

Anyways, all of this is to say that it has been too cold to run.  I can and will go out as long as it's at least 30 degrees.  That just requires some bundling up.  Runny Buddy and I went a couple weekends ago and it was 25, which was cold but manageable.  Lower than 25 though, and well, I just cannot.

So when the forecast on Sunday looked like this:

and it has been a week and a half since I had last run, and was starting to feel the craziness that inevitably happens when I don't run, I gave in, stopped fighting mother nature, and joined a gym.

When it comes down to running on a treadmill vs. not running at all?  The treadmill wins.

It's great.  I can wear shorts and go running.  I can go to yoga there for less money then I was paying previously, I can take a bus right from work.  I can go late, or early, and the lack of sunlight doesn't matter.  Also???? There's a sauna!  A SAUNA YOU GUYS!  It's 15 degrees outside and I can go hang out in a sauna any time I want!

As part of my membership I got a free work out with a trainer.  I went in all smug thinking I just ran a marathon, I'm in good shape.  Bring it on Trainer!

Ugh.  Not that good of shape.

Trainer: "Do you do any strength training?"
Me: "I do yoga, and I have free weights at home."
Trainer: "Do you use them?"
Me: sigh. "no."
Trainer: "ok, we're just going to do some strength work that will focus on your hip flexors/core/and upper body since those are traditionally really weak in runners."

Half an hour later I was sweaty, hurting, and exhausted.  3 days later, I'm still sore.

So, strength training. Fine.  I'll do it.

Anyways, I've already been 3 times this week, and I'm going back tonight.  Yay gym!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Grammer check

Kelsey : sup
Precisely: nothing... had to send a fax.
Kelsey : I hate faxes
            : or faxen?
            : fax-ing!
Precisely: haha its not english

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2012... I Knew I liked Pittsburgh for a Reason

So is everyone familiar with the 2012 Phenomenon?  If not, here's a link to the Wikipedia article on it.

Basically, December 21, 2012 (12-21-12) is the end of a 5, 125 year long cycle in the Mayan calendar, and as such, all kinds of craziness is supposed to occur on this date.

Some say this is when the world will end, which, I'd kind of like a few more years if possible.  I've got some stuff to do.  Others predict that this date will be the start of a huge cultural shift that will essentially change life as we know it.  Either way, something big is allegedly happening on this date.

Now, the ancient Mayans also believed that the world was supported on the back of a giant sea turtle, so of course I take everything they say with a grain of salt, but there is a part of this 2012 Prediction that I will happily buy into.

Apparently, there is a place on earth that will be the Power Point or Point of Light during this cultural shift, or a place that is spared from Natural disaster.  This place is said to be at the convergence of 3 rivers.  Sound familiar?  That's right, Pittsburgh!

The point, has been a sacred sight forever, hosting holy rituals performed by native americans, and believing to be a portal into other worlds.  Pittsburgh's 3 rivers, plus the 4th underground "hidden" river, as well as the Allegheny Mountains makes for a place of great energy.

"If you live in Pittsburgh, you are here for an important reason: to witness, nurture, and transmit the pure incoming light of this universal portal. Being aware of the legacy of our ancient landscape is crucial in the evolution of consciousness of this planet and our species at this time.”

So there you go, we're rated the Most Livable City in America, AND we have a universal portal.  I don't believe in miracles, I believe in Pittsburgh!

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

There comes a time in every single-girl's life when she has to find a way to stay warm at night in the winter.  Or at least every single-girl who decides to live in a spacious yet drafty loft which is mad expensive to heat, and therefor keeps the temperature at a brisk-somewhere-in-the-'50s range. (It doesn't help having an equally competitive roommate so that neither of you wants to seem like a wimp and turn the heat up.  You just put on another sweater and have a cup of tea and stop complaining.)

I have an electric blanket, and a heavy down comforter, but sometimes it's still not enough.  A couple of years ago, my Mom gave me and my sister matching pairs of pajamas for Christmas.  These pajamas are Christmas themed; they're bright red with snow flakes, they're made out of flannel, and they are SO WARM.  While at my parent's house this past week, I found these flannel Christmas pj's, and decided that they were coming back with me to Pittsburgh.  Because they're SO WARM!

Thus begins the dilemma...

Maybe some of you are thinking, "it's pajamas, not that many people are going to see them, what's the big deal?" To which my answer is, it's like underwear.  True, only I see them, but if I like them, I feel better, and my clothes look better too.  True story.

Trading in my cute camis and slips for a pair of flannel pajamas feels a lot like giving up entirely.

But.  SO WARM!

So, last night I wore them.  I was brushing my teeth and the bathroom door was open and Precisely walked by.

He paused, "What are you wearing?" he asked.

I turned around.

He burst out laughing.  Like doubled up, and can't talk he's laughing too hard laughing.

"They're really warm!" I yelled.

"Omg.  I thought".. he laughed..."there's no way she's wearing Christmas pajamas".. laughs... "but you are!  Those are snow flakes!" Dissolves into another fit of laughter.

I rolled my eyes. "They're flannel and they're warm, and I have no one to impress but you."

"Which you are not.  At all." he emphasized.

And you know what?  I'm not going to apologize for being warm.

It could be worse, at least I haven't bought a cat.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


On Sunday I had the amazing opportunity of checking off an item on my Life list.  I completed the Philadelphia marathon.

It was hard.  It was incredible.  It was totally and completely surreal.

I woke up energized and excited, which was awesome considering that for the 2 weeks prior, I was a nervous wreck.  The weather was perfect.  I had carbo loaded the night before.  I had loaded up my iphone with Girl Talk's latest album.  I was as ready as I was going to be.

We took off, and the first 8 miles flew by.  Around the museum, up through the city, down south street, by the zoo, we hit a hard hill around mile 9, but umm, I'm from Pittsburgh.

At mile 12 I started getting nervous again.  In one mile the half marathoners would be splitting off to finish.  The rest of us would be going on to complete the next 13.1 miles of the course.  I entertained the idea of just stopping at the half.  13.1 miles is still an accomplishment I reasoned.  I was starting to feel tired.  This was only half way.

But, as we came up on the museum for a second time, there were more people cheering, I grabbed some gummy bears from a bystander, and as I turned the corner towards mile 14, I saw my parents jumping up and down and waving. Sheryl Crow came on my ipod, and I continued down to the Schuylkill river.

Mile 15 I was feeling fatigued.  Or I was getting bored.  It's hard to tell at that point.  One of the best pieces of running advice I've ever got, and one that I frequently give, is to ask yourself if you can run one more step.  If you can, you're not tired, you're bored.  Keep going.  I grabbed some Gu, gave myself some short walking breaks, and kept going.

Around mile 17 it hit me.  "Oh my god!  I'm actually going to finish this!  I am really going to do this."  Mile 17 and 18 were fun.  It's entirely possible that I was just really high on endorphins at this point, but hey, that's one of the benefits of running.

The first cramp happened around mile 19, as we came up to Manayunk.  It wasn't the dull pain I had gotten used to on my long runs.  It was sharp and searing just above my knee in my thigh.  ow!  And then my calfs started clenching causing me to trip a bit.  ok, time to walk.

The final 6 miles were spent alternating walking and running, and are kind of a blur.  Finally we hit mile 25, the crowds picked up again, I saw my Mom and Dad again right before the finish line, and then, it was over.  The line was crossed, someone was slipping a medal around my neck, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to laugh, cry, or fall over.

Since we're coming up on Thanksgiving, I'll do the thankful stuff now.  I'm so thankful that I could do this.  That my body stayed healthy, and strong, and I didn't get injured or sick.  I'm thankful for my amazing friends and family for their support, and encouragement, and for putting up with my incessant talking about running over the past few months.  I'm thankful for the other runners I've met and instantly bonded with, who gave me advice and told me I'd be ok.  I'm thankful that I work in an office where there is a shower so that I could run over my lunch break, and that I work for an organization which is flexible enough to let me go for a run over my lunch break.  I'm thankful for all of the people who cheered, and helped organize the race, and who volunteered.  Thanks.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

1st Blogiversarry

Today marks one year since I started So Type A, while sitting in my old room at my parents house waiting to come home to Pittsburgh.  Coincidentally, I'm at my parents house again tonight.  Normally I would celebrate this occasion with cake and champagne, because really, I'll celebrate just about ANY occasion with cake and champagne (birthdays, job offers, Mad Men, days that end in -day...) BUT I am running a marathon tomorrow, and have limited sugar and sworn off alcohol for the past week, so I'll have to wait till tomorrow to properly celebrate.  And then I will have 2 BIG THINGS to celebrate, which means twice as much cake and champagne probably.

I started blogging more than a year ago for work, and liked it so much, that I started thinking I could do a personal blog.  But it wasn't until I was talking to someone at a work event and he said, "Do you have a personal blog?  I would totally read your blog if you did."  that I actually took the thought seriously.

So now it's been a year.  A lot happens in a year!  And I'm really glad that blogging was part of it.  I love this blog.  I love writing for it,  I love that I'm responsible for it's existence.  It's taught me a lot.

First of all, the blogging community (which I'm much more involved with as a reader) is so great.  It's filled with some of the funniest, most creative and talented people I "know" and by know, I mean, I read their blog so I have some insight into how their inner-mind works.  I've met very few of them in real life.  Last year, I would have highly doubted that I'd be taking fashion advice from a 14 year old, or stealing recipes from a Mom living on a ranch, or laughing so hard my cheeks hurt at drawings done in MS paint.

Yet that's what's happened this year.  What's keeping me motivated to keep this blog alive?  For starters, blogging makes you learn a lot about yourself.  Suddenly you're trying to explain yourself in a way that makes sense, and that doesn't make you seem as crazy as you're pretty sure the inner workings of your mind is.

So what have I learned?  I've become closer to my family and friends.  Especially those I don't live close to.  I've learned to be honest and forthcoming.  And I've learned that exposing pieces of yourself don't  weaken you, it makes you compassionate, it makes you relatable.  I've learned that yes, we all feel this way.  We all get lonely, and feel insecure, and question our life choices.  I've learned that all states are temporary, and I've learned that when I write something and hit the post button, it's time to let it go.

I blog for a lot of reasons; to remember, to process, but mostly to connect.  Thank you, so much, for reading.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Irrefutable Signs That I am Indeed, A Grown-Up. Maybe...

I think one of the interesting events of the quarter life crisis is being grown-up, while not quite being an adult.  The constant juxtaposition of these two extremes can be liberating, frightening, funny, and quite frankly exhausting.  Lately I've found myself experiencing some things that are irrefutably "grown-up" yet they are quickly followed by another event which is undeniably childish.  For example:

Grown-up thing: I receive emails notifying me I've been "payed dividends", and I'm not playing monopoly.
Childish Contradiction: I still consider giving up groceries for a week in order to buy shoes a perfectly reasonable way to maintain a budget.

Grown-up thing: As much as I love my Ikea bed, I'm kind of starting to wish it was a little higher off of the ground.
Childish Contradiction: I make my bed roughly 14 times...a year.

Grown-up thing: Being introduced by someone as their "boss".  
Childish Contradiction: Daily dance parties at my desk complete with hair flipping when my boss is out of the office.

Grown-up thing: I used to go out with waiters or musicians or students, usually after meeting them at a bar or at house parties.  Now, I find myself hanging out with accountants and flirting with doctors while being introduced to professors at fundraising events, and getting invitations to meet lawyers over a game of squash.
Childish Contradiction: Still being too self-centered for any kind of "serious" relationship.  Also, do musicians ever stop being appealing?

Grown-up thing: I live with only one other person in a nice apartment with real furniture that we did not inherit, but purchased.
Childish Contradiction: I'm pretty sure that getting house plants might be too much responsibility.

Grown-up thing: I'd say a good 2/3 of my wardrobe now could be considered 'professional attire'.
Childish Contradiction: I only do laundry once a month.  Actually, it's probably more like once every 5 weeks.  I have bought new underwear, sheets, and pants to avoid laundry.  When I do, do laundry, I separate nothing, throw everything in the dryer and hope for the best.

Grown-up thing:  I've lately been buying wine by the box.  This is convenient since a box lasts much longer than a bottle.  Also, it's fiscally and environmentally more responsible than buying by the bottle.
Childish Contradiction: Inevitably you get to the end of the wine, and have to pull apart the box and take out the bag to squeeze that last glass out.  This never, never, never feels remotely like an adult thing to do.

So I imagine that some of these habits will change as I continue to navigate the weird phase of being a twenty-something.  Someday, I will buy a car, and won't eat crackers and hummus for dinner so often, and will maybe even start to think of myself of being an adult instead of an adolescent with a credit card.  Other things though, like the office dance parties I hope I never grow out of.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Dating, Narcissism, and other stuff happening on the internets

First of all.  Did everyone watch last week's 30 Rock?  Did you catch that great line by Avery Jessup when she told Jack she didn't need a mentor?

"I'm fine!  I sleep 4 hours a night, eat 1,200 calories a day, and my closet has been on the cover of organized living twice!"

I have a lot of work to do...

Today, one of my best friends, who I will refer to as Fair Lisa (b/c that was her nickname in High School) sent me the following the text message.

Don't take this the wrong way but last night I went on a date with the male version of you and didn't like him!  The whole time I was thinking... I would like him better if he was just Kelsey.

This was so intriguing to me!  My male counterpart... was he good looking? Was he funny?  I kind of want to meet him.

No you're better looking she wrote back But his mannerisms and speech patterns were spot on.  It was so wack.

Then I started wondering, what would it be like for me to go on a date with this guy?  I guess it would essentially be dating myself.  But would I like myself?  Would I discover I do things I think are charming that are actually totally obnoxious?  Would we have non-stop witty banter and intelligent debate?  Or would we sit in aloof silence asking polite small-talk-type questions.

Finally, I decided my wanting to go on a date with someone who was described as "the male version of you" is just about the most narcissistic thing I've thought lately, and got back to work.

Speaking of dating.  It can be hard right?  I think there was a Seinfeld episode where he was whining about first dates because when you go out and you're at a restaurant, everyone else there knows you're on a date!  And then you get past the first couple dates, and it's not so awkward but it doesn't necessarily get easier.  There's the meeting of each other's friends, and the re-working of your weekend plans to fit another person into the schedule, and figuring out how you greet one another (do you kiss hello?) and if you're the type of couple who holds hands or links arms or doesn't touch when they walk down the street.  Then eventually there's compromise and sacrifice, and discussion of life goals and core values, and where are we spending holidays?...ok, no, I've never made it that far, but that's what I've heard happens.

So relationships are complicated, yea?  And they're totally worth it, but sometimes you need a second opinion...or six.  Love of Friends (my passion project remember?) has started a new project in which we're allowing you, or the general public, to write, type, or tweet your relationship queries to us, and we will answer them for you on our website

What are our qualifications for this you ask?  Well, officially none.  Other than the six of us having been on a lot of dates, and involved in a lot of relationships of varying levels.  You might get some conflicting advice, since between all of us there's bound to be some differing viewpoints, but our hearts are in the right place.  Also, 50% of the team is in a relationship and 50% is single, and so you're getting a nice balanced view of your question.  At the very least, we'll give better advice than Cosmo.  (Cosmo, if you're at all interested in hiring us to write an advice column we can totally talk).

So send us your questions about love, dating, friendship (relationship advice is not limited to romantic relationships) or just send us the story of the worst date you've ever been on, or the best, or the strangest, and we can compare.

The strangest date I've ever had?  The Artist and I once went on a date with the same guy... at the same time.  It's a long(ish) story, which I won't get into here, but would be happy to share in more detail next time you see me at a party.

Speaking of the Artist.  She's blogging!  And it's awesome of course.  Check it out, subscribe, comment, add it to your Google Reader, be totally jealous of the fact that I have a bunch of her original pieces in my house.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Daylights Savings Time Cannot Come Soon Enough

This whole being pitch dark at 8:00 am is messing with me completely.

Me: I don't know what happened
       I was fine this morning
       somehow between leaving the house, and getting on the bus
       I fell into a downward hate spiral
       that has rendered me completely useless as a human this morning
Precisely: haha
Me: I have no interest in any of this and I'm going to die alone
       wanna come over here and slap some sense into me?
Precisely: Nope... eating candy.
Me: Fair enough.

Luckily I found some left over rice krispie treats from our office potluck yesterday, and the refined sugar rush seems to have pulled me out of my doldrums.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween

This year, living on the 3rd floor of a building, I don't have trick-or-treaters, which is probably good 'cause it kept me from re-filling the HUGE candy bowl my Mom bought me when she was out here visiting a couple weeks ago.

I dressed up and went to a party on Friday, which was fun.  My costume was a 1920's cigarette girl (borrowed from a volunteering gig I had at speakeasy themed Planned Parenthood fundraiser) only for this party, I bought a bunch of candy cigarettes, and then spent the night telling people how much cooler they looked pretending to smoke.

Saturday, Precisely and I stayed in and sufficiently freaked ourselves out watching the Exorcism of Emily Rose.  Very creepy, very well done, if I ever wake up in the middle of the night and see that it's 3am, I will freak out.  This is why having a roommate is good.  Tonight also premiers a new zombie television show in the time slot that used to be Mad Men, and since we live in Pittsburgh, we pretty much have to watch it, and will probably like it.

Last week, I went on a historic bar-crawl of Lawrenceville, organized by the Young Preservationist Association.  It was a great event, I met some really interesting people, had some tasty drinks, and learned SO MUCH about the neighborhood I lived in that I had no clue about!  The very first building we were in, our tour guide was explaining, was built on what was originally the village graveyard.  Apparently, she went on to say, the builder wasn't exactly very careful about moving graves over to the new graveyard, so this building was basically the house in Poltergeist.

"Is it haunted?" I asked.

"Well," she said.  "I don't believe in ghosts, but you can if you want."

I wasn't quite sure what to make of that answer.  And you don't have to believe in ghosts, to tell ghost stories, ESPECIALLY when you're standing in a building built on a grave sight 3 days before Halloween.

But I suppose that is why she is a historian, and I am someone who enjoys hearing ghost stories.

Happy Halloween!  Go Steelers!

Friday, October 29, 2010

In Which I Introduce My Passion Project

Passion project is a term I came upon somewhat recently in the blogosphere, and I like it a lot.  A passion project is not your job.  You may never make money from it, or, such is the case with my passion project, the money you make is then donated.  A passion project is not a hobby, because it's more than that.

Running is my hobby.  Sewing is a hobby.  Blogging (except for when I blog for work I suppose) is a really fun hobby.  Volunteering even is a hobby for me at this point, but there is one project I'm involved with that has taken on a whole new level of commitment, which is why I think the term "passion project" suits it perfectly.  It is Love of Friends.

I was first involved with Love of Friends (LoF), 3 years ago.  Regina mentioned that she needed volunteers, and I, desperately looking for something to do on Valentine's Day which fell on a Saturday that year, eagerly signed up.

That year was the 3rd year LoF was held, and while it had originated as a potluck in Regina's house, 2009 saw more than 300 people cram into the WYEP studios in the southside to celebrate art, music, friends, and of course, dance!

The party was so much fun.  It was the best Valentines Day I had ever had.  I even met a cute guy there, who I went on a couple of dates with (Volunteering is sexy y'all!) I told Regina that the next year, I wanted to help with more than just the day-of set up.

So for LoF 4, I found myself on the planning committee.  I roped in the Artist, who designed our logo, graphics, and decorations.  The team met regularly over wine and triscuits.  We sewed more than 150 tote bags out of recycled t-shirts.  We got kicked out of our location 3 days before the event, found a new venue (Thanks Union Project!), and threw an awesome party.

This year, as we are preparing for LoF5 (5 years you guys!) I am living Love of Friends.  Besides the meetings, and work that is typical when planning an event, we are doing more crafting/preparing/writing/thinking/scheming than ever before.  The core team has expanded to include another friend who brings both talent and testosterone to our group.  We have a great website with information on the event, and how to stay involved with us throughout the year.

So yea, Love of Friends is a party that happens on Valentine's Day, but more than that it is a celebration. And we have things to celebrate all year long.

Stay tuned, it may be October, but you'll be hearing from the LoF team well before (and after) Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Love story

According to the internets, which, you know, is always right, Taylor Swift is dating Jake Gyllenhaal, which is probably the most depressing piece of celebrity news I've heard.  Ever.

Jake Gyllenhaal has been my go to celebrity crush, (gosh, even his last name comes up on my spellcheck.  Swoon.) since I first saw Donnie Darko.  Omg do you guys remember him in that black hoody?!!? I digress...

Anyway, not only is he gorgeous.  But he loves the Steelers, he has an awesome sister who would probably be an amazing sister-in-law, and did I mention how good looking he is?

And Taylor Swift is beautiful.  She's got that long neck thing going on, and her arms look great, which is probably why she plays the guitar in sleeveless dresses all the time.

But seriously Jake, Taylor Swift?  She's so... annoying.

Now, granted I am not a Taylor Swift fan, so I don't know all of her music, but from what I have heard, she sings about getting married.

It's not just songs about falling in love.  They all end with her getting proposed to, "I talked to your Dad, go pick out a white dress," or feature her in music videos going through the stages of dating, marriage, and kids, without ever aging of course.

Now, maybe this is her schtick.  And Elvis Costello once wisely said, "there are only 5 things in the world to write songs about..." but guess what wasn't one of the 5 things?  Yea, weddings.

So here's my question Taylor.  What about the loves that don't end in marriage?  Where are your songs about that boy you thought you were in love with who you lost touch with after you left for college, and when you ran into him a couple years later, you were so glad he was no longer a part of your life?  Or what about the boy you thought you were in love with, who once you finally accepted that he wasn't "the one" and was never going to love you back the way you wanted him to, you hurt so bad you were actually convinced that you were broken forever and would never be happy again?  Or what about the boy you fell so fast and hard for, only to realize that you were just a fling before he moved away?

And what about the boys who weren't right at all?  Who kissed you, and you felt nothing.  Who you said goodnight to and were really saying "goodbye forever, no seriously don't call me again" to?  What about all the bad dates, and the messy break-ups, and the awkward run-ins, and guys who hit on you only to later admit that they had girlfriends?

What about the relationships that were fleeting.  Not even long-term let alone forever, but that taught you so much?

And what about the men you meet that make you think, even after all that, maybe this could be something, or maybe it will be nothing, but I'm willing to try and find out.

What about all of those love stories?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

You Learn Something New Every Day

I have a penchant for big bags.  Part of this is out of necessity, since I carry my laptop around with me most days, and part of this is liking to have stuff on hand.  Having a big bag is a security blanket of sorts.  The nights I go out with just a clutch?  I feel very exposed indeed.

After having several bags break on me due to the weight I was forcing them to carry on a daily basis, I finally got fed up, and decided to buy luggage.  So for the past couple of years, my go-to bag has been a light blue vintage samsonite carry on.  It slings over my shoulder perfectly.  It fits my laptop nicely.  It holds all my stuff, and looks good with all of my coats.

Precisely tells me it makes me look like a stewardess.  I choose to interpret this as a compliment.

The problem with having a big bag however, is that you get lazy.  The bag becomes a black hole of sorts, where you start throwing things in there, and never bothering to take them out.  Papers, receipts, business cards, gum wrappers, bits of things that have broken and you can no longer tell what they originally were... you get the picture.

Today I learned that if your bottle of Advil somehow opens (even with a childproof lid!) in your bag dumping pills all over the bottom, you should clean them up right away.  Because if you don't, and one day while commuting to work, your water bottle somehow opens and spills over everything, the pills will dissolve, and you will be left with a layer of pink chalky goo, coating the entire bottom of your bag.

My life is so glamorous sometimes, I can hardly stand it.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


You know when you have really realistic dreams, and then you spend all this time searching for an email you're convinced you need to respond to, but you don't actually need to respond to because you dreamed it, and it doesn't actually exist?

I hate that.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Work Hard, Play Harder

Pittsburgh is a really fun town, because it's easy to get involved here.  There are a lot of non-profits and organizations, which means there are a lot of parties to go to or volunteer at.  There is this culture of super-involved people, who are also really cool, and fun to hang out with.  You start volunteering at a couple of events, and the next thing you know, you're sitting on committees, serving as co-chairs, and writing things in your calendar for like, a year in advance.  You get to a point where you start showing up at these parties, and you already know a ton of people.  You may not get paid as a volunteer, but you get to party for free.  We're like, hybrid-socialites.

Friday was Riverlife's first fundraiser, Party on the Pier.  It was so fun!  Highlights included:
- A Boat Ride on the Gateway Clipper
- Cake on the Gateway clipper!
- Food from Enricos (yum!)
- My new knee high boots
- Whiskey and Cider cocktails
- Dancing! (It had been a while, and felt so good!)
- Impromptu brainstorming sessions for LoF
- Late night fire pit
- Becoming stranded on the North Side resulting in a group slumber party
- Group walk of shame back across the Andy Warhol bridge into Downtown the following morning.  (When there's 5 of you, it's not so much shameful as it is a tired-but-fun-walk-in-the-clothes-you-wore-the-night-before, during which you make stops for coffee at Starbucks, slurpees at 7-11, and pumpkin pancakes in the strip.)

Just for the record, volunteering is awesome.

Saturday my friend/coworker got married.  It was a beautiful wedding!  I don't talk about my job much on this blog, but gosh I love my coworkers.  We had a blast.
- My boss pulling me on the dance floor telling me that this would affect my performance review
- Getting totally lost while driving in Southwestern PA
- More dancing!  And feeling the effect of all that marathon training in my very tired legs
- A photo booth, with props, that we had far too much fun with
- the best wedding cake I've ever had!
- Laughing so hard we cried. (Shout out to table 13.)
- The dollar bridal dance, which almost every single guest participated in
- Deciding to go through a haunted house on our way home from the reception (in our wedding attire, i.e. high-heels)
- Getting to Demon house and finding out the admission was $17.  Deciding that was scary enough, and to just go home instead
- A great cookie table (for my family and friends who are not in pittsburgh, and don't know about the cookie table, this is your warning that regardless of when and where I get married, I am having a cookie table, and I'll expect your participation.)
- Singing Katy Perry songs with the Artist's boyfriend

Sunday was:
- Sweatshirts and leggings
- Replacing marathon training with an Arrested Development marathon
- Bowling (I had to leave the game early and still won.  That's because I rock at delegating.)
- Sushi
- Mad Men

October, you're shaping up to be a great month.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Never Ending Question

Each morning I wake up, and within minutes of regaining consciousness am faced with the same question. Every single day. What? Am I going to wear today?

Sometimes the question is already answered for me. There was a year in high school where I would take time every Sunday to plan out my outfits for the approaching school week. I'd figure out everything down to the accessories, and then write it all out on a list, so that when I woke up at 5 freakin o'clock in the morning, I wouldn't have to think.  I just did what the paper told me to.

Flash forward to now, when I can't imagine having that kind of time on a Sunday, and usually don't have to be up before 7. Needless to say, my week's wardrobe is no longer quite so organized.

Because we're dramatic, and because this question is often faced before or with little coffee, Precisely and I can be found most mornings lying on the floor of our shared closet, asking the age old quandary of "What on earth am I going to wear today?"

My job is flexible enough that I don't have strict "work-clothes" (although I think most of my clothing is business casual). I've been fortunate enough to have collected quite a few nice pieces over the years, and have outfits that I absolutely adore. I am even more fortunate now, having an entire half of a bedroom as closet space, meaning I have easier access to my clothing than I have had in years. Also, I only have one strict fashion rule, which is to never wear sweatpants in public. Everything else is fair game.

This shouldn't then, be difficult.

Yet some days, it is so absolutely challenging, and having to make that kind of decision at the beginning of the day, seems far more stressful than it actually is. Some days I wish I just didn't care.

But I do care. I love fashion. I love clothes. I love how pairing some clothes with other clothes changes an outfit entirely. I love how fabrics feel, and fall across your body, and how colors can have an effect on your mood all day. I love the process of getting dressed. Of each layer of clothing working together to create an ensemble that you present to the outer world.

So here's my confession. Every morning when I don't feel like thinking about getting dressed, when I resent the "what am I going to wear today" question, I suck it up and put effort into it and answer it anyways. Why? Maybe this is morbid, or crazy, but I find myself thinking - If today, for some reason, you were to die. Be it a brain aneurism, or a freak accident, and you, you who love fashion, and put such effort into your clothes, were wearing an outfit you didn't care about, wouldn't that be a terrible thing?

It would be.  I couldn't stand for my last ever outfit to be one I didn't care about. So I take another sip of coffee, face my closet, and put together another outfit for another day.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

List of Some Random Thoughts From Julie and Julia

I came home late last night, and had to wake up early this morning, so decided to spend a low key Friday night in.  After determining that Current TV wasn't showing anything involving Brett Erlich, I decided to watch Julie and Julia.  So I made myself some mashed potatoes for dinner, poured myself a glass of wine, and settled in to enjoy a couple hours of French cuisine, blogging, and people finding themselves.  Here are my thoughts from the film:

- Though all of the food looked delicious, I can't say I was seriously inspired to cook.  You know what inspires me to cook?  All this running, which is making me hungry all. the. time.

- I jumped on the blogging bandwagon way late in the game.  2002?  She wrote her blog in '02?  You know what I was doing in '02?  Freaking out over getting my drivers permit, and being 15, that's what I was doing.

- Amy Adams hair.  Usually, her hair looks great.  (she was one of the actresses who inspired me to go red) but I wasn't digging the cut in this movie.  That was on purpose probably, but I still wasn't feeling it.

- She and her husband were all excited over having 900 sq. feet even though it meant moving to Queens.  Bahaha, 900 sq. ft.  I love cost of living in Pittsburgh.

- I find it very reassuring that Julia Childs can find true love and be happily married.  My voice is not as annoying, and I already know how to cook some things.  She could barely boil an egg when she first got married.

- Oh Paris, I miss you.

- I fear that if Julia ended up hating Julie's blog, my goal of making Brett Ehrlich fall in love with me over twitter, could potentially backfire...

- Brie really is the best cheese I've ever tasted.

 - Maybe I will try making the Boeuf Bourguignon come winter, when I don't want to leave the apartment and am craving warm comfort food.

Bon Appetite!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The B Word

You know what I hate?  When someone asks me how I’m doing, and I hear myself answering “busy”.

I realize that asking “how are you?” is a social nicety, and you’re not actually supposed to respond with how you are really doing, so I try to say “fine” and “good” and if things are really bad, maybe I’ll say “I’m hanging in there!” but more often than not, the answer that comes out is “busy”.

Here’s the thing.  I am busy all of the time.  There is no slow time of year.  There is never a month that isn’t crazy.  If I’m breathing, I’m busy.

But I want it that way.

I’m a member of Gen Y.  We were the kids whose schedules were so packed with structured extra-curriculars that our calendars were busier than those of our working parents.  Add to that my type a personality, and, if I don’t keep myself busy to the point of being overwhelmed, I won’t know what to do with myself and will fall into a procrastinating shame spiral that is very messy to get out of.  Sometimes, I feel a lot like a shark.  If I stop moving, I will die.

These days, it seems we love telling everyone how busy we are.  I’m just so busy!  You hear it all the time in an exasperated tone.  Because if you’re not so busy, then you must be a slacker, and clearly not as good a human as all the busy people. We wear our busy-ness like a badge of honor.  But busy isn’t honorable, or a symbol of success or importance. Being busy is not a sign of accomplishment.  Doing something great, or creating something you are proud of is an accomplishment. 

Busy is a choice, and a lifestyle. Being busy isn’t better.  And if you don’t enjoy it, and spend all of your time complaining about it, then stop doing so much and making yourself miserable.  And, if like me, you enjoy busy, or it’s the only way you know how to structure your life, then stop whining about what makes you happy.   

I had a meeting today with a colleague who asked me how I was. “Good,” I said. “Busy, but good.”  Then I rolled my eyes.  “I hate saying I’m busy,” I explained. “I’m always busy, it’s a stupid answer.”

“I've got to the point where I just tell people I’m living,” she said.

And that, is an answer I like.  How am I?  I’m living.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I can hear music.

I live on the same block as a dive bar.  This has its benefits and drawbacks.  Drawbacks are that on Thursdays, I'm trying to sleep, and they're trying to host 80's night.  Another drawback is consistently coming home to punk biker kids sitting on my front stoop, which actually doesn't hurt anyone, just creates those awkward couple moments while they're all "wow, someone lives here?" and I'm all "uh, yea, someone does." while frantically searching for my keys.

One of the benefits is being able to get a six pack anytime I want without having to walk more than 30 ft.  That's what I was up to tonight.  I walked in, it's a Weds so the place wasn't seriously crowded, and there were the usual suspects of older yinzers and bike kids sitting at the bar.  Only something was different.  They were all glued to the television screen.  They weren't watching a game, it wasn't a crazy news story, it was America's Got Talent.  And one of the finalists is this 10 year old opera prodigy, from somewhere near Pittsburgh. You can see a clip of her singing here.  She's fierce.

So there was this girl, performing an aria, and doing it beautifully, and the ENTIRE bar was absolutely enthralled.  I can't emphasize enough that this was a) the last place on earth I'd ever expect to hear opera, and b) the last audience on earth I'd ever expect to see enjoying it.  I almost had to laugh, except then I got caught up in the performance too.

Music.  How awesome is music?  How often do we even ask that question?  I feel like music is discussed and talked about and judged a lot, but when do we really sit back and ponder the enormous amount of awesome that comes from music.  Music makes you so present.  You know those moments, when you suddenly stop thinking for a few seconds?  Where everything is just good, and you are in such sensory overload that you can't think of anything but the very present?  I assume that's the moment of Nirvana one looks for in meditation or while practicing yoga.

I, along with most of my generation, and everyone else in cubicle nation, listen to music almost all of the time.  I have my itunes library of course, but sometimes I'm sick of it, or am not in the mood to decide what I want to hear, and so I turn to the myriad number of sources of radio on the internet.  They all have their pros and cons, but I use them largely depending on my mood.

The old stand by.  Pandora is what I turn to when I know roughly what type of music I want to listen to, but don't want to worry about making my own playlist.  They do it for you.  Pandora is great for long walks, running, or working on something that requires some concentration so that you want to hear the same type of music for a prolonged period of time.  You can also look up all kinds of music.  For example, when I'm super stressed at work, I'll put on my Gregorian Chanting station and will be provided with hours of chants if I want.  (stop rolling your eyes, it's super soothing!)
I recently went back to using after a long hiatus. is for when I know exactly which song I want to listen to.  Usually a song that I don't want to take the trouble to buy or download but want to hear.  right.  now.  There's the whole following thing, and they keep telling me I have points, and I suppose the competitive edge in me should be more into that, but I haven't bothered.  Mostly I just look up what I want and then it's saved to my playlist, which at this point looks like it was put together by an ADD raddled teenager, and features things like R Kelly followed by Sharon Jones followed by Blink 182 and finished off with Feist.

The sixtyone is where I turn when I have no idea what I want.  The sixtyone allows anyone or any bands to upload their tracks so you can end up with a mix of signed artists, and groups recording in their living room onto their macbooks.  The sixtyone allows you to skip as many times as you want.  You can save songs to playlists, you can "heart" songs that you like, and as you use it more, you are rewarded with increased levels.  The dangerous thing about the sixtyone is that there is a lot of bad music out there, especially when there's no screening system.  The good thing is you get exposed to groups you'd never find.  My favorite band I've been introduced to through the sixtyone so far are My First Earthquake.  Awesome Pittsburgh group Big Hurry has been featured on their homepage a couple of times now.  You'll get a little bit of everything, but you might find something you like.

Happy listening.

There are feelings you get—rushes—after you engage in certain activities. These activities often leave you feeling happy, and sweaty. Like running and you know, the obvious one. They are not meant to stimulate your mind. They're just supposed to make you feel f***ing great. The thing about music though, is that at its best, it leaves you drunk and smart. You feel all boozy without the hangover; you get a lesson without the lecture.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Highlights from spending the weekend with my family in the midwest.

I believe Pittsburgh is in the midwest.  And I KNOW that all of you born and raised 'burghers will tell me how I'm wrong (I once had a date explain to me over dinner why I was incorrect based on historical  events and geography of Pittsburgh), BUT, as a born and raised Eastern snob, I will tell you, it is most certainly, the midwest.

My parents however come from the undeniably midwestern state of Minnesota.  I still have a lot of family there, and that is where I spent labor day weekend, attending the wedding of one cousin, the baby shower of another, and generally eating a lot of cake.  Which, was completely fine by me.


- Every once in a while I hear Pittsburgher's complain about mosquitos.  'Burghers, you have no idea.  I had welts on my neck and face from 1 hour outside during brunch on Sunday.

- Driving with my parents requires written directions, a gps, my iphone, and some how, my Mom and Dad still end up bickering over where we're going, and then I inevitably jump in when I get that I can't take it anymore feeling, which is no way actually helpful.  My sister sits in the back and rolls her eyes.  I admire her silence.

- My dear cousin who I am very close to just got engaged, and asked me to be a bridesmaid.  I am super excited, and also suspect that this may be where my life becomes that of Katherine Heigl's in 27 Dresses.  Only instead of a hunky reporter from the NY Times, can I get Brett Ehrlich from Current TV to fall in love with me please?

- My family drinks coffee.  All. The. Time.  Now, I love coffee, a lot.  But, I've got myself used to a big cup in the morning, and maybe, MAYBE one in the afternoon if I'm really crashing.  After 3 days of basically mainlining coffee however, my one cup was not cutting it.  So I got a latte for lunch.  And have spent the remainder of the afternoon twitching at my desk between the caffeine and lack of food.  (because if I wasn't drinking coffee this weekend, I was eating.  Usually both.)

Maybe due to the fact that I skipped lunch, maybe due to the fact that I'm finally getting the hang of this cooking thing (thanks CSA!), but I found like 17 recipes via blogs and twitter which I can't wait to try.  And then sent them to Precisely, because really, my favorite form of cooking goes like this.

      Precisely is in the kitchen sautéing.           
      I wander in holding a wine glass, "Wow babe, that smells great!"
      Him: raised eyebrows.
      Me: swirl, swirl.

I almost always clean up though.

- Getting your foot stepped on with a stiletto hurts like heck!  And will cause you to tear up whether you want to or not, (which you definitely don't), and you'll find yourself waving your hands in front of your face like a beauty queen telling people you're fine as you choke back sobs, and pray your mascara won't run.

- Conversation with my family as we're about to leave for the wedding.
My Dad: "Kels, you look great!"
My Aunt: "Very chic."
My Mom: "That skirt is so short!"

- Conversation with my recently engaged cousin.
Cousin: "I guess you're next!"
Me: "uhhhhhh"
Cousin: "Unless your sister beats you!"
My Sister: "uhhhhhhh"

It was a good weekend.  I don't make it up there often enough.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Spewing Proverbs

So the thing about training for a marathon, is that the only way you'll ever be able to run 26.2 miles without serious negative consequences, is by running 26.2 miles, or at least close to that.  Running is one of those frustrating things that are incredibly simple yet really hard.  Want to run faster?  You run faster.  Simple, but difficult.

What all of this means is that all of my weekends from now until November 21 will include a 13+ mile run.  Because I am out of town this weekend, I had planned to go for my long run yesterday after work.  15 miles.

I was ready, I have new running shoes, I bought gatorade and a snickers bar, I told people about it, I thought about and psyched myself up for it.  I did essentially, everything I always do to prepare for a long run, because when you start hitting this kind of distance running becomes just as much of a mental challenge as a physical one.

Last weekend I did 14, which while certainly not being easy, was difficult in a good way, and overall enjoyable.  Running and I have been pretty in love lately, and I was excited for the utter exhaustion, flood of endorphins, and accomplishing one more mile.  I was ready.

What they don't tell you about marathon training, are the bad runs.  You prepare for blisters, dehydration, chaffing, heat-exhaustion, bruises, pulled muscles, and a gazillion other potential problems.  But nothing, none of that compares to having a bad run.

I did 5 miles.

That's it.

5 lousy miles.

5 miles in which I never hit my stride, it never got easier, I never fell into a comfortable rhythm making me feel I could go forever.

It was so hard, and it should have been so easy.

In my experience with running so far, nothing is more devastating than  bad run.  Especially, when it was supposed to be a long run.  It's kind of like getting dumped.  You're surprised and angry, and feel hurt and betrayed, and wonder if you're too fat.

This however, is exactly why I am not training alone.  After the miserable 5 mile disaster, I texted Running Buddy.

"I just had a really lousy, really defeating 5 miles.  I'm supposed to run in a half-marathon next weekend. I need encouragement!" I wrote.

"Remember the Alamo" he responded.

I stared at my phone.

"If this was going to be easy, there wouldn't be a point." he wrote.

"True." I replied.

"When in Rome," he said.

"Ok, now you're just spewing proverbs at me aren't you?" I asked.

"yeeeaaaaa." he said.

"c'est la vie" I shot back.

So tomorrow, I'll get back on the proverbial horse, or in the saddle, or however that saying goes, lace up my sneakers, and try again.

Friday, August 27, 2010

That Time I Regressed to my 7 Year Old Shy Self and Just Left

Do you guys know your Meyers Briggs type?  I'm an ENTJ, which stands for extraversion, intuition, thinking, and judgement.

Extraversion.  I've taken a lot of different kinds of personality tests, and usually end up on the fence between an introvert and an extravert.  I am drawn to extraverted people, I love being social, and social activities/meeting new people is an activity I build into my life on a regular basis.

On the other hand, determining whether you are an introvert or an extravert supposedly depends on whether you draw energy from socializing with others, or internally from spending time alone.  I do get energized from meeting new people, but I also find it draining, and I need to work in alone time into my schedule so I can recharge.  So, introvert or extravert?

Because I consistently score as an ENTJ on Myers Briggs, and because when it comes down to it, I want to be an extravert, that is usually what I go with.  I was pretty shy as a kid, but luckily had a lot of friends who were naturally gregarious and social, and so I copied what they did, and that usually worked out.  Then I started working in the non profit sector doing outreach, and networking pretty much became my job to the point that now, walking into a room full of strangers and inserting myself into their conversations doesn't even phase me.  Usually.

Every once in a while though, I become that shy kid again.  It happened last night.  I had attended a party after work, and was going from said party to a benefit that my Running Buddy had been involved with.  I was only going to make the last 25 minutes or so of the event, but had already made a donation, so really just wanted to show my support, then be on my way.

It was one of those rare Pittsburgh events where I didn't know anyone. ( I say rare because the degree of separation in Pittsburgh is about 1-1.5.  Basically wherever you go you see someone you know.  And if you don't know them yet, you've probably shared the same boss, partied with their sister, or dated the same person.  Small town stuff.  But I digress...) So, I knew Running Buddy obviously, but he was busy working the event, and we were only able to say hi and chat for a minute or two.  There was also a friend of his working the event who I had met once, and said hi to, but she was busy with the Silent Auction.

So I wandered around a bit, looked at some art, smiled at strangers, and found myself standing at a table alone drinking a cup of coffee, and feigning interest in the silent auction winners being announced while playing Words With Friends on my phone (my username is hallingpreis btw if anyone wants to play).

"Go talk to some people," I thought to myself, "Just do it.  Just go say hi.  You do this all the time."  And I just reallllly didn't want to.  The event was a great success, everyone looked like they were enjoying themselves a lot, and I just didn't have the energy to introduce myself.

So you know what I did?

I picked up my bag, and I left.  Just walked out the door.  Sent Running Buddy a text saying I was sorry to hit and run, but had an early morning meeting and couldn't stay.  And walking across the bridge back into downtown, I was all alone, and it was awesome.

It was so pleasant that I couldn't even feel guilty about leaving so soon, or feel like a child, or a failed extravert.

Sometimes I think the best part of being an adult but not quite grown up, is that you can quit when you want.  Of course you should push and challenge yourself, and do something every day that scares you.  BUT, sometimes, you just need to leave.

And that makes new opportunities, and risks, and relationships, and challenges a lot less frightening.  Because you'll try it.  Maybe you'll be great at it and love it, and maybe you won't.  And the best part, is that you can always quit.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Zen and the Art of Happy Hour

Last night was the one night this week in which I had no meetings/volunteering/or events scheduled after work. What was I going to do with this free night? I was going to yoga!

I was, that is, until I was invited to a happy hour after work to celebrate the Artist, and her starting the Public Allies Pittsburgh Program next week. You win happy hour, you always do…

Anyways, we were celebrating with drinks at AVA in East Liberty. AVA is connected to the Shadow Lounge, and has been one of my favorite bars in Pittsburgh, since…gosh, since I could start going to bars.

The Shadow Lounge is fantastic. Besides having a ridiculously friendly staff, there’s something going on almost every night of the week. Live jazz, Titletown, I even sang karaoke there once, and those who know me know I NEVER sing karaoke (It was “Be my Baby” by the Ronettes for the record).

And now, NOW, they have a fantastic food menu on top of all that.

Confession: I like to eat. (It’s why I run.) So I feel I know what I’m talking about when I tell you that the food here is amazing. Awesome. Delectable! Enough positive adjectives don’t exist to explain how good the food is.

Tuesday’s are seviche night. We were lucky enough to be served an order, and I was lucky enough to have the foresight half-way through to say “Wait! You guys! Let me take a picture before it’s all gone!

I am not a food critic, so I won’t tell how the flavors danced across my palate or anything like that. What I will tell you is this; the food is simply good, unpretentious, and obviously prepared from fresh ingredients. What I will tell you, is that my one coworker hates fish. Refuses to eat it ever. The Artist has been a vegetarian since she was 9. Yet, they both L-O-V-E-D the seviche. In a word? It was delightful.

Chef Fernando Espejel – the man behind the delightful seviche, was nice enough to hang out with us for a while. Espejel got his start in the business at his family’s restaurant in Mexico City, called La Vici, which translates to The Bicycle, and was called such because his grandfather originally started the business by selling tacos on a bike. So not only is the food great, it’s authentic.

Beyond cooking at AVA/The Shadow Lounge, Chef Espejel plans to start a food cart, which will be coming to a neighborhood near you in the next couple weeks. The cart will feature a couple different options including fresh juices and fast lunches.

“To have fast food, you don’t need to go to McDonalds,” says Espejel. Awesome.

“If I could have this for lunch, I would feel like a goddess!” exclaimed my coworker Regina. Truth. I can’t wait for him to bring the cart to the Southside.

So if you haven’t been to AVA yet to eat, do yourself a favor and check out the menu. Or better yet, give me a call and we’ll go.

I may have missed out on finding inner peace at yoga, but it’s safe to say I found Zen in good company, enchanting food, and a couple glasses of cabernet.

Group shot with AVA owner Justin Strong, and Chef Fernando Espejel.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Spring Forward, Fall Back Down

It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.
- Joe Fox, You've Got Mail

It rained today, and when I left work this evening it was cool. Cool as in it made me realize that it's going to be fall soon, which, as much as y'all know I love my Pittsburgh Summers, I can't help but be excited for.

This marks the second fall in which I won't be going back to school. Even though my year follows a different schedule, there is still something about the fall. I think it might be my favorite season.

I love Pittsburgh summers, but they're fleeting and fun and not quite real life. My birthday is in the spring, which ads to the feeling of re-birth in the season, but springs in Pittsburgh tend to be rainy and cold. I also have the distracting and cliche habit of falling in love in the spring, or at least head first into a crush that won't last past labor day. Winters here are hard. But Fall, fall, is lovely.

So let's make this the best fall ever! Let's trade the strappy sandals for knee high boots. Let's put away the silk and linen, and break out the tweed and wool blends. If nothing else fall has the best fashion.

Let's stop with the frozen drinks and gin and tonics and enjoy rich red wines and spicy fall brews. Let's eat pumpkin flavored pastries, and drink hot chai tea.

Let's enjoy walking without being sticky and sweaty upon arrival. And enjoy the satisfying crunch of leaves underfoot.

Let's listen to Feist, and The National, and The Weakerthans and revel in the hurt-so-good, artificial depression and nostalgia that kind of music provides.

Let's take a weekend road-trip to New York, and drive out to see Falling Water in the changing colors, and ride our bikes for the last time. The best running happens in the fall.

Let's go on hayrides, and dress up for Halloween, and enjoy the weight we've lost over the summer before we gain it back over the holidays.

Let's buy new notebooks even if we're not going back to school. Let's get to work.

Bring it on Fall!

Friday, August 20, 2010

I don't think I'll have any less fun.

I like changing my hair. Ever since I can remember I’ve grown it out, only to then cut it all off and start over.

It’s thrilling and liberating. I never understand those girls who get their hair cut and cry. It grows back.

One thing I’ve never done however is dye my hair. And why would I? I’m a natural blonde, we’re a dying breed.

A couple of years ago, I started thinking, “I want to be a red head.” Every time I would bring it up though, everyone would say “ohhhh, no don’t do that! You have such pretty blonde hair.”

And I would be talked out of it. Until this summer, after watching Mad Men and TrueBlood, and envying Amy Adams and Rachel McAdams, and I decided to just go ahead and do it already.

So, I emailed Beth, and rather than trying to talk me out of it, she replied, “This is going to be such a great change for you!”

And you know what?

It is.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Leaving Makes You Realize Where You Should Stay

I returned to my beloved Pittsburgh yesterday afternoon after a week in Israel, and 12 hours in the Charles De Gaulle Airport outside of Paris.

The trip was incredible. It was time-out from life. Israel is the most foreign place I have ever been, and I was lucky enough to be spending the majority of time with citizens, who gave me an awesome glimpse into the culture and country that I never would have experienced simply as a tourist.

I avoided sunburn thanks to 100+ SPF sunscreen that all of the Israelis made fun of me for, I swam in the Mediterranean, the Sea of Galilee, and floated in the Dead Sea. I kneaded the dough and braided Challah, learned about Shabbat, and enjoyed Shabbat dinner with an entire extended family including a grandmother who didn't speak much English but told me, "Eat!" as she passed me dish after dish. I didn't argue, it was delicious.

I slept outside on a roof in the small town of Tzfat during a meteor shower, attended a Klezmer festival, heckled with cab drivers, prayed at the Wailing Wall, learned approximately 5-10 words in Hebrew, and had the best hummus and felafel of my life!

I'm so grateful I could do this.

Even the flights/hours upon hours of waiting in airports weren't so bad. I cut myself off of all internet this trip, which was a really nice break. I read books, (remember those?) and had a lot of time to simply be. While too much time alone in my head can be a dangerous thing, it is a necessary experience every once in a while. Some people pay a lot for therapy. Myself, I've found that taking long flights alone, forcing me to be with myself, provides an excellent outlet to work through some stuff, and come home refreshed.

And now I'm back in the real world. Back to laundry and email and work and constant connectedness. Back to Iron City beer, and my best friends, and Madmen, and understanding the language being spoken around me. It feels really good.