Reader Mailbox: Girls' Night in Pittsburgh

Monday, March 25, 2013

Co-Worker Brittnee writes:

“I’m looking for Girl’s Night Ideas in Pittsburgh. I was thinking about a Painting Party”

Boohyah! I'm so excited for this one. I’ve been meaning to write about this topic for some time now!

If you were looking for a paint party, there are a lot of companies that now offer that:

·         Paint Monkey in Lawrenceville

·         Art Bar they set up events in a variety of spaces

I’m still torn on that idea – I don’t know what I would do with the painting. Maybe my pink palace cubical?

My girls nights always tend to include alcohol, so there’s…

·         Penn Brewery: They have live events on the weekends and offer tours on Wednesdays (the times aren’t ideal)

·         Wigle Whiskey: Seriously, this place has been on my list forever.

·         Pittsburgh Winery: A new spot that just opened in the Strip

Non-alcoholic, there is…

·         Brunch at the Frick or Phipps

·         Cooking classes with Enrico Biscotti, Chop, Wok, Talk, or Sweetwater Center for the Arts

·         Note that Sweetwater has specific Girls Night Out parties too!

·         Improv at Steel City Improv

·         Visiting a psychic

The schedules aren’t released, but Pittsburgh Citiparks offers Cinema in the Park. When it warms up, I also love the drive in!

A few quirky things that are currently on my Pittsburgh bucket list are:

·         Attending a Banjo Club show on the North Side on a Wednesday (the shows are free)

·         I’ve been itching to go roller skating for a while now and I found these alternative skating parties, but the “suggestive” attire hasn’t sold me just yet – however, I wonder if Sue still has my LA Gear jacket. Hey, it’s on the attire list!

Okay – now your turn. What’s your go to for a Pittsburgh girls’ night? 
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It's a Cardi Party: Celebrate Mr. Rogers Day

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

True Story: I really didn’t watch a lot of Mr. Roger’s growing up. Shot of Mom wasn’t a fan of the show, so she would change the channel after Sesame Street. However, I did catch some episodes at my grams. My favorite ever was the trip to the Crayola Factory to see how Crayons were made (thanks some random person I fanned on FB).

Fast forward to 2003. After a long night (and morning) out celebrating my 22nd birthday mom calls to wish me a Happy Birthday and breaks the news that Mr. Rogers passed away on my birthday. This sent me into tears (and if you know me, you know I never cry). I blame it on the fact that I was still drunk.

Today would have been Mr. Roger’s 85th birthday. While his show is still on, I suspect it isn’t as well-received by kids today as it once was. However, that isn’t stopping me from brainstorming some ways to host your own Mr. Rogers Neighborhood-themed party!

·       Attire: Cardigans are a MUST considering they were an essential part of Mr. Rogers signature style. If you are feeling ambitious, you can dress up as one of the characters from the show – Mr. McFeely (seen here with me earlier this year), King Friday, Queen Sara Saturday, Prince Tuesday and Queen Sara Saturday. You can find the official list of characters here. I can always make another owl costume!

·       Activities: I’m going to go a little crazy here, but you could rent a trolley (Molly’s Trolleys here in Pittsburgh) and make a yellow sign for it that says “Neighborhood Trolley.” Now this can go one of two ways: 1. This would be fun for kids to ride around the neighborhood in a trolley. OR 2. Trolley Parties are real popular in Chicago. Not just for bachelorette parties, but for a random Friday night. This would be PERFECT for a Mr. Rogers-themed adult party! Bring on the booze! The PBS store sells a mini trolley here.

·       The Mr. Rogers’ website is full of activities and games. Remember the stop light game? And of course you can allow kids (and adults) to create a puppet show.

·       Food: For the adults, I suggest kid-inspired food spiked versions of kids’ drinks.  I’m thinking gourmet grilled cheese, adult milkshakes and some Rolling Rock beer – you know that Fred’s from Latrobe, which is also the hometown of Rolling Rock!

·       Music: Purchase some Mr. Rogers tunes here.

·       Décor: Go big or go home. Recreate the Neighborhood of Make-Believe on some paper and hang it up on a wall. You can also make cute signs to blow up at FedEx and hang around the venue that say famous Mr. Rogers sayings like:  
o   It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood
o   Won’t you be my neighbor
o   I think I’ll make a snappy new day  

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Eat More Pi

Thursday, March 14, 2013

I excel at many things in life…like twirling batons, taking jumping photos and telling random stories. But one thing that I DO NOT excel in is math. I barely know how I survived math in school and on SATs. I know how I survived it in college – I took math during the summer at community college. You only needed a D for it to be considered a “passing” credit ; )


While I’m not good at math, I am good at drinking. So today, I’m toasting 3.14 – Pi Day. You see 3.14 is the mathematically equation for Pi. I’m really not going to tell you anything beyond that, other than you can make a Pi Day Cocktail courtesy of Drink of the Week.

The Think Geek Pi-tini (via Drink of the Week)
·       3.14 ounces of blueberry vodka
o   Measure the diameter of the glass in centimeters , then take pi (3.14) times the glass radius squared ounces of vermouth and divide by 10
·       Splash of Blue Curacao for color
·       Pour into a cocktail shaker, shake 3.14 times, and strain in a cocktail glass
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Egg-static Cadbury Egg Recipes

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I’m just gonna throw this right out there – I totally love Easter for all of the wrong reasons. And when I say wrong reasons I mean I’m in it for the floral dresses and the candy.  

One of my favorite recent candy trends is Cadbury Egg hacks. That’s when people take Cadbury Crème  Eggs and turn them into something else. Here are some mouth-watering examples.

·       Cadbury Egg Cookie Cake Bars from Picky Palate

·       Cadbury Egg Easter Cupcakes from Pizzazzarie

·       Cadbury Crème Devil Eggs from Bon App

·       Cadbury Crème  Milkshake from Chocolate Moosey

·       Cadbury Egg & Peep S’mores from Amy’s Cooking Adventures

This recipe from Serious Eats is a bit crazy – Cadbury Eggs Benedict!  

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Monday, March 11, 2013

I love that the Disney team launched The Great & Powerful Oz a week before St. Patrick’s Day. All of the “Somewhere over the Rainbow”- type posts have totally brought out a number of Oz-themed party ideas. Which got me thinking – why not mix up your St. Pat’s décor this year by going rainbow vs. just going green.

Rainbow Cake via Meaningful Mama

(you could totally duplicate this with streamers vs. fabric too)

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Thirsty Thursday: Hole In Wine

Thursday, March 07, 2013

My relationship with wine has changed over the years. I started off with Pinot Grigio, then moved to a Processo, then dabbled in Torrontes and some Sauvignon Blanc.

Now, I 100% blame Reader Lindsay for turning me into a red wine drinker – specifically a Cabernet Sauvignon drinker.

A few weeks ago I picked up the Arnold Palmer Cab because it was on “sale” for $12.99 and brought it to Shot of Mom’s birthday dinner as somewhat of a “joke” because J Bo is obsessed with Arnold Palmers (Iced Tea + Lemonade). Well after a few sips, I knew this wine was on par – I was instantly obsessed. AND, so was my driver Brady! He’s not typically a red wine drinker, but he was totally in the groove. I’m glad I this bottle wasn’t a shank.

Arnold Palmer Cab isn’t a heavy red – it’s light and very drinkable. The official description from the website says: “The Arnold Palmer has aromas of almonds and plump dark cherries. The flavors of the wine hint of mocha and spiced chi tea while filling the mouth with raspberry candy, dark chocolate and espresso. The finish has elements of dark fruit, integrated with an elegant and rounded tannin structure.”

This wine is a total hole in one! Tea, cherries, almonds, raspberry candy, chocolate and espresso – I mean this is like a straight list of my favorite things! No wood or iron tastes. Way to go, Arnold!

And for those of you who aren’t aware, this wine is named after Arnold Palmer the golfer that hails from Latrobe, Pa – just outside of Pittsburgh!  A little birdie told me his wine is made under a partnership with Luna Vineyards. The partnership began in 2003 and the Cab was produced in 2005 in California.  

While I don’t like to spend a lot of greens on my wine, I 100% recommend a bottle of Arnold Palmer to start off your front nine. This wine should be sipped at a house or restaurant – totally not at the club.  

Feel free to count the golf puns and leave them in the comments section ; )
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Reader Mailbox: Engagement Gifts

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Reader Trish IMs: What is a good idea for an engagement gift?

Shot of Brandi IMs: What’s the price range?

Reader Trish IMs: It’s for my boss

Shot of Brandi IMs: I’m so blogging this

Reader Trish IMs: You haven’t blogged in forever…

Engagement gifts can be tricky – the couple typically hasn’t registered yet and you don’t want to spend a lot of money because you know that you’ll be heading to the ATM for the shower, bachelorette and wedding. So here are my suggestions for engagement gifts for the couple.

·         Tiffany & Co Champagne Flutes: Secret fact about Tiffany & Co – they make $20 champagne flutes. If you purchase two, you are still under $50 for a gift that will wow in that blue box with white ribbon

·         Mr. & Mrs. Glasses: While we are on the subject of glasses, I love these Mr. & Mrs. Glasses. Wedding planning can be stressful, so I do recommend something to drink alcohol from. …which brings me to my next suggestion…

·         Champagne: This is a rather obvious choice, but see comment above. The newly engaged couple will need lots of alcohol ; )

·         Cutting Board: Something a bit more personal, I love this cutting board with the couple’s name and engagement date from Etsy.

·         Restaurant Gift Card: Finally, a gift card to a local restaurant is also a good idea. If the couple needs to save up for their wedding and honeymoon, they may cut back on eating at restaurants, so this gift card would come in handy for a nice night out!

And for your newly engaged lady friend, here’s two past engagement gift ideas here and here. Other ideas include a subscription to a bridal magazine, wedding planner and books or anything that says “Soon to be Mrs” like stationary! 
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