Tech Tuesday: The Art of the Instagram Hashtag

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Whether or not you are on Instagram, by know you likely know about the #TBT – Throwback Thursday. And if you aren’t on Twitter, you can likely figure out what Follow Friday (#FF) means. There are some other #hashtag theme days out there that are gaining traction that I thought I would share with you all!

Why do people use these hashtags? There may be a number of reasons, but I see it as creative inspiration. It gets your juices flowing to take or use an old pic on Instagram. 

  • #MCM = Man Crush Monday. An image of a man you think is hot. Can also involve male animals/pets.
  • #MPM = Mirror Pic Monday. Eye roll. This is a pic of you in your mirror. If you are participating in this trend, don’t forget what’s behind you in the room! Always remember - pause & review before you post!  
  • #ManiMonday = Manicure Monday. Did you get a hot manicure over the weekend? Now is your chance to flaunt your fingers.
  • #TT = Transformation Tuesday. Did you lose 10 pounds and have a before + after? Did you renovate your kitchen or re-craft something? Use the #TT hashtag and show a side-by-side photo.
  • #TT = Trendy Tuesday. Could be an #OOTD post (see below). Something on trend – fashion, home décor, etc.
  • #WBW = Way Back Wednesday. This is for the people that can’t get enough of the Throwback Thursdays.
  • #WCW = Woman Crush Wednesday. Similar to #MCM, a woman that you are crushing on.
  • #TBT = Throwback Thursday. Old pictures. Enough said.
  • #FF = Flashback Friday. See Throwback Thursday. For people that procrastinate the TBT. Lol.
  • #SS = Summer Saturday. Show everyone how you are enjoying summer!
  • #SelfieSunday = Selfie Sunday. A picture you snap of yourself. Duck face is NOT a requirement.
  • #OOTD = Outfit of the Day. Typically a selfie shot of what the poster is wearing.
  • #Repost. This is reposting a picture from someone else’s account. 
Read More

Craft-tacular or Craft-tastrophy? Chevron Wreath

Monday, July 29, 2013

As I’ve blogged about here, a lot of my recent craft projects have been either full on or borderline craft-tastrophies. After Easter, we needed a wreath to get us to Memorial Day (we have a nice little red, white and blue wreath). After a day at the craft store, I came home with the items shown below and decided I’d go for a little S painted chevron wreath. But I wasn’t sure how I was going to get to that with the items that I picked up…

First I wrapped the wreath in the hemp. This seriously took almost an hour. As I was wrapping, I used hot glue on the help to ensure that it would stay.

Next up, I painted the S with a chevron pattern. I printed some chevron off of the internet and used it as a guide.

So after the S was dry, I had a rope wreath and an S. Originally, I wanted to put the S on the side with some rosettes down the other, but the S was a bit too heavy.

So I decided to go S at the top, rosettes at the bottom.

While it’s been on our door since April, I don’t love it, but I don’t hate it. I think the rosettes could have been bigger, but I intended to put them down the side vs. at the bottom and was running out of ribbon. Thoughts? Love it or hate it? 

Read More

Etsy Item of the Week – Giant Jenga

Saturday, July 27, 2013

When I lived in Chicago, this trashy bar on my street (Division) had a giant Jenga game in its window. I always thought the game was rather cool, but was a bit afraid to play it in fear that the giant blocks would come crashing down on me.

Now, as I see on the Facebook, a lot of people either play Giant Jenga at bars or at home.

If you aren’t savvy enough to make one of these at home, never fear – Etsy is here! You can buy your own Giant Jenga (or block game to avoid copyrights!) for $140.00.

Read More

Fashion Friday: Wishlists

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sometimes Reader, former co-worker and fellow Anthropologie-lover Katie told me a few months ago that she uses the Anthro wishlist to watch for items to go on sale. This is SO MUCH easier than my former strategy of just going to the store on a weekly basis (or on Tuesday when items would go on sale!).

Now that I’m addicted to the Anthro Wishlist, I’ve added a few others to monitor my favorite items and keep track of things that I may add to future Christmas lists or gifts that I want to buy for others. Here are some of my fav sites that offer wishlists.

·         Anthropologie
·         Shopbop
·         Net-A-Porter
·         Outnet
·         J. Crew – New!

On my wishlist is that Piperlime would get a wishlist. Most of my favs are currently sitting in my shopping bag just waiting for a sale!

Don’t you wish you had a fairy godmother that could just purchase your wishlist!? 
Read More

Taking a Bite Out of Pittsburgh

Thursday, July 25, 2013

I interrupt this regularly scheduled Thirsty Thursday post to give you a somewhat related drinking/eating post.
Lately I’ve been LOVING the local Pittsburgh Food Scene. On Fridays the hubs and I regularly dislike cooking at home, so we have been trying out a number of dining establishments across the city. This has led to some of the best meals of my life. Often people ask me where they should go to eat in Pittsburgh, so here is the Shot of Brandi* certified list (in somewhat of a particular order).

1.       Point Brugge: If you like a small, neighborhood place with a nice beer list and $18 for a pound and a half of mussels (above) – this is your place. It’s in our hood (Shadyside/Point Breeze) and our #1 fav not-to-expensive joint. Other recos: cheese plate, Germelli pasta, charcuterie board, Mediterranean platter (above) and Pimm’s cup (above).

2.      Salt of the Earth: One of the best dining experiences that I’ve ever had. I got the steak and have been dreaming about it ever since. We sat at the bar overlooking the kitchen. At first, it was awkward to watch the chefs cook – then, it was amazing. They are so calm, cool and collected, that I wanted everything that they were making and wanted to be their friend. Not only is the food amazing, but the cocktail menu is awesome. The head chef, Kevin Sousa, owns other Brandi* favs like Union Pig & Chicken and Station Street Hog Dogs – oh and he is also from my “hometown” or, er, home zip code of McKees Rocks (this means we are both bada$$es)

3.      Eleven: You can’t really go wrong with any Big Burrito restaurant, but Eleven is my favorite. I want to marry every dish that I get from here. Register for their birthday rewards and get $30 off your meal around your birthday – it’s now an annual Smithkowski birthday tradition.

4.      Meat & Potatoes: This was a toughie – I really wanted to put it in 3rd. This place is SUPER tasty. I’ve loved all of my dinners (get the brussels sprouts app – trust me) and their brunch is AWESOME! One warning though – they have a DJ at brunch, so it can be rather loud. That’s what pushed this to 4th.

Some other honorable mentions

·         Family Favorites: Shout out to my friend Nick at Sausalido and Joey at Sarafinos. My all-time favorite BYOB’s

·         Unexpected Surprise: Phipps Conservatory Café – they grow a lot of their produce at Phipps and the iced tea is delish. It’s super casual too – we went in our workout gear after a long walk.

·         Best.Salad.Bar.Ever: Hello Bistro – owned by the Eat ‘N Park people. They have a vat of Ranch dressing on hand!

·         Last Meal Worthy Ice Cream: Dave & Andy’s in Oakland (one of the ONLY reason I stop on Pitt’s campus!)

·         Cupcakes: This was tough, but I gotta go Vanilla Pastry Studio. I’m still upset that they left my hood.

·         Donuts: Peace, Love & Little Donuts. Editor’s Note: I’ve never had donuts from the place in Crafton, so I can’t compare!

·         Best Beer Places: D’s Six Pack & Dogs. Where else can you go into a cooler and pick your own bottle? They also let you mix and match six packs on the way out. Runner Up – Sharp Edge. Honorable mention – Bocktown.

·         Breakfast: Square Café – not only are their omelets amazeballs, but their coffee selection is fab. This past winter I tasted the baklava pancake – YUM-AZING! Random runner up – Whole Foods omelet station!

·         Coffee: Coffee Tree Roasters – My weekly treat is a maple syrup latte.

·         Cocktails: Harvard & Highland has cocktails on tap (a Kevin Sousa joint above Union Pig & Chicken) and Industry Public House in Lawrenceville (I like the Rhuby, Rhuby, Rhuby).

·         Pizza Restaurant: Dinette. Sharable flat bread pizzas with $1 Yuengling cans!  

·         Late Night: Ritter’s Dinner. Hand’s down best marinara sauce ever. Greek omelets aren’t too shabby either.

Pittsburgh Dining Bucket List (aka places that are on my list!)

Read More

Etsy Item of the Week: Just Beat It

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Whether it’s a kids birthday, bachelorette party, adults birthday or just for no darn reason at all, I’m really still obsessed with piñatas. So I decided that they would be my Etsy Item of the Week.

My first stop was Pinata Fun and of course my eyes went right to the owl!

I’ve mentioned them here before, but PinataVille just may have moved into the category of MY FAVORITE with this creation.

And who can forget their awesome alcohol-themed piñatas.

Studio Mucci’s piñatas are so pretty you may not want to hit them. Then again, if they are filled with candy and mini bottles of booze, you will want to break it at some point ; )

Finally, I’m digging the cool chevron color combos from AbitaAchie

Read More

Motivational Monday: Fortune Mag's The Best Advice I Ever Got

Monday, July 08, 2013

This weekend I tackled a major household project…making it through my stack of magazines.  I won’t divulge the real number of mags in the stack (I actually don’t know), but let’s just say that the only pile left is Vogue and I’m looking at about five of the last six months.

Making my way through an old Fortune mag I picked up on a biz trip (because I’m fancy like that and read grown up mags), I came across some notes that I took throughout the magazine’s “The Best Advice I ever Got” issue. I circled and stared some wise words from business peeps, so I thought I would share those with you!
·         “There’s no shortcut to success,” – Ron Johnson, (now former) CEO of J.C. Penny
·         “Break new barriers all the time,” – Magnus Carlesn, No. 1 Ranked Chess Player in the World
·         “Worry about the things you can change and don’t worry about the things you can’t,” – Victoria Ransom, CEO and Co-Founder of Wildfire
·         “…research tells us that women think they need to have all of the qualifications, or very close to all of them, for a new role before they jump into it,” – Lori Goler, VP of Human Resources, Facebook
·         “Failing simple just leads you to the next great thing,” – sara Blakely, Founder of Spanx

·         “Anyone who’s worth talking to is worth listening to,” Daivd Boies, Superlawyer and founder of Boies, Schiller & Flexner
Read More

Shot of GodMom's Awesome Pizza Dip

Sunday, July 07, 2013

I interrupt this regularly scheduled Sunday with Sue to bring you a post from another Shot of Mom…Shot of GodMother – Aunt Michelle!

Craftiness and Cookingness (is that a word?) totally run in my family. So it’s no surprise that my mom’s four sisters excel at both crafting and cooking.

On Father’s Day, I almost devoured a whole pie dish full of Reader/Godmother/Aunt Michelle’s Pizza Dip, so I asked her if I could share her recipe here! (Full Disclosure: Word on the street is that this was once a Pampered Chef recipe)

AUNT MICHELLE’S AWESOME PIZZA DIP! (Someone renamed this!) 
·         2 (8 oz) cream cheese, softened
·         2 Tbsp  Italian  seasoning (or to taste)
·         1 tsp minced onion
·         1 tsp garlic
·         Pepperoni slices (or turkey pepperoni) quartered

Mix above together and spread in baking dish.

·         1 cup shredded mozzarella (or pizza cheese)
·         ½ cup parmesan

Sprinkle over cream cheese mixture.

·         1 jar pizza sauce

Pour over cheese mixture

Top with more mozzarella, ore pepperoni slices, quartered and any other pizza toppings you may like.

Serve with cut cubes of Italian bread, crackers, pita chips or tortilla.
Read More