7.28.2014

Monday Spotlight | Glitter & Grit : A Place for the Modern Bride - Interview with Owner Erin Szymanski


Your wedding day is supposed to be the happiest day of your life.  It's also supposed to be beautiful, exciting, romantic and unforgettable.  But in all honesty, does this ever really happen exactly the way it's supposed to be?  The stress of  planning the picture perfect wedding you vision in your mind, can often make the wedding planning process a very dark and agonizing event - and remember this is supposed to be best day of your life! That's a lot of pressure especially when most of us have family, friends, websites and TV shows telling us what we should wear, what we should be doing, what's right, what's wrong, what's tradition,  how much we should be spending, and giving us unrealistic expectations.  The one thing I think we can all agree on though is, the dress is important.  Doesn't matter what kind of dress you want, what you want is to feel beautiful and to feel like the best version of you.

Enter, Erin Szymanski, owner of Glitter & Grit; the adorable new wedding gown boutique in upper Lawrenceville.  She represents the untraditional bride - the woman who isn't afraid to break a couple rules and wants to her wedding to be an original expression of herself and her beloved. Erin's gorgeous boutique is a welcoming and quiet place that reminds me a lot of a vintage tailor's shop.  There is one dressing room and one pedestal - meant for one bride at a time. That's because Erin works with her brides on a private basis, creating a more relaxed and special occasion. The whole Glitter & Grit experience is meant to be special and put you at ease in what could easily be the most stressful part of wedding planning. On top of that, she also holds a monthly "dress up" event, where you can go in - you don't have to be engaged - and try on the dresses!  Her open-minded and realistic outlook on wedding planning is refreshing and just what the wedding market in Pittsburgh needed.





TPL:  What made you want to open Glitter & Grit?

ES: Well it kinda started coming to light when my friends were starting to get married and shopping for wedding dresses. Then it was solidified when I was engaged because I had gone shopping with my friends and I knew I did not want to go shopping at the stores that were in Pittsburgh.  I didn't wanna wear your typical wedding dress, and I didn't want to go to a store where people would be telling me that I "had to wear a veil," or "had a have a white dress," so I bought my dress online, I had a wonderful experience, but I realized that not everyone is willing to take that kind of risk and just decided that there needed to be more options in Pittsburgh for wedding dresses.



TPL: What did your wedding dress look like?

ES: My dress was made by Wai Ching, who makes the really colorful dresses [sold in her store], the front of it was all white and it had her signature embroidery on it and the back had green ties and a yellow train; it was like very spring, coming out colors.  I love when forsythia starts blooming in the Spring, they're like these great yellow flowers and all the green is fresh and new. those were kinda the colors that inspired it.




TPL: What do you think differentiates your boutique from all other wedding dress shops in Pittsburgh? 

ES: Well there's a couple different things, when you have an appointment at Glitter&Grit, the store is closed to the public, so you have a private appointment, the store is just for you and your guests, and so I feel like that really helps kinda ease people into it; a lot of girls come in sorta feeling anxious about the entire process if they haven't started yet, or they've had bad experiences at other stores, like the big boxed stores, where they were kinda just shoved around or squished into a bunch of other people they didn't know.  So, the private appointments, and then just what I have to offer; the very unique designs, a good number of my designers make their stuff completely by hand, they're made in the US, great fabrics, really the quality of work is there, and lots of natural fibers.  I have a few designers that are earth friendly, so they use all sustainable sourced materials; organic cottons, cruelty-free silks, and it's really nice when you're making that kind of investment to feel good about it.



TPL: What are some of the trends you see the brides gravitating towards lately?

ES: Definitely lace is very popular, and straps!  I would say any kind of a strap or sleeve, something so that it's not just the same sweetheart, strapless dress that we've all seen at weddings in our lifetime.  But lace is not going to go anywhere anytime soon, people are definitely looking for it.


TPL: Who are some of your favorite wedding gown designers?

ES: Oh gosh! I love them all, it's really hard to have a favorite.  Rebecca Shonveld, I have been following her on social media for a long time, I really love what she does. and her dresses are all handmade in her studio in Brooklyn, I mean they're just stunning and very unique.  As far as who I have, Lindee Daniel, one of my earth-friendly designers, over there on that rack [points to a rack of gorgeous cream colored dresses] her use of texture is just - I love texture so I'm kind of obsessed with everything that she does.  And again, completely handmade, by her, in California and I mean when you see the detail in some of those dresses it's hard to believe it was all pieced together by hand.  I'm just glad I got married before I opened the store, because there is no way - I mean would wear....pants! [Laughs] Or, I dunno, I couldn't possibly choose a dress now.



TPL: That would be really cool to wear a pant suit!  It's pretty up and coming, I've seen a couple weddings online where someone is wearing a beautifully tailored white or ivory suit. 

ES:  Yeah!  That's actually in my plan, that's the next direction I wanna go, is get into suiting, and I actually talked to a designer that I had in for a trunk show, she had just kinda mentioned that they had talked about doing that, and I was like "As soon as you do let me know because I would love, LOVE to have that option here."




TPL:  I see a couple dresses that could easily be a bridesmaids dress, do you think you would ever start going into other parts of the wedding party like the flower girl ect?

ES: Definitely not as far as flower girl, and I was really adamant at first about not getting into bridesmaids dresses, just because my space is so limited and I really want to stay focused on bridal.  But then I met the designers of this great concept line of super modern bridesmaids dresses, that have kinda changed my mind, I'll actually have them here next Thursday during my dress up party.  They're 100% silk, made in New York City, they have really sleek, sophisticated, super versatile, customizable dresses that are specifically made to be worn again.  They're long styles are made to be shortened afterwards, you can send the dress back to them and they'll re-dye it, so they have a couple different options, but their most popular is their "Black Out Service" where they will dye it black.  So you can wear whatever for the wedding and then have a little black dress that you actually will wear again.  And I'm just so excited by the concept of what they're doing that I will probably be adding them and that kind of goes into the special occasion as well because they're not blatantly bridesmaids dresses and then they are also available in ivory, white so they could be a really good option for the budget bride.  That was not expected and I mean that's kind of how I'm looking at everything, just how everything's happened organically and however the business grows, I'm fine with, but I'm definitely not seeking out getting into the full bridal party.



TPL: What do you think is the hardest part about being a bride today? 

ES: Just having.....[pauses]..uh well...Pinterest. [Laughs]  Pinterest is wonderful, it can be really helpful, but it's also a little bit unrealistic, it'll make you fall in love with a dress that is $8000 and you'll not be able to get it out your mind and you have a $1000 budget and you really can't replace anything like that.  And not even just dresses, I mean every detail of the wedding and we feel like our wedding has to look good enough to be on the internet places, so that you know, to be that impressive and I feel like it's a lot of pressure. I mean the industry places it on brides, brides place it upon themselves, it's exciting to start pinning and it's really helpful if someone comes across some examples that they like, but it can be hard if they're really fixated on something.



TPL: So if I were a "budget bride" and I wanted to have an eclectic wedding - I want to keep things original but I have a tight budget - what are some of your tips, even beyond the dress, that you can recommend?

ES: I think the important thing is to determine what is kind of non-negotiable for what you have in your mind, whether it's amazing food, or you want really amazing photographs or you want this dress that no one will ever forget, you have to pick and choose where you're going to spend your money.  I mean there are a lot of things you can do to kind of cut corners, like if something isn't important to you, don't spend your money on it.  If you don't care about flowers, then don't have crazy centerpieces.  If you don't care about the photographs, then you know, you definitely wanna have pictures but if you're not crazy about the standard, then don't spend crazy money on a photographer.  Budget wise, there are a ton of venue options, and I feel like that is somewhere where you can definitely find some wiggle room, Looking outside the box, in general with any vendor or even dresses, if you are really on a budget, then don't look at wedding dresses, look at bridesmaids dresses, again often they're available in ivory or white for a lot less money.  You get what you pay for but, sometimes it's worth cutting the corners in those kinds of places, so don't look for a wedding caterer or wedding venue, look for an event venue or that sort of thing.


TPL: What is The Gathering, seen on your website? 

ES: Again, when I was planning my wedding, I was not someone who sat and dreamed about my wedding day, I actually wanted to elope and not make a big deal out if it.  My husband and I are both pretty introverted, so the idea of standing in front of people was not something that either of us was really excited about, so yeah, I wasn't someone who had it all figured out beforehand.  So when I was planning my wedding, I didn't want to talk to my best friends about it constantly, I felt obnoxious because it was the only thing that I could talk about for while because I was in the middle of planning it and not that they gave me any impression that I couldn't talk to them about it, I just felt annoying.  And, so it kind of got to a point where I felt a little isolated in this "wedding planning world" that I didn't want to annoy anyone with.  So I was thinking about that one day - actually I had the same reaction planning my business; I didn't want to talk about it constantly.  So that it what made me start The Gathering, because I was having that feeling again, of feeling isolated and I just thought, if you have bunch of brides that are all going through the same thing, maybe they can help each other out, and just have a sounding board for advice or just complain about your future mother-in-law who is driving you crazy, and it's just a safe place to do all that stuff with people that are in the same point in the process.  So you can elect to join the group for a very small fee and it's just on Facebook, if you are a bride of Glitter&Grit, if you purchased your wedding dress here, you are automatically invited to the group.  It seems really helpful for people who are out of town, like girls who don't live in Pittsburgh right now but are getting married here, I think they've had a lot of help from the group, figuring out vendors, and just general recommendations for stuff, no ones really complained too much at this point.

NEXT "DRESS UP" PARTY
August 14th 6pm-9pm
5300 Butler St. Pittsburgh, PA 15201

Website: http://www.glitterandgritpgh.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GlitterAndGRit








7.24.2014

STYLE | Summer Spectacles: Warby Parker Releases the Beacon Line


How's your Summer going so far? Has it been filled with cookouts, outdoor concerts and weekend getaways, or maybe it's been busy and productive, or perhaps it's been peaceful and lackadaisical- a good time for reflection?  I love how spontaneous Summer is, you really don't have to make any plans, the days seem to unravel into impromptu adventures and unforgettable moments.  Time seems to slow down, lazy afternoons turn into mischievous evenings that extend into gorgeous sun rises - Summer is magical no matter what kind of effort you put into it.

It is that very essence that set the theme of socially conscious eye wear designer Warby Parker's Summer 2014 Beacon Collection.  Hiding behind your shades after a rough night is now chic as the Beacon Collection lends itself to impromptu, can't-duplicate-them-all-nighters, when having no plans brings endless possibilities.  The collection mixes upbeat retro styles with classic clean lines and colors. Perfect for maintaining your "cool" on those transitional Summer nights that turn into early Summer mornings.

Take a look at their beautiful Beacon Collection Editorial.  Here are some of my favorites.....


"McKee" Moonstone Frames

"Garett" Oak Barrel Frames



"Nancy" Sunglasses in Tourmaline



"Ingram" TopDown Sunglasses in Tiger Tortoise



"Garret" Topdown Sunglasses in Blue Slate Fade



"Nancy" Sunglasses in Lemon

"McKee" Frames in Whiskey Tortoise
"Ingram" Sunglasses in Revolver Black


Check out Warby Parker's Site HERE 

Click HERE for Eyeglasses

Click HERE for Sunglasses

Photo Source: Warby Parker

6.12.2014

Theater Review | "Angels in America" Lands in Pittsburgh



Throughline Theater's clever and awakening adaptation of Tony Kushner's two part masterpiece, "Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes," is a refreshing emphasis on political, personal and spiritual issues that seem to dwell in most of us.  Set in mid-1980's New York City, during the early days of the AIDS epidemic, "Angels" is a raw and moving story that focuses on a collection of characters bound together by fate, imagination and moral choice. Each one suffering through their own crisis which creates a rippling effect of experiences and encounters with one another.

Henry (Joe Michnya) and Roy Cohn (Mark Yochum) discuss Roy's "condition" 
The characters are complied of: a young gay couple, Louis (Ben Edelman) and Prior (Nick Browne) dealing with the effects of AIDS and relationship abandonment, a Mormon couple, Joe Pitt (Tom Kolos) who is dealing with a very private identity crisis and his pill addicted oblivious wife Harper (Elizabeth Chappel) who hallucinates beautiful and vivid scenarios, the wise-talking big shot lawyer Roy Cohn (Mike Yochum) who is taken down a couple notches by his own ill fate, the fabulous and dynamic Belize (Monteze Freeland) who is a friend of Louis and Pryor's and also a nurse, and of course the groundbreaking angel who bursts into the scene with all her glory and might.

Harper Pitt (Elizabeth Chappel) and Joe Pitt (Tom Kolos) having a moment
The show is split into two parts: Millenium Approaches and Perestroika.  I had the pleasure of seeing Millennium Approaches last Friday at the Grey Box Theater in Lawrenceville. The power of the show was amplified by the simple yet very intimate set up of the stage.  Sheets and dangling light bulbs are all that was needed to create an ethereal and mystical setting, where the stage is floor level and so are the seats;  so you are literally on the same level as the characters in the show.

Belize (Monteze Freeland) pays a visit to a sick Prior (Nick Browne)
There are moments where you are cracking up from it's dry humor, moments where you feel scared and empathetic towards the characters, moments of purposeful confusion, and moments of deep sadness. There is a little bit of everything in this show - even spoken Hebrew!   Part 1: Millennium Approaches ends on a cliff hanging note, leaving you yearning for an ending, an explanation or some kind of closure, making it necessary to see Perestroika.

Louis (Ben Edelman) and Prior (Nick Browne) 
 Angels in America: Perestroika will open today (6/12) at 8 PM and have two additional performances: Friday, 6/13 at 8 PM and showing both parts on Saturday, 6/14 at 8 PM followed by Throughline's 5 year anniversary party at Del's Bar & Ristorante in Bloomfield between both parts.

 Tickets for the full-day event are $50, but tickets to only one show (either one) and the celebration can be purchased for $35.  Tickets for any regular performance of the show are $15, or $12 for students with valid ID and seniors. 

To find out more about Throughline Theater visit their website: www.throughlinetheatre.org



* please be advised - there is foul language and brief nudity in the show - so leave the kids at home*

6.10.2014

5 Things | Father's Day

Father's Day is this Sunday!  If you're still thinking of what to get Dad, trying thinking outside the tie-rack! This year, give him the gift of experience with these 5 fun ideas for any kind of guy!

1: Relax at a cigar lounge

cigarden
Located in Lawrenceville, Cigar Den offers a large variety of cigars as well as multiple rooms to lounge, converse and enjoy your cigar.  It has a classic, gentlemen's feel without the membership and snooty attitude.  Take your dad here to relax and puff on a fine cigar - there's even refreshments, a patio and a grill for your use if you feel so inclined! Click here for more!



2: Take him for an old school shave

triblive
They might not say it, but men love to be pampered just as much as women do!  So while you can go ahead and get Dad the same boring electric shaver and shaving cream combo, taking him to get a nostalgic lather and straight razor shave might just be what he needs.  Mister Grooming & Goods in Lawrenceville provides ta menu of very specific cuts and shaves geared toward men. Treat him to a "Sweeny Todd" and you just might win "Kid of the Year."

3: Get him some "Man Food"

pittsburghmagazine
It's Summer, it's Father's Day, ditch the green juice and quinoa for your ol' man just for a day and get some real, rib-stickin, mouth-watering man food.  Try Union Pig & Chicken in East Liberty for big portions of BBQ'd goodness, complete with homestyle sides and a great selection of beer.

4: Feed his Inner Pyro


northlineexpress
Is he the kind of guy that HAS to build the fire at camp?  Get him an IncinerGrate by FIREase and he might never come inside.  This device helps hold up wood and maintain a fire by creating an "ember core" in the center.  Better bust out the hot dogs and marshmallows now, this thing will have you sitting around a fire all summer long! Learn more about IncinderGrate and other FIREase products here.


5: Have an Outdoor Adventure

tripadvisor
Get in touch with the great outdoors (or city rivers), and take him kayaking!  It's a great workout, scenic, pretty calming and lots of fun!  Kayak Pittsburgh has some great (and affordable) options for group tours and solo trips, they also provide bike rentals in case you'd like to stay on the ground. Check out Kayak Pittsburgh here.


6.09.2014

Monday Spotlight | Richard Claraval: Abstract Expressionist Opens "Mythological Gestures" Show

Jupiter and Io by Richard Claraval

Award winning charcoal on paper artist, Richard Claraval, has always been inspired by the Renaissancesque human figure when creating Abstract Expressionist gestures.   His drawings express the realistic free flowing movements of the human body fused with dynamic forms and figures; the real versus the unimaginable. In his upcoming show "Mythological Gestures," Claraval takes the godly forms of traditional mythological characters, as well as characters of J.R.R Tolkien, and pairs it with a unique abstract twist .  



"The highly imaginative “supernatural” and archetypal elements of myths, which are in sense abstractions, as well as the monsters and exotic chimeras, lend themselves to an abstract gestural mode of interpretation. As well, the ability of many of the characters to do impossible things such as fly and become invisible fit well my interest in depicting the figure in very dynamic and sometimes impossible poses."  - Richard Claraval



 

Mythological Gestures: Contemporary Figurative Charcoal Drawings on Old Subject

  June 1 - June 30  The Spinning Plate Gallery 
5821 Baum Blvd. 15206

OPENING RECEPTION
Saturday    June 14   7pm-10pm



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