NYE Guide: Parties in Pittsburgh (and How Dressed Up You Should Get for Them)

Can you believe how fast this year went?  I feel like I can remember last New Year's Eve like it was yesterday! This year, I want to celebrate and have a good time with tons of people, great music and a fabulous outfit. Finding the right party can be tough, you could end up spending a cover charge and getting all dressed up, only to get into the party and realize that "it's not your scene," or that you're completely over/under dressed.  No worries!  This NYE guide will help you find the perfect party for you and your friends along with details on just how dressed up or undressed up you should be on a scale of 1 -5   2014 is going to be a great year I just know it.

So without further ado, here are (X) awesome parties happening in Pittsburgh, each as individual as you are. Happy New Year!!!!

Dressed Up Levels: 
1 - Comfy and Cozy - Dress for warmth and comfort - no need for frills here
2 - Casual Cool - No need to go all out, jeans, sweater and sensible shoes is all you need.
3 - Fun/Festive - Feel free to dress cute, but it's not required
4 - Cocktail Attire - Dressing up is a good idea (everyone will be doing it)
5 - Formal - Dressing up is a must (possibly a requirement for entry)

Point Breeze: Free Ride New Year's Soiree

Dressed Up Level: 2  

Ah the Free Ride party, you may remember my post about this from 2 years ago.  Good times!!  Maybe one too many PBR's and shots for yours truly, but still a great party and great food! The cool thing about this party is that it's in a bike warehouse and the proceeds go to a neat cause (this year it's education Serbian gypsy kindergartners).   This is a party for those who just want to listen to some great international style music, dance, eat, drink, and not have to pay an arm and a leg for it (hello open bar!).

Southside: Midnight Guru New Years Eve 2014 Party

Dressed Up Level: 3

The Southside is Pittsburgh's hotspot when it comes to holidays like New Year's Eve.  There's so much going on, so many places to be and being there usually creates some pretty good memories no matter what you decide to do.  This may be the best door price on Carson St and Jimmy D's is right in the middle of all the action. Sounds like a super fun time! 

Shadyside: New Years Fiesta at Steel Cactus

Dressed Up Level: 3

No cover, party favors, champagne, great food, awesome music, shall I say more?  This sounds like a great party to go to if you're in the Shadyside area.  You can literally shop for your outfit right there on Walnut then head up to the party and party hop for the rest of the evening. Ole! 

Lawrenceville: Masquerade NYE 2014 Presented by Cantina and Urbanist

Dressed Up Level: 4 

I love a good masquerade and I love that this party has nothing to do with Halloween.  I think we will be seeing more masquerades in the years to come - it's becoming a thing.  Pittsburgh is lucky to have won the heart of the Urbanist over, which is a new online city guide that covers everything from fashion to food.  So far San Diego, Boston and DC are the only other cities that the Urbanist has taken under its wing. For New Year's Eve, Cantina and Urbanist are hosting a masquerade that could easily become the party to be talked about years and years afterwards. 

Strip District: Gatsby New Years Eve at Cavo 

Dressed Up Level: 5

2013 was the year of the Gatsby! Why not send off 2013 the way Gatsby himself would have done it - with a huge party full of beautiful people in a stunning setting. Feel free to bust out the headbands, fringy dresses and suspenders ol' sport, this sounds like an amazing time! More info HERE

Strip District: The Best Man Holiday New Years Eve Celebration at Savoy

Dressed Up Level: 5 

Celebrate celebrity style with a five course meal, fine drinks, and a fine host.  Morris Chestnut hosts Savoy's New Years Celebration that is guaranteed to be the classiest party of the year! P.S. I got dibs on Mr. Chesnut at midnight - back off!  :) 

Station Square: 2014 New Years Eve at WHIM 

Dressed Up Level: 4 

New Year's at a nightclub is ideal.  Everyone is having a great time, the music is booming and drinks are flowing!  WHIM in Station Square is hosting their New Years Party, click HERE to get tickets. 

Remember:  We're all adults so be responsible,  if you've had too many drinks and can't drive home call a cab.  (412)321-8100  (Yellow Cab), Click here to arrange rides prior to going out. 

Happy New Year Pittsburgh!

Picture source: Media Cache


Current Obsessions

 It's been a busy couple of weeks.  Went to see a couple friends in Boston, had a meeting with some upcoming designers for a shoot, found a new place for a quick breakfast, and tried to stay as warm and dry as possible in this nasty snowy slush! Hope you're staying warm as well. Have a great weekend!

Crystal Holly Necklace by Baublebar $38

Last week, my roommate went to her company holiday party and wore this FABULOUS necklace to compliment her black dress.  It was so festive and pretty without being "Christmas-y."  She said she got it from Baublebar, which I come to find is an online wonderland of statement jewelry. Check it out HERE.


Prohibition Style Drinks
This year the 20's came roaring back with the release of "The Great Gatsby."  Since then, it seems like there have been tons of little Prohibition-styled speakeasies and bars popping up all over Pittsburgh. I've never been much of a mixed drink person, but these old time cocktails are too good to pass up, no wonder this was illegal - you can't stop drinking them!!

The Best Lip Balm in THE WORLD
I know you're thinking "that's not a lip balm" but just wait and see, this little secret weapon has saved my lips from the dry, freezing, windy conditions we've been having lately, better than any lip balm that I have ever used! And the best thing about it IS that it's not necessarily a lip balm so feel free to use it on your hands before you put your gloves on, your elbows, knees and feet, I've even used it to tame static-y Winter hair. It's sells for about $5 just about anywhere you can think of.

La Gourmandine
La Gourmandine is literally blocks away from where I work and it took me forever to go in there.  When I finally did last week, I couldn't believe I had waited so long.  This bakery is a little piece of Paris right on Butler St. It's quite, quaint and the staff there is friendly and very helpful. They have a wide variety of French pastries, quiche, light sandwiches, coffee and tea.  For my first trip there, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible (my mom always said if their basic stuff is amazing then the rest of stuff will be even better) so I had a croissant and a cup of coffee - heaven!  Can't wait to go there again, it's the perfect place to go on a Saturday morning with your girlfriends. Bon Apetite!

Snowflake Colored Makeup
I really love the idea of glowy, icy colors for winter makeup; frosted pinks, silver, icy blues and pale purples.  I think it's so ethereal and very sophisticated, it's perfect to go from the office to holiday party.  


Cowboy Chic: Chanel Brings Back Americana

Wanna play Cowboys and Indians?  The folks at Chanel do! For their annual Metiers d' Art show, Chanel invited over 900 guests to enjoy a rodeo styled fashion show complete with BBQ, corn dogs, a mechanical bull and a drive-in at Fair Park in Dallas.  Texas and all it's pride was the obsession of this show.  And while you're thinking Stetsons and spurs, this was more of a nod to Native Americans and life on the prairie in the heat of the Civil War.  For the 2014 fall preview, feathers, beadwork,  leather fringe, eyelet, Navajo printed ponchos and chunky turquoise jewelry pranced down the runway, bringing back the spirit of Texas.    


So what does that mean for us non-Texan, everyday fashionistas?  Is it now cool to wear light denim, ponchos and eyelet ruffles again? It's amazing how high fashion trickles down into everyday life and the public's interpretation of it. Will next year be a year of feathers in our hair and fringy leather vests?  How do you feel about this look by Chanel? 


Gift Guide: For All Your Guys

Admit it, guys are hard to shop for. It's hard to tell where the fine line between useful and meaningful and downright "girly" is. But here are a couple ideas on what to get the guys in your life whether it's something special for dad or something exciting for your bf.  Here are 7 gift ideas for all the guys in your life....suggestions are much appreciated!

1: Does your dude love the outdoors?  This lantern will keep the camping party lit for hours.
Black Diamond Orbit Lantern $29.95

2: For the die-hard music fan.  Some things just sound better on vinyl.
Crosley Tech Turntable $61.37

3: This is perfect for the guy who works in a setting where his phone might get wet or dropped.  Preserve your communication with him with this phone case.
LifeProof Case $39.99

4: Make him feel like a true badass with this Americana style flask.
WhimseyandDink Flask $19.95

5: If he's a sports fan, chances are he already has a jersey.  If so, get him a vintage tee-shirt of his favorite team. It's a great conversation starter and they look awesome!
 Vintage T $37.95:

6: For the true Mr. Fix-It, this pocket knife has all the essential gadgets and is compact enough to carry anywhere.
Wegner Evowood 14 pocket knife $56

7: Need something casual that says enough but not too much?  Get him a growler of some local beer or cider.  Arsenal Cider Market Price


Gift Guide: For All Your Girls

We're in prime shopping season now. While most women are pretty easy to shop for (at least I think so), it can be hard to get them something they haven't already gotten themselves.  I've put together a couple things that would be great gifts for all the fabulous ladies in your life - your mom, sister, aunt, or best friend.  These are all great items for any type of lady from the fashion obsessed to the kitchen queens - here are 7 great gifts for all your girls.....

1: A cult favorite - this is for the makeup obsessed girl who knows her stuff.  This palate features warm rose gold shades, perfect for any skin tone. Naked 3 Palate $52

2: For the DIY kind of chick, this is a simple DIY project that you can make by using a quote from their favorite public figure, song or maybe even a thing you say to each other.  Click HERE to find out how to make it.

3: Give this to a very special fashionista! Alexa Chung's book "It" is a collection of her drawing, writings, photographs, personal styling tips and thoughts on love, life and music.
"It" by Alexa Chung $19.32

4: Keep them warm and looking fab with cute winter accessories like these gloves.
Gloves by Mango $30

5: Know someone who loves to cook?  Get them an adorable addition to their kitchen
Muffin Dish $34.99

6: This infuser mug is perfect for anyone who loves tea especially loose leaf tea.
Blue Peony Tea Infuser Mug $19.95 

7: Great as a hostess gift, St. Germain is a delicious elderberry liquor perfect for enhancing white wine or champagne.  This can be found at most liquor stores. Find out more HERE


Monday Spotlight | Rapper Jordan York On "Chetism" and his Up and Coming Career

Jordan York, formerly known as "Young Roach" has certainly grown as an artist and as person this year.  With the release of his single Whirpools, a successful performance in NYC, and a religion he created based on good vibes and positive energy, I guess one could say that this was a revolutionary year for the young hip-hop artist. Let's take a look at what he has to say...... 

1: What have you been up to lately? Any new releases? Shows? Projects?

JY: Recently I have really been finding myself as an artist. My New Single WhirlPools was released on iTunes this fall. It was produced by Stefan Schecter, who has produced songs for Mac Miller and More. It was also named the Top 50 Indie Song. As far as shows this year, I performed in New York twice and recently spoke and performed at Valley Middle School. As far as new music, I'm just getting ready for 2014. An EP is definitely in progress.

2: Explain what Chetism is.

JY: Chetism is my religion that I created...For people who are asking yes I still believe in Jesus and God this is more of a Lifestyle of Care Free Living and being able to be happy and live in the moment. Are you bout that Chet Life?

3: Why do you think it's important to take on this mindset? What kind of effect has it had on you?

JY: It's who I am I was never one to care about what anyone thought about me obviously just starting your own religion is kind of a big deal and can upset a lot of people but honest it's just me being me. Love it or Hate it.

4: What inspires you the most when you write your music? What helps generate your lyrics?

JY: It all depends on my mood and what I'm feeling, if it's a serious song with a meaning behind it...it takes me longer... rather than a freestyle or just another song I'd throw on a mixtape. I don't make music for anyone but myself but I hope that my fans and people who listen to me can relate to what I'm rapping about.

5: If you were to collaborate with anyone in the industry who would it be and why?

JY: Hmm I would say Kanye West just because I believe he is a true artist...His music and the way he expresses himself is awesome to me...I kind of have the same mentality...Not caring and just putting it all out there.

Follow Jordan 

Check Out His Music HERE


Gift Guide: Pretty Presents Without the Hassle

Ah the holidays!  Tis the season to be jolly - right? Not so much - at least not the last minute shopping part.  Are you finding yourself going through a mental list of what to get who and when you're going to find the time to get it? I know I am.  Have you found that you're sort of bored with the presents you given out in the past couple of years - the latest Jodi Picoult novel for mom, Yankee candles for your sister and Essie nail polish for your girlfriends?

This year, try to go with something new, something unique and something that will make you feel good; give back by purchasing your gifts from local businesses around the area.  

Thankfully our friends at Pretty Living PR have created the Bible of local shopping guides for all gifts pretty and sweet.  "Pretty Presents" is a local shopping catalog with tons of gorgeous, unique and locally made things that you can order.  The best thing about it?  It helps support small businesses around the area and gives the customer special rates not found anywhere else. 

Now you can do your shopping from home and have them delivered right to your door.  How sweet is that?  

Be sure to check out Pretty Living PR by clicking here


STYLE: What to Wear to (Any) Thanksgiving Dinner

Going Out to Eat:

Skirt & Tights
Why it works: Going out can mean a bit of a dressier occasion.  Depending on how dressy the place is, you may even feel obliged to wear something dressier. Pairing a sweater with a skirt in a warmer material like tweed or wool, tights and heeled boots, is a fail-safe ensemble for going out to Thanksgiving dinner.



Long Cardigan
Why it works:  You're among friends who are likely to be around your age who are more "hip" to what's in and what's not.  So why not wear a long, cozy, fabulous, statement of a cardigan that presents an equally fabulous outfit underneath (skinny jeans, loose fitting top with a great statement necklace)?  It's Friendsgiving, you don't have to worry about any elderly-folk questioning your get up.

Hosting Dinner:

Pretty Dress
Why it works: Are you hosting dinner this year?  Is your centerpiece gorgeous? Table settings flawless? Lighting is beautiful? And the house is smelling divine?  Great, now make sure you don't come stumbling out of the kitchen makeup-less and covered in turkey juice and powdered sugar!  You want your outfit to be just as presentable as your home, but not so luxurious that it might make your guests feel underdressed (unless you requested a dressier occasion) - after all you are home.

Boyfriend's Parent's House:

Pretty Blouse
Why it works: Now is not the time to pull out your sexiest heels and your lowest swoop neck sweaters (save that for New Years eve).  If you're going to be with your significant other's family on Thanksgiving, you want to look put together and approachable because you're most likely going to be meeting his aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, and you don't want them to be afraid to strike up a conversation with you, but you also want them to notice just how pretty and fabulous you are!

Low Key Dinner:


Cozy Sweater
Why it works: Spending the holiday alone?  Or just a quiet night with a friend(s) or loved one?  Low key holidays are sometimes the best (or worst depending on your mood), but the best thing to be is comfy and warm. So snuggle up with a thick, oversized sweater, your regular ol' jeans, and a scarf to keep you warm.

Relative's House:

Casual Chic
Why it works: You want to be comfortable but not look it. Look polished with a nice button down, slim fitting pants, a nice pump and sophisticated and subtle accessories. There's no need to be overly dressy but you don't want to look like you don't care.  Be comfortable enough to have seconds, curl up on the couch for small talk and drinks, hold babies and take tons of pictures, but don't look like you've let yourself go.

Multiple-Dinner Plans:


Festive and comfortable
Why it works: Crazy day of long drives and multiple dinners? Try to wear something comfortable but with festive colors; you don't know what the mood of each dinner is going to be, so might as well look festive, if not for your own sanity as well - it'll brighten up the day.  Try to stick with a sensible flat boot. The last thing you want to be worrying about is your aching feet.

Have a great holiday everyone!! xoxo


How to Give Thanks to Everyone You Know

Thanksgiving holds a different meaning to everyone.  Throughout history, Thanksgiving has become more and more mainstreamed: now, we all rush to buy the biggest turkeys, spend way over our budgets for the perfect centerpieces, cause year-long family grudges to those who don't show up to dinner, and are up by the crack of dawn the next day to get our turkey and gravy stuffed butts to the nearest Target for Black Friday. Although the meaning of Thanksgiving has been distorted throughout time, it's supposed to be a day where we reflect our gratitude to everything we have and everyone we know.  This can be difficult to do because it isn't necessarily a gift-giving day - but gratitude doesn't have to be shown in "things." In fact it may be even more meaningful if it was shown through our actions and through our words.  Here is a list of things you can do to show your gratitude to the people that you are thankful for in your everyday lives.

Make a List
Make a list of those you want to acknowledge for this time.  It can be anyone: family, friends, co-workers, boyfriends/girlfriends, the people who make your coffee everyday, your neighbor, the bus driver - anyone.  Think really hard about it too.  Go through your daily routine in your head and think of those who make your life a little easier and a little better on a daily basis - that's who you want to thank.

Thank You Cards
People don't write anymore.  Everything is all digital and so impersonal. Take some time to actually write out how you feel.  You know you get excited when you see your name and address handwritten on an envelope - it's just special.  Get a pack of thank you cards (from basically anywhere) or if you're the crafty kind, make your own. It could be fun!

Pay it Forward
Do some random act of kindness.  Pay for the person's coffee behind you. Share your umbrella with a stranger. Offer your seat to an elderly person on the bus or when your waiting for your dinner reservations.  You'll know the moment when you get to it.

Visit/Call Someone
You know that Aunt that's always telling you that you should come visit her, or that long distance friend that keeps saying "Keep in touch, don't be a stranger!"  You should visit/call them!  They would highly appreciate it.

Help Someone Out
Take the time out of your busy schedule to help someone out.  Help someone put up their Christmas tree, rake someone's leaves,

Instead of taking last season's combat boots to the nearest Buy.Sell. Trade to see how much you can get for them, donate it.  I'm sure someone would love to have them!

Hang Out
Have some friends over.  Cook dinner, play music, and just have a good time - no need to celebrate anything specific, just celebrate your friendship and how much you appreciate it.

If there's been a relationship that has gone sour and it's worth rekindling, then be the bigger person and humbly apologize.  Let them know how much your relationship means to you and that its worth it to you to maintain it.

 Don't Forget Mother Nature
Yeah it's cold.  Let's not forget those thick, hot, humid days of Summer when we were wishing for this time of year - so now enjoy it!  The leaves are turning and light, delicate flurries will be lacing the ground in all it's glittery glory.  Be thankful for everything around you.

And lastly Pittsburgh, I just want to say how thankful I am for you and all those who have supported this blog.  It means the world to me and I couldn't do it without you!



Top 5 Tuesday | 5 Essential Boots for Fall (and Where to Get Them)

It's amazing how much effect the weather has over our everyday lives.  How much thought we put into our daily things just to be prepared for the weather.  We change our tires, insulate our windows, wear more layers; it seems that in colder weather it's always best to think ahead and be prepared for whatever kind of weather may come - at least in the East Coast!

I can remember when I first came to college, I wasn't aware of how much walking I would be doing and therefore never thought to invest in a good pair of boots for the rainy fall days and slushy winter nights.  It didn't take long to realize that my pair of beat up KEDS and ballet flats weren't going to do the trick for the cold days ahead.  Being from the West Coast, boots always felt a little strange to me.  Like I was going to do something very outdoorsy and manly in them.  It took me a while to figure out what looked right on me, because not all boots are made for everyone and everyone (at least living on East Coast) needs their boots for different purposes. 

 So here are 5 boots that make sense for any lifestyle and a few places around the area that you can find your perfect Fall boot...

The Wedge


The wedge boot is the answer to all city walker's prayers.  They're high enough to create a sultry strut and bump you up a few notches, but comfortable and stable enough to be worn all day without the agonizing pain of spike heels. They go with practically anything.  My favorite way to see the wedge boot is with a short skirt and tights.  

PGH Find: I recently found some awesome wedge boots at Target for under $40.  

 The Equestrian

Olivia Palermo in Riding Boots

Nothing says Fall more than the perfect riding boot.  There's something so classic and effortless about they way they look paired with tight fitting jeans and an over sized sweater or coat.  They're comfortable enough as an everyday shoe, yet stylish enough to wear out and about. My personal favorites are the ones that are over the knee and free of any buckles, obvious zippers or any other embellishments. 

PGH Find:  Ten Toes in Shadyside has a great collection of riding boots this year.  

The Rain Boot

Hunter Boots (GBO Fashion)
A good pair of rain boots is one of the best wardrobe investments ever.  They are durable, easy to clean, long lasting and insanely chic.  I would wear these like a pair of riding boots only with rain boots I think you can be more creative with the color and pattern.  It's the one boot that the more creative the color, the more stylish it becomes.  

PGH Find: Little's Shoes in Squirrel Hill carries Hunters. Click HERE for more info. 

The Combat

It's the "bad kid" of the Fall boot must-have list; the combat boot is edgy with a tomboy twist. The most recent styles are the floppy, undone, folded over ones or highly embellished punk ones that slouch or cut off at the ankle.  The combat boot is comfortable and sensible for cold, wet Fall weather and adds instant rock n' roll to any outfit.  

PGH Find: Ten Toes always has the best selection of combat boots every Fall! 


The Sexy

Most of these boots serve a specific purpose: comfort, warmth, dryness, and mobility, but you have to have that one pair of shoes in every season's arsenal whose main purpose is to turn heads. Sky high, sexy, look-at-me boots for those days where you just need to feel hot. There are different heights and widths and inches meant for all body types.  Some like a super tall boot that reaches over the knee, some like a slouchy mid-calf with a chunkier heel, or some go for a buckled, pirate-wench look that's a little more edgy.  Either way, find your perfect "sexy" boots for this season to make any outfit instantly hot.

PGH Find:  Take a look at Primadonna in Shadyside!  


Monday Spotlight | Jazmin Jackson

When I met local designer Jazmin Jackson last year at her Launch Party/ Fashion Show, I was remember being blown away at how wearable and sophisticated her line JAZMEEN was. As each model sashayed across the runway, I thought "I would wear that, and that, and that, oh and that!" Every piece was completely understanding of a woman's physique and could easily be portrayed in a young professional's working wardrobe. JAZMEEN is a line that speaks out as a declaration of chic sophistication with a twist of new age style.
This year, it's no surprise that Jackson has up'ed her game. With a few new bold, head-turning pieces and a finalists position in the ELLE x Byco Design Challenge, nothing can stand in her way. I was able to take a moment and speak to Jazmin about her line, snag some style tips, and talk about the ELLE contest.

Finalist piece: The Carolina Kaleidoscope Fit & Flare Dress by JAZMEEN 

1- Tell me about your line, anything new since we last saw you?
JAZMEEN continues to adorn women with sensible statement pieces. From wedding gowns to a new collection with my very own custom printed fabrics. I recently featured work at the Father Ryan Arts center.
2- How would you describe your personal style?
If it's not comfortable, it's not for me. If I don't feel confident and happy wearing it, it's not for me. I LOVE COLOR! My smile is my greatest accessory.
3- How have you changed/grown as a designer?
I'm featuring my artistic skills more in my designs with my custom printed fabrics and I'm a member of Tech Shop in Bakery Square experimenting with laser cut technology. Super excited!
4- Any style tips for the Fall/Winter season?
My go to item this Fall/Winter are wedge ankle boots! They're versatile, comfortable, and functional. I pair with skirts, skinnies, and wide leg trousers. And best of all, I don't have to sacrifice comfort for style.
5 - Talk about the ELLE contest.
Elle teamed up with Byco.com to create a design competition where Byco will manufacture & sell the winning design and Elle will document the creation process of the design and do a feature story in their January 2014 issue. Over 250 designs were submitted and I'm currently a top 5 finalist!

Be sure to check out and follow JAZMEEN:


5 Fall Goals I've Set for Myself


Hello Lovelies!
Fall is here!! If you've been reading this blog for a while, or know me personally, you would know that I LOVE Fall! It's the season of change, and I'm not just talking about the leaves.  It's the perfect season for personal change; for those little improvements you want to make in your life to help sharpen your character.  Some of you may have started school again, but for those of us whose school days are now behind us, it doesn't mean we have to stop honoring that "back to school" feeling; fresh school supplies, new clothes, a new mindset, and goals set for ourselves to help us become who we want to be by next Summer.  Have you set any goals for yourself this season?

1: Simplify my wardrobe

I've noticed that I have a bunch of crap in my closet and drawers.  Things I don't like, things that I don't even wear.  This weekend I plan on doing a thorough "cleansing of the closet crap."   I want to get it to wear I can literally throw anything together and it will look put together and awesome. It's all about basics mixed with statement pieces and great accessories.

2: More Home Cooked Meals

Work, family, after work activities, life gets a little hectic, might as well get something to go right? This has been my mindset lately and I'd really like to get out of it.  I really love cooking, it relaxes me.  So this season, I'm going to make it a point to eat more home cooked meals rather than the usual to-go wrap or take out Chinese. I want to dabble in soup making, roasting, and grilling.  All of which are perfect for the Fall - think roasted corn on the cob on an open fire with a huge mug of steaming hot soup! I get chills thinking of it.....

3: Spend Alone Time


It's been a tough year.  Sometimes I get overwhelmed with my own thoughts and I don't like being a downer so I often suppress those thoughts due to work, friends, my relationship, just my daily schedule.  But I've been finding myself wanting to be alone a lot recently; to read, play my guitar, cook, work on the blog, paint my nails, you know just those simple things you do when you're alone.  I need it.

4: Body Focus

I started talking ballet classes in the Spring, and I LOVE it!  It's a great work out and it may be the only work out where you leave feeling prettier and more feminine.  Just the way you have to move your body, the grace and focus that comes with it is very calming.  I've been slacking on my consistency though, skipping a class here and there.  Though I know I'll never be the next Polina Seminova, I would love to really get into the art of ballet and focus on my body more this season.  Currently I'm taking classes at Pittsburgh Ballet Theater, they have awesome adult beginners classes and even provide pilates and contemporary dance.

5:  Work on the blog.....no seriously....I mean it.....


I know what you're thinking: "Yeah, yeah, yeah......she always says that."  But seriously, I would love nothing more than to get back into it.  I've been brainstorming new ideas, have had a couple meetings with some awesome new connections, and want to make a couple of changes to the ol' TPL.  It's time.  My mom wanted me to continue writing, so I must.

Here's to a brand new beginning and making those little improvements.  Hope you're Fall is lovely. XO


A Pillar of Strength: Remembering my Mama

My Mama
Hello Pittsburgh!
It's been a while. I hope you all are doing well.  This is probably the hardest post I've ever written.

2013 has been quite a year for me (so far).  As some of you may know, my Mom was fighting breast cancer for the past 4 years.  Her struggle came to stop on July 8th of this year.  It's been exactly one month, to the day,  since she's been gone and I still can't believe it. She was the best mom, friend, and role model a girl could have.

My mom at about 5 years old

She had the most vivid imagination of anyone I have ever known.  The way she used to describe things, her stories, the ideas she would come up with, were all given such thought and detail that you felt as though she could transport you to the exact place and time she was talking about. She had amazing taste in food, music, movies, and just a general love for anything beautiful and interesting.  She was a woman of many hats.  She danced ballet her entire childhood until she was about 15, was a pure California surfer girl hanging out with her brothers at Dana Point as a preteen, a chola in high school, a club hopper in the late 70's, and a punk rocker in the 80's hanging out with the likes of The Cramps and Anthony Kiedis at Madame Wong's.  I guess you can say she was rather well rounded when it came to her taste.  That never left her and I could listen to her for hours talking about her adventures in L.A.

Me and my mom (I was maybe 3)
My mom and I had a special connection; she was my best friend.  From the time I was born until I was about 4 years old, she and I lived with my Granny in California.  She was a very hard working hair stylist, with clients such as Heather Locklear and Belinda Carlisle.  And on the weekends we ventured to the LA Children's Museum and fed the pigeons in the courtyard the rest of our Carl's Jr french toast sticks. Thanks to her, the first song I ever knew the words to, was "Holiday" by Madonna. We were inseparable and stayed that way until the day she died.

(from left: My grandpa, me, my brother Mikey, my sister Taylor, and my Mom)
We grew up in Las Vegas where she climbed the corporate ladder for Starbucks and my Dad dealt blackjack on The Strip.  She loved living in Vegas; the lights, the cleanliness (in Henderson), the sunsets, the people, her job, she loved it.  At night while my Dad was working, she built us forts out of dinner chairs and blankets, we'd have movie nights and make funny videos of us singing and dancing for my Dad to see when he came home.  She always made our Halloween costumes and made our birthdays extra personal and special.  She always took the time to make things if she could; she was very crafty.  I'm sure my Dad still has a stack of homemade Valentine's Day cards somewhere.

She was the hardest worker I've ever known.  She loved to be busy, the chaos of a busy work environment got her going.  I still can't go into a Starbucks without getting choked up.  We shared a cup of coffee together every morning before I went to school.  We would take the first sip together and she would look at me and say "Ahh....runs through your veins."  Thanks to her, if I don't have coffee by 10am I am miserable for the rest of the day.  Later on when she became a chef, she taught me how to cook, how to keep a clean kitchen, and the importance how not to cross contaminate.  I always feel the closest to her when I'm in the kitchen.

At the Miss Oktoberfest competition in 2010

When she became sick, she would always say "I'm going to be ok, because I have to be." And she meant it.  She held on through stage 3 to stage 4 for four years.  When she lost her hair for the first time, it was like nothing to her, "I've had this hairstyle before," she said referring to her punker days. It was her eyelashes that she was devastated about; she had the longest eyelashes of anyone I (and most people) had known.  But she was always strong.  She always kept the most positive outlook that she could; she had her days, but for the most part she stayed very strong and always reassured us that she was going to fight as hard as she could, and she did.  She wanted (and needed) to be strong for her kids.

Our last picture together
This year was different, she was getting weaker and weaker by the day, two more spots of cancer showed up on her spine, and she wasn't eating as much.  When the doctor told her she couldn't go back to work, she was heartbroken.  I think deep down inside I knew what was coming.  I tried to spend as much time with her as I could.  I painted her nails, told her about all my adventures, and just tried to soak in as much of her as I could.  It was the hardest thing I ever had to go through, there was nothing I could about the situation.  So, I just had to tell her how much I loved her, reassure her that I was ok, that I was going to be ok, and that I would continue to live my life.

In our last conversation together, we sat alone in the hospital room and I had no idea what to say to her. What do you say to the person who knows absolutely everything about you?  Our bond was so strong that I could feel her pain and I'm certain she could feel mine.  So I brought out my iPod and played her "Just Like Heaven" by The Cure, which was (is) our song.  We mouthed the words together, I held her hand, and just cried.  She told me that I had to keep going on, to keep doing what I do.  And that is why I've decided to reach out to you dear reader.  Thank you for listening.

It's good to blog again, I look forward to getting back into it.  Words of advice: Life is short, so love with all your heart, be good to those who love you, and love yourself enough to live a life you know you deserve.

In Loving Memory of Yvonne Janine Ramirez-Trenski
June 1, 1963 - July 8, 2013
Love you Mama! I know you're watching me!  Rest In Peace!
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