Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's "The Sleeping Beauty"--This Weekend at the Benedum

by Sarah & Rose
Alexandra Kochis & Alejandro Diaz in PBT's The Sleeping Beauty //  Photo Credit: Aimee DiAndrea
Last night, we saw Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's The Sleeping Beauty at the Benedum Center and thought it was fabulous! We made a girls night out of it and dined at Six Penn beforehand.
It was the first ballet of the 2014-2015 season and the entire production was spectacular. The costumes were absolutely beautiful and reminded me of a sparkling confection. The dancing was energetic and fun, even a little quirky, but still maintained the elegance and grace found within ballet. The set design was beautiful, as well.
In Act Two, there is a stunning scene where the Lilac Fairy shows Princess Aurora (who has been asleep for one hundred years) to Prince Desire in a vision by a lake. Afterward, he is so enchanted that they both travel to her by boat. When the boat moves across the stage, it's magical. It is truly one of the most beautiful scenes I've seen yet from the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre.
Please visit PBT's website for show times and to purchase tickets for The Sleeping Beauty.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Best of Me Giveway, In Theaters October 17

The Best of Me, starring James Marsden & Michelle Monaghan, hits theaters October 17. Enter below to win an exclusive movie giveaway!
Based on the bestselling novel by acclaimed author Nicholas Sparks, The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda, two former high school sweethearts who find themselves reunited after 20 years apart, when they return to their small town for the funeral of a beloved friend. Their bittersweet reunion reignites the love they've never forgotten, but soon they discover the forces that drove them apart twenty years ago live on, posing even more serious threats today. Spanning decades, this epic love story captures the enduring power of our first true love, and the wrenching choices we face when confronted with elusive second chances.
To prepare you for the perfect movie date night, you can win a $25 gift card for Sephora, the official movie soundtrack, and a copy of the book.  
To enter, simply like us on Facebook and leave a comment below with your contact info.
Good luck! xo

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

American Horror Story: Freak Show Releases New Extended Trailer

Good news, AHS fans! A just released extended trailer offers more insight on the newest season, which is due to premiere on October 8. Much of the plot and it's characters have been kept under wraps, but now, we finally get to see the personalities of some of the main characters. We see why conjoined twins Bette & Dot (played by Sarah Paulson) join the 'Freak Show' to begin with--an abusive home life. We're also introduced to Twisty the Clown, this season's villain...frightening!
You know October is upon us when a new season of American Horror Story is almost out!

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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Style & Wisdom Mama: How To Avoid Picky Eating

by Sarah 

I know I'm only a mama to a 12 month old (and kids don't tend to get picky until they are older) but I thought I'd share a few tips I've picked up from our pediatrician and other moms of older kids on avoiding picky eating. I must admit that my baby eats just about anything I put in front of him, but at his 12 month check-up the other day, the doctor gave me some tips on how to avoid picky eating in the upcoming months.

--Don't make "separate meals" for your kids. I always let Noah eat whatever meal we are having as a family. When you make a separate meal for your baby, it may make them think that they don't need to be eating what the rest of the family is eating. This could become a routine that gets hard to break once the picky eating stage comes about. 

It's important to never introduce junk to them, especially for dinner. Sometimes we think our kids will like "classic" kids foods (which are the things we see on kids menus at restaurants) like pizza, chicken nuggets, or mac & cheese, but they should have a balanced diet just like the rest of us should be striving to get--fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, etc.

--Setting an example. One of the best things you can do for your little ones is make an effort to grow stronger every day, just like they are.  A healthy mama is a mama who her child can look up to for inspiration, for advice, and as a person who they can always feel safe and "at home" with. You can't be this person unless you strive to be this person.  Show your kids what a healthy lifestyle instead of just encouraging them to do it. 

I try to show N that I am eating the same healthy things as him. If he's having yogurt, I will usually have yogurt, too. If he has a banana, I'll have a banana, etc. I know this one is hard because I have a niece who is a picky eater and even if she sees the adults around her eating healthy food, it doesn't do anything to persuade her.  But, if you have an older picky eater on your hands (and lord knows, it may happen to me, I just am trying to avoid it at all costs) it's a good idea to still have real foods around and continue to make meals so kids still see the routine and can at least try new foods. Which brings me to my next point... 

--They don't have to like it, but they do have to try it. If you have a picky eater on your hands already, make it a rule that they don't have to eat things they don't like, but they do have to try it.  I actually got this tip from Meg from the WhatsUpMoms Youtube channel, and I think it's great advice. You never know, your kiddo might just like something you forced them to at least try. Another good practice might be to have them explain why they don't like it and "it's gross" or "I just don't want it."

--Don't be afraid to be a parent. One of the things that I found the most difficult about becoming a mother is how guilty I felt about everything. I went back to work six weeks after giving birth and I felt guilty about that. I feel guilty every time N gets shots. Let's just say I feel guilty every time N cries or needs to be disciplined.  But, kids need structure and they need rules.  The reason why I bring this up is because sometimes food becomes a way to entertain, reward, or calm a toddler down.  The first time I gave N ice cream, he went crazy because he loved it so much and I had to cut him off. He cried, but ice cream is a "once in a while" food. Now, he only gets ice cream after doctor's appointments. But it's okay to take junk food away from a kid no matter how much they cry.

--Get sneaky. Smoothies seem to be the way to trick your toddlers & kids into eating just about anything. We have green smoothies every other day in our house and N drinks more than I do because he loves it so much. It tastes like a dessert because of the fruit we put in it, but really, it's full of kale, dandelion greens, spinach, and cucumbers.  

Another good "trick" is to give your kiddo buckwheat pancakes instead of regular pancakes for breakfast.  If you start them young, they'll never even know what hit them by the time they reach the stage of understanding what they are eating! 

--If they really hate something, don't beat yourself up--there are plenty of other healthy foods. Since the beginning of weaning off of breastmilk and starting solids, N has LOATHED peas.  I mean, he hates 'em with a passion.  I tried every brand. I even tried to give him real peas once he began eating table foods and he threw every last one of them onto the floor. So, I stopped giving him peas. I didn't keep trying to offer them to him.  I offered him different green vegetables.  

Image Credit: Today's Parent

Monday, September 8, 2014

"Posh Mama, Zen Baby": Baby's First Birthday!

by Sarah

Over the weekend, we celebrated Noah's first birthday with a little family gathering in our new home. His actual birthday was on Sunday, but I think I will always make Noah's birthday a two day event. I went into labor on September 6 last year, but didn't have Noah until 9am the next day, September 7. 

In an effort to truly celebrate a special day, I decided to take a more relaxed approach to this party. When I first began entertaining people in my home (mostly family), I would stress myself out about the food and the appearance of my house that I would end up forgetting to enjoy myself. 

Since what I was doing last year was way more challenging--as in a 24 hour labor--, I decided not to stress myself out with planning his first birthday party. We kept everything simple. I made a sandwich ring, a bowl of potato salad, and did the rest of the food on the grill. I ordered a cake from Whole Foods and ordered a special smash cake.  And, I tried to remember that even though it was a big milestone, it was also about Noah having fun. 

It has truly been a magical year, not to say without challenges, but just amazing. At one year old, Noah is able to walk, say select words (including his own name, "Na-na"), eat regular food, drink whole milk, laugh, dance, and sit in a forward facing carseat! So much has changed since the day we brought him home from the hospital and I thought I would never get a break from breastfeeding! 

Image belongs to Style & Wisdom 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

'Pretty Little Liars' Says Goodbye To A Major Character in Fatal Finale-- Contains Spoilers

Let's talk about that Pretty Little Liars fatal finale, the appropriately titled, "Taking This One To The Grave" (one of the lines in the show's theme song.)

Mona was murdered. And Spencer goes to jail.

PLL has been warning us of the death of a major character all season. In fact, Executive Producer Marlene King told Hollywood Reporter that "fans would be left speechless", while Lucy Hale said in an interview that this would be "the most shocking and heartbreaking episode yet."

While we all sort of suspected it would/could be Mona, it was still shocking to see the liars find Mona's house covered in blood.  Then... Mona's pale and lifeless body in the trunk of A's car. The "A" who broke into Mona's house had identical hair to Allison, but the show cleverly never revealed if actually was her or not. Fans are left assuming that Allison has been "A" all along. It would make sense since it also appears that Allison has set Spencer up to take the fall for the murder of Bethany Young.

Pretty Little Liars is coming back later this year for a Christmas special (skipping its usual Halloween special), with an episode titled "How The A Stole Christmas." We're guessing this is why Emily went on a crazed Christmas decorating spree during the middle of a crisis.  

Image Credit: ABC Family 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Baby Steps

by Sarah 

My little guy took his first steps at ten months old. What I didn't realize about babies until I had one is that when they are learning to walk, it takes them a lot of practice. Taking their first steps and officially walking can happen a few weeks apart. Noah didn't officially start walking until this past week (meaning he could walk clear across a room) at eleven months & one week. 

Babies take a step, they fall down.  They take two steps, they fall down. They take five steps, and then they sit down and crawl because it's easier.  Then, one day, they realize they can walk across the room.  It's a process.  It's a necessary process that allows you to gain experience and confidence.

What is so inspiring about this process is that a baby never gets bummed out or gives up when they fall down. Sure, they'll cry and hold their arms out for Mama or Dada to come pick them up, but after a few minutes, they're ready to do it all over again. They get right back up. Giving up and feeling bad about falling down is something that adults do. Babies haven't yet learned this. 

Seeing this raw perseverance reminds me that falling down isn't anything bad.  It means you're trying.  You're learning.  It's almost silly how we, as adults, teach ourselves that it's okay to give up. Whenever you're sitting on the floor crying with a bump on your head because you're trying to take on something so massive as walking, you're doing something amazing. Failing isn't falling down. It's not getting back up to try again.  

Follow me on Twitter!  @styleandwisdom

Image: Babycenter

Friday, June 20, 2014

See the 'Orange is the New Black' Cast Out of Character

Uzo Aduba (Suzanne "Crazy Eyes" Warren)

Confession: I binged my way through Season 2 of Orange is the New Black.  I didn't mean to. After the first episode, however, I just kept going and going until the end. It's hard not to when Netflix releases an entire season all at once. 

This season was surprisingly more relatable, as less of the focus was on the saga of Piper Chapman's life, and more about the background of the other inmates, including insight on how they ended up in prison.  

For instance, Miss Rosa, the cancer patient, has been in prison for most of her adult life because she robbed banks.  Lorna, the van driver, is locked up because we finally learn that she was never engaged to Christopher, rather that she had been stalking him.  Suzanne came from a white suburban family who adopted her before having a child of their own, who they loved more because she was a "miracle."

I won't give away any other spoilers, but I did want to share what these actors look like outside of their characters.  Suzanne, who doesn't go by 'Crazy Eyes' this season, looks unbelievably different when not dressed in her character's signature prison garb. Another character who makes a wild transformation for the show is obviously Taryn Manning, who plays "Pennsatucky", the over-the-top ignorant inmate who loves to dispense anti-abortion wisdom and who is in need of some dental work (which she gets this season).
Taylor Schilling (Piper Chapman)

Taryn Manning (Tiffany "Pennsatucky" Doggett)
Jackie Cruz (Flaca Gonzales)
Pablo Schreiber (George "Pornstache" Mendez)
Yael Stone (Lorna Morello)
Danielle Brooks (Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson)
Dascha Polanco (Daya Diaz)
Image Credits: Zimbio

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

How To Get Your Creative Mojo Back

We've all been there at some point. Our passion in life, our greatest talent, gets stuck and for a period of time, just doesn't happen. For writers, it's Writer's Block. Here are a few tips to help you break through any creative block that I use myself. 

1. Don't force it, but try every day...even it's total crap. I struggled with writers block for most of 2014 (almost 6 months), which was a first me. I wrote blogs here and there, but I couldn't sit down and write something that I needed to write. Writing is a true outlet for me and when I do it, my soul fires up and words pour out onto paper.  When it doesn't feel that way, I know I've hit a block.

Recently, I had a moment where I thought, "Wait a minute, who am I? I'm a writer. I need to get back into my game." So, I sat down, and I forced myself to write something.  Anything. And, I wrote a blog about becoming a stay-at-home mama. I didn't really feel fired up when I wrote it, in fact, it almost felt sad because it's all I could ever ask for, but I struggled with finding time to write like I used to and not having a grip on the balance isn't easy. But, I needed to write something and that's how I was feeling when I wrote it, so it matters.

2. Have you truly lost your passion or did you replace it? I mentioned the word balance in the first tip for getting your mojo back because sometimes a block happens because we've replaced it.  

I know what you're thinking. Replaced it? That sounds so serious...

Becoming a mama did not squash my mojo, because I believe that when we truly want something, we get it. However, I think I fell in love with another passion, my baby, and up until the arrival of my baby, there had never been something that engulfed my life more than my writing career or my relationships...or anything other than taking care of my own well being for that matter. 

At first, it worried me that I wasn't writing as much (don't get me wrong, I'm obsessed with my baby), but after a while, I realized that I just needed to work on balancing my writing career with being a full time mother.   This is where a routine becomes your best friend. You have to schedule time in for yourself every day, especially as a parent.

3. Get a little heated by looking at what your competition or copycats are up to.  

Do people still use the word copycat? At least it gets the point across. 

I know I'm not a public figure or a celebrity,but I am aware when people blatantly copy my work and copy my ideas when starting blogs of their own.  It's almost a joke to say you have a blog now because who doesn't have a blog about random bullshit? For a long time, it made me so frustrated.  But, when you're struggling with writer's block, there is nothing quite like looking at your competitors work.  Something inside of you needs to write something major-- to show that you're back and better than ever and they better get ready to read what you're about to write.  Whatever that might be.  

4. If you're bored with it, chances are other people are bored with it, too.  If you feel like what you're working on is stale, change it up! Reinvent yourself. You are the one who makes up the rules when it comes to your talent-- remember that.  In fitness, when you hit a plateau, you change it up. When I originally started a blog, it was called "The Vintage Rush" and it was about what people were up to in Pittsburgh.  I soon grew bored with it and needed to change it to something I felt more passionate about, so I changed it to a lifestyle blog.  Change is what keeps us alive.  

Follow me on Twitter @styleandwisdom

Photographer Credit: Fred Blazek

Saturday, May 24, 2014

How I Introduced Finger Foods To My 8 Month Old Baby

When Noah was 7 months, I began giving him puffs (we use the Gerber puffs and the Happy Baby puffs).  Our pediatrician said to wait until he seemed interested in food before starting him off with puffs or Cheerios and if we gave them to him and he didn’t want anything to do with them-- wait a week and try again, but never to force him.

Babies will show interest in what you're eating and this is a good way to know when to start with finger foods. Much earlier on than 7 months, maybe 6 months, Noah would stare at Dan & I when we were eating and practice chewing, like he saw us doing, and that was a dead giveaway that he was ready to start eating more than purees.  

Let your baby get a feel for using their hands to eat(and be prepared to see most of what you give them end up on the floor at first!) As I’ve mentioned before in my mommy posts, Noah has always been ready when it comes to eating milestones, so right at 7 months, I put a handful of banana puffs in front of him and let him play with them. (I popped one in his mouth to show him that this was food, as well.) Our doctor said to let him play with his food in the beginning to get a feel for it and to allow him to practice picking up his own food.  When a baby can pick up his or her own food and put into their mouth, they can do what is known as the pincer grasp, and self-feed.  Once they can self-feed, our doctor said they can begin to eat small bites of any food.  

Use your parenting instincts. I let little Noah eat only puffs, Cheerios, and softer bites of food (like bananas) until he was 8 months to supplement his normal routine of cereals & purees. He was able to pick up his own food when he was 7 and a half months, but I wasn’t ready to give him bites real food yet.  I was scared he would choke on something that wasn’t soft or easily dissolving. 

I just have to say, the anxiety about him choking was purely my anxiety-- every time I would give him food, he would give me a look that said, “It’s about time, MOM. I’ve been ready for this.”

So, by 8 months, I was more confident when it came to giving him real food. He had his two front teeth & the two matching bottom teeth so he could rip into a piece of steak if he wanted to. So, anytime I made food, I would make him a “baby” plate with little pieces (to go along with his normal bottle & fruit/veggie puree feeding schedule). This has been the most fun I’ve had when feeding him so far because you get to make cute plates of food (that usually ends up all over their face, their hands, their belly, the highchair, and of course, the floor.)

I started off with scrambled eggs and then I began giving him things like chunks of french toast, grape tomatoes--quartered, blueberries, grapes sliced--quartered, elbow macaroni, sweet corn, etc. (Pictured above is Ezekiel bread, which I am happy to report that my baby loves.) I haven’t offered him any meats because I want to wait until he is a little bit older.  When I do so, I plan to use organic chicken because “baby food meat” freaks me out!)

With each bite that I see him doing okay with, it makes it easier (on me-- a nervous first time mama) to keep going and let him explore all of the wonderful food that the world has to offer.  

Our next challenge is the sippy cup, which hasn’t been quite as easy.  We have tried 3 different styles of sippy cups so far and the little guy hates all of them…


*Note: I am not a baby-expert or a doctor-- just a new mother learning what works and what doesn't. This blog is about how my baby started eating finger/table foods, but all babies are different.  Check with your pediatrician before offering any new foods. 
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