Saturday, February 26, 2011

Quote of the Day

tamara-mellon-jimmy-choo Jimmy Choo: Tamara Mellon needs to retail?

"My motto is: feel the fear and do it anyway."- Tamara Mellon, President of Jimmy Choo

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

"Our America with Lisa Ling"

We all know that TV can be quite damaging to the mind, at least some of us know, but there are some shows that are reaching out to make a difference.  On  OWN  (Oprah Winfrey Network) right now, there is a show airing, "Our America with Lisa Ling" that explores provocative, controversial subjects.  You can see on the picture to the right exactly what types of subjects.  The aim of this show, however, is to get you to look past your initial judgement when you hear these titles, such as "slave to heroin" and really explore. 

"I really want people to think differently about these topics or these issues or these people- differently than they thought about them before", Ling told the LA Times.  "And to recognize- to really sort of expand on what the whole idea of being an American is."

Each episode is an hour long documentary.  On the Oprah Winfrey Show, Lisa Ling admitted that doing this show has really taught her the value of not judging others.  She noted that in America, we're all taught to judge, but really dissecting these people's lives might persuade you to change your mind. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Each year, the local chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation chooses "Pittsburgh's 50 Finest".  These people, both men & women, are the single professionals of Pittsburgh who are the most socially active within the community.  Not only are they successful, they are noticeably successful and have made a name for him/herself.  They must be capable of raising money through a fundraising campaign for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. 

Once chosen as one of Pittsburgh's 50 Finest, these individuals will do fundraising activities in their own unique ways.  An incredible honor, you should be aware of who these people are, not only to meet some of Pittsburgh's most influential people, but to help them raise money.  All of the money must be raised by August of this year, at which time, one of the biggest events of the year will be held at the William Omni Penn Hotel to honor all involved. 

I know you're all thinking, who has been chosen? Do I know any of them? Well, if you follow this blog, you've probably read about Faded Industry Entertainment.  You probably have been to their events and drink, or have heard about, their vodka.  With that being said, it should be no surprise that Frank Bachurski has been chosen as one of "Pittsburgh's 5o Finest." The next time you see him, you should not only congratulate him, but ask him what events he has lined up to raise money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation!

Again, the event for "Pittsburgh's 50 Finest" will be held this August. Up until then, people like Frank are going to be raising money, so get involved!

Congratulations to Frank Bachurski!

Banner via Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Artist Profile: Kukula
This artwork from artist Kukula (she's from Tel Aviv) is stunning.  It's from the "Immortal Artifacts" collection & was on display last year at the Corey Helford Gallery. Take a moment to check this artist out.  It has the same feel as Mark Ryden, eery, creepy, beautiful & really nostalgic. { }

curated mag - Kukula "Immortal Artifacts" at Corey Helford Gallery

curated mag - Kukula "Immortal Artifacts" at Corey Helford Gallery

curated mag - Kukula "Immortal Artifacts" at Corey Helford Gallery

Images via Curated Mag/Artist

Take a Different Avenue

Welcome to life, it's bumpy, plan accordingly.
(the woes of a 25 year old writer)
        "...I don't give a damn, I'm a rebel kind,
watch me do my thing."

Ohh, I fell asleep early last night and am wide awake. I've already made my coffee, thrown in a load of laundry and naturally, my mind is racing at the speed of light as it usually is.  My favorite part of the entire day is waking up before a busy day: that peace and quiet that occurs right before things go into full gear. Those moments when you're still in your PJ's, sipping your morning coffee.  It's the most organic part of my day. 

I have so much on my mind, most regarding change.  I think life gets tricky when you party too much.  I absolutely hate the club scene.  It leaves me feeling empty inside.  I love spending time with my friends, dancing in heels, but the people who roam those clubs are fame-whores. The whole "I'm not alive unless I'm on camera, or someone's watching" idea. Or the "live fast, die young" mentality. It's all such a foreign concept to me that I feel totally out of place. I imagine it's sort of similar to being in China, or 'Nam, being the only American, the only person who doesn't speak Chinese.  I think I'm a different breed in that I hate fame.  I think it's pointless, catty and false. I love makeup, I love tattoos, I love artwork, I love a good cocktail, but I also love being private. I don't really like attention, I don't really love having my photo taken (except if I'm ready for it) and the idea of fame sounds sad to me.  It sounds lonely.  It sounds like there would be tons, thousands, of people around you all the time but no one you could really trust or ever really know fully.  The reason why I don't mesh well with fame-whores is because they are the epitome of a SELFISH person.  They only want what will make them look more famous.  People who smile for any camera that comes around and use other people.  It's really some other world that I don't understand or really want to understand.  My favorite word in the English dictionary right now is organic.  This past year, I really learned about what organic food is, what it means and why is so important for the body.  There are so many chemicals in the food that we eat that America, as a culture, is blind to what real food is.  I just read a book, The Omnivore's Dilemma, and it talks strongly about how corn is in everything we eat.  I don't want to get too off-topic here, but high fructose corn syrup is in soda, ketchup, sweet & low, it's in almost EVERYTHING.  They even feed an engineered version of corn to salmon.  So, it's in our fish.  Organic eating is hard to do because it takes a lot of work.  But, you're eating real food.  Food that hasn't been played around with in a science lab.  I think that can easily be related to the social scene.  Except instead of corn, people have been engineered to do whatever the media tells them to do.  They worship the TV, they see shows like "Jersey Shore" and they think that's what's cool.  I'll admit I watch reality television when I'm bored and it does affect me.  That's really bad.  It's truly wrong to want to emulate other people's lives, even though, that's why reality television is so successful.  What those shows do to people is tell them that there life is not as important, becuase it hasn't been chosen to be on television, and encourages them to feel jealous of what they see.  No one really questions anything. 

As a writer, I question everything.  Although, I've always questioned everything.  I see the world more intensely.  Because I have to.  That's just what writers do, they drink tons of coffee, they explore the world, question society and write about it until 5am.  Since I was a little girl, I've always loved the same question, which is "why?" It's a question that you'd be surprised how many people avoid.  If someone says something really negative to you, what do you do? Do you think, why? Or do you jump into a state of being hurt, offended and wanting to retort.

I love cooking, I love nature and I spend most of my time writing.  Writing is basically what I do ALL day, which is a ton of work. Instead of a night out on the town, I'd much prefer staying in cooking a great meal while drinking wine.  I almost don't even like going out to restaurants because I feel like I can cook better! A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into learning how to cook, so I better say that I can do it well!

I'd much rather spend my time living my dreams.  Conquering my fears.  My life has been nothing short of something surreal already and I thank God every day for what I have now.  I think my story is literally amazing, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to write about it yet.  I wrote an essay for This I Believe, which hints to it, but the magnitude of the situation was so intense that I try to avoid thinking about it.  What would the average person do if they couldn't talk?  Now, I talk so much, though, people can't get me to stop! I'm getting back into my artwork lately, too.  It's hard to believe that I was once known for my artwork, not my writing, but writing has this way of taking over your life.  But now, I think it's the perfect time to really start creating. 

Have I ever mentioned how incredibly hard it is to be a writer? It's hard.  I'm WAY confident in my writing, but even so, getting published is a real test of faith.  Apparantly, publishing houses only publish one book a year and about three million authors attempt to get that spot.  However, no matter how rough it is, I'm literally living my dream.  This is my dream.  And as the story goes, before every famous author made it big, they struggled.  Being a struggling writer means NO income.  Zip.  You don't wear Michael Kors and eat filet mignon as a struggling writer (except if your day job is working at the Michael Kors store or working as a server at a fancy restaurant).  You sit at a computer, you cry a lot because you're not published yet, you eat a ton of peanut-butter sandwiches (composed with the two tail end pieces of bread).  It's tragic, but beautiful at the same time.  Hell, unless I'm going out to cover an event for my blog or going to a meeting or something important, I don't wear makeup, I lounge in sweatpants ALL day long.  Carrie Bradshaw made it look way more glamorous than it really is.  I do, however, give her a run for her money.

Have I ever mentioned why I like Nicole Richie so much? (Hear me out before you roll your eyes!) She was once a part of the whole party scene in Los Angeles, with Paris, Britney & Lohan and she's the only one who really put it all behind her.  She's a good mother, she's not still out partying, she's smart and witty and she has two hot fashion lines right now.  (Winter Kate & House of Harlow 1960).  I think that sets a powerful example because it's saying that you can come out clean.  If you're out partying all the time, you can grow up and still have babies and still be respected.  There does exist such a thing as a hot chick who loves looking pretty, loves fashion but is smart! Despite what people think, I think Nicole Richie is very intelligent just because of how witty she is.  Wit doesn't just appear in people who don't know how to use it. 

Finally, I think people are genuinely scared to step out of their comfort zones.  That's what life is all about, though! I think people are scared to not be scared anymore, because they get attached to their fears.  Dreams aren't meant to be something in the future that you'll never have, they're meant to be CHASED after.  Rush after them, if you will.  Even if you don't get what you intended to get, the chase will lead you to where you need to be.  So if something pops up and looks like an obstacle, take a different avenue.  Everything will fall into place as you fight for this dream.  Whatever it may be.  Just know that your life is not random. Your problems are not random and you have the equipment to get yourself to a better place at any moment.'s full of unexpected windy roads, trials and tribulations, messes and successes.  You just have to learn to be flexible to change and entirely optimistic.  So, how are YOU going to change your life today?

Ohh, and my blog will be featured in the March issue of Pittsburgh Fashion Magazine! Super excited, go check it out and remember to pick up a copy in just a few weeks!

Okay, my rambling is done here. Time to go fold laundry!

P.S. I wore these pumps the other night and my calves are still sore! (Wearing heels is actually a great workout for your calves.) Plus, I woke up with a bloody toe.  My life never ceases to make me laugh, to say the least.  At least I always have something to write about?


Friday, February 11, 2011

Lady Gaga: A highly anticipated single & a cover of Vogue

"Born This Way" is set to be released today.  Whether you love Lady Gaga or are insulted by some of her behavior (the blatent stabs at religion or wearing outfits made of meat), you have to admit that she is already a legend.  And she's not even 25 yet.  She rose fast to become one of the most famous musical artists of this generation and now the title track of her third album is out. She's also covering Vogue this same month. 

From her Vogue Interview: On her fans, or her "monsters": “I see myself in them.” Why is that? “I was this really bad, rebellious misfit of a person—I still am—sneaking out, going to clubs, drugs, alcohol, older men, younger men. You imagine it, I did it. I was just a bad kid. And I look at them, and every show there’s a little more eyeliner, a little more freedom, and a little more ‘I don’t give a fuck about the bullies at my school.’ For some reason, the fans didn’t become more Top 40. They become even more of this cult following. It’s very strange and exciting.”

On herself as an artist: "I am quite literally chest open, exposed, open-heart surgery every night on that stage, bleeding for my fans and my music. It’s so funny when people say, ‘It’s amazing to see how hard you work.’ We’re supposed to work hard! I have the world at my fingertips. I am not going to saunter around the stage doing pelvic thrusts and lip-synching. That’s not at all why I am in this. I don’t feel spiritually connected to anyone in Hollywood makeup and a gown with diamond earrings on. I am just a different breed. I want to be your cool older sister who you feel really connected with, who you feel understands you and refuses to judge anything about you because she’s been there.”

Image via Vogue Magazine
It's New York Fashion Week!
Kicking Things Off with the 2011 Heart Truth Red Dress Collection

Blake Lively in Alexander McQueen (at amfAR's New York Gala)
Diane Von Furstenberg (at amfAR's New York Gala)
Photos via
Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection 2011
To support heart health, celebs participated in Heart Truth's Red Dress Fashion Show, the first fashion event of the Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week.  Heart disease is the number-one killer of American women! Here is a link to their campaign, Heart Truth.
The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection 2011
Camilla Alves
The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection 2011
Julianne Hough
The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection 2011
Natasha Bedingfield
The Heart Truth's Red Dress Collection 2011
Denise Richards

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Local Eats Restaurant Review: Luma

{ Duck and Apple Ravioli and Baby Spinach with a Port & Sundried Cherry Sauce }

Luma Restaurant (in Mt. Lebanon and in Aspinwall): I recently dined at their Aspinwall restaurant with one of my best friends for a lavish lunch. (It was the day after Pittsburgh lost in the Super Bowl and a decadent lunch was in order.) If I was to critique the restaurant, I’d have to say that I was really impressed with it. First of all, it was very low-key inside, nice artwork, classy music (that even a younger person could recognize). I'm a fan of approachable fine-dining restaurants, not over the top with it, and this restaurant was exactly that.  Our server was impeccable. I don’t use that word lightly, either. He literally was the best server I’ve ever had (in Pittsburgh). He was clean-cut, well spoken, knew the entire menu by heart (the impression he gave) and made good eye contact. I like a server who doesn’t just know what’s on the menu, but they act like they know what YOU personally want & suggest things to you. My bestie even remarked that “the service was the best part of the entire restaurant experience.”

As an appetizer, we ordered the Baked Brie to split. Brie and apricot preserves came baked inside of puff pastry (adore) with slices of apple and grapes. It was amazing. Splitting it in half was the perfect size serving, since Brie is SO rich (and puff pastry is SO fattening). They served warm bread with a mixture of hard grated Italian cheese and oil. To be honest, it was nothing spectacular. Although to be fair, I’m a HUGE fan of bread and have become quite snooty with it (as in, I support Mediterra all the way).

I ordered the broccoli soup, which was simply fantastic. My friend ordered the She-Crab Bisque soup and found it to be unremarkable. (Sidenote: they call it She-Crab Bisque because the Bisque is made with crab eggs, so they naturally must come from a female crab). I don’t care for shellfish, so that sounds completely repulsive to me! Anyways, my broccoli soup was the perfect thing to cure the rainy-day-we-just-lost-the-Super-Bowl mood that took over Pittsburgh. A hearty soup, it had a great taste, healthy chunks of broccoli and leaves you feeling full.

Then, I also tried out the Duck & Apple Ravioli with a Port & Sundried Cherry Sauce. Simply fantastic. It came topped with steamed spinach (covered in the same sauce). I loved it & I’d recommend it to anyone. I like a different variation of something as classic as ravioli. The sauce is what made the meal, though.  If it weren't for the rich flavor it provided, I might not have liked the meal as much because the ravioli didn't really pack a punch.  As for my friend, she ordered the Jumbo Crabcake , which she said that for the size, it wasn’t worth $14, although it came with asparagus, which made up for it. Declaring that it was again, unremarkable, she did note that there were nice, hearty chunks of crab in it, which was a plus. She also noted it was a little cold in the center.  Although I can't personally speak for the seafood, I'd say that everything I orderered (from the viewpoint of someone who avoids shellfish) was fabulous. 

Overall, though, the ambience was great, the service was great & the menu offered a little bit higher end options than your average Pittsburgh restaurant of this size. I love non-chain restaurants just like this one, so I loved it.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Focus on the Pretty Things

Taking a stand for yourself is a true test of everything you have in you.  Whether it be taking a chance and leaving a job you know in your heart is not utilizing your skills or walking away from an abusive relationship, it won't be easy.  You'll be scared, you'll cry, you might even feel like you're dying, but the good news is that: those are all normal feelings! Take a deep breath, grab a cup of tea and know that change is horribly uncomfortable.  However, if you struggle your little darling self through it, your life might (probably most certainly WILL) surprise you. 

The world isn't black and white: it's a million different colors.  Paint the town YOUR favorite color. 

Just remember: someone probably has their eye on you or someone probably looks up to you! Always look the part, even if you're having a bad day.  Even simply just to show someone else they can do it, too. 

Read a book.  Stimulate those brain cells! It will get things flowing and allow you to start thinking about bigger things.

Eat food! Make food! Whatever.  It's just so yummy that it will probably lift your spirits.  Could strawberry stuffed french toast make anyone feel bad about life? 

So, take that chance, struggle your way through it, stay positive & enjoy the rewards! The reward is already yours, you just have to grab it. 

All of these lovely images are courtesy of Pinterest.  If you haven't explored Pinterest yet, you MUST do so.  It is SO addicting!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Brgr Bar Pittsburgh: High End Burgers & Spiked Shakes

Where did I have dinner tonight? Well, I tried out Brgr Bar in Shadyside.  I'm a total fan of high end burgers (not fast food's attempt at them).  Burgers are, after all, classic American food.  On my way to dinner, I checked out some reviews of the restaurant on my iPhone (who doesn't in this day and age?) There were a lot of negative reviews of the service, but everyone said the food was good.  I totally thought the service was wonderful.  The server was pleasant, chipper & attentive to what we needed.  So, I'd like to give this place the credit it really deserves for their service, since Yelp & Urbanspoon seem to think they have a group of hoodlums serving & bartending at Brgr Bar.

One of the things that stood out for me during my meal was the side of fries.  Sure, the burger was amazing, but the fries came with truffle cheese sauce. Hello, distraction!  Truffles can sometimes make me a little sick to my stomach.  I'm not a huge fan of truffle butter (on steak) or truffle mashed potatoes.  Truffle cheese is one of my least favorite things to eat on the whole planet.  However, the fries that we ordered with our burgers had a cheese sauce, made of cheese and truffle oil, which was truly fabulous.  It was probably full of a ridiculous amount of calories, but, hey, if you are already eating french fries, why not go all the way? Being that it is a little more high end, the fries do come seperately.  The ambiance is worth it, though. It's dimly lit, there are candles at every table, tons of windows & good music.   Each table comes stocked with different types of mustards & aiolis.  If it wasn't such a cool spot, I'd say Red Robin would be an ideal place to subsitute.  I ordered a Shrooms burger because I am having an affair with mushrooms lately.  Topped also with Brie and carmelized onions, it was one of those meals that I didn't really come up for air while eating.  (Have I mentioned lately that Brie & carmelized onions go together like peanut butter & jelly?) The burgers come to your table in cute little baskets and have a gherkin (a tiny pickle) on top!  

All of the burgers that require it are made with really high-quality beef, which is actually really good to hear because a lot of restaurants get stingy and serve whatever grade beef they can get their hands on.  Oh, and finally, this place offers spiked milkshakes.  Yep, I said spiked.  Although I opted for water this evening, I was definitely tempted to see what a spiked milkshake was like.  Next time...

If you're looking for a fresh, hip experience, I'd definitely give this place a whirl.  The burgers are delish (they have salmon burgers, turkey burgers, hot dogs & salads, too).  The waitstaff is not only nice, but young and hip and it is just a fun place to sit down and eat.  It is wonderful!

For more information:
5997 Penn Circle South
Pittsburgh, Pa 15206

Photo via Brgr Pittsburgh
Weekly Celeb Inspiration: Julia Roberts

"If all you have to offer is a look that is supposed to be appealing, then you are going to be paid attention to about a tenth as long as you would be if when you speak you are interesting."

Photo via Elle Magazine
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