Wednesday, March 28, 2012

You Know I Don't Speak Spanish!

Just kidding. I do. But the exclamation, "Great Odin's raven!" was already taken as a response to "Ron Burgundy's" announcement that a sequel to Anchorman is in the works! And I am beyond excited. JTP and I were just discussing our favorite Will Ferrell movies, and Anchorman is definitely in our top five. Ah, I just love it when my stars are aligned.

I Have A Small Favor To Ask Of Yinz!

Typically, I disregard facebook content that begs me to do things such as 'LIKE my page" or "PLEASE follow this link and vote" (see Facebook Status Update Rule # 2 for further clarification*). However, my sister, MAB, recommended that I check ahhhht her friend's Talenthouse portfolio; and as usual, her recommendation led me to worthy material. 

Samantha Trenk (@strenk22), an aspiring model and fashion enthusiast, is currently in the running to become a BCBGMAXAZRIA Model in their Spring Competition, and I will certainly support her in this pursuit. I remember a few short (okay, maybe 15) years ago when one of my own best friends, Tiffany Fluhme (TLF in other posts), pursued modeling; which in turn led her to become the confident, successful, and generous individual that she is today (Fluhme Cosmetics). 

The voting for Samantha Trenk's portfolio will end tonight, so please join me in supporting this aspiring model! With our help, she will achieve great things just as Tiffany did. To vote, simply follow the link and click 'vote' on the right-hand side.


*Facebook Status Update Rule #2: Don't post status updates that demand to be reposted. It's bullying. I am not going to have seven years of bad luck, I don't support cancer, I don't hate my sister, and I don't believe in animal research, okay?!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Modern Pittsburgh Woman’s Top Ten Chick Flick Categories

I had the privilege of writing a guest blog post for a fellow Calvary Camp friend of mine, BAD (@The_Real_BenD) on his casually honest blog, Things I Like. The post is called The Modern Pittsburgh Woman's Top Ten Chick Flicks, and I am quite pleased with how this particular one took shape... as you read, I think you actually might be able to hear me saying the words. You might remember the Modern Pittsburgh Woman (MPW) from my previous post, The Modern Pittsburgh Woman 101. Take notes!

Monday, March 26, 2012

Dahn At The CWV

Every now and then, when we feel like paying next to nothing for drinks, getting strikes (among other things) on an ancient bowling arcade game, and playing some classic (and not-so-classic) tunes on a rickety juke box, we head dahn to the CWV (Catholic War Vets Club) in Uniontown, PA.

This weekend, a local musician named Martyr Kanin played a little show at the CWV. Although I missed it, I am sharing some of his music because it's quite pleasing. Check it ahhhht:

This one in particular is about the CWV itself (notice the sound of the doorbell in the background, which you have to ring to get inside)...

This one is about thinking of your soulmate (if you believe in that sort of thing)...

This one is an album cut (a totally different sound than the live songs)...

Friday, March 23, 2012

Dahn Under The Allegheny N'At!

Ladies and Gentlemen! The moment we've all been waiting (and waiting) for is here! This Sunday, the Port Authority of Allegheny County begins light rail service to the North Shore! That's right! The T Plus "North Shore Connector" is officially up and running! And the best part is that "Rides between Downtown Pittsburgh and the North Shore will be free at all times thanks to the sponsorship of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Rivers Casino, ALCO Parking Corporation and the Stadium Authority of the City of Pittsburgh." 

Check ahhhht this snazzy video: 

Personally, I'm excited. Anything that eliminates long-distance walking on game days is a big ticket item with me. Also, JTP worked for the Port Authority for the first three years* of our relationship, so I have a vested curiosity in how Burghers react to this newfangled contraption. Who wants to go on a ride with me? 

*I'm going to be bitter for quite awhile that I never got to go on a private, romantic ride on the East Busway in the moonlight, but WHATEVER. 

Afternoon Commute

For those of you with an afternoon commute (and with a similar taste in music as myself), here is a song by Norwegian Recycling (among others... you'll see) that I have been playing nonstop since MAB tweeted it to me Wednesday night. Enjoy and have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


It's the first restaurant I fell for when I moved to Oakland in 1998 (partially because it's the first place I ever ate a sweet potato fry); and it remains the only Oakland restaurant that I still patronize regularly, keeping its number for take-ahhhhtt in my phone fourteen years later. Fuel & Fuddle on Oakland Avenue is a fantastic eatery within blocks of our beloved Cathedral of Learning; and I can say with certainty and years of experience that it is one place that has never disappointed or dissatisfied.

Over those years, I've watched the menu evolve ever-so-slightly (I wouldn't mind if they brought back the "C'mon Iwanna Leiya" Hawaiian pizza); I've watched numerous people order "Rosemary's Breasts" and chuckle to themselves; I've watched MAB order "Rollafatty" when she was eight, nine, ten, and eleven, all the while being totally oblivious to the reference; I've eaten orders of "Campfire Steak & Potatoes" multiple nights in a row; I've celebrated, commiserated, and first dated there; and I've eaten so many of those complimentary fortune cookies that I should be able to speak Chinese.

My point? With an open kitchen centered around a brick oven, Fiestaware stacked high, competent staff, an unassuming decor, and a bar; it's easy to like. Once you eat, it's even easier.

Even though I would eat anything and everything on it's eclectic menu, here's a list of my most highly recommended items for a rookie diner:

  • Thai Me Up Skewers ($7)
  • Rollafatty ($7.5)
  • Kick-Gas Nachos ($7, $8 with Rosa's Chicken Chili)
  • Smoking Hen ($8.5)
  • The Flying Buffalo ($8.5)
  • Campfire Steak & Potatoes ($9.5)
  • Rosa's Chicken Chili ($3.5 & $4.5)
  • Joe Mama's Meatloaf ($8.5)
  • Bloody Mary's ($2 on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.)
  • Hangover Helper ($7.5 on Sundays from 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.)
  • Caramel Apple Granny ($4.5)

Oh yeah... the 100 proof bourbon barbecue sauce is perfect and there are house brews. Enjoy!

Fuel & Fuddle on Urbanspoon

(4 stars, 4.4)

Sprung Has Spring

With the exception of 1993, the week of my birthday has almost always been a little "springy." This year, things are a little more than "springy," and all signs point to "sprungy." If you don't speak HGB, that probably sounds ridiculous, but whatever. I come by making up nonsensical words and expressions naturally. Just ask PSB about "choing, choing, choing" and "ush-ka-ma-na-nina."

Personally (and with bias, of course), I think that spring birthdays are the best because those of us whom are privileged enough to have them get to start ahhhhht the new season with new stuff. MAB would argue for fall because she gets to start the new school year with new stuff, but whatever. Ta-may-toe, ta-mott-oh.

Anyway, I decided to share pictures (and links when applicable) of some* of this year's fantastic birthday gifts from my nearest and dearest...  several of which have me quite excited for spring. Plus, sharing them with yinz was a great opportunity to try ahhhhht my new iPhone (Yup! I crossed over to the dark side, but more on that in a later post). In no particular order:

A gift from AMS
This Candle Carver from Sur La Table makes a tea light-sized notch in fruit, pumpkins, and any other object in which you would like to place a luminary. Color me quirky, but this is totally in my wheelhouse.

A gift from EGG
This artisan bowl is both beautiful and functional. EGG has a knack for finding things in galleries and boutiques, so I have no idea where this excellent pick came from. Go ahead. Be jealous.

A gift from JLD
This colorful little elephant "piggy" bank came from Pier 1, and JLD purchased it specifically for my kitchen. She loves my little knickknacks on the windowsill, and this coordinates nicely. Since elephants are symbols of patience and wisdom, I am particularly pleased considering that both are necessary when I'm cooking.

A gift from MAB
This one brought me to tears. MAB's gifts have the tendency to do that. Just ask her about the time she "borrowed" an ancient UHS Honors English 10 textbook and wrapped it up for my Christmas gift. An optical waterfall abounded. 9 3/4 is a Happy Potter reference, and I believe she found this print on Etsy. Currently it sits on the bookshelf next to my beloved Harry Potter books. Maybe someday it will go in a child's room...

A gift from ESG, WFG, and AJG
I only play games that I can win. If you are a sore loser, you might not want to experience what happens when I'm challenged to a game of Apples to Apples. My family knows. They avoid me. I mean, who likes to lose anymore?

A gift from PSB
This gift hit the jackpot! 1.) Red is my favorite color. 2.) I am obsessed with my initials. 3.) I needed a new tote. 4.) It is made of a durable canvas and has plenty of internal storage compartments. 5.) MAB is getting one as well (navy and kelly green accents), and I love it when we have similar things. You can order one from Land's End and match us too!

A gift from EAM and AMM
Ummmmm. Are they trying to throw me off of my wedding diet? The recipes in here look incredible. Anyone know of a grilled cheese fad diet?

A gift from JTP
Silpada makes many of my favorite accessories; and JTP capitalized on that preference with his gift. These two necklaces look beautiful when paired together or when worn individually. Also, I find the colors to be quite "springy."

A gift from JDB
No, you aren't hallucinating. Yes, these are Kermit the Frog footed pajamas. My father and I used to slow dance to "The Rainbow Connection" when I was a tot; and he certainly brought a big smile to my face with this gift. When will I wear them? Who knows, if ever?!?! But, the point is that I have them.

A gift from JGS
A lovely frame with a lovely picture from a lovely wedding. Oh yeah, and we look lovely too. The photographer caught me on my good side. Boom!

Another gift from EGG
These Matryosh Keys are made by Fred, which is a company with fabulously cool and clever gifts. Their catalog has like 800 items that I would love to own.

*One particular gift from Mr. and Mrs. JTP is fabulous as well, but remains undisclosed as it's part of my wedding attire. It will make an appearance on June 16th!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Awesome or Flawsome: Taco Bell's Doritos Locos Tacos

You all know me well by now. And in knowing me, you know that I refuse to eat at Taco Bell before 2:00 a.m. As my life goes, one of the only places where I can stay up that late anymore is UT. So last week after a night ahhhht in the UT, it was no surprise that I landed in my car with two amigos besides myself (JTP & DMP). We weren't sure if the UT Taco Bell had what we wanted, but we ran for the border anyway. The stars must have been aligned because they had exactly what we were looking for. Thus, we ordered a twelve pack of the new Doritos Locos Tacos*, which are "a Taco Supreme® made with premium seasoned beef, crisp lettuce, diced juicy red ripe tomatoes, real cheddar cheese and topped with cool reduced-fat sour cream, in a shell made from Nacho Cheese Doritos® Chips"...

The Doritos Locos Taco

... and then we headed to their parents' finished basement (because they live in South Union Twp., which is the land of finished basements and no sidewalks) to check these ahhhhht. The resulting excitement within my car was tangible. No joke. 

JTP and DMP are pretty easy to please when it comes to Taco Bell. Me? Not so much. But Doritos are my favorite chip of all time, so I was open to trying this for the sake of "research." Once I had a bite, I was pleased. It's perfect. You don't even need sauce because the Doritos shell creates a literal flavor explosion. We then raved for a solid half an hour** and vowed to tell everyone we know about this experience. 

Doritos Locos Tacos are officially awesome. 

*They come with "beef," but we paid a few extra pesos for steak. Next time, I would go for the chicken. 
**After raving for a solid half an hour, we all agreed that we really hope Taco Bell makes a chicken taco with a Cool Ranch shell; because although Nacho Cheese is classic, Cool Ranch is a pretty darn tasty flavor. Right? This then led to some speculation about other products we would like to see like Dairy Queen Blizzards with cereal (Apple Jacks, Captain Crunch, Reese Peanut Butter Puffs, etc.) and Cashew M & M's.  

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Unofficial Guide To St. Patty's Day: Pittsburgh

Editor's Note: My friend, JWR (@joeryanjoeryan) put this guide together as his second guest blog post (click here for his first), which is great because I wasn't even going to address March 17. At all. Enjoy! -HGB

St. Patrick’s Day is kind of a big deal here. I failed to realize it until a few years ago. Having grown up in the Burgh, I thought every city had a big parade; everyone wore kelly green and drank green beer all day. Now we don’t dye the Allegheny River green (like they do in Chicago), but it’s a big deal nonetheless.

"May you have the hindsight to know where you've been,"

St. Patrick’s Day in Pittsburgh is a good time. Maybe it’s our region’s Irish descendants, or maybe it’s the fact that the temps are rising and a long winter has us amped for a day or two of festivities. Get ahhht and embrace it, you’re all Irish on Saturday.

Like any good holiday, it actually stretches over an entire weekend, or at least it should (in my opinion). For Friday night, consider one of these establishments for some corned beef, Guinness stew, and live music: Riley's Pour House in Carnegie, Harp and Fiddle in the Strip District (my personal favorite), or Finnigan's Wake on the North Side. Sidenote #1: McFadden’s on the North Shore is NOT a traditional Irish Pub. Don’t be fooled. Sidenote #2: If you happen to be in Fayette County on St. Patty’s Day, check out Bud Murphy's in Connellsville.

If cooking is your passion (and crowds annoy you) check here for some traditional Irish recipes.
(from Perm's Brew Picks And More: On Irish Beer)
Ladies, put down the vodka and soda for one night. Cap off your night with something stronger than a Guinness or Smithwick’s. But if you do order a Smithwick’s, impress the bartender by pronouncing it correctly, it’s /`smid-iks/. Try an Irish whisky and let me know if you’re more of a Bushmills or Jameson person.

"The foresight to know where you're going," 

Roll over and shake off that hang over. It’s Saturday, which means it’s Parade Day in the Steel City! This year, there’s the added bonus of Parade Day actually being March 17th. The parade starts at 10 a.m. and features marching bands, pipe bands, floats and whatnot. Be prepared for some confusion as the city will be flooded with visitors heading to Consol Energy Center for the NCAA tournament. The parade runs right past the Consol. Keep in mind that this is a “family event,” so be discreet with your open containers. The parade is legit, and it even has its own Twitter account (click there for details on the parade). 

(from FoodBurgh's Recipe: Brining Corned Beef)

After the parade, head to either Market Square or Station Square to enjoy the company of other yinzers. Click here for a nice guide to downtown festivities. Remember to pace yourself. For Saturday evening, venture to one of the places/neighborhoods you didn’t get to Friday night. Or check out these places: Claddagh's Irish Pub in South Side Works, Downey's House in Robinson Twp, or Ruggers Pub on 22nd Street, South Side. 

"And the insight to know when you're going too far." 

Wrap up the weekend with Irish Boxty at Piper's Pub on East Carson Street. Also know that the state just allowed the sale of alcohol to commence at 9 a.m. on Sundays (it had previously been restricted to 11 a.m.).  Who says they’re not on our side!?!?

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been,
The foresight to know where you're going,
And the insight to know when you're going too far.
-Irish Blessing 

Enjoy the weekend!

Sláinte, JWR

Dancing Through Life

MAB sent me this video today, and I can say without inhibition that it stirred something within my soul. So here I sit at my desk with both a smile on my face and tears in my eyes. Everything about this situation is awesome in the truest sense of the word. Enjoy.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

New and Improved?

Because the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and me are BFF's, they rolled ahhhht their redesigned website for my birthday! Just kidding, but it looks great; and upon preliminary review, I'd say they did a good job. For more information, you can watch this informational video.  

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Year In Books (31)

Last year, as I was on the brink of turning 31 and was reflecting on the past, I wanted to find a way to summarize the passing time without a narrative.  All I could come up with was a list of what I had read over the course of that year, ultimately leading to this post: My Year In Books (30).  

Now I am on the brink of turning 32, and I’d like to share what I've read with y’all again.  And so, in reverse chronological order, here is my year in books... Oh yeah, and for what they're worth, the reviews are in [brackets].  
  • Kentuck Knob: Frank Lloyd Wright’s House for I.N. and Bernadine Hagan by Bernadine Hagan [extremely interesting and poignant, recommended for Wright fans]
  • Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare [tragically wonderful]
  • Antigone by Sophocles [also tragically wonderful]
  • The Tiger’s Wife by Téa Obreht [doesn’t live up to the hype]
  • The Piano Teacher: A Novel by Janice Y. K. Lee [wretched]
  • The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson [the reviews are accurate, recommended]
  • The Friends by Rosa Guy [a great novel for both young adults and adults, recommended]
  • From Dead To Worse (A Sookie Stackhouse Novel) by Charlane Harris [it is what it is]
  • One Amazing Thing by Chintra Divakaruni [recommended]
  • Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me (And Other Concerns) by Mindy Kaling [hilarious, recommended]
  • Matt & Ben by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers [a brilliant play, recommended]
  • All Together Dead (A Sookie Stackhouse Novel) by Charlane Harris [it is what it is]
  • Prep: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld [a few notches up from chic lit, recommended]
  • Hiroshima by John Hersey [depressingly eye-opening, recommended for nonfiction buffs]
  • Definitely Dead (A Sookie Stackhouse Novel) by Charlane Harris [it is what it is]
  • Dead As a Doornail (A Sookie Stackhouse Novel) by Charlane Harris [it is what it is]
  • The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender [sublime, recommended]
  • Big In China by Alan Paul [written by a Pittsburgh native, borders on narcissistic, yet remains enjoyable]
  • Dead To The World (A Sookie Stackhouse Novel) by Charlane Harris [it is what it is]
  • How I Became A Famous Novelist by Steve Hely [clever, recommended]
  • The Big Over Easy: A Nursery Crime by Jasper Fford [I read this for my much needed doses of clever]
  • One Of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fford [I read this for my much needed doses of clever]
  • The Women by T.C. Boyle [sublime, recommended]
  • American Public School Law by Kern Alexander and M. David Alexander [some of the hardest material I’ve ever read, not recommended unless you are in the education field]

Happy 100th Anniversary Girl Scouts!

In celebration of the Girl Scouts’ 100th Anniversary, here’s a list of the top ten things I learned by being a Girl Scout (from 1986-1994*) and from working at Girl Scout camp (summers of '94, '99, and '00):

10. A can of Coke and a bunch of ketchup (from packets) will make a tasty bbq sauce.
9. Door to door sales are really difficult… even if you are selling delicious cookies.
8. Knowing a couple of icebreakers will prove to be handy in many real-world situations.
7. Use my resources wisely.
6. Singing loudly and enthusiastically will help to pass the time in almost every situation.
5. How to build, maintain, and put ahhhhht a campfire safely.   
4. Trying to help people at all times is a pretty good way to approach life.
3. Use the “buddy system.”
2. Always leave an area cleaner than how I found it.
1. Be prepared.  

*Pictures of me from this era are permanently unavailable because they would reveal too much about what I like to call my "Awkward Phase." 

Sunday, March 11, 2012

On Sunsets

At the beginning of the month, I picked up MAB from PSU and we embarked on a roundabout journey to UT that involved shopping for her spring break trip to Florida, finding a maid-of-honor dress for her to wear at my big fat Warhol wedding, and getting a bite to eat. Over an eight hour time span, I am pretty sure I drove through at least eight counties; and upon reaching our final destination of Fayette County, an incredible sunset greeted us warmly.

Looking west from 119 South, near PSU Fayette 
Instinctively, as if I had no other alternative, I stopped. Literally. I pulled over to the side of the road, and we watched the sun sink into horizon. For a few priceless moments, every aspect of our harried lives melted away with the sun and both of us were completely calmed.

As we pulled back onto the road, I turned to MAB and asked, "I wonder how many people have never stopped to appreciate what we just experienced, you know?" And with her simple, "I know, right?" I knew that she had been wondering the same thing.

Now, as I type this, I am reminded of a a few lines from a classic Sheldon Calvary Camp chapel song, "Day Is Done" (by Peter, Paul, & Mary):

Tell me why you're crying, my son
I know you're frightened, like everyone
Is it the thunder in the distance you fear?
Will it help if I stay very near?
I am here.

And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done.
And if you take my hand my son
All will be well when the day is done.
Day is done, Day is done
Day is done, Day is done

In conclusion, stopping and smelling the roses only works if you have access to roses every day, which is pretty unreliable in this area. Last time I checked, the sun sets pretty regularly.  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Murrysville's Pride

Since 1946 and for over three generations, Dick's Diner on Rt. 22 in Murrysville has been "Serving Good Food To Nice People," or at least that's what the place mat said. As soon as I read those words, I knew that I just had to review this roadside gem. But I'm getting ahead of myself...

Do you know how there are all of these places that you've driven past like 800 times over the last decade but never stopped to go in and check ahhhht? Like The Blue Flame on Rt. 51, Al's Pub on Rt. 119, or Drew Menas on Rt. 30? Until recently, Dick's was of those places to me. So when my friend OJP and I were making plans to enjoy a meal together on the far east side of tahn, it was my first suggestion.

Fortunately, OJP obliged my whim and we met up at the height of Sunday brunch. Every seat at the counter was full, and nearly every table in the dining room was filled with what looked like very happy patrons. After waiting in a line briefly for the hostess, we were seated and handed waters and menus before we could blink. I secretly hoped that Kelly, Brooke, and Paige from Dance Moms would be there since they are from Murrysville; and OJP nearly made me choke on my water with her comment that, "I could see Abby Lee Miller loving this place and ordering the Country Breakfast." I was all, "Me too!" in between laughing and pseudo-choking.
Despite the lack of a name plate, I assume that this is Dick.
OJP said that her relatives usually order Murrysville's Pride from the breakfast section of the menu, which sounded great.* Who can resist "two eggs, bacon or sausage, toast and jelly, and small juice of choice" for $5.39?  

However, I was in the mood for pancakes; so I resisted Murrysville's Pride and opted for the Country Breakfast (buttermilk pancakes, two eggs, bacon or sausage, home fries, and toast and jelly)** For just $6.99, I was able to enjoy a delicious meal that really tasted more homecooked than other local diners' food. The kind waitress allowed me to substitute the home fries for hash browns; and I decided on bacon rather than sausage, wheat toast, and over medium eggs. The highlight of the meal was the large portion of bacon, which was thick and cooked exactly how I love it (equally chewy and crispy). The two pancakes were the perfect size and thickness; and when drizzled in warm maple syrup, they melted in my mouth. My eggs were over medium, and my hash browns were just greasy enough (no ketchup needed).

Overall, Dick's sufficiently satisfied my craving for a true diner breakfast (although next time I'm going for grilled cheese and pie, which is rumored to be delectable) and my longing to try ahhhht a place that I'd never go in without a good reason. I'm willing to make a wager that this roadside joint is in actuality, Murrysville's pride. I'm glad I finally made it inside.

Dick's Diner on Urbanspoon

(3 stars, 3/4)

*It must be noted that I barely glanced at the other sections of the menu because I was so totally focused on breakfast. The only exception was a brief pause on a bewildering special called Spanish Swiss Steak. My immediate thoughts included questions like, "What is Spanish Swiss Steak?", "Are Spain and Switzerland allies?", and "Is this a conglomeration or merely a Spanish version of Swiss Steak?" After asking the waitress, she described it as "pieces of beef in a tomato sauce, that isn't spicy, with carrots." I remain bewildered.

**Murrysville is not exactly in the country. 

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Modern Pittsburgh Woman 101

When it comes to The Steel Trap and blogging, I have avoided divulging too much information about myself. My profile is ambiguous, and I rarely post photographs of myself. Likewise, I refer to family, friends and myself with initials. Perhaps it’s because The Steel Trap was never supposed to be about me per se. It was supposed to be about the content. 

But change is good. So today (just this once for the sake of future posts, I swear), I am going into a little more detail about myself than I usually do... indirectly of course. Meaning, in order to proceed with some thoughts and ideas of future posts, I had to clearly identify the “modern Pittsburgh woman." Did I know her? Would she look familiar? Would we be friends? Would I want to be her riding partner at Kennywood? Or would I roll my eyes at her, kick her in the shin, and then roll my eyes again as I sashayed away? 

After brainstorming and hashing ahhhht some of the details with a few valued resources, the concept of the modern Pittsburgh woman took shape. 

As it turns ahhhht, I knew her (like really well), I knew what she looked like, and I was already friends with her. Actually, to a certain extent, I realized that I was her. While my friends and I aren’t exactly alike (that would be so boring), we tend to exude similarly fundamental traits. Sure, there are exceptions to every rule; but in terms of life as we (and I) know (and love) it, these are the core traits of us, the modern Pittsburgh women:
  • Hardworking. The modern Pittsburgh woman is hardworking. This is because she comes from humble beginnings and hardworking families, some traditional and some not. For example, my father happens to be a steel worker (which gives me extra Pittsburgh “street credit”), and my mother has always worked very hard in the education field and the nonprofit sector. They are two of the most hardworking people I know (and I know a lot of people, okay), and have set an incredibly high standard for MAB and me. But that’s not where it ends. My cousins, friends and many of my acquaintances come from hardworking families who set excellent examples for us all. From construction workers to airline stewardesses to farmers to educators to homemakers (and everything in between), our families worked hard so that we could have a better future. Speaking of a better future… 
  • Devoted. The modern Pittsburgh woman is devoted to her city. This is because she travels enough to see the world; and in doing so, she gains perspective and a deeper appreciation for the Burgh. She remains true to her roots by working and living here and she actively strives to exemplify her vision of an even better future for the area. In other words, she consistently represents Pittsburgh’s Third Renaissance.
  • Educated. The modern Pittsburgh woman is educated. Perhaps she has immigrant roots; and when combined with her hardworking family's example, she grew up knowing the priceless value of a solid education. Thus, she doesn’t hesitate when an opportunity presents itself to learn something new whether it’s a recipe on Pinterest, a professional certification, an advanced degree, or the name of the person sitting next to her on the T
  • Dahn-to-Earth. The modern Pittsburgh woman is dahn-to-Earth in every situation. For example, she can easily become best friends with the football tailgaters next to her, and she can cheerfully make toasts with any Pittsburgher at the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. When she’s at Kennywood, she knows how to throw her arms up and scream on the Jack Rabbit’s double dipper, and how to chow dahn enthusiastically on some Potato Patch Fries. When she’s not in the Burgh, she takes her dahn-to-Earth charm with her. Overall, if you aren’t friends with her yet, you will be. 
  • Thrifty. The modern Pittsburgh woman is a thrifty gal. She knows how to create a stunning outfit from pieces of her own mixed with items from Gabriel Brother's, Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, or Hills Target; or how to design a stunning room from pieces of her own mixed with items from HomeGoods, Tuesday Morning, and IKEA. She knows when to go to Kaufmann’s Macy’s to capitalize on a double-super-secret-sale-with-a-coupon deal, and she knows what items are worth a full-price payment and what items aren’t. Oh yes, and if she needs to throw together a black and gold outfit at the last minute, you can bet your bottom dollar that she will prevail fashionably. 
  • Nostalgic. The modern Pittsburgh woman is nostalgic because she loves to reminisce. For example, a good 70’s, 80’s or 90’s chick flick never gets old to her. This is because she feels a bona fide connection between herself, the fashions, the characters, the actors, the music, and the plot. This of course creates a more specific demographic for the modern Pittsburgh woman: she is between the ages of 28 to 46 (born anywhere between the years 1966 to 1984). 
  • Refined. Lastly, the modern Pittsburgh woman is refined. She knows what she wants, needs, likes, and loves. Her preferences are tasteful, thoughtful, and meaningful. Whether it’s happy hour in the Cultural District or boutique shopping in Lawrenceville, the modern Pittsburgh woman knows where to find, enjoy, and share her preferences and does so with a refined style and self-awareness. 

Now that you have become better acquainted with The Steel Trap’s version of the modern Pittsburgh woman, it creates an opportunity for future posts to reference this female genre. Look ahhhht for some top ten lists among other lifestyle-related thoughts and ideas.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Jimmy Fallon Does It Again

Here's yet another reason why I love Jimmy Fallon:

Like, if I could go ahhhht to dinner with any celebrity right now, it would totally be him. For serious. 

Sunday, March 4, 2012

The Bridezilla Zone

It's to the point where people come to me with stories. It's also to the point which I am starting to publish them. We'll call these wedding-related vignettes "The Bridezilla Zone." Here's an interesting one...

A bride (and I honestly don't even know her name) selected the satin dress in the center of the photo (Impression Bridal Style #1769) in a lovely putrid shade of bubble gum pink.
Photo from Impression Bridal
From what the bridesmaid anonymous source told me, the dress fits well and is reasonably priced despite its color. To accessorize, the bridesmaids will be wearing black flowers in their hair. The maid of honor will be wearing a black dress with a pink flower in her hair. The groomsmen will be wearing ties and vests in accordance with this scheme as well. If the bride wants to go all matchy-matchy, that's her prerogative. In my opinion, pink and black is a little 2004; but again, I'm not judging color choices.

What I do judge though is when a bride inconveniences her best friends. In this instance, the bride recently sent an email to notify her bridesmaids that they must locate and purchase a rhinestone broach to pin onto the right of the dress (mid-thigh) and that the brooch must be 3 inches in size. Cue the music, folks! We have just entered The Bridezilla Zone! A 3-inch brooch? To pin on a dress costume which is already being accessorized with a hair piece and a coordinating groomsman? Ah, where's David Tutera when we need him?

The bridesmaids must have had some trouble with this task, because the bride lowered the size requirement to 2-2 1/2 inches. How thoughtful. In my spare time (the past few minutes while I procrastinated on laundry), I did a little research on the world wide web and found Silverland Jewelry & Gifts, which featured some nice options, but wasn't cost effective. I couldn't find anything on the Claire's website and Macy's only listed one brooch on theirs; but lo and behold, impressed me with a solid selection of inexpensive, tasteful brooches. Thus, I felt some relief that the bridesmaids in this wedding have options to purchase the accessory which isn't an option to wear.

As always I am left wondering what happens when some females get engaged? Do they lose their ability to see the big picture through the haze of tulle, uplighting, and cake pops? Are they victims of an industry that is quite good at making brides feel that they must do everything better than every wedding they ever attended in the history of ever? I feel like there's a bigger issue ahhhhht there...


Wow! It's already March 4th, and I am behind this month! My lateness with this post is indicative of how busy I've been the past few days; but I can say with confidence that my busy-ness was welcomed and enjoyable!

Now, about February... the highlight of the month was certainly taking JDB* to see Brit Floyd for his 58th birthday. As far as concert experiences go, this one ranks pretty high and might have earned its way into my top ten. If you happen to be a Pink Floyd fan, we highly recommend you see Brit Floyd. Seriously. If we had closed our eyes, we couldn't have been able to tell the difference. Of course we never closed our eyes, because the lighting, the projections, and special effects were too amazing (and too well executed) to miss. Also, JDB and I didn't stop smiling the entire time. We looked like Chesire Cats. Check Brit Floyd ahhhhhhht:

Regarding the big screen, I made it to two movies in February: The Vow and Safe House. Both were average, yet entertaining (Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams were in one, and Denzel Washington and Ryan Reynolds were in the other, so duh); but they both would suffice adequately as rentals if you didn't make it to the theater.

Regarding the small screen, White Collar had a great season and Psych started back up again on USA. Over on HBO, Eastbound & Down is back and weirder than ever; and for some reason, I cannot stop watching (and no, I will not be pausing to analyze why I even watch that train wreck for fear of what I might conclude about myself). On NBC, The Office is officially painful to watch; and Parks and Recreation keeps getting better. The New Girl is still a breath of fresh air on Fox; and Dance Moms is still lighting up the stage and peoples' opinions over on Lifetime. On ABC, Grey's Anatomy is still making me cry nearly every episode (in a good way); and Private Practice is still making me roll my eyes (in a bad way). Lastly, [also on ABC] Revenge is keeping both JTP and me on the edge of the couch (figuratively of course because in reality, JTP sits with his legs straight ahhhht onto the coffee table and I am curled up in an impenetrable nest of pillows and blankets) because we simply cannot get enough of the drama. Sadly, it won't be back on until April!

Lastly, I started my tap dancing/fitness class... and it's way too early to comment. Give me a few weeks to fully develop an opinion because my first impression was sketchy.

So here we are in March, which is my favorite month of the year. Without a doubt, it's because my birthday is in March; and I've had some pretty fun birthdays over the years, which have the stacked the cards in March's favor in terms of beating ahhhhhht other months for the favorite spot. Did I mention that my birthday is coming up soon? Nine days, everyone. Nine days.

Next week, JGS and EGG are coming in from Detroit to join PSB and me in a celebration of my bachelorette-dom and my birthday with a mother-daughter trip to Kentuck Knob, Fallingwater, and Nemacolin Woodlands. Needless to say, I am very excited to some of my favorite Fayette County activities with some of my favorite people. The following weekend, I am getting together with my girlfriends for a ladies night ahhhhht at the movies (we are seeing Friends With Kids) followed with drinks and tapas. Here's the trailer:

The weekend after that, I'll be stuffing wedding invitations with the help of JBS (and hopefully her 3-year-old charming daughter GJS will entertain with her insightful commentary), while the guys watch college hoops (and MacGruber for the 800th time) and stay ahhhhht of the way. Finally, the month ends with a trip to D.C. to visit with friends and family, pick up my wedding dress, and cheer on MMM in the Cherry Blossom race. Oh yeah, and I suppose I'll see some high school musicals while I'm at it,  work full time, coach track and field, and write as much as I can. Um, so I'll be busy. Call me in April.

As always, thank you for reading (and [hopefully] passing this blog along). Also, thank you for "liking" The Steel Trap on facebook, following @The_Steel_Trap on Twitter, and following me on Pinterest!

Helloooo March! 

*For JDB and me, music transcends distance (on multiple levels) in our relationship and always brings us together. And for fathers and daughters, those moments are so important... you know, finding a way to connect despite it all. I attribute my musical tastes and interests largely to his influence and his passion for quality rock n' roll. I might not have been the kind of daughter that could throw a softball with any success (or hit one for that matter), but I can listen to "his" music for hours on end. In retrospect, I wouldn't have it any other way.