Tag Archives: Pittsburgh

I’m laughing again. Weddings weddings and more weddings.

24 May

Since I’ve last posted, I’ve moved to another country, been pregnant and given birth to baby #2. I’m not joking. Thus. I’m back-at least for today. This weekend we’re heading back to the Burgh for a wedding. From the venues I’ve seen, there are some styling places to get hitched in Pittsburgh and even lovelier are the reception venues.

This weekend’s venue is the ‘historic’ Summit Inn.

Boasting an indoor and outdoor pool, this venue will at least impress my kids. We’ll see just how romantic this getaway is for a regular, non family couple. I’ll post about it if I get a chance later on.

Last week, however, we had the chance to celebrate the wedding of another one of by besties in the Dominican Republic. We stayed at the Grand Bahia Principe Punta Cana.
(that’s the pool that my son was in love with)

It was a wedding tainted with some regular wedding speedbumps, and some irregular (bride forgot her dress at home…on her side though, just a month prior to this her house burned down. So it’s a given that she’s got quite a bit on her mind).

The ceremony was absolutely picturesque. It was complete with a white gazebo, a gentle breeze, a smiling groom and a beaming bride. It was the stuff all destination brides dream of.

Anywho. I just have weddings on the brain-and since mine was 4 years ago (June 20) I’ve been a bit nostalgic. Any brides out there wish they did things differently? For mine, I would’ve just done about everything differently. Mine was an enormous (not big for weddings in Canada but for other places, I’ve been told I’m insane to have had a wedding that large) 500 guest shindig. There was something RIDICULOUS like 7 courses, plus a midnight buffet with a chef slicing proscuitto. In a few words it was INSANELY overdone. Not really my style. My wonderfully helpful mum really helped make it all that it was, and although it was a very nice wedding (and my mum insists it was the most awesome wedding she’s ever been to) I wish I put my foot down for so many decisions. I was in a point where I was working 3 jobs, doing long distance with my fiancee and completing my masters at the same time as planning my wedding. I was stretched thin and let some big decisions be pushed by others.  My husband (finacee at the time) really tried his hardest to talk some sense into me…but I was a lost cause. Maybe we should have waited to plan it properly, but is there ever a really stress free good time to plan?   SO. All that being said. If you want to plan a large lavish wedding I’m your go to gal for help and ideas. If you’re looking for a stylin wedding full of creative ideas I have an old friend who seems like she’s really darn good at what she does (a wedding coordinator).  I’m pretty sure she’s been doing weddings all over the place.  Check her out over at http://www.heygorg.com/.



Whether your first date or fiftieth date, Pittsburgh has it all to make it a good one.

14 May

So I’ve been thinking…I feel like people don’t make enough of the scene in Pittsburgh. This is one amazing city for romance. Whether just starting out on your first date or going out after 50 years of marriage, here are some options, bound to get you at least a kiss…

  1. “Here we go Steelers, here we go…”  Who doesn’t like seeing people beaten up while a billion people cheer them on? Now, when I came to this country (I sound like an 80 year old immigrant, but I’m not) I had no real love of football.  The first time I went to a pro football game was in Heinz Stadium (in October) and I was totally floored. It was AMAZING! The energy level of the entire thing, from tailgating to the actual game, is enough to leave you and your date smiling. Honest to goodness.  If you can’t afford tickets to a game, tailgate and then head to a bar to watch the game.
  2. Take a trip up the Duquesne incline and have drinks (or dinner) on Mt. Washington.  The restaurant we frequent is called The Grandview Salon and although we’ve never eaten there, the view from the bar alone is worth the trip up.
  3. Dine at a train station gone restaurant…the Grand Concourse.  To start, seat yourselves at the bar and start with oysters (market price) and listen to the pianoman play.   When dinner rolls around, the main room is almost overwhelming how stunning it is, but there’s a room at the back, with a river view perfect for a late night dinner.  The city lights up in front of you and it seems all the guests eating are really happy to be there.  The restaurant is hailed for its amazing seafood (the sea bass is to DIE for), but there’s also turf options if you’d like. Then take a stroll along the river, maybe popping into another bar for a final drink.
  4. For something a wee bit more intimate, Dish Osteria Bar is ALWAYS a win. The venue itself is smaller.  The tables themselves are smaller than the usual, so there’s plenty of opportunity for ‘mistaken’ footsies, hand brushing and sharing.  The staff are great and the owner (the last few times I’ve been) is usually around…which means it’s a place that takes pride in its service.
  5. Go to the theatre…there are so many live show options, I don’t really know which to recommend…just don’t take your date to see Shakespeare if they didn’t like it in high school…chances are, their taste in olde Englishe probably hasn’t changed.
  6. If live theatre isn’t your thing, how about a concert at Mr. Smalls? Before, or after, pending on the weather and whether it’s open or not, head three blocks over to the skate park to watch some talented (and not so talented) people skate. Nothing is as bond building as watching others get battered and bruised (see date option number 1).
  7. Take a Saturday morning stroll and picnic.  Head down to the historic strip district to pick out your lunch fare and then drive into Schenley Park to picnic it out. Don’t forget a blanket, and even if it rains there’s a big white tent.
  8. Let your wild side show…go to the zoo! Who doesn’t get happy seeing cute animals?? Plus you can have stories like, “our first kiss was in front of a bunch of wild monkeys”…how awesome is that?
  9. Little E’s has live jazz…I’d suggest though, you hit up dinner somewhere and then get there just as it starts (each show has its own start time, but 8:30 seems to be a safe bet) check out their website for daily event details before you go…
  10. For something a bit different, head to Gypsy Café in the south side on a Thursday night. They have a seasonal menu and live gypsy music (played by Gypsy Strings) starting at 8:30 pm. I’d reserve a table for 8 pm so you can get some talk time in with your date before the band starts up.  Desserts are made in house and, like Dish, the owners are usually there to greet you.  If you’re feeling spiritually adventurous, go on a Friday for tarot readings…

There are so many more options, and once I explore a bit more, I’ll post them.  Happy dating Pittsburgh!

Mystery High Part 2

12 May

continued from “Pick a high school, any high school you want”…posted May 10, 2010….

“Arie?…You awake?…” a voice called from the distance, and it sounded suspiciously like Luke…and not the one I was currently dreaming of…wait. What is that smell??

“Ugh..what the eff?” My nose scrunched up and I continued to let the curses roam free out of my mouth while I tried to escape the horrible stench.

“Language Miss Huston, language,” a stern yet laughing voice commanded from beyond the disgustingness of smell. Hey, I know that voice…

“Nurse Dillon?” The smell, those were smelling salts. And… Omg. I passed out in front of Luke, on Luke. My eyes shot open and I blushed furiously at what had happened. I sat up with the speed of a rebounding Dodo Clown and looked around, searching for the calling voice from my dream. A wave of dizziness slapped over me and Nurse Dillon held my arm while she continued to talk,

“He’s gone Miss Huston, I sent him back to class. Said yintz gave him a right scare. He carried you to the office he did, right like a knight.” I gently laid back down, well, I wasn’t given much of a choice what with Nurse Dillon’s one hand now pushing me back down and the other one setting aside the smelling salts. “That’s one nice boyfriend you’ve got yourself there. He refused to leave, but I said I’d give you both detention if he didn’t get hisself back to class, and what with exams right around the corner he mumbled about you not being pleased if you got a detention.” Yep, darn tooting I wouldn’t be pleased. I would’ve cursed him to high devil’s home if he got me stuck with detention because he was trying to play white knight.  Stupid do-gooder. Still, I couldn’t help but smile. It was nice of him.

“Now, Miss Huston. Not to be all digging n all, but have you eaten today?”  Her brown eyes were flecked with amber and bored into mine. She must’ve been really pretty when she was young and she still had this way of charming any information out of you. She was also one of the only people I’d let touch me, or know the truth about what’s going on.

“No ma’am.” With an unnatural speed for a woman her age, she bent down and was back up in a flash with a tray of food.

“Well, that’s what Mr. Goodman and I thought.  Before I sent him back to class, I made him get you a full tray of food.”

At the sound of Luke’s name I blushed.  I reached for the tray and was surprised when she held it out of my reach, “Arie. You be good to that one. And make sure you thank him for all he did.” Again, her eyes searched mine for any semblance that a lie was going to pass my lips.

“I will ma’am. And thank you.” He wasn’t mine anyways.

She assessed me once more, this time with one eye closed (which totally made me giggle) and then the tray was in my lap.

“You finish off every last bite then go to class.”

I nodded, a granny smith apple in my mouth.

By the time I was released from the caring clutches of Nurse Dillon, I’d missed first period. Although Luke was a year older, we had shared some classes last semester because I took almost all AP classes.  This semester though, we didn’t have any together. All the better. I pulled the straps to my backpack tighter so that I felt suffocatingly cocooned.  I exhaled and continued onto my second class: Trig.  Tiffany was only in my first period soc class.

I’d have to see her, and him, at lunch which meant I had until then to figure out what I was going to say I bought her, and how I could repay him.

♥ ♥ ♥

“Toodles!” I saw her blonde curls waving some of her flock away from down the hall and I rolled my eyes. Of course Tiff would have her hair done for her birthday.  She was probably at the salon at 6 am…ie. 2 hours before it opened. I mean, not that the curls do anything to really take away from her personality, she’s super nice.

“Hey biatch!” well, Wtheck? She’d never called me that before, I swear. New fad? Maybe. It’s probably because I didn’t decorate her locker. Damn high school politics.  As she approached me I thought I saw a flash of steel in those keen grey eyes of hers. Then again, maybe I just imagined it.  After all, I did pass out this morning.

“Happy birthday girl! You look fantabulous.”  My perma-headache had subsided somewhat so I actually smiled fully at her.

“You think?” Again I rolled my eyes and watched her spin, giving her a polite yet dignified clap. It’s us. The role we play is set. I’m the best friend and she’s my best friend. She really was wearing a cute little spring/summer number…if I’m not mistaken, by Marc Jacobs.  She’s a queen of Saks, preferring the New York Saks to the downtown Pittsburgh one.   She’ll tell anyone who’ll listen about the preference and which designers make NY better. Tiffany is Old Pittsburgh money. I am No Pittsburgh money.  But I know all the designers out there and vow to one day go to school to become a clothing designer. Tiff’s been a mannequin for more than one of my designs and I run the fashion show every year as one of the many artists being showcased.

Looking past me her eyes lit up, and I started to blush right away. I knew who was behind me.

“Are those for me?” she squealed in delight and I was happy for her. I swear. Luke walked right past me and picked her up in a bear hug, spinning her around while making out. This was a feat only a prize star athlete could achieve and was usually reserved for the movies.  Not in Tiffany’s world though. In hers, everything was possible.

On one of their rotations I saw he was holding a dozen lavender coloured roses in his hands. I inhaled deeply and walked past the love birds.  I wish she saw what I saw in him. I wish she would stop messing this relationship up.  Walking to the cafeteria, the side of my mouth quirked up.  He’d messed up though. Lavender roses were my favourite. Calla lilies were hers- “of course they’re my favourite, I want them all over the place at our wedding!”  That was something she’d said before the whole assistant makeout-and-more session.   I sighed, I would just have to make it up to both of them that I didn’t remind him what her favourite flowers were.  And chances are, knowing Tiff, she wouldn’t have remembered mine.

Outside of the cafeteria, and between the library, there was a kind of “modern” empty space, also known as a waste of space.  Along the library windows though, was a seating ledge where all the senior jocks sat and on many a day, held up numbers to rate chicks as they walked by.  Once the principal, Mrs. Gorgan, caught whiff, she’d given them all detention.  It hadn’t stopped them yet though.   They just do it infrequently, with no pattern except maybe mimicking a play in football.  Today was one of those days-totally just my friggen luck.

They clapped for me, pretty much just as I had for Tiff.  I turned just long enough to send them a scathing “I HATE YOU ALL.” look. And before I could avert my gaze, so I didn’t look at what my score was (shudder), I saw one that made me stumble.  He held up a 10 and was looking at me with THE most intense look I’d ever seen. Shit I didn’t even know if I’ve ever been looked at like that.  After I stumbled, I tripped over my own feet and landed in an inelegant pile right there.  Serves me right. I don’t know what serves me right but something must.  When he saw me stumble he dropped the number and did a light jog over. The rest of the jocks were laughing their butts off, like it was the funniest thing they’d seen since The Hangover.  His hair was dark brown and cut pretty short, like he wasn’t trying to be cool or anything.   He had deep set brown eyes and a look about him that screamed, “I know more than I let on.”  Okay, so this day was just plain fabulous.  Note the sarcasm here. It wasn’t fabulous. But it did keep getting weirder and weirder.

When he reached me he had this soft half smile going on that made my stomach do fluttery flip flops.  I hadn’t moved, I mean really, I was in a no win situation here, so I could at least make sure I would stand with some grace.  Slow and steady wins the race.  He stretched out a huge hand down towards me.

“Need some help up?” Just then, there was a flurry of steps in our direction with a hollering voice leading the way,

“Arie! Arie!!!!” My eyes widened and the mystery guy stood up straighter to see what all the commotion was about. His eyes narrowed as he watched a frantic Luke practically throw himself down at my side.  Luke grabbed my shoulders and looked into my eyes, “Are you okay? Arie are you okay?” I didn’t really know what the heck was going on this twilight zone of a day.  I nodded and he did something that really shocked me, he pulled me into a hug and rocked me gently.  His hands were in my hair and as my arms tentatively went around shoulders he whispered, “I thought I lost you. Oh my God. I thought you were gone again.”

I looked past him to see an unsure Tiff standing by, now a few people circling us. I cleared my throat, this was totally awkward. I patted his back saying, “Luke, I’m okay, I promise. I just tripped.” It was a bit of a maneuver but I managed to twist a bit to see the guy who thought I was a 10 still standing there, not knowing his role anymore.  We locked eyes and he gave me a one handed wave as he backed up and away from this little scene. Before he turned away from me though, he held his hands up, showing me 10 fingers spread apart and gave me a wink.   I blushed and smiled to myself, finally extracting Luke from me we stood up.  He was talking as the three of us, me, Tiff, and him, walked into the cafeteria to get some food but I wasn’t listening.  I thought about the guy, why I’d never seen him, who he was, and if he was kidding about thinking I was a 10. And jeeze, what if he said every girl was a 10 and I was stupid enough to believe it was just me? Meh. I shrugged and smiled even more. I looked back to where the jocks were seated and he was gone. Oh well, our school was only 3000 students large, there must be some chance that we’ll bump into one another again. When I tuned back into the convo, I realized that Luke was telling Tiff about our early morning meeting and what happened.  She was looking at me strangely and he was looking at me with something akin to pity. But I couldn’t wipe the stupid grin off my face.

“Whatever guys. I’m okay and lunch is on me. It’s the least I can do.” I smiled at both of them and as I picked up the tab, I almost forgot I hadn’t gotten paid yet and I’d be broke till Friday. Pay day. Oh well, who needs money anyways…especially when someone thinks you’re a 10?

To be continued….

ev·o·lu·tion   [ev-uh-loo-shuhn]

11 May

Def’n: development: a process in which something passes by degrees to a different stage (especially a more advanced or mature stage) —from: wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

I’m evolving…sometimes words aren’t enough to explain love…especially on a rainy day…

Have a happy rainy love filled day Pittsburgh…

ps. the next part to a high school story is almost done…and pps. don’t you just plain ♥ how the woman with the umbrella looks miserable (yet dry??) ah, l’amour. nothing like it.

Pick a high school…any high school ya want….

10 May

I’ve never been in a high school in Pittsburgh, so I’m not sure which would fit the bill here… I had a dream I wrote about it last night and so, set out to do so today…if anyone feels like enlightening me about any high school that could fit, feel free to leave it in a comment…

I slammed my locker shut, much to the chagrin of my steadily pounding brain.  I’d been having these headaches that last a few days…nothing like a migraine or anything, just a steady hum of torture. The torture was a lingering shadow on everything I did.  I kept on forgetting things, and even my oh-so-handy lists weren’t helping me out because reading was killing my skull. Had to keep any extracurricular reading to a minimum to make sure I had enough brain juice to get my homework done. This morning was just the same. I had to go back into the house twice to pick up much needed homework and text books. Then my ‘88 Chevy Nova wouldn’t start and although I wanted to scream, I couldn’t-my head would have probably exploded. It had been a morning of heavy breathing trying to hold back frustrated tears. In short, as of today, I hated my life.

I got to school late and my car’s engine gave out just as I rolled into a parking spot. I wanted to slash my own tires, take a bat to my windows and key my doors.  And did I do any of those dramatic Carrie Underwood things? Nope. I hung my head and walked dejectectedly into school.  Just thinking about all the crap that happened since I’d woken up made my head hurt just that much more, and now, the slam on the locker echoed in my brain and upped my headache a notch.  My hands automatically went up on either side of my blue top locker and I rested my forehead head against its coolness. The locker face was just as comforting as my mother’s touch…everything was just too blimey bright, loud, annoying and well, everything, today.  I turned my head to one side and noticed that the brightness included my best friend’s locker.

Oh shit. It’s not…I walked over to the festive locker about 8 lockers down, feeling like every step was leading me closer to doomsday. When I reached her fully decorated locker, my heart plummeted to my stomach.  It was Tiffany’s birthday. And I forgot.  Thank the lord someone remembered to decorate it. Regardless, I’m sure I’ll be eaten for her lunch for this. Man, knowing her, she might’ve decorated it herself to save herself the mortification of accepting a terrible best friend.

Could this day get any worse? COULD IT?

Breathe, breathe, and breathe some more.

I scowled to myself and fingered the loose, frantically happy orange and yellow ribbon on her locker and the second bell sounded.  So I’m not as late as I thought. I closed my eyes and let my hand drop, breathing again.  All that heavy breathing obviously wasn’t helping out my hearing because I didn’t hear someone walk up, and when I turned to head to class, I walked right into them. Them being a very big muscular someone. Oh. No. I squeezed my eyes shut. This is just a bad dream. This whole day is just one bad dream.

My hands fumbled to make their way up to show I didn’t mean to walk into them. I opened one eye cautiously to look straight into a wide chest and I silently prayed that it wasn’t who I thought it was (although I knew).  I shrugged slowly, kinda looking more like a cringe, and the chest took a tiny step back.  My gaze traveled up to meet two very bright blue eyes. Hubida mushy brain blue umm yum. I honestly thought today couldn’t get any worse, but fate had a TOTALLY different opinion on the matter.

“Hey, you need this?” He was holding something…but my brain (as previously mentioned) wasn’t working up to any sort of par. Plus, I had dreamt of those blue eyes every night for the past 2 weeks.  Heck, way longer than that if I wanted to be honest with myself.  It was surreal to see them looking at me, even if they had an amused glitter to them. Although I mean, I saw him all the time and talked to him, albeit, only when I spoken to. It was an unsaid rule of mine.

Today my guard was down and I responded with some sort of infantile gurgle instead of my usual sarcastic cruel snap of verbal abuse.

ARH#&@#$*!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Work brain! WORK!

“Ugh, what?” I shook my head to get those cogs and gears spinning, and I’m pretty sure I looked like a shaggy dog.  My “cool-meter” firmly commanded me: Easy there Beethoven, stop moving your head. I froze and his expression went from amused to confused. He slowly, I guess not to frighten me (in my head, I rolled my eyes, I’m such a moron), lifted his hand up to show me a black sharpie marker. My face showed just how little my brain was registering and I tried to put up my usual scowl only reserved for him but he responded only by looking somewhere between amused and confused as he uncapped the lid and mimicked signing Tiffany’s locker.  He turned back to me to tentatively hand me the black marker.  Heat infused my cheeks and now I had no idea if my next step should be to go play on the I-579 or jump off the Liberty Bridge. Either one would save me from this. I looked at the marker which he was waving in front of my face and the toxic smell reached my nose. I inhaled and reached for it begrudgingly (he must’ve been the one to decorate) as a thought drifted into my fuzzy brain…oh no, I’m gonna pass out. I quickly did a rundown of the food I ate. There wasn’t enough-I didn’t eat today yet, and I barely ate dinner yesterday. Nope. There was no stopping it. I had a bit of a problem with fainting. Yep. There goes the cherry to my bad day sundae…

I passed out, but not before I registered that I was fainting into Luke’s arms while his voice was raised in panic calling my name…the Luke who Tiffany was supposed to be dating (and was being cheated on with some assistant of her dad’s… “hey it’s not like we’re getting married or anything” she’d told me when I caught her making out with the much older blonde guy in her library), the Luke who completely haunted my dreams, the Luke who was VERY off limits and I tried my hardest to make those limits as fortified as the Great Wall of China.

Hey, it wasn’t a bad way to go down- at least I had a legit reason to be in his arms. I smiled for the first time that day. Yep. Legit is simply legit.

♥ ♥ ♥

10 minutes later and a trip to the nurses office:

“Arie?…You awake?…”

To be continued….