Fashion Forward Fridays: Meet Eric!

Alright ladies, feast your eyes on...my brotha! Now I understand that some of you might consider this cheating, but trust me, I went out in search for a fashionista during the afternoon and literally all of the people that I would have normally stopped were either on their cell phones or getting on a bus. So knowing that I was headed out with some friends, I didn't worry about it since I knew I'd be able to find someone.

Sorry so blurry: here be my bro looking stylish.
I however didn't think that, that person would be my own brother! To be honest (and probably a little embarrassing) I've been picking out clothes for Eric for most of our lives. Not that he had a choice in the matter! When your little sister, has a big mouth and is a fashion diva, the smart thing to do is just to go along with it. However, in the past couple years, Eric has taken his style over for himself and has mixed inspiration for outfits from everywhere to create what could easily be considered, clean-hipster. And I approve!

Since Eric has a low-key lifestyle, he shops mainly at Target, JCPenney's and thrift stores. H also has a habit of raiding our dad's closet for some quality flannel. He's also influenced by some of his favorite bands: think Mumford and Sons for a visual. But what I like best about Eric's style is that it's true to him. He advises other fashionisto's to simply be their selves when getting ready but to consider what does look good on them and their body type. With this outfit, I love the mixing of patterns. I love when guys are able to cross plaid and stripes, to mix and match with pieces to create a different kind of layering effect than we ladies do. And I must admit I am proud to see that Eric has a love for cardigans and mixing patterns as well as what I like to call "old-man shoes." Also known as boat shoes.

Close-up: check out the pattern mixing.
Now for all you people who think I've cheated the last two weeks with using my boyfriend MJ and now Eric, well, you folks can deal. Sorry that two of my favorite men are such great dressers. Tell your men to up the ante! Use tips from MJ or Eric for which kind of style to create for your man if you want their style to change. Whether it's classy-business like my MJ, clean-hipster like brother Eric or anywhere in between, men's fashion is on the rise, so encourage the men in your lives to get them in style!

And guys - have fun with your looks! Don't think that it's just a girl thing to love clothes and caring about the way you look. Let's shake it up, Pittsburgh! Time to show GQ wrong!


An Andy Warhol Musical

Ever have such a fabulous night out that once you get home you just want to go out again? Tonight is one of those nights for me. I'm sitting in my bedroom, next to one of the huge windows that shows the most wonderful view of downtown, in my cute (and super cheap) Saks Fifth Ave. dress, wanting to go back out. I have two reasons for this wanting to stay out feeling...1) my beautiful and always a great time friend, Lindsay and 2) City Theatre's production of POP! a new Musical by Maggie-Kate Coleman and Anna K. Jacobs.

POP! a Musical at City Theatre from May 5th through the 27th
POP! is about the Pittsburgh-bred artist, Andy Warhol, and is based around the summer of 1968 event that almost killed him. Who shot Andy Warhol is the question this brilliant musical asks over and over again. While the answer can easily be found out, either by looking on Wikipedia or taking an art history class (which is how I know), is never really told straight out in the musical.

Andy Warhol, one of my absolute favorite artists, is portrayed by one of my absolute favorite actors, Anthony Rapp. You might know of Anthony from his most recognized appearance in the renown musical, RENT, as Mark. I was so star-struck the moment the show started and Anthony appeared on stage and remained so throughout the show, because of how absolutely phenomenal he is as an actor and singer, but especially in this role.

Anthony Rapp & Andy Warhol's picture: CityPaper's Heather Mull photo
But I knew that Anthony would be fabulous. What I didn't know is how outstanding the rest of the cast would be as well. Each one was perfectly cast for this show, I could not imagine their parts being done by anyone else. I loved that three members of the cast where, like Warhol, Pittsburgers. Paul Victor (Ondine) and Courtney Bassett (Edie) are recent Point Park graduates and Jesse Carrey-Beaver (Gerard) is a current CMU senior. These three young, local actors were so amazing. They were joined by Alyse Alan Louis (Valerie), Bria Walker (Viva) and Brian Charles Rooney (Candy Darling), also all amazing.

Alyse does every feminist proud as Valerie Solanas, who is known most for writing the S.C.U.M. Manifesto and basically being a super man-hater. Anyway, Alyse is a little fireball on stage and had my attention every time she took center stage with her huge voice. Bria was the perfect Viva and during the song The Last Laugh, I wanted to shout "get it girl," but obviously that wouldn't be proper for a theater-goer so I just clapped, but she was so fierce and very reminiscent of Jennifer Hudson. And finally I learned my lesson to always read the program before the show starts because Brian, who played trans-woman, Candy Darling, had me guessing the entire show. But regardless of which gender, Brian was also a perfect pick for this cast.

The amazing cast: Post Gazette's Lake Fong photo
Besides just the amazing talent of the cast, the set was also beautiful and used remakes of many of Warhol's work to create "The Factory" were he created his pieces, hung out and was ultimately shot. Every bit of this show screamed fabulous. Some of my favorite parts were; the mocking of some expressionist artists, Paper Doll, Screen Test, Retrospective and the Big Gun song. Paper Doll was a beautiful song sung by Edie that could have easily brought tears to anyone. Screen Test was another beautiful song that involved the entire cast and remade parts of Warhol's Screen Test film where he simply filmed people he knew sitting in front of the camera, saying nothing. Retrospective was a song of just Warhol, giving the audience the first real look inside the mind of the artist. Those two pieces, really did bring a couple tears to my eyes they were so beautiful. However, on the total opposite side of emotion, Big Gun was the most hilarious and well-played song of the entire show, very ball-busting and full of girl power.

The fabulous show was topped off with a wonderful, small get-together for Seton Hill alumni and Lindsay and I loved being the youngest alums there. Representing the class of 2011 in style at an event is always easy to do for me and my girl. It was also fun to be able to interact with not just fellow former Griffins, but a few members of the cast as well. Too bad Anthony didn't make his way over to the party, or else the night would have been completely perfect. Sigh. Maybe next time. And since Lindsay and I plan on seeing the show again before it closes on May 27th, we still have a chance to meet him and of course, see another fabulous performance at the City Theatre!


Explosive Art Exhibit

The title of this exhibit alone got me excited to go see it, Girls 'N' Guns, by Rachel Nieborg and Ine Mulder is going on until June 10th at 709 Penn Avenue and to say the least, it is explosive. Go see it now.

Last week, after working at the Public Theater, I was able to take the block walk to 709 with Isaac to see the exhibit. I mostly wanted to see it because I didn't know what to expect, whether the art would just be exciting with a fun title, or if real guns would be involved. And both would be the correct answer.

Explosive photography by Rachel Nieborg and Ine Mulder now at 709 Penn Ave.
While the walls of the gallery were all painted bright red, the photographs were the ones that made bold statements. Each piece had a different arrangement of items, usually involving fish and mice, as well as things that could be found in the average kitchen, displayed on a table. Not too exciting so far, except that in each piece the action of something in the scene was shot, which made each one interesting to browse. Though most of the objects were everyday, some of them needed a closer look and Isaac didn't really appreciate the ones with mice, but I guess it's all just art in this space. On a postcard of the event that I picked up on the way out, it says that the exhibit is of "stop-action photographs" which is a great depiction of what this exhibit is.

I'd suggest that if you're in the area between now and mid-June that you go into 709 Penn to see this exhibit, it's one that really cannot be accurately described and really just must be seen in person so you can make your own assumptions about it and how artistic you think it is or isn't. Personally, I think it's great art because of the reaction Isaac and I had to each piece. Even if you're not into art, you might still want to check it out because you like to see stuff get blown up. Whatever your reason, it's worth seeing!


Fashion Forward Fridays: Meet MJ!

Sorry for the delay folks, but trust me, this one is worth it! Since I have started Fashion Forward Fridays, I've been asked over and over again when will I feature a guy. Especially since my effort is to show that Pittsburgh is a fashionable city, even though GQ named it the third-worst-dressed, and GQ's focus group is men, it's about time I show you a well dressed man.

"Every woman loves a well dressed man."
Truth be told, I base my view on whether or not I think a guy is dressed well on one man: my boyfriend, MJ. While I've talked about him before, it's never been based on his looks, but let me tell you, my boy knows how to dress. And luckily for me, I don't have to tell him what to wear or buy him certain clothes hoping he'll catch on. I'm a lucky girl and since I was going to be with him on Friday anyway, I thought there was no better time then to feature the best-dressed guy in the city.

Granted this outfit was worn for his Master's graduation night, trust me, MJ is never one to dress less than this on an average basis. It helps that he has an office job and a reason to dress nice everyday, but even when we're just going out for fast food, MJ always keeps his outfit top-notch. He says that while some musical artists, such as Usher, inspire some of his looks most of his inspiration comes from his personality. MJ likes to think and look high fashion but spend much less, which also shows he's thinking ahead career-wise while keeping within his just graduated budget.

MJ looking very GQ-worthy after graduation.
MJ also encourages other guys to push the limit with their fashion choices. Instead of just buying what they have always been told looks good or what they "should be" wearing, MJ says to mix it up by showing off bits of personality through what you wear, don't just play it safe. MJ's personality shows in this outfit by the obvious black on black business attire, paired with the pop of color in his tie and of course put over the edge with the white belt and Hot Topic suspenders. Personally knowing MJ, I know that he has recently fell in love with the dressed up suspender look and has them in hot pink and neon green as well and just goes to show that something quirky can still look great. So men, get out there, find something that fits your personality, something that makes you happy and pair it with classic pieces so that you're still within your company's dress code and make a statement. As GQ has pointed out, fashion is not just a woman's game anymore, so make your move, find what gives you the MJ edge on fashion and maybe you'll find an awesome girlfriend too!


But, I already have a Big Brother...

So, yesterday, after of course getting over my anxiety of riding the Port Authority T under the river to the Rivers Casino, I walked in to audition to be on the next season of Big Brother. My plan was to go over and interview people who actually wanted to audition about why they wanted to be on the show and so on, but without a proper press pass, that was a no go. So instead, I had to opt for another option, audition myself.

Big Brother logo - I wonder who's eye that is!
Besides the fact that I haven't watched Big Brother since maybe once or twice during the first season, my confidence was perfectly fine. Basically, all they did was have everyone fill out an application form of the basics, who you are, how to contact you and why you should be on the show. Then everyone went one by one to speak in front of the camera. We were asked also basic questions, again why we should be on the show, the weirdest or funniest thing we've ever done, who is the craziest person we know. And I don't really remember any of the answers to their questions because everything happened so fast.

Around 7p.m. when I was there, it was nothing like I expected. It was wide open, no line, no wait. But of course, auditions were going on since 2p.m. so maybe it was more crowded earlier on, but from what I saw, 1) not too many exciting prospects and 2) Big Brother is on the outs. Just an observation though. Anyway, when I was leaving I ran into Janelle Pierzina, who I Googled to find out was on Season's 6 and 7. 

Now we play the waiting game. See what I go through for my readers! I don't even like Big Brother - but winning upwards of $500,000 would be nice. Considering I'm sure the footage they have of me is awful, feel free to laugh at it if it ever airs. I'll pray that it doesn't, and that they don't call!


Run, Pittsburgh, Run!

Yesterday, pretty much all of the city was shut down and turned into a track for the Pittsburgh Marathon. While I am far from being a runner, this event was so exciting to watch. I have some of my close friends and roommates from undergrad to thank for me even caring about running. I've seen each of those girls get so excited about PR times and winning different races (including the first ever WVIAC Championship for SHU) that it has become hard not to get excited about watching a race, especially one that literally woke me up at 6 a.m. on a Sunday.

Pittsburgh Marathon logo
I'm no newbie to watching races come through Pittsburgh, usually though they catch me off guard while I'm walking somewhere and I'll stop to watch and cheer on the runners, but I have been waiting for the chance to see the Pittsburgh Marathon up close and personal. The starting line was exactly a block from my apartment, so bright and early I heard the thousands of people lining up and getting ready to race. Just looking out my bedroom window was exciting. Being able to see people warming up, getting pep talks from their family and then proudly walking to their starting positions, was exciting by itself.

My friends, Keith and Tim, before running the half marathon!
But I had some first time marathon friends to support so I got out there and braved the crowd to find them and wish them good luck. Right after sending them off, I easily found the perfect spot to watch the race, right next to the finish line, before the masses made their way over to that area. Waiting for the runners to come back felt like forever (actual time: about one hour) but once the first few made their way over the hill and into the downward finish of the Boulevard of the Allies, the rest started to pour in and it was so much fun just standing there and clapping and cheering for everyone as they made their way to the finish line. I have to say that my favorite moment was watching the first couple of women come back in from the half marathon because they were so, disgustingly close it was a nail bitter to the finish for them for the top five.

Seeing how many people actually participated in the race, blew my mind. I often say that the two biggest groups of people in Pittsburgh are either runners or smokers, but wow - there were people from all over the place at this race! 49 states were represented and I think 12 different countries, that's impressive! But what was really impressive to me, were the people on the sidelines. Granted most, if not all of them, came out to support someone they know and love, but everyone in the crowd cheered on everyone on the road. We all got excited to watch the first runners come across the finish line and marveled when the announcer told us that the men's winner had about a 5:30 pace per mile. We all cheered even louder when some runners looked like they just couldn't go on any further. And of course, we all awed when some parents who were running came out of the race to grab their young children from the crowd and carried them across the finish line.

I feel like that's the thing about watching a race. No matter who you're there for in the first place, you always still cheer for everyone else out there. For me, it's because I know a lot of people running are doing it for a cause they believe in and because I know I probably will never be able to run a marathon, let alone half. Having the courage to not only run the race, but train for the race is a big deal. So hats off to everyone in the crowd for supporting, but seriously congratulations to everyone who even stepped foot on the track of the city. As cheesy as it sounds, you are truly runners of steel.


Fashion Forward Fridays: Meet Candi!

Power stance! - Law firm girl for sure.
Well, hello fashion-lovers! Today is the textbook definition of "a beautiful day in the neighborhood." So of course that usually means people are more willing to open up their closets and bring out something fun. Even here in Pittsburgh, where we are allegedly the third worst-dressed city thanks to GQ, everyone today was looking pretty fashion-forward!

It's always easy to find a fashionista when it's gorgeous outside, but today it was deciding on which one to choose. I went to Market Square because I knew that around noon it would be swarming with activity. I was right. There were plenty of people to choose from, it was just finding what kind of outfit I was feeling up to talking about today. And then I saw Candi. Just as I was about to round the corner out of the square, I spotted her, which was easy to do thanks to her use of color!

As I've stated before and the other fashionistas have said as well, color is a must. I know that I fall into fashion slumps and stick to the basics sometimes too, but honestly if you want to stand-out or just make your look complete, you need to add color. Candi was doing it perfectly today too. I first noticed her because of the scarf she's wearing. I love it's rich tones against the solid background of her fitted tee. But the reason I knew that this outfit would work for today is because I've got one beef with the fashion world...skirt lengths.

Aviator Ray-Bans and cute blue earrings add the finishing touch!
Especially downtown, the center for the businesses of Pittsburgh, I see skirt lengths that I pray are not walking into offices. Yes they look cute, but not for work; unless of course you're trying to become 'that girl' that everyone talks about at the water cooler and gets fired for being inappropriate. However, Candi, who works at a law firm downtown and who likes to shop at little boutiques and Nordstrom, had the perfect, professional length. Not only does her jean skirt, paired with caramel gladiator heels give a complete and final "casual Friday" touch to the outfit, but it keeps her professional. Don't get me wrong, I love to show off my legs from time to time too, but the office is not an appropriate place to do so.

As for Candi, she said she'd consider her style to be clean but quirky, which is an idea that I love! She said that she always tries to pair unique pieces with something classic to complete an outfit and I think her outfit today is a true testament to that. Also, like the other fashionistas, and I just talked about, she said don't be afraid to use color! Seems to be a reoccurring trend, Pittsburgh! Happy Weekend!


Give Back to the 'Burgh

Summer is a great time to relax and take a breather. But it is also the best time to help out someone in need, so that they can relax a bit more too. Since about the sixth grade I have been addicted to volunteering. Whether it was small projects at my church to traveling the U.S. to rebuild houses, I have done it all. But there are still so many people who need a little extra help and especially for you college-aged readers, there is no better time then now for you guys to get involved!

Here are a few places in the city that are worth your time, I've tried to provide a variety to appeal to different interests. Now, of course there are many more organizations that you might feel more passionate about out there, but this is just to get the idea in your minds and get you guys looking into your summer plans. And all of these are worthy of your support and they are right here in Pittsburgh! So you could be easily helping your neighbors, which in turn makes this city even better.

Family House Pittsburgh
This is an organization that helps families who have loved-ones in the hospital for extended amounts of time. Currently they are set up as four different houses which were converted from old mansions, locker rooms and office buildings to create welcoming and beautiful rooms for families to stay in together. Family House supports families going through stress of medical issues. Since Pittsburgh is becoming a booming center for medicine, this organization has taken notice to the fact that not only Pittsburghers are coming here for treatment and these homes offer a place for families to live at a low cost while their loved ones are being treated in nearby hospitals. This gives families the ability to stay together, not spend outrageous amounts of money on transportation or hotels and gives a comforting and comfortable place to stay for the night instead of hospital chairs. There are a variety of ways to volunteer at any of their facilities and I'm sure your help and caring attitude would not go unnoticed!

Dress for Success Pittsburgh
I love the mission of this organization! Their main location is right in the heart of downtown, but they also have offices in Uniontown and Washington, Pa. This organization helps women in two ways; 1) the take donations of professional clothing for their clients who would otherwise not be able to afford them and 2) they help them to find jobs and then figure out how to balance those jobs with their already busy lives. I love that this organization is helping women in Southwestern Pa. Especially since if you read my post about Equal Pay Day, you know that women in this region are being paid horribly compared to their male counterparts. Dress for Success can use volunteers from simply donating clothes, to answering phones to being a client consultant and being able to help a client one-on-one. What better way to help this city grow than by helping to get more people out in the work-force?

Big Brothers Big Sisters
This organization is pretty much the most well known volunteer organization that I could think of and I am also currently going through the process of becoming a Big so I felt compelled to put this one on the list. Through this organization you can become a mentor to a child in the area. Basically, you hang out with a great kid for a few hours a month and be on call to support them if they need you. As a former full-summer camp counselor, I can promise you that there is no greater thing to become involved with than a child. Every single day I remember something a camper said to me or did in the past and realize that by being with them I learned more than I ever could teach. I cannot wait to become a Big.

Tree Pittsburgh
For those of you who are openly tree-huggers, this one's for you. Tree Pittsburgh is an organization that is committed to planting and maintaining trees around the city. They have a special Tree Tenders course that you must complete before becoming a member but this is a great organization to be involved with during the summer. (Work on your tan and help a great cause - those are my favorite kind of summer volunteer opportunities!) This organization is so intriguing to me because it's helping to grow Pittsburgh in a different way then the typical urban volunteer program - it is literally helping growth through trees. And while I love being a "city-liver," it is always great seeing some green around. Real trees are always welcomed in a concrete jungle in my opinion!

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Pittsburgh
This one pretty much goes without saying but I love Habitat for Humanity. I have been involved with various chapters of this organization throughout college thanks to the Griffins at Work Club we had at Seton Hill, which gave me most of my travel volunteer experience but also through the Greensburg chapter because it was so convenient to help them while attending Seton Hill for my undergrad. Habitat builds homes for families in need, but what I love most about them is that they require the families to help on their homes as well as others to pay off their "sweat equity." Being able to get your hands dirty while building a home for someone, while working right next to them is an indescribable experience that I would suggest anyone to take advantage of.

Like I said, there are plenty more organizations that are willing to take you on as a volunteer, especially throughout Pittsburgh and you can find many more through Pittsburgh Cares. Where there is a need, there is certainly some organization trying to help, and that organization needs people like you to continue to operate! So get out there this summer to jump start your new volunteer project and try to maintain it all year round - you will be thanked in one way or another and every experience is more than worth it!


Best Gyro in Pittsburgh

Yesterday I was in a craving craze that hit me from the moment I woke up. Must. Eat. Gyro. While it's not really a normal thing to crave in the morning, I have been obsessed with gyro's since the first time I tried the salad version of one in a restaurant back home that used to be called Patrick's but has since been changed to Country Side and last I looked, was completely changed to be Mexican restaurant instead. Anyway, the last time Patrick's existed was roughly in 2002, so I've had the gyro bug for a good decade.

Downtown Pittsburgh can also be called gyro city for all I'm concerned because it seems like every establishment wants to make one for you. Even if they claim to be a pizza shop on the outside, I bet you can find a gyro on the inside. While I have tried many different places since moving here, I haven't found "the one." That is until yesterday.

My Big Fat Greek Gyro - pretty place and yummy food!
Recently, My Big Fat Greek Gyro opened its new location in downtown Pittsburgh, right in the heart of it all, Market Square. The space itself is gorgeous! With the different shades of blue paint mixed with the light wood texture of the floor and the pristine white of the counter and some walls, I felt transformed right to Greece. (Which, by the way, is on my list of places to visit before I die.) The place is beautiful and the perfect mixture of casual and elegant dining. Not to mention the men working there were some of the most beautiful of the species as well. (For my lady readers, I know you like to know these things.)

Not only was my craving for gyro met, but I have found the best place to get one. Their brochure/menu bregs that they have the ability to turn first timers into regulars and I can tell how, the food was the absolute greatest I have ever had. I also had a side of hummus and pita which filled me to the max but was worth it.

And no worries if you cannot get down to Market Square to check My Big Fat Greek Gyro out, they are also located in Peters Township, Wexford, Cranberry, White Oak and Mount Lebanon. Do yourself a favor and go in, you will be so glad you did!
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