Fashion Forward Fridays: Meet Trent!

Well Pittsburgh, we have our third male to grace the space of Fashion Forward Fridays here on Chels & the City. And yes, he is the third person that I met before asking them to be on the blog. The other two being our other two men, MJ and my brother, Eric. So Pittsburgh men, here is your call to action: shape up your style so I can awkwardly stop one of you in the street and ask you to be on my blog.

Trent in his "stuffy" work clothes.
So, on to Trent. Well, he is my boss at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, which I've mentioned before, and even though I briefly went out in search of a fashionista/o I kept thinking that today was the first day back to work at the theater after a summer off and Trent always dresses well, so I waited until I got to work to "find" my fashionisto. Granted, I also considered texting him prior to getting there, to make sure he was at his prime, but I thought that would really be cheating.

Trent says that while his work and play styles differ, his work clothes being "safer" and his play clothes not being so stuffy, the one thing that is always on point, are his socks. Which from my point of view, is the one place where men have the upper hand in the fashion world compared to women and Trent takes full advantage of that. Trent is also a fan of stores like Marshall's, T.J. Maxx, Zappos and Rue La La.

The red shoes and fancy socks.
As for that unfortunate mention in GQ, Trent thinks that Pittsburgh has earned this poor reputation because the bad outfit choices in this city are the ones that stick out the most and are really bad. But that most people do not dress in that way; however, those poorly dressed people are the ones who are making the biggest impression overall. And for those of you looking to amp up your style, but might not know where to start, Trent says to make smart, bold choices. But he also encourages everyone, not just men, to own their style and their fashion choices, noting that nothing looks worse than someone who is obviously uncomfortable in their outfit choice.

So men, let's step up your game so I can stop featuring men I already know. But to be honest, who else has a boss this cool? Above all, let's keep it classy, Pittsburgh - this past week was Pittsburgh Fashion Week and we should be more than inspired by the looks that were presented all week. So let's continue to show GQ that we are not the third-worst-dressed city.


I dream of...{my first link up}

For this post, I am linking up with one of my favorite blogs, Coming Unstitched, and sharing with you guys some of my dreams and aspirations for my future. So I hope you all enjoy a little inside look into the bigger picture of my life goals and be sure to look at the other blogs in this link-up too!

1...learning everything! (Okay, not everything, not even close, but a lot of things.) Education is so important to me and quite frankly, has up to this point defined me. While I am currently in the process of earning my master's degree at Point Park, I would also someday like to earn my PhD. I don't see doing that in the near future, but I do see finishing my master's very soon and knowing that eventually, the PhD will find it's way into the plans.

Glad this cutie is on board for all of these dreams too!
2...marrying my best friend. This person is MJ. And I do not imagine that will ever change, but he is already so much a part of me that I cannot wait to eventually call him husband. Though that seems too adult for us now, he is so much more than just my boyfriend. He's my support, my inspiration, just everything I could ever need or want in a man and more. He has his own list of dreams too and thankfully, they align with mine! I have prayed my whole life for a love like this and I truly believe God has provided it to me through MJ. And he's cute, so that's a plus!

3....building my career. I have so many ideas and lists of things I want to do for a "job." And thankfully, I am glad that I live in this time where women are free to take on all sorts of jobs, just like the guys AND in a time where jumping from place to place or job to job is not frowned upon, but shows growth in a career path. I want experience. I want to do all kinds of things. I want my resume to be as thick as the September issue of Vogue when I'm ready to retire. Jobs I would like to include in this are anything in non-profits, magazine editing, event/wedding planning, my own fashion line, being in PR and advertising, finish writing a novel (or two), working in higher education, becoming a professor, the list goes on...

4....traveling around the world! Whether it means living in different places or just visiting, I just want to see the world. Specifically, I want to be able to spend at least one night in every state, and go to Australia, London, Greece, France and Ireland. Really, I'd visit anywhere. I just want to soak up other cultures, it goes along with the education aspect because I want to be able to learn about people and the places they love.

5....doing something that matters. I believe that we are all on this Earth to do something that glorifies and brings someone to God. I want to be able to do that in some way, some how...I'll let Him take the lead on this one but I pray that I will be able to make this a part of my career path too so that I can be involved in it daily.

6....being a fabulous mommy to beautiful babes. Yep. Simply put.

7....enjoying life. So far I think I've been doing this one pretty well. But in the future I want it to include building a beautiful home with my husband, creating a career I love, helping my babes learn to love life and love God, loving my friends and family with every fiber of my being, not worrying about debt (but not over-spending) and just above all, creating memories and leading a life worthy of living.

8....making it to Heaven. I'm sure this life will be great and so much is ahead of me that I look forward to, but I know it's not promised to me either. I'm excited to soak up every worthy experience but I'm more excited to eventually be able to just stand in awe and personally thank Jesus for his sacrifice. I just cannot even imagine how awesome it will be.

I'm sure I am forgetting something, but I don't have a set "bucket list" because I do not think it's fair to yourself to live off of a  list, hoping the check everything off at some point. We have too many "to do" lists, putting the fate of our lives on a limiting list seems ridiculous to me. I would rather just live, just do, and just enjoy life and its experiences as they come to me and as I create them. That might be why this list of my dreams isn't really too specific either, but that's alright with me. So, what are some of your dreams?


Peace'burgh: End the Violence

I am sure by now, most if not all of you reading this have heard about the hostage situation that went on pretty much all day last Friday in downtown Pittsburgh. If you have not, the basic rundown is that a young man randomly went into Gateway Center, building three, and decided to hold a manager of one of the offices in that building hostage. These men did not know each other, and the police continue to say that this entire event was random and only happened because the suspect woke up early that morning in a bad mood, wanting to do something bad.

It's been the most recent "talk of the town." But as I mentioned in my post about the Mysteries of Pittsburgh, there are people living in this area that hate it here and the violence is one of the reasons that they will list to you as to why they do not want to be here. Although this incident was the most recent and maybe the biggest that Pittsburgh has seen for awhile, it is not the first and it is probably not the last either. But, in defense of Pittsburgh, it's not the only place where this is going on either.

Taken while walking through Point State Park.
It breaks my heart that the city that I love is tainted by acts of violence, hunger and homelessness. I wish so badly that what Pittsburgh is to me, a place of opportunity and growth, could be that kind of place for everyone who is living here or will eventually live here. Pittsburgh itself has grown so much and has so much inspiring and unique history behind it, that it is hard for me to imagine ever hating it or the people who inhabit it. But again, not everyone here feels that way. So for those of us that do, here is your call to action.

Love. That's all. Just love.

I know that seems like a dumb thing to say at times but there is nothing else for us to do right now. And really what do you want to do? Run in like Gang Busters trying to end violence in the city dressed like the Ninja Turtles? Though that does seem interesting and probably more appealing to most people, all we can really do is show the people and the city itself that it is loved and appreciated. Look for the good in the people you come across here. Look for the good even on the dirty streets! Pittsburgh has it and without us taking advantage of its opportunities and realizing all of the great things the city has to offer, we have missed the whole point of even being here to begin with.

This city has great things in store for each of us, we just need to be open to realizing those things and then maybe in return it will be a safer place in the future. A place that is more accepting and more caring of the people it holds. There are greater things to come to this city, we just have to help them along sometimes.

For those of you who are into it, please pray for Pittsburgh. If that's not your thing, at least send out some good vibes and thoughts about how the city needs more love in it to grow and be a better place for all who visit and all who inhabit it. Because if there is one thing that we can all agree on, regardless of our beliefs, it is that love always makes a difference. Also, I am considering making "Peace'burgh" another little series in this blog, hoping that it is just as important to my readers as "Fashion Forward Fridays" has become. To love Pittsburgh is to love it all, so I hope you all feel the same way about this blog.

And since the song is currently stuck in my head and I am one of those praying types, here are some relevant lyrics from Robin Mark's song, Revival...

"Sure as gold is precious and the honey sweet,
so You love this city and you love these streets.
Every child out playing by its own front door,
every baby laying on the bedroom floor.
Every dreamer dreaming in her dead end job,
every driver driving through the rush hour mob.
I feel it in my spirit, feel it in my bones,
You're gonna send revival, bring 'em all back home.

I can hear that thunder in the distance,
like a train on the edge of the town,
I can feel the brooding of Your Spirit,
saying lay your burdens down.
Lay your burdens down...." 


The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

Since watching The Mysteries of Pittsburgh for the first time, I cannot get it out of my mind. I rented it from the Point Park library about a week ago after not even knowing that it, or the book that it was based off of it, even existed. And to be honest, thank God I did.

Mysteries of Pittsburgh movie cover. Photo credit.
The book, which was written by Michael Chabon, is about Art Bechstein, who just graduated from college with a business degree and wants to spend one last summer, doing nothing of real importance in Pittsburgh. Art, who is played by Jon Foster, has a mob father, Nick Nolte, who already has a job lined up for him after the summer, but Art is not looking forward to wasting away in an office, though he does not have any concrete plans for more exciting things to do during his summer in the steel city. Within the first few days of summer he meets a beautiful woman, Jane Bellweather, played by Sienna Miller, and her boyfriend, Cleveland, played by Peter Sarsgaard and everything changes for him.

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh tells of the adventures of Art, Jane and Cleveland throughout the city, and the love triangle that forms between them, the story alone makes this movie worth watching, but the poetic writing, narration and beautiful shots of Pittsburgh make it worth remembering. The scenes of Pittsburgh are gorgeous and to most people, some may be unknown little gems of the city. While anyone can recognize the Le'Mont, some of the bridges, smoke stacks and a beautiful scene at the Point; there are also some small shots of alleys and neighborhoods that some people might not recognize right away. This movie brings the everyday of Pittsburgh to life.

Jon Foster as Art Bechstein in The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Photo credit.
This movie also brings the ordinary bits of life into a whole new meaning and gives this city a new light. It is also accompanied by a fabulous soundtrack and the actors bring a depth to the plot that could have easily been overlooked otherwise. The actors are so good that they speak loudly even in the movies' moments of silence. Honestly, the movie is so, so good. If you haven't seen it, you must. Although I cannot comment on the book, if it is anything close to the movie, it is probably a must read.

However, the main thing that stuck out to me more than anything was how Art felt about Pittsburgh. Although he grew up near the city, went to school here and ultimately spent that "last" summer here, he looked at Pittsburgh as at least half of Pittsburgher's do...as a place to be stuck in. Whether you've realized it or not, you're either someone who loves this city, or you're not. For me, if it's not so obvious already, I love it, but I know I am surrounded by people who don't. For Art, and many others, leaving Pittsburgh brings them a new sense of life. While for me, being in Pittsburgh has brought me to life in a new way.

I have always dreamed of living right here, in the heart of the city and finally I am living that dream. But I know it's not for everyone. So, what does Pittsburgh mean to you?


Fashion Forward Fridays: Meet Norma!

Alright, over the summer hiatus, I know that my loyal readers missed Fashion Forward Fridays the most, so I found a fashionista today that is sure to not disappoint. I met Norma while crossing the street downtown and probably took her off guard more than I did for anyone else I'm sure. Although living downtown I know it's easy to meet a weirdo wanting to ask you questions, it's probably just as weird having someone want to take your picture and post them online. So thanks to Norma and all my other fashionista's from previous weeks for being so kind and not thinking I'm too weird. I appreciate your love of fashion and willingness to let me post you online!

I am just in love with these pastel pink jeans!
Miss Norma says that she loves to mix pieces from all over. While she listed, ModCloth, Target, Forever 21 and J.Crew as some of her favorite places to shop, she also said that really anywhere along Walnut Street in Shadyside, which if you haven't been to the area, I suggest you give yourself at least a day to see everything. I liked Norma's style because it was simple and still chic. She told me that today she "didn't even try too hard," so I found that interesting because sometimes I think we over-think our wardrobe before getting ready each day and usually it is the simple outfits that make a bigger statement.

However, Norma said that to make your outfits stand out to make that statement is to let your accessories do the talking. She called her personal style, eclectic because she likes to mix all kinds of things together and thinks accessories are what makes her outfits exciting. I couldn't agree more with her, based on what she was wearing today. Although I first saw her pastel jeans, her accessories did bring the whole look together. The beautiful floral scarf she was wearing really made the outfit and boosted the use of a colorful denim.

Close up of Miss Norma and that beautiful scarf!
And like me, Norma didn't agree that Pittsburgh should be ranked third-worst dressed like GQ said we were because she thinks you tell a Pittsburgher wherever they go based on how they usually match most of their clothes and that this area does not have a real specific set style. I agree with that, Pittsburghers do seem to match most of what they wear, the trend of mixing patterns and colors hasn't caught on too much here, but I also think the style of Pittsburgers is always evolving and is based on where in the city the person is located. Each different area of this city has a unique look to it in the clothing options the residents of that area actually wear. Downtown is more business, while Lawrenceville is more hipster and of course the North Shore is covered in black and gold gear.

So, Pittsburghers, be sure to keep mixing it up and looking your best. Take some advice from Norma and mix your old and new pieces through using your accessories wisely and keep making Pittsburgh beautiful! Happy weekend and here we go Steelers, make sure you are keeping up with my overview of the season on Her Game Life!


Big Boned & Smothered in Sauce

My mouth is watering just thinking about the delicious food I consumed on Friday and will devour more of tomorrow. Welcome to the Annual Pittsburgh Rib Festival weekend, everyone! Time to eat up! For the past few years, heading to the festival has been a tradition for a couple of friends and me so when only Liz and I could get together for this year's Ribfest I was not about to miss it. Hell, I'd go be myself if I had to! Luckily I had Liz for Friday and Eric is joining me tomorrow.

Picture circa 2010: I still don't remember which vendor has this wolf.
Alright, did I use enough exclamation points in that last paragraph to tell you how serious I am about you going to Ribfest at some point this weekend? My English degree is weeping. So each year, along the outside of Heinz Field, locals and visitors are welcomed to kickoff the football season with Ribfest. Every year, nationally known and award winning rib vendors flock to Pittsburgh to see who's best and clearly to fatten up Steelers and Panthers fans for the season ahead. During the festival, feasters can also enjoy free concerts, compliments of Coors Light and for the kiddos there are a trampoline and rock climbing exhibit. Visitors are also encouraged to make their way through the first floor of the stadium where they can see memorabilia from the past six Super Bowl wins.

Coming up tonight, if you're willing to brave the hint of rain, the University of Pittsburgh Panthers are opening their season against Buffalo and the Light of the River Spectacular will take place tonight after the game. Tomorrow, while you eat ribs, you can cheer on runners and walkers in the Annual Steelers 5K Race and Walk, followed by a free concert by Thompson Square and Tracy Lawrence. On the final day of the festival, Bret Michaels takes the stage. Trust me, it's worth the trip.

Armadillo's from Atlanta, Georgia was the "southest" vendor this year.
Each year we always try to get ribs from a different vendor. My friend Coryn even has a system of getting a free sample from each booth and then deciding which one she wants to buy from. Apparently being a little sneaky and cute goes a long way. This year, Liz and I went to Armadillo's and I wish I could have eaten more because it was so good. A little trick with them, if you're thinking of heading out, get an extra paper bowl and mix all of the sauces they have together and then put it over the ribs or pulled pork...you'll thank me later. Trust me, this is a trip worth making. With so many vendors to choose from, you cannot go wrong. And if you're not into ribs, don't worry there is plenty of pulled pork, chicken, mac & cheese, cole slaw, potato salad, corn bread...is your mouth watering yet? It should be, southern food is good for the soul (duh), start football season off right and get down here.


On a semi-related note: I start blogging for Her Game Life as a Pittsburgh Steelers girl on Monday. I will be reporting there every Monday during the season and since our boys usually play on Sundays I am hoping that means I will get to record and recap a lot of wins! Time to go for seven, black and gold! Who's with me on that one? (There I go with the exclamation points again.)

I could watch the parade from my apartment window...not that I would do that because I would want to be right in the action, just saying, I COULD do so. Anyway, getting a bit ahead of myself I guess. This picture was taken while I was wearing shorts that are clearly too short and no make-up by my lovely friend Liz on Friday, to get pumped for the upcoming season - which by the way, marks the 80th season for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Seriously, this is the year to get #7.
Here. We. Go.
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