Twelve of 'twelve

Hello. Today's post is brought to you by the number twelve. Here's a list of the twelve most memorable things that happened in the past year, in no real particular order, accompanied by some epic photos. And I would like to thank you all for following along with my little blog here, liking the page 
on Facebook/Twitter/Pinterest, and here's planning for bigger and better things in 2013! 
Remember, sweet reader, you are awesome and I appreciate you!

Love, Chels


 12. Read twelve novels. Nerd alert.

11. Discovered some killer music. (Even though I think this happens to me every year.)

10. Said goodbye to my first pet after my family had to put our beautiful baby to sleep.
Eric, Gordy & Me - we're just babies in this picture! Circa 1999-ish.


Fashion Forward Fridays Submission: Meet Richelle!

Hello friends & fashion lovers! As promised in two previous posts, I have brought to you a reader submission for Fashion Forward Fridays! This week worked out perfectly for the submission because like I've mentioned in my Christmas post, I am at my parents house back in little ol' Ellwood City. Where the fashionable are few and far between, so like I said, submission equals perfection. Especially when that submission comes from a little Point Park senior (and cutie) Richelle.

Richelle's quirky & classic combo.
I am always infatuated with Richelle's outfits when I see her around campus, so naturally wanted her to be my first reader submission post. When she texted me Thursday afternoon asking "How do you feel about printed pants?" before sending in her submission, I knew we would be in for a treat. Richelle is quite possibly the only person I know who can pull off anything. Literally. This girl wears a hoodie and it looks fashionable. Alright. Let's move on before I get too far into sounding like a I have a major girl crush. Although I might. haha

Anyway, Richelle likes to shop at H&M, ModCloth, Madewell, Forever 21, Francesca's, and of course like any fashion connoisseur at vintage and thrift stores as well. Admittedly, she says her closet is "quirky" and made up of a lot of different kind of pieces. By seeing her on a daily basis, you would be able to tell that she knows how to make the funky look great by pairing it with classic pieces. Richelle says, "I like bright colors, but I also love black and white. Basically, I'm pretty much all over the place, but I find a way to make it all me."


Bring in 2013 in the 'burgh!

Well, it's about that time when everyone finally decides what they will be doing when the new year rolls in. But just in case you haven't figured out your plans just yet, here's some suggestions about what's going on in the 'burgh on Monday!

On the top of the list is Highmark's First Night Pittsburgh 2013. By buying a button for the event (only $8 in advance or $10 the day of) you can have your pick of over 100 events and activities, installations, performances, crafts and a parade. All in, out and around the Cultural District that is sure to please everyone in your family, or group of friends. There is so much to do downtown from ice-skating, to watching fireworks and walking through (what I think is) the greatest part of the city, all while anticipating the drop of the ball above Highmark to welcome in the New Year!

If you want to avoid the busy streets and crowds of people, you can take a lovely trip around the city via the Gateway Clipper Fleet. As always, the Clipper has a variety of options for how to spend the holiday. Whether on a dance or dinner cruise, either is a great way to bring in the New Year with the family or with your friends. Either way, you'll get a great view of the city, prime view of the fireworks and a unique way to spend the last moments of 2012 and the first moments of 2013!

But if the "family friendly" vibe is not really what you're going for, then get dressed up and get out to WHIM Nightclub in Station Square. This event is always covered by the Trib and is the spot to be seen and party up with friends the end the year. At this event, there are prizes, giveaways, a balloon drop and a champagne toast to bring in 2013 in style. WHIM is also the only club in Pittsburgh to have a Kryogenifex system which keeps the dance floor up to 40 degrees cooler. So dress to impress knowing you won't have to worry about getting all sweaty and you hair will stay in place!

Any of these locations are sure to please on New Years because of course, it's more about who you're with then what you're doing. But remember, above all, be safe. Try to remember this New Year by enjoying the people you're with the time that you're celebrating. Enjoy your friends and family and enjoy Pittsburgh in 2013!


Home for the Holidays!

Sigh. Sometimes it's just so good to be home. I love love love living right in the city, but I also love that my parents do not. While Pittsburgh has my heart, I know that times I get fed up with the fast-paced world and the seeming lack of space. Although my parents do not live in the "country" it's just far enough away from the hustle and bustle of the city where you actually have to drive to get to anything and where literally everyone knows you. Oh, Ellwood City, you are only missed when I've been away from you for long periods of time haha - Here are some photos of my Christmas break. I hope all of you enjoyed a great holiday, surrounded by loved one, while eating too much food.

Beautiful cards from friends hung in my apartment. Guess it's okay that I never got to painting the huge red canvas.
Christmas lights inspired by A Christmas Story. Eric and I just had to stop and take a picture on our way home.
Last minute shopping with this happy reindeer.
Nativity setting handmade by a lady at our church.

Oliver Christmas is only complete with fudge and seven layer cookies! Yummm. (picture by Eric)

Scary reindeer inside Trader Horn.
Meeting Santa - baby Khalifa's first Christmas.








Love, Chels


Fashion Forward Fridays: Pittsburgh Winter Wear

Well, the world didn't end today, but walking around downtown Pittsburgh this afternoon could have fooled me! Today was the first real snowfall we've had so far, happy first day of winter, and everyone was put away in their own buildings I guess. For a town that gets a good bit of snow, we seem to be very afraid of it while it's falling. So while I thought I was the only person left in the world, I realized that this would be a good opportunity to present ways to still look cute, while braving that Pittsburgh winter. So for your viewing pleasure and to hopefully give you some ideas - here are looks for casual, dressy and a night out. Enjoy!

And remember next week I will be featuring my favorite reader look for Fashion Forward Fridays! Send your photos to chelsandthecity[at]gmail[dot]com and I will pick my favorite and contact you by Thursday!

Winter Casual 

Winter Dressy

Winter Night Out


Pittsburgh Gift Guide: For Him

Well, as promised, I am here today to offer some ideas for the men on your list. This gift guide, like yesterday's for the ladies, is all about Pittsburgh shops and stores, hoping to inspire you to buy local. Since you've only got a few days left to shop, if you are near the Pittsburgh area, it will be easy to pick up something on these gift guides. And also like yesterday, those of you men on my list, don't get any ideas of trying to figure out what I got for you this year because everyone is getting something handmade this year. But good thinking if you wanted to ruin your surprises! And...wait no longer, Pittsburgh gift guides for your guys...

For your boyfriend...

#1 Jeans from Moda Pittsburgh | #2 We Wood Watch from Larrimor's
#3 Steelers Leather Wallet from Hometown Sports | #4 Classic Burberry Scarf from Heinz Healey's
#5 Military Style Black Jacket from Lydell's

For your brother...

#1 Any book from Awesome Books | #2 412 Hat from Shop412 | #3 Tennis Shoes from David's Shoes
#4 Any CD or Record from Dave's Music Mine | #5 Steelers Gear from Hometown Sports | #6 Case of Iron City Beer

For your dad...

#1 Cross Necklace from Pittsburgh Silver | #2 Pirates Shirt from Pirates | #3 Tickets to the Pittsburgh Auto Show
#4 Pittsburgh Dad Volume 1 DVD from Pittsburgh Dad | #5 Steelers Car or Truck Floor Mats from Hometown Sports

 Hope today's list and yesterday's for the ladies on your list will help you find some great gift from places right here in the 'burgh! Happy shopping!


Pittsburgh Gift Guide: For Her

Well you last minute shoppers, I have your solution. If you are right here in Pittsburgh, there are plenty of shops and stores you can easily pop in to and grab some last minute items, or that you can order from them online. So in the spirit of encouraging you to buy local, today I am featuring gift guides that you are welcome to use for your girlfriend, sister or mom and tomorrow I will feature gift guides for your boyfriend, brother or dad. And all of these items are found at shops located right here in Pittsburgh. I tried to stay away from the big name stores that are in town too so you can get a perfect and unique gift for the last people you need to check off your lists. And those of you who think you'll be able to figure out what you're getting from me by looking at these lists, think again! This year I did an ALL handmade Christmas, so nothing here is something you will unwrap. Good try though! And for these Pittsburgh gift guides, as it should be always...ladies first...

For your girlfriend...

#1 Chandelier Earrings from Jupe Boutique | #2 Tickets for two for an upcoming show at the Benedum  
#3 Leather Jacket from Figleaf | #4 Lips Mug from Andy Warhol Museum 
#5 Emerald Green, One Shoulder Dress from ModCloth   
 #6 LOVE Typewriter Necklace from Boutique 208 by juNxtaposition

For your sister...

 #1 Marilyn Monroe from Andy Warhol Museum | #2 Pittsburgh Painting Poster by Johno's Art Studio
#3 Peacock iPhone Cover from ModCloth | #4 Pittsburgh Neighborhood T-Shirt from Neighborhood Teaze
#5 Ugg Slippers from Littles Shoes

For your mama...

 #1 Laser Cutout Handbag from Serendipity | #2 Woodcut Painting from Tugboat Printshop
#3 Unique Necklace from Boutique la Passerelle | #4 Candle from Pittsburgh Candle Company
#5 Spa Giftcard from any Pittsburgh-based Spa

Happy Shopping! Hopefully this little guide - and tomorrow's guide for the men on your list - will help you pick the perfect gifts from some of the great shops we have right here in Pittsburgh!



Countless bloggers around the world are taking off today to remember the victims of 
the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting that happened on Friday morning.
I debated with myself all weekend whether or not I should participate for various reasons.
I am heartbroken by this tragedy. But, who isn't?

This is supposed to be a day of silence. 
Bloggers are supposed to just post that blue button and that's it.
But I cannot be silent.
I cannot be silent about those beautiful babies who were lost to evil.
I cannot be silent about the educators who were killed trying to save them.
I cannot be silent about how we as a country need to figure out gun control.
Or how we need to protect facilities that help people with mental illness.
I cannot be silent about how we need to quit saying the gunman's name.
How we need to instead focus on the victims.
And how those victims include his mother, and we should not blame his family.
I cannot be silent about the police, EMT's and other emergency personnel who did their best.
I cannot be silent about how this is not God's fault.

But I also have no answers.
I'm not saying anything new.
All I know is that 27 families are disrupted. 
And beyond that, all I know is that God is with us.
God is with Charlotte, Daniel, Rachel, Olivia, Josephine, Catherine, Dawn, 
Chase, Nancy, Jesse, Ana, James, Grace, Anne, Emilie, Jack, Noah, Caroline, 
Jessica, Lauren, Mary, Victoria, Benjamin, Dylan, Madeleine, Avielle and Allison.
God. Is. With. Us.

All I can do is pray for peace.
Pray that the love and support of a nation will help those families heal.
That they will find comfort in knowing no one else understands either.
And pray that they can still find moments of joy.
And that love will in fact conquer all.

Love, Chels


It's Christmas Time in the City

Living in downtown Pittsburgh, as I have mentioned before, is an experience that I treasure dearly. And being able to do so during this time of Renaissance for the city is something I will remember forever. Here are some great activities going on around downtown that your whole family can cherish and take part in during this final week before Christmas.

Logo credit: Peoples Holiday Market.
This year marks the 1st Annual Peoples Gas Holiday Market, right here in Market Square. The Holiday Market was inspired by the original Christkindlemarket created in 1545 in Nuremberg, Germany and the Christkindlmarket in Chicago, and it is quite the little treat in the city. I love walking through the square everyday and now that it's filled with European-styled wooden chalets with different handmade crafts inside each one, I am just in awe by these beautiful products each time I walk through. This is just such a breath of fresh air (literally, because you're outside) from the rushed feel of the malls and major chain stores during the time of year that is supposed to be the most peaceful. Also, the Holiday Market features music and dance talents from around the area each day and is honestly the perfect place to pick up some last minute gifts for anyone on your list. The Market, which of course has special gifts and performers also has Santa's House to meet and give Santa your child's finely edited, last-minute wish list and is open seven days a week until December 23rd.

While your family can also enjoy free horse-drawn carriage rides and ice skating at PPG Place, don't forget about also stepping inside for a minute to get warm, and to see the Spirits of Giving Around the World Exhibit and the 10th Annual Gingerbread House and Train Display. The Spirits of Giving Around the World is so interesting to see and read about how different nations celebrate Christmas and how Santa Clause looks (and what his name is) in each of those places. The gingerbread houses are made by local groups and divided up and awarded by age and has become my favorite part of Christmas time in Pittsburgh because I love the creativity displayed by the kids who make these houses.

Photo credit: Pittsburgh Ballet Theater.
Also going on downtown until December 30th is a holiday favorite, presented by the Pittsburgh Ballet Theater. I'm sure you can guess that I'm talking about The Nutcracker, going on now at Benedum Center. And just across the Monongahela River from downtown at the Gateway Clipper Fleet are Santa Fun cruises on December 22nd and 23rd. These cruises are great for the whole family, especially your youngest Christmas lovers because multiple characters, along with Santa himself, ride the boat filled with toys, balloons, pictures, ornaments and other treats for a great afternoon along the rivers.

Whatever your plans are, try to make it to the city for one or more of these great events! Everything going on now is family friendly and gives you a wonderful reason to come out and enjoy this beautiful city. Even if you just decide to walk around downtown, you will not be disappointed. The city is so gorgeous right now with Christmas lights and decorations all over and is really a sight to see ans enjoy.


Fashion Forward Fridays: What I Look For

Hello friends! I know you're here because you want to see some beautiful winter weather fashion, but today just wasn't may day. And I know some of you might think that I can just walk out the door and pick someone, which I could, but I am oddly particular about my fashionista/o's. So to let you all know why I am sometimes slow to upload on a Friday or why I sometimes don't post at all, here are the ins and out of what I'm looking for and some things I plan to do in the future, to make this more fun for you guys, and yes, easier for me. Also, since I know you still want to see some fashion, I'll be showing you a couple fashionista's I have featured before and how they actually fit in to these Fashion Forward Friday ideals.

1. Fridays are my sleep-in days. So sometimes it's hard for me to pull myself out of bed, get dressed all fashion forward myself and then roam around downtown looking for someone. If planned appropriately, I can take a bus somewhere so that the downtown area of business suits and some students isn't all I find, but that of course, takes getting up earlier.

Channing has interesting pieces and all go well together.
2. My fashionista/o's are unique but still commonly accepted. I like to pick people who are obviously fashionable but not necessarily in a flashy way. I also like to find people who obviously thought about the pieces they put together, I know that sometimes great fashion does happen by accident, but you can tell when someone thought about the parts of their outfits before putting them together. I like to pick those people because they will also have more to say about their fashion sense and give better advice in my opinion. 

3. Fashionista's are always on their phones. Every time I see someone, female or male, who I think "oh, that person would be good," they end up being on the phone. It's hard to stop a stranger on the street while they are on the phone and ask if they will pose for a couple pictures. This also goes for people who walk fast. It's hard to catch up with someone who looks fashionable and although I have done this before with Teiona, I'd rather not do it again, especially since I'm usually wearing heels and I don't prefer to run in them.

Carly was alone & had a lot of great advice to give.

4. I like to stop people while they are by themselves. This might not be scientific, but I feel like someone who is alone is more likely to actually stop for a brief interview and modeling session. When you're in a group or with one other person, you get caught up in conversations and are wrapped up in actually being with them. Also, I would feel bad saying I want to feature one person of the group, while everyone else would just be standing there, possibly offended that I didn't pick them too. I don't like to hurt any feelings.

5. I try my best to get locals. It doesn't make sense for me to take pictures and feature people who are not from Pittsburgh if I'm trying to show that Pittsburgh is a fashionably city. So if you look like a tourist (aka pointing at buildings and street signs or have that face of lost), or you are in an area that attract touristy activities (like right outside theaters or around the PPG ice rink), I'm not going to pick you because while you might be from Pittsburgh, in those instances, I cannot really be sure. Granted, I cannot ever be sure, but when you are from an area, especially an area like Pittsburgh, you have a certain look.

Excuses, excuses, excuses. I know. And for a social butterfly like me this shouldn't matter and this process should be easy right? I know that too. But it does. I look for a certain kind of fashion in a certain area in a certain way, so it's not always as easy as I think it should be. So here are two things I am going to do to help make Fashion Forward Fridays more fun for you guys and a little easier for me.

Number One: I'm going to start picking local boutiques and featuring them once a month. This way, they get a little more exposure and you get to see what they have to offer. A win-win, you see. And some great fashion is still being shown.

Number Two: And the one you are probably more excited for - I want to see your fashion! Also once a month, I am going to be asking my readers, who mostly are from in and around Pittsburgh, to submit your photos to be featured as a fashionista/o. I know you're on the edge of your seat about that.

So how do you like that? Now you know what I look for and you can get excited about an outfit you'd like to submit for a future Fashion Forward Fridays post. The first time I plan on featuring a reader is on December 28th, if you're too excited to wait - feel free to start sending pictures to chelsandthecity[at]gmail[dot]com - make sure you send at least a full body shot and close ups of any great accessories. I will pick my favorite, email you a short interview and feature you on the 28th!


12 Days of a Pittsburgh Christmas

Well, just like everyone else in the world, I'm here to talk about 12/12/12. Wow. Amazing right? It's like the last time this can ever happen in our lifetime! Alright, moment is over, let's move on. Today I bring to you, my absolute favorite downtown Pittsburgh window display. I am always fascinated by window displays anyway because I'm a total nerd and I like to see how the branding of the company extends to the displays but Christmas is like a magical time for everything, especially window displays.

This one is featured at Larrimor's, which is actually a store I have never been in because it seems to have a more of a "grown-up" business look but I still think their window display is the most fun one I've seen. And I have seen a lot of because the bus stop to the Waterfront is right across the street. These photos were taken by my beautiful, die-hard Pittsburgh loving friend, Liz and I very much appreciate her for going around the entire store to get every window and then let me use them!

So in the theme of twelve's today, thank you Larrimor's for the 12 Days of Christmas, Pittsburgh style.

It's Christmas in Pittsburgh and My True Love Gave to Me...

12 I.C.'s Chillin'
11 Steelers Chargin'

10 Gumbands Snappin'
9 Heads by Andy

8 Perogies Fryin'
7 Pickles Picklin'  


Living Pretty in the City

 This is a partnered post but all opinions are my own.
As you have probably figured out, I am in love with Pittsburgh. More so now that I live here too. I am living the dream here, although that is probably the most cheesy statement I have ever made. So when I was approached to talk about why people should follow the trend and move to Pittsburgh, I was more than happy to say yes.

Personally, I am living downtown, which is right for me at this time, but I know not right for everyone. But that's the great thing about Pittsburgh, each one of the many neighborhoods has it's own style and vibe to it, so anywhere here can easily become home for you. A way to find out which one would fit you best would be to visit, talk to the locals and actually spend the day in the neighborhood but I understand if you don't have that kind of time. An easy way to find out where you might fit best is through Pittsburgh City Living, and their Neighborhood Match. For me it was very accurate, and listed downtown, South Side and Lawrenceville as places where I would probably be the most interested in living. Spot on. Those are the three areas I am looking at for my next apartment and that is based on really knowing the areas, so if you're thinking of moving here, the match can be helpful.

See this infographic larger, in detail at Heartland Homes.
Although the suburb areas around Pittsburgh have a consistent growth, more people have been coming to live in the city as well. WQED recently aired a special about how growth in the city has been going. This interest in moving to the city is focused on young adults ages 20-29 who are coming to Pittsburgh for proximity to work, livability, and entertainment. For me, those are all the top reasons as well. Proximity to work and school was the reason I moved downtown after deciding on going to Point Park for my master's degree. It is convenient to be able to walk to work, school, shops and restaurants. Just imagine what it's like to not have to worry about parking or traffic. Sigh. So wonderful.

Entertainment is obvious in this city, whether you're a sports fan, music or history buff, theater lover, club hopper, outdoor adventurer, shopaholic...the list goes on, you will not tire of what this city has to offer. And as for livability has become known as the cost of living, variety of living and cultural opportunities and crime rate, and Pittsburgh has been rated the 2nd most livable city in the United States (30th in the world) for a few years running. (That's a big deal, you should live here!)

And I know some of you Debbie-Downers might be saying that this is all nice but that Pittsburgh comes with a high price tag. Well, Debbie's, any place this fabulous should, but Pittsburgh is actually below average in price. The average Pittsburgh home is $162,000 which is below the national average of $264,540 and apartments average at about $789 per month as opposed to the average of $1,087 elsewhere. (And for the record, I have seen great places for far less than that average too.)

But trust me, wherever you live in this city, the experience of living in the "no longer sleepy steel city" will be more than worth what you pay for it. This place is an experience in itself, live here and you'll understand what you've been missing out on and what you can look forward to. This is an exciting time to be living in Pittsburgh. The city is going through a beautiful Renaissance and I, like many other locals encourage you to join in on what we already know. Pittsburgh is the place to be.


Hi, I'm Alive!

Oh, hi there. Just checking in to let you know that I am still alive since I have neglected my little space of the web. And haven't been a good blogging friend because I haven't read anybody's posts either. So going to take the weekend to get back to emails and catch up on reading what all the other fabulous bloggers have been talking about.
Since Thanksgiving I have been very busy with school work and work in general but I will be back to updating regularly soon! (I know you missed me.) Here's a ridiculous picture of me to prove I'm back. And just so you know, all of this work has paid off because I have completed all of the requirements for my Master's degree!!! YAY! Happy Friday!
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