Happy Thanksgiving!

Pittsburgh in the fall. Photo credit.
I'm glad you're taking a moment to stop by Chels & the City while you could be eating.
I am thankful for you, sweet reader. I have so much to be thankful for and you've also made the list!
Nothing is more beautiful than an autumn day in Western Pennsylvania and though I am not currently blogging from the 'burgh, I am not far away - enjoying the holiday with the family in Ellwood City.

Thanksgiving is my second favorite holiday. (Easter being the first.)
So this year, I counted every commercial I saw about Christmas and buying, buying, buying,
because I hate how we skip over Thanksgiving for shopping,
even though shopping is one of my favorites too. 
Anyway, for every commercial I saw,
I am donating a can of food to the Pittsburgh Food Bank
So, soon I will be buying 65 cans.
Holy. Poop. But, it's worth it. And I'll need some help carrying those.
I hope that you all enjoy today and what it really means,
not just about how much stuffing you can eat
and where you'll be heading out to super early for Black Friday.

However, if eating is a worry for you today, there are two places I know of that are offering free meals, 
feel more than welcome to go to the Light of Life Rescue Mission on the North Side
and/or Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community on the South Side.

Enjoy today.
Happy Thanksgiving.

Love, Chels


Some Good People in the 'burgh

Currently going on until December 9th at the Pittsburgh Public Theater is the fresh, 2011 Tony-nominated play, Good People, by David Lindsay-Abaire. Good People is about Margie, a resident of Southie, a Boston-area neighborhood. The play begins as Margie's career as a cashier ends, leaving her and her handicapped, adult daughter, Joyce, in a huge financial struggle.

Good People runs from November 8th to December 9th at the Public Theater. Photo Credit.
Struggle, that many Americans today can relate to. The idea that these characters are in a position so familiar to the average American today is what makes this play so real, but the way it is being performed is what makes seeing it at the Public so rare. I feel like theater's intention is to bring people together and make them see something in a new light or to create interesting conversations. However, because of our selfish human nature, we seem to have changed that intent to go to theater to solely be entertained instead. Good People, though highly entertaining with it's sarcastic humor and adult language, is also raw and seriously makes you think. Or at least it did for me.

At the Public, you are always guaranteed a fabulous set and lighting design, so I shouldn't even have to go into detail about how perfect the minimalistic, color-blocked stage looked. Or how interesting and artistic the main set wall worked with the lighting and how cool the moving stage worked to easily move set pieces around and give depth to the theater's space. I also shouldn't have to tell you how perfect the music of the play was and how each selected piece was like a mini-soundtrack to my high school days, which, with the vibe of this show, is a masterpiece.Oh, I also shouldn't have to tell you that answering your phone during the middle of a show is highly inappropriate and should never, ever be done. But since some girl did that during the performance I saw, I guess that some people still need to be told. So, do not be that girl.

Dotti, Jean, Margie and Margie's former boss, Stevie (Paul Terzenbach) at bingo. Credit.
Moving on, Good People at the Public was perfectly cast. David Whalen, a Public Theater regular, is yet again fantastic. He portrays Mike, who was once a "Southie kid" and former boyfriend of Margie, and is now a well respected fertility doctor, living in the luxurious Chestnut Hill, and married to a much younger (and darker) woman named Kate (January LaVoy). There are only a few biracial couple jokes in this show but I found them all to be hysterical because you know, I'm in one of those and nothing is better than laughing at yourself. Margie, who is flawlessly portrayed by Kelly McAndrew, being in a financial struggle is talked into meeting with Mike after 30 years apart, by her landlord, Dotti (Glynis Bell) and her friend Jean (Helen Coxe), in hopes that he will be able to help her find a job. (The dynamic between Glynis and Helen just about steals the show every time they're together.) Margie finds herself at Mike's office and eventually in a verbal "fight" that ends with her inviting herself to the birthday party Kate is planning for him which is being held in their home, which Margie is obviously dying to see. This scene is like one of those fabulously awkward run-ins with an ex or estranged friend...only fun to watch, not to actually be in.

In Act II, Margie, who has already been told that the party was canceled is again talked into going anyway because she, Dotti and Jean think she was just uninvited because Mike is probably just too embarrassed to have her at his home, rubbing elbows with his swanky doctor friends and their wives. When she arrives, she finds out that the party actually was canceled which starts to infuriate Mike, but gives Kate the perfect reason to invite her in for wine in hopes of hearing some endearing childhood stories of Mike. Instead, the conversation becomes the raw theater I was talking about. The topic of Margie's inability to find a job and not struggle with money, come to the forefront. This made for a hard scene to watch, but probably harder to perform. These three actors shined in this rough dialog about love, money, luck, parenting, grace and giving unselfishly. They fight, they yell, they almost get violent and Mike breaks the present Margie brings him. Although all three of the actors in this scene are so real and awesome, Kelly McAndrew brings it hard. Get it girl. 

This is the scene that brings up the conversation pieces. Margie tries to explain to Mike how she thinks he got lucky and was just fortunate to have parents who cared and a scholarship to get him through school, while she had to drop out of high school to have her baby and raise her without help. Mike chalks his success up to hard work, and blames Margie's fate on her poor choices. While Margie accepts that she's made some bad choices, she never lets up on Mike for not giving credit for his successes to anyone else, including his father...and her. But of course Mike, doesn't see it her way and Kate is shocked by the little truths that slip out about her husband's past. This is where the idea of being able to "get out" of Southie comes into play. Where the idea of being able to "get out" of any small town that holds people back comes to mind.

As someone in the state between the "stuck" and the "out" - this play is a must see. And if I know you, dear reader, you should see it regardless of which state you're in, because not only are the actors spot on throughout, not only is the set, lighting and music beautiful but this story is real. If you aren't in a situation similar to what plays out on stage, you know someone who is or who was. And let's be real, as selfish humans, if the play isn't just going to be the most entertaining thing we've ever seen, it damn well better relate to us. Good People does both. So you should see it.


It's the holiday season!

Photo of the rink and tree at PPG Place, compliments of my friend Tina.
Well, it's officially Christmas time in Pittsburgh! Light Up Night illuminated downtown this past weekend and it's now beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Cue music. I'm not really a fan of celebrating Christmas before giving Thanksgiving its own time, but I have to admit, the city does look good, and bright. This was the first year that I was able to be downtown for the festivities (even though I've lived downtown for two years now), so I never realized just how much was going on. In years past, I was either working at the Gateway Clipper, Victoria's Secret or was on the Gateway Clipper as a guest, so I had no idea that basically everyone in Pennsylvania, was downtown. Though I assumed as much.

However, the only thing I was interested in this year were the fireworks. I have been obsessed with fireworks for as long as I can remember. So, after a birthday dinner with the family for Eric's 25th, I met up with some friends to watch the fireworks from the Clemente Bridge. For future reference, the Gateway Clipper gives the greatest fullest view of the fireworks display.

Along with the fireworks there were bands performing in Market Square, the unveiling of the Macy's Christmas window displays, ice sculptures, a great parade, of course the lighting of the PPG Place rink and tree and traffic, traffic and more traffic. Sigh. Welcome to the Christmas season! If you've got some time this season and you're in the area, you should seriously come downtown for some winter fun. And anyone who can talk MJ into going ice-skating with me at PPG will win a major award! Yes, a major award just like in A Christmas Story. Last year I didn't get to go because I was preparing for knee surgery, this year, I am healed and ready to get my skate on! Also, here are some poor quality phone pictures for you to enjoy!



The Clemente Bridge with thousands of other people.
The bubble Christmas tree in Market Square. My favorite!


Happy Birthday, Eric!

My first ever friend is 25 today!
My first ever therapist.
My first idea of competition.
My first partner in crime.
My first secret-holder.
My first role model.
My first music guru.
My first style protégé.
The first person to call me a poop-head.
Happy Birthday big brother!
I love you.

"Always remember there was nothing worth sharing, 

like the love that let us share our name."


I love you.

Today marks MJ and my third anniversary since we started dating. Whoa.
Our relationship is the age of a small child.
Or the majority of a college career.
Or the average length of a TV show series.
Or a well-trained dog.
Or...you get the idea. We've been together for awhile.
Longer than most famous couples!  
And they blame busy schedules and distance...ha! Amateurs.

Anyway, this man has become the greatest addition to myself.
Not completed me, but added to me.
He has pointed me more towards God.
Not taken me away from Him.
He has enhanced every other relationship I have in my life through my family and my friends.
Not ever once taking away from those already formed bonds.
MJ has created a desire in me to truly commit to our futures.
He is now and will always be my best friend.
Not just my boyfriend.
I love him more than he'll ever know and more than I will ever be able to comprehend.
I know he feels the same about me.
And each day, I love him more.

Happy Anniversary, MJ - I adore you.

Song: This Is Us by Keyshia Cole

Love, Chels


Maniac Magazine Blogger Event & Holiday Issue

Spoiler Alert: There are a lot of pictures in this post! 

I have officially gone to my first blogger event. About a week ago, I got the invite from Maniac Magazine to come to their Pittsburgh blogger event in the old Nine West building in SouthSide Works. And of course, I agreed to go! Thankfully, I was actually scheduled not to work either, so it was like destiny. Alright, not destiny, because I rode the bus to get there, but you get the idea.

First, what I wore...
Since we were asked to bring our laptops with us to the event, I knew I would need a big bag to carry mine in, which meant I didn't want to wear a coat...because I'm fussy. So what that meant, was layers. As you can see, I wore my pink skinnies from Target with my black, peep-toe heels, also from Target. And for the top half, a black sequin tank from Express, heather-gray long sleeve shirt from Old Navy and a light gray cardigan from Target, have I mentioned how much I love that store? And of course I belted it with a dark gray belt I forget where I bought and a light pink knitted scarf from Forever 21. I also was wearing pink earrings and a ring from Charlotte Russe and my gray fridge bag is from mark.

No one home to take my picture! Boo!
Me and Gabby from Primped in Pittsburgh!

Now on to the event & most importantly the magazine...
If you have never read Maniac Magazine, you should. To describe it in one word, I'd say: luxurious. The feel of the paper is rich, not glossy, and each page displays quality images and well-edited text. The stories are clever and the pictures are interesting, but the most glorious thing about this magazine is that it features Pittsburgh. Cue the Hallelujah Chorus. I am in love and considering becoming their newest subscriber. This is a magazine you really need to check out. It has anything you'd want in a typical beauty, fashion or lifestyle magazine with the additional elements of Pittsburgh flare. Even all the advertisements were Pittsburgh related. My favorite section though is the Street Style pages, because they reminded me of my own Fashion Forward Fridays...which I know you guys love too! Here's a quick look inside...

Cover of the Maniac Magazine 2012 Holiday Issue.

Great spread of Nikki Reed, just in time for the Twilight release in two days!
Maniac Magazine Fashion - catching up with New York Fashion Week.
Maniac Magazine Beauty - look how great this layout is! Beautiful!
Maniac Magazine Feature - Mark Wahlberg (I added this picture for you, Chaniece!)
Holiday Gift Guide - just so everyone knows, I love Three Rivers Clothing!

Overall, I am so happy that I was able to make it to this event! Along with the other bloggers in attendance, I was able to get a lovely bag of beauty goodies, a free massage, compliments of LaVida Massage in Shadyside and free manicure from Capristo Salon and Wellness Spa, just what I needed after my busy last week and minor cold this weekend. Now, thanks to Maniac Magazine, I met some new blogging friends, got pampered, have a new favorite read and am excited to get back in the swing of blogging. What a great Tuesday night! Be sure to also check out Maniac Magazine, through their blog, Facebook and Twitter, they are sure to please and this issue is sure to impress!


Others Out in the City!

This weekend, while MJ and I were very "yinzer" and ate our fill at Primanti's and walked across the Smithfield Street Bridge to Station Square so he could buy his first Steelers jersey, I realized that nothing we were doing was really worth blogging about. Everything we were doing was worth savoring, chowing down on greasy food, strolling across the bridge with the greatest love I've ever known, you know that couple stuff that no one really likes to read about. (So I'll spare you.) But I knew other people were out in the city and their escapades were fresh and worth some blog space, so here are two of those people, with reviews of their events for you...
Chicago going on now at Heinz Hall. Photo from Cultural Trust.
-This was what you can say classy with a touch of yinzer. The Broadway musical Chicago was in town and my boyfriend had bought us tickets for our anniversary. Chicago is one of my absolute favorite musicals. I mean let's be real here, where can you go wrong with a musical about sex, murder, and jazz? It was at Heinz Hall which, I feel, is the most gorgeous building in the city. When you walk in you feel as if you are royalty with the way the concert hall is designed. The music was fantastic and the live band was on the stage with the actors. They were constantly making the audience and myself laugh with little jokes thrown into the dialogue here and there. Of course the hot boys on stage with the actors was a plus. The yinzer part of my weekend was taking a trip to the Strip District with my boyfriend. I started my Christmas shopping for my brother on the West Coast and my other brother in Virginia. We got some great Steeler Nation t-shirts and I bought myself a few gorgeous scarves from street vendors.

-Friday night I went to the 9th Annual Theatre Festival in Black and White, presented by the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company. It's a really neat event where they have 10 short plays split into two separate programs. The "hook" of the event is that black directors direct plays written by white playwrights, and white directors do plays by black playwrights. I only saw Program A Friday night, but the program features a wide variety of genres and tones. Plays range from the bizarre to the realistic to the supernatural, and all provide something different. I would recommend anyone interested to go see one of these programs (playing the last few shows next Thurs-Sat) to see some good local theater. (And you can read Isaac's full review of this event here.)

So what did you do this weekend? Anything worth, blogging about? Tonight I have been invited to attend an exclusive blogger event with Maniac Magazine. I'm pretty excited about it, but I need to knock out this fever and headache before then! I will be blogging more about this event later tonight and tomorrow so be sure to come back and check out what comes from this event!


Fashion Forward Fridays: Meet David!

After I have been pulling all-nighters and working hard all week for my grad school classes, it has finally taken it's toll. And today, when I woke up with a severe sore throat and no desire to find a fashionista/o I texted MJ to find one for me. So nice to have good help! I told him which questions to ask and how to take the photos and my little helper did a bang-up job. And of course, he picked a fashionisto, because he thinks Fashion Forward Fridays lacks men, which is true.

David in his office, wearing the causal/professional attire.
David is an Admissions counselor at Robert Morris University and the lead singer and guitar player for the band Identity X and he has a clear sense of style. While he likes to shop at places like Express, Marshall's and Macy's, he considers his style to be casually professional. As he is clearly doing in today's outfit, he says that mixing patterns is a way to amp up your personal style. (I agree!) David says that although he thinks it's now okay to do this mixing of patterns because it is currently on trend, but he thinks that you should not mix patterns of similar shapes, like argyle and checks because it's too much of the same thing.

Mixing argyle and stripes - great trend for guys (and girls!)
He also said something that I don't think anyone could ever stress enough. David said that he never wears a full outfit from one store and that the real key to finding your own style is finding the right pieces from different places and brands and bringing them together for one clean, unique and cohesive look. He also mentions that tailoring is a must and makes a huge difference.

As for Pittsburgh being the third-worst dressed city, according to GQ, he thinks that Pittsburgh does have some of the worst-dressed people, but the city as a whole is actually pretty trendy. So just a few bad apples ruining our bushel. Let's fix that, Pittsburgh! Happy Weekend!


Happy Birthday MJ!

Happy Birthday to my boyfriend & best friend, MJ!

Welcome to your quarter-life post. 25!
I am so happy to be able to be in your life and share 
this weekend with you to celebrate.
I could never have imagined being with anyone else but you!

You haven't aged a day - you little cutie!

Love, Chels


Politically Fashionable

If you are reading this in America, after doing so, if you have not already, you should go vote for our next President, and for your own local and state officials. If you are reading this in another country, you're welcome to just focus on the fashion.

Today was a big day. I say this before the election results are announced because I'm talking about me personally. Today was the first time I (and my brother) were able to vote....in person. In the last election, we were away at different colleges, Seton Hill and Mount Union, without a way to get back home to vote where we were registered so the absentee was all we could do. But now, both of us are in Pittsburgh earning our masters degrees and our small home town of Ellwood City is just a little skip (or about an hour drive) north of the city. We also knew we would be bought lunch at a favorite local diner by our dad if we went to vote with him. (Thanks, Father!) And it's always nice to take a break from the city, even if it's just a couple hours.

Here's the real reason for posting. My outfit. For awhile now I have to pining over the thought of being strictly a fashion blogger and with the encouragement from some friends, I think I'm going to add more of my fashion in to Chels & the City, but I could never take out "the City" part of my blog. But here goes on my first outfit post. It was very election-inspired. I had first planned to wear my red jeans, but them just seemed too loud to be wearing around the baby city of Ellwood that I was walking around in.

Outside "my polling place."  Plaid Blazer: Target | Dark wash skinny jeans: New York & Company | Boots: Voltage     

Mix of bracelets. Top two bracelets: Burlington Coat Factory | Hope bracelet: Maurices

I voted sticker! Necklace: Boutique la Passerelle |  Puppy Shirt: Old Navy | Belt: Unknown

And again, I hope you did vote because it's not your American right, it's your duty. People fought long and hard for us to be allowed to speak our minds and have our votes count. Being an American is a privilege. Remember that when you think you're making a statement or personal protest by not voting.


Fashion Forward Fridays: Meet Erin!

My favorite thing about fall is the great fashion that it inspires. While Hurricane Sandy has made it very chilly here in Pittsburgh, with her (pretty much) week long spout of rain, thankfully, she did not leave any snow on our city streets. But I feel like in fall, everyone's fashion is comfy and warm. I like that. Nothing better than something that makes you look you're ready for the weather, but still cute as can be.

I thought this elevator shot would be so super cool....it's alright haha
I think that's why I really enjoy Erin's outfit. I love her obviously cozy-fall look, but love that it's still super cute! Erin said that she would describe her style as half girly (read as sorority girl) and half bohemian. For work, she said that she's more likely to dress like Elle Woods with her cardigan and pearls but more boho-chic when it comes to going out or to class. She also said something that seems like a sin to me...she never likes to wear heels. GASP. But I'll forgive her, and other girls like her, as long as they are wearing cute boots or flats, which Erin is obviously doing!

Erin's favorite stores are Old Navy and Forever 21+ but says that she also likes to go to New York & Company for work attire and discount stores like Ross and Gabriel Brothers for those good, yet more affordable finds. But she's not one to turn down any store with something that is cute, fits into her style and is a good buy - like any smart shopping college student!

Love these owl accessories and nail polish on Erin.
Her advice to others who want to amp-up their style or become more of a fashionista/o would be to figure out what your favorite clothing to wear is and have fun with it. Since you are the one who has to wear it, you should like what you have on, not just wear what people say you should wear. Erin also said that since she has worked in retail before, she knows that a lot of people just walk in and ask where they can get the pieces that are on the mannequins, and she (thankfully) said she hated when people do that! When I worked in retail that was my biggest pet peeve. Anyway, she said to be bold and do not be afraid to mix and match and only use the displays as inspiration and then create your own outfits from there. And especially do not be afraid to mix and match things that do not necessarily match but simply go together. (For instance: wearing more than one pattern at a time.)

However, when it comes to Pittsburgh being named the third-worst dressed city by GQ, Erin said that she somewhat agrees with them because of one major flaw in the Pittsburghers wardrobe...our jerseys. For Erin (and myself) it's okay to wear your jersey and team apparel on game days, but otherwise you should really do without and take pride in your clothes, rather than just your team. Amen, sister! So Pittsburgh, as always, cheer on those black & gold boys until you're blue in the face, but at least dress nicely on non-game days! And as always, stay classy and fashionable - happy weekend!


Up and Coming Pittsburgh Rappers

 This is a partnered post but all opinions are my own.

A little known fact about me...I think rap music is amazing. Granted I listen to all genres of music, but rap just fasinates me because to do it, I think someone has to have a ridiculous amount of talent. Now, I know what kind of pretenses the genre comes with and let's just be clear, I do not like music that is just about drugs, sex, drinking and killing people, I think that is a waste of this talent. But since I have worked with Pittsburgh female rapper, Kellee Maize, in the past I have grown to appreciate rap more and especially rappers that are atypical and do not follow the crowd. (Example: Karmin.)

So when I was asked to feature these two Pittsburgh rappers who claim to be atypical, I was almost instantly on board. Both of these guys are young and from right here in Pittsburgh and have been rapping and hoping to create a future for themselves in music for awhile now. After listening to both of their songs, I knew that they had talent and though they do swear, they have strayed from the path of drugs, sex and violence like others have fallen in to. Here they are, Woo and Mikey P, hope you enjoy their videos and send them some love.

Woo - The Vent

Mikey P - Haters Say

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