Chels Wears: $10 Neon

Owl Ring & Leather Bracelet: Charlotte Russe | Braided Belt: Unknown
Neon Shirt: Dollar General | White Tank: JCPenney | Pants: Target | Shoes: Charlotte Russe
Just to brag for a moment, while I was out wearing this outfit, I got a lot of compliments but one lady came up to me and said don't you just love that top? And she went on and on about how she just got the same one from Old Navy and for only $30 dollars and how much she loved it. Naturally I agreed with her because I love it too, but I got this little stunner from the Dollar General, for ten dollars. Sorry, ma'am.

Morale of the story: never question where you can find a great outfit piece. I'm all about saving money, especially when it comes to clothes because I buy them basically everywhere I can, so those couple racks of clothes that you've been overlooking at your local dollar store, stop overlooking. It's usually not a guarantee that you'll find anything awesome there, but sometimes you get nice surprises like this one! And for the record, I did see this shirt at Old Navy earlier in the week, but promised myself to only shop in their clearance section, so I passed on it. Lucky for me, I found it twenty dollars cheaper while I was out buying cat food...it's the little things.


Read What I'm Pinning

Hey everyone! Just taking a page out of Nicole's (of Writes Like A Girl) book today and posting somethings that I have been pinning on Pinterest lately. I love that Nicole lets her readers into her mindset so much, at least once a week, so I'm doing the same. Mostly what I've been pinning has been inspirational quotes, because who doesn't love a great quote to come back to every once in a while. These are mostly about goals and career moves and just loving life, and soon I will be able to tell you some BIG news that is in the works for me, that I am over the moon about. So for today, enjoy these and follow me on Pinterest to see more!


Fashion Forward Fridays Reader Submitted: Meet Autumn!

It's always have stylish friends, and today for Fashion Forward Fridays, you're meeting one of them! I met Autumn while we worked at Victoria's Secret together and was always so jealous of how she was able to make our dress code of 90% black 10% white attire look amazing time and time again. And if you follow her style board on Pinterest, you'll easily see that she has impeccable taste, so I knew she'd be the perfect person to ask to be today's fashionista! Trust me, you'll be jealous of her too after reading her interview. She's the total package of beauty, brains (she's currently a law student), and style. After all, I only pick the best for these things, enjoy!

All photos provided by Autumn.

How would you define your style? 
Classic with a touch of glam. I usually stick to clean lines and neutrals (black, white, gray, navy, cream) and add some flair with a little bit of sparkle or unexpected color (like neon).

Where are your favorite places to shop? 
Because I am a law student, I have to spend most of my money on school instead of my wardrobe. My goal is to look expensive without actually being expensive. H&M, Urban Outfitters, and Forever 21 are places to go for trendy fun pieces that aren’t very expensive. Express, Ann Taylor Loft, and The Limited are my go to’s for classic pieces and work staples. 

Where did you get the pieces you are wearing in your pictures? 
High waisted vintage inspired shorts – Urban Outfitters
Chiffon shirt – Urban Outfitters 
Wedges – Target 
Earrings & ring – Forever 21
Handbag – Louis Vuitton 

Close up photos of Autumn's ring and earrings from Forever 21.
If someone asked you for fashion advice, what would you tell them?
Invest money on key timeless pieces like a beautiful wool coat, a pair of stilettos, or a designer handbag. These kinds of wardrobe staples never go out of style, so you won’t feel like you wasted your money.

GQ named Pittsburgh the 3rd worst dressed city - do you agree/disagree and why/why not? 
I would have to say that Pittsburghers are certainly more comfortable in a Crosby jersey as opposed to Prada, but that laid back take on fashion is exactly what makes Pittsburgh so wonderful. The unassuming casualness that people may mistake as sloppy is really just iconic Pittsburgh approachableness. 

Keep it fashionable, Pittsburgh! Happy Weekend!


Chels Wears: Business Casual

Ring & Bracelet: Charlotte Russe | Purse: Urban Outfitters | Belt: Unknown
Shirt: JCPenney | Cardigan: Target | Skirt: Goodwill | Shoes: Charlotte Russe
I am not becoming a fashion blogger. That feels a little stressful to me, having to wake up and worried if what you're picking out to wear will look good on the Internet. Yep. Not doing that every day. But you guys know I love fashion. Fashion Forward Fridays is my pride and joy. Most of the blogs I follow are fashion blogs. And I did tell you that there would be a few changes and be a bit more "Chels" on this blog for a while. So since I love fashion, this is the kind of thing you'll see here on Wednesdays.

I've been hearing this "business casual" term a lot this summer. Mostly because of the job hunt but no one seems to know how to define it. When someone labels an event, or a job tells you to wear business casual, no one really gets what that means. So this is an outfit I wore to work recently, because we are "business casual" but the same day one of my co-workers showed up in leggings and flip-flops. She looked cute, but I wouldn't consider her outfit in this category. What do you think business casual means? Where do you draw the line?


Brooklyn Rider at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater

Johnny Gandelsman, violin | Eric Jacobsen, cello | Colin Jacobsen, violin | Nicholas Cords, viola | Sarah Small photo
Thanks to the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society, I was able to attend a concert last Thursday at the Kelly Strayhorn Theater as part of their Just Summer series. Although before being offered these tickets, I had never heard of Brooklyn Rider, I am so happy that I was a bit "out of the box" and headed out to hear them.

Brooklyn Rider is a pretty well known string quartet. Now, if you know me at all, you know I'm a huge music fan, but that doesn't mean I know anything about string quartets, except the absolute basics, like which instruments would be in one. But, I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that Brooklyn Rider quite possibly tops the charts in this area.

They were obviously well trained and talented, but they also played interesting pieces (they described each one before) and they seemed like great guys in general. They were fun to watch, which might seem strange to say but the way they were enthralled by what they were doing and how they interacted with each other during each piece was wonderful. They made it seem like playing typically classical music should be extremely entertaining.

I will mention that if you are being torn between going out one night and the urge to stay and and be alone with your thoughts, go out and see a string quartet. Or really, go see any type of music that does not involve lyrics. I was so lost in my own feelings of the music and what I was thinking that I never once was bored, what might be a "typical" reaction to a concert like this for my particular demographic. Although I admit that most of my thoughts did circle around whether or not the friend I took with me would want to go out to eat after the show, I also was choreographing a modern dance number in my head during the last song. So that's almost legit.

As for the theater, I had never been to the Kelly Strayhorn before and was overly excited to check it out. Somehow, despite being one of those theater-goers I hate who get there 2 minutes before showtime, I got a parking space right out front and was surprised to see how big the actual theater space is. Though it could use a bit of TLC, it was the perfect space for a concert like this, big enough to hold the crowd but intimate enough to make everyone feel closer to the performers. My favorite. 

So, if you see an event like this being advertised around the city, especially by the Pittsburgh Chamber Music Society, because I expect great things from them now, I suggest that you give it a try and check it out, even if it isn't something you would typically go to. That's one of my favorite things about Pittsburgh, there is always something new to try because there is something for every one's taste.

This is a sponsored post, I received tickets for this event, but all opinions are my own. 


Fashion Forward Fridays: Broke Little Rich Girl

Remember last week's Fashion Forward Fridays when I said I had something else planned but I couldn't make it happen just yet? Well, fear no more, Pittsburgh fashionistas, this week's feature is worth your wait. A couple weeks ago, Samantha, owner and creator of Broke Little Rich Girl, reached out to me to team up to bring you this post and I was instantly excited about this. BLRG is a new Pittsburgh boutique...on wheels.

That's right. Sam and some friends got an old box truck and transformed that sucker into Pittsburgh's newest boutique. (Is your jaw on the ground, because mine was.) I love, love, love this idea and I really see it working out well since Pittsburgh has really been heading in the "mobile is best" direction recently. Check out my interview with Sam and definitely be sure to check out BLRG's GRAND OPENING, tomorrow in the Strip District! (Specifically 23rd Street between Smallman and Penn.)

Before & after of the truck! All photos provided by Sam.
Tell us a general overview of Broke Little Rich Girl.
Broke Little Rich Girl is a mobile boutique that brings trendy, classic, with a touch of vintage inspired clothing and accessories to the women of Pittsburgh at affordable prices. The BLRG truck carries a unique assortment of products in a unique boutique setting.

Pittsburgh is a very mobile city and already has a lot of food vendors in similar trucks, is this how you came up with the idea of a boutique on wheels, or did your inspiration come from somewhere else? 
I have actually always wanted to open a boutique, but the idea of waiting around for customers didn't feel right to me. One day when I was visiting NYC I was at a fair and saw this fashion truck and when I walked in I just knew that I HAD to bring this to Pittsburgh. I have always loved the food trucks. What they're doing, especially here in Pittsburgh, is so innovative so they are also an inspiration. I hope to partner with them in the future to do events together because everybody loves to eat and shop!


Pittsburgh Weekend Staycation: July 19-21

Everyone knows that summer means a time to relax and possibly take a vacation, but if you're like anyone else these days, you're also looking for a way to save money. So a lucrative vacation might not be your scene right now, but here's a way to still have a great time "away from home" while staying right here in Pittsburgh.

I've made a little roundup of fun activities for anyone in the area who wants a mini-vacation but still wants to get away. To get the full effect, I suggest you splurge on a two-night stay at any of the great hotels around the 'burgh and take on the activities in this list, especially tailored for this weekend. Get packing, the fun starts after you get off work tomorrow!

Skybar: though I have yet to be there, I cannot wait to go at some point this summer! Photo credit.
Friday Evening: 
Check into your hotel and head out the door for dinner and a little fun at the Rivers Casino. With five wonderful, trust me I've tried them, restaurants to choose from and plenty of slots and table games for you to play, you're sure to start your evening off right and instantly feel like you're on vacation. But don't stay too long because you want to be able to head down to the Southside to check out Skybar, Pittsburgh's only rooftop pool and lounge. Seriously, how big city of us to have a rooftop pool bar.

Saturday Morning/Afternoon: 
Where else would you want to spend a Saturday in the summer besides Kennywood
Ride the Phantom's Revenge, take the Pittsburg* Plunge, and for all things great and beautiful, eat some Potato Patch Fries!
*Pittsburgh was spelled without the 'h' circa 1890 - 1911 so the Plunge still takes that spelling.

Cinema in the Park: various parks around Pittsburgh, but the one mentioned is happening this weekend. Photo credit
Saturday Evening: 
Get a prime view of the city while snuggled up to your friends on a blanket while watching 

Sunday Morning: 
Wake up early and head to Schenley Park for the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix
The parade and opening ceremony starts at 11am and at noon watch those cars fly! 

The newest addition to the Gateway Clipper Fleet, the Queen! Photo credit.
Sunday Afternoon: 
What better way to end your time in the city than by touring through it on the Gateway Clipper
See all the sites from the upper deck of one of their one-hour sightseeing cruises and reminisce about your greatly packed, Pittsburgh weekend!

Whatever you do this weekend make it fun and think about keeping it in Pittsburgh!


Why I Blog

Blogging on my new Mac at McDonald's with a hot fudge sundae ... oh, yeah.
I've been thinking about writing this post for a while now. Mostly because I think about this on a daily basis. Blogging has, maybe this is too obvious to mention, but it's become a bit more challenging now that I have moved an hour away from the city. Although I have kept up with posting and actually have been posting more since I graduated. Since I'm not there to experience different things everyday, it's become harder and harder to find things that are actually in this  blog's "genre." Which is Pittsburgh, if you haven't caught on to that yet.

I started this blog because when I first move into downtown Pittsburgh, I heard A LOT of negative feedback about my choice. Now, I'm not one to sway to other people's judgements of how I live my life, so this didn't bother me too much, but it did weigh on my mind. Living IN Pittsburgh, especially living downtown, was always a dream for me. I grew up an hour north of the city, went to college an hour south of it and really just knew it was fate when I was accepted to Duquesne and Point Park for grad school, because both are downtown in the city I adore. So when I made the move and then heard the not so positive feedback, I knew I had to do something.

That something first, was to live up every moment I was there, but quickly became this blog. Chels & the City was made to catalog my adventures of seeing new art, enjoying a city I have grown up loving, finding new places to eat and to really just show off all the good that comes with living in Pittsburgh. All the fun places to go, interesting people to meet, and just things in general to do. I really love this city.

Which (and I'm sure this goes without saying too) I miss it more than I ever thought possible. How could someone miss a place so much? But I do. I miss the daily wake up call of pigeons on my windowsill and traffic below my building. I miss my huge windows and space of my own. I miss the ability to walk out the door and have everything I need within a short walking distance. I miss stopping into a gallery opening or boutique on my way to a class or a restaurant I've never been to before. I miss working at tourist attractions and listening to people talk about the little things they are slowing learning about our great city. I miss the fountains, the rivers, the bridges and the buildings, new and old. I miss seeing fireworks reflecting off of those buildings out my window every time the Pirates score and the sound of "HEATHHHHHH" coming across the river when the Steelers' Heath Miller makes another impossible catch. I miss the starless sky and the way my heels sound when I walk on different kinds of cement all throughout downtown. Mostly, I just miss being there and knowing from morning to night, I made a dream come true.

And that is why I blog. Growing up being that kid who likes to write, I was always told if you're going to write about something, it should be something you love, something you know well and want to continue a "relationship" with. My "relationship" with Pittsburgh is something I love, something I know well and something I will continue to love and continue to get excited about. So if you start seeing a little more of the Chels side than you do the City for a little bit, just know that soon enough we'll be back together. Woof, this is starting to sound like a cheesy romance novel. Anyway, while I might not be there now, I plan to get back there soon and I plan to continue this blog. So if there is something you're planning and want me to review, let me know. If there is someone awesome in the city doing something you think is really great and deserves attention, send me an email. I'll try my best to get to any events around the 'burgh and certainly to interview people who are making the city an even greater place to be.

I really do love blogging and I love the community, in and out of Pittsburgh, that I've built so far, so let's keep this thing going! Let's continue to show why Pittsburgh is an amazing place to live and play! One of my goals for this year is to make this blog grow like mad, so if you've got an idea, an event, a friend, whatever, that you think needs a mention, let's talk about it. Sorry this post got on the lengthy side, but I'm proud of you if you made it to the end. Which is right here.


Summer Soiree & Fashion Show scheduled for July 25th

Just letting you guys in on an upcoming event that I am really excited for! Pretty Living PR, is hosting Pretty in Paradise, a summer soiree to benefit UPMC Cancer Center for Melanoma Research on NEXT Thursday, July 25th at The Cabana Bar in Wexford, Pa.

The event is, obviously, beach-themed and will feature a fashion show by Tidal Cool Creations, who was featured on Chels & the City a while back for Fashion Forward Fridays. This event will also offer raffles, local celebrities, hors d'oeuvres, and prizes! While the event starts at 7p.m., Tidal Cool Creations will start their fashion show at 9p.m. and you really don't want to miss this because it is the last runway/party before Tidal Cool heads off to New York Fashion Week!

Need a little more convincing? The cause that you will be supporting, UPMC Cancer Center, offers comprehensive diagnostic services, cutting-edge treatments and supportive care to patients with melanoma and non melanoma skin cancers. Also, specialty care options are available through the Melanoma and Skin Cancer Program of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, patients also have access to a large network of community-based physicians. So, you'll have a great night and you'll be supporting a very important and worthy case.

To order tickets, head over to the Pretty in Paradise ShowClix page and to keep up with all of the events and promotions offered by Pretty Living PR, feel free to follow them on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

This is a sponsored post, I received tickets to this event but all opinions are my own.


Fashion Forward Fridays: My Go-To Summer Style

Shirt: Target | Skirt: DIY | Shoes, Purse, & Belt: Charlotte Russe | Handband: Brash

Okay, so for anyone who saw my Facebook or Twitter posts about how excited I was for today's post, no this is not what I had planned. But next week for sure, I'm super excited and you should be too, especially if you're close to Pittsburgh because you'll get to admire this new addition really soon! Anyway, although these photos were taken during my last week living downtown, this style has basically followed me all summer so far. It's just so easy to make cute and seem dressy. I usually just swap out the shirt and how I do my hair. Yep, pretty much it. And everyone always seems to think that maxi skirt or dress means "dressed up" but to me it just means comfort. Hello, no pants.

When these photos were taken, I was shopping around some of the boutiques in South Side and I kept getting compliments on my "pattern mixing" and this is a way to easily mix patterns, especially if you're a little worried about trying that trend. Since these patterns (polka dot headband, feather tank, cheetah sunglasses) aren't right up against each other, they are easier for the eye to accept and like. Just as a tip. Pattern mixing is quite possibly my favorite trend ever, so this is nothing for me, but I'm glad it's well liked. What do you guys think?

And because who doesn't love a good Polyvore style board:
Go-To Summer Style
Hope you all have a stylish weekend!


Show & Tell: Upcoming Film by PITT Graduate Highlights Gender Roles

Alright guys, today we're going to get a little more serious than usual. But before we get into anything, you should know that as a child, I was this girl:

Literally. Had video-tapping your children and then putting the funny yet brilliant things they say on the Internet been a thing in 1994, I would've had a slew of videos of me looking just like that girl saying very similar things all over the place. Seriously, when I was three until about the time I started kindergarten I wouldn't answer to anything but Jonathan and hated when my mom put me in dresses for church. So when any discussion about gender roles and children comes up, I'm all about it. 

Today, I'm sharing with you an interview with Lucas Omar, a recent University of Pittsburgh graduate who is creating a film about children and gender roles called "Show and Tell." In hopes that you will support the creation of this film through their Kickstarter page. The film is about a little boy named Ethan who wants to bring in his barbie doll, who he designs dresses for, in to show and tell at school. But his parents have mixed reactions and Ethan really wants to bring something in that will impress his parents, teacher and classmates. While this film deals with a lot of important LGBT/Gender issues that some children face today, it is also a light-hearted comedy.

I think that "Show and Tell" is an important film because most little girls who are tomboys like I was get lumped into a certain category of "what they'll grow up to be" and so do little boys who like to play with toys that are marketed to girls. Obviously, I grew up to be heterosexual, but these are adult judgements that should not be worrying little kids, which is what Lucas is getting to in his film. Here's my interview with him:

Lucas Omar, director of Show and Tell, a short film about children and gender roles.
Why did you want to create Show and Tell?
I remember playing with Barbie dolls as a child and I never thought twice about it! I honestly just enjoyed combing their hair and changing their outfits. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with it. At such a young age, I wasn’t thinking about societal gender expectations and I had NO grasp of sexuality. Gender norms are still a prevalent issue today and I still find parents restricting what types of toys kids play with: trucks for boys, Barbies for girls. You can’t really blame the parents. This is largely due to marketing. When you walk around a toy store, there is a distinct divide between what’s pink and what’s not. Get caught in the wrong aisle and you’ll get some stares. I also want to stress that these toys are not precursors to whether a child is “gay” or “straight,” or “bi” or the many other gender definitions accepted in society today. We must allow kids to discover their interests on their own. Limiting this will only cause angst and a feeling of isolation.


Seviche: Raw With A Twist

Who doesn't enjoy a great sandwich board?
Basil Salmon Seviche Tapas
Back: Cuban Sushi Roll | Front: Some cheese ball things that AJ got.
Thankfully AJ took this picture right before I scarfed down my Cuban Sushi Roll and then
remembered that I'm a blogger and should take pictures of things.
Awesome and huge wall art at Seviche.
I remember when Seviche was first opening because at the time I was interning for Nakturnal and they were handling their viral marketing materials. I also remember writing reviews of some of their food during the time to start to get the word out about Seviche, but it wasn't until recently that I actually went to the restaurant to enjoy the atmosphere, along with the food.

With my friends, AJ and Isaac with me, we headed to Seviche for happy hour. As shown above, I had a Cuban Sushi Roll (sticky rice and nori roll filled with salmon, calabaza, jicama and avocado corm salsa, topped with spicy sushi tuna, crispy taro root frizzle, Sriracha mayo and citrus ponzu) and Basil Salmon Seviche Tapas and of course, a couple glasses of Cabernet. Each bite was fantastic. Like I cannot even explain to you how amazing everything was. We also shared a Tres Leches Cake (white cake soaked in a trio of sweetened milk and topped with fresh strawberries) that if I think about for about five seconds or longer, I can still taste. I wish I didn't have to share that sucker. 

If you are in the area, you should certainly book a table at Seviche for your next meal and I am certain you will not be disappointed. Especially if you have the fabulous waiter we had, Tony. He was super personable and knowledgeable about everything we asked, which was more than normal customers probably do. Seviche is considered a Nuevo Latin Bistro, is a dressy casual kind of place and is located at 930 Penn Avenue in downtown Pittsburgh. It is a part of The Big Y Group which hosts Sonoma, NOLA, Perle and Talara, as well as Seviche. All of which, I'm behind on checking out. Guess I know what I'll have planned for the rest of the summer!


Birthday Weekend Recap

As you guys know, Wednesday was my birthday! Thanks so much for all your birthday wishes through email, comments, Facebook, text, calls, snail mail, etc. I am blessed to have such great people in my life! Here's a little recap of my weekend!

Last minute get-together to Dave & Buster's in the Waterfront with some of my favorites!
Front Row Left to Right: Jodi, Me & Heather | Back Row Left to Right: Liz, MJ & Erin
Me & Heather in the game room of Dave & Buster's
Family & I went to see Despicable Me 2, which you should go see, like today.
My brother was appointed to Pastor four small churches in Corry, Pa - Sunday was his first official day!
The four churches planned a service all together at the park to welcome him.
He gave a great message and we enjoyed meeting some church people at a picnic after the service.
What did you all do for the weekend? Hope it was something fun!


Fashion Forward Fridays: Meet Three AFWNY Designers!

Hey everyone! Hope you all enjoyed a great 4th of July! Today, Fashion Forward Fridays is a bit different than usual, I'm featuring three designers who are currently in the process of preparing for African Fashion Week: New York. So while I prefer to use this space as a way to showcase Pittsburgh fashion, I just cannot pass up the opportunity to give you a sneak peek at three great designers who are about to hit a huge stage.

First, a little about AFWNY. This is a six-day event, starting on Monday, July 15th and ending with three days of runway shows on the 18th, 19th, and 20th. (The designers I am featuring today will all host their shows on the 20th.) AFWNY's mission is to raise awareness and market diverse fashion professionals and their skills by trying to "break through the New York fashion noise" to allow these diverse and upcoming designers to showcase their personal voice and fashion creations. Which I think is a worthy cause in it's own right, but now to the really good stuff...a little look at three of these diverse and upcoming designers.

Various looks from Sydney-Davies. Photos provided.
A high-fashion women and menswear label based out of London that was launched in 2012 by Euphemia Sydney Davies. This designer is said to "overflow with confidence" no matter what the situation and this label is for a man or woman who wants to express their individual sense of style with resilience and as a refusal to conform. Which I think just describes my boyfriend, MJ, in one compact sentence. Euphemia gained her fashion inspiration from the darkness of the war in Sierra Leone, which her and her family successfully escaped from and which has given her a new sense of happiness and eternal gratefulness for this second chance at life. The Spring/Summer 2013 collection will be presented at AFWNY.

Various Summer looks from Admas Mahdere. Photos provided.
This fashion house incorporates African aesthetics into all of their pieces, they proudly source all of their fabric from East Africa. The fabrics that are used are unique to Eritrea and Ethiopia and are all handmade by weavers known as "Shemane." Admas differs from most fashion designers because she starts the design process after picking the fabric and uses it as inspiration to create cutting edge and modern designs. She also teams up with non-profit organizations that support the sustainability of these weavers through co-ops and access to the supplies, equipment, and facilities that they need. All of which goes perfectly with this year's theme of "The Pattern of Sustainable Luxury" at AFWNY.

Three looks from Catherine Addai. Photo provided.
The designer and Creative Director of Kaela Kay, Catherine started the label in January 2012 in Toronto. While she lives on creativity, she stays true to her roots by making each garment a piece she would actually wear herself. Which leads me to believe, we might have similar closets. She is a wife and mother and ensures that her personal style in always represented in her pieces. Meaning that she embodies the true representation of what the "Kaela Kay Woman" would wear. Kaela Kay is a luxurious line and is remembered by the unique fabrics and colors each piece uses.

Check out the Designer Registration to learn more 
about these designers and see who else will present their collections at AFWNY 2013. 
And have a great weekend!

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