Paint Monkeys

Back in June, my cousin J celebrated her birthday and I wanted to find something unique to get her. Thanks to a Living Social deal, I found out that Pittsburgh has a paint studio where even beginning painters can make masterpieces. Our friend and her mom did one of these classes and it looked like a lot of fun, so I decided we’d give it a try.

Since we’re both busy moms who work full time (+), spend time with our kids, and volunteer (lots) for the kids’ school, scheduling was a nightmare and next thing we knew, we had 2 weeks left to redeem. Our husbands were awesome enough to take the kid duties for an evening in a busy week (they didn’t owe us after mancation or anything) and let us go paint “Ornaments” at Paint Monkey.

The studio is absolutely gorgeous. If you’re into it, the classes are also BYOB. They provide everything you need to make a beautiful painting, the best part being the outlined canvas! We both lost time and got a chance to relax, talk, and laugh. The playlist was great. It felt so nice to take a break and enjoy time with my cousin (who is also a co-worker) and enjoy ourselves. I don’t think we’ve really gotten a chance to do that since our scrapbook trip back in January.

Paint Monkey

We both loved it so much that I was already planning an outing for my 30th birthday (ladies, get ready!) and Jess was calculating gift card totals for Christmas gifts. In fact, before we even started to paint, I was googling to see if Wine and Design in Myrtle Beach had posted their January calendar yet so we could go on our upcoming trip (it’s not up there yet, but I am stalking the site).

Pittsburgh, you are so much fun. Thanks to the folks over at Paint Monkey for teaming up with Living Social to make this fun evening possible.

#BlogMob #ReusePgh

Last Thursday, myself and several other bloggers plus The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project converged on Construction Junction and Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse (PCCR) for #BlogMob #ReusePgh. (Find more posts on the Tote Bag’s site here!)

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I took lots of bitty notes during the event as we toured PCCR and then CJ:

CJ 11 Years ago, PCCR 2007

Donations 2 days a week, have to limit due to space.

Small staff, a lot of org is volunteer. Sort, measure, facilities, data entry, etc. Community resource to keep prices low for makers, artists, teachers.

Excess donations…part is staffing and part is marketing. No advertising budget. Adult parties/space rental.

One space CJ rents out is Computer Reach, getting computers to ppl who need them.

CJ regives helps other orgs get furniture they need. Like the college furniture. Applications online?

Church pews, college desks…card catalogs…

Big Pour annual fundraiser.

Goodwill partners who learn skills and help CJ in the warehouse and connect with the community. Buckets of reuse cost $1 and contain ideas of things to donate!

Classes to help people learn remodeling skills (like sanding!). Have a skill? Have a project you wanna learn? Send email!

Like them on Facebook and share it with your friends. No searchable inventory, look for items, call and claim! Mike Gable (exec director) wants to do a program encouraging folks to instagram doc dumpster finds, put on fb, and see what you could have done with that instead. Stuff that shouldn’t go to the trash! Don’t actually pick the stuff up. There are some Boroughs that fine you!

The Space Upstairs dance, art experiences.

There was so much to learn and take in…my only regret is that we didn’t have more time to shop ourselves! 😉 Both sites are a crafter and builders dream. As I was posting photos on Instagram, people were asking where they could get the items I was showing. It’s amazing how few people know about these places, and both and accessible to anyone in the city (as long as you’re willing to fight pre-5 PM Highland Park bridge traffic, ha!).

Following our tours, we had a potluck dinner and then participated in Meet n’ Make, making ornaments for a tree that will be donated to a shelter. We also met people involved in Knit the Bridge, a project of knitters and crocheters who are crafting a cover for one of the Three Sisters bridges. I wasn’t feeling very crafty (what I didn’t know is that I was actually really sick), but I did participate in making some ornaments for the tree reusing items from the bulk section of PCCR.

Teachers, artists, parents, ANYONE who loves crafting, PCCR is for you! If you build things, remodel homes, or just like neat stuff (thanks, Pinterest), CJ is for you!

Enjoy my photos from the event on Flickr. PCCR on Facebook and Twitter ; CJ on Facebook and Twitter…both post unique finds and you can claim them via the ‘net!

#BlogMob is taking a break over the holidays, but we hope to be back with more great ‘Burgh finds in the early spring.

WRRYFree Skin Care Fighting #Hunger #Giveaway

Last week, summer decided to make a return to Pittsburgh, and my skin was ill prepared. Thank goodness WRRYFree Skin Care decided to team up with The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project, Coupon Billie, and myself to help fight hunger this month.

What does that mean? It means I was able to test out the Bast Sensitive Face Wash, my choice for three reasons. One, it is orange-ish, the color of Hunger Action Month. Two, we have sensitive skin around here, if you didn’t know. Three, my skin has always been a pain to keep clear, but last week it was like I stepped back to 1999 and my 16th birthday party, ouch!

First, you should know I love anything that foams. I’ve tried other foamy face washes, but most burn my skin. The great thing about WRRY Free Skin Care products is that they are ‘Clean, Safe, and Effective’. True story. Natural products mean no burning and no worries if ‘lil Miss A decides to wash her face like Mama. Proven by the fact I wasn’t burnt by this face wash!

Second, smell is a big thing for me. While I like to know I am clean, I don’t want to smell like soap. With the Bast Sensitive Face Wash, I smell like a mix of orange and roses.

Finally, I want to be clean and see results. The Bast Sensitive Face Wash left my face feeling “tight” after, meaning it closed up my pores. Greg gave it a try and reported the same. The next morning, I was already seeing results, many of my “spots” weren’t as red or prominent, and just 4 days in, most were gone with no new ones popping up. Need I tell you I am pleased???!??!

There’s more than Face Wash available, this wash is just step one in an entire “Fab Five” Face Line plus (as you know) many other great products from Bast and Climb On! through WRRY Free Skin Care.

And…the facts get even better. As I mentioned, WRRY Free Skin Care is going to help The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project fight hunger this Hunger Action Month. When you make a purchase at and enter the code tote4pgh, you will get 10% off AND $1 will be donated to the Tote Bag Project. How incredible is that?

As if that wasn’t enough, WRRYFree Skin Care is offering readers of ‘lil Burghers and Coupon Billie a chance to win a Mini Extreme Special. This includes Creme, Lip Tube, and a mini Bar. Awesome products, awesome cause. Enter now through the end of the month. Thanks, WRRY Free!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: I was given product to review and I loved it, true story. I also personally love WRRY Free Skin Care because they are a local small business with a big heart, a true example of a Hunger Hero. Thanks for your support!

Highly Recommended: Bistro To Go

Greg and I volunteer with The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project, an opportunity that has taken us to various new places in town. This weekend, we had a chance to help organize bags and then got dinner with two others who were sorting. Sure, we could have decided to just grab a sandwich from anywhere, but we were easily convinced to go local after Greg and Ledcat went to pick up totes at Bistro To Go and ogling the turtle cheesecake.

Logistically, we don’t get to the North Shore often (unless it’s for a Pirates game), so without this opportunity, we probably wouldn’t have realized this as a good dining option. It will now be on our “meet-up” and pre-game list. Parking is on-street/metered, but it wasn’t tough finding 3 spots on a busy Saturday afternoon.

The first thing I realized about Bistro To Go is that it is beside Bistro Soul, another restaurant in the Bistro family, and both boast of southern décor. I fell in love immediately, not needing to see that darn turtle cheesecake. When you walk inside, you know you are in for a soul food treat.

If you want technics, you should know this is essentially fast-casual dining, but the prep is nothing but. Amazing specials are in front of you, and served up (big helpings) right in front of your eyes. You can get the food to go, but I urge you to take a seat at one of the adorable tables or even the “bench” seating with an old church pew as one side of the seating. We stayed well past our original meter because we loved the atmosphere so much. Bonus, free wi-fi, people watching out the front window, cheerful employees, and listening to the chefs prep and cook in the open kitchen. Have some time? Sit and read some of the many cookbooks in the dining area. Absolutely beautiful.

Oh, you saw this was a post about a restaurant and want to know about the food? Well, gee! Entrees come with your choice of 1 or 2 sides (pricing is just a little more expensive than getting a combo meal at a drive thru) plus a bun “the size of Ledcat’s head”. From what I can see on the Bistro To Go website, specials change weekly, but there is always a great variety. I selected the stuffed beef cabbage, green beans with turkey, and a chipotle black bean and cilantro salad (no bun, those things were seriously HUGE). Greg got chicken and gravy (the breading was almost reverse fried with stuffing on the outside…), green beans, and…well…I can honestly say I am not sure what his side was. He gobbled everything down quickly—maybe it was mashed potatoes?

We were treated to dessert by Chef Nikki, a supporter of the Tote Bag Project. Greg went for the Turtle Cheesecake, and although I was tempted by the Ho Ho Cake, it was crème de menthe bars for me. Let me tell you a little bit of what I understand about Chef Nikki. She loves Pittsburgh, and she loves our people. She has a big heart. And, she is going to have me attending some of her cooking classes, because I want to amp up the kitchen. Her passion with Bistro to go was to “create a neighborhood restaurant where good food brings people together”. Uh, in my opinion, she’s hit it on the mark. Further, part of the Bistro mission “is to be a Christ-centered business and an employer where all cultures are welcome”. Again, absolutely evident.

We will be back again, and hopefully with the kids. There were high chairs, but I’d have to make sure I knew the menu before going with them for the ‘lil ones dairy issues. Perhaps we’ll even make a Sunday brunch!


Disclaimer: I was not asked to write this review, and Bistro To Go might never even know how much I heart them. These opinions are 100% my own, and the dessert was provided out of kindness. Time to pay it forward and send you there!

A Beautiful Day for a Venture Outdoors

On Saturday, Greg and I ran a 5k then headed into downtown for the Venture Outdoors Festival and a chance to see our friends at WRRYFree Skin Care (by the way, have you entered our giveaway that ends tonight???). After a nice walk around the Point and learning about some of the great ways to enjoy the outdoors in Pittsburgh, we took our own ‘lil adventure through Gateway Center and discovered a bunch of cool statues.

Here are some of our favorite photos from the day!

Felt Play Food #giveaway (I Made It! Market Jr.)

Update! drew comment #17 as the winner.

Congratulations, Tom!


Next Saturday, all of you should head down to Bakery Square and check out I Made It! Market Jr.! There are many reasons. It’s a great way to enjoy Earth Day. It’s Family Fun in the Square (and parking is free). Thirty artists will be selling handmade goodies–this time around, it is geared toward goodies for kids. AND, more importantly, because you really need to check out the handmade felt creations by Leslie of chikin feathers!

Leslie is a Pittsburgher, a mom, an accountant, and an avid crafter. She is handy at lots of different crafts, but will be showcasing her latest passion, felt play food, at I Made It! Market Jr. next Saturday. A few years ago, Leslie started hand stitching felt play food for her daughter (who wanted food that was prettier than plastic). Lucky for us, she is now marketing her wares, and let me tell you, they are gorgeous and see pays so much attention to detail! They are so awesome, I almost crawled through my computer trying to eat these goodies. I mean, who wouldn’t want to try?

(I know that ‘lil Man is going to be drooling all over these, and ‘lil Miss A will be feeding her babies yummy treats. Can’t blame them!)

Hopefully you’ll be able to make it out to I Made it Market! Jr. next Saturday (April 21) in Bakery Square from 12-4 PM. Stop by Leslie’s booth and tell her I sent you. Pick up some of these goodies for the ‘lil ones in your life! If you can’t make it on Saturday, Wildcard in Lawrenceville carries some of Leslie’s products, and she’ll be opening up her Etsy Shop soon. She will be expanding to felt notebooks, childrens games, hair accessories and other felt items as well as eventually offering patterns for sale!

But, because Leslie is so great, she has teamed up with me with a giveaway of a set of her felt play food! One of you will be lucky enough to receive a set of felt play food–the pancakes and strawberries (pictured above)! Leslie will ship the set to the winner after Saturday’s show.

Here are the details:
-Readers have until 11:59 PM on Friday, April 20 to enter. The winner will be picked via, notified by e-mail, and will have 48 hours to reply.
-Leslie will send the winner their goodies.
-Entries can be earned by:
1. Mandatory–Comment on this post. Which of the felt foods is your favorite?
2. Optional–“Like” I Made It! Market on Facebook. Come back here and leave a comment telling me you have (include your Facebook name).
3. Optional–RSVP for I Made It! Market Jr. on Facebook. Come back here and leave a comment telling me you have (include your Facebook name).
4. Optional–Enter another I Made It! Market Jr. giveaway hosted by any of the other bloggers who’ve teamed up with the artists, come back here, and tell me which one(s) you entered! (1 comment per each.)

Lots of chances to win, good luck!


Here are the other bloggers and artists who are participating:
1. Gina is hosting a Very Merry Glass night light giveaway. (You can bet I’ll be throwing some money down on one of the ellie night lights!)

2. Dawn is hosting a giveaway of a personalized set of a onesie, a blanket, and four burp cloths from Grace in Abundance.

3. Dina is hosting a Gillie Beans Boutique roll-up crayon case giveaway.

4. Michelle is hosting a giveaway of a photography session with Anne Lopez Photography–go enter!

As more bloggers and artists enter, they will be listed here. Good luck!

First Haircut

Today was the day. A day 3 years and almost 5 months in the making. ‘lil Miss A got her first haircut. Nothing major in style, just a nice trim up to help tame the hot mess that her hair becomes most days.

(The cape is perfect for our ‘lil miss, isn’t it?) We went to our local MasterCuts in the mall just to see prices. One of my friends in Myrtle Beach worked at a MasterCuts, so I knew that if there was only 2 people on the list ahead of us, it was going to be a short wait. They’re just that kind of good. I signed us up and in the time it took Mr. Burgher to get A to the bathroom and back, they were ready for us.

I was quite happy we got the stylist we did–she wasn’t the youngest or oldest in the salon AND she had a nice haircut, so I knew we could trust her. She’d be cutting my hair, too, after all. 😉 ‘lil Miss A let me lift her into the seat with boosters, then it was time to get to work.

Although she wasn’t near as chatty as I was with the stylist, she sure did sit well for her (unlike that one time I tried to cut her hair.) Before we knew it, the first snips were done.

She even let the stylist use the blow-dryer on her when she was done–something she never lets me even get near her. When the haircut and style were done, A got sparkles sprayed in her golden locks and then was given a lollipop and tattoo. She was one happy camper, and very happy to show off her “new look”. She quickly became a Diva and just might have threw her weight around throughout the evening because of her new status.

After one haircut, she’s an expert on hair. She even suggested I keep the clips and foils in my hair because they made me “beautifuler”.

While we were there, Mr. Burgher got a small trim up (he’s growing out his curls) and they let ‘lil Man don a cape and sit on his lap to see how it worked. I set out for a trim and got a good bit of style and color in my hair (well overdue) plus an eyebrow wax. It was a treatment that was very much needed and made this Mama feel happy.

(By the way–MasterCuts has a great special right now on cut, color, and eyebrow wax–you even get a bottle of nail polish! You should stop in and get this great treatment, too. This isn’t in any way a sponsored post, just a neighborly service to tell you what a great deal you can get. Send me a note if you’d like our stylist’s name, too!)

Celebrating a Birth

It is hard to believe, but ‘lil Man is already a week into his second year of life! The past week has been full of celebrations, ending with last night’s birthday pizza party. He really had a good time opening the gifts and cards (with some help from his sister, of course). In true fashion, all of his presents make noise or are adorable outfits. Every single thing he got really was perfect for him (thank you all!). More on that later, though.

Mama and Daddy Burgher had a favorite moment of the week (and surprisingly, no, it was not our late night salmon burger candlelight dinner to celebrate the past year). My Twitter friends really are an amazing group of folks. Many of you wished ‘lil Man a Happy Birthday before he even woke up. Two of you played a huge part in his day, and I am extremely honored to have your talents be part of this day. Ok, enough already, time to share!

A fellow local blogger and mom, M of Burgh Baby has always taken amazing photographs of her daughter and has begun to test the waters of photographing other people (and their kids). I was lucky enough to snug a few hours off work to gather up the ‘lil Burghers and head to her house for a photo shoot for ‘lil Man’s big day.

But Mama Burgher wanted this shoot to be special. It needed to involve a smash cake, and I had a vision. I was willing to “sacrifice” and get a cake to from a local bakery or the grocery store and it just be average. What did it matter? It was just a cake, right? I could have made one, but honestly, I wanted the chance to highlight someone else’s work, support local business, and not take up my time making it. Frustrated with my options, I sent out a tweet to a local baker who competed on this season of Buddy (The Cake Boss)’s Next Great Baker, wishing she could make ‘lil Man’s cake. Not long after, she replied, asking for details. And she worked with me. And she delivered my vision. And she blew me away. I was jealous that ‘lil Man was going to destroy this great cake from Megs of La Dee Dah’s.

As M set up for the photo shoot, it was clear she meant business. She had the right lighting and the perfect set up for the shoot. (And M, can I just say again, thank you for letting ‘lil Man do a number on your floor…it probably still smells like icing in there!) The day was a bit dreary, but she worked with ‘lil Man, making him smile, giggle, and show his big blue eyes. We were so happy and so excited when we got the photos. Seriously, M is amazing.

Thank you all for making ‘lil Man’s day so special. The gifts, the memories, the smiles. Thank you, thank you.