Vintage Fashion Swimwear

It’s pool party season.  What’s in your swimwear bag?  If you’re a fan of vintage style, here’s one of my favorites.

Vintage Swimwear

Photo Courtesy: Unique Vintage

Missy tag


Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins

Nothing is tastier to me this time of year than fresh berries.  I remember as a kid, helping my grandmother and great-grandmother pick fresh blueberries from Great Grandma Jones’ blueberry bushes.  Of course, it was a “one for the berry bucket, one for me” kind of thing.  But, it’s better to do that with fresh fruit than, let’s say, a bag of mini Snickers, right?

Once the berries were picked and cleaned, Grandma Stone would prepare them for her from-scratch blueberry pie.  While blueberry pie is good, it’s not as convenient to make.  You have to make a crust – two crusts for that matter since it’s a closed pie.  And, then you have to bake it for the better part of an hour.  And, then you have to cut it into slices.  Besides, if you don’t have somewhere to take it and share, you’re stuck eating a whole pie (or letting it go to waste – but, who really does that with pie?).

While I love Grandma Stone’s blueberry pie, I’ve found that blueberry muffins are a quick and easy way to get my blueberry fix.  I can also freeze them, which comes in handy when I have a couple dozen on hand.  While I enjoy your basic, run-of-the-mill blueberry muffin, I have to admit that adding some cinnamon changes the flavor profile – drastically (but, in a really good way).

Blueberry Cinnamon Muffins

Cinnamon Blueberry Muffins – Recipe

6 Tbsp Butter (Melted)

1 c Brown Sugar (Packed)

1/2 c Milk

1 Egg

1 1/2 c Flour

1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/2 tsp Salt

1 1/2 c Blueberries*

– Preheat oven to 400 and prepare muffin tin (either with baking papers or lightly greased).

– Whisk butter, brown sugar, milk, and egg.

– In a separate bowl combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt.

– Add the wet ingredients to the bowl of dry ingredients and fold until the batter is combined.

– Fold in blueberries.

– Pour batter into prepared muffin tin and bake approximately 15-20 minutes.  (They’re done when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.)

*NOTE: I like to use fresh, organic blueberries when they’re in season.  They’re naturally sweet and not sour.  However, when off-season, I will use frozen blueberries.  I just let them thaw and rinse them vigorously before adding to the batter.

Missy tag

Woah…This BINGO.

I have heard of it for a while now, seen the pictures, and heard the rumblings of hoots over “O69″…But this BINGO was OUTrageous. Once a month the Rodef Shalom Congregation in Oakland fills with people all to host a great night for charity filled with shouts of “BINGO” and cheers from the players when asked “Who wants some MONEY?” 11377145_10153459950263787_6022503966666340938_n Tickets sell out, sometimes a month in advance, and go for $18 for 6 boards for about 10 regular play games. There are three special games and one Twitter game where they secretly give out four numbers over Twitter. The special games are the big money. There is also 50/50 raffle and As seen on TV giveaways and door prizes. 11112216_10153459949948787_6104323761479481093_n But there is the charity and why this night is important and it was solidified when this BINGO virgin had to take an oath with her BINGO marker raised in the sky. It was only a game and the point was to raise money and have fun. There is a guest caller for a game also. This night it was Hugh McGough a judge in the Oakland area who marries a lot of same sex couples, one of which was there that night. 11046343_10153459950178787_702119950189251697_n There is also a Drag Queen and Drag King Show intermission with music, dancing, and fun. OUTrageous BINGO is taking a BINGO break over the summer and will resume again in September so keep your eye to the Facebook Page for the release of tickets. And a Super Spoiler Alert: There is a OUTrageous Bingo on Halloween this year and there is costumes and treats all night long from what I hear. This girl didn’t win but I had a blast and can’t wait for fall to join in again. So as they say at OUTrageous BINGO: Now Sit Down, Shut Up, and Play Bingo! Check out OUTrageous BINGO. Facebook and Twitter. amanda tag

‘Murica Summer Fashion

I am usually not the one to get on board with style things.  I practically live my life in jeans and t-shirts.  A lot of my rationale behind that is my size.  As a girl who’s been a size 16/18 for the better part of the last decade, finding something I actually like can be difficult.

With the advent of Pinterest however, my style options have opened.  Take this outfit, for instance:

Summer Ensemble

*Photo from Plus Model Magazine

This outfit could easily work as a work outfit, or a cute party outfit (maybe without the jacket).  You can dress it up or down with accessories to fit your needs.  I really have to admit I’m all about the strappy sandals.  They’re totes adorbs.

Missy tag

Quick Bite: Proper Brick Oven and Taproom

On the last day of Pride and Three Rivers Arts Festival I found myself in that scary rain storm that cleared Downtown Pittsburgh in about 15 minutes. Steve and I had an umbrella and so the fear of a lightning strike is all we had to worry about so we continued on with our Downtown Date


Steve enjoyed a beer, a Purgatory from Helltown, and we ordered the Carnivore Pizza. It came topped with Pepperoni, sausage and bacon. All the Meats. It was delicious. We decided the best part was the garlic taste in the crust. It wasn’t bettered on and wasn’t obvious when you looked at it, but you could taste it.


Our bill wasn’t a sticker shock either (under 30). Overall it was a great spot to wait out the storm and wait for the next T ride home.

amanda tag

Mookshi Wellness Center (Yoga)

Between my husband, and my sister, and a few friends, there has been a movement over the past decade or so for me to do yoga.  I’ve gone to the gym in the past, and done home workouts, but the idea of going to a class has never been high on my list of goals.  The idea of a yoga class is actually that much lower on my list.  I blame it on my pursuit of success and not wanting to fail miserably as the “new kid” in the class not knowing anything.

After much haranguing, I finally gave in and attended a yoga class with my sister.

For those of you in Pittsburgh and its outlying areas, my sister lives in Regent Square, which I consider a nice little niche area the other side of Downtown from where I live in the South Hills.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but to put it in perspective – they have a yoga studio or three in Regent Square, whereas I have no yoga studio in Beechview.  And, I crossed a river and went through a couple tunnels to visit my sister’s yoga studio – so you know it was something I made an effort for as many Pittsburghers stay on one side of the city, rarely crossing a bridge let alone going through two tunnels to do something.

I have to admit, I enjoyed the class.  My sister has a membership to the studio, so I attended as her guest for a very nominal fee for the morning.  As a yoga newbie, I did bring my own mat – it’s a little thicker and my back appreciates the extra padding ever since my car accident over a decade ago.  (The accident wasn’t crippling, but it left some residual soft-tissue issues that flare up when I overdo things – like hang out on a hardwood floor for extended periods of time.)

For starters, the instructor, “L,” was super nice.  It’s not that I expected a yoga instructor not to be nice, but she didn’t single me out as a clueless newbie.  Yoga Class Fear #1 was therefore averted.  The class was pretty full for the space, but comfortably so.  And, of course my sister and I got there just before the class began – which meant spots right up front.  Yoga Class Fear #2 was therefore not averted – the newbie was at the front of the class in front of the other students who’ve been there.  Even though “L” wouldn’t be judging, I couldn’t speak for the rows of folks behind me.  Presumably, they wouldn’t be judging, but of course in my “worst-case-scenario” kind of way, I automatically assumed I would do something horribly egregious and get called out for it.  But, putting that fear aside, I sucked it up and we started our 90-minute yoga class.

Mookshi Studio Floor

L made it a point to ask about any health issues at the outset.  When I mentioned my neck and back issues, she told me she would keep the movements within my wheelhouse.  And, she did.  There were only a couple poses I struggled with, and I modified them as necessary.  L even gave modification instruction for those of us who couldn’t do the full version.  The couple poses I had difficulty with, she was helpful in not just showing me, but adjusting me, and things were good to go.

Although the class was 90 minutes long, it didn’t feel that way – especially after I let go and gave in to it.  Yes, the first 30 minutes or so I kept consciously thinking about what I was doing and whether I was looking like a dork.  The last hour was when I finally just relaxed and concentrated on what I was doing and the really soothing sounds of L’s voice as she gave instruction.  I swear, if I wasn’t bending and stretching in the various poses, it is quite possible I could have fallen asleep – but in a good, I was that relaxed, kind of way.

I realized when I was briefly speaking with L and some of the other students afterwards, that I had actually done pretty well with my first yoga class.  And, I didn’t feel like an outsider as I had at the beginning of the class.  Truthfully, I’m looking at hitting up more classes with my sister in the future.  I’ve also checked out their website, and may look into some of their other classes and services, too.

Missy tag

Nelly and TLC and New Kids, Oh My

We’ve all had a favorite band.  Actually, we’ve all had a few favorite bands over the years.  Musical groups form and break up.  Our musical preferences evolve and change.  As a young girl, I joined the multitude of other girls – ages ten to sixteen in my love of all things New Kids on the Block.   With the variety afforded by Jordan, Jonathan, Joey, Donnie, and Danny it didn’t matter whether you were into bad boys or the boy next door.  NKOTB had it all.
When the group made their comeback in 2011 with a tour with the Backstreet Boys, the group’s fans found themselves a little bit older, but still just as in love with the group as ever.  This year’s “Main Event” tour finds fans still just as in love with America’s favorite boys from Boston.  Touring with Nelly and TLC, it was another trip down memory lane as the masses poured into Consol Arena for the show.
Nelly opened the night.  He looks a little older than we all remember, but it was still a great set.  It was definitely a good warm-up for, well, the Main Event.
Truthfully, I was curious to see how the TLC performance was going to go.  After the loss of Left Eye a few years ago, I wasn’t sure if/how it would be addressed.  The first thing I noticed – as did the group of friends I was with, was how amazing Chilli looks!  She doesn’t look much different than she did when the group originally toured.  And, talk about how in-shape she is!  My friend, Katie, even tweeted about how amazing Chilli looked at the show.  Overall, Chilli and T-Boz held the fort down.  Although Left Eye was not there, she was on all our minds, especially during the performance of “Waterfalls” which was a tribute the crowd became part of – both singing along and waving those magical, lighter replacement cellphones throughout the arena.
Then it was time for the Main Event.  With an audio/video introduction a la a professional sporting event, NKOTB was announced as if they were making their way to the ring for a boxing match – ring robes included.  The intro included a three-minute voice over formally announcing the “undisputed, heavyweight champions of the boy band world.”  The shrieks, screams, and general crowd clamor was a testament as to how excited everyone was for the show.  And, it certainly did not disappoint.
Thankfully, the jumbotron screen in the center of the arena reminded us all of exactly how old we are when it took us back in time to particular highlight points of the band’s musical career, including a video screen announcing the year *cough*1990*cough*.  (For those keeping record, 1990 was 25 years ago.  I was in elementary school.)  They played a variety of classic NKOTB songs, as well as some new material.  With a set full of choreography, lights, and confetti (ZOMG SO MUCH CONFETTI) we were signing and dancing along with our favorite songs.
Quick Change Cam
It was certainly a grown-up show, too.  The language coming out of those mouths at the show would have required a “Mature Language” sticker if it would have been included on on a copy of “Hangin’ Tough” back in 1988.  Add to that the sexual overtones of an open/no-shirted cover of “Sweet Dreams” and it was clear to see that the group was certainly playing to their more matured crowd.  They also included a “Quick Change Cam” that covered their mid-performance costume change.  The live view action camera – set up in what was presumably to be like a security camera placed in the corner of the dressing area under the stage, inspired all sorts of wolf whistles and cat calls.  However, my group was not as keen on that apparent intent.  We observed the spot with some head scratching and laughter at how over-the-top it was – a peek at the boys in varying states of undress, a cameo shot of a Penguins jersey to play to the Pittsburgh crowd, and even a smooch to the camera by Donnie.
NKOTB Confetti2
All in all, it was a great girls’ night out event among friends and a trip down memory lane as we revisited our youth.  But, I realized our youth was not as revisited as the ladies who sat in the Consol Loge seating at the end of our section – the ladies who wore what appeared to be original NKOTB t-shirts that they likely wore in Jr. High School back in the 90s.  Their dedication to the comeback tour was most certainly to be applauded.
Missy tag