October Picks

What you can catch me wearing, eating, drinking, and experiencing this month!

WEAR

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Despite almost every other blogger’s excitement over fall, I couldn’t be more upset! This summer was an amazing one for me, and there’s nothing appealing about fall weather to me. I actually think I have more fashion options when it’s warm outside…I know you don’t agree. It’s okay. However, to perk myself up, I treated myself to this fall vest from Altard State. I love the length. It’s long enough to be cozy, but it doesn’t swallow my petite frame. It comes in orange and blue as well, which is adorable, but I went with the red and navy, so that I can wear it with red lipstick.

I also recently went on a huge vintage shopping trip with my friend Alexa from Strawberry Vanilla. I’ll be showing you where we shopped along with my outfits soon!

EAT

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The cafe owner I work for is a total foodie. He’s tried 57 different restaurants in Pittsburgh in the last year, which is absolutely incredible. He. knows. food. I told him I love tacos, and he said I have to get to Baby Loves Tacos in Bloomfield, so guess where I’ll be heading?! There. You guessed it.

ALSO, more tacos. I tried La Poblanita in Coraopolis for the first time last week, and I’ll definitely be back this month. It’s the perfect fast lunch. Super delish tacos grilled fresh outside a Mexican grocery store. Get there a little early, because the line gets insane right at noon for lunch! Their chorizo is incredible, and their super fresh toppings bar makes it easy and fast to customize!

DRINK

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I work at a cafe in the morning into the afternoon before I teach, and they got me hooked on this dairy-free Califia Farms almond creamer! The almond vanilla is my favorite (not too sweet, and not distinctive enough that I get sick of it), but they also have maple pecan, hazelnut, and pumpkin spice. I’ve been pairing it with cold-brew at home, because I’m not letting go of cold coffee until it snows. You can buy the creamer at Whole Foods and Safran’s in Sewickley.

BRGR just opened a new pop up bar in East Liberty called the Wayfayer, and it is honestly one of the coolest spots I’ve been in Pittsburgh. It has an incredible view that includes parts of Shadyside on one end and East Liberty Presbyterian Church on the other. They have events there with different DJs and the last one I attended was a blast. Click on the link, so that you can keep up with the events that will be coming up. The cocktails are incredible here as well. I got the best Aperol Spritz I’ve ever had and a super spicy Jalapeño Margarita.

I’ll be heading to the Lorelai soon with Hannah, a pittsburgh vlogger and friend! Just from taking a peek at their menu, I’ll definitely be giving the Redhead Swizzle a try! I love Jägermeister and strawberry-infused Jägermeister sounds even better. UPDATE: Hannah and I hit this place for Friday happy hour, and not many things were on special! At least not that we wanted! I tried the Redhead Swizzle, and it was incredible, but very strong. Only have one if you’re not planning on driving! Also the place is highly instragammable! The aesthetic is gorgeous!

DO/TRAVEL

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My October is filled with travel! Boston and Williamsburg, VA are on the list. I’ll be spending only a little over 24 hours in Boston, but I’ll have time in Williamsburg to share all of my favorite spots! If you want a to-do list prior to my trip, comment below, otherwise I’ll be posting the travel journal afterward. I was there last January (pic of me then above), and had a blast with New Years festivities, but I’m excited to enjoy fall activities in one of my favorite places. It’s hard for me to make plans this month, because of my work and travel schedule, but I’ll certainly add to this list later on if I do any other fun fall activities this October!

Get the Look: Casablanca

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Ingrid Bergman is pure elegance on screen as Ilsa Lund in Casablanca. She shows a great deal of vulnerability throughout the film, and portrays her pain as sympathetic even while Rick is remaining guarded. When she comes to visit him the first night, she wears a long, elegant, yet utilitarian, dress. This gray dress I'm wearing seems to have both the fluidity and structure necessary to recreate the essence of her look. The jewelry I'm wearing is from Havana's Heyday! Check her out the online shop here. Photos were taken by Alex Corrie

 

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 Shoes from   Charlotte Russe

Shoes from Charlotte Russe

Get the Look: Double Indemnity

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Barbara Stanwyck is the ultimate femme fatale in Double Indemnity. She's absolutely flawless in looks. Perfectly polished with loads of sex appeal. She's also absolutely despicable, but some part of you likes her because of how charming she is. To recreate her style, I went for an ultra feminine cut on the top, and luxurious wide leg pants in a satin fabric. My hair is what really pulled this look together. Originally, I was going to wear bumper bangs like Stanwyck does in the film, but I actually look terrible with bangs. Thank gosh I never got them during one of the times I felt like I was having an identity crisis in my adolescence...except for that sideswept nightmare in seventh grade. All the eighth grade girls had them! Anyways, my hair was created with a large barrel curling iron, pins, hairspray, and a wet hair brush. My jewelry is from Havana's Heyday again! Check out the online store here! All my photos were taken by Alexander Corrie. 

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Get the Look: Vertigo

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In Vertigo, Kim Novak is pure elegance. I'm sure I didn't get close, but Havana's Heyday, an online jewelry boutique helped me out. Havana's Heyday sells unique jewelry vintage, the set I have on is from the site! Go visit their website for the perfect Mother's Day gift! 

I got the suit from Macy's. It feels super prim and proper, but super unique, so I don't feel stuffy. I paired it with velvet pumps and netted tights. 

All photos were captured by one of my all time favorite people to work with, Alex Corrie. Check out his website here

Get The Look: The Philadelphia Story

Wear Liz. Look Tracy.

Three Rivers Vintage helped me select this gorgeous 1940s two piece suit. The color was a major draw for me. The suit is practical, but makes a huge statement. This suit reminded me of something Liz would wear in the film. Stylish, simple, feminine, and fuss free. 

I paired the blazer with jeans for a more chill vibe, perfect for going out after work. For the look as a whole, I did my makeup and hair more like Tracy Lord (played by Katherine Hepburn) in the film, but I kept my outfit simple and practical like Liz Imbrie (played by Ruth Hussey). Tracy is often described as a "far away goddess" and she wears elaborate outfits in each scene, but Liz is a wise, down to earth working woman whose style is anything, but frivolous.

 

Cocktail Pairing: The Philadelphia Story

Kir Royale

As it turns out, Whiskey and Champagne do not go together. I couldn't make it happen. Not much of a spoiler if you haven't watched the film yet, but the certain characters get smashed off champagne, and later in the evening, the reporter, Macaulay Connor, remarks, "Champagne's funny stuff. I'm used to whiskey. Whiskey is a slap on the back, and champagne is heavy mist before my eyes." Well, for good reason, they do not pair nicely in a cocktail. However, a Kir Royale is one of my favorite drinks, and I thought it would be a particularly fitting to pair with the film, seeing as it's sweet and refined. I prefer to use Crème de cassis instead of Chambord, but you can use whatever you have in your liquor cabinet. You can also substitute Prosecco for Champagne. It's supposed to be one part Crème de cassis and nine parts champagne, but I bend the rules a little bit and go heavy on the Crème de cassis. I also always have frozen berries in my freezer, and they make the perfect garnish. This drink is super simple to make, but looks beautiful! Enjoy this bubbly drink while watching one the best rom-coms of all time this weekend! 

Melody and Grit Classic Film Challenge

Four classic films. One month. 

 

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This upcoming April, I am challenging my readers to watch four classic films and chat about them with me. I’ve selected a romantic comedy, suspense thriller, romantic drama, and film noir specifically for this month. The films on the list are well suited to all audiences and easily accessible for those new to classic films. Each week, I will prepare readers to watch the weekly film pick. On Wednesday I will post a cocktail pairing, and on Thursday I will post a "Get the Look," where I'll feature an outfit, hair, and makeup design inspired by the week's film. A full content recap of the film will go live on Saturday morning.

How to Take the Challenge

Join the Facebook group to chat about the film with myself and other readers taking the challenge! The Facebook group is called Melody & Grit Classic Film Challenge.  I will also be engaging with any followers on Instagram and the blog if you want to chat about the films, drop me a line! 

Are you ready? 

Week of Sunday, April 1st: Philadelphia Story

Week of Sunday, April 8th: Vertigo

Week of Sunday, April 15th: Double Indemnity

Week of Sunday, April 22nd: Casablanca

All of the films are available on Amazon and other retailers! They may also be available at your local library. Click on the movie title for a link to rent or buy the film on Amazon video. 

 

Spring Beauty Refresh

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Spring is my favorite season, because it feels fresh and exciting. I've listed all the beauty products I've purchased to prepare for the warmer months ahead! 

Refresh of the Basics

I generally prefer to take it easier on my hair, skin, lashes, etc once it warms up in order to recover from winter, so I looked for light and nourishing formulas.

1. Definicils primer and mascara: The primer preps and protects my lashes while the mascara sharply defines them without clumping or flaking. 
2. Pro Longwear Nourishing Waterproof FoundationThis foundation has a medium coverage, and the texture doesn't slide off my face. I can use it as a concealer in my t-zone with BB cream all over or as an all-over foundation when I need a little more coverage. 
3. Bi-Facil Double Action Eye Makeup RemoverThis stuff has a cult following and for good reason. It's one of the only products that actually succeeds in removing all my eye makeup without making me feel like an oil slick afterwards. 
4. Skindinavia: The Makeup Finishing SprayOne of my co-workers told me about this product, so I had to order it to try it out! It comes in a super large bottle, so I don't think I'll be running out anytime soon. When I use it, color does not budge from my face, but it doesn't create its own texture like some setting sprays and powders do. 

Let's Glow Already

In the winter I prefer a more matte finish to my makeup, but now I'm ready to glow! My skin has been looking a little dull lately from the prolonged cold weather. 

5. GenefiqueNow that I'm working in the beauty industry, skincare has become a major priority to me. One of the most important things with skincare is to start a regimen early to combat signs of aging. I decided to give Genefique a try. It's Lancome's #1 serum, and for good reason. It fights all signs of aging. When I press it into my skin, (not rub!) it absorbs immediately. 
6. Mac Strobe Cream in Goldlite: Mac's Strobe Cream is one of a kind. It comes in a few shades depending on your skin's undertones. Generally, my skin and coloring can go warm or cool, so I decided to go with Goldlite to bring out my golden undertones for the warmer weather ahead! I mix this in with my foundation to give me an extra glow. 
7. Extra Dimension Blush in Sweets for My Sweet: This blush is designed to reflect light, so it gives me a "lit from within" look. Everyone seems to be skipping blush these days, but I think it can give everyone a softer and brighter look. 
8. Bronze Goddess Eau Fraîche Skinscent: I love this fragrance, because it reminds me of summer without smelling like straight sunscreen. I smell amber, vanilla, coconut, citrus, and sandalwood when I wear it, but click on the link to see a listing of every note it contains! Smelling this in the morning has been a serious mood-booster for me! 

*The eyeshadow palette was included in a gift with purchase from Estee Lauder! Go check out their products today to see what you can receive with your next purchase! 

Shake, Rattle, Roll

(Steak?) shake, rattle and roll

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I love late 50s-early 60s style. The silhouettes flatter most shapes, and the aesthetics are so feminine with a rebel edge. I'm also obsessed with vintage midi-skirts. I have at least five in my closet, and they can achieve all kinds of vibes. When I saw this classic, black, satin one in a shop in Baltimore called Hunting Ground, I had to get it. I can't wait to wear it all spring. When I'm not in this outfit, during the day for picnics, I'll pair it with espadrilles and tied button downs and then at night for shows, I'll wear it with a turtleneck and pumps. 

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All photographs were taken by Ryan Shimko! He's seriously talented; check out him out on his website here. 

Shop my top at Express! It's available in petite and regular sizing! 

Black, white, and red all over

photos by Mphilip photo

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I can't begin to describe how on board I am with the bell sleeve/bell bottom trend. I dig 70s fashion, and I love incorporating elements of it into my outfits (a-line minis, bell bottoms, center parts!). What fashion trends from other eras do you love incorporating into your looks? Let me know in the comments! 

Avec les filles top, The Trend PGH skirt, H&M tights (not online), Sabika choker

How I'm Ditching My Winter Blues

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I love summer, but hate winter. That's my six word memoir. Nothing about winter appeals to me, and I could spend the Christmas season in Hawaii. Sure white Christmases are pretty, but so is eighty-degree weather and sunshine. Here's a list of things I do to beat my winter blues and look ahead to spring! 

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1. Essential oils

Aromatherapy is powerful. Scents can trigger memories and emotions in a way nothing else can. At this point, I've ditched the wintry scents like peppermint and cinnamon in favor of tangerine and lime. dōTERRA has some of the best stuff on the market in my opinion. 

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2. Get away

I know that it is easier said than done with work and other obligations. However, traveling doesn't always have to break the bank. Book an Airbnb in a town you can drive to, and do some touristy things.  I've been fortunate to do a bunch of traveling this winter, and it has made a world of difference. A change of scenery is sometimes all I need to really get my mind off the mundane.

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3. Make your morning routine more fun.

I'm guilty of waking up at the last minute for everything. Especially in the winter. Getting ready early just doesn't appeal to me. However, giving yourself a little more time, and including something you're going to look forward to can improve your mood for the rest of the day. Grab coffee on the way in to work. Watch music videos while you eat your breakfast (high school throwback I know). Listen to music in the shower. Call that family member you know is always up early. My pap is my morning person. 

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4. Take advantage of that odd fifty degree day. 

When I had a convertible, on the first day it broke 55 degrees, I'd put my top down and crank the heat. I never cared about the dirty looks and eye-rolls from other people. Even pretending that it was warmer than it was, and enjoying the outside air for once, made me so happy. So next time it breaks 55 this February, grill dinner outside, take an outside walk on your lunch break, and roll those windows down (or soft top if you're lucky!). 

 

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5. Initiate plans with your friends.

Doing so isn't always easy. I know. When you choose the venue or you are the host, you tend to feel responsible for everyone's good time. Less than 10% of the people you invite actually make it. The list goes on, but the more you initiate plans, the more you realize it's not personal. Also, you are actually only responsible for your good time, and initiating plans is yet another way to take agency of your happiness. 

 Three Rivers Vintage Bell Bottom Jeans, Frye   boots  ,   Fame and Rebel Boutique   sweater

Three Rivers Vintage Bell Bottom Jeans, Frye boots, Fame and Rebel Boutique sweater

Let me know what you do to improve your mood during winter! I hope you give one these tips a try. Check out how I implement them in my Instagram stories. Here's hoping for sunny skies ahead! 

Outdoor photos are by Victoria Miller Photography, and indoor photos are by Elise Michaux. It was awesome to work with more amazing photographers at the last Pgh Blogger Babes meet-up! 

Vintage Valentine Date Night

I've never been a homebody. Sitting around the house on a Friday gives me more anxiety than going out and trying something new. I'm the first to admit that I have serious FOMO issues. Here are seven options for getting out on the town if you're anything like me, or if you're looking to step outside your comfort zone. 

  1. Visit a wine bar.  This is my favorite thing to do with my best friend. We get a large cheese plate, some glasses of wine, and talk to one another and the bartender if it's not too crowded. My favorite places in Pittsburgh are   The Wine Room at Market St. Grocery   and   Allegheny Wine Mixer  . 

1. Visit a wine bar. This is my favorite thing to do with my best friend. We get a large cheese plate, some glasses of wine, and talk to one another and the bartender if it's not too crowded. My favorite places in Pittsburgh are The Wine Room at Market St. Grocery and Allegheny Wine Mixer

  2. Do something extra touristy.  Pittsburgh is an especially beautiful city, so the view from Mount Washington is something to behold. Taking the incline up the mountain is touristy, but it's actually a neat experience that most Pittsburghers forgo, because they think it's a cliché. 

2. Do something extra touristy. Pittsburgh is an especially beautiful city, so the view from Mount Washington is something to behold. Taking the incline up the mountain is touristy, but it's actually a neat experience that most Pittsburghers forgo, because they think it's a cliché. 

  3. Go swing dancing.  There are a lot of places in Pittsburgh to take a swing dancing lesson and then go dancing for the night. I've been going to   Swing City   in Pittsburgh for years, and I always have a great time. The lessons are super helpful, and they also allow you to meet the other dancers out there before the actual dance begins. 

3. Go swing dancing. There are a lot of places in Pittsburgh to take a swing dancing lesson and then go dancing for the night. I've been going to Swing City in Pittsburgh for years, and I always have a great time. The lessons are super helpful, and they also allow you to meet the other dancers out there before the actual dance begins. 

  4. Gallery crawl.  Pittsburgh has readily scheduled gallery crawls in the city, but there are so many art museums here that you can even make your own. Hop from a traditional art museum to a modern art museum to get some variety! 

4. Gallery crawl. Pittsburgh has readily scheduled gallery crawls in the city, but there are so many art museums here that you can even make your own. Hop from a traditional art museum to a modern art museum to get some variety! 

  5. Late night bowling.  I'm definitely more of a bumpers-up kind of girl, but it's fun to do something physical and moderately challenging while having some beers with friends.   Arsenal Bowl   in Lawrenceville is a fun spot, especially on Thursdays!  

5. Late night bowling. I'm definitely more of a bumpers-up kind of girl, but it's fun to do something physical and moderately challenging while having some beers with friends. Arsenal Bowl in Lawrenceville is a fun spot, especially on Thursdays! 

  6. Go out and follow up with a late night diner run.  After a night of celebrating, I'm always hungry, so thank goodness for 24 hr diners. Ritters   in Bloomfield is my all time fav, and their pancakes are to-die-for. 

6. Go out and follow up with a late night diner run. After a night of celebrating, I'm always hungry, so thank goodness for 24 hr diners. Ritters in Bloomfield is my all time fav, and their pancakes are to-die-for. 

  7. See a show.  See a national tour. See some local theater. Whatever it is, I  promise  you, it will be more entertaining than that netflix series.   Outfit details:   Highway Robbery Vintage   Dress, Flea market earrings

7. See a show. See a national tour. See some local theater. Whatever it is, I promise you, it will be more entertaining than that netflix series. 

Outfit details: Highway Robbery Vintage Dress, Flea market earrings

Rips and Ruffles at Adda Coffee and Tea House

I love coffee shops. I think more than the average person. I was a barista at Anchor and Anvil Coffee Bar during high school. (Check them out if you haven't. Super high quality coffee.) My friends and I would grab coffee nearly everyday after class in high school. Then I carried that routine to college with new friends, and I made countless memories. I wrote my first feature article for our school newspaper there, met best friends for the first time, and even told someone I loved them for the first time. So, coffee shops...sacred ground. Not all shops are treated equal, however. I like high quality coffee and places that have honey for my tea. (I earned the nickname Pooh Bear in college, because I would bring honey to our campus Starbucks.) Corny as it sounds, you have to vibe there. A few weeks ago, when I walked into Adda Coffee and Tea House in the outfit pictured below, the vibe felt right. I ordered a Ginger Tumeric Latte, because as a singer I'm all about ingredients that boost immunity. The food was mouthwatering. They have vegan and gluten free options that are actually delicious. Hit this place up. They are located in Shadyside on South Highland Ave. 

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 Avec les filles blouse (Sold out, but similar   here  ),   STS blue jeans  , vintage earrings, Kmart shoes (old) 

Avec les filles blouse (Sold out, but similar here), STS blue jeans, vintage earrings, Kmart shoes (old) 

Photos by Stone Weiss. Check him out here

Edgy Prep

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Edgy Prep

Everyone has a signature wardrobe staple...

For me, that staple is a black turtleneck. I probably have five in my closet right now. Simple as they are, they always make me feel put together and unique. They pair perfectly with just about anything. Jeans jackets, motorcycle jackets, skirts, jeans, and in this case, an oversize blazer.

I've been coveting a pair of penny loafers all fall and winter, and I finally splurged at the Bass store while I was in Williamsburg over New Years. Of course I put a penny in one, because I'm just corny enough to do that. 

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 Turtleneck (old),   Avec les filles blazer ,  STS blue jeans ,  Bass loafers ,  vintage earrings

Turtleneck (old), Avec les filles blazer, STS blue jeans, Bass loafersvintage earrings

All photos were taken by M Phillip Photo. Check him out here: https://mphilipphoto.smugmug.com/

Over the Knee Boots

This past week has been hectic to say the least. Working nine hour days and trying to get more things accomplished on the days off has been rough, but I'm looking ahead to a vacation this upcoming week. Hopefully it will help me find some peace before auditions start up! That being said, when I'm heading out in the evening after a long day at work, no pair of shoes makes me feel as powerful as these over-the-knee boots. (Plus I got them on sale for under $40 at target, and they are linked below!)

 Photo by Stone Weiss. Check him out   here

Photo by Stone Weiss. Check him out here

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   Target boots ,  STS Blue jeans ,  H&M Top ,  Gorjana   Necklace (similar options available) ,  Vintage earrings  Other photos by Robert Whalen. Check him out   here.

Target boots, STS Blue jeans, H&M Top, Gorjana Necklace (similar options available), Vintage earrings

Other photos by Robert Whalen. Check him out here.