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.

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!

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. 

 

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 go 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 go 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

A lot changes in a year...

Indeed. Just in this last year I've become a college graduate, held two different jobs, began teaching voice privately, covered my dream role in the operatic repertoire, started this blog, and performed two full recitals with dream programs. Not to mention a whole host of other experiences that left me feeling renewed. I learned a lot this year. Like how to put myself first. I've always understood the essential life fact of taking care of yourself before you take care of others, but it's not always easy to put that into practice. It's something I get better at with each decision. It's not about staying at home in a bubble bath, because you want to avoid putting yourself out there. It's also not about going out every night, because you're afraid of missing out. (Guess which problem I have.) It's about the wisdom to know what's best for yourself in each individual situation. I don't always innately want to do what's best for myself, but with the experiences of this year, I've found that I always know what's best for myself. It's about honesty. Honesty with others and honesty with yourself. So here's to more of that this year. 

   Abercrombie sweater  , Frye   boots  , Free people jeans (very similar   here  )  P.S. The sweater and boots are now on sale!!

Abercrombie sweater, Frye boots, Free people jeans (very similar here)

P.S. The sweater and boots are now on sale!!

What I've Been Rummaging For This Winter

I've been rummaging through sale bins, clothes racks, and boxes for unique things since I could walk. My grandmother and I always hit thrift shops together, and my parents and I go to flea markets and yard sales constantly. I always come away with some great finds. While I love Etsy, there's something extremely satisfying about physically looking for things, pushing past a bunch of stuff you would never consider to find something you can't live without. I definitely go in phases of what I keep my eye out for, which leads to having great collections. Here's what's been on my list to keep an eye out for recently, and some of what I've came away with!

  • Gloves- The weather has been terrible in Pittsburgh, and you can't get along without a pair of gloves. Lower end antique stores and flea markets typically have piles of them. Always remember to try them on! I have very small hands, but vintage gloves have often been way too tight for me. Generally, I keep my eye out for unique colors and textures. I have a pair of red leather ones and pink suede ones that I wear constantly. My most recent buy are the driving gloves with leather detailing pictured below. I purchased them for only $10. 
  • Hats- I have a huge vintage hat collection. I love hats, because they always take an outfit to the next level. I can't wait to style the red, white, and, blue striped beret I picked up for $10.
  • Scarves- I LOVE the smaller silk, satin, or chiffon neck scarves that were popular in 50s, 60s, and 70s. You can wear them close to a million ways. I prefer to wear them tied in simple knot at the side of my neck. I look for unique colors and prints, and I can't wait to style the printed one below that I found for $2. 
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  • Glassware- Can't say I'm a homeowner, but the adorable green mugs I got below are perfect catch-alls on my vanity at home. They're incredibly durable, and somehow, they don't look like I just left the dishes in my room. 
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Virgins on the Verge

Here are some photos my talented friend Tristan, of Impression Lasting, took to promote my upcoming song recital, Virgins on the Verge. The program will feature songs exploring the psyches of women such as Ophelia, Mirabai, and the Virgin Mary. Highlights of the program are Strauss's Ophelia Lieder, John Harbison's Mirabai Songs with a full chamber orchestra, and Purcell's The Blessed Virgin's Expostulation. I tried my best to emulate Ophelia in this shoot. We shot at Schenley Lake, and I still can't believe I got in that water... 

The link to check out the event on Facebook can be found here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1932847853398707/

Check out more of Tristan's work on his Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Implaspho/

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Happy Memorial Day

 

 My dad owns a 1943 Willy's MB, and we have the opportunity to ride in our community parade. We reenact allied forces from World War II to honor the sacrifices of The Greatest Generation. Today, my mom dressed as a civilian, I wore an original WAVE seersucker work uniform, and my dad wore army summer khakis with the 8th service command patch. For four years now, I have had the honor of singing the national anthem at the ceremony following the parade. I hope you celebrate this day with your community and remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom.   

My dad owns a 1943 Willy's MB, and we have the opportunity to ride in our community parade. We reenact allied forces from World War II to honor the sacrifices of The Greatest Generation. Today, my mom dressed as a civilian, I wore an original WAVE seersucker work uniform, and my dad wore army summer khakis with the 8th service command patch. For four years now, I have had the honor of singing the national anthem at the ceremony following the parade. I hope you celebrate this day with your community and remember those that made the ultimate sacrifice defending freedom.