Archive | November, 2012

21st Century Womanhood, Anna Quindlen & the 92nd Street Y

30 Nov
Anna Quindlen

Anna Quindlen

On Monday, December 17, I will be speaking along with Shirley Goldstein, Louise Malakoff, and Christine Stone at a roundtable concerning 21st Century Womanhood, preceding Temple Sinai’s Broadcast of the 92nd Street Y talk on that same topic with Anna Quindlen and Jodi Kantor.  We will be presenting a diverse array of perspectives on a very relevant and important topic.  The discussion and broadcast will take place twice on December 17th, at 1pm and at 7:15pm. 

The 92nd Street Y broadcast series is one of my absolute favorite programs at Temple Sinai.  The speakers are always big names, and are intelligent and articulate.  The ticket price is low ($10 for Temple Sinai members, $15 for non-members, and free for University Students), and there is often a lively discussion along with the program.

Please join me!!

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Sakura Teppanyaki & Sushi in Squirrel Hill

29 Nov

After having tried decadant, amazing sushi from Umi, my tastebuds now only recognize 3 categories when it comes to sushi. Amazing (see: Umi), good enough, and grocery store refrigerator case. There are massive distinctions between each of the 3 categories, however inside each of the 3 categories, I don’t make many differentiations. Sakura falls into the middle category– which is not a bad place to be, mind you. I’d say most of the sushi restaurants I’ve ever visited fall into this category. I’m thinking New Dumpling House, Chaya, Sushi & Roll, etc. They all have decent sushi, perfect to fill a sushi craving, but honestly if given a choice between them, I don’t have strong feelings about one over another.

After reading an enthusiastic review for Sakura online, I decided that a sushi carry out night was in order. I love that Sakura offers online ordering. This may be a strange comment coming from a lawyer since so much of our work is done through phone calls, but I hate being on the phone. It always makes me happy to see online ordering, because that’s one less phone call for me to be miserable over. The downside to online ordering is that it takes twice as long. This is not an issue unique to Sakura. I find consistently that online orders take significantly longer to fulfill (or are overlooked entirely), probably because the staff is up hopping around the restaurant and not surfing the internet. However, if I’m not about to gnaw my arm off in starvation, I’m generally happy to wait a little longer for my order just so that I don’t have to do the dreaded call in.

I ordered a basic sushi combo, containing a couple of rolls, salad, and soup.  Both the quantity and quality were good.  The meal did not stand out as uniquely memorable, but rather nestled comfortably in that middle category of “that’ll do” sushi restaurants.

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Baby Beez loved the salad with ginger dressing.  Yes, she eats salad.  I did not realize this is unusual for a 2 year old until the day Baby Beez was in the hospital and the attending about hit the ceiling because she was AMAZED to see a 2 year old eating salad.  I’d like to take credit for this as some sort of superior parent influence, but we don’t eat salad all that often, and I have no idea how to “teach” a kid to like food other than to just stick it on her high chair tray and see if she’ll eat it.  Honestly I think credit for this goes more to her daycare.  They often give the kids salad with their lunches at the daycare, and I assume that’s where she acquired a taste for it.

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The miso soup was also a big hit with Baby Beez.  Oh, and me too.

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The final verdict on Sakura: Sure I’d get take out from there again, or go there for dinner.  I doubt I’ll find myself doubled over with a craving that only Sakura’s sushi will satisfy, but if Sakura is the dining option for the evening, sure I am game.

I am loving all the new and different Asian restaurants opening in Squirrel Hill.  A Ramen shop is opening soon on Forbes, and a Vietnamese cafe is slated to open on Murray.  Bubble Pi and Sumi’s Cakery are respectively Chinese and Korean bakeries that have each opened in Squirrel Hill in recent memory, both of which I’ve been meaning to try.  The new diversity of cuisine in this small commercial district is making me happy and hungry!  So who’s up for noodles and cakes?
Sakura Teppanyaki & Sushi on Urbanspoon

Layer Cake (2004)

28 Nov

Layer Cake is a more than typically clever drugs and guns flick.  It is full of guns (obviously), drugs (obviously), British accents, deception, plot twists, and several actors who are also in Harry Potter films (but no spells).  On the whole, the film was excellent, except I could have done without Sienna Miller.  I can always do without Sienna Miller.  Tom Hardy is in this film also, but his part is far too short.  I can always do with some more Tom Hardy.

I especially liked that the plot twists were neither painfully predictable, nor overwhelmingly complicated.  I tend to pay half-attention to films, and while my ears did have to perk up and I had to focus a little more to sort things out at times, by no means was I ever lost.

I am shocked that this movie is from 2004.  I had only heard of it recently, and had assumed it was a 2011 movie that I just missed.  Netflix it, kids. It’s a good show.

Drag Queens, Veggies and Hot Yoga

27 Nov

Item 1: Drag Queens. Since we are shamefully enthusiastic RuPaul’s Drag Race fans, ages ago Mr. Beez and I picked up tickets for the Naughty-or-Nice Holiday Bash with Sharon Needles at the Warhol Museum. And now the time is upon us! The party is this weekend! What on earth does a girl wear to a party with the spookiest drag queen in the country? Seriously, folks. I need some fashion guidance. I have no idea what to wear. My only ideas are black and sparkles. I don’t have much in my closet that fits the bill, so I may have to go shopping. What would you wear to this crazy event?

Item 2: Veggies. This is a Romanesco.

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Mr. Beez and I went to the East End Food-Coop a couple days before my birthday, and like a spoiled child, I went around the store demanding things. Anything that caught my eye, I demanded, because it is my birthday and I want it. The Romanesco was one such thing. I loved its funny shape. It is a relative of broccoli and cauliflower, but its texture (once cooked) is a little softer. I prepared it by steaming it, and it tasted almost identical to steamed cauliflower. It is not neatly divided into florets, so cutting it up for steaming was a huge mess. It was a great novelty, but since I can get the same taste cheaper and with less mess, I’ll probably stick to cauliflower (unless I have some desire to impress dinner guests with a strange veggie).

Item 3: Hot Yoga. As part of my Birthday-Eve (aka Day of Total Spoiledness), I took a yoga class. There are tons of yoga studios all over the city, offering every kind of yoga you can imagine. I decided to attend a class at Bikram Yoga Squirrel Hill because it is near my house and because the class schedule fit my availability for the day. As an added bonus, the studio is immediately above Wafflonia (Belgian Waffle Shop) and smells like delicious waffles.

I have done Power Vinayasa Yoga before (which is also in a hot room, but a different sequence of poses), but it was a long long time ago. I knew that my first class back would be like my first class ever, and would feel miserable. Truthfully, it was not too bad, because I was prepared for the misery. For first time attendees, they offer a special of $20 for 10 days of unlimited classes, and I managed to fit in 4 classes in that introductory period. The first class I thought I’d die. The 2nd class I got dizzy a few times. By the 3rd class, I was used to the heat and focusing on the poses.

I’ ve been dealing with a persistent bout of sciatica pain recently, and after 4 classes, the pain is noticibly diminished. (This is not much of a surprise, the pain usually subsides with chiropractic treatment, and the yoga is not too far afield from that). I especially like hot yoga because I am cold all the darn time. I love the feeling of being in the 105 degree room and the heat just surrounding me. If it were summertime, I would probably not feel the same way, but right now it’s winter and I love escaping the cold in that hot hot room.

I also really liked the instruction style at Bikram Yoga Squirrel Hill. The instruction is very straightforward– poses are explained in detail, occasional encouragement given, but it is neither new-agey nor too athletic coach-y. When assisting an individual in correcting a pose, the instructors tend to do it in a very positive fashion. For a kid that quit ballet and gymnastics due to being singled out as doing it wrong, the individualized attention at Bikram Yoga Squirrel Hill suits me well as friendly and encouraging.

Near the end of my 10 day introductory session, I decided to buy a 10 session pass. I love that they have classes at 6am and 8pm. The 8pm class is really key for me. Most studios offer their latest class at like 6 or 7, and that is still too early for me to be able to make it. I don’t expect to continue going 4 times in a week, but I would be very happy if I could make a habit of showing up twice a week.

Aseoma in Squirrel Hill

26 Nov

Pittsburgh’s starting to finally get moving with food trucks, but our street food culture has a long way to go. Casual eats in this city aren’t nearly as creative or daring as ones offered in Los Angeles, Vancouver, or NYC. Aseoma seeks to shake up Pittsburgh’s street food scene, by offering Latin/Korean fusion type meals.

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On one of many tired and hungry nights, we selected Aseoma for take out. I loved that I was able to place my order online. I really do not like talking on the phone, and I’m much happier being able to place my order on the internet.  Because we have a little one, we tend to eat early.  I stopped by to pick up our meal around 6pm.  I was disappointed to see that at that point the dining room was empty.  I didn’t know what kind of ambiance to expect from the fairly boring storefront, but it is really cool and stylish in there.  I’m not 100% on this, but I think it is BYOB.  It seemed like a nice little joint to have a fun evening out with some friends.

I ordered the Fire Beef tacos.  I have a VERY low tolerance for spicy foods, and these were just spicy enough to be flavorful.  The heat did not overwhelm the dish.  The tacos came with a few french fries on the side, which didn’t seem necessary for the meal.  My kid was happy to gobble them down, though…she loves fries!  I also had the bacon kimchi fried rice, which was a tasty twist on an old reliable favorite.

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I like that Aseoma has predictable offerings like pho, and also more unpredictable/unique fare. I thought Aseoma was simply awesome, and I hope that the empty dining room when I stopped by is a function of timing. It would be a shame if Aseoma’s tasty food went unacknowledged.  We’re keeping Aseoma on the short list for our quick-inner needs!
Aseoma on Urbanspoon

An Evening with Kevin Smith at the Carnegie Library & Music Hall of Homestead

25 Nov

Mr. Beez is the hardest person in the universe to buy gifts for. He has very specific interests, and when he wants something he tends to just go and get it before I have a chance to buy it. Also, I am TERRIBLE at keeping secrets when it involves a surprise for Mr. Beez. Whenever I buy him a present, I get super super excited, so very excited that ALL I want to do is tell him about the present, and then I can’t keep my mouth shut and I ruin the surprise.

This time, however, I managed to keep my big mouth shut and for real surprise Mr. Beez with something he really liked! Kevin Smith is Mr. Beez’ all time favorite director. When I heard he was coming to Pittsburgh to speak at the Carnegie Library and Music Hall of Homestead, it was a no brainer. I bought tickets immediately.

Although I’ve been to the Music Hall for prior concerts, I had never been in the library. It’s very cozy and nice, and would be a perfect place to settle into a big chair and read for an afternoon.

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Kevin Smith was hilarious and engaging. He was supposed to speak from 8pm-10:30pm (which is a long time for a talk), but he was so into chatting that he didn’t stop talking until 11:15. He talked about all kinds of things– his movies, his podcasts, his fantastic relationship with his wife. The overarching theme of his evening was CREATE. He is moving away from movies into “smaller” media like podcasts, and he emphatically encouraged the audience to turn on their laptops, get some friends together, start talking, and start podcasting20121125-140451.jpg

While podcasting isn’t my thing, Smith’s enthusiasm encouraged me to keep going strong with blogging. I’ve got entertaining things to say, and people have fun reading this, and by writing publicly I keep myself accountable to keep creating. Even if you’re not a huge fan of Smith’s movies, he is hilarious and a lot of fun (anyone familiar with his movies will know his language is not for the feint of heart, so don’t bring your grandmother). He’s busy talking in cities all around the country. If he comes to your town, it’s totally worth it to plunk a couple bucks to check him out!20121125-140504.jpg

The Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge

23 Nov

I discovered the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge thanks to Pinterest. Even though I was not a Gilmore Girls fan, I love the diversity in this reading list. Completing this list is going to be one of the things on my 40 before 40 list. What are you reading over this long holiday weekend?

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Somebody was hungry for Thanksgiving Dinner!

  1. 1984 by George Orwell
  2. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  3. Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  4. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
  5. An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser
  6. Angela’s Ashes by Frank McCourt
  7. Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy
  8. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  9. Archidamian War by Donald Kagan
  10. The Art of Fiction by Henry James
  11. The Art of War by Sun Tzu
  12. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
  13. Atonement by Ian McEwan
  14. Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy
  15. The Awakening by Kate Chopin
  16. Babe by Dick King-Smith
  17. Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women by Susan Faludi
  18. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress by Dai Sijie
  19. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett
  20. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath
  21. Beloved by Toni Morrison
  22. Beowulf: A New Verse Translation by Seamus Heaney
  23. The Bhagava Gita
  24. The Bielski Brothers: The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews by Peter Duffy
  25. Bitch in Praise of Difficult Women by Elizabeth Wurtzel
  26. A Bolt from the Blue and Other Essays by Mary McCarthy
  27. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
  28. Brick Lane by Monica Ali
  29. Bridgadoon by Alan Jay Lerner
  30. Candide by Voltaire – read – June 2010
  31. The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer
  32. Carrie by Stephen King
  33. Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
  34. The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger
  35. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  36. The Children’s Hour by Lillian Hellman
  37. Christine by Stephen King
  38. A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
  39. A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
  40. The Code of the Woosters by P.G. Wodehouse
  41. The Collected Short Stories by Eudora Welty
  42. A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare
  43. Complete Novels by Dawn Powell
  44. The Complete Poems by Anne Sexton
  45. Complete Stories by Dorothy Parker
  46. A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
  47. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas père
  48. Cousin Bette by Honor’e de Balzac
  49. Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  50. The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
  51. The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  52. Cujo by Stephen King
  53. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon
  54. Daisy Miller by Henry James
  55. Daughter of Fortune by Isabel Allende
  56. David and Lisa by Dr Theodore Issac Rubin M.D
  57. David Copperfield by Charles Dickens
  58. The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown
  59. Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol
  60. Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  61. Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller
  62. Deenie by Judy Blume
  63. The Devil in the White City: Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair that Changed America by Erik Larson
  64. The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band by Tommy Lee, Vince Neil, Mick Mars and Nikki Sixx
  65. The Divine Comedy by Dante
  66. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells
  67. Don Quijote by Cervantes
  68. Driving Miss Daisy by Alfred Uhrv
  69. Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  70. Edgar Allan Poe: Complete Tales & Poems by Edgar Allan Poe
  71. Eleanor Roosevelt by Blanche Wiesen Cook
  72. The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test by Tom Wolfe
  73. Ella Minnow Pea: A Novel in Letters by Mark Dunn
  74. Eloise by Kay Thompson
  75. Emily the Strange by Roger Reger
  76. Emma by Jane Austen
  77. Empire Falls by Richard Russo
  78. Encyclopedia Brown: Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol
  79. Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton
  80. Ethics by Spinoza
  81. Europe through the Back Door, 2003 by Rick Steves
  82. Eva Luna by Isabel Allende
  83. Everything Is Illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer
  84. Extravagance by Gary Krist
  85. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury
  86. The Fall of the Athenian Empire by Donald Kagan
  87. Fat Land: How Americans Became the Fattest People in the World by Greg Critser
  88. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S. Thompson
  89. The Fellowship of the Ring: Book 1 of The Lord of the Ring by J. R. R. Tolkien
  90. Fiddler on the Roof by Joseph Stein
  91. The Five People You Meet in Heaven by Mitch Albom – read
  92. Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce
  93. Fletch by Gregory McDonald
  94. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
  95. The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem
  96. The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
  97. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
  98. Franny and Zooey by J. D. Salinger
  99. Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
  100. Galapagos by Kurt Vonnegut
  101. Gender Trouble by Judith Butler
  102. George W. Bushism: The Slate Book of the Accidental Wit and Wisdom of our 43rd President by Jacob Weisberg
  103. Gidget by Fredrick Kohner
  104. Girl, Interrupted by Susanna Kaysen
  105. The Gnostic Gospels by Elaine Pagels
  106. The Godfather: Book 1 by Mario Puzo
  107. The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy
  108. Goldilocks and the Three Bears by Alvin Granowsky
  109. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell
  110. The Good Soldier by Ford Maddox Ford
  111. The Gospel According to Judy Bloom
  112. The Graduate by Charles Webb
  113. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  114. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  115. Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
  116. The Group by Mary McCarthy
  117. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
  118. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J. K. Rowling
  119. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  120. A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
  121. Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
  122. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
  123. Henry IV, part I by William Shakespeare
  124. Henry IV, part II by William Shakespeare
  125. Henry V by William Shakespeare
  126. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
  127. The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire by Edward Gibbon
  128. Holidays on Ice: Stories by David Sedaris
  129. The Holy Barbarians by Lawrence Lipton
  130. House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
  131. The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende
  132. How to Breathe Underwater by Julie Orringer
  133. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
  134. How the Light Gets in by M. J. Hyland
  135. Howl by Allen Gingsburg
  136. The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
  137. The Iliad by Homer
  138. I’m with the Band by Pamela des Barres
  139. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
  140. Inherit the Wind by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee
  141. Iron Weed by William J. Kennedy
  142. It Takes a Village by Hillary Clinton
  143. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
  144. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
  145. Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare
  146. The Jumping Frog by Mark Twain
  147. The Jungle by Upton Sinclair
  148. Just a Couple of Days by Tony Vigorito
  149. The Kitchen Boy: A Novel of the Last Tsar by Robert Alexander
  150. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  151. Lady Chatterleys’ Lover by D. H. Lawrence
  152. The Last Empire: Essays 1992-2000 by Gore Vidal
  153. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  154. The Legend of Bagger Vance by Steven Pressfield
  155. Less Than Zero by Bret Easton Ellis
  156. Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke
  157. Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them by Al Franken
  158. Life of Pi by Yann Martel
  159. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  160. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
  161. The Little Locksmith by Katharine Butler Hathaway
  162. The Little Match Girl by Hans Christian Andersen
  163. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  164. Living History by Hillary Rodham Clinton
  165. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  166. The Lottery: And Other Stories by Shirley Jackson
  167. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
  168. The Love Story by Erich Segal
  169. Macbeth by William Shakespeare
  170. Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert
  171. The Manticore by Robertson Davies
  172. Marathon Man by William Goldman
  173. The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov
  174. Memoirs of a Dutiful Daughter by Simone de Beauvoir
  175. Memoirs of General W. T. Sherman by William Tecumseh Sherman
  176. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
  177. The Meaning of Consuelo by Judith Ortiz Cofer
  178. Mencken’s Chrestomathy by H. R. Mencken
  179. The Merry Wives of Windsor by William Shakespeare
  180. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  181. Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides
  182. The Miracle Worker by William Gibson
  183. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
  184. The Mojo Collection: The Ultimate Music Companion by Jim Irvin
  185. Moliere: A Biography by Hobart Chatfield Taylor
  186. A Monetary History of the United States by Milton Friedman
  187. Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret
  188. A Month Of Sundays: Searching For The Spirit And My Sister by Julie Mars
  189. A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway
  190. Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  191. Mutiny on the Bounty by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
  192. My Lai 4: A Report on the Massacre and It’s Aftermath by Seymour M. Hersh
  193. My Life as Author and Editor by H. R. Mencken
  194. My Life in Orange: Growing Up with the Guru by Tim Guest
  195. My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult
  196. The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer
  197. The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
  198. The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
  199. The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin
  200. Nervous System: Or, Losing My Mind in Literature by Jan Lars Jensen
  201. New Poems of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson
  202. The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
  203. Nickel and Dimed by Barbara Ehrenreich
  204. Night by Elie Wiesel
  205. Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen
  206. The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism by William E. Cain, Laurie A. Finke, Barbara E. Johnson, John P. McGowan
  207. Novels 1930-1942: Dance Night/Come Back to Sorrento, Turn, Magic Wheel/Angels on Toast/A Time to be Born by Dawn Powell
  208. Notes of a Dirty Old Man by Charles Bukowski
  209. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  210. Old School by Tobias Wolff
  211. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  212. On the Road by Jack Kerouac
  213. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch by Alexander Solzhenitsyn
  214. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
  215. One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  216. The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life by Amy Tan
  217. Oracle Night by Paul Auster
  218. Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  219. Othello by Shakespeare – read
  220. Our Mutual Friend by Charles Dickens
  221. The Outbreak of the Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan
  222. Out of Africa by Isac Dineson
  223. The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  224. A Passage to India by E.M. Forster
  225. The Peace of Nicias and the Sicilian Expedition by Donald Kagan
  226. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
  227. Peyton Place by Grace Metalious
  228. The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde
  229. Pigs at the Trough by Arianna Huffington
  230. Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
  231. Please Kill Me: The Uncensored Oral History of Punk Legs McNeil and Gillian McCain
  232. The Polysyllabic Spree by Nick Hornby
  233. The Portable Dorothy Parker by Dorothy Parker
  234. The Portable Nietzche by Fredrich Nietzche
  235. The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O’Neill by Ron Suskind
  236. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  237. Property by Valerie Martin
  238. Pushkin: A Biography by T. J. Binyon
  239. Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw
  240. Quattrocento by James Mckean
  241. A Quiet Storm by Rachel Howzell Hall
  242. Rapunzel by Grimm Brothers
  243. The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
  244. The Razor’s Edge by W. Somerset Maugham
  245. Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books by Azar Nafisi
  246. Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
  247. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Douglas Wiggin
  248. The Red Tent by Anita Diamant
  249. Rescuing Patty Hearst: Memories From a Decade Gone Mad by Virginia Holman
  250. The Return of the King: The Lord of the Rings Book 3 by J. R. R. Tolkien
  251. R Is for Ricochet by Sue Grafton
  252. Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption by Stephen King
  253. Robert’s Rules of Order by Henry Robert
  254. Roman Fever by Edith Wharton
  255. Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
  256. A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
  257. A Room with a View by E. M. Forster
  258. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
  259. Sacred Time by Ursula Hegi
  260. Sanctuary by William Faulkner
  261. Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Nancy Milford
  262. The Scarecrow of Oz by Frank L. Baum
  263. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  264. Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand
  265. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir
  266. The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd
  267. Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman
  268. Selected Letters of Dawn Powell: 1913-1965 by Dawn Powell
  269. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  270. A Separate Peace by John Knowles
  271. Sexus by Henry Miller
  272. The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  273. Shane by Jack Shaefer
  274. The Shining by Stephen King
  275. Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse
  276. S Is for Silence by Sue Grafton
  277. Slaughter-house Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  278. Small Island by Andrea Levy
  279. Snows of Kilimanjaro by Ernest Hemingway
  280. Snow White and Rose Red by Grimm Brothers
  281. Social Origins of Dictatorship and Democracy: Lord and Peasant in the Making of the Modern World by Barrington Moore
  282. The Song of Names by Norman Lebrecht
  283. Song of the Simple Truth: The Complete Poems of Julia de Burgos by Julia de Burgos
  284. The Song Reader by Lisa Tucker
  285. Songbook by Nick Hornby
  286. The Sonnets by William Shakespeare
  287. Sonnets from the Portuegese by Elizabeth Barrett Browning
  288. Sophie’s Choice by William Styron
  289. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  290. Speak, Memory by Vladimir Nabokov
  291. Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human Cadavers by Mary Roach
  292. The Story of My Life by Helen Keller
  293. A Streetcar Named Desiree by Tennessee Williams
  294. Stuart Little by E. B. White
  295. Sun Also Rises by Ernest Hemingway
  296. Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust
  297. Swimming with Giants: My Encounters with Whales, Dolphins and Seals by Anne Collett
  298. Sybil by Flora Rheta Schreiber
  299. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
  300. Tender Is The Night by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  301. Term of Endearment by Larry McMurtry
  302. Time and Again by Jack Finney
  303. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  304. To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway
  305. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  306. The Tragedy of Richard III by William Shakespeare
  307. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
  308. The Trial by Franz Kafka
  309. The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters by Elisabeth Robinson
  310. Truth & Beauty: A Friendship by Ann Patchett
  311. Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom – read
  312. Ulysses by James Joyce
  313. The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath 1950-1962 by Sylvia Plath
  314. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  315. Unless by Carol Shields
  316. Valley of the Dolls by Jacqueline Susann
  317. The Vanishing Newspaper by Philip Meyers
  318. Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray
  319. Velvet Underground’s The Velvet Underground and Nico (Thirty Three and a Third series) by Joe Harvard
  320. The Virgin Suicides by Jeffrey Eugenides
  321. Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett
  322. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  323. War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
  324. We Owe You Nothing – Punk Planet: The Collected Interviews edited by Daniel Sinker
  325. What Colour is Your Parachute? 2005 by Richard Nelson Bolles
  326. What Happened to Baby Jane by Henry Farrell
  327. When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka
  328. Who Moved My Cheese? Spencer Johnson
  329. Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf by Edward Albee
  330. Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire
  331. The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
  332. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
  333. The Yearling by Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
  334. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Happy Thanksgiving!

22 Nov

This picture never gets old.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from our entire family, including the crazy birds!  I hope you are spending this day surrounded with family and friends, and have lots to be thankful for!

I am thankful for my health, my family and friends, my awesome husband and clever daughter, my challenging but rewarding job and my fantastic colleagues, the Sprout channel, my Kindle, and just about everything about Pittsburgh!  I am also very thankful for the INTERNET.  Hello blogging, hello shopping, hello totally fun major timewaster!  Happy holiday shopping, everyone!

30 before 30: A Perfect Day

21 Nov

My husband spoils me. Spoils me.  For my last day of my 20s, he gave me the green light to spend the day doing every little thing I wanted to do.  I started the day off with an exhilarating but tough hot yoga class at Bikram Yoga. Afterward, I spent a little time relaxing with one of my favorite pasttimes: sipping coffee and reading magazines.  The coffee was from my favorite shop in Pittsburgh, of course– Commonplace Coffee.

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Afterward, followed an afternoon of shopping, tacos at Smoke BBQ Taqueria, and a hot stone massage and mani-pedi.  Oh how wonderful!

When I jokingly told Mr. Beez that I wanted Hostess treats, in fear that the impending liquidation would mean that cupcakes and ho hos are no more, he drove to FIVE different stores, and finally found me the most shameful of baked treats: powdered donettes.

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Mr. Beez especially spoiled me with a mini-vacation right here in Pittsburgh.  We got a fancy suite at the Fairmont hotel, and enjoyed the luxe life for one night!

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The gorgeous view of Market Square from our hotel room

Yes, the Fairmont is so fancy that in addition to its vegan, macrobiotic, raw food, and gluten free room service menus, they also have a room service menu just for cats and dogs.

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After checking into the hotel, we met up with a few friends for dinner at NOLA on the Square,  and enjoyed spicy food and sweet desserts!

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NOLA Bourbon Birthday Cheesecake!

And after dinner, we had a few birthday cocktails at the always fun and always tasty Andy’s Wine Bar

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And at midnight, my friend Christine got the jazz band to play “Happy Birthday” to me!

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Dancing to my Happy Birthday song (and humiliating Christine)

And we ended the evening with a few hilarious rounds of Apples to Apples.  The best! The best!

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30 is great! Happy birthday to me!

Fat Toad

19 Nov

Yes I did just blow the rest of my daily WW points on eating goat’s milk vanilla bean caramel by the spoonful.

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It was totally worth it.