Tag Archives: blogging

HBD to Lilly and Happy Ninth Blogaversary to Me!

25 Jan

carrot babyYou guys, I got so wrapped up in all the excitement of yesterday, that I forgot to share that excitement with the internets! Yesterday was a very exciting day in the Beez household. First off, my brother became a dad to little Lillian Mara! They live across the country, so it will be a couple months before we will get to meet the little one. But soon enough, Baby Beez and Little Lilly will begin their shenanigans! Happy Birthday Little Lilly! And happy sleepless nights, Little Lilly’s parents!

The other excitement of yesterday was that it was my NINTH BLOGAVERSARY!! I started blogging on January 24, 2004, and have now blogged almost daily for nine whole years! At the time I started I was using LiveJournal, and that blog is now under a password because it was so ridiculous and immature. I considered re-posting my very first post to commemorate the event, but I looked back at my first post and it was so ridiculous and immature and embarassing that I could not bear to subject the internet to it.

Blogging has seen me through:
-Whining about work and homework and other silly college things
-My college graduation
-The tumultous and heartbreaking dating life of a grad student
-My inability to be a functional, mature roommate
-Getting crazy about exercise and running two marathons
-Law school, start to finish
-My inability to say “no” to an opportunity, and spending a summer working three simultaneous law-related jobs
-My first publications of articles
-Mr. Beez’ sweet proposal
-Buying a house
-Getting incredibly frustrated because the house we bought is old and needs lots of work
-Marriage to my best pal Mr. Beez
-Lots o’ awesome vacations
-Introducing Baby Beez to this world, and all the awesome adventures we’ve had together
and of COURSE
-Adventures, adventures, adventures in Pittsburgh!!

Wow, nine whole years. It’s crazy. I’m going to have toget something BIG together when next year comes around!

PS- Celebratory cupcakes accepted.

Blogger Dinner @AlmaPgh, Last Call for @PghRestaurantWk

19 Jan

Attending the first Pittsburgh Restaurant Week blogger dinner was one of the highlights of my summer. I met lots of cool people who were just as enthusiastic about the Pittsburgh dining scene as I am, I got to chat with the chef about his thoughts, and I had some excellent grub. When Restaurant Week Winter 2013 was announced, I was thrilled to see the food blogger dinner on the agenda again.

This time the dinner was hosted by Alma Pan-Latin Kitchen. I have eaten at Alma before, and my previous impression is that their fare was tasty and satisfying, but did not find the restaurant to particularly stand out. This time around, they really brought their A game (I guess that’s what will happen when you’re hosting a dining room full of amateur critics), and we had a really excellent meal.

The evening started out with a cocktail hour hosted by PG Plate. The wine was flowing and the conversation was cheerful. I got to meet some new people and it was an all around nice way to kick things off.

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Alma’s owners, Jamie and Heather, shared with us the trials and joys of owning their own restaurant, and their experiences bringing new varieties of cuisine to often-change-resistant Pittsburgh (btw, they also own Abay, which is delicious and excellent, and it’s been far too long since I was last there…)

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Mr. Beez and I were thrilled to partake in the price fixe menu that Alma was offering in celebration of restaurant week.

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I started off with the Brazilian chicken and rice soup.  It was excellent.  I eat a lot of soup but I’m not usually enthusiastic about it.  Soup is just soup.  But this soup was very hearty and full of rich flavor.  I hope this is (or will be) part of their permanent menu.

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The theme for the night was apparently FLAVOR, and my entree was full of it! I had pork line with mashed white sweet potatoes and a plantain chip.  The meat was expertly seasoned, and every bite was lively.  I usually like to try new things every time I visit a restaurant, but the pork was so delicious that I would absolutely rather order it than anything else.

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Mr. Beez had the chicken, which also had vibrant flavors.  Although Alma is a Pan-Latin restaurant, the food was not spicy (which is great for me, I can’t take the heat), just flavorful and tasty.

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For dessert, Mr. Beez opted for the molten chocolate cake with cinnamon ice cream. That  dessert was GOOD, and it was just the right size so that you got a satisfying serving of it, but no so large that you got all sugared up and lost the effect.

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I had the fresh made raspberry sorbet.  It was a great sorbet, but not a chocolate cake. I was in the mood for sorbet, and loved the sorbet when I started eating it, but then Mr. Beez gave me a taste of his chocolate cake and I was all full of envy of his selection.

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Mr. Beez and I had such a lovely evening chatting with Quelcy of With the Grains, and her special one, Gabrielle of Primped in Pgh, and Alex of Everybody Loves You.  I would have absolutely loved to mingle and meet more people, but the space was a little limited, so that was hard to do.  Alma did a lovely job of hosting all these food snobs.  Every review I’ve read so far has been rave.

Tomorrow is the very last day of this Restaurant Week, so you better get out there quickly if you want to catch the specials!  There will be another one in the summer, but on these cold January days, summer is oh so far away.

Alma Pan-Latin Kitchen on Urbanspoon

NaBloPoMo Day 8: Workplace LOLs

8 Dec

passive aggressive

Passive aggressive notes in MY workplace send me into fits of blind rage.  I’m fortunate to work with people who are not too bad of offenders when it comes to this nonsense, but every once in a while there is a doozy.  Passive aggressive notes make me nuts because they either (1) deal with some task that there already IS someone responsible for handling, they’re just not doing it, and oh by the way, the person who wrote the note usually IS the person responsible for whatever task it is, they’re just trying to shove it off onto the general office populace, or (2) deal with some issue of common courtesy, and if the target of the note doesn’t get it to begin with, the note isn’t going to get through to them anyway.

On the contrary, I LOVE passive aggressive notes from other peoples workplaces.  Especially ones harping on some trivial matter and are misspelled. Boy do I love the misspelled ones.  So my guilty pleasure that I share with you today is PassiveAggressiveNotes.com  Love it love it love it. And I hope not to see my office on there anytime soon.

NaBloPoMo day 3: Being a “Pro”

3 Dec

What do you consider yourself a “pro” at?

zebra-social-media-expertI’ve spent years thinking that it is presumptuous to declare yourself a “pro” at anything, and that instead it is up to others to identify and announce your expertise.  So I sat back quietly, waiting for someone to call me up and tell me how much they want me to give a presentation about all these things that I know.  THIS IS NOT HOW THE WORLD WORKS.  People don’t know what you know unless you tell them.  Declaring yourself a “pro” at anything of course must be preceded by a lot of elbow grease, patience, and really gaining the expertise in your claimed area.  Then you tell people what you know about by writing about it, and helping people out whenever you can when they have a question of your area, and writing some more, and reaching out to the world and offering your expertise.  I’ve had to put my squeamishness over being presumptuous aside.  You won’t be recognized as an expert until you are an expert, and you show the world that you are an expert.

I’m a pro in two things:

1. Allegheny County local civil procedure. I rock the socks off this county’s local practice (bookmark this page because you will never see that phrase again).  My first 3 years in practice were spent at a small firm.  This was simultaneously the most stressful experience in the history of the universe, and also the absolute best thing for my career and comfort/familiarity with local practice.  When you work for a small firm, you are thrown RIGHT into the fire.  It’s not “sink or swim” because sinking is not an option.  Even though you are just barely a lawyer, you still are a lawyer, and you are representing people and their rights and interests.  Failure is not an option.  So you figure things out, sometimes you do things right, rarely do things turn out to be actually wrong, and almost all the time you get by with doing things not-quite-right-but-close-enough-that-it-gets-the-job-done-and-everything-turns-out-ok.

I’m lucky to practice in a county that is incredibly forgiving with local practice.  If something is not-quite-right, the court will still hear it.  And after thousands of hours of getting it almost-right, you start getting it actually right more and more often, and you go from wading in a fog to actually knowing how to do stuff. And that’s where I am now.  I know how to do stuff.

2. Blogging and law (but not Bob Loblaw’s Law Blog).  Holy cow, I’ve been blogging nearly eight years now.  And I’ve gone from a blogging college student to a blogging law student to a blogging lawyer.  And now my practice also incorporates the intersection between law and social media.  That intersection is staggeringly broad. It’s like saying “I am an expert in the internet.” It is so broad it is virtually meaningless.  My expertise is more specifically in defamation issues and discovery issues (i.e. when and in what circumstances can your social media content get dragged into a lawsuit).  I’m working on an article/presentation about social media defamation issues right now that I’m really excited about, details to come as it progresses!!

December NaBloPoMo: Workin’ it

1 Dec

National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) started off as a response to National Novel Writing Month.  BlogHer somehow positioned itself as the “official” NaBloPoMo site, and while November remains the official month, they have stretched the event over the whole year with different themes and prompts.

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December’s theme is Work (click for the prompts).  Although work is a massive part of my in-real-life life, it takes up a disproportionally small amount of space on this blog.  I love the prompts that BlogHer has posted, and am challenging myself to complete the month with their posts.  There aren’t prompts assigned for the weekends, so I’ll come up with my own topics on the theme.  I will also continue to add in some non-work posts from time to time.  Despite the theme, writing about work of course will not involve me writing about office gossip or clients/engagements.  Rather, the theme focuses on more general issues of work, motivation and discipline.

Since today is a weekend and therefore a pick my own prompt day, I’m going to kick this off with some warm fuzzies about good things that happened at work this week:

-My research and briefing resulted in a positive result for an important client.  The main partner on the matter sent a firm-wide email congratulating me on my hard work, and it totally made my day.

-I got calls on two new engagements this week.  One was specifically about a defamation case about a blogger, which is right in my niche practice area, and I’ve been working hard to develop recognition for my knowledge in this area.  Building a book of business is a slow and tricky process, and I’m ecstatic to see things start moving in that direction.

Legal Intelligencer asked me to write regular Young Lawyer columns!  You can look forward to see columns from me quarterly!

Happy December, all!

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!

The Etiquette of Photos

1 Nov

In the last few days I got in a bit of a dispute with a family member about pictures on the internet. Surprise, surprise, I have strong feelings about depictions of me and especially depictions of my kid on the internet.

There is no shortage of photos of my kid on the internet. More than one person has referred to my child as “The Kid with the Most Photos on Facebook.” I don’t mind pictures of her being put on the internet or facebook, but I do expect to be asked before such pictures are published online. 99.9% of the time I’ll say “Go ahead and post them!” but I still want to know, and have my wishes respected.

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Don’t go postin pictures of me without asking my Momma first!
(Although with a sneer like this, you might not want to take my picture at all!)

Despite a bachelorette party being the subject of a recent blog post, I am also highly particular of how I come across through text and photos on the internet. I am careful to keep photos of me tasteful and often professional. My photos are more casual on facebook, due to (not to be trusted) privacy settings, but not too casual (see the part about privacy settings not to be trusted).

I afford the same courtesies to friends as I expect them to afford to me. Often, I focus my photos and content on the experience itself. I won’t post a photo of someone else without asking first. Mentions of my companions are often very brief, or not present at all. I absolutely love my friends and have a blast spending time with them, but I am not going to subject them to their photos being publicly posted or writing about them publicly without clearing it with them first.

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This is so very especially true with photos of children. I usually try to take pictures so that other peoples’ kids don’t appear in the pictures at all. If there’s a cute picture with someone else’s kid in it that I’d like to share, it is essential to ask before posting. If I don’t know the parents well enough to feel comfortable asking, well then I simply do not post the picture. Some parents are very comfortable with sharing photos, and others do not want photos of their kids online at all. You must be respectful of the full spectrum of privacy preferences. Posting photos of other people and their kids online, without getting permission first, is a great way to get yourself uninvited from all kinds of social events.

What is your privacy level, when it comes to photos of you on the internet? How do you respect others’ privacy preferences?

30 Before 30: Personal Style, a day of fashion at #PghStyleSummit by @WePropelle

15 Oct

My 30 Before 30 goal to “Develop an Identifiable ‘Personal Style'” is poorly stated. Personal style is a continuing adventure, not a stand-alone destination. The ladies of Propelle got me well on my way at this weekend’s Style Summit. The Style Summit brought together fashion bloggers, photographers, stylists, beauticians, and all kinds of other stylish people for an afternoon of trading tips and ideas.

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I was excited to have a chat with Terra McBride of Stylish White Female. I’ve been reading her blog for quite a while, and she always creates such unexpected and gorgeous combinations. We talked about how she finds inspiration for her color, texture, and fabric combinations. We also chatted about how she finds energy to put herself together so nicely, when just chasing around a little one takes SO MUCH energy. As with anything that is important, you just up and do it. Fashion is important to her, so she prioritizes it.

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Mandy Fierens of The Curvy Blogger wows the crowd

I really enjoyed listening to to the talks by personal stylist Rachel Valozzi. I’ve heard of personal styling services, but I didn’t know there was anyone in Pittsburgh who offers them! I’ve been working hard to lose the my-kid-isn’t-a-baby-anymore weight. As part of this, I’m hoping that I’ll need a wardrobe overhaul. I’ve promised myself that if I hit my goal weight (and yes, it may take a while), I’m setting up some quality time with a personal stylist to get my look in order.

I also had a hairstyle consultation and a chair massage with the ladies of Tula Organic Salon. They are MAGIC! The chair massage was amazingly relaxing and much too short. Tula is an Aveda Salon, but it’s prices are extremely reasonable. I’ve already got an appointment set for Sunday, yippee!

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Julie O’Boyle of Orchid Grey shares her insight

Kiya Tomlin also addressed the crowd as a special guest.  She talked about her custom dress business, and gave styling tips specific to looking polished and professional (my favorite adjectives when it comes to clothing choices!).  It was nice to hear that some of the more fashion-conservative principles I value about workplace attire aren’t entirely outmoded.

Propelle did a phenomenal job of putting together this exceptional event. It was really fun to talk to the bloggers I’ve been reading online, and to see the creative way people assemble their outfits. I’m so risk averse. My general fashion approach is an all-black outfit with some piece of a stand-out color. Sometimes I’ll throw a pattern in there, or sometimes I’ll go with brown instead of black. But when it comes to mixing together colors or patterns or whatever, I feel lost and terrified mixing things together. The women at Style Summit inspired me to experiment a little and mix things up. After all, it’s just fashion! What’s the worst that could happen? I look funny for a day. And that’s a livable consequence.

Hunger Action Month- Greater Pittsburgh Area Food Bank #BlogMob

17 Sep

L’Shanah Tovah, all! Wishing you a sweet and wonderful New Year! I wish that for all of you, your New Year is full of health and prosperity, and that you share that prosperity with all in your community who are in need!

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On Thursday I had the wonderful opportunity to tour Greater Pittsburgh Area Food Bank with a group of Pittsburgh bloggers, and learn about all the amazing programs the food bank provides for 11 Western Pennsylvania counties. I had assumed that the food bank was a food pantry, but it is much much more than that. In addition to providing direct food distribution to individuals, the food bank coordinates food distribution to local food pantries all over Southwestern Pennsylvania, and so many other programs and resources that I can’t even begin to address them all here (but you can learn all about them from the food bank’s webpage!) Better yet, see the hunger action month calendar for inspiration for things you can do in the month of September to take action against hunger.

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I was amazed by the sheer size and volume of food at the food bank, and the corresponding need within our community.  You always know that people are in need and are hungry, but the dramatic size of that need really did not strike me until I saw aisle after aisle after aisle of the enormous warehouse.

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On the day we toured, the food bank was doing a “produce to the people” distribution.  Produce to the people is a program that distributes fresh fruits and vegetables to those with income qualifications.  I was not only impressed with the variety provided and the food bank’s collaborative work with local farms to distribute much-needed produce, but also the comprehensive information and cooking demonstrations the food bank provided about how to use that produce in healthy, fast, and inexpensive ways.

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acorn squash harvest stew

In the face of potential massive funding cuts to SNAP (formerly food stamps), the food bank is leading a paper plate writing campaign, in which individuals write letters to Governor Corbett on paper plates, explaining what SNAP, the food bank, and other hunger-fighting programs that receive government funding have meant to them. Here, Rachel shows off the stack of letter plates collected this night alone.

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I was proud that my firm, Thorp Reed & Armstrong LLP, sponsored this event by providing a raffle prize of Pirates tickets and a swag bag.  Here’s the proud winner, who herself is an inspiration.  She’s a high school student running a project that involves collecting totes for the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project, and also sewing tote bags from donated fabric.

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This tour inspired me to take action.  I’m continuing to pick up a jar of peanut butter to donate each time I stop at the store, and I want to arrange a repacking day where my coworkers and I can help out at the food bank with repacking bulk food into individual-sized distributions.  With my crazy schedule, I am more able to volunteer in a single-event kind of fashion (rather than every week or month).  Of course, the Food Bank and its affiliated entities have plenty of volunteer opportunities for every level of involvement and availability.

One of the other fantastic aspects of the event was getting to meat some inspiring and amazing Pittsburgh Bloggers!  I was so happy to meet Sue of the Tote Bag Project,  Emily, Becky, and Caitlin!  Emily is running an amazing giveaway related to our BlogMob event!  Visit her page here, and you could win a 60 minute coaching session on a topic of your choice!! 

Hunger Awareness Month #BlogMob #Hunger

30 Aug

Despite it being 3/4 of the way through the year, September is a time for new beginnings. School goes back into session. For those of you (like me) who are Jewish, Rosh Hashanah brings about the New Year, with reflection and resolutions. September is also Hunger Awareness Month– a time to think of those in need.

Some basic facts:

  • 1 in 7 Pennsylvania residents are “food insecure,” meaning they can’t reliably provide food for themselves or their families.  Across the nation, 1 in 5 children are food insecure, and 1 in 4 will experience food insecurity during their childhood.
  • Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank seeks to respond to this need by serving 11 counties, and distribution over 2 million pounds of food each month to more than 120,000 people.  That means they are able to serve only about 35% of the people who meet the definition of food insecurity, resulting in many people going without food pantry assistance.
  • In Pennsylvania, the state budget for many human service programs– including programs designed to respond to hunger issues– was cut by as much as 10%.  Reauthorization of the federal farm bill (provides the funding for SNAP, formerly called food stamps) is still being debated by congress.  If it is not reauthorized, food resources will be cut by as much as $16 billion.  Many families rely on both food pantries and SNAP to get through hard times, and the loss or reduction of SNAP will create a need that the food pantries can’t keep up with.

So what can you do to help?

If you are a Pittsburgh area blogger, consider joining me for BlogMob 2012 at the Food Bank!

In addition to learning about the Food Bank, you will have a hand in raising awareness about hunger issues and generating enthusiasm about fighting hunger.  PLUS– attendees will have an opportunity to win a swag bag and pair of tickets to the September 30 PIRATES game against the Cincinnati Reds (LETS GO BUCS!…also FLEECE BLANKET GIVEAWAY NIGHT!), donated by Thorp Reed & Armstrong.  These tickets are in Section 119, row K so they are nice tickets!

Donate to local food pantries and the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project!

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The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project’s motto is “One Tote Bag at a Time”– and it has proven that a big difference can be made, little by little.  If you’re anything like me, you’ve got TONS of reusable bags around (and shamefully forgetting to bring them with you to the grocery store…)  How do tote bags help? Tote bags make it easier for families to access food – they can carry more food home with dignity especially if they are relying on public transportation, walking, or riding bikes.  Incorporating totes into food distribution also means pantries have to buy fewer disposable bags and that frees up money for food. The Tote Bag Project has collected over 18,000 bags in its first 16 months.

And the obvious– collect some food! Peanut butter and other nut butters, tuna, and low sugar cereal are important food staples, and are always a HUGE need for food banks.  Make food donations a part of your life.  Here are some thoughts–

Pick up a donation each time you stop at the store.  For the month of September (and part of August too, since I started this week), I’m picking up an extra jar of PB each time I stop at a grocery store, drugstore, or discount store.

Get your friends to make a small donation the next time you get together.  At my book club this week, everyone brought some food to donate (the picture above is our collection for the night).  It’s just a small contribution from each person, but putting it together, it makes a big impact!

Cash donations are always helpful.
In addition to Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank and the Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project, other Pittsburgh area hunger organizations that are always in need of assistance include Attorneys Against Hunger and Squirrel Hill Community Food Pantry.