Tag Archives: BlogMob

#BlogMob at Construction Junction .@cjreuse and Pgh Center for Creative Reuse .@creative_reuse

11 Nov

Construction Junction and the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse graciously hosted our BlogMob visit this past week. The event included a behind-the-scenes tour of the CJ warehouse, discussions with reps from both CJ and PCCR, and joining PCCR for their monthly “meet and make” crafting session and potluck. Unfortunately, work was calling, and I was not able to stay for the crafting/potluck. It looked like a fun and FREE event. They hold it monthly, on the 2nd Thursday of each Month. I’m going to work on getting some of my friends together, or maybe my book club, to go there for a visit sometime. Who can resist an evening of crafting, food, and friendly conversation?

The PCCR is a gem, and I can’t believe I didn’t know about it sooner.  Their inventory is completely donated art/crafts supplies (or things that can be used in arts & crafts) and are sold at very low prices.  They also offer many crafting classes. Upcoming classes include bookbinding, and making a lampshade out of slides (a local university digitized their art slide collection, and donated boxes upon boxes of the now obsolete artwork slides to PCCR).




PCCR is a perfect resource for artists, scouting troops, or other groups with an interest in arts or creativity to either get supplies, or to gather there for an activity.  PCCR is also a perfect location for a social action project– they are largely volunteer run, and they receive way more donations than they have the staff or volunteer base to sort through. PCCR is always in need, if you can donate a couple hours to sort through things.

Next, we went on a tour of Construction Junction.  CJ is Pittsburgh’s first nonprofit building materials reuse retailer.  A lot of their offerings are used/amusingly vintage, but a lot of them are like-new quality too.  If you’re doing a major remodeling project at home, your first stop should be CJ to see what they have that could fit your needs.


CJ received a huge quantity of good-quality dorm furniture from a local university.  Nonprofits in need of furniture (shelters, etc) are welcome to apply to CJ for a furniture donation.


CJ also partners with Goodwill to offer job skills training.  This is the setup for the training.


You would not believe the quantity of church pews that CJ has in stock.  I kind of want one.


Toilets are just funny.

Both CJ and PCCR were very gracious hosts of our BlogMob event.  Both of these organizations are working hard to promote a culture of reuse in Pittsburgh. The true scope of their work isn’t easily described, and both are worth a visit so you can see for yourself.  This BlogMob was also a nice opportunity to get together with fellow bloggers BeckyTiffany, Steve, Bunny from Right on the Walls, and Sue.  Sorry I couldn’t stick around longer to chat, folks. Next time!

Hello, Weekend

2 Nov

How did we get to November already? 

Well we’ve got a few social plans this weekend, but I’m going to spend a lot of the time trying to catch up on things I couldn’t get done during the week. Work is busy busy right now. 

Pittsburgh is busy busy, too, with lots of fun things coming up soon!  Remember that next Thursday, November 8 I will be co-hosting BlogMob at the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse and Construction Junction.  Even if you’re not big into social media, it would be fun to have you there for a tour, a craft, and a potluck!  Drop me a comment if you’d like to join us!

And of course, one of my favorite annual events kicks off this weekend– The Three Rivers Film Festival!! I’ve already scoped out my favorites.  With things being so crazy busy at work, it’ll be hard to get away for a movie, but maybe just maybe Mr. Beez and I can snag a babysitter for a couple hours and catch a double feature!  My picks from the festival’s film descriptions are:

17 Girls
Delphine Coulin, Muriel Coulin | France | 2011 | 86min
Harris Theater
Sun, Nov 4 – 4:30pm Tickets
Fri, Nov 9 – 7:00pm Tickets

Inspired by events that took place in Massachusetts, Delphine and Muriel Coulin’s provocative directing debut focuses on a group of bored teenage girls who all make an irrevocable pact. When Camille (Louise Grinberg, The Class) accidentally becomes pregnant, she encourages her friends and fellow high school classmates to follow suit. It’s only a matter of time, before 17 girls in the high school are pregnant and the town is thrown into a world of chaos. Set in the writer/directors’ small, seaside hometown of Lorient in France, the drama is a reflection on adolescence, body image, friendship and the perplexing realities of growing up.

3, 2, 1…Frankie Go Boom
Jordan Roberts | USA | 2012 | 89min
Short Before: The Other Dave by Pasquale Anthony Greco
Regent Square Theater
Sat, Nov 3 – 9:15pm Tickets
Melwood Screening Room
Wed, Nov 7 – 9:15pm Tickets

In this modern day comedy, Frank Bartlett has been tortured, embarrassed, and humiliated by his brother Bruce – usually caught on camera – for his entire life. This is a story of sibling rivalry to end all rivalries. It involves sex, lies, videotape, a little romance and lots of gross-out humor. A few great cameos (Ron Perlman as an elegant transsexual, and a jock-strapped Chris Noth on a treadmill) make this one big laugh riot. Chris O’Dowd – the adorable Irish cop in Bridesmaids – does an amazing 180 here as Bruce.

Holy Motors
Leos Carax | France | 2012 | 115min
Harris Theater
Wed, Nov 14 – 7:30 Tickets

Straight from the 50th New York Film Festival is this mind-blowing film about a shadowy character who travels between parallel lives. Played by Denis Levant, Carax’s longtime collaborator, he is by turns, an assassin, a captain of industry, family man, beggar, monster. The envelope-pushing director’s first feature since 1999, it competed at this year’s Cannes Film Fest to stunned audiences. The Guardian called it, “weird and wonderful, rich and strange – barking mad, in fact.” Features Eva Mendes and Kylie Minogue. (2012; 115 min)

Pittsburgh Dad & Mercury Men
Chris Pretska | USA | 80min
Harris Theater
Thur, Nov 15 – 7:30pm Tickets

Local filmmaker Chris Pretska (and Pittsburgh Filmmaker’s alum) first met actor Curt Wootton on the set of the 2005 web series Captain Blasto. From there, the two collaborated on Mercury Men, a Pittsburgh-based retro online sci-fi series whose episodes are now playing on the SyFy Network. More recently, Wootton has become famous as Pittsburgh Dad, perfectly capturing the traditional, blue-collar everyman who lives and breaths “the stillers,” goes to Kennywood every year, and partakes in most things Pittsburgh. The one-man online series became an overnight Internet sensation, generating millions of hits. For this event, Pretska and Wootton will screen clips from both series and discuss online film exhibition.

Rust and Bone
Jacques Audiard | France/Belgium | 2012 | 120min
Harris Theater
Fri, Nov 2 – 7:30pm Tickets
Opening Night Film w/ reception Trailer

“…marvelous movie, gorgeous, thoughtful and deeply felt.” – NPR. Marion Cotillard (The Dark Knight Rises) and Matthias Schoenaerts (Bullhead) star in this emotionally raw love story from Cannes Grand Prix winner Jacques Audiard (A Prophet). It’s about a broke, homeless, and drifting young dad who scrambles to make a living for himself and his young son and moves to the French Riviera as a back-alley boxer. Taking work as a nightclub bouncer, he crosses paths with Stéphanie, who works as a killer-whale trainer at an amusement park. After she suffers a terrible accident, the unlikely pair falls into a tender, tentative courtship. Oscar buzz is building for this unflinching film and its bold performances. Print courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics.

Silver Linings Playbook
David O. Russell | USA | 2012 | 120min
Regent Square Theater
Nov 2 – 7:30pm Tickets
Opening Night Film w/ reception Trailer

Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Pat (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything — his house, his job, his wife. He now finds himself back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after being institutionalized. But Pat is determined to rebuild his life and remain positive. His parents want to support him, but mostly want him to share their obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Hilarious as well as touching, this audience hit from this year’s Toronto Film Fest has Oscar written all over it. Print courtesy of The Weinstein Company.Of all of these, I want to see Silver Linings Playbook the most. Unfortunately, it’s only showing tonight, and I don’t think I can make it there tonight. 

Do you plan to go to the 3RFF? Which films do you plan to see?

#BlogMob Strikes Again!

16 Oct

And this time we’re visiting the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse and Construction Junction!

 On Thursday, November 8, 2012 from 5pm-8:30 pm join your hostesses Becky Willis (Lil Burghers), Emily Levenson and yours truly for a tour of PCCR and Construction Junction, a potluck meal, and a session of eco-friendly crafts from repurposed materials led by the artists in residence of PCCR.  We’ll also have an opportunity to chat with the organizers of Free Ride Pittsburgh.  This will be an exciting and educational evening, where we learn about the reuse initiatives in the forefront of Pittsburgh’s green movement.

Since the dinner is a potluck, we ask you to bring a beverage or dish to share. We are also seeking to assist The Pittsburgh Tote Bag Project, and ask you to bring a tote bag and food product to donate.

Location:  Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, 214 North Lexington Street, Pittsburgh PA 15208  (PCCR shares a building with Construction Junction)

Please RSVP to tote4pgh@gmail.com

I can’t wait to see you there!!

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!


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.


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.




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.



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.


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.


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!! 

Finally Friday and Magical 2’s

14 Sep

Boy, what a week. I came down with something this week.  It wasn’t quite a flu, all I can say is that my whole body HURT and I was exhausted.  I had to go home from work early and sleep one day, I was feeling so awful.  It seems to have cleared up now, thank goodness…just in time for a weekend that I can use to make up the work I would have otherwise done, but for getting sick.  I also got my annual hours report this week, which is simultaneously a relief that I hit my targets, and also a scare/shock about how much time I devoted to work and work-related activities last year.  After seeing those numbers and not feeling the greatest, on Wednesday I decided that YES I really DID need to go home and lie down.

Yesterday was the BlogMob event at the Food Bank, and it was fantastic. I learned so much about the good work that the Food Bank does, and I’m eager to share about it.  I want to devote the proper care and attention that post deserves, so you can expect to see that post early next week.

Now on to musing about the small creature in our house. The Terrible 2’s certainly deserve their rep, but Baby Beez at 2 has also been SO much fun. Her language has developed so much in the last few weeks. She’s gone from 2 word phrases to now making up her own songs. Still excited about her recent birthday, yesterday she sang “Happy Day! Happy Day! Elmo! Juice! Cake!”

She started in the big kids room in daycare this week. In the 1 year old room, she was always a little whiny when I dropped her off. She wanted me to hand her off to a teacher for a few snuggles. Now, in the big kids room, she dashes in and starts playing IMMEDIATELY. She’s not even interested in saying goodbye, she just wants to PLAY.

I think the other kids are inspiring her. She’s been spouting out numbers and letters nonstop this week (she doesn’t necessarily identify the right letters, or yell out the numbers in order, but she’s having fun with them anyway). The kids start on potty training in the big kid room, and she is so excited to tell me about the potty.

She loves, loves, loves her music. At gymnastics last weekend, the teacher played the “Ants Go Marching” song, and Baby Beez marched her way around the room for the whole song. She was very confused by the other kids who continued to climb and play instead of marching to the “Ants Go Marching” song.  That song is for marching of course!

Ah, big girl. I’m proud of you kiddo.


Yum! Blueberry muffins!

It’s GO TIME! #BlogMob #Hunger

13 Sep

Tonight I, along with two marvelous co-hosts, will be hosting BLOGMOB at Greater Pittsburgh Area Food Bank

There’s still some room to fit one or two more bloggers in, so if you can make it, don’t be shy!

I’ve got a car full of goodies to donate, and am looking forward to meeting great people and promoting a great cause!

Hope to see yinz tonight!

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!


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.