Tag Archives: Mr. Beez

How to Have a Perfect Marriage

14 Feb

I have no idea.

And I’m skeptical of anyone who offers advice in the superlative, anyway.

Mr. Beez and I don’t have a perfect marriage, but we have a pretty darn good one.  We love each other, but we are good pals too, and I think that helps a lot.  I’m incredibly lucky that Mr. Beez is always up for an adventure, even if it’s an adventure that is not really up his alley (I’m looking at you, Death Cab for Cutie concert).

Mr. Beez sent me beautify flowers to celebrate the day.  We went out on a Valentine’s date last Saturday, but tonight ended up being excellent as well. I made a simple dinner, Mr. Beez’ mom stopped over to play with the little one for a bit.  I baked some tasty cookies and we watched some Modern Family DVDs.  For once, we weren’t running around like crazy people, scarfing down granola bars for dinner, and racing to get this that and the other thing done.  We spent Valentine’s day like a normal family. It was lovely.

Snuggle up with the ones you love and have some sugary holiday treats. Happy Valentine’s Day, yinz!

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.


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

Vancouver Vacation

31 Jul

I initially planned to do separate posts about each activity that we did on vacation, but realized that would be the internet equivalent of cornering you and making you look at my family vacation slideshow. So I’m slapping all of this together in one post, mostly for myself (and because my mom would like to see all of this). I love to see other people’s travel photos, but also recognize that if I’m looking at those photos at work, it makes me want to punch them in the face, because I’m working and they’re not. So check out my vacation if you wish, or not. Warning…there are going to be a TON of posts BlogHer coming up soon, also several book posts, since I managed to catch up on my reading over the trip!

1. The lodgings: Bee and Thistle Guest House

I picked this place because of its high rating on TripAdvisor, and because I thought it would be fun to stay at a B&B. The Bee & Thistle is fabulous, I would never stay anywhere else in Vancouver. The Bee & Thistle first opened in 2010 for lodging during the Olympics, and its owners cut no corners transforming this Victorian home into a comfortable, well appointed guest house. Lynn and Michael, the innkeepers, are friendly and accommodating but not intrusive. They are happy to help with whatever you need, but also give you your privacy. The rooms are incredibly well stocked with fresh cookies each evening, snacks, toiletries, even a little web notebook to use during your stay.  DID YOU HEAR THAT? FRESH COOKIES IN YOUR ROOM EVERY DAY. The rooms are unique, and reasonably priced. We stayed in “Molly’s Room” which is the next to smallest room, but still had plenty of space and simply was lovely.



The Bee & Thistle is a short drive from downtown, but there is ample parking if you rent a car. It is also within easy walking distance to the Commercial Drive district, and there is plenty of public transit (we rented a car to get the most “bang for our buck” time-wise, since our trip was so short).

Lynn is an amazing, talented chef, who prepared generous and delicious breakfasts for us each day of our stay.



2.The Sights: Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

So peaceful. So pretty.







3. The Activities: Cycle City Bike Tour

I’m not a “bike person.” Part of this is because Pittsburgh is not bike friendly. It’s working on getting better, but the streets are still narrow and the drivers still aggressive. There are entirely too many instances of bicyclists being fatally injured on the streets of Pittsburgh. I’ll ride a bike from time to time on a car-free trail, but that’s it. Vancouver, by contrast, is extremely bike friendly. Most streets have dedicated bike trails, and many of those are even set off from the roadway with physical barriers. Bike commuting is commonplace, and Vancouver employers are increasingly offering showers and bike storage. If I lived in Vancouver, I could learn to love biking.

The Cycle City Bike tour was 4.5 hours long, and took us ALL over the city, including fantastic stretches along the sea wall and on the trails of Stanley Park. Not being a cyclist, my butt still hurts from the ride several days later, but I can say that I made it through the ride itself a-ok. This was a fantastic way to see the city, even if (like me) you’re not perfectly in shape.







4. The Eats: Havana

In the Commercial Drive district of the city (and only a short walk from the Bee & Thistle), Havana is a perfect spot to share a pitcher of sangria and a bite on a breezy summer evening.




5. The Activities: Grouse Mountain and Zip Line


And for lunch– Pulled Pork poutine at the Grouse Mountain cafe (Even though poutine is a Motreal original, it is equally popular in Vancouver, and I just couldn’t say “no” to this treat).


6. More Activities: Capilano Suspension Bridge and Cliffwalk

Beautiful view, but might not be the best activity if you (like me) get terribly motion sick. I call it “the bridge of dizzy’





The interesting curved trees growing from the mountain wall.


7. The Eats: Rodney’s Oyster House

My first oyster eating experience! I had ever eaten an oyster because I thought they would taste like slimy raw eggs. The waiter assured me this was not true. I took the plunge, and I tried them. Rodney’s specializes in oysters and all kinds of fresh seafood. We tried 2 different kinds of oysters from the Pacific Northwest and one from the East. I was happy to find that they do NOT taste like raw eggs, but rather taste like the ocean. It is a strange taste, but I could get used to it.




8. The Eats: Japadog

For years, Vancouver had very strict limitations on food carts, allowing them only to sell a limited number of wares. In the mid-2000s, the carts started pushing the envelope, getting creative with their hotdogs so they still technically complied with the rules, but were also creative. The laws have since changed, and the Vancouver food truck movement is blossoming. There are even food truck food tours, which I’d love to take next time I am in town.



9. Cuppa Joe: Turk’s Coffee

Our innkeepers and food tour guide both agreed that Turk’s makes the best coffee in Vancouver, and being right around the corner from our B&B, we had to check it out.  My latte was indeed tasty, but I was even more impressed with the casual ambiance.


The final verdict: This was a phenomenal vacation. It was just a long weekend, but it felt like much more. Vancouver is extremely accessible and tourist friendly. The people are kind, and the city clean. Admittedly, the prices are kind of high, and the sales tax in Vancouver is exorbitant, so a long weekend here will make your credit card cry (but that’s why we’re there for a few days, instead of for weeks, right?)

The Big Apple: Per Se

14 May

I have probably looked forward to dining at a Michelin-rated restaurant more than any other item on my 30 before 30 list. I ticked this one off the list this weekend, with an unforgettable visit to Thomas Keller’s Per Se. Per Se is everything everyone says it is, and more. Anyone who gives this restaurant anything less than 5 stars is the kind of person who can never be fully happy, and will always manage to find some little blemish in an otherwise perfect experience.  Per Se is perfection.  It was blissful, and in a way sad.  After that meal was over, I realized that that was that.  I have experienced the pinnacle of my dining experience.  No other meal will ever compare.  Even if I go back there for another visit, a second meal won’t live up to the magic and surprise of the first visit.

Mr. Beez and I excited for this adventure!  Our friend, Anthony, joined us but he was busy taking the picture.

We fully expected the servers to be pompous and judgmental. They weren’t.  They were friendly and joking, and perfectly attentive without being pushy.  We had FIVE people waiting on us– constant, but unobtrusive.  The wine list is loaded on an iPad…it had to be 50 pages long. I have an experienced palate for cheap wine. I was completely lost on this.  Amongst crowds of wines $900-$15,000, I managed to find the “cheap-o” wine at $100.  There wasn’t going to be a thing on that list that disappointed this girl, who rarely drops more than $12 on a bottle ($15 if I’m feeling fancy).  I have no idea what the wine was that we picked. But it was fantastic. Because this is Per Se and that’s how things are.

At Per Se:

MY PURSE HAD ITS OWN CHAIR. Not like an empty chair at the table, a teeny tiny little stool JUST FOR A PURSE. I couldn’t take a better picture because I would have had to crouch down on the floor and that would just look too weird. (For the record, the girl at the next table over was taking pictures of everything TOO.)

I truly don’t have the vocabulary to describe Per Se.  The first bite of each dish took my breath away, and I could only muster a “This is really good .”  There are so many adjectives to describe a sublime meal. None of them worked for me here.  All I could think to say, with each and every of the 9 courses (and then some) was “This is really good.” 

A description of each course would fall flat in comparison to the taste and texture.  The pictures are the best substitute I can offer.

This was the first dessert of FIVE consecutive desserts.  First was this cheese and sweets plate, then a raspberry parfait, then we had chocolate layer cake (Anthony opted instead for a grapefruit concoction), then they brought over a tin of macarons and other sweets, THEN a waiter came by and offered us truffles and fancy chocolates from this enormous, exquisite box of chocolates (I forgot to take a picture of that part), and THEN they even sent us home with a little bag of candies.  FIVE DESSERTS. IN A ROW. FIVE.

Ok, so this one isn’t a dessert. It’s just the sugar for my coffee. But even the presentation for that was impressive.

And here we are, fat and happy, at the end of our long and DELICIOUS evening.

Another Challenge for the Peanut Gallery: Steakhouses

11 Apr

I’ve got food on the brain today.  I’ve been on hold with Per Se for the last 30 minutes, in a desperate attempt to get a dinner reservation when Mr. Beez and I travel up to NYC for my friend Jen’s wedding in May.  If I don’t get one this time, I can try again in August.  Being on hold is STRESSFUL.

Mr. Beez’ birthday is coming up in May.  For his birthday dinner he would like a “ridiculous steak.”  We’re talking some ridiculous massive porterhouse, with a ridiculous massive baked potato, and a ridiculous massive plate of broccoli.  Morton’s is always a favorite of his, so that is a distinct possibility.  I have been to Morton’s once, and was not amazed by it.  It is a big fancy dinner, but I feel like I could have had a much more delicious meal for half the price at any number of Pittsburgh’s unique local restaurants.  (Note: we DO plan to visit Peter Luger during one of our NYC trips this summer.)

So, peanut gallery, what is your favorite place for a gluttonous steak in Pittsburgh?

Possibilities include:


Hyde Park (which I’ve heard good things about, but it has received several scathing reviews on Yelp!)

The Capital Grille

The Carlton

or anywhere else yinz can think of.  I would rather we go to a locally owned place, but appears that the steakhouse scene is overwhelmingly chains.

Where do you think we should dine for a ridiculous enormous steak for Mr. Beez’ birthday?

Three Years Ago

29 Mar

Three Years Ago today…

Mr. Beez and I hung out with Darth Vader…

My brothers and I got an attitude problem…

We signed a contract….

We broke some glassware…

We ate some baked goods…

We danced with dragons…

And set the stage for happily ever after!

Happy Anniversary, Mr. Beez!