Tag Archives: work

My Favorite Lunch Spots in Downtown Pittsburgh

For the days when I’m running out the door in the morning without a packed lunch, I have found a few tried and true places to visit on my lunch break. Below are my top picks for best downtown Pittsburgh lunch spots. Unfortunately, I have yet to find some really good ethnic food, but what these spots lack in diversity, they make up for in service and taste.

City Oven :: I had originally visited City Oven in their locations north and south of the city, and I couldn’t have been happier when I discovered that they recently added a restaurant downtown. City Oven boasts great fire-roasted pizza with equally good red & vodka sauces. I usually grab a slice & salad and a seat at one of the counters facing the street. An added bonus: City Oven is committed to the city – giving back through their continuing education program that provides mentorship and training to local aspiring entrepreneurs.

Franktuary :: Founded by fellow Grove City alumni, Franktuary has a great variety of gourmet hot dogs made with local, natural beef. My personal favorite is the traditional New Yorker – sauerkraut, onions & mustard. They also have locations in Lawrenceville and a food truck that travels to various locations throughout the week. Track them down – Franktuary is a must-visit.

Noodles & Company :: This place feeds my love of pasta in all its forms. From mac&cheese to their penne rosa (my personal favorite), Noodles is my go-to lunchtime spot. If you can, head over after 1pm, as the lunchtime crowd usually thins out by then.

Bluebird Kitchen :: Bluebird Kitchen is my absolute favorite lunchtime spot – combining amazing food and beautiful furnishings with a cool hipster vibe. I had their Croque Monsieur the first time I ate there, and I have yet to try something else – it’s that good. Their selection of cookies & pastries is also hard to resist. Sometimes, if I’m feeling particularly giving, I save half and bring it home to Sean – some things are too good not to share.

Do you have any good lunchtime tips to share? Most importantly, do you know where I can get some good Thai food downtown?


That Squirrel Is Nuts

One of my favorite things about my job is working downtown. The warmer weather these past few months has made it extra great, because I can sit outside and read during my lunch break. I have lots of favorite spots to sit – pretty much based on what my priorities are: doze off in the middle of a crowded place? people-watch? sit by the river? All viable options.

A few weeks ago I went to my favorite reading spot.

After a couple of minutes,  I glanced up from my book and I realized that there was a squirrel sitting at my feet staring at me.

Obviously, I was taken off guard. The squirrel was a bit too close, so I utilized my fool-proof pigeon shooing method: Remain very still and then move suddenly and scare the beep out of them. Did you write that down? It’s fool-proof.

Apparently, this method has little impact on squirrels. It started prowling. Seriously – it was pacing all around me. And I’ve never been this close to a squirrel, because typically they are freaked out of their minds about something, and darting all over the place. But this one was laser-focused. on me. Leaving me to sit and wait for it to pounce. Because once it started prowling, I pretty much abandoned all hope. My pigeon-move was really all I had in my arsenal. And I certainly wasn’t ready to try something really drastic like actually saying the word “SHOO!” so I had to face facts and wait for the worst to happen. And flinch a lot. Cause that’s what you do when you are being sized up by a potentially life-threatening rodent…who is acting strange because they may or may not have rabies…

And then something worse happened.

A lady 10 feet away from me said, “He just wants some bagel.” AKA Someone was watching me be afraid of the squirrel. (Hello humiliation…I knew you were nearby)

I looked down and realized that there was, indeed, a piece of bagel at my feet. So I gestured wildly at it to the squirrel. He came over, sniffed it, and started circling me again. I then realized two things: 1. He didn’t want the bagel… and 2. Lady, are you seriously holding a bagel? and did you actually throw food to that squirrel at MY FEET??! Use your own feet to train wild animals.

Somehow sucked into these crazy mind games…I reached into my bag to find what was left of the granola bar that I had for breakfast. I shook out the empty wrapper and only tiny crumbs came out. You know that expression about crumbs that are ‘too small for a mouse.’ These were those-size crumbs.

At this point I think the squirrel was scowling at me.

Not feeling up to sacrificing the two chocolate chip cookies I had in my bag, I did the only thing I could do. I gathered up my courage and made a break for it.

Thankfully, Rabies-Squirrel went about his crazy bid-ness without me.

New Routines

Around this time of year, we all start to make a lot of promises to ourselves. It’s a new time of year – a time to start something new – a time to start fresh. But around here, we believe in trying new things all the time. So rather than make a bunch of resolutions that I may or may not be paying attention to in a month, I wanted to commit to write more often about the new things we are up to, because I want to preserve our memories – no matter how small.

With all the changes in our life recently, this month I want to write about our…

This past week was my first week back to work. I typically handle regular schedules with less poise and a bit of dramatic flair. I tend to set my alarm clock as late as possible. I tend to make endless promises to myself (and my husband) about packing my lunch, and never actually succeed in doing so. And I tend to try on multiple outfits, leave minimal time for hair and makeup, and overlook key parts of the process such as deodorant application. In a phrase: Most mornings I am operating in what my mom has termed “Urgent Mode” (a phrase coined just for me, thank you very much).

New year, new job, new leaf. I have made a series of commitments to myself, and the first week has gone very well. I want our morning routine to look a bit more like this:

1. We pack our lunches the night before.

2. I pick out my clothes the night before (Sean is already doing this). I will have more than enough time to think things through at night. I will not change my mind in the morning.

3. We will pick a consistent wake-up time that gives us enough time to get ready, eat breakfast, and spend some time reading the Bible before heading out for the day.

Sean has always been responsible about getting all his stuff together the night before. I have watched him (well, most of the time I’ve been asleep) He has informed me of morning after morning of stress-free time before heading off to work. And, most of the time he has had a lunch to eat during the day. I should have followed his example before now, but “Urgent Mode” has been comfortably chaotic.

I wonder how we get ourselves into that place – where chaos is comfortable and planning seems like it would take too much energy?

I threatened to fall back into my old ways a few days this week. I was almost too tired to do anything the night before, and there were a few times that I wanted to try on a different outfit than I had laid out the night before. In favor of the new routine, I decided to stick to it – I made my lunch and I stuck with the clothes I had planned on. If the outfit was weird I figured I could always be “the new girl at work with the crazy outfits.”

As a result, this week my mornings were calmer, more orderly, and less rushed. I had time to do everything and get where I needed to go on time. My husband was also properly fed during the day – and you can’t ask for more than that.

I am hoping that this new plan will decrease the urgent and increase the peace. I hope that the time we spend preparing our stuff and our hearts, will leave us more ready for the day ahead, and for the good we have to do in it.

Hustle and Bustle

It’s official. It’s December 1st and the holiday hustle and bustle is already in full swing around our house.

I am currently sitting on the floor in our family room surrounded by fall decorations, boxes and boxes of Christmas decor, lots of work emails, a half-finished craft project, unfolded laundry, a camera full of unedited photos, and 2 of the 25+ presents that I need to buy.

My car is packed with bags and bags of supplies for a holiday party I am hosting in 3 days from now for families at our church: random foodstuffs, one finished (yay) and very cute craft project, a box of instruments, assorted paper goods, stocking stuffers, prizes, arts and crafts supplies, fake snow, and lots of jingling reindeer headbands.

But look how relaxed we look in this picture from last Christmas in our matching pj’s (Despite my extreme amount of lip gloss).

We survived last year’s hustle and bustle and we will survive this year.

And now that listening to Christmas music is appropriate…we might even enjoy it.


Last Sunday afternoon, I arrived home from work and was told to close my eyes as soon as I stepped through the doorway. I sat on our couch covering my eyes while Sean rustled up a few surprises and packed them in the car. When I opened my eyes, he handed me a single hydrangea and tried to hustle me off to the car. The surprise could have ended right there – hydrangea are right up there with ice cream, cheese, and the assorted list of ‘my favorite things’ – but Sean had more in mind! Once I had my flower in water and positioned perfectly in our family room, I was ready to go.

Sean pulled the car into one of our favorite parks in the city. It has a beautiful hill overlooking lots of trees and is always quiet and relaxed. The day was perfect and when Sean pulled a fully packed picnic basket out of the car I was excited! We grabbed a spot under a big tree and unpacked our goodies!We received a fun picnic pack as a wedding gift and this was our first official picnic using it! The pack includes every gadget and utensil one might want on a picnic and comes complete with teeny salt and pepper shakers and matching blue gingham napkins! Sean packed lots of my favorite things – lots of cheese, soppressata, grapes, raspberry ice tea, and a delicious baguette. It was so thoughtful and romantic of Sean to surprise me in the middle of a busy day of work with such a fun treat.

I love my hubby.