Mall Photos

The nice thing about smart phones is having a camera in your pocket wherever you go. This enables my compulsion to make pictures of random things all day long.

Case in point: these images snapped at a mall in Pittsburgh a few months ago.

This trio of dresses caught my eye in a store window.

Then there was this amazing Gucci wallpaper. It would make a great accent wall in the dream library that I’m designing in my mind.

And this fun little message.

Running around documenting the common and the unusual things I see every day is a part of who I am. It isn’t necessary having encouragement to be more of who I am but it certainly was a fun affirmation.

I had forgotten all about my stroll through the Ross Park Mall that rainy evening so finding these random snaps was a fun treat!

The View From Mount Washington

A visit to Pittsburgh is not complete without a trip up Mount Washington to drink in the city’s spectacular skyline. You can get there by car or by one of two historic inclines.

It was dark after we devoured ice cream at Klavon’s so we drove to this point high above the city. Pittsburgh has a vibrant night life and the city was especially booming since the Pirates were playing Toronto that night.

We parked the car and walked around a bit, people watching along the way. I always pause a moment to appreciate St. Mary of the Mount Catholic Church. A few years ago, I had a special experience at this church and it consequently holds a special place in my heart.

Street parking is limited atop Mount Washington so you may consider parking below and taking an incline ride to the top if you’re there during business hours. It’s a fun experience and worth the cost of a ticket. Also, Mount Washington is an amazing place to watch the sunrise so be sure to do that too! Click here to read a little about an experience I had here a few years ago.

Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor

My friend took me to a time machine on Friday night. It’s called Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor and it is a portal into a gentler time.

In fact, it appears to have not been updated at all since the doors opened in 1923 when it was an apothecary and ice cream shop. It operated as such until the late seventies.

Twenty years later, descendants of the original owners revived the old neighborhood hangout. It changed hands again in 2011 and is no longer in the Klavon family but continues operating under that name.

Luckily, some things don’t change. The woodwork is magnificent. The lights are Art Deco. They still have the original wooden phone booths, tile floors, tin ceiling and a gorgeous marble counter.

There’s penny candy and cold drinks but the star of the show is the extensive menu of ice cream sundaes, shakes and floats. I tried the Tin Ceiling Sundae – vanilla ice cream plus chocolate sauce, whipped cream and fresh roasted peanuts complete with a cherry on top. My friend had this pretty little thing that’s pictured below.

They also serve some made-to-order paninis, soup and pepperoni rolls.

As you can imagine, I loved it there.

Their location on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh’s popular Strip District means that lots of other people love it too. It was busy the entire time we were there and was still busy when we left a few minutes before closing time.

Want to visit or maybe just drool over their menu? Click here to visit their website.

Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor

My friend took me to a time machine on Friday night. It’s called Klavon’s Ice Cream Parlor and it is a portal into a gentler time.

In fact, it appears to have not been updated at all since the doors opened in 1923 when it was an apothecary and ice cream shop. It operated as such until the late seventies.

Twenty years later, descendants of the original owners revived the old neighborhood hangout. It changed hands again in 2011 and is no longer in the Klavon family but continues operating under that name.

Luckily, some things don’t change. The woodwork is magnificent. The lights are Art Deco. They still have the original wooden phone booths, tile floors, tin ceiling and a gorgeous marble counter.

There’s penny candy and cold drinks but the star of the show is the extensive menu of ice cream sundaes, shakes and floats. I tried the Tin Ceiling Sundae – vanilla ice cream plus chocolate sauce, whipped cream and fresh roasted peanuts complete with a cherry on top. My friend had this pretty little thing that’s pictured below.

They also serve some made-to-order paninis, soup and pepperoni rolls.

As you can imagine, I loved it there.

Their location on Penn Avenue in Pittsburgh’s popular Strip District means that lots of other people love it too. It was busy the entire time we were there and was still busy when we left a few minutes before closing time.

Want to visit or maybe just drool over their menu? Click here to visit their website.

Pittsburgh Adventure

This weekend found me in Pittsburgh for a jaunt around the area with my friend Nichola.

She is a skilled tour guide and has a similar attitude to my own when it comes to adventuring. We are always ready to go and interested in nearly everything. Plus, we are pretty good at frugal fun and often find something fascinating or beautiful around every corner.

This time we hiked the best old growth forest in America, enjoyed Monet in flowers at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and saw the city lit up in all her glory. We even got gussied up for brunch in an old train station turned restaurant. Plus, I found a new independent used bookstore to tell you about.

Perhaps my favorite thing was stumbling upon a gorgeous Catholic Church with open doors in a small rural town.

I’m not done sharing stories from my western adventure but hope you’ll forgive me for jumping around some. I’ll start weaving in topics from this weekend along with all the other fall fun I have planned.

Stay tuned for stories near and far. Perhaps you’ll find some inspiration for planning your next adventure!

Last November

Last November took me to Pittsburgh where a good friend gave me the holiday tour of her city.

Pittsburgh is an amazing place to celebrate the Christmas season thanks to free and inexpensive events, a beautifully decorated downtown, and tons of shopping opportunities at every turn.

Things are so different this year that I keep thinking back to that weekend – leisurely tours of museums, a crowded train car, fireworks amidst strangers, and a cramped Prantl’s Bakery where people pack in for the finest treats around. We ate in diners with people seated a foot or two away and never gave a second thought to touching doors and keypads or to how many people we would encounter while walking down the street.

My memories are a stark contrast to how we are (or how we should be) living as we try to slow the growth of this pandemic.

I hope to go back someday and experience it all again. For now, I am staying close to home and seeking ways to still enjoy life without too much interaction or risk. I hope you are doing the same and that you might enjoy the armchair travels you’ll find in these pictures.

I delighted in a display of life sized depictions of Father Christmas from around the world. Isn’t he stunning?

Notice the tree reflected in the walls of this mirrored building? There was ice skating in this plaza as well.

It seems like this man had a German accent. He was delightful to listen to as he demonstrated his wares for a seemingly endless crowd.

This tree is composed of lights on the corner of the building. A real show stopper and we were there to see the first lighting!

The Phipps does amazing things with flowers, plants, lights and good old fashioned dirt. Do yourself a favor and read this post about the Phipps at Christmas. There are more pictures.

Here’s hoping that we all can return to normal next Christmas.

For now, I think the meaning of Christmas 2020 is to do everything we can to keep each other safe and well so that we all can be here to celebrate the brighter days ahead.

Be safe, my friends.