Shadyside Sweets, Nerd Stuff and a Diner!

If you ever find yourself in the Shadyside neighborhood of Pittsburgh, make your way to Prantl’s Bakery.

It’s a quaint landmark for good reason. Truth be told, I’ve only ever had their Burnt Almond Torte, a delicious little treat that literally melts in your mouth. However, if this decadent morsel isn’t your speed, there’s more to choose from. Lots more.

And while you’re in the neighborhood, there’s a host of cute stores including a fantastic little nerd shop called Kards Unlimited. It’s packed with books, games, stationary and some of the most unique gift items you never knew you needed.

My big splurge this trip was a pretty little pair of green turquoise earrings to match a necklace I purchased there last year. Plus I finally found a black cat Christmas ornament that I couldn’t live without.

Next door to Prantl’s is a Pamela’s Diner. Click here if you want to read about my experience with this funky local chain.

In addition to places to eat and shop, you’ll find that Shadyside is walkable and is home to some talented buskers. This gentleman made my day.

Quirky shopping, sweets and music in the air? Sign me up! In fact, I told Nichola this should be a stop every visit! The neighborhood is also just a stone’s throw from the Frick and some other attractions to keep you entertained.

Want to visit Shadyside? Read more on the Visit Pittsburgh site. If you go, I expect to hear all about it!

Losing A Local Tradition

The Kroger store in a neighboring town is closing after 52 years in business. While it’s not the nicest store you’ll ever see, many of us have been going there for as long as we can remember.

When I was small, my mother would put me in her shopping cart and go straight to the Little Golden Book display. I would choose a book to look at while she shopped, never fussing or demanding things – just happily “reading” my book while waiting to go home and read it together.

I had quite the collection of these classic storybooks, thanks to this routine, and quickly developed a love for reading and collecting!

This store is important to Wellston and I imagine that a lot of folks will find life more difficult when it’s gone. If you’re older or have mobility issues, navigating superstores like Walmart or even the larger grocery stores is exhausting.

The footprint of this store is quite small and just the right size for those who struggle in the big ones.

It hasn’t been remodeled in years and little has changed here. The Little Golden Book display is gone and so is the bottle return (bonus points if you remember returning your glass bottles to the store!) but it’s otherwise very similar to the store of my childhood.

There’s also no self checkout to take the place of the friendly cashiers and baggers. That may be the part I will miss the most – the people and the unwavering personal service they provide.

I’m sure the Kroger Company considered this location a nuisance because they really couldn’t adapt this location to their clicklist/self checkout model of discouraging customers to come in and shop.

Just the same, I’m sad to see it go.

What stores do you miss from your childhood?

Ruler Foods

Jasper and vicinity (127).JPGWhen I travel I always like to check out the local grocery store. I’m usually replenishing supplies – normally fresh fruit or bottled water – so I have an excuse to cruise through.

Have you been to a Ruler Foods? I just found this picture mixed in with some others from Jasper, Indiana. Ruler is owned by Kroger and is basically the Kroger Company’s answer to Aldi. It’s arranged warehouse style, you rent your cart for a quarter and the prices are lower. It was a nice store and I sort of wished there was one in my area.

I don’t know why grocery stores interest me so much but they do. Is there something mundane that you always do or look for in your travels? Tell me about it in the comments!



Peddler’s Junction Vendor Mall

I finally made it into my area’s newest source for treasure hunting yesterday. It’s called Peddler’s Junction Vendor Mall and it recently opened in Lancaster.

This store is fairly large and has over 300 vendor spaces. It’s a nice mixture of things – antiques, vintage, crafts, new decor and some flea market kind of stuff.

Like any vendor mall, the prices are all over the place but I thought they were mainly reasonable.

I was thrilled to find records.

There’s a lot of farmhouse stuff.

Some handmade items.

Lots of antiques too.

Interested? Learn more at their website.

Pilgrimage To Cabela’s

It was time for new hiking shoes so I made the pilgrimage to Cabela’s on Saturday. I typically hike in New Balance trail runners because they’re lightweight and take me everywhere I want to go. They’re affordable, cute and mostly suit my needs.

However, I wanted something waterproof for the occasional hikes that take me through streams or across wet areas. Traditional hiking boots are too heavy and I’m more vulnerable to injury in boots so they’re off the table. I know that sounds weird but it’s true.

I always marvel at the selection in this store and at how expensive everything is. But I lucked out and found exactly what I needed for a bargain. Best of all, I managed to get out the door with just my shoes and no impulse buys. Pink pepper spray and some cute tops were tempting but I persevered.

This T-shirt reminded me of my friend Johnna and the evening we spent in a parking lot at Canyonlands National Park. We feasted on cherries and peanut butter sandwiches while watching a meteor shower last summer.

I now regret not buying it. I mean, really…. why didn’t I buy it?

Because I’m a responsible adult, that’s why. But I got my shoes so now I’m ready for an adventure! Now we just need the weather to cooperate.

Want to read about that night at Canyonlands? You can! Click here. You can read more about my Utah trip by searching this blog for “Utah.”

At least we tried

My thrifting adventure in Columbus yesterday didn’t yield the treasures I had envisioned but we had a good time anyway. My friend and I have known each other since the fifth grade and have been through thick and thin but we don’t see each other much so it was fun just to have a little time together.

A disturbing trend we noticed though was that the thrift store prices really weren’t so great. In fact, some of the prices seemed ridiculous. Thirty dollars for a Home Interiors print in a banged up frame is not a deal. Three dollars for a glass jar that you can buy at the Dollar Tree for, well, a dollar – isn’t a deal either. I will admit that the exception to that statement was in the kids clothes department. My friend came home with several nice clothing items for her little girl for just a few dollars.

I just wonder if this is a product of the recession or simply bad decision making among those who price donations. I mean, the pricing in thrift stores has always seemed very subjective to me.You would think that maintaining fair prices would help thrift stores remain profitable through a time when many people simply can’t afford to buy new things. But what do I know?

Nonetheless, we didn’t spend much money or come home with a lot but we did have fun! Here are a few things that came home with me (Sorry for the bad photography. I was tired).

To be fair, the books and the Ben Folds Five dvd actually came from the clearance shelf at Half Price Books, also known as Heaven on Earth.

Here’s a closer look at the lovely little Liz & Co. necklace at the bargain price of just $3.99.

And two glass bottles for .50 each because you can never have too many cool vessels to put flowers in!

This was my favorite thrifting purchase of the day. This sweet little ceramic bowl was .99 and will go very well with my collection of mid-century pieces.

These caught my eye on the TJ Maxx clearance rack because I am an organizational freak and am always looking for containers that suit my needs. This set of three glass containers with airtight lids set me back a whole $5. And not to beat a dead horse but the thrift stores were selling similar containers for five and six dollars each.


I also picked up a Worthington brand skirt for fall and a pair of New Balance capris for $3 apiece. They were in the washer by the time these pictures were taken.

Not bad for a day of goofing off with a friend, eh?