Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Things I Learned From My Ex(es) Part 3

Editor's Note: This is the third installment of many; if you missed the first two you can click here:"Things I Learned From My Ex(es)" and "Things I Learned From My Ex(es) Part 2." Yes, that means that yours truly has plenty of exes about whom she can write plenty of posts. My hope is that this series will help readers to find the humor in their relationships, and maybe even to feel some reminiscent gratitude for the "lessons" they learned because of such relationships. You know, if we don't laugh (or simply smile) about our pasts, most likely we'd cry our eyes out. Lastly, it shouldn't need to be mentioned that I am not going to be mentioning any names (or initials for that matter); also, these exes are not in any particular order.

The One With Whom I Lasted Two Weeks... Maybe Three
  • I learned that the smell of Acqua di GiĆ² will forever remind me of him. 
  • I learned that if a guy says that he can see the words literally coming out of my mouth and that everything in the room looks plaid, he is most definitely on drugs. 
  • I learned that it's never good to hear stories from someone's job on the Gateway Clipper Fleet. This is why you will not catch me on one of those boats. Ever. 
  • I learned that getting a boyfriend a few days after starting one's freshman year of college is an absolutely terrible idea. 
  • I learned that a guy probably has his priorities confused if he passes out the few times you are at his parents' home, leaving you to hang out with his [very nice] mother, who you barely know. 
  • I learned that first dates at underage clubs in Oakland are not solid groundwork for a relationship. 

Saturday, September 13, 2014


I met up with a dear friend for some late drinks and dinner at Tender Bar + Kitchen (4300 Butler Street, 15201) not too long ago. Housed in the former 1880's Arsenal Bank, Tender has an appealing ambiance of nostalgic trend.* This evening was our first time experiencing what Tender had to offer; it was a pleasantly relaxed vibe, the bartender was skillfully attentive, and the menu was compact but interesting.

Looking toward the front of Tender from my seat at the bar
Looking toward the seemingly infinite selection of alcohol from my seat at the bar
Cheese Plate ($14, three domestic cheeses, pickled vegetable assortment)
Tender Burger ($12, cheddar, local greens, onion, pickled fennel, pub sauce, bacon) 
Gnocchi, a small plate ($15, lavender, wild mushrooms, zucchini, green beans, berries, goat cheese)
Stuyvesant Smash by Ryan Fisher of Craft & Commerce San Diego  
The recipe for this craft cocktail:

  • 1 oz. Bols Genever Gin
  • 1 oz Aalborg Akvavit
  • 3/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 3/4 oz. simple syrup
  • small bunch of mint
  • 2 dashes Bitter Truth Celery Bitters

We loved the Cheese Plate, and next time I might splurge by paying the extra $8 to add charcuterie; my gnocchi was too heavy, and I struggled to discern the individual ingredients that had convinced me to order it; the Tender Burger was devoured before I could ask JWR for a bite so I will take this a sign that it was delicious; and my Stuyvesant Smash was exactly what I requested, "a handmade, refreshing beverage to go nicely with the Cheese Plate and my conversation." Despite a higher price point than I usually indulge for weeknight drinking and dining, I do hope to return, perhaps on a weekend. Tender now serves brunch, so hopefully I can convince SAA that we must do this as soon as possible.

(3 stars, 3/4)

Tender Bar + Kitchen on Urbanspoon

*In truth, I would probably enjoy just about anything housed in old banks, with the exception of Carson City Saloon.

Thursday, September 11, 2014


Today is just one of those days when I have too many thoughts that aren't quite long enough for an entire blog post. Here are eleven of them:

  1. People always ask, "Where were you?" when in conversation about September 11, 2001. Mine isn't a remarkable story, but it is memorable; I am thinking of it today as I pray for the victims and their loved ones. I was at the Student Health Center. I had Journalism class after my appointment; I was actually planning on going since it was my senior year at Pitt and I was trying to graduate on time. As I walked through the waiting room on my way to the check-out window, I glanced over at the television screens and saw the image of the plane hitting the Twin Towers. It didn't register until I got to class, which happened to be in a computer lab within the Hillman Library (this was a different setting than our usual spot in the Cathedral of Learning). Our professor had planned to introduce us to specific websites that reporters use to gather "up-to-the-minute" news. I believe that you can imagine what transpired once we were looking at those resources. Within twenty minutes, someone got on the intercom in Hillman, and told us to go home. This of was odd in and of itself because libraries are traditionally quiet places and we never hear anything remotely disruptive or loud. And so I went back to my apartment on Oakland Avenue, waited for my roommate, and called home to check in with PSB. When EWP got to our apartment, we watched it on television over and over... I remember it feeling similar to watching the Challenger explode repeatedly in 1986. And now, thirteen years later, it's daunting to think of how much our lives have changed since that tragic morning. 
  2. Wasabi & Soy Sauce Brown Rice Triscuit Thin Crisps are nothing but delicious, triangle-shaped bites of trouble. 
  3. My ringworm is still a part of my life. I have it in four spots, most visibly prominent on my forehead. Let me tell you folks... there is nothing more humbling than having to put jock itch cream on one's face. NOTHING. 
  4. The weather today makes me happy. #UpperBodyDenim
  5. I will suck Arby's Sauce from the packets shamelessly. 
  6. The Nicki Minaj "Anaconda" video. I just cannot. 
  7. I miss my sister
  8. If you are a literary nerd, you might want to check out How to Read Literature Like a Professor: A Lively and Entertaining Guide to Reading Between the Lines by Thomas C. Foster. No, seriously. Read it.  
  9. I cooked chicken breasts in Newman's Own Honey Mustard Lite Dressing. I highly recommend this practice. 
  10. Two of my exes have asked whether or not they will be making an appearance in my new gimmick "Things I Learned From My Ex(es)." But of course they will! A bottle of favorite alcohol to whomever's post gets the most hits! 
  11. I got the H and the G Alex and Ani bracelets to go with the B. My wrist is complete. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Things I Learned From My Ex(es) Part 2

Editor's Note: This is the second installment of many; if you missed the first one you can click here: "Things I Learned From My Ex(es)". Yes, that means that yours truly has plenty of exes about whom she can write plenty of posts. My hope is that this series will help readers to find the humor in their relationships, and maybe even to feel some reminiscent gratitude for the "lessons" they learned because of such relationships. You know, if we don't laugh (or simply smile) about our pasts, most likely we'd cry our eyes out. Lastly, it shouldn't need to be mentioned that I am not going to be mentioning any names (or initials for that matter); also, these exes are not in any particular order.

And so I present to you what I learned from:

The One With Whom I Held Hands On The Playground
  • I learned that a gift from the Secret Santa Shop is a really big deal. 
  • I learned that one day you might be "going together" and one day you might not, like if he's holding hands with someone else in the back of your third grade classroom. 
  • I learned that it's really important to sit next to your boyfriend on the field trip bus. 
  • I learned that being in the "other" fourth grade classroom is enough to tear you apart. 
  • I learned that being in the same fifth grade classroom is enough to bring you back together. 
  • I learned that it feels really good to get a special Valentine in your Valentine's Day box at school. 
  • I learned that it can be really weird if his mother teaches in your school even if she's not your teacher. 
  • I learned that your mother and his mother will talk about you both and smile knowingly at each other. 
  • I learned that when you grow up and go to high school, it can be really awkward... especially if you end up taller than him. 

Sunday, September 7, 2014

The First World Problems of HGB & MAB cont.

Since the last twenty-two posts of this nature, I have been accumulating many contributions from family and friends in addition to the ones that MAB and me experience on our own. Like the past few times, this particular list piled up quite quickly (LIKE REALLY QUICKLY), which begs the question: Is life in the first world getting to be too hard for us?

As always, you should know that anything posted on facebook and Twitter is totally fair game. It's just too easy for me to pluck your first world problems from there and drop them here on The Steel Trap. Note: Just because these are written in first person point of view, doesn't mean that they are mine. Or does it? You decide.
  • The music playing during the fifteen minutes that I was on hold with Verizon is now stuck in my head. 
  • My college professor used incorrect grammar on the first day of class.
  • I drove to work with the dog in my car. So I had to backtrack in rush hour traffic to get to the dog sitter and then go back to work. 
  • My car has been in the shop for two weeks. The rental car that they gave me doesn't have working air conditioning. It blows hot air. So on the day when I had to wear a suit to work, it also happened to be 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course I got stuck in traffic going to and from my destination. 
  • Nursing school is so stressful that I grew a huge zit on my chin. I haven't had a zit in like five years.
  • It was so hot outside that the glue on the bottom of my sandal melted and my whole shoe came apart in the middle of an outdoor outlet mall.
  • I made the mistake of watching the first episode of Scandal and now I want to binge watch the entire first season instead of studying for the two exams I have next week.
  • I got pulled over today for going too slow. I was going 60 mph. 
  • I am on a Megabus on the way to Pittsburgh. I am too classy for this. 
  • Thank you to whomever decided to mow their lawn at 8 a.m. on a Sunday. 
  • I think I'm too caked out from celebrating my birthday all week that I will have to have a Blizzard on my actual birthday. 
  • I had to wash and dry my hair three times this week because I cannot stop sweating from my head. I never wash my hair. 
  • My phone is acting like it has a terminal illness. Hurry up, iPhone 6. 
  • So I am running in the Glass Slipper Challenge with runDisney in February, and tonight I just got started with paging through the Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. Now I am exhausted and want to cry. I have never seen such a stressful vacation planning experience. I must not be cut out for this Disney business. 
  • I feel like someone has been giving me decaf as a cruel, cruel joke. 
  • I got up at 5:30 a.m. to catch a 7:30 a.m. flight, and now it's delayed. 
  • Few things in modern life are worse than finding out about a friend's death through facebook. 
  • When I clean the lint trap after drying my clothes, I pull out way more dog hair than lint. 
  • At my kid's new school, the teacher comes to the car and gets my child from me. This is awesome because I can wear my jammies. However, now I have to clean all of the crap off of the floor of my car. 
  • Of course the fire alarm in my apartment building goes off when I am taking a shower. 
  • The luxury car wash doesn't have a vacuum head that can fit in on the sides of my front seats.