Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Serenity Now!

"Serenity now!" might have worked didn't work on Seinfeld (as evidenced clearly in the video montage), and it certainly doesn't work in real life. There's also this method that I learned from some camp counselor that involved saying "Wipe it away! Wipe it away!" while moving one's arms in a wax-on-wax-off-kind-of-motion. Yeah, that doesn't work either. So what do we do? Well, we manage (some better than others) or we don't. We keep it in or we let it ahhhhht (often at the expense of other's patience and tolerance).

I often wondered what I could do to find "Serenity Now!" until a few months ago when it hit me in the middle of church. Prayer. Yup. Prayer. It works.

There are two prayers that have been used quite frequently by yours truly and I wanted to post them on The Steel Trap in case you might need them as much as I do. xoxo

The Serenity Prayer 
by Reinhold Niebuhr

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.

The phrases, "accepting hardships as pathways to peace," and "that I may reasonably happy in this life" are resonating with me so much these days. Whatever path I may be on needs to be one toward peace, and it's okay and even normal to be happy within reason...

Prayer of St. Francis (modern adaptation)
by St. Francis of Assissi

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master, Grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console;
To be understood as to understand;
To be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

This prayer reminds me that in times of adversity, it's best to think of others as much (if not more) than I am thinking of myself. St. Francis was on to something here... 

Monday, April 14, 2014


Sometimes there are things that I feel like writing about on The Steel Trap that don't warrant entire posts. Thus, here is today's list of such things:
  1. It's annoying to me that people are using my social media outlets as a means of investigating into my personal life. Yes, I know that it's social media. But, if I use the word "date," it doesn't mean that I am on an actual date. If I refer to my dog as my "main squeeze," it doesn't mean that I am having a romantic relationship with him. If I made my facebook more private, it's because I made a personal decision to make my personal life more private. If you cannot find something out about me online, then you aren't close enough to me personally to need to know. 
  2. I have yet to get breakfast at Taco Bell, but best believe that when the timing is right, I will be reviewing it. 
  3. The events that occurred at Franklin Regional High School last Wednesday morning were terrible. And yet, while such events have the power to bring people together and inspire compassionate reactions, it saddens me that such events have the power to bring out the worst in the media and some people. I would like to eventually write a post about all of this, but for now I shall remain silent. 
  4. I really like gluten-free crackers and pretzels. 
  5. Express Ankle Legging (High-Rise) are the best jeans that I currently own. All six pairs of them. 
  6. The next first world problems post will be 75% my problems. This is not sitting well with yours truly. 
  7. I have a small addiction to Moscow Mules. 
  8. Eating PSB's leftovers for breakfast is a privilege. And why do they taste good even if I eat them cold? 
  9. I want Chick-fil-A to make fried chicken. Like drumsticks. Why hasn't this happened yet? All of that time when they are off on Sundays could be devoted to perfecting this enterprise! 
  10. My aversion to mayonnaise is worsening. 
  11. It's Holy Week. And I love it. 
  12. I love how certain scents remind me of certain people and/or conjure certain memories. Lavender/vanilla, Aqua di Gio, cKone, chlorine/sunscreen, Chanel No. 5, PSB's cinnamon rolls, the WHHS auditorium...
  13. I saw a PA vanity plate yesterday that read "LUV DEPP." I really want to talk to its owner. I have so many questions. 
  14. Bossa Nova closed its doors and I may never recover. Ever. In the history of ever. Dramatic, I know... but I am not alone in this mindset. SAA, TRT, and I had a brief memorial service last Friday to help let go peacefully but to no avail. Best Bossa Nova memories? Meeting the Soup Nazi; being with TAF when she handed the restroom attendant all of her jewelry because she had no cash; the random dance parties, which always involved the Cupid Shuffle; and celebrating my 22nd birthday.
Yup. Locked. 
Standard HGB pose and facial expression. 

Friday, April 11, 2014

Donato's Fox Chapel... It's Inviting

Until recently, Donato's (46 Fox Chapel Road, 15238) had been one of those places that I had driven past a couple of hundred times always wondering if it was any good but never stopping to find out. Fortunately, they had a booth at History Uncorked Poptastic! at the Heinz History Center and one bite of their meatball had me easily convinced that I needed to prioritize a trip to Fox Chapel. Coincidentally, I had also been meaning to make dinner plans with JAG, who lives in Fox Chapel; the stars were aligned! And here is what I think.
Donato's is really nice. Like, the really-nice-without-being-too-stuffy kind of really nice. With dark wood under our feet, crisp white linens that complemented the high white ceilings, and a touch of classic red vinyl on the large booths that surround the dining room's perimeter, Donato's is inviting. In addition, there is a bar that is separate from the main dining room, and a kitchen that encourages a glance (or two) of spectating.

Mushroom Bruschetta (complimentary)
This bruschetta was crisp, and the mushrooms were tender and flavorful. I was glad that there was only one on my plate because I could have eaten far too many, far too easily. 
House Made Meatball ($4, red sauce)
Just as I enjoyed this meatball at History Uncorked Poptasic!, so too I enjoyed this one. It's tender, juicy, and has just enough red sauce to enhance the overall effect. I highly recommend getting one (or more) with your meal.
Wedding Soup ($3, cup)
Traditional in every aspect, Donato's Wedding Soup is delicious. The broth was rich without being too salty, the pasta was al dente, and the other ingredients were plentiful without being overwhelming. It was the perfect prequel to the primary part of my meal, Donato's Salad.
Donato's Salad ($7, heirloom lettuces, grape tomatoes, ceci beans, gorgonzola, pepperoncini, olives, roasted shallot vinaigrette)
In the interest of saving room for dessert and indulging in a glass of wine ($11, Heavyweight Red Blend), I ordered a salad for my main course, which was a great decision. Donato's Salad was fresh and fulfilling. It's a fairly large portion, so I would order it again as my main course rather than with an entree. The gorgonzola with the vinaigrette was a perfect pairing.
Caesar Salad ($6, hearts of romaine, parmigianno, anchovy)
JAG opted for the Caesar Salad as her main course and described it as a good portion, although being a little dry. She thought that the house made croutons were good, the anchovy was tasty, and the shaved parm was a nice touch.
Red Pepper Red Velvet Cake ($11, cream cheese icing, strawberry)
With my usual after-dinner hot tea, I ordered the pastry chef's special Red Pepper Red Velvet Cake. Although I am not a huge fan of cake, I simply could not resist trying such a concoction for myself. This sweet treat was dense, with layers of cream cheese and a light strawberry puree accent. The red pepper flavor was light and only noticeable toward the end of each bite. If you are inclined to try innovative twists on classic desserts, I recommend this one (and it's portioned for sharing).

Overall, I highly recommend Donato's for a dining experience with friends and/or family (or even for a third or fourth date). The service was impeccable and the restrooms were clean (and had nice music, which is not important I know... but actually to me it is); I plan to return sooner than later. Who's with me?

(3.5 stars, 3.5/4)

Donato's Fox Chapel on Urbanspoon

Friday, April 4, 2014

Afternoon Commute

This recommendation comes from my friend MAC, and I shall be listening to it on repeat this afternoon as I drink my delicious Sugarfree Red Bull. Enjoy!

Song: "Paradise (On Earth)"
Artist: Cris Cab

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


If I told you that March was full of unexpected incidents of total hilarity, it would be an understatement; to name a few, I went backstage at the 2 Chainz concert, I spent the greater part of an evening merely two feet from Mark Cuban, and I won a chili cook-off (first place out of seventeen contestants)! Needless to say, I am hoping that this streak continues through April.

The Pittsburgh CLO Ambassadors Wine Tasting & Silent Auction was a continued success; Brit Floyd lit up the stage once again; Experience Hendrix reminded me why Jimi is one of the best; high musical season is in full swing and so far I've seen some entertaining shows; Divergent was a sufficient representation of the novel; and Meat and Potatoes is still my favorite restaurant downtown.

My birthday was quite nice... it started with a casual evening of dinner and drinks with some of my nearest and dearest girlfriends, then progressed into two days off of work, a lovely family dinner anchored by PSB's unparalleled fried chicken (along with LAB's fresh spinach salad, MAB's hashbrown casserole, PSB's homemade tapioca pudding, and MAB's strawberry cake), and family night at the Dairy Queen. Favorite gifts include a subscription to Birch Box (thanks MAB!), Fluhme cosmetics (thanks TAF!), glass matryoshka dolls (thanks EGG!), workahhhht gear (thanks JSD!), and a black and white summer scarf (thanks PSB!). Oh and if you are curious, Smirnoff Iced Cake Vodka (thanks LKM!) goes really well with raspberry limeade.

Up next in April I have a few more high school musicals to attend, EAM's birthday, Palm Sunday (my favorite service of all time), Easter festivities, and an Everything But The Book (Club) meeting. Most likely I will be listening to Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar on repeat, catching up on all of my shows that are piling up in the queue (Revenge, Scandal, Grey's, and General Hospital), trying to finish at least one of the three books that I am reading, and hanging with Mojito.

As always, thank you for reading (and [hopefully] passing this blog along). We are over 167,000 hits and we aren't slowing dahn! We are also in the top 5 on urbanspoon (#3 to be exact)! As always, thank you for "liking" The Steel Trap on facebook and following @The_Steel_Trap on Twitter. I've linked up with bloglovin', which is another way for bloggers and readers to network and share their writing. Lastly, if anyone has anything that they would like me to cover, or a restaurant that they would like me to review, please send me a message. I am always open to suggestions (just as SAA because she calls me with them at least once a week)!

Helloooo April!