Valentines, Schmalentines

To Feel The Love  

Forward: When I sat down yesterday to write this post I wasn’t sure what to say, or how to say it. I didn’t know my ending goal or have a point to my story, I just felt like writing about what love meant to me. Here is what unfolded after I sat down.


I don’t know how to start this post and I’m not really in the mood to write it. Tomorrow is Valentines Day and I will be celebrating with the one I love.

I love, love. I am a hopeless romantic. I am a super huge fan of movies that make me cry. My favorite part of any TV series and Movie is always the love story. I.E., Rachel and Ross, Noah and Allie, Jim and Pam, Olivia and Fitz, just to name a few. I am secretly sappy. Love is hard to explain, and the word is thrown around so much that it’s not always believable anymore. The reason I am even doing this post is because not everyone is surrounded by love, and when you are someone who happens to be lucky enough to have and be loved, then you should embrace it.

My heart has been broken to the point I felt as if there was no return. But, I come from a family who showered me with so much love that it was impossible to give up in life. Love isn’t just about flowers, heart candies -although delicious, cute, and wonderful-, and teddy bears. To me, love is a blessing. I am not bragging, I am not gloating, I am just simply recognizing that my parents and grandparents, along with close and distant family members were the first people in my life to show me what true love was supposed to be, and how it was supposed to feel, and I am forever grateful.

My Grandparents were married for 50 years. My Parents divorced when I was 1. Not a day in my childhood from birth to 18 went by without the support of both my mother and father. They might not have loved each other, but they loved me so much that it taught me how to truly care about someone. After I left for college, obviously, I didn’t always try to talk to my parents everyday because I was too busy trying to “discover myself”, but I never forgot how I grew up. When someone would try to take me down, mentally, or by breaking my heart, I would remember how much I love the world, how much I love to laugh, and how much I love the idea of creating the perfect life for myself, and I would get up and move on. Love is hard. It’s hard to find, it’s hard to maintain, it’s said to be easy with the right people but that doesn’t mean it is effortless. It’s only easy because love is the common denominator, and when that is understood, you can overcome anything.

The older I get, the more the definition of love changes. I mean, I have always loved pizza, cats, cheese, and ice cream but, saying you love someone, and committing to that in reality changes as you become older. When I moved to North Carolina 5 years ago, love showed up. My Mom and my Dad, whom don’t speak to each other, drove separately to Pittsburgh from Columbus, helped me pack up a van, a station wagon, and a car, and we all followed each other on this 8 hour adventure. 3 cars, all of us seperate yet, all of us doing this together. I was moving from Pitt to Raleigh because of a boy. Even though I kept telling myself it was for a “change in career”, and to be somewhere warmer, I knew it was because of a boy, and so did my parents. My divorced parents drove me from PGH to NC so I could be with the one I love. I don’t know much more of a love story than that. They moved me into a random house, with random roommates, and “the boy” was there to help. Afterwards, they kissed me on the cheek and separately drove back to Columbus, OH, as Mitch and I waved goodbye. That is why I love, love.

Mitch and I met in middle school, went to high school together, then didn’t see each other for about 8 years, or talk for that matter. On my 26th birthday I came to Raleigh, NC because my best friend was here on business and heaven forbid if we weren’t together to celebrate the big 26! Mitch happened to have a place in Raleigh for us to crash that April, and then, well, that following August I moved here. I’m now 31 and we will be celebrating 6 years together this spring. We both came from terrible heart aches, and helped each other back into trusting someone. He is my rock, my best friend, and he makes me feel like I must have done something right in this world, to have been so lucky to land someone like him. I love you, babe, Happy Valentines, Schmalentines Day.


I’ve decided to share some of my favorite photos with you guys! Scroll through to see the fun times we’ve had over the years, the awesome Pizza my Dad sends us on Valentines Day, the pancakes I made one year that spell out “I Love You”, and my favorite way to show him I care, the art of the sandwich. 

Snowmageddon 2017.

Edible, I Love You’s.

42nd St Oyster Bar.      -Raleigh-

When You Love Someone, Make Them A Sandwich.      -2015-

“Smile” ( He said he could pose better than me.)     -Just A Wedding-

That One Time My Dad Sent Us Heart Shaped Pizzas From Lou’s For Valentines Day!

A Foodies Way of Saying, I Love You, Honey.      -La Farm Bakery-

One Rad Wedding, 2017.     -Colorado-

One of My Favorite New Staples in Raleigh.     -Lucette Grace-

Brewery Hopping.     -Bond Brothers-

Happy 5 Years.     -2017-

Cheers To Year Number 6!     -Chocolate Chip & Bacon Pancakes-

Pittsburgh, My Love

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Steel Town, USA!

 

My first love is Ohio. I was born and raised a Buckeye in the beautiful city of Columbus. I went to school in good ol’ London, Ohio but spent a fair amount of time in the city where my Dad, Granny, and Grandpa lived. At 18 years old, and a few months after graduating LHS, I packed my bags and headed off to Pennsylvania. 

 

 

The third college visit I ever went on was to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh, and from the very first time I ever drove through the Fort Pitt Tunnel, I was in love. This is such a beautiful, magnificent, strong, proud, and hard working city, and I’m lucky to have spent eight years of my life here. I lived in the city, outside the city, moving every single year I was there, and it was exhilarating. Not having a college campus allowed for me to use the city as my playground, and I took advantage of that to a full extent. 

 

 

 

Dear Primanti Bros, I Love You.  

 

Again, I am obsessed with sandwiches… here is more proof. Unfortunately, the old saying, you never know what you have until it’s gone, is very true in this case. There are no Primanti Bros here in Raleigh, or in North Carolina, and I never thought I would miss them as much as I do! I was a regular to the location in Market Square, where I walked through every day, but the 24 hour location in the Strip District saved my life a few times 🙂 

 

 

I was 18 when I moved to the 412 and 26 when I left. When I look back I feel like I was such a child when I arrived; as any 18 year old feels when they move off to college, I thought I knew it all. Those 8 years changed my life. My family changed, friends, outlook on life, and my dreams and goals morphed into something I could have never imagined for myself when I was in high school. I made friends that turned into family. I fell in love, then out of love. I cried on Mt. Washington looking down and out at the city, more times than I can recall. It was always so soothing and peaceful to see the city lights reflecting in the Three Rivers. I also laughed, drank, and hung out on that mountain too many times to count. I am a better, stronger, more amazing person because of the time I spent in Pittsburgh, PA. 

 

 

Life can be hard. No one really talks about what happens when you graduate college; except for the getting a job, house, kids, marriage, etc., part. From the time I turned 22 until 26 when I left for Raleigh, was the most confusing time in my life. Not knowing what’s next, or where I wanted to be, or what I wanted to do, was an emotional roller coaster. The only advice I have is to be strong, and stay strong. Carefully select people to be in your corner that will help you recover every time you fall. I’m very lucky to have such strong minded people in my life, and if it weren’t for them and their pep talks, I don’t know how I would have survived. 

 

Reflections  

 

I often caught myself staring into the Three Rivers, gazing in amazement at how beautiful life was in this city. When the sun would rise behind the concrete jungle it was hard to look away, and when it faded on the water it was even harder to ignore. I was in film school so everything seemed like art to me at the time. The sun behind Mt. Washington, or the city lights reflecting in the water, it was all too surreal sometimes. 

 

 

Two days after we, The Steelers, won the 2006 Super Bowl is a day I will never forget. I had left my apartment in Allegheny Center, behind PNC Park, with multiple layers on because per usual, it was about 4 degrees, and when I got to the the 6th St. Bridge, I couldn’t believe my eyes. I knew there was going to be a parade I just didn’t understand or realize that THE ENTIRE CITY was going to be there. I did understand that “The Last Bus Stop”, was a really big deal, like huge, but I didn’t know classes were going to be cancelled because you literally couldn’t walk through, or drive, the streets that day. It was all very awesome. I bought a t-shirt from some guy on the side of the road, threw it on over my long, big black winter coat, looking like a ridiculous crazy person, and got as close to the action as I could down on 5th Ave. There were people in the trees, the parking garages were so full it looked like fans were going to start climbing up the side of them like mountain climbers, just to get a good view. You could see, and almost hear the people on Mt. Washington screaming from above. It was so loud, and I’d never experienced anything like it in my life. I have goosebumps right now as I write this, just remembering how loud it really was when 50,000 + people were all screaming, “Here We Go Steelers, Here We Go” all at the same time. And then we got to do it again in 2009, but this time it was for the Steelers, and the Pens. I picked the right time to live in Pittsburgh. 

 

Bridges  

 

I walked everywhere when I lived here. I walked over and through, across and under, so many bridges that I could probably do it blindfolded and still not run into anything. 

 

 

 

Sometimes when you love something, you still have to leave it. I am in love, and will forever love this city but, I had to go. This blog entry is important to me to pay homage to this city that I feel, helped raise me. It was rough, nitty and gritty, unforgiving, and beautiful all at the same time. It taught me to trust others, but not to be in denial of the truth. The streets and people walking them taught me that if the Steelers or Pens lost, it was going to be a rough and grumpy day. The traffic was the worst part. Understanding that it was going to take you an hour to get somewhere that was 15 minutes away, never set well with me. The food taught me to appreciate everything at hand, and that good food takes time. The food scene here also taught me that something cheap is just as good as something expensive, especially when you’re a struggling college student. Late nights in the South Side meant you stood in line at 2AM for french fries and gravy. (I never knew that was a thing until I became a Yinzer.) 

 

 

When you’re a cheese addict, and donut lover, Pittsburgh is definitely the place for you. Look at this cheese log! 

 

 

Also, if you’re trying “clean eating”, Delucas might not be for you. Their serving for 1 could feed a family of 4! I love this little diner, it’s been there forever, and everyone goes here, literally.  (Cash only, don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

 

 

Before I end this post I am going to leave you with a couple more photos, and a video. Market Square was where I walked through everyday to get to college, then where I worked those 4 years after college. I stared and photographed the glass castle obsessively, and took more pics with the Heinz Dino than I’m proud of. Rather it be Light Up Night, the 4th of July Fireworks, Steelers Game Day, or any ordinary night in this beautiful city, I still look back in amazement and joy that I was able to spend some of my life here, and call this place home. I love you PGH, I really, really do. 

 

 

 

 

 

Welcome to Cold Beer & Meat Sweats

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How Did I Get Here?

For a while now I have been wanting to start a blog. Not a blog where I write down all of my problems and spoon feed them to the world; just a simple blog where I can share my love of cooking to others who have the same passion. Cooking, over the years has become a passion for me. When I was in my twenties, I lost a lot of sleep over the fact that I didn’t have a passion, and that I didn’t know what truly made me happy in life. Does anyone really have those answers in their twenties? Probably not, but every twenty year old something out there believes that they should… joke’s on us, it’s ok if you don’t.

I was fortunate enough to have earned a career right out of college. I had the opportunity to work for an affiliate of a major TV network in Pittsburgh, PA. It was, at the time, amazing. Roof top parties, fancy get togethers, working on 5th Ave., in the middle of a bustling, thriving, growing city. It was everything I had ever wanted. (I thank “F.R.I.E.N.D.S” for this dream I had of living and working in a downtown environment.) It was here, where I realized that I wasn’t sure what the heck I was going to do with the rest of my life. Was I really going to be in this satellite control room forever? I was in a fancy building, where famous people would come and do voice-overs while they were filming movies in the area. It was sometimes like a dream world. Where I worked in particular, there was this large window, and when people would walk by they could see all the little workers at their stations. The more I sat with my headphones on and watched these tours go by, the more I felt like a monkey in a zoo, on display for the amusement of others. Sure, maybe that’s a little drastic but, when you’re 24, everything is drastic.

 

 

During my time at the production company, I ended up meeting someone. I didn’t know at the time that she was going to be a lifetime friend, I just knew I really enjoyed her company, and the company of those she surrounded herself by. We ended up catering on the weekends just for sh**s and giggles. One of her best friends was a head chef at a catering company and he always needed bodies. It started out as something that was fun and distracting from other things I had going on in my life, almost like an escape. I had no intentions of liking it…. I was just there, because. Funny how life works out like that. My dear friend Amanda, I believe, is one of the main reasons I am on a new path. She took it from catering on the weekends to inviting me over for dinner a couple of nights a week. Her and her husband would take hours to create these meals, and we would end up eating dinner around 10pm, no matter what day of the week it was, it was usually a midnight supper club type of deal. I absolutely fell head over heels in love. I wanted to know everything. I wanted to know how to hold the knife properly, I wanted to know how to shop for the right ingredients, and I had questions for everything. I didn’t just want to make them, I wanted to do everything from finding inspiration for the meal, to the grocery store, to finding it in the aisles or the markets, to the kitchen, to the table. ALL OF IT.

I ended up working at this company for 4 years to the day. There were moments of love and hate. Looking back now, I was learning important life lessons about how to exist in a professional environment, and yet, I had no idea that I was learning anything at all. Everyday I was awake in my twenties I was writing something down. It didn’t matter if I were in a good or bad mood, whatever I was feeling was going down on paper. Usually when I was at work trying to look busy, I would be writing; How do I get out of here? How do I change my life? How do I remove these walls and explore the world with $2 to my name? Is it possible to say F*** IT and walk out with my hands in the air, and not burn a bridge, my career, and ruin my life? (NO, it’s not.) Amanda & her husband Matt, helped me in ways they might not be aware of. They made me look at myself, re-evaluate, dig deep, and figure out what I enjoyed doing. It turns out that I really love to cook.

 

 

Fast forward to this moment in my life. I do not live in Pittsburgh, PA anymore but, I am still very close with my two dear friends whom I left behind. I purchased my very first Apple laptop computer, bought a domain name, found a glorious man to share my life with, and I’m venturing out into the food blogging world. I have zero ideas where this adventure is going to take me but, I also don’t care and it doesn’t scare me. I am excited, nervous, and ready. I love to cook, I love to write, and I love to take pictures of food. Join me on this journey, won’t you?

 

 

 

This journey wouldn’t be possible without you, Mitch, and I thank you so much for sticking by my side through thick and thin, I love you.