Monday, November 26, 2012

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Twilight Zone...

The people in Pittsburgh are SO nice. Like genuinely nice, not fake southern nice (#NoDiss) or regular Midwest polite (#NoDiss). But people ask how I'm doing and genuinely care about the answer. I have met SUCH good people here. That was a huge part of my decision to move. I knew hoped that if nothing else, I’d enjoy the people I met and worked with, but let me explain.

On the phone:
T: Hi, have I reached the water company?

Guy: Hi there, this is the water company, but you’ve reached the wrong number. The correct number is XXX-XXX-XXXX, BUT… keep my number. If you can’t reach who you want over there, call me back and I’ll help you find the right person.

At a networking event:
Preacher’s wife: Here’s my personal cell and e-mail. Call me if you need anything at any time.

Email:

T: Hi there, such and such gave me your info. I don’t know anyone here. I’d love to meet you.
A friend of a friend: Perfect, I’ll come pick you up and we can go from there.

A friend of another friend: Awesome. I’ll get a group of young professionals together at a wine bar one night soon and you can meet people that way.
Um… did God put me in a phenomenal place or what? There aren’t any cabs or reputable cupcakes places [from what I have observed], but I’ll never want for anything with all these amazing people surrounding me. YES! YES! YES!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Feed Me Seymour!!!

Here are the top 10 restaurants that I want to try in Pittsburgh. If you visit, remind me to take you to one of these.

10. Piccolo Forno - Good Italian food (or so I heard) in Lawrenceville (what I believe is a neighborhood in Pittsburgh, but it may be it's own city).
9. Lidia's - More italian
8. Kaya - Island cuisine in the Strip District
7. Meat and Potatoes - Located in the cultural district, I think this place gets a lot of people pre- and post-shows. I've tried twice to go there without a reservation. No dice. If I remember to update this post after I eat there, I'll let you know how it is.
6. Primanti's - This is the place where you get cole slaw and fries on your sandwich. (I think). I haven't been yet, but I'm told that I have to do it at least once.
5. DeLuca's - the menu is as big as your head. LOL! I think it's overpriced for a diner, but we're probably paying for the nostalgia... and the portions. Good goodness there's a lot of food.
4. Pamela's - Traditional Pittsburgh diner. I think people compare this to DeLuca's a lot.
3. Sonoma - This California-themed eatery has
2. Eleven - I went here for brunch and it was amazing. It reminded me of Sweets and Savories in Chicago. The staff was friendly and knowledgeable and the food options were great. They brought out a bread basket with honey butter and apple jam and I ordered the beignets which came with a delightful apple syrup and the veggie omelet. I've never had such fresh mushrooms in muh life. I can't wait to have dinner here!
1. Savoy - Black owned and I think it's soul food. They definitely have a brunch. I'll let you know after I visit.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Things to Do

10. August Wilson Center for African American Culture - I can't wait to go here!

9. Andy Warhol Museum - This is going to be big fun!

8. Heinz Factory Tour - Heinz is everything here. E.VER.Y.THING. I want to see where it all takes place.

7. Sports Museum - Should be fun.

6. Mount Washington - It's a hill where you look down and see the rest of the city. Scary, but pretty.

5. Strip District - Cute neighborhood with a bunch of bars, restaurants, shops and fresh foods.

4. Shadyside - When I first heard the name of the neighborhood I thought it was a joke. Like that's the shady side of town, but it's quite the opposite. It's like Lincoln Park to me in that big stores like Banana Republic and Victoria's Secret and couched in between boutiques and restuarants and there's a lot of foot traffic. I would have lived in this neighborhood if I found any open apartments when I was searching.

3. Consol Energy Center - I've been to one hockey game in my life and my client didn't like hockey, so we just hung out near the concessions. I'd like to give it another try.

2. PNC Park - The Pirates suck, but I'm sure it's a good time at the games.

1. Heinz Field - Go to a Steelers game (I'm planning a massive trip for friends and family when they play the Bears. Please let me know if you want to get in on this).

I also secretly want to run into Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose having a quiet dinner at Applebee's, but I think I want too much!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Car Testimonials

I thought that my life was ruled by convenience and that's why I didn't want a car.

In Pittsburgh, it would be MORE convenient to have a car. Maybe my life is ruled by convenience, but perhaps I am also just cheap. LAWD why do these depreciating liabilities cost so much? I just can't imagine having a car note, paying for gas, paying for parking at home AND paying for parking at work. I've been thinking, there has to be a better way.

I asked Facebook, but I wanted to ask you all as well. Do you love your car? If so, please share the make and model and WHY you love it? I heard things like good gas mileage, sleek styling, cheap repairs, no repairs, great warranty and fun to drive.

I've never bought a car (first car was a '96 Chevy Cavalier as a high school graduation gift from my parents. Woo hoo!), so this is a truly new experience for me.

I live in a city full of hills and it will definitely snow here. I need something reliable, but for the best value for my hard earned dollars.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Grocery Shopping

I have so much to tell y'all about my new life in a small[er] city. First up, I have to start grocery shopping. I can't just stop at Trader Joe's on my way home or order from Peapod. There's only one grocery delivery service in Pittsburgh and the prices are not competitive. There's no way I'm paying more than I pay in a full-price Chicago grocery store for a Pittsburgh delivery service. I cain't go.

So I get a rental car to run errands and I check out the circulars. I have notes from

- Kuhn's Market
- Bottom Dollar Foods
- ALDI &
- Giant Eagle

I also heard that there is a Whole Foods here (I don't really shop there) and a Trader Joe's, but they weren't close and I wanted to hit a traditional grocery store (like Jewel or Dominick's) for my first grocery visit. I can't deal with Trader Joe's and their "we don't have baking powder" nonsense that day.

So I get to Giant Eagle and I had to check my calendar. It wasn't the first of the month, but given the demographic in the store, it could have been and that's all I'm going to say about that.

The prices seemed pretty low on everything except cleaning supplies, which is customary at non-discount stores. I bought a truckload of food and spent what I thought was a reasonable amount of money... until I went to Target to pick up cleaning supplies and did a price check.
Man... I got got. Target had cheaper food in every category. I probably could have saved between 10-30% off the top of my bill. They won't get me again. I've always been team Target, but now I'll be team target for groceries as well.

This is probably an extremely boring post if you aren't moving to Pittsburgh anytime soon. I don't have anything else to talk about. My apologies.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

I miss the CTA

I think I enjoyed the commuter lifestyle more than anyone I know. Off the top of my head, I can think of at least 5 people in Chicago who don't have cars, but I can't necessarily think of 10. Plenty of people didn't get it, but living on the north side and the south loop and working in Streeterville and later the loop, I really didn't need a car.

I thought I didn't want a car because my life is ruled by convenience. And driving to work daily, paying parking fees and sticker prices and shoveling snow off of my car is inconvenient.

As a [falling off, but trying really hard not to] tree hugger, I love that I'm not contributing to the demise of our Earth by driving in a car by myself daily.

There is no commuter lifestyle in Pittsburgh. People take the bus because they have to, not because they want to. There is a trolley that goes around downtown for free and to some select places just outside of downtown for $2.50, but I can't get to church on that thing.

I asked my coworker if there would be cabs on the ground level of our building. They all looked at me cross eyed life... "we don't really HAVE cabs." Crap.

Then I went to Target (I've been so many times already, don't judge me.) I asked the clerk to put the heavy stuff in double bags and to put all of the other odds and ends in two large bags (because I need to walk from my Zipcar to my home and I didn't want to make more than one trip or have 82 small bags on my arm). He looked at me sideway. I actually had to just start packing my own bag because he couldn't quite grasp why I didn't want a million small Target bags.

I want to WALK down the street. I want to pick up groceries on my way home from work. I want to see a new restaurant or boutique pop up and walk in there randomly on a Saturday morning.

I want too much! More on this later.

Monday, November 12, 2012

#RealIssues

When something occurs to me, I have to do it immediately or write it down immediately otherwise I will forget. While packing my apartment in Chicago, I realized that I did not have any more checks in my checkbook. A quick search and I realized I did not know where my other boxes of checks were.

I started to do something else. When I wrote this post it was about a week later (two days before I'm scheduled to move in to my new apartment).

Do you know what you need when you move into a new apartment... A CHECK FOR THE FIRST MONTH'S rent.

Okay, no problem, let me check and see where the nearest Chase bank is. In Ohio... 33 miles away. Which would not be the biggest deal IF I HAD A CAR...

So I call Chase and the lady was super helpful. We thought through some solutions

- Look for my checks - Won't work because they're in a box that I can't open until they deliver them to my new apartment, that I can't get into until I present a check.

- Increase my per day ATM withdrawal amount, so I could take it all out and get a cashier's check from a local bank to pay my rent. - Doesn't work because Chase won't let me increase the limit because I just changed the address on the account. A great safety precaution. An irritating problem standing in between me and my new home.

- See if my landlord will let me pay with a credit card - If I remember to update these

Then I remembered my rent is prorated. With my current levels if I do NO debit transactions (highly unlikely) for two days I could POSSIBLY

- Take the money out of the ATM over the course of a couple of days and pay cash - my lease explicitly says no cash payments.

- Take the money out of the ATM and open a new account at another bank and use that first raggedy check they give me - Who knows if this is even possible.

- Take the money out of the ATM and get a cashier's check from any open bank willing to do business with a scatterbrain.

If I remember to update this post, I'll let y'all know what happened.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thanks!

I just want to say thank you for every kind word, every prayer, every hug, every "I'm proud of you," every "I admire your courage."

Thank you for giving me the freedom and strength to do a new thing. To do an amazing thing. For someone who's moved around a lot I may seem a bit dramatic, but I've never lived outside of the state of Illinois for more than 30 days. (Really, why would you want to the state has everything you need with no hurricanes or earthquakes.)

Anywho, I could not be as successful in the move if I was met with ridiculousness as I got ready to peace out, so the support that I've received AND the fact that everyone TOLD me that they supported me is really amazing.

Today I will challenge myself to encourage someone in the way that SO many people have encouraged me.

It's my first full weekend in the PGH! I'm about to SHUT IT DOWN go straight to bed.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Change is Good

This was a reverberating theme/sound bite/cliche/word of wisdom I heard when I told people I was moving. It's so true.

Someone mentioned to me that Chicago will never be the same so long as I don't live there. I will never relax in Chicago again. I'll be visiting people and trying all the new restaurants in 48-72 hour stints. I'll never have all of my shoes in the Chi again. I'll never be the go-to person to plan the events. (Actually, this is a lie. People are going to still expect me to plan the parties. I can handle remote party planning though.)

That made me kind of sad like wow. Chicago will always be home. Chicago will always be THERE. I just wonder how long my heart will be in Chicago. How many years before I stop saying "I live in Pittsburgh, but I'm FROM Chicago." or I live in *insert wherever the Lord takes me next* but I'm FROM Chicago.

I wonder how long before I form some sort of affinity for where I live vs. where I'm from since they've always been one in the same.

This isn't a problem I'm trying to solve. It's just on my mind and I wanted to share.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Move-In Day

I'm moving into my new apartment today! Yes, I have a day off work on my first day. Please respect my corporate thuggin'!!! Actually, God is just always looking out and my new company is some kind of wonderful. Can't go wrong with that combination.

Anywho, my new place is everything I wanted in Chicago at a fraction of the price.

- Downtown Pittsburgh
- Walk-in closet
- In-unit washer/dryer
- Fitness Center
- Business Center
- Valet-only parking
- On-site mgmt 6 days a week
- Dry cleaning room on-site (This is by far my favorite part. You drop your clothes off with a tag in a dirty bag, you come back at your leisure and pick them up. I'll never get home to late to pick up my dry cleaning again. Hooray!)

Have their been any big moves in your life? Want to share?

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

It's Election Day!!!

I early voted in Chicago on October 21 (the second day I could do that). I told you all I had two weeks of free time. The wind blew me to the library, so I put a vote on it. There was a line, but it went pretty quickly. I was in and out in under an hour.

You already know I'm #TeamObama. And if you're not, I respect that. I just encourage everyone, if you haven't already, to please get out and vote. It's your right!

This time four years ago, I was rocking my Obama t-shirt at work and getting ready to storm Grant Park with volunteers and supporters. I am sad that I'm not in Chicago on yet another historical evening, but I'll be watching the news all night and I hope tomorrow, Barack Hussein Obama will be prepping for his 2nd term.

Anyone want to share their voting experience? Did you early vote? Have an absentee ballot? Are you voting today? How did it go?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Lunches, Brunches and Dinners

I start my new gig today. Say a prayer for me today (and always)!!!

So my last couple of weeks before I moved were amazing. There were four weeks between the time I got the job offer til the time I started. The company was amazing about letting me take my time getting to Pittsburgh.

I gave my official two weeks of work, then took two more weeks do go to find a new place, sub-lease my old place, go to a professional conference, have a housewarming/going away party and say my goodbyes to everyone who wanted one-on-one time.

This has been the most spontaneous week of my life. I've basically just let the days plan themselves. So when people asked if I was available for dinner, surprisingly, I was. What an amazing opportunity to strengthen relationships before I left.

People keep asking me if I'm nervous or excited. These couple of weeks have allowed that to wear off. I'm more or less just ready. I've had the proper time to pick up and move and the resources I need to do so. I've had time to pray and reflect and time to be quiet.

The last time I started a new job, I didn't take a break in between. God willing, I will always take a break in between when starting a new job. This was refreshing. I feel amazing and ready to take on the road. I can't wait to share all of my ups, downs and funnies with you all.

The year of never before still has two months to go! Who KNOWS what God has in store!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Party Update

The housewarming/going away party went off without a hitch. I was in D.C. the same weekend as my party for a conference so I asked my mother to plan everything at my apartment. More than anyone, I get my social butterfly and party-planning tendencies from her, so she was happy to oblige.

I got to Chicago at about 3 p.m. and made it to my home at 3:30 p.m. with a house full of family and close family friends. Then at 6 p.m. family cleared out and friends piled in.

I lived in a one bedroom loft. City-size. Maybe 700 sq ft and that's being generous. I invited 100 people. Here's the thing. I didn't know how to edit the list. Everyone on the list was important to me in one way or another and it would have been nice to see all of them before I left. There was seriously not one person I invited like damn, I really wish I didn't tell him/her to come to my house.

So as fate would have it, only about 40 of my friends showed up (I think, I didn 't really count heads and yes, I do count heads at parties, don't judge me). Thanks to it being a Sunday night and people having business it really worked out well. At some point I was like I cannot move in this place, get your own food and drink: please and thanks.

The late crew cleared out at 12 a.m. and I convinced the movers to come on Tuesday, so I could sleep in in my own bed in Chicago for the last time. The rest of my week was great as well. More on that soon.