Archive | August, 2018

A Midsummer’s Night (and Day) Dream

25 Aug

So I’m not going to write this blog post in Shakespearean prose because…that sounds really hard. But I will say that in my midsummer (which, honestly, doesn’t rival the original, I’m not trying to compete, Shakespeare) — there was absurd fun, laughter, drinking, hanging out in nature, waking up to random fairy creatures (just kidding although I did witness some really awesome clouds with magic-like qualities).  Please sit back, relax, and enjoy the show (aka my blog).



  • Helen, Kristin, and I got ourselves invited (by asking to be invited) to Nanny Stock (thank you, Lauren!) where we set up a camping spot and enjoyed this small, friendly memorable festival.  As we were pitching our tent, which was a daunting task, Helen lifted our spirits by reminding us that camping “looked hard, but it was just fun in disguise.” Once we set up, we hung out, laid on that Peruvian blanket, and watched the clouds roll by.  We each got to make a wish…and all of them came true. Helen even saw a shooting star (which made me wonder, was her first wish for a second wish?!). It was a great weekend.



That camping fun sure does look like a lot of work. Thanks for the help, everyone!



Sky Blot test: what do you see?



Can’t get enough of these clouds!




Making wishes that all came true.  

  • I also went to….my second Hanson concert! Hanson was playing live with the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra — how special — and Laura, Emily and I had center seats…but all the way up in the back as if I didn’t book these tickets 3 months ago. We had to take an elevator to get there, haha. Regardless, the show was fantastic.  The Hanson boys kept switching instruments and even sang a brief acapella song at the end which was my favorite. No offense, symphony. After the show we waited outside in the hopes that we would get to chat with them (a true fanson always holds out hope). Alas, they escaped to their hotel without time for photos.



Look at all of those brothers on that stage.



Sisters from other misters going to see the brothers.

  • Another concert that I LOVED was Taylor Swift, opened by Camila Cabello. We got “Ready for it!” at the dreamflat and walked over to Heinz Field.  I got to sit next to Helen which was invaluable because she whispered little known facts and commentary in my ear, really enhancing my experience. Such a good show.

Pregaming for End Game (wink, wink).

  • Another cool mid-summer party:  A Harry Potter-themed event by Eva, whom I had met only once anywhere from 3-6 years ago, I couldn’t remember. The two of us had really connected over a random lunch but I hadn’t seen her since.  This was the first time that we were in touch and again, it was because she invited me to a Harry Potter themed house-party!  I said yes immediately, sent her a message confirming that she had indeed meant to invite me (she had!), asked if I could invite Helen (I could!) and took the night off of work to attend.  There was no way Helen and I were going to miss out on this golden snitch of an opportunity. Per Eva’s request, Helen and I got sorted into houses on Pottermore before the event (we were both Ravenclaw), dressed up in all the HP these clothes we had, and drew lightning bolts on our foreheads (see below).  We were very excited.



Hindsight:  Wishing we had a spell for face recognition.


It wasn’t until we arrived at the house and went inside that I realized I had totally forgotten what Eva looked like. Talk about a party house-cup foul.  I panicked but we started mingling right away, surely I would recognize her….right? We ended up on the porch talking to a guy who also hadn’t seen Eva in awhile but had gone to highschool with her.  “She’s great!” I said. “Yeah, she’s great!”, he said right back. “Which one is she?” I asked. “What, are you kidding?” he asked. Helen was cracking up, I shot her a glance and said “Yeah, of course, but pretend I’m not.  Will you point her out?” He looked at us like surely this was a joke and pointed to a group of 3 women. “The one with glasses?”, Helen asked. “No”, he said. “The one with the crazy pants?”, I countered. “No!”, he laughed.  Haha, okay, great, the other one! Two wrong guesses later, Bel and I went to say hi to our gracious host whose face both of us will totally recognize from now on. To Eva’s credit she recognized me right away and was excited to see me, too 🙂

Shortly after that little mishap, which nobody knew about except the guy (sworn to silence because we used the silencio charm on him), the party officially got started. It was so well organized!!  Eva hosted with a fake British accent. Bel and I grouped up with the other Ravenclaws. We played flip cup with spells, quidditch, find the Horcrux, wizard chess, and trivia. We got a little competitive, lost horribly, but still had so much fun that we are inspired to throw our own theme party.  (This post is a reminder for team #dreamflat to plan that.) Our night ended in the Southside eating delicious Cambodian food.



Ending a midsummer night in Southside.

  • Regardless of how it started or how competitive we got, we must not have totally blown it at the HP party like we thought we did because I ended up meeting Allison who invited me to Phipps conservatory.  She had served in the Peace Corps in Guinea (not Papa, or French… just OG Guinea). She then invited me to an awesome Peace Corps dinner where she cooked a ton of delicious, homegrown food and I got to meet her other Peace Corps friends from Moldova and South Africa.
  • In other ‘foreigners I’ve met this summer’ news, I hosted a Couchsurfer from Niagara Falls who helped me go on a little staycation. I got to explore the city with a fresh perspective and end another night in the Southside watching the chaos.


  • I started growing my own mushrooms. No, not the magic kind.  The shiitake kind. After carefully cultivating, growing, and harvesting my first round of ‘shrooms, I was delicately moving them while we were cleaning the dream flat — after I had spent days soaking and caring for them — WHEN SPLAT! I DROPPED MY PRECIOUS MUSHROOM dirt all over the floor. *Whisper Scream!* I couldn’t real scream because Patrick (Hi, Patrick!! We love and miss you!) was sleeping upstairs. (Whisper screams are more concerning anyway, I guess.) And Helen came running to see what was wrong. Such a shame to lose them, they were really fun-gis (lol get it?).
  • Our fridge got clogged (never again, jello shots) so Helen brought the cold items to wee Emily’s house to store in her fridge.  Moving in the first time she ever went there. Classic lesbian. Thanks, Emily!
  • Helen got new glasses 🙂 They are a -.75 and look adorable but are a slight buzzkill because they’re always so negative and complaining about how she can’t see.

Negative glasses for a positively wonderful person.

  • Speaking of Helen, she and I were long overdue for a bestie date (haha do we just always feel this way or is this just always true?!), so we headed to Eighth Grade (the movie, because nobody needs to go back to experience puberty). It was great — we love Bo Burnham — and made us thankful that we are, from now on, grownups.

Bestie date.

  • I was inspired to get a job in government work (highly classified)– or at least tell people I work for the government.  “I’m a government contractor. I do government work. I can’t talk about it.”
  • I found out the owner of the bar where I work is selling (but hopefully everything else remains the same)  …Maybe I really will have to work for the government, Josh.
  • I hung out with Jodi and Bella and went for a walk (one of many because….)

A walk by the river where we ran into the Regatta.


  • …My scooter got hit by a truck (all the crying emojis!!!!)  PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE: a Chevy Silverado. But not all of them. Just the red one that hit my scooter. Luckily, she was parked (legally – “Excuse me, ma’am, you know nothing.” / “I’m not going to thank you for doing the right thing.”), no one was driving her, and the people who hit her came inside to get me and their insurance paid for everything. But for an entire month during the best part of the summer (but not early or late summer — read: mid summer) I didn’t get to drive Pinksburgh. I fought hard with their insurance company, and ultimately they rented me a motorcycle for three days.  Ahhh!!!! HOW EXCITING!!!! I ended up getting….
  • A monster. A complete monster (pictured below). An 800cc BMW machine that was waaaayyy too big for me and held waaaaayyyy too much power. The guys at Eagle Rider were incredibly kind and patient with me but I could. not. handle it!  I needed to downgrade. Didn’t they have any scooters I could rent?? No. After spending 30 minutes trying to ride the 800cc beast I had to return it. In it’s place, Eagle Rider gave me another monster. This one was larger (in height) but smaller (in CCs — 400).  I still couldn’t leave the parking lot. Every day (for 3 days) I drove my car to the rental place, geared up, and drove that motorcycle around the parking lot getting better each day but never actually taking her out onto the road. It was like a motorcycle carousel ride (but more dangerous) and I’ve decided that it’s the scooter life for me, thanks!



Monster #1



Monster #2


  • I visited Findley Lake with some beautiful women I don’t get to see very often:

Two aunts and a niece.


  • I also learned about my mom’s stunning garden– like mother like daughter, eh? Just kidding, she wasn’t growing mushrooms indoors.
  • I got ready to feel THE BURN. AKA prepped for Burning Man.
  • And, after the furries (most wonderful time of the year), I headed to Toronto to visit a legend for a hot minute and to support England in the World Cup.



Seeing double (and not just because my phone case still has fuzz on it from the furries).



Ordering traditional fish & chips to honor the OG motherland.



We started the weekend on an Austin Powers themed couch and ended it with our faces painted to root for the monarch.


Anecdote: I sent the above picture to Nikola in Croatia, congratulating him on the World Cup win over England but included “ignore the face paint” in the caption. He said “that would be like my wife sending me a naked picture but telling me to ignore the guy in the background.” Ha!



Nikola, Congrats to Croatia!


  • On the way back from Toronto, I slept in the car to harness all of the energy I possibly could before seeing Patrick and packing for a mere hour to then rush off on our 25-hour transit into Kazakhstan. They asked me if I had anything to declare at customs… I sure did.  



  • I went to Goat Fest with Emily where I got to meet her bestie, Erin and, later, Erin’s boyfriend, Josh. Josh brought a penny (not one cent but, like, a sports shirt) for Erin to wear and all the girls went into the bathroom to switch clothes. We took photos to commemorate. See below.



One of these is now hanging on my mirror.


  • I got to have a fun dinner with Josh and Kristin (what a group!) at my favorite restaurant, Cafe du Jour.
  • I played darts, went to a bonfire, started Anne of Green Gables and was “one curry away from eating a curry” (beans, veggies, and pineapple from a can).
  • At one point during our midsummer, Helen and I were 85% positive (still are) that someone is pregnant  (hint: it’s not one of us!) 


  • Helen got to perform twice at the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival, plus a special edition Harry Potter show at Penny Arcade. Harry Potter was a theme this midsummer (wink). During Helen’s shorter second set (which was so fun) she told a Hanson joke and then, because of that, Mmmbop – by her favorite band – was the closing song of the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival!!! AHHH!!!!!  You can only imagine how excited we got! I told you… this midsummer was a DREAM!!!



I still feel the anticipation and it’s already happened.



After her closing set, Helen and I got to help clean up Arcade Comedy theater, which we were honored to do. Cleaning, you say? Honored? YES!! You know the feeling where you get to take care of the things you love? Like making your bed after you’ve slept in it?  Welllll…



Mmmoping with love & elbow grease.



Faces of the Pittsburgh Comedy Festival #PGHisfunny



  • Earlier this year, I bought Helen Hamilton tickets for her birthday (watch her amazing reaction below!).


The day finally arrived for the show and we road tripped to Cleveland with her besties, Patrick and Andy (hi, guys!), stayed at an airbnb, popped into the original Moe’s Tavern (which inspired the Simpsons’ bar as the writers lived above it!), and went to Playhouse Square to see one of the greeeeatest shows around!  It was so good, even better than Helen and I thought it was going to be. We loved it. We got into an Uber in the best moods of our lives and said “HELLO! …. stranger” to the driver. 



Young, scrappy, and hungry.



“Talk less. Smile more. Don’t let them know what you’re against or what you’re for.”



“And when my time is up, have I done enough? Will they tell my story?” — Eliza



Bestie’s Best Belated Birthday!

Helen and I ended the night at a hot chocolate bar, i
t was truly a midsummer for the ages.

‘Til summer’s end,



Pittsburgh in the (MID)summer #nofilter

PS.  Hi to Paul and Siri who always read until the end 🙂

PPS.  Katie, did you know I knew Siri too?