Archive | August, 2019


31 Aug

By the time I got back from Togo (oh, didn’t I tell you? I went to Togo), it was the middle of August. I’d returned to the Dream Flat, which Helen had left in spectacular shape before she left… (*sobs quietly…or loudly*). While I’d been in Ethiopia, Collin had also signed a lease in New York and would be officially moving at the beginning of September. Times, they are a’changin. 

BUT my wonderful boyfriend was there when I landed back in the USA.   He picked me up from the airport with a bouquet of roses and a whole day to spend together. There was kettle corn, vegan chocolate, and a Blue Apron steak and gnocchi involved — A wonderful homecoming.


In love-thiopia


Facebook official: In a relationship with Collin ❤



Dream flat still lookin’ like a dream


Because Col knew I would be coming back to an empty dream flat (read: without Helen), he often filled the space by hand-delivering gorgeous bouquets of flowers to cheer me up.

In fact, he cheered me up all month — we spent the latter half of August going on cool dates and doing what we love the most– cooking Blue Apron at home.  While I was in Africa, I’d been craving Blue Apron so much that whenever I got a spot of good wifi, I would look up pictures of the food Blue Apron was offering… I’m not addicted, I swear.



The best we ever had.


When we weren’t stuffing our faces with Blue Apron at home (and even when we were), we went on the best dates, including one Sunday where the whole day was a date…a Sundate. We started with yoga day at PNC Park where we stretched in the sun, admired our beautiful city, and snuck a kiss on the Pirate’s soft, green baseball field.



Oms in the Outfield


After yoga, we went to the free piano day in downtown Pittsburgh where wonderful pianist professionals played four huge grand pianos. It was glorious! After listening to lots of music, we were inclined to make some music of our own…and popped into FI.2 to wet our whistles.



Head over heels.


After a drink, we transitioned to Bridges and Bourbon to treat ourselves to a unique dining experience that included an actual campfire and other fun surprises. 



Fancy schmancy


And while August was a month for some really great dates, we did have a home invasion



Finding his hiding spot.


It was a bat!  After some discussion, I called the landlord.  Jeff came with reinforcements, and, good news, the bat left with Jeff.  Now? All Col and I can remember are the furry bits. Er, funny bits.

With the bat taken care of, I felt good enough to leave the dream flat and head to Louisville for a long weekend to…… SEE HELEN!!!!!!!


New state, old friends


Of course, this trip was amazing and deserving of its own blog post, so I won’t gonna get into too much detail here. 

On my return from Louisville, my reimmersion back to Pittsburgh, I was in a rush. It was an adrenaline shot, a caffeinated jolt, Dunkin’ Doughnuts, a “please bring me a change of clothes so that while you’re driving I can change in the car before we go and meet your mother.”  

Col picked me up at the airport with another bouquet of stunning roses (he really knows how to pick ‘em) AND he’d put the white couch back together all on his own.  What a mensch ❤

And it wasn’t long until I was back on the road again. This time, heading to Findley Lake to see my parents who, as always, cooked an extravagant meal.  Which gave me a break (that I didn’t want or need) from Blue Apron, but did allow me to enjoy my mum’s amazing cooking.



What’s cookin’, good lookin’?


When we got back from the lake, I wanted more dates. I was greedy for dates.
So, Col did what every good boyfriend does, he let me plan more dates 🙂



Who would have thunk?


Like that double date Col and I had with Rachel and Roman (Hi Roman! So nice to FINALLY meet you). We went to the Oaks theater where Col was performing, and where I ordered whatever drink Rachel was having.

I also had my weekly friend-date with Emily where we continued our tradition of lunch in the park.




And a standout date — in a month of already incredible dates–  the fancy date my honey and I went on where we got all dressed up and he played songs on the guitar before we had even left the house. 



Might as well be on the cover of GQ.


Plus, Collin, brought me a 3rd bouquet of flowers… SWOON.


Painting the town. Dahntown, that is.


That night, I got to speak Jamaican patois to a very unimpressed Uber driver. And, after dinner, we turned it into a party when Col, my boots, and I all met up with Emily and Laura ❤

Overall, coming back home to so much change after Africa was hard but.. it was also chock full of memorable dates, love, Blue Apron, family, traveling with Helen, and time spent in my favorite place.

A Portrait of an August as a Young Woman,

Louisville, Looavul, Looeyville

21 Aug

Helen and I MISSED each other!  We hadn’t seen each other for over a month,  #DreamFlatmate #withdrawals. So, when Helen got invited to perform at the Midwest Queer Comedy Festival — and neither of us had ever been to Kentucky — we used it as an excuse to meet up. (we’re coming for you all 50 states). 


Horsing around.


Helen booked us in a fancy hotel ❤ And it became (very) apparent during our stay that Kentucky is obsessed with horses. It’s your classic chicken and the egg conundrum: What came first? Kentucky’s obsession with horses, or the Derby? 

At breakfast, we played “how many horses are in this room?” A woman who worked there saw us playing and wanted to join in. Altogether, we counted 30+ horses in one room. That’s a lot of horsepower. 

After whinnying and dining*, we went for a walk and noticed that there was a sign on a small theatre door that said “Closed. President’s in town.” Which president, we wondered. The president of the theater?

Close, but not quite…

*The author gets to re-write the order of events.

Donald’s entourage


Donald’s security detail gave it away. And while we weren’t excited about being in the presence of such a vile person, we didn’t mind being in the presence of such BEAUTIFUL, powerful men in very strapping and sleek uniforms. Helen and I almost couldn’t look away.  

Even the bike cops who made us feel like we were on a sitcom pulled up next to us and said, “Would you look at those guys? Mmmm. Mmm.”  

We lingered outside for a bit longer, conflicted about whether we actually wanted to see Trump.  Neither of us had ever seen a sitting president, but also —  EW!  He’s the worst.  But the thing was we literally had no other plans — our only plan all day was to enjoy each other’s company.   So, we kept staying “for the people watching”.  But wouldn’t it be crazy if….

Okay, so it turned out, that this event was a Republican fundraiser, and we got to watch the rich people going inside while we judged them about what they chose to spend their money on.

And almost as an act of rebellion, we went to grab coffee at a steal — we paid $.40 more for triple the coffee, high-fived, and ran back outside so as not to miss the Trump celebrity sighting, but rumor had it that this was a decoy hotel.

Helen and I were 50% sure that we were in the right place. We imagined that the exact same thing was happening at another hotel nearby and laughed at the thought of another police dog sniffing around for bombs to make sure that the other hotel was safe.

While waiting around, the news asked to interview us, and Helen coached me from the sidelines. At the end of the interview, we practiced for some shameless promotion. The interviewer asked:

“Anything else you’d like to say?”

I winked at Helen, “I’m in town for the Midwest Queer Comedy Festival!” 

(nailed it!)


TV credit, local Kentucky news.


The journalist told us it was going to be a while until a potential Trumps sighting — as the journalist had a direct line with the White House (super impressive)–  so we had time to kill and chose to dip into a Mexican joint for a bit of a refresh and to watch his Kentucky speech on TV.


Hail to the drinks.


In the end, we didn’t see Trump, but he WAS at the hotel, and it was a really interesting experience. But contrary to his online presence, he kept a low profile the entire time and went in and out of the back entrance. Apparently, they’d set up a tunnel through the hotel so no one got a glimpse of him.

At one point, we met a security guy at the same hotel who told us to come back later to take a tour, which we did. And then Helen and I continued our day and talked about the interesting experience. We grabbed our Bourbon Trail passports and tried to get as many stamps as we could gather.


Art museum on the Bourbon trail – thanks for the recommendation, Patrick!


This paragraph’s for us:  That night, we took a picture of a sign, which was how people knew we were tourists. We changed that picture to our phone background…and promptly changed it again in the morning.   #jellyfish #noadifferentone #STILLMATCHING  “Ever tried.  Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” — Samuel Beckett  

The next day, we Ubered to the Kentucky State Fair where we kept with the matching themes (always) and got some matching pins from a skeptical woman.  And upon seeing the size of the fair, we thanked our lucky stars that we’d thought to wear sneakers. It wasn’t the only thing that was huge though, check out the fruits and vegetables!


Fat Cabbage– Flabbage


The largest cabbage had won $8, but the winner was a pumpkin that weighed over 1,000 lbs and had won a dollar for each pound. #WinnerWinnerPumpkinDinner

Keeping with the food theme, we checked out some decorated cakes that were really fun to peruse. The cakes had won awards too, but they’d been sitting out for so long they’d started mold; not for consumption.

And after seeing the inedible desserts we made it our MISSION to find derby pie (famous in Louisville).


“Do you have anything that is not fried?”


But in the midst of Operation: Derby Pie, we found other cool things to do like walk through a corn maze (a maize maze), watch dogs perform tricks, and of course, watch horses prance.

It had taken a while to find the horses because we got wrong directions on how to get there (from a guy who worked at the fair, mind you). But, in the end, the woman at the door let us straight into the VIP seating. Wahoo!  We ended up sitting next to a woman whose granddaughter was in the show and won 4th place.  Interesting.  Although the competition…event? wasn’t the most intuitive; So we left with both a lot of questions, and, more importantly, enjoyable visual stimulation.



The fair itself was mostly indoors, had lots of things to see, and was full of (literal) pigs. It was the most pigs I’d ever been around. But there were lots of other animals, too, including this overly friendly, adorable goat.  It was here that I wondered…Does Pennsylvania have their own State Fair??


Nice to bleat you.


After seeing the animals, we got our annual checkups from the Kentucky State Fair as there were healthcare events like skin cancer screenings.  Helen and I were most excited for this: “You can tell we’re two people who don’t have health insurance.”



2 sweet thangs


The fair took a lot out of us, so the next day, we slept in, BUT it was also the day Taylor Swift’s new album came out!  Lover!  We laid on the comfy bed #luxury and listened to her entire album before going into the aforementioned horse room to have the famous Brown’s hotel breakfast.



As tasty as it is bad for you.


Besides being the day of Tay Tay’s album release, it was also the first day of the Midwest Queer Comedy Festival AND THE DAY VICTORIA WAS COMING TO TOWN!!


3 best friends


While Helen practiced her set, Victoria and I had a blast lounging and catching up.

We got to the show and watched Helen kill it, as she does. 





Unfortunately, I had to duck out early to catch my flight back to Pittsburgh, but when I got to the airport, I found out that my flight had been cancelled, so I raced back to the show to get BONUS TIME WITH HELEN AND VICTORIA!

The three of us hung out all night, and they let me crash in their hotel room (thank you!!), and Victoria ordered us champagne and non-fried derby pie. I was SO thankful but also thought it was hilarious that it was right under my nose the whole time. Victoria is so generous and great at creating magic.

I snuck out in the middle of the night, whispering goodbye to my best friends, before anyone fully woke up, and crept out to catch my 6am flight, thankful that:

“In a world of ceaseless change, it can be gratifying to know that some things remain forever the same.”  J. Maarten Troost
I’m talkin’ about best friendship.


Until next time,


Best friends fairever!