Category Archives: Pennsylvania

Being Social with Butterflies

We spent a lot of time with butterflies this summer. Butterflies are weird. I mean, they are bugs, after all. And I capital-H hate bugs. But there’s a difference between the bug on the wall of my apartment and bugs flitting about a garden, hovering over beautiful flowers while I hover over them with my camera in hand.

Our first butterfly visit was the garden at Fallingwater, Frank Lloyd Wright’s most famous house about an hour south of Pittsburgh. Sweltering in the August heat, I could not stop myself from snapping.

img_8931img_8982img_9122img_9140img_9035img_8906-2img_8915-2img_8988Our second garden was closer to home. After a weekend in Silver Spring, Maryland, we stopped by the Butterfly Garden at Brookside Gardens. Brookside Gardens is a beautiful area independent of the butterflies, but the butterfly garden was the icing on the proverbial cake. We even got to see some caterpillars before they transformed!

2016-08-20-23-03-062016-08-20-23-06-09-22016-08-20-23-06-402016-08-20-23-12-222016-08-20-22-47-412016-08-20-22-49-012016-08-20-22-53-452016-08-20-22-58-252016-08-20-22-59-20-12016-08-20-23-01-38-12016-08-20-22-46-112016-08-20-22-50-10-12016-08-20-23-25-102016-08-20-23-38-34The butterflies like M!


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Welcome to Pittsburgh!

After seven months of dating, M and I finally took a trip together. More accurately, I went to Pittsburgh for work and M tagged along. But we managed to squeeze in some tourist time – my first real tourist effort even though I’ve been to Pittsburgh a handful of times.

Here are some thoughts. Pittsburgh is hilly, folks! I’m going to have to get into some serious shape if we’re going to do more Pittsburgh exploring. Pittsburgh is also a growing, trending city. In the four years since I started working for a Pittsburgh-based company, I’ve watch the city change: Rising skyscrapers, new restaurants and hotels, hip neighborhoods flourishing in the place of hollowed-out factories. Just walking around with my camera in hand was entertaining enough for me.

My favorite building hands-down is the PPG Place – a multi-building complex that takes up six city blocks. The 19,750 pieces of glass offer stunning reflections of Pittsburgh, especially on a sunny day. 





There’s plenty of old-fashioned architecture too.




And opportunities for self-portraits abound.


We set aside one evening to take the cable car up the Duquesne Incline to the top of Mount Washington. The cliffside neighborhood offers stunning views of Pittsburgh’s many bridges.


Photo credits to M on this picture of the incline.


The glorious view that meets you at the top.






St. Mary’s on the Mount lit up as the sun dipped into the ground.



I dragged my tripod out for this view. Totally worth it.



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The One Where I Finally Get To Use My Club Carlson Points

The Club Carlson credit card is one of the sweetest deals out there for the points obsessed. If you have the credit card, you get a second night free at any Club Carlson hotel when you pay for your first night with points.

This is an incredible deal, bit I’ve had the Club Carlson credit card for a year and a half and never took advantage of this perk.

The problem is there aren’t that many great Club Carlson properties (Radisson, Park Plaza) in America and South America. The best and most Club Carlson properties are in Europe, and I haven’t been to Europe since New Years 2013.

So when my friends Jen and Peter sent me a save the date for their wedding in Philadelphia months ago, I quickly called the Radisson Blu in Philadelphia and booked two nights for myself – the second night being free.

And it was totally worth it. (The wedding was nice too.)

The hotel has gone through a modern upgrade, and when I walked into the lobby my jaw dropped. High-end modern furniture is my undoing, and I wanted to steal all the furniture for my apartment.



My room was large, comfortable and had more than enough outlets for all my technological gadgets.





As a gold member, I got upgraded to the lounge floor where they serve breakfast and evening snacks daily.



The hotel is also in a fun part of town, and while I have some serious gripes with Philadelphia (the dirt, the crime, the homelessness), there are about three to five pleasant blocks. I tried out a yoga class and managed to squeeze in some quality Barnes and Noble time.


Yes, I read all of these. No, this is not abnormal behavior for me.

As I explore my options for my next big trip, I’m wondering if it is time to return to Europe so I can enjoy my Club Carlson credit card some more.

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Bad Blogger. Bad, Bad Blogger.

I’ve been a bad blogger. In my defense, I’ve been sick. AGAIN. What the hell? And I’ve been traveling — no where exotic, but there has been lots of time spent in train stations, in the airport, in rental cars and complaining about being sick. Some highlights…and lowlights.

I really need to know if this New York City Subway sign is real or a joke.

I really need to know if this New York City subway ad is real or a joke. Do people really pay for plastic surgery for their dogs??? And who would pay for a joke subway ad???

No offense Pittsburgh, but it sometimes seems like you're trying to make me dislike you.

No offense Pittsburgh, but it sometimes seems like you’re trying to make me dislike you.

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Bridges of Pennsylvania

I love bridges. I love their elegant lines. I love their reflections in the water. I love capturing them on camera. Basically, I have a slight obsession with bridges. And there’s no better place to see bridges than Pittsburgh — all 446 of them. I only spent an hour exploring the “three sisters” but I think I could spend a day exploring the many bridges and hills that Pittsburgh is famous for. One day, I want to take pictures that look like this.

tsburgh Bridge

Pittsburgh Bridge

Pittsburgh Bridge

Pittsburgh Bridge

Pittsburgh Bridge

The bridges of Harrisburg are entirely different but just as lovely.

Harrisburg Bridge

Harrisburg Bridge

Harrisburg Bridge

Harrisburg Bridge

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After a weekend in New York City, Pennsylvania’s heartland offered a refreshing change of scenery. I didn’t have a ton of spare time, but managed to squeeze in a few shots. It’s hard to resist the call of the camera.




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