This Labor Day weekend, Rob and I decided that instead of going on a little weekend getaway, we should focus on trying new things in Pittsburgh.  Our rule was easy enough to follow, because there is so much we still haven’t done here.  We tried new restaurants, explored new neighborhoods, and visited a new museum.  Tomorrow, we are planning on walking through a park we’ve never seen.  It’s been a great way to satisfy my constant urge to travel.  I also think that experiencing all of what Pittsburgh has to offer makes me feel more like I live here. 

T H E   E D I T

The moment the daytime temperature dropped below 70 degrees, I made a big pot of soup.  I have been ready for cooler temperatures for awhile, which I hate to admit, because in a few months I will be dying to feel warmth from the sun.  But for now, I’m just going to guiltlessly look forward to fall.  

I love this canvas tote bag with sturdy leather handles, it feels like the ultimate re-useable grocery store tote bag (with pockets for bottles of things like Pellegrino, olive oil, wine, etc.).  I also think this would be great to pack for a picnic.  I was happy to go shopping and see long sleeve shirts and boots back on store shelves.  This J Crew t is made from cotton so soft it feels like I’ve had it for ages. I am very picky about shampoo and it feels like as soon as I find one I like, it is discontinued.  I might start hoarding this apple cider vinegar shampoo because it leaves my hair so shiny, smells amazing, and only costs $7 per bottle. 

At our apartment, I transition the decoration for the season very subtly.  This throw blanket from H&M adds some great color and a cozy vibe.  I also love these traditional Blue Willow tea cups.  Our kitchen has a lot of blue accents, and I think this is a nice nod to those.  I also just love the classic design.   In an effort to cut down on my screen time, I’ve been researching alarm clocks.  I love this simple design by Braun, but I will probably end up going with something digital, because I hate alarm clocks that tick. 

Canvas tote bag, black t shirt, booties, shampoo, throw blanket, Blue Willow tea cups, alarm clock


B O O K   C L U B 

Sweetbitter - When this book came out a few years ago, I heard the author interviewed on several of my favorite podcasts.  I was somewhat familiar with the story: a fictionalized account of a young girl moving to New York and making her way as a waitress in one of the best restaurants in the city.  I’ve been really enjoying reading it slowly and savoring all the details, which she has a knack for describing.  It’s also now a TV show, but I can’t speak to that at all.  

Trick Mirror - I’m on the waitlist for this one at the library, a New Yorker staff writer’s essays on growing up during the rise of the Internet and what it means to be a Millennial today.  I’m really interested in what will become the canonical literature of my generation, so I like reading things by people my age.  I liked this recent piece she wrote about screen addiction. 

F I E L D   T R I P

Mattress Factory

As someone who describes herself as “very interested in Art” it is almost shameful that it took me this long to visit Mattress Factory, a museum of art installations on Pittsburgh’s north side.  It was the first thing I thought of when we decided to have our weekend of trying new places.  I was a little disappointed because a lot of the museum is closed because new art is being installed, but what we did see was thought-provoking and unsettling (in a cool way).  

Rob reading about some photographs on display. 

Our favorite exhibit played with the senses, to see James Turrell’s "Danaë", we had to walk around a corner so dark that we were instructed to use our hands to guide ourselves to it.  We made our way to a room with a rectangle of blue light, which we were instructed to slowly walk towards and then reach out and touch.  By this point, our eyes weren’t yet adjusted to the darkness.  When you reach out to touch the blue light, you feel that it actually leads to a cut out of empty space.  

I also loved “A Second Home” - a row house converted into a fun-house like space full of disarray and dilapidation.  Because there are a lot of open spaces between rooms and floors, I felt like I was being watched.  Eerie piano music places as people step carefully around displays.  I kind of felt like Clarice Starling walking around Buffalo Bill’s house. Every picture I took inside turned out blurry, which is fitting because I really felt off-balance the whole time.  

All my photos of this turned out blurry.

House Poem by Huang Xiang. 

After leaving the museum, we spent some time walking around the neighborhood (Mexican War Streets), sipping on oat milk lattés (side note: I think oat milk is the best thing that’s ever happened to coffee) from Commonplace.  I love how the row houses are painted with vivid colors.  

I N   T H E   K I T C H E N

Breakfast Sandwiches

For the past three weekends in a row, Rob and I have indulged in what we call “the $28 breakfast sandwich.” I have a deep respect for the breakfast sandwich and it’s maybe my favorite way to eat an egg - but it’s kind of a lot for a very simple breakfast!  We have had these sandwiches at hipsteresque, artisan, farm-to-tabley type places that boast simple menus that focus on quality ingredients.  By time we order two of these breakfast sandwiches and two coffees, plus the tip (I have no power over the guilt-inducing “add tip” prompt of the Square reader), we have spent $28.  Now, part of that price is atmosphere, a new experience, being around other people, etc. - and that certainly has a value. But after our 3rd weekend of this, I decided to just copy the best one at home.  I didn’t cheap out on ingredients (I bought all organic from Whole Foods) and my breakfast sandwiches cost $2.40 each.  Here is how we made our take on the sandwich from Pear and the Pickle.  


1 brioche hamburger bun
1 egg 
1 slice of cheese (we used swiss) 
2 oz patty of breakfast sausage (we used chicken sausage) 
1 slice of tomato 
Salt & Pepper to taste 


I started by cooking off all the sausage into patties.  I like to press very thin and fry them in a skillet, like making a smash burger.  I put the cooked patties in the oven on low heat while I take care of the rest.  I used our toaster oven to melt the cheese on the bun, but another way to do this is to toast the bun in a pan with melted butter, then place the slice of cheese on it and cover to melt.  I just find this method to render the bun a little too greasy.  While the cheese is melting, I make the egg over medium.  I like a runny yolk in my breakfast sandwich, and I think the best way to achieve that is to crack the egg into a medium-hot, greased non-stick pan, and immediately cover.  I let it go for no more than two minutes.  To make the sandwiches look very professional, place a greased biscuit cutter down in the pan and crack the egg into it - it makes it a perfect circle.  Finally, assemble all the pieces by layering the sausage, tomato, and egg, then seasoning with a crack of pepper and pinch of salt.  

Copyright © 2019 Inge Moran, All rights reserved.

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