DREAM: The boss behind Pittsburgh Property Diva

There is no better way to end a work week than with a spotlight of an empowering woman. This Real Estate superstar has taken Pittsburgh properties by storm since 2008. Lauren Klein of Pittsburgh Property Diva is #Goals. No one gets the job done like a diva, after all.

When thinking about the work ethic of women, a quote that always sticks is “You can have unbelievable intelligence, you can have connections, you can have opportunities fall out of the sky. But in the end, hard work is the true, enduring characteristic of successful people.” by Marsha Evans. Every bit of this quote proves to be true with Mrs. Klein. She is a force to be reckoned with in the Real Estate business and her personal branding is on point.

This week, we’re having coffee with Lauren Klein, the #GirlBoss behind Pittsburgh Property Diva. Kick back, grab yourselves a cup of coffee and meet the local business-savvy gal making waves in the Real Estate industry.

Q: When did you begin your business?

A: 2008

Q: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

A: Reading magazines, my imagination & when I’m out working – I have lots of creative moments will I’m driving in the car by myself (which is a lot!)

Q: Do you have any advice for women just starting their first business?

A: Stick with it – don’t give up & give it 100%.

Q: Why Real Estate? What sparked your passion?

A: I grew up in the real estate industry, my dad was a broker back in the 70’s and we had rental properties.

Q: What have been some of your successes and failures in starting a business?

A: I think every transaction is unique – my clients come from all different backgrounds & I consider all closing a success! Even if the road was bumpy J My failures ….wow…there are plenty – it’s how you bounce back that’s important. Early in my career I accidentally gave away my sellers’ stove. They had no stove at their new house, so I had to buy them one – OMG! Mistakes are all learning experiences & I learn something new all the time.

THINK LIKE A QUEEN, A QUEEN IS NOT AFRAID TO FAIL. FAILURE IS ANOTHER STEPPING STONE TO GREATNESS.” -OPRAH

Q: Who are your muses?

A: My husband, my children + I super dig Barbara Corcoran (Real Estate Mogul) & Rachel Zoe (Stylist)

Q: What makes your work different from other Real Estate Agents?

A: I treat my clients (and everyone I know) like my family from start to finish. I’m part therapist, part real estate agent! I have system that I use religiously with every client & it seems to streamline the process for both the client & me. I have a dedication to perfection (or darn near close to it) with every client. I want my clients to feel well taken care of special.

Q: How do you balance business and motherhood? Any tips? Any personal struggles?

A: I think being a mother is the hardest job on the planet. I raised 3 children (2 boys & a girl) and worked full time in town for many years. When my children were in middle & high school I started my real estate career. This job requires so much time & attention with no time parameters, so as the kids got older it got easier to balance. The challenges of balance are always a struggle for me, but I plow through & hope everyone is happy. Thank god for my mom & dad & my husband during the really busy seasons for rides, meals, etc.

Q: How would you describe your personality?

A: A little silly & quirky, but when it comes to work I’m very type AAA

Q: What are a few of your favorite quotes?

A: “What other people think of you is none of your business” & “Treat others as you wish to be treated”

Q: Any hobbies or outside interests?

A: I love love love to shop. Boutiques, malls, internet, you name it. It relaxes me even when I don’t buy anything. I used to crochet (anything square or rectangle), but I haven’t had much time in the last 2 years.

Q: What are you currently listening too?

A: Little bit of talk radio, Pearl Jam on Sirius XM & some disco at home LOL

Q: What are you currently reading?

A: Dale Carnegie How to Win Friends & Influence People. I read it at least once a year.

Q: Favorite place you’ve traveled to?

A: Tuscany, Italy with my husband

Q: How would you describe your personal style?

A: Classic with a trendy twist. Love Gucci accessories & Gucci luggage

Q: How would you describe your home style?

A: Very modern, sleek, & a little mid-century.

Q: Where are your favorite places to shop?

A:  I love local owned boutiques like No. 14 in Lawrenceville, Carabella in Oakmont, Barrett Boutique in Murrysville + Nordstrom & Banana Republic.


All photos by Nathan Joseph Dodson

If you’re looking to buy (as I am in the next year) make friends with Lauren:

FACEBOOK

INSTAGRAM

TWITTER

DREAM: Pamela Salai Captured

If you’re a Pittsburgh mom or mom-to-be, chances are, you know who Pamela Salai is. If not, allow us to introduce you to your new favorite photographer. Enchanting and ethereal, Pamela’s work captures all the fairytale and magic that maternity and childhood brings. Raising your children is a magical time, after all. These magical moments should be cherished, captured and remembered for years to come. This is what Pamela Salai shares with her work: perfectly enchanting moments. Her photography seems effortless; like it’s just a casual family day at the park and she’s just capturing the natural joy. We think that’s what family photos should be. Not forced, but natural. To really capture a moment is a gift that not all artists can do. This week, we are thrilled to share an exclusive interview with the local photographer that all moms need to meet. Salai is a mother of three herself and talks to us about the successes and struggles of starting her own business on top of raising her children. We’re all about #girlpower here at Pretty Living and love to honor working women and moms.

Q: When did you begin your photography business? 
A: Officially in 2012
Q: Where do you find inspiration for your work? 
A: Everywhere really. I feel like I probably look at things differently than most. I am always day dreaming. I will pass a tree & than all the sudden my head is in the clouds. I do refer to Children’s books, magazines and even quotes.
Q: Do you have any advice for women just starting their first business? 
A: Yes, slow and steady. Makes sure you have all your ducks in a row before just jumping in.
Q: Why photography? And why families? What sparked your passion? 
A: Photography seemed to have found me. I was always creative. I would make jewelry, paint and draw. I dabbled in film in high school. However, I was actually modeled for most of my high school years. I found myself always tearing out pages of magazines because of the poses, make up, clothes or even just because I thought “I like this”. I look back today and realize that I believe my passion was always there I just needed to figure out what it was.

When I had my son in 2011 my friend bought a Canon Rebel and she took me out as her muse. She handed me her camera and said, “here you play.” I fell in love. It was that moment that I knew – this was it.

I chose to photograph maternity, families and children because that is where my heart is. I tried other things such as weddings, engagements, newborns, etc. I just never was as happy as I am when I shoot maternity, families and children. I have to be honest. Children are my favorite. I love getting super creative. I think maybe I might be a kid at heart too – which is probably the reason.
Q: What have been some of your successes and failures in starting a business? 
A: My successes would be 1. finding my shooting style 2. Shooting for a children’s clothing line. 3. Making the front and back cover with a full spread of nationally published magazine.

When I have failures I kinda dissolve them by turning them into something else. I don’t like the feeling of failure. I like staying positive and thinking – well that just happened for a reason is all.

Q: Who are your muses? 
A: My three Children.
 
Q: Do you think Pittsburgh has a good market for photography? 
A: Yes, there is so much here with everything in-between. We have 4 seasons, We have areas that mimic a beach look, industrial, rural, urban areas.
Q: What makes your work different from other photographers? 
A: I think that I am a bit more whimsical than others. Every session has a concept or theme. My whole session has “a reason” whether that be why they are wearing those colors, why they have those props or sometimes why I chose the location I did.
Q: How do you balance business and motherhood? Any tips? Any personal struggles? 
A: This actually was VERY hard for me. I am finally just getting the hang of it. I have a 6-year-boy who is just in first grade full time this year. I have 4-year-old twin girls that just started preschool three times a week. However, for the first time ever I opted for morning childcare on those three mornings. It was really tough decision at first for me because I thought I wasn’t doing my job as a mother – the first job I have. I actually opted not to do it last year because of that reason. Then, I found myself really stressed out this year. I wasn’t getting my work done because I was constantly shooting ( which is great) and spending time with the kids and by nightfall I was so exhausted I didn’t want to work my photography job. Now, I am starting to feel the balance. I learned that it’s OK to put your children in childcare. I have time to work out to stay healthy for myself and my family, I have time to get my housework done and work on my photography. It feels really good.

Fun Facts:
Q: How would you describe your personality? 
A: Quirky hahaha.
Q: Any hobbies or outside interests? 
A: I love to SUP ( stand up paddle board), I love shelling ( when at the beach)
Q: What are you currently listening to? 
A: I have ” The miracle morning” by Hal Elrod on my Audible.  When it’s not a book I am listening to Reggae
Q: What are you currently reading? 
A: A mix of magazines
Q: Favorite place you’ve traveled to? 
A: St. Thomas
Q: How would you describe your personal style?
A: Boho chic
Q: How would you describe your home style? 
A: Modern Farmhouse
Q: Where are your favorite places to shop?
A: Clothing : Free people and for everything else you will find me between Target and the craft stores- haha

Follow Pamela Salai:

DECORATE: Black Cherry Design

In recent years, Pittsburgh has become home to stylists, independent artists and emerging designers alike. A market we’ve been yearning for is finally rooted in our city of steel – interior design. No longer only known for our sports, steel, and bridges, Pittsburgh’s network of creators is rapidly growing and we’re ready. We’re ready for style and to welcome the makers of this town with our own sense of good taste.

In the mix of Lawrenceville’s urban vibes lies a brick-and-mortar lifestyle boutique founded by Lauren Piasecki and Stan Adamik. Black Cherry Design offers an array of designer furniture, lighting, vintage and home accessories to shop for a life “well-lived”. The interior designers/ boutique owners live and breathe style and give Pittsburgh a glimpse of that good taste we’ve all yearned for. Chatting with Lauren Piasecki, one of the two founding partners, we get to know what it’s really like to be a designer.

Q: When did you begin your design business?

A: WE STARTED BLACK CHERRY DESIGN IN OCTOBER 2014.

Q: Where do you find inspiration for your work?

A: DESIGN MAGAZINES (ARCHITECTURAL DIGEST, ELLE DECOR), INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST, TRADE SHOWS LIKE NY NOW AND HIGH POINT MARKET

Q: Do you have any advice for women just starting their first business?

A: MAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF! WHETHER IT’S A QUIET WALK AROUND YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD, A HOME FACIAL OR A 30 MINUTE TV SHOW, MAKE THAT TIME SO YOU DON’T BURN OUT. WOMEN TODAY FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE TO BE EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE. REMEMBER WE’RE ALL HUMANS AND NO ONE CAN “BE ON” ALL THE TIME.

STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF, REMEMBER WHO YOU WERE WHEN YOU WERE A LITTLE KID AND NEVER LOSE YOURSELF.

Q: Why design? What sparked your passion?

A: I WAS ALWAYS A CREATIVE KID. I LOVED TO PAINT, DRAW, SCULPT. I TOOK A LOT OF ART CLASSES AS A CHILD. I EVEN TOOK A PAINTING CLASS WITH BOB ROSS’S SON WHEN I WAS 10. I REMEMBER BUILDING HOUSES FROM OLD CARDBOARD BOXES AND EVEN MAKING CARDBOARD FURNITURE, I MADE WALL PAPER FROM GIFT WRAP AND CUT CARPET REMNANTS TO MAKE “RUGS.” I WAS ALWAYS RE-DOING MY BEDROOM. I’D SHOP THE DISCOUNT AREAS AT PIER ONE ON WALNUT STREET IN SHADYSIDE FOR LITTLE ACCESSORIES, THROW PILLOWS AND CANDLES AND USE WHATEVER MONEY I HAD TO BUY THINGS LIKE THAT.

Photo by Laura Petrilla for Pittsburgh Magazine

Q: What have been some of your successes and failures in starting a business?

A: OVERALL, I’M SO INCREDIBLY PROUD OF WHAT STAN AND I HAVE BUILT AT BLACK CHERRY DESIGN THESE PAST THREE YEARS. FORTUNATELY, WE HAVEN’T FACED TO MANY HARDSHIPS YET. WE BOTH HAVE A LOT OF EXPERIENCE AND HAVE BEEN CAREFUL ABOUT OUR BUSINESS DECISIONS.

Q: Who are your muses?

A: MY GRANDMOTHER WHO PASSED AWAY IN 2000 WAS VERY INFLUENTIAL. TODAY, I’M INFLUENCED BY A LOT BY REALLY HARD-WORKING WOMEN IN THE FASHION INDUSTRY LIKE LINDA FARGO AND I ADMIRE FRENCH WOMEN FOR THEIR EASY STYLE AND LOVE OF LIFE – I STRIVE FOR THAT.

Q: Do you think Pittsburgh has a good market for interior design?

A: I THINK WE HAVE A TON OF POTENTIAL AND THERE ARE A LOT OF CREATIVE PEOPLE HERE.

Q: What makes your work different from other designers?

A: I LIKE TO THINK IT’S CHAMELEON-LIKE. I DEFINITELY HAVE A POINT OF VIEW, BUT I MORPH AND MOLD BASED ON THE WHAT THE NEEDS OF OUR CLIENTS ARE.

 I LIKE TO BUILD A ROOM AROUND A REALLY BEAUTIFUL FOUNDATION PIECE LIKE A SOFA WITH GREAT LINES OR AN AMAZING VINTAGE RUG.

Q: How do you balance business and life? Any tips? Any personal struggles?

A: BALANCE ISN’T AN EVERY DAY THING. THAT’S SOMETHING I’VE LEARNED. ONE WEEK OR A SPAN OF A COUPLE WEEKS WILL BE CRAZY BUSY AND I WON’T EVEN HAVE A MOMENT TO MYSELF AND THEN THE NEXT WEEK I CAN LEAVE EARLY ON A FRIDAY AND TREAT MYSELF TO A MASSAGE. I GUESS KNOWING THAT BUSINESS HAS EBBS AND FLOWS LIKE EVERYTHING IN LIFE KEEPS ME FEELING BALANCED.

Black Cherry Design Storefront

Fun Facts:

Q: How would you describe your personality?

A: I’D SAY HONEST AND GUARDED AT THE SAME TIME. I DON’T HAVE MUCH OF A FILTER, BUT THAT’S BEEN A MOSTLY POSITIVE THING FOR ME.

Q: What are a few of your favorite quotes?

A: I TAKE SCREEN SHOTS OF QUOTES ALL THE TIME AND I USED TO KEEP A LITTLE BOOK OF QUOTES THAT MY SISTER STARTED FOR ME WHEN I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL. “WHEN PEOPLE ARE READY TO, THEY CHANGE. THEY NEVER DO IT BEFORE THEN, AND SOMETIMES THEY DIE BEFORE THEY GET AROUND TO IT. YOU CAN’T MAKE THEM CHANGE IF THEY DON’T WANT TO, JUST LIKE WHEN THEY DO WANT TO, YOU CAN’T STOP THEM.” – ANDY WARHOL
“WHEN YOU GET DOWN AND OUT, ALWAYS REMEMBER THAT THE SUN ALWAYS RISES AFTER A DARK NIGHT. WHEN YOU FEEL LOST, AND LIKE YOUR LIFE HAS NO DIRECTION, TRUST YOUR HEART TO GUIDE YOU. IT’S CLICHE, BUT IT’S TRUE: TOUGH TIMES DON’T LAST, TOUGH PEOPLE DO.” – SYLVESTER MCNUTT

Q: Any hobbies or outside interests?

A: I HAVE TWO KIDS, SO MOST OF MY DAYS AND FREE TIME REVOLVE AROUND THEM, BUT THEY SORT OF ADOPTED SOME OF MY INTERESTS TOO LIKE VISITING MUSEUMS AND CHECKING OUT NEW RESTAURANTS. I ALSO HAVE A GREAT DANE, JACKIE AND I LIKE TO TAKE HER ON WALKS AND TO DOG PARKS. I HAVE SOME PRETTY AWESOME PEOPLE IN MY LIFE WHO I’M FORTUNATE TO SPEND MY TIME WITH.

Q: What are you currently listening too?

A: LORD HURON, FATHER JOHN MISTY, LUCIUS AND FLEETWOOD MAC.

Q: What are you currently reading?

A: THE MEN IN MY LIFE: A MEMOIR OF LOVE AND ART IN 1950S MANHATTAN BY PATRICIA BOSWORTH

Q: Favorite place you’ve traveled to?

A:  NYC AND OCRACOKE ISLAND, NC

A condo designed by Black Cherry Design, photo by Jason Snyder

Q: How would you describe your personal style?

A: EASY AND FEMININE WITH A A LITTLE EDGE AND A TOUCH OF 90S: BLACK SKIRTS AND BLACK LEGGINGS WITH LOTS OF BLACK AND WHITE AND LOOSE TOPS & DR MARTENS BOOTS AND BIRKENSTOCKS

Q: How would you describe your home style?

A: A MIX OF VINTAGE & NEW FOR SURE. I HAVE A LOT OF ORIGINAL MCM FURNITURE THAT I’VE PICKED UP ALONG THE WAY. I DO LIKE BRIGHTER COLORS AT HOME WITH WHITE WALLS. I HAVE A MANGO 1960S SOFA AND AN AVOCADO WOOL EAMES CHAIR THAT I LOVE.

Q: Where are your favorite places to shop?

A: PAVEMENT IN LAWRENCEVILLE, ANTHROPOLOGIE & FREE PEOPLE IN BAKERY SQUARE FOR CLOTHES AND POP-UP MARKETS FOR ACCESSORIES LIKE NECKLACES FROM META MORPH JEWELRY. AND OF COURSE, I LOVE BLACK CHERRY DESIGN FOR FURNISHINGS AS WELL AS WORLD OF RUGS IN ROBINSON TWP. AND TOADFLAX IN SHADYSIDE HAS THE BEST CANDLES AND FLOWERS.

Visit Black Cherry Design in Lawrenceville, on the web, on Instagram,  and Facebook.

Pretty, Inspirational: Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In

I grew up playing little league baseball and with the understanding that I could be whatever I wanted to be. I came of age with the affordances of middle class life. The Women’s Movement is something I’ve only read about in conjunction with Second Wave feminist theory. I am blessed to be where I am: in a small studio apartment living check-to-check while I try to a build a career in something, anything that I studied in school.

Upon the recommendation of a friend, I watched Sheryl Sandberg’s TEDTalk, and I picked up a copy of the Facebook COO’s new book, Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. Through memoir and extensive research, Sandberg extends the topic of her TEDTalk and provides business advice and inspirational words for women. She encourages women to “Sit at the table,” a metaphor for the very real need to get women into leadership positions and making more than $.77 to man’s $1 (6). Her experiences at Google and Facebook are especially motivating. At the end of each chapter, I felt inclined to revise my résumé and buy a new pair of heels.

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In all seriousness, the most valuable piece of advice presented itself in Chapter 4, “It’s a Jungle Gym, Not a Ladder,” where Sandberg suggests that it’s not always about climbing the corporate ladder, but about taking risks and jumping to the next best opportunity for your career.

Lean In, a national best seller, came out about a month ago. I’ve been scrolling through some of the reviews —  the book’s critics are a little unreceptive. I suppose that’s what a review is.  Critical. Among other things, reviewers criticize Sandberg’s book for targeting privileged white women and neglecting academic feminism. Sandberg herself is criticized for writing on such a topic while she finds herself in a comfortable and financially secure position.

After reading the reviews, I felt a little guilty myself. Having said that, Sandberg acknowledges these very critiques within the first 11 pages. She recognizes that many women are struggling in today’s economy (10); she explains that with more women in power, we could address the severity of women’s issues in other parts of the world (7); finally, she acknowledges that not every woman wants to be the COO of Facebook (10). Perhaps critics did not read past the first chapter.

Sandberg says within those same pages, “It is not a feminist manifesto – okay, it is sort of a feminist manifesto, but one that I hope inspires men as much as it inspires women” (9). Most importantly, Sandberg implores us, “Let’s Start Talking About It” (the title of Chapter 10). She wants for women in small studio apartments and in large corporate offices alike to consider what can be done if we “lean in.”

While Sandberg calls for women to find the will to lead, I am amazed by how this has been realized in my own life. I’ve watched my mother advance in her career to a Senior Director position at an ever-growing company. Personally, I report to a female Supervisor, who reports to a female Senior Manager, who reports to a female Senior Director, a female COO, and so on. I think about the accomplishments of colleagues in my graduate program. Finally, I see the incredibly talented and driven people behind Pretty Living, and I know that these are the people I want to surround myself with.

I encourage you to read Lean In. At the very least, watch Sandberg’s TEDTalk and be inspired.

Feature photo by Alicia Broudy

Sandberg, Sheryl. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2013.

Pretty, Inspirational: Power Yoga: Stretching Mind and Body

Let’s just agree that we are all busy, and, at times, a little stressed. Personally? I’m a twenty-something young professional who works by day, studies by night, and tries to fit exercise and a few nights out in between. When my yoga instructor tells me to let it all go, I do just that.

Whatever has been on your mind… let it go, Melissa says softly at the beginning of class. With my eyes closed, I breathe slowly and deliberately, releasing thoughts of deadline dates and errands with each exhale. What follows is a 45-minute session of power yoga led by Melissa Caye. I am grateful for these moments on the mat, especially when I can step away from my desk and practice on my lunch break. Yes, on my lunch break.

Melissa has partnered with a couple of organizations in Pittsburgh to bring yoga into conference rooms. High-backed chairs are moved to the edge of the room and replaced with yoga mats in shades of pink, orange, and purple. Melissa supplies instrumental music, yoga flows, and encouragement. Lunch Time Yoga allows for my coworkers and me to get out of our desk chairs and to stretch our bodies and our minds.

Melissa is truly an inspiration. Her classes make me happy (and a little sore the next day), and I continue to practice things I’ve learned during Lunch Time Yoga on and off the mat. I asked Melissa to share some of her insights:

“The change that I continue to see in folks after their first few yoga classes, as well as the transformation in people as they get into a steady practice, is the greatest reward for me as an instructor: yoga truly changes people physically, mentally, and spiritually.”

Power yoga involves traditional yoga postures along with elements of cardio and strength training. Melissa’s classes can be intense – sometimes, I’m still sweating when I get back to my cube. In each and every class, though, we are encouraged to breathe deeply, set up a mantra, or a positive affirmation, and relax in child’s pose or goddess pose should our bodies tell us to do so.

“My job as an instructor is to guide and present opportunities for people to discover what they are capable of, both physically and emotionally, and then get out of the way.”

There are many physical and mental health benefits from practicing yoga.* For me, the appeal of yoga is time spent in thoughtful relaxation. I come back to Melissa’s instruction for grounding oneself in meditation and affirmation often.

“One of the greats gifts I have received from this practice is learning ujjayi (ooh-jy-yee) breathing, or breathing in and out of the nose slowly and deeply, especially when pushed to my edge physically and/or emotionally, on or off my mat. I continue to learn through yoga that “letting go” is the essence of living a peaceful, happy, and uncomplicated life.”

Just as I am about to drift off to sleep at the end of Savasana, or corpse pose, Melissa begins reading from her small journal. At the end of each class, she shares inspirational words that she’s found in books or even written herself. I try to remember them and write them down. One my favorites: “Destiny is not some place you are going. Destiny is where you are.”

One of Melissa’s favorites:“There is a thread from the heart to the lips/Where the secret of life is woven/Words tear the thread/But in silence the secrets speak” – Rumi

Let’s just agree that we are all busy. When you can, step away from your desk. Let go.

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Photo courtesy of Melissa from Whirl magazine

Melissa’s Bio:

“My Yoga journey began over twenty years ago in a small studio in NYC and I am still as passionate today as I was then.  Through my own personal experience both as student and teacher I believe yoga is a lifelong journey and quite possibly a fountain of youth available to everyone. I received my certification in Power Yoga with Amazing Yoga and have completed workshops with South Hills Power Yoga, Claire and Gregor Singleton, Bryan Kest, Natasha Rizopoulos and others. I continue to build and grow in all areas of teaching and personal practice and am honored to share the benefits of yoga through my teaching.

 Currently, I teach/assist classes for UPMC, Heinz Family Foundation, D-Fit Studio, Yoga On Freemont and Salt Power Yoga. RYT,CPR, AED.”

*See Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Center. Yoga: Your Home Practice Companion. New York: Dorling Kindersley Limited. 2010.

Draped: Spring Colors

When I saw this interior, I immediately fell in love and was thinking of how it reminded me of those beautiful spring and summer days.  When the days are bright, the grass is green and everywhere you look there are beautiful, bright flowers.  When it comes to an outfit, granted all of these colors put together can make you look a bit… crazy.  The best way to make the colors work together is to ground them with neutrals as I’ve done in the outfits above.

In the first outfit, the bold red jeans still look great paired with the pink in the shirt, but because of the white background, it flows better.  Using a white leather jacket and simple metallic flats also help to keep the outfit from feeling over the top.  I like the final pop of color in the bag against the outfit- it’s like the sun for the floral shirts.  In the second outfit, I loved that two of these colors were represented in a shirt together, and when paired with bright yellow skinnies, the look is extra cheerful.  Adding in a classic tan trench coat is a way to keep the outfit grounded- as are the nude colored heels.  The gold accessories are a great final touch.

image via.

Pittsburgh Professional Minds: A Social Movement

In the early twentieth century, Millionaires Row housed many well-heeled members of Pittsburgh’s high society. Our city was in it’s development prime and the home to many turn-of-the-century industrialists and financiers like Andrew Carnegie and Henry Clay Frick. These civic-minded individuals set out to increase job percentage while attracting the attention of thousands of immigrants who flocked Pittsburgh in search of work, education, and a better life. With the steel industry booming, our job market indeed made Pittsburgh a highly populated area. The early 1900s set the bar for Pittsburgh profession.

Fast forward over one hundred years and our city is still the home of great professional minds who returned to the late Millionaires Row to mingle at the Mansions on Fifth luxury hotel, one of the last among the city’s grand mansions. The Pittsburgh Social Exchange hosted an upscale business reception ‘Mingle At The Mansions’  to bring together like-minded professionals within our city for network opportunities and career enhancement. The evening consisted of delicious hors d’oeurves, auctions, and musical entertainment by Quinta Voce Woodwind Quintet. Standing in the same place that Henry Clay Frick and his attorney Willis F. McCook (the mansion’s original home owner) once stood over one hundred years ago, Pittsburgh’s professional growth is put in a much greater perspective.

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Though we’re not the steel town that we once were famously known for, our city’s professional social veil has only enhanced in further development throughout the years. Back then, one’s social status defined your ability for career advancement, whereas Pittsburgh today glorifies all aspects of business while recognizing all forms of leadership. The Pittsburgh Social Exchange (PSE) is to thank for their acknowledgement of professional and social growth by providing upscale events to welcome all levels to network, connect, and advance.

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Chatting with PSE’s President, Ethan Nicholas, put social status in perspective and exemplified the importance of social interaction in today’s business world, “What’s awesome about today is it doesn’t matter who you are and where you’re from as it did then, social networking brings businesses and people together in all forms of leadership and wealth. PSE has an open door policy regardless of your economic status and leadership.” Perhaps this social acceptance and interaction is the reason for the continuance of career advancements in today’s businesses. “Social settings will always impact business,” said Nicholas, “The most important element of networking is knowing people, people do business with people not technology.”

While mingling among the last of the great mansions in hopes of seeking career opportunities, it was proven that the social status which existed in the Frick-era and impacted such growth, does not matter in Pittsburgh’s profession today. “Back then, everyone knew who was wealthy and it was evident of where they lived. There are more millionaires in Pittsburgh today than there ever were, Nicholas explains, “In the next 2-3 years that number will double because of technology providing the ability to connect with others and facilitate business so quickly.” Our day’s business drive is the result of social interaction and acceptance. The famous quote, “It’s not what you know, but who you know” is PSE’s ultimate mission and though the twentieth century housed many great minds on Millionaire’s Row, many more great minds were housed last week. “If the Pittsburgh Social Exchange existed back then, I think Phipps, Frick, Carnegie and others in those executive realms would be in attendance to our events, it would be an unapproachable and difficult social veil to pierce. But economic status isn’t as important today as it was then,” says Nicholas, “At PSE we’re appreciative of talent regardless of status, we’re an integrated system of social acceptance which makes business thrive today. We bring together all levels of leadership and diversity.”

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This social-driven mindset is exactly what made PSE the most diverse social chamber in the tri-state area. What started as a small 40-person Facebook group in 2009 has now become a network of 15,000 subscribers and has expanded to Cleveland, Atlanta, Erie, and Washington D.C. Soon, the PSE team hopes to connect 30 different cities within the US. “Our reason for growth is simple, Nicholas says, “It’s the way you treat people, inviting in all levels of leadership.” After all, people grow businesses; people of diverse talents and skills, when we welcome in all people, we are welcoming all business.

For more information on the social networking events hosted by the Pittsburgh Social Exchange visit http://www.PittsburghSocialExchange.com.

Draped: Graphic Black and White

One trend that seems to stick around season after season is black and white.  Sometimes it’s more subtle, other times (like now) it’s more bold and graphic.  Whatever the style, I’m always on board.  Black and white happen to be my favorite colors (if you can count them as colors)- so much so that they were the colors for my recent wedding!  So I’m sure you can imagine the love I felt as soon as I saw this little snippet of a room.

The stripes on the chair, the wallpaper, the otherwise minimalist details- they all stood out to me and screamed “class”.  The chair itself is one of those rare finds that you know you need to hang on to, and just reupholster as you see fit.  But the black and white stripes is something I can see wanting to hang around for years to come.  When I set out to create the inspiration outfits from these photos, I wanted to use the black and white as the main theme, with gold and yellow as supporting colors- just as in the photo.

The outfit on the left is perfect for work.  The striped pencil skirt paired with the classic white tee is comfortable, yet chic- especially when the gold button blazer is added to the mix.  I kept the shoes simple to not contrast with the skirt and added funky jewelry- layering necklaces and a bold bracelet- to complete the look.

The second outfit can take you so many places- on errands, out to lunch or dinner, for a night out with the girls.  The entire look is all about the cool girl ease.  The sweatshirt and destroyed skinny jeans are great on their own, but when paired with that bold blazer, the entire look gets taken up a notch.  The stripe shoes and bold bracelet merely add to the look without competing.

I’m so excited to wear one of these inspiration looks in my every day life- and maybe convince my husband that we need to paint a wall in our house with bold black and white stripes.

image via.

Draped: Accessory Inspiration

Interior inspiration doesn’t have to only come from looking at your sofa and drapery, think of all the little accessories around your home too.  Think of the way you’ve styled your coffee table, or the looks in your gallery wall, or the perfect arrangement of flowers on the counter.  I loved the delicate look to this flower arrangement, especially with the simple stand and candle decorations surrounding it.

In the first look I took everything feminine about the flowers and put it into the outfit.  The dress combines the white and mauve colors, the pink wedges are so light that they can help add visual height to the leg, and the brocade coat is a gorgeous completer piece.  The darker accessories (pulled from the dark flowers) add an interesting twist to the otherwise light outfit.  Plus, the simplicity of the accessories makes the outfit feel rich.

In the second look, I wanted a more casual feel.  The pink skinny jeans are perfect for spring, especially when paired with a peplum top (a trend still going strong).  The lace of the top also reflects the overall girly feel of the inspiration photo.  The darker pink cardigan again pulls in the darker flowers and the cream bag, shoes and ring pull from the flower arrangement surroundings- like the light coming from the candle holders.

Have you ever used a floral arrangement as outfit inspiration?

 

 

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Draped: Spring Colors

Someday it just might feel like spring around here, and maybe dressing in spring colors will get it here quicker!  I love the spring feel of this bedroom with the coral, mint, tan and gold mixed together.  Not to mention the flower pillows adds an extra dose of spring-time oomph.  This bedroom serves as the perfect inspiration for dressing like spring.

The first outfit is the perfect spring outfit for running errands, having dinner or going out with your girl friends.  The coral colored pants serve as the focal point while the tan top and gold accents mirror the inspiration bedroom (plus, who can resist a pair of gold flats?!).  Adding in a pop of mint with the bag is the perfect compliment.  Finally, the cool leather jacket serves as the perfect layering piece for cooler days.

The second outfit will help to bring spring to your office.  Tan wide leg trousers work well with a sheer and ruffled top (both top spring trends) in the main color of the room- coral.  I love the idea of mixing the color of the accessories to reflect the colors in the bedroom.  And the nude pumps hold all of the colors together and give the outfit a polished look.

What are your favorite spring colors to wear?

Pass The Pretty-Foodspiration!

Constantly producing and publicizing events, we always have our eyes on fabulous treats and deserts we can offer our guests! And, of course, at Pretty Living PR, they have to be the definition of perfection! Browsing a few ideas for our upcoming parties, let us know which mouth savory treat you’re dying to try!

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We’re thinking we might have to go with the crystal pink cupcakes for our debut party in May!! Don’t you love the pretty things in life?!

<3,

The Pretty PR Girls

Draped: Trend Watch: Sheer

One of the recent big trends in interior design has been acrylic furniture- see through, clear.  From desks to coffee tables, chairs to accessories, this trend has taken over households.  And no surprise, this trend is also coming through for spring clothing in the form of sheer items.  Sheer can be a tricky trend to pull off and should be worn sparingly.  In the photo above, you can see how I used inspiration from the beautifully decorated room to influence everyday sheer wear.

I fell in love with the look of the room because of it’s lightness, the simplicity, and the perfectly paired colors.  I took those same elements and applied them in different ways to each of the outfits.  The pink peplum dress has a hint of sheer at the neckline (which adds a touch of sex appeal).  I continued with this theme with the tights and jewelry.  The shoes also have a hint of sheer to keep the overall theme going.  This outfit would be perfect for a date night.

The second look is work appropriate- in a more casual laid back office.  The polka dot top, though sheer, has a layer underneath to keep the top appropriate.  I paired it with a structured suit and then had fun with the accessories.  The acrylic necklace, see through bag and sheer shoes add to this trend.

The final outfit is one to wear out with your girl friends.  The black top is sheer, but the pink skinny jeans add femininity to the look (as well as compliment the colors of the inspiration photo).  The pink is repeated with the clutch, booties and sunglasses and the acrylic jewelry completes the look.

So what do you think of this trend, in both interiors and clothing?  Is it something that you’ll try?

Interior image via.

Pretty Living At Home

In our world, we like to showcase the beauty in life. So when it comes to our homes, we insist that everything be a vision! The way you decorate your home shows your personality and sets the mood for guests. Looks aren’t everything but they can certainly effect the way we feel. Show your style when decorating; add color, accent pieces, and furnishings that will immediately catch your eye. When browsing for the perfect in house image, we couldn’t help but fall head over heels for antique kitchenettes and vintage mirrors. We love the combination of modern fashion with an old school etiquette. And, of course, we love pink. Here are just a few of our inspirations for your own pretty living.

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Live Life Pretty,

xo