Archive for April, 2007

Designer Showhouse
April 29, 2007

I had a wonderful evening at the Junior League of Pittsburgh’s 18th Designers’ Show House, “Elegance on Beechwood.”
What amazing change inside this century-old Squirrel Hill home.
The address is 1265 Beechwood… and some of the area’s most talented designers showed off some wonderful things.
You can take a tour yourself from now until Sunday, May 13 and tickets are $20.
Tickets may be purchased online or at the door. Please visit for more information.

The honored guest at the gala was Andrew Dan Jumbo.
I took this picture of him with my dear friend, Gail Sparke (on left) and Junior Leaguer Jenn Tribble.
Andrew is a carpenter on the TV home makeover show, While You Were Out and has a new show on TLC, “Take Home Handyman” Dan-Jumbo was born in Africa to wealthy parents, although his family lost their fortune and had to flee Nigeria during a revolution, so Dan-Jumbo grew up poor in England.
But he’s come a long way since then, Andrew appears as a carpenter on Trading Spaces, and has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and other shows.
Dan-Jumbo is more than just a skilled carpenter …. he has worked as a model and was voted one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People! You can see why by looking at this picture:

Also at the event, I ran into the owners of one of my favorite shops.
They own Molto Bella Ceramica in Shadyside. (
They often fly to Italy to meet with the artists who make beautiful things for their shop.

They designed the outside area for the event…. isn’t that table beautiful? It’s made from Volcanic Stone and is very sturdy.
It’s weatherproof… and it looks even better in person. They also make kitchen counters from it and it’s spectacular!

They travel throughout Italy to areas such as Deruta, Montelupa in Tuscany, and the Amalfi Coast, and have relationships with some of that nation’s finest artisans.
This is one of the pieces I have. It’s from the B. Elegante Collection. I asked what kind of bird was on it …. they told me the artist made it up and calls it: “the bird of new beginnings.” I have eight pieces now in my collection.

I also had the chance to meet Pirate great, Bob Friend.
Years ago, he lived in this house… and after seeing it, I think he wants it back!

To refresh your memory: Friend was considered one of the most consistent and solid pitchers in the game. Some remarked that he would not miss a start if he was dying.
The Pirates signed him in 1950.. and here are some of his career highlights I found on the internet:
3-time All-Star (1956, 58, 60)
Tied for 1st in the league in wins in 1958 (22)
Led the league in ERA in 1955 (2.83)
Led the league in games started three times (1956, 57, 58)
Led the league in strikeout to walk ratio in 1960 (4.07 to 1)
3rd in the league in Cy Young voting and 6th in MVP voting in 1958
Ranks 59th on the all-time innings pitched leaderboard (3611) [1]
Ranks 91st on the all-time strikeout leaderboard (1734) [2]
Ranks 44th on the all-time career Games started leaderboard (497) [3]

It was a wonderful night and most importantly the Junior League raised a lot of money for its project to build safe playgrounds for local children. I told Andrew Dan Jumbo that even though he was ranked on a list… so was Pittsburgh! We were just named *The Most Liveable City In America*!! And that’s because of wonderful groups like the Junior League taking the time to do wonderful things like this. Thanks for letting me take part.

more on meryl
April 27, 2007

I am going to post some pictures from the Junior League Designer Showhouse event soon…. talk about local illustrator John Manders… and the Heniz Field Fan Blitz during the draft….. but right now I wanted to talk a little more about my story from Thursday on clearing out the clutter.
I have gotten so much feedback about the story on getting more organized.
We brought in Meryl Starr who started an organizing business 14 years ago to help get a local house in order. (
Julie David was kind enough to have us into her home.
She was wonderful to let us peek all through her closets to help show you the best way to live a more stress free life.
These are the two books we used to help transform Julie’s home and her life.

Here are just four of many tips Meryl’s books have to offer:
* Put like things together.
* The most-used things go in the handiest places.
* If you want to keep something but use it rarely…. box it up, label it, and put it in the attic.

Meryl says we should stop hesitating to throw things away. She says we find a million excuses to keep things we don’t like or don’t use. She says many times we feel guilty if someone gave it to us or we get upset if we spent money on it.
But once we clear out the clutter, it helps us feel better about our space at home and we become more relaxed.

A big thank you to Julie and her darling family for helping us out. Julie recently emailed me to say Meryl’s advice changed her life for the better. She has more time to relax with her kids and hang out with her husband, And that was our whole goal in doing the story.

I started throwing out tons of stuff in my house. Toys and clothes my kids outgrew years ago…. junk in my attic….. old pots and pans in my kitchen…. and much more. In fact, some of my neighbors began asking if I was moving with all the stuff I was giving away or throwing away.
I feel much better now…. It’s easier to find what I need and there is less stuff for my kids to drag out and mess up.
Meryl also talks in her Personal Organization book about relationships. It is great advice and how to deal with people and manage friendships. I learned a lot.
I would highly recommend you getting either of these books.
Meryl says it’s important just to get started…. she says re-organizing your life takes time. So start with one small closet or drawer… or learning how to gracefully say “no” to someone… and work your way up.
She says she’s gotten a lot of response from Pittsburgh area people since our story ran and I’d encourage you to send her a quick hello!

Next time, I’ll talk all about my wonderful night at the Junior League’s gala…. and tell you about meeting Andrew Dan Jumbo from the shows “While You Were Out” and “Trading Spaces.” And we just got back from a fun Saturday down at Heinz Field and the Fan Blitz…. The rain didn’t stop a ton of people from hanging out. More on that soon…. right now I’m going to order a pizza and warm up from a drizzly day.

CASA event
April 27, 2007

First, a quick thanks to everyone who watched our story on getting organized! I hope it helped and I’ve already been asked a lot of questions about how to get more information. I’ll post more on Meryl Starr ( this weekend and more on how we transformed Julie’s house. I heard from Meryl that some of you have already emailed her about our segment and she loves the feedback! So I would encourage you to go to her website and send her an email from Pittsburgh: The most livable city in America! (If you missed the segment, you can watch it here.)

But right now I want to send a big THANK YOU to CASA for a wonderful event last night.
CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocate. This volunteer group helps children in the Washington County court system. Many are abused and/or neglected and these wonderful volunteers are specially trained to work with them and speak on their behalf to the judge. What a wonderful way to give back to the community!

Here I am with the woman who put all this together: Fradelle Karpen. I love working with her! She has so much energy and she really cares about the children.

Our fundraiser was held at a cool club in Carnegie called Cefalos.
That place has great food and great entertainment…. I’d highly recommend you checking it out sometime.
Joining us this year was Pittsburgh Penguins right winger Ronald Petrovicky and his beautiful wife.
He signed a hockey stick used in a game and we auctioned it off. Here is Ron with the lucky guy who won the bid for the stick.

We also auctioned off some stuff from Penguin Colby Armstrong, Steelers Owner Dan Rooney, Steeler Heath Miller, Country Star Brad Paisley, and much much more. There was a wonderful art sale from which a portion was donated back to CASA, the winner of the Wake Up Your Dreams talent show, Britteny Grego, sang for us and she was incredible (she won from hundreds of contestants in Washington County) …. and of course, my favorite, lots of great food! (I’m including all of this in hopes that you’ll decide to join us next year!)

That night we talked a lot about why it’s important to take care of children in bad situations. We reflected on how when we take the time to help other children in need.. we are also helping our own because they will all grow up together and have to work together. There are so many special children who are having a tough time with life. They need a chance and deserve our help.

Get Organized!
April 25, 2007

If you want to live a more stress-free life…. tune in to my special report Thursday night at 5:00.
We brought in an organizing expert to help a local viewer, Julie, re-organize her house to make her life easier.
Meryl Starr has written two books on organizing your home and your life.

Meryl started a personal organizing business 14 years ago and has worked with people who need a little help making their lives run smoother.
She will share tips with us on how to get rid of the clutter in our homes and the clutter in our lives.
Julie appreciated the advice. She home schools her children and she just started her own jewelry business with Premier Designs. ( they have beautiful things!)

If you want a sneak peek on Meryl…. check out her website: I have both of her books and I am using both of them to help make my life easier.
I enjoyed spending the day with Meryl and she motivated me to make some big changes in my own home.

As far as Julie … I recently got an email from her telling me that Meryl changed her life for the better! She says by getting more organized and simplifying her life, she feels less stress. Julie also says since she spends less time trying to find what she needs and less time trying to make things fit into closets and cubboards, she can spend more time playing with her three darling children and relaxing with her husband.

Watch tomorrow night starting at 5:00 to learn more about how Meryl’s advice can help you, too!

orchid advice
April 22, 2007

I bought an orchid.
It’s so beautiful, isn’t it?

It’s a shame really, because I’m sure to kill it.
I know nothing about growing orchids. I hear they’re very temperamental.
Email me with any advice on what to feed it or how often to water it.
I bought it on a whim. I was grocery shopping at Whole Foods when I spotted it and no one stopped me before it was too late.
I’m also planning on planting some herbs and tomatoes this year. The deer and raccoons are sure to kill them. Oh well… it’s fun to try.

A Baseball Birthday
April 15, 2007

Zach woke up this morning and turned 9. It blows my mind and I think I’m going to have trouble concentrating today.

He wanted to have his birthday party at PNC Park and after making a few calls I found out this year the Pirates are actually hosting birthday parties! How lucky for us!

He invited all the boys in his class (no girls allowed except mom and sister) and we met at the Stargell statue last weekend.

Joe was our tour guide and he was wonderful. The boys were mesmerized. If you ever take a tour I highly recommend requesting Joe.

He took us to the dugout and we got to sit where the players do. While Joe was talking I think my group started daydreaming that they were major leaguers.

We went up to the press box (one of the best views in town!). And we went to the high-priced seats: the club level.

And as we were walking by the indoor batting practice room third baseman Jose Bautista came out and met us! I took this picture (Obviously I cropped out all the boys’ faces before sharing it with you.) He was awesome!

Then the batting coach came out and ask which one was the birthday boy. Then he handed Zach a bat that catcher Ronny Paulino split the night before. It has Ronny’s name carved into the side with his number. How cool!
Joe quizzed the boys on different Pirate facts and the first one with the correct answer won a player’s card.
At the end, there was a treasure chest full of goodies for which kid matched the player’s card in the chest.
It was a Jason Bay bobblehead! But everyone was a winner because we all got Pirate coins and schedules and more player cards and a great deal on Pirates baseball hats! Also included in our tour were ballpark hotdogs, a nachos bar, and a Pirates baseball birthday cake.
The kids loved it and so did the parents. What a great birthday party…. but it still doesn’t wipe out the shock that my baby is now nine. Where did all that time go?

Big Day Entertainment
April 13, 2007

I had the chance to take part in a fun event.

Big Day Entertainment asked me to help host a showcase event at Station Square. It was packed full of some of the best talent in the region. If you’re planning an event, Big Day certainly has a lot from which to choose.

Sal Richetti is the owner and he featured bands and comedians and photographers and limo companies and food and artists and most importantly: A GIANT CHOCOLATE FOUNTAIN! Check out more at

The event was fun and I got the chance to meet the awesome artist you see in the picture with me: George Williams. He creates paintings to music. So while the band played in one corner, George was in the other… and in less than 10 minutes he crafted this. Isn’t it wonderful! It was amazing to watch George do this so quickly. He often is the entertainment for events and then his work auctioned off for charity.

I WANT ONE OF THESE! As you know, I am a big Sidney Crosby fan… but someone beat me to buying this particular painting.

I have a perfect space in my game room for something like this. I wonder if he’d do a modern painting of my kids from my favorite photograph? I need to find out. If it works out, I’ll show it to you!

Andrew, Jim and Don
April 10, 2007

I am SO TIRED of this cold weather!
I can’t wait for Spring to finally find us….
In the meantime, the weekend snow made me think of Winterfest. So I thought I’d share these random pictures from Seven Springs and try to remember the time I actually had fun in the cold.
Here’s Andrew, Jim and Don.

Stockey is down!
April 5, 2007

I just got this picture from the American Lung Association and had to share it with you.
This is a shot of Andrew Stockey when he got to the top of the stair climb…. 1080 steps….
In all fairness, Andrew did pretty well in the climb… he came in 9th place.. but still, I couldn’t resist teasing him with this picture.

Birthday bash
April 1, 2007

Ally’s best friend, Hannah, had an AWESOME birthday party this weekend! (Check out Hannah making her birthday wish).
It was feminine and fun!
All the girls from their first grade class met at Kelley Gary’s Salon in Perrysville.
Kelly is a wonderful hairdresser. I love her work. She’s a wonderful person, too….. and she closed down her darling salon for our private party. Each girl got a make-over.
There was make-up and nail polish and Kelley did up-dos on each girl. Each one looked like a princess when she was done.
Add a little dance music by Hannah Montana and Drake Bell…… and everything was perfect.

The beautiful birthday girl got to sit in the salon chair to open up all of her gifts.

I didn’t feel comfortable showing any of their faces without talking to their mom’s first…. but you can get an idea from this shot….. check out that hair!

Didn’t Kelley do a great job? The girls had a blast. We even had a “fashion show” at the end. Kelley’s salon is so perfect. It’s a cute little house tucked behind the Perry Perk coffee shop on Perry Highway.

Of course, now Ally wants to have her party there, too! But we can’t copy it. So her second choice is having a Drake Bell party (He’s the star of a show and he’s a rock star). So I guess I’ll try to find a high school boy band that can play Drake songs and then I’ll have to find a place to have it……. if that doesn’t work out I’m calling Kelley and we’ll copy off of Hannah.