Date Night with California Pizza Kitchen

A few weeks ago, the PR team behind California Pizza Kitchen emailed me asking if I would be interested in trying items from their new fall menu. To say I’m excited to partner with them for this post is an understatement.

First things first, I define the word “foodie”. I recently just started to get really into cooking, which is a huge deal. I used to be the pickiest eater ever, but now I’ll try just about anything and everything.

Mention “pizza” and I might as well just drop everything for a slice of the good stuff. I’m not alone here though; my boyfriend, Andrew, is also someone who could eat pizza for every meal and not get tired of it. It was a no-brainer that this CPK experience would turn into our perfect date night.

Andrew and I arrived at our neighborhood California Pizza Kitchen at Ross Park Mall with empty stomachs and high expectations. We already had a pretty good idea what we were going to order,

One of my favorite hobbies is reading (and memorizing) menus of new restaurants that I really want to try. I’m incredibly indecisive, so I love being able to look over my options. This also saves us a lot of time in restaurants.

CPK Sangria Flight

Sangria Flight: (L-R) Orchard, BeeHive, Red-Berry

When it came to drinks, we started with some of our waiter’s recommendations: since I’m incredibly indecisive when it comes to ordering. I chose a Sangria Flight (L-R: Orchard, BeeHive, Red-Berry) so I could taste-test as much as possible. 

The BeeHive is the newest addition to the flight, a refreshing blend of a few of my ultimate favorite flavors: lavender, lemon and honey. It’s floral, and compliments the darker notes in the other two sangrias. I could see myself ordering each of the sangrias on their own, however, the Orchard was definitely my favorite of the three.

Andrew ordered the Citrus Crush, which can be best described as a “citrus take on a classic mojito”: crisp, flavorful and very easy to drink.

What else we’d try: Blueberry Ginger Smash, Blood Orange Sangria,

CPK Roasted Chicken

Roasted Garlic Chicken + Seasonal Brussel Sprouts

Disclaimer, I’m probably the most predictable eater. When I like a dish, I tend to eat it all the time until I get sick of it. My go-to right now is grilled chicken with some sort of seasoned vegetable. However, this was so much better than anything I usually make. I’m not exaggerating when I say I couldn’t put my fork down.

Two words: THE FLAVORS!!! Everything about this dish was so amazing. The chicken was marinated in a light lemon ginger sauce with a little added kick.

CPK pizza

Original Pepperoni Pizza (heaven- look at that cheese!)

When you go to CPK you need to order pizza. It’s a given. I mean, California Pizza Kitchen, hello. I’d probably suggest sharing a pizza, unless you’re that hungry. The pizza was HUGE. Andrew and I tried sharing entrees, but he ate all but one slice on his own. We were a little too in love with what we ordered.

Tip: try the truffle oil- I loved it on the pizza, and it’s a little something different. Word of advice, a little goes a long way here.

What else we’d try: Spicy Buffalo Cauliflower, Chicken Milanese, Fire-Grilled Ribeye, The Original BBQ Chicken Pizza, Pear + Gorgonzola Pizza, and many, many more things.

Overall, we had the most amazing experience, with some even better food. There’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll definitely stop in again. I mean, we’ll have to with the number of other items on the menu that we want to try!

Sunday Brunching in Ivy League Style

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Ralph Lauren blazer (similar) / Ralph Lauren white tunic (similar) / Loft high-waisted jeans / Lucky Brand peep-toe booties / Scarf / Chanel purse / Bracelet / Prada sunglasses

A few weekends ago, a bunch of my blogger girlfriends from Stylish Pittsburgh met up for brunch at Station, a trendy little hole-in-the-wall on Liberty Ave. Beyond the delicious food and even better company, I loved listening to other bloggers discuss their successes and achievements. My friend Ashley attended New York Fashion Week this past fall, and gave us some behind-the-scenes insight into its craziness. Just a quick FYI, the show schedule is so sporadic that planning activities on top of the shows is almost impossible.

It’s so fun to be surrounded by people who understand the importance of solid hashtags and maintaining consistent Instagram aesthetics (which I do not have just fyi). The ladies of Stylish Pittsburgh go beyond “bloggers”, they’re actual girl bosses and successful business owners.

Afterwards, my blogger bff, Victoria, and I decided to have a quick little Pittsburgh adventure since we were already downtown.  We started by stopping by my favorite boutique in Lawrenceville, No. 14, where I bought this funky neck scarf. (It was the perfect finishing touch to my outfit!)

From there, Victoria and I popped on over to The Pennsylvanian. Holy crap, it’s absolutely beautiful. The Pennsylvanian is a luxury apartment complex and one of the best wedding venues in the city. It’s also perfect for quick photoshoots, minus the trains that go by every few minutes. You can check out her post from the Pennsylvanian, here!

Pittsburgh weather has been extremely temperamental. It’s your typical “wear a jacket to class, sweat to death wearing it 2 hours later” fall weather, but might be a bit worse. What’s up with this high of 76 in November nonsense? This particular Sunday was supposed to be pretty chilly in the morning, but warm in the afternoon, so I opted for light and breezy layers.

This blazer is one of my absolute favorite pieces in my closet. It’s lightweight, which makes it the perfect light jacket to throw on.  I woke up feeling inspired to create an outfit based off of Ralph Lauren’s traditional Ivy League style. For the classic look, I threw on a bunch of basic pieces: a white tunic, high waisted jeans, and a comfortable pair of heels.

Although the blazer was the intended focal point, the neck scarf helped tie the look together, no pun intended. It added a feminine element to a menswear inspired ensemble. Plus, I love how it resembles a necktie. This might be my new favorite trend!

What’s your favorite trend right now?

Classic Fall Style

I’d like to thank my Western PA roots for my obsession with everything and anything fall-related. Most of my life was spent attending school in a picturesque small town in the heart of the Laurel Highlands. My Octobers were painted yellow and orange, and my heart ached to wear riding boots and vests year-round.

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Get Fit With #ElleCycleOnline

You know what they say: a healthy body is the foundation for a healthy mind. About a year ago, I finally decided to take a few extra steps and start working on my fitness. (*starts singing Fergalicious*) The benefits have been through the roof all around, but it’s remarkable how much of a difference you can make just by taking an hour out of your day. If you read my last post, I briefly mentioned a newfound focus on inspiring others to take the same steps to a healthier lifestyle.

Talk about perfect timing.

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Let’s Play Catch-Up!

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Well, if you haven’t noticed, I’ve been taking an extended break from writing Pittsburgh & Pearls. I just wanted to take a minute to fill you all in on what’s new in my life, and some plans for the future.

 Sarah, what’s going on? Where have you been?

To be completely honest with you, 2016 has been the busiest year of my life. Spring semester has always been a bit crazy for me, but I never expected to transition into my first actual not-so-summer Summer. Ask any college student: internships are a lot of work. Find the perfect one for you, and you’ll put 1000% of your energy into being the best intern possible. Mix in a summer class and things start to get a little tricky. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love staying busy: I’m my best self when I have a lengthy to do list written out. However, sometimes I find that it gets a little hard to breathe.

Another fun fact about me, which you’d know if you’ve followed me for quite some time: I’m a student athlete, and this is the first year I’ve put my health and fitness as a number one priority. To me, a healthy lifestyle is key for a healthy mind, but there will be a lot more on that topic very soon (hint hint, wink wink).

A dream internship in the city + summer class + attempting to maintain a solid workout schedule + playing tennis

= not a lot of free time.

I’m definitely not complaining. My life is incredible. For a while, I was becoming way too consumed with the idea of maintaining the “perfect” image. Most millennials can attest to the fact that social media has become almost a necessary evil. Way too many people become obsessed with their online identities, myself included. I’d rather get to know my readers on a more personal level than promote that ideal front.

Maintaining a blog is hard work. You would be so surprised by how much time and energy is put into running a successful blog. Not to mention, I realized how much I have changed since I’ve started my website. I didn’t want to put in that time and energy to feel like I wasn’t putting forward my most genuine self, since I genuinely care about the content I produce for you.

After brainstorming for a while about the future direction of my blog, I realized that it is definitely in my best interest to focus on things that might help others become their best selves; promoting the development of creating a healthy lifestyle and mindset. That being said, I’ll begin emphasizing lifestyle: food, fitness, travel, etc. (alongside my usual fashion and beauty posts).

I can’t wait to dive into what I have planned for Pittsburgh & Pearls. To my readers: thank you for sticking around all this time, (almost 3 years!) and growing up alongside me.

xoxo

Sarah