Braddock's Whiskey Contest & The P.G.H.!

One of my favorite restaurants in town, Braddock's American Brasserie, recently hosted a Whiskey Cocktail Contest, asking for entries of the best whiskey cocktails from Pittsburghers. After holing myself up in my kitchen for a few hours with some peaches, whiskey and ginger, I came up with the P.G.H. {Peach Ginger Hit!}.
Drunkenly perhaps, I based my drink on my viewpoint as a new 'Burgher. While some folks think of Pittsburgh as a has-been, I'm of the camp that celebrates PGH as the Comeback Kid. There's so much to offer here, and the sassy Pittsburgh voice has a lot to say.

Fortunately, the judges heard that voice {however drunken it was}.

I won the contest! Although I didn't receive the most votes {read: Facebook "likes"}, I got the Braddock's vote.  My cocktail was chosen "for the great summer-inspired taste." I feel so honored!
I plan to walk into Braddock's as soon as possible to order my cocktail.

What a blissful moment.
So, here's the recipe for you to make your own P.G.H. at home!


{Health} Moab Juices!

We've been in a HEATWAVE over the last week, and I was fortunate to have a set of MOAB juices sent to me in the nick of time, people.  100% juice.  A godsend, I tell ya.
 Hello, juices!


Photo Blink {Seestor's Visit}

My sister {Seestor, to those that know us well} came in town last week and stayed with us.  We went everywhere and ate a ton of food, but I'll share a photo blink of one of the meals she made for us on a Thursday night:
Left: Roasted {skinless} Asian marinated chicken leg,
on top of a sweet potato mash and garlic beet greens.
 Isn't is super colorful? And, there was a bonus:
Right: Roasted Beet Salad with Herbed Goat Cheese and Mint.
 Husband ate and liked beets for the first time!  {I sound like I'm talking about my toddler cousins, right?!}  Thanks for a wonderful weeknight meal, Seestor!  Miss you already!


Time Off!

As you've probably noticed, I've been taking some time off from the blog.  Life has gotten super crazy with life, work and everything in between.  But, I promise I'm still here. Just... not here.
More family and friends are coming in over the next few weeks, so I'll likely be taking some more time off from {A Dash of Spectacular}.  I'll try to pick back up on Kyla's {31 Blogging Days of May} challenge soon, even if it's not in May! 


{31 Blogging Days of May} DIY Friday...or Sunday!

Friday was one of those days when you come home from work, shed every piece of restrictive clothing/shoes, plop down on the couch, and vegetate. It was a busy week, and all I wanted {and needed} to do was relax. So, we made a quick dinner of leftovers, watched a bit of DVRed TV, and crashed.
Thus, no DIY{31 Blogging Days of May} post for you to read.
Today, however, I will be a blogging fool. I've got a fun DIY-style recipe for a pasta primavera {complete with vegetables from Soergel Orchards & Farms}, my own riff on Giada DeLaurentiis' recipe from her early days. Here's the original recipe, and here's mine:
{Pasta Primavera}


PGH Dining: Primanti Bros.

I'll be the first to tell you that I was not impressed with Primani Bros. sandwiches. We rolled into Pittsburgh for the first time, after driving from Dallas by way of Nashville. Where should we have dinner after driving for 22 hours? It had to be Primanti Bros., of course.  My first mistake, I'd learn later, was choosing a 'weird' meat. Evidently, there are FAR more popular meat choices than the one I chose. I ordered the cheesesteak {that's popular in Pennsylvania, right?}, which turned out to be mystery meat-like.
Thus, you can see why I was apprehensive when Husband wanted to take our first guest there as soon as he landed in PGH. But, as the good wife I am, I went along.
 Another way we went wrong the first time was by not going to the original location in the Strip. This time, we knew better.

{31 Blogging Days of May} Spring Trend

You guys, Kyla has asked us to post about which spring trend we like most, and to show three ways we'll be wearing it. Unfortunately, I am not super trendy, and therefore, have absolutely no idea. Womp. So, I'll be sharing a somewhat trendy{?} thing I love... bright nail color! That's a trend, right?
Butter London's Rosie Lee

Slapper/Trout Pout/Queen Vic/Knees Up

{All images from Product Hag...check her out!}

{In Other News} Tonight we're headed out for a mean round of trivia. Wish us luck!


{31 Blogging Days of May} Home DIY

Many years ago, my fiancé and I walked into a small furniture store in Denison, Texas, looking for a dining room table. We must have looked through the whole store before settling on a pub-style wooden table, complete with six chairs. Chairs with white seats. Had we rethought that one, we might not be here today.
Kyla at Blue Collar Catwalk's {31 Blogging Days} post for today is about doing a home decorating DIY. You're in luck, because Husband recently underwent a chair cushion overhaul. These chairs needed a makeover...about two years ago. They had pasta sauce stains, wood glue residue, and other icky junk defacing the once clean surface. So, we got busy...WITH THIS FABULOUS FABRIC:


{31 Blogging Days of May} Blogger Event

Today's {31 Blogging Days} post will be about a "Blogger Event" that I participate in: Kristina over at Pretty Shiny Sparkly does a series called "Bloggers Do It Better," and I've been participating in it since I moved to PA. I needed some sort of 'girly' outlet because I was out of work, and didn't have a reason to get dressed dress up.

I've only done the two challenges this year {She's planning her wedding, for crying out loud!}, and I'm ready for more!
January's Challenge {Sequins}
February's Challenge {RED!}

What {Blogger Events} do you participate in? 
Food people? Fashion people? 


{31 Blogging Days of May} New Series + Half Marathon 2012

Sunday's version of the {31 Blogging Days} challenge is about coming up with a new series. For me, I'm doing something slightly divergent {besides blogging a day late}.
Instead of starting a new series, I'm going to reinvest in one I already have - Dashes & Dots! I love the concept of briefly posting about the bits and pieces on my mind at the moment. Check out my latest edition here.

In other news, my life has been insanely busy! Work is still super busy, and the deadlines just keep coming. One day I might get to breathe. :) In my spare time {besides when I'm blogging!}, I have been doing my final prep for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon...which was on Sunday morning.
Welcome to 5:00AM.
 I ran, jogged and {mostly} speed-walked the 13.1 miles of rough city streets and steel bridges of Pittsburgh. It was incredible. It was incredibly hard. The sights of PGH with the sun rising through it's nooks and crannies was one I'll never forget. I completed the half marathon by myself, and I'm so glad I did. It was a growing moment for me, and I was overcome with tears shortly after finishing, as my accomplishment set in. 
I am a Runner of Steel!

{Source of Inspiration: Irene of the Biggest Loser, for encouraging me through Twitter to enter and do my best in the half marathon. Thank you, Irene - I wouldn't/couldn't have done it without you!}


{31 Blogging Days of May} + Dashes & Dots

One simple question, "What are you coveting this spring?"
Instructions to destruct. I want EVERYTHING, Kyla! She says to dream big, so my first item is HUGE!

Here are just a few things:

{AP Stylebook}
{Pittsburgh Popcorn}
via Pittsburgh Magazine.
{Carnegie Library card}
via Melina1965's Flickr.
Modcloth's All Things Sweet Heel
What are some wishes you have this spring?

In other news, it's time for me to go to the Cinco de Mayo/Derby Party, and finally have some of that Mexican Chocolate Poundcake. Yes! ...And, I need to carb up for the Half Marathon tomorrow! Ahh! It's finally here! Hopefully, I'll survive to blog another day.


{31 Blogging Days of May} DIY Friday: Mexican Chocolate Poundcake

Kyla asked for us to share a DIY {Do It Yourself!} with our readers today. Those that know me know that I love doing crafts, but I love cooking more...and what is more DIY than cooking?! 
Tonight I'm sharing a recipe I recently came across, by talking to my Mom on the phone. Yes, we gab about food. She was telling me about a chocolate pound cake that a coworker had made for a office party.   As she went on about the cake, the details got me: Mexican chocolate, buttermilk, cocoa... How could I not ask for the recipe?


{31 Blogging Days of May} Introduce a New-to-you Blogger

What a fun challenge Kyla has for us today! I get to introduce you to a blogger!

I've been following Holyoke Home for a few years now, and they were recently featured as a Recent Blog of Note on Blogger. They're obviously legit. 
It's a lovely blog about house renovations, and specifically a row house renovation. I started reading as a renter of standard apartments in Dallas, and am now renting a Northeast row house/townhome. It's been a joy to see the house take shape, and to see what the couple have been able to do with the glorious 'bones' they purchased several years ago.
Their photos are great:
Renovated Kitchen.
Their dog, Morgan!
Plus, they live in Massachusetts! {I have a love affair with this state, for sure.}
What are some of your favorite blogs?

{On another note} I had the longest work day EVER today. My deadlines are starting up for this cycle {3 times a year}, and summer will be bittersweet, with the mix of house guests and long hours at work. Eeek! Keep me from stress eating! 


{31 Blogging Days of May} Clothing and Body Type

In today's challenge, Kyla asks, "Does your body type influence your sartorial choices? How does dressing your body empower you to take life head on?"
My answer to this is... YES!
I am built like my father {which is sad in itself}, and have a decent-sized ribcage. This can be a problem when trying on dresses, fitted shirts, or anything tight on the top. I run into problems especially when I'm considering fluffy-fronted shirts. Case-in-point:

via magnifeco.com

I could never, and would never, be able to pull this off. How about you? Do you have items you stay away from?
However, I do love to wear items that make me feel like a million bucks. There's nothing better than being confident. 
{In Other News}
I'm working on my grocery list, sitting at our kitchen table, and planning for this weekend's Cinco de Mayo/Derby party Husband and I are attending. {Oh yes, you read that right. A party for margaritas and racing?! I'm in!} I'm planning to make a Mexican Chocolate Cake...delish! It will probably make an appearance soon!


{31 Blogging Days of May} Style Retrospective

Today is the first day of Kyla's {of Blue Collar Catwalk} 31 {Blogging} Days of May challenge. 31 days, and 31 posts! Be warned, however, that many of her challenges are style-based, and I plan to lifestyle them up!
Today's post is a retrospective look at my style, and I've chosen two photos to share. The first one was my college uniform: relaxed, worn and cute. This was an everyday outfit, y'all. Seriously.
Feeding the ducks with Boyfriend
Necklace: Dustee's | T-Shirt & Jeans: American Eagle
 I'll also reminisce about my first {ever} outfit post, where I was in the middle of the "100+ days of 100+ degree weather" summer in Texas. Bah. SO glad to be done with that!
 Your wardrobe changes as you change your life, yes?