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26 April 2010

Franktuary Photos




Steve enjoying the El Greco hot dog at Franktuary in Downtown Pittsburgh and me with a gummy frank!

Rain, Rain...Go Away

Ugh, another rainy day in the 'Burgh, but hey! April showers, bring May flowers! Here is a great list of twenty things to do on a rainy day, courtesy of the Associated Content website.

1. Make paper airplanes and fly them across the room.
2. Have your own film festival. Pick a theme and rent several action movies, or sci fi movies, or movies with the same actor in them.
3. Go to a museum or an aquarium
4. Do crossword puzzles - even make your own puzzles!
5. Try sudoku puzzles, fun for the whole family.
6. Play Scrabble, Monopoly or Candyland or another board game.
7. Bake cookies and give some to your family or friends.
8. Tell family stories and take the time to learn about family history.
9. Call someone you care about for a talk.
10. Make tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
11. Make shadow puppets with your hands and a flashlight on the wall.
12. Make mandalas. Learn more about them here:
13. Make paper bag puppets with lunch bags.
14. Teach the children how to say hello and goodbye in a foreign language.
15. Teach mom how to play the video game all the kids are playing.
16. Get pizza delivered for lunch and eat it picnic style on the floor.
17. Draw pictures to send to the grandparents and other relatives. Sit down and write actual letters to everyone.
18. Go to the library and have everyone get a book they like. Take turns reading out loud from your books reading to each other.
19. Watch the Discovery channel and learn about animals and nature.
20. Write a funny story together, everyone writing one sentence until you get to "The End".

What are you going to do on this rainy day? Share your plans with Mission:List!

20 April 2010

Hot Diggity Dog!

`Hot Dogs are an American classic at baseball games, picnics and amusement parks. They are synonymous with Spring and Summer fun. As soon as the weather gets nice, the grills start to get fired up. Yesterday my boyfriend and I visited Franktuary in Downtown Pittsburgh for the first time for some gourmet franks. He had the El Greco with artichoke hearts and feta cheese and I had the Mexico with peach salsa, cheddar and guacamole. They were fantastic. This lead me to start thinking of the best hot dog joints around town. So, here they are in no particular order.

Top Ten Places To Get A Hot Dog In The 'Burgh:

1. The Original: This is by far, my favorite place to dine on dogs. "The O" Hot Dog Shop on Forbes Ave. in Oakland is a city and college staple. This shop hasn't changed much since 1960, serving hot foot longs and tray-fulls (literary) of fries. If your a newcomer or a 'Burgh original yourself, you can't miss out on trying this shop's menu.
2. Franktuary: Originally. Hot Dogma, before the clever name change this Downtown Pittsburgh hot dog joint has been featured on several TV shows and in countless 'Burgh magazines or newspapers. Located in the back of the Trinity Cathedral, you can definitely say "Franks be to God!", when you give this place a try.
3. Shady Side Hot Dog Vendor: This may come as a surprise to some, but those who frequent the Shady Side area, especially Walnut Street know that on a sunny Spring or Summer day you can buy a fresh hot dog right from a street vendor while you shop. It's fun and family friendly.
4. Market Street Grill Vendor: At PPG Place, Downtown, while the fountain is roaring you can find a hot dog vendor from Market Street Grill, one of the fast food restaurants located inside the PPG Place food court. This vendor (as well as the indoor location) offers hot dogs, hamburgers and heaping helpings a fresh cut fries. This is a great way to get some sun when you get a break from the office.
5. Original Station Street Hot Dog: Revamped and revitalized, the Original Station Street Hog Dog shop on broad street in East Liberty is a blast from the past and one of the city's hidden gems.
6. Boulevard Deli: This a such a great little place Downtown, one of my favs. They were formerly located on the Boulevard of the Allies, but have since moved to a new location on Smithfield Street and they offer their own unique take on the gourmet dog. Each of their deli, breakfast or hot dog sandwhiches are named after one of the special neighborhoods in the city of Pittsburgh. At Boulevard Deli you can feast on one of four franks uniquely different geographical locations, the Mexican War Streets, Polish Hill, Troy Hill or you may want just a traditional Hot Dog. Experience the city in a bun.
7. Packs And Dogs: This place is great! Packs and Dogs has the largest beer selection on Mount Washington and a hot dog menu, that pays homage to some of our favorite (dog) breeds.
8. Dormont Dogs: This shop on Glenmore Avenue may seem like an unlikely place, but when you read the menu you see that they offer some unlikely dogs. Their menu offers about 16 franks, all 100% beef, named after different Avenues from across the country and also featuring key toppings inspired by their geographical locations. And the Dog Father is an offer you simply can't refuse with pepperoni, salami, mozzarella, romaine and banana peppers.
9. Shorty's Lunch: In Washington, PA, this joint has been described as an awesome place to get an old school, traditional lunch. I've never been here, but I definitely love old fashioned shops, especially food shops. This is definitely a place I would stop by if I were on the road.
10. Five Guys Burgers and Fries: With several locations across the city, with one on the heart of Oakland, Five Guys combines and old school dog shop with modernity. Surround by red and white you feel like you've stepped back in time when you order a hot dog or burger and receive a brown paper bag with more fries than you could ever imagine. People love this place and I'm sure it's not just because they sale bulk peanuts! ;)

06 April 2010

Spring Has Sprung! Top Ten Activities for the Season

Spring has Sprung! So get outdoors and enjoy it! This is one of my favorite seasons and the activities to enjoy during this time of year are endless, especially in the 'Burgh! Here are some tips to enjoy Spring.

Top Ten Spring Activities in Pittsburgh:

1. Phipps Conservatory: This is one of my favorite places to go, year round, but it is especially beautiful this time of year. And going on now through April 11, Phipps is featuring the Spring Flower Show.
2. The Carnegie Museum of Natural History: After being cooped up all winter it feels good to get out of the house and one great place to go is the museum. Escape from everyday life and explore the past. The dinosaur exhibit is amazing and now through May 2, you can explore the history of the fascinating creature, the whale.
3. Ohiopyle State Park: This is one of the most beautiful state parks in Western PA. Taking a drive up to Ohiopyle is a great way to spend a family weekend or just to get away for a day trip. Their are several hiking, biking and equestrian trials to explore and other activities, such as White Water Rafting.
4. Indoor Rock Climbing: Pennsylvania has several indoor rock climbing facilities but one of the more popular ones is The Climbing Wall, located at 7501 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15208. This is the 'Burgh's premiere climbing gym.
5. The Pittsburgh Zoo: The is a great place to go when the weather starts to warm up. April is VisionWorks month at the Zoo, donate a pair of old prescription glasses that are in reasonable condition, with the lenses intact and receive free, same-day admission!
6. City of Pittsburgh Marathon: Start training now if you want to participate in the Pittsburgh Marathon this Spring on May 2.
7. 18th Annual Race for The Cure: Honor victims and survivors of breast cancer and raise awareness on May 9.
8. Pittsburgh Wine Festival: This is one of the biggest and most popular wine festivals in the country. The festival takes place from May 1 to May 6.
9. Kennywood Park: Kick off the amusement park season at Kennywood. The park will be open on May 8, 9, 15 and 16 and daily after May 20 through August 24. Don't miss out on Kennywood's new coaster and other Spring events!
10. Picnic at Station Square: This is one of my boyfriend and my favorite places to picnic. The marina at Station Square is a romantic escape with a great view of the city and one of the perfect 'Burgh spring destinations.

05 April 2010

Top Ten Easter Activities!

Hello everyone and Happy Easter!

As we all know Easter Sunday was yesterday and I hope that all of you have an enjoyable holiday weekend. There certainly are a lot of Easter activities one could have partaken in. Here are my top ten.

Top Ten Easter Activities:

1. Dying Easter Eggs (of course!) -Who could deny that this is just one of the most popular Easter traditions. My boyfriend and I spent Thursday night dying ours and we definitely ended up with some great masterpieces.

2. Easter Egg Hunt

3. Baking Easter Treats -including festive cupcakes and cookies!

4. Visiting the Easter Bunny -at several mall and store locations throughout the season.

5. Snoopy Cookie Decorating -courtesy of CVS Pharmacy my boyfriend and I found a Snoopy (from the Peanuts) Cookie and giant Marshmallow decorating kit, complete with edible food markers.

6. Easter egg paper-mache -just blow up balloons, cover them with newspaper paper-mache and paint them like Easter eggs.

7. The Pittsburgh Tribune Review's Peeps Show Contest- this annual contest involves creating a diorama scene from pop culture or history using marshmallow peeps. Though I didn't win this year, you can still check out my entries and the others here!

8. Easter egg roll

9. Making cotton ball bunnies.

10. Visiting real live bunnies at the Western Pennsylvania Humane Society on the Northside. -This is not just an Easter event. Every Saturday until 4p.m the Humane Society hosts a meet and greet on the second floor with the bunnies that are up for adoption. You can interact with them and hey, you might even end up bringing one home!

What are some of your fav Easter activities? Share them with Mission: List!

01 April 2010

Top Ten Reasons I Support Public Speaking

Today in my university's speech class I was required to give the sixth of my seven speeches for the semester. Now, this is my senior year -last semester- and there is a very good reason I waited to take this class til the very end.

I absolutely hate public speaking, and not just the kind of i hate this cause it's boring or dumb or forced upon. I hate it because I have an uncontrollable fear of it. Whenever the requirement to publicly address a group of people, friends, family or strangers arises my heart pounds, I sweat, my eyes get blurry, I am on the verge of a panic attack.

After I gave my speech today, while I was safely seated in the very last row in the room, I started to try to figure out just why I am so terrified of public speaking. Nothing ever happened to me during adolescence that would cause such a fear. That's it! Until my freshman year of high school, when I was 14 years, I had never had to participate in a public speech or presentation. Throughout the four years of high school I only had to do a presentation maybe once a year at that. During my senior year when I was 18 I had to take a speech class as a requirement. We only had to do four speeches and for one of them I skipped the class and avoided it, passing with a low C. When I started college I faced public speaking in every single class I took, sometimes more than once. I strongly believe that if public speaking instruction was enforced more often in elementary and middle schools that students would be better prepared and less fearful of it.

My Top Ten Reasons That Elementary and Middle School Students Should Experience Extensive Public Speaking:

1. Students will be more confident in themselves.
2. Students will be better prepared for high school and college courses.
3. Students will be better prepared for future jobs and careers.
4. Students will better their research methods.
5. Students will better their verbal, speaking skills.
6. Students will achieve a better vocabulary and better writing ability.
7. Students will be able to express themselves and understand others more effectively.
8. Students will become better listeners and have a better attention span.
9. Students will carry themselves better, have better body language and posture.
10. It will encourage a more expressive and interactive classroom experience.