My Pittsburgh Kids' Favorite Activities

My Pittsburgh Kids' Favorite Activities

When I first re-started my blogging journey I asked on Instagram what people wanted to see from me. One suggestion was kids' activities and places to eat in Pittsburgh, today I'm hitting those activities!

It worked out nicely because we recently were invited to Studio Make for their grand opening and then again for a Valentine's Day event, it is SUCH a sweet studio! I love that they have so many different options for visiting, family studio, play groups, parties and private sessions - it is just adorable. Georgia had never been somewhere where she could just free play. There are sensory tables, crafts, painting, you name it. In particular, Georgia went to the Valentine's Day event with Jeff, and she got to give screenprinting a try. I got home from work that day and she was SO proud to share it with me. I just love any activity that is going to give my child a confidence boost, and Studio Make really left her feeling great. They are kind people running a business, I feel lucky to know them.

In terms of our amazing Pittsburgh museums, the Children's Museum of Pittsburgh naturally came to mind, as did the Carnegie Museums of Art & Natural History & the Carnegie Science Center. One great thought is to ask your parents or in-laws for a museum membership for a birthday or holiday, so much more beneficial than giving a toy. In the same way, I always ask for Goldfish Swim School gift certificates or request the accessories for a season of sports or an outfit for dance. Grandparents ALWAYS want to know what to buy your kids, make it something that can stretch throughout the year and doesn't end up in a bin in the corner!

When I asked for suggestions on Instagram, there was a lot of input! Some other great options include Play Town Square in Mt. Lebanon which JUST opened. We visited and had such a fabulous time! Liliput Towne Center, Gymsport, Hatch, Snapology, and Kidzville. I also wanted to note that Lindsey's Tumbling School in the South Hills has walk-in play hours for $5 throughout the week! We love ending our week there after breakfast at my parents' house!

A special thank you to Studio Make for inviting us to play, we can't wait to come back as a family - I know Bodie will get a kick out of all of the sensory tables!
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Wallpaper Wonderful

Wallpaper Wonderful

Since deciding to build a house I've been firm on one thing. I want tons of wallpaper. I could easily wallpaper every room. I'm full-blown obsessed. We wallpapered Georgia's room and it totally transformed it into something we can feel happy with until we decide to really deck out her big girl room. I plan on wallpapering the powder room, the ceiling of our office, and our bedroom as well!

Currently, I'm trying to tackle our dining room which has been sitting empty since we moved in, in early September. I recently purchased a table, chairs and rug (more on those later), and they're all pretty neutral, so I know my next move is a bold wallpaper. Since the rest of the house has so much blue, I want something really different. This room totally greets you when you walk in the front door, and I love the idea of essentially having bold artwork throughout the entryway & dining room. Autumn from Steel City Farmhouse did an awesome job in their entryway with a Serena & Lily number, you can see here!

Here are a few I'm loving, either for the dining room or beyond!

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Most-Loved Baby Essentials

Most-Loved Baby Essentials

This is one of the topics I've been dying to blog about - our most-loved baby essentials. Friends ask me for recommendations pretty regularly and I feel like it'll be so beneficial to have it all in one place, now that Bodie is almost 2.5! By no means is this a complete or perfect list, but it's what I can remember loving and using, or wishing I had at the time!

1. Dock-a-Tot - I didn't co-sleep with either of my kids, but we used the Dock-a-Tot with Bodie for travel! So much easier than hauling a pack-and-play when you still have an infant. These are a bit controversial for use in cribs, but we really loved ours, especially for travel.

2. Slumber Sloth - such a great gift! These come with an adorable book and Bodie still sleeps with his every night.

3. Boon High Chair - easily the biggest question I get to my Instagram when someone spots this high chair! Love it. Easy to move, easy to clean. You can't submerge the tray completely in water or it's a little tough to get all of the water out, but you can easily wipe it down. I also love that you can buy replacement parts (chair pad, straps, tray), all on Amazon.

4. Aden & Anais Wearable Swaddles - these are the perfect weight and they wash really easily. Tons of fun prints, too!

5. Dohm Sound Machine - there are tons of sound machines on the market but I love this because you toss it on and know it's at a safe volume. Been running strong for nearly 2.5 years in Bodie's room, this goes everywhere with us.

6. Boon Grass - for bottles & other hand-washed items that need to dry.  The clear is a little more visually appealing than the green!

7. OK-to-Wake Clock - we got this when we switched Georgia to a big girl bed. It lights up at 7am every morning telling her it's okay to get out of bed.

8. Cuddle & Kind Doll - another great gift option. These are heirloom quality and I used Bodie's for each of his monthly photos the first year! You can even check out their hashtag #BodieandEverest. The purchase of one doll = 10 meals for the needy.

9. Tubby Todd All Over Ointment - learned about this about a month ago, wish I had known about it for the last 4.5 years. It's the only thing that has really helped with my kids' seriously dry skin!

10. Skiphop Activity Center - Bodie LOVED this thing and it's simple enough to not look awful in a family room! 

11. Honest City Backpack - with two kids I made the switch to a diaper bag backpack! This is still my go-to for travel as well - so comfortable and looks great. There are definitely lots of backpacks available now, but this is what I used & loved.

12. Copper Pearl Bibdanas - both of my kids wore a ton of these! They're so cute and perfect for drooling, feeding, and they wash really well too!

13. Honest Diaper Subscription - a bit of an overspend when it's not totally necessary, but I loved receiving this subscription each month. The cute prints elevated my every day and my kids generally had no issues with diaper rash!

14. Green Toys - obsessed with this brand of toys! Totally green and also dishwasher safe! Perfect!

15. Booster Seat - we don't have this exact model but it looks so easy to clean! These are so critical when you just can't look at your high chair anymore and your child wants to be a part of family dinners.

16. Skiphop Bath Spout Cover - your child will stand up in the tub and will fall in the tub. May as well cover the spout so they don't injure themselves!

Did I miss anything? What are your must-have baby essentials?!
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Travel: Charleston

Travel: Charleston

Anyone who knows Jeff and I knows we have the BIGGEST soft spot for Charleston. Bodie's middle name is Charles and that's a family name, but we really love that it hits on our favorite city, too. We make a point to travel there once a year, try new options, and we've been lucky enough to really hit our favorite spots multiple times. So much so, we have an aggressive Google Sheet I share with just about anyone visiting there. Well, it's time to take the spreadsheet into blog form.

I first traveled to Charleston with my family when I was little, on a trip to Isle of Palms, then used to regularly vacation on Kiawah Island with a friend and her family. I was reintroduced to Charleston through my first job after college where I was lucky enough to work with a digital marketing firm located right on King Street in Charleston - some of the coolest & most talented people ever.

I follow tons of bloggers from Charleston, my Instagram is full of Charleston posts, it's kind of ridiculous. We adore our hometown, but it's truly the only other place I can imagine us living as a family. Talk about polar opposites, especially given the Pittsburgh snowfall today!

Where to Stay:
Jeff and I were lucky enough to stay at Zero George shortly after it opened in 2013. Total chance and we booked on Expedia based mostly on price, had no idea the quality of the hotel and how amazing it would be! We were lucky enough to return here for our 5-year anniversary last year, and they really took such amazing care of us. We can also recommend the Grand Bohemian Hotel, Hotel Bella Grace, the Dewberry, and Jeff's personal favorite (I missed our last trip because of an awful stomach bug!), the Restoration. We love staying at these cool, boutique hotels, but I'm sure more traditional hotels are wonderful as well, just make sure you can walk where you want to go! We've also loved the Andell Inn on Kiawah Island, and I'd easily make a return trip there! It's worth noting we had one bad experience with a random Expedia booking, similar to an Airbnb, so I would try to take advantage of one of the fabulous hotels there!

Where to Eat Breakfast:
It might be hokey to recommend the Hominy Grill but honestly, it's always one of my favorite meals. Prepare for a heavy, delicious breakfast and long lines if you're there on the weekend - tourist trap? Perhaps, but worth it. Callie's Hot Little Biscuit is a must for grab-and-go biscuits. Jeff actually smuggled some home for me on his last trip! Glazed and the Daily are awesome, and Hall's Chophouse has a fabulous brunch. Miller's All Day is a newer spot that Jeff loved and I see popping up on Instagram regularly, I'm so in love with their branding. We like to hit up the Farmer's Market downtown if we're there over a weekend, too!

Where to Eat Lunch:
We usually try to make time for some activity of some sort after a filling breakfast in Charleston, and it's totally necessary to keep the amazing food coming. Last visit we jogged from our hotel to Lewis BBQ and their food is just on another level (see above!). There is a lot of outdoor seating (good for families) and a great selection of draft beers! We love Rodney Scott's BBQ, Taco Boy, HomeTeam BBQ, Butcher and the Bee, Basic Kitchen, and Husk for lunch. Husk is nationally-known for it's incredible, James Beard award-winning chef, Sean Brock (whom we essentially worship in the Knorr house), but it's SO filling for dinner! We usually try to do lunch here so we can either easily grab a reservation or sit at the bar adjacent to the actual restaurant, the bar is so cool.

Where to Eat Dinner:
One of my favorite places on earth is 167 Raw. The overall vibe and liveliness in this place is just amazing. We always joke that Jeff is ready to move to Charleston and get a job shucking oysters here. Currently they don't take reservations and there's nearly always a wait, but if you can get in, I highly recommend it! We saw that they are moving to a larger space and we are so pumped. Other faves include Darling Oyster Bar (again, such great branding!), Leon's Oyster Shop, FIG, and The Ordinary.

Where to Drink:
To be honest I'm always so stuffed from eating and drinking at restaurants, we rarely make it out for more than one drink, but we really love Edmund's Oast Brewery, Stars Rooftop Bar & Grill, and the Rarebit has incredible Moscow Mules. Maybe use your booze calories on Jeni's Ice Cream instead?

Where to Grab Coffee:
Coffee is critical to us, and while I'm coming around to more mature coffee options (Dunkin' 'til I die), Jeff is the connoisseur so these recommendations come directly from him. City Lights is a favorite and Bitty & Beau's obviously gets a glowing recommendation.

Where to Shop:
King Street has an incredible shopping district that's so fun to walk through. Hampden Clothing is an upscale win, with lots of adorable boutiques like Skinny Dip Charleston, and a personal favorite kids' store and brand, Pink Chicken.

What else can I do there other than Eat & Drink:
While we're always happy to play tour guide to ourselves, there are plenty of historic tours that are look awesome. The Straw Markets are super cool to walk through. You can easily rent bikes from Holy Spokes to see downtown on bike, and we were lucky enough last time that our hotel provided bikes we could take over the Ravenel Bridge to Mt. Pleasant. I've taken lots of classes at the Downtown Pure Barre location and it's amazing. If you want to see a beach, we have visited Sullivan's Island (love Poe's burgers!) and Folly Beach is on our list too. Dying to spend more time on Mt. Pleasant, getting my nails done at adorable Mylkbar, and completing my BlenderBomb obsession by visiting Hustle Smoothie Bar.

So there you have it, my first overly-aggressive travel post! We've never visited Charleston with a group of people and I'd love to try that. Here's hoping we can make it back in 2019 and I'll be sure to update this post with anything I visit or hear is a must!

Did I miss anything? What's your favorite place to visit in Charleston?
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