Hollywood Cafe: St. Paddy's Day Celebration

For anyone who doesn't like in the 'Burgh, you may not know that St. Patrick's Day is a huge deal for us Pittsburghers. Every year, we actually have a "St. Patrick's Day Week" which is filled with various celebrations, parties, parades, and admittedly a ton of alcohol, personally, I think the holiday is an absolute blast. As I've mentioned here before, my heritage is predominately Russian, but I actually do have a little touch of Irish in my family tree too, so any reason to celebrate, right? With that being said, in celebration of the holiday, last Friday I decided not to venture out into the city, but instead headed to where I was born and raised, and celebrated at a little hole in the wall pub in Beaver County.

Beaver County?

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the area, Beaver County is made up of a bunch of old mill towns, the most prominent ones being Aliquippa, Monaca, and Ambridge, the last one being where I am from. And though these towns do seem a bit run down and not much to look at, in recent years the cities, Ambridge specifically, have been working hard on a gentrification project, to bring life and culture back into the town, and I have to say thus far, the community has done a knock out at bringing back businesses, specifically restaurants. Though I may be biased because I am from this area, I have to say the some of my absolute favorite pubs and eateries are in Ambridge, and one of them being Hollywood Cafe.

Hollywood Cafe

That little hole in the wall pub I mentioned earlier? Yep this is the one. Hollywood Cafe is hands down one of my favorite places to eat as well as to just stop by on my way home from to unwind after a fraught day at work. And though I do not remember the first place Hollywood Cafe called home, my mum does and that was no other than the main street of Aliquippa, back in the 1930s. 

Though Hollywood Cafe moved from Aliquippa to Ambridge back in the mid 2000's for location and spacing reasons, the interior, recipes, and ownership are all still the same. Though the original owner has since gotten out of the restaurant biz, his son, Chip, has kept the family business booming for the past 8 years after the move from Aliquippa. The place itself is laid out and much how you would expect a mum and pop type bar to be, but the thing that makes Hollywood Cafe stand out is their absolutely excellent food.

Though Hollywood's menu is small compared to other places in the Pittsburgh area, they still have quite the variety. From appetizers and pizza, to burgers and salads, it's a guarantee that you'll find at least one thing you'll love, and in my case, my absolute favorite thing on their menu is actually what they are most known for, and that is their wings. However, since this isn't a restaurant review and I am far from being a foodie, just take my word for it, and give them a try for yourself! Hollywood is open 12PM-2AM (Food is served from 3PM-12AM) 7 days a week and is located at 2917 Duss Ave, Ambridge, PA 15003.

The Green Scene

And of course since this was a party type occasion, I took the opportunity to dress up in one of my favorite dresses from the Pittsburgh local boutique, Terry Jolo. The reason I chose this swing dress for the occasion, was due to it's festive green pockets as well as its laid back look. To style this look, I simply paired it with some simple opal earrings along with my green and navy, plaid flats.


And last but not least, here are a few of my favorite outtakes from Hollywood Cafe's St. Patrick's Day Celebration!

Though I am not normally one to drink beer, I did have to get in on the fun for this party.

Patron at the St. Patrick's Day celebration.

Hollywood Cafe also was all dressed up in green to celebrate the big day.

Patrons playing pool during the party.

Bartender, Niece, went all out for the affair.

One Last Look

Do you celebrate St. Patrick's Day? If so how did you spend it this year? Let's chat about it in the comments below or you can tweet me at @StarkRavingChic! Love my dress? Be sure to check out my article on Terry Jolo Brand here, and be sure to visit Terry's website here!

And lastly, remember if you wanna check out Hollywood Cafe for yourself, their hours are 12PM-2AM (With food being served from 3PM-12AM) and they are located at 2917 Duss Ave, Ambridge, PA 15003. Later babes!

Xx, Bree

Fashion Alley: My Night as a Runway Model

For those of you who have been reading my blog for sometime, you know that earlier this year I attended Pittsburgh's "Fashion Week Downtown" as well as the "Complex Runway Show". At both of these events, I attended as a member of the press and got to sit in the front row and snap photographs of gorgeous clothing and beautiful models. At the former show though, I'm sure many of you remember that I met fashion designer, Brian David, and collaborated with him for this section of my portfolio, as well as bought one of his gorgeous dresses. 

Well, at the beginning of this month, I had the opportunity to once again work with Brian and attend another runway show, however this one was with a bit of a twist: I would be attending this show as a model. The reason Brian invited me to walk in this show was due to the fact the dress I purchased from him was one of the dresses that he wanted to showcase. The show itself, titled "Fashion Alley", took place at Hollywood Lanes in Dormont and also doubled as a benefit to help raise money for Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. Naturally, the show was focused on clothing reminiscent of old Hollywood with hints of rock n' roll, and I have to say that I was honored to have the opportunity to dress up as one of my favorite Hollywood starlets, Marilyn Monroe.

Pre Show Primping 

Prior to the show, as every model would, I was granted the opportunity to have my hair and makeup done by the incredibly talented stylists at La Pomponnee, located in Mt. Lebanon. The atmosphere of the salon was sophisticated and fun, and the staff was incredibly nice and easy to work with. The makeup artist I was scheduled with, Lauren, did an excellent job transforming me into Ms. Monroe and was very patient with me due the fact I had never had makeup done for a runway show before.

If you follow me on  Instagram  you may recognize this photo from my story.

If you follow me on Instagram you may recognize this photo from my story.

After my makeup was completed, I switched over to the hair salon side of the shop and actually had my hair styled by the owner of La Pomponnee, Kristen. While Kristen was styling my hair, her and I got to chatting about La Pomponnee and it's 25 year anniversary approaching next year. Of course this is a huge mile stone for any business, so (spoiler alert) I will actually be interviewing Kristen and doing a story on the salon early next year. 

Want to see my full transformation? Check it out  here ,  here , and  here !

Want to see my full transformation? Check it out here, here, and here!

The My Experience on the Runway  

Lastly, I have to talk about my wonderful experience both backstage as well as walking in my first runway show. To be quite honest, the whole affair from start to finish was incredibly surreal to me. Though I am a confident person, I have never been one to think of myself as overly attractive, let alone attractive enough to be a model. However, due to the styling of the ladies at La Pomponnee and Brian's gorgeous dress, I felt absolutely radiant.

Divauna Taravella and I backstage prior to the show.

Divauna Taravella and I backstage prior to the show.

Before show selfies.

Before show selfies.

But don't think those are the only two things that gave me a bit more confidence that evening at Fashion Alley. It was also the support I received and time I got to spend with the lovely women (and men that are not pictured with us backstage, sorry Brian and Dallas!) in the photos above. Though I have worked with (mostly) all of these ladies before, I was always behind the camera when I did. However, each and every one of them was so kind and welcoming to me, that it made an already dazzling evening even more enjoyable! And now the moment I'm sure most of you have been anticipating throughout this article, here are some photos caught of myself and the other lovely ladies that walked for Brian David in the Fashion Alley show!

Images courtesy of  Robert Gorda

Images courtesy of Robert Gorda

Images courtesy of   Robert Gorda

Images courtesy of Robert Gorda

Images courtesy of   Robert Gorda

Images courtesy of Robert Gorda

Image courtesy of  Penn Live , Photographer,  Lisa Wardle

Image courtesy of Penn Live, Photographer, Lisa Wardle

Image courtesy of   Penn Live  , Photographer,   Lisa Wardle

Image courtesy of Penn Live, Photographer, Lisa Wardle

Image courtesy of  William Pittman Photography

Image courtesy of William Pittman Photography

Image courtesy of   Penn Live  , Photographer,   Lisa Wardle

Image courtesy of Penn Live, Photographer, Lisa Wardle

Final Thoughts

In closing, I have to say that my experience as a model in a runway show was incredibly enjoyable and exciting! If I ever had the opportunity to participate as a model again I definitely would, what can I say I loved being pampered at La Pomponnee and all the cameras flashing at me while on the runway was quite thrilling as well. However, this experience also gave me a greater appreciation for what the models do to prep for a show and in some ways has given me a whole new prospective on how I personally will photograph runway shows from here on out. 

Which dress by Brian is your favorite? Tell me about it in the comments below or tweet me at @StarkRavingChic!

Xx, Bree

COMPLEX: Runway Show

During my hiatus from writing this past summer, something I thought a lot about was what kinds of stories I wanted to cover when I returned to the blogging world. Yes, of course I still wanted to do my style posts, but I also needed things with more depth involving things that were not just about my personal style, things that would spark peoples interest or raise awareness about a cause.

Well luckily after stepping back into the blogging scene, I was fortunate enough to be thrust right back into the fashion world as well as the Pittsburgh public eye. Since returning I have had the opportunity to write about a charity event benefiting the the homeless, attended an exclusive press event for ModCloth, conduct two kick-ass interviews with the lovely Ilana Harkavy and Brian David, as well as attend two fashion shows as both press and as a V.I.P. guest. And for those of you who are wondering, yes, this article is about the second fashion show which was titled COMPLEX.

How I Got the Gig

Unlike Fashion Week Downtown which was just pure luck due to my friend Jeanette reaching out to me, for COMPLEX I was actually invited as a V.I.P. and press due to my coverage of Fashion Week Downtown. Lauren Long, the coordinator of the event, and TaRonda Brown the owner of the local Pittsburgh boutique Brown Sugar, were impressed by my work and decided I would be the perfect fit to cover the story, so they were kind enough to give my a free ticket in exchange for coverage. This being said I was so excited for an opportunity not only to attend another runway show, but to work with and meet more Pittsburgh designers!

Entertainment, Cocktails, and Shopping, OH MY!

The show itself took place at the Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum in Homewood North. It was a very neat venue and the crew did an awesome job of setting up both seating and the runway. Another unique aspect I liked about this show was that each of the designers had pop up booths set up so you could actually shop the runway during intermission, of if you were a V.I.P. even before the show. (Which I totally did and that post will be coming soon--hint: I got a gorgeous piece from Brown Sugar and will be styling it when John and I take our mini vacation over Thanksgiving!) 


Speaking of intermission, and let's not forget the V.I.P. cocktail hour prior the show, the first thing I have to say is DJ G-BO did an excellent job. The music selection was great and gave the event a very cool vibe. Then the audience got to enjoy talents of radio personalities DJ Mike Dean and DJ Duffy of Basketball Wives LA, who where the announcers for the show, they were absolutely spot on with their lovely personalities and great senses of humor. And this brings me to the last of the entertainment portion that did not involve clothing and models, the intermission. During intermission, rising star and Pittsburgh makeup artist Norman Freeman, hosted a catwalk competition for the women in the audience, which I participated in and (surprisingly) won! (I have to admit that it gave me some major confidence for the next show I will be attending and actually walking in on December 9th more details on that coming soon.) So needless to say the extra (and unique) interaction with the audience and music really made this event a blast! 

C O M P L E X 

Now for the part I'm sure everyone has been waiting for: the details about COMPLEX: Runway Show! 

The theme for this show was much different than that of Fashion Week Downtown which mainly focused on couture pieces and not so much urban fashion. COMPLEX on the other hand, though some designers featured some beautiful party dresses, really had a focus on urban/street style. The clothing I saw on COMPLEX's runway were definitely clothes every urban woman would love to style. This being said I'm sure come next year when I'm back in the city for college you'll see me donning some pieces, or at least ones similar, by these designers because when it comes to clothes and styling, I always try to stand out.

So you can see exactly what I am talking about, here are a few of my favorite shots from the runway in the photo reel below:

Designers: LACED Apparel, ORIGINAL CRACKAGE, L.O.U.D. Collection, Dirtgag Couture, Imihi Designs, Cherish by Cherie, Brown Sugar, Willie Gees, L'exito, and Eclectic Adonis

And if you would like to see ALL my work from this show, I now have a tab for it in my "PORTFOLIO" section, or you can just click here!

Final Thoughts

Much like Fashion Week Downtown, I had a wonderful time at COMPLEX Runway Show and would love to see more shows like each of them in the future. This is because they are such a great way to bring together the fashion community in Pittsburgh as well as shine light on the AMAZING designers that call this wonderful city home. 

What were some of your favorite looks from COMPLEX? Let's chat about them in the comments below, I would love to hear what you think!

Fashion Week Downtown: My Night in "Stories"

Throughout my college years, one Pittsburgh event I always looked forward too was Fashion Week. So back in April when I first read how the annual Pittsburgh Fashion Week was cancelled this year, after six consecutive years, I was a bit crushed. However, my hope was restored in June when I began hearing buzz on social media about a new fashion event that was coming to downtown this fall: Fashion Week Downtown. 

About The Event

The event itself was held at the Union Trust Building on Grant Street and was organized by the Pittsburgh Downtown Community Development Corporation (PDCDC) who partnered with Social Butterfly Magazine. The main man behind the idea though was John Valentine, the corporation's executive director. Mr. Valentine, much like the rest of the Pittsburgh fashion community, was sad to hear about Pittsburgh Fashion Week's hiatus. Due to the fact the fashion industry is an important part of the Pittsburgh art and business community, he couldn't just let a year go buy without a proper fashion event. So Mr. Valentine, the PDCDC and Social Butterfly Magazine came up with Fashion Week Downtown to keep the fashion culture here alive this year. And that's exactly what it did.

VIPs mingle before Fashion Week Downtown in the lounge of the Union Trust Building. 

VIPs mingle before Fashion Week Downtown in the lounge of the Union Trust Building. 

Resident artist at The Space Upstairs mid opening performance.

Resident artist at The Space Upstairs mid opening performance.

The event, which the PDCDC team only had a few months to plan, had an amazing turn out of roughly 500 guests, and the tickets for the event completely sold out 6 weeks prior to the event. The event also featured exclusive appetizers catered by Union Standard as well as a complimentary signature cocktail for the VIPs, as well as a cash bar for the general admissions. The runway show itself featured a special performance by Pearlann Porter & the Resident Artists at The Space Upstairs. The performance title "Jazz Couture" consisted of 3 (very different but simultaneous) contemporary dance performances set to improvisational jazz on the runway. Next Elena LaQuatra (the Reigning Miss Pennsylvania USA) announced the brands and their designers, which there were 13 of, along with 50 beautiful outfits and models! Awesome right?

Runway model,  Joanna Wentling , modeling gown by designer  Brian David  ( Instagram ,  Facebook ).    Fun Fact:   Brian and I have been in contact since the show and we are in the process of planning a collaboration! More details coming soon.

Runway model, Joanna Wentling, modeling gown by designer Brian David (Instagram, Facebook).

Fun Fact: Brian and I have been in contact since the show and we are in the process of planning a collaboration! More details coming soon.

My How I ended up in the VIPs

My seat at the runway compliments of  Social Butterfly Magazine . 

My seat at the runway compliments of Social Butterfly Magazine

So, now that I've got you caught up on all the details, you're probably wondering how I got to attend due to the tickets selling out so quickly. Well lucky for me, a friend of mine from college, Jeanette Shustack, works as a graphic designer and staff photographer for the local publication Social Butterfly Magazine. The magazine was covering the event as well as working with the PDCDC. So when Jeanette heard that they needed some staff volunteers to help with the set up the runway and possibly double as press for the show, she reached out to me and a few others via Facebook. Obviously, I eagerly accepted due to my love of Pittsburgh and the fashion industry in general, but I would be crazy to not jump at the chance to be a VIP at a fashion show!


My First Fashion Show Experience + All of the Snaps

So after running around and feeling like Andrea Sachs all day, (But with a much kinder boss than Miranda Priestly of course!) 6 o'clock came and I got to take behind the scenes photos of the event, eat some delicious food, and chit-chat with some fabulous members of the Pittsburgh fashion community. And of course, this was all uploaded to my Story on Instagram, which has changed since the show. However, due to the nature of the event I decided it would be fun to do something new and leave you a slide show of some of my snaps from the evening. Featuring a few of the awesome shots I got sitting two feet from the runway (Thanks again Jeanette & Social Butterfly Magazine!) as well as some of my just for fun behind the scenes shots. Enjoy! 

Wanna check out all of the designers from the show? Take a look: Alana Yoffee, TK Fashion Design, Hollywood Glam!, Ruby Dawn Designs, Suz Pisano, Leesa Kassler, ProBantuStyle, S.Moye' Fashions, Sofiya Mozley Fashion, Bradford Mumpower, Brian David, Faith-n-Khaos, and James Houk Design.

In closing, I just have to say I had an absolute blast and am still so grateful I was invited to this awesome event! A special thanks to Jeanette & the rest of Social Butterfly Magazine, as well as Renee, Kari, and John from the PDCDC! I hope to see you all at Fashion Week Downtown next year.

So, what do you think of Pittsburgh's new Fashion Week Downtown? Any favorite outfits from the runway? Let's chat about it in the comments below!

Xx, Bree