Beautiful Dreamers: A Celebration of Pittsburgh Women

Remember the lovely Sonja Sweterlitsch and her beautiful paintings?

Well, she has been working super hard over the past two years to paint 16 different portraits of Pittsburgh women in preparation for her new show, “Beautiful Dreamers: A celebration of Pittsburgh women.”

Here’s a sampling of her work. Maybe you will recognize a few (or all) of these faces!

All of the portrait subjects are Pittsburgh women who are doing a diverse range of professions and projects in Pittsburgh. You can see the full list of the women featured and read more about Sonja’s work (including the story behind the show) in her latest blog post.

Here are the deets for the opening celebration:

Where: Fe Gallery (in Lawrenceville)

When: Friday, December 7th, from 7-11:00 p.m.

RSVP: See who else will be joining on the Facebook Invite

There will also be a special night of music on Dec. 14, 7-10pm with singer song-writer and Beautiful Dreamer, Joy Ike.

You remember Ms. Joy, right?! Talk about worlds colliding.

Also, I wanted to highlight that Yinzpiration interviewees Kathryn Heidemann and Casey Hanner are amongst the featured portrait subjects.

I’m also super honored to be included. I haven’t seen the portrait yet—I’m waiting to be surprised opening night. 🙂

I hope you can join for the party. I’m looking forward see these paintings in person as well as meeting Sonja’s group of Beautiful Dreamers.

See you next Friday!

Peace and Love,


P.S. Who are the beautiful dreamers in your life?


We all love the look and feel of a luxurious bathroom. However, most of us only experience this in luxurious hotels, but this does not mean that you cannot experience it in the comfort of your home. In fact, creating a luxuriously styled bathroom is a process that begins with the little things. Little choices, such as the type of toilet paper you use or the candles you light, will set your bathroom apart from others. In this post, we’ve put together 5 tips for creating a luxurious bathroom style whether you are creating a new space or renovating an existing one. Read on;


1. Upgrade the lighting

Lighting is one of the most valuable tools that you can use to create an inviting space. Light is essential for creating a relaxing and calm feeling in any room, including the bathroom. To make your bathroom feel luxurious, consider adding some soft lighting to the area. A high-quality LED light or a pendant lamp will add luxury to even the simplest of bathrooms.

2. Commit to quality

Keeping with the theme of lighting, always choose high-quality items when renovating your bathroom space. Look for products that were made with care, from quality materials. These may cost you more upfront, but they will pay off in the long term as these are items that will last a lifetime. The same can be said for bath linens, toilet papers, and so on. Choose items that are high-quality, such as organic cotton or silk items and your bathroom will feel like a real treat for you and your family.

3. Embrace high-quality and stylish faucets and showerheads

Getting the right fixtures for your bathroom is essential. Choosing quality faucets and showerheads can make your bathroom more luxurious. On this note, install the Homelody Shower Sets which you can purchase on faucets feature a sleek and modern design that provides the designed luxury without sacrificing durability. Best of all, Homelody showerheads and faucets are available in different styles and finish options to provide a chance of picking one that will match your bathroom style.

4. Settle for the right flooring

Choosing the right floors for your bathroom can make a world of difference. For a start, choose a flooring material that is truly luxurious, such as ceramic, marble, or stone due to their durability and beauty. Do not forget that the material you pick must tolerate water and moisture and resist mold. Moreover, it should be slip-resistant to protect you from slips and falls. So, do your research keenly to ensure that you and your family are safe.

5. Add some art and seating

Having a luxury bathroom does not mean that you do not want to be creative. In fact, adding some art and seating to the space will make it feel more welcoming and comfortable. Therefore, turn your bathroom into a relaxing haven with a dressing table mirror, comfy cushioned chairs, artwork, and cabinets to organize your bathroom essentials.


These are just but a few tips that will help you create a luxurious bathroom style. There is nothing wrong with just doing your favorite colors, but it would be better to incorporate more than one element for the ultimate luxurious look. So, incorporate all of these, and rest assured to see a world of difference!

Why the Apple Watch is worth having for young people

The Apple Watch is one of the most popular smartwatches on the market and for good reason. It’s packed with features that appeal to a wide range of users, including young people. There are so many reasons to get an Apple Watch for the young people in your life and you may be surprised to find out why. Here are just a few of the reasons why the Apple Watch is worth having for young people

Reasons why the Apple Watch is worth having for young people

1. The Apple Watch is a fashion statement on its own

The Apple Watch is more than a fitness tracker and smartwatch. It’s a fashion statement on its own that doesn’t feel out of place in any type of attire.

2. The Apple Watch is virtually indestructible

Unlike the iPhone or iPad, the Apple Watch is virtually indestructible, so problems with it are unlikely to occur at all. Although the screen can break if dropped, the body of the watch will always be able to be used as a functioning watch.

3. The Apple Watch is the future of technology

The Apple Watch is becoming the future of technology. The watch faces are constantly being updated with new features and new looks, while apps continue to be developed for it. If a young person’s parents own an iPhone or iPad, it’s likely that those devices will be replaced by ones that are equipped with the Apple Watch in the near future.

4.. Stay connected without being tethered to your phone

The Apple Watch lets you stay connected to your phone without actually having to carry it around with you everywhere you go. This is perfect for young people who are always on the go and don’t want to be bogged down by a heavy phone.

5.. Stay fit and healthy

The Apple Watch has a built-in heart rate monitor and activity tracker that help you stay fit and healthy. It also encourages you to keep moving and be active, which is great for young people who might otherwise be sedentary.

6.. Stay organized and on top of things

The Apple Watch has a built-in calendar, alarms, and reminders that help you stay organized and on top of things. This is perfect for young people who are always on the go and need a little help staying organized.

7. Stay entertained

The Apple Watch has a built-in music player and can even stream video content from your phone to your wrist. This is perfect for young people who want to stay entertained while on the go.

Apple Watch is worth having for young people

Where to get the best Apple watch band?

There are numerous options that are available when it comes to the best apple watch straps for men or women designs. There is a wide range of bands and watch bracelets available for young people to choose from. One of the best places to get the fancy band is The company is the leader in designing and manufacturing luxury and fashionable watch bands for Apple Watch. The site is dedicated to providing the best options for Apple Watch lovers with a huge selection of stylish materials, natural leather, wood and other fabrics, as well as metal finishes creating a perfect aesthetic that can be customized according to your personal preferences.

If you’re still deciding whether or not to buy an Apple watch, cxsbands is a great resource for finding the best band to suit your needs, as well as determining the type of watch you should buy.

10 Things to love about Pittsburgh’s Shadyside Neighborhood

Growing up in Washington County, I had a lot of misconceptions of Pittsburgh (known in my town as the “Big City”), particularly the neighborhood of Shadyside. As a Pitt student, I assumed Shadyside was a mecca of expensive apartments, cool kids in cool bars, and swanky shops. Yet, somehow, I ended up moving here directly after graduation.

Now, several years later, this place is my home. I’ve lived, worked, shopped, and eaten in every corner of this community. There’s some serious history here, including the stunning Victorian-style houses once home to last names like Phipps, Mellon, Negley, and Mellon. A mix of affluent families, young professionals, artists, musicians, and students creates a community that is always growing and changing (and the residents welcome it). Despite the transient nature of a lot of the student residents, Shadyside has a very tight-knit neighborhood feel. Rarely do you walk anywhere without saying “Hello” to a familiar face.

Pittsburgh's Shadyside Neighborhood

My “10 Things to Love about Shadyside” will walk through my perfect weekend in the neighborhood. The best part: no car needed 🙂

1. Fitness
There’s no shortage of opportunities to get your Namaste on. With at least five yoga studios, two major gyms, Dick’s Sporting Goods’ soon-to-open True Runner specialty shop, and Lululemon, Shadyside is a dream for yogis, runners, and bikers.

2. Coffee Tree Roasters
In 2010, I helped open The Elbow Room on Walnut Street and was challenged with selecting our own house brew. The solution was right across the street. Two things I learned: It’s perfectly acceptable to slurp your coffee, and Coffee Tree Roasters is locally owned and roasted. This shop on Walnut Street is the perfect spot for meetings, studying, and seeing familiar faces. On nice days, the garage door opens up to Walnut Street, creating a very welcoming indoor-outdoor space.

Pittsburgh's Shadyside Neighborhood

3. Kards Unlimited & Walnut Street Shopping

Pittsburgh's Shadyside Neighborhood

Kards Unlimited is like nothing else in the city. With quirky gifts, funny greeting cards, and a killer book selection, I could spend hours in this shop. After you get your coffee and a few cards, Walnut Street is a great place to window shop and grab a few buys. If you have guests coming in from out of town who are armed with a good sense of humor, take them here.

4. Eden = Vegetarian Heaven
While there’s no shortage of good eats in Shadyside, Eden is a new gem that I can’t get enough of. Local, fresh, healthy, and affordable. Truly a lovely brunch or dinner. I recently shared an ideal outdoor brunch with a few girlfriends. Their menu caters to vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters alike

Pittsburgh's Shadyside Neighborhood

5. Prantl’s Burnt Almond Torte
Personally, I can’t get enough of Prantl’s Burnt Almond Torte. Have you had one? The melt-in-your-mouth vanilla cake and sweet candied almonds make for a treat that has been a staple at Pittsburgh family gatherings and birthdays for over forty years. The German-style bakery is always filled with locals and is staffed by some of the friendliest yinzers in town.

Prantl’s Burnt Almond Torte

6. A Walk
Sometimes it’s nice to get away from the bustling main streets and stroll along the quieter residential ones. The houses, people, cute pups, flowers, and ice cream stops create a perfect scene for an evening walk or run. Best of all: Shadyside is (almost) flat! There’s a fun mix of buildings and architecture in the community. You’ll see everything from Victorian-style homes to modern style apartment buildings. There are contemporary homes, mod-style designs, tiny buildings, and mansions. May I suggest a stroll west of Walnut Street (towards Oakland). Some of the most historical homes are between Neville Street and Amberson Avenue.

7. Events
Shadyside hosts several annual events. If you are in town for any, plan to check them out!

Jam on Walnut: First Saturday in June, July, & August
Arts Festival on Walnut: August 24 & 25
Shadyside 5k: October 6, 2012
Bach Beethoven and Brunch: Every Sunday, til August 12
Shadyside House Tour: September 30, 2012

8. Nightlife


Full Buffalo Blues Bar during March Madness

While Walnut Street drives the largest night scene, it isn’t alone. Shadyside’s main business districts are composed of S. Highland Avenue, Ellsworth Avenue, and Walnut Street. Here’s a quick run-down of a few spots that are not to be missed:

S. Highland: The home of Mad Mex and Buffalo Blues – two great places to have a bite and a drink. Grab Sunday brunch at Casbah then browse the unique home interior items at Penhollows.

Ellsworth Avenue: Home to two of Pittsburgh’s best LGBT lounges (5801 & Spin), Ellsworth Ave truly has something for everyone. Start with a perfect slice of pizza at Bites & Brews, then sip on a frozen cosmo at Harris Grill. Looking for a place to meet someone new? Stop by Soba for a unique cocktail in the casual-yet-upscale lounge.

Walnut Street: You won’t run out of options quickly. There’s plenty to choose from, but don’t look past Mardi Gras. Since 1954, this bar has been serving some of the best cocktails in the city paired with an old-style jukebox that will take you back a few decades. Very Mad Men-esque. Here, you’re as likely to strike up a conversation with an elderly bar patron as a college junior who just turned 21.

9. Sunnyledge
Sunnyledge is a true gem. A bed and breakfast with a martini bar, restaurant, and patio, this Pittsburgh historic landmark is perched on the hill on the corner of Fifth Ave and Wilkins. Go for happy hour with complimentary appetizers on Fridays, dinner, or brunch, and you’ll have an experience like no other in Pittsburgh. Hint: They use dry ice in their cocktails. It’s something to be seen.

10. Pedestrian Bridge
The Shadyside/East Liberty Pedestrian Bridge is a game-changer for residents of both communities. Linking the residential area of Shadyside to the EastSide shopping plaza (home of Whole Foods, Trek Bike Shop, and the best local Wine & Spirits store) has made a drastic improvement to the walkability factor of our neighborhood. It’s now easier to access East Liberty’s growing list of music venues, restaurants, and shops.


Interview #9: Sonja Sweterlitsch

Sonja Sweterlitsch stands inside the front window at 709 Penn Gallery.

And… we’re back!

I had a fabulous holiday, and I am more excited than ever to continue to meet and interview yinzpirational Pittsburghers in 2011. So, let’s get started.

Meet Sonja Sweterlitsch!

When Sonja was nominated for an interview on Yinzpiration, I knew right away that I must meet her. Why? Because these paintings took my breath away…

Are you yinzpired yet?!

Oh and guess what. The women in these paintings—Heather Hackett, Tara Gainfort and Angela Seals—all live in Pittsburgh. Such beauties, no?

I had a wonderful time meeting with Sonja at Crazy Mocha downtown. She’s super friendly and sweet. I loved hearing about her life in Greenfield and her experience working in Pittsburgh’s art community. Can you believe she coordinates 300+ artists for the Three River’s Artist Market we all know and love? I admire that she has truly made a career in art; something that most are told is nearly impossible.

Her work is represented by Box Heart Gallery in Bloomfield, which I have never been to but now I know I must visit! I have always liked their signage…

After we finished our drinks, we took a secret alleyway (well, it felt like a secret to me!) to 709 Penn Gallery, where she serves as the curator. I had visited 709 before during a gallery crawl, and I highly recommend checking it out.

Sonja told me about an upcoming installation by Jill Larson, called After the sky has fallen. In this exhibition, Jill Larson reveals her grueling divorce process and subsequent re-emergence and re-invention. Doesn’t that sound interesting? I hear a giant cocoon is involved…

Details below:

After the sky has fallen
January 14 – February 20, 2011
Artist reception on Friday, January 14
709 Penn Gallery
Downtown Pittsburgh Cultural District

Enjoy learning more about Sonja below, and don’t forget to check out her blog and website!

Name: Sonja Sweterlitsch

Job titles: Artist; Community Arts Manager, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust; Artists Market Coordinator, Three Rivers Arts Festival


Blog: Visual Art: Work and Inspiration

Neighborhood you live in: Greenfield

Coffee Shop Drink of Choice: hot chocolate with whipped cream

Current Shampoo Preference: Aveeno – Nourish

Why do you choose Pittsburgh as your home?

I went to college at CMU, moved away to work at the Smithsonian, and then moved back because my boyfriend-now-husband, Tom, was in graduate school. We both fell in love with the city and decided to stay. After seeing many other places, it is still our favorite place to be and truly feels like home. We delight in all the wonderful things that make our city unique – the arts, the rivers, the cityscape, the food, the sports teams, and the friendly people.

Who do you spend your time with?

My husband, Tom. We also spend a lot of time with our close friends, many of whom live within just a few blocks from us in Greenfield.

What are your favorite aspects of your job?

I love working with so many artists. I get to work with 500+ artists a year through coordinating the Artists Market for the Three Rivers Arts Festival, gallery exhibits, the visual art for First Night, and studio art classes and workshops. It’s very inspiring to get to know the artists and their work.

Curating 709 Penn Gallery in the Cultural District is one of my favorite things I get to do in my job at the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, showcasing the talents of local artists whose work I admire so much. I work with an amazing team who operates the gallery day to day and helps with the installation of the exhibits. Many of them are artists themselves. They keep the gallery running smoothly. It’s very stimulating to work with such creative people, and to work for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust – an organization which has such a positive impact on our city, through the arts and our downtown.

The Three Rivers Arts Festival has also been my favorite event in Pittsburgh since I moved here during college, and it’s a thrill to get to help create that experience for the hundreds of thousands of people who come to the festival each year.

Those are my favorite aspects of my day-job. I will also tell you my favorite aspect of being a painter of portraits. That is very simple: I love celebrating the beauty I see in other people.

Do you have a soul food?

Waffles with whipped cream and strawberries on top.

What are some of your recent personal goals?

I’ve been lagging behind with social media. Maybe I’ll join Facebook. Maybe I won’t though. Also, I hope to be a super mom in 2011

What are your favorite Pittsburgh restaurants?

My favorite places to eat are Coca Cafe, Rialto’s, Spice Island Tea House, Taste of India, Hough’s, Bangkok Balcony, Smallman Street Deli in Squirrel Hill, Pamela’s, La Feria, Enrico’s in the Strip, Dozen, Piper’s Pub, Dave and Andy’s ice cream, Crepes Parisiennes, and Mad Mex (any location). We are regulars at all these places. Seriously. I hate doing dishes.

Describe your ideal day.

Aside from Publisher’s Clearing House knocking on my door with one of those really giant checks, my ideal day is an ordinary Saturday. I sleep in really late, eat brunch with Tom, paint all day, and then hang out with friends late into the night.

What is the most memorable live show you have seen in Pittsburgh?
Neko Case at the Byham Theater. She is a siren. Also Gillian Welch at the Three Rivers Arts Festival.

What do you think Pittsburgh will be like in ten years?

I wish the city and the people who live here great success over the next 10 years… but I hope that Pittsburgh isn’t too very different than the way it is right now.

What do you love most about the city?

I love how Pittsburgh is unpretentious, and how no matter where you are, when you meet someone else from Pittsburgh, there is an instant near-familial bond with them. It’s the real Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.


When was the last time you connected with someone new?

connected with someone

Photo by Mandy Jay Photography

About Yinzpiration
Inspired by the positive energy of the Steel City and a presentation by Nicole Crimaldi, I’ve set a goal to interview 100 Pittsburghers.

Nicole challenged our class at PodCamp Pittsburgh 5 to have coffee with someone new every week.

So, I decided to start an interview blog, and was born (thanks to the help of Nik, my web developer husband). I hope you return to read what I have learned over the next 100 cups of coffee… or tea, my drink of choice.

About Kate
I thought it was only fair to introduce myself Yinzpiration style after asking so many others to do the same. I hope you enjoy!

(If you’re looking for a more formal third person bio, scroll past the Q&A.)


Name: Kate Stoltzfus (pronounced stoltz-foose)

Job title: Editor/founder of, CreativeMornings/Pittsburgh host, co-pilot at Propelle, and digital strategist at Plumb media.

Twitter: @katestoltzfus, @yinzpiration

Blog: Yinzpiration

Neighborhood you live in: The ever vibrant and energetic Garfield!

Coffee Shop Drink of Choice: Hot chamomile tea (cold day) iced hibiscus tea (hot day)

Current Shampoo Preference: My latest was purchased purely because of the packaging. It’s rectangular bottle and covered in a bright flower print.

Why do you choose Pittsburgh as your home?

Well if you haven’t already gathered from the content of this blog, it’s Pittsburgh’s people that have me falling in love with our city over and over again.

In my own experience, I’ve discovered that Pittsburgh is the perfect place to be a young, imperfect dreamer.

I moved here the day after graduating college, and the only thing I knew about the city was that there are lots of bridges and that my then boyfriend (now husband) Nik resided in a neighborhood called Squirrel Hill.

I soon got my very first job, spent a year as a PULSE fellow, quit my job, fell into a depression (aka Mac ‘n Cheese syndrome), broke through depression, got hitched, began to write, bought and renovated a building, failed hard and often, celebrated many victories, embarrassed myself, surprised myself, disappointed myself, and delighted myself.

Pittsburgh was with me through thick and thin. We’ve cultivated quite a relationship over the years. I love this city and I feel my roots here growing deeper and stronger.

I’ve got 57 reasons for living in the ‘Burgh and they’re just scratching the surface. I’m reminded daily how lucky we are.

Who do you spend your time with?

My dapper husband, Nik, our cat, Sgt. Pepper, amazing friends, co-workers, neighbors, and clients.

What are your favorite aspects of your job?

  • Yinzpiration: I get to meet the most amazing people every single day. Hear their stories, share some of mine, learn how we can help each other and repeat. Then I get to share them with the world!
  • Propelle: The women entrepreneurs that attend our our networking events and workshops are incredible.
  • CreativeMornings: witnessing the postitivity that happens when people take the time out of their week to share new ideas and inspiration.

Do you have a soul food?

Soft-boiled egg with toast. My mom taught me (and her grandmother taught her) to break the toast into pieces in a bowl and then place the soft boiled egg on top. Cut it into quarters with your fork and mix together. Add salt and pepper and you’ll have one delicious breakfast.

What are some of your recent personal goals?

  • Do something that terrifies me every day.
  • Take a cross-country road trip. (Completed this one in 2012!)
  • Host more dinner parties. (I love pairing friends who don’t know each other all that well.)
  • Write a book.

What are your favorite Pittsburgh restaurants?

  1. Lunch: People’s Indian Buffet. My favorite dishes are the vegetable korma and palak paneer.
  2. Happy Hour: Harris Grill (You can’t beat the patio on a perfect summer evening) + Verde (love the chips and guacamole!)
  3. Fancy Pants: Salt of the Earth. Sitting at the bar watching the chefs work their magic is my favorite thing!

Describe your ideal day.

  • Wake up early and naturally.
  • 3 mile run, with hi-fives and bands playing along the way.
  • Receive a 90 minute massage in my home.
  • Brunch at a friends house including several courses and mimosas. We’ll laugh until it hurts at least 3 times.
  • Meet one new person who is doing something awesome in Pittsburgh and beyond.
  • Write something that inspires and helps at least one other person.
  • Buy and wear a new red dress.
  • Receive a hand-written note.
  • Take a sunset boat ride around downtown Pittsburgh, with champagne, personal chef, and on-board karaoke.
  • We see at least 3 shooting stars.
  • At the end of the night: fireworks. Lots of fireworks.

What is the most memorable live show you have seen in Pittsburgh?

My Morning Jacket, summer 2010. The lights, the beautiful weather, all the dance dance dancing. Unforgettable.

What do you think Pittsburgh will be like in ten years?

Beautiful. Thriving. Unstopable.

What do you love most about the city?

I love that Pittsburgh is full of people who care, help each other, and work hard to make our city an incredible place to live.


Looking for a formal bio? Here’s some sweet third-person action just for you:

Kate Stoltzfus wants to live in a world where dinner parties outnumber meals in front of screens, handwritten notes are just as common as a tweet, and heartfelt conversations happen every day.

As the creator of, an interview and connection adventure blog, she’s changing the way people think about meeting their neighbors and making new friends.

One reader described her insights as, “a pitch perfect blend of intuitive knowing, warm hospitality, and willingness to challenge.”

As a connection enthusiast, she’s been featured in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, WTAE-TV, and Pop City. She was recently honored as a 2013 40 Under 40 recipient from Pittsburgh Magazine.

In addition to her work with Yinzpiration, Kate is the co-founder of Propelle, a venture that helps women entrepreneurs take flight. She also serves as the host of CreativeMornings/Pittsburgh, a monthly breakfast lecture series.

When she’s not connecting up a storm, you can find her running in Highland Park, taking road trips with her husband Nik, and snuggling with her cat Sgt. Pepper.

Discover more about courageous connecting at