Category Archives: Pittsburgh

Pandemic Money Hacks

As I find money tips that may help through this crisis, I’m sharing them in batches. You can find Batch 1 here.

Here’s what we’ve got in store for Batch 2:

You won’t lose unemployment if your employer illegally reopens in PA.

Governor Wolf.

Through this crisis, he has allowed public health and science to inform his decisions, and as a result, saved countless lives.

He has offered Pennsylvanians the opportunity to do the right thing voluntarily, but has also held businesses accountable when they openly flout the emergency orders put in place to protect the health of our citizens, our healthcare systems and our communities.

And now, he’s out there protecting your unemployment benefits.

Human lives over short-term profit.

Here is the full statement from the governor. Please read it knowing it comes from a twice-democratically-elected governor in a very purple state, regardless of the skewed images you might see on social media.

Basically, about half the state had restrictions partially lifted last week. But that’s not how people here were treating it.

More important to the people of Pennsylvania, that’s not how some employers wanted to treat it. There was this very real, lingering question:

If an employer opens up in an area where it’s been deemed unsafe to work, will you lose your unemployment by refusing to go back into a potentially unsafe environment?

Because maybe, just maybe, you’re not willing to die or kill your grandma for your employer?

The answer is, ‘No,’ according to Wolf’s statement.

At the time of writing this piece, in the state of Pennsylvania, if your business or locality is violating state orders by opening prematurely, you are completely within your bounds to refuse to go in to work. If you stay home, you will continue to be eligible for unemployment benefits.

This is a huge relief for anyone worried about their own health, or the health of the communities in which they live.

It’s a huge relief for the average person struggling economically through this mess as their employers attempt use them as pawns to manipulate financial benefit programs like PPP.

Mortgage Forbearance

If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage, or are a renter who would like to know what your landlord’s options might be before you approach them about a late rent payment, it’s going to be really helpful to understand the mortgage forbearance rules out there right now.

You can find some perspective from Justine at Live with Plum. As she notes, forbearance is not forgiveness; you’re still going to need a plan to pay this off.

If you’re a renter, you’ll want to check the Batch 1 tips to find out why it’s so vitally important to understand your landlord’s options.

Virtual Therapy

This is not a money hack per se. But for all the other moms of special needs kiddos out there, I see you. You’re not invisible, even though I know we sometimes feel that way right now.

I know what little work you may have left is threatened by the hours you now have to spend serving as an untrained and uncompensated educator, therapist and entire social network to your child. The systems that did not do enough to support our children before have now all but evaporated. It’s not your fault.

This is hard.

In our house, we only really were able to start effective teletherapy for some of our services very recently. We are in a position of privilege to even be able to do that.

What has worked for us is engaging the kiddo by screen sharing a video of one of their favorite shows. Then, every once in a while, we’ll take a break to quickly work on one of the therapeutic goals.

We’ve been able to increase the amount of time we spend on the therapy exercises and decrease the amount of time we spend on videos as each week goes on. It’s far from getting back to a functional lifestyle, but it has been forward progress.

Start Looking at Summer Food Programs Now

Even if you didn’t qualify for or rely on the school lunch program before COVID-19, you might now.

At least in Western Pennsylvania, most school districts are distributing food via a basic signup list, waiving income eligibility limits to make sure all the kids have food.

This eliminates a lot of the paperwork barriers that often impede people from getting the benefits they need, and reduces social shaming.

If you’ve never dealt with the school lunch program before, you may not have thought about the summer yet. Luckily, there are summer meal programs across the country funded by the USDA.

Ask your school district about summer meals now. These meals are sometimes administered by community nonprofits and recreational organizations rather than in schools.

But during the pandemic, things have undoubtedly changed.

The USDA provides a searchable map so you can find local sites. But at least here in Western PA, the map is telling me to do the same thing: Contact your school directly.

Traditionally, admission to these summer meal programs required a separate application. In this time of crisis, so much of your eligibility and access is going to depend on decisions made at the local level.

Get in touch with your district to make sure your kids have enough food over the summer. Make your plan now.

Because believe it or not, we’re almost halfway through May.

Support Small Business with Fun Face Masks

This post is in collaboration with Etsy.

If you’re looking to follow the CDC’s about-face on face mask guidelines, it’s important to not buy medical grade. Those are for our hospital workers and others on the front lines.

I’m using a bandana right now. It’s frugal, but it’s not the best option. I’m looking to get something machine-washable for when we do have to leave the house.

While I’m spending money anyways, I’m looking to spend it at a small business.

Fortunately, there’s a platform that meets all three of my criteria. Etsy is a platform full of small businesses, and the non-medical-grade, machine-washable face mask options are plentiful.

8 Fun Face Masks

As I was narrowing down my options, I came to a realization: I’m a nerd kid from the 90s, and it shows.

With that in mind, here are some of my favorite fun face masks I found on Etsy:

Vader Face Mask

Join the dark side with this Imperial covering from BlushMoments!

Baby Yoda Face Mask

How is everything with baby Yoda on it so adorable? If you prefer the light side, check out OneStopRave!

Black & Gold Face Mask

Be still, my yinzer heart. I’m choosing to interpret this black and gold face mask from GoldenSkyToronto as an ode to Pittsburgh.

DC Heroines Face Mask

I feel like this time of crisis is a good time to call on these female archetypes. Available via pinkpurr.

Hello Kitty Face Mask

Who else crushed on Hello Kitty when they were a kid? Hello Kitty’s still rad, so I was excited when I found this mask from Macochi.

It comes in child and adult size!

Tiger Face Mask

I love this one because it simultaneously celebrates our collective cultural obsession with Tiger King while throwing us back to Thundercats, but it’s not so specific that it won’t still bring smiles after any one, specific trend has faded.

Handcraftedsterling has a bunch of other fun animal face masks in her shop, too.

Don’t forget the kids’ face masks!

A lot of the face masks on Etsy can be ordered in kid size or adult size. I did stumble across a couple cute ones made especially for kids!

Kids’ Girl Face Masks

I’m in love with this print, but GreerTW has a TON of different options for girls. There are some traditionally boy-themed patterns, too, but options skew pink.

Kids’ Boy Face Masks

Lots of traditionally boy-themed options, at DeTudoUmPoucobyAddie. Though I legit would have loved these when I was a kid, too. There’s also some pink sprinkled into the fabric options.

Buzz Lightyear Face Mask

You can pick up this cotton kids’ face mask at ByZari’s Etsy shop. She’s sold out of this particular pattern!

We’ll get through this, friends. To infinity, and beyond!

Pss! Pss! A #Pittsburgh Theater Ticket #Giveaway

PLEASE NOTE: This show and giveaway have been cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic.

This post is in collaboration with The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

This is it.

The final Children’s Theater Ticket Giveaway of the 2019-2020 season.

It’s been real. We’ve seen Ms. Frizzle.

Visited the deep depths of prehistoric oceans.

Watched the rise and fall of Nazi powers unfurl in a one-woman show that was alarmingly relevant to our times, yet incredibly age-appropriate.

In fact, you can still enter to win tickets to see Diary of a Wombat until midnight tonight!

Today, as we bring this season to a close, we’re going out with a bang.

Pss! Pss! Comes to Pittsburgh

Guys, today’s feature show has won the Cirque Du Soleil prize.

Enough said, I know. But here are some more details for the ultra curious:

Inventive, exciting, and ridiculous, this breathtaking duet of mishaps and acrobatics will have you laughing long after you leave the theatre. Inspired by physical comedy of silent film stars like Charlie Chaplin, Pss Pss is a timeless performance of enthralling physicality and delightful expressions. Winner of 15 international prizes, including the Cirque Du Soleil prize, you’ve never seen anything like this.

Content Information: Recommended for ages 8+. This Show features: acting, physical theater, humor, acrobatics, communication skills, conflict resolution. This show is played without traditional words. The theater will be darkened at times during the show. There are elements of surprise.

You’ll be able to catch the show April 3rd, 2020 at 7p or April 4, 2020 at 2p at the August Wilson Cultural Center. Tickets available here.

Win Tickets to Pss! Pss! in Pittsburgh

You know the drill from here!

We’re giving away four (4) tickets to see Pss Pss when it comes to Pittsburgh next month. Showtime of your choice.

The giveaway will be open until March 22, 2020 at 11:59p Eastern.

Use the widget below to enter, and remember there are many entries which you can earn once per day! Best of luck to all!

Diary of a Wombat: #Pittsburgh Ticket #Giveaway

This post is in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.

It’s that time again! Another great Children’s Theater show is coming to Pittsburgh.

And you know what that means.

Another ticket giveaway from the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust!

Diary of a Wombat

Diary of a Wombat is a story about an animal who trains the humans around her to take care of her needs. Written by Australian author Jackie French and illustrated by Bruce Watley, Diary of a Wombat follows the little marsupial as she figures out ways to manipulate humans into giving her the best eats and digs.

It’s a super cute book, and was so wildly popular that there’s at least one sequel!

Diary of a Wombat Comes to Pittsburgh

From March 22 to March 29, 2020, Diary of a Wombat will be touring the Pittsburgh region!

  • March 22, 2p Seneca Valley Intermediate High School
  • March 25, 7p Greensburg-Salem High School
  • March 26, 5:30p Marshall Middle
  • March 26, 7:30p Marshall Middle
  • March 27, 7p Hopewell High School
  • March 28, 11a Mellon Middle School
  • March 28, 2p Mellon Middle School
  • March 29, 2p Byham Theater

You can get tickets here.

Here’s a little info so you know what to expect:

Meet Mothball, the naughtiest wombat in Australia. Bored with her daily routine, Mothball goes in search of shelter and food, creating chaos in the lives of the humans around her.
Doormats, bins and washing lines are no match for this mischievous marsupial. Between a packed schedule of scratching, sleeping and eating Mothball discovers that with a bit of persistence, humans are quite easily trained! 

Based on the multi award-winning picture book, Diary of a Wombat by Australian Children’s Laureate, Jackie French and Bruce Whatley.

Content Information: This event is designated for younger audiences and is recommended for children and adults ages 3+. This show features: puppets, live music, acting, creative thinking, sustainability. This show will be performed without words in a darkened theater and includes live music.

Diary of a Wombat Ticket Giveaway!

Without further ado, let’s give away some tickets!

We’re giving away four (4) tickets to see Diary of a Wombat at one of the times and locations listed above. To enter, simply use the widget below.

This giveaway is open until 11:59p Eastern on March 9, 2020.

Keep in mind that you can come back and complete some of these entries once per day, so there are lots of opportunities to enter!

Best of luck to all!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Pittsburgh Boutique Warehouse Sale Alert!

This post is in collaboration with Nakturnal.

In the past few years, I’ve come to an appreciation of all the boutique shops that have been popping up in the hills of Pittsburgh.

Many of these shops design and create their own products, while others feature unique items made by locals alongside other trendy gifts. Wildcard and few other local shops even stocked The Feminist Financial Handbook, making it available locally even prior to being picked up by Barnes & Noble.

Pittsburgh Boutique Warehouse Sale

On March 6 & 7, 2020, a conglomeration of Pittsburgh-area boutique shops will be putting the third annual Warehouse Sale at The Village of Eastside next to Staples. There will be free parking available in the same shopping center as Trader Joe’s.

Be careful as the hours do vary from Friday to Saturday:

  • March 6, 2020. 9a-5p
  • March 7, 2020. 9a-3p

The sales are deep — each shop owner will be bringing their bargain basement finds. Check out each shop before you go!

The Picket Fence

The Picket Fence is a boutique store in Shadyside selling primarily clothing for women, kids and infants. You’ll also find housewares here, along with some jewelry options and adorable, Burgh-themed gifts.

Pavement

If you’re looking for clothing made in the USA, you’re going to have a lot of luck at Pavement in Lawrenceville. Here you’ll find women’s fashion from indie, sustainable and even local designers, and you’ll also find some bigger national brands like Three Dots and Stateside.

Emy Mack

Emy Mack is a local shoe designer with a gorgeous boutique open in Shadyside. Mack works with a team from Italy to turn the designs into finished products.

Kelly Lane Design

If you’re looking for handmade-to-order, organic, sustainable clothing for yourself or for the kiddos, Kelly Lane Design is for you. Everything happens here in Pittsburgh, and in the recent past, Kelly has added a home goods line.

Hippie & French

Medical marijuana is legal in Pennsylvania, but you need a patient ID card to purchase. You must have a diagnosed, qualifying medical condition to get that card.

You don’t need a patient ID card to purchase CBD products, though. These are legal everywhere, but are unregulated where medical marijuana is.

Hippie & French started as a CBD oil boutique in Lawrenceville, and that is still their primary product. But today you can purchase flower there, too. CBD flower — no THC.

Hippie & French also markets its products to pet owners.

Von Walter & Funk

Also located in Lawrenceville, Von Walter and Funk is boutique selling fun and unique housewares for your kitchen, bar, and living room. You’ll also find all the essential oils along with a one-of-a-kind jewelry line.

Cheeks

Cheeks is a lingerie and sleepwear shop in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood. If you shop in person, they’ve also expanded with an apparel line. You’ll be able to check out their best deals at the Warehouse Sale!

Piebird

Pies to die for! Make sure to leave some budget for these good eats. They’ll be served up at the Warehouse Sale for hungry shoppers.