Unravel my Travel

Travel Blog: Pittsburgh and vicinity
Disclaimer: Truthfully its Butler and vicinity but no one knows where that is.  Butler is where my parents live, a small country town outside of Pittsburgh.  Travel south towards Pittsburgh and there are museums, restaurants and sightseeing.  Move away from the hustle and bustle there are some of the most beautiful parks and trails.  The purpose of this travel blog is to highlight what I have experienced over several visits and enjoy about the area. I hope you enjoy while I unravel my travel.
Part 2: Day at the Museum
The Phipps Conservatory
A ten minute walk from the Carnegie Art and History museums is the Phipps Conservatory.  This was a happy accident of sorts the first time I visited there.  We had finished at the museum and it was still pretty early in the day so we decided to wander over to the Phipps and check it out.   The visit started out with a light lunch in Café Phipps, where I got a little background information from dad.  
The Phipps
The original central Victorian style greenhouse was built in 1893 by Henry Phipps.  Since then the greenhouse has closed its doors on more than one occasion for repairs and unfits.  The conservatory is constantly reinventing itself while still retaining the original ground work and charm. 
The main gardens remains primarily the same while rotating different themes.  Last summer it was Gargoyles in the Garden, this summer is Living Harmoniously with Nature. 
Gargoyles in the Garden
Living Harmoniously with Nature

 A few years back the famous glass sculpture Chuli had an exhibit there as well.  Some of the pieces remain scattered through the garden, now part of the permanent exhibit.   Also currently open are the Butterfly Forest and Headwaters of the Amazon. 

“Cattails” Chuli
Of all the rooms and gardens I don’t think I could pick a favorite, so permit me to narrow it down to two.  The palm room exploding with lush foliage and three story tall ficus trees is impressive.  However, the orchid room overflowing with exotic blooms is equally stunning.  
Orchid Room
  Something interesting about the gardens as a whole:  several of the plants are gown there and specifically chosen for a unique quality.  For example they might have several purple Phal orchids but select a specific one because its color is slightly different or it’s a prolific bloomer.  Nifty huh!  Anyway – The Phipps is hand downs my favorite place to wander.  Next year I want to go back for a special night time visit.  I hear the gardens take on a whole new image during the night tours.
Butterfly Room
Dinner Time
A ten minute walk from the museums and conservatory is a wonderful little restaurant, Star of India.  As a family we have eaten there several times for dinner.  If you are lucky enough to make it for lunch I hear the buffet it wonderful.   I honestly can’t remember what I ordered but I recall being satisfied.  The naan bread makes me drool just to think about it and all of the sauces are rich and full of flavor.  If you get there a little early and they haven’t re-opened of dinner be sure to check out the used bookstore next door.   The shelves are filled with all types of book, well organized making it a pleasure to browse. It’s a warm ending to an eventful day. 
References and Links of Interest: Phipps Conservatory

I have fashioned a translation.

Retro Blog, Once upon a time I use to blog elsewhere.  Original air date February 2008. 
Once again I make the statement; the fashion buzz is not my thing.  I went clothes shopping (again) and took a confidant with me (again).   I was in one of those not so rare, rare moods.  Personally, I like things pure and simple, no wordy mumbo jumbo terminology.  With that said I began explaining (shouting across a department store) to my friend what I thought the marketing executives really meant by the tags on their clothes.  He are a few gems, and a few not so glamorous ones.  
Vintage wash: looks like you haven’t washed them since the 70’s
Vintage fit: tight through the chest
Lived-in look: uh you are paying for holes
Funky detailing on pocket: ugly buttons
Skinny fit jeans: jeans that we all look bad in
Contours to curves: hugs the monkey where she ‘s chunky
Pleated empire waist creates a nice drape: hides the monkey’s chunky
Dont suppose I could get any volunteers for my next shopping trip?

Unravel my Travel

I haven’t traveled far and wide by any means.  However, I have seen and experienced things I found to be enjoyable and fascinating.  This marks the first installment of Unravel my Travel.

Unravel my Travel: Pittsburgh and vicinity
Disclaimer: Truthfully its Butler and vicinity but no one knows where that is.  Butler is where my parents live, a small country town outside of Pittsburgh.  Travel south towards Pittsburgh and there are museums, restaurants and sightseeing.  Move away from the hustle and bustle there are some of the most beautiful parks and trails.  The purpose of this travel blog is to highlight what I have experienced and enjoy about the area. I hope you enjoy while I unravel my travel.
Part 1:  Day at Carnegie Museum of Art and Natural History
There are actually four different Carnegie Museums.   The art and history museums are housed in the same complex on Forbes Avenue, complete with a parking deck.   While the other two museums, The Carnegie Science Center and The Warhol, have their own facilities in different locations.    My personal favorites are the natural history and art museums.  There are halls and rooms filled with dinosaurs, all kinds of animals, statues, gems, architecture and everything in between.  
The dinosaur exhibit, Dinosaurs in Their Time, is freshly renovated and spectacular.   The new design creates a feeling of being immersed in the dinosaur’s environment.   The brontosaurs with its small head and huge tail was so cool!  Its tail was so long it left its own exhibit space and trailed through two others.   Then of course who can forget the T-Rex!  They even have T-Rex on display in the airport as advertisement for the museum!  Okay so I think dinosaurs are cool, but who doesn’t! It’s still a must see.
T-Rex
If you prefer your wildlife not so prehistoric then there are the African, and North American exhibit halls.  Complete with a creepy in need of a renovation taxidermy bird exhibit. Some of the specimens are lying on the bottom of the case with just cotton for eyes.   In all these years they couldn’t find some buttons or something, totally gross.   Sadly I don’t have any pictures of the flightless horror show.  
Other notable exhibits are The Hillman Hall of Minerals and Gems which displays a pleasantly sized collection, including 500 gems and jewelry pieces.   Always fascinating to me is an Egyptian exhibit.  After a little research I found that the mummy and its coffin in the Walton Hall of Ancient Egypt was actually donated by Andrew Carnegie himself.
If you have time after all that I recommend walking through the art museum.  At the very least spend a few minutes in the Hall of Architecture.  Its filled to the brim with columns, doors, sculptures, and tombs.  All plaster cast replicas its akin to taking a trip through the ancient world, experiencing the best it has to offer all in one room.   One of my favorite visits to the Hall of Architecture was near Christmas time.  In between columns and under massive arch ways were beautifully decorated Christmas trees.  No matter what time of year the Carnegie Art and Natural History museum is worth the visit.   
 
Hall of Architecture
 References and Links of Interest:  CarnegieMuseum of Natural History   CarnegieMuseum of Art

Fall Planting

Because its my blog and I can do what I want.  I was pondering what to plant for the fall in my planter boxes.  I’m sure I will land on pansys because they are my favorite and seem to do well in the back yard this time of year. Unlike the petunias that have fried to a crisp.  They have even been taken over by the vinica (?) volunteers from last year.  Here are a few pictures of what I’ve done over the years, somethings successful and some not so much. 

Creeping Jenny, Portulaca, Ornamental Grass and Zinnias

Petunias and Cast Iron plants, when they were really small

pansy

pansy
Dahlia

I think its one of moms black eyed Susans

I really have no idea but isnt it pretty

Hmmmmmmmm………..  So what do you like to plant in the fall?
 

Culture

How many followers does one need before one has a cult following? 
  I decided now that I have a whopping nine followers its high time I take charge and post the cult rules.  All members will where pink all star high-tops, blue jeans and a T-shirt that reads “I follow the short one” spelled out with rhinestones and glitter paint.   Monday is chick Fila day, Saturday is Mystery Science Theater day.  Coffee will be served daily at 6:30 am sharp.  My birthday is the best holiday ever!  No tuna fish salad allowed.  All followers will be issued chocolate on a daily basis. Oh and did I mention we will live on an island in the Caribbean.  so –  any new followers? 

Aunt Jeans Congo Bars

I had a wonderful time vising my family in PA, and the cook out for my dads birthday was a blast.  My aunt Jean brought these cookies with her and they are fantastic.  She said its a very old recipe and she use to make them for my uncle when he was stationed in Vietnam.  My aunt even goes the extra mile by putting chocolate bars on top when they come out of the oven, and spreading them once they melt.  Enjoy!

2 1/2 Cups brown sugar

3 Eggs beaten
2/3 Cups shortening melted

2 3/4 Cups flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Cup broken nuts
1 6 ounce package of chocolate chips.
 
Add sugar & eggs to cooled melted shortening & mix well. Add dry

ingredients that have been sifted together. 
Pour into a 15x10 bar pan bake

20 minutes.