Ummm WOAH! Burghologie is officially 365 days old! I can truly say with confidence that I am SO happy I took the jump and brought this blog to life. It's been a year full of eating, drinking, connecting, exploring, and learning. I've learned so much about myself, about Pittsburgh, and about the local creative community we have here.
Looking back, I'm pretty proud of what Burghologie has become. It's a pretty amazing feeling to know I have something that is truly mine— from top to bottom.
I'm not an "expert" by any means, but there are some essential things I've learned in the past year. If you're thinking about making the jump into the blogging world, you might want to keep reading!
1. just get the picture... no matter what it takes.
Stand on the chair, wait for someone to move, get low, rearrange the table... whatever it takes. Photos are so important in the blogging/social media universe and I promise you'll regret walking away way more than you'll regret the 5 seconds you felt awkward. I've been there— a million times. You'll feel uncomfortable and even embarrassed at first, but the reality of it.... WHO CARES?! Those people that might give you a weird look don't know shit about you or your life and they're probably the same people showing you love on IG anyway.
2. Speak up, ask questions, and reach out.
Don't be afraid to talk about your blog/business/thing (when it's appropriate). Don't be afraid to send an email. Don't be afraid to ask someone for advice or help. Don't be afraid to introduce yourself. The worst thing that can happen? You get a no. And a no is not the end of the world.
3. Be a perfectionist.
Because sometimes that just makes the difference. I almost never let myself settle with "good enough".
4. forget what everyone else is doing.
You. should. not. care. what everyone else out there in the internet world is doing. You have to be you. Replicating something that already exists isn't exciting. It isn't unique. It isn't you. Find your vibe and create something that's 100% authentic.
5. find your people.
The people more than willing to throw you a like, a share, a comment, a "Hey, you are killing it." The people that will help you take photos and not complain or think twice about it. The people that just get it and appreciate your hustle. I've found that connecting and working with fellow bloggers and creatives is so incredibly energizing and refreshing.
If you've been thinking about starting a blog, hit me up. Let's grab a coffee and chat about it! I'd love to help and I'm sure I can learn something from you along the way. My DMs are always open!
No. 1 - If I have to narrow it down, I think my favorite food is pizza.
No. 2 - I’m very indecisive. (See above!)
No. 3 - I absolutely love Christmas, but absolutely hate everything else about the winter season.
No. 4 - I’m a huge dog person, but I’m not a cat person at all.
No. 5 - I grew up in the tiny little town of Clarion, PA.
No. 6 - I’m always the annoying person snapping photos.
No. 7 - I graduated from Pitt in 2016 with a business degree.
No. 8 - My family means the world to me.
No. 9 - I love music. Everything from country to EDM.
No. 10 - I work full-time as Fitt’s Content Coordinator
No. 11 - My birthday is November 16th (I was almost born on my mom’s birthday. Her birthday is November 15th!) #ScorpioSZN
No. 12 - I can’t stand Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, or Ariana Grande.
No. 13 - My number one bucket list destination is Greece.
No. 14 - I hate whipped cream.
No. 15 - The more dry the wine, the better!
No. 16 - Chocolate is lyfe.
No. 17 - I'm extremely stubborn.
No. 18 - My all-time favorite snack is popcorn.
No. 19 - I’m not a big fan of movie theaters.
No. 20. I’m pretty crafty. I love DIYs.
No. 21 - My favorite flowers are sunflowers. (Forget roses!)
No. 22 - I really, really love avocado toast.
No. 23. I’m terrified of driving in the snow.
No. 24 - I’m left-handed!
No. 25 - I’m a bit of night owl. Mornings are not my friend.
No. 26 - 2 drinks and home by 11pm is my kinda Friday night.
No. 27 - I’m a bit of a chicken nugget connoisseur. #TeamWendys
No. 28 - RENT is my all-time favorite musical.
No. 29 - I have one younger sister.
No. 30 - I'm a 40-year-old woman stuck in the body of a 25-year-old.
Fitness... UGH. Fitness can be hard. It takes time and commitment. It's confusing. It's intimidating. And it's hard to get started—especially on your own.
Personally, navigating the gym and figuring out what to do to stay in shape has been a major struggle for me since the day I left high school. During my high school years, hitting the gym wasn't even a thought. Between cheerleading, dance team, show choir, and running track every spring, I spent AT LEAST two hours a day in practice and rehearsal. Not to mention cheering football and basketball games AFTER practice (where I also performed with dance team at half time). And even competing in competitions on the weekends. Movement was my life. I never stopped and I never had to think about how to get in shape or keep myself in shape. That teenage metabolism certainly didn't hurt me either.
High school came and went in the blink of an eye and then BAM I suddenly wasn't moving anymore. I went off to school and I sat in lecture during the day and I sat and studied at night. I walked around a bit from class to class, but my movement was maybe a quarter of what I was used to. Sometimes I would venture to the gym to jump on an elliptical or treadmill, but I had no idea how to "work out." I had barely even stepped foot in a real gym. Weights? FORGET IT.
I eventually was brave enough to start taking some classes. Some yoga here, some cycling there. Oh, and I can't forget that Zumba class I took my freshman year at Pitt.
So that half-ass fitness thing went on for years. Like 6 whole years. 6. WHOLE. YEARS. In that time, I relied on ellipticals. I would go to the gym (sometimes 5 days a week) and put in my 30-45 minutes on an elliptical. Which was okay, I went through phases of weight loss but as a whole I got absolutely nowhere. Sure, it was movement but it wasn't doing much for my body and I knew it.
How I Got Started
The end of 2018 rolled around and I was fed up. I was ready to go to the gym, know what I was doing, and feel confident about it. Luckily, this magical community called GRLPWRPGH had recently come into my life and through that I had the opportunity to connect with a girl named Paige... who just so happened to be a local personal trainer and health coach. It's like the universe knew I needed some serious help or something?!
Fast forward to the beginning of 2019 and I worked up the courage to reach out to Paige to talk about training. Today, I am SO THANKFUL I sent that DM. Paige has helped me in more ways than I can imagine.
We started with a month of bi-weekly, one-on-one personal training sessions. Two nights a week I would meet Paige at her gym and during those 8 sessions she got me into the weight room and taught me how to lift. It was so intimidating at first, but Paige taught me the ins and outs of correct form, familiarized me with equipment, and increased my confidence in the gym by about 1000%.
Once I gained that confidence, we moved into a virtual training program. When I say "virtual training" that means Paige curates workouts for me every week, but I complete them on my own, in my own gym, on my own time. On top of those workout plans, Paige is always there to answer questions, address concerns, and provide support. She even sends daily text reminders about steps and mobility exercises. How awesome is that? It's amazing how much progress you can make when you have someone there to help keep you accountable.
I've now been working with Paige for close to 4 months and it has been a super positive experience. She makes you feel comfortable, is super knowledgeable, relatable, and most importantly believes in balance and listening to your body. My body certainly hasn't transformed overnight, but here's what has happened:
1) I'm so much STRONGER than I used to be. For context, my first session with Paige I was squatting 45 lbs. (That's just the barbell with no weight.) Now, I just hit a squat PR of 145 lbs. What?!!!
2) I'm so much more CONFIDENT than I used to be. I can walk into the gym, kill my workout, and feel good about it. Before this journey, just the thought of a weight room made me anxious.
3) I'm MOVING again. On top of workout plans, Paige also helps me meet step goals. I've been talking a walk almost every single afternoon and evening and I have fallen in love with it. It's like my therapy- my time to decompress.
The Best Thing I've Ever Done For Myself
If you're where I was and need a little help getting started, I HIGHLY recommend Paige's training services. It's the best thing I've ever done for my myself when it comes to health and wellness. Feel free to follow in my footsteps and shoot her a DM on Instagram. Or if you're more of an email person, hit her up at email@example.com. Feel free to shoot me a message too if you have any more questions about my experience!
Even if you're not looking for training, you should definitely give Paige a follow on IG and Facebook. This girl is so smart and is constantly researching really interesting health topics. She shares tons of recipes, tips, and fun facts about exercise and nutrition. I promise you her food shots will make you drool.
Every January my mom's side of the family comes together for a tradition that we all hold near and dear to our hearts... Filled Noodle Day!
The Priatkos and the Kucics team up to handmake tiny little pockets of love that we know as "filled noodles." This Mueller family recipe is a variation of German stuffed pasta and it is absolutely delicious. Who would guess that some noodle dough, sausage, and stuffing could taste so amazing? It really doesn't get much more German than that. Then again, what's not to love about a hot, comforting carb?
Taking it way back, the dish comes from my grandmother's German roots. My great grandma taught my grandma, who taught my mom and uncles, who then passed the experience (and the recipe!) along to me, my sister, and my cousins. And it's not just our family, according to Google this is a common German dish that has taken on many different variations through the years. Seriously, if you search "German Filled Noodles". There's 5,790,000 results. This has been a tradition in our family for well over 50 years, but I think it's safe to assume the history goes back a lot farther than that.
You may still be wondering what exactly a "filled noodle" is... well, it looks and feels a lot like a dumpling. Homemade noodle dough is mixed, rolled out, cut into circles, stuffed with a mixture of ground sausage and homemade stuffing, pinched like a pierogi, boiled, and cooled. When it's time to dig in, the noodles are warmed and served in hot broth. The recipe from start to finish is a bit time-intensive, but when you have a team of 9 it's a piece of cake! This year we made 51 dozen noodles in 3 hours. That means we pumped out about 17 dozen an hour!
Oh, and the number one noodle day rule? No one eats the noodles... yet. They're eaten on a Sunday in February when the entire family can come back together for Noodle Day: Part II. This time without the chaos of a messy kitchen. It's the kind of meal that requires an after-dinner nap, but nonetheless it's one of my favorites.
When I sit back and think about it, there's really something special about this tradition. It's more than the food. It's about keeping my grandma's memory alive and appreciating the gift of family. Gram passed away when I was just a junior in high school. I have missed her everyday for the past 8 years, but I know she's smiling from ear to ear when that dough roller comes out every January. She spent a large portion of her life in the kitchen cooking for the family, teaching others how to cook, and even using her talents to run a catering business. From filled noodles and homemade pierogi recipes to holiday traditions and "The Sound of Music" sing-alongs, I'm thankful she was able to leave behind little pieces of herself to remind us of the love she had for this family.
I hope we're making you proud, Gram. ♡