Tag Archives: Community

My Weekend…Planned

Sometimes it’s crazy to think about how much I do in a day, a week or a month. I know extremely busy people that tell me I’m busy. That scares me a little. What makes me calm is my ability to schedule and plan, sometimes to the minute. That may sound boring and binding but somehow I still feel free, open to change, and able to enjoy moments of spontaneity. 


The last day of Pan Camp! What an incredible 3 weeks of steelpan I’ve had. From two weeks with amazing children at Sweetwater to hosting my own week long camp for the second straight year. How far Barrels to Beethoven has come since 2014! 

This afternoon the students performed for parents, family, friends and some St. Edmunds staff. They did such a wonderful job! I’m often amazed by what my students can do, eventhough I fully believe in their abilities. That wraps up a summer full of steelpan education programs. #SummerOfSteel

Friday evening is prep for an action packed Saturday. Everybody’s hair will get done and outfits pressed in preparation for my inlaws 50th anniversary party on Saturday. 


Before we can get into party mode I have an afternoon gig with my band at the Carnegie Library of Homestead. Short and sweet (and for kids and families) just the way I like it! 

After that I’ll head home to get the girls and myself ready for the party. Of course we’ll enjoy ourselves that night but because my mother in law has such a talented son and extremely talented daughter in law, we are also the entertainment for the evening! And we’re happy to do it! Sometimes the best contribution is sharing what you love to do. That always makes me feel good. I’m so grateful to my bandmates for joining me. 

We also have a special surprise for my inlaws which I think they’ll absolutely LOVE!


Lose this number! We’ve had a crazy, jammed packed summer and the last three weeks were seriously like WHOA! I can’t today. I won’t today. The only person I’ll leave my house for is my sister in law Marisa. She’ll be here visiting from California. We don’t see her often and the girls definitely need some quality time. ❤️

All in All

With this party approaching its hard not to think about my own marriage. 50 years?! That’s incredible. There may have been times I wasn’t sure David and I would make it to 50 years. Nowadays, I’m more than sure. My only prayer is that we both live long enough to see and celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary, together. Besides it being a blessing for my inlaws to reach this incredible milestone, I also find them extremely lucky. Many make it but so many don’t, for so many reasons.

Loving my husband has never been hard. I don’t think love is the hard part. Love,  through life, that’s the hard part. 

Love through growth, change, adversity…that’s hard. Especially for 50 years of your life?! Can you imagine how much things change in 50 years? Through so much growth, so much change, children, marriages, divorces and sadly, death. Adversity at its best. But, somehow, Maria and Joe did it. They’re cute. They go dancing every Saturday. They help so many people, myself included. They gave me my wonderful husband. They love my girls. Plus, neither of them look like they would be old enough to celebrate a 50th wedding anniversary. A half century of marriage. Truly remarkable. 

 My wish for them is that they’re able to reflect on their life and enjoy their accomplishments. My prayer for them (and all of us) is that each day going forward, is not be taken for granted and be truly recognized as a gift from God. 

For Martin Luther King Jr. Day…

I am no more inspired to do good on this day than any other. Martin Luther King Jr. was is an inspiration. I’ve read his speeches and watched every biography. I am always and forever moved by his words and conviction. It’s difficult to see the world the way he did. I work, pray and hope for the dreams he had to come to pass. It’s daily work. Every day work. Not just once a year. 

My dream for this day, and every day going forward is that we can get to the root of the issue and we are all honest with where we stand as a nation of people. I hope that all people will take an active role in obtaining the “dream”, recognizing the positive, infinite impact overcoming will have on our society. I pray that white Americans can look at their everyday interactions (or lack there of) with people of color and recognize their personal challenges with diversity. It’s not a grand idea, but recognizing how you speak to, empathize with, react to, and interact with people of color hugely impacts the change we all wish to see. I will work towards creating the world for my children that Martin Luther King Jr. saught for his own. Where they will only be judged by the content of their character.
Happy #MLKDay

Fall Internship Opportunity

Fall Internship Opportunity

Straightforward Consulting and ProperLeigh.com seeks an intern to assist with various projects commencing this fall. Work will focus on projects with fieldwork contemporary gallery and the Barrels to Beethoven organization as well as fashion focused and community engagement events. The ideal candidate will have a background in or currently studying in the fields of Entrepreneurship, Marketing or Nonprofit, but all interested candidates are encouraged to apply. Interested candidates, please send Resume or CV and cover letter to:   connect@straightfwdconsulting.com

My Weekend Planned….


Friday morning will be spent with girls working from home anticipating the end to a very hectic work week. The afternoon has been deemed “girl time” and we’ll be doing nails, enjoying lunch and spending some time together. Friday evening will begin with a stroll through downtown Pittsburgh for the Gallery Crawl. I love attending this event. From music to art and performance, there is so much to experience and always something new offered. I’ve been surrounded by the arts and creative people for the past few months and I couldn’t me more happy about it. Those who create are such an inspiration. it leaves me always wanting more.The evening will end with a drink at my new favorite spot, Tako. Where my favorite dj, aka dj illeso, aka David Pugliano aka my husband will have you moving in your seat to the very best music. A creative in his own right, he claims to not be a musician as I am, but somehow knows and feels the music as if he was playing it off of the sheet.



Saturday morning will start with yoga, although this will be my second class ever, I’m excited to join my new friend and yoga instructor, Cara for a pop up yoga class at James Simon Sculptor Studio. What an incredible space to host a yoga class. My first yoga experience occurred a few months ago with Cara when we hosted pop up yoga class at fieldwork contemporary. That class kept me feeling calm and strong for the remainder of the day. I know the many benefits of yoga and I know my body, mind and spirit need it. I’m eager to try it again before diving in for regular sessions.

The afternoon will be a delight. I’m teaching a Saturday afternoon steelpan class through my organization, Barrels to Beethoven. These students are doing so well and teaching steelpan brings me deep joy and satisfaction. I’m hoping to offer free Saturday classes in the fall. Let’s just hope the funding organizations get hip to how amazing the steelpan is and how beneficial these programs are for youth.

Saturday evening is all about my family. I’m planning a picnic dinner in the park. A delicious menu, fun desserts and spending time outside as a family, our favorite things to do in the summertime.


this Sunday bringing it back to normal. We haven’t had a typical Sunday in a long time. Church, for us, is the best way to start our day and our week. Followed by brunch and a trip to the pool, if the girls get their way!

All in All…

This weekend will hopefully leave me feeling, relaxed and inspired. In spending time with a friend a great artist and yoga instructor, I’m learning about the importance of rest, both for your body and mind. Taking time to rest leads to more productivity and improved creative process. I am so used to working hard all of the day, rarely stopping to eat, rest and reenergize. I am learning to set aside regular time to do so. Whether its yoga or mediation, or making time to simply rest. I want to do this because I know it will have a direct positive impact on my family, my work and my creative endeavors. Taking care will increase my ability to do more. So many speak of how busy they are like it’s some sort of achievement. I’m not busy, I don’t talk about being busy. For me, I am successfully managing all aspects of my life. Starting with my children and my family and all that comes with that. My life’s work.

My Weekend…Planned

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I’ll spend the day working at home with my girls. Tonight, I get to do one of my favorite things…practice. I love to play my steelpan and rehearsing alone is great but band rehearsal is even better. I sometimes feel guilty, music makes me feel so amazing, at my last gig, my cheeks hurt from smiling so much. It’s an unbelievable feeling and I am so thankful music is a part of my life. This will be somewhat of an untraditional band practice, wine and live painting will be included thanks to my amazing new friend and artist, Sarah, whom I’ve now connected with in so many ways, but began our relationship through our love of music and art, an incredible foundation to build upon.


Saturday morning I’m hosting an open house and information session for my organization, Barrels to Beethoven. I’ve taken on a mission and I know…I don’t have to do this but, I have to this. Barrels to Beethoven is my contribution to the sustainment of an instrument that has empowered me, educated me and helped to craft the person that I am. The steelpan. More importantly the steelpans developed by my father.

My organization is focused on developing steelpan programs that expose young people to the benefits of the steelpan and arts education, inspire a new generation of steelpan makers, and create a focus around innovative ways to sustain the instrument. I need the steelpan to be around forever, this is how I can do my part.

Saturday evening is a whole different story. My band is on the bill for PRIDE sharing the stage with Nick Jonas. Some of you may or may not know or like, this particular pop star, but in my house, with three young girls, I’m the absolute coolest mother ever! I’m looking forward to playing a great show with my band then enjoying the evening with friends.


The Sunday morning routine will change a little, an early afternoon bridal shower for my nephews’ Bride-to-Be is the focus. I LOVE, love. Celebrating the special moments of others is both a joy and a privilege. This young couple, just like all married couples, needs the love and support of all around them, and we’re happy to be there to support, in any way we can. We sometimes forget marriage needs support from both within and outside. The girls and I are looking forward to celebrating with the beautiful Bride-to-Be.

Sunday evening brings another fun gig. My band will be closing out the weekend at the Arts Festival with another performance downtown. Looking forward to performing for the crowd, I always love meeting people that are hearing the band or seeing the steelpan or a steelband for the first time.

This weekend is all about Music, Community, and Love. What could possibly be better than that? I know my view of the world may be bit different than most. I see beauty in almost everything. I’m inspired by so many things and so many people. I am inclined to help others. I give my time when it’s required. I am never the same, constantly learning and growing and changing. Community, gathering with others, collaboration, discussion…all of these things create joy. I’m inspired to be and do. Not just be.