Tag Archives: The Arts

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. 

My Weekend…Planned


Today is busy all day. From dentist appointments to parent teacher conferences to lots of work to finish for me. The evening will be a little sad. We’ll be saying goodbye to my aunt and grandmother visiting from Guyana. It’s been nice to walk into my parents house and see them. I love the conversations I had especially with my aunt and the wisdom of from grandmothers. Although I wish we could have done more with them, it was so nice to have more family around. 


In the morning we’ll be babysitting my in- laws new puppy, Dora. I know…me babysitting a puppy? Sounds crazy, especially since my fear of dogs is FOR REAL like some people fear heights. I try to be brave. Of course I’ll do anything for my in-laws and not only because they’re the ONLY people who watch our children. #NobodyBabysitsThreeKids

Saturday afternoon I’ll be working. We are literally up to our necks in work right now. Between Straightforward Consulting, Barrels to Beethoven, DJ illeso and Rhythm ‘n’ Steel and of course our children and home. We have a “to do” list that would bring some to tears. So spending a few hours checking off the list on Saturday afternoon is a must. The highlight? At least we’ll be together! 
Saturday evening will be unique and fun. At my daughters school the parents of each grade spend some time together (without the children) to get to know one another. So we’ll be spending the evening at the home of one of Cece’s classmates. A nice idea and a chance for us to get to know other families at our school. 


Sunday morning is back to our usual routine. The crazy summer had us really out of whack, but we’re back! Sunday morning will consist of church and brunch. Sunday evening will be another unique and fun event were headed to Monster Mash, Family Bash! A family friendly Halloween party at La Tavola, a great restaurant owned by a great friend. I helped a little with planning and David will DJ. The girls are beyond excited!!

All in All

I would say it’s all about my family, work and fun this weekend but that’s every weekend, that’s actually my focus everyday. After a great morning of conferences I’m proud of myself, my husband and especially our girls. Many years ago I made a decision to do it all. My all, my version of doing and having it all. Being an entrepreneur, a professional musician and starting an organization that engages and inspires people, are goals I’ve had since I was a child. However, seeing my girls growing so well, hearing what their teachers, principles and others say about them, fills me with pride and joy. Above everything else my greatest goal has always been to be a good mother, I’d say great mother but I don’t want to place too much pressure on myself😊. To raise children, ultimately  women, that are confident, kind and hardworking would be my greatest achievement and the biggest impact  I could make in this world. My girls are those things and I will continue to encourage and inspire them as they grow. Being a parent is not easy and we know some of the paths we’ve chosen make things a bit harder, but it’s worth some hard days to ensure positive growth and diverse experiences for our girls.  All of their teachers describe them as; well spoken, smart and kind, that is our reward. I feel overjoyed and extremely blessed with our journey thus far. 

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.

My Mothers Day Weekend…Planned

It’s been a while since I’ve written about a well planned, busy weekend. Mothers Day weekend seems to be a good time to return. This weekend is busy but will surely be a great time.


I’m spending the day with my younger girls working at the gallery. It’s getting easier everyday to work with Cece but having her big sister here day makes for an easier time. Still hard to get things done but easier none the less.

I’m really looking forward to the evening. A night filled with live music and art at the gallery. Even better? My good friends will be in town and joining us. David and I will be kid-free and ready for a fun night with some of our favorite people.


This day still remains the busiest of the week. Stella and Cece’s dance classes have ended but Sofia will continue for a few more weeks. No sleeping in for us. Class starts at 9am.

The afternoon brings another fun event at the gallery. To me, it’s so important that children not only experience the arts but have the opportunity to create. The amazing artist and educator that I’m working with feels the same. She’ll be leading children and their parents through a fun afternoon workshop entitled; Art with the Artist | What do you see? We are all looking forward to this!

Saturday evening I’ll be attending another gallery opening. So excited to see the space at Studio AM and I love being amongst amazing art and creative people.


Mothers Day! I get very excited for Mothers Day. Not just because I’m a mother but because we’re celebrating mothers and motherhood. We deserve that. I have something special planned for my momma and I know David and the girls have something special planned for me. We’ll start the day with Sunday mass, hopefully skip brunch (I know, I love brunch, but David’s meals have been amazing lately, much better than eating out) and head down to the Neighborhood Flea fun event with vendors, cool food and music. I also have a feeling there’s a picnic in my future… if it doesn’t rain. No matter what, I’m going to enjoy the day with my family.

I’m a mother. I’m not telling you. I’m telling myself. I say it often not in sadness but with joy and a bit of disbelief. I am so very blessed to have my children I often can’t believe I have the privilege of raising 3 amazing, beautiful little girls. They say being a mother is not easy, but in a way it is. Or, maybe I just don’t think of it as easy or hard. It’s just not a choice. Although I thoroughly love my work, nothing compares to my role as a mother and so I treat it as such. I take full responsibility for everything my children do and don’t do. Know and don’t know. Experience and don’t experience. I’m raising people. Young people who will one day be adult people. I have always understand that children experience  impacts their life. Either positively or negatively. I try to choose wisely. I have worked very hard at giving my children what I consider “a good life”, teaching them new things, engaging with them as people trying to instill confidence and expanding their horizons. Sometimes that means late nights of planning, a family calendar of activities from tennis to theatre and reminders in my phone that say things like “teach Cece to write her name today.”

I will never stop trying to be a better mother, which means I’ll never stop trying to be a better person. I know for many people change is not easy. But it’s so necessary. I can recognize a shortcoming within myself and focus on being better.  It’s not always easy and I’m not always successful, but I do it for my girls. I better myself daily to be better for them. I’m a mother.

be Moved, be Inspired


I first met artist Sarah Zeffiro by chance when she kindly attended the opening reception and launch of my organization, Barrels to Beethoven. Although we had never met, her spirit makes you feel as though you’ve known her for years. Our next close encounter was in December, her amazing artwork was the featured art in my pop up boutique. She spent a day with us in the boutique and during that time, I had the pleasure of getting to know her even better. Sarah doesn’t just tell you about herself and her art, she shares her inspiration and process.  She also wants to know about you and your experiences. It’s as if she absorbs the world around her and fully experiences every encounter she has the opportunity to be a part of.

Sarah approaches her art as a dancer approaches the stage, musically, rhythmically and sometimes a bit wild and unpredictable. She describes her creative process as being like a dance, moving around and on top of the work, swapping large brushes for small and charcoal for pastels, all while in motion.

Sarah’s new work, “Moving Language” opens on Saturday April 18th. This work blends space, lines, texture, dance and movement. I’m excited to be a part of this project and cannot wait to experience the final product.  SAVE THE DATE!

Moving Language

April 18th thru May 22nd  

fieldwork contemporary gallery

4925 penn avenue

Celebrating Martin Luther King Day



Martin Luther King day always leaves me with mixed emotions. On one hand I am so moved by Dr. King and all of the people who were a part of the civil rights movement but on the other hand, I get overwhelmed by sadness thinking about the kind of world they lived in versus the kind of world we live in now.

To celebrate the day, I used to volunteer. Now to celebrate, I spend time with my children, out in the community at the Kelly Strayhorn MLK event. I love this event because it’s geared toward children, the arts and the community.

I spent some time earlier in the day listening to Kings speeches with my girls. The “I Have a Dream” speech from the March on Washington and his last speech before his assassination. I cried. Actual tears. I heard both of those speeches a thousand times, but today, I cried. Thinking about that world, this world, his strength, my children, and the experiences I’ve had. I cried.

There was so much hate back then. But there is so much racism today. There is still so much work to do.

On this day people are hopeful, happy and celebratory. We all love Dr. King, his messages and his story. For me, I think about my message, my story and my impact. How will I make the world a little bit better for my children, all children. The truth is…I’m not sure. The real truth is, I’m going to try. I know for a fact I’m not racist. I know for a fact I don’t hate. I know for a fact that I judge others based on the content of their character. I’m blessed to think that way.

Happy Martin Luther King Day. Continue to live as though the fight is not over. Continue to focus on his dream. Our dream.