Can we talk about ridiculousness for a bit?

Can we just sit here and marvel at something ridiculous?

Can we?

Let’s talk about the Post-Gazette, one of America’s great newspapers.

Do I want to talk about their ridiculous and attention-begging use of unnecessary gifs on their Twitter account as of late?

No. But it’s pretty ridiculous.

Do I want to talk about this Ask Natalie column in which a mother-of-the-groom wrote Natalie to tell her how aghast she was that a few of her son’s friends didn’t bring gifts to the wedding and how she CALLED THEM ON THE PHONE TO ASK WHERE THEIR GIFTS WERE, and how Natalie’s response was not to read this woman the riot act, but to not even mention the uncouthness of calling, and to instead tell the woman to not invite those people to the next son’s wedding and also to PUT THE GIFT REGISTRY INFORMATION ON THE ACTUAL WEDDING INVITATION WHICH WOULD MAKE EMILY POST LOSE ALL OF HER GENTLEWOMANLY SHIT AND WHY ARE THERE STILL ADVICE COLUMNS IN 2016 WHEN A SIMPLE INTERNET SEARCH WILL TELL YOU WHAT A HUGE YINZER JAGOFF YOU WERE TO CALL THESE POOR WEDDING GUESTS WHO MIGHT ACTUALLY BE LITERALLY POOR?!

No. But it’s pretty pretty damnity damned ridiculous and also, I would be the best advice columnist to ever live.

[long-winded question about a life problem]


Let’s instead talk about … this.

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 9.46.53 AM

What? Is this.

I mean … what is this?


I feel like I’m taking crazy pills. Let me walk you through this ridiculousness, friends, because it has been a long time since I morphed into Super Snarks-a-lot Girl just because something was so ridiculous I couldn’t ignore it.

List style…

1. This is an “advertorial” (You won’t know it’s an advertorial unless you look near the top where it is indicated. Otherwise, it just seems like a normal regular Post-Gazette column.) in which a Pittsburgh writer, Sydney Carver, (who I’m sure is a lovely human but if you’re going to write something this ridiculous, I have to snark on it), is going to walk us through the proper way to throw a Pittsburgh-Perfect Dinner Party.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s easy. Make a tray of lasagna with some garlic bread and a salad and throw a bottle of red wine on the table. Boom. Dinner. Party.

Oh, no. How mistaken you are, you low-class lasagna-serving mortal who probably serves wine in juice glasses and serves dinner on the “fancy” paper Chinet.

2. If you’re going to throw a proper Pittsburgh-perfect dinner party, you need to spend a day shopping and if you’re going to do that, you better dress well!

I am headed out to prep for my own dinner party, so I’ll take you along to illustrate how I prepare. First thing’s first: When running all over Pittsburgh, comfort is key. I opt for dark-wash skinny jeans, a cashmere cable knit sweater, Chanel flats, and a Barbour jacket. I always make sure to bring some extra canvas L.L. Bean totes so that everything makes it home in one piece!

She wants you to shop in a cashmere cable knit sweater, $600 Chanel flats and a Barbour jacket. Got it? Don’t do what I do which is show up at the grocery store looking like an actual whale recently spit me out onto shore where a flock of seagulls landed on my head and had a dance party. And don’t you dare use the store’s bags. And you better not show up with some Target or Walmart-branded reusable totes. No, you better get those L.L. Bean totes or GTFOH.

Or rather, she recommends this bag:

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 9.39.13 AM

Yeah, you are to lug that shiz around with you as you hit all the shops in your fancy cashmere clothes. And since when the actual hell are skinny jeans comfortable? They are the opposite of comfortable. They are the most uncomfortable pants you can buy.

2. Moving on! You’re dressed in your most expensive outfit and carrying a luggage-sized tote. Time to shop for our Pittsburgh dinner party!

The first thing you do, according to this column, THE FIRST THING YOU DO, losers, is you go…

and …




Are you ready?

Wait for it.






I didn’t just misspell champagne  (I’ll never misspell that word thanks to Patch from Days of Our Lives who pronounced is CHAM-PAG-NEE).

One of the easiest ways to escalate your space as well as add some dim, romantic lighting to any room is by opting for a gorgeous chandelier, and Cardello has many different options for all different tastes and budgets. I opt for a classic crystal chandelier that is sure to set the tone for the night: romantic elegance! 

The first thing you must do if you wish to throw a Pittsburgh-perfect dinner party is you have to buy yourself a new chandelier because if you don’t have new, expensive dining room lighting and instead just serve your slop under some $200 Home Depot-bought five-light fixture, you are a terrible dinner party hostess who doesn’t care about the romantic and aesthetically pleasing warm light that will erase the wrinkles from the faces of your guests.

So, you go buy a new chandelier. Got it? This is the one she bought, so you should too:

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 9.25.31 AM

It will only cost you $1,560.

Then AFTER you have bought a new chandelier and have loaded that sucker in your car, you can head to your next stop for the Pittsburgh-perfect dinner party …

2. You need to stop and get some diptyque figuier candles!

As I make my way from the North Shore to Shadyside … I arrive at Toadflax in Shadyside where I pick up several diptyque figuier candles. Scent is one of the easiest ways to change a person’s mood, so if you light the same scent every time your guests are in your home, they’ll remember it as your signature scent! I also spot some great accents for my blue-and-white-themed tablescape that I grab before I check out.

I don’t even know what diptyque or figuier means. Do you? Why don’t we? We suck, that’s why. We don’t use candles for our dinner parties, or if we do, we probably bought them at Target or Dollar General.

As for “signature scent.” Guests in my home know that as “Lemon Pledge with hint of Doggy Breath.”

Guys, I Googled it. These candles START at $60 each and run up to $90. FOR A CANDLE.

HAHAHAHAHA. NINETY DOLLARS FOR SOMETHING I’M GOING TO LIGHT ON FIRE?! How about I just throw a hundred-dollar bill in the fireplace and my signature scent can be “CRAZY PILLS AFLAME”?


After you’ve gotten your dippy candles (that’s what I’m calling ’em now), you must …


Now we’re talking. I love any excuse to buy new shoes … except …

Next up on my list is to snag a new pair of shoes! … I eye a gorgeous pair of Jimmy Choo’s and know that I’ve found the one. A classic, neutral heel will be sure to elongate my legs and pair well with any dress I decide to wear.

JIMMY. CHOOS. To wear with the dress you’ll wear at your dinner party at your house?

Screen Shot 2016-03-04 at 9.41.58 AM

Ell. Oh. Ell.

My dinner party attire? Clean jeans, a sweater I snagged at Marshalls, and socks. If you think I’m stomping around my own house serving my guests romantically lit food underneath a new chandelier while wearing 700-dollar stiletto heels and a damned dress, you are smoking some special-sauced crack.

So you’ve got a car full of chandelier, dippy candles, and Jimmy Choos. You’ve only spent $3,000 so far. Next up.

4. Prantl’s for some burnt almond torte.

I have no complaints. This is for sure a perfect suggestion.

Throw that cake in your car and pray the giant chandelier doesn’t smush it because this is the first thing you’ve bought that is actually worth the money you’ve spent on it.

Then head to …

5. Buy some fresh flowers!

Not a terrible idea. Easy to grab a few fresh bouquets from Trader Joes, right?

Except …

I plan to place the floral arrangement in blue-and-white Chinoiserie ginger jars of varying sizes down the middle of the table. Usually when choosing a color scheme, I pick one or two colors and then an accent color; in this case, my primary colors are blue and white with gold as an accent.


Okay, I Googled it. They are like $250 each!

Anyway, toss in your car the flowers she recommends you buy, along with the additional fresh blooms to place in your bathrooms, as she recommends, and then …

6. You got to go rent some fancy china!

The Kingston setting pairs nicely with a gold beaded charger, and I complete my table setting with the Schott Zwiesel Pure stemware glassware collection. The juxtaposition of the classic china against the more modern stemware is fantastic and adds dimension to the table. 

I know what most of those words mean by themselves, but put together in this paragraph, I’m lost.

“Adds dimension to the table”?

I just Googled that to see if that’s a real thing and IT IS TOTALLY NOT. She is Barney Stinson-ing us into believing we can add “dimension” to our table setting by using “juxtaposition” of classic and modern tableware and stemware.

If a friend walked in my house, looked at my set table and said, “Wow, this juxtaposition really adds dimension to your tablescape,” that person would no longer be my friend because GTFOH and someone open a beer for me gawd.

7. Time to buy a dress!

I stroll down the street to No. 14 Boutique, which may be the chicest boutique in Pittsburgh. After previewing a few of the amazing pieces that they have in stock on Snapchat (No_14lville), I knew they would have the perfect hostess dress for me! 

Yes! Head to a pricey boutique to find the perfect dress to wear with your 700-dollar shoes to host a dinner party for a few friends at your home where they’ll pee and poop while inhaling the scent of fresh flowers, eat while inhaling your signature scent wafting from 90-dollar candles, be surrounded by blooms in 300-dollar ginger jars, be served by you in your Jimmy Choos while wearing your new pricey fancy party dress after you’ve changed out of your pricey fancy party-shopping clothes, and dine on your fancy rented china on a dimensional tablescape of juxtapositions under your new fifteen-hundred-dollar chandelier that you bought just because you were throwing a “Pittsburgh-perfect” dinner party.

“Honey, I’m going to get started on cooking dinner for our friends. Can you go hang the new $1,500 chandelier I bought so I can set the table?” is a thing I would say that would 100% appear on the divorce papers my husband would file against me before the fresh blooms sucked in a millimeter of Chinoiserie ginger jarred water.

8. Finally …

Finally, our adventure has ended … is there time for a quick nap before the guests arrive?



You …


Maybe the 90-dollar dippy candles are vegan?


Did you smile at this ridiculousness? You know who could use a smile? The kids at Children’s Hospital. I’ve put up this year’s Make Room for Kids Amazon Wish List of the games and movies the kids in previously installed units need. These are for the cancer kids, transplant kids, heart kids, etc. We want to give them updated games and movies, so please pitch in and buy them one! All items will be shipped directly from Amazon to the Mario Lemieux Foundation in preparation for Make Room for Kids install in April. Thank you and group hug!


  1. Penny
    March 4, 2016 10:58 am

    All have have to say is….. THANK YOU! Thank you, thank YOU for pointing out the absurdity of this article on the post!
    I thought I was the only one lol😁
    Ps Amazon gifts have been sent ☺️

  2. Pam
    March 4, 2016 11:11 am

    I wonder how much money those advertisers paid to have this ridiculousness printed in the PG. As if we stuck up snobs need advice on how to waste money on material things. Hmmpf.

  3. JoAnn
    March 4, 2016 11:15 am

    Oh, how I’ve missed you, snarky Virginia! This made my morning.

  4. Jill
    March 4, 2016 11:26 am

    I’m so glad I’m alone in my office today because I am quite literally laughing out loud at my desk. Double U – TEE – EFF folks!

    You are welcome to my house in jeans, a sweater and socks any time. The jeans don’t even have to be clean. Bring the pup – he can play with mine while we eat Lasagne off of Chinet (or if we want to be fancy, I can muster up 5-6 dinner plates that do not match).

  5. SteelCityMagnolia
    March 4, 2016 11:32 am


    I love you, Virginia!!! I absolutely laughed until I snorted reading this awesome post — after being completely aghast at the whole “where are the wedding gifts” and the lousy “put the registry cards in the wedding invite” advice. Every single one of my southern relatives would have rise from the dead and strangle me if I would even CONSIDER that tackiness, bless their souls, should the day come that I decide to get married.

    But the whole dinner party rant? That was BEAUTIFUL. EPICALLY beautiful. The whole time I was reading, I was wondering “just what the hell are you EATING at this dinner party.” And then I was thinking “Cake. You’re eating cake. Effing CAKE on rented china under a $1500 chandelier with stinky candles and flowers in fancy vases in $700 shoes.” Beautiful.

    And they say southerners are crazy. The only difference is that we parade it around and park it on the front porch for everyone to see!

      March 4, 2016 12:16 pm

      A real southern lady! Nice.

      Now get back to your correspondence.

      From a Pittsburgher temporarily in the south.

      • Misty
        March 4, 2016 3:53 pm

        Southern hospitality is a myth.
        I spent 5 years in Georgia pulling daggers from my yankee back.
        Just say NO to sweet tea.

    • Robin D.
      March 10, 2016 8:01 pm

      I myself have family from Texas, Mississippi, and Louisiana and they really would rise up!! My mom objected to some of the minor things I did based on some now out of datr etiquette rules. Doesn’t this person know if you’re in the wedding party (not sure if th friends were) you aren’t expected to bring a gift as you already paid for your dress/tux/etc? Also, you have up to one year after the wedding to send a gift.

  6. Marcy
    March 4, 2016 11:41 am

    This is everything. Thank you.

  7. Tracie
    March 4, 2016 11:44 am

    Everyone knows that scented candles are a no-no around food. It ruins the great smells of the food. But since this Pittsburgh chick doesn’t have any groceries bought, hopefully her drippy candles smell like haluski and pierogies. Or maybe the flowers are edible.

  8. Doreen
    March 4, 2016 11:48 am

    The fact that you threw a Patch reference in there makes me love you ten times more than I thought possible.

  9. AJ
    March 4, 2016 11:52 am

    HUH?! Isn’t a Pittsburgh dinner party Isaly’s chipped chopped ham, IC Light and the dress code is Steelers jerseys?

  10. Pa-Pop
    March 4, 2016 11:56 am

    What a wonderful dose of freshly showered snark! I feel refreshed. Thanks! Nice job.

  11. AngryMongo
    March 4, 2016 12:33 pm

    Surprised they didn’t advertise Zerorez as the best way to get all the stains out of your carpet after your perfect dinner party. Can’t go five minutes on the radio without hearing a DJ talk about how spelled backwards or forwards, they’re the best.

  12. Joy
    March 4, 2016 12:46 pm

    I don’t know where this dinner party is actually to be held, but it is not the ‘Burgh. We’re having a real ‘Burgher dinner party at my friend’s house tonight. The Prantl’s almond torte is already in my car. The menu is pizza and Prantl’s. On paper plate. Eating our grub in yoga pants. As God intended.

  13. Kurt
    March 4, 2016 1:54 pm

    A print-based infomercial…what will they think of next?

    There’s just no way to beat the persuasive power of of finely crafted text. In contrast, there is just no way to match the comedic value of that process gone awry.

    It’s pretty easy to imagine the genesis of such a thing. Salespeople scour the area for upscale merchants who would like to create a broader appeal for things that truly affluent folks could care less about, but that folks who are not quite affluent enough not to care will eat up like free pate’ at the Costco.

    Next comes the task of packing as many veiled advertisements into one ‘feature’ article as possible, almost as one might weave a tapestry to draw a variety of visual themes together as a pleasing amalgam. The brainstorming session might have gone something like this…

    “Okay, we have insanely expensive shoes, an ugly tote, uncomfortable jeans, candles that nobody can pronounce, truly tasty baked goods and a lighting fixture that would consume a living space equivalent to the combined square footage of every house on Sarah Street…what’s the common theme?”

    “A typical Pittsburgh dinner party?”

    “Are you high?”


    “Never mind. We’ll go with it and hope that the complete absurdity of it all will get some traction.”

    “You mean I should craft a narrative that will somehow tie together these disparate elements whose only common theme is pretense…and embarrass myself in the process?”



  14. Lynne
    March 4, 2016 2:33 pm

    If you come to a dinner party at my house, I can’t even guarantee you’ll not come home covered in dog hair.

    You can’t fault the girl too much, though. This is her blog:


    Which… I actually kind of enjoyed browsing through, even if I can’t for the life of me understand why someone would spend a thousand bucks on a Louis Vuitton bag or a burberry scarf.

    • KELLY
      March 4, 2016 6:04 pm

      all this time your shopping for the expensive stuff looking like you just stepped out of vogue im thinking .. ok she bought cake thats a good sign ….the food will be more then snails n parsley but i didnt see one other ounce of food … im thinking buy shoes jimmy choo thats more then my house payment the light over the table is 3 times as much .i have shoes on my feet and i might step in gum..or heaven for bid dog poop or a bird poop on and get my car while im shopping i continue to read thinking …. hmmm where can i get a plastic fork to eat that cake ..ive so had enough of this perfect dinner …. at my house you walk through the door you will know what we are having because my house would be like walking into an old fashion kitchen something w wine is in the oven the room is filled with a scent alright of home made bread … candles no.. flowers ..noer the cat will jump on the table try to eat the green ok now there is more then 6 coming then you will see a card table with a table cloth and metal chairs i borrowed ,, if you have to go to that length to have a perfect dinner party im glad im not on the guest list .. i wouldnt know which one of my thrift store dresses to wear with my sneakers that damnit i stepped in gum… them a bird flew over just as i was gracefully being greeted and pooped on the step yup stepped in that too…. you have made a high class dinner at a mansion hysterical .. at some point im thinking maybe dinner is spagetti from a can thats why the candles and flowers to cover that smell ,,you made a whole :perfect dinner party a riot ,,and made me glad i didnt have to put on such airs ,,and i dont have to impress anyone HELL THE HOME MADE BREAD SMELL YOU WALKED INTO YOU WOULDNT CARE WHAT ELSE I HAD MADE ..

    • J.D.
      March 4, 2016 9:12 pm

      I just read her blog, which also reads like the “advertorial”. Oh my, my head hurts.

      I’m gonna be a jerk for a second and ask how she is affording this stuff. I know what event planners make in Pittsburgh. Just to be sure, I doublechecked it on Google and it’s not nearly enough of a salary where one can buy $700 Jimmy Choo shoes, $1500 chandeliers, $250 ginger jars (or whatever they’re called) or almost $100 candles.

      • Lynne
        March 4, 2016 9:24 pm

        To be fair, her market is luxury event planning.
        She probably wrote the advert for that market… but she still should have, I don’t know, made a note about that somewhere. Probably before the $1500.00 chandelier.

        My thoughts were: “this chick sounds like she’s from USC or Mt. Lebo” (I’m a USC grad and this shit is common). Spoiler alert– SHE IS.

        Which also means her dad probably paid for those $600.00 Jimmy Choos.

  15. Beth
    March 4, 2016 3:05 pm

    BINGO! Which is probably what I’ll be playing at my next dinner party. Is this person totally disconnected from reality. I’m thinking, yes, and writing this absurd, smug, and totally ridiculous column must be part of some sort of therapy. I love though that she is so focused on making an impression that there is no food. Thank you for this post…and if you’re attending this dinner party, bring a pizza.

  16. Sheila
    March 4, 2016 10:49 pm

    I read that “Ask Natalie” column and thought the same thing. I mean how conceited & greedy can you be. A real advice columnist would have said “shame on you” for being greedy. You don’t invite someone for the gift. You invite them to celebrate your wedding. Ridiculous.

  17. BethG
    March 5, 2016 8:34 am

    Do you think it’s possible this girl had a moment of reality before she sent her advertorial and thought “this is crap”? Nah, she probably hit her head when she slipped in her Jimmy Choos while hanging the chandelier.

  18. Goob
    March 5, 2016 1:01 pm

    Pittsburgh dinner parties start long before the eating. Some folks end up downstairs in a brightly lit basement, making sausage on secondhand stainless steel tables someone lucked into at a restaurant auction. They work carefully, filling the casings with a handed down recipe of meat, fat, garlic, spices. The best ones they will put by; some will end up on the table tonight. The conversations are long, and are slipped onto the shelf when the grinder starts up and fills the room with noise.

    Upstairs in the kitchen, some stand at the stove, at the counter, at the sink, or sit at the table with a paring knife and a plate, waiting for a potato. Bread dough rises in a bowl on the radiator. It is easier to tell stories here, even with the faucet running. Beans soak in a bowl of their own, to be turned out of their water and into a saucepan with onions, a bay leaf, and some cheese rinds. Potatoes are peeled and boiled, then mixed with homemade kraut from the cold cellar; someone has roasted some beets, and someone has roasted some squash. When the bread bakes, it fills the house with scent, beckoning all to the table, a table groaning under the weight of supper.

    The table is big, but it takes work to make everyone fit. There is no room to stand and serve, so people pass their plates around. In the center of the table the bread is in a heap, within reach. Stories make their way around the table, sometimes in both directions. Everyone has to try everything. The wine bottles are handed around until they are empty, when someone on the end who can get free is sent down into the cold cellar to find another. The sun goes down, and the lightbulbs come on. Someone gets the old kerosene lamp out and the lightbulbs go off again, happy faces lit by warm, low light.

    So: an evening of friends, food, stories. No one will want to go, but it will be okay when they must. They will say goodbye, check to make sure they remembered their leftovers, and they will leave, out into the evening, laughing.

  19. Kathy Svilar
    March 5, 2016 1:40 pm

    I love you soooo much! No one represents how we feel in Pittsburgh like you! I want to invite you over for lasagna! Thank you for keeping it real

  20. Go Pens
    March 7, 2016 9:32 am

    Schott Zwiesel is a new player that the Penguins just picked up.

  21. Diana McDonald
    March 7, 2016 4:56 pm

    So much ridiculousness that I had to check out her blog…..Dare I say that she mentions a certain restaurant in Market Square?


  22. Bluetail
    March 7, 2016 5:41 pm

    You Roberto-Clemente-hit this post out of the ball park! Spot on!

  23. NewBurgher
    March 11, 2016 4:46 pm

    It’s sad that although she didn’t know better, the Post Gazette certainly should have. She’s a youngun, with no kids and apparently no husband. Reality hasn’t hit yet. I’d love to see this re-written in 20 years. I’m thinking this article would be drastically different ;-)

  24. bucdaddy
    March 12, 2016 11:32 am

    She lost me at Cardello’s (right at the start, fortunately). There was a Cardello’s here (up until a few weeks ago) between the parking lot and the bar, so I walked past the showroom window a lot. A LOT. And as my friend Paul pointed out, “I’ve never seen anything in Cardello’s window that I’d actually want to buy.”

    BTW, I’m glad to see you still have such an exquisite rant in you. Was worried you might be getting out of practice.


    P.S.: That advertorial looks like the logical extension of the Peterman catalogue. Several advertisers all chip in, like, $100 and they get a pseudo-story written that includes them all, like a Mad Libs thing. Clever bastards, (m)ad men. And I’m kind of counting on them to keep paying my salary for the next 4-7 years.