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The 'Burghy Mother's Day Gift Guide 2016

Don't start shopping without this list of 10 locally made must-haves for Mom.

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My mom raised five daughters.

At one point she was raising two-year-old twins, a four-year-old (me), a six-year-old and an eight-year-old. Doesn’t that sound like a nice ball of ABSOLUTE CHAOTIC HELL? She and my father raised us in a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house. You can imagine, I’m sure, how hard it was for my mom to find a spot of solace in a small house overrun by five rambunctious girls under the age of 9. But she did.

Our living room was the first room encountered upon entering the house and on days when the chaos threatened to overtake her inner being, my mom would clean and dust that room spotless and she would take her trusty vacuum cleaner and lay it across the floor at the entrance of the room. A barrier. A hurdle. A message.

We knew what it meant. “This room is clean. It will stay clean, you little monsters. If you enter it or in any way disturb it, I will put all five of your Cabbage Patch Dolls back up for adoption, so help me Xavier Roberts.”

In honor of solace-seeking moms all over the Burgh, I’m pleased to present this year’s Burghy Mother’s Day Gift Guide. Made in Pittsburgh, by Pittsburghers, these items let mom know you appreciate her enough to put some thought into her gift this year. Whatever you do, don’t buy her a vacuum.

1. Rachel’s Cure By Design/Mario Lemieux Foundation Tassel Necklace ($66 of course.) 

Once again the Mario Lemieux Foundation has teamed up with Rachel’s Cure By Design to raise funds for MLF’s programs by selling a limited-edition piece for Mother’s Day. Once they’re gone; they’re gone, and every year, they’re gone. This year, Rachel and MLF have designed this long necklace featuring a leather tassel, beads, and an MLF charm. The thing I love about this necklace is that the charm is in the back, so it falls down the nape of your neck and would be eye-catching as well as a conversation piece when you wear your hair up or if your hair is styled short. Snag one before they’re gone and know you’re making a donation to a worthy cause at the same time. Click here to order. 

2. White Swan Studios Jersey Cow Creamer and/or Sugar Bowl ($25 for creamer/$30 for sugar bowl)

I’m pretty much in love with every single item at Gina Chalfant’s White Swan Studio. She tells me her jersey cow items are by far her most popular, so it makes sense I immediately gravitated toward these adorable sugar bowls and cream pitchers. Notice the glossy minty turquoise tint of the creamer’s inner wall and lid of the sugar bowl contrasting with the matte cream finish of the outsides. The other pieces in her shop share similar coloring, and it’s that coloring and that adorable cow that make these stand out. The mom in your life will love serving coffee or tea with these made-in-Pittsburgh treasures. Don’t fret if the listing temporarily says sold out; I’ve contacted the shop owner and she will relist the items. Just keep checking or send her an email through Etsy. Buy Creamer here. Buy Sugar Bowl here.

3. Wendell August Upcycled Aluminum Personalized Toggle Bracelet ($35)

My Yinzer Holiday Gift Guide featured the coordinating necklace to this upcycled Wendell August toggle bracelet, and it was so popular, it sold out and was unavailable for a time. I know this because my dad tried to buy one for my mom with no luck. Not only that, my last book club meeting had two ladies wearing the necklace; it’s a winner. If the mom in your life already has the necklace, snag her this bracelet to make a set. If you missed out on the necklace over the holiday, grab it now while you can here. (Ahem, Dad.)


4. Custom portrait by Leftover Potatoes (starting at $50) 
Two local artists, Dave Slebodnick and Megan Crow, have come together to form Leftover Potatoes, an online art studio that will create a custom portrait for your mom. You will work with the artists to come up with a portrait that fits your vision. They can do a portrait of your mom’s pet. Or your family laying in the outfield of PNC Park. Your family as zombies. Your family as superheroes. You name it, they’ll create it for you. The options are endless and the result will be a one-of-a-kind gift your mom will treasure forever. Buy now so they can finish your portrait in time for Mother’s Day! Get started here.

5. Hip Modern Soap Company soap (starting at $7)

If you’re planning to pamper mom this Mother’s Day, you’ll want to throw some eye-popping Hip Modern Soap Company bars in the basket too. As their site says, their soap is “vegan, sustainable, cruelty-free, God-fearin', child-rearin', pants-droppin', eye-poppin', out-of-rhymes Steel City goodness.” The Rainbow Soap and the Weekend Warrior Soap are INSANE and colorful like no soap before. They even have Build it Back Up soap to benefit senatorial candidate Braddock’s own John Fetterman. And their coffee soap looks good enough to eat. I don’t recommend that. But it is vegan so….

But wait, there's more. Five more great gift ideas just ahead!

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