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How Pittsburgh-bred ModCloth is making good on last year's venture funding

Forbes reports on how Pittsburgh-rooted ModCloth is growing a year since receiving $25 million in investment.
 
What started as an idea by high school juniors Susan Gregg Koger, 28, and her (now husband) Eric, 29, now brags more than 400 employees in three cities and is hell-bent on the expansion of both an in-house private label and a re-commitment to serving the plus-sized market. The site currently features just shy of 1,000 of its usual vintage-inspired styles in sizes north of the standard small, medium and large. On Friday in New York they’ll be hosting a pop-up shop in celebration.
 
Original source: Forbes
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Philadelphia photographer documents urban decay

Philadelphia-based photographer Matthew Christopher's work on urban decay is featured in The Daily Mail.
 
"My favourite part of exploring ruins is that to me, it is peaceful. I can focus on what I am seeing and experiencing rather than being wrapped up in my thoughts all the time.
 
"Discovering new or intriguing places, finding something you know not many people have seen, or managing to get permission to somewhere you'd really like to see are also a lot of fun."
 
Original source: The Daily Mail
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The mega-rubber ducky to make U.S. debut in Pittsburgh

An enormous, inflatable rubber duck that was built by a Dutch artist and has "healing properties" will make its way to Pittsburgh in September, reports The Atlantic Cities.
 
Since it launched in 2007, the ducky has graced humans with its benevolence in Amsterdam, Osaka, Sydney, Hong Kong and other ports of call. The creature's arrival in Pittsburgh this September for the art-and-culture International Festival of Firsts marks its first U.S. appearance.
 
Expectations are already running high. "The Rubber Duck has captured the imaginations and the hearts everywhere it deployed. How can you not be drawn to a four-story Rubber Duck?" says Marc Fleming, a spokesman for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust. "It is going to be HUGE."
 
Origina source: The Atlantic Cities
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Golf world's eyes on Ardmore, Mother Nature for U.S. Open

Heavy rains threatened the layout and play at the U.S. Open at Merion Golf Club in Ardmore, reports USA Today.
 
The two most flood-prone holes are Nos. 11 and No. 12. Last week tropical storm Andrea dropped about 3½ inches of rain on the course. Rain continued Monday, and the Weather Channel forecast more rain for today and a 70% chance of thunderstorms Thursday.
 
Original source: USA Today
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How great design transformed a Pittsburgh rowhome

A Lawrenceville, Pittsburgh couple's customized row home is examined by Houzz.
 
How else could something like a dilapidated and abandoned Pittsburgh row house be shockingly transformed into an arty and eclectic home that perfectly embodies the couple who inhabits it? 
 
That was the case for Alissa Martin, the owner of a local clothing and shoe company, and Jeb Jungwirth, a psychologist. The creative couple spent a year working with mossArchitects and Botero Development in the initial stages to customize their run-down, two-bedroom space to seamlessly marry Martin’s modern-edged Moroccan design with Jungwirth’s penchant for reading and collecting. In the end, color and texture dominate by way of exposed brick and ceiling beams, a vibrant wall mural and casual-cool patterned wallpaper and bedding. 
 
Original source: Houzz
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Pittsburgh a happy place for job-hunting college grads

Pittsburgh ranked No. 4 on the list of 10 Happiest Cities for Job-Seeking College Grads compiled by Career Bliss and Forbes.
 
To determine overall happiness scores, CareerBliss analyzed 76,000 data points from 7,856 reviews submitted by young professionals. Employees all over the country were asked to evaluate 10 factors that affect workplace happiness, including: one’s relationship with the boss and co-workers, work environment, job resources, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks, and control over the work done does on a daily basis. They evaluated each factor on a five-point scale and also indicated how important it was to their overall happiness. The numbers were combined to find an average rating of employee happiness for each respondent, and then they were sorted by location to find the happiest U.S. cities for college grads.
 
Original source: Forbes
Read the full story here.
 

In a very unscientific survey, Philadelphia is the capital of bacon

With its restaurants serving taco shells made of bacon and deep-fried oysters with bacon aioli, Philadelphia, also the hometown of actor Kevin Bacon, earned the title of No. 1 city for bacon lovers according to the Estately blog.
 
- Philly is the sixth largest bacon market in America.
- Three area restaurants have been featured on United States of Bacon.
- Local burger chain PYT made a taco shell out of bacon because this is Philadelphia and anything bacon is possible in Philadelphia.
- Dip your deep-fried oysters in bacon aioli at Cochon (French for “pig”).
- The father of modern Philadelphia was famed city planner Edmund Bacon, father of Kevin Bacon.
- Jake’s Sandwich Board is famed for its Turbacon, a sandwich version of a Turducken, but with smoked pork in place of duck.
 
Original source: Estately
Read the full story here.
 

LGBT senior housing rises in Philadelphia's Center City

The Advocate reports on Philadelphia's first LGBT senior housing development, located in Philadelphia's Gayborhood section in Center City.
 
The six-story, 56-unit John C. Anderson Apartments is now rising in the heart of Philly’s gay village, with hopes of opening at the end of the year. Mayor Michael Nutter, along with Mark Segal — the publisher of the Philadelphia Gay News and founder of Gay Youth, one of the nation’s first organizations for LGBT teens — championed the $19.5 million project.
 
Original source: The Advocate
Read the full story here.
 

Origami as a drug delivery device? UPenn researchers are working on it

A research team from the University of Pennsylvania received a grant recently to investigate origami as a tool for drug delivery, reports R&D Magazine.

Collaborating with researchers at Cornell Univ., the Penn team will share in a $2-million, four-year grant from the National Science Foundation’s Div. of Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation. The grant is through a program called ODISSEI, or Origami Design For The Integration Of Self-assembling Systems For Engineering Innovation.
 
The program draws inspiration from the Japanese art of paper folding, but the Penn team suggested adding a variant of the technique, known as kirigami, in which the paper can be cut as well as folded. Allowing for cuts and holes in the material makes it easier to fold rigid, three-dimensional structures.
 
Original source: R&D Magazine
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Looking back on the legacy of Pennsylvania-bred Smarty Jones

The New York Times looks at the race horse Smarty Jones, who captivated the state as a local hero and the nation as a Triple Crown contender.
 
As for the rest of us, Smarty Jones had seized the collective imagination of a country still reeling from the events of Sept. 11 and the Iraq war, a nation desperately needing something to root for. It had been 26 long years since Affirmed won the Triple Crown in 1978. In the interim, the nation, especially New York City, had been battered and bruised. We needed something to celebrate, which is how the 2004 Belmont had been dubbed the Smarty Party.
 
Original source: The New York Times
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WSJ Concierge: Insider's Guide to Pittsburgh

The Wall Street Journal picks up tips from Hines Ward, writer Holly Brubach and chef Justin Severino on its guide on all things Pittsburgh.
 
Andrew Carnegie created the city's cultural backbone more than a century ago, founding what would become the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh. Today the institution includes the Andy Warhol Museum, an homage to the native son's more-than-15 minutes of fame, and home to thousands of paintings, sculptures, photographs and films. The city's contemporary art scene thrives in gallery-heavy neighborhoods such as Garfield and East Liberty, while Lawrenceville hosts an annual 24-hour mass exhibition called Art All Night. The Western Pennsylvanian hub also wears its sporting pride proudly, with three centrally located arenas—the Steelers' Heinz Field, the Pirates' PNC Park and the Penguins' Consol Energy Center—drawing the black-and-gold masses (almost everyone, in other words) year-round.
 
Original source: Wall Street Journal
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Wonderfully Wyeth: Traveling an artist's path to inspiration in Chester County

The New York Times visits the home, studio, farm and surrounding towns once occupied by Pennsylvania's first family of art, the Wyeths.
 
Chadds Ford, which is smaller than nine square miles, provided the inspiration and privacy Wyeth needed. Most of his life, he worked seven days a week, leaving his home at 8:30 a.m. and returning at 5:30 p.m. He even worked on Christmas afternoons. Once, when he was 23 years old and his young wife wanted to extend their honeymoon, the groom refused, arguing that he had to get back to his work. For “French Twist,” his 1967 portrait of Betsy, Wyeth produced more than 20 studies, evidence of the intense energy he put into his work.
 
Original source: The New York Times
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Kids in a candy store: Brothers turn historic Shane Confectionery into sweet retail space

Smithsonian Magazine writes about brothers Shane and Ryan Berley, who purchased and restored the oldest continuously operated candy store in the country, Shane Confectionery in Philadelphia.
 
Originally, Shane’s fed off the foot traffic of commuters ferried between Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey. The traffic slowed to a toddle in 1926 with the opening of the Delaware River Bridge, later renamed for Ben Franklin. World War II sugar shortages and late 20th-century urban blight also swallowed up profits. By 2010 the third-floor workshop was in disarray, the antique machinery in disrepair, the chocolate empire nearing, well...meltdown.
 
Enter the Berleys, proprietors of the Franklin Fountain, a vintage ice-cream parlor a few doors down Market Street. The brothers bought in, boned up on the store’s history and embarked on a painstaking restoration. They ripped up the linoleum flooring to expose the original pine and bird’s-eye maple and repainted the woodwork in Long Gallery and Grand Staircase blue, shades nicked from the palette at Independence Hall.
 
Original source: Smithsonian Magazine
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Pittsburgh's GiftCards.com scoops up San Francisco startup Giftly

TechCrunch reports that GiftCards.com, whose inspiring founder we profiled recently, acquired San Francisco startup Giftly in an effort to develop its mobile platform.
 
The company is also looking to raise a first venture round, even though it’s been around for more than 10 years. That round will go toward completing the acquisition of Giftly. GiftCards.com has been around since 1999; they sell personalized, pre-designed and discount gift cards.
 
Original source: TechCrunch
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Lessons from Pittsburgh's recession recovery can help Indian city

Quartz writes about Pittsburgh's economic transformation and its potential to help surprisingly relevant Bangalore, India.
 
Although Pittsburgh today is not perfect, its philanthropic tradition has helped it build a high-tech post-steel economy around educational and scientific institutions founded (often with private wealth) during the industrial heyday. This history of private spending for public ends offers an example that wealthy citizens of other cities should heed. Bangalore is one such city. It is at the forefront of leading industries, most famously business-process outsourcing. As in industrial-era Pittsburgh, Bangalore’s boom has spawned vast fortunes while leaving daunting shortcomings in health and education. The time is ripe for Bangalore’s wealthiest to redouble their philanthropic efforts while the city’s economy remains robust.
 
Original source: Quartz
Read the full story here.
 
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