Interview #80: Talia Piazza

Talia Piazza

Talia Piazza is just as sweet as the incredible cupcakes she bakes. 

An avid baker, and lover of all things Pittsburgh, Talia 

I met Talia through a mutual friend, and enjoyed getting to know her better this past winter when we rented a cabin together with a large group of friends in the Laurel Highlands. 

Talia is a great listener and has an enthusiastic personality. Plus, she's an excellent dancer and avid music lover. Through her work at Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development (PPND) she has dedicated her life to making Pittsburgh a better place.  

Talia has been a huge yinzpiration to me via her blog as she has recently documented her fight with breast cancer. She has embraced positivity and staying in the present moment. She's shared so much ... her openness is helping so many others. (She even got to meet the Avett Brothers this summer!) 

Talia is kicking cancer's ass, there's no doubt about it. 

Enjoy Talia's Q&A. Let's stay present today and eat a cupcake in her honor ... sound good? 

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Name: Talia Piazza

Job title: Marketing and Program Coordinator, PPND

Twitter: @talia_piazza

Blog: taliakickscancersass.wordpress.com

Neighborhood you live in: Mt. Washington/Allentown/Beltzhoover-ish

Coffee Shop Drink of Choice: I trust my barista ... I typically ask what's good that day and go with that.

Current Shampoo Preference: Right now, none, since I'm bald. :) But normally, whatever smells best.

Why do you choose Pittsburgh as your home?
I love every single thing about this city ...t he people, the history, the neighborhoods, the food and drinks, the grit. Above all of that, Pittsburgh has such great potential that I'm excited to see and be a part of. Pittsburgh is everything that I could ever wish for in a home town. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't stop, breath in that fresh burgh air and remember all of the reasons I love this place.

Who do you spend your time with?
I try to split my time between my magnificent family and my many loving, wonderful friends and neighbors. Oh and of course my dogphew, Hines (that's dog/nephew for those of you who are like wtf). He's the cutest little beagle I've ever met and he makes me happy.

What are your favorite aspects of your job?
I'm lucky enough to have a job that pays me to make Pittsburgh a better place...it's so rad! If I had to choose some favorite aspects, they would be:

1) getting to know and spending time in all of Pittsburgh's different and diverse neighborhoods
2) being connected to such great organizations and people. 
3) feeling like I'm genuinely making a difference and touching peoples lives.

Do you have a soul food?
Cupcakes. I have an online cupcake shop, bakedPGH, that gives me the opportunity not only create and eat delicious treats, but also share them with my customers. I've found that cupcakes are kind of like a little handful of joy ... they make people smile and that makes me smile.

What are some of your recent personal goals? 
Recently my number one priority has been to kick cancer's ass. Right now, I'm winning:) Other goals include expanding my bakery, improving my neighborhood and making people laugh.

What are your favorite Pittsburgh restaurants? 
This list could go on for miles ... I'm a total foodie and Pittsburgh has so many great places to eat fantastic food. Here's the condensed list. Cafe Sam: you can get anything from a hot dog to lobster, they make their own vodka and the roof top deck is the perfect place to enjoy dinner and drinks. Shiloh Grill: this is my local stomping ground, they have great food and a super patio and serve my fav beer ever Midas Touch. Any and and all of Kevin Sousa's places: he was nominated for a James Beard Award. Nuff said. Nicky's Thai: it's in one of my favorite neighborhoods, Allegheny West, and looks like a hole in the wall but their food is amazing and the patio has some of the best dining ambiance I've ever experienced.

Describe your ideal day.
It depends on the season ... but since it's summer, I'll stick with that. It definitely starts with enjoying a cup of coffee on my front porch with some sunshine on my face whilst listening to some good tunes ... then maybe a little stroll up to Grandview Park and around the hood to take in the beauty of The Burgh. The afternoon includes brunch/lunch/laughs with my gal pals followed by a bucco game or concert at one of Pittsburgh's many wonderful local music venues. To end my ideal day ... a late night snack and some beers up on the Mahnt.

What is the most memorable live show you have seen in Pittsburgh?
I love seeing outdoor shows at Stage AE...the combination of watching your fav band with the city skyline in the background is just magical to me. If I had to pick one show, it would have to seeing be My Morning Jacket last summer. Jim James loves Pittsburgh and that makes me love him even more. At the end of the show, he just looked out beyond the crowd and his exact words were, "You guys have a little slice of heaven right here." My heart melted.

What do you think Pittsburgh will be like in ten years? I can only see Pittsburgh getting better...the potential of this city is limitless. It's such a special place with some really wonderful folks who genuinely care about making and keeping it beautiful and vibrant. We've got a ways to go, but I think Pittsburgh has a strong foundation built on a combination of history and innovation that makes the past peacefully nostalgic, the present gritty and hip and the future so bright you need to wear shades.

What do you love most about the city?
So many things, many of which I've already mentioned, but I think the thing I love most about Pittsburgh is how it hooks people. I love bringing outsiders in, taking them to all my favorite local hot spots and seeing them fall in love with the city right before my eyes. Let's face it ... taking in the views and enjoying the many assets of the city, eating delicious food and drinking delicious drinks at locally owned spots, seeing great live shows and sporting events ... is so sweet ... but it's even sweeter to sharing everything I love about this marvelous city with others!