town topics

LA DOLCE VITA When you organize a fundraiser, you gotta do the legwork. So a decade ago, when Kelly Bareford of Robb Hollow Road and Christine Mains of Oxford Boulevard organized a wine tasting fundraiser for the Mushroom Family Learning Center, their job was to get donations of baked goods. Considering it rude to ask for a donation without buying some items, the ladies, who were home bakers in their own right, started critiquing what they were eating. They soon realized they could do it better than some of the places they had visited.

“The dream was born that we’d like to do this someday,” Bareford says. Now, the pair is preparing to open Life is Sweet at 1105 Bower Hill Road, in the location of the former Cookie Bouquet, sometime in September or October, depending on how long it takes to renovate the building.

Life_is_Sweet_Lemon cakeThe shop will be a bakery specializing in cupcakes and cookies, a candy store and a café, offering breakfast and light lunches. This will be the first time the current crop of kids from Hoover Elementary will have a safe place to walk to grab a bite to eat. Some of the café items will be available as grab-and-go selections, but there also will be seating for 27.

Bareford said they will use Callebaut Belgian chocolate (she attended the company’s chocolate academy in Chicago) and they will serve java from 19 Coffee. Truffles are an interest of hers—think cream fillings and amazing flavors like Key lime. Her friends are already in love with the salted caramels she brings to parties and gives as gifts.

Life_is_Sweet_cupcakesThe shop will also serve as a place to go to set up special events. Life is Sweet does candy tables, dessert buffets and cupcakes for parties, weddings, showers, receptions and Bar Mitzvahs. They are working at finding gluten-free and allergy-free packaged treats that meet their standards too.

The pair credits their baking abilities in part to both being the youngest of four children. They had plenty of time to watch their parents bake and learn the craft for themselves.

Prior to their opening, you can check them out at In the meantime, they will continue to do what they call “market research” and eat in as many local bakeries and sweet shops as they can.

Photos by Katelynn Metz


Lisa Federici, owner of Treasures by Lisa.
Lisa Federici, owner of Treasures by Lisa.

TREASURES BY LISA Everyone knows about spring cleaning, but what about fall cleaning? The chillier temperatures make fall a great time to stay inside and tidy up. If you come across items you no longer want and can’t bring yourself to throw out, take them to Treasures By Lisa, a consignment and resale shop new to Mt. Lebanon.

Lisa Federici, the store’s owner, recently moved her business from Castle Shannon to 302 Castle Shannon Boulevard in Mt. Lebanon to expand to a larger space. Treasures by Lisa consigns and sells new and gently used furniture, as well as accessories; Federici’s store offers something for every room in the house, and outdoor spaces, too.

The new location, once a house, is arranged thematically by room. The front room, for example, features seasonal furniture and decor, while kitchen items are located in the basement. Living and dining room furniture, art, bed and bath decor, Pittsburgh merchandise and miscellaneous items are located in various rooms throughout the store. Treasures by Lisa carries brands such as Ethan Allen, Vera Bradley and All-Clad.

Federici offers free in-home appointments for large consignments as well as pick up and delivery service. For a complete list of acceptable items and the consignment contract visit The store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., Thursdays; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Fridays through Sundays. Call 412-531-2958 or email

Cathy Davin
Cathy Davin

DAVIN ON WASHINGTON Uptown’s sidewalks were a major factor in interior designer Cathy Davin’s decision to move her studio from Upper St. Clair to 671 Washington Road this year. To Davin, sidewalks symbolize togetherness. She says she “loved the sense of community and business” Uptown offers and was drawn to it when looking for a new space. Davin Interiors’ new location provides the business greater visibility and a central location to reach clients throughout Western Pennsylvania.

Davin plans to get involved with Washington Road events. Most recently, Davin Interiors participated in the Walk on Washington. Davin says they “had a great time and got to meet a lot of nice people” during the event. Davin Interiors will be a regular at the First Friday events, too.

Davin Interiors offers a range of design services—from space planning to accessorizing a room. Davin and her team also offer project management services for construction and renovation projects. The studio is open by appointment by calling 412-221-5770.

SICHUAN IN THE SOUTH HILLS John’s Chinese and Sushi Restaurant on North Highland Road promises a new twist in Chinese food. Under new ownership, the space formerly known as Saigon 88 specializes in an increasingly popular cooking style: Sichuan cuisine.

Characterized by its use of spices and herbs, Sichuan food is sometimes thought of as overwhelmingly spicy. Linda Lane resident John Chin, the restaurant’s new owner, comforts the faint of heart by assuring that the spice is tolerable. Chin says he renovated the kitchen and hired two chefs from New York City in order to offer customers “real home-style Sichuan cooking.”

Chin opened his new restaurant in March 2013 after selling his previous one, Osaka in Scott Towne Center. John’s Chinese and Sushi Restaurant is open 11:30 a.m. until 10 p.m., Mondays through Thursdays;  11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 9:30 p.m., Sundays. 412-831-8828.