Kate Stoltzfus, 28, is the inspiration behind Yinzpiration.com, a blog she started to spotlight the young people in Pittsburgh who are doing creative and innovative things. She's doing that by interviewing 100 Pittsburghers in their 20s or 30s to try to dispel the myth that the Steel City is not an amenable place for young people.
This week, she's posted interview No. 59.
Ms. Stoltzfus (pronounced stoltz-foose) grew up in the small town of Goshen, Ind., where she also attended Goshen College. She met her husband, Nik, at college, who came to Pittsburgh first. She joined him here just after graduation in 2005 but also came to participate in PULSE, a program that aims to cultivate a community of young servant leaders to transform Pittsburgh (she's now on the board of directors).
After she arrived, she kept hearing that the young people leave Pittsburgh and that there is nothing to keep them here.
"But then I kept meeting these young people who were doing awesome things," she said. "When I look at Pittsburgh I see so much potential -- so much opportunity. I can't imagine why a young person wouldn't want to start their career here.
"I wanted to show the world that Pittsburgh is a great place for young people."
She and her husband live in Garfield, where they recently purchased a three-story building. Their business, Plumb Media, which creates websites, is on the first floor, a tenant is on the second, and they live on the third. Last October she also launched with friends Carrie Nardini and Emily Levenson a venture called Propelle, which helps women entrepreneurs "take flight" by offering them networking events and workshops. (www.wepropelle.com).
On Yinzpiration, visitors are urged to nominate people she should interview, and she tries to meet with a new person each week.
What happens when she reaches interview No. 100? "I want to have a huge party with the interviewees, readers, supporters and other Pittsburgh lovers to celebrate our city and the amazing people who live here. My goal is to reach 100 interviews by my 30th birthday (a year and one month from now). I definitely want to finish with a bang."
Most mornings I get up ... at 5:30, enjoy breakfast with my husband, and then walk to the Yoga Hive for a class or go on a 2-3-mile run. I like to start my work day with writing a thank-you note.
My perfect weekend: One that includes good friends, good food, sunshine, swimming and lots of hammock time.
I'm surprisingly good ... at making soft pretzels.
My emergency dinner ... consists of half an avocado with hot sauce and a handful of almonds.
On my last vacation ... my husband and I flew into Fort Lauderdale, rented a convertible and drove to visit family in the Florida Keys. I think everyone should drive down highway 1 in their lifetime -- it's a breathtaking experience.
Pet peeve about Pittsburgh: Potholes.
Favorite spot in the 'Burgh: Garfield! We've got a diverse selection of restaurants, shops, music venues and galleries. If you haven't been to an Unblurred (our first Friday event on Penn Avenue), you are missing out on one of the best community events in the city.
My biggest surprise about Pittsburgh ... was how connected people are. I moved here from a small town in Indiana thinking that it would be a challenge to make friends. I was pleasantly surprised when I started running into familiar faces at the grocery store within the first several weeks of living here. I love our community.
Can't live without: Conversation, chamomile tea, massage therapy and dark chocolate.
The best gift I've been given ... I received on my birthday last year. My husband and I were driving through Lawrenceville, and he mentioned he wanted to pick up some coffee at Perk Me Up. We were in a hurry, so I stayed in the car while he went in for the drinks. A few minutes later I looked out my window and he was standing on the sidewalk with a birthday brownie (candle and all). I was smiling for days afterward.
When I'm not at work ... I can often be found exploring one of Pittsburgh's parks, working on building renovations, attending a live show, making food for my weekly food exchange and searching for treasures at local thrift stores.
Someday I'd like to ... host a multi-course dinner party on the roof of our building. The meal would be prepared by one of Pittsburgh's amazing chefs, there would be live music and lots of flowers, and we'd end the evening with fireworks (of course).
Something fun and surprising that has resulted from writing Yinzpiration: In addition to interviews, I send a yinzpiring email every Thursday -- often on the theme of motivation, big-picture thinking and creative ways to enjoy our city. It delights me when readers write (or tweet) me back saying they went on an adventure date, completed an "epic small," or made a vision board after reading about these fun activities. My hope is that these emails will have a ripple effect and that more and more people will begin approaching life in Pittsburgh in a new way.
The accomplishment I'm most proud of ... is running 5.5 miles in the Pittsburgh Marathon Relay.
The best advice I've ever received: True growth happens outside your comfort zone.