Ambush February 2013

Yesterday was our 6th Ambush and it was a very special one! When we received an email about Olivia, an inspiring woman who has recently overcome challenging obstacles in her life, we were excited to give her a pampering day of beauty that she’ll remember.  Olivia is a busy mom and is currently trying to re-enter the job market.  Our goal was to give her some extra help in creating a professional look with hair, makeup and clothing.  We were lucky enough to have a $200 gift-card donated from an organization to Lane Bryant in Monroeville Mall, so Olivia could get a few great pieces started in her work wardrobe. We had a great time getting to know this wonderful lady and hope she had just as much fun with us!

A special thank you to Dan Speicher, who volunteered as our Photographer yesterday. He did such an amazing job and we can’t thank him enough for helping us out – we hope to work with you again soon!

I also would like to welcome our new Stylist to the Ambush Team — Colleen Boyle, soon to be Colleen McKeever this October! Colleen is a student at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh where she studies Fashion/Retail Management.  Thanks so much Colleen for all of your help with yesterday’s Ambush, we can’t wait to have you do more with us!

Ms. Olivia when she got to Brooke’s Salon …



Done with hair and feeling good so far …


A few touches to bring out Olivia’s natural beauty …


Hair and makeup completed!


She has such a great smile 🙂


The polka – dot makeover team … Julie Marckisotto & Brooke Rockwell


Next we were off to Lane Bryant in Monroeville Mall to take advantage of that gift-card. Olivia was able to get some great new items for her wardrobe and she looked amazing!




The before and after ~ go knock ’em dead girl!

before after

Ambush September ~ Jenny!

So we are back after our summer hiatus, and thought we’d switch it up a little for this month’s Ambush! We took Jenny, the nominator of our February Ambush, Becky.  We knew Jenny was really wanting a new look and an updated picture to include on her blog…Crossing the Bugger Dixon Line, which is super cute by the way, so check it out! A big thank you to her best friend Becky who was instrumental in helping us coordinate this and also bringing in Jenny’s husband so all ends were covered.  Jenny didn’t suspect a thing and thought she was just meeting us for a little “thank you breakfast” for past nominators.  Little did she know…the whole day was shaped around giving her a day of hair, makeup and shopping! Since Jenny’s birthday was just last Tuesday, Becky donated a $100 Gap Giftcard to the shopping spree…it was an all around great day!

The letter we surprised Jenny with~~

We appreciate you coming to our “thank you breakfast” although; it’s actually YOUR OWN AMBUSH! We’re taking you away for a few hours to give you a well-deserved makeover! And it gets better, after hair and makeup…we are going shopping with your $100 gift-card to the GAP given to you by BFF Becky!  It’s all about you today – we know you’ve wanted this for a long time and we’re going to have so much fun!!

Brooke starting Jenny’s hair transformation…

Now time for a little makeup to bring out Jenny’s natural beauty even more…

After only an hour at the salon 🙂

Next stop…Monroeville Mall for a little post-birthday shopping spree! We found some great pieces for Jenny to add to her wardrobe…

We think Jenny looks so great and had such a blast today! XO

April Ambush!

What an amazing day we had Ambushing our 4th person for a free day of beauty.  Meet Marilyn – we surprised her early this morning at Pamela’s Restaurant in the Strip District where she was enjoying a quiet breakfast with her husband and two children.  With the restaurant pretty packed we had to look around but then spotted Paige waving for us with a big smile on her face.  After introducing ourselves we informed Marilyn that she was nominated for a deserving day of pampering and that she was coming with us after breakfast for a full day of fun!  Needless to say she was a little surprised! Her daughter even said that on the way to Pamela’s she was talking about how much she needed her hair done ~ we couldn’t have planned it better if we tried…LOVE IT.

“I’d like to nominate the most deserving and selfless person in the Steel City: My mom! My mom has been an amazing mother to eight (that’s right eight!!) kids and one grandson for many years! She never does ANYTHING for herself and would SO enjoy getting a make-over. She gave up her career as a special education art teacher after I was born to be a mom! She thought she was done having kids, but six kids later she learned differently! 🙂 In order to give us all the opportunity for private schooling, my mom has taught PRO BONO at a school where she exchanges her teaching gifts for tuition. All eight of us kids are EXTREMELY blessed by her sacrifice.” ~from her daughter, Jaime

The surprise 🙂

Marilyn with one of her EIGHT kids, Paige…she helped us coordinate this and it turned out perfectly, thanks Paige!

Makeover Madness ~

With a complete haircut, color, wax and makeup … we think Marilyn looked great! It was now time to go shopping 🙂

Marilyn was able to get two complete outfits at Target … her kids came together and got her a pre-Mother’s Day gift card for a little shopping spree.

The team of the day (Brooke Rockwell & Julie Marckisotto) with Marilyn ~ Thanks to everyone who made this day go so smooth.  Even the strange man behind the desk at the fitting room – you were memorable!

If you know someone who deserves to be our next AMBUSH PITTSBURGH makeover, please email us.  We can’t do this without you, so keep them coming!

February Ambush!

Yesterday was our 3rd Ambush and I think I can speak for the rest of my team when I say…they are getting so fun and exciting to do!  There’s nothing like completely taking someone off guard at work (especially early morning on a Monday) and telling them they get to leave for the day so they can get a day of pampering.  Even though Becky already looked super cute when we ambushed her, she sounded like a perfect person when her friend Jenny nominated her…everyone needs a special day now and then don’t you think?

“Becky is the classic definition of a Pittsburgh woman. Intelligent, outgoing, sassy, fiercely independent, and BUSY. Becky has been an amazing friend throughout the years. She is always bubbly and up for an adventure. She is so giving of her time to her family and friends, that she doesn’t leave much time to do anything for herself. I would love to see Becky surprised with a day of pampering and fun. I know she is always looking for ways to update her look and style to match the time constraints and demands of being a mom.” ~Jenny Dixon

This is my favorite part of it all … the surprise factor!

Becky with her friend Jenny who nominated her.

Hair & makeup begins…

We were so thrilled that this month ModCloth gave us some select pieces just for Becky! She got to keep her dress, shoes, bag and winter coat.  Becky loves visiting the ModCloth store online so she was super excited when we showed her the goodies 🙂

Some of our favorite shots of Becky working her new look!

 Becky with her mom and Jenny…

A special thank you to Aire Plichta from ModCloth for helping us coordinate this surprise for Becky! Visit their site at for these and so many other great pieces!  Jewelry on Becky is from Stella & Dot (Chantilly Lace Collection),  If you know someone who deserves a makeover please email us at and be sure to include a small letter & photo!

Ambush November

So yesterday was our second Ambush!  With such great success of the first one last month we were hoping the second would go as smoothly…and it did!  With the exception of our fabulous photographer, Kathy Wolfe, being under the weather :(, I tried taking some good pictures as best I could.  I can say…I am better at makeup than photography…but I think you can get the gist of it.  Meet our Ambush-ee Peggy!

“I would love nothing more than to see her feel really good about herself and smile. She really deserves this.  She is one of the hardest workers I know and deserves so much more! She is the best mother to her kids and sacrifices clothes for herself just to keep her kids happy. I have had many conversations with her and I know that this would lift her spirits and show her that there are people who care and recognize all the hard work she does.” ~nominated by her friend and co-worker, Vanessa Marcellino

Peggy with Vanessa at their office where we ambushed her…

  In Brooke’s chair, getting a fresh haircut and color…

 Getting the first glimpse of her hair and makeup all put together!

Back in the Ambush-mobile she goes…off to Kohl’s in Monroeville for a little shopping!

Getting styled by Vanessa in great pieces that Peggy can easily add to her wardrobe…

The finished look! An entire outfit for under $60, she looked and felt amazing!

The Makeover Team… From left to right (Vanessa Joseph, Brooke Rockwell, Peggy our nominee , Julie Marckisotto & Chris Corcoran from Stella & Dot) Chris styled Peggy with some amazing jewelry and also gave her a bracelet as a gift ~ Thank you so much Chris!

If you know someone who would be perfect for our next Ambush, don’t wait to write in and nominate them! We’d love to hear why they deserve a day of pampering.  Email us at

Meet MaryBeth, Our First Ambush!

Finally after planning, reviewing candidates and coordinating schedules…the first Ambush took place yesterday.  What a day it was!  We received the nomination from Janice Stitzel and Joe Scalamogna from Giant Eagle in Monroeville.  The letter about MaryBeth made us realize that she is exactly the type of person we were looking for!  The thing is…I think we all got just as much out of this as MaryBeth.  The look on her face from the beginning till the amazed look on her face after her makeover was absolutely priceless!

…”Ask anyone and they will tell you how giving MaryBeth is.  She has for at least the last 5 years taken care of her mother-in-law and grandmother.  Both passed away last year.  MaryBeth actually took a random customer to their doctors appointments because no one else could help them.  These appointments went on for a year!  Because MaryBeth does so much for others she never takes the time to do things for herself.  No one deserves and needs a makeoever more than her.”

(Click on images to zoom in) Below…she couldn’t believe what was happening…it took some convincing but we finally got her to come with us!

 MaryBeth with her co-worker Janice, who nominated her!

A still shocked MaryBeth in the Ambush-mobile and off to Shadyside for some retail-therapy!

Brooke working her magic on MaryBeth’s locks which were in need of some TLC.

Julie bringing out MaryBeth’s natural beauty with a little makeup!

 THE FINAL RESULTS!!  We all couldn’t believe our eyes.  Within just a few hours, MaryBeth was a new woman!

Below with MaryBeth, The Makeover Team 🙂

 Kathy Wolfe, the amazing photographer who took all of these photos ~  Julie Marckisotto, Makeup Artist ~ Brooke Rockwell, Hairstylist.

Special thanks to the Banana Republic in Shadyside, and our Stylist for the day, Gillen (below) who helped us pick out some new clothes for MaryBeth! Also to Jae Lee Paredes for donating a beautiful pair of earrings for MaryBeth to keep.  This was amazing…an anonymous person from Giant Eagle donated $200 to MaryBeth’s shopping spree…and she was able to keep all of the clothes in the shoot.

A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU to all of the CONTRIBUTORS who have generously donated to Ambush Pittsburgh.  We couldn’t be more thankful and because of you we were able to do this.  If you are interested in donating a discount for a service, product or even your time…please contact us, we would love to have you on board! Also, WANT TO START AN AMBUSH IN YOUR OWN CITY?  Email us at for all of the details and how to get started!

The Creation of Ambush Pittsburgh!

It started with 2 friends at lunch chatting about things they love ~ photography, makeup, makeovers.  It quickly blossomed into so much more.  The idea ~ ambush people in Pittsburgh who are in need of a little pampering!

The Makeover Team:

Makeup Artist: Julie Marckisotto of Pittsburgh Makeup & Creator of Ambush Pittsburgh!

Hair: Brooke Rockwell of Brooke Rockwell Hair Design

Stylist: Reach out to help with this if your a Stylist!

Photographer: We’d love your help with this, please email if your interested!

Visit the ABOUT page to learn more about each of us :).