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Life is Sweet can brighten up many a dark, dull day

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Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Homemade salted caramels, Oreo bark, mini lemon pound cake and homemade cherry almond granola at Life is Sweet bakery and cafe in Mt. Lebanon.
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Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Homemade Italian Wedding soup and a turkey, Wensleydale cheese, cranberry, spring mix sandwich on ciabatta roll at Life is Sweet bakery and cafe in Mt. Lebanon.
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Jasmine Goldband | Trib Total Media
Chocolate malt, vanilla salted caramel, pumpkin, and cinnamon roll cupcakes at Life is Sweet bakery and cafe in Mt. Lebanon.

A new bakery is making life a little sweeter in the South Hills.

Life is Sweet, on Bower Hill Road in Mt. Lebanon, has been offering up made-from-scratch baked goods and confections as well as lunch selections and coffee since October.

“We really felt this was something this area needed,” says Kelly Bareford, who owns the shop with friend Christine Mains.

Bareford, a former teacher, and Mains, whose background is in business and logistics, have been baking together for years, both having learned from their mothers. They are both the youngest of four and have six children between them. They met years ago when their children were in preschool and started baking at Mains’ home for fun, then taking special orders for events.

The decision to open a business was an ideal merging of their shared creative abilities and Mains’ business background.

“It’s been fun,” Mains says. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s great.”

Favorites among customers are the apple bundt cake, cupcakes and salted caramels. The sweet and salty bars, made of homemade shortbread, caramel and Belgium chocolate also are popular.

Cupcake flavors include everything from standards such as chocolate and vanilla to pumpkin with cream cheese frosting and white Reese’s with peanut butter Italian buttercream. They sell for $2 each, $20 a dozen or $25 a dozen with custom decorations.

Other handmade confections include chocolate-covered Oreos, artisanal truffles, chocolate taffy and caramel popcorn.

Barks also are a big hit and come in flavors like potato chip and caramel and chocolate cashew ($3.75 per ¼ pound). The shop also sells homemade granola ($4 per ½ pound).

Life is Sweet serves 19 Coffee from Washington, Pa.

Some gluten-free offerings are available, although they are not made on-site. The shop sells Hail Mary tarts and Enjoy Life cookies.

Lunch sandwiches cost $6 and include ham, smoked gouda, sliced apple and Dijon on a pretzel roll; turkey, Wensleydale, cranberry and mixed greens on a ciabatta roll; and roast beef with fontina, pesto, Dijon and romaine on a focaccia roll.

A small dining area offers two- and four-top tables. A decor of cool blues and warm taupes creates a comfortable-yet-sleek setting. It’s clear that locals already feel at home in the cozy shop. On a recent morning, there was steady business from patrons of all ages excited about the new spot.

“We’ve had a lot of support,” Bareford says. It’s been great.”

Life is Sweet, 1105 Bower Hill Road, Mt. Lebanon, is open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Details: 412-276-2500 or lifeissweetpgh.com

Rachel Weaver is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7948 or [email protected]bweb.com.

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