Our city is filled with tons of beautiful little gems that frequently make me stop, appreciate, and then typically snap an Instagram photo or two. On top of all of the gorgeous Rittenhouse or Society Hill apartments, there are some places that I look at say: okay, yes, I could “live” here. I could wake up everyday with a smile on my face if I was surrounded with this much beauty. So I wanted to highlight some of these gorgeous little structures for you, and remind you of how pretty our city really is!
Let’s face it: we’re all busy. Sometimes, getting in those quick get-togethers with friends can be hard, because meeting up at most places in the city can turn into quite an event. While coffee is usually a perfect half hour, 45 minute catch up idea, for those who work a day-time job outside the city (me), there are simply not enough acceptable hours to drink java in the day. In order to help all of us get in a few more casual meet ups with our pals, I’m sharing my five go-to Center City catch up spots (plus a few extra, if you read til the end!).
Okay, let’s start with the very, very obvious: I don’t run. Sports were a very big part of my life growing up, and despite all of the things I did love about them, I also had nightmares about pre-season soccer and lacrosse, mostly centered around the impending doom of our timed long-distance runs. The equipment back then was not the best either, luckily now, teams are able to get good quality sports equipment like lacrosse sticks and baseball bats.
That being said, Philadelphia is a running city. My friends are a nice little active bunch, and those non-runners in our group (it is getting smaller and smaller each race!) typically get out the door nice and early to cheer our crew on along the course. So after many races viewed and one big one on the horizon (aka tomorrow), I thought I would offer some of my top tips for navigating the race watching scene. 🙂
Like I said in my Philly Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, I’ve never really gotten worked up over the big V-Day. What I do get worked up about is taking the time to appreciate yourself – your body, your mind, your friends, and your blessings. So this past Valentine’s Day (excuse the 30+ days it took me to get this post up), I celebrated by treating myself. I’m not going to lie, at one point I even thought about presenting myself with my own personalized gift, (Personalisiertes Geschenk) as who doesn’t want socks that have their own face on? At least it would’ve been unique. Unfortunately, I decided not to follow through with this thought and treated myself in other ways instead. Although among all the personalized gifts I came across during my search, the Spotify Glass plaque (or Spotify Verre Plaque if you’re french) did pique my interest for a moment. However, I went for something else, and the result was pretty much a Philly dream day for me, and I hope by sharing, I can encourage all of you to take the time to treat yourselves, too.
I’ve lived in my current apartment for almost three years, and it’s time to purge. I have been feeling super claustrophobic lately – I just have too many things for my space. It’s not that I’m a hoarder, I just . . . like to decorate. I think I was a bit naive when I bought my first apartment, as I thought that it would have already been furnished and that all I had to do was move in. Obviously, this wasn’t the case so I had to make sure that I didn’t think the same thing twice. When the time came for me to look for a new apartment, I really loved some of the ones as shown on Space Stations website and even admired their chosen decoration so I decided to go for a similar vibe when I decorated it the first time around. But now I just feel a bit claustrophobic within my space. So, to help me get a reality check and share this winter cleaning bug, I decided to bring back an old series I know many of you loved – small city living spaces pinspiration!
My under the bed organization could seriously use some improvement. It’s actually such a hassle getting out my storage bins that I pretty much avoid it at all costs. I love that this bed is high enough to store a lot and still gives you access from the outside.Continue Reading…
Do you know what’s the worst? It’s the worst when you drive past the parking spot approximately five blocks from your apartment and decide, OK, I am not going to be selfish tonight (even though it’s 20 degrees out) I will take you, spot. Because it’s winter in Philadelphia, and the pickens SURE ARE SLIM. But then, on your walk home with freezing ankles because your sweater only looked good with booties and your jeans rolled up today (even though it’s 20 degrees out), you spot not one, not two, but three parking spots closer and better and warmer. And you slam your fist down in anger and curse under your breath as you hurry home.
As long as I’ve lived in Philadelphia, I’ve worked not in Philadelphia, and situations like the above are some of my daily struggles. Whenever I tell people where I live, truly, one of their first responses is – oh, parking must be tough there. Well folks, it sure is. When my commute was ~an hour, some evenings, upon returning to this little city, I would look for over an hour for a parking spot. This includes metered parking and permit parking, and some nights, I cried. Yep. I said it. Tears. You could always go to one of the parking lot paving companies and get someone to make some parking at your home if you can, but that isn’t an option for everyone sadly.
You know I like to keep this blog positive, but I’ve just about had it, and I need to let this out. Stay with me, now, and learn a little bit about the world of a reverse commuter.
I talk about hair a fair amount on this blog, and that’s really because there are so many amazing options in the city. I went to the same hairdresser from middle school through college, and when she and I both moved away, it was harder to find my new “place” than I imagined. There is, however, one Philly salon that I have visited a record number of times (three), so, it’s safe to say things are getting pretty serious. 😉
Andre Richard Salon (1218 Locust Street) is that place. The salon itself is adorable, with the sun constantly shining in the pretty interior, filled with super talented stylists. I really love how Andre Richard is so “about” Philly. The salon is constantly hosting events, running promotions, posting on social media, and interacting with the community. You can book online, which I need in my life, and their pricing is all really clearly broken down on their website, something I can appreciate in this semi-expensive city we live in.Continue Reading…
Driving is not my favorite thing. In fact, I hate it. So as you can imagine, any chance of me driving for a living was simply out of the question. My friend on the other hand loves it and has become a delivery driver because he enjoys it that much. He drives what I would call a really big truck, and whilst I worry that he may be involved in an accident, he has reassured me that his company has incorporated the best fleet management system into their vehicles that can help them to change their behavior, as well as preventing any chance of a collision. This is amazing to hear. But it still doesn’t change my own personal feelings toward driving – at least everyone else will be safe though. For a few years there, cars and I did not get along very well. I, luckily, have finally landed on a reliable car that I like, but it is pretty standard (and white, which the dents and dings in this city have not been very forgiving of). I have wanted to try an SUV to be higher off the ground (and over those potholes), but I thought getting one while living in a neighborhood that requires parallel parking would be crazy.
Earlier this year, I was invited to hang out with my friends from Buick at the Philadelphia Auto Show. I had mentioned my instant admiration for the Buick Encore, so I was super excited when Buick offered to let me drive one for a week as part of their Drive the District program. I am not, nor do I claim to be, a car expert of any kind. I mean, I’m actually pretty much the opposite. While I don’t know about all of the in’s and out’s of what makes one car better than the other . . . I do know what things really stood out to me while driving the Encore. And if car features can get me excited, then I think it’s worth sharing with you.
I always loved to read growing up. I used to race through novels, falling in love with the stories and their characters one by one. It allowed me to transform myself into a completely different world, as well as being able to let my imagination run wild. As a child, there was nothing better. My love for books was that great, that at one point in time, I even considered becoming an author myself. I definitely had enough inspiration to go off. I’m going to be honest and say that I would’ve needed to look for freelance editors near me to ensure that I was doing everything right and my copies made sense. It’s always good to get a second opinion. And it was all through my love of reading books through my childhood that made me dream that this was possible. But when I got to college, reading for pleasure sadly fell off my plate, and it’s been worse since graduation. With almost an hour commute each way to my job and lots of post-work commitments, I struggled to find the time to give myself the pleasure of reading again. Similarly to my movie problem, there were so many best-sellers I was dying to read and needed to find a way to read them on my own time.
Despite thinking audio books were super nerdy and definitely not “real” reading, I signed up for Audible in November. Audible is an Amazon company that offers a monthly membership for $14.95. That $14.95 gets you one credit per month, which you can use to buy any book on the site. They frequently run 2-for-1 sales and other promotions, so you end up getting plenty of options for your monthly fee. To listen to my books, I play them in my car connected to my Bluetooth and I’m good to go.
One of my favorite things about searching for new books on the site is finding a great narrator. While (most of) the stories are great on their own, having a bad narrator can really make or break a book for me. The recommendation engine on the site is pretty good at suggesting new books and you can add things you’re not yet ready to buy to a Wish List. But, in case you wanted a few of my favorite “reads” to start you off, I’ve got a list:
5. The Great Gatsby (4 hours, 49 minutes): An obvious classic, but it’s narrated by Jake Gyllenhaal, whose words could literally lift me right into the most pleasant of dreams. (Drivers: be prepared)
4. Eat, Pray, Love (12 hours, 52 minutes): This book was a little much for me at times, but it is narrated by the author, Liz Gilbert, and I think it’s a good read for any young, independent woman.
3. The Silver Linings Playbook (7 hours, 22 minutes): The Philadelphia references are so plentiful and so equally amazing, and I adored hearing the story from Pat’s point of view.
2. Water For Elephants (11 hours, 26 minutes): I was nervous going into this one, but it is beautifully written and the narration from both Jacob at 23 and Jacob at 90 (or 93) is really unique.
1. The Book Thief (13 hours, 56 minutes): Behold, the story that will stay with me forever. The most gorgeous piece of writing I’ve heard in awhile, and Death (the narrator) is a true treat. Also, there were tears. (Drivers: be prepared)
Now, I need some new book recommendations. Any favorites I should be adding to my Wish List? Enjoy your week, ladies. xx
My initial thought when I first heard of “threading” (and saw it in the middle of the mall) was: what. is. this. sorcery? Being of Italian descent, I have been getting waxed since high school and truly do not feel my face is looking its best unless my brows are in pristine condition. I never thought I would give threading a try until I moved to Philly and heard of this fun little salon . . .
Anjuthreads (1126 Walnut Street) is a threading salon that opened in 2008. The team moved to their gorgeous (and spotless) Walnut Street location in 2010 and have been threading away ever since! The salon offers several services, for both men and women, but their standard eyebrow threading price is $13. Anju and her team invited me in to try some of their services and I was excited/nervous to finally give threading a try!
Threading is different from other hair removal techniques, mainly because it is safer. Unlike waxing, it is very natural and does not damage the skin, and, unlike tweezing, threading can create perfectly arched lines in a few minutes. The threader removes the hairs by trapping them in the thread and pulling them out from the root. If this sounds scary, don’t worry, I have some tips to make your first time simple.To start: Just like any hair removal, the first time will hurt. My eyes were watering, big time. While the Anjuthreads studio is a beautiful and serene space, threading is not meant to be a relaxing process. Men: do you see the things we do for you? Take a deep breath & know it will get easier over time, just like waxing has become for me (but not tweezing – tweezing never, ever gets any less painful).
If you have sensitive skin, I would recommend not wearing make-up on your trip to the salon. My make-up was all over the place after the threading (think of all that thread rolling over your skin!) and I did slightly break out afterwards. Anju told me this is not common at all (Story of my life: I am constantly the exception to the rule.), but for someone with skin concerns like me, it’s best to let your threader know so they can suggest a stronger toner afterwards. Speaking of, make sure to take advantage of the toner bar – they have some great products!
When a hair is poking through the skin, the thread can grab it. So if you absolutely hate the thought of plucking out all of those baby hairs one by one, Anju & her team can pull them right out in about 5 minutes. Threading lasts two weeks to one month, depending on the client. In addition to the great treatments and beautiful salon space, I really enjoyed meeting Anju and her team. They are all very talented, and Anju is a true small business owner. I was really excited to learn more about why she started her salon and the things she loves about Philadelphia. Stop by Anjuthreads & support a local business – and let me know what you think!
Disclosure: I was provided free threading from Anjuthreads. All opinions are my own.