Philly: A Week in Life

Life lately has been a reassuring march towards “normal”. Remote work transitioned to hybrid in September and its been great reconnecting with colleagues. We recently had lunch at Louie Louie in University City and browsed around the store Hello World in its new location right next door to the restaurant. Philly favorites like the Reading Terminal Market and Di Bruno Brothers are bustling with shoppers. Dillworth Park in City Hall is setting up for the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market. Similarly, across the way at Love Park, preparations are underway for the annual Christmas Village. Autumn colors continue to serve… View Post

Philly: An Autumn Day at Terrain and Longwood Gardens

My husband and I were married on a beautiful autumn day. This year, we celebrated with brunch at Terrain (at Styers), browsed around the store, then headed to Longwood Gardens. Before this, I wanted to drive up north to Vermont and Massachusetts to see the fall foliage it is known for but with family obligations, could not. It was amazing to see Longwood Gardens still cloaked in the magnificent colors of fall and the Conservatory splendid with the display of chrysanthemums. We didn’t have to travel far after all. View Post

Travel Notes: Fusterlandia in Cuba

Memorial Day Weekend is meant for us to take a pause and pay tribute to those who lost their lives in service to our country. It also marks the unofficial start of summer. For many Philadelphians, it is traditionally spent with family and friends enjoying backyard barbecues or relaxing down the Jersey shore. We are however experiencing lots of rain and temperatures that could set a record low for this time of the year. It certainly is looking and feeling like a wet spring day in March or April. I am “escaping” the chill in the air by reminiscing… View Post

Philly: Tourist in my Own City

There were some silver linings this past year. It forced me to slow down and stay close to home. By doing so, I discovered how walkable my city is. With each step, I became even more grateful to live in a section of Philadelphia that is historic and beautiful, especially this time of the year. As I became a tourist in my own city, I started to notice things I would otherwise not see and find meaning in the simple and ordinary. I’ve come to see the cityscape as a giant scrapbook – a mosaic of human creativity and… View Post

Philly: Discovering Graffiti Pier – A Hidden Gem

Not too far from the heart of Center City Philadelphia is a place called Graffiti Pier (also known as Pier 124). For decades, this collection of urban art has been organically growing in relative obscurity. Gritty and off the beaten path, it used to be a landing pier owned by Conrail for ships transporting coal for distribution along the Eastern Seaboard and on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. Abandoned in 1991, the concrete walls and passageways have become the perfect canvases for graffiti artists. You get a sense of how beautiful and special (if illicit) a spot… View Post

Travel Notes: Hotel de Glace (Ice Hotel) in Quebec City

When I was planning my weekend trip to Quebec City, one of the things that I was looking forward to was a new winter experience by visiting the Hotel de Glace. It was a twenty minute ride from Old Quebec and well worth the visit. Every year, Hotel de Glace is recreated entirely from mounds of snow and ice and features some of the most unique lodgings and amenities for winter lovers. Open from January until March, it is an architectural wonder made even more stunning by a playful use of color and light, wonderful ice sculptures and carvings all around. There was much… View Post

Travel Notes: Old Quebec

I spent three days in snowy and freezing Quebec City to see my nephew play in the annual PeeWee Ice Hockey Tournament and to pack in some sightseeing as well.  Winter in Philadelphia has been so mild that I’ve almost “forgotten” what a snowy landscape looks like until my trip to Quebec City. From the Terrasse Dufferin (a large boardwalk with a great view of the lower town) it was mesmerizing to watch big sheets of ice slowly flowing with the water of Saint Lawrence river. A UNESCO World Heritage treasure, Old Quebec is the only fortified city north of Mexico.… View Post

Travel Notes: Amsterdam

When the opportunity to travel to Amsterdam came up, I jumped at the chance even if it meant doing it solo. I flew in at around noon and took a cab from the airport to my hotel in the museum district. Not wasting time, I went about exploring the area after checking into my hotel. The hotel was only steps away from Vondelpark which is the largest and most popular public park in Amsterdam. A few more blocks away was a street lined with high end stores such as Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Chanel, Dior, Prada, etc. Another 2 minute… View Post

Travel Notes: Bar Harbor, Maine

We headed north to Bar Harbor, Maine for this summer’s family road trip.  It was a 10 hour drive from Philadelphia to our rented house in Southwest Harbor.  This small quiet coastal town – also called “the jewel” of Mt. Desert Island – is a working harbor filled with lobstermen and their boats. With temperatures that are usually comfortably cool, it has a long history of serving as a summer retreat for the wealthy and well-known.  The vibe remains understated however with white painted farmhouses, beach roses, and shops featuring arts, crafts and anything blueberry which is the state fruit of Maine. … View Post