September Thoughts

“When the seasons shift, even the subtle beginning, the scent of a promised change, I feel something stir inside me. Hopefulness? Gratitude? Openness? Whatever it is, it’s welcome.”  – Kristin Armstrong   Summer is behind us and autumn officially arrives in two days. We are in a place of transition: sunflowers, chrysanthemums and pumpkins have made their appearance in stores everywhere but window boxes and planters in my neighborhood continue to bloom with summer colors. Deciduous trees are holding on to their green leaves but with hints of umber, russet, and gold. Mornings are decidedly cooler which quickly make…

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Travel Notes: Winterthur Yuletide Tour

If you need inspiration to get into the holiday spirit, a visit to the Winterthur Yuletide Tour will do the trick. Winterthur was the home to Henry Francis du Pont and his family. These days, the 175-room mansion is home to a collection of 90,000 American decorative arts which were made or used since 1640. Winterthur is also 1,000 acres of protected meadows, woodlands, ponds, and waterways. Considered as one of the best in the country, the garden was designed by du Pont himself. The Winterthur Yuletide Tour is an annual event that celebrates the holiday season. You travel…

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Philly: Van Gogh Immersive Experience

My family and I went to the Tower Theater in Upper Darby for the Van Gogh Immersive Experience. When visiting, make sure that you have your proof of COVID vaccination which will be checked before entering the theater. The digital show ran a little over an hour which was long enough for us to appreciate the life and talent of the artist. The composition of music, light, and two-story visual projections told Van Gogh’s story in a simultaneously beautiful and haunting way. For art aficionados, it’s a novel way to experience Van Gogh’s work. For novices, it can serve…

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Philly: A Week in Life

These days, life has been a reassuring march towards “normal”. Remote work recently transitioned to hybrid and it has been great reconnecting with colleagues. To celebrate, we had lunch at Louie Louie in University City which was followed by a quick browse around the store Hello World in its new location right next door to the restaurant on the corner of 38th and Walnut. I continue to take my long walks along the leafy neighborhoods of Center City. It’s heartening to see visitors in and around Independence Hall. Philly favorites like the Reading Terminal Market and Di Bruno Brothers are bustling…

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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.

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When Life Gives You Lemons

Life lately has been a basket full of lemons and so I could not help but think of the proverbial phrase “when life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This saying is meant to encourage us to always look at the bright side of any adversity and to remain optimistic. Lemons are sour and we generally like our lives to be sweet. Making sweet and refreshing lemonade out of sour lemons requires that we recalibrate our perspective and refocus our attention to solutions. When feeling overwhelmed, I rely on another adage, “inch by inch everything is a cinch.” Know the…

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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…

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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…

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Count the ways to be kind

I am taking a break from a work-week that has been stressful. I’m imagining urgent emails that need to be answered and doing my best to resist the urge to take a peek in my mailbox. Instead, I went for a long walk while listening to music before switching to a podcast. It’s spring time and a gorgeous season to be in Philly. I noticed more tourists milling around Independence Hall or standing in line to see the Liberty Bell. Away from the crowd, the colonial garden in  Society Hill was serene except for the cheerful sound of chirping…

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