6 Habits of a Coffee Lover

Tuesday, March 31, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | 2 Comments

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

You measure coffee in pots, not cups. A Keurig is not economically practical for your coffee needs and the phrase "single serving" should not be limited to 12 ounces of liquid energy.

Picking your favorite drink is near impossible. In the morning, you may crave iced coffee or an Americano, but by lunchtime and your afternoon pick-me-up a latte may be more of your taste. And coffee with desert is not even a question. There is no better pairing.

Your kitchen counter is cluttered with coffee makers. Traditional, french press, pour over, chemex, kettles you name it you have it and they are proudly lining your kitchen counters. Perhaps you might go so far as to say that they are practical decorative artwork for your kitchen.

You are on a first name basis with baristas. Especially if you study or work from a coffeeshop on a regular basis, you will quickly become familiar (or even friends) with the baristas working around that time. Bonus points if they memorize your drink order or take an extra few moments creating insta-worthy latte art.

An entire cabinet is dedicated to your collection of mugs and travel tumblers. Some collect purses, for some it's shoes, but for you it's mugs. You can't resist. Plus, you need multiple travel mugs on the off-chance you accidentaly leave one at work.

Speaking of mugs, they are a representation of all of the places you have been to. Who needs magnets, t-shirts, pens or throw blankets to remind them of vacations past? You can also justify the purchase since you will use them on a daily basis. Plus, they are a fun conversation starter when you have people over.

If you enjoyed this list, you will love my "What your Starbucks drink says about you" list. (shameless plug)

Friday Favorites: Netflix Queue

Friday, March 27, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | 5 Comments

Friday, March 27, 2015

Once you have finished season three of House of Cards you might be left with a void of what to watch next on Netflix, especially as spring finales are approaching. Here are a few of the movies and TV shows waiting in my Netflix queue.

Magic Beyond Words Lifetime (as they always do) dramatizes the struggle J.K. Rowling went through bringing the wizarding world of Harry Potter to life. Personally, I love Lifetime's dramatizations of real life events (here's to you Tot Mom and Jodi Arias) and I love Harry Potter, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say that I will love this. But I can understand if it's not everyone's cup of butter beer. 

Portlandia The sketch comedy starring Fred Armised and Carrie Brownstein in 99 percent of the roles is sure to make you forget you have spent an entire afternoon or night on the couch. This is a must watch for any SNL fans.

One Day Starring Ann Hathaway and Jim Sturgess, this romantic film follows the lives of a couple each year on the anniversary of the day they met to see where they are, sometimes together and sometimes apart. Most romantic movies spend the majority of the time following a couple as they grow closer together, then there is a major conflict which they must overcome to find each other again. This is the complete opposite, which is refreshing.

Bletchley Circle For fans of all BBC and Masterpiece Classic shows. Set in the 1950s, this show follows a group of women who served in London's wartime code breaking center who must now track down a serial killer.

An Idiot Abroad Samantha recommended this one. It is a travel documentary that follows Karl Pilkington as he visits the New Seven Wonders of the World and focuses on his reactions to cultural indiosyncracies in all of the places he visits. Needless to say, it's super awkward and I love it.

Tiger Eyes This takes me back to middle school when I was in my Judy Blume phase. Also, Willa Holland (aka the troubled younger sister of Marissa Cooper) stars as Davey. It's your standard coming-of-age story that will bring back memories of flying through Here's to You Rachel Robinson, Just as Long as We're Together and Are You There God? It's Me Margaret. 

What's in your Netflix queue?

More Than Just For Selfies

Tuesday, March 24, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| , , | 6 Comments

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Part of packing light means that your phone truly becomes multi-functional. Not only does it continue to be your lifeline to friends and family, but it's also your boarding pass, in-flight entertainment, camera, map, translator and guide to the best restaurants in town. Since your phone is an extension of you, it's important to carry a portable charger in the likely event that the battery dies in the middle of the day when you are nowhere near an electrical outlet.

Tripomatic I just discovered Tripomatic last week, but I know that it's going to be crucial for creating itineraries for European vacations. Not only does it have city maps (unfortunately, to gain offline access, you have to pay), but it also contains a list of all of the most popular attractions that you can add to your itinerary and then switch around based on proximity to each other. They also have a whole slew of guided tours and activities that you can add to your trip if you would like a little bit more context and explanation about what you are looking at. After taking two coach day tours in Scotland and Ireland, I highly recommend them as a way to see and learn a lot without having to do a lot of planning.

TripIt TripIt is a must have for all vacations, whether domestic or abroad. As you receive confirmation emails for flights, hotels, attractions, rental cars, etc. forward them to TripIt to keep them all in one place. Although I'm still one of those people who will keep a paper copy of reservations in a folder, it's nice to know that I'll only have to dig through a mountain of paperwork as a last resort.

Rick Steves Audio Europe Too cheap to pay for a city walking or bus tour? Say what you will about Rick Steves, but he has provided free offline walking tours of all of Europe's major cities that last between 1-2 hours. I haven't listened through any yet, but I can't imagine that it could be any worse than aimlessly wandering around admiring the architecture or people watching and that's it.

Google Flights Although not a downloadable app, I'm such a fan of searching flights on Google rather than Kayak. The interface is much more clean and uncluttered. The fastest and cheapest flights are grouped at the top of the list depending on what matters most to you. It is also easy to compare prices month to month if you are extremely about your dates of travel. Plus, once you have selected an itinerary, you can save it to track the price as well as email it to friends and family so you can all rest easy knowing you are all booking the same flight.

CityMaps2Go Paper maps are a thing of the past. Download the maps you will need before you depart and have offline access. It's a game changer. 

Duolingo I like the repetitive nature of Duolingo and how it turns language learning into a game and combines writing, listening and speaking the language to get a better feel for it. Don't expect to become fluent through this system, but you will be able to navigate the street, and most importantly a menu, by the time you are halfway through. 


Saturday, March 21, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | 3 Comments

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Is it just me, or does 2015 feel like it breezing by quicker than usual? It is the first weekend of spring, and before I know it I will be exploring the Bavarian Alps. As a dreamer and an over-planner, I tend to have a problem with living in the moment and enjoying life as it comes. Anyone else suffer from this? Any helpful suggestions? 

According to this article, your two most productive hours of the day could be the two after you first wake up, which most of us spend checking email or catching up on the news/Twitter.

Eight common sleep myths that can affect your slumber. College taught me that you cannot in fact make up a week's worth of lost sleep on the weekend.

I've wanted to visit Kiawah Island, SC since the HGTV Dream Home was there several years ago. Natalie has a complete guide of where to stay, what to do, where to eat, and most importantly how to get to the remote barrier island. I was loving the post until I saw the up close and personal photo of a gator and then rethought the trip (gators are something I want to get away from in Florida).

If I ever visit Amsterdam, I would want to time the trip with the annual tulip festival. The combination of walking through thousands of blooming flowers with a waffle or strawberries and cream in hand has my name written all over it.

Although I don't have a studio, I can relate to all of these reasons to love living in a small space. It's safe to say that no matter how large your home is, you will find a way to fill it and will always complain about not having enough storage. Having a smaller space forces you to to constantly clean out closets and rethink purchases before you buy them.

It's no secret that I think doxies are the best dog breed by far. And I believe that Dixie should have made this list of cutest doxies, along with Noodle in the City (which is probably my favorite Instagram account to be honest.)

High school and college was spent watching (and rewatching again and again) Laguna Beach and The Hills. The scripted reality show still left me with lot of important questions that must be answered. Like did Spencer have the landlord's permission to paint the graffiti mural on the wall? And how many coats of paint did it take Heidi to paint over it?

Tourist in Your Hometown: St. John's, Newfoundland

Wednesday, March 18, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | 1 Comment

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Hi there! We’re Elizabeth and Luke and we blog about our weekend adventures and travels over at Something Saturdays. The premise behind Something Saturdays is to make the most of our weekends by doing something new every Saturday, whether that means exploring things in our local area or travelling abroad. We met while we were both working in the Netherlands, but Elizabeth is from St. John’s, Newfoundland, where we currently live, and Luke is originally from Bath, UK. We have lived together in St. John’s for two years now, and during that time we have done our fair share of exploring, attending festivals and community events, learning new skills, and trying out new things.

St. John’s is the largest city on the island of Newfoundland and is located on the east coast. When you visit St. John’s, you should first head over to Signal Hill, Cape Spear (the most easterly point in North America!), and The Rooms for great views and to get your bearings. 

It is worth wandering around the downtown area among the houses of Jellybean Row and take in a Foodie Tour to get exposure to local history and cuisine.

Quidi Vidi is a small, picturesque fishing village within the boundaries of the city that is worth visiting, and don't forget to go to the street with the most pubs and bars per capita of any street in North America, George Street. While you’re on George Street, don’t forget to get Screeched in! It's a "ceremony" to become an Honorary Newfoundlander and is a must-do for anyone visiting the island. There's nothing wrong with doing a shot of Screech, kissing a cod, and repeating some Newfie words you don't understand, right? 

There are many trails around the province that take hikers along the rugged shoreline, with the 265 km East Coast Trail being the longest. The ECT is broken into sections, with the La Manche Village Path, Stiles Cove Path, and the Sugarloaf Path being some of our favourites that are close to the city. The Skirwink Trail is another trail not to be missed and is located along the cliffs near Trinity, and Gros Morne offers a host of hiking trails on the west coast of Newfoundland. 

Newfoundland isn't overly developed, meaning that there is lots of room for wildlife. Whale watching is common in the spring/summer and you can usually also sea kayak in the same areas. The whale watching tours in Bay Bulls also take you to the Witless Bay Ecological Reserve which is home to North America's largest Atlantic Puffin colony, among other sea birds. On the island of Newfoundland itself, there are more moose than people and it isn't uncommon to come across them when you're driving along the highway.

Interested in seeing icebergs? There's no guarantee you'll see an iceberg on your visit to Newfoundland, but the best time of year is late spring or early summer (May/June). Last year was a great year for them and we managed to see quite a few. If you want to see them, you'll probably have to get out of St. John's (although we had some huge ones just outside of St. John's harbour last year), with Twillingate being a top spot for iceberg-viewing. The best way to find out where the icebergs are at any given time is on Iceberg Finder. It is incredibly useful!

Follow along our with our Newfoundland adventures on Bloglovin, Twitter, and Trover.

We’re also planning a couple of international trips in the next two months to Mexico and Ireland, so stay tuned!

Meet Anna from Rich as Kings

Tuesday, March 17, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog.

Hi! I'm Anna, a newlywed, native Coloradoan currently planted in Philadelphia. My husband and I love exploring the incredible food scene in this city and the lifestyle that an urban setting provides! I'm also the girl behind the lifestyle blog Rich as Kings, where I write about what I'm learning about being truly rich and living gratefully. Over there, I focus on the wealth found in good food, good perspective, & good taste. 

As a fellow foodie, are there any recipes that you keep stashed in your back pocket to fix quickly for dinner or unexpected guests?

Food is the one thing I could talk about forever--my friends make fun of how often I bring it up! For busy weeknights, I love to have my homemade enchilada sauce on hand for jazzing up chicken or the makings of a quick soup (like my butternut squash - or - chili!). We're brunch lovers on the weekends, so there's always good-quality bacon in the fridge and the basics for huevos in the pantry.

I love this post about how you landed your job! What advice do you have for upcoming grads on the job hunt?

Thank you! Gosh, my job hunt was such a rollercoaster. My absolute, number one, without-a-doubt piece of advice is to be confident. If confidence doesn't come naturally to you, practice it. Practice in front of the mirror, in front of your mom, your cat--whatever. But practice it until you truly feel it, because your interviewers will feel it too. My other advice is to treat your job hunt as a job. Take it seriously and pour your best energy into it. After your twentieth resume and cover letter revision, it's easy to become complacent. Do your best to select your applications carefully--quality over quantity is far more likely to get you noticed and into an interview.

How do you take your tea/coffee/latte?

My morning coffee is never sweetened, always creamy (I prefer whole or almond milk), my afternoon espresso is a double, and my evening tea is plain and minty.

If you could have lunch with one person, who would it be and why?

Am I allowed to say my mom? My mom is amazing. And as much as I love Philadelphia, I've still got a Colorado-shaped hole in my heart that always aches a little bit for her kitchen with the view of the mountains. To sit down over afternoon coffee and one of her famous sandwiches this afternoon would fill my heart right up.

Mood Board: Spring

Monday, March 16, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 6 Comments

Monday, March 16, 2015

Spring has arrived! (even if according to the calendar, there are still a few more days of "winter", but that is neither here nor there.) And with the warmer temperatures, shedding layers of clothing, opting for sandals as my only footwear, and drinking an endless supply of passion tea lemondades, my mind always returns to Paris. 

I mean, April in Paris is so perfect they even wrote a song about it. Boquets of flowers sold at every corner market, a rainbow assortment of Laduree macarons, fields of lavender and colorful cafes are enough to make a girl swoon and book a one-way ticket. 

Whether stateside or abroad, a few of my favorite moments in spring are: 

1. Floral dresses for every day of the week

2. To match said floral dresses, fresh flowers at home

3. Eating breakfast on the patio

4. Beach trips

5. Roadside produce stands and homemade peach ice cream


Saturday, March 14, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | 6 Comments

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spring has arrived in Florida, and with it humidity and pollen in full force. There is not a worse combination than big, frizzy hair and sounding like you have been smoking a pack a day. But the days are long and I can finally hose off my porch and take advantage of it. For those of you in the midwest, I'm sure above-freezing temps are on their way, if they haven't made an appearance yet. 

These tech items for designers and bloggers have me wanting to make a large Amazon order asap. I love handlettering and would love to incorporate it digitally but it's such a complicated process without a wacom tablet or a decent scanner. le sigh. One day though.

The next time I'm in Paris, I'm staying in this Airbnb apartment in Montmartre. Oh the views, and the TWO balconies. It would be would be worth the long trek into town to see the sights to be able to wake up and overlook quaint Parisian rooftops.

And while I'm in Europe, I might as well hop over to my next favorite city, Edinburgh

Sit behind a desk all day? Try these yoga poses you can do at your desk. Don't worry, the strange looks from your cubemates are just because they are stressed because they haven't done desk yoga yet.

Lauren Conrad's new collection for Kohl's has my name written all over it. Give me all of the floral dresses.

Confession time. Making friends after college in a new town is hard. I wish I would have had these tips a year ago. Gone are the days of having a building and class full of instant friends and people to hang out with 24-7.

I personally loved my experience as an only child. I think it made me much more independent and I'm always interested to find out how other people enjoyed growing up without siblings constantly creating chaos. 

Stop what you're doing and watch the Friskee's "Dear Kitten" video series. It is advertising gold. Who can resist cat videos? Cold, heartless people, that's who. 

Airport Survival Kit

Wednesday, March 11, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 6 Comments

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

At some point in your life you will experience a flight delay or cancellation. Be it mother nature or the airlines who constantly overbook flights, you will face hours in an airport terminal left with the task of entertaining yourself for hours on end. 

For the lucky ones, you will catch the next flight of the day and make it to your destination, or will be put up in one of the classy airport hotels. And those of you whose luck has run out, you will put all of your Girl Scout training to good use and fashion a cot out of a bench of seats.

Whether you are spending an extended layover in the terminal or if the Departures board is filled with cancellations, here are a few of my must have items to pass the time. Because we all know they inflate the prices of books, magazines, gum and Advil in the airport because they know you have no where to buy life's necessities. 

Mine includes a lip balm/cuticle salve, phone charger, refillable water bottle, back issues of magazines I've been meaning to read, snacks (luna bars are the best!), a laptop filled with movies and my Starbucks gold card (because if you must pay $5 for a latte, you might as well get rewards for it; or better yet, save your free drink for when you are in the airport!)

And if you tire of people watching, here are 101 things to do to fill your time. Some of them are pretty hilarious and only for those with an adventurous spirit. 

Tourist in Your Hometown: NYC

Tuesday, March 10, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | Be the first to comment!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Hi everyone! This is Jackie from York Avenue and I'm thrilled to be here on Jess's blog today, sharing  some of the places that I love in my current hometown of NYC. Ever since moving here almost five years ago, I've had a blast searching out restaurants, shops, and things to do, while documenting my favorites on my blog. I feel so lucky to live in New York City because it seems I could live here for my whole life and never be bored. There are always new places to discover and tons of things to do, even if it's something as simple as taking a stroll in Central Park or trying a new bakery. While I would love to travel to various places in the future, like Paris, London, or Italy, I have a hard time working up the motivation to plan trips because I'm so content to just explore NYC! Here are some of the places that keep me enjoying my city:

The West Village is one of my favorite neighborhoods in New York City. I live on the Upper East Side, and while I wouldn't trade that for anything, I love getting the chance to go downtown on the weekends and explore. The West Village has a charm and character all its own, and is also home to some of my favorite bookstores, restaurants, and sweet shops.

Speaking of bookstores, the Strand inside the Club Monaco flagship on Fifth Avenue is always a favorite spot to pop into. The little shop-in-shop has a wonderfully curated selection and decor that makes me want to move right in! 

Also inside the Club Monaco flagship on Fifth Avenue is Toby's Estate Flatiron, one of my favorite coffee shops in the city. They have great lattes, gorgeous decor, and they also stock Doughnut Plant doughnuts (another NYC favorite!). You can see my full post on Toby's Flatiron here

Another New York City favorite is, of course, Central Park. However, my very favorite place in the Park is the lesser populated Conservatory Garden, all the way uptown. This is the only "quiet zone" in the Park and is truly a peaceful, serene, and beautiful place to walk around, in all seasons. You can see my full post on the Conservatory Garden here

I'm a total sucker for a bright and colorful candy shop, and NYC keeps me well-supplied in that area! Sockerbit's bright and happy Swedish candies are always a delicious little Scandanavian treat, and I can't help but stop in whenever I find myself in the West Village! 

New York City never gets boring because you just never know what new shop is going to open. Case in point: Stick With Me Sweets, a new chocolate shop downtown which really just blew me out of the water. The bonbons are little works of art which are hand-crafted out of the finest quality ingredients. They're truly some of the most delicious chocolates that I've ever had the pleasure of tasting. See my full post on this amazing shop here

Last but not least, you just really can't beat springtime in New York City! I'm certainly looking forward to it after surviving this extra brutal winter that we're in the midst of currently. 

Thank you so much to Jess for having me today! For more NYC favorites be sure to check out my blog, York Avenue, where I'm always sharing my newest finds and favorites. Have a great week!

all photos by Jacqueline Clair

What Motivates You?

Thursday, March 5, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 4 Comments

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Whether in work or in your personal life, the feeling of listlessness and lack of motivation can spiral out of control. It can quickly turn into a "everything is meaningless" mentality and a pity party of one. Perhaps you are striving for goals or a promotion at work. Perhaps you hold each other accountable to live healthier or they are a constant reminder to look for ways to give back and have an outward focus. What motivates your decisions?

Competition With Others 

Using friends and coworkers as a benchmark to continue pushing yourself to become better can be both good and bad. On one hand, you can constantly use each other to strive to make improvements, whether it's professionally or personally. However, there is a fine line when competition can quickly turn into jealousy. Perhaps in your mind, they have the perfect wardrobe, home, job and all around life in general. It's important to recognize that we all have our own strengths and just because someone else excels in one area, doesn't necessarily make them better.

Personal Goals/Competition With Yourself

Like a runner, you may work best competing against your personal bests and continue to raise the bar to continue improving. Typically this is a byproduct of incredible determination and inner drive. Setting your own goals allows you to work at your own pace depending on if you are a slow and steady person, or know that you are ready to kick it into high gear.


Never underestimate the power money and being able to pay rent has. Working solely for a paycheck will quickly lead to burnout. If you find yourself in a job that you feel doesn't make use of your talents and abilities, find a hobby or activity outside of work you truly enjoy.

Making a difference

For many, simply having a job is not enough. I am always drawn to companies that make social responsibility a part of their business plan. Becoming involved with a charity or organization is the best way to take a step back, gain perspective and to avoid becoming wrapped up involved in our own problems and struggles. Knowing that you helped make someone else's life just a little better brings fulfillment. 

Summer from Coffee With Summer

Follow along:: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

A little about myself:
Hi there, I'm Summer and I blog over at Coffee With Summer! I'm a twenty-something INFP who loves God, people and coffee. I was brought up in Webster, Massachusetts but right now I'm currently residing in a town outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I am engaged to the most wonderful and loving man in the world, and we'll become husband and wife this June. One of my deepest passions is authenticity. Coffee With Summer is a lifestyle blog focused around living an authentic and transparent lifestyle, while encouraging others to join along.

Favorite ways to spend a snow day:

My favorite way to spend a snow day is to stay indoors and sip some fresh coffee made from my Chemex, while cuddling with my darling fiancĂ© and catching up on our favorite shows. Snow days are also the perfect days to be productive and to buckle down and get things down, whether it be blogging, editing or for now, wedding planning. Even though I'm from New England, I am not a snow person one bit. 

Have I read any good books recently:

To be honest, I am not a reader at all. I have never found much enjoyment from it, plus the pages always felt funny on my fingers (weird, I know). With that being said, I am more of an article/blog reader. Whereas someone could spend all day curled up with a book, I could spend all day reading articles and stretching myself that way. This past Christmas I received the book "365 Blog Topic Ideas: For the Lifestyle Blogger Who Has Nothing to Write About," by Dana Fox. This book has led me to some great ideas when I become crippled by writer's block. This book is a must for lifestyle bloggers!

Cleaning/decluttering tips:

This spring I want to clean out my closet and donate what I don't wear. Every time I go through my closet I end up keeping items that I think I'll wear someday and then I never actually wear it…ever. So, my advice to everyone is to clean out your closet FOR REAL this spring. Donate to a local homeless shelter, Goodwill or another thrift store in your area.

2015 Reading List Part 2

Wednesday, March 4, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| , | 5 Comments

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

My goal to read at least 24 books this year is off to a smooth start, although my list of must-reads is growing faster than I can read them. But such is life. 

The Opposite of Loneliness - I wrote a full review of this book because it is just that good. I highly recommend the collection of short stories for everyone to read. Marina writes with a fresh style that feels like you are listening to your best friend, one who is much wiser than you and can more eloquently describe the situations you are going through. 

Let's Pretend This Never Happened - This is a complete 180 from The Opposite of Loneliness. Another memoir/collection of short stories of sorts that chronicles all of the painfully and hilariously funny awkward moments that make up Jenny Lawson's life. You will laugh so much while reading this that it will give you an ab workout as an added bonus (true story). I thought that I was an awkward person, but reading about Jenny's life made me feel a lot better about myself. Also, you have to read the book to understand why there is a mouse dressed as Hamlet on the cover. 

The Group - Truth be told, I wasn't a fan of this book. It follows the lives of a group of college friends in the 1930s as they navigate life after college as they enter marriage and motherhood. It was difficult to keep up with all of the storilines because each character has their own nickname and I kept getting confused about who is who.

The Lowland - This is the story of two brothers who are inseparable in childhood, but who follow two drastically different paths in life. Lahiri is an expert at crafting vivid, real characters who are three dimensional, including the secondary characters. Family dynamics are never simple and Lahiri flawlessly depicts the relationships of parents, children, in-laws, siblings and the differences between India and America.

What are you reading right now?

Tourist in Your Hometown: Philadelphia

Tuesday, March 3, 2015 | Stamp in My Passport| | 3 Comments

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

This week Kendall is sharing about life in the City of Brotherly Love. After reading her recommendations, I now know there is much more to Philadelphia than the liberty bell or a boxing legend. Plus, there is a Rodin museum, which I think is worth a trip in itself since a plane ticket to Paris might be seen as a little extreme.

Hello! I'm Kendall and I write about personal style, travel, and everything in between over at buttons and blossoms. I'm so happy to be here on Stamp in My Passport to share some great places in one of my favorite cities: Philadelphia. I am a born and bred Jersey girl but I've always been in love with the big city. My hometown is smack dab between two major northeast cities: New York City and Philadelphia. I grew up taking the train to New York City to the north but didn't really appreciate Philly to my south until I met my fiance. He grew up in the city before moving to the suburbs but his big family still lives in many of the diverse neighborhoods. We fell in love exploring this city of history and fell in love here. Now there's rarely a weekend that passes by without us heading in to one of our favorite spots. If you know anything about Philadelphia, it's probably either it's status as one of America's most historic cities or home to Rocky. Yes, you can run up "the Rocky steps" at Philly's world famous art museum and pose with the statue at the bottom. You can also see the liberty bell up close or stand in the place where the founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence. But there is so much more to Philadelphia than what you read in history books or see in the movies. 
Philly in Photos IMG_03762 Philly's neighborhoods: Like most major cities, Philadelphia is made up of many different neighborhoods and each has it's own unique flavor. Most tourists spend their time in Old City, where the historic sites are, and Center City, where there's lots of restaurants and shopping. But Philly is the fifth largest city based on population and those people are spread out all over the city. One of my favorite neighborhoods to take a stroll through is Society Hill. This neighborhood is made up of tree-lined streets, brick rowhomes, and hidden cobblestone alleys; it's the real history of Philadelphia. My engagement photos were even taken there! Another neighborhood worth exploring is South Philly. Philly doesn't need a dedicated "Little Italy" because Italian food is a way of life here. You can find great Italian food all over the city but South Philly is where it's most authentic. The Italian Market on Ninth Street is a great place to wander and find great food products, especially cheese. My favorite South Philly spot is Termini Brothers Bakery on 8th and 15th. There are many great Italian bakeries peddling cannolis and amaretti cookies but if you go at just the right time there will be a small string band of Italian grandpas and uncles playing in the corner and you can get your cannolis filled on the spot.
  day in philly's museumsRodin Museum: Philly isn't known for it's museums like New York or L.A. but the city's museums are top-notch. If you have kids, there's the Please Touch Museum where kids use their imagination in a "supermarket" complete with a checkout line. Love science? You need to climb through the giant heart at the Franklin Institute (yes, adults are allowed to). But one of my favorite museums that's pretty hidden is the Rodin Museum. This museum dedicated to the work of the French sculptor Auguste Rodin and features his most amazing work, the Gates of Hell, which took him almost 40 years to complete. The museum itself is a gorgeous piece of architecture with gardens that you can enjoy even now in the dead of winter.
  IMG_3734Eastern State Penitentiary: Ever wanted to go to prison without committing a crime? Then Philly's the place for you. Philadelphia is home to the Eastern State Penitentiary, a former prison in the middle of the city that was home to Al Capone for eight months. Depending on when you go it can be eerily quiet and calm and a great place to take creepy pictures. If you happen to be visiting around Halloween, you can get scared one night at their Terror Behind the Walls program. I prefer to watch the screaming line outside the prison walls while having a drink at the bars across the street.
  IMG_4209Victory Brewery's bar Grab a drink: My love of craft beer emerged from the great beer scene here in Philadelphia. Even if you're not really into beer, taking a brewery tour (or two) is a fun way to spend the day in the city. You'll meet people who are passionate about beer and many times there is a great story behind the brewery location. My personal favorites are Philadelphia Brewing Company, Yards, and Victory (which is just outside of the city in Downingtown). Even having lived near and played in Philadelphia for so many years, I'm still finding new things to do every weekend. Have you ever visited Philly?