Travel

Heading to Philadelphia? Here’s Some Places to Check Out on Your Next Visit

XOXO Philly

The birthplace of independence, home of Rocky, and land of the cheesesteak, Philadelphia truly is one of a kind. Every year, tourists flock to this historic city to immerse themselves in the story of the American Revolution and walk in the footsteps of our forefathers. Living right outside the city of Brotherly Love, one of my favorite things to do is hop on the train and right into the heart of the city. I love exploring the boutiques of Old City, soaking up the sight and sounds of Independence Mall, catching a show on the Avenue of the Arts, and grabbing a bite to eat at the Reading Terminal. While I’m constantly stumbling upon something new every time I’m in town, there are a few places that hold a special place in my heart.

Here’s my top favorite places to shop and eat when I head down to the City of Brotherly Love to add to your must-visit list next you come to Philadelphia.

Smak Parlour, located at 219 Market Street

Girly to the max with a sophisticated rock and roll edge, Smak Parlour is a must-see for any fashionista. Started by best friends Abby and Katie, this bright pink dollhouse-inspired boutique houses an eclectic collection of vintage-inspired tops, pinup-style dresses and deconstructed band tees, as well as a variety of luxe accessories that will a little retro glam into any look. (Their black cherry-printed pinup dress is one of my go-to pieces.) Not only does Smak Parlour have a brick-and-morter location, but they are also taking their style city-wide with their mobile fashion truck. Abby and Katie, along with their fashion-forward and friendly staff, definitely bring some serious style to the city one neighborhood at a time.

Smak Parlour summer

Never Too Spoiled, located at 57 N 3rd Street

With earthy, laid-back vibe, Never Too Spoiled is a little piece of heaven for the bohemian in all of us and one of my favorite places to shop of all time. In addition to being an official carrier of Lokai bracelets, Giving Keys and Loova soaps, they house a collection breezy pieces from lines like A’reve, Blu Pepper and Entro. Their staff is super sweet and always ready to help, whether their starting a fitting room for you or providing recommendations for items to try on or pair with what you’ve already picked out. However, this boutique isn’t just all about shopping. They host workshops and offer an event space that can be rented out for parties and showers. This boho paradise is a testament to the fact that no girl can ever be too spoiled.

Never Too Spoiled

Philadelphia Independents, located at 35 N. 3rd Street

Looking for a unique souvenir to commemorate your trip? Want a cool way to show off some Philly pride? Check out Philadelphia Independents where founders Jennifer Provost, Tiffica Benza and Ashley Peel Pinkham have brought together some of the most talented local artists the city and surrounding areas have to offer. From graphic throw pillows to wire necklaces to wood cutting boards, your guaranteed to find that perfect little something for everyone, while supporting some awesome local artists.

Philadelphia Independents

Meltkraft, located inside the Reading Terminal Market at 12 & Arch street

While Philadelphia may be synonymous with the cheesesteak, Meltkraft is all about another cheesy delicacy: the grilled cheese sandwich. However, this isn’t your average sandwich. Handcrafted with artisan cheeses from their creamery Valley Shepard Farm, they are elevating this comfort food staple with bold flavors. There’s the Valley Thunder that incorporates brisket and mac and cheese, and the Brielle, a mix of brie, cranberry chutney, caramelized onions and nuts. I’m more of a classic girl, so for me it’s all about the Avenue D, a plain and simple sandwich bumped up in flavor with the amazing Valley Shepard cheeses. (For something a little more luxe, you can have cooked with truffle oil.) With a side of regular or dill-flavored kettle chips, this is the perfect place for a quick and filling lunch.

Meltkraft

The Franklin Fountain, located at 116 Market Street

Who among us doesn’t love ice-cream? To get you ice-cream fix, head over to the Franklin Fountain. This vintage-style soda fountain is serving up sundaes, splits, shakes, and old-fashioned ice-cream sodas. Flavors range from the classic, like vanilla and chocolate, to the more exotic, like teaberry and green tea. Whether you get it a cone or one of their Chinese takeout container inspired cups, there is something to satisfy every sweet tooth. Need a recommendation? My personal favorite is the green tea ice-cream with chocolate sprinkles. (It’s amazing. Trust me.)

Franklin Fountain

Got a favorite place in Philadelphia you love to go? Share it below or on the Will Write For Boots Facebook or Twitter pages! 

Get a Daily Dose of Ireland with These Irish Blogs

Ireland 1

If I could choose to live anywhere in the world, Ireland would be right up at the top of the list. I was lucky enough to spend ten days in the Emerald Isle back in 2010 as part of an accelerated study abroad program at my alma mater DeSales University, and I found myself falling head over heels in love with the country of my heritage. I walked streets lined with candy-colored buildings, explored ancient and historical sites, and shared a pint or two with the locals. Never had I experienced a place so peaceful yet vibrant, old yet modern, tragic yet full of of joy, nor had I ever been somewhere that looked exactly like all the pictures I looked at over the years. It was a place that made feel welcome, made me feel at home, and awakened my creativity. It really is true what they say. Ireland truly possesses a magic that is all its own.

While my next adventure in Ireland may be a couple of years off, I can still get a daily dose of the my favorite country in the world with a wide array of Irish bloggers I have discovered over the years. (Thanks Google and Pinterest!) So, if you’re planning a trip or simply dream of going one day, here are a few great Irish lifestyle and beauty blogs you should definitely check out.

From China Village

The Life of Stuff

The Look o’ the Irish

Gingerly Pale

Irish Allure

In an Irish Home

Irish Fashaholic

A Year in Redwood

 

The Ultimate Staycation: 5 Ways to Find Local Summer Fun

(Image: Flickr)

Let’s face it: The sluggish economy has really put a damper on pretty much everyone’s summer plans. However, just because you vacation plans may be curtailed or put on hold, it doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to doing nothing the August. There’s a whole slew of new things to try without going outside of your community. With a little research and some creativity, you make your staycation as exciting as any getaway with a fraction of the budget.

Here are five ways to find some summer fun right in your own backyard without breaking the bank.

1. Check out local events.

This is the time of year a lot communities hold tons of events. From ethnic prides days to weekly weekend fireworks to outdoor concerts, you should easily be able to find at least one event to attend every week. Most schedules can easily be found online, and the best part? Many events are free!

(Image: Flickr)

2. Hit up the neighborhood shops.

Tired of the mall and the same old stores? We suggest paying a visit to local merchants in your area. You’ll find a unique selection of products and often get treated to great individual service. While prices might be a little higher than places at the mall, some stores will offer discounts for locals, lay-a-way plans and other perks that can make merchandise more affordable. Ask your salesperson what benefits are offered. Plus, by supporting small businesses, you’ll be helping to jump-start your local economy.

(Image: Flickr)

3. Try a a new restaurant or coffee house.

We all have our go-to places when we want to grab a bite or get our java fix. After a while though, we get bored with the same old thing. Break out of your dining rut and unleash your inner foodie by trying out a new restaurant or bar in your neighborhood. Worried a place might be a bit too pricey? Check out Groupon and Amazon Local for great vouchers you can purchase. (You pay $20 for a voucher that gets you $50 dollars off your bill for example.) This way, you can really enjoy an appetizer and entree and still be able to get dessert. Yum!

(Image: Flickr)

4. See something at an independent theater.

With ticket prices skyrocketing and concessions costing as much as dinner at a restaurant, the big name movie theater chains are making almost unaffordable to catch a flick. However, you can still satisfy your movie craving by checking out an independent theater. You may not be able to catch summer blockbusters on their first-run, but you’ll be able to see the independent films not shown at the chains or a second-run of a movie you missed. Plus, you’ll score some great deals on tickets if you go on a weekday.

(Image: Flickr)

5. Play tourist.

Sounds cheesy, right? However, most people don’t realize how much there is to see and do where they live. Chances are there’s at least one local attraction like a museum or factory tour you pass a few time a day without even knowing it’s there. If your town has a visitor center, stop in. You’ll be able to find information on things to do and possibly coupons for attractions and restaurants. Don’t forget to take some pictures!

(Image: Flickr)