Monday, October 30, 2006

Birthday Girl About Philly!!!

It's Erin's birthday today so we are all chipping in for her first botox session. JUST KIDDING! This year's gonna be a big one for Erin- the wedding, the wedding shower, the wedding registry, the honeymoon... and maybe some non-wedding related excitement. Whatever happens, we just hope that our "m"-less girl about philly has her biggest and bestest year EVER.

Please send all requests for where to send your cakes to We prefer chocolate. And also vanilla. And carrot cake. And cheesecake is pretty awesome. And also brownies. Or anything with icing. Or just sugar.

Cards like the one above can be bought at O Plus D.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Great Cupcake Showdown

We girls about philly never need an excuse to induldge in a little something sweet, but doing so in the name of research it makes it just that much easier to swallow. Our esteemed editor Megan, a self-proclaimed cupcake-aholic, has proposed a project: the cupcake showdown. And who are we to turn down a challenge? I figure we have a solid 2 months before New Year's resolutions kick in, at which time we'll deal with the muffin tops our cupcake study causes.

So over the next few weeks we'll be giving in to every temptation to bring you the best and worst of Philly's cupcake offerings. While this is a purely subjective study, we do have set criteria upon which each cake will be judged, on a scale of 1-10: 1) Appearance; 2) Cakiness; 3) Icing; 4) Sweetness; 5) Freshness; and 6) Overall flavor combination yumminess. I should also mention that only freshly baked cupcakes will be considered; pre-packaged goods need not apply. Once we've scoured every patisserie, corner bakery, grocery and mini mart from here to Manayunk, we'll crown a Cupcake Queen...and maybe a King.

I'll get things started with a chocolate cake/vanilla buttercream Halloween-inspired creation from the Flying Monkey Patisserie, located in Reading Terminal Market (back by the seating area). I was drawn to this option for its holiday appropriateness, although they did have the same flavors sans orange food coloring for all you cupcake purists. The cake was quite fresh and moist, and there was ample icing which I find to be very important. However the icing was way too buttery...all butter hold the cream, which also made the icing quite slick and not as fluffy as I would have liked. Due to the high butter content in the icing, the cupcake was not super sweet. My fiance chose the vanilla cake/vanilla buttercream, and felt the same way about the icing on his. However he did feel the cake itself was too dry.

Score: Appearance- 9; Cakiness- 8; Icing- 4; Sweetness- 6; Freshness- 7; Overall flavor combination yumminess- 6
Total score- 40

Do you have a cupcake we should rate or a yummy bakery in your neighborhood? Add a comment to this post, or send your suggestions to!

Flying Monkey Patisserie, Reading Terminal Market

12th & Arch Sts., 215.928.0340

The Wheels on the Bus

Ah. The sweet smell of a Greyhound bus. Who doesn’t love a trip that takes twice as long as it should while creepy men take a good gander at your bum while you try to sleep the tedious hours away?

Let’s face it- there’s little that’s fun about taking a Greyhound anywhere. I was forced to take one this past Sunday on my way back from my Mother’s home as it is the only way to get back to Philadelphia from where she lives. I will say one good thing about the bus though: IT IS CHEAP! In the summer, I was faced with getting an Amtrak to New York that would be delayed by two hours because, newsflash, the heat effects the tracks. This is a trip that would cost a minimum of $130 there and back. So along comes the Greyhound with its odd upholstery, that funky bus smell, the pack of crazies, and off you go for a grand total of $24!!! That leaves me around $100 to spend on shoes or sushi or that amazing thing that happens in New York that makes money magically disappear.

So, as long as you face the fact that the sitting on the bus part of the Greyhound trip is going to suck, you will most certainly be glad that once you get off not only are you rid of your travel mates but your wallet is still heavy in your purse.

P.S. Yes, that is me in the picture. Don't you like my jaunty toga-dress thing!

Monday, October 23, 2006

Please Stop Spitting on Me

Spitting. There appears to be no great divider, not by race, age, economic status or religion, among men who spit. Is there anything more disgusting than walking down Broad Street on your way to work, and having to jump out of the way to avoid being spit on as some guy hocks a luggie on the sidewalk?

Why do men have to spit on the street to get from Point A to Point B? How come neither I, nor any of my female friends, have to stop in our tracks to spit? I’m pretty sure that I’m able to swallow any excess saliva in my throat. And I’m forever repulsed that many people cannot do the same. Furthermore, why is it acceptable to do this in the daylight, on a very crowded street, in your suit and tie? Perhaps there is some cowboy fantasy element that comes in to play. Or maybe it’s some kind of marking of territory so everyone knows that you have virtually no regard for those who walk along next to you or behind you? Better yet, what happens when they go home? Do they do this in their homes too? Are there spit buckets in every room or does the urge to spit only come when outside with others?

With the exception of the one week a year, when you may have the flu and some funky stuff going on in your throat, I sincerely request that men please stop spitting in public. Take it to the woods. Or at least a desolate street. Better yet, why not stop altogether? I’m pretty sure you’ll find that you get more girls that way.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Doth Thou Cups Runneth Over?

The other day I became intrigued by the heavily publicized free bra fitting at Coeur. Since I've never been super crazy about how my girls present themselves, I figured maybe I could use a little help. I had been in Coeur once before in search of some nice pantyhose, only to walk right out at the sight of a $40 price tag on said hose. I knew that if I ventured back and not only spoke to someone but let them feel me up, that the only free thing I would be getting is a ride to the poor house.

But the inevitable hefty purchase was worth the discovery that I was one of the many women that inaccurately size themselves up. From the shouts, smiles, and sheer surprise that the other ladies expressed while I was waiting my turn, I can say with great certainty that many girls about Philly are missing out on the right fit for their womanly assets. Who knew that your over the shoulder boulder holder could be too big and too small at the same time? Ah, one of the many mysteries of being a femme fatale.

If you are fortunate enough to already be enlightened as to which size is your perfect fit, Coeur is still worth a visit for their great selection of skivvies from top brands like Cosabella, Le Mystere, and Chantelle. I can't vouch for the $40 pantyhose since I will never spring for them, but I did get a free gift ($18 value) with my purchase. Oh, and they also have a closed-door closet labeled "Toys." You can use your imagination on that one, but rest assured its not for kids!

Coeur, 132 S. 17th St. 215.972.0373

Friday, October 20, 2006

In which I use "going all Martha Stewart on its ass"

Not too long ago I moved to a new apartment and am now in the stage of having a new place that I hate the most: the Why Doesn’t This Look Like Home Yet stage. You know how it is when you have put all the big things in place and most of the knickknacks where you think you want them but you just haven’t lived there yet. I need everything to settle.

In the meantime I’m going all Martha Stewart on its ass and buying flowers to make me feel like the domestic goddess I’m failing to be. I don’t know what it is about having flowers around but just looking at them makes me think that if I wandered into the next room there would probably be a roaring fire there with a big dog, a snuggly sofa and the smell of cookies. It doesn’t matter that there’s a secret pile of laundry in the corner, as long as I’ve got them on my nightstand I feel like I’ve got the place put together.

I’ve found one the best places to get flowers is the Million Farm florist on Rittenhouse. Their prices are pretty reasonable and the blooms last well. I’m a personal fan of getting spray roses with some kind of green to fill it out. Spray roses are not just elegant, but they’re relatively inexpensive and, best of all, they dry beautifully so you can keep little posies of them around for long-lasting cheeriness.

Now if I could just convince a certain someone to buy flowers for me, then I’m sure the feng shui would be completely set straight.

Million Farm Florist, 119 S 19th St, (215) 564-3390

And the guitarist wore Sevens....

There is nothing I love more than my ladies, gangly boys with shaggy hair, alcohol and a dance party. When you combine them all, it’s a guaranteed good night. This was the setting last night at the Ben Kweller concert at the Electric Factory. Ok, so what if my friend won free tickets and we weren't die hard Ben Kweller fans? We knew he was pretty to look at and that makes it all the better.

The night started off a bit bumpy. We had a cab incident where we forked over $20 for a $10 ride. The driver announces that he has no change. We read our passenger rights as posted in the backseat- clearly we are entitled to change of $20. And so we tell him 50 times. There’s some bickering. Yada yada yada, he gets out of the cab and gets change. Eventually, things are resolved and we wander over to the doors of the Electric Factory. After my semi-erotic pat down by the ladies at the door, clutching“the wand” (not the good kind of wand), we enter. Sweet lord, there were a lot of shaggy hair boys in there, bopping around. Three vodka cranberries later, it’s a full fledged dance party. Every teenybopper girl is dancing up a storm, singing along to every word, not to be outdone by a whole bunch of prepubescent guys not ready to come to terms with their inevitable homosexuality. If they’d just come out now, they’d have prom dates. Everybody loves the cute gay boy! Alright, maybe not all of the boys were gay, just the dude behind us in his Ben Kweller t-shirt, perhaps. The band was fun, not too chatty. I was also really impressed that everybody played a variety of instruments. In addition, I certainly (most importantly) noticed that the guitarist wore women's Seven jeans.

New York based Ben Kweller was adorable and we spent the night thinking he was 17, only to be gravely disappointed to later Google him and find out that he’s actually 25- way less exciting. But, he looks 17! He was dreamy in his little indie, red hair bliss. Sigh…Anyway, be sure to check out his latest album, simply titled Ben Kweller.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Date Night

Have you ever noticed that the ubiquitious "dinner and a movie" date is almost impossible to accomplish? Inevitably, the movie you want to see is not playing at the theatre near the restaurant you want to eat at. The showtimes are too early or too late. The food takes too long and you rush your meal only to arrive just in time for the ticket salesperson to hang the "sold out" sign for your chosen Oscar-buzzworthy film. So the romantic dinner and a movie turns out to be indigestion and the latest Jennifer Love Hewitt slasher flick. Here's hoping that you and your date can laugh about it later.

So when my fiance and I realized that we hadn't seen a movie in the theatre in almost a year, we set out to achieve the impossible (and yes, we still go on dates!). It actually worked, thanks to the charming Ritz Theater and the little BYOB that could: Chloe. This teensy-tiny place in the heart of Old City made perfect sense. Since it seats less than my parents' dining room, you have to get there early to avoid a wait. So a 7:45 pm show at the Walnut Street Ritz was the perfect excuse to make like a grandparent and arrive at the restaurant before the credits run on Oprah.

Chloe has little in the way of decor, but something about the dim tea lights and the rain that lightly hit the bay window on this cool fall evening gave it a warm, cozy, "just-the-two-of-us" feel. The honey goat cheese ravioli was a high-class version of comfort food, absolutely ideal for when the cold weather rolls in. The tiramisu almost made us late for the movie (or maybe it was the wine?) but was worth having to pick up the pace on the short walk to the theater.

Success was ours in the quest to strike the delicate balance of timing that is the dinner and a movie date. We even had time for an after-movie cocktail at a new downtown hotspot. But that's another post.

Chloe, 232 Arch St. 215.629.2337,
Ritz Theaters, 214 Walnut St., 400 Ranstead St., & 125 S. 2nd St.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers Dance Party Extravaganza

Ok so ya know when your friend calls you up and says, hey my friend’s band is playing tonight, you should come- they’re really good. And normally you cringe and think crap, how do I get out of this one? Well, this is exactly what did not happen to me last night. I went to see Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers play at the World Café Live. Other than a bitchy waitress, it was really fun.

The Kellogg crew, from Northampton, MA, consists of some very fine looking, lanky, young fellas, which in truth is enough to get me through at least one song. But to my delight, these boys were actually really good and incredibly entertaining! My favorite part of the performance was the acappella rendition of Queens “Fat Bottomed Girls” with complete jazz hands incorporated. The night was chock-full of pop culture references which is enough to make this Girl about Philly swoon. (I mean calling Ashley Simpson- Trashley and dedicating a song to the love match that is Jessica Simpson and John Mayer- c’mon my heart full on flutters!) Ok and even their serious and sappier songs were good and made the World Café dinner/comedy club vibe thing bearable. All in all, it was a great time and I conclude that maybe you should say yes when your friend wants to drag you out to a show. You too may find a band that references In Touch Magazine during their set. Oh heaven.

The Bugaboo Uncovered

Yes, I am one of the legions of urban mommies who parade around this town pushing their pride and joy in a Bugaboo...and I love it! I use and abuse this stroller everyday and it still climbs out of Philly potholes better than Tiger Woods can get out of a sand trap. We purchased the Bugaboo Frog after hours of research online as well as in-store. My husband created spreadsheets for stroller comparison and price justification and decided that the Bugaboo was the only stroller that met all of our needs and would do so from our child's infancy through toddlerhood. I loved its sleek design, colors, functionality and convenience but the only problem I had was the pricetag. Spending over 700 dollars on a stroller may sound crazy to some people (including myself) but once I saw the Bugaboo, nothing else caught my eye. After about a year of using it, I'm glad I decided to purchase it because it still looks and works as if it is brand new and it has easily and smoothly navigated the craters found throughout Philly's streets. That being said there are some drawbacks to the Cadillac of baby carriages such as the notable lack of cup holders and a snack tray. Driven by my love for the Bugaboo I set out on a quest to find a solution to these flaws and make urban mommydom easier..which is what this blog is all about! So, this is what I discovered...the best cup holder is the liquid holster which can be found at and the only snack tray/sippy cup holder that works well with the Bugaboo is the Siena tray found at The Bugaboo comes equipped with about 6 gallons of storage space and the average toddler travels with about 10-12 gallons of "stuff" so additional storage is essential. Bugaboo has addressed this issue with their stroller diaper bag which retails for a mere $100...mind you this is in addition to the 700 plus dollars you have spent on the stroller itself not to mention the pricey footmuff. I do have the Bugaboo stroller bag, and it does work fabulously, but had I known that a company called Skip Hop makes stroller bags retailing for $64 I probably would have saved a few bucks. I know many Bugaboo pushing mommies who say they couldn't live without their Skip Hop bags which can be purchased at That my friends is all the insider info I have garnered on souping up my baby's phat far as I know they haven't made rims for the Bugaboo yet!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Wonderful Wellies

You may have noticed something recently. The weather. It is often wet. Yes, Autumn is really working its magic with those horrid downpours that have the potential to completely ruin your day.

That is until you own a pair of Wellington boots. Rain boots. Rubber waders. Whatever you want to call them they are my absolute mood saver on a rainy day. My feet are always dry, I can wear my nasty but snuggle christmas socks underneath AND I can splish around in puddles feeling totally invincible. I will say that I'm in the lucky circumstance that I can wear them at work all day, plodding around as if I were a jolly fisherman. But even if I couldn't I'm sure I'd invest in a pair to wear to and from the office and on wet weekends.

It used to be fairly hard to find a nice pair of wellies. In England we grew up with the conservative hunter green variety that we used for stomping around in muddy fields. They were even a required item in my school uniform. Having recently turned into somewhat of a fashion item, they can be found in all your high street retailers in fun colors and different lengths and, most importantly, a range of prices. At Urban Outfitters they have a rain boot for about $20, J Crew have a gorgeous yellow pair on sale for around $50, Banana Republic has posh tweed ones for around $70,and, if you're going super posh, Burberry have rain boots starting at $130 up to a dizzying $250. In any case, they can be found in any number of retailers at the moment from Target to Coach at a price to fit your wet weather budget. I myself am keen on getting the Veuve Clicquot bright, sunflower yellow pair so I can walk down the street like a beacon of defiance against the rain. I’m very subtle, moi.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Coffee and Art Galore at Chapterhouse

Sure, everybody has their favorite coffee shop where they can set up shop to scrutinize and mock the wedding pages of The Times (ok, maybe that's just me), as well as, enjoy coffee and pastries. But, this Girl About Philly has found a way to combine both my love of coffee and my utter and sincere devotion to shopping at Bella Vista's Chapterhouse Cafe and Gallery.

Chapterhouse, which is remarkably bright and uncluttered for a coffeehouse, serves organic fair-trade coffee and delicious pastries- (hello awesome cupcakes!) However, I think their real claim to fame lies in all of the art for sale that adorns the walls. Many talented Philly artists are featured and everything is very reasonably priced. The art changes every 2 months. The only drawback is that it takes a couple of weeks for your order to come in so don't wait until the night before your best friend's birthday to buy her that nintendoish looking print that would look super cute in her otherwise fugly bathroom.

Be sure to visit Chapterhouse and check out all of the funky art that is sure to appeal to even the most fickle collector.

Chapterhouse Cafe and Gallery. 620 S. 9th St. (between South and Bainbridge Streets).

Head Shoulders Knees and Toes

Yes, it's Stalker of the Sidewalk, aka Style on the Street time! My latest Philly stylee lady I think I approached when she wasn't too keen on being snapped by some stranger at the end of the day. But HOW COULD I RESIST:

This is Andrea, who confessed she had put a little more time putting her outfit together that day and I'll confess she did a very good job. Once again, a girl all about the details:

We all know we should match our shoes to our handbags and our hat to our gloves (???!!) but on a warm Autumn day what better than to match a little blue bow on your (Steve Madden) shoes to your pretty baby blue sweater.

Well done Andrea. Well done indeed.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Come. Sit. Stay. Good Dog.

With walls covered in smug mugs of labs and pugs, the Good Dog is the perfect place to raise a glass to the canine companions that want nothing more out of life than to make their humans happy. Sip a frothy ale or sample a local microbrew in honor of man’s (and woman’s) best friend. Those of you dog mothers and fathers that cannot bear to leave their pups alone longer than the necessary work day hours will understand that social time away from home must be a worthwhile experience.

Good Dog was discovered by the masses a while ago, having received the “Best Bar” distinction by Philadelphia Magazine back in ’04. The after work crowd loves it for the Happy Hour specials, gamers love it for the pool table, dart board, and Megatouch, hipsters love it for the unpretentious atmosphere despite a tony address, and just about everyone loves it for the “signature” fries. Even with a city-wide seal of approval, the Good Dog suffered from one downside: poor air circulation and a crowd that puffed, puffed, and puffed some more. But recently this Rittenhouse rescue got just a little bit better as a result of the smoking ban. Yes ladies, you can now come, sit, and stay all night without rushing your clothes out for an emergency drycleaning the next morning.

So check out the Good Dog, and raise a PBR pounder to the pup that rests at home while you’re out partying.

Good Dog Bar & Restaurant, 224 S. 15th St., 215.985.9600

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

C is for Craigslist Cat

I decided about a year ago that it was about time I got a pet. A pet that would love me and snuggle me and be excited when I got home and came when I called it.

So I got a cat…

I found my little kitten on Craigslist. You know, the site you visit to find a new apartment, or concert tickets, or garage sales. Or, if you’re me, an animal. I found that finding the right pet on Craigslist is not an easy business. You have to be patient to find what you want because, well, it's Craigslist and there are some crazy people on there. Also, it’s often unclear where people are getting these animals, and it seems to be especially risky with dogs who may come from puppy mills. Luckily (for me at least) I found kittens with a woman who had to give them up after taking in an allergy-prone friend who was in Hurricane Katrina. And I think there are a lot of honest people on there whose cat or dog may have unexpectedly had a litter or whose life circumstances have no longer made it possible to keep their pet.

I don’t know if everyone has a good experience finding a pet on Craigslist. All I know is that yesterday my Pepé le Pew sat on my chest all night snuggling with me. And then bopped me in the face so I knew who was boss.

My Date with Man Bag

It’s no secret that I am the queen of unlucky in love, er lust. I’m sure there are a zillion explanations as to why. Maybe I should take the advice of friends and loved ones and stop being attracted to men that shower without prompting or maybe even go for the ones with jobs or goals. So recently, I tried to adopt a new attitude. I got myself a date with someone I would never normally be in to. We agree on a dinner date. I meet him outside of the restaurant. (He says, pick a sushi restaurant. I did. He thought my choice was not a good one and chose another.) I stroll up to the restaurant. He is standing there holding a bag. I figure it is a wine bag for a BYOB. We walk over to the new sushi restaurant of his choice and sit down. Looking at the menu, I see that they serve alcohol so I order red wine and he orders white zinfandel (enough said). I was just excited to be on a date as it had been awhile so I let the white zinfandel go. Our food comes. He keeps calling the waitress “honey” which is making me nauseous. A baby cries in the distance and he says “who would bring a baby here”. I say “maybe people who eat dinner and have a baby.” My eyes wander over to the far corner of the table and I spot the “bag”. “What is that”, I say regretting the question as it leaves my mouth. He replies, “It’s my man bag”.

Ok now my heart is racing as I notice a little tag on the front of the bag that reads “Hercules”. Jesus, the bag has a name and it’s Hercules. Now dear reader, please know that this did not look like a messenger bag or backpack. There was nothing acceptable or masculine about this bag. He says “I love it.” At this point, the wine has clearly kicked in and the thoughts are racing through my head. Who do I call from the bathroom to report this to? Instead I say, “What’s in there?” He tells me “body spray, phone, deodorant, toothbrush, wallet and keys”. I try and mask my look of horror as I picture a bottle of AXE body spray resting so very close to me, when he asks me what’s in my purse. “Tampons”, I scream.

After dinner, I get my purse and he gets his and we walk out of the restaurant. He makes some off color comments about people we pass on the street and then he wanders in to a bar. I stand outside thinking I could run but I was wearing heels. Stupid girl. I meekly follow behind him; he walks to the back of the bar not saying anything to me. He begins to talk to a waitress. And then starts to walk out. Still, no words are spoken. Outside, I say “um what was that?” He says he was looking for somebody. Awesome. Then, eyeing my tattoo he goes, “let’s say hi to my friend in that tattoo shop.” What? Basically, man bag is running errands on my watch. Cursing man bag in my head, I muster up my excuse, “listen I have to go, I’m tired.” (Who cares if the sun was still out?)

Of course, I got home and called everyone I know to say that the man bag was not just a Seinfeld episode. I lived it. But worse. And the lesson learned is that there is a reason you don’t date people you are not attracted to! Needless to say, I’m done dating for a while. A long while.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Make Yourself at Home

With Fall in the air and the holidays just around the corner, I'd like to invite all my girls about Philly to pick a Saturday, cancel all your plans, eat a hearty breakfast, drink plenty of coffee and gear up for a full afternoon of power shopping. Forget the Court, forget the Plaza - far too much exercise. Don't even bother strolling down Walnut. There's one place where you will find something for everyone on your list - old, young, straight, gay, shabby chic or modern minimalist - all in approximately 500 square feet: Foster's Urban Homeware

Foster's is a magical place where time stands still and shoppers can easily find themselves spending an entire afternoon comparing french presses or sniffing organic aromatherapy candles. With an eclectic mix of practical necessities (like shower curtains and pot holders) and fabulous frivolities (like silk-blend throw blankets and itty-bitty iitalia espresso sets), Foster's is a one-stop place for creative gift-giving. What have I found at Foster's? Everything from mod cheese knife sets for urban foodies, to autumn-themed place settings for country homemakers, to books on doggies for diaper-bound babes. And for myself, of course: Eucalyptus body wash from The Thymes, a specialty skincare line out of Minneapolis that I discovered on a trip to the land of 10,000 lakes. At $16.50 for an 8.75 oz bottle it's no bargain, but nothing wakes up your skin on a sleepy morning quite like it!

So this holiday season, avoid the parking lot brawls and endless walking around the mall, and head straight to Olde City for an afternoon at Foster's. Or check out their kitchenware location inside Reading Terminal Market.

Foster's Urban Homeware, 124 N. 3rd St., 267-671-0558
Foster's Gourmet Cookware, 12th & Arch Sts., 215-925-0950