Sunday, December 30, 2007

Better Late than Never

It's been a very busy holiday season for this philly girl. I spent the better part of the last month being eaten alive by every flu, cold and sinus infection that came to town, fretting over work, and stressing over choosing the perfect gift for each of my various in-laws. But all's well that ends well, and now on a rainy and hung-over last Sunday of '07 I have some time to reflect on the season's activities. I did manage to make it to a few lovely holiday events and while it does little good for you readers to hear about them after they are over, for next year's holiday cheer I highly recommend the holiday home tour through Elfreth's Alley. For one evening in early December the residents of this, the nation's oldest continually inhabited residential street, open their doors to the public to tour their adorable and historically significant humble abodes. The houses are all dressed up for Christmas, trees trimmed and fires blazing in each living room. There was even a slight snowfall for effect. And Elfreth's is just a stone's throw from The Race Street Cafe, which has a great cozy ambiance and creative beer selection, a perfect winter warm up spot.

One more recommendation that maybe some last-minute types such as myself can take advantage of for one more week - not a holiday theme but certainly a nice family-friendly outing if you have guests coming in from out of town or if you're just looking for a worthwhile way to spend an afternoon. The Renoir exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art is really spectacular. It takes you through his life and loves and his experiences of Paris, London, and his travels through the coast of Italy, Algiers, and other colorful and lively destinations. You see paintings of every day life, of young men having drinks or his good friends painting in their back yards. Nevermind that his best friend just happens to be Monet.

The exhibit is here through to 01.06, so you still have time! Run the Rocky stairs straight into Renoir's world.

The Philadelphia Museum of Art
Benjamin Franklin Parkway

Thursday, December 27, 2007

New Year, New low?

You know what they say about New Years Eve? That how you spend it will reflect how your year will play out. I'm starting to believe this. Last year I made out with my ex and that pretty much spelled out how this year went. Until September, when we realized what we realized the September before that. We're better off as exes. This new years may very well be my first that is completely kiss free in about 7 years. I say this, but there is possibility of the exes attendance again and I can't tell what my state will be around the stroke of midnight. I've enlisted a few of my girlfriends to distract me through whatever means necessary. That being said, I'm hiding my frying pans. My only other option at the moment is Texty McGee. We've been playing a very dull game of phone tag.

In other news. I was at the Aunt and Uncle's for Christmas when my two hot cousins were talking about their adventures on I was surprised. Now I'll admit, I tried match once before and it scared the shit outta me. All I could do is judge the boys I talked to. I mean I guess I think it's unnatural for a guy to actually be looking for a girlfriend. At least the guys I've dated. Which is making me realize why I'm in my bathrobe writing a blog at 10 pm when I have off from work tomorrow (in my defense, my lungs are full of phlegmy goo and I probably only have 2 days left to live.) Anyway back to match, when i was on it last January I went on 2 dates. One with Handsy Greaserson. He followed me to a bar afterwards and presented drinks that my sister bought as if he had paid for them. The second was OK he just wasn't my type (which admittedly is pretty specific--rugged hipster.. yummmm). So I thought since they were digging the match, maybe the selection had gone up. I just checked it out. FUGVILLE. But dammit, they got me. Someone sent me a message and I can't view it unless I pay the 39.95 to "enroll". Should I do it? I mean if I do it, I will actually have to force myself to go on dates. Has anyone had positive experiences? This whole thing gives me the willies.

But so be it, I'll put my dating life in your hands. If more people think I should do it. I will. And if 2008 sucks I will hunt each one of you down. And give you a case of my crackly lung. Now I'm going to look on web MD to self diagnose.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Call me old fashioned.. Hell, just call me.

I've noticed a disturbing new trend on the dating front. More disturbing is that it doesn't seem to phase other people. I think I'm part of a weird generation that started dating right around the beginning of the cell phone era. It's been really interesting to see how it's playing out in the whole dating scheme of things. In addition to the normal awkward struggles, "who pays", "who calls first", now we have to deal with the dreaded text message (if I could insert dramatic music here, I would.) For example. Italian stallion only picked up the phone once and that was to tell me that he was at my house. He asked for a second via INSTANT MESSENGER. omg. Sidehugs texted to cancel a date with me, AND texted to reschedule. Which we did aaaall via TM. The latest of the men (my nickname for him is too inappropriate for your innocent eyes) well let's just say his "courting" of me (his own words) consisted of a follow up text to our first date 2 days later saying "Drunk texting. Yup I'm doing it." I think this guy got scared away after the third time we went out, last Thurs. I mentioned that it would be nice if he picked up the phone to actually call me, you know after we made out and everything. To which he replied " I don't know that I'm ready for a girlfriend." WHAT??? I just wanted to know that he was capable of conversation aside from the 70% boob jokes I was getting. Haven't heard from him since. Since when does a phone call upgrade a relationship status. Crap, I talked to a bill collector today, who told me I gotta get crackin on my bill, does that mean I have to hop on myspace and change my status to "swinger?" Oh and also when he texted he would leave out vowels. Lame. Vowels have feelings too, you heartless bastard. I'm glad you have no problem discarding them, as you've discarded the fact that you are 28 years old.

Anyway, I know what you're saying. "Colleen, they're just not that into you." And I'm perfectly willing to admit that may very well be the case. I think what really sticks in my craw is that some girls I talked to consider this text messaging as a sole means of communicating perfectly acceptable! Is it too much to ask for a strained awkward phone conversation? Or a good ol' fashioned drunk dial? You know what, screw it. If we're taking all of the communication out of dating, I'm going to build a robot that will go on my dates for me. Or I'll at least participate via webcam. That way I won't have to wear pants. And that's really at the heart of the issue. I hate pants.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Form + Function = Fabulous

It should come as no surprise by now, dear readers, that i have a closet full of really fun shoes. Gold ones, pink ones, leopard print, raspberry-suede, forest green patent leather. Sadly, most of these pretty pairs never see the light of day. Many are displayed inside the office, but must be cast aside in favor of a more sensible option to face the nooks and crannies of the streets of Philadelphia. Yes, I am that girl, put-together from head to...mid ankle. And just peaking out from under my Marc Jacobs trench and freshly pressed Banana Republic pants are my $10 flip flops. Or crocs, or fuzzy Merrell clogs. It's embarassing, but must be done. My feet are very sensitive and I have to walk a LOT! Excuses aside, I was one step removed from the ubiquitous white ankle socks and Reeboks over nude pantyhose. I needed help.

So as the leaves began to turn I decided to turn over a new one for fashion's sake. I will never be one of those women who can wear 3.5 inch heels all day everyday. But I found a little piece of hope in the form of La Canadienne boots. My mom first told me about this miraculous brand she found at Benjamin Lovell, where the boots were waterproof and fleece-lined and believe it or not, actually attractive! I did not believe such a product could exist. But alas, I was wrong and to my great surprise I quickly found myself with a pair of black leather "Tahra" boots that fit my leg perfectly, looked great and felt great too. I am finally free from the fuzzy Merrell for I have found a winter shoe that I can actually walk in and stay in style.

Benjamin Lovell has a number of locations around Center City, the counties, and South Jersey. I found my Canadiennes at the Glen Eagle Square location in my hometown of Chadds Ford, but no doubt they carry this product at most locations. Happy winter walking!

Benjamin Lovell Shoes
Multiple Locations

Thursday, November 08, 2007

I over think therefore I am single

I haven't written anything for a while 'cause I thought maybe I was jinxing myself by documenting every dating happening in my life (I'm nuts, I've already told you that.) Since I spoke to you last there have been some developments. Mostly, I've come to realize that I'm a terrible dater. I'm awkward and I have no filter (when I came back from the bathroom one time- which had taken so long due to the fact that there was a line-I said "Don't worry, I didn't poop.") Backtracking. A few weeks ago, I went to this advertising party and it was an overall success. There was a bevy of hot men, which was quite the relief since I had all about given up on Philly's supply of single non-douchebags. Apparently I was pretty smooth that night. "Smooth" being a relative term. I met a really cute guy and forced my number upon him. I was a little hazy on the details the next day. Note that I had been calling him the wrong name all night. So I was expecting to never hear from him again. Big whoop. I couldn't pick him out of a line up, anyway. To my surprise, I got a text the next day asking me out. Holler. So we went out last week and it was great. He's older than the guys I normally go out with, which is a good thing. What's the problem, then? I CAN'T STOP OVER THINKING. When I'm hanging out with him all I can think is, Would my parents like him? What if my friends think he's a tool? Is he hairy? What's wrong with him that he doesn't have a girlfriend? When do I have to pretend to reach for the check? What if he lets me? Will it be awkward when my credit card is declined and I start crying?

That, piled with my complete stress with dating etiquette, culminated last night into the worst possible ending of a second date. I gave him a side hug. UUUUUUUGH. This guy is probably so confused. A chick that made a b-line for him at a party and said "I wouldn't be mad at you if you asked for my phone number" and the most she can muster up is a SIDE HUG. He even said "side hug?" In my defense is was a long (albeit good) date. We went to Fork, then Sugar moms then to a movie. But it was probably the worst date movie ever. We saw Gone, baby, Gone. Nothing gets me randy like a good baby killing movie. Anyway. Well see where it goes. Either he'll assume disinterest or he's still into it. We're supposed to go out sat. I'll keep ya posted.

Maybe this time we can read Angela's Ashes to each other and talk about our worst childhood memories.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

The Big O

Last Tuesday, I turned 30. On the 30th. Big birthday! And to mark that special occasion my husband gave me something that I really needed. Something to make me feel great, to relax, to engage all the senses and release all anxiety.

A really good meal.

Osteria has has enjoyed a lot of buzz since its opening by virtue of its owner, Marc Vetri, whose reputation in the Philly foodie community would allow him to open a hot dog cart and receive a five star rating. He took a chance on an up-and-coming North Broad location (walking distance from our house, added bonus) and the Vetri appeal has lured even the most uptight of Main Line moms and Rittenhouse royals across the great Spring Garden Street divide. His reputation made them step out of their comfort zone, but its the food that keeps them coming back.

The weather has just turned officially Fall-like and the reclaimed wood, deep orange hues and warm lighting makes Osteria an ideal locale for this time of year. The food was hearty yet light, flavorful yet simple. In honor of the house specialty, I too stepped out of my comfort zone and into the world of cured meats. Happy I did. We also sampled the "cruda," which could be described as sushi Italian-style - yellowtail strips marinated in olive oil and spices. But the highlight of our meal had to be my entree, the everyday lobster and homemade pasta special. Absolute perfection.

Our waitress was helpful and friendly, which proved especially important here because there are numerous Italian words on the menu that were unfamiliar, particularly with the dolci (desserts). She was able to explain everything clearly and give recommendations based on your preference for sweets and flavors. So bravo, Marc Vetri, for bringing this oasis to North Broad. Fairmounters thank you.

Osteria, 640 North Broad St.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Embrace Change

I've got living paycheck to paycheck down. I get paid, I'm rich, I buy those Steve Madden boots I've been eying and that fall jacket I've convinced myself I sooo desperately need. The next day I check my bank account and am angered at its mysterious disappearance. Flash forward to the not too distant future. I'm at day 3 of peanut butter and jelly phase and still 1 week until payday. Let me tell you, pb&j isn't the best motivator to endure a rainy lunchtime walk home. So I decided to suck up my pride, grab that tiny jar of change that's followed me to 2 apartments and hope it's enough to get me some lunch in the Bellevue food court. So I sorted out the random nails and brought the bag o' change to Commerce bank. I was hoping for about 10 bucks. (It was a small baggie and no quarters. Damn you, coin operated laundry. You can't see it but I'm shaking my fist in the air.). So I went in dropped my change in the counter and left with 35 bucks! Holler. So of course, I rewarded myself with a pumpkin spiced latte.

The beauty of the Commerce is that even if you don't have an account there, you can use their coin machine and they won't take a percentage. Take that rain. I win, you lose. mwa hahahahahahahahahahaha (that's my victory laugh)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Haunted Happenings

Looking for something scary to do before Halloween? Well my game night crew (yes, I realize how awesome this makes me sound) and I went to the Sleepy Hallow Haunted Hayride in Newtown this weekend. The Hayride alone is $15, but you can also get a bundle package which includes the hayride, clown vortex, haunted house and corn maze. Oh and yes you read that correctly, a clown vortex. When we got there at about 9 on Sat, the line was insanely long. I didn't think we'd even be able to make it on the ride, but we were told if we wanted to pay $10 more we could buy "RIP" tickets which bring you directly to the front of the line. Well worth the extra money. The hayride, while cheesy at times actually had a lot of legitimately scary moments. I may have jumped onto the calm little girl sitting in front of me and I think I have prevented one of my friends from having children. After the hayride's over, there are plenty of bonfires around and a band. So we broke out our smore paraphernalia and natty's (it's byob) and went to town.

Aside from the couple with their tongues down each others throats on the ride (sometimes a fake chainsaw just gets you in the mood). And the fact that when the band played Cotton Eye Joe, everyone else there knew some sort of line dance, I would highly recommend as a good night out with the friends.

Grab your wieners and your natty's and get to hayridin'.

Monday, October 22, 2007

See It!

Philly's movie scene is growing by the minute! Not only is "Lovely Bones" kicking off this week in the 'burbs (sorry Colleen! I am sure Ryan will find you some day), but "Bella," a locally produced and financed independent film that is winning awards left and right, makes its debut this weekend.

Bella is a heartwarming story about life, family, and our capacity for love in the face of the unexpected. It has a beautiful cast (hello Eduardo Verastegui!) and an even more beautiful message about relationships, redemption, and the power of the human spirit. It lives in good company as a Toronto Film Festival People's Choice Award Winner, with the likes of Hotel Rwanda, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon, and my personal favorite, Life is Beautiful.

Bella is only around for 2 weeks and is in very limited locations. Check out the theater options at

Mrs. Colleen Gosling- So close but so far away

To all of my fellow mourners, Ryan Gosling has dropped out of filming the Lovely Bones, which was supposed to start filming this week in Malvern. Marky Mark is in. This was supposed to be when we met, locked eyes and he said to himself, "Rachael McWho?" Shut up and let me have my dream.

Now I'm going to have to break out the old trench coat and book a flight to where ever it is that crazy Canuk is hiding out these days.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hire Me, Please.

I remember a time, at the tender age of 22, when I was excited to bid adieu to college and start my wildly successful career. Oh the paychecks, the working woman clothes (I would look great in a classic Chanel suit), glamorous business trips, the promotions, the sheer grandeur!

Then I woke up. The cold, harsh reality of monotonous administrative office work began to eat at me from day 1. Alright, so maybe I never had " career goals" per say. Sure, I thought things would simply fall in to place if I could just be patient. Granted, I work at a place that has skyrocketing levels of executive turn over, and all the money makers are chauvinistic/egotistical lecherous men, and we teeter dangerously close to bankruptcy each year. Still, I used to have pep talks with myself while fighting back tears in the shower each morning before work. In each chat, I'd assure myself that "my talents would be recognized and I'd soar, all the way to the top". Oh, poor naive girl.
This unfortunate tale leaves me where I am today, dear reader- in the same dead end job for 3 years. Sadly, still light years away from the Chanel suit. I fear I'll never know anything but H&M. Every day I job hunt. I interview every now and then too. Still, nothing. While frustrated and anxious, I haven't given up. I remain hopeful. One day somebody will hire me. And I will be one step closer to the ideal job I've so skillfully created in the inner chambers of my mind.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Instant Gratification

Let's face it. Whether you want to admit it or not, you know within the first few minutes of a first date if you're gonna be into it. People have been making me feel bad for dismissing potential suitors so quickly. But c'maaan. I judge, it's what I do. It's my gift. And if I'm not feeling it after the first date, why do I have to give the poor guy a second or third just to solidify said disinterest? Wastes time for both parties. So I figured, in an effort to broaden my dating my horizons I will go... wait for it... Speed dating. I've only seen it in the movies but I feel like it's very suited to my instant judging style. I can just see it now--me, a room full of 50 year old men and I'm allowed, in fact encouraged, to dismiss him after 3 minutes. "Hi, I'm Colleen. So you love sandwiches. I can tell. Put mine down." NEXT "Hi, I'm Colleen. What's that you say? You live in your parent's basement. Jesus, those 2 minutes and 59 seconds really flew by." NEXT.

Now you may be saying. Colleen, you sound like a terrible person and I'm not disagreeing with you. But I'm also honest. Oh, I'm fully aware that they will be judging me just as well. But this isn't about them. It never is.

While trying to find friends to go on this little adventure with me, we decided that the odds of finding someone cool, our age that's speed dating is slim to none. But that's where you come in. Readers, any suggestions? Does North Bowl have a singles event, where I can meet the quasi hipster of my dreams? Lemmie know and I'm on it like Britney on bacon.

In other news. I need some distractions. I fell into ex infested waters last night and had an hour long drunken phone call. Don't judge. You've been there too. The first step is admitting there's a problem.

Hello. My name is Colleen......and I have a problem.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Double Trouble

I'd like to warn our readers about an area of the city I call the danger zone. The danger zone is a 3 block corridor between 16th and 18th, Sansom and Walnut Sts. Non-shopaholics may simply see this as the French Quarter or part of Rittenhouse Row. It is the home to some very fine boutiques, harbours of high fashion and my own personal shopping oasis. It is also where I often part with my discretionary income.

There are more stores in the danger zone than I can mention in one post so I will concentrate on two personal favorites: Echochic and Kimberly Boutique. Echochic is an urban fashionista's mecca, teeming with bohemian caftan-style dresses, avant-garde accessories and graffitied vintage handbags, cutting edge designers like See by Chloe and L.A.M.B. Over the years I have
found many great pieces, including a butter yellow sundress for my rehearsal dinner, a super-soft Rachel Pally cotton baby doll mini dress, and a few signature vintage pieces that always make an impression. The staff are stylish and helpful, and will actually tell you honestly if a piece is right for you. Echochic is also not a place for a woman whose style errs on the conservative side. Echochic is for the Carrie in us, not the Charlotte.

Which brings me to Kimberly, which is great for the more staple wardrobe "musts" and investment dressing - the LBD, the trench coat, the cropped wool jacket, classic Charlotte-friendly separates by designers such as Susana Monaco and Cynthia Vincent, peppered with the occassional LaRok or Nguyen to keep it exciting. I walk by Kimberly every day on my way to work. I have had many a close call with other commuters (and a few street food vendors) as my gaze gets stuck on its window displays when I should be watching where I am walking. Recently I coveted this fabulously mod Tibi dress for 3 weeks before succombing to its call to me. I knew if I walked in and tried it on, I would have to have it. I was right. In fact I also had to get a new hair cut to match the dress.

There are other shopping corridors around the city that can suck you dry of your savings. But the proximity of this particular area to my place of employment makes this one my own personal danger zone, filled with the pleasure of finding the next best thing and the pain of having to put it back on the rack and resist. Some power lunch, I power shop at lunch. It feeds my addiction.

Echochic, 1700 Sansom St.

Kimberly Boutique, 123 S. 16th St.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


Pardon my lack of coherence in this one, as my head has been completely consumed by the temperamental bitch that is the flu. Maybe it's of the bird variety. Being that I've already created a sizable dent on my couch and have gone through every program I dvred in the past year, I've decided to be productive. So, I've picked up my bag of dirty tissues and moved the 4 feet to the computer. Annnd I'm spend.

So, I had my date with the guy from grade school the other night (no he's not in actually in grade school, I went to grade school with him and reconnected through intensive MyStalking). We went for a drink after work (which turned into 3, which then turned into 5, which turned into a blur-- I think at one point we started playing quarters at the table) at The Black Sheep. This one was interesting because I knew him, but hadn't seen him since 5th grade. I mean, my taste has changed a little since my youth. Back then my turn ons included, but were not limited to, pinching and hair pulling. Hmmm, on second thought maybe I haven't changed all that much.

All in all, it was a good date. We laughed a whole lot. Reminisced about the time I kicked him in the balls in the recess yard and he told me that my nickname used to be spewie, which I was unaware of (I had a slight problem with motion sicknessback then). The beauty of this date was that there was no awkwardness. So I'd def go out with him again. Not sure if there was any spark though. That's what I'm going to be looking for in dates to come, but I'm not 100% convinced sparks actually happen.
So he emailed the next day, and asked to go out again. I think I will.

Total sneezes while writing post: 6
OK enough of this productivity nonsense. I'm too sick to think. I'm gonna go take drugs. Lots of drugs. Bring on the drugs.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

I Heart the Mojito

Nothing says breezy summer night like a yummy mojito. I love them. However, they're labor intensive drinks- drinks I would never prepare for myself at home. In fact, I'm really only capable of pouring wine at home and even then it's a challenge. I used to dream about a whole bar dedicated to the mojito. (I know that some people dream about world peace. Don't judge.) You can imagine how pleased I was when the Rum Bar opened just a few blocks from my apartment.

I have ventured in to the Rum Bar a few times and have never had to fight for a seat. It's the perfect spot to go for a pre/post dinner drink. The bartenders are assertive, friendly and know exactly how to make a drink. There are an incredible amount of premium rums available. It's kind of intense. I didn't know rum could be so complicated. Granted, until very recently, I did associate rum with the Malibu crap we used to drink in college. Along with the nearly 10 different kinds of mojitos on the menu, there are all of the standard bar drinks too.

Whether your looking for the perfect date spot or night out with the girls, the Rum Bar won't disappoint.

The Rum Bar
2005 Walnut St. Philadelphia, PA 19103

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hawk Attack

I am a shopper. I love the art of the big find - that amazing vintage dress or that pair of shoes that makes the heart beat just a bit faster. I don't really shop online, because I really do enjoy perusing the brick and mortar houses of style, browsing the isles and holding the latest Tracey Reese up to my reflection in the inevitably skinnier-than-reality mirror. I had decided that my next GAP posts would chronicle my adventures through some of Philly's best boutiques. But before I do that, there's something I must get off my chest.

This evening after work I strolled westward down Walnut St., and popped in BCBG, lured by an open door and balloon-lined entry. As fate would have it, the store had a 15% off event going on. I learned this from the pleasant yet hawk-like sales associate that swooped in at me from outside of my peripheral vision. As if I did not understand English or her verbal description of the sale was not comprehensive, she then thrust an oversized postcard into my hand to really hammer home the message. A little much, but still manageable.

I then turn to begin my perusal, and Hawk #2 swoops in, a younger, perkier version of Hawk 1, delivering the exact same message. I smile and say a quick thanks, careful to turn my eye contact away so as to clearly communicate my lack of interest in continuing our conversation. I resume perusal. No more than 20 seconds pass, and I am attacked by Hawk #3 informing me of the sale. REALLY? During this time, I have moved...maybe five feet. Did Hawks 2 and 3 not hear Hawk 1 deliver said message? I thought that hawks had keen senses.

Thus describes the ebrasive and off-putting experience of chain store shopping. The constant attacks of sales people who know nothing about fashion and even less about connecting with a target audience. During this particular five minute stint, Hawk 2 swooped in for a second round, squawking about some sale dresses on the lower level. I have at this point lost my patience. Now, even if I had found any items of interest I would not make a purchase solely on principle. After this I may have shot Hawk 2 a sarcastic "uh huh" and a mildly dirty look. Just like that, the hunted becomes the hunter.

Don't get me wrong, a really good salesperson with a sense of style and the ability to read a customer can be a lifesaver. I find that many boutiques employ such people (except for the now-defunct former midtown village occupant Bshehu. Pushier salespeople have never existed.) But for the larger chains, a word of advice. Stop training your salespeople to resemble large birds of prey. Less is more. If I need help, I'll be sure to ask.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Restaurant week, why do you mock me so?

Last night, as I lugged my bags of dirty laundry in my left hand and detergent in my right, I passed young couples in love dining outdoors and came to a realization. I have clean underwear now and they don't. They will waste a lovely Sunday day/ evening, sorting their lights from darks, while I sip wine at the Wine, Arts and Food festival at the Mann. I think it's a fair trade.

Anyway. This week is chock full of Philly happenings. I'm plan on enjoying them with friends, but will make an effort to strike up a slightly intoxicated convo with choice passersby. My first date with the Italian taught me that talking to new people is fun, and to just be open to it. It doesn't have to be awkward and painful. (oh, I think we're going to try for a second). Tomorrow night I'm going to the Inliquid Silent Auction with some people from work. Art + open bar = many emo men just waiting for my shameless flirting. To give me an edge, I'm thinking of wearing my beret , black turtleneck and painting on a little goatee. Friday, my sister and I are going out for a chick night of shopping, drinks and pampering at Shecky's girls night out. Word is I can get some free jawn there. Saturday is Oktoberfest and Madonna Michael Prince at the M room. Ohhh that sounds like a little slice of heaven, doesn't it? Aaaaaand I just realized I should just go ahead and marry a gay man.

In other news, I'm very proud of myself. Kind of. Putting myself Out There is stressful. And this week I regressed back to being a 13 year old girl. Back story: When I get in from nights on the town, MySpace is not my friend. I contact anyone and everyone I have come in contact within the past 10-12 years. One poor unfortunate soul wrote me back. We emailed back and forth, but in all honesty, I hadn't talked to him since grade school. He gave me his phone # via email and told me to call him for a good time. Megan told me I had to. Even though this could be (and probably is) purely platonic, it was very hard for me to take that leap from Myspace stalking to real life interaction. So Monday night after a glass of wine, I did it. I picked up the phone and... left him a voicemail. Did you know you can do that? Yes, from your voicemail you can leave someone else a voicemail without them ever knowing. God, I'm good at being crazy. I was planning on saying "Oh, it just went straight to voicemail", but when I called it turns out he was asleep and just assumed he missed me. Long story short, he called back last night and we're gonna get together for a drink next week. Should be fun to catch up.

Wow, that was a whole lot of rambling. Good day.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

School for the Sweet Tooth

Have you ever had the feeling that maybe, just maybe, you've eaten enough cake?


I have now been eating cake every night for around four nights, and though I know you'd like to hear this is part of a revolutionary diet I heard about from Oprah I won't lie. This regime is purely an effort to polish off a cake from the The Restaurant School because under no circumstances shall any cake be put in the bin under my roof. I will finish the beast no matter how my belly protests.

You see, two cakes were bought last week for a 50th birthday for a total cost of around $25. TWO ENORMOUS CAKES!! All thanks to students of the pastry arts. Luckily, other people showed some moderation and the plentiful leftovers are what I'm working on now. I think this work is going pretty well.

I will say, the cake is not terribly beautiful but they do have some more specialty fare if that's what you're looking for. If, however, you need to feed a throng of children or a throng of grown ups for that matter on the cheap but a big cake is what you're looking for I think this is a good spot. The icing was a wee bit sweet but the cake itself was moist and chocolatey and... well, I might just go have a little added taste just to check that it's still that good. The students will also be so kind as to write anything on the cake you'd like, such as "THIS IS MEREDITH'S CAKE DO NOT TOUCH MY CAKE DO YOU HEAR ME!"

Now if anyone else has advice on coping with sugar withdrawl, please kindly forward it to me because my come down is going to be messy.

The Pastry Shop at The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College
Open daily Monday - Saturday 7:30am - 6:00pm
4207 Walnut Street

A Visit with the Soap Lady

There are few things more romantic than spending a lazy Saturday afternoon, visiting your local museum dedicated to human anomalies, with your Paramour. A few weeks ago, I ventured out to the famed Mutter Museum, part of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

This was a trip that had long been on my "to do" list. The steep $12 admission fee led me to believe we'd be roaming the museum for hours so I was surprised to see that the entire museum is really only a few rooms, lined with glass cases well stocked with over 20,000 objects. Disturbing is the only word I can think of to describe this place. I saw babies in jars, a gigantic colon, every kind of terrible skin condition that's ever existed, Siamese twins, the soap lady, and all kinds of growths and tumors. Each exhibit was more nauseating than the last. And ladies, let's all rejoice that we were not around for the terrifying gynecological instruments of the past.

It was an interesting afternoon. I'm proud to be able to finally cross this excursion off of my list. While it's definitely a Philadelphia must see, I think you can skip the membership.

The Mutter Museum 19 South 22nd Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19103

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Some Like it Hot...REALLY Hot

I have been going to the gym for oh, almost two-thirds of my almost three decades on this planet. And this past spring, I got tired. And bored. But I was a bride-to-be. It was not the time to lose my athletic religion, yet my feet just wouldn't walk me to the gym anymore. I needed a change.

In addition to my gym addiction, I have tried all the exercise trends. In the eighties it was Mousercise with my sisters in our leotards and legwarmers. In the early nineties, the Cindy Crawford workout. The late nineties, step aerobics. The millenium, I pushed myself to Billy Blanks' Tai Bo and cardio kick-boxed my way out of the college puff. Mat Pilates, Vinyasa Flow, Total Body Conditioning, Ashtanga yoga...the list is endless. All the while running, lifting and ellipticalling on the gym floor day after day.

So its no surprise that when the need for change came, I found Bikram Yoga.

Bikram Yoga is the brainchild of legendary yogi Bikram Choudhury, who overcame severe physical injuries by practicing this particular 26-posture sequence. The postures are uncomplicated; anyone who has downward-dogged their way through a standard yoga class can easily handle it. The sequence emphasizes balance of your systems and addresses your circulatory, digestive, endocrine, nervous, and immune systems. Sounds good, right? But here's the catch - the room is hot. REALLY hot. 105 degrees hot. 90 minutes of 105 degrees hot. So those uncomplicated postures suddenly become a lot more challenging.

There's reason behind the heat, it helps you sweat out toxins, regenerate cells, and loosen muscles, tendons and ligaments. I shiver at 80 or below, and after 8 hours of suffering in an office that feels like a Sub Zero, I embrace the hot. But if you blast the AC in April, this might not be for you. If you don't like to sweat, this might not be for you. You will sweat more during this 90 min class than running 9 miles. Oh, and the guy next to you will sweat that much too. You know, the one with the hairy back and the banana hammock that you concentrated very hard all class to avoid seeing. So if you can't handle a little skin, this class might not be for you. But if you like a challenge, want to feel healthier, look leaner, and gain physical and mental strength, this class may be for you.

Luckily, at Center Siddhi Yoga, they know its not for everyone. But they want you to give it a good try, so they offer a $20 unlimited week for beginners. If you go, drink A LOT of water before, during, and after. And bring a towel. Namaste.

Bikram Yoga of India
Center Siddhi Yoga
1520 Sansom Street, 3rd floor

Friday, September 21, 2007

Just don't call me baby, baby!

So, this is my first post in... ahem... maybe nine months.... And this week a friend staying with me, who I hadn't seen in a long long time, at one point turned to me with a smirk on his face: "Confess. Where are you hiding the baby?"

OH LOOK HOW I FOOLED YOU!! No, I didn't have a baby (the gut is all croissant fueled) I am just the absolute most devoted person to baby products. Ever. I have extremely sensitive skin and eczema, and due to years of trial and error in testing things to help sooth it one thing was clear: stick to the basics. No posh face creams for me, no creme de la mer or chanel no 5. Baby lotion and eau de moi does fine just thanks.
As you can see from the picture, I turn to baby products for just about all my beauty needs, bar the bikini wax. Here's a quick rundown of some of my choices:

1. Baby wipes. For... everything. Removing makeup. Quick clean up of the sink. Removing deodorant stains. Even wiping my botty. Works for that too.

2. Aveeno Soothing Relief Lotion. I cannot praise this enough. I only need the teeniest bit and it soothes my skin like ambrosia of the gods. If you could buy that at target. I know that Aveeno makes an eczema line too, but as I mentioned above once I found something that works I don't mess with it.

3. J&J Bedtime Cream Wash. I used to hate baths until I realised that they really did relax me and that if I bathed with this stuff it left a yummy moisturising film on me (just like in the ads... damn them) and makes me smell yummy. I don't know if I've been brainwashed by its name, but I really do feel soothed by the smell. After all, it's formulated with NATURALCALM™... You can't argue with science like that.

4. Baby Oil. This used to be my eye makeup remover because I swear it could take of cement and sleeping with any remaining eye makeup never works out well for me as I end up looking like I got elbowed in the eye during the night (which happened once, by the way). But I found that because I wear contact lenses the two things don't compliment each other. I do keep it around though for any time I use waterproof mascara, which may as well be made of cement, it's great to apply before shaving and... massages. But you already knew about that.

5. Baby Cologne. Whoever decided that babies need a cologne is INSANE. I however enjoy the gentle fragrance for myself when I just want to smell fresh. I've got something more adult when it's time to make my move, don't you worry.

6. Cetaphil. Oooh cetaphil how I love you. Above using it generally for cleaning, I also use it as my exfoliator in combination with exfoliator pads from the body shop. This is is a great way for anyone who has a trusted facial cleanser to double task it. Who has enough room for extra lotions in the medicine cabinet anyway?

Also in the house is baby powder, of course great for stinky shoes but also super at getting out grease stains. Baby shampoo is good for pink eye, and also make up removal if you're brave enough to lather up your eye. And you may have read in the paper lately that Pedialyte is more effective that Gatorade for the sporty types looking for rehydration.

So before you throw the baby out with the bathwater, maybe just ditch the baby. It'll only be hogging the good stuff.

A Pharaoh Visit with King Tut

I have an enormous to do list. No, I don't mean grocery shopping, laundry, paying bills or cleaning. What I mean is that I read about some event in Philly and then talk incessantly about how I have to go to that. What usually happens is that the event comes and goes and I'm still sitting on my couch, watching 90210 reruns on Soapnet. (I totally forgot what a bitch Brenda really was.) Anyway, when I read last February that the King Tut exhibit was coming to the Franklin Institute, I decided that I should definitely go. Naturally, I waited until last night, the week before it closes, to go.

The extensive exhibit consists of artifacts from his reign and tomb. I saw vases that held internal organs, deity figurines, King Tut childhood chairs, hieroglyphics and lots of jewelry boxes. The Franklin Institute did a great job of displaying everything and setting the mood, from the music to lights. However, I left a little disappointed. I'm not quite sure what I expected. I think I was hoping for some actual mummy action but all they showed was a video. That being said, I am glad I went. It's really neat to see all these items from the 1300s BC and I learned quite a bit about old King T, who actually was only 20 when he died mysteriously. I also recommend going on a weeknight to avoid the crowds and save a few bucks.

The exhibit closes on September 30th and moves to London. Get there fast!

Franklin Institute, 222 North 20th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103

New Colleen 1: Dating 0.

The first date (cue ominous music)...

How we met. We have mutual friends, but didn't know each other. He saw my profile on one of said friend's MySpace and got my IM. Ahhh, cyber dating. Old Colleen would have said "no", simply because he's not my usual type. See, I tend to err towards hipster and this guy's more of a Soprano (key differentiator, one showers the other doesn't). But New Colleen was into it. He suggested Tequila's and won me over immediately. Allow me to digress, when I went on my last actual date (there was snow on the ground) the guy took me to Mad Mex in University City. Don't get me wrong, it's perfect for its famous "Big Azz Margaritas" but not so great for a romantic afternoon date. I was carded by the hostess. The fact Gotti and I were going to an actual grown-up place was refreshing.

Preparation. This was tough. I shaved my right leg, thought better of it so when it came to my left I only shaved from the knee down (there had been proper maintenance up to this point so it didn't affect my balance). Megan vetoed my normal comfy/ cute outfit choices and made me break out the big guns, New Years Eve shirt '07. After my Pre-date glass of wine, we met at my street and walked over. The restaurant was everything I hoped it would be. The food was delicious, for the appetizer we had Queso Fundido (melted cheese with meat on top that you put in a tortilla... mmm cheese), and for the main course Cochinita Pibil (pork... mmm meat). For drinks I went with 2 mojitos (mmmm liquid courage).

Overall the conversation flowed easily. I gathered he was a little nervous because he went on a few tangents, then asked if he was talking too much (I think it was around the 10th time i said "right" and nodded my head). But I would take that over awkward silence any day. Apparently everything I did was "adorable" from my apathy for sports to my dumb joke about bringing a doggie bag home for the cats (Yes, I said cats. Plural. Don't judge.) My favorite quote of the night would have to be when he said "Yeah, I'm emotional and sentimental and all that shit." After said date he walked me home and didn't try to kiss me, which was admittedly a relief (baby steps). But I didn't want him to think I had a bad time, so I actually said "Let's hug it out". Yes. I said that out loud.

Anyway. First date was an overall success. This weekend, I'm going to West Chester to visit my girls. Let's see what tasty nuggets the burbs have to offer.

1602 Locust Street

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Te Quiero Mucho

When I think of things that I love in life: I think of friends, family, pets, clothes, and wine, but mostly, I think of guacomole. Good guacomole makes everything better. In fact, I know that I could eat chips and guac each and every day for the rest of my life and be totally fine, if a little green in complexion.

Imagine my excitement when I recently had the pleasure of dining at Molcajete Mixto in South Philadelphia. I was already enthusiastic as it's "bring your own tequila"so they can make you any fruit flavored margarita your heart desires. You can also bring your own wine for homemade sangria. Ok back to the guacomole! It was creamy, flavorful, and delicious! I highly recommend it. After I finished that off, I dug in to my entree, Tilapia a la Veracruzana which was equally fabulous. I was stuffed to the point where I may have had to "OP"- as in open pants button. Ladylike and necessary.

All in all, it was a great evening. The menu is reasonable and the ambiance is super cute. The choices are vast and the service was exceptional. I will definitely be back.
746 Christian St. Philadelphia, PA


I'm the single one. Single and... liking it. I say liking it cause I'm pumped for the "me time", but sometimes miss the plus 1. I'm a bad dater. I'm better at over analyzing.. (Do I have to kiss? Do I have to pay? Do I fake a stroke to get the eff outta herrr?) So I'm going to pull a Lauren Conrad and date like a man. But there is one thing. I don't get asked out. Ever. Can they smell my crazy? That can't be it 'cause I know people way crazier than I that are painting the town red. My friends are saying I'm not "out there" enough. So no more. Bitch is putting on my best "come hither stare" and taking an active role (hence the gun hands in the picture).

Join me, won't you? In my dating misadventures.

Back in Action

After a long hiatus, Girl About Philly is back in action! It's been far too long. Over the course of the last several months, a ton has happened. There's been new jobs/career paths, a job quit after 3 days, a wedding, some international vacations, loads of haircuts, one new boyfriend, a ridiculous amount of dining out, and much more. Look forward to a whole bunch of exciting posts about all that is fabulous in the life of a Philly girl.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A True Belly Dance

Many Philly BYO restaurants are of the Italian, Meditteranean, or neo-American cuisine. But if you are looking for something with a little twist, take the advice put forth in the 70's by Crosby, Stills & Nash: take a ride on the Marrakesh Express.

Marrakesh is an experience from the moment you open the door, partly because you can't open the door, you must ring the bell first. You are then greeted by a brooding gentleman in a traditional tunic, who my fiance described as "The Morrocan Elvis" (although I must qualify this statement, as he has an uncanny ability to relate just about anyone back to the King).

Once through, Elvis leads you to your banquette with plush pillowed seats and low gold engraved tables. My personal experience was with a large group - about 12 people - so we were given a private room upstairs. Once we had our hands properly cleaned and bathroom towels protecting our clothes (no joke - napkins are no match for this hands-on meal), we each grabbed a heaping helping of nan-style bread from a snake charmer woven basket, and ate and ate and ate, seven fabulous courses of fresh, authentic Morrocan cuisine.
There's no menu at Marrakesh, although a few of the courses do offer a choice between spicy or non, or beef or veal. Please don't go with picky eaters - while all the courses are simple, consisting mainly of vegetables, meat, and cous-cous, there's no substitutions and it is somewhat unclear exactly what else is in the mix. But that's part of the fun! And just when you think you couldn't possibly take another bite, they round out the meal with fruit, baklava, and mint tea.
Marrakesh is ideal for a large party and for people who want a memorable experience, not just a meal. And unlike many BYOs, they accept reservations. What they don't accept is credit cards, so come with cash. As you may imagine, finishing off seven courses takes some time, so don't make this a pre-theater dinner or plan on a grabbing a quick bite here. It's an event, which on weekends even includes belly dancers for table-side entertainment. So when you have the time and want a little something extraordinary, ring the bell at Marrakesh.

Marrakesh, 517 Leithgow Street, 215.925.5929

Sunday, January 21, 2007


Melograno has emerged as one of Philly's favorite BYOs. Not an easy feat considering the shear volume of competitors in our fair city. It has definitely made the list of my personal favorites in the past - an atmosphere that has that special something - that 'je ne sais quoi'. Love the space with its floor-to-ceiling windows, open kitchen, red berry garland and minimalist sunflower arrangements. European waiters with thick accents and charming smiles. And the food, oh the food - my kind of perfection. Light, simple and flavorful.

So you can imagine my dismay at having to be the bearer of bad news from my most recent visit there on a cold Wednesday night. I understand that Melograno has received a lot of praise, great press and enjoys a constant buzz of traffic night in and night out. And it is certainly worthy of its success. But that is no reason to be rude to your patrons. No way. Unacceptable. So I politely ask the Melograno staff to sit back, take a deep breath, and quietly step down off your high horses. It is your privilege to enjoy our patronage, not the other way around. Make us feel welcome, not like you are doing us a huge favor by allowing us to have a table. Philly folk don't like snobs, not even in Rittenhouse.

That said, I'm not sure that even a snooty hostess will be enough to keep me away from the portabello with pine nuts and goat cheese or the branzino and garlic mashed. It really is that good.

Melograno, 2201 Spruce Street

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Your Friendly Neighborhood Pub

After a long holiday hiatus filled with family obligations, international travel, and a few unfortunate cases of the flu, your girls about philly are getting back to blogging. And what better place to start on a stark winter's day than with a profile of one of Philly's warmest neighborhood pubs, McCrossen's Tavern.

McCrossen's is a family-owned operation with a storied history of pride, struggle, and the American dream. The building itself, built in 1852, has been everything from an immigrant shelter to a floral shop, and the McCrossens themselves even called the upstairs home back in the 1930s. Today it is a favorite neighborhood spot for Fairmounters looking for a well-poured pint and a homestyle meal.

McCrossen's is a great spot at any time of year, but its old world charm and warmth is particularly enjoyable in the winter months. The staff are friendly and attentive even when the place is packed, and it is obvious that they enjoy the company of their many regular customers. So next time you're in the mood for a hearty bowl of french onion soup and a smooth stoudt, head 'round the corner to McCrossen's.

McCrossen's Tavern, 529 N. 20th St., 215.845.0923