Hey there, Jenn, Sarah’s second shooter and BFF, here to catch you up on what we’ve been up to lately!
Sarah and I love to go on adventures, and we both enjoy road trips! Exploring the world around us is a treasured hobby. We’ve road-tripped to NJ (so I could see the ocean for the first time!! <3), VT, Canada, and St. Louis – to name a few off the top of my head! When Sarah mentioned to me that she had a great opportunity to participate in a workshop hosted by Mike Allebach and Christine Yodsukar in Philadelphia, but she was a little hesitant to go alone, I decided quickly, that I could certainly tag along. Philly was on my list of must-see cities and everything is better with friends! It was mere weeks before the workshop, Sarah found a rad Air B-n-B, and it was official. Another adventure was on the near horizon!
Since it was my first time visiting Philly, we added a little time before and after the workshop to explore! We headed out the day before the workshop at 9 a.m. Philly really isn’t too far from us when I consider the fact that I spent my college years traveling 4 hours to and from school for every single break. The trip down was smooth. When we reached Clarks Summit, we saw the Krispy Kreme and crossed our fingers that the light was on for fresh FREE donuts! It wasn’t. But we stopped anyway!! We’re foodies, what can we say!?
Once we had our little snack (and documented it well on Instagram!), we made the last stretch of the trip to Philly and arrived downtown just in time for lunch. After circling The Shops at Liberty Place about a thousand times, looking for a parking spot, in hopes to grab some Chick-fil-a from the food court, we had to give it up. It was a really good exercise, for Sarah, in navigating Philly traffic though! A Yelp search helped us pick a new location close to our next planned stopped. We found a parking spot right in front of The Magic Gardens (imagine that, after all the struggle before!) and walked to Hawthorne’s Beer & Cafe. While our hearts were set on Chick-fil-a and a little broken from the aborted mission, this charming establishment helped us swiftly forget that. Not only did they carry an impressive selection of beer for onsite consumption, carry-out and delivery, they also had several beers on tap for growler fills or to purchase by the pint with a meal. Sarah decided on a chicken salad hoagie with house-made chips, and I ordered the short rib tacos that came with a potato, arugula, and gouda salad. I still want that salad in my life. I want that salad over and over again. It was so amazing! An unexpected surprise and added bonus was being able to taste a pumpkin beer, Good Gourd, by Cigar City Brewing (a Florida-based brewery I enjoy and have visited in the past!).
With full bellies and cameras in hand, we headed out to explore The Magic Gardens. If you’ve never heard of it, you should definitely check it out. It’s an amazing mosaic art installation created by one man, Isaiah Zagar, 23 years in the making. It is hard to put into words the magnitude and scope of Zagar’s work here. We hope the photos we’ve shared below do it justice! We wandered in awe and took a few portraits of each other. Sarah purchased a pair of funky, very dangly earrings at the gift shop before we headed off on our next mission – bubble tea in a lightbulb.
When we have an adventure on the horizon, we research the heck out of the location beforehand, checking out Yelp, Instagram and shouting out to Facebook friends for recommendations. Sometimes we end up with a very ambitious list of sites and eats. Philly was definitely one of those times. We found the lightbulb bubble tea being served at Tu’s Tea & Banh Mi on Instagram and knew it was a must-do. Sarah went for her usual, the matcha tea option, and I went with the coconut one (though I was looking for taro – it’s okay – I love coconut flavored things too!). On our walk back to the car, we stopped for a mini photo session. One cannot get bubble tea in a lightbulb and not photograph it. At least not these photographers! And while the bubble tea had a little more than we bargained for (in addition to the yummy boba, mine had jellied coconut pieces and we think Sarah’s had mango jelly in it), we ended up with some rad reusable lightbulb cups!
While we sipped on our teas, Sarah took me on a car tour of Philly – in rush hour traffic – another good lesson in city driving (and also the moment I decided I’d be taking an Uber instead of driving into downtown while Sarah would be at the workshop the next day). We were looking for the Friendship Arch but didn’t know its name at the time, so we were hoping to just drive upon it. In our search, we scored a parking spot and had to take it. Surprisingly, we did not have a dinner spot planned (oh, but dessert, we had nailed), so we turned to Yelp once again to find something and settled on Tom’s Dim Sum. We had an interesting time there – we laughed over the absence of background music and when Sarah broke one of her chopsticks in half trying to “cut” her cheese fried dumpling! Before heading back to the air bnb, we had one more stop to make – I CE NY! Another Instagram discovery – Thai rolled ice cream – in a sweet taco shell. It was fun to watch the ice cream get smashed, spread out into a thin sheet on the cold steel, and then rolled into logs. Sarah got a matcha taco, (Are you surprised?) and I tried out the ube taco. The ube made the ice cream a lovely purple and the taco was topped with glitter. Glitter I could eat!
The next day we woke early and headed to North Wales for the workshop, hosted by Mike at his beautiful studio, and Sarah and I parted ways for the day. I went back to the air bnb and ordered an Uber to take me downtown. I was overwhelmed by the freedom and opportunity my day had. I was also super curious about what Sarah was learning! For the first part of the day, I walked. I walked a lot. I just took in what was going on around me and eventually made it to City Hall. A nice local woman suggested I check out BurgerFi for lunch, so I did! The burger was decent but the fries were where it’s at (I’d say I’m a french fry connoisseur). I made my way to the historic area after that and stood in line to see The Liberty Bell. Overwhelmed by children on school field trips, I decided to get some distance from the historic area, walked by Jewelers row, found a pretty cool plant sale on a side street, and eventually found myself on the spot where Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence. That’s when I realized my phone battery was dangerously low, and I had better call an Uber ASAP.
(Hey guys, Sarah here!! I wanted to post a bit about my day at the workshop!) The album and sales workshop that Mike and Christine hosted was inspiring, to say the least! I showed up only knowing Mike. I didn’t know the other ~16 people in the room but that was fine, seeing I knew we all had things in common based on the fact we were all at this workshop, so business talk it was! A beautiful spread of bagels, cheeses, lox, cinnamon rolls and other goodies were put out for us to munch on as we acquainted ourselves and got situated. Fundy and Miller’s sponsored cute notebooks for us to take notes on during our 9 hour day! One of our first exercises was something that we needed to let go of in our business and what was holding us back from doing in-person sales within our business. It was a really fun and thoughtful exercise, watching everyone write down their fears and thoughts and writing my own down in front of everyone! We were all there to better our businesses so being open and honest was the only option! Mike and Christine took turns teaching their hearts out. It was absolutely amazing listening to them talk so passionately about how their business is structured and how they go about giving their wedding clients the best products and care!
While my day was cut a little short by not bringing my sweet power bank clutch purse, it was about time to head back and prepare to pick up Sarah in North Wales anyway. I headed out there to find out that everyone from the workshop was going to Tex-Mex Connection to mingle and relax after a day of learning. I joined the group for a (strong & delicious) margarita. I could tell everyone was humming with excitement and possibility after an inspiring day. I got to meet Christine and reacquaint with Mike. Both are so kind and supportive. We are honored to call them colleagues! During our goodbyes, we mentioned to Mike that we were going to hit up the Crate & Barrel nearby to see if they still had these unique, acrylic album displays. He frowned and stated he knew for sure they did not have them anymore. We headed the anyway – to get our Chick-fil-a fix!
The next day we set out on a couple missions before heading back to NY. The first being IKEA. We can never pass up a visit to IKEA!! Sarah checked out the kitchen table sets, I picked up some awesome new cat pillows, and Sarah found some cute home decor things and stuff. Our second and final mission was food related (surprise!) and a Philly must – cheesesteaks!! Sarah had visited the highly recommended Dalessandro’s the last time she was in Philly and just had to take me there. It did not disappoint – slight hole in the wall, but bright and clean and packed with people! It has a counter that sits about 10 customers at a time. When we arrived, it was standing room only, but the people working behind the counter were friendly, efficient, and fast! Before we knew it, we were taking seats at the counter in anticipation – Sarah for a Buffalo Chicken Cheesesteak, me for a whiz with peppers & onions. It was so delicious. With that, we said goodbye to Philly and headed back to NY.
Here are some cell phone pics and “real camera” photographs from our adventure! What are your favorite things to do in Philly? What city should we visit next?
Sarah & Jenn