Archive for the ‘Philadelphia’ Category

…has been going on for fourteen years, ever since I first walked into the wonderfully aromatic Lush store in Ljubljana. Unable to read Slovenian, I had no idea what I was buying but they did have a few words in English such as “natural ingredients” and “handmade” so I took a chance. After one use, I became a big fan and there are usually 3-4 jars sitting on my bathroom counter at any given time. 

As I was going through photos (an ongoing project), I noticed Lush stores have been a big part of my travels. Anytime we traveled with friends or family we would drag them into a Lush store. Stores didn’t open in the US until the late 2000s so it was a novelty.

Lush in Ljubljana, Slovenia
With sister-in-law and niece in Ljubljana (2004)

Lush in Lake Bled with a good friend.

Lush in Ljubljana with a good friend (2005)

Lush in Quebec City

Lush in Quebec City (2009)

Lush in Amsterdam

Lush in Amsterdam (2004)

Lush in Ottawa

Lush in Ottawa (2007)

Besides the fabulous products which makes my skin feel wonderful, the company is environmentally forward thinking, no animal testing and ethically source their ingredients. They are 100% vegetarian with most being vegan. All their packaging is recycled, recyclable and biodegradable. Lush products don’t contain microbeads which were recently banned in the US by President Obama’s executive order. Every container has an employee’s sticker with their likeness and name. Makes me think it must be a fun place to work.
At the spa – so lovely.

Recently my daughter requested a Lush spa treatment as a reward for a stellar report card. There are only two spa locations in the United  States: New York City and Philadelphia. It was a great excuse to return to Philly for a visit. The spa offers several different themed treatments ~ my daughter got the Validation and loved it. They want it to be an external (glowing and vibrant skin) and internal (relaxing) experience. The estheticians at all Lush spas have been trained at the headquarters in the UK so you can expect consistently fabulous facials at anyone of them. Before the facial begins, you will be taken into the store to handpick your preferred products to be used during the facial.

This is my personal opinion: I don’t know anyone at Lush nor have I received any monetary or product payment for this review. Although I’m sure my husband wishes I did. Just a big fan. 


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The drive from Washington DC to Philadelphia is under three hours which makes it perfect for a weekend or even a quick overnight getaway.

What I like best about Philadelphia is all the history you’ll find around every corner. It reminds me of Boston but with a little more grit.  Visiting with Ben Franklin at UPenn

A whole lot of LOVE on the Penn campus  I especially like the way the cobblestone was preserved – still there but not cumbersome.  

There are historic information signs everywhere explaining the importance of a building or area. A nice refresher of my Revolutionary knowledge.   Betsy Ross House

 Ben Franklin’s gravesite – I thought the pennies were a nice touch.  Didn’t see any $100 bills…

  A building reflected within a building.
 Christmas tree at City Hall.

 XOXO photo opportunity.

There’s a lot about Ben Franklin in Philadelphia and I was happy to finally see George Washington as well.

Since I have more time than money these days, I scowered the Internet (specifically Tripadvisor) for hotel deals in central Philly. The best deal was a Sunday night stay at the Hotel Monaco (Kimpton).

For a history buff, it’s perfectly located next to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. The hotel is trendy without trying too hard and I appreciated the cheery welcome upon arrival. We walked to most historic sites, restaurants and shops but did catch a cab when we came back from the Theater. We weren’t planning to see “The Book of Mormon” but discounted tickets were available and the seventh row seats were hard to pass up.

After reading the reviews, I splurged and paid a little extra for a room with a view. It was definitely worth it:  

  Looking out to Independence Hall A very comfortable room with fun amenities like a kite – a nod to Ben Franklin!

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The University of Pennsylvania, created in the mid-1700s by Benjamin Franklin, is a gorgeous tree-lined campus. We took the 1.5 hour prospective student tour, ascertained all the pertinent information needed for undergraduate studies and enjoyed seeing all the lovely buildings/artwork. It’s definitely worth a walk around the campus even if you’re not college shopping. There’s a self-guided walking tour.

Philadelphia Ben Franklin Statue at Penn
College Hall, built in 1872 and Ben Franklin Statue. The building was the inspiration of Penn alumnus Charles Addams for the Addams Family mansion.

Philadelphia Button Statue
Big White Button. The crack in the button represents the Schuylkill River which runs through Philadelphia. When you’re at the button, you’re in the middle of College Green and according to our tour guide, classmates use the Button as a meet-up point ~  “meet me at the button” is said a lot.

Philadelphia Hands Gate
Hands Gate ~ notice the additional one?

Philadelphia Penn Building
Another beautiful campus building

Colorful LOVE

Philadelphia Penn Door Arch
Archway at UPenn

While in Philadelphia, I highly recommend two restaurants. But, be forewarned, they are absolutely delicious, but Vegan:

Verge is an innovative, delicious tapas-style restaurant located at 1221 Locust Street in City Center. It’s only open for dinner and is very popular so reservations are highly recommended. We went early and snagged a table next to the kitchen. Not ideal but it was actually fun to watch all the staff. I was very tempted to have dessert but my two tapas selections were too filling. For two of us, we had two selections each and a glass of wine. In addition to the yummy menu selections, service was outstanding! Our bill (without tip) came to $81.00.

Vedge Restaurant, Philadelphia
Spicy Tofu

Vedge Restaurant in Philadelphia
Golden Beets ~ my favorite plate of the evening!

Vedge Restaurant, Philadelphia
Our view from our table. Be sure to make reservations for a better location!

Vegetate is located near UPenn and Drexel at 3210 Chestnut and is a great place to have a quick and inexpensive lunch. I recommend the Vegatacos, a smoothie and a sweet potato cupcake ~ Delish!

Philadelphia Vegetate

We stayed at the Inn at Penn (Hilton) which is adjacent to the University of Penn. It was an ideal location for college tours. Since it was only $2.50, we hopped on Bus 21 when we went into City Center. We rode the bus four times and each time I was very impressed with the friendly and extremely helpful bus drivers. On every trip, I witnessed the drivers going out of their way to help elderly passengers with walkers or wheelchairs. The drivers made sure those passengers were comfortable and safe. It was heartwarming to see the true meaning of Brotherly Love.

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As we drove through the hot summer haze heading into Philadelphia, with smoke stacks spewing and litter on the roads, we realized we’ve been spoiled with the clean streets of Washington DC. We were in town to tour three colleges so our time for visiting Philly’s famous landmarks was limited. First stop: Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

The iconic Liberty Bell, the symbol of Freedom, first rang in the tower of the Pennsylvania State House now called Independence Hall. In the 19th century, the inscription on the bell became a rallying cry for abolitionists in the hopes of ending slavery.

Philadelphia Liberty II
Proclaim Liberty Throughout All the Land Unto All the Inhabitants thereof,” the inscription on the Liberty Bell

Philadelphia Liberty Bell III

Philadelphia Liberty Bell Dalai Lama
Global Symbol of Liberty

Liberty Bell and Logan

The Liberty Bell is located at Liberty Bell Center (6th & Market Streets). The queue starts at the doors on the north end of the building. Entrance is free and we waited in line for about 10 minutes. Security will check your bags before you enter. Food & drinks (except water) are prohibited. Be sure to give yourself enough time to read the displays and watch the short video ~ about 20 minutes. For more information, go to their website here.

After viewing the Liberty Bell, we strolled through Signer’s Park. A nice place to take a break for a moment.

Philadelphia The Signer
The Signer

Philadelphia Signers Garden
Signer’s Park Bench

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