Fine people of Philadelphia, can we talk about the right and wrong way to incorporate trends into your wardrobe? Because I think some of you are doing it very wrong … at least I choose to believe that’s the case and not that you’re intentionally trying to bring back one of the worst make-up trends that ever existed. I’m talking about ladies wearing lipstick and liner that are worlds apart in the shade department.

The BF brought it to my attention via text a few weeks ago …

Her: Who the hell decided to bring back dark liner and light lipstick?

Me: Huh? I thought nude lips were the thing this spring.

Her: Not from what I’ve seen…. Look (see gross picture, right). I see it everywhere.

Me: Ew! That’s so early 90s and it didn’t even look good then.

Her: No, it didn’t. Why would they bring it back?

Why, indeed? I remember the first incarnation of  this look sprouting up among my friends decades ago. At the time, I took it as an example of people taking things too far. Some cosmetic artist somewhere or other recommended wearing lip liner just a shade – one shade – darker than your lipstick or gloss to make your lips look fuller. I’d heard no such advice in the last decade or so, though.

Maybe it was a suburban thing, I thought, no offense to my stylish BF, of course. I gave my fellow urbanites a little more credit… until I saw a young woman sporting this look on Chestnut St. the other day and then it was happening more and more and I’m confounded. Maybe it’s just a failure to update both lipstick and liner at the same time? Is the economy that bad? Maybe you really enjoy updating each piece of your look individually? Perhaps you let your daughter dress you today? Did a gorilla steal your makeup bag? Tell me there’s a legitimate reason for this. I’ll even accept sheer laziness. Anything would be better than these women actually thinking this is an attractive look by any means.

For the sake of all that is stylish, someone please stop this from taking hold here. However, if you really, really feel the need to look like you got smacked in the face, that can be arranged free of charge.

SPF

 

 

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Hey, friends. Been a while, huh? Apparently, some of you have noticed this little blog hasn’t been seeing a lot of action these days. I’m rather humbled by the fact that there are few fine folks in this city who still harbor some interest in what I have to say and have been begging the question: where have you been? Now, I could just cut to the chase and leave out the back story, but that’s never been my style and I’m not about to change it up now. Isn’t that why you love me, anyway? ;)

If you’re reading this, you likely know, I started SPF five years ago with the expressed intention of reporting on the East Passyunk Ave. revitalization that was just revving up. Of course, like most writers, I had other motives as well. After what seemed like a lifetime of commuting to the suburbs and editing content for trade publications, I was ready for a change. (Full disclosure: a car accident made it necessary for me to leave said job in the burbs. Sometimes life nudges you toward change, sometimes it shoves. But that’s another story.)

At the time, editorial jobs in the city were scarce and the kind I wanted, even scarcer. So, I started the blog with the additional intention of making myself some kind of relevant voice in the city. Spending four hours of your day in the car doesn’t allow a lot of time for exploration, so I walked around the city and wrote about what I saw. South Philly was and is my stomping ground so it was a natural starting place, but I branched out into other neighborhoods from there. Things started to happen…

I took other kinds of jobs that let me focus on the site and continue to build my presence. For five years, I ran around this city covering everything I could and loving nearly every minute of it. But as much as I have loved it, that itch for full-time editorial work always lingered. And then it just happened: I was offered an editorial position with a local business publication in the fall and have since taken over the lead. So, that’s the long answer to where I’ve been. The question I’ve gotten most as of late: why can’t you do both? I can … now.

Inherent in my nature is a belief that anything worth doing is worth doing right. I like to call this: going at it whole-assed, as opposed to half-assed. When starting a new venture, that means giving it everything you’ve got. That credo guided both the creation of this blog and my recent integration into this new position. Dividing my attention between the two would have meant giving neither one my full attention and I just can’t make peace with that.

Does this mean I’m giving up the blog? Hell no! I’ve settled in to the new gig now and can afford some time to explore again. I can’t promise I’ll be posting as often as I once was, but I can promise to keep it more regular and to give you my whole-assed effort, as always.

Cheers,

SPF

 

 

 

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September is here and with it, that most fabulous time of year known as The Philadelphia Collection is upon us. Encompassing more than 40 free runway presentations, cocktail parties, and trunk shows around the city, the number of events on the 2013 schedule is larger than ever! You can find the entire line-up on the Collection’s website, but I’ve got a few can’t-miss highlights for the faithful.

Suit Supply gets your man in shape for fall.

Friday 9/20

  • Suit Supply’s Complete the Look event offers customers a complimentary dress shirt with the purchase of ANY suit from their signature Red Line collection. I popped in to the shop’s fall/winter line launch party last week and it’s fabulous. 11am – 8pm, 1601 Locust St.
  • Skai Blue Media presents Sip & Style at Knit Wit. Enjoy cocktails with the designers of local brands Lobo Mau and New Histories Jewelry. Get one-time fashion advice from celebrity stylist, Ade Samuel. 6-8pm, 1729 Chestnut St., rsvp@skaibluemedia.com.

Saturday 9/21

  • Shopping Day Out at the Oval will bring a selection of Philly’s top retailers together, along with food trucks, wine gardens, fashion shows, game and more. Featured brands include 611 Lifestyle, CreekView designs, Duke & Winston and Smak Parlour to name just a few. 12pm to 6pm, Eakins Oval, Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

Happy Birthday, Scarlett Alley!

Monday 9/23

  • Scarlett Alley’s 20th birthday celebration just happens to coincide with this year’s TPC. One of Philly’s longstanding independent shops will share the love by offering select discounts on merchandise by some of the designers who’ve helped them succeed. Stop in any time before Sept. 24th and enter to win a personal Scarlett Alley shopping party, complete with a $200 gift card. 241 Race St.

Tuesday 9/24

  • Craiger Drake Designs will host Never Ending Summer, a Flaherty Brand trunk show, cocktail party and styling event. Meet the brothers behind the eco-friendly beachwear line. Guests will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite look in a blogger styling competition, enjoying hor d’oeuvres and Art in the Age cocktails. 6-8pm, 1616 Walnut St.

What's better looking? The Flaherty Brand or the brothers themselves?

Wednesday 9/25

  • Phashion Phest celebrates 20 years of showcasing upscale fashion that’s accessible to the Philadelphia market. Nearly two dozen retailers and salons will participate in this year’s fashion show/cocktail party extravaganza at the Shops at Liberty Place. The deadline to purchase tickets online is today, but you can still get them at the door. Stayed tuned next week for a dedicated post on this year’s festivities! 7pm, 1625 Chestnut St.

Remember, this is only a tiny selection from the TPC 2013 lineup. With so many events to choose from, there’s no excuse not to be fabulous this fall!

 

SPF

 

 

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This Sunday, September 15, hundreds of stylists from around the Delaware Valley and beyond will give up their typical day off in the name of a good cause. Participating salons will donate 100% of proceeds for designated services to The 18th Annual Hope Cuts event, benefiting City of Hope, an organization that aims to find cures for life-threatening illnesses like cancer, HIV/AIDS, type-1 Diabetes and more.

Myriad Philadelphia salons will take part, including some of the area’s top-rated locations. Last week, I visited Toppers Spa/Salon – Rittenhouse to see what the staff had in store for Sunday’s festivities. Full disclosure: I was also offered the opportunity to sample their services in preview of the event.

Toppers Rittenhouse cozy waiting area.

Few salons in the city have as solid and longstanding a reputation as this one. Even so, I’m always a bit wary about having my hair touched by unfamiliar hands*. We’ve all heard (or had our own) hair horror stories, some of which are worse than others. The staff at Toppers eased my concerns immediately. They were so warm and welcoming. I only had to wait a few moments before my stylist, Tommy Rosario, came out to greet me. He spent a good 15 minutes discussing and analyzing my day-to-day hair care, overall look and preferences.

His quick decision that I should not go any darker made me feel confident that my dedicated stylist was doing right by me. Instead, he decided a few small changes would be sufficient to spruce up my September look. Tommy matched my base color in minutes (if you’ve ever had your hair re-colored, you know how difficult this is), then applied piecy highlights in varying shades of blonde to give my color more depth. Even with a wet head, I was beginning to see the dimension he wanted to achieve.

While my roots soaked up the color, General Manager Judi Little stopped by to say hello. We chatted as only a couple of South Philly gals could and she filled me in on the salon’s involvement. Toppers has been a Hope Cuts support for years, there are actually four locations participating in 2013. Every dollar from every cut booked on 9/15 between the hours of 10am and 4pm will go to City of Hope’s efforts. Light snacks and beverages will be available for clients, as they are regularly.

Before I knew it, Tommy was ready to trim me up. I swear; it was like watching Edward Scissorhands. With a few deft snips, he added layers and shape (long since grown out from my last touch-up), followed up by a well-honed blow-out and well, you be the judge …

After

Before.

 

It’s amazing how much a quick treatment from a skilled from professional can transform your look and in this case, maybe someone’s life. Call Toppers Rittenhouse to book your appointment for Hope Cuts 2013 today, or visit the City of Hope website for a participating salon in the Mid-Altantic region.

 

SPF

 

  • Word to the wise: Whoa to thee that visits another salon with prior consultation with their dedicated hair care professional.

 

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As a lifestyle blogger, I pride myself on knowing all the nooks and crannies of the city. So, it’s refreshing when I discover a hidden gem that’s somehow previously escaped my attention. It’s rare, but it does happen, as evidenced by my trip to M Restaurant a few weeks ago.

Delicious dishes await. Credit: Suni Silvan.

PR guru Barry Eichner was coordinating a food photo shoot and had a novel idea; instead of wasting the food they’d be photographing, he invited me and several other local bloggers to see the space and sample the dishes. The theme of the evening then became a lovely marriage of food and fashion.

But first, I’d have to find the place! It turns out, I’ve probably passed it a million times. M Restaurant is tucked inside the Morris House Hotel, built in 1787 by the Reynolds -brothers. Historical records show few differences between the structure and the original U.S. White House, once located only a few blocks away. Small changes have been made to the building over the years, but the façade has remained the same since its original construction.

Food and fashion photo shoot. Credit: Barry Eichner.

The restaurant inside is composed of private dining rooms and an outdoor space, which is where the photo shoot took place. Stepping into the garden immediately transports you to another place. The gentle tune of song birds replaces the din of traffic and passersby, accompanied by water trickling into a small fountain and the occasional clink of toasting glasses.

Seeing as the Morris once hosted our founding fathers, it would seem strange to serve anything but American cuisine. The seasonal menu changes on a daily basis and features locally-sourced ingredients, some of which come straight from the owners’ farm. Try the happy hour special: mix and match three items for $13 (this includes wine!) or the Sunday four-course tasting menu for only $40. Going to a show? Bring your tickets and take advantage of the pre-theater menu, featuring three courses for $35.

There are still a few weeks left of pleasant temperatures to enjoy the outdoor garden, so head over to M for a tasty transportation into Philadelphia’s rich history.

Cheers!

SPF

 

 

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If you’re anything like me, by the Labor Day rolls around, your summer accessories have seen better days. Sun, wind, sand, water and just wear and tear more than take their toll on your favorite pieces. My mother always advised sucking it up. “You’ll only be wearing them for a few more weeks this year, anyway.” But I say, why wait? Just think how excited you’ll be next year when you dig into your summer stash and find nearly new items to start the season off!

Does Tiffany & Co. ever go out of style? No.

Of course, this means choosing items that will stand the test of time and not be outdated by the time summer rolls around again. Check out the offerings from these fashionable retailers to boost your style profile for Labor Day and beyond.

Few fashions stand the test of time like those from Tiffany & Co. The store’s latest offering: Elsa Peretti’s Cat Island collection. Subtle sea-shell inspired charms and carved stones dangle delicately from necklaces, earrings and bracelets in both gold and silver options.

Mix and match Circa 1985 charms.

Circa 1985 is a versatile collection from John Wind Maximal Art. The customizable petite charms are available in styles to fit any fashionista’s personality. Wear them alone or layered. Mix vintage and modern pieces or give as a keepsake gift to remember a special occasion.

Pearl in Crown pieces are both soft and chunky.

Pearl in Crown, by Polish designer Ella Kolanowska, may just offer the perfect pieces to transition your look from summer to fall. Woven items form a base for pearls, stones and chains in her handcrafted jewelry collection. These accessories blur the line between clothing and accessories in a most beautiful & unique way.

Create a carefree elegant look for the final days of summer. You’ll thank yourself next year when you’re starting the season out with next-to-new items.

SPF

 

 

 

 

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While I admittedly have other posts that I should be wrapping up right now, I can’t help but chime in with the media chorus singing the praises for this year’s Diner En Blanc Philadelphia. On the off chance you’ve been living under a rock for the last week, here’s a primer: DEB is an international phenomenon in 40 cities wherein thousands of preregistered guests, dressed in head-to-toe white, converge for a picnic/party on a public space, the location of which is unknown to all of them until moments before.

I’ll confess I was skeptical. I did not attend the inaugural Philadelphia DEB in 2012, but I did hear rave reviews from some very trustworthy sources. Still, I wondered how the organizers would make the responsibility for diners to provide their own, food, drink, tables, seating, etc. worth the price of admission. Obviously, I’d have to find out for myself.

So, on Thursday, August 22, I met up with a few other press peeps in center city just before the appointed 7pm call time. On our way out, the building security guard asked where we were headed. We all had a bit of a chuckle when we told her we weren’t quite sure and she replied, “What kind of party is that?” Out on the street, however, anticipation started to build. The area around City Hall was suddenly speckled with similarly-dressed groups milling about. Just then, everyone’s phone began to buzz with the location notification: JFK Blvd. Bridge at 30th St. Station. Having always been a fan of this spot’s stunning construction, I was starting to get psyched.

30th St. Station, looking regal awash in white.

Minutes after we received the alert, we saw other groups of white-clad citizens making their way towards our destination. Everyone we passed was asking “What is all of this about?” Still not 100% certain of an exact address, we jumped in a cab and told the driver to take JFK to 30th St. None of us wanted to wait even for a short subway ride more. Sure enough, as we got closer, we saw the street was blocked off up ahead. The driver took us as far as the barricade and we walked towards the growing cluster of white ahead. Suddenly, we went from empty asphalt to a street-side café that was getting larger by the second. The media area was situated in the center of it all, right outside the PECO building. By the time we took the five minutes to check-in, we were surrounded by a sea of white. In honestly took a few minutes to soak it all in.

Why wait for the dance floor to get your groove on when there are drum lines strolling through?

A stage at the station end of the bridge hosted modern jazz group Carte Blanche during the dinner hours, with speakers set-up along the road so that all guests could enjoy. As the sun began to set (and let’s be honest, bottles began to be drained), guests began to shuffle from table to table. This party was just getting started. A ceremonious sparkler lighting signals the official end of dinner. Shortly after, throngs of people came past in waves, heading towards the stage, now occupied by DJ Bruce. People were literally dancing in the street as they came through.

The bridge itself now resembled the dance floor of a popular club, like an officially-sanctioned rave, minus the drama often accompanied by excess alcohol consumption by a crowd. No, tonight, everyone was smiling, polite, even friendly. As residents of a major metropolitan East Coast city, Philadelphians can be a little harsh with each other in our day-to-day interactions. That night, there was seemingly no one who wasn’t swept up in the sense of community and the spirit of the moment. There were even three proposals.

In juxtaposition, The Circa Center showcases Philly's old and new architecture.

I can’t imagine otherwise having had the opportunity to enjoy the station view in a soiree setting. More than 2,500 people partook in this pop-up party. Friends and strangers alike enjoyed the revelry of the evening together. I think we all knew we were partners in a singularly magical experience. Next year’s festivities will be held in another similarly-secretive venue, which will come with its own mystique. Still, no DEB will ever be quite the same. It’s official: you can count me among the Diner en Blanc devotees in the years to come.   You only have to go once to get it.

Cheers!

SPF

 

 

 

 

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Sure, summer’s not officially over yet, but as far as your favorite retailers are concerned, it’s long gone, which is great news for Philly style hounds looking for their latest fix. Last Thursday, I joined a small group of local media for a style crawl presented by Art in the Age. Shopping fueled by fine spirits? Yes, please! It also turned out to be a great opportunity to reacquaint myself with the shops here, both old and new.

 

But there’s fun in store for you, my fabulous readers, as well. Purveyors that participated in the Art in the Age Style Crawl will be offering month-long steals and deals, exclusively for SPF readers! Here’s how you follow our footsteps to style savings:

 

Brighten up your home with a pop of color from Scarlett Alley.

  • Scarlett Alley is no stranger to the neighborhood. Celebrating their 20th year in business, the proprietors select items of singular beauty for their shoppers. Artistic accents, home decor and gifts for any occasion are what keep loyal customers coming back for more. From now until August 30, check out my top five picks from Scarlett Alley’s current inventory on Instagram and get %15 off. (Items limited to those marked with the #spftopfive #aitastylecrawl @scarlettalley designation.)

 

  • Third Street Habitis aptly named as I may truly need an intervention to stay away. Nowhere in the city of Philadelphia have I seen a denim collection with such variety.

    Denim, denim, everywhere at Third Street Habit.

    Truly, they carry a pair of jeans for every body type, along with a multitude of on-trend tops, accessories, footwear and more. Don’t miss the top-shelf denim collection in the back room for crazy sale prices. While you’re there, snap a pic of your favorite pair and upload to Instagram between now and August 30 for a chance to score them for free! (Be sure to tag @ThirdStHabit and @Phashionista in your pic.)

 

 

 

Exhibit A.

  • Three Sirens Boutiquecomes complete with a sweet canine companion to keep boyfriends and small children entertained while you shop! Original dresses and bags by local designers dot the homey display shelves of this small space, alongside truly unique accessories. Exhibit A: this unbelievable jewelry made from hand-spooled and –spun yard and polished metals.

    Exhibit B.

    Exhibit B: the beautiful brown Big Buddha bag that came home with me that night. Readers, mention this post and get %10 off your entire purchase for the remainder of the month (does not include items by local artisans).

 

  • Art in the Age, our host for the evening, provided an original AIT cocktail at each stop, hence the crawling from one to the next. I wish I could make this happen for you, but I can’t. You can, however, pick-up everything you need to recreate the experience at the shop on 3rdSt.

    Art in the Age has everything you need for a memorable evening at home.

    Try ROOT on the rocks, SNAP with ginger beer, RHUBARB tea, lemonade and club soda, SAGE with strawberry-fennel syrup & tonic or chat with a representative for myriad other original cocktail recipes. Take home everything you need and toast your fashion finds with a celebratory drink. (Insider tip: Thursday from 5- 7pm, stop in for hands-on demos with one-day-only specials on select items every week!)

 

Modern vintage is definitely on the menu for fall and Old City is a Mecca of one-of-a-kind pieces to help you achieve the trendy look, while standing out from the crowd.

 

Happy shopping!

 

SPF

 

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The return of cooler temperatures to our area has brought my brain function back to a normal level, or as close to normal as I get. With that comes the sudden realization that I’m freaking starving! My appetite all but disappears with the summer heat, but it’s back with a vengeance now.

The people at Pretzel Crisps must have sensed this when they contacted me and offered to deliver a personal snack pack. Last Tuesday, they stopped by with an assortment of crisps and dips to sample (enough for my entire office, in fact). These tasty little treats come in a variety of flavors fit for anyone’s tastes. I have to admit, I’d been munching on them solo for some time. Because they’re baked and not fried, they often serve as one of my healthier “chip alternatives.”

But pairing them with sweet or savory condiments takes them to a whole new level. Try the Buffalo flavor dipped in blue cheese, Jalapeno jack with a side of guacamole, Everything with a slab of Philly cream cheese or spread some Nutella on Sesame.

People are getting creative with Pretzel Crisps, too, using them to perk up myriad recipes from both the old and new school. Place one slice each of peach and prosciutto on a Parmesan Garlic crisp and serve with chilled prosecco. Cover them in chocolate and caramel for sweet & salty treat. Swap them out for crumbled saltines as a crispy topping for dinner dishes. The options are pretty much endless.

You’d think the supply they left me with would last your average family a month, but my stash has already been depleted by half! Add in some more creative recipe-based uses and we’ll surely be making a trip to the supermarket to restock!

Many, many thanks to Pretzel Crisps for feeding my replenished appetite and opening my eyes to more uses for these little snacks than I’d ever thought possible!

SPF

PS: As a huge Seinfeld fan, I have to give a shout out to the creative genius that came up with these promotional Pretzel Crisp can cozies! If you are too, you’ll get it.

 

 

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It’s official: the heat has fried my brain. I’m honestly amazed I can form coherent sentences right now. I can’t pick a location for happy hour, figure out what I’m wearing tomorrow or commit to any weekend plans.

All I can do is give you a recipe for my new favorite cocktail and hope it cools you off as much as it does me. Y’all know I’m obsessed with tequila and the classic margarita has been my beverage of choice for the better part of the last decade. When I met my now dear friend Jimmy Contreras a few years back, we instantly bonded over our love of all things Mexico and have shared many of a bottle of tequila since.

A few weeks ago, he invited me to dinner and asked me to pick up a bottle of grapefruit soda. I had honestly never tried the stuff, but placing my trust in him, I did as he asked and in return, he rewarded me with a paloma. I’ve been keeping my fridge stocked with a bottle of that soda ever since. Here’s hoping you like it as much as I do.

Ingredients

Tequila

Grapefruit soda (I like Jarritos brand)

Lime juice

Instructions

Combine ingredients in a glass over ice. I suggest equal portions of tequila and soda. Stir and serve.

Even if your brain is as a fried as mine, you should be able to manage that. ;)

Cheers and thanks, Jimmy!

SPF

 

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