Archive for the ‘Carolyn’s Favorite Things’ Category

It feels like forever since my last blog post but this offer makes it easy to jump back in! Treat is offering a free greeting card (for any occasion) to everyone today.

Whether you need a personalized card for a birthday, boss’ day, anniversary, or for any of the hundreds of occasions on Treat’s site…or even just to say hello, you should check out this offer.

Head on over to Treat now and choose from one of their thousands of designs. Then personalize. You can change the text, the font, and the colors, add a picture or four, and truly make it your own. Then just use the code TREATXOXO at checkout to get it completely free (including shipping). You only have to pay if you choose to have Treat send it to the recipient ($0.45 for the stamp).

That’s all there is to it. The offer expires tonight at 11:59pm PT so head on over now.


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If you don’t already use Instagram, the hugely popular app used to turn everyone into a photographer, then you are among a shrinking population. With loads of filters (some questionable), boarders and ways to manipulate the photos taken with your phone, you can instantly share them to everyone, anywhere, using Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, etc.

Whether you like or dislike Instagram (there are many strong opinions supporting each view), let me explain why I will be using it. With a toddler in tow, a trip to the zoo/park/museum already has me weighed down with a bag filled with all the essentials a little man may need. If said little man needs a lift to see XYZ, that’s another 25lbs weighing me down. My Canon 5D with a 24-70mm lens weighs 4lbs…See where I’m going with this? My phone weighs 5ounces, fits snuggly into my pocket and doesn’t have a pricey lens attached to it that inevitably gets jostled while chasing this little man around. And boy, does he love to be chased!

If you have an opinion about Instagram, good or bad, I’d love to hear it. Though it won’t make me change my mind 😉



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In keeping with the theme of great places to visit when it’s so darn hot in Philly, I’d like to share my fondness for the Wissahickon Valley Park. Since it’s basically located in our backyard, there’s no need for me to buckle Elliott into his car seat and drive to get there – I just ask him to climb into our jogging stroller and we’re on our way.

In case it’s unknown to some, there’s an entrance just a couple blocks from the Acme on Ridge Ave in Roxborough. You can take either Green Lane, or Monastery Ave with a right onto Janette St, which will bring you to a path just across from horse stables. Once you’ve located this path, you will see a sign that indicates that you are now entering the Wissahickon Valley Park and you will begin your short (but rather steep, especially on the way back up) descent to the Forbidden Drive trail.

We love running and walking on the Forbidden Drive – a 5,42 mile gravel trail that allowed the passage of cars until the 1920s – mainly because the temperature drops significantly as you set foot into the park and shield yourself from the sun. When a pregnant girlfriend recently asked if we knew of any local hiking trails, I told her about Wissahickon. A couple of days later, we brought our toddler boys for a lengthy stroll and the kids loved it as much as we did. They saw butterflies and blue colored bugs (still unknown to me), played on the rocks near the water’s edge and even got their little toes all wet and muddy.

Approximately 2 miles into our walk, we came across the Valley Green Inn. Had I realized this was to be our half-way point, I definitely would have brought my wallet. I cannot wait to go back to this charming restaurant which was built in 1850 and has a wonderful view of the Wissahickon Creek. I have a feeling that I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface of everything this park has to offer…


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I was born and raised in Halifax, Nova-Scotia and left when I was 18. At the time, like most teenagers eager to leave their hometown, I didn’t really appreciate Halifax for all it had to offer.

My opinion of this maritime capital city began to change when I first brought Jon with me for a visit almost 6 years ago. Seeing it through his eyes made me realize how great it was to grow up there. The city has a very unique music scene, with celtic bands and music playing in the numerous pubs across town. I didn’t think I could miss the bagpipes but I do.

Returning home this time as a mom, hanging out with girlfriends that I’ve known forever (who are themselves moms to young boys), and enjoying the most delicious lobster dinner at Salty’s made this trip to Halifax the best one so far. And for anyone who knows Halifax, the fact that it didn’t rain during our trip save a 5 minute downpour is nothing short of special!

We also loved discovering the sections of the Waterfront that were still under construction the last time we were there and I won’t soon forget watching the fireworks over the harbour in celebration of Canada Day. I’m excited for our next opportunity to return home…

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On a hot and sunny day in Philadelphia, there are plenty new places to discover and to stay cool. One of our new favorite spots is the Sister Cities Park located on Logan Square at the corner of 18th Street and Benjamin Franklin Parkway, just across from the Cathedral Basilica SS Peter and Paul.

Sister Cities Park opened in May, 2012 and as a few of us were discussing the other day, if you didn’t know to look for this new park, you’d have a hard time stumbling upon it. There is a children’s garden which was inspired by Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Valley, where children can climb the mountain or send small boats/toys back down the stream. At the bottom of the stream is a small wading area where little ones can splash around and meet new friends.

With a cafe called Milk and Honey Market and plenty of grass to lay down a picnic blanket, we are able to spend a full afternoon at this wonderful park, while enjoying the urban landscape that surrounds us. My advice is to bring a bathing suit and swimming diaper for the kids as they won’t want to leave…and sunblock because most of the park is without shade.

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Art All Night, something for everyone…

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On a gorgeous Saturday afternoon, a group of around 15 people (including me, Jon and Elliott) gathered in front of Marchiano’s on Umbria Street in Manayunk and eagerly awaited a slice of their famous Tomato Pie. This was our first stop on the Chew Philly Food Tours and we were off to a great start!


Elyse Castillo and Jason Blank are the co-founders of this wonderful new company which is described on the Chew Philly Food Tours‘ website as follows:

“We’ll treat you to an afternoon of savory and sweet foods, while teaching you a thing or two about local architecture, history, and culture along the way. Your taste buds will be tickled with new foods, some beloved classics, and some that can only be found right here in Philly.”

ImageThe tour lasted 2.5 hours and the total walking distance was 1.7 miles with a decent amount of time spent walking along the Manayunk Tow Path near the canal. All 5 of our stops were perfectly timed, never feeling rushed to finish our treats, and always ending just as you began wondering what was next.

Our food tour consisted of stops at:

Marchiano’s Bakery


Sorrentino’s Deli


Angelo and Josephine’s


Volo Coffeehouse


Sweet Elizabeth’s Cakes


Since I am far from being a food critic, I won’t go into detail about everything we ate. Suffice it to say that it was all delicious, we were more than pleasantly stuffed and as we shared our favorites with the group, it was clear that there was something for everyone. (My favorite was the cappuccino from Volo…yummy and pretty, decorated with a steamed milk heart. And this from a gal who worked at Sbux for almost 3 years!)

Thanks to Chew Philly Food Tours, we have been introduced to local shops that we will continue to patronize and have been inspired to seek out even more hidden gems on our own. And an even bigger thanks to Elyse for being a wonderful tour guide who takes a lot of pride in creating a memorable experience for all. You’re the best!



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