Category Archives: everything else

sometimes i write poems (because i love poetry)

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If you ever loved poetry but got away from it, I encourage you to spend some quiet time letting it unfold inside of you. The world needs more good poets and memorable, evocative poems.

a borrowed expression of what poetry feels like to those who write or listen.

A borrowed expression of what poetry feels like to those who write or listen.

Everyone had a poem inside. It’s just a matter of writing it down. This past year I wrote three. (posted below if you’re feeling impatient)

Each came to me at an incredibly fast pace, without much premeditation. Which to me, is the best way to capture a feeling in a poem, though admittedly, not exemplary of sound craftsmanship. Like any art form, poetry has its rules for proper execution.

However, when rediscovering any form of writing, it’s always more productive to go at it without inhibition. “Write now, edit later” is how I was taught and my mantra when working with the students at Mighty Writers where I tutor and mentor. Unless you have the words, there’s no where else to go, right?

My impetuousness aside, after hearing Nikky Finney read aloud on Radio Times (thank you, Marty Moss-Coane for the introduction) last year, and finally reading Love That Dog, I am taking my reignited love of poetry more seriously and looking to re-learn the craft in a more legitimate fashion. So if any of you have courses, books, etc. to recommend, I am all ears.

I have no shame in sharing the raw versions because they were all written with clarity of mind and heart, and if there is one thing all poems should be built on, it’s emotion. (Think about all those classic poems from Yeats, Keats, and Brontë.)

The relevance here is that somebody asked me the other day what I was doing when the news that John Lennon had been assassinated broke. I knew instantly: writing poetry in my journal in my rainbow-, album cover-adorned bedroom. Being able to go back to something I loved so much as a teenager, and that soothed all that standard-issue angst, feels really fun and comforting at age 51, especially after a rough year.

without further ado… 

Tears fall inside out,
bittersweet tea
and broken glass.
Sandpaper across my heart.
Dust mixes with blood,
veins turn from blue to gray.
Not enough concrete
to block the pain.
—22 May 2014

gentle hands caress
trails of trust between two skins
his shoulders a raft
—21 November 2014

and my most recent…

cold air pushes through the tightly woven scarf
this one morning carelessly coiled around her neck
just enough
too much

her skin fights back, goosebumps and taut muscles
don’t move she commands her shoulders and
her eyes

mistakes happen this way

her soldier stance is no match for the frigid fingers
trying to claw their way between the layers of her scarf
and the layers of her skin

her half-mittened hands tug at the fringed edges
pulling in
pushing out
forgetting in that instant, her own exposed thumbs, pointers and pinkies

remembering
in that instant
the arm-length gloves lying dormant in her dresser

feeling
in that instant
winter’s sharp edges scratching at her unpainted fingernails

realizing
in that instant
i am unprepared

she waits eyes closed, heart, breath and mind still
frozen in fear wishing it away
this feeling
any feeling

she can hear the determined chill forcing its way through her body
popping cartilage and tendons
bursting through blocked veins and capillaries

leather digs into concrete but she can’t push herself down
away from this feeling
any feeling

even before it happens she feels the cold air hitting
the space inside
the place where no one goes anymore

take me anywhere but here she pleads

she feels the cold air settling
wondering, is it just resting?
noticing, the pain sounds different this time
hoping for a fissure not a fracture

she’s barely breathing now, afraid of what’s coming
of what’s not coming
of who’s not coming

please, she asks the sky above: get me out of here

still she waits
remembering
reminding

everything has a crack
that’s where the light gets in
—6 December 2014

Smart Women Who Do Stupid Things (like drink and dial)

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There's just no way you haven't been there... from the movie Swingers.

This post was inspired by my own dumb moves, a very funny conversation with my girlfriends and one even funnier guy with a great ability to make me laugh. You can thank him for the Swingers video clip. Ladies, we need to wise up STAT. 

It’s been eight months since I got the memo that my husband was “moving out and moving on.” That’s a full spring and summer, and a good chunk of fall, full of rollercoaster days trying to “keep on trucking” with style and grace.

There’s no question that I owe getting this far to my incomparable support circle of friends and family. And, when I remember to use them, a smile and sense of humor that can match any bad day—two “essentials” for getting over and around the post-breakup hump and back into a little socializing with the opposite sex.

Not like I have any game, but having observed people while working at coffee shops or playing at bars and restaurants, it’s obvious that sending out a smile has a boomerang effect. And since a smiley face emoticon—and text conversation—only goes so far, it’s a lot better to take that smile on the road than to sit at home feeling blue because none of your digital communication devices are delivering what you want. (I mean, how many times can you check Facebook Messenger when you already have alerts set up?)

Along with smiles and wit, being able to laugh at yourself is also a valuable asset. I’ve got this last one down as do most of my friends, which makes Monday morning quarterbacking very lively. You guys can argue, but women are so much better about facing their sorry ass selves than men. On the flipside, we let a lot of things slide that we probably shouldn’t. For example, faux relationships that are grounded in texts and not much else.

There’s a lot of confused conversation going on between men and women because of texting and as much as my friends and I hate to admit it, our cluelessness about what’s really going on makes us a little loco and throws us right back into being 14. It also makes us do some really dumb stuff that we later regret because we’re so damn mind-boggled and can’t think clearly. Smiling is a handy trait, but Smart is where it’s at.

The single women that I know are beautiful, sexy, accomplished, nurturing, generous, brilliant, tough, perseverant and any other nicety you want to toss in. So why is it that they (and yes, me too) devalue their self-worth and put their romantic interests up in lights?

After kibbitzing with a few lady friends recently (because I’m the new kid on the block and need all the help I can get to not f-ck up the dating thing), it rose to the surface pretty quickly, just how susceptible to the siren call of Smart Women Who Do Stupid Things we are.

I’m still trying to break it down, but the big question is why women try so hard with guys that aren’t the best match (even if they are really witty, kind, fun and handsome) and completely overlook those who are more in sync and equally embody all of the above, maybe even more so. I get that we play the safe-scary game, classifying prospects based on projected hurt, but in this text-forward, voice deprived era of dating, it’s pretty easy to get that wrong. (Trust me, the guy that scares you is the one you want to be getting jiggy with; he wants to know the real, not game-playing you.)

Men are definitely not immune to stupid behavior or miscalculation. But women, with their golden retriever nature, try much more thoughtfully (and obsessively) to do and say the right thing, to ignore actions (what red flag?), put too much stock into words and want to right things when really, it’d be OK and probably smart to throw this particular fish back.

Worse, we write stories in our heads about guys that make them seem like rockstars, when a lot of the time they’re not half as fabulous as we are. (#truth)

Instead of seizing the upper hand, we create unnecessary drama (and expend A LOT of energy) and wind up getting ourselves hurt when we might benefit from doing the hurting. I’m not talking about first time out of the gate, botched rebound experiences; those are inevitable for anyone just getting their sea legs. I’m referring to all the actions and reactions to the opposite sex women put on repeat and that lead to a very self-deprecating state even when what went down wasn’t 100% their fault.

A good offense is a good defense. Or maybe it’s reversed. Regardless, sh-t happens and the only way around it, is through it.

Take 24 hours to cry it out and obsess about every thing you shouldn’t have done, then throw on Taylor Swift, put that smile on and Shake It Off. And call out the guy who told you that he didn’t know who Taylor Swift was while doing it. Then thank him for being honest with you and imparting a few life lessons that will prove valuable when you meet the next nice guy, who just might happen to be a better fit. If you’re lucky, you’ll wind up with a new romantic interest and hold onto the other guy as a friend, which in my book is a very sweet deal.

Speaking of male friendships, my ex once told me that men and women can’t be friends because there’s always the question of sex between them. (I don’t think I have to explain that frequent lunches with female business associates made this a bit worrisome.) I disagree.

Male friendships are the bomb in my book, and I have very happily met some pretty wonderful guys while navigating the single life. Not only do I appreciate a male perspective on both sexes, just like your girlfriends’, the menfolk’s sense of humor and subtle ball-busting is sure to make you feel a little less stupid for well, being stupid. And at least coming from my guy friends, the hugs rock. Platonic can be a very lovely place to be. Especially when you’re climbing down from the hot-crazy ledge.

Circling back to smiles, chalk one up for the boomerang effect: I just sent mine out into the universe and was rewarded with a big smile-making text from one Mr. Nice Guy. I’m going to call that, very well-timed—and a sign that I’m getting a few things right even when I feel like I just did a face plant off of a too-big ski mogul and landed with my skis, poles, arms and legs crossed in four directions.

I realize that I am greener than a Christmas tree, but here’s what I am slowly learning: We can play it smart without playing games and with shit-eating grins across our faces. There are plenty of fish in the sea, and a lot of really nice guys who are just as happy to have girl “friends” as we are to have them.

Now get out there and swing playa playa sistas. Just keep the drinking and dialing to a minimum.

Divorce: The 7-Letter Word I Never Want to Hear Again—or Want My Kids to Hear

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When marital bliss fades into divorce

By the end of 2014, I will officially be divorced for a second time, a fact that has left me deeply heartbroken and carrying a profound sense of failure, and to a degree, shame. These last two sentiments, the byproduct of being a parent and feeling responsible for my children’s perception of marriage as they evolve from teens and young adults into husbands and wives. I don’t have to tell anyone who’s been through it. Divorce is a gut-wrenching experience. 

As I told my three youngest on a very sad Friday afternoon after their stepfather had come over to talk about his decision to divorce, my respect and appreciation for marriage—and the belief that a happy, life-long relationship is possible—has not wavered. I was clear that marriage is hard work and that there are ebbs and flows of great times, good times, just OK times and pretty sucky times—much like the dynamics of sibling relationships. 

We talked about some marriages needing to end because of alcoholism, drug addiction, abuse, mental illness and other reasons more nebulous, such as one spouse wanting freedom or more personal time to pursue a non-traditional career. But my message remained the same: Marriage is not easy under perfect conditions and there are rarely perfect conditions. My advice was to prepare themselves not for the ideal times, but for the challenging times, so that they have the tools and mindset to stay the course (or right an already sinking ship) when the fireworks die down, responsibilities multiply, money dwindles and tensions and miscommunications rise.

I assured them that many of these things will happen, but also that they’re not valid reasons to head toward the door and away from the serious commitment that they’ve made to themselves and to another person. I didn’t need to tell them that divorce brings with it a lot of pain and loss; they’ve already been there. Going through it a second time has been incredibly debilitating to me. They may be processing it differently, but they’ve not been immune and are old enough to form their own opinions and to put up emotional walls.

10120882-1253EV

If I didn’t say it earlier, I am not proud of being divorced.

Not once, and certainly not twice. I worry about what it conveys to those who don’t know me, who I will meet in professional settings. Inevitably the personal questions come up, and to me, I feel that “twice-divorced” reflects something negative about my character that could be misjudged by someone wanting to do business with or hire me. I don’t know if others have thought about this in similar fashion. I certainly did not “opt in” for this second divorce, yet I can’t shake the notion that it makes me look tarnished in some way. This is not a judgement on anyone out there who has been in my shoes; I know many people for whom the third time really was the charm. Then again, I know many, including my father, for whom that was not true. But where he was unlucky, and occasionally foolish in love, he was rich in parenting skills and has been a devoted father to his own brood of five.

My mother, though separated and divorced from him when I was still a baby, did go on to have a very long and generally happy and satisfying second marriage. However, divorce is a part of my genetics. I wasn’t happy about it as a kid, and I am less so today. Because no matter how much of a modern woman that I am, I still believe in marriage. I believe in the beauty of a longterm relationship where a couple can look back at the roller coaster ride they’ve been on and say, “Despite the odds, the disconnected times, the outside distractions to romance and coupledom, financial straits and mismatched schedules, we made it.” 

My first marriage lasted 16 years. This new marriage, 20 months. A damn shame, because many couples therapists will say that the first year of marriage is often the hardest. And in fact, this turned out to be true more at the start of Year Two when the pressure of finances, slow-growing entrepreneurships, job hunts, sports schedules and teenage angst and antics crept in to our sacred space. We both knew what we were dealing with, having been under the same roof for two years prior to our getting hitched, but our expectations and commitment were different. 

I can only speak for myself, as that is the fair and courteous thing to do, but after making mistakes and not trying hard enough to save my first marriage, I was determined to do the in-depth analysis, use the tools and make the lifestyle adjustments to take this second one to the next level. That doesn’t mean I didn’t make mistakes along the way, but I said “I do” at the altar with 120% intent to stay married. 

Which is why, along with the heartbreak and sense of betrayal in our disparate commitment, I feel vast disappointment in both myself and my husband. And, the need to express my stance against divorce as the mature way to correct relationship issues and personal shortcomings. Doing the work, as a couple and individually, when you really don’t want to, is where maturity and growth flourish. And who among us does not need a dose of both now and again? 

Divorce a second time around

When my first husband and I separated then divorced, there were very specific reasons, and I openly claim a lion’s share of responsibility. I remember the therapist telling us during one session, that repair takes a lot of time, years even, and that staying in a marriage when there are difficulties and hurts is so much harder than walking away, but that the definition of marriage is “commitment to doing the work.”  

We thought a lot about what she said, but ultimately, we didn’t know where to pick up the pieces and were too wounded to try. So when he asked me one day, if we thought we could put things back together—a few months after we had both started new romantic relationships—I told him I thought it would be too hard because of there now being other people entangled in our hearts and bodies, and he agreed. Deep down, what I felt most at that moment, and why the pain side is so deep for me in this second divorce, was that I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life wondering what might have been with this new man in my life. 

(Cue Alanis Morrisette…)

10120882-1002Fast-forward 10 years and here I am again. Though my signature is still needed, the future has been sealed: Another retainer fee, another round of furniture and clothing and tools and bikes and stereo systems and jewelry and lingerie and photographs and memories to pack into boxes; passwords to be changed and dates to be forgotten, friends to be lost, and now, Facebook to fret over… Another broken-home experience for my children and another reason for them to be very anxious about how their own marriages will turn out. Or if they’ll ever trust themselves or their own family history enough to take that step at all. They may be older this time around, but I know from my parents’ history that reluctantly adjusting to stepparents and then having to undo that relationship and the associated emotions, particularly trust, still has impact, even for high school and college-aged “kids.”

All of the above is why I am daring to share these words, and why I will continue to write about this in some form for months to come. I want my children to believe that they can have a happy marriage. Whether they become parents or not is irrelevant. Kids are not the only stressors to a romantic relationship. Thus far, I have not been a very good teacher in the marriage department. So for them, I want to start a conversation, with myself and with others, to help them understand the work needed individually and as a couple to make a marriage last. 

I am too old to have a chance at a life-long marriage, and with a heart as heavy as mine, I don’t know that I have the courage to risk a third marriage (let alone a date). But that doesn’t quell my desire to be in a relationship where I can reflect back a few decades and say, just like all those wonderful couples whom I admire, including my dear grandparents, “Look at what we’ve endured; we made it.”  

For now, it’s back to being a single mom and doing what I can to help these five beautiful creatures rewrite their family history in a way that I could not.

picstitch me and kids

Unleash Your Potential: Mental Strength Coach Cara Bradley Q+A

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Unleash Your Potential by Finding Your SoulForce

Want to know how to unleash your potential at work, at home and on the field (or track, court, stage…), SoulForce author Cara Bradley reveals her insights in this compelling Q+A.

I don’t usually post work-related writing here, but I am so impressed with the mindset behind Philadelphia-based mental strength coach—and founder of Verge Yoga and Verge Athlete—Cara Bradley‘s forthcoming book (as well as her ability to articulate this so clearly and passionately), that I can’t resist sharing.

I think we all set aside goals (or simply ignore them) for a range of reasons, then one day, we wake up and realize that it’s now or never. And of course, goals come in all shapes and sizes, and levels of significance in our personal stories. Slowing down, dimming the noise and figuring out what you want—and are capable of—is the first step to realizing your full potential. Don’t take my word for it though… Once you read this Q+A, I suspect you’ll be first in line to buy Cara’s book, SoulForce, and to unleash your potential.

**Viewing tip: Click the frame in the bottom right corner of the SlideShare embed to enlarge text, and please pardon the few odd text placements that somehow occurred during the SS upload. I’ll get around to re-uploading…eventually.**

under construction (again)

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Just a little note regarding the chameleon-like activity going on here. A technical glitch forced me into some experimenting, and at the moment, I have to leave things where they are. It’s always fun trying on new web designs, but when you’re not a developer, well… you know what that starts to look like. At any rate, I have some great posts on tap and hope that you’ll do a little peeking around while you’re here—and more importantly, come back for more. Oh and by the by, Happy New Year.

– dew

Reflection & Prevention on Sandy Hook Anniversary

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(In collaboration with parenting strategist and licensed counselor, Tricia Ferrara, MA)

A lot of things are on my mind this week, but bubbling up to the surface is Sandy Hook’s anniversary, just hours away. I’ve managed to table my reaction regarding the public release of the 911 recordings (many news stations’ decision to not air them helped), but I’m a bit on edge amidst uncertainty over how the media is going to handle this very difficult and intimate memory in its retelling. The Associated Press’ decision to set up in Newtown has left me with mixed feelings, as I am sure it has others. Anyone following the news knows by now, that residents have requested that the media allow them to take in the day in privacy.

Before hearing that, I had been hopeful that the media would respect this request and refrain from deploying news trucks and reporters. Regardless, I have been, and still remain, anxious about what images will be shown on television; I could not watch any of the coverage last year when it happened; the radio broadcasts were barely manageable…

Like everyone else, it was too easy to put myself in those parents’ shoes, and to imagine my children in that scene. And a year later, I am in awe that these families, and this community, have managed to get up and participate in life, to do good things in the world and to stand together as an extended family. It is a beautiful way to honor those lost, and to honor the children, families and teachers that are very much alive today, filling Newtown with new, joyful memories. The people of Newtown have given each other the greatest gift possible in the aftermath of such tragedy: a future.  Continue reading

What Is The Point of A Blog?

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Update to this post:
When switching from .com to .org, I lost the ability to re-blog (bummer, right?) but I really liked this particular post—as noted in the copy below—so if you’re intrigued by the question, give a click—and a read.

I read this while half-asleep this AM, and I was 110% smitten with Catherine, Caffeinated‘s words. I mean, “What is the point of a blog?” IS a good question, right? I certainly wax poetic to all of my clients, about the merits of blogging, and admittedly, spend far more time on my personal blog than my biz blog and occasionally on my husband and children. It’s my space, and I dig it. And thanks to Catherine, Caffeinated, I can dig it all the more. After all, writers have to write. And, as you’ll note upon visiting my blog, sometimes, 140 characters just isn’t enough.

Lessons from Hurricane Sandy—& Save the Children

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“Disasters happen. It’s how we prepare for them that makes the difference.”

It’s hard to believe that one full year has passed since Hurricane Sandy roared up the East Coast and made landfall in New Jersey, killing at least 117 people and causing $50 billion in damage—the second costliest weather disaster in American history, behind Hurricane Katrina.

Though weather models warned of the potential destruction, coaxing evacuations, closing subways, rescheduling and repositioning trains and other public transportation—ultimately saving lives along the eastern shoreline of New Jersey, New York, Long Island and New England—families had very little to work with in preparing their children for the pending devastation.

During the storm, the foremost concern for parents with homes and children in Sandy’s path was physical safety. But in the days that followed, when electricity, food, water and shelter were scarce, and survival mode stretched on far beyond expectations, parents were tasked with managing their children’s mental state to a degree never before imagined.

The volatility of nature and technology spinning out of control is frightening for adults; the fear and trauma created for children even more so. Ultimately, as portrayed in the movie, “The Impossible,” the effect of familiar surroundings suddenly looking like a war zone, can leave children fretful for years.

“When disasters like Sandy end, the impact on children doesn’t. One of the most important parts of recovery is planning for the future.”

As you tune into the news today, you’ll likely hear numerous reflections of victims’ experiences, and feel the same sense of anxiety that many of us shared during newscasts and interviews a year ago. And, if they’re watching and listening alongside of you, so will your children. They may have questions about what you would do if another storm was predicted, and want reassurance that he/she, their friends, their pets, and everyone around them will be safe. You will readily supply all the right answers, but in your mind, be wondering how exactly, you might fulfill your promise to your child that, “everything will be OK.”

Save the Children has four words for you: Get Ready. Get Safe. And, in honor of all those who lost homes and family members just a year ago, they want you to start today

STC map copy

Created to help families open up positive, proactive dialogue about the possibility and consequences of a natural disaster, the project also seeks to provide awareness and funding for families still recovering from Sandy. Reliving Sandy’s memories today, will quickly remind us all that protecting our children must be a priority across the country and around the globe. 

Natural disasters can’t be prevented, but families can be prepared. By clicking on the links throughout this post, and downloading the campaign’s thoughtful checklists, you and your family will be better equipped to navigate the unthinkable. And, you will also be better equipped to help your community build a safer, more efficient emergency plan.

Spend some time on the site, and if you’re interested in advocating for larger-scale prevention, you’ll find a link leading to state-specific emergency planning standards—something we should all be aware of. 

Thank you Save the Children for helping us to provide a safe haven for our most vulnerable population.

Pay it (fashion) forward

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CCC sale dates website page updated

I don’t know about you, but my wardrobe is looking a bit shabby these days. Ever since fall officially hit, I’ve been wearing the same sweater and leggings, or jeans, blouse and blazer combinations (ignoring dresses and dress pants completely)—looks saved only by good quality boots that fortunately make everything look better.

But with warm weather and its characteristic air of informality behind us, taking liberties with fashion is a definite don’t. Wander through the high-end stores at the King of Prussia mall, or hanging at any of the boutiques in town and in the ’burbs: Fall and winter in Philadelphia means polished looks—most successfully created with sumptuous fabrics and balanced combinations of classic and trendy styling.

Now, not all of us ladies can afford to make designer purchases, even once in a while. But that doesn’t mean we wouldn’t if we could.

So here’s the good news: This week, every woman in the Philadelphia area has a chance to get a piece of the designer fashion pie, and at jaw-dropping prices, thanks to Community Clothes Charity’s annual sale.

The Community Clothes Charity has had a large impact on Philadelphia and the Main Line ever since its original inception in 1957 to aid hospitalized war veterans. In 1977 the organization was restructured to its present form and name. Over the years this group has donated over $3.7M to many worthy beneficiaries. By recycling their own and others’ stylish fashions, this committee’s concept has been ecologically “green” for 56-plus years.

Before I dish the details, take a minute to picture yourself in some of the gorgeous clothing you’ve been ogling while flipping through the pages of Vogue. Imagine how great you’ll look and feel wrapped up in Chanel, Armani, Prada, Oscar de la Renta, Dior, Ferragamo, Gucci, Hermès, Pucci and more. Or how relieved you’ll be when you find that elusive dress you’ve been looking for, to get you through gala season or other milestone event that requires you to look like a million bucks—even if your bank account is just not quite there… yet.

pucci

Kicking your wardrobe up a few notches is just one of the “wins” you’ll experience by attending the sale. The real reason to spend your hard-earned greenbacks, is to show support for this year’s two beneficiaries: Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech and Puppies Behind Bars (PBB), in acknowledgement for their Dog Tags: Service Dogs for Those Who’ve Served Us program. Anyone who has experienced the joy of owning a pet, will appreciate this organization’s main function, which is to offer prison-trained service dogs, free of charge, to physically and psychologically wounded veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, spreading comfort and companionship.

Regarding the Clarke School, I’ve driven past its Bryn Mawr campus a number of times, but have never taken a tour. Based on conversations with a former trustee, with whom I spoke during Main Line Today days and again recently, this hardworking school is making a positive impact for families locally and along the East Coast.

Here in Philadelphia, the Clarke team works with families to educate schools, both public and private, about childhood hearing loss, along with the value of traditional academic placement post-on campus intervention. By building relationships with area schools and providing critical services, Clarke helps create positive outcomes for students striving to transition into traditional classrooms. Students requiring a higher level of support are equally represented. In fact, monies raised during the CCC sale, will be put toward a much-needed inclusive and accessible playground that will extend learning opportunities beyond the classroom and allow their students the freedom to play in a safe environment. Just think how much better you’re going to look and feel wearing a designer garment that has the power to make a difference.

Technologically, Clarke has some pretty neat bells and whistles; since you’re already online, why not click on the website? Or, if you would like to take a tour, contact Kate Hagarty, (610) 525-9600 ext. 110; khagarty@clarkeschools.org. Learning more might just make you feel extra motivated to get your clothes shopping on.

Now, back to the sale:

The five-day fundraiser kicks off with a Special Preview Day, Tues., 10/29, 1-6 p.m. pm. All you need to do to capitalize on the “early bird special,” is make a $30 tax-deductible donation at the door that day (this also gives free re-entry on Wednesday).

The sale continues on Wed., 10/30, 10 a.m.-8 p.m., with a $5 donation request at the door. (Entry is free all on the remaining days of the sale.)

On Thurs., 10/31 the sale runs from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. because of Halloween. Marked prices will be cut in half on both Fri., 11/1 (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) and Sat., 11/2, (9 a.m. -noon). 

The sale venue is The Village Hall, Eagle Village Shops, 503 West Lancaster Ave. (the intersection of Route 30 and Eagle Road), in Wayne, PA 19087. Cash, checks, Visa, and MasterCard will all be accepted.

While you’re waiting for doors to open on Tuesday, you can do a little cyber window shopping on Twitter and Facebook. I’ll see you there. Maybe wearing these…

CCC shoes

ShopMoxie Meets Philly

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(this post is part of ShopMoxie’s “Best of the U.S. by Local Bloggers” series launched 9.12.13)

ShopMoxie Feature:
Best of Philadelphia

aka The City of Brotherly (in this case, sisterly) Love

So, about this gig… I recently decided that life wasn’t busy enough, or maybe it was just that I wasn’t writing enough… Anyway, I started a new blog (you’ll find a link buried somewhere in here) and in establishing myself as an independent blogger outside of my PR/Marketing biz, answered a query for ShopMoxie bloggers. I was very happy when I received a thoughtful email from founder Tom Tovar, who actually took the time to review my writing history, and my fledgling blog, inviting me to be a part of a Best of the U.S. by Local Bloggers series. As we exchanged emails, and learned more about each other (take it from me, this guy is interesting!), he really took me by surprise and offered me the opportunity to kick off ShopMoxie’s “Best of the U.S.” guest post series. Having spent many years writing such copy for Main Line Today magazine, I was instantly game. My only disclaimer, is that Philadelphia is full of wonderful businesses to frequent, as I am certain every city across the country is. Our collective picks are not meant to slight any of these businesses. If we had the time and the space, we’d cover all of our favorite haunts. However, what you are getting today, and in the coming days, is the tip of the old iceberg… places we know and love and feel strongly that you will too. So with no further ado, I present a handful of picks for my hometown, Philadelphia, U.S.A. Forget what you’ve heard about us in the news; we love our city. And, we really love our food.

Sophisticated night on, er in, the town: Presidential Suite, Hotel Palomar

Presidential Suite | Best of Philadelphia | read.eat.DEW.write.

We’re starting our Best of the U.S. Series at the top, literally, in the Presidential Suite.

The next time someone asks me for a suggestion on where to celebrate a special anniversary, birthday or momentous life event, I will definitely be pointing them to Hotel Palomar (117 South 17th St. at Sansom, Philadelphia; 215-563-5006) This past February, I had the good fortune of being part of a milestone birthday overnighter. Before you go judging my budget-consciousness, a little full disclosure: other than dinner and drinks, this was on a free ride. Now, I don’t have many swanky suite stays under my belt, but even with limited comparisons, it’s hard to deny the Presidential Suite’s fabulousness. Stylishly dressed up in traditional with a contemporary twist furnishings, each room is comfortable without being cold; decadent without feeling pretentious; it is clearly a Best of Philadelphia. If you’re into bathrooms, the lavish glass enclosed tub/shower with intricate mosaic floor tiling and Carrera marble will have you swooning.

Presidential Suite | Best of Philadelphia | read.eat.DEW.write.

We agree, a great bathroom does make all the difference in a hotel room.

Push aside the luxurious stretches of fabric separating you from the rest of civilization, and you’ll be rewarded with an interesting perspective on the city. In my case, that was a black and blue sky, dark clouds and scattered bursts of white and yellow lights…very much like a charcoal drawing. Any plans you had to go bouncing around the city, will likely fade away once you get a taste of the Presidential. Especially during the colder winter months, I recommend booking Square 1682‘s private dining room.

Sqaure's Mama's Squeeze Box Low | Best of Philadelphia | read.eat.DEW.write.

Signature cocktails are always enjoyable, when they’re perfectly made and we trust you when you say these are best.

Our meal did not disappoint, nor did our gracious server, who not only knew his food and drink, but also how to dole The Lady Treatment. You’ll be tempted to run back upstairs to the comforts of Kimpton—and the luxe tiger and zebra patterned robes that await—but take it from me: suck up the full, tired feeling that comes with a delicious meal, and hunker down at the bar for one (or three) of the restaurant’s signature, and delectable, high-minded cocktails. Great sipping, great people watching. Be there AND be Square. If you’re lucky enough to get two nights in, take advantage of the in-house yoga and bike programs, which will make a handy excuse for taking those extra bites and sips during your stay. Here’s the scoop: Hotel Palomar offers yoga mats in room and an ON DEMAND yoga channel 24/7. If you call down to the front desk, they provide a complimentary roll out service including a delivery of flavored water and trail mix to your room for after your work out. And, there are complimentary bikes on premise for a joy ride around the city.

Worth the drive or the walk in the cold, rain, sleet or snow: Bloody Mary, The Dandelion

Bloody Mary | Best of Philadelphia | read.eat.DEW.write.

Bloody Marys, then afternoon tea, oh my…we love it!

Another favorite haunt in that corner of the city, is The Dandelion (124 S. 18th St., 215-558-2500), a superb weekend brunch/lunch spot that serves up a wicked good Bloody Mary, along with a few other lascivious libations. (Be forewarned, this joint is multilevel and requires strong stair negotiating skills.) The vibe is reminiscent of The Standard Tap, in Northern Liberties, with lots of warm woods and a homey feel that leaves you thinking what a cool house it would make. Afternoon Tea pose a conundrum for patrons, with tea and cocktails available from 3-5pm. I haven’t had a meal there that I didn’t like, but if you need a recommendation, the EVERYTHING is worth the bite. How’s that for Best of Philadelphia?

Perfect Pairings: Couture and Customer Service…Nicole Miller

It is not true that all women love to shop, at least for clothes. However, when a big event is around the corner, and a figure-flattering dress needs to be procured, like, yesterday, my go-to is Nicole Miller in Manayunk (4249 Main St., 215-930-0307). And my favorite reason to go is store manager, Samantha Sciolla, who can read a woman’s body type within seconds. (Yes, better than you men!) Whether you’re looking for formal (charity ball, wedding, graduation), street or contemporary career fashions and accessories, this longstanding Main Street boutique keeps up with the trends without shunning the classics and they know how to combine couture with customer service. (There’s also a store in town, at The Bellevue.)

Couture and Customer Service | Best of Philadelphia | read.eat.DEW.write.

Couture and Customer Service a perfect combination in our book!

My favorite “say yes to the dress” story actually does have to do with my wedding dress. I was shopping solo, carrying on about it being a second wedding, “…still want a gown, has to cover this, hide this…” After being banished to the dressing room, I hear a knock: Samantha hands me two gowns. “This is the one you’re going to buy; this is the one you’ll try on because you feel you have to.” I didn’t even bother zipping the second dress, and I’ve been a born again Nicole Miller customer ever since (there are some sweet sales throughout the year). The wedding dress story is just one of many similar scenarios where Samantha made getting the desired dress, skirt, blouse, boots, etc., possible and guilt-free. If you go, tell her I sent you.

Romantic Dinner with a side of the Best.Foie.Gras.Ever, Bibou

Best Foie Gras | Best of Philadelphia | read.eat.DEW.write.

Give me liberty AND give me foie: Bibou plates up Philly’s finest.

Bibou (1009 South 8th St., Philadelphia; 215-965-8290) is not new (opened in 2009), however it is to me. I finally got a chance to visit this petite byob last spring, for my first wedding anniversary. I’d just met Charlotte Calmels, wife and partner of chef Pierre Calmels, earlier that month. After engaging in a lively conversation about cooking, dining, sharing food experiences with children, and more, I realized how ridiculous it was that I’d not yet dined there. In comes Open Table. Happily, I can report, unlike many hyped experiences, Bibou delivers. Every morsel of the 7-course meal (Chef’s Tasting) had my taste buds doing somersaults. Especially the creamy foie gras that was perfectly seared to a rich mahogany, and so buttery that I was licking my lips all night. Gorgeous stemware and decanters elevated our wine sipping several notches (save your best bottles for Calmels cuisine). Cap that off with attentive, but not overbearing service that left us plenty of time to savor each course (embarrassingly, I think we reveled in the food far more than our first-year memories), and we were in a state of absolute dining bliss. All you need to do for a similar experience is make a reservation.

Just outside the city limits…I Sea-food, I Buy It, Philadelphia Lobster & Fish

Tucked in a corner of Wynnewood, just around the block from the R5 Philadelphia Lobster & Fish (333 E. Lancaster Ave., Wynnewood; 610-642-1082) is a dangerous place for my wallet. Not only will you find a sublime selection of fresh seafood—personally cherry-picked by owner John Shon each morning—this quietly humming fish market stocks its cases and shelves with pristine produce priced far lower than its neighbors.

Seafood | Best of Philadelphia | read.eat.DEW.write.

Knowing where to buy the best and fresh seafood in any city is key. Thanks for sharing this pick!

It’s impossible to go in and not come out with twice as many groceries as you need. It’s practically a ritual for me to wait to the last minute (about 90 minutes before friends are slated to arrive for dinner), to race over and make a flurry of purchases. Upon returning to my kitchen, and within minutes of pulling out the goods, it’s totally plausible that I can have a gorgeous selection of house-made maki, tekkamaki, and shumai dumplings plated; a tuna steak swimming in a wasabi-soy marinade, skate prepped for a brown butter lacing, or thick-cut salmon steaks seasoned with fresh and dried herbs ready STAT—all with time to spare for a quick shower.

Seafood | Best of Philadelphia | read.eat.DEW.write.

Yummmmm – Best of Philadelphia here we come!

Talk about an easy button! When I really want to cheat, there are 15 different prepared entrees and sides available throughout the week, along with $2.99 containers of fresh, peeled garlic cloves, fully-cleaned mixed greens, baby bok choy and Brussels sprouts, sliced zucchini, cut-up mango, pineapple, honeydew, blood oranges and other quick-cook-quick-eat ingredients.

During planting season, you’ll be treated to an impressive curbside display of flowers and herbs, proudly tended to by Shon. Everyone I’ve turned on to this local purveyor agrees: it’s a feel- and taste-good shopping experience every time.

best-of-philadelphia

We love read.eat.Dew.write. and its founder/author. She’s an accomplished food and local scene writer who knows great places in several towns. We look forward to her picks!

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