Finally, a Rocking Chair You’ll Actually Want to Own

Rocking Chairs

Stevie and Isadora rockers, $1,650 each. | Photos by Steve Mitchell, Abstract Studios.

A few years back, when I was shopping for rocking chairs for my son’s nursery, it seemed to me that the vast majority of rockers and gliders were either simply ugly — hard and wooden and forbidding-looking — or just a bit ubiquitous, in a pastel, overstuffed, Pottery Barn sort of way. I always suspected that there was something really special out there, some beautiful, special chair around which I would build a room, a chair I would keep forever, but I never really found it. Until now, that is, with the discovery of Philly-based Rocker Refined, which makes the most gorgeous rockers (and wingbacks, and ottomans, and cribs) that I’ve ever seen.  Read more »

Philly Companies With the Best Employee Perks

A few of the on-campus amenities at AmerisourceBergen.

A few of the on-campus amenities at AmerisourceBergen. (Photos by Christopher Leaman.)

1. Money, Money, Money

A lot of companies are finding ways to compensate employees outside the usual salary, IRA and 401k routes. To wit: The Fishtown-based Web design and development firm YIKES Inc. offers free SEPTA TransPasses; PwC has a student-loan reimbursement program ($100 a month, every month, for six years); and Manayunk’s Intuitive Company, a digital design, research and development firm, promises extra cash in the form of profit sharing as well as performance and employee referral bonuses. Read more »

I Tried It: My Search for Philly’s Best (And Sweatiest) Dance Class

Beginner's Hip Hop at Koresh Dance Company | Photograph by Gene Smirnov

Beginner’s Hip Hop at Koresh Dance Company | Photograph by Gene Smirnov

My legs are shaking, sweat is rolling into my eyes, and for about three minutes in the middle of it all, I have to focus what little energy I have left on not barfing. True, I’m just doing some aerobic dancing in Lithe Method’s Rock Steady class, but it’s intense aerobic dancing. Aerobic dancing on Four Loko. With complex choreography. I wonder: Is this how Kevin Bacon felt working on Footloose? Probably not — Kevin Bacon wasn’t attached to the ceiling with stretchy bands for added resistance. He also wasn’t taking breaks to drop down for a hard-core arms/abs/legs series. No, this is definitely harder than anything anyone has done ever — so when I finally figure out the moves and push through the whole routine (without barfing), it’s a major high. I’m killing it. Forget Kevin: I am basically a Laker Girl.  Read more »

The Tale of Audrey Claire Taichman

Audrey Taichman at Twenty Manning Grill. Photograph by Chris Crisman; hair and makeup by Megan Ambroch.

Audrey Taichman at Twenty Manning Grill. Photograph by Chris Crisman; hair and makeup by Megan Ambroch.

THE THING ABOUT trying to tell an Audrey Taichman story is that it’s very hard to know where to start. Or, more precisely, which Audrey Taichman story to start with, because good Audrey stories are legion.

Once, Audrey’s dad took her to an orientation at a culinary school in Philadelphia at which the school’s director got up and asked the crowd: “How many of you here want to open up your own restaurant?” Audrey and a few others raised their hands. “Well, that’s not going to happen,” he said, in what was probably meant to be some real talk aimed at a room full of naive kids. Audrey looked at her dad, who grabbed her hand and said, “Let’s get out of here.” And then Audrey went and opened a restaurant. Read more »

OPINION: Is Progressivism in Philly (Still) Dead?

Teddy-RooseveltSo if you haven’t seen it yet, the April issue of Philly Mag features a great profile of Jim Kenney. The piece, written by Liz Spikol, highlights the inherent tension in a mayoral candidate with rowhome roots and an array of union endorsements who has also simultaneously become “the darling of Philadelphia’s progressive movement.”

Kenney as Progressive is a fair characterization, if you’re using the checklist that stands in as progressivism in Philadelphia these days: Pro-bike. (Check.) Pro-LGBT equality. (Check.) Feminist. (Check.) Pro-pot decriminalization. (Check.)

It’s no wonder the young liberal “beer-garden crowd” is taken with the man: These are more than just liberal ideals—they’re modern, crucial steps in the right direction for Philly. No doubt. But are they really new? Are they progressive, in the classic sense of the term? Maybe they are, if you judge by the calcified standards of the Philadelphia political realm. Read more »

Deliver Me! Inside Philadelphia’s New Convenience Economy

Photograph by Dale May

Photograph by Dale May

A couple of years back, a city-dwelling friend of mine made a bet with her husband over who would correctly predict the most Oscar winners. The loser, they decided, would be forced to do the winner’s bidding in one specific arena: The victor could demand any sort of food run at any time. Which is how, minutes after arriving home from a weeklong vacation, my friend found herself back outside, tromping testily through piles of snow on a quest for her husband’s favorite apple pie from a bakery several blocks away. It goes without saying that she regretted ever agreeing to such inconvenient stakes. Read more »

Letters From the (Real Estate) Trenches

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 12.03.13 PM

Illustration by Tim Durning

This past fall, after five years of renting in Fairmount, my husband and I finally decided to buy a home of our own in the neighborhood. Now, call me naive — maybe too many hours logged on HGTV? — but I honestly thought that our prequalified mortgage and 20 percent in our pockets meant we’d follow the classic script: We’d find a place, put in an offer, have our agent negotiate with the seller’s agent, and then — voilà! — be happy homeowners.

That isn’t how it went.

In fact, says realtor Karrie Gavin, that’s rarely how it goes these days in Philly. Gavin, a four-year agent with Elfant Wissahickon, prides herself on almost never losing a bidding war — and she’s been in a lot of bidding wars lately. A lot. “The inventory is very low right now, and there’s a high buyer demand,” she says. “I’m seeing a lot of things selling for above the asking price.” Penn’s Fels Institute of Government reports that home prices in fall of 2014 shot up all over the city; average days on market fell from 88 last winter to 67. The takeaway? Gird your loins, buyers: Competition is fierce, especially in hot spots like Fairmount, Grad Ho, Bella Vista, Queen Village, Passyunk Square, even Chestnut Hill and Narberth.

Read more »

The Best Hair Stylists in Philadelphia

The stylists of Salon Vanity at work. Photograph by Joseph Balestra.

The stylists of Salon Vanity at work. Photograph by Joseph Balestra

There are many, many great stylists in this city and its ’burbs. And most of the greats can do anything you ask them to, and do it well. But the trick to true hair happiness is a little more complex, isn’t it? You don’t just want someone who’s great; you want someone intuitively attuned to your exact hair issues.

And that, reader, is what you’ll find here: 45 excellent stylists, each with a special knack for dealing with one issue or another, from cutting crazy curls to eliminating those wiry grays to helping with thinning hair, and beyond. We’ve also got the scoop on the five man-cuts that can instantly update a look, the secrets behind the city’s best heads of hair, the Center City salon that’s bringing back the perm … and more.

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Philadelphia Pop-Ups Are Why We Can’t Keep Nice Things

Illustration by Nick Massarelli

Illustration by Nick Massarelli

If any one thing cinched Spruce Street Harbor Park as the summer’s best pop-up, it was probably the hammocks — dozens of them scattered in the shade, cocooning people reading or napping or making out. The sprawling swatch of riverfront, complete with swan boats and floating barges and water lily gardens, was so picturesque that it felt more like the Hollywood set of a park than it did an actual park nestled on the southeastern edge of Philadelphia, within spitting distance of the I-95 on-ramp.

If this were a movie set, it would be for one of those cheery rom-coms, the type where the city is all twinkle and no grit. (In essence: More Nora Ephron than Woody Allen.) Just look! Down the river there’s a boardwalk lined with shipping crates that hold hot-dog vendors and games like air hockey; behind that, children play with four-foot-high chess pieces and venture barefoot into a wading fountain. Around them, dozens of park-goers are sprawled out on beach chairs or waiting in line for a Jose Garces truffle-and-cheddar burger, while park employees hand out maps and greet newcomers: “Hi there, welcome to Spruce Street Harbor Park.”

That this place appeared to draw and delight every possible demographic is no wonder, really. The Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, collaborating with David Fierabend from Groundswell Design Group, did such an amazing job creating this $600,000 shaded Shangri-la that upon entering, you forgot it was very recently a boring swath of nothingness sandwiched between the Independence Seaport Museum and the USS Olympia. You forgot that behind those greeters is the rest of the city, where people sit in airless cabs, where planters are dead-bolted to front porches. And you forgot, until too late, not to fall in love with this place that will eventually vanish as quickly as it popped up, like a vaguely hipster Brigadoon. (Update, 8/27: You now have a one-month reprieve — the new closing date is September 28th.)

Read more »

I Tried It: The Hairspray That Promises to Cover My Grey Hair


Can a spray really get rid of grey?

Blondes seem to think that they have it the hardest when it comes to color upkeep, and for much of my life as a low-maintenance brunette, this actually seemed true. I was always grateful that my natural dark brown color required basically nothing aside from the occasional highlight to look its best. And then I turned 30. Suddenly, the easy, breezy days of doing nothing stopped working: Now if I go more than a few months without a little help from a professional, the grey (or as I like to call it, silver) shoots through my hair, as glaringly obvious as lightning bolts slashing through the night sky. Alas, as a working mom, the chances of getting to that professional every couple of months to address said lightning bolts are basically nil. Sigh.

Read more here.

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