How to Live Gorgeously in Small Philly Apartments: Lessons from Airbnb


Photos via Airbnb, with permission from homeowners

I’ll be the first to admit that I love some good house porn — especially when said house porn involves a peek into my neighbors’ homes. After nearly a decade of living in rentals in two cities, I’ve become particularly enamored with small spaces that are utilized with utmost efficiency: each nook, cranny and corner thoughtfully employed to maximize every square inch of living space. It’s basically icing on the cake if the space is styled well to boot.

So what better place to gawk at stylish small spaces that happen to belong to my neighbors — by which I mean, fellow Philadelphians — than Airbnb? Oh, the bookcases that double as room dividers! The tiny tables to create a coffee nook! The ladders and lofted beds! It’s as good as Christmas.

So snoop with me, will you? Maybe there are some smart design schemes you can crib for your own pad. But if not, hey, at least it’s still some mighty fun house porn.  Read more »

12 Cozy Throw Blankets to Keep You Toasty Warm This Winter

Clockwise from left: Thomas Paul Octopus Throw from Houzz, Henri Dove Cotton Throw from DwellStudio, 5th Avenue Glacier Park Throw from Pendleton, Houston Throw from

Clockwise from left: Thomas Paul Octopus Throw from Houzz, Henri Dove Cotton Throw from DwellStudio, 5th Avenue Glacier Park Throw from Pendleton, Houston Throw from

I was outdoors for approximately 20 minutes yesterday, and no joke: I was so cold, my ears ached. The sad, sad reality of winter in Philly is this: Mild ol’ December always lulls us into believing, Hey, this isn’t so bad!, but then January and February come, bringing the absolute worst of it, so you’d better be prepared. And what better way to ride out the snow, ice and bitter cold than on the couch in front of a Netflix marathon shrouded in a cozy new throw blanket that wraps alllll the way around, maybe even twice? Thought so.

Please, let your fingers do the shopping today and get warm at last. Piping mug of hot cocoa not included, but highly recommended.  Read more »

Home Staging 101: A Philly Pro on How to Style Your House to Sell Fast

There’s almost nothing more stressful than selling a house — except, maybe, shopping for one. Three years ago when I was house hunting, I remember having a reeeeeally hard time seeing past some of the homeowners’ decor choices: the gold gilded mirrors, the odd little knick knacks, the kids’ toys everywhere.

“Many times, homeowners forget they’re selling the building, not their home, exactly,” says Ali Kutner, staging coordinator at the Kensington-based interior design and staging firm Sunflower Creations. “New buyers want to come in and make it their home, and they don’t want to think of it as someone else’s home.”

The goal, Kutner explains, is to strike a balance between a presenting a home that’s a total blank slate (i.e. completely stark and empty) and one that feels overly lived-in (i.e. tired, worn out furniture; family photos adorning every wall). Why? To give the buyer an idea of how they can use the space while leaving room for them to visualize it as their own. Doing so, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors, could help your home sell at a higher price, and maybe even faster to boot; Kutner says many of the homes she stages sell within 30 days.

Ready to get started? Consider this your cheat sheet for staging your home like a pro.  Read more »

5 Ways to Transform Your Living Room with Almost No Effort

If it’s on your 2017 to-do list to rethink, well, every square inch of your home’s decor, don’t panic. You don’t have to throw everything away and start from scratch. (Although, if you’re still holding on to your college futon, it’s probably time to upgrade.) In fact, you can change the entire look and feel of a room with very little money and almost no effort. Don’t believe me? Here are five easy things I’ve done in my own living room to refresh my style without a total overhaul.  Read more »

27 Ways to Celebrate Halloween Season in Philadelphia

Halloween is fast approaching, friends, so it’s high time you locked down your plans. To help you out, we’ve rounded up 27 Halloween events happening around town, from costume fêtes to costume pub crawls to costume runs and plenty more. (Seriously, don’t be that guy who shows up without a costume, okay?) Here’s to a frighteningly fantastic Halloween in Philly.

Read more »

Why’s Everyone Freaked Out About Cape May Beach?

Photography by Ryan Collerd; photograph illustration by Alyse Moyer.

Photography by Ryan Collerd; photograph illustration by Alyse Moyer.

If you really squint at the shape of New Jersey, it looks like a malformed hand pointing angrily at the ocean. And the fingertip that’s jabbing at Mother Nature is Cape May, the southernmost city in the state, where my family has owned a home since 1964. For the most part, Cape May is a sleepy Shore town with an everybody-knows-everybody vibe. It’s the sort of place where most residences, even businesses, don’t lock the doors. Read more »

Fall Weekend Getaway: Glamping at Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort in the Poconos

A riverside tent at the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort | Photo courtesy Shawnee Inn

A riverside tent at the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort | Photo courtesy Shawnee Inn

Glamping, for the uninitiated, is the annoyingly buzzy term for glamorous camping, a concept that involves large teepee-like tents tricked out with comfortable beds and feather duvets, wi-fi and electricity. It’s painfully Portlandia-esque, and I was a bit embarrassed to admit to friends and family that I was trying it. I’m a semi-seasoned camper who owns a heavy-duty tent and well-worn hiking boots. Feather duvets aren’t usually on my packing list.

But I was also excited. After all, the only thing conceivably better than camping is camping when somebody else does all the heavy lifting. Never before have I embarked on a camping weekend with less than a car full of supplies, but here I was, pulling into the parking lot at the Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort near the Delaware Water Gap (just under two hours from Center City) with nothing but a half-empty duffle bag. I felt woefully unprepared.

The resort reminded me of the one in Dirty Dancing: rustic (the property is surrounded by thick woods and looks out on the Delaware River); historic (the sprawling 103-room lodge dates back to 1911 and, under famed bandleader Fred Waring’s ownership 30 years later, became a woodsy playground for the likes of Ed Sullivan, Bob Hope and Lucille Ball); and undeniably summer-camp-like (each night, guests gather at the bonfire on the front lawn for s’mores).

I was headed for the Riverside, one of the resort’s two glamping sites — a duo of large canvas tents pitched atop private decks. Each tent is equipped with a queen-size bed and daybed, area rugs, a coffee maker (with all the fixings), side tables, lamps and more, and they’re situated near communal bathrooms with showers. (Towels are included.) They’re perched right on the inn’s grounds in the midst of the resort’s action — handy if, say, you want room service, but not the best choice for peace and quiet. For something a bit more remote (read: no room service here), book one of the four new Island tents, which can only be accessed via canoe. But you’re not left to totally rough it on your own: The resort sends an attendant who tends to the fire and cooks you a hearty breakfast in the morning.

During the day, you can take advantage of Shawnee’s amenities (golf, tastings at the on-site craft brewery, spa treatments) or go off-site for a little adventure. I took a leisurely three-mile kayak trip ($42 a person) on the glassy river—bald eagles galore!—and hiked along the Appalachian Trail with two guides from the resort’s rec staff leading the way (free!).

When the sun went down, I was eager to make use of my glampsite. Once the fire got going (note: the resort even provides the firewood, so there’s no need to scavenge), I sat back, relaxed, and looked at the stars, far more visible from this Poconos perch than from my South Philly patio. What could make this better? I thought to myself. And then it hit me: a glass of champagne.

Luckily, all I had to do was ring the front desk.

Field Guide: Delaware Water Gap Weekend Itinerary

Stay: The Shawnee Inn and Golf Resort, 100 Shawnee Inn Drive, Shawnee on Delaware; tents start at $154 a night.
Play: Rent a kayak or canoe via the resort, or, to experience nature without the sweat equity, sign up for Shawnee’s pontoon-boat tour of the Delaware (starting at $35 a person).
Eat: There’s a stellar weekend brunch at Deer Head Inn, and be sure to grab dinner at the Minisink Hotel, a no-frills biker bar that serves up terrific sandwiches (get the pulled pork) and burgers. Finish the night at the resort’s on-site craft brewery, which pours generous $2 tastings.

See More Fall Weekend Getaways »

This article first appeared in Philadelphia magazine’s September 2016 issue.

Pets: I Hate Your Dog

Illustration by James Boyle

Illustration by James Boyle

It was one of the first warm Saturdays of spring, and I couldn’t wait to get outside for a run. As is always the case when good weather finally sets in, the city was a beehive of activity; a palpable feeling of neighborliness hung in the air. It was one of those perfect Philly days when you can’t imagine living anywhere else.

after the jump »

How I (Painstakingly) Reformed My Picky-Eater Toddler

Picky-Eater Toddler Tips: Noah eating his food happily.

Behold! My picky-eater toddler, Noah, happily eating a sandwich. (I thought this would never happen.)

I think most first-time parents will sympathize with me when I tell you the following story. The rest of you might think I’m a tad nuts, but whatever. I’m willing to risk your judgment.

So here goes: It was 8:30 on a Monday night, about an hour after my nearly one-year-old son, Noah, had been put to bed for the night. My husband, Chris, was out of town for work, so I’d had a particularly long and logistics-laden day juggling a needy baby, yippy dog, work deadlines, etc. (Side note to single parents: I do not know how you do this day in and day out, and I salute you. I believe you are actual superheroes.)

In a word, I was tired. Really tired. And on that particular night, I’d battled with my kid for nearly an hour at dinnertime while he rejected — with gusto, I should add — every last item of food I put in front of him.  Read more »

WATCH: Full Surveillance Video Released Showing King of Prussia Mall Kidnapping

A woman identified as 32-year-old Cherie Amoore walks through and out of the King of Prussia mall with seven-month-old

A woman identified as 32-year-old Cherie Amoore walks through and out of the King of Prussia Mall with seven-month-old Ahsir Simmons.

The full surveillance video showing the March 31st abduction of seven-week-old Ahsir Simmons from the King of Prussia Mall has just been released. Cherie Amoore, 32, allegedly kidnapped the infant after befriending his mother; she walked with them through the mall, sat with them at the food court, then took the baby while his mother was distracted by another young child.  Read more »

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