10 Men You Should Unfollow on Twitter


Earlier this week, the Internet was all aflutter with news of the latest feminist hashtag. #UnfollowAMan is a (questionably executed) satirical movement created by Buzzfeed staffer Katie Notopoulos and the premise is simple: Unfollow a man — or in Notopoulos’s case, all men — on Twitter. She writes that after doing some research about her typical Twitter actions she was horrified to learn that she was “using it like a locker room where jocular masculine sick burns are doled out each minute like 140-character towel snaps.”

So, she went on what she calls “a digital man cleanse.”

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The 8 Stinkiest Spots in Philadelphia (Described With Emojis)


When I first got my cat, a rescue from the streets of Kensington, he wasn’t exactly house-broken. It took five weeks, three Craigslist futon cushions and two rubber sheets before the little dude learned how to properly use the litter box. This is why I am sympathetic to the residents of South Philadelphia who are up in arms over a recent assault on their senses. According to the Passyunk Post, the pervasive aroma of cat urine has been wafting through the streets south of Snyder.

It’s gross — there’s no arguing there.

But is it the stinkiest spot in Philadelphia? There are quite a few contenders for that not-so-highly-coveted crown. Here, I’ve broken down the smelliest place in Philadelphia. And since this is 2014 and this is the Internet, I’ve translated these locations and smells into emojis. (Too bad Philadelphia doesn’t have it’s own emojis yet.)

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10 Commenter Tropes That Should Get You Banned From the Internet


If it were up to me, we’d just call it a failed experiment, like New Coke or Lindsay Lohan’s music career. We tried it. It went off the rails. And now we’re done.

But alas, with every day that passes, the comment sections of news websites persist. The argument in their defense is that they increase engagement and give readers an opportunity to have their voices be heard. Not for nothing, they also keep people coming back to the website, which is great for pageviews and thus, great for advertising which the journalism industry desperately needs to survive as the economics of the news business evolve.

So what’s the problem?

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The 10 People You’ll Meet at Spruce Street Harbor Park

In Philadelphia, there’s always something to argue about. Whether it’s the Phillie Phanaticthe clientele at Center City Sips or the worthiness of Wawa, we are a people who love to gripe. All the time. No matter what.

Or at least that’s how it was until Spruce Street Harbor Park opened this summer to universal praise — and justifiably so. The revitalization of the waterfront is a no-brainer when it comes to things that should happen in this city. By adding hammocks and  floating gardens and brightly colored chairs and, perhaps most importantly, food and booze, the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation has given us good reason to go somewhere besides Penn’s Landing when we want to gaze across the river at New Jersey.

But the thing about being universally loved is that Spruce Street Harbor Park brings out all types of people — people who do not usually interact on a day-to-day basis. Here, a roundup who you’ll see when you venture down to the waterfront.

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10 Commandments of Riding SEPTA in a Heat Wave


When Martha and the Vandellas sang, “It’s like a heatwave, burning in my heart,” they weren’t talking about Philadelphia in July. In Philadelphia, the heat waves tend to burn every where except our hearts: On the sidewalks, on our skin and in the crowded public corridors of city living. Nowhere is this more evident than on public transit. Frequent commuters know that the rules of riding SEPTA are often unspoken, but they hang in the air even when the humidity level drops below 98 percent. These rules, like our affection for the Phillies, change seasonally. (For the winter dos and don’ts, click here.)

Here, a rundown of how to keep your commute peaceful and, hopefully, just a little bit less gross:

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I Can’t Stop Thinking About the Women Who Work at Hobby Lobby



When I first made the decision to start taking birth control, I didn’t have insurance. I was working at my first post-college job as a part-time editor and supplementing my income as a salesclerk on the weekends at Franklin Mills Mall. Between both jobs, I earned about $1,200 each month. The pills my doctor prescribed cost me about $85 a month, which I paid out of pocket for more than a year before I finally got healthcare through work.

Under my insurance coverage, the pill cost me about $15. The first time I picked it up from the pharmacy, I teared up when I realized I didn’t have put my contraception on my credit card.

For a long time, that’s the way it worked for me: I paid 15 bucks a month to stay fetus-free and I was happy about it.

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#FreetheNipple: The Nipple Is Having a Moment

The Ta Ta Top

The Ta Ta Top

2014 is shaping up to be the year of the nipple.

First Scout Willis pranced around New York City topless. Willis was — justifiably — outraged by Instagram’s asinine community standards, which state that female nipples cannot be posted but extreme scenes of graphic violence are acceptable. Then, Rihanna got booted from Instagram for posting photos of a French magazine cover on which she appeared bearing her nipples. Meanwhile, actress-turned-filmmaker Lina Esco launched the hashtag #FreetheNipple and held a topless event in New York’s Washington Square Park.

“It’s not about sitting at the cafe with a glass of wine and no shirt on — it’s about the fact that a woman cannot sunbathe without her shirt on next to a man that has every right to do so,” Esco, who is making a film about the movement featuring Janeane Garofalo, told the Huffington Post in April. Since then, the #FreetheNipple movement has grown in popularity, bolstered by the celebrity support of Willis and Rihanna.

Nipples, it seems, are having a moment.

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10 Emojis Philadelphia Needs Right Now

Illustration by Nick Massarelli

Illustrations by Nick Massarelli

Sometimes, words just aren’t enough. Other times, words are just too much.

That’s where emojis — little cartoon icons that can be used in text messages and other digital communication — come in. Emojis have transformed the way we  communicate digitally. They’re such a pervasive part of our linguistic culture that Yelp recently announced that users can search their mobile app using the icons. (No word on what happens if you search using the smiling pile of poop emoji.)

The cartoon language is about to become even more robust. Last week, Emoji announced that a whopping 250 new icons will be added to their library. The new emojis are a mixed bag of weird items including: a one-button mouse, a two-button mouse, a three-button mouse, an oil drum, a spider, a stock chart and a diesel locomotive. See the complete list of additions here.

What it doesn’t include is a hot dog, which is a disappointment to Laura Ustick, the general manager of Superdawg Drive-In in Illinois and the creator of a campaign to get hot dogs included in this round of emoji updates. “While a sad or crying face would have been appropriate, we thought not using an emoji sent a louder message of our disappointment with the announcement,” she told the New Yorker.

We feel ya, Laura.

Sometimes we, as Philadelphians, have unique communication needs. (See: “Jeet yet?” and “youse” and “hoagie.”) When those needs arise, emoji cannot always contain all the things we, as citizens of this big, loud, brash, weird city, need to say. Here, a list of 10 emojis Philadelphians need right now.


What Philly emojis do you wish were on your iPhone? Tell @errrica on Twitter.

The 10 People You’ll Meet at Center City Sips


You’d think in America’s best beer-drinking city, we’d be about to put up a united front in our appreciation for cheap weeknight booze. But alas, this is Philadelphia and we are nothing if not contrarian. Every summer we become a city divided.

Half of us love Center City Sips, claiming that the Wednesday night happy hour version of Restaurant Week is the perfect way to celebrate Hump Day — even better if you can find a spot that serves booze outdoors. It’s an amazing reason to socialize on a Wednesday and a great way to meet other people in the city, we say earnestly while clutching a $3 Coors Light can. The other half of us grit our teeth and grumble at the watered-down cocktails and lukewarm appetizers. Half-priced cheesesteak spring rolls are not enough to win over the naysayers of Sips! We would rather pay full price on Tuesday, we exclaim, eyebrows crinkled with condescension.

Sips detractors have a valid point: Just like Restaurant Week can sometimes make perfectly acceptable eateries unbearable, Sips can turn your favorite bar into a business-casual nightmare. But week after week, I watch the bars fill up with excited swillers. Throughout the city, cabs circle popular Sips spots, knowing that tipsy imbibers will not have the energy to walk home to Fairmount after two hours of guzzling $4 Cabernet and stuffing their bellies with sliders and hummus plates. Just like we can count on Santa to be at Macy’s on Black Friday and Bill Cosby to be at Temple’s graduation, there are certain characters at every iteration of Center City Sips.

Behold, the 10 people you’ll see every Wednesday from now through August:

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Philly’s Archdiocese Needs to Rip Off the Band-Aid

Cathedral Basillica of Saints Peter and Paul. Photo Beyond My Ken

Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul. Photo Beyond My Ken.

Every morning, I pass the entrance of St. Laurentius elementary school on Berks Street in Fishtown. “Have a great day, hon!” shouts the principal, who stands outside with two teachers every morning — including every single day of the Polar Vortex — to safely usher her students into the building. Even on the rainiest, grayest days, this part of my commute always makes me smile.

Seeing the plaid-wearing students — their backpacks bigger than their little backs and their stretched-out knee socks flapping around their ankles — run into their elementary school resonates with me deeply. Though I no longer identify as a member of the Church, I know that my 12 years of religious education and worship shaped the way Iive my life now — and not just in my deep appreciation for punctuality and knee-length skirts. I believe in the community that can come from being a member of a parish and how a church — and especially, a school — can anchor a neighborhood and help it weather tough times.

Those of us who grew up in the culture of Philadelphia parochial schools, are bound by them even now. When I chat with childhood friends, we don’t refer to neighborhoods, we refer to parishes. “She went to Cecilia’s,”  we’ll say. Or “He moved from St. William’s to St. Al’s,” we’ll explain with a knowing look. (This helps us avoid saying what we really mean: that relocating from Lawncrest to Huntingdon Valley means someone is movin’ on up in the world.)

There was a time when the Archdiocese was brimming with so many devout Catholics that a community, like my current one in Fishtown, could support two churches and schools within three blocks of each other. If I walk out my door and turn left, I am at St. Laurentius Church. If I turn right, I am at Holy Name of Jesus. At one point, both of these churches and schools were full and functional. This is not the reality of the Catholic Church in Philadelphia anymore.

Now, St. Laurentius has a school but no church and Holy Name has a church but no school.

This week, when word came down from the almighty Archdiocese that 16 parishes are closing their doors, I understood exactly the kind of heartbreak the parishioners of those churches were feeling. Read more »

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