Timberland Opening Party in Philadelphia

From left: Elizabeth Wellington of the Philadelphia Inquirer, with Cherri Greg, Kirk Wardy and Melony Roy, all from CBS.

The fashionable set was on hand Wednesday night to celebrate the opening of Timberland, 1709 Walnut Street. Before I stepped into the showroom, I thought: “How is Timberland going to survive by only selling those yellow boots?” But I was pleasantly surprised to find Timberland now has a complete lifestyle line: The popular yellow boots were still available, but now they had dress boots, shoes, clothing and outer wear for men and women. The store itself — formerly Alfa American Tavern — is appealing, too, with its exposed brick, wood beams and skylight. It’s not your parents Timberland anymore

I especially loved that customers can custom-make your own shoes, with the color of leather you want to use, the stitching, shoelaces and you can have them monogrammed. I can see that will be a big hit, especially for the holidays. Timberland is perfect for Walnut Street, as it goes under its latest transformation with high-end chain stores moving into the tony Rittenhouse Square area. (The next stores to open are Vans, which opens by Friday across the street, and nearby Michael Kors by the end of the year.)

Photos from the Timberland opening party after the jump »

PHOTOS: 2014 Barrymore Awards

The 2014 Barrymore Awards made a spectacular return to the Merriam Theater last night, after an absence of two years when the Theater Alliance, the company that ran them for 18 years, dissolved. The Barrymore Awards are now run by Theatre Philadelphia, formed by several artistic directors and stage managers.



The 19th annual Barrymore Awards was dressed down a little bit, there was no red carpet as there was in years past, and the dress was cocktail casual. But the audience was enthusiastic and glad to return. Nearly everyone I spoke with said it was great to be back, not only to celebrate their peers, but they were excited for the after-party at the Kimmel Center.

I snapped some photos of the evening, which you can see above. For a full list of the night’s winners, go here.

PHOTOS: Oktoberfest at Dilworth Park

It was another beautiful Indian Summer day in Philadelphia on Saturday, and crowds flocked to many of the festivals around town, including the OctoberFest at the new Dilworth Park. The autumn event included fun activities and games, plus a beer garden hosted by Garces’s Rosa Blanca, where guests could sit at café tables or on hay stacks strewn about the roped-off area.

DJs & live music spiced up the party as some guests danced to the music. Mural Arts, The Franklin Institute and ZipCar were on hand with family-friendly activities, and guests enjoyed playing Connect Four, Jenga and Chess with oversized board games. The newly opened Great Lawn at the South End of the Park was the icing on the cake. I have photos of the afternoon below:



73rd Annual Liberty USO Gala

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The 73rd Annual Liberty USO Gala was held at the Marriott Downtown Saturday night, as the hotel filled with uniformed military personnel, guests, and supporters of the USO. Outside in the street were military vehicles, including a tank which attracted a lot of people wanting to take photos with it.

The USO makes sure help goes to those who need it the most: troops serving in combat, their families, wounded warriors and their families, and families of the fallen.

The evening began with a cocktail party, where service people “warriors” from various military branches enjoyed a small-plates buffet while bidding on the silent auction. The dinner program recognized several military members including Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Jessica L. Garfola Wright (recipient of the Liberty Award), who told heartwarming stories of how the USO is always there, doing all they can for the soldiers and their families.

Photos from the USO Gala after the jump »

Malala Yousafzai Receives Liberty Medal

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Tuesday night at the National Constitution Center, nearly 1,500 people gathered to honor a young girl, Malala Yousafzai, with the Liberty Medal. Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban and spoke out about the inequality in education for girls in her native Swat Valley in Pakistan.

Malala wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC website in 2009 that detailed life under Taliban occupation. The following year, the New York Times made a documentary on her life. For her efforts, the Taliban attempted to assassinate her. That, Malala, said was a big mistake, as it buried any weakness and fear she had, and her strength and power were born. Her message on the Taliban was then broadcast around the world, and she spoke in front of the UN in 2013.

Today Malala and her family live in England where she attends school and experiences the more normal student dread of upcoming exams. Earlier in October, Malala was announced as the co-recipient of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her message for the right of all children to education. Even though she’s receiving many accolades, her teachers do not excuse her from her school work. The Emcee for the evening was Martha Raddatz, Chief Global Affairs Correspondent, ABC News.

Photos from Malala Yousafzai’s Liberty Medal ceremony after the jump »

PHOTOS: The Mudball Costume Party at Clay Studio

The Clay Studio hosted The Mudball, a dance-a-thon and masquerade ball, on Saturday at World Café Live. The Clay Studio, located in Old City, is a nonprofit educational institution, gallery, and studio focused on the ceramic arts. 

The Mudball raised over $20,000 dollars to benefit the Studio’s educational art programs, designed to provide access to the ceramic arts to people of diverse backgrounds. Plus, it served as one of the first costume parties this Halloween season. See what guests were sporting in my slideshow below.



Thom Nickels Signs Legendary Locals of Center City Philadelphia

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On Saturday night Thom Nickels, author of several books on Philadelphia, held a book signing for his latest tome Legendary Locals of Center City Philadelphia at Il Tartufo in Manayunk. The book is about local notables who have made a difference, but were maybe more under the radar than say Betsy Ross or Frank Rizzo.

A few of the people that made the book are Gerry Lenfest, singer Bessie Smith, PR maven Nicole Cashman, author Pearl Buck, columnist A.D. Amorosi, and world-famous essayist Agnes Repplier, to name a few.

After the book signing, a reception was held next door at The Bazemore Gallery (4339 Main St, Philadelphia, PA), where artist Noel Miles’ works were on display. He is also noted in the book.

Photos from the signing of Legendary Locals of Center City Philadelphia after the jump »

PHOTOS: Harry Potter Festival 2014

This past weekend Chestnut Hill turned into Hogsmeade as the fourth annual Harry Potter Festival transformed Germantown Avenue into the magical world of witches, goblins, and wizards.



Kicking off the weekend on Friday night there was a pub crawl and costume contest. Saturday morning saw the “Hogswarts Express” filled with Harry Potter characters. The trolley arrived at Chestnut Hill West for a 10 a.m. opening ceremony conducted by Professor Albus Dumbledore (Walt Maguire) and Students from Chestnut Hill Colleges’ Mask & Foil Thespian Club dressed as J.K. Rowling’s famed characters. Chestnut Hill college student Dan Lemoine played Harry Potter to a tee for the third year in a row.

After the ceremony the characters and fans, many of who came dressed as Harry Potter characters or at least sported a witches hat or scarf, enjoyed one of the last days of Indian Summer, taking in the sights as well as all the Harry Potter activities that lined the street, like wand-making, dragon fire-breating and face-painting. Chestnut Hill restaurants offered Harry Potter-inspired edibles, like Golden Snitches and butter beer.

Hotel Palomar’s Fifth Anniversary

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On Thursday night Kimpton’s Hotel Palomar Philadelphia celebrated its fifth anniversary with a party filling two ballrooms at Philadelphia’s first LEED-certified hotel.

There was delicious food prepared by Square 1682’s executive chef Caitlin Mateo, specialty cocktails created by celebrated bartender Chauncey Scates, and an interactive experience behind closed doors in some of the hotel rooms. Each of the rooms housed a different one-of-a-kind experimental experience — whether it was cool EDM music playing in a darkened room, a photo booth, or a dance recital created by Anonymous Bodies, King Britt and Klip Collective.

DJ Rob’s Brother played cool tunes all evening as guests wandered between the dance floor on the 25th floor and the buffet on the 24th, where guests could also get their portraits sketched by local artist Denise Fike. It was a great celebration for the boutique hotel, and great to see so many of the people who have passed through the doors over the past five years.

Photos from Hotel Palomar’s fifth anniversary party after the jump »

Philadelphia History Museum’s First City Social

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A beautiful Indian Summer evening greeted guests Tuesday at the Philadelphia History Museum’s (PHM) first City Social fundraiser which was held in their garden.

Formerly the Atwater Kent Museum, the PHM opened two years ago after a renovation and a name change for the museum that holds the city’s treasures and history. Since that time more than 40,000 people have visited, including 3,000 school children, to learn about Philadelphia history through the art, objects and artifacts in the collection.

At the first City Social, the board of trustees honored Mayor Michael Nutter and First Lady Lisa Nutter for their contributions to the city. During the evening’s program, the museum gave the couple a beautifully framed copy of the Lenape Wampum Belt (the original is on display in the museum). Philadelphia’s first couple gifted the museum with the signed Taney Dragons t-shirt and cap that the mayor wore this summer during the Little League World Series, as well as his 2008 Phillies World Series Ring. Funds raised from the event will help maintain and acquire more artifacts for the museum, as well as support the new interactive exhibits which will be installed this year.

Photos from the Philadelphia History Museum’s City Social after the jump »

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