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 »

Event Photos: The Bellevue Gets Engaged

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A gorgeous gown from the NIcole Miller fashion Show at the Bellevue Gets Engaged.

On Sunday, October 12th, the Bellevue hosted its fifth annual Bellevue Gets Engaged. Mothers and daughters who were on hand to check out the wares of local wedding vendors enjoyed Champagne and specialty cocktails while nibbling on wedding cake from local bakers and hors d’oeuvre samples provided by the catering staff of the Bellevue. There was a panel featuring wedding experts from the Philadelphia area—Philadelphia Wedding editor Carrie Denny, Beka Rendell of the Styled Bride, Laurie Gold, director of catering and event sales at the Bellevue, and Laura Weathers, bridal expert at Nicole Miller—who discussed the latest trends, and took questions from the audience. The day was topped off by the fabulous Nicole Miller 2014 – 15 bridal, bridesmaid and mother of the bride styles.

Photos from Bellevue Gets Engaged after the jump »

Second Annual Wigs and Wishes Gala With Paula Abdul

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The 2nd Annual Wigs and Wishes Gala was held at Lucien’s Manor in Berlin, New Jersey, on Sunday, October 5th. It was created by celebrity stylist and salon owner Martino Cartier to raise awareness and funds for the non-profit organization Friends Are By Your Side (FABYS). Proceeds will help provide wigs and hair enhancement solutions for women and children battling cancer and hair loss, as well as grant wishes for children battling cancer.

The evening began with a silent auction of the most amazing gift baskets filled with fun items and experiences created by Susan Liberta, Great Gifts and Promo. Guests also enjoyed a meet and greet with Paula Abdul, then with Tracy Dimarco-Epstein and Gayle Giacomo from Jerseylicious.

At 7 p.m., 600 guests entered the beautifully decorated ballroom for dinner and the program. A fire dancer kicked off the night, followed by a beautifully choreographed number showcasing the many wigs created by FABYS, all made with real human hair.

Martino thanked the guests and explained how the organization, since its inception four years ago, has, with 73 volunteers and offices in eight countries, recruited than 600 salons to participate.

Photos from Wigs and Wishes after the jump. »

Mike Jerrick’s Ya Gotta Try It

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Last week at Fox 29 personality Mike Jerrick’s inaugural “Ya Gotta Try It” at the Independence Visitor Center, nearly 600 people enjoyed unique dishes like “Cracker Jack Sundae” from Bridget Foy’s to “Not Your Mama’s Meatloaf” by Sugarhouse.

“Ya Gotta Try It” was created by Jerrick as a segment on Fox 29’s Good Day Philadelphia. In the segment, Jerrick visits some of the region’s best restaurants and tries their most outrageous dishes. He thought his viewers would enjoy these dishes and came up with the idea to celebrate them with the viewers while raising money for The Second Chance Foundation, which provides financial assistance and resources to vital community-based organizations that serve “at-risk” children, young adults and families. Jerrick serves on the board of the organization.

The evening featured an extended cocktail party, a fun silent auction, and lots of meet-and-greets with Fox 29 personalities, including favorites Jennaphr Frederick, Sue Serio, and Alex Holley, who posed for photos with guests.

Photos after the jump »

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