Seriously, November was, in general, a not very exciting month that was for the most part characterized by a wedding in which I looked cute, a fetish party wherein I had great hair, and moving in to my new place. There will be more pictures of the new place as I actually spend time there and add decorations/furnishings, don't you worry.Right now it's mostly stacks of books, an overabundance of plants, and a bed because I've been spending most of my time with my partner in the suburbs.
December was pretty laid back, too, but there have been enough highlights to actually dedicate some sort of a post to it - most of this is local flavor, so consider it partially a guide to some of my favorite Philly things.
After a rather disappointing first experience eating American "Hummus" since being in Israel, I was left feeling empty and wanting.
So disappointed, in fact, that I decided my partner and I should go to Zahav, a Modern Israeli restaurant that I've heard good things about. It's pricy - $45/each for the tasting menu - but there was so much food and it was all delicious. The Chef has managed to take seasonal local foods and imbibe them with the color and palette of the ubiquitous foods of Israel. Being a very fancy tapas place in center city, they also brought the presentation well above what one would expect.
Sure, I can get hummus for far cheaper from a street cart in Tel Aviv, but the atmosphere, presentation, and service brought it to another world entirely. That on top of the fact that it's essentially impossible to find good Israeli food around here makes it my new #1 go-to if I ever have to impress someone, even if it's just for hummus and drinks. My partner is really picky about American representations of Israeli food and he was floored by the experience - and also giggled about the name meaning "gold" in hebrew.
Random Tea Room
I've only been once but I've tried to go back a few times - the Random Tea Room is easily my favorite place to get tea in Philadelphia. Very tiny location with a lot of charm and a seemingly endless list of black, green, and herbal teas (as well as herbal tea mixes to help with varying things - I got spin cycle when my menstrual cycle was way off earlier this month to help balance things out). I'm definitely planning on going back, regularly, even if it is on the other side of the city for me. They also sell teas on their etsy, and I just found out they do massage in a connected massage parlor. The tea room is really about more than just tea - it's a healing space that's run by a local herbalist. Awesome.
You might have heard on twitter that I love Stumptown Coffee; whenever I visit NYC I have made a point of giving one of their locations a visit - the Washington Square location being a favorite in part because it's gorgeous and also because it's very close to a lomography store that I like to buy film from and ogle cameras. Unfortunately, there is not a Stumptown in Philadelphia - but OX coffee is the closest to it, with a similar vibe and their coffee.
I've heard that it's run by someone who worked at Stumptown, and the atmosphere, quality of service, and quality of cappuccino speaks to that. Definitely one of my top 5 cafes in Philadelphia, but it's unfortunately not one of the many in my neighborhood and takes a trip to get to.
Jinxed West Philly
Jinxed is one of my favorite things - I've often made visits to their South Philly and Fishtown locations to ogle pretty things, and daydreamed about decorating my room with their furniture, mirrors, and well, everything else. When I head from their instagram that they were opening a West Philly location, I probably screamed (since I live in West Philly and this would make my life easier). I got even more excited when I exited my new apartment one day to find them setting up the store a few doors down from me. This will likely get... interesting... when I have some extra money to spend. Check out their stuff - etsy is mostly books, but there are some great ones!
I don't know if you've seen on instagram, but I love plants. Like, I have over a dozen pots in my room and I'm propagating more succulents as we speak. Like, I'm low on soil and you should go to my amazon wishlist and buy me some - or some more plants, or planters, or special japanese plant scissors. They're all on there. Enabling my plant love locally is the City Planter - they've got a ton of little cacti and succulents and other plants and a lot of knowledge behind them. Definitely also a great place to visit - especially if it ever becomes winter here, being inside with all the plants is a great thing. It's also basically across the street from the Random Tea Room; I usually hit up both when I'm in the area, and take the 15-ish minute walk from Indie Photo when I'm waiting for film to develop.
I had heard about Rae before - we femme sex bloggers tend to get recommended to each other on the regular - but I'm terrible at actually following up on things and checking them out, so it wasn't until recently that I started talking with her on Twitter and gave her site and social media a check out - and I am ridiculously impressed. She has managed to seamlessly integrate my favorite aspects of sex blogging and beauty blogging in an intuitive and cohesive way, something I've always daydreamed about doing but never really got to. Plus, her instagram is so flawlessly curated that I can't help but sigh contentedly when I look at it. Go give her a follow.
My Amazon Wishlist
Inspired by cam girls everywhere, I finally gave in and made myself an amazon wishlist. Why? I like collecting things. You should see my pinterest boards - I'm a digital magpie. I also really love getting presents and mail, and things have been really hard financially for me lately so it seemed like a "why not?".
It's another way for my readers and followers to "give back" to the work I do on this blog and brighten up my day in the process - everything on the list will help me or my work somehow, whether it's for my mental health (beauty products encourage me to care for myself, plants cheer me up and the action of caring for them makes me feel good), my house (nice chef's knives are on the top of that list), clothes and shoes (because I don't have winter boots or pants that aren't falling apart), or film stuff to help me continue my projects, lingerie... it's all on there.
I even have auxilliary wishlists where I keep stuff that's out of stock, different colors, etc. I don't want to have too much repetition, which is hard because as I said, magpie - who is also a bit obsessed about organization. I have two - "backup" and one that's called "vanity" which is everything makeup and skincare.
Pretty straightforward here - this is where I've been getting my film processed. They do a good job, with machine processing for color film and hand processing for black and white. Even though I handed my film off to them right before the holidays, they had a pretty quick turnover time. They also seem to have a good selection of cameras and film. I'll probably keep going here!
Lomography Lomochrome Purple 35mm Film
Ok so I know lomography was on my last list but come on this film came out beautifully. The pictures speak for themselves. I have turquoise film as well, and I'm hoping to get my hands on more colored options. The 35mm lomochrome film is very hard to come by these days, but there's some on my wishlist, as well as all sorts of fun colors in 120mm including pink, green, and orange.