Foodie Friday: Vegan Black Bean Burgers

As you can see, I’m still on a burger theme this Foodie Friday. Maybe it’s because grilling season is here and I’ve been to a few barbecues already? Maybe because I’m anxious for a new burger to try?

In any case, I rediscovered a yummy vegan black bean burger recipe from my friend Brown Veggie Mom (also known as Cherri). Remember Cherri from this post about her blog? Yup, same one. 🙂 Continue reading

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FitBit Chronicles: Part II

Two weeks ago, one of my friends sent a mass text about walking a nature trail. I was reluctant to reply because I am not much of an outdoorsy person. The last time I walked a trail was way back in 4th grade on a school trip. I don’t even remember the name of the trail – I think it was in Wissahickon (another section of Philadelphia). Anyway, what I do remember was that we took the trail a day after a rainstorm and everything was muddy. We walked on muddy cliffs with tall trees all around and some of us slipped and fell numerous times – even with boots on. Since then, I haven’t really thought about walking trails until last year when the feeling of walking through nature in the summer crept in.

Back to 2016, the nature trail my friend wanted to go to was close by in Tinicum Township (near the Philly International Airport). The place: John Heinz Wildlife Refuge. I have rode by this place so many times throughout the years and never went inside! For some reason, I thought it was like going to the zoo where I had to pay admission or something. But no, it is free. And they have many different visitor programs like fishing, canoeing, photography and more.

Before I met up with my friends, I looked at the website and noticed the trail was 10 miles long. The first thing I thought was: I wish I was in a FitBit challenge today. Sad isn’t it? XD . Then I thought: Oh goodness, I probably won’t be able to get up in the morning. That’s a lot of walking! Regardless of this fact, I walked the trail.

The trail was so peaceful. It was a sunny (but chilly) Sunday afternoon with very limited people there. We crossed a bridge with bench seating and binoculars over Darby Creek which was nice. Speaking of the creek – oh the views were beautiful!

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Accomplishments

Walking the trail was great! Like in my school trip, there was a rainstorm the night before but this time we were on level ground (no muddy cliffs). The trail had lots of twigs, rocks and gravel, as expected. But the main thing was that I did not get tired of the walk until maybe the last mile! Maybe because I was embracing my surroundings? Or was it my self-made FitBit training? 😉 I think the FitBit has helped me with my endurance walking for long periods of time. I still need work on things and have an actual exercise regimen instead of randomly working out.

After the trail, I was tired but could have did just a bit more walking if I rested some. During the whole trail, we did not stop! Next time I go, I will take short breaks and take more pictures. When I checked my FitBit stats, I realized we only walked four miles instead of the 10 I thought we did.

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I did about 3,000 total steps prior to and after the trail but I like my stats for this day! I hope to come back to this trail when the weather gets steadily warmer. What a nice hidden gem in the city!

Disclaimer: I did not receive any compensation or contact from FitBit, John Heinz Wildlife Refuge or Wissahickon Valley Trail on this review. This is my exclusive personal experience at John Heinz and using the FitBit.

3 Exciting Spring Events in Philly

This year, I made a goal to attend at least three different Philly events each season in order to learn a little bit more about my city. So far, I went to the Center City Restaurant Week back in January and the Philadelphia Auto Show (actually twice, per my young nephew’s request) in February. Thus, my winter events are basically covered. Now onto fun springtime events! I have a few in mind that I found on a list of the 50 Biggest Events via Visit Philly:

Philadelphia Flower Show (March 5 through 13)

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Philadelphia Flower Show (Image: VisitPhilly.com)

I love flowers and the Flower Show is definitely full of them! This is the 188th year of the event and this year’s theme is “Explore America: 100 Years of the National Park Service.” So each exhibit area will feature a popular park like the Yellowstone National Park and even the local Valley Forge State Park. Click here for ticket and time information.

The Science Behind Pixar at The Franklin Institute (March 12 through September 5)

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Pixar Exhibit at the Franklin Institute (Image: VisitPhilly.com)

You all know I love art but you may not know that I am a big Toy Story fan. Yes, I saw all three and will see Toy Story 4 when it comes out. In the meantime, I can get my fix visiting the Franklin Institute and checking out this exhibit. It will discuss the scientific and technical aspect of the Pixar process (claymation, set designs, etc). Here’s more info if you want to visit!

Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts (PIFA) (April 8 through April 23)

My artsy people – this is for us! A huge celebration of arts from the Delaware River Waterfront to Broad street – live performances, theatrics and visual arts galore. I’m telling you, this is huge and it gets pretty packed quick! Get more info about tickets and dates here on their site.

These are just a few of many events happening over here. If you would like to take a trip to Philadelphia, don’t forget to grab a free water ice from Rita’s on March 20th. 😉

Enjoy!

 

Philly’s Center City Restaurant Week!

I love this time of year – Center City Restaurant Week is here!!

Center City Restaurant Week is a two-week food venture in Philadelphia. It used to be one week but popularity grew and pushed it to two weeks. There are about 100+ restaurants in downtown Philly that offers lunch and dinner courses for discounted flat rates. A three-course lunch is $20 and a three or four course dinner (minus drinks) is $35 per person.

Over the years, I would go to the “regular” places like Ruth’s Chris and Varalli. “Regular” to me is the regular food I eat – American and Italian fare. This year, I’m aiming for something different – which is the whole point of the event anyway!

Since I’m learning French and have a goal of visiting France one day soon, I’m thinking of going to one or both of these French restaurants – Bistro St. Tropez and Bistrot La Minette. I like what they have to offer and I saw great Yelp reviews for both. Plus, I can test my French skills while ordering. 😉

I did begin my Restaurant Week venture at an American Restaurant, Devon Seafood Grill. I went to lunch with friends this past Sunday. The place was very relaxed and I loved the low lighting and outside view. The service was excellent as well (Thanks Lance!). Only minor issue I had was sharing bench seats with the other guests. There is a long bench seat against the wall towards the windows and three tables share the bench. There weren’t any problems with other guests, it just seems to lack some space/privacy in that seating area. However, the bench was comfy. 🙂

Now for the food: While seated, they offered cinnamon rolls and biscuits to wear off our hunger. I got both and a cup of La Colombe coffee which was GREAT and well needed (since I had a caffeine withdrawl headache due to lack of coffee all weekend). Would you believe my headache instantly vanished?! I’m officially addicted to caffeine. *womp, womp*

I took a look at the special Restaurant Week menu and decided to try the Caesar Salad, Blackened Mahi with Sweet Potato Hash + Crawfish Butter and Mixed Berries for dessert (not pictured because I was full and took it home). Everything was fantastic – taste, texture, temperature!!

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Caesar Salad - Very good start to my meal 🙂

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Blackened Mahi - Yum!

Devon also had an extensive martini and wine list – and a special deal going on for bottles of wine!

If anyone live in or is traveling to Philadelphia, the Restaurant Week is January 18-23 and January 25-30. No Saturdays, unfortunately. I would suggest booking for a table in advance as it is quicker to be seated. But walk-ins are usually welcome! Come check out the restaurants and its menus here! 😄

Philly: The Second Best Place to Shop in the WORLD?!

Whoa! Who knew that would be announced?

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Screenshot via Condé Nast Traveler - Philadelphia is Second-Best

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania was listed as the second best place to shop in the world between #1 Barcelona, Spain and #3 Hong Kong, according to a Condé Nast reader survey. Reading Terminal Market and the 3rd Street shops were top on the lists of places to shop.

Frankly, when I saw that headline I was taken aback. I guess it’s the whole “I’m-used-to-Philly-because-I-lived-here-all-my-life” thing. I do like to shop here in Philly, however I love shopping in New York. Surprisingly to me, New York was #24 on the Best Shopping Cities list. One of my favorite places to shop is Earrings Plaza in Manhattan for some quick and cheap accessories. 😍

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Granted, there is a great highlight to shopping in Philly compared to other places. I love the perk of buying clothes and shoes without the extra taxes on it. If I see a sweater for $24.99, better believe I am paying $24.99 for that sweater. Take advantage of this perk in some of the cool shopping areas in Philly:

• Old City has the vintage shops and trendy boutiques for the hipsters out there. There are many small shops in this area and it gives a shopper that cozy feeling. Try visiting a museum or doing a tour along the way via walking, segway, trolley or horse and buggy! From the Liberty Bell to the National Constitution Center, you will learn more about the history of Philadelphia and America after your shopping trip. ☺

• Reading Terminal Market has all kinds of foodstuffs to please anyone. A few friends of mine went there on a whim and visited a restaurant that sold Gator Soup (yes, alligator). The Gator Soup was approved by those foodies – they said it tastes like beef stew. You can be the judge of that! The market also have plenty of bakeries, American fare (especially cheesesteaks), produce markets and international foods.

• Not too far is the Gallery at Market East (also known as The Gallery) which has everything inside. It’s one of the more popular, “normal” malls for individuals and families alike. Plus, it is connected to different public transportation routes so accessibility is very easy here. Don’t forget to get your Auntie Anne’s pretzel before you leave!

• South Street is another area full of stores and restaurants that stay open late. It is literally around the corner from Penn’s Landing and the Camden, NJ view. South Street shopping begins around 2nd Street and the main strip ends around 11th, with spurts of stores afterward. There’s definitely something for every adult – wouldn’t really say it’s the greatest “family-friendly” area because of the risqué stores (you’ll know them when you see them lol). Other than that, a shopper can find some great clothes and accessories from the small boutiques within this strip.

• Rittenhouse Square is a great area to shop – more of the high end stores live here. Boyd’s, Lacoste, Nordstrom Rack, The Liberty Place mall and more stores all around. Walking in this area makes you feel a little special. If you have the money, stop inside one of these shops and find your next outfit for the weekend. If you don’t have the money, grab a latte from La Colombe or Starbucks and window shop! Lol

After considering this list, Philly is worth being second best for shopping. There is a plethora of stores all over and not just from the ones listed. What a great honor!

Breast Cancer Awareness – BFRIN

We’re approaching the end of October which is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. Before it ends, I want to tell you about a local non-profit organization that is helping with this awareness and providing relief supplies and services to affected ones. It’s called BFRIN.

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BFRIN

If you live in the Greater Philadelphia region, you may have heard of this organization. BFRIN stands for Being Fitted Right Is Necessary. It began when the founder and President, Barbara Boye’r lost one of her sisters, Irene, to breast cancer years ago. Needless to say, Barbara was devastated. However, Barbara reflected on Irene’s vibrant view of life and felt it was a duty of hers to help teach others about breast cancer and provide services to help survivors. Thus, BFRIN was born!

BFRIN offers education, prostheses, mastectomy/lumpectomy bras, custom lymphedema supplies, wigs and much more for cancer survivors. The best part is that this organization serves everyone nationwide!

On October 29, 2014, BFRIN is providing a free seminar about breast cancer and some unknown facts about it. If you live or work in Philadelphia, stop by for education, live demos, healthy food tasting and giveaways! The information is below:

Breast Cancer – What You Don’t Know
October 29, 2014 ~ 5pm to 8pm

Free Library of Philadelphia – Central Branch
1901 Vine Street,
4th Floor, Skyline Room
Philadelphia, Pa 19103

Call BFRIN for more information at 866.473.3325

Hope you can make it and if not, please forward this information 🙂