Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Christmas (and a birthday) in Philly

Three trips downtown during the past six weeks--lots of good weather so far this winter, so why not?  The first trip was rather last minute the Sunday before Thanksgiving ...

Cutting through City Hall

Art Deco outta control

What does it mean to get your hat rimmed?

Jewelers' Row

I saw this scene at least four times on various Instagram accounts during December.

Our second trip downtown was for Mom's birthday--Leslie and I bought tickets for The Nutcracker at the Academy of Music and the plan involved lunch beforehand.  Mom has seen The Brandywine Ballet at various local universities at least ten times, but that's not the same as The Pennsylvania Ballet.

Apparently that's the last original "house" on Rittenhouse Square--I think it's a dentist office or something?

We cut across the Square to Parc--Leslie had been the day before, but Mom and I had never gone.

Their outdoor tables are jam packed  nine months out of the year.  People even grabbed outdoor tables on the day we were there, but it was too cold for us. (This will later become what they call "ironic.")

It feels genuinely Parisian inside--Raleigh Katherine, you would love it in here.

It was packed even at 2:30 in the afternoon. I somehow managed to grab these shots even though there was a constant stream of waiters running back and forth in front of me at all times.

The Wurlitzer contains French music and actual 45s.  Even the weather board was authentic.

It was like working with two toddlers: Will both of you be quiet and look at me???

You have to hold still.

She's definitely talking about Willow.

One of the tables to our side had this really gorgeous looking party.  At one point, they start singing "Happy Birthday" to one of the friends and one guy started hissing "BRYAN" at everybody and the whole restaurant joined in.  Bryan took a bow at the end.  If I was smart, I would've pointed at my mom and hollered, "It's her birthday too!" 

I ordered the steak frites and Leslie and Mom both had the burger.  I have steak maybe four times a year, max ... This was the best steak I had had in maybe five years.

After the performance--somehow I left out the painted ceiling and gigantic crystal chandelier.  Ultimately, we had a great time and Leslie and I are glad that we chose this; however ... a few things: First, it was UNGODLY hot in the theater.  Listen, I am That Girl Who Never Shuts Up About How Cold She Is, and I wanted to DIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEEEE--that is how freakin hot it was inside the Academy. I was not wearing a million layers--they had the heat CRANKED plus there were a few thousand bodies stuffed inside the building. It was awful.  The three of us were so hot and so ready to die that we were all willing to spring whatever price was being charged for a tiny cup of water at Intermission (did I mention that my lunch was so good because it was so salty? problems) ... but the lines were SO LONG at the stations with ONE person pouring drinks and handling money at each spot that we never made it to the front of the line and had to convince ourselves not to cry to make it through the second Act.  I won't lie--it pissed me off.  What, does a ten year old with no work experience run the show down there? Because outside of the dancing and the music (the orchestra was amazing), there was very little that was professional about the whole operation.  No wonder people say stuff like, "Philly sucks in comparison to New York. Why would you buy a ticket for anything in Philly when you can just go to New York?"  Can you blame people for saying stuff like that when this is what they encounter?  I'm so glad Ron wasn't with us because he would've passed out from heat stroke and I would've had to drag him by the ankles back to Leslie's apartment.

The Sunday before Christmas, Ron and I went downtown because we just sorta felt like it, and I wanted to buy him a new hat for a present.  Leslie and Sam wound up joining us, and we did a bunch of stuff that I didn't even take pictures of.  We walked over to Dilworth Park to check out the skating rink. (I haven't ice skated since 8th grade, but I am completely certain that I would have no problem jumping right back out onto the ice, weak ankles be damned.)  Then we wandered across the street to the Christmas Village which was a mistake because it was so crowded--hard to see much of anything.  For me, the highlight was some random middle aged guy in a pick up truck on 16th Street blaring "Wonderful Christmastime" from his open windows.  Just some random dude blaring cheesy Christmas music and not caring who hears it.

From there, we wandered over to Macy's to see the Christmas Light Show and miraculously arrived five minutes before it started (as opposed to forty minutes, in which you would have to decide, "Ok, do we just stand here and wait because we only do this once every few years ...? Or do we have lives and we should just move on and catch it next year?").  Sam had to bail halfway through to go to a Hannukah dinner in the 'burbs, so when it was over the three of us made our way to Washington Square because Leslie needed coffee at Talula's.

Leslie's unhappy because she has work to do when she gets home. 

Raspberry pistachio bar, gingerbread cake with cream cheese frosting (!!!), and a chocolate chip cookie.

I was really intrigued by that lady in the background.  She had on this pretty wrap sweater and scarf and cool glasses, and she was writing furiously in a journal that looked like it was from Anthropologie.  Did you know that people still write in journals? Did you know that people ever wrote in journals? She does.  I tried not to stare, but did a poor job.  I want to be the lady scribbling in a journal in Talula's on a Sunday night.  Also, Leslie is extra miserable here.
Cotton fluff star ornaments

The staff was transforming the cafe into the Secret Supper Club.  It felt like it was 9pm already, but really it was just 630.

Love the window decals ... hard to believe this is the same little corner from here, and nearly the same time of day too ...

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