The Past 5 Days!

Well hello again!! It has been a very busy past 5 days. I went from work to a reunion to work to a birthday dinner to a shopping trip to a pop concert to the nation’s capital and back to good old Sesame Place. I am finally ready to sit down and recap everything I have been up to the past 5 days.

Let’s begin with Saturday the 2nd! My family and I attended our annual China reunion with some of the girls and families I was adopted with from China over 19 years ago. This year we met at my friend Ann’s house in Landsdale, PA and 6 families attended. It was a nice day of catching up with people I only see once or twice a year. I have grown really close with many of the girls and have become best friends with one, Leah, even though she lives all the way in Louisville, KY, and I rarely see her. It was great to see how much all of us have changed and hear where our lives are heading as some of us will be juniors and others seniors in college this fall.

Some of the girls (l-r Erin, Me, Lily, Ann, Kia)

Then Sunday the 3rd was pretty relaxed. I went to work at Sesame for what I thought would be a few hours that turned into a 5 hour shift. I intended to just go in and work on my Leadership Development homework for Demonstrating Ownership of cleaning and organizing my stockrooms and pod, but I wound up answering emails, helping team members and still spending a couple hours moving dozens of heavy boxes around in the photo pod.

After work, I rushed home to shower and go to the SEPTA Regional Rail train station to catch a train into the city. I met my friends Emma, Kate and Jenna in center city for a belated birthday celebrating for Emma! We went to Talula’s Garden {} in Old City.

Talula’s Garden

It is a beautiful restaurant right next to Washington Square Park that is well known for its fresh and organic food. Our waitress, Abigail, suggested we order a cheese plate {since that is what they’re well-known for} and helped us choose a plate that offered 8 cheeses ranging from Colston Bassett Stilton, a cheese made from cow milk from England, to Moliterno Bianco Sardo made from Sheep milk from Italy. I like cheese but never had such a mature cheese plate like this. It was fun to try all of them with different nuts and fruits and figure out what I liked and didn’t. For my main entree, I ordered pan-fried potato gnocchi with black mission figs and speck ham that sat in a gooey cheese fondue sauce {drooling}. It was to die for! I loved every bite and would eat it again now if I could. Of course there was dessert to follow. We all shared 2 s’mores cakes that were devoured very quickly. It was an incredible restaurant with stunning decor and a approachable staff. The night was perfect, and I was so glad to see my girls. It was a night of laughs, catching up and great food- what more could I ask for?! {P.S. I highly recommend this restaurant and am to be a plus 1 of anyone intending to try it out!}

Say Cheese!
My pasta
S'mores Cake
S’mores Cake
The beautiful birthday girl, Emma!
The beautiful birthday girl, Emma!
Best friends since freshman year {some even longer than that}

Monday was an adventure too! It began with a simple trip to the mall and small shopping spree with my friend Erica. I got a couple of skirts, a paid of cropped jeans and from free goodies from Bath & Body Works and Victoria’s Secret {thanks to coupons!}. As I was leaving the mall, my car decided not to start. After suffering a dead battery just a week and a half before, my little red car was dead again this time in front of JC Pennys. I called my mom who had to have AAA tow the car once again. The best part was I had to leave in 2 hours to drive my sister and me to the Katy Perry Prismatic World Tour at the Wells Fargo Center. After the tow truck was en route, my sister and I hopped in the family’s minivan and drove home to eat and then head onto I-95 down to south Philly!

Chilling with the stage

Once we made it through the awful traffic on 95 and parked, I was started to get excited. My mom bought my sister, Alexa, these tickets for her bithrdya and I got to go with her. The center already filling up with Katy fans. Some wore concert tees, home made tees, and even eccentric costumes complete with green and blue wigs. Once doors opened, I hurried in to make sure I could sneak in my big camera and lens and went right to the main lobby. We got our picture taken at the Covergirl kiosk, and Alexa bought a white tour t-shirt. Before the show, I also got to meet up with my best friend Bry! She also was going to the concert with her 3 sisters. It was so good to see her before the show.

In front of the stage

Then we found our seats and enjoyed the opening acts Ferras and Capital Cities. The crowd went wild when Capital Cities sang their hit “Safe and Sound.” Not too long after, Katy came out belting “Roar.” Her whole concert was fantastic during her almost 2 hour set. She had several costume changes, a large stage that extended close to our seats on the opposite side of the arena and talented dancers. I enjoyed all her songs, even the ones that I didn’t know that well because she was constantly dancing around and singing flawlessly.

Katy Perry

It was easy to see that Katy was genuinely happy to be performing in Philly! She made a great effort to connect with her audience even in a big arena, which reminded me of how Sara Bareilles has full conversations with individual fans during her concerts, and she kept thanking the crowd for 2 sold out nights.

“The One that Got Away/Thinking of You/Unconditionally”

I was lucky to have been pretty close and got some great pictures of Katy performing. My favorite songs were the mash-up of “The One that Got Away/ Thinking of You” and “Unconditionally.” Both songs were performed at the very end of the stage, which was super close to me. She also sang them acoustically and live- my 2 favorite ways to hear music. Overall, Katy’s concert was exciting and well done. She isn’t my favorite singer of all time but seeing definitely made me like her more.

Finally, the last adventure of the last few days was my family trip to Washington D.C. My mom is obsessed with the Washington National’s right fielder Jayson Werth, so she likes to take trips down to D.C. to see a game and sight see. We drove down Tuesday morning and got to the hotel with enough time to put our bags down and head over to the baseball field. We had to get there super early for the game to get in line for the free giveaway- a Jayson Werth garden gnome. She was so excited to get 4 of them even though I want to sell mine on eBay {they’re selling for $50-$200!!}. The game was fun even though the Nationals lost.

Nationals stadium during the sunset

Day 2 began with a taxi ride to the Thomas Jefferson Memorial since we’ve never seen it up close, just across the river. Then we walked over to the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial and got a nice taste of history. The memorial was filled with famous quotes and beautiful stone waterfalls. Following the late presidents, my family and I went to see the newer Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, which was opened in 2011. After that we headed closer to the city to the restaurant Founding Farmer’s by a recommendation from my mom’s friends. The restaurant was right in the middle of George Washington University and Pepperdine University and proved to be another fresh and classy restaurant. I got the ham and peas mac & cheese and got so full that I brought some home to Philly and ate it for dinner tonight. It was so yummy I want to go back there again!

Thomas Jefferson
The Jefferson Memorial from the bridge
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”

Right after our delicious lunch, we headed over to the White House to say hello to Obama before taking a taxi back to the hotel. My mom and sister went to the rooftop pool, and I ventured over to the National Museum of American History. The museum was great, and I got to read about wars, desegregation, and past presidents. The night ended with some family bonding with the flat screen tv on the wall.

The home of Fitz and Olivia! I mean the Obamas!
The next first family?!

Our last day began with a quick hotel breakfast then taxi ride to the Newseum. The museum had so much to offer. The rooms ranged from Freedom of Speech, Press, Religion, Assembly, and Petition to the Berlin Wall Gallery that featured real pieces of the wall. One of my favorite exhibits was the 9/11 Gallery because it is the biggest event that I lived through and remember. The gallery was powerful and had a piece of an antenna from the World Trade Center. I also really liked the Pictures of the Year and Pulitzer Price Photographs Gallery. Being a photographer, I loved seeing the photographs and reading the captions behind them. Several were well known images that I’ve seen in magazines or newspapers and others were more rare and unique. They inspired me to push my photography and take even more pictures than I do now. I loved this one quote “Photographers are the eyes of the world.” The two exhibits reminded me that photographs aren’t always meant to be beautiful and pleasing to the eye but sometimes they are jarring and make you feel sick to your stomach.

9/11 Gallery
Forever in love with photography

After the museum, we headed home but not before hitting wall to wall traffic for hours. It was not fun to say the least. I tried to make the time pass by laying down in the car and blasting Taylor Swift, and it worked {kind of}. Eventually I made it home a little after 9:30pm and rushed over to Sesame for the annual Lip Sync contest to cheer on my photo sups and team members. Afterwards, we went to celebrate photo’s third place title at the ale house like we always do. It was a late night but so worth it.

Photo- Mary Poppins
Back with Ilona and Ryan at Sesame

It has been a hectic few days, but I am finally home now until August 24th when I move back into Temple Towers. Until then, I am cramming to send out some public relations internship applications for fall and figure out the rest of my semester. So wish me luck and some interviews in the near future {fingers crossed!!!}.



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