Hi everyone!

Young kids are told all the time “Don’t touch that!” While this is typically in their best interest, it can actually stifle much of the curiosity and learning inherent to that age group. In Philadelphia, kids can let their creative juices flow at a museum aptly named the Please Touch Museum.

As part of a class I took this semester, we got an after-hours tour with the Executive Director of the museum. I had so much fun I forgot to take pictures of many of the exhibits, but see below for just a small taste!

The indoor carousel – this is located inside a giant room, which can also be rented out for meetings or events!

Imagination station – I can just imagine the hectic playground this area probably looks like during open hours!

Kid-sized transportation – A fake city bus and bus stop. I forget sometimes how fun the everyday mundane things can be for kids. I neglected to get a picture but apparently one of the busiest stations is always the fake grocery store, complete with child-sized carts, “produce” section, a deli, bakery, and all the aisles you might find in your supermarket, and a kid-friendly checkout station.

Located inside the historic Memorial Hall in Fairmount Park, which was constructed as the art gallery for the U.S.’s Centennial Celebration’s art gallery back in 1876, the Please Touch Museum is definite must-see, whether you are a kid or just a kid-at-heart!

~attrace

Like many big cities (even though New Haven doesn’t really qualify as a big city), restaurant week happens twice a year! Once in the spring and once in the fall. I was lucky enough to get a reservation on a Friday night to a pretty popular restaurant in New Haven called Barcelona, which serves tapas style food. I have been wanting to try this place for a while now and really happy I went! For their restaurant week special, you can order 4 tapas + dessert for $34, which is a great deal! My friend and I ended up sharing these tapas – we got a cheese dish, potatoes, fried calamari, and spinach&chick pea dish. We even got a free chicken empanada tapa plate due to a mistake (we didn’t mind). Along with free bread, 5 tapas between the 2 of us was plenty of food and ended up being a not-so-pricey dinner! This restaurant does not usually offer dessert, but they served an olive oil cake as a restaurant week special – not the best, not the worst I have had. I would definitely come to Barcelona again!!


Fried calamari – so good!


Potatoes – they were tasty but don’t remember exactly what was in them.


Goat cheese – tasted great with the free bread!


Our free chicken empanadas!!

Forgot to take a pic of the spinach & chick pea tapas which was also great with the bread!

Over Winter break, I decided to take a quick trip to Seattle to visit my friend who goes to school there. I had never really explored Seattle before and wasn’t sure whether or not I would like it. She brought me to many of the tourist destinations like the Public Market and the Seattle Troll, but my favorite part of the trip was when she drove us 30 minutes outside Seattle to Snoqualmie, Washington.

We visited Snoqualmie Falls which included a short hike through an incredibly green experience. The two places that I live between, San Diego and New York City, don’t offer much nature, so I loved being surrounded by so much greenery.

The trees were covered by this incredible moss that I was completely mesmerized by. It looked so, so cool in person. We got down to the falls and I got some pretty nice shots of the water. My friend said that the area is 100% prettier in the Spring and Fall because it doesn’t look as dead, but I happened to think it was wonderful even though it was Winter.

I really enjoyed my trip to Seattle and I’m hoping to return soon!

Hi all,

A couple weekends ago, I was finally able to make it to the Eastern State Penitentiary, a tourist attraction I had been meaning to check out since I moved here last August. The Eastern State Penitentiary, now a National Historic Landmark, was a functioning prison from 1829 to 1971. Eastern State held some of America’s most notorious criminals, including gangster Al Capone and bank robber Willie Sutton.

At the time of its opening, Eastern State was revolutionary in its approach; as it was designed to create genuine regret and penitence in every criminal’s heart, prisoners were kept strictly in single-occupancy cells and given only a Bible and honest work (shoemaking, weaving, etc.), supposedly leading them to genuine repentance. This model was later altered, but much of the architecture still reflects the original founders’ intent. The outside of the prison looks like a castle, but inside, the quarters are much more cold and grim. Take a look!

This is what a typical cell would have looked like through the 1800s.

A set of cell blocks – this particular cell block had two stories. The prison is designed so that there is a central rotunda, out of which extend each of the cell blocks. This was so a central warden could have a view of everything happening in each of the cell blocks by simply standing in the middle rotunda.

Eastern State also had an extensive special exhibit going on right now on the state of Prisons Today. As you can see from this visualization, U.S. rates of incarceration have skyrocketed in the past couple decades, often for petty offenses, but this has had little effect on crime rates. The U.S. also imprisons far more people than any other country in the world, at a rate of 730 per 100,000 citizens. This pace of incarceration is unsustainable!

Eastern State is definitely worth checking out if you ever find yourself in the City of Brotherly Love!

Still not much happening in New Haven, so decided to talk about a brunch place I went to in NYC awhile back. This place is very well known and always has a longggg wait for a weekend brunch. It has nearly 3500 reviews on yelp! Their pancakes are a very popular item – we tried the blueberry pancakes and were very pleased with our decision! They had the perfect amount of fluffiness and flavor. We also tried the chicken and waffles, which were also delicious but not as memorable. I would definitely come here again despite the long wait!


The best pancakes!!


Chicken and waffles