Visiting One Liberty Observatory Deck in Philadelphia

Y’all know me well enough by now to know that I’m borderline obsessed with observatories (see: New York, Boston, San Francisco, New York again and again). So I’m sure you can imagine my sheer delight at discovering Philadelphia’s One Liberty Observatory Deck, which opened just last year. How perfect for my one-day adventure last month!

View from One Liberty Observatory Deck, PhiladelphiaView from One Liberty Observatory Deck, PhiladelphiaView from One Liberty Observatory Deck, Philadelphia

Except… it wasn’t. One Liberty is my least favorite of the observatories I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. It felt dark – whether it was the windows themselves or the carpet and walls, I can’t say. It’s structured so you can’t get right up against the windows, and frankly, there’s not much to do besides look out the windows. I strongly believe that if you’re going to charge someone to go up high in a building, you should provide more than views – there were a handful of displays with random facts about Philly, and two areas with about two-minute informational tracks on repeat, but that was it. I stuck around for over an hour taking photos just to feel like I had gotten my money’s worth.

View from One Liberty Observatory Deck, PhiladelphiaView from One Liberty Observatory Deck, PhiladelphiaView from One Liberty Observatory Deck, Philadelphia

In spite of this, I got some cool photos. And in the interest of staying positive: The architecture was incredible, and there was an offbeat sculpture of Benjamin Franklin the likes of which I’d never seen.

Benjamin Franklin at One Liberty Observation Deck, Philadelphia

To be honest, I’m sure you’ve already gathered that I don’t really recommend a visit to One Liberty Observatory Deck. But if you do want to check it out for yourself, tickets are $19 and are available online or in person (there was no line when I went, and now I can see why). And hey, if you go and have a different opinion – please tell me! I don’t like it when I don’t like observatories.

What’s your FAVORITE observatory?


Currently: July 2016

New York City skyline at sunset

Blah blah generic apology for being MIA, except I don’t really mean the apology because I have zero regrets. 

Reading: LOL. Still reading Out of Sorts for community group and LOVING it, and otherwise I’m in the middle of about a dozen books because nothing is holding my attention! I read exactly one book in June (I know, you’re all wondering what I’ve been doing with my life), so I really need something to stick SOON. Yesterday I started Eleanor & Park on audiobook and I think it might be the one to get me back into reading!

Wearing: Cotton shorts and a Liberty Church t-shirt because it’s early on a Saturday and I haven’t gotten dressed yet.

Buying: I need more work clothes, particularly tops, so I went to Marshalls yesterday and left with… a navy and white dress because it’s perfect for the Fourth of July. I justified it because it is also work-appropriate, and frankly, this summer is going to be brutal weather-wise. The more dresses the better! I’ll worry about tops in the fall…

In June I also bought a plane ticket from Austin to NYC for August, thus ending my delusions that I could just run away and move in with my sister.

Listening to: I’m fairly hooked on Justin Timberlake’s newest single (but who isn’t), but otherwise haven’t been listening to as much music lately. Podcasts, NPR and audiobooks have my attention for now, which makes me sound way more adult than I feel.

Eating: I just had sweet potatoes and eggs for breakfast, and I imagine this weekend will be filled with holiday-style junk food binges. America!

Watching: I am re-binging Grey’s Anatomy because I like to torture myself, and I’m keeping up with The Mindy Project although I go back and forth on whether I actually like this season. I pretty much gave up on The Bachelorette because it turns out Chad-drama was the only thing keeping me hooked.

Planning: Beach trips! I went out to Long Beach last weekend and it is basically the best ever – there will be three more beach days this month, thus rendering my #Take12Trips challenge a bit of a joke.

Excited for: Beach trips 😉 And other summer adventures! Every weekend this month is already booked up with exciting ways to soak up the sun.

Books read: 22/52- LOL

Trips taken: 9/12 – The only thing keeping me from feeling like a complete failure in June! I went to Philadelphia for a day (more on that soon!), Long Beach, and dinner at a friend’s house in Jersey City.

How last month’s challenge went: Good! I had at least an hour of screen-free time every day. God only knows what I did with it, though.

This month’s challenge: One hour of reading a day. Seriously, I need to read.

And how is YOUR July going?

Eating through Cold Spring

I spent a grand total of about two hours in Cold Spring, New York, and I managed to eat an absurd amount of food in that amount of time. Turns out hiking makes you hungry! Not only that, but everything was delicious. Here are my recommendations for a day in this small town – I can’t wait to go back and eat even more!

Brunch at Hudson Hil's Cafe, Cold Spring, New York

Hudson Hil’s

Our first order of business after making it off the mountain was obviously brunch. We went to Hudson Hil’s, were immediately seated (something a group of ten New Yorkers was definitely not used to) and ate our weight in food. I can definitely recommend the French toast – and, yes, that is a beer. I deserved it.

Cold Spring Candy Co. in Cold Spring, New York

Cold Spring Candy Co.

We then made our way to the Cold Spring Emporium, where a group of us was immediately distracted by the free fudge tasting! I left the candy store with a huge piece of peanut butter fudge, enough to last me a full week. This place is the definition of small-town charm – the owner is also a guitar dealer across the way, and pops back and forth between his shops!

Ice cream parlor in Cold Spring, New YorkIce cream parlor in Cold Spring, New YorkIce cream parlor in Cold Spring, New York

The Village Scoop

Conveniently located right next to the train station, this ice cream parlor made the perfect last stop on our day trip. The ice cream isn’t anything to write home about, but it was delicious enough, and the parlor is adorable. Also, they’re cash only – which reminds me, I owe my best friend five bucks…


Currently: June 2016

Breakneck Ridge, New York

Reading: I just started Out of Sorts by Sarah Bessey for this new season of community groups!

Wearing: I’m in shorts and an old t-shirt from when my high school won the football state championships in 2012. It’s Sunday morning and I haven’t quite got my day started yet!

Buying: I finally picked out prescription sunglasses from Warby Parker, and they should be in the mail this week! That was my only major purchase in May. Looking forward, I’ll be booking flights to Texas this month for August, and I have my eyes on a pair of white Ked-style sneakers for summer.

Listening to: Nothing at the moment! Just the hum of my fan. (Didn’t even have to change that answer from May!)

Eating: I haven’t eaten yet today but I’m planning on chicken teriyaki with rice for lunch, followed by an afternoon of grazing on junk food at church.

Watching: Last night I rented Brooklyn from Amazon, after plowing through the book earlier in the week. I liked it! I was skeptical when it felt like it was 75% of the way through the book plot in the first half hour, but it all came together and it was definitely fun to see the words come to life.

Planning: Not much big stuff – little summer adventures here and there, and a potential weekend trip to DC (my DC friends were going to come here, but they just got a puppy!)

Excited for: All of the summer adventures! A big group is heading to the Yankee game tomorrow, and in general I’m excited for rooftop bars and picnics  and loooooong days.

Hoping: A lot of my hopes lately have come true (!) and I’m finding it hard to think of ways for life to be any better!

Books read: 21/52- ON TRACK

Trips taken: 6/12 – Thanks to a little getaway this month for reminding me of the spirit of this challenge, which is having adventures even if I only have a day to spare!

How last month’s challenge went: Horrifically bad.

This month’s challenge: One hour of screen-free time every day. So far so good!

And how is YOUR June going?

Books I read in May

I wrote this post on May 29, and the intro read…

It was a very average month for me, with four books read and a few others started. Although it feels very slow-going, I’m officially only one book behind on my goal of 52 for the year, with 20 read so far. Considering that not long ago I was only reading 20 books a year, I’m trying very hard to feel accomplished! Here’s what I read in May…

And then I closed my laptop, picked up a novel, and read the whole thing in three sittings, finishing up on May 31. SO, now I am on track and, yes, feeling accomplished!

Reading Bill Bryson in NYC

Choose Yourself, James Altucher

I saw this book on one of those lists (can’t remember where!) of books that millennials should read, particularly if they’re interested in entrepreneurship. Although that doesn’t really apply to me, I’m usually interested and inspired by these kind of reads (I read #Girlboss back in March and enjoyed it), and it was available for free through the Kindle Lending Library, so I decided to give it a go. Unfortunately, despite a strong start, the premise ended up being “just have an idea and then make a million dollars!” which is… more discouraging than anything else. Two stars

Crazy Rich AsiansKevin Kwan

This novel has been on my list FOREVER and I finally decided to give it a go via audiobook – my first time listening to a book that isn’t a memoir or autobiography read by the author. I was surprised that I LOVED listening to it – the reader, Lynn Chen, was incredible at coming up with unique voices for each of the characters. The story was captivating and it was so fun to learn about this world of crazy rich Asians – however embellished the book may be. I’ve already downloaded the sequel! Four stars

Living History, Hillary Rodham Clinton

In my ongoing attempt to be an informed voter in this insane election year, I decided to read (listen to) Clinton’s memoir from her time as first lady. (I read her book about being secretary of state in 2014). Although I generally consider things that happened in the ’90s to be irrelevant to where our country is heading, it was definitely fascinating to learn more about things that happened when I was too young to understand. Four stars

Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe, Bill Bryson

This was my first Bryson book, and frankly, I was disappointed. It was fun to read about different cities in Europe, about half of which I’ve visited myself,  but Bryson came across as whiny and privileged, and the book was more about him than about the places he explored. I’ve since heard that this is one of his less-impressive works, so I do still plan to read more, but it was a bummer of an introduction to a man who is generally considered an incredible travel writer.

Brooklyn, Colm Toibin

The winner for the month, the first time in a long time I’ve gotten so swept up in a novel that I was sneaking glances at the book whenever I could. I’m a huge historical fiction fan, and it was so fun to read about my borough (my neighborhood, even!) back in the 1950s. I really think it would be a relatable read for anyone who’s made a big move – across the world or just across the state – and wondered if it was the right choice. Highly, highly recommend. I can’t wait to rent the movie this weekend! Five stars

To keep up with what I’m reading in real time, you can follow me on Goodreads here.