Emma Fried-Cassorla

Philly Love Notes Gift Guide

Hello friends and Philly-lovers,

Time for the first Philly Love Letters Gift Guide! With some help from you, I put together a completely non-comprehensive list of amazing things being done right here in the city (or right outside). This only scratches the surface of the cool stuff being made here. There are always tons of great markets and small businesses to support (like Amalgam ComicsPhiladelphia IndependentsYowie, and Omoi Zakka). And of course, one of the best gifts of all — donating money, time, and skill to local nonprofits.

Have fun browsing!

Ben Franklin’s Mistresses Candles by 36 Craven
Lostine’s Franc Candle Holders
Celestial Spaces Calendar designed by Tina Crespo
South Fellini’s The Palette of Philadelphia Print
LOVE Ornaments created by Mason Made
3 Month Flower Subscription delivered by Vault and Vine
Linen and Canvas Fabrics from Bee Handmade Boutique
Slopey Made Mugs
Custom Philly Maps made by Me and the Tiny WPA (!!)

Heavy Slime’s Stop Building Ugly Condos T-shirt
Gritty Gang T-shirt designed by exit343design
Mason Dixon Made’s Philly-inspired Frankford Boot
The Amsa African Print Midi Skirt from D’IYANU
Brass Hair Pick from Anethum Jewelry
Philly Special Tie Clip by B.Ross
Minnow Lane’s Arctic Splash Onesie
Audre Lorde Home Girl Box curated by Sable Collective

Assorted Sample Pack of COPA Soaps
Solid Polish by Polish & Lather
Franklin and Whitman’s Travel Kit
Fresh Avocado Deep Conditioner from NaturAll Club

Girls Gone Happy Clarity Deck
The Worst Alphabet Book Ever by Raj Halder
Campfire Stories: Tales from America’s National Parks by Ilyssa and Dave Kyu
Tickets to Martha Graham Cracker: A Special Philly Loves Bowie Week Edition
A night of jazz at South
Acupuncture at South Philly Community Acupuncture
The Royal Treatment from The Duke Barber Co.
The Holiday Slime Box made by Philly Slime Shop
The Yowie Stress Banana

Love ‘n Fresh Flowers’ Glass Gem Popcorn
One-time Butcher’s Club Share from Primal Supply
Collective Creamery Cheese Share
Amari and Beartrap from Rowhouse Spirits
The Stirred Cocktail Kit at Art in the Age
Poundcake from Stock’s Bakery
Custom Dog Cake from Amelie’s Bark Shop

Adopt an instrument through the Symphony for a Broken Orchestra
A gift certificate for The Monkey and the Elephant
An oil change from the Girls Auto Clinic
Archival prints from the Historical Society of Pennsylvania
Philly Manhole Cover Coasters from the Hidden City Mercantile
Supporting a Philadelphia classroom through Donors Choose
Lunch or dinner at EAT Cafe

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Giving Back 2017

Oh this year. Time to buckle down and do what I can to give back. Like last year, I’ll be donating all of the profits from the map sales to local nonprofits from Thanksgiving through Giving Tuesday. That means that your purchase of a map will help to support all of the following organizations: Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory, Marian Anderson Historical Society, SEAMAAC, Red Paw Relief and Students Run Philly Style (more about the nonprofits below). Last year we raised $4725, and I’m hoping to top it this year. If you need to give someone a gift, especially someone who loves the city, buy a map and give back at the same time. Check out the Etsy shop for more info.

Philly Love Notes map

Your purchase of a custom Philly map will be a donation to the following organizations:

Wooden Boat Factory: Philadelphia Wooden Boat Factory is a non-profit, youth development organization that offers year-round, out-of-school time programming for middle and high school students in traditional boat building, sail making, and environmental sciences. Our students are engaged in real work that is energizing for both body and mind. Through our strength-based, trauma informed approach, we provide youth opportunities to explore, take risks, and lean from failure – experiences that lead to a sense of personal agency. The mission is to engage urban teens in hands-on boat building and on-water programming to nurture the problem solving, communication, and collaboration skills needed to become confident capable adutls.

Marian Anderson Historical Society: The Marian Anderson Historical Residence Museum is the epicenter for the life and legacy of Marian Anderson. This historic landmark contains rare photos, books, memorabilia and films about the life and legacy of Marian Anderson. The museum is run and maintained by The Marian Anderson Historical Society, which also helps to support the Marian Anderson Scholar Artist Program. The house and museum is open for tours daily from 10am – 4pm, Monday through Saturday.

SEAMAAC: Since 1984 SEAMAAC has brought crucially needed support to tens of thousands of families in the Greater Philadelphia area. SEAMAAC stands as one of the oldest and largest refugee-founded agencies in the region with a workforce of over 80% bi/multi-lingual staff serving constituencies from as many as 18 distinct linguistic communities.

Red Paw Relief: Red Paw is the only organization in the country that provides 24/7 emergency response for citizens w/pets affected by house fires & residential disasters. Services include: Search & Rescue, emergency medical care, emergency transport, emergency veterinary care & emergency shelter. Run by firefighters & veterans. Based out of Philly!

Students Run Philly Style: Students Run Philly Style is a mentoring program that uses long distance running as a vehicle to create meaningful relationships between youth participants and caring adult mentors, fostering resilience in our youth. Over the course of nine months, youth ages 12-18 run alongside their mentors, training for races of increasing distance. The ultimate goal: completing the Philadelphia marathon. Founded in 2004, Students Run Philly Style has grown from serving 50 youth at five teams in year one to serving over 1,000 youth at over 45 teams. Our sea of royal blue shirts with lime green lettering is a staple at major running events in Philadelphia. Contributions from the community not only bolster our ability to grow our service to Philadelphia youth, but demonstrates to our student runners that the community believes in their ability to achieve seemingly impossible goals.

PLEASE NOTE: At a certain point I will max out on the number of maps I can produce in time for the holidays. If that happens, I’ll send along postcard + wrapping paper to be used as a placeholder until the map can be made. Thanks and Happy Holidays!

PLEASE NOTE #2: If you’re interested in donating to any of the above organizations, click the link to go directly to their donations page. 

Philly love notes map

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#whyilovephillyarts Launches

It’s official, the first #whyilovephillyarts, featuring Sean Martorana, is now live! Check out the prints below and purchase one of the 30 limited edition prints online. This is the first collaboration that aims to build a body of Philly-specific art across a variety of mediums for people to purchase with 100% of the profits going to the artist (along with a full commissions and licensing fees).







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Sean Martorana x Philly Love Notes

The best part about running Philly Love Notes and making maps is the opportunity to connect with, spotlight, and help build the Philly community (see Giving Back This Year — news about 2017 soon, #whyilovephilly Twitter campaign#whyilovephilly partiesPhilly Love Letters). So… I’m very excited to announce the new project, #whyilovephillyarts, a series of collaborations aimed at showcasing the amazingly talented artists and makers we have here in the city. 

The Concept

– Commission a piece of art from a variety of painters, illustrators, graphic designers, fabric artists, woodworkers, etc. in their traditional medium. No real guidelines except that it had to be about Philly.

– Create a 5×7 postcard from that original to be sent out as a limited edition of 50 with each of the custom woodcut maps.

– Design a limited edition set of prints to be sold in the Etsy shop (more details to come + link to buy).

– Build a body of Philly-specific art across a variety of mediums for people to purchase with 100% of the profits going to the artist (along with a full commissions and licensing fees).

Artist Collaboration #1

Sean Martorana is one of my favorite Philly artists and is the real reason why I even make maps. If it weren’t for him, I would have never digitized the original and it wouldn’t have crossed my mind to make it into a bigger project. He has truly been one of my inspirations in the city, so I was very excited when he agreed to try out the first artist collaboration.


Breath of Desire

Sean’s piece, called Breath of Desire, combines Harriet Whitney Frishmuth’s sculpture Aspiration, located in the Laurel Hill Cemetery with icons of Pennsylvania — the state dog (the Great Dane), the state plant (Penngift Crownvetch), and the state bird (the Ruffed Grouse) among others. Breath of Desire uses ink, acrylic, white pencil and gold enamel on thick deckled paper to create a final piece that embodies the spirit and attitude of Philadelphians — our passion, loyalty and acceptance.

Stay tuned next week when we put the limited edition prints on sale and be on the lookout next month for a new piece by Sarah Ferone.

Sean Martorana x Philly Love Notes

Sean Martorana’s Breath of Desire artist statement

When asked to create something for Philly Love Notes that represented Philadelphia, I wanted to look beyond the obvious and learn more about the city I love so much. So I started to research the unofficial symbols of Philadelphia that I felt captured the spirit and attitude of the people — our passion, loyalty and acceptance.

I find the creative community here in Philadelphia to be very special. There is an energy that comes from mutual support, admiration, and celebration that doesn’t exist everywhere. I felt that energy when I saw Harriet Whitney Frishmuth’s sculpture Aspiration (1933), located in the famous Laurel Hill Cemetery, and it became the centerpiece of this painting. Ms. Frishmuth was a native of Philadelphia – born here in 1880, and buried near her incredible sculpture – and her spirit and influence lives on.

Included in the piece are other icons of Pennsylvania that I see in the shared character of Philadelphians: the Great Dane for its strength, beauty, intelligence and tolerance; the Eastern Hemlocks for their protection and shelter; the Ruffed Grouse, a hardy bird that is a survivor in tough conditions; the beautiful Penngift Crownvetch, which plants its roots deep into the ground, protecting the land around it; and finally, the fireflies that light the way through the dark.

These are the symbols of life here in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. A city of hope, tolerance, refuge, endurance, community and light.

IMG_0397 IMG_0401

**Who’s your favorite artist? Send me suggestions! I’d love to try and work with them. You can reach me at phillylovenotes@gmail.com 

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Giving back this year

[UPDATE: We raised $4725 dollars!!]

Now more than ever, I feel a need to give back to my community, so I’ll be donating ALL of the profits from map sales from now (4:39PM on November 23) through 11:59PM, November 29. It’s an opportunity to buy a holiday gift and give back to some great Philadelphia non-profits (see the Philly Love Notes Etsy shop for more details).

Philly love notes map

Your purchase of a custom Philly map will be a donation to the following organizations:

Sunday Breakfast Mission: The Sunday Breakfast Rescue Mission serves the homeless through two locations in Philadelphia: a meal service program serving three meals a day to anyone in need and men’s shelter in Center City and a transitional home for women in the Germantown neighborhood of Philadelphia. The Center City shelter also houses a long-term recovery program for men. The Mission does not receive government funding and relies on the generous contributions of caring individuals, families, churches and businesses. Donations are supplemented with income from two thrift stores.

Fairmount Park Conservancy: Fairmount Park Conservancy works as a collaborative partner to lead and support efforts which preserve and improve the Philadelphia parks and recreation system in order to enhance the quality of life and stimulate economic development of the Greater Philadelphia Region. We fulfill our mission by leading capital projects and historic preservation efforts, fostering neighborhood park stewardship, attracting and leveraging resources for the parks, and developing innovative programs throughout the 10,200 acres that include Fairmount Park and more than 100 neighborhood parks around the city.

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania: The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, membership organization dedicated to defending and expanding individual rights and personal freedoms throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania. Through advocacy, public education and litigation, our staff and volunteers work to preserve and enhance liberties grounded in the United States and Pennsylvania constitutions and civil rights laws. Among those liberties are freedoms of speech, religion and association; the right to petition the government; separation of church and state; the right to privacy; reproductive freedom; due process of law; the rights of the accused; and the right to equal treatment under the law.

The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia: The Fund for the School District of Philadelphia is an independent 501(c)3 not for profit organization that serves as a fiscal intermediary between the private sector and the Philadelphia public education system. We are the only philanthropic organization that works directly with school leadership to align the investments of partners—private foundations, corporations and businesses, community organizations and individual donors—with the strategies that will impact the success of students attending our neighborhood public schools.

Black Star Film Festival: The BlackStar Film Festival is an annual celebration of the visual and storytelling traditions of the African diaspora and of global indigenous communities, showcasing films by black people from around the world.

People’s Emergency Center: The People’s Emergency Center’s mission is to nurture families, strengthen neighborhoods and drive change in West Philadelphia. PEC offers more than 250 affordable housing units, job training, parenting and early childhood education, financial education and planning, life skills and technology coursework. PEC seeks to change the life trajectory for the women and children who seek its services and inspire them to aspire to new heights.

Asian Arts Initiative: Connecting cultural expression and social change, Asian Arts Initiative uses art as a vehicle to explore the experiences of Asian Americans and the diverse communities of which we are a part. Located in Philadelphia’s burgeoning Chinatown North neighborhood, Asian Arts Initiative is a multidisciplinary arts center offering exhibitions, performances, artist residencies, youth workshops, and a community gathering space. Here, all people — across experience and skill levels, age, race, and class backgrounds — can view and create art that reflects our lives, as well as think critically and creatively about the future we want to build for our communities.

PLEASE NOTE: At a certain point I will max out on the number of maps I can produce in time for the holidays. If that happens, I’ll send along postcard to be used as a placeholder until the map can be made. Thanks and Happy Holidays!

PLEASE NOTE #2: If you’re interested in donating to any of the above organizations, click the link to go directly to their donations page. 

Philly Love Notes map

Philly Love Notes map

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Love Note #300: With all my love

Emma Fried-Cassorla
Favorite Spot: Anywhere along the Delaware River Waterfront (but I’m biased)

I Am: A Philly lover and resident, Montana lover and former resident, twin, Philly Love Notes, Communications Manager for the Delaware River Waterfront, hiker, climber, traveler, papercutter, iPhone addict, handwritten note taker, Crohn’s patient, scientist, lover of the Race Street Pier and slippers and family
Years in Philly: Off and on for 33 (I was 30 when I started!)
Current home: A studio loft in Callowhill with my lovely boyfriend whom I’m never supposed to talk about online (but am breaking the rules this one time)

final post 2

My Love Note

Dear Philly,

When I started this blog, I wasn’t a Philadelphian. I am now.

I’ve seen the joy and ass-kicking that this city deals out. I’ve been through sweat-soaked summers and foot-deep blizzards. I’ve moved from Mt. Airy to East Passyunk to Point Breeze and now to Callowhill. I left and came home, left and came home. But what makes me a Philadelphian is the people I’ve met through this project. The hundreds of people who have written love letters, my social media friends, #whyilovephilly enthusiasts and others who are proud to call this city their home.

At Love Note #300, it seemed fitting to end. The blog has served its purpose and seen this city through its transformation. It will remain as an archive of 300 reasons why people have loved here, have left and returned, have longed to live here again, or who have made it through tough times with this city as their North Star. I can only imagine that there are thousands more.

There are other ventures in the works, social media sites to continue, maps to make and #whyilovephilly parties to throw, which I hope will continue to inspire a deep affection for this city.

So (I’m raising my metaphorical glass here)… goodbye Philly Love Notes. What a wonderful ride it’s been. Here’s to many more years of Philly love.



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Love Note #299: And so we conclude

Cynthia Schmitt

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Love Note #298: Port Royal Road, Chamonix Drive, Kitchen’s Lane, River Road, George’s Hill Drive, and more

Bella Hondros
Favorite Spot: Andorra’s Port Royal Road
Neighborhood: Andorra

I Am: A student who likes back roads
Years in Philly: 14
Current Home: Andorra

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Love Note #297: Guesses for the most sensory overload in Philly?

Stevie Black (ex-pat files)
Favorite Spot: Italian Market, but only by a little.
Neighborhood: South Philly
Address: 9th Street from Washington to Christian

I Am: A surface and textile designer on Boston’s Northshore (presently) who went to art school in Philly.
Years in Philly: 14
Current Home: Swampscott MA

A photo posted by Elias Baldino (@efb727) on

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Love Note #296: Hey Philly, in case you forgot, a few revolutionaries can change the world

Brett Mandel
Favorite Spot: All of it

I Am: a long-suffering Philly sports fan.
Years in Philly: 45
Current Home: Fitler Square

A photo posted by Stefan (@stef.c.photo) on

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