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). Your purchase of a custom Philly map will be a donation to the following organizations: Sunday Breakfast Read more

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 Read more

And so we conclude

Cynthia Schmitt A photo posted by Philly Love Notes (@phillylovenotes) on May 20, 2015 at 7:05pm PDT My Love Note Can anyone remember that first moment they fell in love? How does one encompass the complexities of living in a city that's caught between New York and Washington DC? Even Benjamin Franklin, a hero of this city, spent most of his time in Europe. He did choose to die here, so I always thought that must have meant something. Edgar Read more

Extras

Best of Philly 2015 Collaboration

BOP_01 croppe PLN_final_logo

Each year I look forward to Philadelphia Magazine‘s “Best of Philly” issue. The waterfront has even won a few over the last couple of years (shout out to Spruce Street Harbor Park and the Race Street Pier)! I didn’t realize it, but the magazine has actually been doing this issue for over 40 years — oh how fun it would be to look back in the archives from the 70s.

This year Philly Love Notes and Philadelphia Magazine are doing a collaboration where you can submit a “Best of” love note for one of the categories below:

Best City Park
Best Neighborhood Bar
Best Late Night Restaurant
Best Museum

So, what are your favorite places in these categories? Send over your choice in the form of a love note (Need help? Here are 241 examples). This is a chance to highlight some of the hidden gems in the city that you have a real connection with. On June 8th, the Philly Mag editors and I will comb through the submissions and the best note in each category will run in the August issue of Best of Philly! If you’ve been procrastinating on that Philly Love Note, now’s the perfect time to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.

Submissions can be made directly through the blog or via email to phillylovenotes@gmail.com. For those of you still writing on paper, and I really really hope there are some of you out there, mail them to me at 2036S 17th St, 19145.

FINE PRINT: Please limit the love notes to 200 words

SECOND FINE PRINT: The editors reserve the right to edit some submissions for space reasons

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Philly Set Go Talk on March 5

Occasionally opportunities come up for me to speak at events about Philly Love Notes. Aside from being terrified of public speaking (see Ignite Talk for reference), I’m sometimes unsure of how this project fits into larger political or media conversations. However, when Philly Set Go recently asked me to speak at an event that they’re hosting this Thursday, March 5th from 6:30-8:30, I thought it could be a really interesting collaboration.

Philly Set Go, along with the 5th Square, are two relatively recent additions to the Philadelphia political sphere that have piqued my interest.

  • Philly Set Go is a non-partisan political action committee with a simple mission: encourage millennials to become more involved in local politics so that city government is more responsive to our concerns, particularly improvements to quality of life, job growth, and education.
  • The 5th Square is a political action committee organized within the State of Pennsylvania to advocate for smart policy for transportation, public space, land use, and better governance in Philadelphia.

In the past, I’ve been generally apolitical, in part because of my work — I don’t want my personal interests to be in any way confused with my organization’s positions — and in part because the political system has seemed untouchable — how could I possibly affect change in the city? What I’ve learned, and what I’ll be talking about is how we can make changes in the city from within, both by voting with feet and dollars, and in our choice of work, play, and personal projects.

So please come join and support a great organization that can help us make this a great city.

Details: Philly Set Go (part 2)
When: Thursday, March 5th from 6:30-8:30
Where: La Colombe, 1335 Frankford Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19125

The Inquirer just wrote up a piece about millennial political involvement in Philly that at the very least has a very “lively” comments section (what else is new?).

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Help!

I’ll admit that I’m a huge sucker for design blogs and websites, especially Design Sponge, which seems to be the mother of all design blogs. I was recently listening to their podcast series called After the Jump, specifically Episode 91 on How to Create Content.

I’ve always struggled with adding “extras” to the blog (especially as I think about redesigning the site) in part because I’m a one-woman operation, and also because I’m not sure what would complement the love notes. I have to admit though that the podcast was pretty inspiring. In it, Grace Bonney, the editor of Design Sponge, goes through a simple list of how to create content:

BIG 10 CATEGORY OF POSTS (my thoughts for Philly Love Notes in parentheses):
1. How-to or Instructional posts (How to navigate the underground concourse, How to properly take home the other half of a hoagie, etc.)
2. Informational/History/Background (What is the history of some of the love note sites)
3. Reviews (New restaurants, shows, built environment — not really my cup of tea, but there are tons of great reviewers in the city)
4. List of Resources (Skyline views, best place to buy tokens when you don’t have cash, where to get Philly news, etc.)
5. Interviews (Write out some of the love note meetings)
6. Visual Tours or Photo Essays (Already got this one mostly covered with the love notes themselves, but maybe it could also include tours of places without love notes)
7. Roundups or Best-ofs (Best coffee shops to cowork in, best streets to run on, you get the idea)
8. Commentary on Current Trends (Not so sure about this one)
9. Link Lists (Great things happening in Philly, interesting articles, beautiful photos, cool Philly-made items — I’ve always imagined this as a bi-weekly email)
10. Podcasts or videos (No)

TRUSTED GO-TOs
1. Day in the Life (Sort of a Humans of NY for Philly)
2. Guest Posts (Tons of great bloggers in Philly. Would love to see how they would approach love notes)
3. Personal/Brand Manifesto (I do this every Valentine’s Day plus a couple throughout the year)
4. Favorite Place/Person/Thing (See link list — expand upon some of those mentions)
5. Sharing Your Tools (Hmmm… not so sure I have tools. It’s pretty scattershot)
6. Sharing Failures and Successes (That I can do)

Thinking about content this way opens up a whole new realm of possibilities for the site. The questions are:
Do these additions detract from the love notes?
Am I actually a trusted source for Philly-related things?
How do I link up with people who could do many of these posts better than I could (reviews, how-tos, etc.)?
How do you design a site to incorporate this all?
Is there even time?
Does anyone care?

Thoughts? Ideas? Suggestions about what you’d like to see? I would love some feedback.

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2015. A new year, a new blog design

As usual, I seem to have trailed off in posting Philly love notes because I’ve gotten side tracked. Last time it was opening Spruce Street Harbor Park, this time it was map making at NextFab and opening Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest. Remaining committed to the blog has been difficult, and I’m hoping that a refresh in its look and content will help me to reengage.

Philly skyline cropped

I seem to work in a oddly convoluted, circular fashion. I started doing the maps because they were fun, and I needed a side project to keep me busy after moving into my own place (I have my own studio in my apartment in South Philly!). I’ve always been on the fence about how to raise money for the blog — never feeling quite right about asking people for money because they were already providing invaluable content. So selling maps seemed like a natural fit. I’d put them up on Etsy, they’d be Philly focused, and I’d raise money needed to redo the site. I’ve always felt like the design of the site never quite did the love notes justice. It was also in part coded by my ex, and I’d really like to remove that. So map making -> blog redesign.

woodcuts

But, I ended up running into a similar problem. I loved what I was producing, but the packaging wasn’t so great. So now map making -> brand redesign and packaging. Luckily, I teamed up with an amazing Philly designer and we came up with the packaging below. Now that that’s out of the way, I can return to focusing on redesigning the site to accommodate new content and all of the love notes that I’ve unintentionally backlogged.

packaging

I’ll be back to posting once a week, hopefully with some extra content sprinkled here and there. I’m looking to have the site redesigned by the spring, so stay tuned. And as always, thanks for continuing to read the love notes, follow along on social media, buy maps and submit love notes.

Happy 2015! Looking forward to seeing what the year has to bring.

fireworks

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Who do you love in Philly?

One of the best parts of this whole mapmaking endeavor is that I can occasionally decide, on a whim, to give one or two away (my friends also all know what they’re getting for every wedding, baby shower, housewarming, etc.).

I was in a particularly bad mood last night, so I put out a question to the Internet(s): Who makes you love Philly? I was essentially bribing strangers to make me feel better with the promise of a possible papercut map, but the answers turned out to be super sweet, so I wanted to share them here.

I’m going to keep this one going for a little bit, so if you want to spread some love to a Philly friend via social media, tweet at me (@phillylovenotes) or post on the Instagram photo and tag that special person.


Read more

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Papercuts for sale

I’ve decided to start selling papercuts to help fund a redesign of Philly Love Notes. The website needs to be more functional as a Philly resource, and to put it bluntly, it needs to look nicer. I don’t feel comfortable putting advertisements or sponsored posts on the blog, and I’m still not completely sold on Kickstarter. If you’ve been following me on Instagram, Twitter or the blog, you’ve seen the evolution of my papercuts, which I’ve decided to start selling.

Below are some examples of custom pieces. They are all hand cut, and therefore take many hours each (and have been priced accordingly). The maps and home portraits are completely customizable in relation to size, paper color, and location, but don’t come framed. I’ll be taking limited commissions at a time, so if you’re interested, send me an email at phillylovenotes@gmail.com.

I’m also working with NextFab to learn how to lasercut. Once I’ve gotten a hang of that, I’ll be making copies of the large Philly map made earlier this summer and some more detailed neighborhood maps. Having access to all the machines brings up tons of possibilities for Philly-centric things to make, so if you have suggestions of what you’d like to see, please let me know.

CUSTOM PAPERCUT MAPS

5×7
8×10

(please email about pricing)

Final map 2Final Map 1Final map 4

CUSTOM HOME PORTRAITS

STARTING AT $125

Final home portrait 1Final home portrait 2Final home portrait 3

 

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The classic Philly tradition: the Jersey shore

It feels like most people who were born in Philly and the suburbs spent at least a day each summer at the Jersey shore. There are the outliers who made their way down to the beaches of Delaware or Maryland, but it seems like Jersey was the primary destination. And they weren’t just trips to a random beach. Most people have “their” beach. Ours was Ocean City — a week in one of the small motels, days at the beach or Gillian’s Water Park (which I only just recently discovered was not Gilligan’s as I had been pronouncing all these years), and nights walking along the boardwalk eating Johnson’s popcorn and going on the Tilt-A-Whirl at Wonderland Pier.

As I’ve gotten older, the family beach vacations have become more infrequent and we’ve broadened our horizons. My Philly tradition may have changed slightly, but a summer would not be complete without the beach. What’s your tradition? What’s your beach?

Memorial Day Weekend Trip to Wildwood, NJ

Beach-vacations-1 Read more

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DONE!

Finally finished the Philly papercut this past weekend. Check out the progress below and the contest to win it. And don’t forget to get tickets for the summer #whyilovephilly Party!

Philly-cut-8 Read more

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Papercutting Philly (my homage to Joe B)

I recently started a side-side project doing small (3×5) paper cuts of Philly. My science brain likes the clean lines and orderliness of precision cutting, and my hyperactive brain actually concentrates for the couple hours it takes to make each one. I’ve been creating custom ones for friends and whomever else answered my posts on social media, but they’re something I’m thinking about potentially selling to raise funds for a Philly Love Note website upgrade — a much much needed one. Any thoughts?

northern-liberties-south-philly

South Philly, left; Northern Liberties, right

clark-park-west-philly

Clark Park in West Philly

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#whyilovephilly Twitter Campaign 2014

It’s that time of year again. No, not Valentine’s Day, but #whyilovephilly Day!!

The mission is simple: To show Philly some love. Last year, thousands of organizations and individuals participated in the #whyilovephilly Twitter campaign, causing the hashtag to trend locally and nationally throughout the day. This year, the #whyilovephilly website (www.whyilovephilly.com) is live, and will serve as the hub for Instagram and Twitter feeds. Please join us again this year.

How you can participate: On Valentines Day, tweet about why you love philly, using #whyilovephilly. Ask your followers to do the same. Retweet some of your favorite responses. It’s that easy.

Who else is involved: We’ve got a bunch of organizations all ready to spread the word. They include, but are not limited to the Young Involved Philly, the Bike Coalition, Visit Philadelphia, Geekadelphia, Yelp Philly, Eyes on the Street, the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy, Old City District, and many, many more.

Screen shot 2014-02-09 at 10.12.34 PM(we want Twitter to look like this all day)

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