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 Comics, Philadelphia Independents, Yowie, and Omoi Zakka). And of course, one of the best gifts of all -- donating money, time, Read more

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 Read more

#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 Read more


Philly Beer Girl’s "Why I Love Philly" Post

Philly Beer Girl, a writer and beer lover (as her name implies) wrote this great little piece about her love for Philly. 

Recently, the Travel Channel featured the episode of Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover in Philadelphia. I know there were were a lot of viewing parties throughout the city in places that were featured on the show. While I didn’t make it out to view with my fellow Philadelphians, I had a great time watching it at home. I was proud of the city I love so much; Anthony showed the real diversity that exists in the city, proved that our food scene is far more than just cheese steaks (as someone on the show rightly pointed out, people who live here really don’t eat them all that often), and made us look like we’re more than just an angry group of people (minus the woman who gave the finger to the cameraman at opening of the show, of course) who throw snowballs at Santa Claus and beat up on tourists.

It got me thinking about why I love Philly as much as I do. Sure, there are problems. Our transit system isn’t that great, regardless of what Anthony said. Our public schools are mostly failing. There are a lot of homeless people and panhandlers. But I don’t want to focus on what’s wrong. I want to focus on what’s right.

My boyfriend grew up in Iowa and moved to the east coast about 13 years ago. He was the first person, but not the last, that I heard call Philadelphia “the biggest little city”. It’s true. It’s one of the things that I love most about the city. Because I grew up in the suburbs of Philly, then worked in one of the largest ad agencies here, and because of my involvement in the beer scene, there’s rarely a time that we go out and I don’t run in to someone I know. It doesn’t matter what part of the city we’re in – chances are I’ll know someone. Now, that might sound like my ego talking, but it’s not. It’s what makes Philadelphia feel like a community to me. The whole damn city is really just one big community! It’s so easy to get to know the people who are interested in the same things you are, if you’re willing to make the effort.

Also, it’s an extremely approachable city. It’s not as big, or as busy, as New York, which makes you feel like you can come in and really get to know the different neighborhoods and the people who live there. As much as I feel that there’s a lot of community in Philly, there are distinct neighborhoods. Each one has it’s own vibe and offers something to the people living there. I was lucky enough to live Fairmount for 5 years. It was quiet, tree-lined, and full of great culture and restaurants. Then I was even luckier to move to Bella Vista and live there for two years. It was hip, cool, and eclectic. Lots of amazing things going on in that neighborhood to this day, as the restaurants and stores continue to come in to that vibrant area.

Of course, nothing is perfect and Philly most certainly isn’t. But to me, it’s perfect in it’s imperfection.

To see the post in its original form, and read more about Philly’s great beer scene, check out her blog.
Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Uncategorized 2 Comments

A Night of PEP Bowl in South Philly

PEP Bowl
If you happen to be in S. Philly looking for something to do, head over to PEP bowl — a six-lane, non-profit, BYOB-F (booze and food) bowling alley. Totally old school. Totally amazing.

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in South Philly Leave a comment

The #whyilovephilly Party. What you said…

At the #whyilovephilly party, I asked people to write postcard to their favorite spots. I had been trying to make the blog tangible, and took inspiration from the site, The World Needs More Love Letters. People took the assignment in all different directions.

There were love notes to neighborhoods,

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Center City Leave a comment

The #whyilovephilly Party (Blowout)

Oh man.

I threw my first real party on Friday night.

I’ve been trying to remember the last time I had a party. No birthday parties, maybe a dinner party here and there, perhaps one in college, but nothing for a long, long time. And nothing quite like that.

I teamed up with Alex Hillman from IndyHall and Young Involved Philly to bring a bunch of Philly-centric people together to celebrate the City. I was nervous, and gave myself way too much work, but it was totally worth it.

The #whyilovephilly Party happened on November 30th, 2012

at the Trestle Inn (make the trek to the Callowhill neighborhood, it’s worth it).

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Center City 2 Comments

Show Reading Terminal Market Some Love

Reading Terminal Market is both a Philly institution and a Love Note reader favorite (see Love Notes from Albert Lee, Ross Markman, Emily Paull, and me). They have put together a cool contest for a chance to win a $100 gift certificate (oh how many cookies I could buy with that money). The rules are fairly simple: take photo, upload to twitter or instagram (or FB), use the hashtag #MyMarket. Entries are due by Sat night, but voting continues till Wed.  

I’ll certainly be entering.  Will you?



Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Center City Leave a comment

Love Notes Top Five

This week Philly Love Notes is teaming up with the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the Philadelphia Department of Parks and Recreation in honor of Love Your Park Day, being held this Saturday, November 17th. We’ll be posting some of our favorite Fairmount Park Love Notes all week in celebration, and remember, if you’ve got some kind words to say about your favorite park, please send them along to

Top Five Fairmount Park Spots (in no particular order):

1. Sedgley Woods and Disc Golf Course (Love Note #44 from Chip Chantry)

2. Pennypack Park in Fox Chase (Love Note #67 from Jill Sybesma)

3. FDR Skate Park (Love Note #70 from Hilary Malson)

4. Penn Treaty Park (Love Note #19 from Alex Bomstein)

5. Clark Park (Love Note #37 from Andrew Levitt)

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#whyilovephilly Party!


We all have our reasons to love Philly. No sense in hiding them anymore. Come join IndyHall, Young Involved Philadelphia, and Philly Love Notes to celebrate all that’s wonderful about our city.

This is an open invite. We want you all come come and drink and be merry. Hopefully you’ll meet some new people, see some great photos, and leave the night with warm feelings about Philadelphia.

Some basic details:
The Trestle Inn
Friday, Nov 30th6pm til… 🙂

Free, but we’re encouraging online or at-the-door donations to benefit the Mighty Writers (a nonprofit working with Philly youth to write and think with clarity and creativity).

RSVP at the Facebook Page or at

Need a sneak peak? Well, we’ve got Philly-themed drink specials, local DJs, a love notes station, some small eats and of course, lots of love for Philly.

We’re also looking for a few sponsors for help providing drinks to #whyilovephilly Party guests. Contact for sponsorship details.

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Love Note Update

Dear Love Note Readers,

I wanted to give you a heads up that the frequency of love note posts will be reverting back to three times per week.  To be honest, everyday was just a bit too much. But fear not, Mary Duffy, my new fellow love noter, and I will also be posting all sorts of new content on the other days.  Stay tuned for tours, tops lists, profiles, history and more. 

Please continue following along and sharing your great ideas. For those who have already submitted, we welcome all notes with open arms.  If you’ve come up with another great place you’d like to share, send it our way.

With great Philly love, 
Emma and Mary
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Carmen’s Country Kitchen

I tried out Carmen’s Country Kitchen for the first time on Friday morning.  These days I have the luxury of being able to sit for an hour at breakfast before “work” (read: internship) starts.  The person I was supposed to meet never showed, which turned out to be a small blessing in disguise.  

I spent the next hour chatting with Carmen herself. She is an amazing woman, full of great stories, neighborhood gossip and advice. There is no need to go into the food here on this blog — enough has been written about it on Yelp. The reviewers are right. It is indeed delicious and massive. 

Unfortunately, Carmen’s will be closing in December.  A neighborhood staple will be replaced by a pizza shop, and Carmen will be moving down to the Carolinas to be closer to her grandchildren.  Her hours are pretty crazy before the move date, but if you get a chance, go before it’s too late

(note that this is only half of the order)
Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in South Philly Leave a comment

Shorts — Life as a Blogger

I’ve been plugging away at this blog for five months now.  In that span of time I’ve accrued almost 140 love notes, which have brought me to at least 100 random places around the city, and have allowed me to meet with upwards of 75 people (so far). It has been with me through breakups, new relationships, new housemates, quitting my job, finishing my masters, and somewhere along the way finding a deep love for my city.  

Most of the time, it’s completely exhausting. Like now, at midnight on a Monday night, when I’m still trying to put posts together for this week. It’s also been a whirlwind of learning.  It is not an underestimation to call me a technophobe, but here I am with a blog. I know what SEO means. I have twitter followers and can retweet things. I can embed maps. In the coming weeks I’ll even be redesigning the site and getting facebook (thank you tech friends). 

In those five months I’ve gone from spending my days alone, hunched over a microscope with mild social anxieties (a true scientist) to networking, and organizing parties, and setting up collaborations, and teaching classes to kids. 

I’m surprised by how this blog has changed me. I’m excited to continue meeting contributors, discovering new places, and learning more. While still in its infancy, I hope that this blog is helping people reconnect with their city just as it has done for me.  

Posted on by Emma Fried-Cassorla in Uncategorized 10 Comments