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

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 parties, Philly 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, Read more


#whyilovephilly Twitter Campaign 2015

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 (4000 tweets, 2000+ participants, 9 Million impressions). This year, the #whyilovephilly website ( 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.

#whyilovephilly twitter 2015#whyilovephilly twitter 2015

(we want Twitter to look like this all day)

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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)

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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Love Note #234: A reminder that every day is a chance to enjoy the hell out of life

Mike Jackson
Favorite Spot: Not really a spot. Even better. The Phillie Phanatic

I Am:
Years in Philly: I’ve lived in Philadelphia since 2009 (but was here for college, and my family is from Mayfair)
Current Home: Fairmount

Mike-Jackson-Phillie-Phanatic-1 Read more

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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.


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.


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.


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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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Map Update! New Maps Added!

I just added two new maps to the Etsy store today. 8×10″ West Philly and the big 24×36″ custom woodcuts are now up for sale. I’ll be taking orders for the next couple of weeks so that everything is cut and delivered by the holidays.

Huge Philly Woodcut


West Philly


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Love Note #232: I’m in love with Philly too!

Amelia Diaz
Favorite Spot: All of Philly

I Am: Amelia. A native Honduran. A lover of the outdoors, ethnic foods, sports, and creative minds.
Years in Philly: 5 months
Current Home: Old City.

Amelia-Diaz-Philly-7 Read more

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In an effort to raise money to support the blog, I’m selling papercut and woodcut maps of Philadelphia. All of these maps are based off of a 3’x4′ Philly map that I handcut during a brief stint of insanity. In an effort to make these cuts as authentic as possible, I learned how to use the lasercutter at NextFab and will be creating them all myself.

I’m taking pre-orders in order to raise the funds needed for materials and laser time. I can also only create a limited number between now and December 20, which is the date all cuts will be shipped by (in time for the holidays).

Custom cuts are created based off of an address provided by the buyer. An icon, such as a heart, can be cut at that location. Neighborhood cuts are currently available for Center City, Fishtown and South Philly. All maps can be purchased via Etsy

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me at


$150, 8×10 Custom Woodcut on 1/8″ Baltic Birch


$125, 8×10 Custom Papercut on White Acid-Free Paper


$100, 8×10 Center City Woodcut on 1/8″ Baltic Birch


$100, 8×10 Fishtown Woodcut on 1/8″ Baltic Birch


$100, 8×10 South Philly Woodcut on 1/8″ Baltic Birch

Papercuts are also available of the neighborhoods above for $75/each. Photos to come.


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The Map Project

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, you’ve probably seen the woodcut and papercut maps I’ve been making both by hand and on the lasercutter at NextFab (which is like a playground for makers).

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Love Note #228: Kat Zagaria’s oasis in the trees

Kat Zagaria
Favorite Spot: The Pavilion in the Trees by Martin Puryear
Neighborhood: Fairmount Park
Address: It’s hard to find, but it’s close to the Japanese Tea House

I Am: A museum professional from Fairmount who loves animals and Philadelphia
Years in Philly: 3
Current Home: Fairmount

Kat-Zagaria-Pavillion-in-the-Trees-5 Read more

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