Philadelphia in a Short Weekend

When we talk about weekend getaways, we often talk about them in terms of the “long weekend” (three to four days of pause + refuge from work). That whole notion changes for me come October when I start working six-day weeks. That said, I’m doing what I love while striving to practice self-care, which makes it more than okay. So, the weekends when I have a full two days off become my own version of a “long-short weekend” (happiness is inversely proportional to expectations, right?!).

The first weekend in October, my guy and I took a short weekend trip to Philadelphia. It. Was. So. Much. Fun. While I grew up on the East Coast (he didn’t), I have never spent any real time in Philly; I’ve only passed through the city. So much of it felt like Portland…this could have been because we were there on a rainy day and ate donuts – two very Portland-y things. It was an utterly chill way to spend 36 hours. Here’s what we did…I recommend all of it.

Food Tour: Michael Solomonov
Upon entering Philly, we needed food and knew that we wanted to check out Michael Solomonov’s amazing restaurants. Solomonov, most commonly known for Zahav (and the drop-dead gorgeous Zahav cookbook), has a network of restaurants with all different – and yet the same essential – vibes.

Our first stop was Dizzengoff, which is the name of a street in Tel Aviv. It has a basic menu of hummus plates with a small variety of toppings, as well as Sunday shakshuka brunch. In short, you can say we tried everything during the trip – that’s the beauty of short menus. That, and the fact that with a minimalist menu, they utterly master their offerings. Highlights included skillet shakshuka straight out of the oven and the pita made right in front of us.
Abe Fisher
Abe Fisher was the destination. I believe we made a reservation there before we made a reservation at a hotel. The entire time we ate this MIND-BLOWING meal there, we were also in shock that no one has come up with Jewish comfort food fusion cuisine to this scale before. It was so, so incredible. Each of our many courses, as well as the complimentary tasting bites they brought out along the way was a highlight, but here’s what I will likely always remember:
  • Matzo Ball Gratin
  • Latkes topped with Beef Tartare
  • Mini Rugelach with Bacon Date Filling
Federal Donuts
Unbeknownst to me until our car ride back into the city, Solomov is also responsible for the famed Federal Donuts. While we did not try the zaatar fried chicken, the donuts were excellent (and I am most definitely not usually a donut person). I brought back a box for the roommates and the churro and tres leches donuts seemed like the biggest hits.
Right after we ate at Dizzengoff, we headed over to the Mutter Museum of the College of Physicians. Overall, I’m really glad that we went, though to be honest I don’t think I was able to handle the bottom floor. The bottom floor contained all the reasons why I did not go into the medical profession. The gore, anomalies that could not get figured out, and cadavers creeped me out, even though I wish they didn’t. That said, the top floor was insanely cool. The Civil War exhibit contained a whole part of history – the medical component – that does not get told as often as it needs to. It made me realize how recent most of our medical technology is (Mutter, a doctor from Philly, was the first one to use general anaesthesia as we know it today in the United States). The top floor also had a special Brothers Grimm exhibit with models of what the fictionalized medical anomalies in many of the Brothers Grimm stories would look like in real life.
The Barnes Foundation
The premise of the Barnes Foundation musuem is incredible. From the website:
The Barnes Foundation was established by Albert C. Barnes in 1922 to “promote the advancement of education and the appreciation of the fine arts and horticulture.” The Barnes holds one of the finest collections of post-impressionist and early modern paintings, with extensive works by Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Paul Cézanne, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Henri Rousseau, Amedeo Modigliani, Chaim Soutine, and Giorgio de Chirico, as well as American masters Charles Demuth, William Glackens, Horace Pippin, and Maurice Prendergast, old master paintings, African sculpture, American paintings and decorative arts, antiquities from the Mediterranean region and Asia, and Native American ceramics, jewelry, and textiles.
Because the foundation is a displacement of art from Barnes’ original home / house into a more museum-like setting, it felt crucial to keep in mind that the layout and pairing of the art work was all his individual intention. Albert Barnes was a prestigious doctor with, clearly, a sizeable amount of money, who arranged his art in peculiar ways. While I was on sensory overload, I was also reminded of my deep love of Renoir and Degas. Seeing them almost in concert with one another and the more Fauvist art of Matisse was, to say the least, inspiring.
Beth Sholom Frank Lloyd Wright
We went on quite a lengthy tour of Beth Sholom, a synagogue designed by Frank Lloyd Wright located just outside Philadelphia. The exterior was, to say the least, bizarre. It legit looks like the synagogue from outer space. The inside was elegant and modern, yet imposing because of the architecture itself and Frank Lloyd Wright-ness of it all. I highly recommend taking this tour if you’re in the area. We got a lot of bang for our buck in terms of history, all that we were able to see, and context for it all. The coolest part was that the synagogue saved every single hilarious and meaningful correspondence between Frank Lloyd Wright and the rabbi who instigated this project, Mortimer Cohen.
Because I was traveling with an architect, we also stopped by some very interesting houses on our way out of town: the Vanna Venturi House in Chestnut Hill and the Escherick House.


That night, I was sad to have this short vacation be over. Upon returning, I realized how much I value – and on a deep level – mini vacations squeezed in amidst the busy-ness of everyday (school year) life. Within an hour of getting home and dropping off some donuts for the roommates, I was off to SoulCycle to get my sweat on. It felt necessary and cathartic to do something intentional after so much fun.
What are some weekend trips you’ve been on recently? Any you’re excited to embark on?
written from bed

#24SevenYoga Challenge with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition

0612_01B_760_428auto_int.jpgI am thrilled to announce that I am participating in the #24SevenYoga challenge with the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. Head over to Instagram (@GrowingUpOnOM) to see what I’m posting. Here’s what I’ve posted so far…

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But I am getting ahead of myself. First, I need to tell you what this challenge is and why I am doing it. I have been a long-time fan of the Yoga and Body Image Coalition. A longer post is forthcoming on the subject, but the work of YBIC is very near and dear to my heart. I started practicing yoga because I needed a way of moving my body that didn’t result in self-hatred. I never, beyond my wildest dreams, expected to celebrate my body. And that is just at the surface-level; yoga allows me to celebrate so much more than my body through my body. The Yoga and Body Image Coalition takes that sense of celebration, accessibility, and so much more into account in its vision:

Our coalition is committed to developing, promoting and supporting yoga that is accessible, body-positive and reflects the full range of human diversity. We advocate yoga as an essential tool in personal transformation, from the inside out, including a critical social justice component. We inform, educate and work with organizations that are ready to shift the current media paradigm to one that is more inclusive, equitable and just, and challenge industry leaders and media creators to expand their vision of what a yogi looks like.

The #24SevenYoga challenge, in partnership with Yoga International, is an attempt to showcase how yoga and mindfulness has the power to influence our daily lives both on and beyond the mat. Capturing the moments of the practice being infused into all that I do has been a mindful experience in and of itself, and I highly recommend it for those seeking some added deep breaths this week.

To Enter:

  1. Follow @carlystong, @ybicoalition, and @yoga_international
  2. Share your photos on Instagram using the hashtag #24sevenyoga

Additional hashtag suggestions (but not necessary):

#whatyogalookslike #whatayogilookslike #ybicoalition #yogabodyimage #ybic #everybodyisayogabody #smashingstereotypes #accessibleyoga #everybodyisayogabody

  1. Tag three friends.

Daily ways to practice #24sevenyoga (Share your photos of what these look like for you!):

Monday: Love yourself—maybe that means taking a yoga class, but maybe it means having a spa day, sleeping in, or saying “no” to people or commitments that sap your energy.

Tuesday: Spend time in nature—improve your mental wellness, boost your immunity and creativity, and get your daily dose of Vitamin D and fresh air.

Wednesday: Find balance—find peace amid chaos. Show us your progress pics or a picture of you falling out of a yoga posture, share a photo of you being productive in a messy space, etc.

Thursday: Meditate—move your awareness inward in any form, from stargazing to starting a journal to sitting in stillness.

Friday: Give back—practice the art of blessed action (seva): selfless service done for the good of others.

Saturday: Connect—spend time with friends/family, write a letter, meet someone new, etc

Sunday: Nourish yourself—share your favorite recipe and a photo of the end result!

15 Mindful Ways to Unwind After a Long Week

While this week has not been a long one by any means (I had Monday and Tuesday off for Rosh Hashanah), last week was. It was such a long week that on Saturday afternoon, after getting what I thought was a full night’s sleep the night before (hint: when you’re making up for a week’s worth of lost sleep, one eight-hour doze doesn’t cut it), I crashed, and I crashed hard. I crashed so hard that I had to call a friend to simply tell me to wash my face and brush my teeth as a way of pressing re-start at 7pm.

Which brings me to this post. Trust me – I know how to “unwind.” I have a whole repertoire of old habits that used to relax me. They involved sweets, popcorn, and binge-watching TV. But over the past eight years of seriously practicing yoga and other forms of mindfulness, I’ve realized that these aren’t actually ways to unwind. They are ways to check out. (Not that I don’t love some good TV time with popcorn and a glass of wine once in a while, but now I know that I can do this mindfully, in a planned and joyful way.)

Unwinding, however, should be part of life, not an escape from it. I am so grateful to build a repertoire of strategies that honestly allow me to unwind after a long week. I’m balancing work, grad school, and the rest of life; long weeks are just a fact sometimes. This repertoire is slowly, but surely outgrowing my old checking-out one, and here are the strategies I have to share with you.

  1. Take a Friday afternoon nap.
  2. Take a bubble bath. Lotion up after. Take in the scents.
  3. Wash your face.
  4. Brush your teeth.
  5. Go to an amazing yoga class.
  6. Do a half hour of a hOMe yoga practice.
  7. Sit on a block or cushion and meditate for five minutes.
  8. Go on a date to a nourishing restaurant.
  9. See a movie with friends. Savor the company.
  10. Do a handstand (or down dog, or child’s pose).
  11. Journal about how the week went.
  12. Have a dance party in your room, alone or in the company of others (these impromptu end-of-week dance parties are one of my favorite parts of my romantic relationship; playfulness is so important!).
  13. Check in a spin class. Let it feel like a night club on wheels.
  14. Spend time with family. Let yourself be taken care of.
  15. Organize your own tea time with a lil treat + cup of tea.

Deep breaths. Let go. Unwind.




Blog Updates


illustration by the amazing julia drachman for yoga u

Hi all! Long time no blogging – trust me, I know! In the past month or so since I last posted (sorry about that!), I’ve started up the new school year – both in graduate school and as a third grade teacher again. I also went back to blogging school; I took advantage of a massive Gala Darling sale and purchased The Blogcademy Online. My intention in taking this fabulous course is to be able to serve my readers even more. Not only that, I want to expand Growing Up on OM in all sorts of ways; I believe that growing up with mindfulness is more than a blog, more than these posts, and most of all, something that 20-somethings deserve to have reach them from multiple channels.

The blogging landscape looks totally different than it did a few years ago, and that’s great, but it’s also tricky. This is the crux of the online word: you gotta adapt, you have to keep evolving. For me, that constant sensation of transformation is what keeps things interesting. – Gala Darling

header.pngI spent a lot of time this weekend taking the online course, and I’m not even halfway through. I realized that not only does this blog need to be more than a blog – I wanted to make it easier to access. So, I took some time and created a few new social media accounts. Here’s how to get connected:

Facebook Page

Instagram: @GrowingUpOnOM

Twitter: @GrowingUpOnOM


I also majorly updated the About Page on this blog.

What are your waiting for?! Follow for some extra mindful inspiration!


P.S. I’m working to post more frequently so hopefully, I won’t go this long without posting in the foreseeable future – expect another later this week!