Friday, January 2, 2015

My Favorite Christmas Gift

I am thrilled to report that I got back together with E. Since I believe that relationships are healthier away from social media, I will simply add that he's still wonderful... We agreed upon dating on 12/13/14, which is a nice anniversary date! The next day, on Sunday, December 14th, he treated me to a daytrip to my beloved Philadelphia.

The major point of interest on my itinerary was the German-style outdoor Christmas market in Love Park or JFK Plaza. I wanted to attend because my facebook feed was full of pictures of them throughout Europe. Plus, since E had lived in Germany, he had memories of attending them as well, so I wanted to share this particular experience with him more than anyone else. This was actually one of the last things we did since we wanted to experience it when it was lit up after dark. It was my favorite Christmas gift I received.

We took the train up, hopped on the subway and then strolled along Walnut Street to one of my favorite coffee shops off Rittenhouse Square, La Colombe. They had remodeled since the last time I was there, replacing the charming little tabletops with Deruta-style painting to a more sleek gray marble bar. While people-watching out the window, chatting about what people were wearing as well as adding to our own wardrobes, we enjoyed delicious coffee and pastry.

Next, we shopped at my favorite accessories store in the city nearby, Tselaine. He actually bought his sister-in-law a beautiful scarf for Christmas.

A couple of blocks down and another couple over, we walked through Di Bruno Bros. We had thoroughly enjoyed antipasti together previously and have both been looking forward to repeating it since, so I definitely wanted to show him the ultimate place in the country to pick up such supplies.

We also browsed my favorite jewelry store, Fire & Ice. I still have my eye on their super sparkly dark pink-colored ruby bracelet.

After that, we headed down Chestnut Street to my favorite place in the city, the Reading Terminal Market. Right away, I purchased some cranberry-pistachio biscotti from Termini Bros. before I showed off the whole indoor market. It being Sunday, unfortunately, the Amish section was closed. He bought his mom a handmade Christmas gift. We picked up cheesesteaks and cokes at my preferred spot, Tommy DiNic's, home of the best sandwich in America. We finally found a couple of seats; this place is always packed, especially around lunchtime on a weekend day! I tried the broccoli rabe topping for the first time and found that I preferred it without. We also bought cookies (purchased by weight) from the Famous 4th Street Cookie Company prior to departing.

The two of us strolled down eclectic South Street. I pointed out the mosaic-filled Magic Gardens which piqued his interest so we went in. He loved it! It wouldn't surprise me if he took hundreds of pictures. We took a selfie there, which I later framed and gave to him at Christmastime. We continued down the street, making it to the end. This guy overheard E mention that the birthplace of the Marine Corps must be nearby, so he stopped to tell us where as well as a bit about it, really how 95 was built on top of where the tavern once stood. E had already visited the plaque on a previous trip, but I wish I would have known! I would have put it on the itinerary for this former Marine.

Finally, we took in the Christmas Village. Usually, there's a fountain at Love Park (named for the famous LOVE sculpture by Robert Indiana), but there was a huge tree instead. I sipped hot chocolate with a generous portion of whipped cream while E had mulled wine, gl├╝hwein, in a souvenir cup. I enjoyed perusing all the stalls and the tent, most with a more cultural flair. To remind me of the trip, I bought a simple red Christmas ornament.

The two of us jumped on the subway heading towards 30th Street Station. Across the street from the train station, we had dinner at Slainte Pub, an Irish restaurant. I just had a burger, fries and beer, but after a day of walking around outside on a cold gray day, it was perfect. I tried a draft beer, Harp, and liked it. (Just last Tuesday, E and I found ourselves dining in another Irish restaurant in downtown Annapolis; this is the dining room attached to my favorite bar, the Galway Bay Pub. I ordered Harp again (this time to accompany more traditional Irish fare) and told E that I glad that I finally know which beer to order. I think it's about time since I'm 30. When I added that it was something more than Coors Light, he made a face. I usually do what I want, but if out with a guy or had one over my place and I was drinking this previous favorite, they usually made the same face and I wished I liked something more respectable!)

Anyway, it was truly fantastic to show E a place I love. At dinner, he told me that he could see why I liked it so much. I was so happy to visit the Christmas market during the holiday season with the perfect partner. It was exactly how I wanted to celebrate Christmas.

Photo Credit: E

Other notable mentions in Christmas gifts include... the laptop that my parents gave me and the wine membership my sister set me up with. I truly needed to replace my old netbook. Since my siblings and I are rather poor, we exchanged names. Only my brother was supposed to get me something, but my sister did as well. I was touched by her thoughtfulness. She signed me for a service that delivers two bottles of red wine to my door a month for six months. Since drinking red wine is a near-daily habit and I do not have my own car to pick up bottles, it's so nice to have them delivered to me! If I walked to the liquor store myself, liquids tend to be among the heavier items to carry back.


  1. You look so happy! Glad to hear you enjoyed a lovely holiday. Best wishes for the new year :-)

  2. I wondered about this when I read your resolutions post. Congratulations, you look so happy!

    1. I was thrilled that day with my guy and my city!

      I'll be better in 2015, to post more, eliminating such confusion.