#112 Understand Wawa

IMG_9298As I look at the remaining tasks on the bucket list and talk to my friends about them, I have come to realize that for many of them, I am coming very late to the party! Since freshman year, I have heard friends talking about making “Wawa runs” at all hours of the evening and night. I thought it was just popular among my friends and fellow college students, but there was an article published just yesterday about the “cult of Wawa” and how “Here in the Philadelphia area, Wawa is much more than a convenience store. It is a provider, a security blanket, [and] a beacon in the dark” (philly.com, 2016)

IMG_9296How could I go my four years without stopping in? So without further ado, I tagged along with a friend when she made her Wawa run one night last week. A couple nights before I had a big research project and film presentation due, I was definitely in need of caffeine and a midnight snack. Wawa was certainly able to provide both! In addition to convenience store-like offerings like drinks, snacks, and coffee, Wawa has a hot food counter, speciality hot/iced beverage bar, and even a fresh pastry display. There were honestly too many choices! I ended up getting an iced coffee and turkey cheddar wrap. With those in hand, I was able to start tackling my two big projects! With my thesis due in a couple months, I’m sure I’ll be making some more Wawa runs before I leave!

#9 Discover Your Favorite Hope’s Cookie

IMG_9284Another week, another bucket list item completed. After almost four years, I have finally not only discovered my favorite Hope’s cookie, but had my very first one as of this Sunday! Hope’s Cookies is very popular shop on the mainline, sharing a space with another local favorite (especially at the colleges!) Peace a Pizza. Fun fact, Hope’s was opened by a fellow mawrter! Everybody I talked to couldn’t believe I had never had one of their cookies before, but that’s only because the Peanut Butter Cup ice cream they offer is to die for, and I have always ordered a scoop over a cookie. Being number nine on the original BMC bucket list, I knew I had to discover my favorite flavor before the semester was over.

And the winner is…. the White Chocolate Cranberry!

#128 Eat a beignet at Reading Terminal Market

IMG_9233After three and a half years of trying, I am very happy to say I have FINALLY eaten beignets at Reading Terminal Market and can cross it off my bucket list. Every time we have visited, my mom has always tried to order some so that I could try them, and every time we have been met with the same response, “Sorry, we’re sold out!” And since they only make them certain days of the week, it made it even harder to get a coveted order.

Last Friday I made my into the city to take my Texas teaching exam required for me to become certified to teach in Texas after graduation. The testing center was right next to Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell which meant I took the train to Jefferson station to get there. Since Reading Terminal Market is right next door to the train station, I went into the city a couple hours early to try and get my beignets, and to my surprise they were still serving them! I got my order of six small beignets and a coffee from Old City Coffee and sat down to enjoy my long anticipated treat. It was a great way to start my morning and made taking my over 200 question exam that afternoon a little sweeter! I now have two items from my additions to the bucket list left and at least 12 from the original list that I want to complete before graduation, which is now 79 (EEP) days away. Stay tuned for more posts about completing my bucket list!

Having a World Heritage City at my Doorstep

Not only is Philadelphia known as the City of Brotherly Love, but as of this week, it is also the United States’ first and only city to be named a World Heritage City by UNESCO. Two-hundred and fifty cities worldwide currently hold the title and the addition of Philadelphia is expected to bring increased tourism and business to the city. So what is it like to have such a historic city at my doorstep? I have enjoyed exploring different parts of the area the last three years, and through my adventures, I have come up with a list of my five favorite and must see spots.

1. Reading Terminal Market

DSCF7173If you are a foodie, and even if you aren’t, your trip to Philadelphia will not be complete without a visit to Reading Terminal Market. Located at 12th and Arch streets, the indoor market originally opened in 1892 is full of stalls boasting nearly every kind of food imaginable. From lunchmeat to cannoli and everything in between, it is sure to please. Because it is such a draw for tourists and locals alike, it can get incredibly crowded, so be prepared for some lines at the more popular stalls. It’s 100% worth it though!


Delectable offerings from Termini Bros

The crowds certainly add to the experience, but if you prefer a less hectic time in the market, I have found it to be less crowded Sunday mornings and early Friday afternoons. Two shops I definitely recommend stopping by are Termini Bros. Bakery for a cannoli and Hatville Deli for a Sweet Lebanon Bologna sandwich.


2. Independence Mall


Freshman year me seeing the Liberty Bell for the first time

Located about a twenty minute walk from Reading Terminal Market is Independence Mall in Old City. The area is home to some of the most historic spots in the country. You can’t leave Philly without touring Independence Hall and seeing the Liberty Bell. While you are in this part of the city, you can also visit the National Constitution Center, see Benjamin Franklin’s grave, and walk through the house it is believed Betsy Ross lived in when she sewed the American Flag.

3. The Franklin Institute

149278_4667981219520_23908163_nAbout a fifteen minute walk from Suburban Station in Center City is the Franklin Institute. While the main science museum is better suited for a younger crowd, there is still plenty for adults to enjoy in the exhibits. Additionally, it houses an IMAX theater with neat documentaries and occasionally, current movies. My favorite thing about the Franklin Institute however is their visiting exhibit offerings. In one of my blogs I talked about my experience in their more recent exhibit, The Art of the Brick, and I have also been lucky enough to see a traveling exhibit on The Titanic and Pompeii as well. They were all incredible, making the real artifacts and such rich history available for us to see without leaving Philadelphia. In the Spring, an exhibit called “The Science Behind Pixar” is opening and I am eager to see it!

4. Mural Arts Tour

11169849_10204069915250172_3851509967860972026_nLast April through Admissions I had the privilege of going on a Mural Arts tour around Center City with a group of admitted students and their families. Being the world’s largest collection of outdoor art, I highly recommend taking a tour of your own. The Mural Arts Program offers both public and private walking, trolley, and train tours of some of the city’s most beloved pieces. Each year over 2,000 artists participate in the project, beautifying neighborhoods and acting as service agents for their communities.

5. Eastern State Penitentiary

11998852_10204953305094366_8564617447348600066_nEastern State Penitentiary was #127 on my bucket list for senior year and I can finally say I’ve been there! While it wasn’t quite what I expected, I still think it should be on the attraction list of anybody who is visiting because of it’s incredible and eerie history. If you visit in the Fall and before Halloween, you’ll even be able to participate in “Terror Behind the Walls” which is a haunted house that takes place in the penitentiary… talk about scary! The rest of the year however, the empty cells and crumbling walls create a stark experience for visitors learning about the people who lived there, most notably Al Capone. About a ten minute drive from Suburban Station, it’s definitely a worth while excursion while in the area.

I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about some of my favorite local spots! I still have a very important Philadelphia stop to complete before I graduate and that is tasting a famous cheesesteak from both Pat’s and Geno’s. Look for that in a blog to come!



#37 See a Movie at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute

IMG_8142I’m not quite sure how, but I managed to make it to my senior year without seeing a movie at the Bryn Mawr Film Institute, an independent and community operated theater founded by a BMC alumna. Knowing I had it left on my bucket list, I bookmarked the Institute’s website at the beginning of the year and checked their schedule every so often. Last weekend I checked their calendar and was ecstatic to discover they had added four screenings of “He Named Me Malala” to their line up. I had been dying to see it, and since the only screening in the Philadelphia area was over Fall Break, I had become disappointed I would not have the opportunity to see it during its limited release. Thankfully, I was able to make one of the screenings at the Film Institute, and last Wednesday I finally saw my first film at the BMFI. It could not have been a more perfect one.

IMG_8138“He Named Me Malala” tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, the incredibly powerful young woman who, with the help and encouragement of her father, used her voice to tell the world that young girls deserve to be educated. Targeted by the Taliban for her advocacy, they made an attempt on her life in 2012. Beating the odds, she survived the attack, and in the years since, she has raised her voice even higher, becoming a champion for young girls all over the world. Now a Nobel Peace Prize winner for her extraordinarily selfless work, the documentary shows a mix of footage highlighting both her efforts fighting for girls’ education and scenes of her playing and laughing with her family. In between, beautifully drawn animations tell stories from the past to help explain how Malala and her family arrived where they are in their lives today.

IMG_8139To say the film was powerful would be an understatement. Watching and listening to Malala and her father speak about their work and motivations left me in awe. There were multiple moments throughout the documentary that left audience members teary eyed by showing how forgiving, kind, and truly selfless Malala is. She has such a passion and love for her home country of Pakistan and girls’ education that it is contagious. I believe everybody should see and learn about her story. If you are interested in learning more about this inspiring young woman, or would like to join her campaign to educate girls all over the world, you can find more information at: https://www.malala.org/

“It is so hard to get things done in this world. You try and too often it doesn’t work. But you have to continue. And you never give up.” — Malala Yousafzai in “He Named Me Malala”


#126 Drive on the Mainline

After much thought about the five things I wanted to add to my senior year bucket list, I have finally come up with my extra tasks in honor of BMC’s 130th birthday. Over the next few months between posts about everyday life and special events, I will be blogging as I check off activities from the list. In addition to the 69 items from the original one (most of which could not be completed until senior year), the five I have decided to add include:

126. Drive on the Mainline

127. Visit Eastern State Penitentiary

128. Eat a beignet at Reading Terminal Market

129. Ride the Paoli/Thorndale to the last stop

130. Complete a week of random acts of kindness on campus

I am writing today to share that I can officially check off my first new task.

Adam’s Rib. MGM Studios, 1949

Bryn Mawr participates in a program called Zipcar which is a car-sharing business that places cars all over different cities and college campuses allowing users the ability to borrow a car for a small fee per hour. I have wanted to take advantage of this program since freshman year, but I have been too nervous to. If you’ve ever been through the town of Bryn Mawr, or driven on Lancaster Avenue, you know that driving in this area can be slightly really intimidating. Cars fly past, stopping at cross walks tends to be more of a suggestion, and it sometimes feels like honking is the Northeastern way to say hello. Despite this, I decided to finally get a Zipcar membership this year so that I can at last say I’ve driven on the mainline and so I can have another way to take advantage of the area before I graduate.

IMG_7436This past Friday, one of my best friends and I had to pick up some things from the grocery store that would have been too heavy to walk back to school with, so I finally faced my fear and drove! My car’s name was Dionne and at my scheduled time, all I had to do was waive my Zipcar membership card over the reader on the dashboard and voila, I had my own four wheels for an hour. It’s such a neat concept! I wasn’t used to driving a small car with a *very* sensitive gas petal, but overall, the experience was very pleasant (I hope my friend thinks so too!) and my confidence even grew a little. Now, I admit Lancaster Ave. is no Interstate 76, but baby steps. With this new found freedom, who knows where I’ll be off to next. And hey, I only received one Northeastern hello.