To The Lunar Inn

I remember the first time I went to The Lunar Inn. It was January 2020, and I was spending blustery afternoon exploring my new-ish neighborhood. Lunar had been open about a year, and I hadn’t made it there yet (I’m regretting that now). I was unemployed at the time, so I only ordered fries and a drink. A few weeks later, the pandemic started.

It was more than year before Lunar was open again for indoor dining, and I was glad to see it survive that long. I think I went back one of those very first nights, if not the very first night. We had to show proof of vaccination, and I appreciated that. I had ordered takeout occasionally during lockdown, but I think that first night back was when the love affair really started. I remember sitting at the bar, making random conversation with two couples. Those types of spontaneous, organic conversations that feel emblematic of city life and third places. The type of connection that I was craving after a long COVID winter and spring.

In a great food city, Lunar offered very good comfort food. Burgers, chicken sandwiches, BLTs, amazing boardwalk-style fries… I’m remembering so many good dishes while looking through old photos (I guess there might be a reason phone eats first). But where Lunar really excelled was the vibes. I mean this in the best way possible. The vibes — and the cocktails — were immaculate. Lunar’s motto, borrowed from Bill and Ted, was “be excellent to each other.” The staff really personified this. Lunar was always a warm, welcoming place.

Since the pandemic, partly out of necessity, I’ve become much more comfortable solo dining. But Lunar Inn was always where I was most comfortable sitting by myself, striking up conversations with strangers and bartenders. I think it’s what I’ll miss the most about it.

Philadelphia is such a great food city that for years when people asked me what my favorite restaurant was, I didn’t have a real answer. It was more like “This is my favorite Mexican place, my favorite pizza place, my favorite brewery, my other favorite brewery…” But Lunar became my favorite. It was the place I took visitors, celebrated special occasions and just stopped by just because.

Lunar closing is a real lesson in taking things for granted. Nothing lasts forever. But it’s still special while it’s here. I wrote this by hand in a notebook I borrowed from the bar. It’s the last real day, and I was still making memories, playing exquisite corpse with people sitting nearby. Little memories I’ll treasure.

Thank you Emily, Ryan, Sean, et. al. for creating such a magical place. You’ll be missed, Lunar.

That first visit
With mom
Mocktail night with Sheila
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Anti-Bucket List: A Look Back At The Decade

A couple weeks ago, some of my Philly friends and I went to New York for a day trip. I went to college in the Bronx, and a lot of my college friends still live in and around the city. For work, I also commuted from Philly to New York pretty frequently. So it had been a long time since I had gone to New York without any obligations — just to walk around and explore with friends.

The day was good for the soul. It’s always nice to have some quality, offline time with girlfriends.  It also reminded me what I love about New York, and brought back a ton of memories from my early 20s.

It’s easy to feel sentimental and nostalgic at the end of the year, and even more so at the end of an entire decade. The 2010s also coincided with my 20s — I was 19 at the start of 2010, and I’ll be turning 30 in the fall. So much has happened over the last 10 years.

Taking cues from some of my blogger friends, I thought this was a good time to share an “anti-bucket list” — basically a look back at what I did accomplish over the last decade:

  • Started this blog! (2010)
  • Went on two Global Outreach trips (2011, 2013)
  • Visited Italy & France with my family (2012)
  • Graduated Fordham (2013)

  • Moved to Philadelphia (2013)
  • Adopted two dogs: Zamboni (2013) and Arya (2015)
  • Was a bridesmaid for high school friends (2015, 2016)
  • Switched jobs three times (at least)
  • Visited my mom in Colombia (2015)

  • Went to Canada and the PNW for the first time (2016)
  • Visited my dad in Costa Rica (2017)
  • Lived by myself for the first time (2017)
  • Started therapy (2017)
  • Helped plan the PHLblogger’s Blog Connect Conference (2017, 2018)

  • Went to the Home Run Derby (2017)
  • Fostered senior dogs (2017, 2018, 2019)
  • Got my first tattoo (2018)
  • Bought a house! (2018)
  • Saw Dwyane Wade’s last game (2019)
  • Did a reading at my friends’ wedding (2019)

It’s crazy to think about how much has changed, how much hasn’t and what stands out years later. Not every year was great — like, I’m sure cool stuff happened in 2014 (I just can’t remember what) and 2016 and 2017 were particularly hard years as well. The last decade had its share of highlights and lowlights, but I can confidently say I’m happier now than I was ten years ago. I’m grateful for that, for the lessons I’ve learned and friends I’ve gained along the way.

Cheers to a happy and healthy 2020!

~ Sarah

Photo Pop Philly Tips & Tricks

Photo Pop Philly

Photo Pop Philly, the city’s first and only interactive pop-up exhibit, is back for its second season! It’s curated by my friends at Philly PR Girl, and I had more fun than I expected when I checked out last summer’s Photo Pop. I’m excited to check out this year’s “Sweet Paradise” at The Bourse later this week.

Don’t know what to expect? I’m sharing some tips I learned last year!

1. Coordinate your outfit.

This is by no means a requirement (wear whatever you makes you happy!), but I’m glad I stayed on-theme last summer. The theme was classic Philly — red, white and blue — so I wore my favorite cherry red dress from Smak Parlour (also seen here). Each installation was pretty colorful, but by wearing coordinating colors my outfit either popped or matched the decor, instead of clashing. Coincidentally, my friends Chelsea and Cortney also ended up matching the theme, so it worked out even better!

Sweet Paradise looks to be even more bright and colorful (sneak a peek on Instagram), so I’m still debating what to wear. Maybe a white dress? Send help!

Photo Pop Philly

2. Bring your friends.

Most of the fun at Photo Pop is taking lots of cute pictures for the ‘gram. Personally, I think friends make the best “Instagram Boyfriends,” so make it a girls’ night. Plus, then you can take a mix of group photos and solo shots, without having to worry about asking too many strangers. To make things that much easier, unlock your phone so you don’t have to constantly use Touch ID.

Photo Pop Philly

3. Credit the artists.

Besides Philly PR Girl, many local artists work hard to bring Photo Pop Philly to life. So credit where credit is due! Tag your selfies and Insta posts so other people can find these talented individuals. Some of my favorite installments last summer were by @nero_one and @amberellaxo.

Photo Pop Philly

Photo Pop also hosts occasional special events (we went on a girls’ night themed-event) which is another great way to get more bang for your buck. Have you been to Photo Pop Philly or similar exhibits? They’re not for everyone, but I had so much fun snapping pictures with my friends. I’m looking forward to checking out Sweet Paradise soon, and I’ll definitely be sharing on my Instagram.

~ Sarah