food · travel

Review: Al Forno Pizzeria

Have you ever had plans to be great – truly great – and life sat you down like, “Maybe next time you’ll be great, but today? Today you need to chill.” That’s precisely what happened to me when I planned to go out and enjoy some of the local eats in Philadelphia. I was too tired from my grueling morning commute and subsequent travel into the City of Brotherly Love.

So instead of going super-luxe, I did a low-key meal delivered to my hotel room. Unfortunately, the delivery options available for visitors staying near the Philadelphia International Airport are truly pathetic (unless you opt for Uber Eats, which was an absolute savior when I decided to use it). I was blown away by how few options were available for delivery to the airport area, especially since Philadelphia is such a large city. Anyway, I kept it simple and ordered Italian food.

 Screenshot 2018-05-10 at 8.50.02 PM - Edited

Funny, I don’t mention Italian food on this blog much, because I don’t eat much of it. I love authentic Italian food so most stateside Italian restaurants don’t pass muster.But I decided to take a chance on Al Forno Pizzeria, located in Darby, PA. I ordered the shrimp basket and the ravioli with lobster (I obviously ventured away from my vegetarian preferences), a couple of juices and a slice of strawberry cheesecake.

For starters, the food was good. Now, I wasn’t expecting blow-my-mind deliciousness, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well executed the lobster ravioli was. The dishes definitely didn’t disappoint, and I’m glad I tried this restaurant.

Fried shrimp with a big of ravioli sauce spilledon the outside (takeout isn’t always pretty)

The shrimp basket was your standard fried shrimp and French fries. Bonus points to the restaurant for providing a BIG container of cocktail sauce. The shrimp were tasty and reasonably priced considering the amount of food that I got ($8.50). I wish I could have gotten the fries fresh out of the fryer: even when lukewarm, they were really good. I can only imagine how outstanding they would have been if eaten while piping hot.

The biggest problem with takeout food? Presentation generally stinks LOL!

The lobster ravioli was savory, creamy and satisfying. The portion was huge and the fact that this entree came with a salad made it an excellent choice for the price ($11.95). I ate a bit of this on the first night and finished it the next day in lieu of a traditional breakfast.

The strawberry cheesecake was good: not unique but a solid dessert option. I would have gladly eaten two of them. The price was right for the size ($3). The juices were bottled (by EverMade) so there’s nothing to say about them, other than I enjoyed them like I always do.

My final impression of Al Forno’s Pizzeria is that it’s worth a try. The delivery was fast, the food was good, and the price was right. I was very pleased my meal and I would certainly try another meal from there when I return to the area.

art · luxury

A Day At Freeman’s Auction, Part 1

As you all know, I went to Philadelphia a few days ago. I didn’t just go for the sake of having a getaway (though I desperately needed a getaway!). I went to attend an auction at Freeman’s, the oldest auction house in the United States. Freeman’s has been in business over 200 years, and they find new homes for all sorts of treasures.

Screenshot 2018-05-09 at 11.42.36 PM - Edited

The star of the auction, sold for $802,000

I stopped by on May 8th to view the items to be auctioned on May 9th (you have to come at least the day prior to an auction in order to view and inspect items to be sold). The auction I planned to attend was the sale of jewelry and accessories previously owned by billionaire heiress Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton. 

Screenshot 2018-05-09 at 11.42.36 PM - Edited (1)

I had my eye on one piece in particular: a platinum and diamond brooch shaped like a bow. I figured I would bid on it if the price was right but I needed to check it out first. The staff in the display room was friendly and professional. I was given information on how to bid and I stopped by Client Services to drop off my bidder registration form. Again, the staff in the Client Services office was friendly and professional.

 

The object of my affection

Freeman’s is a throwback to bygone years (they have an elevator with an actual elevator operator!) but it’s fascinating to see how they’ve managed to blend the past and the current day. The same building with an elevator operator has huge monitors so that bidders can see the items being auctioned as well as online bidding capabilities.

In Part 2 of this post, I’ll discuss the actual auction and the outcome. Talk to you all soon!

life curation

A Mother’s Love

Maternal Caress by Mary Cassatt (1896), on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Mothers are so special. There’s not a lot to say, other than this: make sure to appreciate your mother (or the mother figures) in your life. Cherish the women that pour into you, and uphold a higher vision of you than you could ever imagine for yourself.

The Marquise de Pezay and the Marquise Rouge with her sons Alexis and Adrien by Elizabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun (1787), on display at the National Gallery of Art

Here are a few touching portraits of mothers that I have seen over the past week, as well as thoughts on motherhood from a few famous women. I’m going to link my post to Phylicia Rashad’s thoughts on motherhood here. In this post, I’ll share more thoughts from Maya Angelou (you can read my previous post about her here).

art · culture

Current Issues and Hot Topics in Art

Obligatory art photo: Mary Ellison Embroidering by Mary Cassatt (1877), at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

This will be a super-quick post: I’m going to be busy this weekend, with spending time at the embassies and enjoying Mother’s Day with my loved ones. I’m going to compile a few of my favorite posts about current issues and hot topics in the arts that you can peruse at your leisure. Enjoy your weekend!

DC’s Plan to Promote Arts and Culture: What It’s About, and How Local Artists Feel About It

All About Fort Street Studio’s Latest Collection

The Newly Re-Named Massey Klein Gallery (Ryan Massey is an alum of Old Dominion University, my alma mater. Go Monarchs!)

ArtLeadHer’s Latest Exhibition, Senses and Perception

I hope you all take some time to read up on some of the latest happenings in the art world, as well as visit a museum or support some other cultural institution this weekend. Have a great Saturday!

words of wisdom

Words of Wisdom: June Jordan

In keeping with the spirit of some of my Words of Wisdom posts (I enjoy profiling women writers), I’m sharing a few quotes from June Jordan.

goodreads

(from Goodreads)

Jordan touched on many of the same issues as discussed by Audre Lorde.  I love that Jordan focused on telling her truth through poetry. When you think about it, truth-telling is difficult – or at very least uncomfortable – when you have weighty matters or opinions to discuss. But to be able to tell the truth artistically sound extraordinarily challenging: Jordan, however, did it with ease.

In the process of telling the truth about what you feel

(photo from Affinity Magazine)

Jordan’s poetry often intersected art with politics, race, gender and other issues of representation. She understood that her chosen method of truth telling was distinctly political and self-reflective.

azquotes

(from AZQuotes)

Jordan’s writings are a testimony to the power of poetry to embolden and empower readers. After all, she famously stated, “We are the ones we have been waiting for”. And what is more powerful than knowing that you – yes, YOU – have the ability to rescue yourself? I find that thought extremely comforting.

pinterest

(from Pinterest)

Thanks for stopping by, and enjoy your Friday! I’ll chat with you all tomorrow!

art

Art Auction: Art from Africa, Oceania and the Americas

I hadn’t recently posted about any auctions (partially because I’ve been working on a juicy post all about auctions just for you all!) but I came across this one and I had to share.

Screenshot 2018-05-06 at 1.41.43 AM - Edited

Some of the lots offered at Sotheby’s upcoming auction

Sotheby’s is auctioning off some extraordinary art from Africa, Oceania and the Americas (specifically, ancient Mesoamerica and North America). These lots are not just decorative objects: they are ancient artifacts that bridge the collector to faraway (both in the sense of time and distance) worlds.

Screenshot 2018-05-06 at 1.37.03 AM - Edited

This totem pole from southeast Alaska is estimated to command up to $350,000 at auction

The auction features 90 lots, expected to fetch from $2,000 on the lower end to upwards of $350,000. This wide range of estimated selling prices guarantees that this auction will attract a variety of collectors.

Screenshot 2018-05-06 at 1.48.20 AM - Edited

 A Maori nephrite pendant is estimated to command a price upwards of $50,000

My favorite piece of the auction is the Yoruba Altar Emblem from Nigeria. It isn’t the most expensive piece of this auction, but the colorful detailing, as well as the connection to the orishas, fascinates me.

Screenshot 2018-05-06 at 1.38.48 AM - Edited

Yoruba Altar Emblem for Oko, Nigeria

The event will be held on May 14 at 10:30 AM, at Sotheby’s New York location (1334 York Avenue, New York, NY). All items can be viewed prior to the sale (10 AM to 5 PM Monday – Saturday, 1 PM to 5 PM on Sunday) so that you can experience these artifacts in person.

beauty

Review: KoyVoca Glossies

In late March, one of my favorite indie cosmetic companies, KoyVoca Cosmetics (you remember them – I reviewed them in this post and in this post) announce the upcoming release of their new lip gloss line. The product, Glossy, is, as the company puts it, “[…]the lip gloss you’ve been looking for! Its long-lasting formula provides a glass-like look to the lips.” The company launched 8 lip gloss shades in April and I, ever eager to switch it up from the matte lip trend, made sure that I preordered.

I ordered three shades: Panther, Princess Cut, and Rude Gyal. I got my glosses quickly after the release date and I’ve had a chance to play with all three, so I’m ready for this review!

For starters, kudos to KoyVoca for quickly shipping their products! Every time I order from them I’m impressed by the speed of order delivery. That being said, I also was very impressed with the size and presentation of the glosses:

IMG_3929

(top to bottom: Rude Gyal, Princess Cut, Panther)

There’s a good amount of product in each tube. These also have a light fruity smell that I enjoyed. Here are the descriptions of the shades as written by KoyVoca:

 

Panther – a blue and purple duochrome with red and blue flecks

Princess Cut – a golden pink with holographic shimmer

Rude Gyal – a shimmery wine

I swatched the shades then I swooned. The colors are gorgeous, perfectly pigmented and thick without being sticky (basically, the glosses are perfect).

IMG_3797

(left to right: Panther, Princess Cut, Rude Gyal)

Here I am rocking each of the shades:

Princess Cut

Rude Gyal

IMG_3796

Panther

I find myself frequently reaching for Princess Cut because it’s such a wearable shade. But my favorite, by far, is Panther. It’s deep, dramatic and memorable.

But all that being said, there are still a few things I want to mention about these glossies. These are VERY long wearing! It takes a while for these to wear off, and they have some real staying power even as you eat and drink. The shine is INSANE: highly reflective! I love that these are true glosses and not semi-shine formulas like a lot of companies are selling right now. The smell is pleasant and the formula is nonsticky, so they are very wearable.

I highly recommend these! Check out all of the shades and see which one should be in your collection!