Be YOU this summer



Wool coats may be out for the summer, but embracing your own individual style is definitely in. From handbags and dresses, to sandals and pops of peach, Legends Outlets at Sparks can deliver on most all of the latest summer styles and trends.

1. High-waisted everything – but not like your grandma!

Some major fashion trends this season have been high-waisted everything – shorts, pants, skirts and bathing suits.

“We’re selling a lot of dresses in general, like high-waisted circle skirts,” Emily said, a sales associate for Forever 21, who chose not to disclose her last name, “We have a lot of vintage, high-waisted swim suits with floral patterns and bright colors, too.”

2. Maxi-length dresses are an easy wear

Summer dresses, short and maxi-length, braced most of the displays in the front of the stores at Legends in Sparks. Peaches, whites, blues, and yellows stole the show, while floral and camouflage patterns created a distinctive look.

3. Grunge is back…eek! 

If dresses aren’t your thing, many local stores are selling an abundance of knits and relaxed, laid-back fashions. Some of the knits are their hottest selling items of the season, ladies are rocking the t-shirt and flannel all over again! Not to mention all of the combat boots I’ve been seeing out there.

4. That weird pant that looks like pjs but with a tapered ankle

Comfortable, light-weight and made of cotton, this pant seems to sell itself as a good item to wear for work, but I think it just looks like pjs. Oh yea, and there’s an elastic waistband. Need I say more?

5. Wedges make the booty pop!

Strapless wedges are everywhere and I’m loving them. They’re easier to walk in than stilettos, and they really do wonders for your legs and booty.

6. Chunky in all the right places

Perhaps the most universally recognized trend seen in stores has been all of the big necklaces, bracelets and watches. In flashy gold or bright colors, it’s pretty hard to miss these favorable accessories. I like the chunky look when it’s complete with a great gel manicure.

7. Vintage one-piece swimsuits 

Another hot item for summer, swimwear has taken off in many different styles this year. In Forever 21, floral patterns and vintage styles pervaded. One in particular is a strapless one-piece suit with cutouts on the side. With the eclectic mix of swimwear, more women can feel their best without showing tons of skin. Personally, I always love to rock vintage. I’m also tired of the itsy bitsy teeny weeny bikinis out there. With these options, I can choose to cover the parts that I want.



Often times, it might be difficult to reveal what seems to be a fashion faux pas since many stores have welcomed a wide range of options. However, embracing an individual sense of style appears to be one of the trendiest looks of the season.


Setting the Table for Innovation: Unifying Communities Around Food




When it comes to uniting people around the kitchen to inspire collaborative actions, what better city is there than Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love?

Jacquelyn Crutchley, Executive Director of Administration for the local startup nonprofit Schools For Sustainability, attended the May 8 “Lettuce Turnip the Beet! Dance Party” at Impact Hub in Olde Kensington to support the launch of the Project Kitchen fundraising campaign.

Impact Hub’s Laurel Klein and Tom Wingert are gobbling up the empty Community Kitchen space on the 2nd floor of the N. Fourth Street location. The space will bring people together around the kitchen in order to promote cooperative relationships in the community.

A global organization based out of San Francisco, the Hub is a member-driven community that offers opportunities for people to take collaborative action by providing shared workspaces for entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and artists. The center already operates in over 50 locations, but this will be the first Community Kitchen that will serve as an example for other Impact Hubs already utilizing their model of “innovation labs, business incubators, and social enterprise centers.”

The Community Kitchen will launch a food movement, bringing together food innovators and creative minds in a shared space to achieve the common goal of creating a better-fed Philadelphia. It will serve as a platform for engaging members through food education, community building events, CSAs, enterprise development, and a hub to pick up farm-direct groceries.

Crutchley originally discovered Impact Hub after they hosted the Video Hackathon for Philly DoGooder last March; a competition that awards local impact organizations. Schools For Sustainability filmed their promotional video at the Hub, which spearheaded relationships with other local start-ups in the shared creative space. Through this experience, Crutchley and the members of Schools for Sustainability have been able to witness the powerful outcome of forming partnerships and collaborating with like-minded individuals.

Wingert, Project Kitchen Campaign Director, has brought in partnerships with 20 different local organizations, some of which include MANNA, Philly Food Works, the Vetri Foundation, SHARE Good Program, and Grow Baby Grow.

Emphasizing the importance of building on these relationships, Klein, Project Manager for the Impact Hub Community Kitchen, cites, “We know that with these partnering organizations, we have the ability…to try new solutions and address these solutions themselves. We know that by bringing them together, we can have a more grassroots, sustainable approach to solving some of these issues like hunger and food access.”

While the Community Kitchen is set to open this summer, Impact Hub will host the Project Kitchen campaign through May and June that will support the initiative and future programing. “Ferments and Firmaments” will be held on June 3, at 5:30pm, and “A Brew HAHA!” a dinner party, on June 5.

These events help reach out to local community members, creating a climate of change. Nurturing local individuals and organizations in the kitchen will feed neighborhoods and influence change at a grander scale.

Wingert notes, “Be it food insecurity or any other social tragedy, we can only solve these problems as communities working together to fundamentally change the status quo.”

Instead of making an individual mark on the world, the Community Kitchen and their partnerships seek to make the world a different place by empowering the development of sustainable communities. In the City of Brotherly Love, the table is being set for innovation through cooperation.

5 Valuable Lessons We Can Learn From Dr. Seuss


dr-seuss hat

After rereading some of my favorite Dr. Seuss books, it turns out some of the greatest lessons learned are found in the the pages of these childhood stories. Though many of us learn our life lessons the hard way, it is interesting to note that these profound and timeless messages can be received in adulthood through the works of Dr. Seuss. I hope we can all learn a thing or two from this truly brilliant man. Below, I have compiled a list of 5 valuable lessons from my favorite Dr. Seuss books.

1. Mistakes are a part of life. Be flexible!


You’ll get mixed up, of course,

as you already know.

You’ll get mixed up

with many strange birds as you go.

So be sure when you step.

Step with care and great tact

and remember that Life’s

a Great Balancing Act.

Just never forget to be dexterous and deft.

And never mix up your right foot with your left.


2. There is someone who always has it worse than you. No one wants to be invited to your pity party.

Did I?

Be grateful you’re not in the forest in France.

Where the average young person just hasn’t a chance,

To escape from the perilous pants eating plants.

But your pants are safe, you’re a fortunate guy,

You ought to be shouting how lucky am I.

Some people are much more,

Oh, ever so much more,

Oh, muchly much-much more unlucky than you!

  3. We all have bad days but they’re not permanent. Don’t let one moment in your life define who you are.

 My Many Colored

Then comes a Mixed-Up Day.


I don’t know who or what I am!

But it all turns out all right, you see.

And I go back to being…me.

4. Help protect our environment from global warming.


Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot,

Nothing is going to get better. It’s not.

5. We can’t avoid our problems, but we can feel empowered when we face these emotions and challenges.


And I learned there are troubles

Of more than one kind.

Some come from ahead

And some come from behind.

Then I started back home

To the Valley of Vung.

I know I’ll have troubles.

I’ll, maybe, get stung.

I’ll always have troubles.

I’ll, maybe, get bit

By that Green-Headed Quail

On the place where I sit.

But I’ve brought a big bat.

I’m all ready, you see.

Now my troubles are going

To have trouble with me!

Introducing Echobabble: Dilemmas of a Twenty-Something


Echobabble refers to my generation known as Echo Boomers, or Generation Y/Millennials, etc. I struggled with what to rant about on my first blog post. I took myself to a quiet space: the bathroom. This room has been consistently reliable in clearing my thoughts. It occurred to me that the only way I could write this first blog post is, simply, to write.

The “slip-into-the-bathroom solution” to get some peace and quiet has never failed me. It is here where I have tried to label my thoughts from superficial issues, like how to cut my hair, to more serious issues such as, the irreversible effects of global warming. Some injustices that have been bothering me since graduation 2013 are as follows:

  • Businesses that fail to deliver on their promises of customer service
  • Politicians who refuse to focus on environmental issue
  • Accounting departments that love to mail bills but cannot give a clear idea of what I owe
  • The ever-trending job postings for fake marketing companies that lie to recent college graduates by employing the masses of inexperienced workers at less than the minimum wage.

 Though I would love nothing more than to devote this entire post to calling out these individuals and practices, I need to fix how I let these problems affect me, mainly by erasing them from my thoughts and allowing space for more positive energy. For example, an anonymous television and Internet provider that rhymes with bombast caused me a lot of unnecessary stress in my early twenties. I spent several hours disputing bills and being passed off to various departments to file claims. I would get so worked up and distracted by this one company. I realized that the only way I could alleviate this problem was to disconnect my service. Since then, I have utilized the wifi cafes, visited more of my friends who have internet service, and even chose to live in a room out of someone’s apartment where all utilities and entertainment were combined in the rent. Today, when I lose my head over other companies that I am forced to deal with, I still feel a sense of relief that at least I do not need to spend my time stressing about cable and internet providers.

In reviewing this smart consumer decision that I made in my early twenties, I would like to channel this same attitude towards the pressures that I face today. Obviously, not everything can just be disconnected and ignored completely. But, part of the problem was that I tried to hold these businesses accountable by filing complaint after complaint. Of course, the belief that this action will bring me justice is a grandiose way of thinking that will only lead to frustration and dead ends.

Therefore, I have chosen to create a blog that will include my own guide to “real world” stuff. That is, obstacles I have encountered since being an independent adult. I will include consumer reports, how-to guides when dealing with foreign situations and random tools that I have learned from my new experiences in the “real world.” My goal is to give a voice to a diverse array of topics. I seek to express my perspective and develop it through a more positive creative outlet: Echobabble.