Small Business Saturday: Are You Ready?

The holiday shopping season kicks off on Black Friday, but don’t blow your cash and melt your plastic all on one day.

Instead, go local with Small Business Saturday—a day dedicated to helping small, independent businesses thrive in the heavy shopping period launched right after Thanksgiving.

On November 27th, the first ever Small Business Saturday will take place all across the nation. This special day is held between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, arguably the two biggest shopping days of the year. And small businesses are hoping to get in on the action that’s hindered them in the past.

Did you know that 99.7% of all employer firms are small businesses? But, they simply don’t get enough attention, as larger chains receive more advertising and, as a result, more customers. Since smaller, localized stores compose so much of employer firms, the economy, businesses themselves, and the communities they are situated in would be thriving if you showed them some love. One of the main points of Small Business Saturday is to remind everyone that big businesses are not the only ones that can offer great gift ideas. Sometimes, the little guy can be the way to go.

According to Small Business Saturday’s website, “For every year over the last decade, 60%-80% of new jobs were generated by small businesses.” So, if these businesses begin to thrive (thanks to you, of course), they’ll be able to afford hiring more workers, creating more jobs for people who really need them.

There’s also an added bonus to those who patronize select local businesses on Small Business Saturday: since this event is sponsored by American Express, any AmEx cardholder who buys from a small business throughout Saturday will receive a $25 gift card from the credit card company. In the end, then, you’ll be saving jobs, s small business and your own money. Not bad for one day!

Not only can you help out by buying local, but you can help via facebook—right from your own bedroom! Check out Small Business Saturday’s page, then click on “share” right underneath the huge “I’m in!” speech bubble. By doing so, you can help promote this awesome concept. A brief blurb will show up on your page, along with whatever comment you wish to write. Make sure all of your friends find out about it!

When holiday shopping this season, make Philly’s small business world happy by walking past the chain stores. Besides, your gift will be more original and, we’re sure, much more appreciated.

Still need some gift ideas? Next week, stick around for Campus Philly’s latest series: The 2010 Holiday Shopping Guide! Looking for the perfect gift to let your parents, siblings, best friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, roommate or pet know that you really care? We’ll be bringing you unique gift ideas from small businesses across the city—so, no need to panic if you desperately need suggestions.

And, remember: this holiday season, show Philly-based businesses some love, too.

Photo: © www.smallbusinesssaturday.com/

An American Tradition in Philly

The Army-Navy game will be in Philly for the second year in a row.

The wintertime classic college football rivalry has gone on for the past 80 years. In the 110 meetings the military academies have had, Navy has the edge 54-49-7. Although the Black Knights and the Midshipmen are not so relevant on a national stage these days, this does not take anything away from the fierce rivalry they have developed over the years.

Believe it or not, Philadelphia has had a prominent role in this rivalry. Out of the 110 games played, an eye-popping 81 of them have been held in Philadelphia. In the past, they were held at The University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field, JFK Stadium, Veterans Stadium and, in the most recent editions, Lincoln Financial Field. The Linc has hosted the game six out of the last seven years.

As Philadelphia is the most equally distanced, neutral site between West Point, N.Y., where the Army hails from and Annapolis, Md., where the Naval Academy resides, it’s no wonder Philly’s such a hotspot for these intense games.

Although both teams have hit a rut in national ranking, they have shared many great memories over the years. For example, in 1945 the two met at JFK Stadium in a clash of national #1 and #2 ranked teams. Army was able to pull out the win 32-13 in one of the most hyped college football games in the history of Philadelphia.

What makes the rivalry quite interesting is that throughout the 80 years of its existence, the teams remain fairly equal in terms of records. Navy has won the past six games against Army, but the history of the rivalry is filled with winning streaks that ended abruptly, neither team being able to hold dominance over the other. The battles in Philly have been no less close, Navy once again holding on a couple more wins than Army.

The game has become very important to the players. They are, of course, eager to prove which military academy has the best athletes. However, we cannot forget that of these teams, most players will end up serving the United States either domestically or abroad. So, although it’s a great time to watch two storied establishments and college football teams go at it on the big stage, the underlying notion is that we are watching our future protectors on the field.

Given Philadelphia’s place in American history, it is suiting that the game would be played here more than anywhere else. Philly is a city riddled with tradition that dates back to the founding of the United States. That being said, the Army-Navy game is yet another American tradition hosted in this city. It comes in the form of football, arguably the most popular sport in the country.

For ticket information, click here.

For more information on the longstanding Army-Navy rivalry, click here.

You can contact Nick Iuele at nick_iuele@yahoo.com.

Photo:

99 Problems But a Turkey Ain't One

Planning to stay in Philly for Thanksgiving? For many students, home might be too far away to spend just a few days away from school. If this applies to you, you’ve probably been worrying about how you and your roommates could possibly pull off a legit Thanksgiving dinner. Even if you’re broke, can’t cook for your life or only own a microwave, Campus Philly has you covered with a handful of easy and affordable Thanksgiving ideas.

It’s important to remember that you don’t have to do this all on your own. If you have multiple roommates, make sure everyone gets involved! Better yet, if you live in a residence hall (and if residence halls are open over break on your campus), everyone on your floor can get involved in a Thanksgiving meal. This way, everyone can bring something, and no one will be alone on Thanksgiving. If your building has a communal kitchen in the lounge, ask your RA if you can use it so that everyone can cook together. Spending Thanksgiving with other students will save you a ton of money; each person can be responsible for buying items to make one dish of their choice, instead of one person buying the ingredients for a handful of dishes. Teamwork is crucial.

What’s Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes? You probably don’t have any of the proper utensils to be mashing away at potatoes all day. That’s why a bag of frozen mashed potatoes is the way to go. All you need to do is add milk, butter and some seasoning if you so choose, and pop it in the microwave. Don’t be fooled by the frozen state of your potatoes

Hoagie-licious!

At Campus Philly, we want you to avoid the strictly junk food-diet that seems to go hand-in-hand with college. That’s why we’re proud to bring you our Philly Food Trucks blog series every Wednesday (and by “food trucks,” we mean it literally—it’s gotta have wheels and an engine!).

When you’re not quite sure what you’re craving, you can always fall back on a hoagie (never a ‘sub’ here in Philly). It’s easy on the stomach—basic, yet satisfying. For this edition, we’re focusing on phenomenal hoagies from Philly’s trucks. To be clear, this doesn’t include paninis, wraps or other specialty sandwiches.

And, now, to get to the good stuff. . .

(Note: Our ratings are on a five-star scale.)

Silver Eagle (13th St. & Montgomery Ave.)

Reviewed by: Gia Lombardi, Temple ’11

If you’re looking for a super fast hoagie, visit Silver Eagle lunch truck, located on Temple’s campus, right outside of Ritter Hall. It has all the basic hoagie options: cheese, ham and cheese, turkey and Italian. It also offers chicken salad, tuna salad, egg salad and corned beef hoagies. And for you picky eaters, the servers will get your order right—even if you’re specific about how much oil you want on it. Prices range from $4 – $5, depending on the type of hoagie, and whether or not you want cheese on it. The nice woman who works there is bubbly and friendly. There’s seating nearby while you wait, but don’t get too comfy; you’ll be surprised how fast the service is. If you’re looking for an A+ food truck experience, don’t miss this tasty spot!

The La Salle Lunch Truck (20th & Olney Ave.)

Reviewed by: Nick Iuele, La Salle ‘12

As far as hoagies are concerned, this lunch truck has its ups and downs. The ingredients taste fresh; its rolls, in particular, are very good—not too mushy, not too hard. There are always a crowd of people around the truck, as well, making it a popular spot. This can, unfortunately, make the wait fairly long for a simple hoagie. Also, the lady who runs the truck is extremely friendly. The hoagies aren’t overpriced, either: $4.50 – $5.50, which seems to be a typical price for a decent-sized sandwich. Its hoagie menu only includes five items, so the selection is not great. But, overall this truck is good for grabbing a hoagie on the go. And, this truck stays around until it gets dark, so it will be there almost any time you need it to be.

Mojo Gourmet Coffee (38th & Locust Sts.)

Reviewed by: Elisabeth Harby, La Salle ’11

Wait…isn’t this edition about hoagies? And doesn’t Mojo Gourmet Coffee serve.. uh, coffee? Yes! But, it also has a delectable hoagie menu for the hungry student. This University City truck, owned by a husband-and-wife duo, makes some delicious hoagies, in fact. However, it’d be nice if it offered more options—vegetarians would definitely be left hungry at Mojo. And, its hoagies can be quite pricey, ranging from $5 – $6.50. Luckily, its extremely tasty hoagies make up for the price! If you’re a pulled pork fan, you won’t wanna miss its BBQ Pulled Pork Hoagie.. yum! Don’t stop here if you’re on the go, though: these hoagies can get messy!

It’s almost over, Philly: Next week, we’ll be wrapping up our Philly Food Trucks series with a summary of our loves, hates, and regrets. Stay tuned!

Photo: © http://www.phoodie.info/2009/12/22/and-now-hoagies-by-the-hoagieman/ http://www.philadelphiaboxlunch.com/Hoagies.html

Small-Town Charmer

Looking to go somewhere new this weekend? Why not give Chestnut Hill a try?

This small town along Germantown Avenue is filled with unique shops and restaurants. However, the area does have some chains, such as Starbucks and Talbots. All stores range from clothing boutiques to hardware stores, so there really is something for everyone.

There are certain stores you must visit while there. One of them is Penzeys Spices. This spice shop sells every spice you can think of. The staff set up jars of each spice next to its displays, giving you the chance to smell each one as you browse.

For Philadelphia sports fans, the town has Chestnut Hill Sports. This shop sells Eagles, Phillies, Flyers and Sixers apparel, so any die-hard fan should check it out.

Hideaway Music is also worth checking out. Its inventory includes CDs and DVDs, but it mostly has old records for sale from classic acts like The Beatles and Bob Marley. Chestnut Hill also has many small clothing and jewelry shops, as well as other specialty stores like Philadelphia Print Shop, which is home to prints of old portraits, maps and books.

The food options in Chestnut Hill are enough to compel you to go there. It has everything from breakfast to dinner to sweets—and everything in between! Two solid restaurants are Cuba and Cake. Cuba, an authentic Cuban food joint, can be a little pricey, but its lunch menu is fairly cheap. Cake is great for breakfast, lunch or brunch on Sundays. However, it gets really busy, so make a reservation or get there early.

If you’re in the mood for a tasty pretzel on the go, check out A Taste of Philly. There’s also a cheese store, as well as two bakeries you should visit—Bredenbeck’s and Night Kitchen. You might even get a free sample! Chestnut Hill Coffee Co. is a great place to stop for something to warm you up from the cold. Its espresso is delicious, and it offers big, thick chocolate chip cookies that go well with the coffee.

Chestnut Hill is a nice place to visit, being such a pretty town. The cobblestone street of Germantown Avenue is easy on the eyes, and the changing color of the leaves makes for a gorgeous fall scene. If you’re visiting Chestnut Hill, be sure to leave early enough—parking can be a pain. Overall, Chestnut Hill is a cool place to shop and eat. Who knows, maybe you can go there to get some holiday shopping done!

For more information on Chestnut Hill, click here.

You can contact Nick Iuele at nick_iuele@yahoo.com.

Photo: © http://www.chestnuthillpa.com/

Lace Up for Icy Fun

In this biting, blistery weather, your options for fun activities are extremely limited. Grabbing some outside exercise would prove too chilly, and the swimming pool is beginning to freeze over.

So, why not put on some rental shoes at one of Philly’s ice skating rinks? Three of them in particular—Blue Cross RiverRink, The Class of 1923 Arena at The University of Pennsylvania, and Flyers Skate Zone—are open to the public for some frosty, slippery fun.

For 17 years, the Blue Cross RiverRink, sponsored by the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, has been proudly offering fall/winter skate sessions for ice skating lovers. Located conveniently at Penn’s Landing, this popular ice rink is Philly’s only outdoor public skating arena—a primary reason for its strictly seasonal schedule. This, however, makes it more precious to the general public, who look forward to visiting it as a yearly holiday tradition.

Lace up your skates this Friday, November 26th, as Blue Cross RiverRink opens to the public for the season. Open seven days a week (including holidays!), this arena is bound to be open at your convenience. And, at $8-9 per person, plus $3 for ice skates, it won’t break your budget. Call 215.923.6533 for more information.

If you’re looking for an ice skating rink right on a college campus, stop by The University of Pennsylvania’s Class of 1923 Arena at 3130 Walnut St. Constructed in 1972 by donations from the Class of 1923 and the “Friends of Pennsylvania Hockey,” this rink has a rich history within collegiate Philadelphia. Everyone from Villanova and Saint Joseph’s ice hockey teams to the now-defunct Philadelphia Bulldogs (roller hockey) has skated inside its walls.

And, this holiday season, it’s your turn to give it a go! Generally open on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays thru Sundays—check the rink’s schedule for accuracy—free skating costs $5-7, with an additional $3 for rental ice skates.

You’re a beginner? No problem! This rink also offers skating lessons at $100-115 per lesson for amateurs. Or, if you’re looking for a challenge, maybe you’ll want to sign up for private figure skating lessons, and show off your best triple axel.

The Flyers Skate Zone in Northeast Philadelphia is certainly more family-friendly than the previously mentioned rinks, but it has its perks. With an adult hockey league and hockey lessons available on site, you’ll be the next Jeff Carter in no time. The rink also offers beginner ice skating lessons—strictly for adults. This way, you won’t have to worry about learning to skate with a class of small children.

Public skating sessions at Flyers Skate Zone are available seven days each week at $7, plus $3 for rental ice skates. Check here for more accurate free skate times.

Whether you’ve been able to ice skate for years or you’ve never even been to a hockey game, now’s the time to stop by a Philadelphia ice skating rink for some cheap fun in the coldest of seasons.

Dress warm, lace up, and have fun this holiday season!

You can contact Elisabeth Harby at elisabeth@campusphilly.org.

Photo: © http://www.business-services.upenn.edu/icerink/ http://timmeubanks.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/ice-skating-rink-on-beach/

Philly Colleges Help Us Rock Out

Student-run record labels are growing in numbers here in Philly. Temple, Drexel, and Saint Joe’s Universities all have ones of its own. This is an amazing opportunity for students to actually work in the setting they want to work in after they graduate, rather than just learning about it in a classroom.

Temple’s record label, Bell Tower Music, is the newest addition to Philly’s student-run record labels. It actually offers a class called “Advanced Topics of Media and Telecommunications,” in which students are lucky enough to have Grammy-winning music producer Aaron Luis Levinson teaching their class. Levinson, with the help of Jack Klotz, expanded this music recording and producing class into an actual record label.

As the record label is still a part of Levinson’s class, each semester, Bell Tower Music is run by a different group of students. It’s specifically designed to highlight the talents of Temple students, but it works like any other record label would. Bell Tower Music takes care of recording and production, and it also works to distribute and promote its clients’ music. It even puts music on iTunes, so that anyone in the world can find it. They’ve already signed jazz saxophonist Danny Janklow, a pretty funky band named Sonni Shine and the Underwater Sounds and hip-hop artist Manchilde.

Just a few miles southwest of Temple, Drexel students run Mad Dragon Records. Open since 2003, this label is run by Music Industry students, who have helped multiple artists signed to their label receive Independent Music Awards nominations. Mad Dragon Records was awarded “Best College Label” for two years in a row by this international program.

Students enrolled in the Music Industry Program will learn the newest production techniques. They also receive a basic music education, in addition to the business and legal aspects of the industry. They are in charge of concert booking and promotion, as well. Amongst the artists signed to Mad Dragon Records is hip-hop artist Kuf Knotz. Click here to read Nick Iuele’s review of his new album “Boombox Logic.”

Saint Joe’s record label, 1851 Records, has been around for three years. Something unique about this record label is its frequent showcases, where students or alumni can show off their talent and in hopes of getting signed. Compilation CDs featuring various artists have also been produced by the label. Some of its signed artists include My Name is August, Jealousy Curve, The Red Squares and The Absolute Zeros.

The music production programs at Temple, Drexel, and Saint Joe’s are the most hands-on opportunities students could ask for when aspiring for music careers. They go to school and learn to do exactly what they want to do after they graduate. By being totally immersed in the music production field, students will be completely prepared to work for bigger record labels once they leave school.

Student-run record labels are gradually growing in popularity amongst colleges; if funds permit, don’t be surprised if they become as common as school newspapers in a few years.

You can contact Gia Lombardi at giamlombardi@gmail.com.

Photo: http://www.myspace.com/maddragonrecords http://www.temple.edu/newsroom/2010_2011/10/stories/RecordLabel.htm

What Happens in the Hereafter?

Hereafter gives the audience a lot to think about.

This film, directed by acclaimed actor-director Clint Eastwood, has a style that’s been seen in movies like Crash (2004) and Babel (2006)—with different stories developing concurrently and, at some point, intertwining.

The film is about how three different people cope with death. Matt Damon stars as George Lonegan, a man who has a special gift of talking to people who have passed away. The other two are a woman named Marie LeLay, who had a near-death experience while being caught in a tsunami, and a little boy named Marcus, who is dealing with the loss of his twin brother.

This movie really makes you think about the meaning behind death. Eastwood portrays the longing people experience when they feel compelled to understand the afterlife. It also captures the extreme desire for people to talk to loved ones that have left this world. It is an interesting film that, although having a boring stretch or two, keeps the audience interested the entire time. Matt Damon does an excellent job in this film, as well as the lesser know Cecile De France (Marie LeLey), who steals the show.

Some of the cinematography in the film is beautiful. The depictions of a south Pacific island and the French countryside are an excellent distraction from the somber nature of the movie. It’s almost as if Eastwood was trying to portray the wonderful and dark sides of life.

The film deals with coping mechanisms, exploring how death can affect one’s personal life. Having her near-death experience sends LeLay off her career path, while Lonegan gives up a life of talking to the dead for money to find peace of mind. Marcus also goes on a quest to find a way to talk with his deceased twin. It many ways, the film has way of teaching the audience that no matter what the tragedy in your life, there are others who are dealing with death in some way shape or form; it is up to all of us to be strong-willed enough to cope with it.

The movie is playing at the Ritz Five Theater on 2nd and Walnut Streets. It is one of three Ritz theaters in Philadelphia that shows films that will not be shown in most theaters, but are normally up for honors once award season comes around. The films shown may be lesser known, but they almost always have well known actors and actresses in them.

Overall, Hereafter is a very good film. Eastwood did a fantastic job, as he usually does. Damon continues to evolve as an actor and wow the audience. This film will make you go home and think about your own ‘hereafter.’

You can contact Nick Iuele at nick_iuele@yahoo.com.

Photo: © http://craig.purplestateofmind.com/ http://mymoviecinema.wordpress.com/2010/10/07/watch-hereafter-movie-online/

No Scrooges Allowed

You know the holidays are approaching when B101 starts playing obligatory holiday music 24/7. If you’re one of those people who want to tell B101 to put a sock in it already, sorry; Philly’s about to get even more down with the holiday spirit.

The Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philly

Temple Ramen (in the) House!

Let’s face it: ramen is a staple food in college life. Luckily, someone came up with a genius idea at Temple University: a ramen restaurant!

Temple Ramen House is located on Liacouras Walk, right by Saxbys and 7-Eleven. This hidden gem is in a great location, because it’s something every Temple student passes on a daily basis.

When you walk in, you’ll notice it’s a pretty small place, but it definitely has character. The seating consists of a countertop and stools that form an L-shape along two of the walls. The counters are covered in notes and drawings from customers, friends and workers. There’s also a chalkboard that covers the entire wall, filled with colorful drawings.

Of course, the highlight of the Ramen House is the ramen. Don’t be fooled; they know how to kick it up a notch from what you’re used to making in your residence hall. You can order spicy or mild, depending on what you prefer. The Nutri Ramen is full of calcium and vitamin B, but it’s also the spiciest kind on the menu. The Seafood and Kimchee Ramen are two other zesty options.

If you want to be standard about it, then try the House Ramen, or the Chicken Flavor Ramen—both are closer to what you’re used to. The House Ramen does have a minor kick to it, but definitely not enough to burn your mouth off.

And then, there’s the mild ramen. First, there’s Green Tea Ramen, which is high in protein and fiber… Ramen can be healthy too, you know! There’s also Sio or “salt” Ramen, and Udon, which is made with thick noodles, topped with fishcake and fried tofu in a seaweed broth. Finally, Chapagetti is stir-fried noodles with mandarin sauce topped with sliced cucumber. You might have to exit your comfort zone to try some of these less familiar options, but seriously, what could possibly go wrong with ramen?

That’s not all, ramen-heads: once you choose from any of these types of ramen, you get to pick one or two toppings. These toppings include egg, dumpling, dduk, sausage, fish cake, cheese, kimchee, green onion and tofu. The owner knows what goes well together, so if you’re unsure, he’ll recommend something you’ll enjoy.

Peter Kim, the guy who works there, is the man. He is a former Temple student who now owns the place. And he doesn’t just specialize in ramen…

He also makes a variety of different smoothies and bubbles teas! Yup, you don’t have to go to Chinatown to get your bubble tea anymore, because Temple Ramen House has it—and it’s awesome.

If you’ve never had a bubble tea (or if you’ve never heard of it) you must try it! You can pick from flavors like green tea, coffee, chocolate, mango, strawberry, kiwi and many more. The “bubbles” in bubble tea are little tapioca balls that will sit at the bottom of your drink until you slurp them up through your straw. They’re delicious and chewy; so, don’t be afraid of them. At Ramen House, the bubble tea has more of a smoothie texture, and it’s pretty sweet, so if that’s not your thing, ask for no sugar so it won’t be as sweet. This is a good call for the green tea and coffee bubble teas.

You should also feel free to contribute your opinion to the suggestion box. If you have any ideas for a new flavor of ramen or bubble tea, write it down because you might see it on the menu pretty soon!

Kim mentioned that come next semester, he’ll be making hot bubble teas as well—perfect for cold, blistery days.

Even if you’re not a Temple student, you should check out this spot. The prices are very reasonable; if you buy ramen and a bubble tea or smoothie, you get a dollar off your purchase. So, if you walk in with $7, you’re good to get an extremely generous portion of ramen and a bubble tea.

Next time you’re roamin’ for ramen, or in a hubble for bubble, Temple Ramen House is the answer.

You can become a fan of Temple Ramen House on Facebook.

You can contact Gia Lombardi at giamlombardi@gmail.com.

Photo: © http://www.facebook.com/pages/Temple-Ramen-House/313882939851 http://entinella.com/