Philly’s Own Women’s Summer Camp!

I remember it like it was yesterday…

Imagine one week to focus on yourself. A better body, confidence, lessons learned, fabulous food and fitness, inches and pounds lost (without going hungry), and unparalleled results.

The first time I ever seriously considered a “Wellness Retreat” was through the former Golden Child of the Philadelphia fitness scene, Lithe Method, their “lithe escape“. It sounded great… until I saw the price point.

 

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Not including the flight there, the time taken off work for a week vacation, etc….

 

Having only recently finished grad school, my bank account (and accrued vacation time) could NOT handle that.

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Luckily, the gang from Rise Gatherings knows that, though luxurious, these week-long tropical yoga- or fitness-retreats are NOT for everyone. And they managed to bring the best parts about a retreat (i.e. gorgeous natural scenery,  healthy foods, opportunities for fitness, workshops focused on body and mind) and pack it into 42 hours just down the road from Philadelphia (well, about 120 miles down the road, but no flights required!)

Rise Gathering is a summer-camp-for-women experience “designed to promote personal growth, enhance overall well-being, inspire collective connection and share some serious fun.”

Sounds good, right? Well, there’s more.

What’s got me excited about Rise Gatherings?

  • 305 Fitness – This insane NYC-based dance fitness class is 90% cardio, 10% toning and stretching, and looks 100% badass. Like Zumba turned up to 11. I’M IN! (especially since the class hasn’t yet made it’s way to Philly)
  • Kayaking and Waterfall Hike – Since Rise takes place at Camp Canadensis, we’re actually going to be able to do things as if we were at summer camp. HECK YES.
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  • Bonfire – The night you arrive is kicked off with a bonfire celebration to welcome everyone. I only pray they have enough s’mores for the rest of the women….
  • Options – I like yoga, but I’m not obsessed with it. I could use some more mindfulness in my life, but I don’t want to spend the whole weekend focusing on it. Plant-based cooking is a part of my life, but not a HUGE one. Rise Gatherings is offering you the chance to make this weekend exactly what you want. By bringing in a number of women all focused on different practices and specialties, it’s like a “Choose-your-own-adventure” book.
  • Connections.

According to one of the producers:

Rise Gatherings is much more than a one time event.  We are launching a community of empowered women of all ages who want to raise their voices, spirits and hands.

There are few things more inspiring than a community of empowered women of all ages. This is why I’ve already convinced my mom and sister to join me May 12-14 (That’s right, it’s Mother’s Day! Bring your mom!)

AND because I’m slightly obsessed with the concept and wanted to share it with everyone, I reached out to Rise Gatherings and got a special code in case you’d like to come along.

Use code: food_sweat_beer at Checkout for a $50 discount off your ticket OR a double ticket for you and a friend/mother/sister/soul-sister.

I can’t guarantee there will be enough s’mores to go around after I get a crack at ’em, but I can pretty much guarantee it’s going to be an amazing weekend!

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The Top 5 Things You May Have Missed at the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show

The Philadelphia Flower Show is a tradition like no other. Every year, right at the tail end of a dreary winter, the Philadelphia Convention Center transforms into a taste of spring with millions of blossoms (okay, I don’t know if it’s actually millions, but the entrance bridge had over 30,000 so I’m ballparking).

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Bulbs and Bulbs – GET IT?!

This year’s theme was “Holland: Flowering the World” and, no surprise, the show had Philadelphians and out-of-towners alike tip-toeing through the tulips for nine straight days. And though a “snowstorm” did make for a bit of a hiccup on day 4, the Philly Flower Show went on without a hitch.

I’ve been to the PHS Flower Show before. once during grad school and once on a pretty ridiculous date sponsored by Yards Brewery (long story, but click away if you’re curious.) But every year I go, I find something new to love. This year was no different. So yes: there was the epic flower bridge at the entrance… but some of the bits and pieces that were my favorite, a lot of my friends missed. SO here you have it:

The Top 5 Things You Might Have Missed at the 2017 Philadelphia Flower Show

  1. PEDALS: The White Bike Plan
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    While you may not have MISSED this exhibit, it is possible you didn’t realize exactly why there was a huge exhibit all about white bicycles in the middle of the show. Turns out, it was an ode to Witte Fietsenplan (translation: The White Bicycle Plan). This was actually part of a Dutch counter-culture movement from the 1960s called Provo, and  one of the very first bike-sharing plans in the world! We’re all newly spoiled with Philly’s Indego, turns out Amsterdam had the idea over 50 years ago!

  2. Open Bar
     

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    Let the St. Germain flow!

    Truth be told, I learned this little gem from a fellow student during my income-light grad school years. Never underestimate the ability of a grad student to find free (or deeply discounted) drinks. If you’re looking to channel your inner bee and go through the Flower Show with a buzz, the folks at Fine Wine and Spirits are ready to pour you an endless array of samples from 2pm-7pm.

    Seriously. It’s the ultimate pregame.

  3. The Philly Belle

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    Well, if you missed this flower, you missed something pretty special. This gorgeous, unique tulip is named the Philly Belle, and is a one-of-a-kind tulip bred specifically by Remarkable Tulips for the show. I recognize that geeking out over a flower is not something I’d normally do, but this vibrant, fringed tulip was like nothing I’d ever seen.

  4. The Design Gallery
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    Yup, that is a flower.

    I really don’t know much about gardening. I have kept an air plant alive since I moved to Philly nearly 5 years ago, and that is what I consider my greatest green-thumb feat to-date. That said, the Design Gallery is probably the most impressive portion of the Flower Show to me. The things people are able to make with plants, seeds, flowers… from jewelry to sculptures to miniature scenes, it’s insane.

  5. Butterflies! Loads of ’em

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    This could’ve been you, but you were playing (Image courtesy of PHS Flower Show)

    Did you see the 1,000+ butterflies floating around at the Philly Flower Show? Probably not, unless you strolled out of the main expo hall and over to Butterflies LIVE!. Just imagine… hundreds of butterflies flitting around, landing on you, giving sweet butterfly kisses to your face because they think maybe you’re a flower. It cost $5 and yes, there was a line.  But if you’ve never had a chance to be a butterfly landing pad…. just saying.

What was your favorite part about this year’s show? Did I miss anything spectacular?!

Major Key: Philly’s Florida Keys Cookoff

In 2014, I saw a very long line for a photo opportunity. It was at the Southernmost Point of the continental United States. Luckily, I was able to push my way to the front by letting the line know something especially important:

Hello, everyone. In three years, I’ve got this cooking competition I’ll be doing. If I win, I get to come back. Would you mind if I snapped a quick shot?

And, just like that, the crowd parted and I nabbed this gem.

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Finally, last week, the time had come.

I, along with 23 other hungry bloggers, radio hosts, and news anchors, filled the kitchens of The Restaurant School at Walnut Hill College  for tours, tastes, and tests of skill. Our assignment seemed simple enough:

  • Cook up two dishes.
  • One will be seafood.
  • One’s a Key Lime Pie.
  • You can bring ONE special ingredient for your Key Lime Pie.

Now, I’ve gotta say, this event is not WHY I got into blogging… but my WORD it was easily the most fun, and certainly the type of event that keeps me putting all these words out into the ether. (P.S. Thanks for reading. Seriously.)

The team from the Florida Keys and Key West, in hopes to encourage us chilly Philly folks to head south more often, wanted us to bring a Taste of the Keys to town.

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My very official station

We started with dessert. Because we’re grownups and we can.

My secret ingredient was a way to bring a taste of Philadelphia to the Keys: Pretzel Crust! The crust recipe was loosely based on The Gold Lining Girl’s Recipe, but I pulverized my pretzels at home and added a teensy bit of cinnamon to my crust.

We had 50 minutes. We were given all the other ingredients.

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Almost no one drank the “cooking wine”. We all tried to avoid mixing the seafood ingredients with the pie ingredients.

At times, things got a little sticky…

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Probably flexing for the camera. Definitely cramming butter sugar pretzel dust into a pie tin.

I’ve never made a Key Lime Pie. It’s SO easy. You should try the Florida Keys Key Lime Pie Recipe at home. I personally would recommend the pretzel crust but (spoiler alert) that probably won’t win you a trip to the Florida Keys.

While our pies cooled, we were able to sample some of the cocktails downstairs AND mingle. I even got to mingle with the most petite chef of the night, Emily of HerPhilly!

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And then it was onto the seafood. In this case: SNAPPER!

My dish was a blackened yellowtail snapper with a mango and lime salsa. I didn’t have an exact recipe but I’ve linked to a similar one.

Things really heated up…

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Moments later, I switched to a cast iron skillet, making this a simply useless photo

In the end, I was pretty pleased with what I produced:

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Sure, I didn’t win. But I did immediately look for flights back down to Florida ($98 RT to Miami from PHL, in case you were wondering…)

All in all: I LOVED living my TopChef dreams. In case you weren’t sure if I had fun…

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The MOST fun

Thank YOU to everyone, from Aversa PR  for the invite to the Restaurant School  for hosting us to the Florida Keys crew, for bringing the heat to West Philly!

 

Win a Race Entry! BOMF 5-Miler

UPDATE: The winner is….

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Comment #4: S.J., I’ll email your code shortly!

Whether you lucked out in the Blue Cross Broad Street Run lottery and are ready to start training  or you’re lamenting not getting in AGAIN, I’ve got some pretty great news for you. And that news is all courtesy of Back on My Feet: Philadelphia.

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Back on My Feet is a national organization operating in all across the U.S. working to combat homelessness through the power of running, community support and housing and employee resources.

How does it work?

Back on My Feet recruits members (individuals experiencing homelessness) at homeless and residential facilities around the country and begins with a commitment to run three days a week in the early morning.  After 30 days in the program, members with 90% attendance earn the opportunity to move into the second phase of the program called Next Steps, which provides educational support, job training programs, employment partnership referrals and housing resources. Almost 80% of individuals who start the program move into Next Steps.

This race is the nation’s largest 10 mile race and it all takes place on Philly’s iconic Broad Street. Along the course, runners speed past Philadelphia landmarks including the Divine Lorraine Hotel, City Hall, and the infamous Catharine Street Popeye’s Chicken before coming to a close just past the gates of the Navy Yard. According to Philly runners, it’s a must. Entry is done through lottery (which closed February 13th, and winners were announced yesterday.) LOTS of people got in!

Some did not. Let’s make this post easy for everyone.

If you did NOT win the Broad Street Lottery

For those of you who didn’t get lucky, BOMF has a great idea: For guaranteed entry, become a FundRacer with BOMF!

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The FundRacing minimum for the 2017 Broad Street Run will be $500 (PER INDIVIDUAL) with a $25 registration fee (that is put towards your fundraising minimum) and gets you guaranteed race entry, a personalized fundraising page to collect donations, post-race massages, and more.

If you already HAVE your registration for Broad Street confirmed and need a fun training run, here’s your CHANCE:

The 2017 Stroehmann Bakeries BOMF 5-Miler is coming up March 25, 2017. I’ll be running it. But YOU could be, too!

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Comment on this post to WIN free entry in the 2017 Stroehmann Bakeries BOMF 5-Miler!

Join me and over 1500 other runners on Saturday, March 25, 2017 for this gorgeous 5 mile run along the Schuylkill River and support BOMF’s righteous cause.

Want to win a race bib? Comment below with your favorite Philadelphia landmark!

(For an extra entry, follow foodsweatnbeers  and/or Back on My Feet Philly on Twitter and comment about that, too for up to 3 entries per individual!)

Entries close March 1, 2017 at 12pm!

(Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post, and I paid for my BOMF 5-miler race entry BUT BOMF Philly is donating a race entry to the winner!)

Differences Between Barre3 and Pure Barre

You’ve probably heard of Portland, Oregon. This coastal Pacific Northwest city is known for a few things.

  1. Matt Groening, creator of The Simpsons, was born in Portland over 60 years ago.
  2. Put(ting) a bird on it“.
  3. In 2008, Sadie Lincoln and her hubby Chris started a killer brand of fitness called Barre3 that, in February 2017, finally opened in Center City, Philadelphia!

Barre3 has been around for a while, but, as they’re new in town, you might be wondering: What makes it different from other barre classes? Maybe you’re a Pure Barre fan, or you’ve never tried any barre classes and just want a crash course. Either way, let’s get down to brass tacks.

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The Studio & Equipment

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Wide open space in Barre3’s GIANT studio!

Barre3, unlike many barre classes I’ve taken (and I’ve taken quite a few in my day), takes place on a hard wood floor. Bright lighting for sure, and I noticed the instructor will dim the lights and turn up the music during certain points (like when you’re repeating a move for a little longer). You’ll use the barre around the room for leg/thigh work.

The only equipment you’ll use is a super squishy ball and a set of hand weights (ranging from 1-5lbs). Your instructor will bring you a mat when it’s time for that.

Pure Barrelike most other barre classes I’ve attended, is on a carpeted floor. The lighting starts bright and gradually gets darker, and I felt as though you used the barre much more often, for more than just leg work.

You use a ball, small hand weights, and a resistance band during class. The instructors bring over mats.

What to Wear

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Barre3’s gorgeous retail section

Barre3 – While there’s no required attire (officially), the “unofficial outfit” of the ladies of Barre3 is typically leggings or crops and tank tops. I don’t think I’d personally enjoy wearing anything with sleeves due to the larger movements of arms, but that’s just me. Barefoot in the studio!

Pure Barre – I believe they require socks (you can buy at studio if you always forget, like me. Note: this can get pricey.) Leggings were “strongly suggested” at my studio. I felt silly in crops, as I was the only one wearing them.

The Class Itself

Barre3 – These were my first few Barre3 classes, and I gotta admit, I liked them more than most barre classes I’ve taken. This is probably due to the addition of large, dynamic movements in addition to the teeny-tiny pulses that most barre classes highlight. The class went:

  • Warm-up – In the center of the room, no equipment at first. Lots of movements to stretch you out, open you up, and get the blood pumping. Eventually you’ll use the hand weights.
  • Barre Work – Leg-centric, this portion of class was pretty similar to many barre classes I’ve tried before. Squats, tiny pulses, raising of the heels. My inner thighs were burning.
  • Mat work – Here’s where the balls come into play. Your abs are gonna be ACHING after this set, but it’s totally manageable and instructors offer modifications when necessary!

Pure Barre – Format is always the same so you know what you’re in for (they do have a “Platform” Class I’ve never done, so I can’t speak to that)

  • Warm-up – Center of the room. Lots of marching.
  • Arm work – Here’s where their weights come in, with a systematic pumping of biceps, triceps, and shoulders.
  • Barre Work – Focuses on “Seat” (read: tush) and thighs. They love the term “Tuck” and you’ll hear it a lot during this portion of class, as you tuck your backside in and tighten your core.
  • Ab work – on the mat, sometimes leaning against the barre. This was always tough for me as the barre isn’t meant for someone over 6′ tall…
  • Cool down – Stretching, pretty similar to Barre3

Cost

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Keep in mind the UNLIMITED cost of Barre3 is ONLY for the Barre3 Rittenhouse location, and only for a limited time. SO if you’re gunning for that unlimited membership, you gotta strike while the iron is hot (if you go 4x/week, that’s $8.06/class!) (Bonus at Barre3: $5 gets you childcare during your class!)

I don’t know if I could do either of these methods EXCLUSIVELY, but I think they both make a challenging and unique addition to any workout regime. I’d lean towards Barre3, personally, but I’m a big fan of those LARGE dynamic, explosive moments, and I know that’s not for everyone.

Welcome to Philly Barre3!

Have you ever done a barre class? 

What did you LOVE?! What did you HATE?!

(I can’t stand the marching portion… ugh.)

 

Revolution Taco: Now so much more…

Look, I love Taco Tuesday as much as the next millennial. It’s not that we NEED an excuse for tacos any day of the week, really. It’s just that alliteration is fun, themed days are fun, and tacos are delicious.

Unfortunately, for my health, I have to eat things that aren’t tacos sometimes. Part of a balanced diet or something (though some have tried this “all vegan taco diet“, I’m gonna need a bit more meat in my life). Enter: Revolution Taco.

I know what you’re thinking, and Yes, they DO have a taco heavy menu. (Sidenote: They’re all flippin’ delicious, order the duck/scallion pancake for a real mouth-party). But, since man can’t live on tacos alone, the team has added some new kids to the bloc– er… menu.

Up first: Arroz con Pollo WEDNESDAYS! February Wednesdays, let Revolution take care of dinner for you.

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Arroz con POLLO!!

I tried their first week’s take (Classic Arroz con Pollo) and, for $11 per order, was greeted with a MASSIVE serving of moist and juicy chicken and some zesty rice. But the kicker here, each week you’re getting a new take on the classic dish!

February 1
Fried Chicken Arroz con Pollo
Fried chicken served with Creole Style Dirty rice

February 8
Coq Au Vin Arroz con Pollo
French red wine braised chicken served with fried risotto cake

February 15
Char Siu Arroz con Pollo
Chinese BBQ chicken with seared sticky rice, pickled mustard greens

February 22
Confit Duck Arroz con Pato
Duck leg slow cooked in duck fat, served with mushroom arancini

Pigs Fly Fridays!

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “When pigs fly…”, but if you thought that was impossible, you’ve probably never seen Pig Wings.

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Come to Mama!

Clear out your Friday plans, because you’re gonna wanna get as many of these braised pork shanks into your mouth (and schedule) as possible. From dry rub to Korean BBQ to Chipotle, these juicy hunks of pork fall off the bone quicker than you can say “¡OLE!”

For ten bucks, you get three of these succulent spears with a side of rice and beans. Trust me, you’re gonna wanna go hungry, because you’ll be leaving full.

Also on the menu (ALL THE DAMN TIME): TAMALES!

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Peel back the husk for a salty surprise

Tamales are tasty pockets made of corn dough that is steamed in a corn husk, and since there was a serious dearth of them in Rittenhouse, Revolution said “Don’t worry, we got this.”

$4 each, a perfect appetizer, lunch bite, or shared app with a friend.

Here’s the thing: I’ve already been going to Revolution Tacos more often than I’d like to admit. But with those pig wings on the menu… If you’re looking for me on a Friday night, you’ll know where to start.

Freehouse Fitness FAQs

In early 2016, South Street got a brand new exercise studio, Freehouse Fitness. Nestled dangerously close to Sweet Freedom Bakery and the summer favorite PHS Popup Garden, this bright space houses some of Philly’s most challenging (and fun!) classes. Seven days a week, Dana and her team lead fitness junkies on the trampoline, the reformer, the mat, and at the barre. I’m certainly no expert, but with ClassPass bringing new guests daily, who couldn’t use a little more scoop before your visit?

What to Wear/Bring

  • Leggings or crops – I love wearing shorts, but NOT during these workouts
  • Tank top – You want your arms and shoulders free to move
  • Water bottle
  • Grippy socks – IF you choose to wear socks (I think a few classes suggest/request that you do), you’re not slipping. Most folks I see go barefoot

That’s it! You don’t have to bring a mat, or a lock. They have lockers with keys you can use during classes. They also have towels AND free Rival Bros. coffee for those 6:10am classes!

What Types of Classes Can You Take?

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Looks confusing? Yeah, I thought so too. BUT here are some key words:

  • Rebounder – This is a small, personal trampoline that, when combined with killer cardio, torches serious calories. Lower impact than just jumping on hardwood, rebounders at Freehouse are used to light up cardio classes.
  • Reformer – This thing might look like a torture device… and that’s probably because, depending on the instructor, it can feel like one, too! Using adjustable resistance bands, a pulley system, and physics, these things allow for a super low-impact, incredibly difficult workout when used correctly.

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    The Reformer is a double-edged sword: Incredible workout BUT doesn’t let you coast. At all.

  • Jumpboard – Like a foot plate they put on the reformer, this allows you to “jump” from a horizontal position. Any reformer class that mentions cardio will probably use this to get you sweating.
  • Bands – A little more user-friendly than those resistance bands you got in physical therapy, these bands have handles and allow you to “lift” in a dynamic fashion not available with your classic barbells or dumbbells

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    Bands high and low

How much does it cost?

Well, much like any fitness studio, that depends on how often you go and what type of classes you purchase.

Reformer classes, at $26 for a drop-in  or $120 for five classes, cost more than the rest of the classes. Consistent with most reformer-based studios, this is because the equipment is expensive and the room only has a few reformers. You’re getting the benefit of very personal attention when there are only 6-8 students in the class.

Fitness classes on the rebounders or with the bands are $18 for a drop-in or $80 for a five-pack. You’ll have more students in the class, too, but you’ll still get lots of attention as all the instructors at Freehouse really know their stuff.

There are also some $14 yoga sculpt classes AND if you’re lucky (and follow the FreehouseFitness Instagram page, you might be able to take advantage of one of their free classes they throw every now and then!

What’s the Vibe?

When it comes to fitness studios or gyms, they can give you the best workout of your life but, if you’re not “feeling it”, you’re not going to come back. BUT the vibe at Freehouse is a fun, fit, and enthusiastic one. PLUS Dana is always throwing special events like vegetarian/vegan brunch or mimosas with fresh-pressed juice in the studio. In the summer, she even had pop-up classes on the Schuylkill River banks. The showers are clean, the amenities are luxurious, and the lighting and windows keep the mood light and bright.

Whether you’re on a “New Year, New You” kick, or just looking for a way to change up your fitness regime, Freehouse could be the spot for you! Plus, just think of all the incredible photo opps…. Just saying.

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Flying High!

 

Flotation in Philly: Don’t Fear the Unknown

I’ll start with a confession: I’m rubbish when it comes to recovery. Well, active recovery, or even conscious recovery. I love to destroy my body with a great workout, and there’s no pain sweeter than the deep muscle soreness the following day. It’s after the sweat has dried, that’s when I get lazy. I may half-heartedly stretch a bit, or cool down with a walk, but a gal needs some help now and then.

Enter: flotation Philly

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After somewhat secretly starting Kayla Itsine’s Bikini Body Guide a few weeks ago (more on that, soon), I was feeling the burn in all the best ways. When I got the opportunity to finally try one of these sensory deprivation tanks, I went running (in the rain, to Fishtown).

The question that everyone’s been asking: what was it like?! Here goes nothing:

You’ve got three options

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The Tank is SERIOUS business (at least outwardly. It’s the more classic sensory deprivation option, but I was warned it can be a bit much for first timers.

The POD is the most fun word to say, and apparently, also one that most folks choose for their first time. It’s got lighting and music you can control from the inside, so if you’re prone to claustrophobia, this could be the one for you!

The Cabin, well, that was mine. As a 6’2″ Amazon lady, I was placed in their largest option. So that’s the experience I’ll speak to.

You’re led into a room containing the sensory deprivation tank of your choice. Scrub off in their WONDERFUL shower, jam some earplugs in, strip down, and dive in (well, step in, it’s only 10 inches deep).

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(OK here’s what it was really like)

There’s a little optional head rest float to put your noggin in, but other than that, your body just floats in water saturated with HUNDREDS of pounds of epsom salt. I closed the door, laid back, and closed my eyes. For once, I hadn’t done a ton of research on the experience, checking all the reviews. I was going in blind. And as the darkness set in, I was left alone with my thoughts.

Initially, those thoughts raced. Everything from my week’s workout schedule to cookie recipes to bridesmaid dresses. Sometimes I forgot to breathe for a second and had to take big gulps. Gradually, and then all of the sudden, it just stopped. I realized I had my eyes open at one point and didn’t remember opening them, because it was pitch black. My mind was blank. I didn’t fall asleep, I just… floated. I couldn’t tell which parts of my body were under water, because everything was the same temperature. But my breathing slowed, and I kept floating, completely weightless. It felt very natural.

Not asleep, not fully awake, my mind floated along with my body. I can’t remember thinking anything specific, just a peaceful dreamlike existence for my hyperactive mind. Fun bonus for the sore body: All that epsom salt can boost your magnesium levels, which can improve your circulation, improve your body’s ability to use insulin, ease muscle pain, regulate electrolytes, and relieve stress. So flotation has science backing it, too.

Unfortunately, my reveries were interrupted towards the tail end of my float (I opted for the 60 minute experience, but you can do 60 or 90). The jets that regulate the temperature kicked in, and shook me a bit. I’m assured this does not normally happen, as they can assure they’re off, and a total mistake. I will say, though, I wasn’t able to get back into that same state after settling back into my cabin of quiet. It was definitely calm and soothing, but I had trouble disconnecting like I did for the first 40 minutes.

That said, I was still surprised when the quiet music began and the glowing lights came back on.

REALLY?! That was already 60 minutes?!?!
(plus a few he added to make up for the jet mistake)

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Typical.

I, of course, immediately documented my post-soak spooky cabin on Snapchat (@jpreezy22 in case you’re interested), and showered again.

For the rest of the night, I realized that despite leg day the previous day, my legs were no longer sore. Nothing was sore. Full disclosure: a day later, I’m sore again, but that’s probably because I worked out about 3 hours before my float.

flotation’s pricing ranges from $75 for a 90 minute float, to $60 for 60 minutes, and this price drops if you sign up for a monthly membership.  If you have trouble shutting your brain off, floating could be great. If you want to soak up some of that beneficial magnesium, head on over. If you’re looking for the gift for that fit freak that has everything, or your workaholic pal that could use an hour of relaxation, BAM consider a giftcard.

flotation’s up in Fishtown, at 534 E. Girard Avenue.

honeygrow, hgAthletics, and YIP!

A little while back, a group of road warriors banded together, as they do every month, for the YIP (Young Involved Philadelphia) Running Club. The only difference that month: I joined them. That’s right, this  self-proclaimed “non-runner” decided to lace up her sneakers and sweat-wicking tank top and bring new meaning to “fast-casual”.  Lured by the guarantee of wholesome treats and an insider’s look at Honeygrow HQ, 20 of us knocked out 3.5 miles from Center City to Fishtown before reaching the Promised Land at Front and Oxford.

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Photo Credit: Matt Wargo, Inquirer

YIP, an organization full of civically minded young professionals in the City of Brotherly Love, puts together these 2-5 mile runs every month. Each run begins at Philadelphia Runner’s Center City location and ends at an interesting spot in the city where the gang can explore and mingle with some new and like-minded Philadelphians. It’s no coincidence that I chose September as my first running club. What can I say? I’m a sucker for post-run snacks, especially if they’re from Philly’s own Honeygrow.

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See, Honeygrow.and I, we go way back. Or, at least 4 years back. In June of 2012, Justin Rosenberg, the founder of Honeygrow, opened his first location at 16th and Sansom. And a few months later, I moved to town, following the migration patterns of approximately 100,000 other 20-34 year olds since 2006 seeking an urban center teeming with creativity and potential. Justin, who chatted with us briefly when we arrived, explained that despite a rocky first few months, the idea soon caught fire.

Like many health-conscious millennials, I chose Philly for the affordable rent, thriving job market, and, of course, the 24/7 accessibility to soft pretzels. The idea of an affordable, healthy, and customizable fast-casual dining experience is appealing to the young professional – none more so than Philadelphia’s own Honeygrow. Honestly, I don’t know a 20-something in the city that hasn’t waited, salivating, for their stir-fry or salad at one of Honeygrow’s Philadelphia locations. From my own experience as a graduate student at Penn and a frequenter of many of Center City’s boutique fitness studios, their West Philly and Rittenhouse locations have saved me from mid-study session starvation or post-sweat stove-top slumming more times than I can count.

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Dinner a la Five Spice stir fry!

Speaking of which, we only could explore Honeygrow’s inner sanctum for so long before our stomachs began to rumble. Luckily, the team had us covered and quickly doled out their signature Honeybars and something a bit more savory. In between shoveling stir fry into our mouths, we were able to have a revealing Q&A with David Katz, the culinary director and palate powerhouse of Honeygrow. He spoke to the focus on regional styles and recipe popularity, Honeygrow’s plans for expansion over the next year (spoiler alert: it’s gonna be fast & furious, with over 15 locations by 2017) and, of course, how his Jersey Shore and Philly roots influenced the menu.

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Love this message right in the heart of their HQ!

In a swirling sea of fast-casual options, Honeygrow stands out for the hungry and healthy, who are often in a hurry. Their founder, a former financial analyst himself, knows the grind well, and saw opportunity in Philly like so many of us did . We’ve got some of the most passionate eaters around and, with YIP being just one of DOZENS of run clubs, I can almost guarantee there’s always going to be someone down to carbo load.

ALSO, Honeygrow’s new hgAthletics program has opportunities for fitness of all kinds. From testing out PLUSgives new yoga mats

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…to a BOOtcamp with an Olympian, check out the hgAthletics Facebook page to stay in the know and get involved!

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I’m a GOLD RUSH. Get it? Don’t worry, no one else did, either. (Photo cred to Kyle Huff, Honeygrow’s social media master)

Check out Honeygrow’s monthly run club if you wanna get in on the “dash & dine” action on the fourth Tuesday of every month. After your 3-5 mile run, you’ll get 25% off your Honeygrow order! How’s that for instant gratification?

ALSO, word on the street is that the next hgAthletics event is going feature a partnership with PLUSgives AND Reading Terminal Market. Stay tuned!

UrbanStems: Happiness (and flowers) On Demand in Philly

(Pro tip: Scroll to the bottom for a discount code to get a bouquet for $20 with free delivery!)

There are plenty of things to worry about in Philadelphia these days:

But there’s one thing you don’t have to worry about: doling out flowers to friends/loved ones at a moment’s notice!

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We’re all busy bees. From work to play, dating to dining, school to spinning, it’s easy to forget things. Birthdays, anniversaries, you know… the kinds of things that make us depend on Facebook reminders. Enter: UrbanStems.

Your friends in D.C. and New York have been sending stems for a year or two now, but with their Philadelphia and Baltimore launch, UrbanStems is growing like a weed. Luckily, their bouquets are a little nicer than anything you’d pick from your backyard.

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From seasonal shades to surprise succulents, I love that UrbanStems isn’t just jamming baby’s breath around some carnations and a rose or two, tossing it all into a fish bowl and charging $65 to deliver in the city. In fact, their system is pretty awesome.

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This convenient little box is hand-delivered by a super-friendly courier, complete with a hand-written note AND handles (that’s a lot of hand-iness, right?) They even send a photo to confirm your flowers made it to their destination! PLUS the convenient tote allowed my flowers to make it home safely (and easily) on a city bus!

Another bonus: UrbanStems works with Rainforest Alliance Certified™ and Veriflora Certified farms to source their environmentally friendly flowers!

The little tote also had a pull tab which, when yanked, pushed the bouquet out as if the petals were opening up!

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I verify, no “fluffing” up took place. This is exactly how my bouquet looked when I pulled it out of the tote!

They switch up the bouquets all the time, so your flowers are always going to be different. AND, you don’t have to be a big-time baller to deliver your daisies (or mums, or rosehips, or whatever is in this season!)

Bouquets start at a mere $35 with free delivery within a few hours (or you can schedule in advance, if you’re a planner).

BUT since I’m a little obsessed with UrbanStems, they gave me a discount code to share getting you $15 off your first bouquet!

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Just type inaTFpYg as your “Referral Code” when you sign up on UrbanStems’ site and you can get a killer bouquet to your bae (or mom) for $20! You probably spent that on cold brew in the last week, anyway. So make some at home, and #SendHappy (and then tell me how it went!)