Pokémon GO? More like Pokémon STOP. Philly Free Streets 2017

(Oh, hey there. You might be wondering “Why hasn’t Jordan written anything since August?” Feel free to scroll down to the end of this post for the answer to that.)

But maybe you’re just here because you wanna know about Philly Free Streets this year. In that case, read on.

I was pumped for this year’s event. I even wrote a feature about this year’s Philly Free Streets over on Fitt Philly. I’d checked my bike tires, woke up early (well, for a Saturday), suited up, and rode over with my pal Sammy. We were hype to take a power walk with Mayor Jim Kenney before riding our bikes along the 3.5 mile route.

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The kickoff schedule

Best laid plans, amirite?

The hour of 9 came and went, and then so did 9:30. We actually stuck it out until 9:40 before deciding it was time to get busy living, but this was an inauspicious start…

Let’s break it down a little bit:

THE GOOD

Free Streets – not much can be bad about that, right? The weather was crisp and wonderful, there were different city groups and services out doing demos, offering goodies, and beautifying spaces.

I really loved the Pedestrian Plaza by the Al Aqsa Islamic Society, Parks & Rec, and Mural Arts Philadelphia – adirondack chairs, chalk, lots of conversations and connections.

People brought their A-game for riding (loved this skeleton from the Kidical Mass ride, and penny-farthing in blue – snaps to this guy for balance!)

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There was an area at the end of the route, El Centro de Oro in the Fairhill neighborhood that I can almost guarantee I never would’ve explored otherwise. I jumped into a Zumba dance class with strangers. I helped paint a mural. It was wonderful.

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Shoutout to Mural Arts!

 

THE BAD

Two words:

Pokémon

GO.

This app was released in summer 2016. I vaguely remember some friends and peers getting obsessed, and then losing steam & interest, and then never discussing it again. Flash in the pan, right?

Wrong.

Pokémon GO’s creators, Niantic, Inc., partnered with Philly Free Streets for an epic Pokémon GO integration along the route. And, up until about two weeks before the event, this was the ONLY information available on the PFS “Program Details” Page. Neverthless, I was shocked at the sheer volume of Pokémon GO players, teams, swag, etc that clogged the event. People were walking around armed with maps, portable chargers, wearing Pokémon swag, and meeting up with their “teammates” from around the country. The event was listed on the Niantic, Inc. website, and considering the game still has about 65 million active monthly users, that brought folks from far and wide.

Being on a bike during the 3 hours that I was out at the event was incredibly challenging, as clusters of players would stop in the middle of the streets, intently staring at their phones, enjoying this augmented reality. They wouldn’t look up, they rarely reacted to calls of “on your left” and it felt dangerous.

 

 

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Thanks to @joey4017 for this shot of folks glued to their phones, catching them all.

I don’t know if there was some sort of benefit the city got from this Pokémon partnership, but as someone trying to enjoy the event without the app, it was painful. I almost think I would’ve been supportive of cutting my “free streets” time down by an hour and giving these Poké-people an hour all to themselves, if it meant they weren’t clustering in the streets for the other 4 hours.

THE UGLY

Trash trucks – not vehicles that I spend much time around on a regular basis, but I respect the hell out of them. They keep our streets cleaner than several other cities I have visited.

Unfortunately, they served as the barrier between the (mostly) free streets. The new route was not TRULY a car-free 3.5 miles, as the north-south path crossed several major intersections that were not shut down. Good for traffic, but also challenging as a rider, a walker, and for anyone with strollers. The space they left on the road was about 2 people wide on either side, so there was a lot of stop and go along the way.

They were smelly, which I guess is the nature of trash cans, but it’s worth noting the aroma of garbage is what my mind recalls when thinking of sensory experiences at Free Streets.

Final thoughts

Did I have fun? Sure.

Could it be improved? Well, what event couldn’t.

Full disclosure: I am on the planning team for Dîner en Blanc Philadelphia and we spend at least a month following each event reviewing what went wrong, right, and what we could do better, and several months leading up to the next one reviewing those same issues.

But this Pokémon thing REALLY tainted the vibe of Philly Free Streets to me. I thought this year was supposed to be all about connecting neighborhoods (last year’s was mostly along South Street, connecting pretty much the same folks that go to all the summer festivals already). And, to an extent, I felt some of that. But mostly I felt like I was imposing on a Pokémon GO convention with the occasional table for IndeGo or the Philly Water Department.

Here’s hoping that some good times this year turn into better ones next year.

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****UPDATE: I have actually been writing more than ever. Someone just decided that I could make a part-time gig out of it…. I’ve been channeling many of my words and social time to Fitt Philadelphia, so if you’re ever wondering what fitness events you should do each month, or when the new megaformer studio is opening, or where to find the most innovative workout spots in the city, I’d recommend hopping over there. ****

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Date Night in Philly: Cake Life Pastry Pairings

Philadelphia is affectionately known as the City of Brotherly Love. And, though we do have a history littered with a few not-so-brotherly moments (cough Santa cough), at the end of the day, if you love Philly, it’ll love you right back.

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Promise, we can be nice, too.

There’s nowhere this is more evident than in the numerous collaborations our chefs, restaurateurs, and purveyors of adult beverages put together on a regular basis. I’ve noshed on lamb Barbacoa dumplings from Han Chiang of Han Dynasty & the gang from South Philly Barbacoa, nibbled Sweetgreen’s salad designed by Zahav’s Mike Solomonov, and, most recently, got to enjoy a pastry and drink pairing courtesy of two of Fishtown’s sweethearts (and neighbors!) – Cake Life and Kensington Quarters.

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Last week, the team from Cake Life and Tim Kweeder of Kensington Quarters, along with Jason Malumed of MFW Wine, banded together for an epic guided pastry & beverage pairing. While the wines were sourced from the region of Southwest France, the pastries were the brain-children of the brilliant minds of Lily & Nima, Cake Life’s co-owners.

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This was the fifth in a Summer Series the shop hosted highlighting either wines or spirits, and was one of the most fun nights I’ve had all summer. From 7:30-10(ish… five courses and wines in, and time was a loose concept), Jason and Tim led us through South by Southwest France – using tunes from the notorious music festival as a soundtrack.

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This tray is what dreams are made of…

We enjoyed savory and sweet treats highlighting seasonal ingredients like melon, tomato, and peaches. We salivated over syrupy sausage rolls and SOME of us may have even licked our plates after a particularly mouthwatering almond-plum cake, our final course of the night.

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Oh, that’s just a prosciutto crisp topping that Melon Tartlet

The time and consideration that went into the wine pairing was evident with each sip, and Jason and Tim brought us on a whirlwind tour through Southwest France that had me checking Google flights and vineyard tours.

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Sauvignon Blanc & goat cheese / tomato jam Croisstini – think the most elevated take on pizza & wine 

While the Summer Pairing Series is done for the season, Cake Life has a lot more up their sleeves… Keep your eyes peeled for similar, seasonally appropriate pastry-pairings to go down monthly. PLUS if you wanna get an amazing taste-tour through Cake Life’s goodies, try one of their Second Saturday Tastings, where duos can eat their way through the shop’s pie, tart, or cake flavors and fillings (BYOB at night – making this the ULTIMATE date night activity!)

Thanks Cake Life for making Philly (and Fishtown) a little sweeter and to Tim and Jason for livening the mood and making us look at Sauvignon Blanc in a way we never had before.

Summer at Opa: Cheese Pies & Blue Skies

Summertime in Philly…

The temperatures are sweltering, the weekend trips to the shore test our patience, and Center City Sips has filled the streets every Wednesday with drunken 20-somethings rocking suit jackets and teetering on heels.

But there’s a distinct joy that comes with some of the sweat – Summer Menus are hitting the Philly Restaurant Scene. Seasonal produce and ingredients, seafood, and creativity galore. And Opa, known for contemporary Greek plates in Center City, is bringing out the big guns. Or, in this case, the small plates.

The highlights?

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Dakos – Barley toast with sour cherry marmalade, fresh chevre, and fennel.

I may be on a toast kick lately (check out my latest post from Fitt for the Top 9 Spots Artisan Toasts in Philly!) and Opa’s take on the dish features a tart cherry marmalade that I want in all food and drink in the future.

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Aritchokes stuffed with crab, fresh herbs, Meyer lemon, & squid ink romesco. Then topped with cheese. Whoah.

Anything stuffed with crab is a-okay in my book, but this artichoke dish had us scraping the plate clean.

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Beet Cured Salmon – carpaccio style, melon, vidalia, arugula, pickled pepper

Lox comes to dinner with Opa’s beet-cured salmon. The little melon cubes add a hint of sweetness, though the pickled peppers are ENTIRELY too hot to eat.

So, ya know, don’t make the same mistake I did.

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Spaghettini – lobster, spicy tomato, olive oil crumbs

That spicy tomato is NOT A DRILL. But neither are the chunks of juicy lobster scattered throughout this dish. A small enough portion to not weigh you down, but large enough to satisfy for a summer dinner.

And now my FAVORITE two dishes:

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Lamb Loin – filo, lamb demi, charred spring onion, potato purée

Beef Wellington goes Greek! The filo is crispy, flakey, and buttery. The onion is perfectly charred, and the lamb is juicy AF. For only $10, this dish is the star of the new menu offerings.

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Tiropita Kataifi – kefalograviera & robiola, filo, orange, honey

Cheese. Pie.

Typically speaking, that’d be enough for me. BUT for your sake – I’ll hit you with some thoughts. Crunchy pastry strings surround a core of kefalograviera (a hard Greek table cheese typically made with sheep milk) & robiola (y’know – more cheese). The whole mess is drizzled with honey and tastes of bright citrusy orange.

Dessert has arrived. It’s unexpected and whimsical and delights the tongue.  Try not to fight over the last bite.

Chef Bobby Saritsoglou and his team are making a serious name for themselves in Midtown Village, and I can’t wait to see what fall brings. Just try to keep your visits limited to Thursday through Tuesday – those Wednesday SIPs crowds are an unforgiving lot.

 

 

Philly Beer Week 2017 – 10 Events You Can’t Miss!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year….

I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again: Philly Beer Week – There’s nothing quite like it. And, with ten days (or less, who knows when you’re reading this) until Opening Tap, the city’s beer bars, reps, and drinkers alike are gearing up for Christmas in June.

2017 marks the 10th Year of this 10 Day Beer Bonanza (“week” is a relative term, right?) and I’m pretty sure that folks are pulling out all the stops to make it the most memorable year to-date. As I did before in 2015 (missed most of last year due to a poorly timed Whole 30), I spent an unreasonable amount of time poring over the lineup of events. I recognize that not all the events are released yet, but I think enough are out that I’ve crafted a pretty dynamite list.

I wouldn’t recommend attending all 10 of them. But, if you do, best of luck to you and your liver.

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May the odds be ever in your favor…

  1. For the person who takes Thursday off… The Hammer of Glory Relay – June 1st, ALL DAY
    For $10, you can hop a seat on a double decker bus and follow the iconic HoG (Hammer of Glory) throughout the city, watching as it passes from spot to spot using themed vehicles, roller derby gals, weird man-powered machines, and ridiculous costumes. Most of the stops, coincidentally, are bars, so if day-drinking is your thing, you can’t start the “week” off any better.
  2. For the one that likes to run for fun… Red Owl Tavern / Founders Brewing Almost 3k – June 3rd, 10am18527242_1358343947548692_3634553842382043062_o.jpg

    Y’all. 3k… that’s not even 2 miles, so no excuses. $30 gets you your first beer, your last beer, a glass, and a t-shirt. PLUS FITNESS! The run is around Independence Mall, and you’ll be hanging before (and hopefully after) at Red Owl Tavern sipping on tasty Founders brews. The ideal way to start your PBW Weekend!

  3. For the one who loves Sunday Funday… Poppin’ Wheelies and Doing the Hula June 4th, 12pm-7pm 

    Two parter – Part 1 – Noon, get some hair of the dog whilst at Drury Beer Garden for some epic Big Wheel Races in the back. Or just laugh and laugh while sipping Evil Genius offerings.
    51PQ9835YGL.jpgPart 2 – 3pm Head just a few feet over to Tiki for an all-male hula contest. Just try to keep your 2SP beers down as these hairy, bearded brutes shake their groove things…

  4. For the nerds who love brews and views… Raven Society Rooftop Biergarten with Sam from Dogfish Head, June 6th, 6-9pmScreen Shot 2017-05-23 at 2.25.05 PM.png

    The Dogfish Head will be flowing, Sam Calagione (founder and owner of Dogfish Head and recent James Beard Award recipient) will be speaking, and the sun will be setting. This will likely be one of the most Instagrammable events… Just saying.

  5. For the one who never wakes up early enough for brunch… Breakfast for Dinner with Rob from Allagash – Jose Pistola’s, 9pm-midnight 

    If you’re like me, you might prefer your eggs served alongside kegs. And if you’re NOT like me, you’re not really a morning person. Head over to Jose Pistola’s to have your (pan)cake and drink beer, too.

  6. For the karaoke all-star… LIVE-Band Karaoke at Johnny Brenda’s with Yards! June 8th, 8:30pm
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    Yeah, I’m sure you’ve done karaoke. But have you ever done karaoke with a live full band?! Let the Yards brews give you the liquid courage you need.
  7. For the Mrs. Doubtfire fan… Left Hand Brewing’s PBW Drag Show Taproom on 19th, June 8th – 8-11pm
    Taproom on 19th is known for their burgers and beer year-round, so you can be sure that the draft list is going to be incredible when they’re highlighting Left Hand Brewing. But, let’s be honest, you’re not just coming for the drinks.18274940_1368095863272820_3503969321176695260_n.jpg
  8. For the one that still can’t stop singing “I’m on a Boat“… Beers & Boats at Bartram’s Garden June 8th, 4-8pm
    This is always a crowd pleaser AND has been known to sell-out, so get your tickets fast! $15 gets you a 30-minute kayak rental & your first beer. PLUS, on the Schuylkill, you can sing as loudly as you want (important if you’ve already indulged in a beer or two…) Don’t worry, lifejackets are mandatory!
  9. For the Picasso of Pilsners, or the Kahlo of Kolsch… PBW: The Art of Beer at Frankford Hall, June 6th, 7-9pm
    A picture’s worth a thousand words, but that art on bottles and cans… that’s priceless. This event is a panel discussion on beer label design featuring the artists behind Tröegs Independent Brewing Neshaminy Creek Brewing Company, Hill Farmstead Brewery, MikkellerForest & Main Brewing Company and Highway Manor Brewing! Edutainment at it’s finest.
  10. For the grand finale… Tailgate Olympics at Devil’s Den, June 10th, 12pm-6pm
    No better way to kick off the last weekend of PBW 2017 than with games galore. Giant Beer Pong, Washers, Huge Jenga, & Cornhole to name a few… Bring out your inner jock and soak up the Saturday sunshine with your friends from Free Will, Yards, Evil Genius, 2SP, and Weyerbacher!

There are TONS of events this year, really with something for everyone. Whether you’re a foodie, in it for the games (keep your eyes out for the goldfish and turtle races), a sweet-tooth, or looking for super rare brews… You’ll have a harder time not having fun during the first 10 days of June than you will finding a beer-focused way to spend your days!

honeygrow: crossing broad & fitness squad

What’s that phrase all the #fitspo folks post on Instagram? You know, the one I’m pretty sure Taylor Swift lives and dies by…

OH!

Find your tribe. Love them hard.

Yup. That’s the one.

There are heaps of tribes in this city. You’ve got yogis, runners, lost Lithers, the Soul Cyclists and the Flywheel fanatics, Freehouse folks, barre babes, and those die-hard November Project kids.

Whether you’re a member of one, of none, of several, or just an occasional visitor to a few, there’s one thing they all have in common: they gotta eat.

Luckily, hometown-hero honeygrow gets it. And they’re taking this idea of tribes, and fueling these fitness fans (and anyone else who’s hungry for some tasty, local, and fast fare) and running with it. And they just recently decided to run right across Broad Street to their newest Philly location on 11th Street!

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Fun Fact: Local Artist Martha Rich created this mural using snippets of conversation she heart whilst dining at honeygrow

I was able to swing by their friends & family opening and try some of the goodies, scope out the scene, and hear a little bit more about what honeygrow’s got planned for Philly (+ other locations) when it comes to fitness.

The space is beautiful, which is no surprise. They’ve got a number of the hg classic features, from their board listing where locally sourced ingredients come from to their futuristic touch-screen tablets for ordering.

Then, they went ahead and dropped some old-school tech on us with this AMAZING board which announces when orders are ready. (Trust me, Instagrammers, this thing is Boomerang gold).

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The new order board at hg 11th Street – going old school

And, as per usual, the eats are as tasty as they are nutritious.

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Spring Thai-m Salad (crammed with crispy shallots and shrimp) & FOUNTAIN green tea! 

In addition to offering fuel, honeygrow’s also recently brought a new aspect of the company to the table: hgAthletics. According to their mission statement:

…a platform for well-being within honeygrow; we are hgAthletics. By exploring exciting curiosities + tangible realities, we foster unity in our neighborhoods, appreciation of our environments and pride within ourselves.

They kicked off their summer in Philly with some killer rooftop yoga at Bok with PLUSgives and that’s just one of many activities lined up for this summer in Philly, DC, Delaware, and beyond!

Check their Calendar of Events for updates, but here’s a little taste:

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I’ll admit, I haven’t found my tribe. I dabble a bit in quite a few, and sometimes [ok, a lot] fancy myself a one-woman wolfpack lifting in the gym.

But it’s great to know that there’s a group of hungry, like-minded fitness friends out there in hgAthletics ready to run, bend, and train with me all summer long.

And if honeygrow happens  to hand out 20% off coupons after every FREE workout… well, that’s just a bonus.

 

Taste Testing with Chef Jose Garces

Slamming my phone into my pocket, I raced out of the office building. I scanned the street and, as luck would have it, spotted the trolley pulling up along 36th and Market. Flashing my SEPTA pass, I hopped in and prayed for a quiet ride to 22nd Street. Time seemed to be moving too quickly, the trolley too slowly, for this to ever work. But I jumped out the vehicle, scampered up the stairs, and dodged snow piles and construction as I made 23rd Street my 40-yard dash (ok, more like my 500-yard walk-sprint, but who’s counting?) I collected myself for a moment, hoping I didn’t look exactly like the sweaty mess that I knew I was, and walked inside.

“Donkey Sauce.”

And, just like that, I was in.

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Nestled in the back of 24, Garces’ newest Philadelphia venture (“Italian-inspired wood-fired fare”, overlooking the Schuylkill River), is Estudio, the test-kitchen of the Garces Group, the restaurants that make up the Chef Jose Garces EMPIRE!

In this kitchen, Garces and his team get to play mad scientists with menu items for any of the 16 restaurants in the family. And, in a brilliant move, Chef Garces decided to open this kitchen up to four lucky fans using Instagram to give out a secret password (hence the rushing to be one of the first four and the breathless gasp of DONKEY SAUCE.)

My sprint through Philadelphia was handsomely rewarded, though, with a special treat: we were testing the early stages of brunch development for Distrito, Garces’ modern take on Mexican taqueria fare.

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Chilaquiles verdes with chicken, crema, queso fresco, avocado, and egg

I’ve gotta say, food always seems tastier served out of its own cast-iron skillet.

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Sope benedict featuring poached eggs, guajillo hollandaise with just a slight hint of heat, and chorizo

Whoah. New favorite take on an eggs benny.

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Torta ahogada (“drowned sandwich”) – this torta was stuffed with carnitas, glazed onions, and eggs, then smothered in a red chile sauce 

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Huarache Desayuno (sort of like… a Mexican breakfast flatbread, topped with black bean puree, crispy potato, egg, tomatillo/poblano salsa and queso mixto

Though I did not partake in the alcoholic portion of the breakfast cocktails, even the virgin versions were tasty enough to tip back with enthusiasm!

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Yup, that’s MORE chilaquiles – This time served with a Mezcal Maria (hold the Mezcal) – Typical garnishes include shrimp AND olives.

Also on the cocktail menu:

  • Carlito XO – Garces & Sons Espresso, Patrón XO Café, Kahlua, Brown Sugar, Canela, Mexican Chocolate and Crema.
  • My TOP choice A Mango Bellini (or was it with vodka? Hard to recall when you don’t choose the booze!) PLUS a smoky spicy rim

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Throughout the experience, Chef Garces answered questions AND took constructive criticism. In fact, he welcomed it. When one of us suggested an ingredient or flavor, he not only noted it, but chased our commentary with some other ideas of how to best incorporate the concept.

One of the first meals I had in Philadelphia was a lunch at Amada in Old City. I was hooked.

When Bar Volver opened, I visited five times in one week, bringing different friends and family each time to share the amazing concept and cocktails. Village Whiskey serves the drippy, finger-licking burger of my (and my sister’s) dreams. I remember eating a birthday dinner at Tinto and periodically adjusting my tiara, because I kept tilting my head back in pleasure with bites of tantalizing tapas.

My experience at Estudio was exceptional. However, the opportunity to dine one-on-one (well, four-on-one) with the man who’s made so many of my culinary dreams come true… That was extraordinary.

Cheers, Chef. Thanks for the memories.1334x1334.jpeg.jpg

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!

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?!

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.)