Fact: Doing Yoga at Eastern State Penitentiary Should Be on Your Bucket List 

Be Well Philly Underground's Downward Dogs and Drinks at Easter State Penitentiary | Photo by Susan Nam

Be Well Philly Underground’s Downward Dogs and Drinks at Easter State Penitentiary | Photo by Susan Nam

Confession: I am not a Halloween person. The last time I put any ounce of effort into a costume was when I was a “pop star” — no pop star in particular, just a pop star — in seventh grade. Clearly, even then, I was not committed.

So when we were thinking about our Be Well Philly Underground event for October, I wanted it to be in the theme of October — and that theme is Halloween, duh — without being too pumpkin-y and costume-y and, well, Halloween-y. So when our lovely events coordinator Kaylie, who many of you Undergrounders have met, suggested Eastern State Penitentiary, the former prison in Fairmount, as the space for October Underground event, I was sold. It’s spooky. But not cheesy. Perfect.

We got to planning and luckily it all came together. And man, our October Be Well Philly Underground event, an outdoor yoga class in the prison yard space of Eastern State Penitentiary led by the lovely folks of Fairmount’s Yoga Habit, was even cooler (and MUCH spookier) than I’d imagined it would be.

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Meet Our 2016 Health Hero Challenge VIPs!

From left to right: Marc Vetri; Ali Gorman; Malcolm Jenkins.

From left to right: Marc Vetri; Ali Gorman; Malcolm Jenkins.

The time is a comin’, guys: On October 24th, voting for the Health Hero Challenge Finals kicks off. As you might remember, last year, along with our four fabulous Health Hero Finalists, we also had a VIP portion of the Health Hero Challenge. VIP stands for Very Influential Philadelphian, big names in Philly who are making big moves to positively impact the city’s health.

So, who’s up this year, you ask? Well, this year’s Health Hero Challenge VIPs are some awesome folks you probably already love: Marc Vetri, chef and cofounder of the Vetri Community Partnership; Malcolm Jenkins, safety for the Philadelphia Eagles and founder of the Malcolm Jenkins Foundation; and Ali Gorman, the health reporter at 6abc Action News.

This year, like last year, when you vote for your favorite Health Hero Challenge Finalist, you’ll also be able to cast a vote for your favorite Health Hero VIP. Each of them is rallying for a charity of their choice (you can check out their chosen charities below) and along with being featured in an upcoming issue of Philadelphia magazine, the winning VIP’s charity of choice will become a beneficiary of a future Philadelphia magazine event. Last year, Rich Landau of Vedge took home the win and we are oh-so-excited to see who takes home the win this year.

You can find out more about our Health Hero VIPs below in their Q&As below. Then mark your calendars to start voting (you’ll vote here, by the way) on October 24th!

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What’s the Absolute Best Store-Bought Veggie Burger? 

For a long time, I was a Morning Star Garden Veggie Burger gal when it came to store-bought veggie burgers. You could find me piling two patties layered with avocado slices (yep, I go H.A.M. when it comes to veggie burgers) onto a potato bun at any summer BBQ you found me at. But then I stopped eating soy and I had a momentary veggie-burger crisis. Would I EVER find a good veggie burger again?!?!?!

The answer was yes. First I found the Field Roast FieldBurger, which I thought was the very best veggie burger I’d ever had. (It’s juicy, guys — a juicy veggie burger!) But then, this past weekend, I sampled the Beyond Meat Beyond Burger — which is designed to mimic a true beef burger in texture and color (it’s colored with beet juice) —  at Pennsylvania Avenue’s shiny new Whole Foods, and I think it won me over.

But before I decide that I’ve found a new favorite store-bought veggie burger, I figured I’d pose the all-important question to you guys: What’s the absolute best store-bought veggie burger you’ve tried? Because we already know where the best restaurant veggie burgers in Philly are, but sometimes you want to chow down on a veggie burger from the comfort of your own couch.

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The Checkup: The Nutrient You’re Probably (Definitely) Not Getting Enough Of 

• Yikes: A recent study of over 16,000 Americans found that a whopping 94 percent of women aren’t getting enough choline, a nutrient that impacts everything from brain cell communication to heart function. If you’re looking to start upping the amount of choline you get in your diet, eggs — with the yolk! — are a good place to start. [POPSUGAR Fitness]

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How to Stop Email From Driving You Completely Insane: Stop Being So Polite?

Email is like an annoying younger sibling. It’s constantly poking you and begging for attention, via alarming “ding!” and “swoosh!” sounds, when you are trying to focus on something else. Something that’s probably more important than the unnecessary “Thanks!” email that is demanding your attention. And no matter how much we all want to say “I quit this form of communication,” most of us can’t exactly do that. I mean, not if we actually want to keep our jobs, at least.

So, what’s one to do to keep from turning into ball of email-induced stress bigger than Aidan Shaw’s turquoise ring collection in season three of Sex and the City? Well, first off, stop being so polite — for your sanity’s sake.

Hear me out: In the past month, health editors at both The Atlantic and Men’s Health have written about how to deal with email so that it doesn’t put a huge dent in your productivity levels and drive you insane in the process. As The Atlantic’s James Hamblin says in his piece titled “How to Email,” “I don’t want to overstate the potential benefits of everyone spending less time and energy on email, but it would have health and economic benefits that would ripple across societies forever.” We agree — overstatement and all. And his suggestion for spending less time on email, and getting more work done and feeling more sane in return: Stop being so darn polite, essentially.

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The Checkup: The Secrets to Saving Money at Whole Foods

• Fact: I spent three hours and way too much money at the brand spankin’ new Whole Foods yesterday. In the future, I will be consulting this list (and you should too!) of insider tips — like asking to try anything before you buy, and buying everything hand-cut — before I hit the aisles to avoid falling into the Whole Paycheck trap. [Bon Appetit]

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Meet Licorice, This Week’s Adoptable Running Dog


This week’s adoptable running dog Licorice comes by way of ACCT after being found as a stray in West Fairmount Park. She loves to move — so if you’re looking for a reliable buddy to tackle the trails of Fairmount Park with you through winter, look no further. You can learn more about her below.

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My Top 5: Pantry Staples to Use for Glowing Skin (Plus How to Use Them) 

We’ve all seen ‘em: At-home beauty treatments made with pantry staples that Pinterest promises will transform your face into the blemish-free, pore-free, problem-free face of Jennifer Aniston circa the year 2000. But before you fall down the Pinterest at-home-beauty hole, we suggest you take a few pointers from Gigja Hlin Wesneski, the founder of the San Francisco-based organic skincare beauty line Root Science.

Root Science, available in Philly for the first time at King of Prussia’s new Anthropologie store (it opened today!), features many ingredients you might find in your kitchen (rice flour, chamomile, and more). So we figured we’d ask Wesnecki, clearly an expert when it comes to extracting pantry staples’ powers for unveiling glowing skin, to share her top five pantry staples to use on skin — and how to use ‘em. See her picks below.

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