Spring Travel: Get Outdoorsy in West Virginia


The Greenbrier combines lush nature with modern grandeur. Photo via istockphoto

The six-hour drive from Philly to the Greenbrier resort sets the tone for what’s to come: Busy four-lane highways morph into quiet two-lane country roads that cut through mountains so densely covered in trees, you begin to wonder if West Virginia is one big state park. The property’s meandering driveway leads you to the gleaming white hotel, which rises like a mirage. This, you will think to yourself, is the definition of old-school class. But there’s no need for posturing — the Greenbrier was built in the 1700s and has hosted royalty, celebrities, 26 presidents, and Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints, who recently held their training camp on-site. Read more »

Be Well Family: I Tried Those Period Undies. Here’s My Review.



It was possibly the shortest text exchange that my best friend and I have ever had.

Christy: I think you should get a pair of those period underwear and write about it.
Me: Done.

If you are woman of menstruating age, chances are — no strike that — you most definitely are wondering how these magic undies work. The curiosity is unavoidable: Images of period panties — albeit sponsored ones — pop up on my Instagram feed about a billion times a week. I’ve also read countless stories about the young founder of Thinx (the most well-publicized brand in the period panty genre), Miki Agrawal, and her chutzpah, for talking about and tackling something as taboo as periods.

I zipped over to the Thinx website and was instantly confronted with some conundrums to work through. First, there are six styles of underwear, each holding a different amount of fluid. It makes sense that heavier flow times call for larger underwear, while light days can be thongs, but if I’m having a boyshorts kind of day and don’t want VPLs, the underwear might affect what I want to wear that day. And Lordy, getting dressed for work is hard enough.

Read more »

Grandparents Gone Wild in Philly

Illustration by Gluekit

Illustration by Gluekit

I was lucky; Cate Lux was able to squeeze me in for coffee. She had just returned from meeting her newest granddaughter in Oregon and was right back into her regular schedule: art classes at Fleisher Art Memorial, helping out part-time at a school, trips to the Barnes, progressive dinners with friends, programs at the Union League, two book clubs — oh, and minding her grandkids, who like to swim in the pool at her Washington Square building. As I sat across from Lux at Talula’s Daily, it struck me: This 65-year-old former schoolteacher with beaming hazel eyes and a chic blond bob could be busier than Betty White.

Three years ago, her life looked dramatically different. She was in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, where she had lived for 30 years, recently retired and newly widowed. “I felt so isolated. So many of my friends had their grandchildren there,” says Lux. “I had always seen those older women walking with their shopping carts in the city, and I liked that.” Plus, two of her three kids live in Philly. So her daughter found her an apartment in the St. James, and Lux made the move, not knowing anyone here beyond her family. Read more »

23 Free (or Basically Free) Things to Do With The Kids in Philly This Winter



Who among us isn’t always looking for more ideas of things to do with the kids? Ones that won’t break the bank? Especially at times like this, when it’s incredibly cold out, and the usual things like the playground and walking around the city are exercises in torture? Here, a list of ideas for things to do with your kids any given (snowy, frigid, wintery mix) day that don’t require a) making reservations b) spending a fortune or c) freezing your face off.

Ikea. The mega-store in South Philly boasts a supervised play space for kids who are between 37 and 52 inches tall (and potty-trained) — and it comes with the bonus of letting you get a little uninterrupted “me-time” with the Malm and Fjellse. (Note: the playspace inside the Chick-fil-A, which is located in the same shopping center as Ikea, is also clean and usually not over-crowded.)

Fireman’s Hall. The great little Old City museum housed in a former firehouse has historic tools, uniforms, a bunch of carriages and trucks, and a fun interactive spot for kids upstairs. (Bonus: It’s staffed by current and past firefighters, which is just cool.) Admission is free, though donations are suggested. One tip here: Hours can be erratic, so you might want to call before you go.

Smith Memorial Playground. Kids won’t even miss the potato-sack slide (which is closed for the winter) after they realize they have the run of this three-floor playhouse. You might think the toys could use a little TLC, but your child won’t bat an eye. Make sure to head downstairs, where there are trikes and scooters to ride around a track, and to the art rooms, where staffers lead activities. It’s free, but donations are encouraged. Read more »

Last Chance for ThinkFest Tickets

photo for ash

The editors and marketing team of Philly Mag spend about a year planning ThinkFest. We recognized — all the way back in 2015 — that our event would take place the week after a historical, possibly world-altering election. We had a lot of conversations about how that could affect the tone of the day and if that should change the topics we present.

Now, after said historical election, I’m happier than ever that we stuck to ThinkFest’s original mission of presenting a strong Philadelphia that keeps looking forward. Read more »

Join John Middleton, Tamala Edwards, Apu Gupta and More at ThinkFest 2016


Philadelphia is full of smart people doing smart things. Things that can change the world. But you know the story: They are from Philly, so they don’t quite get the recognition they deserve.

That’s why we created ThinkFest.

For the fifth year in a row, we asked some of Philly’s most interesting people to tell their stories. Their stories vary in scope: Some have been through extraordinary experiences, others are at the epicenter of a cultural movement, some have a very specific problem they are trying to solve.

This year’s ThinkFest will be held on Tuesday, November 15th, at the Convention Center. Among the many highlights:

  • Phillies’ co-owner John Middleton discusses the intersection of business, sports and philanthropy
  • Asa Khalif, Philadelphia’s Black Lives Matter organizer/activist, and Tamala Edwards, 6 ABC news anchor, delve into the Black Lives Matter movement and what it means for Philadelphia
  • Apu Gupta, co-founder of the smoking hot start-up Curalate, and Bob Moul, CEO of Cloudamize, chat about the state of our start-up scene
  • Nicole Marquis (HipCityVeg), Steve Cook (Federal Donuts, Dizengoff), Justin Rosenberg (Honeygrow) and Danya Henninger (Billy Penn) ruminate on Philly’s quick-serve food revolution
  • A performance by Bobby Hill and the Keystone State Boychoir
  • Sasha Issenberg, author and contributor to Bloomberg Politics, on the 2016 Presidential election.

Of course, these are only a few of the speakers and entertainers that will be at the event.


8 Places for Hiking in Philadelphia with Kids


The playground is fun and all, but going for long walks — in nature — is something that benefits everyone in the family. Babies can nap, kids can get some old-fashioned outdoor time, parents can get in some exercise. And ya know what? You don’t have to be a “hiker” or know how to cook beans over a campfire to enjoy the local trails. (You can even wear your skinny jeans if you want.) Here are eight great spots close to Philly that are worthy of the trip.

In Philadelphia
What: The Schuylkill Center in Roxborough is the largest privately owned tract of land in Philadelphia, and its entire raison d’etre is to connect people with nature. There are 340 acres of trees, streams, and fields, and three miles of totally doable hiking trails.
Why it’s great for kids: There’s an actual “center” here, which has a strong, kid-focused educational mission. That means a nature preschool, summer camps and solid weekend programming, including exhibits, hikes and activities. The trails will loop you through wooden bridges, ponds, and play areas. Picnics are allowed. Read more »

How I Made My Nights 20 Times Happier



Fifteen hours a week. I’m embarrassed to point this out, but I only spend 15 hours during the work week with my kids. There’s the frantic morning hour between wake-up and school drop-off, and then there’s the couple of hours between school pick-up and bedtime. When I add it up, our Monday through Friday together time clocks in at about 15 hours. I spend more time in meetings than I do with my own kids.

But that’s not even the most gut-wrenching part. The real tragedy is that I spent years of those precious after-school and after-work hours in a bad mood. The kids are tired. I’m tired. They are hungry. I am hungry. I’m sick of having the same arguments about why the oldest can’t have jelly beans for dinner, and I’m sick of picking the baby’s food off the floor. I want to get them to bed, because hanging over my head are the millions of other things I need to do around the house, the work I need to finish, the dinner I need to cook, the emails I need to return—all before I could relax for the first time that day. The kids are aware that our time together is limited, so they want all of my attention. (Who can blame them? See: 15 hours a week.) Recently, as we were slogging through the usual arduous dinner-bath-bed routine, I looked over at my husband and saw the frustration and exhaustion on his face, which no doubt mirrored my own. At that moment, I realized that what should be the most cherished time of my day – the few hours we spend together as a family — is actually my most difficult.  Read more »

Best of Philly: Best Philadelphians 2016

From left: Taff, Ubiñas, Woodard, Mustafa. | Photograph by Nell Hoving

From left: Brian Taff, Helen Ubiñas, Omar T. Woodard, Yasmine Mustafa. | Photograph by Nell Hoving

TV Reporter

Brian Taff, 6 ABC

Let’s face it: Philly broadcasters have traditionally been little more than talking heads. But Taff is doing something different. He regularly takes to Facebook to break an unwritten rule of TV journalism by expressing his personal opinions on controversial topics like gay marriage and the hate-filled antics of Donald Trump. In an even tone, he calls for civility and
logic in an era that lacks both.


Helen Ubiñas, Daily News

Sometimes, being an outsider is a good thing. Ubiñas moved to Philly from Connecticut four and a half years ago and has used her column to point out just how screwed up this city is when it comes to handling issues like poverty and crime. She knows things can be better, and she’s not afraid to use some stunt journalism to prove it: She recently made national headlines when she wrote about how it took her all of seven minutes to buy an AR-15 rifle in Philly — and much longer to get rid of it at a police station. Read more »

DNC Guide: The Parties and Events

Blavat: Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images; stadium and fox: istockphoto; Loews: G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia; Kimmel: M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia; Noah: Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central.

Blavat: Bobby Bank/WireImage/Getty Images; stadium and fox: istockphoto; Loews: G. Widman for Visit Philadelphia; Kimmel: M. Kennedy for Visit Philadelphia; Noah: Brad Barket/Getty Images for Comedy Central.

For the I’m-With-Her crowd: The Emily’s List party
What: This powerful PAC has been supporting pro-choice female candidates since the ’80s and has raised more than $400 million for their causes. Obviously, this is the election they’ve been waiting for, and they’re hosting a party at the Kimmel Center on July 27th to celebrate. (Psst … look for Ed Rendell in the crowd.)
Can You Get In? Hells yes! It’s free, but you’ll need to RSVP on their site.

For US Weekly Subscribers:The Creative Coalition’s concert and VIP party
What: This nonprofit uses star power (it was founded in the ’80s by Alec Baldwin, Susan Sarandon and others) to press for arts advocacy, public education and First Amendment rights. Not surprisingly, they’re known to throw kickass parties. The big one will be on July 27th (venue TBD) and feature Fergie as headliner. Can You Get In? You bet! About 500 tickets are available for purchase on their website; proceeds benefit the charity.

For the Smart-asses: The Daily Show with Trevor Noah tapings
What: The quick-witted Daily Show stars will be telecasting from Penn’s Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts from the 26th to the 29th. (The last time the show was broadcast from Philly was during the 2000 RNC.) Can You Get In? If you were one of 800 Penn students who won the ticket lottery in April, yes. For everyone else, there’s still a good chance; reserve your ticket on the show’s website.

For Political Fanboys/girls: The Atlantic HQ and Politico Hub
What: Both influential media outlets are rounding up their top talent and setting up shop for the week. Politico’s multimedia space in 2 Commerce Square will have nonstop programming, daily briefings, conversations with experts, a nightly lounge and a live watch party. The Atlantic will be at the Field House and offer in-depth analytical morning briefings along with discussions, luncheons, nightly networking cocktail receptions, and a workspace and lounge. Can You Get In? Access to the Atlantic’s HQ is limited; request an invite on their site. Politico’s Hub is open to the public.

For Lifelong Dems: Phantastic Philadelphia 2016
What: Bob Brady is kicking off the festivities with a bash at SugarHouse Casino on July 24th. Five hundred-plus bigwigs, from members of Congress to state senators to local ward leaders, will be getting down to live doo-wop (a favored Brady musical genre) curated by Jerry Blavat. Can You Get In? If you aren’t an elected official or working for one, most likely not. But then again, politicians are always up for discussing favors.

For News Chasers: The major-league media party
What: Correspondents, bloggers, Snapchatters and 10,000 other members of the media will flood Citizens Bank Park on July 23rd for a welcome bash where Philly’s hometown flavor will be on display. Five stages of local musical acts are expected (including the CAPA Jazz Band and DJ Jazzy Jeff), and more than 30 local restaurants (including options from Starr, Garces and Solomonov) will serve up eats. Can You Get In? Are you a member of the media who got your paperwork in on time? Then congrats, you’re in.

For the What-election? crowd: Philly Feast and Center City Sips
What: The Host Committee — the Philly-based group helping to coordinate
everything — is keeping the locals happy with Philly Feast, a daytime food-truck festival (with live music) in Old City on July 25th. And they’re partnering with the Center City District for a special Sips on July 27th; you can mix it up with delegates and convention guests at Dilworth Plaza, Comcast Plaza and Centre Square. Don’t know or care if Hillary is spelled with one “l” or two? These events are for you. Can You Get In? Yes, both are open to the public.

For the Power-in-Diversity crew: The 2016 DNC watch party celebrating the black vote
What: Actress Vivica A. Fox, activist group Dogon Village and some PA Dems are hosting a watch party at Penn’s Landing with dinner, dancing, and a performance by Grammy Award-winning singer Howard Hewett. Five hundred people, including pols and civil rights leaders from around the country, are expected to attend. Can You Get In? Yes. Tickets ($50 to $125) are available at Dogon Village’s website.

For the “Party” people: The hotel bars
What: Thanks to a divisive election, some companies and media outlets known to throw top-notch convention events are staying away this year. But there’s one tradition that can be counted on: The bars in the hotels where large groups of delegates are staying will be lively fun zones. Head to 12th and Market and hop from the Marriott Hotel Downtown (where the delegates from California, Florida and Iowa will be staying) to the Loews Philadelphia (where New York and Virginia are sleeping). Can You Get In? Probably. Buying a few rounds helps.

Published as “The Philadelphian’s Guide to the DNC” in the July issue of Philadelphia magazine.

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