Be Well Family: The Very Best Lunch Gear For Kids (And Adults)

Photos from clockwise from top left via onyxcontainers.com, thermos.com, tovolo.com, lunchbots.com, kleankanteen.com and builtny.com

One of the best parts of fall and starting a new school year (and OMG, that’s in about a minute now) is stocking up on new gear — especially lunch gear, which just keeps getting cooler and healthier and more fun. (And that’s translated into lunches that have gotten cooler and healthier and more fun.) Here, a roundup of the very best lunch bags and accessories for the whole family.

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Be Well Family: The Best Secondhand Shopping for Kids in Philly

numbeos/iStock.com

For many new parents, there’s an initial sense of delight at the idea of buying showroom-fresh gear and sparkling new clothes for that little peanut. It’s an understandable instinct, really — new, untouched baby gets new, untouched stuff. But in our experience? That thrill wears off very, very quickly (like, basically the time your kid destroys his first outfit, or barfs in that showroom-fresh swing), and it’s replaced by thrill of the hunt. Where can you get the cutest, most useful, high-quality stuff for the least amount of cash?

Here, we have some answers. Between a handful of amazing annual sales, a few helpful online resources and some excellent brick-and-mortar consignment shops in this city, there are dozens of ways to find solid, squee-worthy secondhand goods for kids and babies in Philly. You’ll never want to pay retail at a big box store again.
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Be Well Family: What to Do With Kids On Rainy Days at the Jersey Shore

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Into every Shore vacation, it seems, a little crappy weather must fall. Pre-kids, it’s no big deal: You just break out the wine and the puzzles and have yourself a delightful inside day. Post-kids, it’s pretty much the opposite of that — you get a couple good hours of screen time if you’re lucky, and then it’s basically Lord of the Flies. Unless, that is, you have some tricks up your sleeve. Here, a snapshot of our favorite (screen-free) go-tos for stormy days at the beach.

What: The Atlantic City Aquarium, in … yes .. Atlantic City, nestled in cute little Gardner’s Basin, which also boasts great boat-watching and a smattering of restaurants.
Why: This teeny aquarium is good for a couple hours of entertainment, even if you do have to trek to A.C. to get it. The place features a feeding show every couple of hours, wherein a staff diver jumps into the giant tank to feed the sea turtles and fish, while the kids gather around the window to watch. (More exciting than it sounds.)  There’s also plenty of opportunities to pet baby sharks, horseshoe crabs and stingrays, plus a couple floors’ worth of fish, snakes, lizards, frogs and various sea creatures to take in. The place isn’t fancy, but it’s a nice change of pace, it’s climate-controlled, and it’s shockingly affordable. (Just $6 for kids; $10 for adults; free for kids under 3!) Read more »

What Philly Women Need (By Philly Women)

Clockwise from top left: Shani Akilah, Timaree Schmit, Danielle Currica, Tracey Welson-Rossman, Lynne Abraham and Maria Quiñones-Sánchez | All photographs by Nell Hoving

Philly has been a man’s town for too long. And hey, not to point fingers or anything, but maybe that’s exactly what’s wrong with this place.

Given that women actually make up a majority in Philadelphia — 53 percent, yo — not to mention the state of the world today (you know: 50,000 women taking to the Philly streets last January in protest; your mom joining Pantsuit Nation; Wonder Woman as the superhero du jour), it felt like the right moment to talk about women. To talk to women. And so we did. We asked a wide range of females (and femmes) in this city — teachers, lawyers, activists, mothers, dancers, singers, entrepreneurs, politicians, writers, wives, sexperts — what should come next. What would make their lives, and the lives of other women, better in big and small ways? What, exactly, would they do if they were in charge?

Here, the women have their say. Read more »

10 Big Ideas to Solve Philly’s Looming Jobs Crisis

Illustration by Alex Nabaum

There is in this city a coming-of-age narrative — the Story of Philadelphia’s Rise — and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know this story well. It’s been told and retold by everyone from realtors to corporate recruiters to this magazine to the New York Times, and the basic plot goes like this: Once upon a time, Philly sucked. Laid low by the death of manufacturing and urban flight after WWII, the city by the 1970s was a pretty dismal place — a ghost town, all empty storefronts and streets. And then, a shift. Ed Rendell kicked us out of near-bankruptcy. The economy started growing; so did the city’s appeal. John Street focused on neighborhood improvement; the Center City District cleaned the place up. Now? It’s a whole new Philly. Center City booms, as does University City. We’re green, clean, walkable and bikeable, with a thriving hospitality industry and vivacious neighborhoods. There’s Comcast, the Navy Yard, the emerging start-up scene, all those millennials flooding the place. But you already know all of this.

There’s another story, too, though it’s not as well known. It’s certainly not as cheery as the first. It’s about economic growth, or the lack thereof, and it goes like this: For years — decades, actually — we’ve grown new jobs too slowly. Other major cities are attracting more companies, more talent, more money, at much faster rates. And this problem, roiling against the backdrop of revival, is more than a dark cloud in an otherwise sunny landscape: It’s a direct threat to all of Philly’s progress.

Truth is, Philly’s remarkable resurgence is less a product of innovative long-term planning and more the result of, well … happy accident. Over the past decade, especially, we’ve benefited immensely from a renewed national interest in cities (especially among millennials and boomers), a handful of major players hitting their stride (thanks, meds, eds, Comcast), and an unexpected population boom (more births than deaths, those enthusiastic millennials, and a steady flow of immigrants). Read more »

Be Well Family: 25 Best Father’s Day Gift Ideas for 2017

All images via respective retailers

PSA: Father’s Day is June 18. Do you know what you’re getting the dads in your life? We’ve polled some actual dads about what they really want this year, as well as the best things they’ve ever gotten … and we used that intel to put together the 2017 guide to excellent gift ideas for every sort of dad there is. So: No flasks, money clips or shammy cloths this year, okay?

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Be Well Family: Fun Family Getaways Near Philadelphia

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Every year, about this time — that is, after the winter’s done but before the true beach weather hits — we tend to get a little antsy, a little restless. Ready for an escape, ready to hit the road. Enter, the quickie weekend getaway: Something driveable, something fun, something simple, something that’s just not Philly. And that’s exactly what we’ve got here — four weekend getaways perfect for families who want to get the heck outta dodge (without a ton of effort or a plane ride).

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Be Well Family: The 20 Best Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for 2017

All images via respective retailers

All images via respective retailers

With Mother’s Day fast approaching (May 14!), it’s high time to start brainstorming some non-lame gift ideas for the moms in your life. (Or, moms: It’s time to start dropping hints — or just flat-out creating Amazon wishlists — for the gift-givers in yours.) Let us help. We polled real moms on the things they want for Mother’s Day, and culled that list to offer up the year’s best gift ideas — from state-of-the-art technology to family portrait mini-sessions to an Hermes dream bag. No matter what type of mom you’ve got (or what type of mom you are), there’s something here to delight. (Which means there’s no excuse for showing up with another vase.) Read more »

Be Well Family: The Best Advice for Philly Parents

AleksandarNakic/iStock.com

AleksandarNakic/iStock.com

From the moment one conceives until … well, forever, a parent gets advice. Incessant, unsolicited advice. Some of it is insane, some of it is infuriating, and some of it — a tiny percentage — is actually worth listening to. That tiny percentage? The good stuff? That’s what we have here … a round-up of the best, most helpful, most spot-on advice we got as new moms in Philly … and now give to new moms in Philly. Advice like:

Take the undies.
Every hospital gives new mom a small pile of stretchy, white (deeply unattractive) underwear to wear post-birth. Our advice? Ask for a big pile, and then ask for extras on top of that. Whether it’s a C-birth or V-birth, you will appreciate how soft and gentle and, well, disposable they are at a moment when the last thing you want to be thinking about (or being irritated by) is your undies. You’ll wear ’em for weeks. Read more »

Be Well Family: Awesome Philly Fitness Classes for New (and New-ish) Moms

newmomexercise

vgajic/iStock

For a long time around here, mom-and-me fitness classes were a somewhat limited genre: There were only a few options here and there, and they weren’t always at times that were accessible to working moms. But a lot has changed over the past couple years. Not only have some places gone out of their way to offer times that were a little friendlier to moms who work on weekdays, but there’s also come to be a pretty big variety of workouts available, too: Pilates, barre, yoga, strength-training, power-walking … something for just about every mom-and-baby duo, if you know where to look. (And hey! We are here to help you with the whole knowing-where-to-look part.)

Active Mom Fitness
The location: Northern Liberties and Washington Square West
The workout: Stronger After Pregnancy, taught by Active Mom Fitness founder Ashley Reid, offers a full-body workout as well as a little mom-bonding (both of the mom-and-baby and mom-and-mom sort) and education. The eight-week series aims to strengthen muscles weakened by pregnancy, and includes all sorts of fitness: Pilates, body-weight strength training, resistance training and more. Babies welcome, but not required. Bonus: Reid also offers baby-friendly personal and group training specially geared toward expecting, new or not-so-new moms. Read more »

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