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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Dear People Everywhere: Please Stop Inspiring Me with Your Stupid Quotes

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“Strength does not come from physical capacity.
It comes from an indomitable will.” — Gandhi

This is the quote that was staring me in the face as I attempted to deadlift 90 pounds. It graces the wall of my gym, but was actually put there by a juice company that operates inside. A juice company. My trainer pushed me through my last exhausting set, at the end of an already grueling workout, after I had rushed to get my kids to school and was anticipating rushing out after so I could get to work just a little late instead of very late. My point: People, there could not have been a more apropos time for some “you go, girl!” 
inspo.

And yet all this quote did was make me want to heave that barbell right through the juice company’s frosted glass window.

I didn’t immediately understand why this made me red-face-emoji mad, but it definitely had to do with the fact that by the time I read that quote, despite that it was only nine in the morning, I had already been bombarded with plenty of “inspiration” that day. There were memes on my Instagram and Facebook feeds; a “dance like nobody’s watching” in an email signature; and there was something about how “moms rule” on a coffee mug. Read more »

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: 9 Easy Ways to Find a Babysitter in Philly

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iStock

Babysitters — the good ones, at least — are lifesavers. But finding them — the good ones, at least — can be an arduous process. Here, some creative and productive ways to find quality help in and around Philly.

The Listservs
There are bunch of local listservs targeted at moms, ranging from ones that are citywide (the uber popular PennsyMoms) to ones more neighborhood-focused (Queen Village Kids, The Kids South of Washington, Fairmount Parents). Post what you are looking for and a caretaker or fellow parent might hook you up. I’ve found great sitters and even an awesome nanny this way. Find the listservs on Google or Yahoo Groups. Note: For some, you’ll need to put in a request and be “accepted”, which might take some time.

Facebook Groups
Similar to listservs, there are some hyperlocal closed Facebook groups you can turn to, like Queen Village/Bella Vista Kids and New Moms of Center City. Do a search for ones in your neighborhood. 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: 10 Philly Places Every New Mom Should Know About

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iStock

As more parents populate greater Center City, more places dedicated to serving parents have popped up — and thank goodness for that. Because sometimes all you need in life is a nursing group. Or a carrier tutorial. Or potty-training help. Or some mom friends. Or a just really cute onesie. You can find all (or most) of those things (and more!!) at each of the places listed here — places devoted to helping moms in all sorts of ways.

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

newmomexercise

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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 »

Be Well Family: This Is a Mother’s Brain at Bedtime

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iStock

The Scene
10:45 p.m., any given weeknight

The Ritual
1. Washes face, brushes teeth, applies moisturizing face oil and eye cream.
2. Climbs into bed. Thinks to self: I’ll just settle in here with my book club book and wind down for a bit
3. Wait, did I pack Luke’s lunch for tomorrow?
4. Yes.
5. Or is that last night that I’m remembering?
6. No, it was definitely tonight because we had that whole conversation about how I couldn’t get the smell of musty old cheese out of it.
7. Ack, I forgot to order a new lunch bag.
8. Puts Kindle down; reaches for phone.
9. Though I wonder what would happen if I bleached the old lunch bag?

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

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iStock

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.

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Be Well Family: 9 Awesome Drop-In Gyms for Kids in Philly

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iStock

This time of year is rough: Everyone is dying to get out and run around after a long, cooped-up winter, but the seasonal rain, mud, wind, a freezing day, even — God forbid — snow can really get in the way. On more than one occasion, the city’s (and suburbs’) indoor kid gyms and active-play centers have saved us: Not only can you find spots geared toward everyone from toddlers on up through teens, but without fail, these places are always good for at least a couple of hours of hardcore energy-burning, nap-inducing activity. And while many local spots offer regular weekly classes, every indoor play place on this list also has time dedicated for drop-in open play … meaning no commitment or pre-registration necessary.

Fusion Tumbling and Fitness, Fishtown
This second-story studio is simple but awesome: A big, sun-drenched, open space with floor mats and tumbling equipment and even a small inflatable bounce house for open-play time. The bread and butter of the place are its classes (tumbling and gymnastics for babies on up through teens), but four days a week, there’s time designated for supervised open play for little ones aged one to five, as well as open gym time for kids aged 6 and up. Members pay $5 for open play time; non-members pay $10, with $5 for siblings. Read more »

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