Spring Travel: Get Active in Austin

At Travaasa, guests can try their hand at horseback riding. Photo via istockphoto

At Travaasa, guests can try their hand at horseback riding. Photo courtesy of Travaasa Experiential Resorts

Most vacations are punctuated by a staid lineup of activities, like regrettable sunbathing and reservations at lackluster seafood joints. While some sojourners favor the familiar, more intrepid types face a dilemma: Should they bite their tongues and hit the beach, or plan a more outside-the-box getaway? For the latter, there’s Travaasa, a 72-room “experiential resort” in Austin that marries action-packed instructional programming (daily dude-ranch-inspired classes) with leisure (tranquil spa treatments and farm-to-table dining). Read more »

Spring Travel: Get Spiritual in Upstate New York

Mohonk Mountain House. Photograph by Jim Smith

Mohonk Mountain House. Photograph by Jim Smith

At this point in American history, we could all use a little more peace and relaxation, a bit of Zen, and there’s arguably no better place to find this than up in the Catskill Mountains, a quick three-hour hop due north.

Once a schmaltzy resort area popular with the Don Rickles set, the region has lately become a destination for those seeking inner peace, thanks to its easily navigable cluster of spiritual getaways like ashrams and temples. The experiences here are as varied as people’s reasons for visiting. At Ananda Ashram in Monroe, you can stop by for a yoga intensive, or lessons in Sanskrit. Over at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Ranch in Woodbourne, an hour northwest, 70-plus acres offer seriously serene nature walks and a detoxifying Russian wood-burning sauna. Closer to Woodstock, Zen Mountain Monastery has a popular Sunday morning meditation-for-beginners series as well as Zen for kids. Read more »

Spring Travel: Get Outdoorsy in West Virginia

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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 »

Spring Travel: Get Healthy in Miami

Workouts with a view. Photo via Carillon Miami Wellness Resort

Workouts with a view. Photo via Carillon Miami Wellness Resort

Sure, Miami — a city arguably best known for its late-night partying and accompanying please-don’t-raise-the-blinds mornings — might not seem like the ideal place to kick-start a healthy lifestyle. But the Carillon Miami Wellness Resort, a towering 150-suite beachfront property nestled on the tamer north end of Miami Beach, doesn’t dish out typical South Florida debauchery. Instead, it offers an impressive 70,000-square-foot wellness facility — a veritable playground (complete with rock wall, spin room and juice bar) for guests seeking a Goop-like health and fitness overhaul. Read more »

Spring Travel: Get Hungry in the Poconos

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Photo via istockphoto

If we’re being technical, the Lodge at Woodloch bills itself as a luxury spa destination — and with its indoor pool, salon, trio of hot tubs, and a treatment menu that stretches from body wraps, facials and massages to hydrotherapy and reiki, that’s certainly an apt descriptor. But this resort, tucked three hours away from Philly in the far northeast corner of our state, is also (surprise!) a food lovers’ paradise. Read more »

A Smart (and Useful!) Way to Repurpose Citrus Peels 

I’m not sure what comes over me when I enter Target, but I always find myself back home, unpacking a bag filled with luxe, eco-friendly kitchen surface cleaners that I imagine Gwyneth Paltrow uses, that give my home the lovely scent of Lemon Verbena mixed with financial irresponsibility.

So, my wallet can thank the folks over at Healthyish for this tip to keep my kitchen spray free of gnarly chemicals and smelling like citrusy deliciousness while spending very little money, and reusing some stuff that would’ve otherwise gone in the garbage. #Winning.

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Meet Skunk, This Week’s Adoptable Running Dog

Skunk | Photo courtesy Monster Milers

Skunk | Photo courtesy Monster Milers

Say hello to Skunk, this week’s adoptable running dog, who gets his name from his colors not his scent. This young guys is super friendly with dogs and humans alike, and the Monster Milers think — with a little attention — he’d make for a great trail buddy. Learn more about him below.

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Why This Local Cookbook Author Is a Big Fan of the Cheesecake Factory

Erica Daniels with son Leo | Photo courtesy Erica Daniels

Erica Daniels with son Leo | Photo courtesy Erica Daniels

Raise your hand if you or your kids have food allergies or struggle with autism-related food issues. Okay, now meet Maple Glen resident and autism advocate Erica Daniels, your night in shining apron. When Daniels’s son Leo, now 12 years old, was a year old, she found out he had a peanut allergy. Then, a bit later, she found out he was struggling with autism and was affected by GI issues, too. This news led to years of experimenting in the kitchen — often with Leo by her side — to create allergen-free recipes her entire family could enjoy. The fruits of all this labor: A new allergen-free autism family cookbook, Cooking with Leo, complete with over 60 recipes free of common allergens like gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, and more. Or: Your new cooking bible.

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What Philly Fitness Trainers Buy at Whole Foods

Whole Foods | Photo by Adjua Fisher

Whole Foods | Photo by Adjua Fisher

I’m just going to say it: Whole Foods is kind of a weird place to me. It’s a little bit intimidating with all of its trendy healthy foods. Some I’ve never even heard of, let alone know how to cook or cut into (I haven’t even mastered cutting mangos, so don’t you dare confront me with a jack fruit. Am I alone? … Help!). But they do have the Chao Vegan Cheese Slices I love, so I have popped in a few times to pick up some of that goodness.

I have not yet visited the new, beautiful and heath-foodie-friendly Whole Foods location on Pennsylvania Avenue (the shame!). But don’t worry, it’s on my to-do list for this weekend (really!). And now I have a cheat sheet of sorts for my first trip (and so do you!): Here, we got a slew of Philly personal trainers to dish on what they throw in their carts at Whole Foods. Their answers: 15 mostly healthy, must-try foods, from $3 frozen samosas to nori sheets you can sub in for wraps, and more. So grab some paper and a pencil because your grocery list is about to get a little bit longer. (Psst: If you’re headed to Trader Joe’s this weekend, we’ve got Philly fitness pro-approved buys for TJ’s here.)  Read more »

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