I Tried It: A 20-Year-Old Guy’s Very First Yoga Class

“Just relax your leg!” the doctor said with a smirk while shaking my suspended limb back and forth. “My leg is relaxed, it just refuses to bend!” I responded with a hint of frustration and embarrassment in my voice.

I was 13 years old when my pediatrician sent me to St. Christopher’s Hospital to get tested for scoliosis. This was probably my fourth visit in as many years. He was hell-bent in his belief my spine was developing a curve and every visit I feared I’d actually be diagnosed this time. Little did I know I was about to become a medical enigma for a completely different reason.

Part of the test, for reasons unknown to me, involved checking the flexibility of my hamstrings. The doctor’s assistant was the first to take on the challenge of pushing my leg to my chest. I just laid on the examination table watching this poor lady attempt to find a trace of flexibility in my leg. The assistant, after laughing with my mom about the situation – which definitely made me feel normal — left to grab the orthopedic doctor. His efforts were also wasted. After pushing and pulling my leg like a stick shift, the resistance left him stunned. While the test for scoliosis came back negative, I left St. Christopher’s scarred with the memory of the wrestling match between my legs and their staff.

Clearly, flexibility and my name have no business being in the same sentence. But as the intern for Be Well Philly, I felt it was my duty to experience yoga for myself. Plus, I love a challenge and I’m no stranger to making a fool of myself. So when my editor suggested I try a class at CorePower Yoga on Walnut Street, I accepted with enthusiasm but feared the worst. Surely enough, my fears came true. And then some. Read more »

This Is What It’s Like to Rappel from a 31-Story Building in Center City


Yep, that’s me dangling there.

To say I was given the opportunity of a lifetime yesterday is a bit of an understatement. And to say I wasn’t completely terrified about said opportunity is an even bigger one.

I joined the folks at Philadelphia Outward Bound School for their four-years-running Building Adventure event, a fundraiser that supports Outward Bound’s outdoor leadership programs in Philadelphia schools. The fundraiser was launched back in 2012, a year after the School District of Philadelphia cut Outward Bound’s funding in the face of a budget crisis; Building Adventure was created to close the funding gap in order to keep Outward Bound programs in Philly schools running. Every year, Building Adventure takes around 100 thrill-seekers, who raise at least $2,000 each, to the top of One Logan Square for a 31-story rappel — gorgeous, once-in-a-lifetime views of Philly included.  Read more »

Before & After: How Getting Bangs Completely Changed My Face


Tonia got it pretty darn close. | Emily Goulet.

I’ve always considered myself to be someone down to experiment with hair, yet I wind up getting the same style every time. However, Shoppist has been putting my self-awareness to the test, first turning me bronde for the love of summer trend testing. To be honest, that was easy. This time, though, we really went for it: I got full-on ’70s fringe. Read more »

Why You Should Start Dry Brushing Your Body Every Morning


Long-handled brush is crucial. | Shutterstock.

“Do you dry brush?”

This was what my sister asked me the other day, as casually as one might ask whether or not you floss. My eyes almost rolled out of my head. What are you supposed to brush? And when did “dry brush” become a verb? (Turns out, a few years ago, when Miranda Kerr mentioned that she did it.) The health benefits sounded too good to be true: lymphatic drainage, increased energy, immunity boost, firmer skin. Then my sister mentioned ‘cellulite breakup,’ and I was in. One trip to Rite Aid and a few days later, here’s what I discovered. Read more »

I Tried It: One Stressed-Out, Overly Caffeinated Editor’s Acupuncture Journey


Under the needle. | Shutterstock.


That’s the best way to describe it. Like a troop of misguided butterflies has taken up residence in the center of my chest, just beneath the breastbone, making me jumpy, anxious, like I’m about to take the stage in a school play, or like I’m hiding from a serial killer.

I’m not sure why I’m so nervous, only that I’ve always been this way. Photos of me as a little girl show my index finger poised at the side of my thumb, ready to pick at the skin around my nail (something I do to this day; it’s a wonder I still have thumbs). Lately, though, with work and house-hunting and general Life Stuff, the butterflies have turned into more of a softball-size lump, a heavy gelatinous mush of nerves I can’t quite shake. Which is how I found myself lying on my stomach with a bunch of needles sticking out of my back a few weeks ago.  Read more »

Confession: I Was Totally Fooled by Lithe Method

Photo via Facebook

Lithe Method | photo via Facebook

Last week, as I was rushing to make it to my first-ever Lithe Method class, I realized that I’d not only forgotten my water bottle, I’d also forgotten my inhaler, one of my must-haves for basically any physical activity beyond a brisk walk. But instead of panicking about the possibility of not being able to breathe in front of a room full of strangers, I thought to myself: I probably won’t need it, anyway. After all, it’s called Cardio-Cheer-Sculpting. The classes have names like “Skinny Jeans” and “All That.” How hard can it be? 

Boy, was I fooled.

Within the first 10 minutes of the class—an hourlong, demo-style medley of the Lithe Essential Workout classes, taught by Lithe Method creator Lauren Boggi—my legs were trembling, I could barely feel my arms, and my face resembled a sweaty, overripe tomato. And I really wished I’d remembered my freakin’ inhaler.

Read more »

I Tried It: Energizing Salt Therapy Bed at New Rittenhouse Spa


The lobby of La Rêve Spa in Rittenhouse.

When I was invited to preview the services at just-opened Le Rêve Spa in Rittenhouse, I jumped. Sure, they had massages and facials and all the regular run-of-the-mill spa stuff, but they also had a salt therapy bed. And chromotherapy. This is the stuff my spa dreams are made of: cracked-out treatments that promise to do things like ‘detoxify’ and ‘realign your chakras’ and ‘provide healing energy.’ I’m obsessed with detoxing (meaning: I buy lots of books and read about it while drinking wine).

I went after work last week, prickling with anticipation. Not only was I getting a peek at the brand-spanking-new spa, I was also guinea-pigging the Pure Himalayan Salt Therapy treatment. And I had just started a detox diet that pretty much consists of eating only lettuce and pea-rice protein shakes for three weeks. My body would soon be a temple of holistic nontoxic health. I could practically feel myself turning into Gwyneth Paltrow.

Read more here.

I Tried It: Eyelashing Tinting at Laurentius Salon


Long, lush lashes — without makeup? | Shutterstock

I have two friends who, every three weeks, get their eyelashes filled. They’ve sat through the process of getting the eyelash extensions once—an hours-long power nap where individual extensions are painstakingly applied to each and every one of their natural lashes—and now, they enjoy a 20-minute cat nap every now and then while the lashes that have shed since their last visit and grown anew are given their extension once again.

These days, eyelash treatments are climbing right up there with gel manis and hair trims on ladies’ regular rounds of grooming exercises, and more and more salons are extending their menus to cater to them. Laurentius Salon in South Philly’s Italian Market neighborhood is one of the most recent to add tinting and a battery of extensions (from silk to mink) to their roster, and so the other day, to see what all this lash hubbub was about, I let them play with mine.

See the results here.

I Tried It: Stiletto Fit Pole Dancing, A Workout in Six-Inch Heels



I don’t know what I was expecting when I stepped off the trolley in West Philly onto a deserted stretch of Lancaster Avenue on Monday morning, gym bag in hand. But a fuchsia pole dance studio barely a stone’s throw away from a liquor store definitely wasn’t it. I was headed to Stiletto Fit at A Sensual You, a class all about toning your butt, legs and abs, done entirely in sky-high heels. To say I was unprepared is a gross understatement.

From the second I walked in, it was clear that I was completely out of place. In fact, the first words out of my mouth were, “Don’t worry, you can totally laugh at me.” And believe me, these ladies should have. The uniform of choice was booty shorts and strappy platform stilettos that would impress stilt walkers and strippers alike. I had on leggings and heels I bought on sale in high school. To make matters worse, there was only one other student in the class, so there was no hiding in the back. I felt like a walking—no, a stumbling, disaster, and the class hadn’t even begun. Read more »

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