Book Review: Hollywood Rides a Bike

Hollywood Rides a Bike: Cycling with the Stars, by Steven Rea, Angel City Press, 160 pp., $20.

Take a ride back in time and pay homage to classic wheels. Steven Rea, film critic for the Philadelphia INquirer and professor at Drexel University, initially took his love for cinema and cycling to the internet in NOvember 2010 with the Tumblr "Rides a Bike." After developing cult-like following, Rea has brought this fascinating collection to print, providing a great glimpse into the bike culture of Hollywood's finest. Boasting high quality, mostly black and white photos, as well as a bikes and stars index, Hollywood Rides a Bike is a timeless treasure to add to your collection. -- Liz Pacheco

Read More

Life, Unplugged

story by Suzanne LevyEvery week, on Friday night, something close to a miracle happens at our house.

My 12- and 15- year old stepdaughters turn off their cell phones, unplug from Facebook and step away from the TV. My four-year-old daughter even stops whining to play a game on my computer.

The reason? Our humble tradition of a family night—an evening with no distractions or technology.  It’s a tradition we’ve followed for four years now, after I realized our hectic weekday evening schedule was becoming a blurred Groundhog Day-like jumble of dinner, homework, TV, computer, texting, Facebook, drives to and from activities, and mercifully, bed.

Read More

Neighborhood Bike Works

Founded in 1966 as a program of the Bicycle Coalition, Neighborhood Bike Works is now the leading nonprofit educational organization for empowering Philadelphia youth in underserved neighborhoods through bicycling. Their flagship program, Earn-A-Bike, teaches youth basic bike repair and maintenance skills, safe urban riding practices, and lessons on health and nutrition, all while refurbishing a bike they get to keep. Along with their extensive youth programs, Bike Works leads community service projects, an annual Bike Part Art Show, and supports in the Bike Church, an Adult Bike Repair Co-Op.

For more information, visit

Spin Masters: The Bicycle Coalition celebrates 40 years of leading Philadelphia's bike movement

story by Shaun BradyIn 1972, there were no bike lanes in Philadelphia. There was no way to cross the Benjamin Franklin Bridge on a bicycle, and SEPTA had banned bikes from all their buses, trains and trolleys. Even the few trails that existed weren’t connected. But while the climate was bleak for cyclists, it was also ripe for change.
Read More

Shoots & Ladders: Bottle of Rain

story by Char VandermeerHeat can beat even the most conscientious of gardeners. All it takes is consecutive 100-degree days to reduce cucumbers and tomatoes to sad piles of shriveled leaves and cracked fruits. But even though the best way to avoid heat damage is to keep roots cool, and the best way to keep roots cool is to water regularly, watering during the heat of the day—especially delicate, hairy-leafed plants like tomatoes and cucumbers—can be problematic. In the heat of the day, those dewy water drops become magnifying glasses that burn tender leaves. And let’s be honest: There aren’t many folks who can dote on their container garden three times a day like midsummer demands.
Read More

Recycling Challenge: Child Car Seats

story by Samantha WittchenFACT: Americans are estimated to buy as many as 12 million car seats a year.

PROBLEM: Kids outgrow car seats, and the seats have expiration dates (usually five to six years after manufactured), as the materials eventually degrade from ultraviolet light exposure. So, parents generally buy multiple car seats for their children during the period when they are required by law to use one. These seats are made of plastic, metal, foam and fabric that could be recycled if the seats are deconstructed. Yet most car seats end up in a landfill, and there are only a handful of programs nationwide that accept car seats for recycling.

Read More

Green Living: Lip Service

Last month, I talked about the toxins in skincare products and, unfortunately, cosmetics aren’t exempt from those same dangers. Did you know many lip products may contain lead? Even though it’s not listed in the ingredients label, lead can be a byproduct of the manufacturing process. If you’re putting a product containing lead on your lips, the chemical is being absorbed into your mouth or through your skin. Lead exposure is not safe at any level, advises the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another danger with lip balms is petrolatum, which can become contaminated by crude oil and byproducts during manufacturing. About one in every 14 cosmetic products on the market, including lip products, has petrolatum, reports the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit organization that works to protect public health and the environment. Fortunately, you can make your own lip balm. It’s quick, fun and easier than you may think!
Read More

Urban Naturalist: Fancy Feast

story by Bernard BrownYou won’t hear urban coyotes howling. They’re nocturnal and as quiet as, well, cats. But coyotes are filling the vacancy we created at the top of the food chain when we wiped out grey wolves and cougars in eastern North America. By now, hundreds of the wily canids thrive in Chicago and breed in Washington, D.C.; in 2006, a coyote was trapped in Manhattan’s Central Park. You might picture canyons and road runners when you think of coyotes, but according to the Pennsylvania State Game Commission, they have been spreading across the commonwealth. Gary Stolz, manager of the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge, has even spotted them next door at the airport.
Read More

Cheese of the Month: Grass-Fed Ricotta

story by Tenaya Darlington, madamefromageblog.comForget about the sad, granular cement that comes in supermarket tubs. Fresh ricotta is feather-light, like the cheese Mark Lopez produces at his Wholesome Dairy Farms in Yellow House, Pa. Made from grass-fed milk, this stuff is dream-inducing. Take a spoonful, drizzle some honey on it, and you will experience double rainbows. That’s a promise.
Read More

Squash Cycle: What to do with summer's ubiquitous vegetable

story by Marisa McClellanWhether you love or hate summer squash, July and August are impossible to live through without having it cross your dinner plate. Happily, I adore it all, whether it’s the classic green zucchini, the more unconventional yellow crookneck or the tender, flying saucer-shaped pattypan.

Still, during the height of the season, I eventually get bored with buttered and salted steamed squash. To help deal with the onslaught, I’ve developed a roster of recipes that highlight the best of this summer bounty.

Read More