Pretty Poisons: How Tierra Mia is fighting the toxic ills of the fingernail biz

You’ll never see fresh-cut flowers in a nail salon,” says Justin Mitchell, who co-owns Center City’s Tierra Mia Organic Nail Spa with his fiancée Karina Restrepo. “Flowers die in just a few hours, because the fumes in the air are so bad. It sounds like a tall tale, but it’s shocking, really.”
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The Wedding Issue: Sugar Crash

With prices for commodities like butter, sugar and flour steadily rising, a picture-perfect castle of wedding cake can carry a steep price tag, especially when made with organic and local ingredients. If you still lust for a traditional tower, look to a local bakery with lots of experience working with organic flour and sugar, like Lotus Cake Studio (lotuscakestudio.com). Though they don’t make organic cakes, Night Kitchen Bakery (nightkitchenbakery.com) practices sustainability with a comprehensive recycling program, composting of food scraps and rain harvesting. Ask your baker for local fruits, herbs and flowers, and Fair Trade chocolate and nuts for garnishes as nice to eat as to admire; or just chuck it all and order up an array of seasonal fruit pies or a cool ice cream bar from your local favorite. 

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The Wedding Issue: Each One Cook One

They say practice makes perfect, so a quick run-through of the show before the big day is a must. Make sure everyone knows their lines and places, but don’t spend a fortune on a restaurant dinner. Instead, ask a friend with a sweet place to host your rehearsal dinner as their wedding gift, and ask attendees to bring a dish that is special to them, as well as an index card with the recipe for their dish.  It’s low-stress, low-cost, and will fill your first recipe box as a couple with the makings of cherished foods from your favorite people.

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Connecting the Dots: Expanding lanes and trails is part of a grand design.

“How can we all coexist on these very skinny streets?” asks Rina Cutler, Philadelphia’s deputy mayor for transportation and utilities. “We don’t have room to add more, so we have to make better use of the streets. For me, it’s less about biking, [and more about] creating complete streets and giving people choices.”

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Food: Baked With Buzz

Beer is often called liquid bread, a nod to both grainy origins and covert calorie content. At Betty’s Speakeasy, owner Liz Begosh and pastry chef Adriane Appleby reverse the process, transforming locally brewed liquids into covetable cakes and fudge. “We don’t like to make overly sweet sweets,” says Begosh, a former pro cyclist-turned-pastry queen. “The bitterness in beer balances honey, cane sugar and molasses.”

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MEDIA: The City Homesteader by Scott Meyer

How can you get back to the land when you don’t have any land to get back to? In his new book, The City Homesteader: Self-Sufficiency on Any Square Footage, Scott Meyer shows acre-less urban- and suburbanites how to grow and preserve their own food, raise small livestock and become ever more self-sufficient—from composting to making soap, pest control to home remedies.
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So You Want to Be a Farmer? It's hard work - but it's also easier than you think.

At the most fundamental level, food is inseparable from farmers. The richness of our seemingly boundless land beckoned settlers across the continent to build the homesteads, farms and ranches that became the cradle of the first American Dream, literally feeding the growth of a young nation. In 1935, the number of farms in America peaked at 6.8 million, just as the population topped 127 million citizens.

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Curd is the Word: You don't need a dairy to make farmer's cheese.

Resembling a pot of creamy, green-flecked pebbles, the addictive herbed farmer’s cheese made by Sue Miller of Birchrun Hills Farm materializes unpredictably enough to make its every farmers market appearance memorable. Sweet, milky and deliciously versatile, farmer’s cheese is just a bottle of milk and a squeeze of lemon away when you can’t get your Birchrun Hills fix.

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On Tap: Frecon's Hard Cider

Dry, aromatic and alcoholic, cyser (pronounced sizer) is a type of mead made by fermenting honey in apple cider. According to Hank Frecon, humans have been keen on the stuff since ancient Babylon. His family’s orchards in Boyertown provide the raw material for Frecon’s Hard Cider, an all-local line of fruity ferments made for Kutztown’s Blair Vineyards and sold at Frecon Farms.  
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