The youngest person at Chestnut Hill’s Fall for the Arts festival Sunday may have been two day-old Xavier Brubaker. Sleep-deprived but happy parents Japheth and Suzanne recently returned to Chestnut Hill with their 2 year-old daughter, Quinn, to be closer to family. They were the southernmost exhibitors at the festival, promoting their new fitness and personal training studio, "Water and Rock," at 8109 Germantown Avenue. Visit http://waterandrockstudio.com/ for more information.
Vanessa Hazzard-Tillman teaches hula hooping in East Falls, entertains at parties and at the Public Eye: Artists Animals July 4th Vegan Potluck picnic in Harper’s Meadow in Chestnut Hill, she showed off some of her stuff. A former clown and currently involved with the vibrant Philadelphia circus arts community, Hazzard-Tillman is also a massage therapist and yoga instructor.
She especially likes to combine yoga and hooping. While being distracted by her young son, Phoenix, she nevertheless managed to twirl a hoop smoothly around one rotating foot in the air while switching from one yoga pose lying on the ground on her side to an inverted pose.
Hooping is good for muscle toning, she explains while demonstrating some “off-body” exercises that can be easier than “on-body” exercises.
Hazzard-Tillman often studies online videos and is now training to do fire hooping.
The circus community likes to give back, she says, introducing one of her ambitions. In addition to being President of the United States and a rock star according to her online profile, she hopes to successfully audition with a troupe that instructs youngsters in circus arts in one of the refugee camps in northern Thailand. The two-month program in which the children learn juggling, clowning, poi spinning, silks and hooping culminates with the refugee children mounting their own performance.
Hazzard-Tillman makes her own hoops out of black polyethylene tubing, covers them fun tape like Batman or Hello Kitty themed patterns and also sells them online through Amazon and her own website nirvanalandessentials.com where she also sells jewelry, gemstones and African soap.
Her business card also lists her profession as “Reiki Master/Teacher.” Had my interview with her continued further, I definitely would have asked how she manages to juggle it all!See other photos here.
College students majoring in exercise science are not just a bunch of meatheads who love to work out and run around lifting up things, says Tristan VanderMeer, majoring in the field at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. VanderMeer was drawn to the field as a way of learning more about his body and how to live a healthy life. Graduates in the field can work in a variety of careers such as in nutrition, physical therapy or as a personal trainer but for VanderMeer, it will be a component of a nursing career.
He explains the metabolic and hormonal basis of why he advocates a high non-saturated fat, low carb and low processed food diet. He also stressed the importance of regular exercise, getting out and moving about whether it’s biking or walking, and getting some strength training in.
For some “action” scenes, VanderMeer indulged your correspondent by demonstrating some beneficial exercises- hanging from rungs while twisting his trunk like a windshield wiper, sprinting barefoot and doing push-ups.
Watch video here. (At the J.S. Jenks children's park, Chestnut Hill, Philadelphia)
Marsha Isard of Mount Airy (left) and a fellow gardener, not shown, get an early start planting lettuce, spinach, peas, beets, and radishes in their community garden plots at the Morris Arboretum. Watch video here.
During a break substitute teaching at Parkway Northwest High School in Mount Airy, Renaud Dardignac speaks with your correspondent about current conditions in his homeland, Haiti.
He laments the poor road conditions and lack of electricity that persist in Haiti, where extreme poverty existed before recent natural disasters – the devastating 2010 earthquake and the battering in the fall of 2012 by Hurricane Sandy.
Making frequent return visits, Dardignac is witness to many people continuing to live in very unhealthy conditions and suffering from rampant unemployment. Like him, many of his country people live abroad, in the “Diaspora,” and send money back home to relatives who depend on this outside support.
Dardignac believes the Haitian government has been looted of $200 million in assistance by certain unethical parties who have taken the money abroad and that it is in these parties’ interest to keep Haiti poor so as to continue benefiting from the corruption.
In the past, Haiti has had an agricultural economy and Dardignac attributes people’s reluctance to return to farming both on lack of education and fear that their products would be stolen. He wishes that the international community, which had rallied to support Haiti in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake, would invest in factories around Haiti. “[Haitians] are not lazy. They like to work but they do not find work.”
With glittery facial make up and sporting their school’s purple and gold colors, Mount Saint Joseph Academy seniors Cassidy Peikin (left) and Michelle Handy took a lunch break at Bruno’s from the school’s annual Charity Day festivities. It’s a day of fun, the girls say, and the seniors get to dress up crazily. The day’s celebration features a talent show including skits by teachers, singing and Irish dancing which Handy performed in the morning and demonstrated in the accompanying video. This year’s donations will benefit the Make a Wish Foundation and the Chron’s and Colitis Foundation. Upon graduation Peikin plans to pursue social work and Handy, to become a therapist. Watch video here.
The majority of patients who visit Chestnut Hill Hospital’s physical therapy center at the Top of the Hill come in with spine pain- neck or lower back- according to therapist Bethany Nolan. Lots of tall windows at the facility behind the Children of America building allow natural light to brighten up the large open multi-station workroom area where a few therapists are busy tending to patients.
Nolan says the cause of back pain, often, is not a traumatic injury but maintaining prolonged positions like being sedentary too long. With a model of the spine, Nolan demonstrates how pressure can build up in the spine’s discs. Imaging like X-rays is not necessary to begin therapy. An initial evaluation is done and a plan of exercises that can be done at home to reverse the pressure buildup is devised. At therapy sessions she demonstrates the exercises, has patients practice and adjust the exercises and notes the patient’s progress. Exercises may first include just press-ups to ease the pain. Later in the process, core-strengthening exercises like holding the plank position or balancing one’s legs on an exercise ball may be introduced. Nolan stresses the importance of consulting a physician and then working with the therapist to develop a plan of exercises tailored to the patient’s individual needs.
“Back pain doesn’t need to be a reason to stop living your life!” Nolan cheerily declaims.
“WHERE IS YOUR KIDNEY?”
“Well, one of my kidneys is in North Carolina right now.”
Hillary Rettig had been reading and thinking about donating a kidney for a few years. Why not, she thought, if she had two working ones and one to spare and could save someone’s life? When she reached a tipping point, she went ahead with the laparoscopic surgery. As a vegetarian and animal lover, she was thrilled to find a match in a man who had founded a no-kill animal shelter. On a matchmaking website, among the many heart-braking posts of people pleading for a donated kidney, the man had written, “ I have spent the last twenty years giving animals a second chance at life; won’t you consider giving me a second chance?” Afterwards, the donee’s wife told Retting that Rettig had saved not just her husband, but their family as well. Rettig recommends donating a kidney to everyone. “ It’s a wonderful, wonderful feeling… If I had a few extra kidneys, I would donate them all.” Watch video interview here. Read Rettig's account of her donation here.
“Organo Gold” coffee is a game–changer, says Derrick Carter, an independent distributor for a line of products including not only coffee but also toothpaste and soap, all containing the Chinese herb ganoderma. Boasting sales of the coffee which he says have climbed from merely a couple million dollars four years ago when the company was founded to $400 million this year, Organo aims to capture 1% of the coffee market in the U.S. Coffee is merely the mechanism, says Carter, for delivery of the herb which is touted to oxygenate and detox the body, support the immune system and increase energy and stamina. Working at his laptop at the Flourtown, PA Starbucks coffeehouse, Carter offered your correspondent free samples of Organo Gold coffee and tea. Watch video interview here.
A young woman who realized in college that, without a doubt she wanted to become a chef, grabbed the offer to start as the dishwasher in a famous Boston restaurant and she loved it, covered in butter, chicken fat, sweat. One morning, on a morning jog before work, she was hit by a car and among other bad injuries, had shattered her skull. Two weeks later, making a recovery at her father's house, she made a bad discovery - her sense of smell was gone. Heat was all she sensed of the cinammon-laced apple crisp, a favorite dish, when it was just drawn from the oven and held under her nose.
Birnbaum went on to study the sense of smell and her experiences with its loss(a condition called "anosmia") and wrote about in her 2011 book,"Season to Taste." Along her journey she spent much time with the olfactory scientists the Monell Chemical Senses Center with whom she presented "Forgotten Sense: Exploring a World Without Smell" as part of the Philadlephia Science Festival.
Also attending the event is a doctoral student in information sciences at Drexel University, (shown below) who speaks about her own experience with anosmia.
At the National Mechanics Bar and Restaurant in Old City, Philadelphia.