We’re excited to introduce a new series of Fearless Is TV commercials, which build on the popularity of our recent Live Fearless ad campaign.
If you recognize elements of your own life when you watch them, there’s a simple reason — these new commercials feature ordinary people in everyday situations. What makes them resonate is that they capture the fearlessness it takes to live life to the fullest, like letting go of your inhibitions or running faster than you thought you could.
Just like our Live Fearless ads, they reinforce the message that, with an Independence Blue Cross health insurance plan, you have the freedom and security to live the life you want.
Coming soon: Fearless Is Facebook sweepstakes
If you had a chance to do something daring — something you may have only dreamed about doing — would you take it?
That’s the inspiration behind our Fearless Is Facebook sweepstakes. Stay tuned for more details and for a chance to enter to win one of several one-of-a-kind Fearless Is experiences.
Like our Facebook page to find out when the contest starts!
October is here, which means the air is crisp, the leaves are changing, and costumes are acceptable attire. It also just happens to be my favorite time of year to run a race. You can’t beat the low humidity and cool air that makes running outside a treat every time. What better way to usher in the Halloween season than by signing up for a festive run where costumes are strongly encouraged?
1. Rest in Peace 5K
It doesn’t get more Halloween-festive than a nighttime run through a cemetery. Break out your most creative costume and join the goblins and ghouls for the Rest in Peace 5k race at the historic Laurel Hill Cemetery on October 11 at 5 p.m. And, it’s no trick: runners will be treated to an after-party complete with food, free beer, and music that is sure to raise the dead.
2. Glow-in-the-Dark Color Run
This might not be a traditional costume race per se, but if there’s something cooler than running at night with glow-in-the-dark gear, I can’t think of what it is. And, Philly has the distinct honor of being the first city to ever host a nighttime, glow-in-the-dark color run. On October 18, runners will get glow-in-the-dark shirts and other gear and will be doused in glowing colors at each kilometer of this 5k race. Plus, the end of the race will feature a Finish Festival — complete with fireworks, dancing, music, and more colors. This race is sure to sell out, so register now.
3. The Skeleton Skurry
On October 25, head to Hatboro for The Skeleton Skurry — a great race for the entire family. Costume-clad kids can participate in the Mile Fitness Trail run with YMCA staff, while you tackle the USATF-certified 5k course in your best zombie costume, or you can run alongside your kids in the mile race. Prizes will be given out for various costume categories.
Not only are races like these fun, but they’re also great training for the Blue Cross Broad Street Run. Scheduling shorter races throughout the fall and winter will keep you in shape and more prepared for next year’s Blue Cross Broad Street Run on May 3, 2015.
I usually brown bag it for lunch…it’s healthier, it’s quick, and it’s better on my budget. But when I forget to pack (or leave my lunch sitting on the counter), working in Center City means I have unlimited lunch options. Unfortunately, it also makes it hard to choose a healthy option when lobster mac ‘n cheese or a Philly cheesesteak is right around the corner. I’ve come up with a few tricks to make lunchtime choices that make me healthy and happy.
1. Go bowl-ing
Choose-your-own bowls and salads are a great way to customize your lunch and focus on healthy, delicious options. The secret is going light on noodles, rice, and the like, and focusing on protein and veggies. I like Agno Grill when I’m in the city. You get a choice of protein that includes flavorful basics like chicken and veggies, but you can also choose lamb meatballs, falafel, and salmon. Plus, you can fill it with a variety of roasted vegetable options and top it off with balsamic or lemon oregano to add light flavor. Chipotle is good option, too…and they’re everywhere.
2. Make it a liquid lunch
Some days call for a liquid lunch…but, I’m not talking about a Mad Men-style martini break. Smoothies offer endless options for a healthy, delicious lunchtime treat…for even the pickiest of palates. If you’re in the city, try Sook Hee’s Produce & Squeeze Juice Bar beneath the Comcast Center. Whether you want a fresh juice or smoothie – Sook Hee’s has it all from kale to beets to ginger root.). And, the best part is, you don’t have to worry about cleaning the juicer afterward! You can choose from plenty of fresh salads and sandwiches, homemade Korean food, and snacks to complement your drink of choice.
3. Wok at lunch
Sometimes you just need a little stir fry…and if you make the right choices, it’s a healthy bet. Be sure to focus on lean proteins and veggies, and don’t overdo it on the sauces. When I’m in the mood to stir it up, I head to Honeygrow. They stir it up fresh every time. Added bonus: They also have salad and smoothie options and for dessert…a honey bar!
What are your favorite healthy lunch places?
The inclusion of the above links does not imply endorsement.
Nothing could be a more healthy fall activity than picking (and eating!) your own fruit and vegetables — and now’s the perfect time to pack up your friends, kids, and neighbors and pick a freezerful of this season’s harvest.
1. What to pick?
From apples and pumpkins to kale and cauliflower, fall’s bounty is amazing. Here’s a sample of what you’ll find growing in our region of the country:
- Lima beans
- Pumpkins and squash
- Assorted herbs
2. How much to pick — a bushel or a peck?
Before you go and fill the back of your car with apples … or pumpkins … or beans (and your house with fruit flies), here’s a look at how much “food” your effort will yield:
- 8 apples make 3 cups of applesauce or 1 apple pie.
- 1 bushel of grapes makes 16 quarts of juice.
- 2 quarts of grapes makes 1 quart of jelly.
- 2.5 – 3 pounds of tomatoes make 1 quart canned.
- A 5-pound pumpkin will yield 4 cups of mashed, cooked pulp (enough for about 2 pies).
- A bushel is equal to approximately 8 (dry) gallons. There are 4 pecks in a bushel.
3. Where to pick?
There are many pick-your-own farms to choose from in our area, but why not choose to go organic? (It’s like winning the pickers’ trifecta: local, seasonal, and organic!) Check out these farms:
- Taylor River Side Farm
5 Taylors Lane, Cinnaminson, NJ
Just 25 minutes outside of Philadelphia on the banks of the Delaware is the Taylor family’s, 200+-year-old, beautiful, earth-friendly, sustainable, organic farm. Either pick-your-own or shop at their market and experience the Garden State at its absolute best.
- Indian Orchards
24 Copes Lane, Media, PA
Called the best kept secret in Delaware County, family-owned Indian Orchards offers already-picked or pick-your-own sustainably or organically grown fruits and vegetables.
- Find a farm near you
Find local pick-your-own farms and fruit and vegetable festivals. Search by State and region and find helpful picking tips and resources for preserving your produce.
Off the couch, Fido! It’s time to get out and get some exercise. Your dog might just be the best fitness partner that you don’t have to beg to go for a walk. So ditch the dog park and try these 3 alternate dog-friendly activities. You’ll be doing your dog—and your waistline—a favor.
1. Explore a dog-friendly hiking trail
Philadelphia has a multitude of hiking trails that welcome dogs and other pets. What better way to get some exercise and enjoy the great outdoors than with your furry friend? Plus, many of these hiking spots allow your dog to roam leash-free (check individual listings).
2. Try some “doga”
Yes, dog yoga — or “doga” — is a real thing. What’s more, experts say there are real physical benefits for you and your dog. Go ahead and try some yoga poses with your dog. You may be surprised to find out that you and your dog are calmer, more relaxed, and less likely to bark at your neighbor!
3. Navigate the Brandywine River with your dog in tow
Any dog owner knows how much joy their dog gets out of getting some wind on their face, and a canoe or kayak is the perfect way to give your four-legged friend that treat. At the Northbrook Canoe Company, you can bring your well-behaved pooch along as you meander down the Brandywine River in a canoe or kayak. You’re guaranteed to have a tail-wagging kind of day.
Bonus: After spending the day out and about, take a break at one of the many pet-friendly restaurants in Philadelphia!
Saying “so long” to summer isn’t easy, especially if you have kids in school. With class back in session, it can take a few weeks to readjust to routines that you’ve let slip over the summer. Try these 3 ideas to ease into the fall:
1. An apple for teach; an App for you
Busy parents will appreciate these back-to-school apps. Juggling schedules? The myHomework Student Planner and Sunrise apps have calendars that sync to other platforms to help organize multiple schedules. Need an electronic tutor? Duolingo and ToDo Math make learning languages and arithmetic all about fun and games.
2. Fall in love with fitness
Don’t wait until New Year’s resolutions to get back in the gym. Fall is the perfect time to get re-energized about getting in shape. And it goes without saying that regular physical activity helps you reduce stress and boost your immune system, which is especially important with cold and flu season around the corner.
3. Stay classy
You’re never too old to go back to school! Beginning in September, many local communities offer adult personal and professional enrichment courses in the evenings. Try a healthy cooking class or learn a new language. Studies show that being a lifelong learner can help us stay mentally sharp as we age.
No matter how you’re planning to spend your extra time off this Labor Day weekend, make sure you can keep the good vibes going when you’re back at work on Tuesday. Here are 3 ways to make your workday less like work:
1. Stand up for yourself (literally!)
Lately, it’s been said that that sitting is the new smoking. Don’t believe it? Google it! Even if you’re physically active outside of work, you could still be leading a sedentary lifestyle if you spend all (or most) of your work day sitting. So, what’s a working person to do? Luckily, with a little ingenuity, it’s easy to break the sitting cycle. Check out these creative ways to add activity to your work day. Some you’ve probably heard before, but others (calf-raises while photocopying) may surprise you.
2. Increase productivity by slowing down
Whether you’re rushing between meetings or juggling 20 different tasks, your first impulse when you fall behind at work is probably to buckle down and plow through. No lunch for you, right? Not so fast! Contrary to what you may think, when you need to make up time on a busy day, you shouldn’t hurry up…you should slow down. According to a study in the journal Cognition, taking brief mental breaks during the day is good for you and your work. One idea: Nature rejuvenates…take a quick walk outside. Or, try one of these other tricks to recharge your brain.
3. Remember to stretch
Ever look up during the day and realize you’ve been working for hours? Your back hurts, your shoulders are slumped, and your afternoon caffeine buzz is gone. Scheduling time to stretch can make a real difference in your day. With these easy-to-master yoga poses, you can shake off that stiff neck without leaving your desk. Think of it like an important meeting and block a little bit of time every hour or so just for you. It’s a small thing, but your body will thank you!
Bonus: There are plenty of jobs where sitting too much isn’t a problem. However, even if you’re on your feet and active all day, it’s still a good idea to give yourself time to recharge your mind. These mindfulness exercises can help you refresh and refocus…and they only take a minute!
Summer may be winding down, but there’s still time to plant a fall garden now and enjoy fresh vegetables as the seasons change while reaping the many health benefits of gardening, including lower blood pressure and improved mood. Use these top 3 tips to help make your garden grow:
1. Pick your plants wisely
Although it’s too late in the season to plant peppers and tomatoes, which are my personal favorites, there are plenty of vegetables that thrive in cooler temperatures, including beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, kale, leeks, and lettuce. Plant some arugula and spinach, and you’ll be tossing a salad in no time — these fast-growing greens pack a nutritional punch and can be ready to pick in about 30 days.
2. Get growing
Timing is everything, especially when you’re gardening. The Old Farmer’s Almanac A-to-Z growing guide can help you decide which vegetables are the best ones to grow now based on our region’s climate. Click on a vegetable, and learn how and when to plant it, care for it, and harvest it. As you nurture your garden, you can use it as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. It’s just one way that gardening can help you reduce tension and relieve stress.
3. Share your bounty
Use a seasonal produce guide to help you turn the “fruits” of your labor into healthy meals for family and friends. If you wind up with more carrots and kale than you can eat, consider donating your extra veggies to a program like Share the Harvest, sponsored by Philabundance. National non-profit AmpleHarvest also coordinates donations of fresh produce. Visit their website and enter your zip code to find a participating food pantry in your community.
Which cool-weather crops will you grow in your garden?
If you’ve run out of vacation days or money (or both!), it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy some relaxation and rejuvenation this summer. Here are some straightforward ways to fully recharge your batteries over the weekend, without leaving town. Making these habits a part of your life can help you reduce your overall stress levels, which in turn will boost your productivity, mood, and immune function.
1. Unplug (Yes, really!)
Nothing messes with your ability to relax quite like technology, and while completely powering off all of your devices all weekend probably isn’t possible, consider shutting down for short periods of time or turning off unnecessary notifications. You can make disconnecting easier with help from apps like Unplug & Reconnect (for Androids) and Pause (for iPhones) which send automatic text messages to let people know why you missed their call or text. Once you’re successfully off the grid, look around and take advantage of the museums in Philly with free-admission Sundays and the top free attractions in Philly — and enjoy the moment without having to capture it or tweet about it.
2. Sleep late, nap often
The health benefits of sleep are undisputable, from improving memory, to unlocking creativity, to enhancing mood. Good sleep is essential to good health! And research has shown that a combination of naps and night sleep can help your body recover after a week of poor sleep.
Make a point of going to bed early, sleeping in, or napping this weekend. If you struggle with falling asleep, try these tips and tools, and you should be sawing wood in no time.
3. Free your endorphins
Endorphins are the chemicals in your brain that reduce the effects of stress and make you feel happy. You can tap into your inner euphoria and let the good times roll by:
- Exercising. Just about anything — from walking, to interval training, to tai chi — will do the job.
- Eating. Make you next meal a happy meal with foods that help tamp down stress.
- Getting a back rub. Even though someone else is doing all the work, you’ll reap all the benefits. Just lie there and relax (until it’s your turn to return the favor).
How do you unwind, recharge, or reboot when you’re short on time or money?
I hate to be the bearer of bad news but there are only a few weeks left to summer. I know it seems like just yesterday we were celebrating our first 70° day by prematurely breaking out shorts and tank tops and making our first Rita’s Water Ice visit of the season. But hey, I’m not here to be a Debbie Downer. I’m here to urge you to get outside while you can to enjoy these last fleeting days of summer!
1. Move your movie night outside
Grab a blanket, snacks, and some friends, and get down to the Schuylkill Banks for a movie under the stars. Movies have been running all summer, but you still have a few chances to take advantage of this free event!
August 7: The Princess Bride
August 14: The Karate Kid
August 21: Pitch Perfect
August 28: Despicable Me 2
And, since you won’t be sitting in a theater, you won’t be tempted by the super-sized buttery popcorn and soda. Try a creative and healthy DIY popcorn recipe instead!
2. Walk off dinner, while you’re eating it
Yes, I know, technically Night Market isn’t a summer-only event. However, summer is the perfect time to check out Philly’s favorite street food festival. With everyone down the shore for the summer, you’ll have a much better chance of avoiding the lines at your favorite food truck. Don’t miss the next Night Market on August 14th at Lancaster Avenue and 35th Street.
3. Add a little sunshine to your yoga routine
Ditch the studio and head outside for a yoga session in the great outdoors. There are just a few months out of the year when the weather is nice enough to do this, so why not take advantage of it when you can? Practice your downward dog at an arboretum, on the beach, in a tree, on the water, or even at a winery! I don’t know about you, but I feel like it would be a whole lot easier to find my inner chi if I were surrounded by fresh air and Mother Nature.