Back to Basics- Saving your savings and checking your checking

Back to Basics- Saving your savings and checking your checking.


Last issue we discussed the overview of your financial life such as the IN’s and OUT’s of your money. This month I’d like to discuss a little more in depth about the IN’s and how to get that money up off the proverbial “comfy couch” and up and working as hard as you do! So now that the lazy days of summer are behind us and we’re back with our noses to the grindstone, making an appointment with our family and/or ourselves is something that we must NOT put off.


There are several things that you must look for when looking at the basic elements of our fiscal regimen. With the volatility of the markets and the low rates of bonds etc, has translated into ultra low rates of interest on our savings and checking accounts. In addition, with some new federal regulations imposed upon banks, limiting the fees they can charge has also lead to some new costs or limits and required minimums on items not normally limited with fees for going over or staying under. Do your homework, ask the right questions and as many as you feel you need to gain a comfort lever. No matter how basic YOU think they are, don’t be afraid or embarrassed…remember this is YOUR money, and the banks are going to make money from it too. The most important things I can say when it comes to this part of your appointment with your everyday spending and saving life is. BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF, if you aren’t, then everything you’ve done isn’t going to really apply to you and the more common theme I will always touch back to READ THE FINE PRINT!


In this wonderful word of information and convienence thankfully there are some really great sites that seem to do a good job in comparing basic elements of checking and savings accounts. They even can offer searches and comparisons on things like internet or “brick and mortar” based banks as well as local or national institutions. The most important thing to make certain of is that these are ALL FDIC insured*. A couple sites that I found to be very helpful and seemingly unbiased were. and  these sites seemed to offer several different banks based upon scenarios that were entered in and didn’t seem to favor one over another. I always recommend using these kinds of sites to identify a few contenders, and then the real homework can begin. Visit their websites, call/visit branches near you and start to narrow down who the front runners are and don’t be afraid to ask for “specials or deals” and be right up-front in letting the representative know that you are shopping around and that the answers they supply you with may be the deciding factor in beginning your relationship with that bank!


            Fees and ways to save are some of the best starting points for conversations with bank representatives. In addition how their “on line” services stack up and branch hours if the local branch visit is something that you find important. Some banks offer discounts for being paperless, but may limit the number of electronic bill pays. Some banks offer free checks but will charge you for too many transactions. In addition, as of late some banks may now even charge monthly fees for the convienence of a debit card, and may in addition, charge for non branch withdrawals on top of the bank where you withdrew from (‘the double whammy”) where some banks even offer credits for when you are charged from outside institutions. So your spending habits definitely play a role. Most of these fees are either charged or not charged based upon minimum balances and if you go below these balances some of these services may be retroactively charged on that whole months transactions. So once again honesty and a little research on your spending and savings habits in of the utmost importance.


We ALL want to be in the best shape and when we eat we are aware that every bite is important and when we are at the gym or running, we are aware that “every rep and every step counts”, and when it comes to our daily financial lives we must be aware that every penny truly does count. Over time these pennies add up to dollars and making sense of these cents in these uncertain times will lead to a lifetime of healthy habits!

Thanks and as always Happy Saving!!

AntonyJ DiBruno



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PHW’s Tiffany Bucciarelli Hosts Cross Fit Love Event!

CrossFit Love presents Fight Gone Bad 6 at The Piazza in Northern Liberties with After Party at Arrow Swim Club on September 17, 2011

The Soul of an Athlete Can Change The Game; The Heart of an Athlete Can Change The World”
Philadelphia, PA—When participants at CrossFit Love step up for their 17 minutes of Fight Gone Bad workout on September 17th at The Piazza, they will not just be competing for themselves. They’ll also be raising funds for the Special Operations Warrior Foundation, the Infant Swimming Resource and Camp Patriot. Over 8,000 CrossFit athletes from over 1,200 locations around the world, will perform the grueling workout for charity on the morning of 9.17 for kids, for soldiers, for the country.
Media Ops: We invite local media organizations to document the event first hand – camera crews and photographers are welcome – both leading up to the date and the day of. We also can bring Philadelphia area athletes in-studio to show highlights and invite viewers to participate / donate.
Media Host: When: Where: To Register:
Tiffany Bucciarelli of
Saturday, September 17th 8am-11am.
After party @ ArrowSwim
1001 North 2nd Street, Philadelphia
Go to and click on REGISTER no later than 9.14.2011 Choose CrossFit Love & create your personal fundraising page.


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What’s With You? September 7th

Check out What’s With You this week – A lot of great Events coming up you don’t want to miss!

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Calling All MOMS – Hope Has Arrived!

Hope Nagy’s love of fitness is evident on both a professional and personal level.  Coupled with her nearly 15 years of experience as a fitness professional is Hope’s dedication to fitness and a healthy lifestyle.  A Certified Personal Trainer and group fitness instructor, Hope devotes herself to helping clients change their habits, change their bodies, and change their lives.  She discovered her love for fitness while in college at West Chester University, when she became the mascot for a professional football team. After college, Hope went on to be a radio broadcaster at various stations in Philadelphia and New Jersey, but she hung up her headphones and microphone when she became a mom.

As a single mother of two girls, Hope knows how hard it is to make time for physical
fitness, but also knows how important it is. Her drive, determination and discipline are
things that she instills in all of her clients, especially fellow mothers. Hope firmly
believes you can always find time to exercise, and that it is never too late to start your
fitness journey. Eight years ago, at the age of 40, she discovered a love of mountain
biking and adventure racing, and this has led her to spend weekends competing and
racing in the Mid-Atlantic area.

At the core of Hope’s personal and professional success is her belief that there are
absolutely no limits except for the ones that we place on ourselves, and that reaching
our fitness goals improves all areas of our lives. Hope has a no-excuse style, a positive
and motivating personality, and a passion for helping others meet their goals, all of
which makes her a highly sought-after personal trainer.

Hope is the founder of MotivateHopeStrength Personal Training, and was named
Philly’s Top Personal Trainer 2011 in Philly’s Annual Hot List. Born and raised in
Philadelphia, Hope is proud to be a contributor to PhillyHealthWatch and to have the
opportunity to impact and improve the lives of people in the Philadelphia area.

As a contributor to PhillyHealthWatch, Hope brings her personal experience of going
from a stay-at-home mom to a working mom as a fitness professional…showing that
there is a way to find time for exercise and to lead a healthy lifestyle while still managing
a family. Follow Hope as she brings us “Fabulous Fit Moms.” She’ll give you tips on how
to fit exercise into your busy life, ways to re-energize your life, ideas for making fitness
fun while including your kids, and many other great ways to help your whole family gain
a love of fitness and live a healthy lifestyle.

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Fashion for your Figure with Jen Abrams!

As a fashion stylist I’ve worked with everyone from top models and A-list celebs to socialites and working moms alike and inevitably the question I get from ALL of these women is….”What clothes should I wear to flatter my figure”?  So when PhillyHealthWatch first approached me about providing a little “Fashion for your Figure” advice I thought it was an awesome idea. I am proud to offer my expertise and be apart of the amazing and growing community of PHW. In the coming months I will be arming you with insider tips from the pros, finding solutions to your worst style dilemmas and provide you with shopping resources that will actually help you save money while looking your best this season!

Whether she’s styling a celebrity for a high fashion editorial or covering the runway shows for various media outlets, Jen Abrams has become one of the industry’s foremost authorities on all things stylish.  Equally adept in front of the camera and behind it, Jen’s vast knowledge of the industry has made her one of the fashion world’s most sought after talents.  Her personal sense of style and aesthetic personifies sophistication and fashion forwardness.

With an MBA in Marketing and having worked for legendary designers such as Calvin Klein, Jen has a firm grasp on the business side of the fashion and beauty industry, but it is her sartorial passion that has guided her career to the creative side. She has worked with fashion icons ranging from InStyle’s Hal Rubenstein to The Kardashians to Isaac Mizrahi. Jen also has styled pro athletes, TV personalities, celebrities, business executives and high profile socialites for both fashion spreads and feature editorials in her capacity as a magazine Lifestyle Editor and Fashion Stylist.  Currently, she is working on editorial for Tyra Banks newbeauty website that is set to launch in Spring 2011.  She is also the contributing Fashion Editor for the London based Fashion Salade Magazine.

In 2004, Jen also co-founded trend setting clothing company, Sugar Tush where she was responsible for designing, manufacturing, marketing and all other aspects involved with starting a clothing business from scratch.  In 2008, Sugar Tush officially closed its operations so she could focus on other aspects of her life and career.  The adorable line will be remembered as having “Dressed the Sweetest Bottoms in Town with Style and Comfort.”  Worn by celebs including Gwyneth Paltrow and Courtney Cox, and seen in US Weekly’s Buzz-o-Meter, Sugar Tush was certainly a unique concept with global brand appeal.

When Jen is not running around behind the scenes and building brands she can be found in front of the cameras showcasing her expertise.  As an On Air Fashion Consultant seen on national talkshows, she has charmed TV audiences with her down-to-earth sensibilities and her supreme understanding of style, while she has also deftly represented brands as a Spokesmodel and Fashion Correspondent at various trade shows, fashion events and other media outlets.  Her speaking engagements include seminars for business executives on topics such as “Dressing for Success” or “Maintaining Professionalism in a Casual Friday Era”.  She also speaks to students at Universities and High Schools about choosing fashion as a viable and fulfilling career option through her own multi faceted experiences in the business.

Above all it’s Jen’s inherent understanding of what looks good on a person and her supreme knowledge of fashion that makes her one of the industry’s most reliable and respected talents.

Visit Jen’s website at

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A Nutrition Message for the Future!

People are bombarded by nutrition messages everyday, many people have no idea what and who to believe, especially, what to eat. Your diet has a direct impact on many aspects of your life such as your energy levels, physical appearance, body fat percentage, disease risk, cognitive function, vision, exercise performance, and your happiness… just to name a few.  

With my articles in PhillyHealthWatch, I hope to educate you about what the real nutrition recommendations are based on science, so that you can have a go-to source for sound information and guidelines from a reputable source. I will also provide you with tools, tips, and recipes so that you are able to easily incorporate healthy foods into your life and reach your health goals. The primary purpose of my articles are to make you more knowledgeable about nutrition and to become more aware of the foods you are eating. As a result, I hope that you will begin to improve your dietary (and other health) habits so that you can live the healthiest and happiest life possible!

Kelly is a Registered Dietitian that focuses on individual and group counseling on various topics related to nutrition. She obtained her BS in Nutritional Sciences from Penn State University and her MS in Human Nutrition from the University of Delaware (UD). Kelly’s dietetic internship was also at UD and she served as a Teaching Assistant for Nutrition courses.

You can visit Kelly’s blog at

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PHW wants your VIDEO!

PhillyHealthWatch is looking for your video on what ever makes you SWEAT!  Take your video on your phone or have someone video you on a flip cam – working out in the gym, taking a yoga class, doing martial arts, or riding your bike!  If you video is good enough – your story might be told in the first issue of PHW online magazine.

To submit your video – email

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Ready, Set, Practice with Meg Kipp


What is Yoga? Why should I practice? How do I begin?

Ready:  The word “yoga” comes from the ancient Sanskrit word “yuj”. It means to yoke, bind or attach. The practice of yoga is intended to unify the mind and body with the ultimate goal being the attainment of pure consciousness. The aim of yoga asana (the physical practice of yoga) is to prepare the body and mind for meditation. Yoga or union of the mind and body leads to spiritual enlightenment. Still confused??

Set: Yoga Asana is but one of 8 limbs (branches) of Hatha Yoga and is what most people consider “yoga practice”. There are about 200 asana (poses) which are combined in various forms to create a “yoga asana practice” which should last 90 minutes. (gyms and other fitness centers may shorten the time)  You have probably heard of Downward facing dog before, right? This is one of the most popular asana.

All you need is Yoga, The benefits of Yoga are endless and not limited to slimming down, toning up, becoming more flexible, and more peaceful. Yoga nourishes the body, mind and spirit. Although the practice dates back to India circa 2500 b.c.e., it remains the single most powerful system for overall health and well being. Yoga strengthens the body and mind against illness and disease, detoxifies on a cellular level,  strengthens bones,  muscles, and organs, lowers blood pressure and heart rate, strengthens immune function, improves posture, balance and coordination, promotes self awareness, fosters psychological equanimity and promotes spiritual well being. Most important to our society today, yoga lowers stress levels and provides the mind and body with coping mechanisms for future stress. Yoga decreases cortisol, and activates the parasympathetic nervous system allowing the body to rest digest and assimilate nutrients properly from food. Look no further for your total mind body wellness solution!

Practice: Yoga is FUN! It is a creative expression of your own body and spirit. With over 200 “asana” and multiple schools of yoga the possibilities are endless. From seated to standing on your head, from gentle and slow to dynamic, anyone can practice yoga.  Many people already practice yoga in Philadelphia.  To begin: pick up a mat (can get a cheapie but a goodie from target or T.J. Maxx under $15), stay hydrated, and wear some fitted clothes that allow for full range of motion.  Take some great advice from a master yogi- Yoda, “Try not! Do or do not! There is no try, only do! JUST DO IT!

Meg Kipp has a background in Psychology and fitness and was first introduced to yoga by her grandmother when she was 5  She earned her B.A. in Psychology from theUniversity of Tennessee, and she taught yoga and group fitness classes for the University as well as personal training while attending. For 2 years she focused solely on developing her personal yoga practice before deciding to go to Goa, India to deepen her experience, skills, and understanding of yoga asana, philosophy and Ayurveda. Meg attended her 200 hour yoga teacher training certification through Quantum Yoga. Quantum Yoga is designed to develop your ideal practice to bring balance in the doshas (body-mind constitution). Meg works with clients on an individual basis as well group instruction at East Falls Fitness and Pep Boys Corporate offices. Upon her return fromIndia, she completed a 600 hour massage therapy degree from the Cortiva Institute of Muscle Therapy in King of Prussia. Meg combines aspects of yoga and massage into all of her sessions and has an intuitive understanding of the mind and body. She aspires to open up a studio in Philly in the next 3 years.

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A Fit Pet is a Healthy Pet!

So you are watching the game as a couch potato and Spot is getting scraps of pizza as a treat while you both cheer on the Phillies. What’s wrong with this picture? Like you, Spot needs some exercise and needs to cut down on his junk food. As in humans, obesity in house pets can cause of a myriad of general health problems from heart disease to liver and kidney failure.

A surprising and eye-opening fast fact: One excess pound on a cat is equal to approximately 15 pounds on an average adult woman and 17 pounds on the average adult male. You would never let yourself put on 15 pounds because you know how you feel when you do, so don’t let your animal get fat.

While people food is never a good idea for your pet, exercise is the key to keeping them healthy and happy for many years to come.  Take your dog for a walk or jog, play laser pointer chase with your cat…there are a lot of ways to keep them active.  And remember that a tired pet is a lot less fuss; Spot and Fluffy are less likely to chew your shoes or scratch the furniture if they are ready for their afternoon nap!

Dana Spain

While her professional career has always been spent on marketing and communications; translating for a French Bank; being the Communications Director for her family’s retail chain; running a publishing company, and currently as a branding specialist for her own firm, Dana Spain knew her true life’s work would be saving animals. After volunteering for years at a local shelter, Dana wanted to provide a better way for homeless and abandoned animals to reach their forever homes. Dana was recruited to the board of the Alliance for Philadelphia’s Animals, a public-private partnership whose goal was to transform Philadelphia into a no-kill city. From that board she became the President of the Philadelphia Animal Care and Control Association (PACCA), the contracted animal control provider for the City of Philadelphia. Dana used the position to reverse a 90% kill rate to a 60% save rate in under three years. While at PACCA, Dana founded PAWS in 2005 to focus on lifesaving initiatives not paid for by the city contract.

PAWS opened its boutique Adoption Center in the Old City section of Philadelphia in January 2008 to offer a bright, neighborhood pet store that only featured animals rescued from the city shelter. PAWS, a 501 (c) 3, is now Philadelphia’s largest rescue organization and only no-kill shelter, and is working to make Philadelphia a city in which every healthy and treatable pet is guaranteed a home. Through its adoption locations, special events, and foster care network, PAWS finds loving homes for thousands of animals each year.

In March 2010, PAWS opened a low-cost, high-volume spay/neuter and wellness clinic serving pet owners and rescues in an effort to keep pets healthy and reduce the homeless pet population. Located in the Grays Ferry section of the city, the Clinic serves pet owners who have difficulty affording or do not have access to basic veterinary care (sterilization, vaccinations, treatments for upper respiratory infections/parasites/fleas, etc.) and rescue organizations that need affordable spay/neuter surgery and basic veterinary care to carry out their lifesaving work.

PAWS is completely funded by individual, corporate and foundation donations; they do not receive any city, state or federal funds. Support for PAWS funds lifesaving initiatives including adoption and foster care programs, spay/neuter surgeries, low-cost vaccinations, and other efforts, all of which help reduce and will ultimately eliminate the unnecessary killing of Philadelphia’s animals. Join the PAWS mission at

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The Strength Training Guy!

Strength training has been around a long time, it actually dates back to ancient Rome. Anthropologists noticed that the arm and leg bones of gladiators were extremely developed and the bone density was as high as that of modern athletes. Now I’m not saying that if you start strength training you will be able to battle gladiators, but it will help you in every aspect of your life.

The benefits of strength training have an effect on our overall appearance and body composition, which can directly influence self- esteem, self- worth and level of confidence. Here are my top five reasons to start a strength training program:

  1. 1. Decreased risk of coronary disease
  2. 2. Increased metabolic rate – helps burn more calories on a daily basis
  3. 3. Increased lean muscle mass – women will NOT get big and bulky (this is due to their low levels of testosterone)
  4. 4. Increasing and restoring bone density
  5. 5. Enhanced performance in sports, exercise and life in general

Tim Karolyi is my prime example of how starting a strength program can change your life forever. Tim initially came to the gym looking to lose a few unwanted pounds. After several weeks of training the weight started coming off. We didn’t just notice the changes in his body, we saw the change in his confidence and attitude. Tim looked at the pictures on the wall of all the men and women who competed in local bodybuilding competitions and decided to give it a try. After twelve weeks of intense training and diet, he entered the 2011 NGA Mr. Philadelphia. Tim didn’t win but just stepping onto the stage was a victory!

Building a strong, lean body doesn’t only increase productivity in athletes, it is essential for anyone who wants to feel better about themselves. Since research indicates that without strength training, we lose about ½ pound of muscle every year of our lives after the age of thirty, I suggest starting a strength program. Now go and get strong and stay strong!

Rich is a Philadelphia Police Officer, Certified Personal Trainer and Strength and Conditioning coach for the Sts. John Neumann & Maria Goretti High School football team. Over the last 18 years he has competed in Powerlifting, bodybuilding and strongman.  In that time he has been a national and world Champion Power Lifter with the Amateur Athletic Union as well as holding titles in light weight Mr. Philadelphia (NGA) and Mr. Pennsylvania (USNBA). To learn more about Rich check out

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