Category Archives: Buy local

Bucket List 2011 Update: 50/50

Last year one of my first blog posts was a Lehigh Valley Bucket List 2011, 12 things in the Lehigh Valley that I’ve always wanted to do and was going to try to cross off my bucket list in 2011. How did I do? Well, if you can do any math and you read the title, I did six, duh. My first reaction at the end of the year was “oh crap, I really suck at this” but then realized it was actually pretty darn good considering that without this list I maybe would have done 1 or 2 of them-tops.

So here’s the original list again, with my progress (or excuses) this time around.

  1. America On Wheels Museum – This place looks pretty cool and right now there is a British Invasion exhibit. I actually HAVE to go there this month as I’ve signed up to volunteer to help take down their Christmas decorations (which is laughable because I still haven’t finished taking down the Griswald-esque display at home), but I’d like to visit as just a visitor too.
  2. UPDATE: I eventually took down the Christmas display last year, but most of our Christmas decorations are still up this year, so I kind of chuckled reading back on this one. I did go to America on Wheels to volunteer so yes, this one was completed. I was blown away by the scale of it, its a great space. I also wrote about my impressions here. I never made it back as “just a visitor” although I do want to. I still count this a complete.

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  3. Easton State Theatre – Everything I am interested in seeing is always sold out by the time I hear about it or the cost is not in-line with my level of interest.
  4. UPDATE: This one did not get crossed off but I did do a better job of keeping up with what shows were coming. There were only two that I was somewhat interesting in – the Amazing Kreskin and Chuck Berry – both of whom I have nostalgic memories of from my childhood. My Chuck Berry memory is me playing the “My Ding-a Ling” song off of my mother’s record and giggling like Beavis and/or Butthead incessantly.

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  5. Any number of restaurants in Easton I have yet to get to.
  6. UPDATE: I completed this one barely in the nick of time by incorporating it into Hailey’s birthday weekend extravaganza since we were at the Crayola Factory anyway. I decided on Setta Luna because I heard the food was good and since they had Italian food I figured could get Hailey some simple pasta or pizza.

    The food was quite good, it was not very kid friendly and the service was just eh. I don’t expect every restaurants to cater to kids like Chuck E. Cheese or Red Robin but I made three simple requests, one was denied, one was ignored, one was eventually granted after some work. First, Hailey said she wanted pasta, not pizza, so I asked if I could get a smaller serving. Denied. I was told their pasta dishes “only come in” on size. Um…isn’t it just a pot of pasta? Just scoop less out. So fine, bring me the whole thing we’ll take the leftovers home. I then asked them to barely put any sauce on it. So little sauce that you can barely tell there is sauce on it. It came back smothered in tomato sauce, so much sauce you couldn’t even see the noodles. Hailey freaked out and refused to eat it. So this time I said “Look, all I want is a small (demonstrating with my hands the size) bowl of noodles, no sauce.” She came back and said the Chef wanted to know if I wanted butter or oil. Fair question. I said “I understand this request is strange, but now that she saw all that sauce she will only eat plain noodles, no butter, no oil, no sauce.” They brought them out, Hailey still didn’t eat them, but I must say they were the best plain noodles I ever tried.

    Then Hailey ate an unwrapped, decorative candy cane, that was probably 5 years old, off of the garland passing near our table.

    Even with the so-so service I would still go back for the food. But I’d probably leave Hailey at home.

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  7. Godfrey Daniels – I still can’t believe I haven’t been here. It’s on the Southside and not only do they have great music acts they also have story telling sessions for kids. I have no excuse.
  8. UPDATE: Ugh. Totally dropped the ball. Almost snuck it in New Year’s Eve to take Hailey to a kid concert. Big fail all around.

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  9. Touchstone Theater – Again no excuse. I really want to see the Follies show they do at Christmas. I saw the kid friendly version at Christkindlmarkt in 2009 and it was a lot of fun.
  10. UPDATE: Success! I didn’t pre-order my tickets and went on the night that Mayor Callahan was the community guest and the show was sold out. They said I could wait to see if there was a cancellation and 30 seconds later I had a seat. It was definitely a full house. A very intimate theater, as I expected, I found this show very entertaining as did the rest of the crowd but I’m glad I left my husband at home, he would have hated it. Would love to check out another production this year.

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  11. Gio’s Italian Grill in Macungie – everyone raves about the food here. It’s just a bit off the beaten path for me. But…I graduated from high school with Tony the owner and he is hosting our 20th High School Reunion this June so that should make this an automatic cross off! (I’ve jinxed myself, haven’t I?)
  12. UPDATE: And yes I did jinx myself! Turns out our reunion was hijacked because many wanted a more laid-back environment were we could bring our kids, so we ended up with a pot-luck at a park and had a blast. No regrets, but I would still like to try it sometime.

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  13. Historic Bethlehem Cemetery Tours in October – I actually bought tickets through Groupon for this in 2010 but scheduled my tour during the Halloween parade. #FAIL
  14. UPDATE: Another success! I went to the ghost tour run through Moravian Bookshop and found it very entertaining and informative. My tour guide was none other than George Wacker of Lehigh Valley with Love fame and we were chased by crows and a hippie. Well, not chased by a hippie, but there was a hippie. I brought Hailey along and her complaint: “But Mommy, we didn’t get to see any ghosts!”

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  15. Renninger’s Antiques and Collectors Extravaganza in Kutztown. I forget about this thing every year. And they hold it THREE times a year. This is so right up my alley. Not officially the LV but close enough.
  16. UPDATE: This one didn’t get crossed off the list but it wasn’t without trying. My friend and I made plans twice to go but we had to cancel both times. This will definitely get back on the Bucket List for 2012. The wait was probably good anyway because I have a better idea of what I’m looking for.

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  17. Glass blowing and/or photography classes at the Banana Factory. This has been on my unwritten list every year since they opened that glass blowing studio. Well, now it’s in writing damn it.
  18. UPDATE: Well, I didn’t get this one off the list, but I do know which two classes I want to take (one glass, one photography) so I’m in better shape for 2012.

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  19. Visit a local vineyard – Yes, I’m lame…I haven’t done this yet.
  20. UPDATE: I got this one off my list early in the year and I visited not one, but a whole bunch, of local vineyards all in one day. Read more about it here.

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  21. Martin Guitar Tour – I’m not a guitar player but appreciate the workmanship that goes into these beautiful pieces. Another one that is on my yearly bucket list in my head.
  22. UPDATE: Well, I almost did this one, but almost doesn’t count. Turns out I tried to cross this one off during a big Martin’s Lover Fest the day before Martin on Main and all the tours were full. I did get to go through the museum, which was quite interesting itself. This is a hard one for me to cross off, tours are only when I’m at work and usually if I’m taking a day off its because I have other plans. I’m sure this will be back on the 2012 bucket list though.

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  23. Souper Bowl at Banana Factory – Last year I failed to buy my tickets in advance and it sold out. I’m buying my tickets today!
  24. UPDATE: I got my tickets in time and went to this. You can read about it here. This year it is going to be at the new Artsquest Center at SteelStacks, and no, I didn’t buy my tickets yet.

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Horns – New Sustainable Restaurant Coming to South Bethlehem

During the heatwave this past weekend Hailey and I went for a walk through the sideside (yes, we are insane) and we stopped to peak in the windows of a new restaurant under construction at 123 West 4th Street near Play It Again Records. What immediately caught my eye were the two antique Singer sewing machine tables converted into small cafe tables and the old pictures leaning against the wall.

Hailey and I were quickly spotted by John Silvestera who took a break from working on the interior of his future restaurant to invite us in for a tour. The place was really cool. One of the first things I noticed once inside was where the place may have gotten its name…there were a few animal mounted heads on the wall, some with horns. The place has a rustic look, but not in any sort of Cracker Barrel way, definitely much cooler and darker. Aside from the Singer tables in the window there are wooden picnic tables (trust me, it works) and a coffee bar area under-construction. The coffee will be fair trade of course. John also said he was going to have a Chef’s table in the kitchen where lucky diners can get up-close to the action in the kitchen. Chalkboards across the wall in several areas will include the menu, specials, and one black-board is already devoted to defining some of the terms common to sustainable dining. He made his own lighting fixtures.

In the corner there is a big barrel with a vessel sink. John explained that instead of having water bottles people can either bring their own containers for free “super filtered” water or pay a small amount for a cup to fill up. The purpose is to encourage people to think about waste and ways they can be more green. I asked about take-out and the containers he’d be using and he’s on top of it already, it’s all green.

John and Horns are both welcome additions to the southside. In case you missed it, the Express-Times ran a story recently about how John came to the southside after being turned down by Easton. Easton’s loss is definitely our gain.

It was also refreshing to see work being done behind open glass. I wish more people would consider this. I realize it may steal some of the thunder by not having a big reveal once it’s all done but because he didn’t hide behind windows covered in craft-paper or newspaper he gets to interact with future customers now to get the buzz started. I’ve seen tweets since my visit from others who have been invited inside by John for a tour and I think that’s just so smart. I was actually chased off by peaking inside an open door when floors were being redone in the old McCorry’s building on 3rd Street. Really? You’re going to chase curious people away people showing interest before you even open? I just don’t get it.

Ok, sorry, back to Horns. John is hoping to have Horns open in early September. Check out some of pictures I took, though it doesn’t compare to seeing it in person. Go take a walk, look curious, maybe you’ll get a sneak peak too.

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Ack! A Wrinkle!

The other morning I woke up looking like Yoda. Well actually, not that many wrinkles, but two, one on each side of the bridge between my eyebrows. And these are not superficial wrinkles, these are fairly deep.

Botox is NOT an option for me. I depend to much on my animated expressions. Especially the eyebrow furrow and the eye roll. Actually, it’s surprising this has not happened sooner. I don’t necessarily care if other’s see it, but I don’t like looking at it. I have been lucky to make it to my grand age of 37 without grays or wrinkles…looks like the wrinkle bit is coming to a close. I credit my lack of grays to my grandmother’s genes, and my skin…well…I don’t credit my genes for that…it probably has more to do with the fact that I started using Oil of Olay when I was 11 and I have been obsessed with anti-aging moisturizers ever since. Oh and sunscreen. I have freckles year round, so to keep them in check I wear SPF 50 sunscreen on my face. And sunglasses. My entire family is like vampires, none of us can be outside without sunglasses, even the house is dimly lit.

So why am I bothering you with all of this? I need your help. I need to find a new wrinkle cream to help me smooth this crap out. Here are my requirements and preferences in order of importance:

Must haves:

  1. Must work (at least to some extent, and not just as a smoother, must  prevent further damage, would be nice if it could reverse some existing damage)
  2. Must not be tested on animals
  3. Must be all natural

Must not have:

  1. Nasty ingredients like petrochemicals, lanolin

Would be nice if:

  1. Ingredients are all natural
  2. Organic
  3. Locally available
  4. Locally made
  5. Vegan (I can live with bee products if it really works, but I don’t want to rub a placenta on my face)
  6. Not crazy expensive. I would consider $75 bucks for something that only lasts a month crazy expensive. $75 for something that lasts 6 months…I can deal with that.
  7. It would be great if it also worked as an eye cream.

Currently for an all over moisturizer I use a product called Amurie Rejuventation Moisturizer. It is locally distributed (Northampton PA) and I get it through the Lehigh Valley Food Coop (full disclosure, I am a shareholder and board member). It is also all natural, and it works great as an all over moisturizer. But it is not a targeted wrinkle cream.

If you have anything that you have actually used and love, share it here. If you in anyway represent the product, that is fine, please comment, but be up-front that you represent the product so your comments can be taken in context.

Looking forward to hearing your suggestions!