Tag Archives: Allentown

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.

    STATUS:

  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.

    STATUS:

  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.

    STATUS:

  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.

    STATUS:

  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.

    STATUS:

  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.

    STATUS:

  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.

    STATUS:

  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.

    STATUS:

Talking Trash: The Latest on My Garbage Situation

So last week we went to Cape May for two days (can’t miss too much Musikfest). The night before we left we made sure to take out any trash including questionable foods from the fridge, dog poo (my husband wishes this stuff was made of gold) etc. because the day we were leaving for the shore, Wednesday, was also garbage day.

We come home Thursday night to find the trash is still in the garbage cans. They never came. This is August mind you. So my husband calls and they tell him the truck broke down and they would be over as soon as possible. Thursday comes and goes, as does Friday. Saturday I’m sitting on the patio enjoying the last few days of my vacation but I’m not enjoying the aroma of rotting meat and dog shit. Nice.

I call one number for the trash people, the new one they gave my husband, and I get an answering machine telling me that anyone missed on Thursday or Friday was going to get picked up on Monday and that Wednesday people need to wait until the next Wednesday and that they would credit the account for the missed week. WTF??? So Thursday and Friday pick-ups only suffer a few days (which I acknowledge is a long time in August) while Wednesday people have to wait a week??? Last time I checked my calendar Wednesday came before Thursday or Friday. So what gives? My theory is that Thursday and Friday customers do not live on the southside. I’m willing to bet money on it.

So at this point I had enough of the answering machine, so I leave a not so nice message and call the number where people actually answer the phone. And they do. And they tell me that the truck was just now fixed and they would add us to the Monday list. Fine. I get off the phone and go back out to the patio. I get hit in the face with the stench of the garbage. I’m back on the phone. The good number. This time I get a machine. They know its me. So I tell them on my message that the more I think about this situation the less I understand why on Earth I need to wait until Monday if their truck is fixed now. Come tonight or Sunday morning. I also tell them while they are enjoying their Sunday off I have to sit here and smell garbage on the last remaining days of my vacation and I’m not liking it. I also tell them how I am tempted to pack the garbage up in my husband’s truck and dump it at their place so they can suffer with it and I don’t have to.

Ten minutes later my phone rings. It’s someone other than the person who I spoke to the first time. She immediately has an attitude telling me my message was inappropriate and she didn’t know where I was getting the information that the truck was fixed, it was not. I tell her “well, the other woman who answered at this number told me it was just fixed.” Silence. “Well we have sent you four invoices now with a new phone number on it. Stop calling this number.” (Nice, see that, changing the subject) Me: “I’m sorry I’m not studying your invoices to see if there are changes. I call this number because I tend not to get an answering machine when I do. And as a matter of fact, I have never received four invoices from you. You only recently began sending them (we pay 6 months ahead) because I have to beg for them.” Her “No, we sent you three” (oh…now it’s three?)

Then we went into this whole thing about how I should find another collector because I don’t pay my bills on time. I told her if I’m ever late it’s because I’m pondering if I should find a new hauler before I pay. I also told her I paid the last bill in about two weeks and that their due date is usually the day they send the bill or the day after which is ridiculous. We went back and forth about how they were giving us a special rate and how I should be more appreciative. I told her I never once asked for any favors and that if I got better service with a higher rate plan that I would take it. I also told her about how my garbage cans are left laying on the side-walk or thrown in my plants. That I never know what day of the week they are going to show up.

So then I told her that I hope that Bethlehem goes to city-wide collection soon. You can imagine that went over like a lead balloon. I told her about how wonderful it was when I lived in Allentown and they picked up twice a week. She was not amused. So she said, we are adding you to the list to pick up ASAP. (I wonder what other lists I got added to…)

So Sunday morning our garbage was picked up.

Here’s the picture of how we found our cans:

So the big question at home this morning was whether or not they would pick up today. I got the text from my husband today:

“Garbage assholes didn’t come and get the garbage”

Please Bethlehem. Enough is enough. I’m really tired of hiring and firing (or getting ripped off by) garbage haulers. But I tell you one thing. I am done with one truck operations. If you don’t have a fleet, I’m not hiring you. I’m not saying this is a cure-all either, I’ve had a bigger hauler in the past, I think they were the ones who told me my house was not there anymore.

Bucket List Update…I’m Slacking

Back in January, one of my first blog posts was a personal bucket list of local attractions that I have never been to and want to cross of my list in 2011. So how is it going? Of late….not so good. In the beginning I crossed off a few items rather quickly. I thought that June, mid-year, would be a good time to look back and review my progress and regain some momentum.

So here’s what I’ve done so far:

  1. America On Wheel’s Museum  – see my post
  2. Visit a local vineyardsee my post
  3. Souper Bowl at Banana Factorysee my post

Three things. I did three things, that’s it??? And all three of these were crossed off by mid-February!

So here’s what I didn’t do, along with my sorry excuses…

  1. Easton State Theatre – I originally wrote:
    “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.” Pretty much the same thing is happening. I either fail to check the schedule or I do find something I’m sort of interested in but the price is higher than my interest (for example, Bryan Adams).
  2. Any number of restaurants in Easton I have yet to get to. We aren’t big restaurant goers…my husband doesn’t care for crowds and we have a kid. Might have to turn this one into a birthday dinner.
  3. Godfrey Daniels – busy weekends…wanted to take Hailey to a storytelling event but was already over booked. Need to take another look at the schedule.
  4. Touchstone Theater – I’d like to get there sooner but if I don’t, I plan on seeing the Christmas Follies in December.
  5. Gio’s Italian Grill in Macungie – I jinxed myself. This was supposed to be a done deal…my reunion was supposed to be here but it got hijacked and turned into a picnic. I must admit the picnic was a lot of fun, not that Gio’s wouldn’t have been good, but it was great seeing everyone’s kids so it worked out for the best. Even if that means I have to make new plans to cross this off the list.
  6. Historic Bethlehem Cemetery Tours this is in October so I’m still ok…for now.
  7. Renninger’s Antiques and Collectors Extravaganza in Kutztown. I made plans to go to the June Extravaganza with a friend who also loves antiques. They are moving into a new house in July and she has sworn off buying more stuff that they will have to pack and move so we rescheduled for September’s Extravaganza.
  8. Glass blowing and/or photography classes at the Banana Factory. I found the class I want to take (a photography class where you make a book) but I forgot to sign up and I think it already started. I’ll have to check the next schedule.
  9. Martin Guitar Tour – I’m going to go to this when I’m on vacation for Musikfest in August.

To be honest, I’d be happy if I got through more than half of this list this year. I think the hardest one for me is going to be the State Theatre and maybe the Banana Factory class, depending on what is offered and when. 

I’m also making a summer to-do list. Not really a bucket list because many of the things I’ve already done previously, but just want to get there again. Hopefully I’ll get around to writing a post about it soon.

Did you make a bucket list for this year? How are you doing with it? Let me know in the comments! 


Why Bethlehem Needs a Centralized Garbage Contract: My Trash Collector Horror Stories

A long time debate in Bethlehem is about to pick up momentum again as Mayor John Callahan wants City Council to once again consider long overdue city-wide trash hauling contract. And republican candidates for Bethlehem City Council are talking trash. In an effort to put some homeowner perspective on this, particularly if you do not live in the city or if you rent, this is my story. Warning, this gets beyond ridiculous.

Many moons ago I lived in an apartment in Allentown. We had trash collection twice a week. TWICE! It was wonderful. No worries about throwing chicken in the garbage after the trash man already picked up, he’d be back in a few days. And you could set your clock to it too. Our pick up was Tuesday and Friday. I still remember. They always came, never a worry about being skipped or having to call. I never called the City’s waste management or my landlord once about trash collection issues. Never even crossed my mind.

Skip ahead two years to 1999 when my husband and I bought our first house in Bethlehem. What do you mean I have to find my own trash man? This is a joke right? I grew up in Hellertown which also had their own hauler. My husband grew up in Bethlehem so he new this was no joke.

And you can’t just go to just any garbage hauler. You have to contact the city to get a list of “approved” haulers. I tried to find a copy on the city’s website and by searching on google and had no luck. Yes, in 2011 you have to call so they can fax you the list. So you would think that if the city is giving you a narrowed down list they would have weeded out the unreliable haulers. Not. Last time I looked at this list there were 20-30 haulers on it.

So back to 1999. I called a few haulers and quickly realized they don’t all pick up in my neighborhood on the same day. Putting two and two together, I also realize this means I will have garbage trucks in my alley every day of the week. Lovely. Also, some charge “by the bag” and some charge a flat rate, some have a choice. Some provide their own containers. Well, we already bought two brand new garbage cans and the cans they provided are a bright blue that sticks out like a sore thumb. No thanks. Some are small local mom and pop haulers, others are large companies. Some are from New Jersey.

We spent 5 years in that house and had at least three haulers, maybe four. In our current house (we are here about 7 1/2 years) we had two. We I generally tried to stick with local mom and pops but did use one or two of the larger companies.

One put stickers on our garage to identify the house. Really? Fired.

Others were fired because they would skip us for weeks. WEEKS. Garbage stinking things up for WEEKS. When you call you get voice mail 99% of the time. Or if your pick up day is Wednesday they come Thursday. Then, after several weeks you think ok, they moved me to Thursday so you start to put the garbage out on Thursday. They come on Wednesday, grrr.

Or they tell you you have to bring your cans out to the street. Not true. In fact the City does not want you to. Haulers are required to go up your driveway or onto your back yard to pick up the cans AND RETURN THEM. If they don’t, call the city. Our current trash hauler is often guilty of leaving my trash cans all over the sidewalk. Sometimes after I have already left for work, which means they sit there blocking the sidewalk all day unless one of my neighbors is home to move them.

I’m trying not to name names but for this one I will because they are no longer in business. Trash Monster. Never heard of them? Check the morning call archives. We paid in advance so we wouldn’t have yet another monthly bill to worry about. They went out of business without telling us and let our trash sit for a month, just weeks after I paid for the next 6 months. Never got it back.

I had to convince their replacement (our current hauler) that normal businesses send invoices and don’t call and say I’ll stop by Wednesday at 10AM (when I’m at work) to pick up a check. Finally they started sending me an invoice but they call me within two days of me receiving it to find out when I’m paying. You go straight to the bottom of the pile for that one.

My current hauler is also the hauler that decided they are no longer serving the east side of the southside where a friend of ours lives. Problem? They never told their customers, including our friend. So he had to scramble to find a new hauler after reading about it in the paper because he couldn’t get a hold of the hauler. Nice.

My favorite story though happened at our last house. Our garbage hauler didn’t come for weeks. I’d call every week, leave messages or talk to someone who would apologize and tell me they’d stop out today or the next to pick it up and never come. Finally they asked the men on the road what the heck was going on. Their response? OUR HOUSE WAS NO LONGER THERE. Idiots. We did some landscaping and they no longer could find our house. It was a brick twin in a block full of brick twins. If the house was no longer there it would be a pretty obvious gap.

It’s bullshit that anyone should have to put up with this crap. On top of the experiences I have with my own haulers, I live on a one way street, surrounded by other small streets, many one way. Almost every day of the week I get stuck behind a garbage truck.

Plus, if someone has trash all over you can’t tell how long it has been there. Maybe today is their trash day? You won’t know until a week goes by and it is still there.

Also, there is no accountability. The city has no idea if you have contracted a hauler or not. People could be dumping their trash in the woods, in the street, on their neighbors pile, or even taking it to a relative’s house that has city or borough-wide collection.

If the city contracts trash collection they have more clout with the hauler. If the city gets too many complaints about the hauler they can be sure to take that into consideration when the contract is up for renewal and if bad enough, sooner.

So what are the arguments against a city wide contract? Two major issues: 1) the elderly think it will cost them more because many use the “by the bag” rate to keep their rate “low” 2) it will hurt the haulers that don’t get the contract (bad for business, large government blah blah blah).

So my arguments for the first point? If you compare against Allentown’s twice a week collection they pay less than the average Bethlehem resident. If that average is higher than the by the bag rate? Give seniors a discount. NEXT!

For the second point? Oh shut the hell up already. If garbage collection and keeping the city clean, sanitary and healthy is not a city government responsibility then I don’t know what the hell is. As for the small haulers, I am usually a huge supporter of small businesses but we would not have to even consider centralized trash collection if they were doing their jobs. We could simply divide the city into 5 wards, each ward would have its own trash collection day. This would ease the traffic concerns as well as allow neighbors and officials to better tell how long garbage has been sitting out on the street. But many of the haulers aren’t doing their jobs so that won’t work. To appease the ones who are, why not continue to allow businesses to contract their own trash (including apartment complexes). Sure some of the small haulers will likely go under, but hopefully it will be the ones that shouldn’t be operating anyway.

It’s time to clean up the city. A city-wide contract is the way to go.

Update: immediately after posting this, I found my garbage cans in this condition:

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First Strides Starts This Week

In my continued effort to lose weight and get in shape I registered for First Strides which begins all over the Lehigh Valley this week. I’ll be at the Sand Island sessions, which start this Thursday.

Basically First Strides is a running program for women that is sponsored by  Lehigh Valley Hospital, Aardvark Sports Shop (Bethlehem), and The Finish Line Running Store (Emmaus). I participated two years ago and I’m determined to get back into running again so I joined up again this year.

Basically you meet up with a swarm of other women to run, in my case at Sand Island (one of my favorite running spots), each week. After a few weeks you break out into groups that run at a similar pace. Groups have names like Jaguars, Giselle’s, even Jack Rabbits. If there was a turtle group that would have been perfect for me. In all seriousness though it is a great way to meet people with similar goals and challenges.

But in all seriousness this is perfect for first timers and even experienced runners, especially if you need some motivation. You follow a program that gradually builds  in time and speed each week, switching between slow and fast intervals. Each week the fast intervals gets longer and the slow intervals gets longer. For newbies or people like me who are coming off of a hiatus you can walk the slow interval, and run the fast interval. If you are already running or are somewhat in shape you can run both intervals, slow run and fast run. The first week the run intervals are only ONE MINUTE long. Seriously, you can do this. Each week there is also homework, at first two additional runs before the next meeting, eventually three additional runs.  By the end of the 12 week program you are ready to run a 5K. For many in the group this will be a first 5K. It was mine 2 years ago and I survived (barely). And not because they didn’t prepare me, but because I didn’t always keep up with my homework. Now I know better and I WILL keep up with the homework this time.

You can even enter the program intervals into Runkeeper to help you with your homework runs. Hopefully you picked up the pro app when it was free in January. If not, it is worth every penny. The free app is also good, try it first and if you like it get the pro version.

There is still time to register on-line. Go to the First Strides homepage and click on the location you want to sign up for and then go to the registration area. They’ll ask if you want to join Active.com, unless you are really interested, skip that part, it costs extra and is not required for joining First Strides.

I also plan to work in a few P90X routines each week because I did notice running was much easier last summer when I was on the program. I still need to find my motivation again, I’ve been extra lazy in the morning lately, only getting in about 2 P90X workouts a week.

I also tend to think I can eat a lot more (more than burning off with exercise) when I’m active so I’ll also be on the weight watchers program during all of this to keep me in line. I managed to lose 3.2 lbs at my 2nd check-in. Woo-hoo. I’m hoping to earn my first 5 lb gold star this week. Fingers crossed – I was kind of bad this weekend – I’ve burned through my extra weekly points. I must say that I like the points plus program much better – I’m eating lots of fruits and vegetables instead of crappy pre-packaged foods with artificial ingredients just to make point calculations easy and points low.

A Motley Crew

No, that’s not a misspelling. I really mean a roughly assembled group of characters, not a 80’s hair band. I’ve somehow managed to become part of an amazing motley crew of local bloggers who have been nominated to participate in The Morning Call’s Best Blogs of the Lehigh Valley contest. (You can also click on the picture to go to the contest)

Yes…this is another contest that involves registering and voting…daily (helpful hint: use something other than Internet Explorer, Chrome worked well for me). So I’m hoping for one of two things. One, that everyone manages to get through the registration process and votes for us daily, or two, that no one bothers and only members of my crew vote, guaranteeing a win for all of us!

I’m fairly certain that I’m the newest of the bunch, since I just started blogging this year, so it really surprised me when I was invited by Laini of THE Little Pocket Guide of Bethlehem…and that other town to the east…oh yeah, Easton…to join The Lehigh Valley Independent Media group and become part of this organized chaos. I also believe I have the stiffest competition, I am in the same category as The Junk Drawer which is an honor, since its author, Kathy Frederick, was one of my inspirations for blogging in the first place. In the “humor” category no less. Ack!

Here are our recommendations, I’d love for you to vote for all of us, but at a minimum I ask that you consider supporting your favorite INDEPENDENT bloggers, not the corporate blogs. Nothing against corporate blogs, they have their place and I’m a fan of many of them, but I feel this is a local contest where the independents should reign.

Don’t forget! You can vote every day! And you can find links to these fine blogs in my blog roll to the right.

Sales: Aardvark on Groupon, Hatley at Milk & Honey Kids

I haven’t written about sales in a while because, quite frankly, they have been pretty sucky lately. But I woke up to some good news this morning…Aardvark is on Groupon today! According to the counter their $30 for $60 worth of Aardvark Sports Shop stuff is good for two days (Tuesday and Wednesday) and the Groupon expires 9/3/2011. If you aren’t familiar with Aardvark, it is a great place to buy running shoes. I will never buy them at a chain sporting goods or self-service store again. Even if you can find the same pair a few bucks cheaper, what if they are the wrong shoes for you? Now you just wasted your money on running shoes you aren’t happy with. At Aardvark they really take the time to match you up with something that fits your budget as well as the needs of your feet. In fact, usually they will bring me about 3 types of shoes in my range and when they told me which was the best fit for me…to date it has never been the most expensive pair. They aren’t there to rip you off, they want you to be a customer for life. They also have a lot of cool gadgets and clothing as well as information on races and running groups. Don’t feel this is a store just for marathon runners. If you are just starting out or even just thinking about it, stop by they’ll get you motivated and up and running….literally.

Another great store in the Lehigh Valley, this one much newer to our area, is Milk & Honey Kids. They carry great kids clothes brands like Tea and some really neat toys, they have a lot of Melissa & Doug which is one of my…I mean Hailey’s…favorites as well as a lot of fun things you won’t find at the big box stores. They are trying to fill the void that Toy Magic left behind, and while it is still primarily clothing, they are doing a great job with the toys. So far I’ve only been to the Bethlehem store (next to Panera bread on 512) but they also have a store on Hamilton Street in Allentown which is bigger.

Milk & Honey’s vendor of the week this week is one of my favorites, Hatley. They make the most adorable rain boots, rain coats, and umbrellas and the sale is perfect timing! Be sure to click the link for the coupon. A bit of warning…you are going to pay more for kids clothing than you will at Old Navy or Children’s Place, even more than Gymboree. I won’t get all of Hailey’s clothing or toys, here but I will get special gifts here. I’ll usually seek out things that are more unique that you can’t find elsewhere.