Tag Archives: shopping

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! 


Where am I? Photo quiz.

Wow, just realized it’s been over a month since my last “Where am I?” post, and almost a month since my last post in general. I really need to get back on the ball here.

So, in an effort to slowly bring everyone back to speed, we have an easy one today. No hints.

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Mother’s Day Brunch Ideas

I started this Mother’s Day brunch requirement…errr…. tradition early on. From the time I was pregnant with Hailey I knew that I wanted brunch at Hotel Bethlehem to be my Mother’s Day tradition. Unfortunately for me…my husband is not one for doing things like making reservations so for my first Mother’s Day the Hotel brunch was booked and we went to the Brew Works instead.  The following year, even after persistent nag…err reminders, my husband did not make reservations for the Hotel Bethlehem brunch in time so I made reservations at Bolete. The following year and from that point forward I took matters into my own hands and I make my own Mother’s Day brunch reservations at the Hotel Bethlehem each year. Sigh.

Each of the three places has something a bit different to offer, so here are my takes on each of them:

Bethlehem Brew Works. Keep in mind that it’s been 4 years since I’ve had my Mother’s Day brunch here so the offering could be a bit different today. They offered a Mother’s Day brunch with no reservation requirement. The food was standard brunch fare and they had good Bloody Mary’s. Also, the Bethlehem Fine Arts Commission’s Art Sale is on Main Street on Monday’s so the location is perfect if you want to incorporate this into your Mother’s Day as I do every year. Pros: Location, no reservations-perfect for last-minute plans, good drinks, casual,  louder atmosphere so if you have real little ones they won’t stick out when they start crying, good price, very flexible Cons: Food is ok but standard-doesn’t stand out, lacks a special Mother’s Day ambiance

Bolete. I was able to get in here with a table for three calling a few weeks before Mother’s Day. I called about 1-2 weeks ago as research for this post and they said they had some openings for smaller parties but were not taking any more reservations for larger (6 or more) parties. Bolete’s food is amazing and Mother’s Day brunch is no exception. This is not a brunch, they offer a special menu with a mix of brunch options, some more breakfasty-others less breakfasty. When I was there it was served as three courses. I had the best blueberry pancake in my life here. On the menu: Blueberry Pancake……$10. Yes it was one pancake (not huge, normal size) for $10. And it was so worth every penny. The food here is farm fresh and cooked to order. I was not a fan of the Mimosas or the Bloody Mary. If you have impatient toddlers it may be challenging. Also, Bolete’s location is a short drive to Main St. for the Art Sale, but it’s not the same as walking out from Brunch into the middle of the sale. Pros: the food is amazing, small intimate experience, not buffet style, nice Mother’s Day ambiance, can generally get reservations weeks ahead rather than months ahead, perfect for families where kids are older. Cons: location (not walkable to other activities like Art Sale), drinks in my opinion were not great, slower service (because food is carefully prepared, cooked to order) may not be ideal for young children, less casual than other options (this can be good or bad depending on your preference), portions are smaller (you will not be stuffed-this can be good too)

Hailey at Mother’s Day Brunch, Hotel Bethlehem, 2009

Hotel Bethlehem. Call months ahead for this if you want to get in. Seriously. Months. A few days before Mother’s Day you will receive a call from them not only confirming your reservation but asking you to reconfirm the number in your party and to provide credit card information so they can charge you if you don’t show up. Because this brunch is in such high demand they want to make sure that not only you show up but that your entire party shows up. I haven’t had the experience of showing up without my entire party or not at all so I don’t know how well they enforce this but I’m thinking they are serious if they go through the trouble of calling everyone and requiring the credit card info in advance. I must admit this practice put me off a bit but once you are at the brunch it will all be worth it, trust me. If you have been to any Hotel Bethlehem brunch you know that they do a really nice job and they kick it up several notches for Mother’s Day. They also have an expanded children’s buffet area that included a make your own cupcake station last year. It was super cute. They have coloring activities for the kids to keep them busy too. Hailey loves the formality with the white table clothes and is pretty well-behaved here. She eventually gets over acting like a princess at a formal function and spends most of the remainder of the brunch under the table in her fortress. While the food is buffet style, which I usually find ho-hum, the quality is high.  They have the expected omelette and carving stations as well as some surprises, especially in the seafood selection. And when brunch is over you can step straight outside and browse the Art Sale. Pros: Best Mother’s Day ambiance of the bunch, cannot beat the location, food is very good, Mimosas and Bloody Mary’s are excellent, great for kids of all ages, beautiful views, moderate price, formal feel but you can still be pretty casual here Cons: have to make reservations in advance, not good for go with the flow types (changing number of guests, last-minute cancellations), confirmation process can be off-putting, buffet style (some people like my husband are not a fan of buffets)

If you have any Mother’s Day experiences or preferences please share in the comments!

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!

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.

First Friday tonight, Bethlehem restaurant week extended, sales

Quick update…

First Friday is tonight on the southside. Be sure to check out singer-song writer Dina Hall at Cleo’s and the big sale at Home & Planet (they are also raffling off a skateboard stool with skate decks provided by Homebase – proceeds go to the Bethlehem Skate Plaza). I can’t make it tonight so let me know how it went in the comments. I’ll be at Emeril’s and the Sands, my first time there since opening weekend in 2008. (Well…except that one time I went at 2AM hoping to get a sandwich from Carnegie and it was closed so we left…what’s up with that? It’s a casino…everything should be 24/7).

In case you haven’t heard, Bethlehem’s restaurant week was extended due to the bad weather. Check out the details here.

Groupon has a great deal on now for a $20 Barnes and Noble gift card for $10. I usually try to support local when I buy books, but I’ve been guilty of buying a book or two there…or maybe I’ll just use it on a DVD. Hurry the deal won’t last long it expires in 3 days or when they run out.

Also, if you are a Steel Fitness member you can get 15% off of services at Apotheca in the month of February. Check out my recommendation here.

Happy Friday!

Shopping updates: Sales and Closings

Haven’t written in a while…have a couple of ideas for posts but one of them requires me to take some pictures so I’m waiting for the weekend, about the only time I have access to daylight these days!

Also, there haven’t been a whole lot of new sales that I’ve been excited about…at least not enough to share.

But today I did see that Cleo’s on 3rd St., South Bethlehem is having a 25% off the entire store this week (Jan 13-22). This is a nice shop with jewelery, gifts and home decor. If you have had your eye on something or haven’t checked this place out yet, now would be the time.

Also, don’t forget that RunKeeper Pro is still available on iTunes for free until the end of this mont! It’s usually $9.99 so its a great deal. Even if you don’t run you should consider getting this app. It also tracks walks, biking, skiing, wheelchair, skating, and rowing.  No swimming, at least not until they make a waterproof iPhone. If you aren’t doing any of these things…you really should be….why not track your activity and see your progress over time?

Also, I’ve been reading about the legal troubles of Richard Leidich, who was the proprietor of Bergy’s, that is until he was charged with embezzling $99,000 from the Blue Mountain Community Library in Pen Argyl. So, Bergy’s  is closed. What the heck is Bergy’s you ask? It’s an old country store in the Wassergass. Wassergass? That is a section of Lower Saucon east of Hellertown, that connects to Bucks county to the south.

I write about Bergy’s basically because of childhood memories. When I had pet rabbits (which was during much of my childhood) I remember going to Bergy’s for their feed, and I always felt I was stepping back in history, like the store looked the same in then as it did when it opened (back in 1903). I also had friends in Wassergass growing up and we’d occasionally stop in. It’s one of those places you always hope to see make it. This isn’t the first time it has closed, I hope to see it come back again.

If anyone has any Bergy’s memories or history to share I’d love to read about it in the comments.