Tag Archives: southside

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.

    STATUS:

  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.

    STATUS:

  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!”

    STATUS:

  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.

    STATUS:

  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:

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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! 


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!

Bucket List Update: Artsquest Souper Bowl

Wow, it’s been a while. Lot’s of little things to update everyone on.

First, I crossed another thing off of my 2011 bucket list: The Souper Bowl at the Banana Factory. This was the second annual event to run on Saturday, the weekend before the Super Bowl. If they continue on their sell out streak the only way to go next year is to pre-order your tickets. The event benefits Artsquest B. Smart after school enrichment program.

The event was very well attended (read: shoulder to shoulder packed) and I left completely stuffed with soup. I didn’t realize how full you can get from tiny cups of soup…granted a lot of tiny cups of soup. Two of my favorites were voted by ticket holders as the best soups: Cathy’s Creative Catering of Catasauqua had an amazing coconut shrimp bisque and Bethlehem’s Blue Sky Cafe‘s chilled blueberry soup. The coconut shrimp bisque was the only soup that made me say “wow!” its unique flavor really hit me on the first sip. The chilled blueberry was the only soup for which I went back for seconds. I somehow missed the Hampton Winds chicken paprikash, which was also voted into the top three. I’m sure it was amazing, there was some buzz about this one on Twitter.

I was so full after about an hour or so that I just had to quit, I didn’t make it through all of the soups. There was only one soup that I really disliked, all of the others were very good, but the two winners I mentioned really stood out and I was hard pressed to come up with a third one to vote for (ticket holders could vote for up to three soups).

It was a nice event but it could have used some entertainment and maybe could have been laid out a little better. For example all of the soup stations lined the walls, which is the expected arrangement, but it would have been more creative to have the soup stations in the middle so that the guests could admire the art on the walls of the two galleries.  As for entertainment, once I was full I left because there really was nothing else to do other than eat soup.

All in all, it is for a great cause, it’s a nice event and I’d do it again.

So that’s 2 out of 12 things checked off the bucket list in January, I have another one planned in February and two more already planned for June. I’m on a roll! I’m finding that actually putting the list in writing and out there for others to see has really helped me make progress. It gets people talking and people who already love something on my list have invited me to experience it with them and someone else who also always wanted to do something on the list has reached out and we made plans to get it done. It’s been great! Feel free to share your bucket list progress in the comments!

Just one Stomach Flu Away from My Goal Weight

Ok, for me it is probably more like ten or so stomach flus. This has to be my favorite line from a movie I never saw. It’s from The Devil Wears Prada and I just think it is absolutely perfect, it cracks me up everytime I think about it. The significance of this line to this blog post will become clear in just a bit…

As I wrote earlier this month one of my resolutions for 2011 was to get back on a program and lose some weight. I started out on the right foot, started running again, did a couple P90X workouts and also went to the gym a few times, then I got sick. Or at least I thought I was sick. I have this horrible habit of stopping all forms of exercise when I’m sick and it always takes weeks months for me to get back on the program.

About a week before I got sick I went to the Chinese new age center on S. New St. on the southside-I forget the name, I just call it Kim’s (it is related to Kim’s Healing Center in Easton)- and picked up some of that Bee Pollen I was joking about in that same post. It’s actually called ZI XIU TANG FACE AND FIGURE CAPSULE, and there’s a lot more in it than Bee Pollen. Yes, the same stuff my facebook friend takes that she claims makes you “go” a lot. Oh and this same facebook friend informed me that she was disappointed that I didn’t come up with a funny code name for her in my last blog post. Apparently “facebook friend” is not funny enough for her. So from here out I’ll refer to her as Orange Julius.

So any way…I figured, well it will be like a cleanse, cleanses are good right?

At first I thought this side effect OJ was experiencing was an allergic reaction she was having (people with bee allergies SHOULD NOT TAKE bee pollen supplements) as I didn’t notice any unusual gastrointenstinal “effects” at all. What I did notice was that I was not eating out of boredom, and on my first day I was really bored…this would usually be a trigger for me.

The second day was a Monday and I usually drink a TON of coffee on weekdays, both before work and all day at work. By 10AM I had to put the kibosh on the caffeine because it felt like my mind was racing and I was all twitchy and nervous. It takes a lot of caffeine to have this effect on me. I continue to drink coffee but in significantly lower amounts since I started taking the bee pollen (at most 2 cups a day, as opposed to say anywhere from 5-10 cups). Herbal mint tea has replaced my coffee for the most part at work.

I was also addicted to diet soda. It doesn’t have to be caffeinated, it just has to not be water. Not a fan of water. I make myself drink it at work, but rarely drink it at home. I just noticed that it has been about two weeks since I’ve had any considerable amount of diet soda-about the same amount of time that I’ve been taking these pills. The last time I stopped drinking diet soda it was a conscience decision and it took considerable effort and it only lasted about 3 months. I don’t even consider it as an option now. I wasn’t expecting this effect, but I like it! I’ve been told by others, and I can absolutely confirm, that the Bee Pollen suplements will make you very thirsty and you should drink a lot of water so this sudden preference for water over soda works out great!

Throughout the first week I continued to notice that my portions were getting smaller with no thought or effort and I was getting full quickly and not constantly getting cravings. I still had an occasional sweet tooth craving but considerably less frequently and found that it took a lot less sweets to satisfy it. Could this really be the bee pollen…or is it just the fiber that in the supplement? My energy level as similar to when taking 5 hour energy, and the Bee Pollen supplements do contain B vitamins. I’m still not completely convinced that the appetite control and energy I’ve noticed are any more than a placebo effect, but hey if it works who am I to question it? And so far so good with the lack of explosive bowl movements right?

Not so fast. After about 6 days, suddenly my stomach felt weird and for two days I thought I had food poisoning and/or a stomach flu (and not the vomiting kind-I just thought that picture was hysterical-Welcome to New Jersey…Ha!). I didn’t think it could be the Bee Pollen Supplements, even though this was an expected effect, because I hadn’t had any issues the prior 6 days. So I just spent the weekend thinking I was sick and then it went away. This is also when my exercise program went down the toilet, pun intended.

Then it came back (the stomach flu-like symptoms, not the exercise program). Not nearly as severe and not every day. So I get a facebook message from Orange Julius asking how the Bee Pollen was going and I mention that it felt like I had a stomach flu for a couple of days but it wasn’t until a week into taking the pills and it went away (for the most part) so I didn’t think it was the pills. And she replied “oh, that’s the pills alright.” So it IS true.

So then I immediately thought, “oh god, does this mean I’m bulimic? Have I turned into the type of person who says things like ‘I’m just one stomach flu away from my goal weight’?”

I decided to weigh myself to see if anything happened and if any of this was worth it. HOLY CRAP I LOST 10 pounds. About 5 of which were post-holiday pounds that I expected to drop rather quickly, another 2 post-P90X pounds that I put on after I stopped regularly using the program, but that still left me three pounds lighter than when I was on P90X!

But surely this must all be water weight and muscle that I lost right? My scale displays fat, muscle, and water mass percentages and after I stopped P90X my fat % started going up and my muscle % started coming down. But now my percentages were actually starting to reverse in the good direction and I haven’t completed a real workout in over a week.

So based on all of this, I’m learning to live with the “effects” of these bee pollen supplements. I’m just going to think of it as an on-going cleanse process and we’ll see what happens. OJ assures me it gets better.

I do intend to get back on the program with the exercise though. Especially now that I’m no longer addicted to Angry Birds.

Note: As always, I’m just sharing my personal experience and by no means am I recommending anyone to start taking these things.

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.