Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sands Casino - Molten Lounge

A group of random friends assembled on Saturday night to check out a band at Molten Lounge at the Sands Casino. None of us had heard of Mia Mania before but it was raining, none of us had plans, and the combination of free covered parking and no cover charge was enough to bring out the crowd.

By the time we arrived at 9:30, the packed bar was watching the band warm up. The audience was a mix of gamblers, groupies, and nightlife seekers, and dress code was everything from Penn State T-shirts and jeans (it was the night of the Blue & White Game) to cocktail attire. Plenty of couples, singles and groups of friends, ranging in age from early 20's to 50's. I'm not including the octogenarians with oxygen tanks playing the slot machines nearby. Drinks aren't the cheapest in town and it's a little smoky - smoking is allowed in all of the bars and the back area of the casino but the room is fairly well-ventilated.

The band was a lot of fun: they performed cover songs all over the pop charts, old and new... Green Day, Lady Gaga, Sublime. They'll be back at Molten on June 12 if you want to check them out.
On another casino note, Steve at Waiter Rant wrote about his recent experience at Mount Airy Casino in Mount Pocono. They've got a hotel, but we've got Emeril. I haven't been there but I assume it's a similar setup to the Sands. Can anyone verify?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Valley 610

One of the blogs I monitor on Google Reader is Valley 610, which is written by reporters from seemingly every desk at The Morning Call.

I had to share this story, since it likely won't make the print edition and I liked it a lot. Neville is a Lehigh Valley transplant, having moved to the US from Ireland in 1979. Since he made Bethlehem his home, he opened a business you might have heard about, and has been one of the most successful business owners and active voices for merchants on Main Street.

A volcanic idea
Posted by Matt Assad at 02:19:13 PM on April 22, 2010

Her room reservations expired and her flight hopelessly delayed by the eruption of the Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland, Celine Cummins was near tears last Thursday when she ran into Neville Gardner, owner of Donegal Square in Bethlehem.

The two were at the same Celtic merchandise trade show in Secaucus, N.J. – Gardner was buying for his shop and Cummins had flown in from Dublin, Ireland to help design displays for the show.

“I had no hotel room, no flight out and nowhere to go,” said Cummins, who owns the Dublin-based companyPropShop. “I was truly stranded.”

Turns out Gardner had heard of Cummins before and planned to fly her in to Bethlehem to redesign his store. He just never got around to doing it.

Cummins has spent the last week at Gardner’s Bethlehem home, while she redesigns his Main Street shop.

Meanwhile, the cloud over Europe apparently shifted enough to allow flights to take off for the first time today.

Cummins flight leaves tonight.
“Who would have thought,” Gardner said, “there was a silver lining in that massive cloud over Europe?”

Monday, April 12, 2010

Moravian Book Store workshops for 20-somethings in career transition

In addition to being one of the best places to find gifts in the Lehigh Valley, The Moravian Book Shop (428 Main Street, Bethlehem) also hosts book clubs, speakers, book signings, special events and classes regularly. For instance, if you missed Maria Rodale at Lehigh University, you can hear her speak about her Organic Manifesto on April 23.
I was recently invited to check out a series at the Book Shop. For three Thursdays in April, author Susan Berg is leading a Career Workshop Series she's calling Make It Happen: Your Career, Right Now. Susan is a transition expert who has worked with many Fortune 500 companies and brings real-world experience and solutions to the unique issues facing individuals going through a career transition in today's world. She's also a mom to a couple of twenty-somethings.

The schedule is:
April 15, 6:30-8 p.m.: Create Choices Where You Don't See Any
April 22, 6:30-8 p.m.: Nuts & Bolts of a Purposeful Search
April 29, 6:30-8 p.m.: Tips for Moving Forward Faster
Each session is $12, or attend all 3 sessions for $27.

Susan's book, Choose on Purpose (for Twentysomethings): Finding Work You Love, Places to Grow, People Who Care, is also available for purchase at Moravian Book Shop. I received a copy and can see how its content could easily translate into a workshop format. I'll be attending this week's seminar and will share my thoughts here afterwards.

If you're interested in attending, call the Book Department at 610-866-5481, or register online.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Ladies Golf in the Lehigh Valley

Simply playing an 18-course is not always the easiest (or most cost-effective method) way to learn to play golf, regardless of your gender.

But having worked at a golf club, I know the stereotypes about lady golfers well... slow, no etiquette, bad tippers for beverage cart girls. A lot of men immediately wince when they see women in front of them on the course, and will ask to play through so they don't have to wait.

In an effort to combat these negative sterotypes, and to teach us how to play in a friendly, collegial environment, some Lehigh Valley golf clubs have developed programs just for women.

  • PGA Professional Marc Csencsits is teaching a series at Bethlehem Municipal Golf Course (400 Illicks Road, Bethlehem) this spring and summer. His Ladies Night Golf School covers the fundamentals of each shot in golf and provides information on how to execute each shot for beginners or returning lady golfers. For nine consecutive weeks for 60 minutes each session, there will be a variety of topics covered but no two weeks will be exactly the same. $20 gets you a lesson and a large bucket of golf balls. Thursdays, April 29 – June 24, 5:30 p.m.
  • The Morgan Hill Ladies Golf Association at the Club at Morgan Hill (100 Clubhouse Dr., Easton) invites beginners and seasoned players enjoy golf, clinics and social events. A $50 free goes towards food and prizes. On Tuesdays, ladies have an option to play 18 or 9 holes. Ladies who are non members will be charged $40 to play 18 holes and $20 to play 9 holes. There are also clinics and social events throughout the season. Morgan Hill is beautiful and the views from the course (and the clubhouse patio) are completely breathtaking.
  • The Brew Works' popular Girls Gone Golfing summer series will meet every Wednesday beginning in May. Participants will learn the basics in golf fundamentals from Zach Fischal and then relax on the patio overlooking the Allentown Municipal Golf Course (3400 West Tilghman Street, Allentown). The course can provide golf clubs if needed. $35 includes a one-hour lesson and a glass of wine. For $20, participants in the Girls Gone Golfing League get 3 holes, a cart rental and a glass of wine. Teams are set each week so you can sign up with a group of friends or come solo and get matched up with other women.

I'm trying to decide what I'd like to do... any suggestions?

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Girls on the Run of Lehigh County

I don't consider myself an athlete by any means, but I try to get up and move at five times a week. It's good for me physically, but it's also been a great way to make new friends and bond with people who have similar interests here in the Lehigh Valley.

I preparation for a triathlon race in Quakertown on June 13, I have surrounded myself with some pretty inspirational people. My mom has always been a very active person: she walks, works out, and plays golf and tennis. Her USTA senior tennis team just made it to the regional finals in Princeton (go, Mom! Proud of you!). My trainer Becca has been a great adviser, and Nicole has decided to do the same race, so there will be at least one familiar face at the starting line (though I am sure she will be waiting for me at the finish line!). Kim is training for the San Diego Marathon, Courtney is doing the Lehigh Valley Half Marathon, and they are both coaches for a program called Girls on the Run of Lehigh County.

The Girls on the Run program combines training for a 5K running event with healthy-living education for girls in third through eighth grade. Their programs "instill self-esteem and strong values through health education, life skills development, mentoring relationships, and physical training—all of which are accomplished through active collaboration with girls and their parents, schools, volunteers, staff members, and the community."

On Courtney's recommendation, I signed up as a running buddy for the day of the event. I remember hearing my former colleague Stephanie talk about her great experience a few years ago. On Monday, May 24, I'll be running alongside one of the young women in the program. It's a great way to support girls in our community, meet other runners, and get some exercise on a weeknight. You can register online to volunteer as a coach, running buddy or event staff.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Allentown Freak Out

I got an email a while back from one of the organizers of the Allentown Freak Out. This "fringe festival," will feature avant-garde arts and entertainment on June 18 and 19, along the Hamilton Street corridor between 9th and 5th Streets. If you go, you'll see performances by Allentown Public Theatre, fire arts performers, Happy Hooper Lehigh Valley, indie bands and drummers; a film screening and art exhibits. It's tough to start a new thing, especially in downtown Allentown, and particularly if its appeal is not mainstream. It sounds like a lot of fun, though. I have to hand it to the committee that's putting this ambitious plan together and wish them a lot of luck. Stay tuned for updates. PS I took my camera to Dan's Camera City this week because the lens assembly won't retract into the camera body anymore. While it's on a vacation to southern California, the blog might be slightly less colorful. Sorry.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Easton Pub Crawl

The 2nd Annual Easton Pub Crawl starts and ends at Larry Holmes Ringside Restaurant & Lounge (91 Larry Holmes Drive, Easton) on April 24. If you have never attended a pub crawl, here's how it goes: You register, then "crawl" from one place to the next picking up food and drinks (and maybe even other singles, if you're single). The ones in large cities are legendary. Easton's might be small, but parking is free (!) and you don't even need to worry about walking - a trolley will transport everyone from place to place. It's a great way to meet people or get your crew together with minimal planning. 25 bucks gets you: •Commemorative T-shirt •Drink Specials (non-alcoholic too!) •Food Specials •Game Card (for drawing) •Trolley Service (from Larry Holmes Ringside to the starting pub only) •Free Parking at Ringside Proceeds benefit the Easton Business Association. The EBA works to constantly improve and promote business and services, both professional and retail, helping make Easton a better place to live, work, and play. For more information and to register, contact Paul Luongo 610-588-9214 or email.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

LV Arts Council annual membership reception

When we spoke a while back, Randall Forte mentioned he was working on this event, and I was pleased to see it came together as he envisioned. I appreciate the idea that "arts" is more than ballet and oil paintings... it also includes culinary arts (and tasty ones at that).

The Lehigh Valley Arts Council will hold its Annual Membership Reception on Wednesday, April 14, 5:00 -7:30 p.m. at Penn State Lehigh Valley's new campus (2809 Saucon Valley Road. Center Valley). The reception will follow an Arts-in-Education workshop ("Growing Up Artfully") and celebrate the 21st birthday of the Lehigh Valley Arts Council.

Lauri Ditunno, celebrity chef, owner of Cake Alchemy (NYC) and featured designer on WE Tv's Amazing Wedding Cakes, will judge a cake decorating contest. Guests can see and sample the confectionary talents of creative cake makers from some of the Lehigh Valley's best bakeries and enjoy complimentary refreshments. There will be a cash bar and awards will be presented at 6:15 p.m.

Lehigh Valley Arts Council Members: FREE; Non-members: $10
Members RSVP: 610-437-5915 or info@LVArtsCouncil.org by April 9
Nonmembers: Register Online