Monday, May 23, 2011

Lehigh Valley Transplants in the news

Catching up on some old reading, I couldn't help notice some stories highlighting... downright CELEBRATING... the contributions and perspectives some Lehigh Valley transplants bring to the region (go, transplants!):

Blanketing with care: Valley volunteers turn out blankets to warm the soul (TMC, April 5, 2011)
A group meets monthly in the community center of a Moore Township housing development, where members unload four weeks' worth of made-at-home contributions — mainly blankets for babies and children, but larger pieces, too. This month's batch brought the total to 5,000, which is pretty impressive for seven years of part-time needlework. The ringmaster of this cheery blanket circus is a chatty and hospitable transplant from New York, Anita Brody. She moved here in 2003 and started the group the following year.

Royal wedding excites Maureen Hillary, a British transplant to Lehigh Valley (ET, April 28, 2011)
Maureen Hillary, of Forks Township... (was) born and raised in Somerset, England, and celebrated the Royal Wedding in style with a British-style brunch.

Bethlehem flush with young women business owners (ET, May 23, 2011)
...many of the retail store owners were inspired to open their stores after seeing the wider variety of brands available in larger cities where they’ve visited or gone to college. Many of the retail stores focus on having brands that aren’t available elsewhere in the region. (Jennifer Mann said this - smart woman.)

The stores:
Apotheca Salon & Boutique
Hair salon and women’s clothing store
101 E. Third St.
Opened June 2010
Owned by Julie Casciano, 29, and Amanda King, 33

The Attic
Vintage clothing store
14 W. Broad St. through June 12, then 516 Main St.
Opened 2009
Owned by Anne Kuronyi, 34

Hair salon
12 W. Fourth St.
Opened October 2007
Owned by Alison Leigh, 36

Hello Burrito
Eatery specializing in wraps and quesadillas
38 W. Broad St.
Opened September 2010
Owned by Rachel Lambdin, 34

Hookah Turka
Hookah bar and Mediterranean café
44 W. Broad St.
Opened March 2010
Owned by Duygu Alkan, 25

Loose Threads Boutique
Women’s clothing store
9 W. Fourth St.
Opened April 2009
Owned by Helene Perrucci, 30, and Laura Jasorka, 27

Women’s clothing store
574 Main St.
Opened September 2010
Owned by Kate Falasca, 25

Women’s shoes and clothing store
530 Main St.
Opened April 2009
Owned by Jennifer A. Mann, 29

Thursday, May 19, 2011

"Pennsylvania" names

A friend was telling a story about someone recently, and I caught myself saying "that sounds like a good Pennsylvania name."

The PA "Dutch" and Native American surnames and municipalities are pretty common in the Lehigh Valley, but they were new to me when I moved here. It took me a while to figure out how to spell names like Reichley, Breidinger and Schoenenberger. Even my GPS still has trouble pronouncing Schoenersville Road, Macungie, Muhlenberg, and Tilghman Street. Sometimes I'll take a guess at the "correct" pronunciation only to find out the locally-accepted pronunciation is actually the American-ized version.

I've also observed a trend of having first names that are two names put together: Joellen, Joelin, Jolisa, Jenelle, Leanne, Deanna, Shaunalee and Jolene are all names that I encounter regularly in PA that I almost never saw in DC. I think it's pretty cool to be able to combine names, especially if one or both names honor someone in your family. Even the Twilight kids did it (though Renesme could be stretching it a bit).

Are there any Lehigh Valley names you have read that you still can't pronounce?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

19th on 19th Street, Allentown

One of the best ways to meet people in the Lehigh Valley is to go to something new, inaugural or original... that way you know that everyone there is new, too. Getting in on the ground floor of an idea or a program in the Lehigh Valley gives you the opportunity to see the community like an insider.

If you're considering opening a small business in one of the region's communities, one of the best ways to investigate and build relationships is to SHOW UP. Some of the most successful business owners in the region have built their empires by acting like locals, despite their origins (transplant or native). This means shopping locally, getting your hair cut at a local salon, going to events and serving on committees, and just walking around and saying hello to people. They're *winning* because they got to know the neighborhood and the prospective customer base.

This Thursday from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. West End Allentown business owners and the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce will hold the first "19th on the 19th" mixer in Allentown’s West End. You do not need to be a member of anything to attend, and admission is free.

A total of 22 businesses will be opening their doors to members of the Greater
Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce and the public alike, with special discounts,
prize offerings, food, live music, wine and beer. Local businesses participating include: Allentown Appliance, Americus Pharmacy, Ashmor Systems, Blink Optical Boutique, BoutiqueToGo, Civic Theatre of Allentown, Cottage Spice Co., Elie’s Floral, Geoff Gutgold Advertising, The Jewelers, Jimmy’s Barbershop, Kate’s Bead Boutique, Lawrence Roth Salon & Day Spa, Mimi’s, Nails by Linda, Pavlack Law Offices, Ringers Roost, Step In 4 Mor, Susan Bella Jewelry, TC Salon, TDS Technology, Tessie’s Fairgrounds Hotel, and Timothy Richard Fine Jewelry.

A few tips:

  • Navigate to North 19th Street if you're using GPS.

  • Park for free, on the parking lot inside the Allentown Fairgrounds. That's the big fenced-in area you can see from North 19th Street.

  • If you want get up to date on what is fashionable in accessories, visit Elena at Boutiquetogo.

  • Pick up tickets to see Civic Theater's production of Cabaret.

  • Stop by Stepin4Mor to visit my friend Steph and her adorable doggy, Vino.

  • And finally, step inside the Allentown Farmer's Market (at the Fairgrounds) to pick up dinner on your way home.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Upper and Lower Saucon Townships

Since today is election day, let's have a quick chat about a municipal mystery in the Lehigh Valley.

Because of redistricting, or maybe an overall lack of creativity, there are a handful of Upper-Lower township combinations in Lehigh and Northampton Counties. Lower Macungie Township is southeast of Upper Macungie Township, and Upper Milford Township is northeast of Lower Milford Township. North and South Whitehall Townships, Upper and Lower Mt. Bethel Townships, and Upper and Lower Nazareth Townships are also in order as you'd expect.

However, Lower Saucon Township is northeast of Upper Saucon Township. In fact, the Saucons have been divided between two different counties (Lower in Northampton; Upper in Lehigh) since 1812. Oh, did you think that Saucon Valley school district included both Saucons? Me, too. Turns out that residents of Upper Saucon send their kids to Southern Lehigh.

If you haven't voted yet today, get out there. A lot of local elections are decided in the primary.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Bethlehem Farmers Market

If you are not a regular farmer's market shopper, resolve to visit one of the great local markets this year. There's no time more exciting than the beginning of the season, when people seem to crawl out of their winter hiding spaces, show their toes in sandals, and break out their re-usable shopping totes.

The original Bethlehem Farmer's Market will return to Campus Square at Lehigh University (New and Morton Streets in South Bethlehem) on Thursdays from May 19 through October 27, 11am -3pm. Here's a quote from the market's announcement:

This year’s market will offer something for everyone amongst our usual wide
variety of products, as well as new vendors Key Ingredient Market (spreads and
dips), York Moor Farm (fresh eggs and produce) and Around the World in 80 Cakes.
Returning vendors are Easton Salsa Co., The Popcorn Pit, A Natural Alternative
(soaps and toiletries), Back Door Bakeshop, Humdinger Alpacas (wool products),
Tasty Pastry, Lettuce Alone Farm (produce), Bechdolt Orchards (produce) and The
Flour Shop Bakery.

The produce at this farmer's market is terrific - many of the varieties grown by the folks at Lettuce Alone are heirloom - you won't find them in a pile at Giant. They were picked that morning by the person you're handing money to. I love The Flour Shop's yummy focaccia with toppings, and freshly-baked loaves. And of course, the granola and preserves are worth stopping by the Back Door Bakeshop stand, not to mention the opportunity to chat with THE Dina Hall, who will be playing original and cover songs all over Bethlehem this summer. See you at the market!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Volunteer + make friends + shop = fun

Here's another great opportunity that is bound to encourage conversation, warm your heart and maybe increase the size of your designer handbag collection.

I mentioned the Great South Side Sale last week. At Lehigh University, students have the option to make donations to the university's annual Move Out Collection Drive rather than throw away items they no longer need at the end of the school year.

Volunteers collect household stuff, furniture, clothing and linens, appliances, rugs, cleaning supplies, unopened food, office supplies. Then donated items are sold at the Great South Side Sale at affordable prices on June 11th, 2011. All proceeds from the sale will fund Lehigh's after school Homework Clubs.

Here are three ways for you to get involved:

1. Donate clothing, linens, electronics, school supplies, household items, furniture and unopened food! Through May 26th, drop off your donations to Kenner Theatre in Ulrich (9am-5pm) or to approved locations in Residence Halls.

2. Volunteer to help pick up items from residence halls or to sort collected items for eventual sale in Kenner Theatre any day from May 5th - May 26th. Sign up online.

3. Volunteer the day of the Great South Side Sale (June 11th, 2011) to help facilitate their endeavor and to have "tons of fun!"

Questions? Call 610-758-6674 or check out the web site.

I would like to help. So if you are interested in joining me, drop me an e-mail or comment below!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Young Business Professionals meet, shake hands

The Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce is hosting an event for young professionals on May 17. Four good reasons to go: It's in downtown Allentown, your company is probably already a member, it's a great way to meet people, and you'll polish your business skills. I'm sure there will be drink specials at Allentown Brew Works.

By the end of it you'll "learn techniques to impress your future clients and colleagues through hands-on lessons that teach proper handshaking and a 30 second elevator speech." The YPC aims to develop skills in a fun way while connecting you to other young and established business professionals from the Lehigh Valley. It's not a social or service group like some other young professional groups in the region, and also, non-members are welcome.

It's May 17, 5:30 — 8:00 pm at Silk Lounge inside Allentown BrewWorks, 812 W. Hamilton St. Allentown PA 18101. $10 for Young Professional Council members, $20 for Chamber members. To register, or if you have questions, contact Colleen Daniels.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Great Southside Sale

I was just asking Samantha at the Downtown Bethlehem Association whether she knew when the Great Southside Sale was scheduled. It's like Christmas in May for those in the know: Lehigh students toss their belongings in donation bins rather than ship or cart them back home. Then the university stages a massive yard sale with the students' donated food, school supplies, designer apparel and accessories, home decor, and books (of course).

I just received this e-mail:

Dear Lehigh Community,

As the academic year comes to a close, we
would like to remind everyone in
the Lehigh community to consider
participating in the "Lehigh Move Out," a
program that raises funds for
children who live in South Bethlehem. This
end of-the-semester event is an
innovative community-service program to
recycle items that our students,
faculty and staff discard as well as to
give items donated by campus offices
back into the local community. Our
donated items will be sold at the Great
Southside Sale that begins at 10
a.m. on Saturday, June 11th at Fourth and
Buchanan streets.

"Lehigh Move Out" runs through Friday, May 13th.
Donations (clothing,
school supplies, cleaning supplies, household items,
linens, appliances,
furniture and food) can be dropped off in Residence
Halls drop-off
locations or at Ulrich Student Center's Kenner Theater from 9
a.m. to 8

This project is a true partnership that builds
bridges between Lehigh and
its South Side neighbors. The proceeds support
children and youth programs
through the sale of your donated items. Last
year's event raised $14,000
to benefit our local community.

help us make this another successful year for Lehigh's Move-Out.


In Service,
Carolina Hernandez

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Lehigh Valley Ambassador Walking Tour of Easton - this Saturday

I spent last Saturday morning planting flowers and spreading mulch in Easton's Centre Square. It didn't look bad before - Easton's Ambassadors (read: extremely friendly men and women who answer questions, clean up trash and generally keep an eye on things downtown) do a good job maintaining the area. But they needed a few extra hands getting the downtown area ready for the Easton Farmer's Market and other springtime celebrations in Easton. Volunteering in this way is a great match for me - it's casual, cost-free, and gives me the opportunity to meet other service-inclined people, and catch up with my family and friends (not to mention, get a workout and a little sun!).
If you have some time and the inclination to volunteer this week, the Easton Main Street program needs help planting annuals in planters around the neighborhood. Just call (610) 330-9940 or e-mail to sign up. (Thursday, May 12 and Friday, May 13, 9 a.m. to noon). Plan to bring your own gardening tools and gloves.

This Saturday kicks off the Easton Farmer's Market season (Saturdays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. through November). Not sure what that means? I have organized a walking "tour" of downtown Easton on Saturday for people just like you - just sign up through Northampton Community College. If this sounds like fun to you, please register and join our group!