Friday, June 28, 2013

Guest Post: Diana Skowronski on Dating in the Lehigh Valley

Thinking about online dating in the Valley? Sure you are! Because if you’re single, and more importantly a Transplant, it is probably the easiest way to meet new people.

OK, maybe it’s not that easy. It can take some convincing to get started and you could spend countless hours compiling your most flattering photographs, but it’s all downhill from there J So you get setup, start browsing profiles, exchange emails… now what?

CAUTION: OBJECTS IN PICTURES MAY BE CLOSER THAN THEY APPEAR.  Whoever invented the “6 degrees of separation” definitely did NOT live in the Lehigh Valley.  The chances are high when talking to a potential match online that you know someone who knows someone who knows that person.  This could be a great thing!  Perhaps you have mutual friends, know their coworkers, played together as little kids.  On the other hand, maybe their dad is your boss or you dated their roommate (oops).  The point is, after you gather a little information don’t be afraid to ask around!  An honest opinion from someone you trust could go a long way when deciding whether or not go to on a date!

So, all is good.  You haven’t managed to dig up any skeletons in your match’s closet and you’re ready to meet up.  Keep a few safety precautions in mind: drive yourself, meet in public and make sure someone knows where you’re going.  But where are you going?  Here are some great, local suggestions J

Date 1: Happy hour.  Grabbing drinks after work is a good way to test the waters.  It’s non-committal, it can be what you make of it. It’s breezy.

Allentown or Bethlehem Brew Works  - if your date is brand new to the Valley, he or she will enjoy checking out this LV hot-spot and sampling the local brews.  This is also a great location because if all goes well over drinks, you (or your date) might suggest sticking around for dinner!

Tapas on Main – This festive little spot on Main Street in Bethlehem has great happy hour specials – including a selection of $5 tapas and $20 sangria pitchers.  Advice: don’t plan on splitting the entire pitcher without a few things to munch on – the great flavors offered tend to mask the strength of what you are consuming. J

Frozen Yogurt – a different kind of happy hour.  If you prefer not to consume alcohol, this is a great date idea!  There are a lot of places popping up all over the Valley for self-serve frozen yogurt with an elaborate selection of toppings.  Look for a So Fun Yogurt, Menchie’s or Sweet Frog near you! Perhaps you will hit it off with your date when you both reach for the chocolate peanut butter swirl!

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to fun, casual places to have a first date in the Lehigh Valley – bottom line: don’t bite off more than you can chew.  Go easy on the first date.  There is no need to commit to a fancy, expensive meal and hours of conversation the first time around.  If all goes well you will have plenty of time for that.

First date a success? Great! Stay tuned for another guest post on suggestions for Date #2!!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Computer Troubleshooters Bethlehem

I knew my laptop computer wasn't always so slow, but I sort of got used to it. Sort of. I admit that I kept it on a lot, to avoid the long time it took to boot up. Okay, I had been a little lax about maintenance. I had recently purchased Windows 8 and a newer version of Microsoft Office, but I hadn't gotten around to figuring out how to un-install what I had in order to install the new software. I mentioned wanting to get my computer stuff organized to my mom, who as it turns out, won a gift certificate for a tune-up at Computer Troubleshooters (51 E. Elizabeth Ave. Bethlehem), and offered it to me to use.

When I called, they told me just to bring everything in and we'd talk about the best way to move forward. I was afraid they'd tell me I needed to buy a new computer. As it turned out, I didn't need to buy a new computer, but I also couldn't use the gift certificate (boo) - what I needed was to have them install the new software and give my machine a good scrubbing. 

It was ready in a couple of days, and I only needed to download the software for my printer, and the anti-virus software (both updates, which I should have had anyway). It already had iTunes, and all my internet bookmarks, files and photos.

They recommended coming back in a year to use the gift certificate for a tune-up (just like I do for my car! brilliant), and I may have them set up my wireless printer in the meantime. The "store" in Bethlehem (near Liberty High School and Jumbar's) is open M-F, 9-5, but technicians are available for appointments almost anytime. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Take my half-full glass and put more in it.

Joan L. Benso, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, said this at a recent luncheon honoring advocates for early childhood education: "Take my half-full glass and put more in it." She was referring to her perspective on her work, but I thought it applied to life in the Lehigh Valley as well. 

I am privileged to live and work in the Lehigh Valley. I feel safe in my home and neighborhood. I have lots of great options for healthcare, entertainment and professional services. 

I can't help but compare my life here to the one I lived in DC. Time has seasoned my memory of big city life. Yes, there was public transportation. But sometimes the bus didn't come or the Metrorail train broke down while it was in the tunnel... With no A/C...Full of people hurrying to get home from work or a baseball game. Yes, there were a million things to do every night. But as a young professional, I couldn't afford to go out all the time. And yes, there were so many more young (insert adjective that describes you here: single, married, fabulous, worldly) people than in the Lehigh Valley. But most people were only making DC a stop along their life's journey, as I was, and didn't put down roots long enough to really get to know other people. 

Each year that I have lived here, despite an economic downturn, things have improved. We have a Chipotle, Botox, Bikram yoga, a film festival. There are new transplants arriving daily: I see the hopefulness in their faces in the grocery store, at church, on Main Street when I walk Stella. 

Is there more to do? Yes. Are there people and institutions that could do more? You bet. But my glass is already half-full. The rest is just gravy.