Composting Made Easy! Pick Up Your Free Bucket at the Easton Farmers' Market

By Stephanie Eckelkamp

Every time I toss out a banana peel or apple core in the trash, I feel a pang of guilt knowing that it's never really going to decompose and become part of the earth again. After all, it's wrapped up in a plastic garbage bag that's going to take hundreds, if not thousands of years to decompose. So I was absolutely thrilled when I read about Easton's new *composting initiative, which aims to make composting accessible and sustainable for anyone who hits up the  Easton Farmers' Market on a regular basis. 

The Details: Today (July 7th), Easton Farmer's Market is launching the Easton Compost Program, which is the city's first residential composting initiative. If you want to participate, simply sign up (for free!) at the Compost Tent at the market on Saturday and pick up a 5-gallon bucket. If you can't make it this Saturday, don't worry -- you can sign up at any time throughout the year at the market.

Once you take your composting bucket home, you can fill it with all sorts of food waste that you'd normally just toss. And unlike a backyard compost set-up that typically handles only fruit, veggie, and bread scraps, American Biosoils & Compost (the company that handles the compost) will take any kitchen scraps, including meat, dairy, and bones.

“We can literally compost anything that you could eat,” says Andrew Curtis, an environmental
scientist with American Biosoils. He says their active aerating system uses industrial blowers,
enabling the system to circulate air and break down more organic matter quickly. In addition to kitchen scraps, residents can also bring yard and garden waste, but no grass clippings.

Once your bucket is filled, you can bring it to the parking lot behind Easton Public Market (on Church St) on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., where a truck will be on site to weigh and
collect the materials.

Bonus: The person who brings in the most compost by the end of September will earn $100 in Easton Farmers’ Market tokens. And after a participant brings in four buckets of compost through the Easton Compost Program, they’ll earn nutrient-rich soil to use in their own gardens.

We're super pumped that Easton's taking charge to make our little corner of the world a healthier, more eco-friendly place. 

*Composting food scraps turns what would otherwise be garbage into a rich soil that can be used
to grow more food. Compost also diverts food waste from landfills, extending the life of those
facilities.

16 Healthy, Eco, And Just Plain Fun Gifts To Buy In The Lehigh Valley This Holiday Season (Shop Local!)

06_Hilltop-1000.jpg

By The Editors of Live Well (Nina, Steph, and Siobhan)

Newsflash: You don't need to buy all of your holiday gifts on Amazon this year! The Lehigh Valley has some killer shopping, especially if your friends and fam (or even you!) are into fitness, health, sustainable living, and self care.

Here, we've curated a list of unique gifts for foodies, yogis, health nuts, athletes, and wellness junkies. And the best part? You can feel good about supporting the little guy and spend zero time waiting for packages to arrive. Now go do some shopping!

 
01_Barre3gift-1000.jpg
 

1. Barre3 10-Class Packs at 20% off

The three of us at Live Well are totally sold on how well barre3 can train your body, your brain, and your well-being, but if you (or someone you know) need a little more convincing, now’s the perfect time to grab a pack of 10 classes for a super low price (through 12/22)! These sales aren’t often, so if you’re in the mood for a fitness makeover or just need that extra motivation to get back into class, now’s your chance. -SD

 
02_TuckerKeepCup-1000.jpg
 

2. Keep Cup from Tucker Silk Mill

Kill two birds with one stone: Hit up Tucker Silk Mill, Easton’s new Aussie cafe, and while you’re there, buy your favorite coffee-loving pal one of these expertly designed 8- or 12-ounce Keep Cups ($15 and $18, respectively). Not only are they cute AF with their colorful lids and cork sleeve, but they’re made of glass, so they won’t leach funky toxins into your brew, and so you won’t fill up landfills with disposable paper cups. Bonus: After you buy one, you’ll enjoy a discount on your to-go coffee from Tucker whenever you use it. -SE

 
03_Homestead-Coffee-Roasters-1000.jpg
 

3. Coffee from Homestead Coffee Roasters

Give someone some socks, they’ll thank you for a day. Gift someone a bag of incredible, locally-roasted coffee that will give them LIFE every morning, they’ll be thanking you for weeks to come! I’ll be putting bags of Homestead Coffee Roasters coffee (just $12.95 and up) in all my stockings this year. Their Black Eddy’s Darkness is the easiest way to turn your favorite Folger’s drinker into a full-on coffee snob. The Bourbon Barrel Aged is an organic Colombian that tastes like warm vanilla happiness in the morning, and their 2018 Winter Roast is an approachable medium body in a festive tin. Pick up a bag at The Joint or Roasted, both in Bethlehem, or at one of these locations for the best smelling stocking around! -NE

 
04_MissMelanie-1000.jpg
 

4. Miss Melanie Yoga Classes, Retreats, And Workshops

Melanie Smith is a local fitness and yoga gem. If you haven’t experienced one of her SUP or studio yoga classes, now is the perfect time to gift one to yourself (hey, we won’t judge!) or someone you love. While SUP isn’t happening during the winter, you can always buy a class card now to plan for a fun future outing, or check out one of the upcoming retreats (she's hosting one in the gorgeous mountains of North Carolina this May!) or workshops . Be sure to check out her local yoga studio schedule, too, and grab some gift certificates from those spots while you’re at it. Your mind and body will thank you! -SD

 
05_RunNecklace-1000.jpg
 

5. “Run” Necklace From House of Metalworks

We’re big fans of House of Metalworks in general for their unique custom jewelry, but we’re especially partial to this simple but beautiful necklace--perfect for your running-obsessed friend who has just completed her first half or full marathon. It’s a double-sided charm and you can pick a distance to engrave on the back. Find it at House of Metalworks in Emmaus or shop online at their Etsy store. -SE

 
06_Hilltop-1000.jpg
 

6. Sustainable Holiday-Scented Candles from Hilltop Candle Company

How about a locally-poured candle that won’t give you a headache? That sounds like a doubly good gift to me! Hellertown’s Hilltop Candle Company is pours all-natural soy candles in truly heavenly scents for just $8 to $14—this year’s holiday selections are Mulberry + Mistletoe, Peppermint + Cypress, Pinecones + Amber, and Hot Cocoa. Why buy soy? It burns cleaner, 50% longer, and is a renewable resource compared to paraffin, a petroleum byproduct that produces more soot. Find them in their Etsy shop or at the following locations: Tangent Crafts in Emmaus, Adorned Boutique in Hellertown, Charming Grace Boutique in Hellertown, and Wehrung’s Lumber and Home Center in Ottsville, and the pop up shop at LIT on Sunday 12/17! -NE

 
07_NDWheelhouse-1000.jpg
 

7. ND Wheelhouse Class Pack Or Membership

If you’ve been itching to find your new favorite cardio activity (or if you’re already a devoted cycling enthusiast), bring or gift a friend to ND Wheelhouse in Allentown. You can purchase class pack punch cards or spring for a membership if you know of someone who would love to sweat through one of Natalie’s Rip 60 classes on the regular. (Also, if you’re looking to give class packs for a discount, check out the sweet Groupon deal they’ve got going right now!) -SD

 
08_KhinederCreations-1000.jpg
 

8. Khineder Creations Toxin-Free Skincare Products

Umm, first of all, did you even know there was a shop in Emmaus that sells locally made, chemical-free, absolutely amazing skincare products? We just discovered Khineder Creations, and we couldn’t be more pumped about it. Hit up their Emmaus store, or shop online (and get 10% off all orders throughout December), for unique and totally natural goodies that make perfect stocking stuffers like Organic Deodorant ($12) containing anti-microbial tea tree oil, Instant Repair Face Oil ($30) made with  grapeseed and rosehip oils, and lavender and frankincense essential oils, and Body Sculpting Scrub ($18) featuring detoxifying activated charcoal, and lip balms ($6). -SE

 
 

9. Lavender Keychains from The Lavender Farmette

Have you heard of The Lavender Farmette? This mother & son owned and operated micro-farm is just outside of Emmaus, but its beautiful, lavender-scented (Naturally! Of course!) treats will transport your lucky gift recipients to a lush lavender field in France. So many gift giving options, including lavender goat’s milk soap, floral water, pillow sachets, hand salves, and candles. But if I have to pick one thing to give from The Lavender Farmette, it would be the lavender keychains. The tiny little pillows are filled with farm-grown lavender that soothe you wherever you go! -NE

 
10_HealingHands-1000.jpg
 

10. Healing Hands Massage and Spa Treatments

When the stress of the holidays has finally subsided, that’s when self-care can really start. (Though, if you need a quick stress-busting meditation, check ours out right here.) Healing Hands Massage and Wellness Center in Bethlehem has plenty of services to help cure tight muscles and much more. They allow you to choose your gift certificates (which you can buy online) by amount or services, too, so you can gift toward that 90-minute massage or go all in on a 30-minute organic facial. -SD

 
11_ArtistsAtHeartMug-1000.jpg
 

11. Pottery, Jewelry, and Wooden Creations from Artists at Heart

Artists at Heart is a cooperative venture of artists and fine crafts people in the Lehigh Valley area, and they’ll be setting up shop at Bethlehem’s Christmas City Village Open-Air Christmas Market through December 23. We’re particularly excited about their stoneware pottery, which you can also buy on their Etsy shop! -SE

 
12_dining-dog-1000.jpg
 

12. Healthy Homemade Dog Treats from The Dining Dog

If you don’t have a separate stocking for your pet, are you really a pet owner? Okay, of COURSE you are, and this is the easiest way to win over the dog lover in your life! The Dining Dog is truly a Lehigh Valley gem. They do fresh, daily yogurts and meal packs for pets on any diet imaginable, and their homemade cookies and pup-friendly cakes make for an adorable and Instagram-worthy celebration. Snag their holiday selections--iced so beautifully it’s hard to tell they’re for pets--before they’re gone! -NE

 
13_BananaFactoryGlass_Unsplash-1000.jpg
 

13. Banana Factory Arts Classes

The holidays can bring out the inner craft god/goddess in all of us, so keep that crafty momentum going with a gift of classes from the Banana Factory Arts Center. Even for the art impaired among us (*raises hand*), classes there serve all levels with subjects like photography, glasswork, jewelry, ceramics, drawing, and so much more. Many classes are geared toward kids, teens, and families, and include a variety of price ranges. Give the gift of creative inspiration this year! -SD

 
14_aardvark-1000.jpg
 

14. Aardvark Sports Shop Gift Certificate

I know what you’re thinking--gift certificate on a gift guide?! Hear me out: good running shoes are really, really important for preventing injury. They’re a big ticket item, but when you gift the walker or runner in your life some money toward their next pair of sneakers at Aardvark in Bethlehem, you’re also gifting them the opportunity to get professionally fitted. I can tell you firsthand, it’s an experience like no other. Plus: receive one Aardvark dollar for every $10 you spend--even on gift certificates! -NE

 
15_SaltLamp-1000.jpg
 

15. Himalayan Salt Lamp from The Loving Piece

How freakin gorgeous are Himalayan salt lamps? They’re perfect for adding a calming pink glow (and a little dose of magic) to any room, and your friend who’s just a little woo woo will certainly appreciate their charm. You could buy one from Amazon, but we suggest hitting up The Loving Piece in Easton instead so you can check them out in person and peruse their collection of other charming goodies, including this Starter Kit Crystal Bag ($22), which makes a great stocking stuffer. -SE

 
16_Sole-Glassware-1000.jpg
 

16. Locally Brewed Gifts

If you’ve got a beer-loving friend, the craft beer options in the Valley will have them jollier than Old Saint Nick. Grab a growler and your favorite trusted tap selection from one of the many local options like Funk, Hijinx, Two Rivers, Weyerbacher, Hop Hill, Bonn, Lost Tavern, or Sole. (If Sole is your go-to, snag some of their merch, including their gorgeous glassware, right here.)

If a growler is a little much to commit to (or you need a little more shelf life from your beer), create a custom mixed six pack from some of the best bottled beer distributors in the Valley: Cork & Cage in Allentown (check out their current selection here), Shangy’s in Emmaus, or Tanczos in Bethlehem (selection here). Their selections are bound to please beer newbies and experienced drinkers alike. -SD

 

Local Spirits Highlight: Triple Sun Spirits

P1030849.jpg

by Siobhan DeRemer

Late fall is officially here in the Lehigh Valley (my flannel is out in full form) and that's the signal to move the outdoor wine and beer drinking inside, or at least to your closest fire pit. And what better to throw in your glass as you warm up than a pour of some local booze? The Valley has a number to choose from, but we're throwing a spotlight on our friends at Triple Sun Spirits.

Paired with the mind and passion of former brewer Kristofer Kwant, the spirits at Triple Sun are created in-house with an authentic small-batch style, giving them character and utilizing an environmentally friendly process. Kwant's got his sights set on providing the Valley with not only top-notch artisanal spirits, but also a community business that involves other local makers in its process. So far, Triple Sun has partnered with Hardball Cider and Weyerbacher, with more to come in the future. Their location is also a hotspot in Emmaus, situated right next to Yergey Brewing Company, and host to delicious local food trucks and events of all kinds (including one of our favorites: Yoga Happy Hour). 

You can currently grab their Caribbean-style rum (light, dark, and golden), gin, apple brandy, corn whiskey, and stouted whiskey directly at the distillery, by ordering online, checking out some of the local establishments that serve Triple Sun spirits (House & Barn and Hardball Cider on Main are just a few), or browsing your local Wine & Spirits. The distillery also has a cocktail menu to rival some of the best bars in the area and it changes with the seasons. One of our favorites is apple brandy hot cider and since bourbon is on the schedule to be released in September 2018, we'll be back to try an Old Fashioned or ask for it neat and enjoy all the unadulterated flavors. 

P1030825.jpg

For more info, to plan a visit, or to see what events are coming up, visit Triple Sun's site and follow them on social media (Instagram, Facebook). If you make a visit and love everything you drink and see, consider picking up some holiday gifts to share the Triple Sun love with friends and family.

The genius mixologists at this Emmaus distillery are jumping on the fall bandwagon and providing us with a recipe for their Pumpkin Spice Gin Sour. The name and directions are as basic as they come—not to mention delicious! Pick up a bottle of their gin and try it out.

22008394_798297706961845_4610001931940119339_n.jpg

Pumpkin Spice Gin Sour

2 oz Triple Sun Spirits Co. gin
Juice from half a lemon
1 Tbsp pumpkin puree
0.5 oz Monin Pumpkin Spice syrup
Dash of Fee Brothers Old Fashioned bitters
Pumpkin spices and rosemary, for garnish

Put first 5 ingredients in ice and shake for 1 minute; pour through strainer into coup glass. Then, garnish with pumpkin spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and clove) and a sprig of rosemary.

 

What's Inside: Sato Salon Organics Rose Facial Scrub

Learn all about the benefits of organic rose petals, lemon juice, sugar as Allison Holub, owner of Sato Salon Organics, takes you through her signature Rose Facial Scrub

6 Summer Events That Combine Fitness, Booze, And Awesome Food In The Lehigh Valley

yoga + beer.png

by Stephanie Eckelkamp

Sure, we all love how we feel after a great workout, but sometimes getting our butts out of bed and into gym clothes requires a little extra motivation. And if that motivation includes a strong cocktail or some killer farm fresh food, then you bet your ass we’ll be squeezing into our most flattering yoga pants faster than you can say mimosa. 

Lucky for all of us, local Lehigh Valley businesses have fully embraced trend of combining fitness classes (think: yoga, barre, crossfit) and a stiff drink, beer, or tasty nibbles. Squats and sangria, anyone? Burpees and beer? Pigeon and pinot grigio? I could go on...

Here, we’ve rounded up some awesome ways to detox and retox that are happening soon.

 

1) Sunday Morning Sweat: CrossFit at Weyerbacher
When: Sundays, June 25th, July 23rd, and August 20th, 10am
Where: Weyerbacher Brewery
Price: $10

Join South Mountain CrossFit instructors for a fun and interactive intro to CrossFit followed by a nice, cold 12 oz glass of the best recovery drink we can think of: beer! Haven’t mastered the art of the deadlift or the burpee? That’s fine. This event is perfectly suitable for CrossFit newbies. For more info and to purchase tickets, click here

2) Barre3 in the Vineyard
When: Sundays, July 2nd and August 6th, 9am
Where: Vynecrest Vineyards & Winery
Price: Free

Grab your yoga mat and a friend and join Barre3 instructors for a complementary sweat session followed by delicious mimosas and food by BlendLife Food Truck. No need to register; just show up! Want more details? Click here for the July event and here for the August event.

3) Yoga Happy Hour at Triple Sun Spirits
When: Wednesday, July 12th, 6pm
Where: Triple Sun Spirits
Price: $20

Work got you feeling blah? Grab a fellow disgruntled coworker and bust through the mid-week blues with an invigorating yoga flow followed by a hand made Triple Sun Spirits cocktail. To purchase tickets, click here

4) Farm Food Flow
When: Saturdays, July 15th and August 19th, 5-8pm
Where: Kreeky Tree Farm
Price: $75

Join yoga instructors Melanie Smith and Britt Tag for an outdoor vinyasa yoga class at Kreeky Tree Farm followed by a cooking demo and tasting with ingredients grown/raised on site by owners Allan Schanbacher and Chris Gangi. Bonus: You get to hang out with loads of cute farm animals while you’re there, including goats, donkeys, horses, chickens, and ducks. To enroll, email kreekytreefarm@gmail.com or call 610-442-2719. Click here for more details. 

19221621_1330508077065919_5945872879340807180_o.jpg

5) Yoga + Brunch with Greenmouth Table and Easton Yoga
When: Sunday, July 16th, 8am
Where: Easton Public Market
Price: $18

Join Alicia Rambo Wozniak of Easton Yoga and Sarah Hinsch of Greenmouth Table at the Easton Public Market for a healthy and delicious start to your Sunday. Alicia will guide a one-hour gentle morning flow to wake your body up and Sarah will prepare a nutritious breakfast to enjoy at the end of class. To register, click here

6) Pints and Poses: Yoga at Weyerbacher Brewery
When: Sunday, July 16th, August 6th, 10am
Where: Weyerbacher Brewery
Price: $20

Grab a mat and join guest instructor Stephanie Riggs in front of the brewhouse for a fun, adventurous sequence linking basic and advanced yoga poses, followed by a beer cocktail and some tasty snacks. To purchase tickets, click here

Got an event we should add? Holler at us below and we'll be sure to include it!

5 Things That Happened When I Floated In A Tub Infused With 1,000 Pounds Of Epsom Salts

By Stephanie Eckelkamp

 Me and my goofy grin after 90 minutes of floating therapy at Metta Relaxation Co. in Bethlehem, Pa. 

Me and my goofy grin after 90 minutes of floating therapy at Metta Relaxation Co. in Bethlehem, Pa. 

It’s pitch black, I can’t hear a sound, and I’m naked and alone, floating on by back in an extra-large tub. In fact, I’m really floating—I couldn’t sink if I tried. That’s because the tub is filled with water that’s been mixed with about 1,000 pounds of epsom salts, making my body more buoyant than it would be in the Dead Sea. 

No, this isn’t a weird form of torture (I actually paid to do this). It’s called floating therapy, and what I’m lying in is a sensory deprivation tank. It’s a service that’s becoming increasingly popular at spas in big cities, so when I heard that it was available at Metta Relaxation Co in Bethlehem, I was pretty pumped. Not only because I’ve heard floating is relaxing AF, but because some people say it mimics the effects of an acid trip….and really, what health-minded person with no intention of EVER doing acid wouldn’t find that intriguing?

The purpose of the tank (shown at right) and the room in general is to eliminate all senses: The room is sound-proof and, once you turn the lights off, light-proof; you float, thanks to the salt, so all of the pressure is taken off of your body, allowing you to fully relax; and finally, the water in the tank and the air in the room are heated to precise temperatures meant to eliminate your ability to feel where the water ends and air begins. 

As someone who deals with stress and anxiety (and who's distracted after about a minute every time she tries to meditate), the idea of total and complete (and somewhat forced) relaxation sounded pretty great. But what’s it actually like? Here are 5 things I experienced...

Within seconds, I learned a hard lesson
For the love of God, don’t shave before you float! The water in the tank feels pretty damn great temperature-wise, but because there’s so much salt in there, any small cut or nick on your skin screams when it comes into contact with it. And because I generally do a bit of a hack job with my shaving routine, there was some major stinging in the first few minutes (which did eventually subside) even though I’d shaved a fully 24 hours before. Give it a couple days to be safe.

“Snap, crackle, pop” went my joints
I can’t emphasize how cool it is to float so damn effortlessly. You can fully relax your body, even your heavy noggin’, and you’re fully supported. The owners of the spa recommended doing some stretches in the tank, so I did, and was pleasantly weirded out to hear a ripple of back cracks and minor popping in my neck, shoulders, and hips. All totally normal, as my body was in a completely weightless state and adjusting to a pressure-free setting for the first time.

I thought a lot about death
Thankfully the session was 90 minutes, because I could not stop my mind from racing for the first 30. I was concentrating too much on what I “should” be feeling, which is anything but relaxing, and I was also thinking a lot about death, for a couple of reasons. For one, my grandfather had died very recently, and two, I kept thinking “this is what death must feel like.” I mean, really, when else are you going to lose all of your senses except when you’re dead? Once I got that thought process out of my system, I started to relax. 

Things got a little trippy
One crazy thing about being in a completely light-proof room is that there’s absolutely no difference between what you see when your eyes are open versus when they’re closed. This fascinated me at first, so I kept blinking. I also started to see some neon purple outlines of moving shapes. The more I concentrated on them, the more active they seemed to get. So, while it was kind of cool, I eventually had to tune them out and focus on something else, like my breathing, so I could calm down. 

I FINALLY relaxed
I’d say I got about 20 solid minutes of being completely and utterly relaxed in a meditative state like I’ve never experienced. I felt warm, comforted, and completely pain free, so I focused on those good sensations and eventually my mind was pretty damn blank (in a good way) despite the fact that I was awake. As with regular meditation, I can see how the more you float, the better you get at reaping the mental benefits from it. So, I’d definitely be up for trying it again. 

For more information on floating and other spa services (like reflexology) that Metta Relaxation Co. offers, check out their website.  

Volunteering Spotlight: Furry Friends

By Siobhan DeRemer

There’s nothing like overindulgence at the holidays (or perhaps knowing so many at the holidays that need our help) that makes me want to get out and see what impact I can make in the community. Of course, our help is needed throughout the year, so we are planning to highlight local institutions each month that are very much in need of volunteers and people willing to commit their time to making the Lehigh Valley a sweeter place to live for all. Are you looking for a New Year’s resolution to get yourself out of the house more and meet people in this area? Or perhaps you’ve always wanted to start volunteering but just need local info. That’s why we’re here!

For the month of March, we start with a cause near and very dear to all our of hearts here: our animal companions. Since March brings us National Puppy Day on March 23rd, Love Your Pet Day was back on February 20, and Pet Day (April 11) and Pet Month (May) aren’t too far off, we want to highlight some organizations in the Lehigh Valley that need your help and give you some amazing chances to help your favorite four-legged friends.

Since we know many of you have kids and would love to bring them along to your volunteer time or want a fun way to give your kids a way to volunteer in the area, we’ve marked and mentioned those organizations that are kid-friendly below. Check out the Volunteer Center of the Lehigh Valley for more animal-friendly options in your area. And be sure to check back here for more volunteering chances each month!

**Watch for animal shelter and rescue opportunities in the future, but if you want to check some local ones out soon, check out the Sanctuary at Haafsville and the Center for Animal Health & Welfare.**

Gress Mountain Ranch (Kid-Friendly)

The 15 acres here in Orefield are 100% volunteer run and provide a home to a number of animals providing therapy, animal and environmental education, and training for all those in need. The alpaca, goats, horses, cats, and dogs here are always happy to see eager volunteers (and even interns) for groundskeeping and animal care. Be sure to check when you call as some activities may be better than others for kids.

Equi-Librium

This therapeutic horse farm in Nazareth, one of only 7 accredited centers in Pennsylvania, provides accessible therapy to individuals with behavioral, emotional, and health-based needs. Volunteers may assist with therapy sessions, care for horses, or even provide office and grounds assistance. No prior horse experience is necessary, but all volunteers must be 14 years or older. Check out training dates here and fill out a form to get involved.

Lehigh Valley Zoo

The Lehigh Valley’s biggest animal sanctuary is always looking for volunteers to help manage the 200,000 annual visitors to the Zoo. You can spend time next to the otters and the penguins while also educating and guiding visitors. Great for groups/families with older kids, too. Fill out the interest form here and get started! For smaller kids who may not be able to volunteer in person, you can adopt one of the LV Zoo animals and donate to the conservation and education efforts of the Zoo (and get an adorable plush and certificate to boot!).

Pleasure of Your Company

For those who can’t own a dog but are in need of their companionship and joy, the therapy dogs from POYC are there to help. Volunteers and their pups must undergo a small evaluation and test for temperament and behavior (mostly for the dogs, but it helps if you’re friendly, too!) and provide visits to improve the quality of life of those at nursing homes, schools, libraries, and hospitals. If you have a dog you think fits the bill, check out how you can start helping others with his or her furry love.

Tails of Valor (Kid-Friendly options)

You can volunteer in a number of ways for this group based in Coopersburg that raises and trains puppies to assist veterans with PTSD and physical disabilities. Help a service member return to civilian life by becoming a puppy raiser, providing a foster home, trainer, or community educator. Get your family involved by teaching kids the valuable ways training a service animal can be helpful to the community and especially the military community.

Horses 4 Hope

For friends willing to travel just over the border into NJ, this horse farm, formerly located in Bangor, has many volunteer opportunities for maintenance, fundraising, sidewalking with horses and clients during therapy sessions, and even instructor options for experienced horse lovers.

Horses & Horizons Therapeutic Learning Center (Older Kid-Friendly)

A bit farther to the west in New Ringgold (about 40 minutes northwest of Allentown), this horse therapy center is looking for teenagers and adults to help clients with sidewalking and those with a bit more experience can be trained to work with clients and handle the horses (and ponies!) during sessions.

Flint Hill Farm (Kid-Friendly)

This educational center and working farm in Coopersburg provides living arrangements for those who wish to learn to farm or have a personal agricultural experience. In addition to needing volunteers for carpentry, tours, gardening, and office work, there are many opportunities for milking goats and cows and tending to gathering eggs. Suitable for families and individuals.

 

Moving Well in 2017

By Siobhan DeRemer

This is the first in a series of our individual promises and journeys for Living Well in 2017 from all of us at Live Well Lehigh Valley. Stay tuned for updates to this and other journeys from Steph and Nina as we continue to commit to Living Well in 2017 (follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for pictures, too!) and be sure to let us know what steps you’re taking to move into the new year with intention and purpose. Perhaps you want to shop locally more, join a CSA or a yoga studio, or even just keep on being your amazing self—we can help you do all of those things (and we’ll cheer you on, too)!

Shout-out to all my desk-job workers out there! Full disclosure: I am actually standing at work while I write this. If you have a desk job and even have the remote ability to request or use a standing desk, I highly recommend it. It really keeps you accountable and even though I still do a fair amount of sitting throughout the day, I love having the option to get up and stretch without missing an email (though let’s be fair, a break from email isn’t a bad thing!).

Even with my standing desk, at the end of 2016 I was feeling like a lazy bum. The holidays just have that way of reminding you that there are 500 things to do and your motivation just struggles to keep up (you know, and that cookies are basically the best therapy when you put off wrapping presents for the 1,000th time). My days are usually filled with 8-9 hours (or more) of work and time with my cat, husband, friends, and our vast collection of board games. I am perhaps what you’d call a fairweather exerciser. I have dabbled in strength-training programs, yoga, Pilates, taken a barre class or two (see my adventures with that here)—but none of them on a regular basis. I’d hit up a yoga class every 3 weeks or go to the gym at work once every month...and then when winter hit, I just stopped altogether. I knew I needed a change and so, as many people do, I decided to make a promise to myself for 2017: I’d integrate at least 30 minutes of movement into my day. Every day. Not for weight loss, not even really for the perfect beach body come summer (though if it works out, awesome), but because I just know my body is aching to move and DO something. And the extra energy that comes with moving regularly could be a bonus, too.

So we’re only 11 days into 2017 and I’ve basically turned this into a yoga challenge since that’s the easiest movement I can manage at home when it’s freezing outside. This might change come spring and I’m desperate for fresh air, which is why I made this about movement and not any one exercise—it’s all about freedom and giving myself the options so I won’t make excuses. Right now, I make time at the end of the day (or the morning if I’m brave) to get to my mat and move for about 25-30 minutes. I’m not new to yoga, but so far I’ve noticed muscles I haven’t used in a while waking up and my love for yoga reinvigorated (not to mention my digestion is totally on track. TMI?). The practice can be anything you make it: soothing, energizing, meditative. I’m certainly not a yoga master, but I love that I can feel any type of way and bring that to my practice. I’m also waking up in the morning with more drive and feel a bit less in need of caffeine in the afternoon (except that’s not going anywhere; I’m trying move, not lose my sanity). Maybe I falter a little on my Standing Split (or fall down completely, it happens!) or I roll my eyes at that 10th Chaturanga or I completely cry out with joy when we get to Pigeon—no matter what, I’m there. Moving into 2017. Maybe moving with grace will come in 2018…

Event Spotlight: All-Day Yoga & Spin-A-Thon!

By Stephanie Eckelkamp

 Jess Yusko and Sue Amato, co-founders of Yukato Yoga and hosts of the Lehigh Valley's first ever yoga + spin-a-thon on January 14, 2017.

Jess Yusko and Sue Amato, co-founders of Yukato Yoga and hosts of the Lehigh Valley's first ever yoga + spin-a-thon on January 14, 2017.

What could be better than a day full of yoga and spinning classes with intermittent breaks to sip on local cold-pressed juice, kombucha, and craft beer? Not much. Especially when the money raised from those classes goes toward cancer research AND gets you entered to win some seriously kick-ass prizes.

Enticed? Then mark your calendars for the Yoga + Spin-A-Thon Against Cancer presented by Yukato Yoga / Sole Artisan Ales Cycling Club on January 14th at Yukato Yoga in Bethlehem. (Sign up for classes here to reserve your spot!)

Spearheaded by Yukato Yoga co-founders, Sue Amato and Jess Yusko, the event will feature 12 hours of yoga and spin classes (8 AM to 8 PM), each of which are about an hour long.

"You can come and go as you please, and take as many classes as you'd like," says Amato. "We'll also have a local vendors serving up snacks and drinks, including Stark Juices, Lehigh Valley Kombucha, Funk Brewing, and Subway Madison Farms. And local doctors Matt Conroy and Mackenzie Hubert will be on site offering chiropractic bodywork."

(Full disclosure: Between yoga classes, you'll probably find us double-fisting Funk Citrus and LV Kombucha while perusing Yukato Yoga's selection of handmade jewelry. Come say hi!)

The event, which suggests a $10 donation per class (a pretty sweet deal), is raising money for three members of the Yukato Yoga/ Sole Artisan Ales Cycling Club to participate in the Pennsylvania Perimeter Ride Against Cancer (PPRAC) this July. This intense, 6-day cycling event begins in the White Mountains of New Hampshire and ends in Palmerton, PA. Each rider must raise $2,000, all of which is donated to the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the American Cancer Society and Dream Come True, an organization that helps fulfill the dreams of kids in the Lehigh Valley with serious health issues.

Amato came up with the idea for the yoga + spin-a-thon as a way to support her husband, Nat, and friend, Erin Mascelli, both of whom are riding PPRAC in honor of family members who were taken by cancer far too soon. "We have a studio, and we know so many local businesses and people in the cycling industry, so it just made sense," she says. 

One of the event's many selling points is that classes will not only be taught by Yukato Yoga teachers, but also by teachers from other Lehigh Valley studios such as The Yoga Loft. "It was so nice to see how many people in the community wanted to donate their time and skills for a good cause," says Mascelli, who's helping coordinate the event.  

In addition to going toward a seriously worthy cause, each of you $10-per-class donations gets you two raffle tickets for over $3,000 worth of wellness-oriented prizes donated by local businesses (full list of prizes and sponsors below). Personally, our fingers are crossed for the SUP yoga class. You can also donate $100 for an all-access class pass and 30 raffle tickets. 

For more information on the event and details on specific classes, click here.

We hope to see you there! 

RAFFLE PRIZES

  • Giant Bicycles (Escape disc bike $650)
  • ASSOS Cycling Apparel (USA Cycling jersey, bib shorts, cap, socks $480)
  • Jade Yoga (Travel yoga mat + cork blocks $88)
  • OOFOS (5 drawings of Recovery sandals $55 each)
  • Saucon Valley Bikes (Gift card $100)
  • Lille Syster (Custom Bouquet $100)
  • Fringe Sytlz Salon (Gift Card and cosmetics $95)
  • Bicycling Magazine (Prize Pack - Magazine subscription, cycling jerseys, calendar $200)
  • Swiftwick Socks (Prize Pack - 14 pairs of cycling and running socks $150)
  • Thule (Prize Pack - Subterra  25L backpack + swag $150)
  • Shimano (2 drawings of pedals - $75 each)
  • Selene Yeager (Prize Pack - authored and co-authored books $75)
  • Miss Melanie Yoga (SUP yoga class $45)
  • Dave Pryor (Monkey Knife Fight Entry x 2 $40)
  • Greenmouth Cafe (Gift Card)
  • Kids Co-op (Birthday Party $325)
  • Bodacious Hair and Body (Gift Card and product)
  • Two Rivers Brewing & Cosmic Cup (gift cards)
  • Lululemon (2 drawings of a yoga mat + top)
  • Conroy Chiropractic & Wellness (New Patient Package (1st visit + 2 follow-ups), foam roller and Rocktape, $200)
  • Linda White Health Coach (One coaching session & DoTerra essential oil)
  • Young’s Pharmacy (Gift Card)
  • Genesis Bicycles (Gift Card $100)
  • Cannondale/Sugoi (Men and women’s running & cycling apparel)
  • Unity Bank ($50 Visa Gift Card + Organic Cotton Pullover Hoodie)

EVENT SPONSORS

10 Healthy (Last-Minute!) Holiday Gifts To Buy In The Lehigh Valley

By Nina Elias & Stephanie Eckelkamp

Attention! There's less than a week until Christmas and the start of Chanukah. Which means you need to get your butt in gear with the gift shopping. Luckily, we've got a short and sweet curated list of our favorite gifts for foodies, yogis, health nuts, and enlightenment seekers. The best part? All are from local retailers. So you can feel good about supporting the little guy and spend zero time waiting for packages to arrive. Now go do some shopping!

Sato Salon Organics Rose Facial Scrub & Lemon Sage Body Scrub ($14)
During winter, my skin is inevitably rough, dry, and flaky. My new go-to solution: Sato Salon Organic's sugar scrubs. They combine sugar to slough off dead skin, coconut oil to rehydrate and nourish, and specific ingredients with anti-aging and antioxidant properties such as rose petals, lemon zest, and sage. -SE

Reflexology and Float Package from Metta Relaxation Co. ($100--holiday special!)
Give your Groupon addiction a rest and give that health nut in your life a new kind of relaxation: a reflexology session and float from Metta Relaxation Co. in Bethlehem. Floating, according to Metta's website, "is pure relaxation in nine hundred pounds of pharmaceutical-grade Epsom salt dissolved in ten inches of water warmed to skin temperature." Without gravity, the outside world, or your body's processes keeping you down, you can relax and meditate on a whole new level. I love that you can pair it with reflexology for a truly detoxifying day. -NE

House of Metalworks Lotus Flower Friendship Bracelet ($20)
I'm totally in love with House of Metalworks, a new handmade jewelry shop in Emmaus, located right under Armetta's Pizza. This piece in particular caught my eye. Probably because it has such cool meaning behind it: "The Lotus Flower grows in muddy water, and it is this environment that gives forth the flower's first and most literal meaning: rising and blooming above the murk to achieve enlightenment." -SE

Easton Public Market Gift Card
If you have a lot of foodie friends, you can't go wrong with a gift card to Easton Public Market. It's accepted at each of their vendors (Mister Lee's Noodles, Tolino Vineyards, and Chocodiem just to name a few) and can even be used for the cooking classes that take place at their on-site kitchen. -SE

Social Still Spiced Rum 
Okay, okay, we get it. Spiced rum isn't exactly a "healthy" holiday gift. But when combined with some hot apple cider, this stuff is seriously life changing. Bring one to your next holiday party and you're sure to make a few new friends. Pick up a bottle at Social Still or at your local Fine Wine & Good Spirits store in the PA section. -SE

Monocacy Coffee Co. "Jolly" Holiday Coffee Blend ($13)
The perfect gift for coffee lovers? Coffee, of course. But be sure to make it this festive roast with notes of fruit, sweetness, and molasses from local Bethlehem roaster Monocacy Coffee Co. Bags are available for purchase online, and are often sold at Greenmouth Juice Bar & Cafe, but shoot them an email (info@monocacycoffee.com) for the location nearest you that carries them. -SE

Soy Candle from Loose Threads Boutique ($12.99)
I used to think candles were the lamest gifts in the WORLD. Now, they are near the top of my wish list. I don't mean your every day, run-of-the-mill candle—I'm talking about healthy, naturally scented candles that fill your home with an authentic aroma that won't exacerbate asthma or disrupt your body's natural processes like artificial fragrances do. They're hard to find and they're often expensive. These handmade, 100% soy candles fit the bill. Beyond using natural fragrances, these soy candles burn cleaner than paraffin, making them a safer snag for you and your family (including pets!). -NE

Holiday Breakfast Sampler from the Granola Factory ($35)
I spent many years as a sluggish, foggy no-breakfast gal—now, I can't live without the magical, superhuman powers a high energy, whole food breakfast gives me. And how lucky are we to have an artisanal granola bakery right here in the LV?! This gift is perfect for the person in your life that insists on breaking their fast with bagels and donuts...or nothing at all! Plus, the gorgeous aroma of this ethically-sourced coffee is strong enough to wake up even the deepest of sleepers. -NE

Yukato Yoga 6-Pack of Classes + Yoga Mat Bag (or 30-Min Massage) ($100--holiday special!)
This yoga studio in Bethlehem Township (which just celebrated its 1st anniversary) is offering two delightful holiday packages: 6 yoga classes + the choice of a gorgeous yoga mat bag designed by LV local Emily Moore, or a 30-minute massage. While you're waiting for your class to start, lounge on one of the comfy couches, browse their selection of hand-crafted yogi jewelry, or sip on some locally brewed kombucha. -SE

Lehigh Valley Kombucha ($75 for 12 wine bottles--holiday special!)
I'm a little kombucha obsessed. So I was pumped to discover that Gary of Lehigh Valley Kombucha is offering a kick-ass reduced holiday rate when you buy 12 bottles (normally $120!). So grab a couple for yourself and some of your closest friends, and give the gift of health and awesome taste this year. The best part: Their seasonal flavor is cranberry! -SE

 

 

Get to Know LWLV: Meet the Founders, Check Out Our Mission

By The Co-Founders

IMG_5503.JPG

Thanks for stopping by the LV's brand-new wellness hub. 
We think you're going to love it!

Our mission: Connect our community with undiscovered and underrated resources that cultivate healthy bodies and healthy minds. The Lehigh Valley is chock-full of really cool sh*t, and we want to tell you all about it! We plan on doing this by highlighting local businesses, restaurants, entrepreneurs, and events that keep wellness and sustainability top of mind—and that make you think, How cool is it that I live here?! Our content is for green juicing health nuts, natural health newbies, and everyone in between. Because living well is for all of us, and it doesn't have to feel like work. 

Got a tip on what we should cover? Holler at us! And be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up to date on all the healthy Lehigh Valley happenings.

NOW LET US INTRODUCE OURSELVES...

Steph Eckelkamp

Steph is LWLV's resident nutrition nerd (although, she's been known to cry tears of joy while eating an Emmaus Bakery apple fritter). She's also a grad of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and is certified as a holistic health coach. By day, she's a nutrition editor at Prevention magazine and mom to Milo, the cutest pup in all the Lehigh Valley. By night, you can probably find her in the kitchen eating organic chunky peanut butter straight out of the jar, or tossing random sh*t into a cast iron skillet and calling it dinner. 

Nina Elias

Nina is a Bethlehem-obsessed writer, singer, and Kate Spade addict in the thick of her lifelong journey toward good health and happiness. She’s passionate about clean beauty, DIY anything, and creating a toxin-free home. When she’s not researching natural deodorant, you can find her singing and dancing in local theater productions, ordering fermented veggies online, eating at Molinari’s with her fiancé, and serving as Moravian College’s content editor.

Siobhan DeRemer

Siobhan a self-described cocktail enthusiast, avid board game player, word nerd (she's a copy editor at Prevention magazine), and all-around seeker of fun and exciting events in and around the Lehigh Valley. Originally from Connecticut, she has been an Allentown resident for 10+ years and is always eager to chat about new restaurants, bars, and the occasional favorite yoga studio popping up in the area. Her favorite things in life are her cat Aurora, singing Broadway tunes, inspiring yoga classes, and building the occasional LEGO set.


 

 

Holistic Counseling: The Completely Approachable, Stigma-Busting Way to Prioritize Your Mental Health

BY NINA ELIAS

Real talk: my experience (and expectations) of counseling or therapy comes from what I’ve seen in movies or on TV—you enter a perfectly-decorated office inside a medical building, lay on the random chaise, and talk your therapist's ear off until your 60 minutes are up. 

After chatting with Lenore Stine, LPC, owner of Lehigh Valley Counseling, LLC on Elizabeth Avenue in Bethlehem, I walked away with a strong sense that holistic counseling is about so much more than, “…and how do you feel about that?”

After 19 years in the Lehigh Valley, Stine is not only affecting a culture shift around counseling, but she’s also building an incredible, support system of healthy resources around her. I stopped by her beautiful, calming space (her couch was way comfier than those weird chaises seem!) and picked her brain about what holistic counseling is all about.

First of all, what is holistic counseling, and how is it different from traditional counseling?

The short answer is, holistic counseling is about mind, body, and spirit.

To me, Western medicine is like this: your knee is bothering you, so let's look at only your knee. Holistic counseling, like holistic medicine, is about total mind, body, and spirit. It’s all about alignment, as well. If you’re tired, or you’re sick, or your thyroid isn’t functioning correctly, you can feel depressed or angry and anxious.  

I have my undergraduate degree biology from Wilkes University, so I often get a medical-based intake from my clients. That’s important to me, because many young clients aren’t seeing doctors regularly, so I will often send them to a doctor. If you have Hashimoto's, for instance, you have to work on that as well as your anxiety. But no one's looking at them in that realm, because they’re so young—but it’s on my mind because I understand the psychological implications of other health problems.

You can’t care for anyone else unless you care for yourself. If you’re standing firm and tall, people can lean on you.
— Lenore Stine, LPC

Wow, that’s a refreshing way to approach a patient.

People have a hard time looking at themselves. I don’t look at people like that they have issues—I view them as needing to make course corrections. I want them to ask themselves, where am I going, and why am I going there? Am I going there because my friends are, or because I really want to?

What else do you take into consideration with your clients?

Food and nutrition for sure—I want my clients to not only be aware of what they’re eating, but also how it makes them feel. I think about their exercise, substance use, and existing medical conditions. I raise their awareness about how all elements in their lives make them feel. And then, there’s meditation. Not only to treat, but also to figure out how their individual brains work.

You have a degree in Pastoral Counseling from Moravian Theological Seminary. Is there a spiritual element to what you do?

Absolutely. When something bad happens to someone, they want to make sense of it. Different religions and spiritualities approach this differently—Christianity goes like this: I’m starving here, but when I die I’m going to have a banquet. While Buddhism is all about no judgment, it just is. Path of acceptance.

From there, I can help my clients figure out where they fit within a non-secular realm, as well. Spirituality is not religion, it is how you walk through the world. But I ask them about their faith in order to figure out where they pull support from so we can create a customized spirituality.

Despite better representation of mental health issues in popular culture and politics, there is still quite a stigma around seeking treatment. What’s holding us back?

Judgment. I don’t judge you if you break your knee or have cancer—why am I judging you, or myself, if I have depression? People are so hard on themselves. They don’t think they’re worth it, or important. But you can’t care for anyone else unless you care for yourself. If you’re standing firm and tall, people can lean on you.

LIVE LIKE LENORE

Check out Stine's favorite local healthy hot spots

  • Beyond Juice on 3rd St. in South Bethlehem for green juice and smoothies

Even with so many healthy resources, it’s a challenge to advocate for your own health. Especially when Western medicine doctors and naturopaths are sometimes contradicting themselves. What’s your advice to reader’s going through this?

Above all, trust your gut. If you’re not getting a good feel from a practitioner, traditional or not, don’t do it. You’re already paying all this money! Too many of us want to fix things with a pill or an operation. Ask your doctor about five things you can do before that operation and then really do it. Do your homework, and commit.

Yoga Studio Spotlight: West End Yoga

By Siobhan DeRemer

 Image courtesy of West End Yoga

Image courtesy of West End Yoga

Location: 2313 W Highland St, Allentown / Schedule

Class Prices: First class is free! $10 drop-in, no pre-registration required (our fave for the casual yogi is $95 for 10 classes with no expiration or 1-month unlimited)

Class Recommendation: WE Flow Lvl 2-3 with Leah, Sunday at 10am (expect to work!) For those who’d like a little bit of an easier time, check out WE Flow Lvl 1-2 with Laura, Sunday at 11:30am.

This small two-room studio in West Allentown appeals to all levels of yoga, from kids/prenatal to Level 2-3 (including warm and hot yoga as well as teacher training). There’s also a great Yoga for Athletes class that focusing on stretching, strengthening, and body conditioning. They also have a number of totally free breathing, meditation, and yoga nidra classes available throughout the week. The schedule does have a fair amount for those working a typical 9am-5pm day and a variety of weekend classes for the yoga weekend warriors among us. We’ve never met an instructor we didn’t like at the studio (quirks and all!) and it’s been really fun trying out different levels based on what our yoga needs are (sometimes you just can’t hold a plank position at the end of a busy day, am I right?), especially with the low cost for classes. The website is also really helpful, guiding you through West End’s explanation of yoga levels, class descriptions, instructor profiles, and yoga inspiration. Go get your flow on at a class today and let them know you heard about them through Live Well Lehigh Valley!

 Image courtesy of West End Yoga

Image courtesy of West End Yoga

Step Into What the Valley Has to Offer

By Siobhan DeRemer

Now that it’s sweater weather, what better time is there for a nice stroll through some greenery (orange-ry)? Good for your heart and the best way to view the seasonal change, there are some top notch walking and running trails in the Valley to keep you moving (and motivate you to get out there). If you’re itching to make your 10,000 steps for the day, training for that 10K, or just looking for a way to get out of the house, let these trails be your guide.

Running/Walking 

For those in Emmaus or closer to the Macungie area, it can be hard to run on streets without safe sidewalks and in the midst of busy roads. However, you’re in for some great hills and terrific scenery if you know where to go. South Mountain is great, even for experienced trail runners and newbies looking for a challenge (and has great biking and hiking trails, too). The loop is a well-marked about 8.5 mile moderate terrain wooded setting, with additional loops to choose from for an easier or more difficult run.

Are you in the Christmas City or downtown A-town and need inspiration for parks near you but unsure of their locations? Check out Bethlehem Parks / Allentown Parks Finder for a map view of parks. Bethlehem’s Monocacy Park has wonderful walking and mild hiking opportunities, not to mention the chance to fish or simply sit and enjoy nature, while sitting only 10 minutes from downtown Main Street. In Allentown, the Lil’-Le-Hi Trout Nursery on Fish Hatchery Road provides some quiet-ish pavement running on sidewalks and trails with wooded views and river scenery––and you can stop and feed the fish if you’d like! Lehigh Parkway’s 6-mile loop is great for social runners (there are always people on this one, but check the event calendar; you never know what’s going on in the area!) and has a few hills to add a bit of a terrain change. Some of this area is paved as well, so you can utilize both trail and pavement running options.

The D&L Rail Trail (which is about 165 miles total) section running from Allentown to Easton is a great path for runners looking for a long-distance trek or shorter, well-kept trails. Broken into sections (that all average about 3.5 miles each), the flat concrete path is shaded and turns to gravel/dirt when closer to Palmer. Easy for an out-and-back trip, less crowded, and perfect if you’d like to avoid the hills of other trails in the Valley. Another section of this trail, running from the Northampton area to Lehighton, is a quiet, flat offshoot made primarily of cinders, with other paved options in the Walnutport area and a series of rocky trails closer to Lehighton. Also in Northampton is the 5.1 mile (10 mile out-and-back) Nor-Bath Trail perfect for solo (or tandem) runs as it’s not heavily traversed.

In the Coplay/Whitehall area, the Ironton Rail Trail provides a 5.3 mile loop that is mostly paved, well-traveled, and easy to traverse. This would be a great spot to join a friend for a run or easy walk. Great for a small run (and perhaps for intervals, sprints, or run/walk training) in North Whitehall is Kolapechka Park trail, wrapped around a kids’ park, clocked in just under a mile. This one could be perfect if you’re transitioning from city/pavement running to trail and you’d like to test your strength on a cinder trail. In Schnecksville, the Trexler Nature Preserve (this one has awesome hiking options too - see below for more on that!) has great running trails, suitable for all levels and ages. Mostly packed dirt trails, there is an outer 8.5-mile path and a mixture of shorter paved/dirt trails to choose from. Since it surrounds the Lehigh Valley Zoo, it’s a great spot for meetups, team/family runs, or just a friendly, scenic stroll.

Also within the northern reaches of the Valley in Bangor is Columcille Megalith Park, which is perfect for outdoor meditation, simple walking, perhaps a bit of trail running, and just enjoying nature (Side note: Their illustrated park map is enough to awaken the fantasy nerd in all of us). Self-titled as an “outdoor sanctuary,” this park’s collection of large stone structures provides spiritual and inspiring scenery. 

Are you a social runner or just looking to meet others who share in your love of hitting the pavement or might give you the boost you need to start running on a more regular basis? Maybe you love running on your own but would like an ear to the ground about local races. Check out these running clubs and running opportunities in the Lehigh Valley and lace up your sneakers and go! 
Lehigh Valley Road Runners
Group Run with Run Inns (Nazareth/Emmaus)
LV Running Scene
Run Lehigh Valley

Hiking

One of the best parts of living in (or visiting) the Lehigh Valley is the great mix of the outdoors and city life. You can head out for a morning hike or afternoon trek and then find a multitude of happy hour options when you return. Check out some of our picks for hiking trails/parks (for all levels) to try today and then get together with friends, family, or the friendly people in the meetup options around the Valley to fuel what will most likely become a need for nature once you see the local beauty that’s only minutes away.

Mentioned above for its stellar running trails, Trexler Nature Preserve (Schnecksville) has a ton of hiking options of varying degrees of difficulty as well. The extensive Trail map provides information about the just over a dozen trails that the Preserve offers. There are spaces for mountain biking, picnics, bird viewing, fishing and kayaking in the Jordan Creek, and camping as well. While the Trexler Border trail can be a tough one, the views make the trek more than worthwhile. 

Hawk Mountain, which is about a 30-minute drive immediately to the west of the Lehigh Valley area, has five trails that are mostly short but have some elevation changes. This site is a Sanctuary for local raptor and hawk populations and serves as a model for conservation of these birds of prey worldwide. There is a minor fee to hike here, but be rest assured that the small price is helping to improve conservation and protection efforts.

For the experienced hikers (or casual hikers looking for a challenge), the section of the Appalachian Trail from Bake Oven Knob to the Lehigh Gap, stretching about 9.5 miles, is one of the highest rated in the area––both for scenery and bragging rights. The trail’s great for a day trip or overnight and takes you over the Lehigh Tunnel. Just beware that this one isn’t for beginners and while it’s moderate at times, it’s exposed and you should be prepared for the elements. If you want all the views but a bit less of the length and the work, hike the teeny 0.4 mile trail from Bake Oven Road to the top of Bake Oven Knob.   

If you’re closer to Nazareth, then you can check out the 18.5 miles of trails in Jacobsburg State Park (also known as Jacobsburg Environmental Education Center). The attractive area in Henrys Woods (part of the Center) has wooded scenery, streams, Bushkill Creek, and community events and education opportunities for visitors of all ages. Just a note of caution: Part of the Center’s land is used for hunting, so if you’re planning to wander the area during hunting season, plan to grab yourself some blaze orange or super bright apparel to bring along.

For group meetings and chances to explore hiking trails you may not want to try on your own, check out the Allentown Hiking Club or the Greater Lehigh Valley Outdoor Adventures Meetup (and check out their site for even more meetup options in the area). TrailLink is also a great resource for more running/walking/hiking trail options in your area!

Do you have a favorite walking, running, or hiking trail in the Lehigh Valley that you’d like to share? Be sure to let us know in the comments! 

4 Keys to Healthy Fall Hair from the lv's only 100% organic, vegan, & cruelty free salon

By Nina Elias

Image Credit: Live Well Lehigh Valley

It’s October in the Lehigh Valley, and the leaves aren’t the only things a-changin'. You’re likely swapping sleeveless tops for cozy sweaters, stocking up on your favorite fall veggies, even prepping your garden for the season ahead. But while you’re gobbling up every pumpkin spiced treat you can get your hands on (like our DIY healthy pumpkin spice latte!), don’t forget to pay your strands some extra attention this fall—and we don’t mean just for aesthetics.

“In the fall, the two main complaints I hear from my clients are dry, lifeless hair and faded color,” says Allison Holub, owner and master stylist at Sato Salon Organics on Hamilton Boulevard in Allentown. “After being out in the sun, in the water, and everywhere else all summer, your hair is pretty stressed out come fall.” Keep reading for four ways to restore your hair’s health, shine, and happiness.

1.     CONDITION WITH A 1-INGREDIENT, AT-HOME HAIR MASK

We’re all about the benefits of healthy sun exposure—and Allison agrees. But even if you’re a sunscreen devotee, chances are your hair and scalp suffered a bit. “When your hair is damaged, lifeless, or very stressed, it’s missing lipids, or fats,” Holub explains. The solution: a 1-ingredient oil mask. You’ll replace the missing lipids with good, healthy plant oils while strengthening your hair from the root and reduce hair fall. 

  Image Credit: Live Well Lehigh Valley

Image Credit: Live Well Lehigh Valley

  1. Shampoo with a non-stripping clarifying shampoo (like Reneu Cleanse by Neuma, $27 at Sato) to rid your hair and scalp of free radicles and pollen.
     
  2. Comb an organic, cold-pressed fatty plant oil like coconut, avocado, or grapeseed oil through your hair, working through to the ends. Leave it on as long as you want, from 30 minutes to overnight. (For an even bigger boost, incorporate these healthy fats into your daily diet!) 
     
  3. Lightly shampoo and condition with your normal conditioner.

2.     BRIGHTEN DULL HAIR WITH A DIY RINSE

Mix ¼ cup lemon juice with ¾ cup water and pour over clean, shampooed hair. Massage into scalp and hair and rinse out after a few minutes to increase shine and acidity, which Holub says stressed out hair needs. “Alkaline hair is brittle, while acidic hair is soft and manageable.”

3.     GO DARK FOR AN EXTRA-PRETTY HEALTH BOOST

According to Holub, darkening up your color can actually rejuvenate your hair and increase shine. If you choose a salon with clean, healthy hair color, it can act as a reparative treatment. Sato’s hair color line, Mastey, is the cleanest the Lehigh Valley has to offer; the popular west coast and European line is ammonia, PPD, and propylene-glycol free.

4.     GET A HAIRCUT—EVEN A QUARTER OF AN INCH

  Image Credit: Live Well Lehigh Valley

Image Credit: Live Well Lehigh Valley

The smallest of trims can give your whole head a boost, while setting your hair up for a healthy future. “Splitting, even the tiniest bit, will continue to travel up the hair,” says Holub. “You’re freshening up your look and taking weight off while avoiding a problem in the future.” FYI: Sato offers a 30-minute “Short Cut” plus blow-dry.

Hey Live Well-ers: What’s plaguing your hair this fall? Want Holub to address your hair concerns? Jot it down in the comments!