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
By Siobhan DeRemer
I have a confession: Gyms aren’t always my jam. I only started embracing the idea of strength training semi-recently (within the last few years) and though I feel like I read something every day about how good it is, especially for women over 30, it’s not my go-to for a workout.
You see us post all the time on our Instagram about barre and yoga classes, but today, I’m here to throw you a curveball. The Lehigh Valley has some great gyms that are locally owned and when Steel Fitness contacted LWLV to check out their facilities (they've got Steel Fitness Premier in Allentown and Steel Fitness Riverport in Bethlehem), I figured I should bite the bullet and suppress my disdain for grunting bros doing deadlifts (a fitness move I've now come to really love!) in front of a mirror. At least for a few weeks.
I’ve been trying to get in my 30 minutes of daily movement since the beginning of the year, and though I’ve slacked a bit on this promise, I figured a gym membership might keep me motivated and perhaps even more energized. I was a semi-devoted member of Planet Fitness back in the day so I thought I knew what to expect (the bros), but I was given a lesson in full-service gym membership almost immediately.
There are great facilities if you’re a solo fitness enthusiast (weight room, cardio equipment, pool, indoor running track) and some kick-ass group classes and personal training opportunities if you need a little extra push to get on that TRX or pick up a kettlebell. I never had to wait for an elliptical or even a set of weights I needed. The locker rooms were enormous and provided locking storage, hair dryers, and decent shower facilities. Though it wasn’t something I utilized, the childcare facility seemed like it would allow you to focus on your workout while your little one is given a chance to move, too. The steam rooms and sauna don’t hurt either!
What’s great about Steel Fitness Premier is that you have tons of options to choose from. I took a few of the barre classes, and while I’m still a barre3 girl at heart it was great to jump into a slightly less intense barre class with people of all ages and then follow that up with a quick run on the treadmill afterward for some extra cardio. I know the yoga and Pulse X classes are super popular there, too, and would be on my list when I return. (Check out their class schedule here.)
So let’s get to my absolute favorite part of my time at Steel Fitness. Sarah Campbell, my personal trainer for all of 3 sessions, was the best. Not only did she whip me into shape with some killer workout suggestions and take me through them with just the amount of drive and motivation I needed, I wanted her to be my BFF.
In the midst of my squats, kettlebell swings, and my ungodly quest for the ability to do more than 3 push-ups in a row (someday!!), we would chat about local LV weekend activities and how to integrate my workouts into an outdoor setting come summer and how to do things at home. I am no stranger to gyms even though they’re not my favorite, but Sarah really allowed me to feel confident about striding up to the TRX straps and getting a workout in. Of course, it helps that she’s a super confident redheaded female somewhat like me.
I’ve been focusing on my yoga practice, barre classes, and getting outdoors more lately, but hands down, I’d return to Steel Fitness in a heartbeat to have Sarah push a kettlebell back at me.
If you’re looking for a great local gym with a competent staff, fun class opportunities, and some sweet (but kick-ass) personal trainers, and minimal bro sightings, then give Steel Fitness a visit.
They have locations in both Allentown and Bethlehem.
Not in the position to splurge on a membership? We recommend dropping in for the day. A day pass is just $17 and grants you all-day access to their classes, the pool, gym equipment, the track, and more.
Check with Steel Fitness for full membership options. They’re a great local option to help you find your gym confidence (or get it back like I did) and keep you accountable in the process. Lehigh Valley Gym Nerds unite!
Got a favorite Lehigh Valley gym? Tell us why it's worth checking out in the comments below!
By Siobhan DeRemer
As the Lehigh Valley continues to be on trend with some of the most metropolitan areas, local distilleries are popping up (with more to come, so be sure to watch this space for more reviews). If you’re one to enjoy a nice cocktail (as we are here at LWLV, but do drink responsibly, of course), why not enjoy what local spirits have to offer? Sometimes that drink tastes even better when you know you’re contributing to a local business! We know it can be hard, if you’re health-minded, to find clean, well-crafted cocktails with hearty and worthwhile mixers (instead of your run of the mill sugar-laden options) that won’t make you feel guilty (or woozy) the next day. Here are highlights of some of our picks in the area, complete with recipes (some directly from the makers), tasting room hours, and locations. Watch (and like!) their Facebook pages and our event calendar for distillery-sponsored events popping up all around the Valley. Bottoms up!
And be sure to keep watching LWLV’s coverage of local spirits and distilleries—there are even more on the horizon that we’ll be featuring soon!
Location: 7189 Route 309, New Tripoli
Hours: Tue - Sun 11am - 6pm
If you want to sip on some of the Lehigh Valley’s spirited history, try some of the applejack here with views only rivaled by some of the wineries in the area. This distillery (which is less than a year old!) also creates gin, vodka, and rum with local grains (most of it grown on-site and all of it milled by the distillers/owners). The apple cider used in the Applejack is also a local commodity and also a throwback to the earlier days of Pennsylvania imbibing culture (seriously, drink this with a little fresh cider, it’s like spiked heaven). Rye whiskey and aged bourbon are on their way. The tasting room is spacious and inviting and tasting fees are waived if you pick up a bottle while you’re there. Also, you can enjoy classic and seasonal cocktails with a local cheese/meat plate or bring your own picnic to enjoy. Enjoy a tour (which includes a cocktail) or if you can’t make the trip to New Tripoli, head to the Easton Farmers’ Market for a sample.
Try the Log Cabin:
2 oz Eight Oaks Authentic Applejack
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 oz Rosemary - Honey Syrup (see below for recipe)
Fill Glass with Ice & Scholl's Apple Cider. Garnish with rosemary sprig & lemon wheel.
Rosemary - Honey Syrup
Bring 1 Cup Water to a Boil
Remove from Heat & Stir in 1 Cup Honey
While Honey Mixture is Cooling Add in 5 Sprigs of Rosemary
After Cooling, Keep in Refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
Location: 530 E Third Street, Bethlehem
Hours: Wed - Thu 4pm - 10pm; Fri 4pm - 11pm; Sat 12pm - 11pm; Sun 12pm - 8pm
If you’d like a place to try a number of great local spirits with a full kitchen and plenty of seating at your disposal, then Social Still on the South Side of Bethlehem is a great option. With super trendy decor and a newly expanded menu of small plates (we are dying to try the ahi tuna tartare), sandwiches, and larger entrees, Social Still’s list of liquors grows by the moment (and they have tons of freshly made nonalcoholic drink options, too). They have 9 (!) types for you to try either mixed in a well-crafted cocktail or however you’d like it. There are also a number of house-infused spirits, wine from Franklin Hills, and a rotating tap selection of local brews. Maple vanilla bourbon has just been released and if you can’t make it to the distillery itself, you should be able to find many of the flagship spirits at your local Wine & Spirits (or behind the bar at local establishments).
Check out their take on a G&T (Grapefruit & Thyme): Grapefruit & Thyme-infused gin, Grapefruit Syrup, topped with tonic.
Location: 905 Harrison Street, Suite 128, Allentown (part of Bridgeworks Beverage Alliance)
Hours: Fri 4pm - 8pm; Sat 12pm - 6pm; Sun 12pm - 4pm
This distillery is located in perhaps one of my favorite places in Allentown (I mean, where else can you hit up a brewery, meadery, and a distillery all without leaving the building?). They offer wonderful cocktails in their teeny tasting room with their 6 spirit options and the owner/distillers are usually happy to give you a little tour of the space (where they mill their PA grains and bottle their spirits) and provide you with a (free!) taste of whatever you’d like. I’m a fan of the Class 8 Vodka for its clean and crisp flavor, myself, and they have a cachaca style white rum that is perfect in a caipirinha. Watch for collabs with Colony and Hijinx (who share the building with County Seat) and check for County Seat offerings at local liquor stores and bars in the area. Food trucks make regular stops here and the event list at this spot is plentiful.
Their Lock Keeper gin is the star in the Evil Bees Knees: Muddle rosemary with fresh lemon and honey simple syrup, add Lock Keeper and garnish with fresh rosemary and lemon slice.
Location: 518 Bank Street, Emmaus
Hours: Thu - Fri 6pm - 10pm; Sat 2pm - 10pm
Triple Sun is the newest addition to the Valley’s offering of locally produced spirits, currently offering Cuban-style rum (think Bacardi) and corn whiskey (read: drink up, gluten-free friends!). Gin, spiced rum, and bourbon are in the works in this small-batch workshop less than a block from the popular Funk Brewing Company (and newcomer, Yergey Brewing Company makes it a place to stop on your next trip to Emmaus). We love seeing local businesses grow and collaborate (especially when we benefit from the deliciousness)! Small samples are free, but you can enjoy a Mason jar cocktail or a larger pour for a few dollars. Food trucks are a pretty solid staple and Switchback Pizza is just a skip and a jump.
Try their Moonshine Mary for a brunch sipper that's sure to wake you up:
2 oz Triple Sun unaged corn whiskey
3 oz tomato juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 drops Tabasco
Salt and black pepper to taste
Put all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and shake until cold. Strain into a glass. Garnish with lemon wedge, celery stalk, or green olives.
By Siobhan DeRemer
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!