When you’re in the mood for some ice cream, a glass of sangria or a tray of French fries, you’re not craving just any old ice cream, sangria or French fries. You’re craving the best, so why settle for subpar? Go for the crispiest French fry in town and the best ice cream that you could eat an entire gallon of. Choose the sangria that trumps all the rest. That's what you'll find here. If you’re looking for a kick-butt trainer, somewhere fancy to take your date or a pro to fix your computer woes, you’ll find their names here, too.
Don’t just take our word for it. Take the word of over 8,000 Style readers who voted this year, and stop settling— go for the best.
Best Cheesesteak: Matey’s Famous Steaks & Pizza
Matey’s has been making—and then baking—cheesesteaks long before more well-known sandwich chains became recognized for such a delight. “It really allows all the flavors to come through,” says co-owner Michael Matey. The steak sauce is made daily, and they use rib-eye chip steak—maybe you know their bestseller, the California cheesesteak? You’ll find mayo, lettuce and tomato. “It is a bit messy, but our guests say that’s what makes it so good. Of course, we use only the ripest vegetables possible and even buy from local farmers when in season!” says Matey.
At Matey’s, there’s truly something for everyone, with more than 20 types of sandwiches to choose from, from barbecued beef or buffalo chicken to chicken with gravy and cranberry. The vegetarian offering isn’t an afterthought like it often is in many places. “It’s literally all vegetables,” says Matey. Think tomatoes, green peppers, mushrooms, hot and sweet peppers, onions, cheese, lettuce and mayo.
1305 Broadway, Bethlehem | 610.866.6022 | mateysfamous.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Bar Food: Copperhead Grille
“I hate to say this, because it sounds cliché, but we have taken bar food to another level. It’s done the right way,” says Michael Dontas, Jr., who co-owns Copperhead Grille with his first cousin, Mike Dontas, Sr.
When it comes to hot items such as mozzarella sticks and wings, these aren’t your run-of-the-mill, cheap frozen items. “The mozzarella is cut in-house and hand-breaded and served with homemade marinara. For those wings, the chicken is locally sourced [Bell & Evans], without antibiotics or hormones. The wings are never frozen; they’re made to order,” Michael says. Those wings are available with eight different scratch-made sauces. Sweet and Sweaty, which is their mild sauce plus honey, and Venom, a habañero hot sauce, are the most requested.
The Mediterranean chicken skewers are a signature item, too, with spinach, roasted red peppers, feta and kalamata olives, served with house-made pita and a chimichurri sauce—and their own tzatziki. With 32 draft beers, drop in for happy hour, Wing Wednesday (50 cents a pop) or a late-night appetizer special and see for yourself.
5737 Rte. 378, Center Valley | 610.282.4600 | 1731 Airport Rd., Allentown | 610.403.4600 | copperheadgrille.com
Best Juicy Burger: Wert’s Café
Come for the burger and stay for the legendary, spiralized onion rings.
515 N. 18th St., Allentown | 610.439.0951 | wertscafe.com
Best Pizza by the Slice: Lehigh Pizza
It’s not just the college kids who line up—these pies taste even better after 2 a.m.
13 W. 3rd St., Bethlehem | 610.866.1088 | lehighpizza.com
Best Hoagie with All the Fixings: Primo Hoagies
Award-winning rolls and endless menu options.
Various area locations | primohoagies.com
Best Business Lunch Location: Apollo Grill
The Apollo has grown into a sophisticated yet relaxing spot for unique cocktails, refined bar food, extensive appetizer menu and American entrées with tasty twists.
85 W. Broad St., Bethlehem | 610.865.9600 | apollogrill.com
Best Doughnuts: Emmaus Bakery
There’s a reason people drive for miles for these babies. The cinnamon swirl with white or chocolate icing is an all-time favorite.
415 Chestnut St., Emmaus | 610.965.2170 | emmausbakery.com
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Taco: Geakers
At Geakers, your taco choices are beef, chicken, shrimp, fish or, yep, gator. Hands down, the beef is the most popular, thanks to its unique spices, three-hour cooking process and the family’s secret taco sauce. But this operation has sold more than 200 pounds of gator since introducing the option this past November. These zippy, hand-held items are the specialty of this family-run business, in operation since 2001, owned and operated by Kevin Geake and his son, Jared—with a little help from the rest of the family.
If you haven’t been to their taco stand in Bethlehem for tacos and a shake (or a taco dog), perhaps you’ve encountered their mobile operation, which they’ve dubbed the “Taco Tour 2016.” It’s a bit of a misnomer, as they’ve been running a mobile operation for 12 years. “We’ve found that the mobile food part of our business has exceeded our expectations, as well as the expectations of our customers, when we arrive with a tropical-themed unit complete with live palm trees and wood-carved pelicans, serving the best tacos in the Lehigh Valley,” says Jared. Find them in Bethlehem, or their mobile unit at one of 50 events.
3531 Freemansburg Ave., Bethlehem | 610.419.4869 | geakers.com
Best Gourmet Mac & Cheese: The MINT Gastropub
Though you might not find them all on the menu, The mint's mac & cheese options are endless, from truffle lobster and chipotle bacon to garden and mushroom.
1223 W. Broad St., Bethlehem | 610.419.3810 | bethlehemmint.com
Photo by Olaf Starorypinski
Best Pad Thai & Best Gluten-Free Menu: White Orchids Thai Cuisine
The split lobster tail Pad Thai does not disappoint!
2985 Center Valley Pkwy., Center Valley | 610.841.7499 | whiteorchidsthaicuisine.com
Best Ice Cream You Could Eat a Gallon Of: The Bethlehem Dairy Store
Whether you take yours hard, soft or as a half-gallon to go, there is no shortage of flavors to satisfy your craving.
1430 Linden St., Bethlehem | 610.691.8422
2 Campus Square, Bethlehem | 610.865.4360
Best Food Truck You Wish Were in Your Backyard: The Taza Truck
Indulge in authentic, natural, preservative-free Egyptian cuisine right here in the Valley.
610.442.1769 | thetazatruck.com
Best Bloody Mary to Cure Your Hangover: 3rd & Ferry Fish Market
At this savory seafood restaurant—known for their raw bar, vast beer selection and late-night menu—the briny, tangy, hangover-curing cocktail fits right in. And Third & Ferry does it right, topped with shrimp and—that’s right—a crab cake slider.
56 S. 3rd St., Easton | 610.829.1404 | thirdandferry.com
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Soup: Stations Café
Lots of homemade, fresh and healthy fare abounds at Stations. Think local (when possible), organic, non-GMO, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free. But the real talk here is the soup.
Picking a favorite soup—or a best seller, for that matter—is not easy at a place that cooks up six or seven varieties daily. “I think all of our soups have a following with our customers,” says Brian Graham, who took over the business last summer with his wife, Minh Tran. The daily offering is turkey chili, but the shrimp and roasted corn chowder, Hungarian mushroom, and white chicken chili with cilantro are all best sellers, too. And they arrive with freshly baked breadsticks—or you can have a pretzel, pretzel dog or salad with that warm bowl.
Graham, a culinary school grad, has worked in many restaurants. His wife, a longtime employee of Stations before the pair took it over, is from Vietnam. Since then, they’ve added pho and spring rolls, among other things. Soup, however, isn’t going anywhere. “I love making soup because there is so much room for creativity and experimentation,” says Graham.
559 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.625.5200 | stationscafe.com
Best Frozen Yogurt: Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt
With endless flavors and toppings to choose from, you won’t believe this is yogurt.
3 area locations | menchies.com
Best Happy Hour Spot: The Hamilton Kitchen & Bar
If you don’t already know the crowd when you walk in, you will when you leave. Whether you go here for some serious fun or serious networking, you won’t be disappointed.
645 Hamilton St., Allentown | 610.433.3535 | thehamiltonkitchen.com
Best Outdoor Dining: Blue Grillhouse
The fire pit, heaters and overhead covering make Blue the ultimate spot for three seasons of impeccable outdoor dining.
4431 Easton Ave., Bethlehem | 610.691.8400 | bluegrillhouse.com
Best Coffee Shop: The Joint
Take your Insta-worthy latte photos here.
77 W. Broad St., Bethlehem | 610.419.9237
Best Girls’ Lunch Location: Sweet Memories
Make a reservation for the mommy-daughter date of your dreams. Enjoy a slice of decadent cake in the place where anything girly goes!
180 Main St., Emmaus | 610.967.0296 | sweetmemories180.blogspot.com
Photos by Alison Conklin
Best Hot Dog: Yocco’s
Yocco’s has been putting together legendary hot dogs since 1922. There are lots of reasons why—they haven’t changed the formula, which owes its success in equal parts to its secret tangy chili sauce (think condiment, not a topping), and a proprietary, custom beef and pork dog that comes from Hatfield Meats, with no fillers, ever.
Newbies might be surprised that this third-generation biz, owned by Gary Iacocca and assisted by son Chris, cooks the dogs until they are “well done,” so the flavors and seasonings can caramelize. “It’s designed to complement our chili sauce, and it brings out the best in the meat and the spices. We think that it gives it better flavor,” says Gary. Their sales—two million dogs a year in six locations—tell you everything else you need to know.
Of course, you can order your dog however you want, but the Classic Everything still reigns supreme, with mustard, chopped onions and chili sauce. The true connoisseur, Gary notes, will order two Classic Everything dogs, chocolate milk and either pierogies (their second-best seller) or fries.
6 area locations | yoccos.com
Best Place to Grab Dinner on the Way Home: Wegmans
It’s easy to stop by and take advantage of the fresh salad bar, sushi, Chinese, sandwich deli and so much more; there’s a pleasantly eclectic selection. Searching for something in particular, hard to find or simply exotic? You’ll find it here.
3 area locations | wegmans.com
Best Breakfast: Billy's Downtown Diner
This Downtown Diner promises big food with even bigger flavor! The menu features a variety of “signature breakfast” items and sticks to the commitment to be “not your ordinary diner.” Make sure to “Billify” your home fries with homemade chili and cheddar cheese.
10 E. Broad St., Bethlehem | 610.867.0105
840 Hamilton St., Allentown | 610.432.5484
Best Place for a Special Occasion Cake: Easton Baking Company
From First Holy Communions to Sweet 16s, weddings and more, there is no occasion this bakery can’t handle.
34 N. 7th St., Easton | 610.252.6343
Best Bread that is Totally Worth the Carbs: Egypt Star Bakery
Enjoy fresh bread made the same way for over 80 years in century-old brick ovens operated by gas, coal and oil.
3 area locations | egyptstarbakery.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Hometown Barbecue: Baby Got “Que”
This two-year-old business has undergone some serious growth, so much that co-owners Mary Shearin and Jay King have opened in a new location in downtown Allentown, in order to add something original to their award-winning barbecue—jazz. Baby Got “Que” is now known as Sugar Hill Jazz House.
“We wanted to bring something different to Allentown for a long time,” says King, who is the chef. “Here, you’ll get great entertainment and great food, in one place,” he says. (Look for local beer and wine, too.)
Baby Got “Que” has earned raves (and awards from the prestigious Kansas City Barbecue Society) for its brisket, ribs (both beef and pork), cornbread and all those homemade sides, such as potato salad, collard greens and mac and cheese. “This is the real deal,” says King. The secret? “Time and patience. You can’t do barbecue unless you are extremely patient, but you have to pay attention to the details,” says King. Shearin’s the effervescent general manager. “He’s the extremely patient one,” she says, laughing.
39 S. 9th St., Allentown | 610.841.5299 | sugarhilljazzhouse.com
Best Local Brewery & Best Place for a Casual Date: Brew Works
Dine with the Fegley’s—a.k.a., the first family of beer in the Valley. Try the pretzel sticks dipped in beer cheese; you won’t be disappointed.
569 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.882.1300
812 W. Hamilton St., Allentown | 610.433.7777
Best Grilled Cheese: Mitzi's Table
These brunch masters layer four types of cheese on buttery Texas toast, served with a side of creamy tomato bisque.
3650 Nazareth Pike, Bethlehem | 610.730.1670 | mitzistable.com
Best Cupcake You've Ever Tasted: Blondies
Their “daily cupcake menu” spans from “chocolate lava bomb” to “lemon zinger.” Plus, they have over 20 gluten-free options.
333 Front St., Catasauqua | 610.443.1741 | blondiesfood.com
Best Stick-to-Your-Ribs Comfort Food: The Bayou
Imagine a menu filled with some of your decadent Southern favorites—from pulled pork to buttermilk fried chicken to barbecue shrimp and grits.
702 Hawthorne Rd., Bethlehem | 610.419.6669 | dat-bayou.com
Best Place for Wings: Keystone Pub & Grill
Are you brave enough to take the heat? Try their ghost sauce; just don’t ask what’s in it— they’ll never tell you.
3259 Easton Ave., Bethlehem | 610.814.0400
1410 Grape St., Whitehall | 610.434.7600
Best Place for Wine Lovers: Corked Wine Bar and Steak House
Think upscale, trendy nightspot with refined attention to food and drinks. Appetizers and meals are scrumptious, beautifully presented and can be paired with over 32 wines to choose from.
515 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.625.9463 | corkedwinebar.com
Best Beer Selection: Tavern On Liberty
Stop in and choose from over 400 bottles to create your own six-pack. Combined with 16 rotating drafts, they really have the largest craft beer selection in the Valley.
2246 W. Liberty St., Allentown | 484.221.8765 | tavernonliberty.com
Best Cheesecake Without the Trip to New York: Cheesecakes…by Chester
You can’t go wrong with the Bodacious Blueberry Cheesecake Squares. Enjoy a mouthful of graham cracker crust, icing and blueberries in every bite.
610.428.0354 | facebook.com/cheesecakesbychester
Photo by Shelbie Pletz
Best Sweet Shop for Classic Candy or Chocolates: Josh Early Candies
Josh Early offers up something sweet for every season, whether it’s chocolate-covered strawberries for Valentine’s Day or peanut-rolled eggs at Easter or boxes of assorted chocolates around the winter holidays. There are many reasons Josh Early still wins the hearts—and fixes the chocolate cravings—of residents, after five generations of family ownership. They believe in tradition, as their methods are 100 years old and still work. They are committed to quality. Most enjoyably, perhaps, they believe in samples.
The classics they’ve been making for decades are still there, from barks and nonpareils to chocolate-covered pretzels and peanut butter cups. However, in response to trends in the marketplace, Josh Early added the Naturals and Ultra lines in 2010. Owner Barry C. Dobil Sr. credits his son, Barry, with that idea, in response to studies about the benefits of eating dark chocolate—as the Ultra products contain 72 percent cocoa—and consumer interest in organic foods.
4640 Tilghman St., Allentown | 610.395.4321
3620 Nazareth Pike, Bethlehem | 610.865.0580 | joshearlycandies.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Place to Buy Fresh Seafood: Heckenberger’s at the Allentown Fairgrounds Farmers Market
This mainstay of the market—37 years and counting—stands out for freshness, with daily deliveries and prices that work. “With everything going on in the world, we realize how hard it can be to make healthy food choices that can fit into a budget. So I keep my prices very low, to make those choices easier,” says Raymond “Bubba” Adams, who’s been running the business, named for the original owner Paul Heckenberger Sr., for 21 years.
“We are known for our seafood being 99 percent ocean- or lake-caught,” he says, with an eye toward sustainability. Heckenberger’s is also popular for its North Atlantic salmon, wild-caught haddock (from Canada) and wild-caught Gulf shrimp. No distance is too great for bringing its customers—whom Adams says they treat like family—the best catches, including Arctic char from Iceland.
1825 W. Chew St., Allentown | 610.770.0860 | fairgroundfarmersmkt.com
Best Nachos: The Chicken Lounge
Expect a pile—no, a mountain—of nachos loaded with melted Monterey jack, grilled chicken and all of the fixings you might be craving.
3247 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown | 610.439.1707 | facebook.com/chicken-lounge
Best Cheap Eats: Stahley's Family Restaurant & Sports Bar
You’ll find a special for everything, whether it’s $6.75 all-you-can-eat spaghetti or $0.50 wings.
1826 Hanover Ave., Allentown | 610.433.2468 | stahleys.com
Best Hummus: The Hummus House
This made-from-scratch, smooth, nutty hummus is an absolute must-try.
1502 Chew St., Allentown | 610.434.8800 | thehummushouse.com
Best Burrito: Cali Burrito
If you’ve never been there, go. Devastated residents lined up down the block when this local favorite temporarily closed.
3104 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown | 610.351.1791 | caliburrito.com
Best Pierogi that Tastes Like Your Grandmother Used to Make: Black Forest Deli & Catering
Get your Polish fix, sans polka.
745 W. Union Blvd., Bethlehem | 610.865.3036 | bethlehemdeli.com
Photos by Colin Coleman
Best Female Bartender: Shelby Stalbird, Pints and Pies
It’s clear that Shelby Stalbird’s been working at her craft for many years—14, to be precise. She’s poured drinks and heard the stories of many patrons, who have followed her from her days at Drinky’s Pub to the now-shuttered Starters Pub at the Bethlehem Golf Club and now, at Pints and Pies. “I don’t know what it is, it just comes naturally to me. It always has. I don’t think I would be doing it this long if I didn’t love it,” she says. Still, she’s in shock—she wasn’t expecting it at all. “I don’t like being the center of attention,” she says.
Maybe it’s the friendly smile, maybe it’s because she’ll remember your name or order after just one or two visits. Working at a cozy neighborhood haunt helps, too, where there are typically two bartenders on at once and they take care of the whole place. “Everyone in Easton and Wilson knows Pints and Pies. Our customers are amazing,” she says. “We haven’t had anyone quit since we opened in 2013. We’re like a little family.”
2049 Northampton St., Easton | 610.438.1456 | pintsandpiespub.com
Best Appetizer/ Small-Plate Menu: grain.
An array of 14 small-plate options will have your head spinning at this new gourmet addition to Hamilton Street.
536 W. Hamilton St., Allentown | 484.221.9465 | grainallentown.com
Best Crispy French Fry: Chickie’s & Pete’s
There’s no question why this famous fry (crinkle-cut, sprinkled with spices and served with creamy, white cheese dipping sauce) takes the prize.
701 Hamilton St., Allentown | 484.273.4507 | chickiesandpetes.com
Best Sangria: Tapas on Main
With amazing food and even better sangria, this Bethlehem Main Street hot spot adds flair to tasty Spanish fare.
500 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.868.8903 | tapasonmain.com
Best Vegetarian Dish: Jenny's Kuali
BYOB and get comfortable in Jenny’s living room—literally—as she makes delicious Malaysian dishes from scratch with the freshest ingredients; it’s a revered Valley secret.
102 E. 4th St., Bethlehem | 610.758.8088 | jennyskuali.com
Best Hibachi & Best Sushi: KOMÉ Fine Japanese Cuisine
Stick around for some entertaining hibachi or take sushi to go. The Saucon Valley roll is a must-try.
The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley | 610.798.9888 | komerestaurant.com
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best CrossFit Training: CrossFit Advanced
Ever since the CrossFit craze caught on more than a decade ago, specialty gyms and training centers have been popping up all over the map. But there’s something different in the air at CrossFit Advanced in Forks Township, and that’s not necessarily a facility thing or an equipment thing—it’s a people thing. Jon Capobianco, who owns the gym with Jaime Zyskowski, explains it this way: “We are a huge family of people who are all into fitness for different reasons and we support and encourage each other in and out of the gym.” And if you’re intimidated by what you think you know about the rigors of CrossFit, Capobianco says, you might be surprised by how you feel after you get your workout in. “It’s everything you never knew you always wanted to do.”
3601 Sullivan Tr. | Easton | 610.829.107 | crossfitadvanced.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Yoga Studio: YogaMos
Stephanie and Christopher MoDavis know a thing or two about the healing power of yoga—they’ll tell you it was the one constant they could cling to while battling a life-threatening illness (her) and a devastating back injury (him). They parlayed their passion for yoga and teaching into a full-time vocation with the opening of their YogaMos studio in Hellertown in 2012. Class attendees are more like guests than clients (the husband-and-wife duo lives upstairs), and are encouraged to come as they are. “We feel as though there are no accidents,” says Stephanie. “Whoever shows up, we will try to offer all we can to assist in any way possible to encourage health and wellness for that individual.”
410 Main St., Hellertown | 484.895.8428 | myyogamos.com
Best Gym for Working Out: St. Luke's University Health Network
Top-notch equipment, inexpensive membership and exceptional service.
Various area locations | getfit.slhn.org
Best Gym for Socializing: Liven Up Health & Fitness
Expand your circle to others aiming to be healthy and active. Liven Up takes community support to a new level, hosting social events outside of the gym like canoeing trips and regular brunches.
57 S. Commerce Way, Suite 140 Bethlehem | 610.625.4484 | livenupfitness.com
Best Health Food Store: Queen's Nutritional Products
Holy healthy stuff! Queen’s has an expansive assortment of organic, vegan, vegetarian, raw and gluten-free products. Whatever it is you’re looking for, it’s here.
1450 Pennsylvania Ave., Allentown | 610.691.6644 | queensnutrition.net
Best Nutritionist: Angie's Way Nutrition Consultants
Step back Jenny Craig, Angie is the Valley’s best nutritionist. Take it from one of her transformed clients, she’ll show you the right way to do a cleanse or completely revamp your diet regime.
3894 Courtney St., Suite 130 Bethlehem | angiesway.net
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Non-Gym Workout: Barre3
Got 60 minutes? If you have an hour to spare, the staff at Barre3 can get you moving to a workout program that’ll limber up your body and mind. Barre3 is the exercise love child of Pilates and yoga, with some ballet mixed in, too. But it’s not about simply losing pounds and inches. “We’re proud of our off-scale accomplishments,” says Brittany Morse, owner of the Barre3 studio in Allentown. “So many [clients] have found a new sense of self-confidence, better mobility within their body, flexibility, and are more patient with their kiddos and spouses!” And Morse says those clients include everyone from couch potatoes to the fitness elite, expectant mothers to senior citizens—all feeling the Barre.
3900 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown | 610.841.8200 | barre3.com
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Trainer to Kick Your Butt at the Gym: Allie Grantz, Crossfit Advanced
Allie Grantz remembers her first customer well. “I was overweight in my 20s and became my own client,” she explains. “A trainer was born!” Grantz parlayed her personal metamorphosis into a career of helping others change their attitudes about physical fitness. “Nothing works unless you do,” she says. Her secret to success? Setting small goals and, of course, breaking a sweat to a killer workout soundtrack.
3601 Sullivan Tr., Easton | 610.829.1070 | crossfitadvanced.com
Best Fitness Class to Whip You into Shape: Supergirl, Sweat Like A Girl
These empowered instructors will make you feel like Superwoman. Exercises—from cardio kickboxing to active rest toning—are created to help women amp up their heart rates and celebrate their bodies.
311B Industrial Dr., Nazareth | 610.207.4682 | sweatlikeagirl.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Gift Shop: Moravian Book Shop
It’s hard to top more than two and a half centuries of staying power. From its sprawling store on Main Street in Bethlehem to its new location in downtown Allentown, the Moravian Book Shop has been a community fixture since the 1700s. No matter the season or the reason, it’s a safe bet that you’ll find a gift for everyone on your list, whether you’re on the hunt for a memento with a dash of local color or something a bit more mainstream. The Bethlehem store also features a satellite location of Allentown’s Colony Meadery, so you can sip while you shop.
428 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.866.5481 | moravianbookshop.com
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Place to Buy Unique Home Décor : GailGray Home Furnishings and Design
Whether you’re searching for one unique piece to complete a particular motif in your foyer or guest bedroom, or your entire home is in desperate need of an aesthetic overhaul, inspiration awaits you inside GailGray Home Furnishings at the Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley. “We do not just place our accessories randomly on tables—each vignette is thought through, unique and displayed as it would look in a home,” says the store’s owner and namesake, Gail Gray Dunn. “Many times a client will buy all the pieces, take a picture and do the exact same arrangement in their home.” As you wander around the showroom and pore over the colors, shapes and textures, you may find yourself wanting to kick off your shoes and stay awhile. “I want our customers to walk in and feel like they’re at home,” Dunn says.
The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley | 484.223.3301 | gailgrayhome.com
Best Salon for Women’s Cut and Color: J.Morgan Salon and Home
Step into this urban-chic, historic Easton salon and unwind with some complimentary wine or hot coffee.
252 Spring Garden St., Easton | 610.258.3480 jmorgansalonandhome.com
Best Men’s Haircut: American Male
This salon was designed to make men feel comfortable.
316 E. 3rd St., Bethlehem | 610.625.4053 | americanmale.com
Best Salon for the Perfect Mani-Pedi Experience: Oliver’s Salon & Day Spa
Choose from the many mani-pedi options and give your fingers and toes a little TLC.
5202 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown | 610.366.8808 | oliverssalondayspa.com
Best Hair Stylist to Make You Feel Like a Million Bucks: Amanda lentz, revive!
Tired of your hair just not being styled quite right? Amanda at ReVive is your solution.
3900 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown | 484.664.2929 | reviveloveshair.com
Best Place to Get a Massage: Healing Hands massage therapy center
It’s everything you’d want in your massage service: dimly lit, quiet, and even offering same-day scheduling.
518 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.882.4325 | healhands.com
Best Waxing There and Everywhere: European Wax Center
Lose the hair, skip the ouch. European Wax Center (EWC) takes your skin from so-so to sublime with a four-step process that’s heavy on pampering, not on pain. “Our exclusive waxing techniques prep your skin before and after each treatment, ensuring the most comfortable experience possible,” says Nanci Gerhard, owner of EWC’s Hanover Township location. Still not a believer? The first one’s on them—new clients get a complimentary brow treatment. So give the razor a rest and see what EWC can do for you.
1852 Airport Rd., Allentown | 610.335.1124 | waxcenter.com
Best Eyebrow Artist: Kimberly Wolfe and Helene Gmelch
Very rarely is the perfect eyebrow a product of genetics alone. But rather than trying to pluck and tweeze your way to the look you crave, you’re better off putting your faith in the very capable hands of Kimberly Wolfe, right, and Helene Gmelch, left, at European Wax Center. Under their care and guidance, reflection perfection is possible. “The best feeling is my guests smiling after seeing their brows in the mirror," says Wolfe. Gmelch agrees: “Taking time to get to know them as we achieve their best brow shape is very rewarding in itself."
1852 Airport Rd., Allentown | 610.335.1124 | waxcenter.com
Best Spray Tan to Fake a Week in the Caribbean: Organic Tans and Beauty Bar
All organic spray tans are specially formulated by Lorena and her aestheticians. They’ll have you leaving the way you imagined: shades from sun-kissed to flawlessly bronzed.
1752 W. Allen St., Allentown | 610.821.8888 | organictanslv.com
Best Place to Buy Menswear: assembly88
All of you rugged yet refined guys out there, this is one of the only retailers in the Valley where you’ll find Vineyard Vines, Raleigh Denim and Patagonia.
544 Hamilton St., Allentown | 610.433.7625 | assembly88.com
Best Consignment Shop to Score Designer Labels: Designer Consigner
Looking for a Louis or praying for a Prada to come into your life? You’ll find almost-off-the-rack items at about half the price—or even less.
453 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.419.0913 | designerconsignerboutique.com
Best Men’s Shave to Keep It Tidy: Jimmy’s Barber Shop
Jimmy’s goes the extra mile, offering its customers a haircut, hot towel shave and shoeshine. No appointment necessary.
526 N. Saint Cloud St., Allentown | 610.841.4773
619 Hamilton St., Allentown | 610.351.4388
Best Bridal Boutique: Bridals by Sandra
Whether you’re searching for a wedding dress, prom gown, or a bridesmaid ensemble, expect to be well dressed with one-on-one time and attention.
56 E. Lawn Rd., Nazareth | 610.759.5156 | bridalsbysandra.com
Best Place to Buy Fine Jewelry: Susan Bella Jewelry
With an on-site goldsmith, you can peruse tasteful trinkets or easily customize a design to match your personality.
1746 W. Allen St., Allentown| 610.434.8001 | susanbellajewelry.com
Best Women's Boutique for the Latest Trends: BOUTIQUETOGO
This fashion-forward boutique carries big-city brands like Ted Baker, Rebecca Minkoff, DVF and more.
522 N. 19th St., Allentown | 610.437.1663 | boutiquetogo.com
Best Makeup Artist to Have You Feeling Runway Ready: Makeup by ROXY
Whether you’re looking for one-on-one lessons or special event makeup, Makeup by ROXY will leave you feeling like a model.
484.764.1769 | makeupbyroxy.com
Best Store for Your Favorite Accessories: Sorrelli Jewelry
We are so lucky to have this Kutztown-based brand in the Valley. Get some serious sparkle for your buck.
645 Hamilton St., Suite 104, Allentown | 610.295.5995 | sorrelli.com
Best Facial for Radiant Skin: Skinterest Skin Care Boutique
Go for the quickie or stay for the fluff. Skinterest will help you put your best face forward.
11 N. 3rd St., Easton | 610.258.1702 | skinterestskincare.com
Photo by Katja Kruppe
Best Culinary Event: PA Bacon Fest
Bacon, bacon everywhere, and so much to eat and drink! Vendors, stalls and food trucks flood downtown Easton with the aroma of sweet and savory porcine snacks. That, and plenty of live music and mini-events will bide your time between servings.
Best Romantic Overnight Stay: Glasbern Inn
Enjoy a little country luxury. Fireplaces, Jacuzzi tubs, farm-to-table dining and champagne plus chocolate-covered strawberries at your request. You’ll want to stay longer than a night.
2141 Packhouse Rd., Fogelsville | 610.285.4723 | glasbern.com
Best Scenic Bike Trail: Ironton Rail Trail
This path stretches along the charming Coplay Creek and includes a 5-mile paved trail—perfect for a leisurely bike ride or a leg-aching spin.
3219 MacArthur Rd., Whitehall | 610.437.5524 | whitehalltownship.com
Best Park to Have a Picnic: Jacobsburg State Park
After a scenic walk with your dog or an exciting hike with the whole family, settle down for a picturesque picnic next to the beautiful Bushkill Creek.
835 Jacobsburg Rd., Wind Gap | 610.746.2801 | stateparks.com
Best Christmas Tree Farm: Unangst Tree Farms
Take the hayride for the ultimate tree-cutting experience. Then, snuggle up by the bonfire to keep warm with some hot apple cider.
7317 Bethlehem-Bath Pike, Bath | 610.837.7531 | unangst-treefarm.com
Best Outdoor Activity: Lehigh Valley IronPigs
Any night they play, the stadium is the best place to be in the Valley.
1050 IronPigs Way, Allentown | 610.841.7447 | milb.com
Best Festival for People Watching/Best Beer and Food Festival: Musikfest
Although this famous music festival brings a variety of nationally acclaimed and indie artists—from pop and rock to folk and jazz—some Valley locals would say their main reason for going is the Aw Shucks Corn, the beer gardens and the Füd Truk’s beer-battered cheese sandwiches and fresh potato chips.
Best Cooking Class to Learn New Tricks: 29 Cooks
Whether you’re a kid looking to learn or an adult looking to host a party, 29 Cooks welcomes you.
4030 Chestnut St., Emmaus| 484.951.0442 | 29cooks.com
Best Seasonal Farmers’ Market: Easton Farmers’ Market
It’s a longtime favorite frequented by those who appreciate farm-fresh products. You can't help but gather armfuls of local produce, locally-sourced artisanal products and ready-made noshables. We could go on, but we’re making ourselves rather hungry.
Centre Square, Easton | 610.330.9942 | eastonfarmersmarket.com
Photo by Alison Conklin
Best Place to Stock up on Stogies: Cigars International
Cigars International is more akin to a real-life humidor than a brick-and-mortar retail store. “Each store is fully humidified, with lounges, bars, televisions and the friendliest, most knowledgeable staff in America,” says Trish Bechtel, the company’s marketing coordinator. Those who belong to the unique tribe of stogie connoisseurs know that going there to peruse the dizzying array of brands and varieties before making a purchase is an experience to be savored, not an errand to be checked off the to-do list. Cigars International currently has two locations in Bethlehem, and another in Hamburg; plans to expand its empire aren’t out of the question. Until then, Bechtel says, “We’re just a phone call away.”
Various area locations | cigarsinternational.com
Best Pumpkin Patch for Fall Festivities: Grim's Greenhouse
Make this your fall destination for scouting everything from perfect pumpkins to gorgeous gourds.
9941 Schantz Rd., Breinigsville | 610.395.5655 | grimsgreenhouse.com
Best Pick-Your-Own Orchard: Strawberry Acres
Spend an afternoon perusing this quintessential farm, and bring home some goodies for later.
1767 Clearview Rd., Coplay | 610.261.2323 | strawberryacres.com
Best Park for Walking and Jogging: Trexler Park
Expansive grassy areas and trails that wind around beautiful greenery and ponds make Trexler Park the area’s best place to get out and about.
Best Place to Buy Art: Bethlehem House Gallery
Rather than displaying art on miles of white walls, Bethlehem House Gallery will make you feel at home with its unique display.
459 Main St., Bethlehem | 610.419.6262 | bethlehemhousegallery.com
Best Dog Park: Bethlehem Dog Park
It’s your pooch’s perfect play area. Roam around off leash, all year round.
259 Illick's Mill Rd., Bethlehem | bethlehem-pa.gov
Best Adult Sports League: Lehigh Valley Sport & Social
Stay active with friends and play the sports you always loved as a kid.
Best Place to Take Out-of-Town Guests: Downtown Bethlehem
With shops, restaurants and historical sites galore, it is no surprise why Bethlehem has consistently been named one of the best places to live.
Best Roadside Farm Stand: Scholl Orchards
It’s a roadside feast for the eyes.
3057 Center St., Bethlehem | facebook.com/schollorchardspa
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Local Radio Personality: Becca Lynn and Sam Malone
If you think Monday mornings always come too soon, Becca Lynn and Sam Malone can feel your pain. They roll out of bed long before the sun comes up, in the hopes of making the buzz of your alarm clock sting a little less. “I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” says Malone. Cat Country listeners know them as Becca and Malone in the Morning; their fluid and feisty chemistry first struck a chord with listeners more than a decade ago. “I honestly think it's the fun we have together,” Lynn says. “We thoroughly enjoy spending time together and I think it comes across on the air.”
Best Bar Ambiance: The Bookstore Speakeasy
Immerse yourself in the Roaring Twenties. This speakeasy in Bethlehem won’t fail to make you feel like you’re at a Jazz Age nightspot, with a dim and cozy vibe, a menu on the pages of old books, fine-looking craft cocktails and live jazz music.
336 Adams St., Bethlehem | 610.867.1100 | bookstorespeakeasy.com
Best Trivia Night: Braveheart Highland Pub
Looking for something fun to do next Tuesday night? Join in on the fun of Trivia Night at this traditional Scottish pub.
430 Main St., Hellertown | 610.838.6555 | bravehearthighlandpub.com
Best Radio Station | B104
It’s a standard in the Valley, playing the hottest hits and the newest top releases.
Best Local TV Personality: Eve Russo
Have fun and stay informed with one of WFMZ 69 News’ most lovable anchors in the early morning hours or at noon.
Best Place to Watch the Game | P.J. Whelihan's Pub and Restaurant
With more TVs than your eyes can handle, P.J.’s is the ultimate place to dig into wings, grab a beer and watch the game.
3395 High Point Blvd., Bethlehem | 484.353.7200 | pjspub.com
Best Male Bartender Who Knows Your Signature Drink: Ryan Harriott
Customers at Gio Italian Grill—both new and recurring—admire his extraordinary service and even-better cocktails.
6465 Village Ln./Rte. 100, Macungie | 610.966.9446 | gioitaliangrill.com
Photo by Shelbie Pletz
Best Dive Bar You Hate to Love: Ripper’s Pub
Who needs cloth napkins and a wait staff clad in dress shirts and neckties? Sometimes, a more low-key night out on the town is what you crave, and Ripper’s Pub has been serving up “casual” in spades since the 1980s. Sure, it’s a dive bar, and that’s just how the locals like it. Want a burger and a beer? Belly up to the bar and place your order. Craving a little dinner music? Stuff some change into the jukebox and take your pick. Bethlehem has a lot of options competing for the evening crowd, but, at the end of a long night at Musikfest, or any of the city’s other seasonal celebrations, all roads lead to Broad and Guetter Streets.
77 W. Broad St., Suite 3C, Bethlehem | 610.866.6646
Best Concert Venue with the Hottest Acts: Sands Bethlehem Event Center
There is truly no bad seat in the house here. Countless A-listers, ranging from Diana Ross to Amy Schumer, have made their mark on this stage.
77 Sands Blvd., Bethlehem | 610.297.7414 | sandseventcenter.com
Best Theatre Group: Civic Theatre
Known as the foundation of the Nineteenth Street neighborhood, the Civic is still a hot spot for hipsters and drama buffs alike. Curators find new and evocative independent movies while theatre professionals put on fabulous local productions.
527 N. 19th St., Allentown | 610.432.8943 | civictheatre.com
Best Place to Watch an Independent Film; Best Free Entertainment; Best Venue to Throw a Big Bash: ArtsQuest
Accessing arts and entertainment is at the heart of what ArtsQuest is all about. Even more so is a focus on inspiring and promoting creativity in the community.
101 Founders Way, Bethlehem | 610.332.1300 | artsquest.org
Best Place to Dance & Best Singles Scene: The Broadway Social
At The Broadway Social, the shots are always flowing and the line is usually out the door.
217 Broadway, Bethlehem | 610.868.2555 | thebroadwaysocial.com
Best Nightclub to See and Be Seen: Vision Bar
Feel like a celebrity for the night with Vision’s exclusive bottle service and private seating, or get out and mingle with the crowd.
77 Sands Blvd., Bethlehem | 610.297.7414 | vision.sandseventcenter.com
Best Local Blogger: George Wacker
Put your guard down and prepare yourself for a laugh. Wacker’s blog pokes fun at various Valley absurdities.
Best Local Comedian that Tickles Your Funny Bone: Liz Russo
Her “dry” wit on alcohol recovery and sincere gags about love, sex and body image have humored stand-up comedy fans in the Valley for over 10 years.
Best Place to Impress Your Date: Bolete
Chef Lee Chizmar will cook up, hands down, the best meal you’ll ever eat.
1740 Seidersville Rd., Bethlehem | 610.868.6505 | boleterestaurant.com
Best Local Musician/Band: Craig Thatcher Band
Often compared to the sounds of Eric Clapton, the Craig Thatcher Band has won countless awards and produces a show that will not disappoint.
Best Venue for Live Theater: The State Theatre
The inviting venue serves as both a draw for international talent and a showcase for more local performers, as seen in the annual Freddy Awards and Dancing with the Lehigh Valley Stars.
453 Northampton St., Easton | 610.258.7766 | statetheatre.org
Best Movie Theater to Watch the Newest Releases: Carmike Cinemas - Promenade IMAX
Seats are comfortable, theaters are roomy and the screens are top-of-the-line.
The Promenade Shops at Saucon Valley | 610.709.8635| carmike.com
Photo courtesy of Basement Builders
Best Home Remodeler: Basement Builders
Since 2004, Basement Builders has been remodeling unwelcoming dungeons into beautifully customized finished basements. See them also for whole home transformations for any budget.
4310 W. Saucon Valley Rd., Coopersburg | 610.791.4225 | basementbuilderslv.com
Best Party DJ: Rockin’ Ramaley
There’s never a dull moment with DJ Rockin’ Ramaley. You can even customize your own LED dance floor.
44 W. 1st St., Wind Gap | 610.393.3339 | rockinramaley.com
Best Interior Designer to Reimagine Your Living Space: Beautiful Home by Quentin Eshleman
Trust this expert to create the home of your dreams, reflecting your own sense of personality, style and taste.
10 N. 3rd St., Emmaus | 610.774.9777 | beautifulhomeonline.com
Best Photographer: Elaine Zelker
As one of the best-trained photographers in the Valley, she has an eye for it all.
522 Northampton St., Easton | 908.872.0987 | elainezelkerphotography.com
Best Party Planner: KLO Events
Let the experts transform your concept into a crowd-pleasing affair.
400 Northampton St., Suite 305, Easton| 610.923.9300 | klo-events.com
Best Realtor: Christina AcerRa—Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS
Her expertise of the Greater Lehigh Valley and a marketing background give aspiring homeowners a competitive edge.
3261 Rte. 100, Suite 100, Macungie | 484.519.4444 | foxroach.com
Best Painting and Wallpaper Services | Amato Painting
Amato Painting combines efficiency and quality to create a finished product you’ll love.
215 W. Saint Joseph St., Easton | 484.821.7112 | ryanamatopainting.com
Best Home Repair: Kirk Wagner Home Improvements, Inc.
From restorations to repairs, Kirk Wagner Home Improvements will bring back your home’s original glow.
2503 Kesslersville Rd., Easton | 610.972.9480
Best Place to Buy Your Pet a Birthday Gift: The Dining Dog & Friends
Spoil your pet with a healthy and delicious cake, pie, macaroon, pudding or muffin that looks good enough for humans!
3245 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown | 610.351.9333 | thediningdog.com
Best Place for Special Occasion Flowers: Phoebe Floral Shop
Trust the area’s largest florist with your next event, no matter the occasion.
2102 W. Hamilton St., Allentown | 610.434.9587 | phoebefloral.com
Best Guy to Mow Your Grass: Applewood Tree Service
You and your state-of-the-art push mower will never be able to trim your lawn like these guys can.
Best Pet Boarding: A Furry Tail Come True
Your dog definitely won’t mind her vacation while you vacation.
140 Bath Nazareth Hwy., Nazareth | 610.365.2280
26 Main St., Hellertown | 610.838.6638 | afurrytail.com
Best Home and Garden Center: Ross Plants & Flowers
With a greenhouse that’s stocked seasonally, Ross’ services are unlimited.
2704 Rte. 309, Orefield | 610.395.5193 | rossplantsandflowers.com
Best Party Caterer: Simply Smooth
From catering to event planning, trust Laurin Fegely to ensure that every detail of your event will go simply smooth! We recommend the candied bacon.
1524 W. Linden St., Allentown | 610.434.3900 | simplysmooth.com
Best Daily Pet Service: No Worries Pet Sitting
Make sure your pet gets loads of attention and exercise, even on your busiest of days.
908.319.3324 | noworriespet.com
Best Person to Call when Your Computer Crashes: Lehigh Valley Technology Company
Don’t rely on your friend Joe to fix your crashed hard drive. Call a professional and kiss tech headaches goodbye!
2158 Ave. C, Suite 205, Bethlehem | 610.866.2828 | lhvtech.com
Photo by Colin Coleman
Best Event Décor: BalloonWorks
Like any artist, Karen Ford takes a lot of pride in her work. But, unlike most artists, Ford’s medium is balloons—lots and lots of balloons. She broke into the business 25 years ago, selling her balloons inside shopping malls. Now her company in Easton, BalloonWorks, has perfected the art of creating the ideal décor for just about any event. Sweet 16 parties, weddings, showers, graduations and corporate events—she does it all, and she does it well. “One of my favorite things I like to hear, when people walk into a space we've transformed is, ‘I had no idea this could be done with balloons,’” she says.
610.253.1441 | eventsbyballoonworks.com
Best Pet Groomer: Leader of the Pack Canine Institute
Their award-winning pet grooming service specializes in all of your doggie’s demands. Miniatures to super-sized dogs can all come home smelling and looking fresh after a bath, styling, teeth scrubbing, nail trimming, ear cleaning and massage.
6346 Farm Bureau Rd., Allentown | 610.366.8282 | lopci.com
Best Auto Shop for Your Domestic Car: Binder's Automotive & Discount Tire Store
Family owned and committed to leaving you impressed, Binder’s will turn your car repair into a makeover, not a chore.
6009 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown | 610.841.2999 | bindersauto.com
Best Tattoo Shop: The Quillian Tattoo
Steve and his crew of body-mod wizards are professional, clean and masters of customization. Here, first-timers will feel at ease.
614 N. 19th St., Allentown | 610.770.7587 | thequillian.com
Best Auto Shop for Your Foreign Import: JCL Automotive
If you’re looking for a sleek Beemer or an affordable Audi, these guys have the know-how of imports, including over 10 years’ experience specializing in BMW sales and service.
70 Main St., Hellertown | 484.851.3390 | jclautomotive.com
Best Wardrobe Alterations: Sew On & So Forth
How clothing fits matters; Sew On will make you feel like an outfit was made for you.
91 E. Broad St., Bethlehem | 610.867.7144
Best Childcare: Career Institute of Technology Tech Tykes Early Learning Center
A biometrics scan is required to enter, and the teachers take time to understand the special needs of each child—as well as the need for both iPads and playgrounds.
5335 Kesslersville Rd., Easton | 610.258.2857 | citvt.com
Best Jewelry Repair Shop: Beverly Palm Jewelers
Founded nearly 30 years ago, Beverly Palm Jewelers has maintained its main goal of complete customer satisfaction.
3750 William Penn Hwy., Easton | 610.258.7256
Photos by Alison Conklin
Best Kids’ Clothing Store: Sweet Pea children's shop
It’s taken less than a year for Sweet Pea to establish itself as the “it” spot for kids’ clothing that’s both adorable and durable. Tucked away in a storefront off busy Route 512 in Hanover Township, Sweet Pea is the anti-big-box store; instead, it has the look and feel of a boutique, offering no short supply of brands that are a rarity in the region, like Tea Collection, Joules and Deux par Deux. “There are so many children in the Valley whose parents and grandparents have to leave the area to find unique clothing,” says owner and mother of two Alesia Coulter. “I thought, here is this void, I need to fill it.” The store offers other goodies, too, like toys, books and Chewbeads (a must for moms with teething babies), guaranteeing that a trip to Sweet Pea will be a delight for shoppers of all ages.
3301 Bath Pike, Bethlehem | 610.866.2505 | sweetpeachildren.com
Best Baby Boutique: Ju-Ju Monkey
You can trust that this excellent selection of well-made goods for the young'uns is safe and will prove to be no small source of entertainment. Ju-Ju has over five years of experience corresponding healthy, natural products with the unpredictable philosophies of loving parents.
4755 Tilghman St., Allentown| 484.809.9662 | ju-jumonkey.com
Best Kids’ Day Camp: Jewish Community Center of the Lehigh Valley
Your child will never be bored at this facility equipped for swimming and gym classes, cooking activities, outdoor playground fun and more!
702 N. 22nd St., Allentown | 610.435.3571 | lvjcc.org
Best Party Place for the Little Ones (Girls): Out of Our Minds Art Studio
They’ll provide the popcorn, paint supplies and fun! Keep an eye out for their “Let’s Paint with a Princess” classes where you are joined by favorites like Elsa, Snow White and Ariel.
65 S. Lea St., Macungie | 610.762.5694 | faidley.net
Best Party Place for the Little Ones (Boys): BounceU
Always an affordable, fun outing with the family, treat yourself to a personalized birthday bash, a Parents’ Night Out or just some weekday play. Bouncy house arenas and party rooms await!
3241 Hamilton Blvd., Allentown | 610.841.7088 | bounceu.com
Best Kids’ Consignment Shop: Bears Repeating
Your go-to consignment store for high-quality kids’ products; Angie only accepts the best.
7617 Hamilton Blvd., Trexlertown | 610.398-7187 | bearsrepeatingpa.com
Best Family-Friendly Afternoon Outing: Lehigh Valley Zoo
Get to know the 300 animals that call the Valley home, and feed the penguins any day at 11 a.m.!
5150 Game Preserve Rd., Schnecksville | 610.799.4171 | lvzoo.org
Next Stop: World Domination
By Kristen Rinaldi
This is Shane Burcaw’s third consecutive year being recognized in Style’s Best Of edition (clearly, he’s the best of the best), but it is my first year getting a chance to chat with him. I quickly considered that an annual update with such a profound (and incredibly busy!) individual might not be nearly enough. In the past year, Burcaw spoke at over 40 speaking engagements, received a grant from the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation (LVCF), had his story recognized by national publications and celebrated his first Happier Hour right here in the Valley. A lot can happen in a year, especially with an attitude like Burcaw’s.
Burcaw was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy when he was just two years old, and he has been laughing ever since. Burcaw founded Laughing at My Nightmare in 2011 with a mission to spread a message of positivity while providing equipment grants to those living with muscular dystrophy.
A lot has happened since our readers heard from you a year ago. If you could describe the last 365 days in one word, what would it be?
Hectic. We performed over 40 speaking engagements last year all over the country, which was an incredible (and tiring!) experience. We also significantly ramped up our fundraising activities to support our equipment-granting program for people with muscular dystrophy. It was a huge year for us here at Laughing at My Nightmare!
You recently celebrated your first Happier Hour in the Valley. What sparked your motivation to start something like that?
Happier Hour was a fundraising event that we held at Taps Tavern. It was intended to be a laid-back party where our supporters could come out on a Saturday afternoon to enjoy great food, drinks, music and laughter with us, and I’m happy to say we raised over $2,500 at our inaugural Happier Hour!
In March, you received a grant from the William C. Rybak Fund for People with Disabilities via the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation. What does that mean to you?
Having the support of an organization with as much esteem as the Lehigh Valley Community Foundation tells me that all of our hard work is starting to be recognized. We know that there’s a significant need among people living with muscular dystrophy for assistance with attaining the proper medical and adaptive equipment, and so we are working tirelessly to solve that problem. We can only do that, though, with the support of organizations such as the LVCF, and so we are very thankful for their belief in our mission.
You are very active on Facebook. Every week, you post a list of things that made you smile over the past seven days. Why is that so significant for you to recognize and for your followers to hear?
So often we allow the little annoyances of life to cause us great amounts of stress and unhappiness. I believe that we have the ability to reframe these tiny inconveniences by focusing our attention on the positive events of each day, even if it’s as trivial as a really delicious slice of pizza that you had for lunch. By deliberately focusing on the positive, we are training our minds to be positive more naturally, thus increasing life happiness.
This year, you were recognized by publications like BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan Magazine and the Huffington Post. What was that kind of attention like for you?
Scary and inspiring. Having that much attention from the media opened many doors, both for me personally and for our nonprofit. It felt rewarding to know that our story is spreading across the globe and helping people all around the world.
How do you maintain a positive (and humorous) outlook, even on your darkest day?
When I am upset, I try to ask myself if my negative emotions are helping me to effectively deal with whatever problem is upsetting me. A large majority of the time, being sad and bitter does nothing but make the problem worse, and so from there I can work towards focusing my thoughts on all the good in my life.
What have you learned about yourself in this past year?
In an emergency situation, I can hold my urine for almost 24 hours without suffering any severe medical issues. I’m basically a camel.
Where has Laughing at My Nightmare taken you this year that you might not have expected?
We just returned from a speaking engagement at Harvard! To be on stage at one of the world-renowned centers for learning was quite a thrilling experience. I don’t normally get nervous when we give our talks, but this engagement gave me the stomach butterflies. It went really well, and I’m so thankful to the event organizers for inviting us to speak!
Goals for next year?
Join us! June 29 | 6–9 p.m. | Sands Bethlehem Event Center | Tickets $35 at lehighvalleystyle.com
Proceeds Benefit Laughing at My Nightmare
By Amy Unger, Carrie Havranek, Joshua Herring & Kristen Rinaldi