Category Archives: Lehigh Valley everywhere


Infinite Thank You’s to everyone who helped make HEART OF STEELcity the Best Neighborhood Blog as per the local Best of Blogs contest. (My other blog, Save the Kales! won Best Food Blog. Cheers!)

With so many inspiring people and projects popping up all over, I can hardly keep up and was recently discussing inviting some guest bloggers to help us all know about this ever-growing bounty of Awesome.

For example:

  • The new SteelStacks building is going to be home for really amazing local entertainment, music and non-music like independent film, comedy and wacky collaborations. (Horror film geeks, you are going to be pleased.)
  • A new video web series  that documents people and indie business all over town!
  • Art Battles (stay tuned)
  • Local people getting national television shows – these people are local, still live here, and the shows are being taped here (there at least TWO that I know of right now!)
  • DIY ethics and organizing are creating new forces to be reckoned with


If you’d like to be a contributing writer, or just want to send some info my way, do it early and often! Coming soon, I’ll post a link to all the blogs that won the BEST OF BLOGS contest. We’re all so excited, and we love you too.


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Filed under Allentown, EVENT, Lehigh Valley everywhere, North Bethlehem, South Side Bethlehem, Website, Writer


Folgers Coffee was taking submissions for a contest to choose their new jingle, and some LV folks made this AMAZING submission (even they don’t live here full-time). Carly Commando of Slingshot Dakota and Ryan O’Donnell who currently works in organizing political campaigns made this video that is sure to warm your heart and make you call your best friend.

I want to start a company that needs a commercial so I can hire them to write and produce it, since people would weep with joy and love upon seeing it. Stuff this wonderful has the ability to turn storm clouds into cotton candy and make New Jersey smell like fresh laundry. A huge round of applause to Carly and Ryan.

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Filed under Coffee Shop, Film, Lehigh Valley everywhere, Music, Out of Town, Performance

LOOKS TASTY: “Good Taste” is a Freshly Prepared Culinary Resource

If pizza and chinese takeout aren’t doing it for you, hope is not lost. The Valley boasts hundreds of unique and delicious eating establishments. “Hmmm:”, you think to yourself, “If only there a was beautiful, user-friendly website full of local restaurant information and maybe a few recipes I can make if it’s raining ice and sludge from the sky (again)…”

Welcome: Good Taste.

Good Taste is a BRAND NEW website features 25 eateries with full descriptions of ambience, signature dishes, a few of the chef’s favorite recipes and contact information.

Did you ever hear about the Spinnersville Hotel Restaurant? (Did you ever hear of Spinnersville?) If you like a good selection of craft brews – say, well over 300 of them – you will be thrilled to know about this place. Interested in farm-to-table fare with an indian spiced bloody mary? YES. With as much enthusiasm as I can muster, YES. You can get both at the Farmhouse in Emmaus.

Take a few minutes to read about the places and people who love them with this welcome new addition to local online reference. If it involves food, I’m pretty sure we’re all board.

Go HERE to learn more about this new site and it’s featured restaurants. And when you’re done, want to grab lunch?

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Filed under Bar, Food, Lehigh Valley everywhere, Website

RENAISSANCE FAIR: What is the City But It’s People?

I started this blog several months ago as a testament to the beautiful people and inspiring businesses, artists, and projects that make their home in the Lehigh Valley. On a selfish note, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting so many people that do all they can to always improve this area in some capacity. But it’s not about me – it’s about the drive I have for helping to expose the hard work and deep passions that radiates from local residents.

A few years ago, there seemed to be this attitude that it was “cool” to hate the Valley. I found it was more common to hear someone complain about the area than to be excited about it. (I admit, even with all my optimism, I eventually became one of those people.)

Photo by local photographer Marty Desilets

But over the past year, there has been an always increasing unconscious uprising of positivity and motivation to turn the Valley into someplace we could all be proud of. Not only is it rare to hear a negative comment, I am constantly listening to people say how much they love it here – yes, the L word.

Upon talking to friends recently, all heavily involved in the various arts communities, one of them used the word “renaissance” to describe the shift.

re·nais·sance:  noun, often attributive

\ˌre-nə-ˈsän(t)s, -ˈzän(t)s, -ˈsäⁿs, -ˈzäⁿs, ˈre-nə-ˌ, chiefly British ri-ˈnā-sən(t)s\

a movement or period of vigorous artistic and intellectual activity

I love that perfect explanation of this new mental attitude, just as much as I love the Valley. When I think about the purpose of this blog, beyond just filling a creative and community-based need for me personally, I want to continue to document the great things happening here. I would hope someone who never came here would read this and know how much is going on, and be excited to visit. I hope people who once lived here and moved away because they felt it didn’t live up to what other cities could offer, would reconsider that perception and feel proud of all we’re doing.

As I’ve been planning the return of of this blog (I suppose it never left, but only updating  once every 4 months negates the point, yes?), something serendipitous, albeit small, happened that pushed me into more excitement. Let me share:

I was browsing Etsy (popular handmade craft site) looking for a new “it goes with everything” necklace. I wanted something metal with a vintage element. I forget the exact combination of words I typed in, but as I sifted through the pages, I found this one that caught my eye. I wanted it.

Horatio necklace by WishByFelicity, via Etsy

To my delightful surprise, it wasn’t until reading the fine print of the listing that I realized one of the vintage tags in the necklace is from Bethlehem Steel. There is no mention of that in the title, and the creator isn’t even from Pennsylvania. Just a weird twist of fate that in a sea of 20,000 necklaces (Jules Verne would be proud!), I found one that hit so close to home.

Small, but meaningful (to me). My current residence in the Lehigh Valley is deliberate. After considering a move, I was so by inspired the welcoming community of pioneers that I have since been able to call my friends, I knew that living here meant I could be a part of something great.

I hope I can continue to document it in a way that makes you as excited and inspired as it makes me.

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Filed under Artist, Business, Lehigh Valley everywhere, North Bethlehem, South Side Bethlehem, Visual Art

EDITOR EXPOSED: Dustin Schoof, Editor of EXPOSED Weekly Paper Talk about Writing, Music and What Makes the Valley Great

“There is something going on every single day, it’s awesome. I honestly feel that the Valley is experiencing a renaissance of sorts and I’m very glad to be witnessing it first-hand.” – Dustin Schoof

I recently learned that some “local” weekly papers are not local at all – rather, they are mass produced across the country after being written in another state, then filled in with one or two local stories and maybe a cover promoting a local band or event.

You’ll be happy to know that EXPOSED Weekly Paper, part of the Easton Express Times, is 100% local content, composed every week by a team of passionate writers. Dustin Schoof leads the pack as editor, and enforces a commitment to quality content with a focus on local people and events. How refreshing!

Here, Dustin talks about what it’s like to have the insiders advantage of writing about arts, entertainment and culture that can be found in the Valley every night of the week (you hear that, naysayers? EVERY NIGHT!).

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Filed under Lehigh Valley everywhere, Music, Writer

Know your Place.

“We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of our exploring will be to arrive where we started

and know the place for the first time.” – T S Eliot

(“Industrial Magic Kingdom” – photo by Marty Desilets, featured soon!)

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Filed under Lehigh Valley everywhere

WE BUILT THIS CITY (And The New Nationally Recognized Skateplaza!)

You don’t even NEED me to tell you this.  The billboards are all over the valley. The internet is full of information. Everyone is talking about it. But in case you’d have the flu, not left your house, or avoided all human contact for the past few weeks…


The very same idea that was impressively in the Top 10 running for the National Pepsi Refresh $250,000 Grant Prize, is the very same project that is opening it’s hypothetical doors this weekend, to the 750ft long skatepark and thousands of visitors.

If you have ever made a vote on this project, attended meetings, shown up at the lot to let city officials see and meet the people that are in favor of it, told people about how great it would be, etc… Take a moment and feel proud. Go on. Because without YOU (literally, YOU and your voice and your votes) this project may have taken a lot longer to come to fruition.

I don’t doubt that this project would have eventually been built. The people at the forefront have taken an idea and worked, pushed, and followed through until it actually happened.

Andy Po, owner of Homebase Skateshop and Skateplaza pioneer, knows how to get things done.  In an interview with HEART OF STEELcity (I was so excited to have him be the first interview for this blog!), he states, “It took about 8+ years of talking and having the ‘Wouldn’t it be nice. . .’ conversation, but now that the cement is being poured on the skateplaza site it’s beginning to feel like ‘We can really make this happen’.

And make it happen you did.

Even if you’re not a skater, take notice when you drive past the new Skateplaza site – this wonderful monument to fun, pushing forward, and never giving up on your dreams or this Valley.



The Lehigh Valley is full of wonderful, creative people and every day more and more projects are started up – get involved. Start something. YOU are what is going to continue to make this place a vibrant community.

Congratulations to Andy, all the skaters, supporters, and the Lehigh Valley!

(Read more and stay current at

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Filed under Bethlehem Skateplaza, Lehigh Valley everywhere, South Side Bethlehem