FRESH PERSPECTIVES with Jaime K: Lehigh Valley Style November 2014 Issue

Snag your print copy of Lehigh Valley Style magazine for my latest column with some unique gift ideas and back stories on three of the most creative locals I know:

LVSTYLEnov14

Wendy Landiak of Shankara Vegan Restaurant, patron saint of LV vegan food since as long as I can remember! Learn about how she got started in cooking (she catered for Deepak Chopra!), the many incarnations of her eateries, and how to get hands-down the best brunch on earth right here in South Bethlehem;

Andy V. of Andy Vasquez Furniture, local skater/nice guy who makes the most jaw-dropping gorgeous handcrafted furniture and home accessories from wood. If you like midcentury modern, rustic chic, or kitchen cutting boards shaped like the state of Pennsylvania, he’s your guy;

Marissa Wetzel of Everlasting Image, miracle worker who uses photoshop to create beautiful portraits of babies who passed away before photos of them without medical tubes and wires were ever taken. I was in awe the first time I saw her work

PLUS! A vegan recipe created just for LV Style readers.

My column “Fresh Perspectives with Jaime K” is a bi-monthly column where I get to personally choose to shine the spotlight on creatives, small business owners, unique shops, community builders, and the best vegan eats in the Lehigh Valley, PA. If you know someone who would make a great fit, I’d love to hear about them.

 

 

Lehigh Valley Style Magazine Has a New Columnist (and She’s Vegan)

I am honored to share my new bi-monthly column for Lehigh Valley Style magazine, Fresh Perspectives with Jaime K.

JaimeK LV Style magazine

So much to say about the emotions of seeing this in print, but for now I’ll tell you: It’s the March issue and it’s on news stands now! Learn about my journey to become vegan and years later, to embrace the Lehigh Valley as my home for creative communities, young entrepreneurship, and vegan food (we keep getting luckier!). Going forward, the column will highlight people and businesses doing work I admire, be it art & design, mindful cooking, or making positive community and societal impacts.

Fresh Perspectives is meant to chronicle my love of the Lehigh Valley, seeking beauty in everything, living with true mindfulness to be kind in a world that makes it easy to post an Internet meme about kindness while forgetting to show it in our actions.

It’s about simple and unintimidating recipes, and inclusiveness, and honoring where we come from while striving to be better.” (pg. 100)

I hope you’ll love it, and if you have suggestions for future columns I’d love to connect and learn about them. Reach me at SavetheKales@gmail.com.

xo Jaime K

“All you have to do is write one true sentence. Write the truest sentence that you know.”

― Ernest Hemingway

Thoughtful (Last-Minute) Gifts in the Lehigh Valley and Bethlehem

In a place that bursts with artistic creativity, small boutique retail shops and is literally, hello!, “The Christmas City” (check out the locally-viral Buzzfeed post) with seasonal holiday pop-up markets, I can’t begin to write a comprehensive gift guide. There’s too much. A good problem, no?

But if you’re looking for last-minute gift ideas that are special and unique to Bethlehem/The Lehigh Valley area while supporting small businesses, these are the gifts and shops that immediately come to my mind.

Share some of your favorites in the comments!

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Best Budget-friendly Holiday and Local: Moravian Star Ornament and/or Pickle Ornament from Moravian Book Shop

moravian ornaments

A Moravian star is classic Bethlehem tradition in a small, affordable package. You can learn about the significance of the Moravian Star and then choose a beauty from a variety of sizes, materials, and price points. From this site,

The stars were used as craft projects to help demonstrate geometry lessons to young boys attending Moravian school. The stars were quickly adopted by the Moravian Church as a symbol of the birth of Jesus and represented the star of Bethlehem.

A small elegant, handmade glass ornament will set you back about $20 (give or take), but you may also find them in paper, plastic, and sizes that could fit in your palm to elegant lighting fixtures priced in the hundreds.

As for the pickle ornament(!), this is a little more kitsch but just as traditional. The German tradition says that parents hung a pickle in the Christmas tree after all the other ornaments were in place. In the morning, the first child to see the pickle on the tree would get an extra gift from St. Nicholas.  This is one of my favorite go-to gifts when you want to give a little something to someone who lives out of the area, as a cute reminder that someone in Bethlehem loves them.

Moravian Book and Gift Shop: website | facebook

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Best Shop for Unique Gifts (Upscale): Artfully Elegant

artfully elegant

If you’re not quite sure what to get someone but want a very special gift and you have a little more wiggle-room in your budget, this is the store to browse. They specialize in jewelry that is unique, interesting and handmade, and one-of-a-kind artwork from photography to ceramics. Always classy but with a chic, bohemian twist, you can’t go wrong with anything from this shop. Take a peek at their Pinterest page.

Artfully Elegant: website | pinterest | facebook

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Best Shop For Unique Gifts (Budget-Friendly): Mercantile Home

merchaus collage

Nearly everything in MercHaus in handmade in-haus. *wink* This is where you can find my absolute favorite scented candles, neon-colored ceramic animals, fabric products like scarves, bags, aprons, and about a trillion other things you never knew you loved until you walked in. This store is a treasure of the Lehigh Valley (located about 10 minutes outside Bethlehem in beloved Easton), and it’s all the better that owners Ken and Ron are the sweetest peas and you’ll leave with hugs and perfect gifts in tow. Is it weird to want to live in a store?

Mercantile Home:  website| twitter| facebook 

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Best for Someone Who Loves His/Her iPhone: Homebase Skateshop Bethlehem iPhone Cases

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Listen, put a picture of the steel mills on anything and you’ve found a way to my heart. But Homebase does it again by turning their popular 610 Division design into cases for iPhones 4 and 5. Brilliant. BRILLIANT.

In case you haven’t seen it, Homebase Skateshop sells t-shirts with one of the greatest outcomes of graphic design history: a mash-up of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album cover art, and the Bethlehem Steel mills. They’ve turned that genius design into a portable and practical phone cover, and if you love Bethlehem as much as I do, you’ll get one immediately. Quantities limited.

Homebase Skateshop: website | twitter | facebook 

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Best Non-Wine Gifts: Seasons Olive Oil and Vinegar Taproom

seasonsoilandvinegar

If you’re looking for the sophistication (and, um, practicality) of a bottle of wine but want something a little more out-of-the-box, consider a bottle of one of the many flavored oils or vinegars from Seasons. If oil and vinegar don’t sound special, get yourself to this shop, start at one end, and sample everything in the place. They really let you do this!

For more details, take a peek at this article I wrote about Seasons a few years ago.  A full bottle will set you back an average of $12-15, but can go higher as you look to truffle oils and such.

Seasons Olive Oil and Vinegar Taproom: website | facebook 

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Best Coffee Gifts: Wise Bean Cafe Gift Coins

wisebeancafe

My favorite local coffee shop, and longest running indie coffee shop in Bethlehem’s Northside, has unique ceramic gift coins that function like gift cards – but they’re cuter! They come in a tiny mesh bag, perfect for gifting, and while you’re at it pick up a pound or two of one of the Bean’s excellent coffees to brew at home.

The Wise Bean: website | facebook

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Best Gifts for Babies, Kids, New Parents: Ju-ju Monkey

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What began as a handmade cloth diaper company is now a full brick-and-mortar retail space in Allentown. Here you can find anything a baby or toddler would need or want, and best of all, products are eco-friendly! Clothes, toys, personal care products, and more can be found at the store. And if you want to give an experience, check out the classes offered by Ju-ju Monkey, from Baby Sign Language to Mommy and Baby Yoga.

Ju-ju Monkey: website | twitter | facebook

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Best “Little Something”: Jolene’s Jar Pickled Foods

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Made in small batches in Easton, PA and sold at locations around the Valley (including The Wise Bean, see above), these jars of pickled goodies would be perfect when you want to give a little token of appreciation to someone and that candy cane taped to a card just won’t do. Who doesn’t like pickles!? With flavors like Pickled Za’atar Cauliflower and Spicy Bloody Mary Garnish, stock up on a few for yourself, too. Bonus: toss your own veggies in the leftover brine after you’ve devoured the jar. The gift that keeps giving! Buy them at these locations.

Jolene’s Jar: website | where to buy | facebook

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And if you’re looking for a vegan + organic Christmas dinner but want someone else to do all the work, call on Chef Wendy! She’s taking orders for Christmas dinner through this Saturday, Dec. 21st.

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Chef Wendy of Balasia/The Honey Underground: facebook

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Note: I debated writing this list because, as mentioned at the top, there are so many wonderful businesses in the Lehigh Valley and I’d never want anyone to feel snubbed! A huge part of my work is advocating community involvement and small business support.  

I started to feel like I was four years old again, in bed and anxious to say goodnight to my stuffed platypus, because then I’d have to get out of bed and kiss + say goodnight to every other stuffed animal (there were a LOT) so none would feel left out.  Then you grow up and become an adult with mild OCD!

Lists can sometimes feel like that. 

My column in Lehigh Valley Style (coming in 2014!) will include not only recipes, but a deeper exploration of the people and places that create the vibrancy + community of the Valley.  Love and respect to small businesses and their owners, working hard every day to make me proud to call this place my home. xo

VEGAN CUTS SNACK BOX, March 2013: Goodies and Treats and some Body Sugar, sugar.

If the only real-mail you receive are bills and those annoying packets of coupons for fast food chains, sign up for monthly Snack Boxes from Vegan Cuts and make mail fun again!

Vegan Cuts, an animal-friendly coupon site (excellent in it’s own right), has put together the very best in Surprises You Already Know About. That is, you’ll know you’ll have a box of goodies coming, but you won’t know what they are until you open it.

Oh, the suspense! The anticipation!

Great stuff. Making things difficult for indecisive people.

Great stuff. Making things difficult for indecisive people.

Every month has a different variety of snack samples and products. The March box has ten (TEN!) different items to eat up or slather on, or I suppose, if you’re feeling frisky – both?

In the March box (clockwise):

The best part of this snack box (I mean, aside from a BOX OF SNACKS ARRIVING ON YOUR DOORSTEP) is that it costs less than $20.

Boxes are only $19.95!

Go go go… get a subscription! Then get one for a friend. It’s the gift that keeps on giving if you sign up for a multi-month subscription. 

Head over to Vegan Cuts to get the latest updates on the BEST offers on always, all-vegan products, like gorgeous handbags and scented candles to jewelry and DVDs. I’d take one of everything.

VeganCuts

Save the Kales! Vegan TV Show: Behind-The-Scenes at Brad’s Raw Foods

We visited the wonderful folks at Brad’s Raw Foods Chip Factory, located just a short drive outside of the Lehigh Valley, PA. Some of the sweetheart ladies on his staff made this little behind-the-scenes video on our filming day:


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Save the Kales! relies on co-producers, camera crew and interns to make each show (a team that has grown over the year and they are my little TV show family!), and now you get to see what some of these guys look like. The Brad’s Raw Foods episode will be on television and online in March. Check it out!

 

 

 

From A to Vegan interviews Save the Kales!

From A to Vegan is a well-designed online resource with a little of everything: recipes, videos, news stories, animal rights, health issues, and any other category you can come up with.

It’s run by a passionate group of folks from Bucks County, PA who I had the pleasure to meet for the first time at Bethlehem Vegfest, 2011.  Since then, we’ve been able to see each other at various events and potlucks and I love the collaborative effort of this very informative group.

from a to vegan blog, from a to vegan save the kales

From A to Vegan blog interviews Save the Kales!

I was thrilled to be video-interviewed for their website! Make sure you take a peek — they have quite a roster of interviews with many dedicated, thriving vegans all over the country, many of whom I’m certain you’re familiar with. It can be so nice to watch a casual video interview of someone you may only know from the pages of a book or still computer screen.

(Isn’t it weird to think some of your biggest heroes are just talking, breathing people?)

Read the article and watch the video HERE. 

 

(EXTRA SPECIAL warm, fluffy hugs to my friends at Connexions Gallery in Easton, PA for kindly offering the use of their outdoor courtyard space to hold the interview. Anthony and Alice, co-owners, are wonderful forces within the local art world, and there’s a good chance you’ll see more collaborations with them and their gallery in the future.)

From A to Vegan on Facebook

Connexions Gallery on Facebook

50 SHADES OF KALE: Yup, It’s a Real Book

A friend tipped me off to this yesterday:

Yes, it’s a real cookbook. And while the inspiration makes me groan a little (loudly), I certainly can’t complain when someone decides to proclaim veggies are sexy while they help to give you a healthy-hot bod.

Plus, food puns are always worth a looksie: “Complete with scientifically founded nutritional facts, romance novel clichés, and recipes like Thai’d Up Roughage…”  I’m not sure if they mean this tongue-in-cheek or are 100% serious, but some part of me is a little happier knowing this exists. (Quote from this article.)

Learn more about the book ON THE WEBSITE.  Available as an ebook, it will be free October 6-11, and cost $2.99 thereafter.

*I am not sure if this cookbook is vegan.