Elaborate collections often elicit fascinating stories

kitchen-utensilsDo you know someone who has a beloved collection?  Perhaps it started with a gift from a loved one and blossomed from there.  Or maybe a hobby led to more and more of a particular item taking up residence in the home, like baseball cards or rock band posters.

Collectors are a fascinating bunch of people, and their stories vary greatly.
I asked some co-workers of mine about their collections, and got such a variety of answers!

Sports memorabilia, ceramic turtles, as well as teddy bears, antique sewing implements and kitchen utensils, and even metal flashlights from the early 20th century.  Alicia added her own twist, claiming her genealogy hobby is an ancestor collection!  Continue reading »

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Celebrating Youth Art Month: Where art thou art museums?

art museum“Find a beautiful piece of art. If you fall in love with Van Gogh or Matisse or John Oliver Killens, or if you fall in love with the music of Coltrane, the music of Aretha Franklin, or the music of Chopin – find some beautiful art and admire it, and realize that that was created by human beings just like you, no more human, no less.” – Maya Angelou

Maya’s sentiment is a beautiful reminder of two things – We are all full of infinite potential and the opportunity to fall in love with a piece of art is a gift.

What an inspiring message for the young artists and art admirers in our lives. March is Youth Art Month – the perfect time of year to share the gift of art and appreciate the emotions and inspiration it stirs.

I’d argue that that the gift of art is no more fantastically wrapped and delivered than in a museum – so we are so fortunate to have access to a myriad of art museums throughout Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and West Virginia that feature the talents of our local treasures and beyond.

Choose the month of March to explore the beauty of art in your corner of our community – perhaps at one of the museums below.

Palmer Museum of Art at The Pennsylvania State University – University Park, PA

Opened in 1972 and features 11 galleries and an outdoor sculpture garden. Includes 6,000 pieces in its permanent collection including works by Albrecht Durer, Gilbert Stuart, and Alexander Calder. Through May 10th, work by Francisco Goya will be featured. OPEN Tue – Sat 10AM – 4:30PM, Sun Noon – 4PM  Free Admission

The Demuth Museum – Lancaster, PA

Celebrates the work of American modernist Charles Demuth – a master watercolorist and pioneer of Precisionist style -  in his original home on King Street in Lancaster. OPEN Tue – Sat 10 AM – 4PM, Sun 1PM – 4PM

Allentown Art Museum – Allentown, PA

Founded in 1934 and featuring American painting and sculpture from the mid 18th century to the present as its primary focus. Includes the works of Robert Henri, George Bellows and George Cope. OPEN Wed– Sat 11AM – 4PM, Thu 11AM – 8PM, Sun Noon – 4PM

Brandywine River Musuem – Chadds Ford, PA

Highlighting a collection of American Art by the Wyeth family of artists- N.C., Andrew and Jamie – in a 19th Century mill overlooking the Brandywine River bank. OPEN Everyday 9:30AM – 4:30PM

Wheaton Arts and Cultural Center – Millville, NJ

See skilled artists at work and explore The Museum of American Glass, including 6,500 objects on display – from Early American art to today’s contemporary glass artists. OPEN April – December, Tue – Sun 10AM – 5PM

Washington County Museum of Fine Arts, Hagerstown, MD  

More than 2,000 objects on display in the museum’s permanent collection – including the works of Battista Zelotti, Gustave Courbet and Auguste Rodin. OPEN Tue- Fri 9AM-5PM, Sat 9AM-4PM, Sun 1PM-5PM Free Admission

Baltimore Museum of Art

Featuring the largest holding of works by Henri Matisse and celebrating its 100th anniversary. View collections of 19th Century, modern and contemporary art. OPEN Wed- Fri 10AM-5PM, Sat – Sun 11AM-6PM

This is only the beginning of a list of local museums. Share your favorite spot to soak up creativity and inspiration.

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How a bank loan helped a Pennsylvania woman grow her dream business

Aftershave was Melissa's first creation, followed by moisturizers, powders and other preparations.

Aftershave was Melissa’s first creation, followed by moisturizers, powders and other preparations.

The year was 1995 and Melissa Buckley was working from home, trying to build a business from something she loved.

She needed help. She needed a large sum of money to fund a project, and decided to meet with a banker from one of Susquehanna’s predecessors banks, Blue Ball National Bank in Morgantown, Pa.

“I thought I would be turned down for a loan, but he made me feel like I was just as important as the large corporations he serviced,” Melissa recalled. “He believed in me. And I knew he would be there for me.”

Melissa was granted the loan, which she paid back ahead of time, and started Honeybee Gardens, Inc., a line of herbal cosmetics that can now be found in health food stores, pharmacies, on-line stores, herb shops, specialty and gift stores worldwide. Continue reading »

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Unsure when to claim Social Security benefits? Here is some information that may help in your decision

Close up of social security applicationDeciding when to claim Social Security benefits is an important factor in income retirement planning.

You can qualify to begin taking Social Security as early as age 62 or wait as late as age 70. You may start at any time between those ages; increases are applied for each month you delay claiming. For those retiring now, the full retirement age as defined by the Social Security Administration is 66 (for those born between 1943 and 1954). The age goes up in two month intervals for the next five years and full retirement age is 67 for those born in 1960 and after.

With all that has been written lately in newspapers and magazines about the potential value of delaying the start of payments, people continue to start taking Social Security before the full retirement age. According to data recently released by the Social Security Administration roughly 35 percent of applicants start at age 62. Continue reading »

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Lori R

From facing asteroids to hunting vampires, fictional presidents on the big and small screens keep us entertained.

presidents day picDid you do anything fun Presidents Day weekend?  Whether you shopped, went skiing, cleaned the house, or just took a break and put your feet up in front of the TV, you’ll want to keep in mind the real star of the show: Why, the POTUS of course.  The President of the United States.

Dozens of men have played the President in movies and on television.  Some of them portrayed the real deal, like Abraham Lincoln, whose persona has appeared more than any other President’s on the silver screen.

In 2012, Daniel Day-Lewis won a Best Actor Academy Award for playing the 16th Commander-in-Chief in Lincoln, but most recently, Honest Abe appeared as a Master Builder in The Lego Movie (2014).  Continue reading »

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I’ll have one fried donut with a side of mush of pork scraps, please!

shooflyNext Tuesday morning, Lancaster and Berks Counties will wake up to local churches, bakeries and grocery stores filled to the brim with one very special Pennsylvania Dutch treat.

Should you be lucky enough, perhaps you’ll spot a large brown paper bag spotted with greasy splotches sitting in your office lunchroom ready to be pounced upon. Open it up and you’ll discover the brilliance that is the Fastnacht!

What exactly is this Pennsylvania Dutch delicacy so special it gets its own holiday?  Fastnacht Day is an annual celebration that falls on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Fastnacht translates to “Fast Night” and encourages the use and consumption of leftover indulgences before the Lenten fast. Using plenty of lard and sugar, Fastnachts take the form of crispy, less-sweet, fried doughnuts. Some cover them in powdered sugar. Others cut a slit and fill them with jelly, butter or even molasses. Continue reading »

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Check out these 8 tips for eating healthy on a budget

Mother and daughter in produce sectionThe fact is heart disease is the #1 killer of Americans and more than 1 in 3 Americans suffer from heart disease, so we can all probably say we know someone affected by heart disease in some way.

With February being National Heart Month, it’s a great time to reinforce the importance of a heart healthy lifestyle to reduce those staggering statistics.

Eating healthy, when combined with daily exercise, reducing stress and not using tobacco, can go a long way in reducing the odds of suffering from heart disease. To be honest, I used to feel that eating healthy was out of my budget! Lean meats, fruits, vegetables and nuts can get expensive! But I’ve found ways to eat healthy and still go easy on my wallet. Continue reading »

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Monopoly, Clue, Operation: What are your favorite classic games?

board gamesHappy 80th Anniversary, Monopoly! That’s right, in 1935 Hasbro released the classic game which would go on to sell more than 275 million games worldwide; available in 111 countries in 43 different languages. It truly is a game that has stood the test of time…and boy does it take time! Everyone knows it’s a long game but what’s the record for the longest? Seventy straight days. Seventy days!

Short days and cold nights make winter the best time to catch up on some of your childhood board game classics. I was the type of kid who always needed someone to play with and I loved games, so it’s no surprise that the $10 I spent on the game Trouble a couple weeks ago ended in much laughter and competition between my boyfriend and me. In fact, we played it 9 times that weekend. And just in case you were wondering, I won best out of three 2 times. Continue reading »

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Scores and shares during Sunday’s Big Game to benefit local Special Olympics chapters

footballUpdate: Through scores and social media shares, Susquehanna will be donating $8,400 to Special Olympics chapters in PA, NJ, MD and WV! Thank you for your support!

If you are anything like the 100 million-plus people who are gearing up to watch The Big Game this weekend, sports of some sort have a place in your home during the year.

Maybe you tune in every Sunday to see your favorite team play or you participate in a fantasy league. Being a sports fan is just plain fun – especially when your team is winning!

But beyond the entertainment value, sports can also be a very powerful and meaningful influence – especially for the individuals that benefit from the Special Olympics. Continue reading »

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Volunteering in 2015? Don’t leave donating blood off your list

Blood Donors Making Donation In HospitalI like to volunteer in my community. I’ve planted trees at a local park. I’ve boxed hundreds of lunches at the World’s Largest Chicken Barbecue. Most recently I styled hair in the Doll Salon at the American Girl Fashion Show (that was unexpected!).

I’m always willing to donate time, but one thing I don’t do is donate blood. In honor of January being National Blood Donor Month, I’m asking myself why not? Take a look at what I learned and why we should both donate at the next available opportunity. Continue reading »

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