Monday, December 1, 2014

Get into the Greensburg Holiday Spirit

I began working as an intern for the Greensburg Community Development Center this August, balancing my time at the office with my time as a senior at Seton Hill University. This internship allowed me to become much more involved with Greensburg, and I fell in love with the city's unique businesses and lively atmosphere. 

One of my jobs as the office intern was to help promote the 2014 Greensburg Holiday Parade. I designed the posters for the event,  created and distributed the press release, and attended planning meetings at City Hall. After dedicating so much time to the project, I decided I had to go to the parade myself.

Bundled up in my winter gear, I stood huddled among a crowd of holiday jubileers one Saturday afternoon, eagerly peering down the street at parade attractions. We cheered for the floats, and reveled in the beating drums and blaring horns of marching bands. 

What better way to spend a Saturday than at a parade!

 The parade was a great success. Floats, bands, and other various organizations marched down Main Street on November 22nd, while people of all ages enjoyed the spectacle. It was a cheerful environment, with children dashing to pick up tossed candies and shake hands with mascots such as the Pirate Parrot and the Pirate Pierogies.  

Personally, I loved seeing all of the animals in the parade. Dogs, miniature horses, and llamas all walked down the city streets, guided by their owners and dressed in their holiday best.

 After the parade, my boyfriend and I strolled through Greensburg, looking at the festive storefronts. Seeing all the glittery Christmas trees, shiny ornaments, and smiling elves in the store windows really infects you with the holiday cheer. Greensburg shops go all out with their seasonal decorations! 

Carolers adorn the storefront at Penelope's.
Stockings and a gift-wrapped bicycle add festivity to American Adventure Sports.
We also stopped at the “Before I Die” wall, a new project in Greensburg, located on the side of the Art Tech building. People’s wishes and goals were scribbled all over the blackboard, written between the lines and in the margins. I added my own “Before I Die” goal--to read “The Ocean Full of Bowling Balls,” a short story written by one of my favorite authors, J.D. Salinger, that he instructed not to be published until 50 years after his death (the year 2060). 

Spending the day in Greensburg was a fantastic way to get into the holiday spirit! It was great to see that all of the business owners and citizens of Greensburg are as excited for the Christmas season as I am!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Greensburg Foodie Tour

Savor the crisp autumn weather by walking around downtown Greensburg on a foodie tour, treating your senses to an evening of mouth-watering food and fall ambiance. Park in one location, and stop at four unique restaurants all within a three block radius for drinks, an appetizer, dinner, and dessert. The delicious food and drinks were specially chosen by the restaurant owners as perfect fall dishes, and are sure to leave you satisfied!  On your walk through Greensburg, you’ll see the majestic Courthouse, the historic Greensburg Train Station, and The Palace Theatre. Experience the welcoming atmosphere of The Rialto, the classy aura of The Supper Club, the contemporary style of One Eleven, and the whimsical offerings of the White Rabbit Café.  Gather your friends for a day out in Greensburg, with some of the best dining the City has to offer!

A. Rialto Cafe
25 West Otterman Street

B. The Supper Club
101 Ehalt Street

C. One Eleven Restaurant
113 South Pennsylvania Avenue

D. The White Rabbit Cafe
113 North Main Street

The Rialto Cafe

The Rialto Cafe, located in the heart of Greensburg’s cultural district and voted Best Bar in Greensburg by Tribune-Review readers, is the oldest continually operated bar in Greensburg. It is located in one of the original stone buildings in Greensburg, built in 1796 and a popular rest stop for travelers journeying on Forbes Road from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh. The building was sold to the Montuori Family in 1933, the year prohibition was lifted, and turned into a neighborhood bar and Italian restaurant. In 1997, current owners Mr. and Mrs. John Rullo became fourth generation proprietors, expanding the business to include Baldy’s Pizza and adding a new, modern bar and private party facility in the adjoining building. Today, The Rialto Café remains a Greensburg landmark and local gathering place for people of all ages. With its great drink selection, atmosphere, and location, The Rialto is the place to go to relax after work or to hang out with friends on the weekend. The cozy environment and friendly staff are welcoming to all—even visitors are treated like locals at The Rialto.

The Supper Club
The Farmers Plate

The Farmers Plate appetizer features local seasonal fare from Pennsylvanian farms. The platter contains Hidden Hills Old Gold Gouda, Goot Essa house-smoked camembert, house-smoked Maple Leaf Farms duck breast, and toasted house-made whole wheat buttermilk honey bread. Complementing these snacks are pickled vegetables and condiments, including herb grain mustard, summer squash relish, spicy tomato jam, pickled radishes, hot & sweet green beans, and “smokra” smoked paprika okra. All pickled vegetables and condiments are from The Pickled Chef—a local canning and preserving company started by The Supper Club’s own Chef Greg Andrews. This seasonal dish is sure to pique your appetite as the foodie tour continues.
Chef Greg selected a white wine to accompany this appetizer. The 2011 Vermentino by Peltier Station is a flavorful citrus driven wine with vibrant aromas of lime and green apple, and hints of minerality. A sip of Vermentino will leave your taste buds bursting with its lively, crisp flavors and bright acidity.

One Eleven
Spicy Beef Goulash with homemade Spaetzle and Fried Brussel Sprouts and paired with a Fall Mist cocktail

This comfort food dish really hits the spot on a chilly day in November. One Eleven slowly braises Short Ribs in a rich stock made of sweet and hot paprika, tomato paste, and aromatic vegetables for 4-5 hours until fall apart tender. The secret spice to this dish is the caraway seed; which gives the meat another dimension of depth.  Just before plating, a little vinegar brightens up the savory short ribs. Homemade Spaetzle crispy pan-fried and quartered brussel sprouts with sweet golden raisins, crunchy walnuts, and salty bacon make a delicious side-dish to round out this hearty meal. Lighten this dinner with the Fall Mist cocktail. The base of this seasonal craft cocktail is a generous pour of Private Label One Eleven Vodka, Sage Liquor, Maraschino, and a dash of fresh Lemon Juice are shaken until clouded, strained into a coupe, and garnished with a soaked cherry to create a memorable cocktail.  The combination of flavors makes this meal a noteworthy one.

The White Rabbit Cafe & Patisserie
Cranberry Bourbon Cremeux and Cappuccino

 The White Rabbit’s Cranberry Bourbon Cremeux is all the flavors of autumn in a dessert. Sweet and crumbly pecan sablee adds a nice texture as the base. The next layer is caramelized white chocolate cremeux that is silky smooth. The cremeux is a soft and creamy pudding, and the caramelization process gives the white chocolate a rich brown color and imparts a butterscotch flavor—perfect for fall! The dessert is topped with a cranberry compote, containing hints of oranges and bourbon. The beautiful red color and tart flavor of this seasonal berry pairs well with the sweet sable base and cremeux for a truly savory dessert. 
In between bites, sip a traditional cappuccino. The cappuccino is made with an espresso bean with a big, sweet, chocolate-like body, and steamed milk is added to provide a very robust, long-lasting taste that pairs well with sweets.  Taking a second cup for the road is never a bad idea!

Check out the "Explore Greensburg" section of WHIRL magazine's November edition for more content on our city!

Friday, October 10, 2014

"Blanketing Many with Warmth" Collects Blankets for Patients

Diane Proctor, creator of "Blanketing Many with Warmth," received the 2014 ATHENA Award in Westmoreland County.

by Regina Solomond

Diane Proctor’s “Blanketing Many with Warmth” project was launched after she was selected to receive the 2014 ATHENA Award in Westmoreland County. The ATHENA Award recognizes exceptional women who demonstrate excellence in their profession, contribute to their community, and help other women to succeed through mentorship. The mission of “Blanketing Many with Warmth” is to comfort individuals in nursing homes and to ease suffering during dialysis and chemo treatments by providing them with handmade blankets.  An added bonus of the gift is that the patient’s spirits are raised knowing that someone cares about them.

Beautiful blankets help life patients' spirits as well as provide warmth.

Proctor was motivated to begin this project after watching her grandmother go through dialysis, and seeing how cold and chilly her grandmother was during treatment. 

“Seeing the discomfort of my grandmother, I thought to myself that others must be feeling the same during their chemo or other treatments”, said Proctor.

"Blanketing Many with Warmth" kicked off on August 1st; so far the project has received 58 hand-made blankets. The goal is to deliver over 100 blankets to Excela Health Hospice Program by March 2015. The blanket does not need to be knitted—quilts, fleece, and afghans are all accepted. Prayer shawls, rag quilts, and lap robes have also been requested.

"Blanketing Many with Warmth" is more than halfway to its goal of receiving and donating 100 blankets.

 Proctor stated “If you can’t knit, you can still help by donating yarn."

However, she encouraged people to pick up some needles and learn how to knit! Proctor herself only started knitting last May. She recommends starting with a single crochet stitch and using a bigger sized hook (a size 6 or a J).

If you plan on donating yarn to the project, the sooner you send it, the sooner Proctor and her volunteers will be able to turn it into a blanket and reach their goal. If you are knitting blankets for the project, let Proctor know of your progress!

The handmade blankets will be distributed to patients in the Excela Health Hospice Program in March 2015. All material used must be new and machine washable. To help, contact Diane Proctor at, or at 814-243-8704.

Mail items to:
Diane Proctor
1600 Technology Way
Latrobe, PA 15650

Friday, August 15, 2014

An Interview with Danielle Shaffer from Aw Else Boutique

Danielle Shaffer poses with her selection of hats and a Lancaster Canvas leather bag.

by Shannon Bork
What kind of style does Aw Else Boutique specialize in?

We specialize in styles from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to New York City, and we even tap into the European market. We bring them all here to give variety to accentuate any outfit or occasion, and everyday life and women.

So it’s like an international style?

It’s a little bit of everything. All of the original fashions come from Europe, and then they work their way over. Essentially, they all stem from that area, but we get them from LA, New York, and just a little bit of everywhere, so I guess you could say we’re a global style.

Where did you think of the name Aw Else?

My husband and I have a blended family. “Family comes first” is a very strong value that we have, and we try to instill that in our children. Mark’s three daughters’ initials are “AW” and my daughter’s initials are “ELS” and we just combined the two, and it turned out to be “Aw Else”. 

Do you have a favorite item on sale?

Yes, our Lancaster Canvas leather bags. It’s a newer line from Lancaster that we brought in. Lancaster Paris is kind of like the Coach of Paris. They’re very big, they’re on L Magazine, they have many stores, and they are just great. When I found them, I absolutely fell in love with the quality of the bag, and how they offer a great variety of sizes, so we brought them into the store!

What are the hot looks for the summer season?

It’s a variation on the same thing every year, and this year it was a continuation from fall. I’d say the biggest thing lately is The Wing Bag. It’s a normal style North & South bag, but they put wings on it, like triangles and it’s great.

How about for fall?

Oh, we have some great colors coming for fall. The purples and the burnt orange color that is going to be really popular, and we’ve got this great spread of fall looks and scarves, complimentary colors. The furs are coming in, not real fur but fake fur, and people are getting more into this animal print, leopards, zebra print, and these are classic looks that have always been around. But we’re bringing them in a new way, incorporating them into outfits with scarfing and different ways of using all those patterns. The colors are going to be great.

The Sorrelli Floral Crystal Cluster Ring in 'Norther Lights' is one of the lovely fall jewelry items available at Aw Else.

What are some of your favorite styles? Couture? Preppy? Bohemian?

It’s really funny; I was always told I should go into fashion, because I’m like a chameleon. One day, depending on my environment, I can literally adapt to it. I can dress bohemian, I can go casual, it just depends. I pretty much love it all; I love all kinds of fashion all the way around. I can dress to whatever’s in my environment. That’s probably what my biggest challenge is when owning a store, because there are so many different directions that I’m drawn to, and it’s hard to stick with just one. I have to shop for the customer, and their styles, but you’re also going to have some kind of love for it. And I don’t know of any ladies retailer that shops for their store and doesn’t shop for them a little, as well. 

Can you tell me a little about the history of this boutique? What made you decide to start your own business?

I started out in corporate America, working at UPS doing their hiring while loading boxes. I went into management in HR, and then I traveled. I traveled the whole United States, mainly the northeastern region for the UPS stores. That’s where I got a lot of my business background, helping to build out their locations. From there, I ended up resigning when I had my daughter because I didn’t want to travel anymore. After that I went to Kennametal, where I worked in the marketing department for about a year. At one point they laid off about 2,500 people and I was one of them. But they offered for me to go back to school, and since I’d already gotten my undergrad at Seton Hill, I decided to get my MBA there. And while I was there, they incorporated entrepreneurship as a class in the MBA program. Low and behold, Liz Marshall who is a great professor, helped me open my mind, which I had no idea that I wanted to open a ladies boutique. So before I even finished the program, I left. And I opened up a store.

So I still have some credits up there that I need to finish up. So I opened up my ladies boutique, and almost three years to the day, here we are.

Do you have a quote or a store motto?

Our tagline is always “A Ladies Boutique with a Heart.” because we do wear our hearts on our sleeves.  It’s been a long road with a lot of challenges, not just here professionally but personally. Our family has gone through a lot of losses. But one thing that we’re known for is that we are honest. We’re not here just to make a dollar; we’re here to build relationships. And truly help, in anyway, the ladies that come in here to feel ten times better than they did when they came in.

Aw Else Boutique is located at 124 South Pennsylvania Avenue, Greensburg, PA 15601. Stop by for purses, jewelry, accessories, and home decor products like candles and reed diffusers.