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Ready to Hit the Road, Here’s How to Pack
By Bernadette Ulsamer

Spring has sprung, cabin fevers have broken, and you may be feeling the itch of wanderlust. Spring is a great time of year for weekend getaways and mini-vacations before the rates go up with the summer crowds. I’m a firm believer in taking your personal style with you on the road, but that can be a challenge when it comes to packing, so here are a few tips on packing smart and staying stylish.
  First and foremost, make a list of each and every item you’ll need/want to take on your journey. Then start your packing process a few days before departure. Starting a few days ahead of time will allow you an opportunity to edit your original list. When making the list consider all of the activities and events occurring during your trip and plan out what you’ll wear for each. Your list should outline the components of each of your looks. I always like to start with a color story or theme, which can be as simple as black and white, or something more creative like nautical retro, or safari chic. The theme will help you focus on your outfit choices and save you from over-packing. Ideally, if you lay everything out on your bed before putting things in the suitcase, it should all look like a “capsule collection” in that the pieces coordinate with each other and can be mixed and matched for multiple looks. Whatever theme you come up with, make sure the pieces you pack are also functional to the type of trip you’re taking.
  Once you have your clothes figured out, you can sort out toiletries, which should be sample-size. You can buy the travel version of your products or little travel-size plastic containers to transition your creams, lotion, and potions into so you don’t have to cram that full-size moisturizer into your bag. I also like to tuck in a sample-size pack of detergent with my toiletries. I use it to launder the little things like socks and underwear while on the road.
  Once your list is complete and your suitcase dragged out from behind the vacuum, it’s time to roll, not fold. Tightly rolled clothes take up less space than folded ones. Plus, they're less prone to getting deep wrinkles from fold creases. Even with rolling, wrinkles can occur, so check the material of your garments and try to pack wrinkle-free items. If you must bring an item prone to wrinkles, like that dress you spent too much money on to show off at a high school friend’s wedding, check with your accommodations to see if they provide an iron and a board. Or, you can just steam the garment once you arrive with a hot shower running.
  If you’ll be flying, check your airline’s baggage policy and pack with that in mind. There are those rare creatures that can pack for a whole trip in just a carryon. I am not one of them. I ALWAYS have to check a bag for flying trips, so I use a handheld digital luggage scale to get an exact ounce-for-ounce count on my bag. You could also use a regular scale to weigh your packed suitcase for a rough idea. If the bag is overweight, you’ll definitely want to discard some items, or consider checking a second suitcase, or what can be packed to a carryon. Your carryon should be durable, deeply pocketed, easily stuffed into the overhead bins (or beneath the seat in front of you), and easy to carry. If you’re carryon does not meet these criteria, it’s time to find a brand new bag.
  Regardless of whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile, the outfit you wear en route should be comfortable, functional, involve layers, and be easy to get in and out of. No one wants to wrangle with their skinny jeans in a bus bathroom. Layers may seem like a bad idea during the warmer months, but they allow you to bring more clothing with you while saving space and weight for your suitcase. I prefer at least two layers when getting to and from my destination. Having a lot of skin exposed when I travel makes me feel a bit vulnerable, so that button-down shirt over my tank top and a scarf to wrap up in provide a bit of protection and security.
  Scarves are especially good pieces to have on hand while traveling, even for summer. Lightweight scarves can act like a statement accessory and serve as extra coverage for when the AC is blasting, or as a head covering during a sudden rainstorm.
  When it comes to footwear, things can get tricky. Flip flops are a no-go if you’ll be in an urban setting. Sure it’s fine to walk around your own town in flip flops and have dirty feet at end of the day, because that’s local dirt. Philadelphia, New York, Chicago, Atlanta, New Jersey you don’t know what kind of crazy germs are mixed up in their sidewalk dust and it’s best not to find out, so closed-toed shoes only for walking city streets. For country-outdoorsy trips, do yourself a favor and pack the boots. They may take up a lot of room and add bulk to your luggage, but when you’re one hour into your hike, you’ll be glad for them. As for heels, leave the stilettoes at home. Not that you can’t rock heels on a vacation, but in terms of walkability, go for wedge options. Or any heel with a thicker, squarer base.  
  Lastly, regardless of how you’re getting there or where you’re going, pack at least two, if not three, extra sets of undergarments, including socks. You never know what could happen, you may get delayed getting home, or could decide to extend your trip for some unforetold adventure.
  Safe travels!


Mallards Make Music
By Jeffrey Allen Federowicz

"Lasagna. Lots of different layers. Lots of different tastes. Separately, not that special... but together it makes up one damn good dish!"
  Zac Baggett isn't a master chef, he's not even a short-order cook, however, when he describes the blueprint for the above-mentioned dish, he makes the music sound mighty tasty. Using lasagna as a metaphor to describe the band's high-energy, upbeat musical style of the recently formed jam-band, The Mallards.
  "We have a very smooth sound. A large collective genre of music from blues to classic rock to modern rock to jam-band." Comprised of skilled and innovated players. The Mallards ever-changing sound guarantees that each gig will be fresh and interesting.  
  "The unique differences in our music backgrounds create a unique sound and style that comes out when we get together and perform," he said. "Music to me expresses what words cannot. It's a passion and I'm blessed to be able to play and perform as much as I do."  In addition to Baggett, The Mallards features the talents of Isaiah Britton on vocals and guitar, spot-on drummer Chris Kohler and the groove infused sounds of bassist Nick Laylon.
  Having known each other from the scene, they each thought of joining forces and thought they had
something good together. Their thoughts were correct and each of their gigs around the area showcases a strong musical bond and a depth of diversity since each band member has performed with several other well-known bands including Via Drivthru, Bury Lexington, Zac & Isaiah and Too Bad Eugene.
  Each one of those acts had their own unique sound and style of performing, and it’s those past experiences that each band member brings to the stage.
  The Mallards currently perform a wide mix of covers from such classic performers like The Eagles, Grateful Dead, Eric Clapton, Dr. Hook, Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash and Warren Zevon, however, the band plans on creating and performing their own original music. Although their play list is discombobulated, featuring classic rock, country, Americana and one style that is hard to describe, their musical mash shouldn't work, but it does. In fact, it works very well.
  "We hope someone that comes to our shows they enjoy each song. That they appreciate what we put in to each and every song. We love what we do. We love our fans and want them to have the best time possible. 'Where do these guys play next?' is what we want them thinking on the way home."
  Fans of The Mallards and those interested in hearing some straight-up, classic rock should attend the band's next gig at The Mill in Montoursville on April 17 from 8:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
  "Someone should come see us if they enjoy a large variety of music. If they'd like to have a good time, dance and sing. We are a high energy band that interacts with our crowd," Baggett said. "We love playing music and that's why our fans enjoy themselves at our shows."


The Bookworm Sez
By Terri Schlichenmeyer

The Undertaker’s Wife” by Dee Oliver with Jodie Berndt
c.2015, Zondervan
$15.99 / higher in Canada
224 pages

It’s supposed to go like this:
  You are born, you grow up, graduate from high school, then college. You fall in love, get married, have two-point-five children and a mortgage with a two-car garage, you grow old, then you die. It’s supposed to be like that.
  But, as they say, if you want to see God laugh, make plans – and in the new book “The Undertaker’s Wife” by Dee Oliver with Jodie Berndt, He surely saw plenty that was funny.
  Dee Oliver was destined to marry a wealthy doctor.
  That’s what she thought, growing up in Virginia Beach. Doctors had money, and who doesn’t appreciate money? Plus, they were good with that in-sickness-and-in-health stuff, and Oliver was not. A doctor, she decided, would be a perfect husband.
  And that was the plan – until Oliver met Johnnie.
  He was an older (35-year-old) man, handsome and charming. He was also a funeral director and on their first date, he was on-call – which meant that before they reached their destination, they had to retrieve a corpse which accompanied them on their evening.
  Still, Oliver fell in love and, though their early romance was on-again-off-again, she married Johnnie, birthed three children, and they lived happily ever after.
  Almost.
  When Johnnie suddenly had a stroke and died, Oliver wasn’t sure what to do. She’d only ever been an undertaker’s wife and a mother, so she prayed about her dilemma – and then she found an application for mortuary school in a pile of bills on Johnnie’s desk. God and Johnnie, she figured, were sending a message. She returned to school, got good grades, and eagerly anticipated her internship.
  And that, she thought, would naturally be done at Johnnie’s family’s funeral home. Why not? She loved the staff, understood procedures, and knew the clientele – but Johnnie’s brother, the business’s new CEO, inexplicably sent Oliver packing. None of his nearest competitors would hire her, either.
  And so, with temporary license in hand and three daughters to feed, Oliver became “a widowed [Southern] white socialite working in an all-black funeral home in a most definitely all-black neighborhood…”
  Oh, how I loved this book. And oh, how I hated it.
  First of all, you can throw out every stereotype you’ve ever heard about funeral homes: there’s nothing at all morbid or stuffy inside “The Undertaker’s Wife.”    
  Author Dee Oliver (with Jodie Berndt) made me laugh again and again, in fact, and I was completely captivated by her amazement at the turns her neatly-planned life took. There’s so much charm here, so much gratitude, and a much-needed change of heart and race-based attitude inside an unusual story.
  And yet, there’s the irritation. Oliver leaves readers hanging off the steepest of cliffs and with no apologies, which almost made me regret this book – almost, but not enough to say it’s not worth reading, because it definitely is.
  So look for it and hold the growls. Instead, do what I’m doing: wait for the sequel while you laugh with “The Undertaker’s Wife.”  Just maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be.


CAPPA Annual Fundraiser Will Feature An Evening With the Stylistics and Eddie Holman
By Lou Hunsinger Jr.

If you want to “Feel Brand New’ and have a “Betcha, Golly Wow,” time, at the same time support the good work of CAPPA, (Community Alliance for Progressive Positive Action) and attend a great concert, then you want to attend “An Evening With the Stylistics and Eddie Holman,” when they appear at the Community Arts Center in downtown Williamsport on Wednesday, April 29 at 8 p.m.
  The Stylistics, featuring Russell Thompkins, Jr., with his impeccable and distinctive falsetto voice, led the group to international fame and recognition in the early and mid-1970s, recording such hits as: “Betcha By Golly Wow”, “You Make Me Feel Brand New”, “You Are Everything”, “Stop, Look, Listen”, “Break Up to Make Up”, “Stone In Love With You”, and many more.
  Eddie Holman’s dream was realized when the hit “This Can’t Be True” charted in 1965.  This turned out to be the first of many, including his chart topper “Hey There Lonely Girl” in 1969 and “Cathy Called” in 1970.  Eddie has proven to be one on the most famous falsetto voices ever heard and continues to travel the world performing.
  Loni Gamble, who heads the CAPPA program, once played as a keyboardist for “The Stylistics.”
  This special event celebrates CAPPA’s important after-school and summer enrichment programs for Williamsport elementary school children. CAPPA helps children in grades K-6 maintain or improve their reading proficiency and math literacy.  Using 21st century technology, teachers and tutors diagnosis problems, create an individualized plan, check for progress on a weekly basis and provide homework guidance. CAPPA’s teachers also mentor students on crucial topics such as self-worth, positive decision-making, bullying, diversity and juvenile delinquency.  CAPPA is dedicated to keeping our community’s children safe, academically engaged, committed to learning and on the path to productive citizenship.
CAPPA’s academic enrichment programs are funded through grants and donations.  CAPPA is deeply grateful to the community for their past support and hopes that current partnerships will continue in the future. 
  The program is held at the CAPPA Neighborhood Network Technology Center, 734 West Fourth Street second floor rear. The program is located in the central part of the city and is close proximity to public transportation, many school bus stops and within walking distance for many of the students that attend the program.
  Tickets are available through the Community Arts Center box office   (570) 326-2424 or Online at http://www.caclive.com/event/stylistics/
  Showtime is 8:00 p.m. and the doors open 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $35 and, $25.


Coffee Filter Flower Craft

This is a great St. Patrick’s Day craft, or even aCoffee filter coloring is a lot of fun to do.  I find it relaxing to sit and watch the colors flow together to make unique patterns.
  You can pick any colors you want to make your flower.
Materials:
• coffee filter
• washable markers (we used crayola brand)
• squirt bottle or small glass of water.
• green pipecleaner (brown or black would be ok too, but green is best)
Note:  You can complete this project using food coloring instead of washable markers.  However!  I find this option to be very messy so would not do it with young children (if they get food coloring on their clothing you won't be able to get it out).  I would only use this option with children over age 10 and even then would want a good amount of supervision and old clothes to be worn.
Instructions:
  Flatten out a coffee filter on a plate.
  Scribble the filter with washable markers.  We drew circles around with the markers, but you can just scribble blocks of color instead if you prefer (I try to just let the kids do what they like...  Younger children will be a bit more random and that's ok)
  Use a squirt bottle to spray the coffee filter 2 or 3 times.
  I like to squirt right in the center of the filter and then sit and watch the water wick the colors over the filter (this takes 4 or 5 minutes).
  Young children will tend to over wet the filter...  The project still works, but it won't turn out quite as pretty (the colors tend to blend too much if you soak the filter). To help prevent this, encourage them to squirt it just once in the middle and watch for a bit for so they can see the process unfold.  You can always add more water later if it doesn't get wet all the way to the edge after 5 minutes or so.
  Let dry (this takes about 1/2 an hour, but will take longer if the filter has been soaked by an over-zealous crafter!)
  Cut 2 or 3 inches off your pipecleaner and set this short piece aside.
  Poke the end of the pipecleaner through the center of the coffee filter (it does not have to be exactly the center).
  Roll about an inch of the pipecleaner end into a tight ball so the coffee filter won't fall off the pipecleaner
  Scrunch the coffee filter around the end of the pipecleaner.
  Wrap the short piece of pipecleaner you cut off earlier around the coffee filter/pipecleaner to hold them together.


 
 
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