The WC Press Health & Wellness Issue - April 2014

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COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd Debbie DeSantis Brad Lierman Jennifer Ozgur DJ Romeo Published By... Mathers Productions 13 South Church Street West Chester, PA 19382 610-344-3463 The WC Press is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 businesses. For a free digital subscription, visit For more information about specific distribution locations, visit



Our no-nonsense table of contents


WC BY THE NUMBERS What our readers are saying about their health


OWNERS OF THE MONTH Michael and Carol Thiel of Peter’s Salon & European Spa


GOING OFF THE GRAIN A guide to gluten-free eating in West Chester


PAYING DIVIDENDS Wellness practices with suprising benefits


THE LOOK Nich Boutique keeps you ahead of the fashion curve


THE WC FITNESS CRAWL One writer destroys himself in the name of fitness


THE MAKEOVER The trainers at Mitch’s Gym are transforming lives


LABOR OF LOVE Exploring new additions to the Chester County Hospital


LOCAL TALENT Kim and Michael Wolff of Optimal Massage


BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Mike O’Donnell of The Social Lounge







Everything that goes into my mouth makes me fat—everything that comes out embarrasses me.

For the most part, I’ve avoided having a nickname. Even in college, when I lived with Mush, The Animal, Hairball and Melon, people stuck to my given name. I’d guess the main reason I never ended up with a nickname is because my last name was simple enough—two syllables long and easy to pronounce. Of course, when Marshall Mathers, aka Eminem, was at the height of his fame my freshman year of high school, a few people called me Marshall. I also sometimes got called “The Beav,” but neither name was ever more than a passing joke (and an indicator of a massive generational divide). However, for a few years early in my life, at right around the time I became capable of forming lasting memories, I did have a nickname: Moose. Now, that nickname doesn’t make sense to anyone who’s met me after about age 12, but it used to fit like a glove. When I started playing football, I was an offensive guard. I came out of the womb at 9lbs 8oz, and hit 100lbs in the fourth grade. Nobody ever accused me of being a picky eater. The savior of my teenage years was competitive sports. Through middle school I played baseball, football and wrestled. In high school my focus shifted to rugby, and I was so intense about training that it was a year-round sport for me. That all ended in college. Forget the freshman 15—I packed on 30. Luckily for me, the money I saved in high school dried up a few months into my sophomore year and never replenished itself. I learned to subsist on as few calories as possible; every penny not spent on food could be spent on beer. The men on my mom’s side of the family are all my height and hover around 250lbs. Having found consistent employment since my graduation in 2009, I again started spending enough money on food to ensure I’d soon be the size of my uncles. By January 2013, all those beers and burgers pushed me to a record 206lbs. I think it was the realization that “hip,” fitted jeans left me with a muffin top that pushed me to make a change. I restricted myself to 9100 calories a week, 1300 a day. I had two eggs for breakfast, an apple for lunch and a piece of grilled chicken with vegetables for dinner. I signed up for an EZ Fit membership at Mitch’s Gym, which meant I had a customized workout plan whenever I came in. I did six sessions with personal trainer Sarah Price, who absolutely kicked my ass. I started running. I cut carbs from my diet. For the most part I stopped drinking … or at least stopped drinking heavily. Today I’m 176lbs, and the jeans I bubbled out of a year ago are all too big. If we’d published this issue a year ago, I’d have had no connection to it. At that time, I’d always eaten whatever I wanted and considered exercise an unpleasant experience. The reason you’re seeing this issue, and the reason I’m so passionate about my health now, is that a strong focus on diet and exercise has left me far happier than any amount of overindulgence ever did... that, and because I never again want to be Moose Mathers.



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This month Karen Leary won a $20 gift card to Doc Magrogan’s just for completing our survey. To make sure you don’t miss out on next month’s survey or your chance to win, visit



Happy Easter from PetCare Group

May the Easter Bunny look kindly upon you

(and leave some milkbones in your basket)







Going to the


Certified dog trainer and behaviour specialist Debbie DeSantis shares some helpful hints

Debbie DeSantis, CPDT-KA, is a certified dog trainer and behavior specialist as well as the owner of Going to the Dogs Obedience. She’s trained nationally-ranked obedience, rally, agility and therapy dogs. The “come” command isn’t just convenient—it could save your dog’s life. And yet, we all know of dogs who run in the opposite direction when called—often with disastrous results. Training helps strengthen the bond with our dogs, and “come” is no exception. There are some important rules to remember about the command: Never call your dog to you for anything negative, or he’ll remember and won’t come next time. If you need to correct him, go to him and correct him and redirect him to an acceptable activity. Also, keep training sessions short (five to 15 minutes, performing various commands) and end on a positive note. Try to do two or three training sessions a day. Begin lessons without distractions, adding distractions as your dog becomes more reliable. Train in different areas, so that your dog will obey in all locations. The goal is for him to come happily. Training should also be done on a leash until the dog is reliable. You need control and to follow through on a command — not play a game of chase. Start with your dog on about a six-foot leash and let him sniff around. This is more like real life than giving the command from a sit-stay transition. Once he’s good on a six-foot leash, go to a longer line, such as a 15-foot one. Use a matter-of-fact (not harsh) “command voice” and say your dog’s name, then “come” (“Spot, come”). When the dog hears his name, he should turn around and look at you to hear the command. Don’t repeat commands and be consistent — the command is “come,” not “come here” or any other phrase. You can use a small, tasty treat as a lure to show him after giving the command to make him want to come. Then, give him a number of treats in a row immediately when he reaches you, and always happily praise him, “Good boy! Yes! Good come!” You can also pet him if he finds that rewarding. Don’t yank him in. Give treats more randomly when he reliably comes fast and close, but don’t totally phase treats out or rush the process. It has to be more of a party coming to you than all of the surrounding distractions. You can also move sideways or backwards a couple of steps immediately after you say his name followed by “come” to make him want to come to you, or to move faster. The “find me” game is another fun exercise. Hide, then enthusiastically and repeatedly call your dog’s name. Praise and reward him when he reaches you. As long as your dog isn’t going to jump and knock you down, another fun game is to run in the other direction when he’s loose in a fenced yard or inside and happily say his name and “Wheeeee.” Profusely praise and reward him when he reaches you. Best of all, while they’re fun games for you and your dog, when it comes down to it you’re teaching your dog the exact skills that could save him in an emergency.



Meet Our Stylists... Tina has 32 years experience as a stylist and is currently a manager, artistic director and educator. She specializes in all color services, formal hair styling as well as cutting. She’s been featured on ABC’s “20/20” for being a top styling competitor and won numerous competitions worldwide and has worked for the National Cosmetology Association as an educator and judge int he world’s most prestigous competitions.

Monday to Friday: 9am-5:30pm | Saturday: 8am-2pm Monday 12/23: 9am-5:30pm | Tuesday 12/24: 8am-2pm Closed 12/25 and 12/26 610.696.9683 | 1009 West Chester Pike

Roberta has been a part of our salon team for 42 years! She is currently a manager, artistic director and educator at Peters. She has seen the industry change over the years in copious ways, and continues her education to stay up on new trends. She loves all aspects of styling, coloring, cutting, highlights and chemical texturizing. Roberta specializes in corrective coloring and multi-dimensional coloring. Tina and Roberta would love the opportunity to meet new clients and share their talents!

New clients who receive any hair coloring service with Roberta or Tina also receive a complimentary cut!

1009 West Chester Pike West Chester, PA 19382 610.436.6464 16


Classes at... Peter’s Salon & European Spa 1009 West Chester Pike Bring this ad to your first class and it’s FREE 610-436-6464

CarolThiel.Zumba.Com Contact Carol for Current Hours

Owner(s) of the



Michael and Carol Thiel bring a family feel to Peter’s Salon & European Spa How long have you been in business? MICHAEL: This business started with my parents in 1962. The original location was on Five Points Road, and it moved to our current location in 1972. Carol and I took over as owners in 2007, about six years ago. Were you new to the industry? MICHAEL: No. I have been working here since high school. In fact, this was school for me. I hung around the shop and learned everything about salons and spas through hands-on experience. I also enrolled in an apprenticeship program because I knew from a very young age that I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my parents. CAROL: I had gone to cosmetology school, and I came into Peter’s to apply for a

job. That’s when I met Michael. His dad had a rule that Michael could not date any employees, but we spent a lot of time together as co-workers and became very fond of one another. With some convincing from Michael’s three sisters and his mother, his dad was able to overlook the rule for me. So this is a family business? MICHAEL: Absolutely. My sisters work here, my sisters’ kids work here, and one of our five sons has worked here. And, right next door, we have my grandfather’s barber shop, which is much more traditional — he actually spent time in Yugoslavia, then Germany, and finally, came to the United States to start his business. Interesting, because your salon does incorporate European methods, right? CAROL: What we draw from European traditions is that there is no fluff involved. In other words, everything has a purpose — we take a clinical approach to what we do and focus on the health of the client. MICHAEL: Our main focus is creating a clean, healthy environment. We stopped using acrylic nails because the smell alone is too harsh for the environment that we want to create. We had a tanning bed, but my mother stepped in and said “no UV rays”, so now we offer a very involved spray tan: we offer a sea salt shower which leaves your skin

feeling very smooth and clean, and sets it up perfectly to absorb a tanning cream, applied by our estheticians, that gives you a very smooth and consistent coloring. What is your clientele like? CAROL: We really run the gamut with both men and women, young and old. We have clients who are in their nineties that have been coming to us since day one and we have young high school girls that come in and want pink and blue hair. MICHAEL: The majority of our clients that come in consistently for a full style are women from 35-55. However, we offer a wide variety of services, so it really attracts both genders and all ages. What are your plans for the future? CAROL: We are always looking to expand our styling team as well as to encourage our current staff to grow. We hold seminars for our staff to attend and learn about new products, colors, techniques, or really anything innovative in the world of salons and spas. MICHAEL: I think we really do a great job of discovering new ways to improve the health of people’s minds, bodies and souls, and we’re constantly offering new services for our clients. We treat everyone around us as family, including our clients and that’s what we hope to provide: a welcoming environment with top-of-the-line care.





Story: Mary Bigham and Amy Strauss of WC Dish Photos: Luke O’Brien The popularity of gluten-free eating has gone from clinical to trendy in just a few years. With local restaurants debuting new wheat-free menus and more diners removing the popularized protein from their diets, we decided to break down the grain and discover what it’s really like to hit West Chester’s food scene while being gluten intolerant.

What is gluten? Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye and barley that gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise, keep its shape and giving it a chewy texture. It’s also in most of the foods that the general population consumes daily. An estimated 330 people in the borough of West Chester suffer from celiac disease, or symptoms of gluten intolerance.

Gluten is the protein found in wheat, rye and barley that gives elasticity to dough, helping it rise, keep its shape and giving it a chewy texture.

gluten-free cookies from Cakes & Candies by Maryellen





What is celiac disease and gluten intolerance? Celiac disease an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the intestines whenever gluten is consumed. Kim Knipe, RD LDN, Coordinator of Community Nutrition and Outreach at Penn Medicine, Chester County Hospital, told us more about this disease to help decode the lifestyle and navigate the local dining landscape.

Juicing might be the surest way to avoid gluten, and the trend has really taken off over the past year. We talked with Kim Knipe, Coordinator of Community Nutrition and Outreach at Penn Medicine, Chester County Hospital, who gave us the skinny on this health craze.

Gluten-free lentil loaf from Chefanti Pros: Increased intake of natural, healthy foods help to purge toxins and refresh our systems. Juicing and/or eating lots of fruits and veggies can help you stay healthy and lose weight. Cons: When fruits and vegetables are juiced, the fiber is removed; fiber is important for maintaining a healthy digestive system and keeping you full after a meal. Juices may contain more sugar than you realize and those extra calories can add up.

While gluten is harmful to those with celiac disease or other gluten intolerances, it is perfectly safe for the rest of the population.

“For those diagnosed with celiac disease it is imperative that they live a gluten-free life to prevent damage to their small intestines as well as prevent malabsorption of nutrients, severe weight loss, and risk for more serious diseases. While gluten is harmful to those with celiac disease or other gluten intolerances it is perfectly safe for the rest of the population,” Knipe says.

Gluten-free eating is NOT a trend. Some people may choose to live a gluten-free lifestyle but Knipe weighs in on this. “There is no evidence to support a healthy adult without a gluten intolerance or diagnosis of celiac disease to remove gluten from their diets. Removing gluten often removes many of the whole grains in a person’s diet and 

Juiced veggie benefits: Celery Juice Low calorie, fat free, cholesterol free and low in sodium. Lots of vitamin A and C. Can also be calming and aids in digestion. Beet Juice Fat free, cholesterol free and low in sodium. Great source of vitamin C, iron, magnesium and folate. The vibrant color comes from a pigment called betalain, an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties and aids in detoxification. A heads-up, though: beet juice may cause both your stool and urine to turn red! Carrots Low calorie, fat free, cholesterol free and low in sodium. Excellent source of vitamin A and C. Kale Low calorie, fat free, cholesterol free and low sodium. Full of vitamin C and A, calcium and potassium. Kale, as with broccoli and other brassicas, contains sulforaphane, a chemical with potent anti-cancer properties. Where to get your fix? Baco Taco, West Chester’s juice and taco bar, offers up Just Beet It, a tasty concoction of beet, celery and apple juice with ginger and lemon. Or, try their Mean Greens, which is a blend of kale, apple, cucumber and celery juices with ginger and lime; both are $5. Try their Naked Carrot or their namesake Baco, which mixes their juiced carrot with fresh orange juice and ginger; both are $4.

Salmon from Landmark Americana’s extensive GF menu

Juice Boost, new to West Chester, is a home-delivery and pick-up juice business offering a variety of options including Lots O Energy, a recipe of red apple, beets, red pepper and carrot for $5.50. You can mix and match your juices, too, to find the right combination for you. Email them for samples and services at



All Baking Done on Premises 15 N Church St  610-344-9674



Petit fours from Cakes & Candies by Maryellen

Cheese pizza at Benny’s Pizzeria

Almond macaroons from Yori’s Church Street Bakery

may lower the amount of fiber consumed on a daily basis. It is, however, a good idea to reduce the amount of processed flours and snacks consumed regularly and eat more whole grains,” she says. “If you do not have a gluten allergy, be thankful and look for other ways to live a healthy lifestyle.” Knipe also reinforces that you should talk with your doctor before removing gluten from your diet. “A person may consider cutting gluten out of their diet if they have spoken to a doctor or dietician and have been diagnosed with celiac disease, gluten intolerance or other wheat, rye or barley allergies.”

A gluten-free life. Living gluten-free is a lifelong commitment that requires a lot of time, money and attention to detail. Gluten is found in products beyond breads, pastas and other wheat items and requires that those that are afflicted do research before visiting a restaurant, ask questions and even inquire at home or an event to prevent the risk of consuming gluten. Label-reading becomes a crucial action.

Removing gluten often removes many of the whole grains in a person’s diet and may lower the amount of fiber consumed on a daily basis.

Gluten-free dining guide: In West Chester, gluten-free eaters are discovering that they no longer have to miss a meal or feel confined to the four corners of their kitchens. Local restaurants are launching g-free options faster than ever before, with our scene experiencing a boom of acceptable menus that cater to the dietary restraint. America’s Pie is the local king of gluten-free sandwiches and pizzas. From sandwiches constructed on grilled gluten-free breads, jam-packed with proteins like gluten-free chicken fingers and prosciutto, to crafting inventive pizzas with hand-tossed, gluten-free crusts, this patriotic grub-hub is a great go-to. America’s Pie isn’t alone, either. Lots of local kitchens are following suit and slinging gluten-free crusts, including Alfredo’s Italian BYO, Brothers Pizza & Pasta, and Four Dogs Tavern. Other Italian restaurants, like i-Pasta and Avalon offer house-made gluten-free pasta alternatives. At Landmark Americana, an extensive GF menu is available—just ask! Soups, salads, finger foods (chicken fingers breaded with rice flour!), sandwiches (served on GF rolls), and more, are available.

At downtown’s grab-and-go hub, Chefanti, chef Anne Moriarta is mindful of food sensitivities when creating her weekly menus, specifically gluten-free options. According to her sister and co-owner Jennifer Moriarta, they have regular customers who absolutely require gluten-free meals—something Anne takes very seriously. “I usually have one or two options available on each menu, and if there needs to be a substitution of an ingredient I can do it as long as I have the product, so calling ahead is appreciated,” Anne explained. “Also, I have gluten-free pasta that is easily substituted for regular pasta.”

Living with celiac disease: Membership Director at the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce, Dave Fairman, suffers from celiac disease. “It’s getting easier and we have so many great restaurants in town, many restaurateurs are starting to accommodate.” A few of his favorite spots in the borough that accommodate his diet are Benny’s Pizza, Buddy’s Burgers, Smoked TexMex, and Penn’s Table. “Penn’s Table always does a great job,” Dave says, his favorite is “anything for breakfast (omelets), no toast.” The challenge of living with celiac disease is getting easier for him with so many downtown restaurants offering tasty riskfree options. His current mission is about beer: “I wish there were more and/or better beer options. I’m a beer guy. Side Bar & Restaurant and Iron Hill & Restaurant have some gluten-free options, but I’m still looking for a good beer.”

Gluten-free sugar rush: Maryellen Bowers of Cakes and Candies by Maryellen has seen an influx in gluten-free requests, especially with brides. “I’m finding that the orders are from clients who have celiac disease or they have family and friends that cannot tolerate gluten,” she says. Maryellen accommodates almost any request for customers with dietary restrictions but she has an arsenal of options to accommodate those that cannot have gluten, including cookies, brownies, whoopie pies, chocolate flourless ganache tortes, chocolate-covered strawberries, muffins, truffles and cheesecakes. “Customers LOVE our gluten-free cake pops, cupcakes and cakes and the most popular flavors right now are pink champagne cake and orange creamsicle.” She uses high-quality ingredients to create a pleasing consistency and body. “It’s about finding the right products to give the correct moisture.” She has admitted to lacking a sweet tooth but when she does crave a treat, she prefers the texture of gluten-free desserts. “If am going to grab a cupcake, I’ll opt for a gluten-free one before regular ones.”.





Tell Me something


Kate Chadwick takes a moment to spotlight a local citizen for doing something swell

Who he is: Eric Tobin What he does: East Goshen resident Jeff Tobin is the Director of Operations and Events for the Philadelphia Phillies. Why we’re writing about him: Because Eric, in conjunction with Philadelphia City Councilman Dennis O’Brian and Dr. Wendy Ross of Autism Inclusion Resources (AIR), has been working behind the scenes to make Philadelphia Phillies games more viable, accessible and enjoyable for those affected by autism, and for the people who love them. If you know more than a few people, it’s likely you know or love someone affected by autism. According to the current statistics on the website, 1 in every 88 children is affected by this condition, and that rises to 1 in 54 for boys. After being approached by O’Brian and Rossi at the end of the 2012 season, Eric gladly swung into action in 2013, implementing training sessions for both the regular Phillies game day staff members and the contracted staff of Aramark, the food services provider at the ballpark. (And since we’re talking about a couple thousand people here in total, that is no small undertaking.) Not only were classes provided to give informational instruction to employees on situations they might encounter during a game, actual practice game sessions were held for about 20 autism-affected families to attend at the stadium, during which they were the only attendees. Tobin speaks with pride about the enthusiasm with which the Phillies embraced the challenge. “They were totally on board,” he said. “A lot of them know someone affected by autism, so they were great about it. And we all feel that if we can provide an extra level of customer service – of any kind - we want to do it.” What he likes about West Chester: “I love the small-town feel of it, and how quaint all the shops are,” he told us. “I’m a big fan of breakfast at Market Street Grill, but quite frankly, there are way too many great restaurants in West Chester to mention.” Anything else? “The Christmas Parade – it really brings home that small town charm.” What we like about him: How modest and self-effacing he is when discussing his involvement with the Phillies. “It’s humbling, really, to be even a small part of this,” he told us. “The families who attended the practice sessions could not have been more appreciative, and that makes you feel good. It’s a win-win.” Moral of the story: You don’t have to be personally affected by a situation to do something about it. “Going to a baseball game is something the average person just takes for granted,” Eric says. “I never realized until I was approached about this just how prevalent autism is, and it breaks your heart that people might not be able to do something that you don’t think twice about doing. When you hear that there’s a way you can do something to make life better for others, you do it.”

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After 12 successful years in Havertown, we decided to make the move to West Chester and have been creating beautiful styles and colors for the past two years. We are a small, comfortable, fun salon with a big punch. We love what we do and love sharing our creativity with our clients. We specialize in Cuts, Multi-tonal Color and Brazilian Keratin Treatments. We also use Ammoniafree Color. We have convenient online booking and a super friendly staff. Come seem what the buzz is all about!

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YOUR BACK HURTS, SO YOU HOBBLE IN TO SEE THE CHIROPRACTOR, RIGHT? Want to jettison a few extra pounds? Buy some diet products from the nutritionist. Less than pleased with the shape of your rear end? Get deep into some warrior poses in yoga class. And when all of that leaves you feeling spent, you can drape yourself across the massage table and let someone knead away your worries. But having a shapely bum or a relaxing evening is only the beginning of what these local yoga, chiropractic, nutrition, and massage businesses offer. We delved a little deeper into these practices, so read on to discover unexpected advantages to your favorite wellness practices. ďƒœ





As a trained medical illustrator, Susan Sluk brings Ear infections. Allergies. Insomnia. What do they all an unusual perspective to her storefront yoga studio, have in common? Each affliction responds remarkably well Eat. Drink. Om, on Gay Street. She directs clients from all to chiropractic adjustments. “Our goal is to reduce nervous walks of life in their practice of yoga, often pouring over 3D renderings of the body to better understand its intricacies. Her personalized approach allows her to craft practices for everyone, including those with myriad disabilities. In fact, Susan embraces that challenge right alongside her clients. “I had a woman with one leg who didn’t think she could do yoga. So I tied up my leg, and Anna and I did one-legged yoga together. The other day I did arm-less yoga,” says Sluk. Craig Rittase, in a wheelchair with no feeling from the waist down, worked with Susan to build his core strength and to keep his other muscles from atrophying. “The other day, he was actually able to use the aerial hammocks (bands of special fabric suspended from the ceiling) to pull himself into a standing position.”

“I HAD A WOMAN WITH ONE LEG WHO DIDN’T THINK SHE COULD DO YOGA. SO I TIED UP MY LEG, AND ANNA AND I DID ONE-LEGGED YOGA TOGETHER. THE OTHER DAY I DID ARMLESS YOGA.” The benefits of Susan’s approach extend beyond the physical realm. James, a client who showed up for class in an alcohol-monitoring ankle bracelet, wanted to free himself—quite literally—from the bonds of his addiction. Fueled by obsessive-compulsive disorder, he switched his addiction to yoga instead, “because it was a positive way of reinforcing his obsessive compulsive behavior. With attention to breath, James was able to redirect his focus. He got to the point where he could regain employment.” Everyone, able-bodied or not, is welcome in Susan’s studio. “They call me ‘womb to tomb.’ I’ve started teaching kids at three months old. Claire was my oldest client, at 101, using supplemental oxygen. Yoga is for everyone. And that’s what I want to bring to this community.”

system stress, by normalizing and optimizing spinal function,” explains Jennifer Jester, one half of Jester Family Chiropractic. In other words, getting the spine and its interdependent parts into correct alignment takes the stress off nerves, and allows the nervous system to respond normally. Nervous system dysfunction, in the chiropractic discipline, is considered the cause for numerous afflictions.

“MISALIGNMENT OF THE PELVIS PUTS PRESSURE ON THE MUSCLES AND LIGAMENTS AROUND THE UTERUS. CORRECTING THE ALIGNMENT OF THE PELVIS TAKES THE STRESS OFF THE UTERUS, OFTEN ALLOWING THE BABY TO MOVE INTO PROPER POSITION.” Eighteen-month-old Cole suffered through nine months of chronic ear infections. Terrified of the tube surgery prescribed by the boy’s doctor, his parents decided to give chiropractic a try. “In about three weeks of adjustments, his ears were completely clear. He hasn’t had an ear infection since,” says Jester. Frank, a 75-year-old quadriplegic war veteran, was having trouble sleeping. “We worked on his upper spine. It was the only area of his spine he could move, and it was storing all the stress. We worked on that area and now he is able to sleep better,” says Jester. Chiropractic adjustment can also be used to address breech pregnancies. “Misalignment of the pelvis puts pressure on the muscles and ligaments around the uterus. Correcting the alignment of the pelvis takes the stress off the uterus, often allowing the baby to move into proper position.” The Jesters’ expansive new facility on Strasburg Road helps them deliver cutting-edge treatment to patients without pain as well. “People think that if they don’t have pain, then they don’t have a problem.” Athletes such as Bob, a competitive cyclist, are showing up in droves, looking for every little advantage. “Over the years, they’ve been losing strength, losing balance. We show them that chiropractic care can help them perform better.” 





When Terri Ritchie’s daughter was diagnosed with When a client walks through the door at Optimal MasAsperger syndrome, she didn’t turn to the products sage, owner Michael Wolff starts studying the individual manufactured by the pharmaceutical companies for like a textbook. “The minute we put our hands on a person’s which she’d once worked as a researcher for 15 years. body, we are gathering information. Asking them about the poInstead, she put her daughter on a diet free of eggs, dairy, and wheat gluten, an approach recommended by her employer at the time, a nutrition practice. “Within two weeks my daughter started talking to people,” says Ritchie. “Within three months, her learning disabilities went away. Over time, even her socialization issues disappeared.”

“WITHIN TWO WEEKS MY DAUGHTER STARTED TALKING TO PEOPLE. WITHIN THREE MONTHS, HER LEARNING DISABILITIES WENT AWAY. OVER TIME, EVEN HER SOCIALIZATION ISSUES DISAPPEARED.” “When I saw that, I said, ‘I’m going back to school.’” Terri received her master’s degree in nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and now uses her knowledge of the biochemical functions of the body to nutritionally support her clients’ health concerns at Advent Nutrition. Terri points to the growing repository of medical research that identifies inflammation of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract as the cause of many of the ailments that plague modern life, from pain-related issues such as fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis, to anxiety, concentration, and behavioral disorders. “Traditional Chinese medicine calls the GI tract the ‘second brain.’ In fact, 35-65% of the neurotransmitters in the brain are manufactured in the GI tract.” Lots of clients find their way into Terri’s office complaining of migraine headaches. “It’s an inflammatory condition. Once we find the triggers—many times wheat, corn, eggs, and/ or milk—the symptoms go away. Ninety percent of the time we identify the source within the first 25 days. Sometimes, it takes a long time. But it’s worth it.”

sitions they spend time in. It’s what we do on a daily basis that affects how our bodies break down.” Michael’s wife Kim, also a therapist at Optimal, chimes in, “What sets us apart from other practices is that we don’t give cookie cutter massages. We customize every session to the person on the table.” Michael believes that massage is more than a series of strokes and techniques designed to feel good. Rather, it’s a powerful tool of healing, especially for the repetitive stress injuries from everyday life. “A roofer, for example, hammers away all day, with his wrist and forearm constantly in a tight grip. His rotator cuff cuts off circulation to rest of the arm, and a pain pathway starts.” The results of Michael’s approach are often dramatic. Harold Freeman, 94, is sitting across from me at Optimal. He’s just shown me how well he can get up out of the big, soft sofa—twice. “I couldn’t do that when I first came in here,” he says. In fact, when he went to see Michael at the recommendation of a friend, it took him almost 10 minutes to climb onto the massage table. Harold’s podiatrist had told him he needed surgery to straighten out his arthritic toes, one of his most painful issues. Michael told him, “Give me three visits, and I don’t think you’ll need surgery.” Now, “Harold walks in here and jumps up on the table all by himself.” Not all Optimal’s clients walk back out the door again, though. One of Christine Burnett’s specialties is end-of-life massage. Recently, she used massage on a client who was dying of cancer. “It allowed the client to let go and pass.” Michael adds, “For terminal patients, everyone around them is an emotional wreck. Having someone with them who isn’t emotionally involved can give them a sense of peace without the feeling of being doted on.” No matter the stage of life, Michael’s approach aims to support the fundamental human experience. “The body is like a canvas. There are so many layers of tension and stress. Massage allows us the opportunity to address as many layers as possible.”

“THE BODY IS LIKE A CANVAS. THERE ARE SO MANY LAYERS OF TENSION AND STRESS.” Michael gives Harold Freeman a big, warm hug on his way out. “I’m hooked,” says Harold. “I’m here every other Thursday. I look at massage like eating the right foods. It’s taking care of the body that God gave you.”



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Becca Boyd has a passion for good food


Thomas Edison said, “The doctor of the future will give no medication, but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” In my crowd of friends, it seems like there’s always a discussion about the latest nutrition fads — when you get into your 30s, your diet leads to constant caution. Personally, I’ve adopted the 80/20 rule; most of the time I eat what I should, and some of the time I eat what I want, but the following are recipes you can eat with a clear conscience while enjoying every tasty bite! Peanut Butter and Chocolate Faux-Fudge Makes an 8x8” square, about 20 bars 1 c. roasted, unsalted almonds; 1/2 c. unsweetened coconut 1/2 c. walnuts, raw or roasted, unsalted; 1 c. pitted dates 1 1/2 c. oats; 1/4 c. honey; 1/2 tsp. cinnamon; 1/2 c. peanut butter 1/4 c. bittersweet chocolate chips 1. Pulse almonds, walnuts, dates, coconut and oats in food processor until chopped—about 10 2-second pulses. 2. Add honey, cinnamon and peanut butter and process about 30 seconds or until no chunks remain. 3. Press a piece of parchment paper into an 8x8” baking pan and transfer mixture. Press into corners and flat across the surface. 4. Microwave chocolate chips in a small glass bowl for 30 seconds and stir. Microwave in 10 second increments until chocolate is smooth. Pour quickly onto peanut butter bars and smooth with the back of a spoon. 5. Cover and refrigerate until firmed up, at least 1 hour. 6. Lift chilled bars out using the parchment sling. Cut into 20-25 squares and place in Tupperware, layers divided by pieces of parchment paper or waxed paper. Bars will keep in the fridge at least one week. Nutrition Facts (per serving): 164 calories, 9.2g fat, 0mg cholesterol, 33mg sodium, 18.5g carbs, 3g fiber, 11g sugar, 5g protein Baked Oatmeal with Bananas and Bittersweet Chocolate Serves 4-6 2 c. old fashioned oats; 1/2 c. chopped almonds, toasted 1/4 c. brown sugar, packed; 1 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. cinnamon; 1/2 tsp. kosher salt; 1 c. skim milk; 1 egg 1 c. unsweetened vanilla Almond Breeze; 2 tbsp. butter, melted 1 tsp. vanilla; 3 bananas, sliced; 1/2 c. bittersweet chips or chunks 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 2. Stir together oats, nuts, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, salt and chips. 3. In a smaller bowl, whisk together milk, egg, melted butter and vanilla. 4. Mix all ingredients until combined. 5. Slice bananas into bowl and stir to combine. 6. Grease an 8x8 dish with nonstick spray and pour mixture into dish. 7. Bake for about 35-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. 8. Serve with milk on top. Nutrition Facts (per serving): 450 calories, 16.1g fat, 41mg cholesterol, 123mg sodium, 67g carbs, 9g fiber, 23g sugar, 13g protein.

WE PUT YOU ON THE MAP WEST CHESTER’S LANDLORD Limoncello Ristorante • The WC Press • Subway Yori’s Bakery • The Note • Kooma Viet • The Social Lounge Culinary Deliveries • Ram’s Head Bar & Grill • Saladworks Pietro’s Prime Pisano & Sons Shoe Repair • I Pasta Senator Dinniman • Salon Chemistry • Mercado’s • Nonna’s Doc Magrogan’s • Optimal Massage • Cozy Hookah Café William Shehwen Law Offices • Big Mike’s Barber Shop Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union • High Roller Tattoo Giuseppe Cabinets • Mainline Men’s • X-treme Ink Chester County Intermediate Unit • D’Ascenzo Gelato The Pita Pit • The Olive Branch • Blaze Salon • Balance Hair Spa Vitesse Sports • Moonflower • Zazen Nail Spa The Lunch Box• Jazmine Thai• Elwyn School



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Nich keeps you ahead of the fashion curve with two of this month's best looks




PHOTO Andrew Hutchins

This season, it’s all about the midi Once spring arrives, it feels like time to break out the miniskirts and the maxi dresses. But what about the

“midi”? Yes, the midi! Exactly as it sounds, it’s mid-length, hitting between the knee and ankle. The length inspires a vintage, ladylike feel, but who are we kidding? Even if you’re not much of a lady, you can still pull this off! Of course, a tall, slender girl could pull this look off easily, but I’m 5’2”, and I have no qualms about wearing a midi. In my case,

Outfit One

Outfit Two

Mixed Tribal Tank

Oana Floral Midi

Lenox Wave Print Midi

Overlay Floral Necklace

Patrons of Peace, $35

Jack by BB Dakota, $46

BB Dakota, $98 FAME, $20


Oh Hey Chrisi, $20 it’s all about the shoes you’re pairing with the skirt or dress. Think wedges or heels to elongate your legs and lengthen your body. The combination is sophisticated and fashion-forward. Typically a midi skirt will be high-waisted. And, if you are vertically challenged it will actually work to your advantage. This cut will naturally give the illusion of longer legs as long as whatever top you pair it with is either cropped or tucked in. I’ll take all the help I can get! So, don’t be afraid of trying this style! Whether you’re an Amazonian goddess or a petite thing, the midi can work for you!



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training at seven West Chester gyms. I’d track the experience, trying to determine what each gym offered and how they stood out. Over the never-ending winter I’d hit a bit of a slump, but figured I was still in shape—I just need someone to put me back into gear. I’d just be working out—I’d done it a million times before. No problem. I used to be a rower who competed at the highest level. I started on a crew team in high school, then graduated to a Division I college team, and finally to an international program in England for the last two years. The height of that career had me rowing two to four hours a day, six to seven days a week. I am not a fitness freak. I was never one of those people that needed to be at the gym all the time, and I definitely wasn’t addicted to exercise. I just liked racing, and most importantly, I had a team that relied on me. That was my motivation: I never wanted to let anyone down. It made me train as hard as I did, and it made it impossible to miss a day here or there. When I retired from rowing, losing my team is what hit me the hardest. And when it came to exercising, all of a sudden I no longer had a reason not to miss that day here or there. When I excitedly told a friend what I was up to, he responded, “That’s great. You can probably offer an interesting viewpoint, like, ‘I used to be an athlete, then I stopped rowing and got fat.’ Haha.” When I posted my intentions on Twitter, I received responses like, “It’s about time you decided to do something about that #blob you call a body.” The Internet can be a mean place. Very quickly I found myself transitioning from excitement to anxiety. I started questioning how fit I was. My friends’ comments got me thinking that, while I knew I wasn’t the athlete I once was, maybe I wasn’t even the athlete I still imagined myself to be. And so I set out to push myself. I asked each of the trainers I met to design a program that would test me. I told them, “I want to be as fit and as strong as possible, and I can handle whatever you throw at me.” Then the weather threw an ever bigger curve: a snowstorm shortened my training week, forcing me to complete all seven sessions in four days. But, as I walked into my first workout on Tuesday, I still had absolute faith in my ability hold my own. Within minutes, my faith was destroyed.

SESSION 1: MITCH’S MARKET STREET GYM Tuesday, 11am with Sarah Five minutes into my first session, and I was already dead. We had immediately jumped into the work with high-intensity, dynamic body-weight exercises. You’ll see some photos of this workout, and I may look like I’m

holding it together. This is because most of those photos were taken in the first five minutes or so of the hour, back when I was fresh and not soaked with sweat, huffing and puffing, back when I was able to do things like stand up without any help. As soon as the photos were taken, the wheels started to fall off. My body was not interested in moving the way Sarah asked it to. The workout was designed around low-weight, high-intensity, and high-repetition exercises, the type of workout that burns fat and tones muscles without putting too much mass on, so my brute strength was no help. It’s all about movement and anaerobic threshold capacity, or in layman’s terms, the ability to keep moving even though your exercise requires more oxygen than what you’re breathing in, which creates a bunch of lactic acid, which is that horrible burn you feel when you workout at high intensity. Sarah was on a mission to have me produce as much lactic acid as possible (or maybe it was to burn fat, either way she succeeded). We took a weight that I could handle easily, then did so many repetitions that it was almost impossible to lift. This was a fitness workout: strength and endurance lifting for an all-around healthy fit physique. It will tear you up and break you down, but at the end, you do have a certain feeling of accomplishment. SO, IF YOU WERE Still, there’s nothing quite THE CUTE GIRL IN like seeing a cute girl at the gym lifting a 20-pound dumbTHE WCU SHIRT, bell, then realizing she’s staring JUST KNOW IT back at you as you try to finish a set with a puny little 10 pound WAS AN OFF DAY. weight. You end up looking like DON’T JUDGE ME. a pre-spinach Popeye. So, if you were the cute girl in the WCU shirt, just know it was an off day. Don’t judge me.

MY PLAN WAS SIMPLE: in one week, I’d do an hour of personal

SESSION 2: QFITNESS Wednesday, 8am with Mike Waking up was a horrible experience. Delayed onset muscle soreness was beginning to ravage my body. Struggling down the steps, I got to the sink and drank as much water as possible. The two cups of coffee I made were too hot, and I was running out of time, so I threw ice into them and chugged. This is not a great pre-exercise breakfast. When I arrived, Mike, the owner of the gym and my trainer, put a heart rate monitor on me. My resting heart rate was at 95 beats per 






minute... Oh, right—the coffee. I guess that was the first red flag. With the heart rate monitor on, we tracked how my body responded to the workout. Mike identified what I wanted and what I could do, then used the monitor to keep me from pushing into anaerobic death. He crushed me slowly. Every exercise was followed by a question: “How was that? Easy, medium, or hard?” Mike had me repeat exercises until I was at the upper end of “medium.” I was never in fear of not being able to complete the exercises he was throwing at me, but we pushed each exercise to the point where I would not have been able to do another. By the end I was dizzy and a bit nauseous. Mike may have noticed this, often asking, “How’s your head? How’s your stomach?” I lied every time. Luckily, Qfitness is a 24-hour gym, so it’s rarely crowded, which meant very few people saw me falling to pieces.

SESSION 3: KNOW SWEAT FITNESS Wednesday, 4pm with Nisha The phrase “Know Sweat” is not an exaggeration. I had asked Nisha to make my workout hard, so she really brought the heat, giving me nine of her toughest exercises. She designed a body weight workout of four to five sets of nine or so exercises, and I was only able to do three before kindly asking her to stop this madness. Actually, this is a word-for-word reproduction of the conversation I had with Nisha 40 minutes in: Me: “Has anyone ever puked in here? Nisha: “No. Almost, though, when I first started. We’ve adjusted the workouts since then to prevent that…. Wait, why? Do you think you’re going to puke?” Me: “Well, I wouldn’t say I’m gonna puke, but I don’t want to rule it out either…. Uh… I don’t want to seem like a quitter, but what are the chances of maybe only doing only three sets and moving onto the next exercise?”

Nisha: “I understand. I don’t really want you to puke on me anyway.” Learning that these workouts are normally designed for women (often women trying to lose baby weight) did not do great things for my confidence that day. But at the time, I did not even care. I just couldn’t move anymore. Nisha told me that people normally get a burst of energy at the end, knowing it’s the last exercise, and that I might be able to do the last set, but I felt no such burst. I told Nisha that I would return in a few weeks, recovered and able to prove to her that I could finish the workout. She laughed, which I’m not sure how to take.

SESSION 3: YMCA Thursday, 12pm with Kathy I limped into the Airport Road location, impressed with the size of the place and the level of activity. I saw my Nana going into her water aerobics class. I saw a bunch of kids leaving a swim practice. The place was giving off a pretty nice family vibe as I fought my way up the stairs to meet my trainer, Kathy, who, I gather, has been there for a while—she knows her stuff and seems to know everybody in the building. Kathy says she works with a lot of seniors and folks at the end of their physical therapy who are looking to keep getting stronger. That doesn’t mean all of her routines are easy. She introduced me to a full TRX workout, which I’d only ever seen before—weird straps with handles hung from the ceiling, looking like something out 50 Shades of Grey. You can do all sorts of exercises with TRX, mostly body weight stuff, and yet again I was reminded how horrible body weight exercises are when you weigh 230 pounds. I also learned that TRX workouts can be pretty miserable when Kathy keeps telling you, “that looks pretty easy the way you’re doing it, so just slide out more to make it a bit heavier.” The training seemed to work with a lot of balance and agility, which reminded me of training for football and basketball in high school. I was never great at those sports—rowing requires one motion, done over and over again, no balance or agility required. My lack of aptitude meant that I couldn’t progress into the super-tough stuff, so although I covered the YMCA personal training room in sweat, I didn’t seem to be crippled when I walked out.

SESSION 5: ACAC Thursday, 2pm with Jesse Confession time: In between the YMCA and ACAC, I meant to get some lunch and a Gatorade from Giant, but instead I saw Starbucks and ended up with a large iced coffee and a small panini—not the best nutrition, but my impulses won out again. This was the third or fourth cup of coffee for the day and probably the only reason I was still standing. The first thing my trainer, Jesse, did when I walked into the immaculate cathedral of exercise that is ACAC, was take me into an office and administer a functional movement test. I’ve done this before when I tested with my rowing team in England, and I know it’s a great way to determine baseline ability and track improvements. Jesse ran me through the basic test to see what he could and couldn’t throw at me. I’m not sure how I scored, but it certainly didn’t feel like Jesse held anything back. We worked in threes. Three different sets of three exercises, repeated three times. We used kettlebells—the Russian weights made famous by the guys in the movie 300—TRX, weights, medicine balls, and even a push sled. I think the sled really illustrates how stocked this gym is: not only do they have an indoor track circling the space above the basketball court, they have a weighted push sled for indoor sprints in the personal training area. Jesse was a pretty cool guy. Everything we did was based on fixing the problem areas he saw during the functional movement test. He pushed me hard, but must have seen the fatigue I was carrying. My 






SESSION 6: MR STUART’S MARTIAL ARTS Thursday, 5pm with Stu I got that nap in before this workout, and thank God. Mr Stuart, or Stu, is an intense guy and so are his workouts. He threw me into a warm-up that shredded my glutes. If I am being totally honest, this was awesome—I was super psyched to work on the buns. By the time the actual workout rolled around, I was covered in sweat. Stu told me we’d do a little bit of everything so I could get a feeling for how they train. We started in the boxing ring, which confirmed that I have no business being in a boxing ring. For a few rounds I punched where he told me to punch, tried (and failed) to duck under the slow swing of his arm, and circled around the ring. During the rounds I was in the zone. This was awesome, something I had never done before and while I was pretty horrible at it, it was still exciting. In between rounds I realized how exhausting it was. Punching things constantly really shreds you out. I guess I should have spent more time punching things constantly throughout my life. We moved on to some exercises that Stu had created, these long pyramid workouts with heavy plates and medicine balls. A pyramid routine is where you do one exercise in the first rep, two in the second, three in the third and so on, up to a certain number and then back down again, creating a sort of pyramid. He called the pyramid a “Crazy 8.” It has eight stations around the gym, with eight exercises that you do up to eight reps and then back down to one again. Crazy is an accurate word. After doing one set at two of the stations, I began to understand why Ivan Drago decided he should use steroids—it was probably the only way to survive his workouts. If you’re interested, Stu has a YouTube video explaining his workouts. Luckily, that video does not show me spazzing around.

SESSION 7: PREMIER PERSONAL TRAINING Friday, 12pm with Brian & Nick This gym is only designed for personal training. There are no other people around. It’s also the first gym that had no machines, which meant that we were only lifting free weights. I was exhausted walking in, but this soon faded away as I realized that this was going to be some serious weight training—finally, a chance to use my brute strength. I don’t want to call Brian and Nick bros, because that would take away

from how much they know about personal training and the science behind lifting, but I will tell you they were pretty excited when I said I had done some Olympic Lifting before, and they realized we could do some more advanced (and serious) weight work. The first thing we did was a functional movement test. I got my scores here and was pleased to realize that I scored only slightly lower than I did last year when I was still rowing. Riding this high of success, I was thrown into deadlifting and all of a sudden my body remembered that it had already done six training sessions in the past three days. That slow burn of crushing fatigue returned and my weakness was exposed. With weights, there is no faking it and powering through—you can either pick the heavy metal thing up a bunch of times, or you can’t. During this workout, I got to do something I’ve always wanted to do— put those huge chains on my bench press bar. I have only ever seen giant guys who wear tiny tank tops use chains, and I thought it was out of my league. But for a second, I forgot about how exhausted I was for this moment of serious bro lifting. I was elated. THAT SLOW BURN We finished up by crushOF CRUSHING ing my abs. While the intensity was up super high during these FATIGUE RETURNED exercises, I did not wake up to AND MY WEAKNESS a six-pack the next day, so I assume I did them wrong. There is WAS EXPOSED no way I could work that hard and not have a six-pack immediately. I did, however, have quite a bit of difficulty with stairs after the deadlifting.

workouts went to the edge of what I could do, but he never pushed me over that edge. I appreciated it. The sprints I did with the sled were more than enough to send me straight to a nap after the training session. Add in the rest of the stuff, and I was hanging on by a thread. I tried to be cool and chat with Jesse after the session, but eventually I shuffled out to my car, sat there for a while and tried to pull it together. I was afraid to drive because my arms felt like they were made of ooze.

THIS IS A STORY ABOUT ME GROSSLY OVERESTIMATING MY ABILITY, but it’s also about how—ultimately—I had a pretty good time… even if this article makes it sound otherwise. Sure it hurt, and sure I was way out of my element, but with a trainer I wasn’t alone. The best part of personal training is that you can’t skip a workout, because someone is waiting for you to show up. They will push you as hard as you want/ need, and at the end of a workout you feel like you have accomplished something. These are the qualities that I missed in my exercising since leaving organized sports behind. In its own way, having a trainer created something like those teams for me. They were excited when I could get something done, supportive when I struggled, and just as disappointed as I was when I failed. They wanted me to succeed, and that made me want to succeed more than if I were working out alone; it made me expect more of myself. Exercising isn’t easy, but teams make it easier, and for the first time since I retired from rowing, I felt that same desire to show up and perform like the athlete that I used to be.






Makeover photo

Luke O’Brien


Sarah Price

Mitch’s Gym is changing lives


As a personal trainer at Mitch’s Market Street Gym, I have seen a lot of success stories. One of the stories I am most proud of is Gail. I met Gail back in September of 2012. She was overweight and wasn’t getting the most out of her life. She wanted to change this and turn things around, but she had no idea how. She had never really gone to a gym and had very little experience with exercise. Over the next 18 months I met with her one or two times a week. We started slowly, teaching the basics and making sure she had a good understanding of the main exercises we used to develop and progress. I designed a program that would burn fat and improve strength, utilizing circuit training that focused on three areas: upper body, lower body and core. Gail has lost 75 pounds in the year and a half I’ve trained her, and she works out on her own on days we don’t meet. She has progressed by incorporating a wider range of motion, different types of equipment, and challenging her speed and balance. A year ago, Gail began to participate in my monthly “Challenge Groups” and we’ve seen even more improvements as she focused on a new healthy lifestyle. Being a naturally competitive person, Gail always had it in her to become the person she is today—what she needed was the organization and discipline that training sessions provided.



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LAB R OF Love by Kate Chadwick

The Mother-Baby Pavilion is Chester County Hospital’s Newest Arrival

And babies, being babies, don’t really take much into account but their own arrival agenda. They arrive when they want and where they want, regardless of what the rest of us happen to be doing at the time. They signal the intentions of their impending appearance in the middle of the night, during dinner parties, in church and at the movies. They arrive in taxis, on elevators and very nearly, in this particular reporter’s case, on a helicopter. If you’ve ever given birth, you don’t need me to tell you that your primary thought at the time isn’t where you are—the arrival itself is so all-encompassing that the surroundings are a secondary consideration.

Thankfully, there are people who are paying attention to the baby-arrival environment in the West Chester area. The Chester County Hospital will debut their much-anticipated new arrival next month, when the second floor of the hospital’s Lasko Tower opens as the Mother Baby Unit, the hospital’s new 24-room maternity ward. CCH has always been known for providing excellent patient care, coupled with the latest technological advances in medical practices; this new unit ups the ante by creating an environment which expands that high level of care. With an average of 2,500 births annually at Chester County Hospital, the administration took a cue from both its patients and the current trend in all newly-built hospital 


If you’ve ever given birth, you don’t need us to tell you that your primary thought at the time isn’t where you are—the arrival itself is so all-encompassing that the surroundings are a secondary consideration.


There is no game-changer like the arrival of a baby.



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If you’d like a preview of the Mother Baby Unit, you can register for its Open House and Baby Shower on Wednesday, May 7, from 4:30-7pm


rooms: every room on the Mother Baby Unit is private and includes a private bath. (A tip for any expectant mothers who might be reading this: your acquaintance with the concept of “private” is basically behind you as of... now, so you will want to take full advantage of this luxury while you can get it.) Plans for the new unit have been in the works for several years now, with the first unit of the Tower (Telemetry) opening in July of 2013, and the second (Orthopaedics) opening in January 2014. What had been slow going when the hospital was independent and reliant on securing its own funding through philanthropic and lending sources was fast-tracked when the hospital became affiliated with Penn Medicine in September of 2013. As hospital settings go, maternity units are unique; most of the patients there are not usually actually sick—tired, yes, experiencing a certain level of discomfort, most likely—but technically ill, not so much. To that end, CCH has taken great pains to create an environment that is downright homey, conspicuously lacking that clinical feel that you tend to find in the typical hospital room. The overall over-all vibe of the unit is warm, spacious and soothing. Comfortable furniture—including a couch that converts to a bed for anyone staying overnight—is provided for visiting friends and family members. The colors in the rooms and the hallways are tranquil and warm, and the large windows allow plenty of natural light to fill the space. Even the technical elements that every hospital room needs to provide routine patient care are subtly designed to blend in or remain completely out of sight. The Mother Baby Unit rooms themselves are—well… roomy—with plenty

of space for all the flowers, balloons, teddy bears and other gifts that can make a regular hospital room feel somewhat claustrophobic. And, if it gets a bit too crowded, or mom and/ or baby need a few minutes alone with hospital personnel, there’s a large gathering spot with ample space for visitors just outside the unit and another smaller one just inside of it. There is even a designated room just for refreshments, where a snack can be found or a dish brought from home can be warmed up for the patient. Despite the comfy, cozy feel of the Mother Baby Unit, this is, of course, still a hospital, and CCH offers a Level III Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit for those babies that might require extra medical attention. CCH is also affiliated with Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, which gives parents peace of mind knowing that there is a CHOP physician on the premises, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Instead of one central nurses’ station, there are two, located on either end. There are also computer alcoves, located between patient rooms, where a nurse can stop to update a patient’s record without having to return to one of the main stations. This stroke of design genius is not only a time-saver in the strictest sense, it helps to keep nurses more visible and thereby more accessible to moms and babies. The Mother Baby Unit will enforce a “quiet time” between 2-4pm each day, when it’s just moms, babies, and dads or birth partners, taking the time to get acquainted with one another without the distractions of other visitors. And while the new mothers are always encouraged to keep their babies with them in their rooms, there is a nursery, located at the center of the unit, where a baby can be supervised while mom catches a nap. Which, in an environment as welcoming and cozy as the Mother Baby Unit, should be early and often. If you’d like a preview of the Mother Baby Unit before it opens to the public, register for its Open House and Baby Shower on Wednesday, May 7 from 4:30-7pm. You’ll get a sneak peek at the unit, learn about the patient care and amenities, and have access to other educational information. Refreshments (and even some giveaways) will be provided. It’s a free event, but registration is limited. Visit





The Real (estate)


Entrepreneur and Realtor Brad Lierman keeps tabs on development here in the borough

In 1998 all four corners at Gay and High Street were vacant. Then, two local developers formed the StanAb company and purchased what was then the Woolworth building. They brought in Iron Hill Brewery to anchor downtown West Chester and help begin its transformation into the vibrant town it is now. Today, the borough is once again experiencing a transformation as three real estate projects that will have drastic implications on how the town looks and feels are in various stages of completion. What was, in the 1940s, the largest laundromat in Pennsylvania, is now the location of a towering construction site. The same developers that brought renewal to the corner of Gay and High fourteen years ago are responsible for this new residential building, located on East Chestnut Street. StanAb has had their crews working through the bitterly cold winter to keep the project on track for the July completion of 60 one-bedroom apartments facing downtown, atop a first-floor parking garage. On East Market Street the borough’s been stuck with a dilapidated eyesore for years, a blight on an otherwise bright town. At long last, McCool Properties has completed demolition of the building, and construction has begun on a mix of 88 one and two-bedroom residential apartments. In the past, the availability of large-scale retail space has kept national retailers from entering the borough limits, but the street level of this building is slated to include 10,000 square feet of much-needed retail space. The topic of a constant zoning battle, developers plan to turn 220 East Chestnut Street into a four-story, 120-unit apartment building with a large underground parking garage. For years, the developer, known as 220 East Chestnut Street Associates, and residents whose homes border the property have been battling it out over what can be constructed. In total, these projects bring more than 250 one and twobedroom apartments to the borough—a massive influx of rental units, and it’s yet to be seen whether or not the demand exists. Recent graduates and young professionals have long been renting twin homes and apartments throughout town, and it’s this demographic developers are after. While it’s certainly a large pool of potential tenants, it will be a race between the developers to see who will be the first to offer apartments for rent. With all of this investment occurring on the east end of town, how will the borough change? Suddenly, nearly 500 residents will be added to an area of town that’s been neglected. The Spare Rib has been listed for sale, Roots Café has moved to their new space on the east end of Gay Street and Swope Lees Commercial Real Estate relocated their offices to East Market Street last year. East West Chester could soon experience that renaissance the center of town did more than a decade ago, and those of us who’ve been here for years can only hope the line at Country Bagel won’t stretch out the door in the morning once this transformation takes place.



PARTY OF 2 = $229 each PARTY OF 3+ = $199 each EXPIRES August 31, 2014

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The team at Optimal Massage knows their profession is about much more than relaxation So Kim, how did you get involved in massage therapy? KIM: I was living in New Jersey and studying massage therapy. It was going well and I enjoyed it, but it wasn’t until I met my husband Michael that I really fell in love with the practice (and him). Michael opened my eyes to all kinds of techniques and approaches that shed new light on massage therapy for me. Michael, what is your background? MICHAEL: I was Pre-Med at Penn State, but I never finished. I watched a lot of people burn out because they got into medicine for the wrong reasons. I knew I wanted to be in the field of healthcare, but I needed to find what I loved. That ended up being

massage therapy. I also studied kinesiology and reassumed my studies of anatomy and physiology at WCU. I have been in this business for 18 years—it’s a way of life. Have you been at Optimal all 18 years? MICHAEL: No. I started out sharing offices with chiropractors and that was when I learned that you have to deal with multiple parts of the body. Bones are slaves to the muscles and vice versa. I opened Optimal in 2007 as a way to give aspiring massage therapists a chance to learn from my experiences and create their own. Has that been your experience, Kim? KIM: In this practice you have to learn through experience. You have to listen to people’s individual needs and understand the body and how it reacts to their lifestyle. At Optimal, we practice on each other so we are constantly learning. It also stands as a huge perk of working here. We are a family, so we help and heal each other, as well as our clients. What makes Optimal unique? KIM: We offer many modalities here: reflexology, reiki, hot stone, warm bamboo, ashiatsu and more. There’s a big difference between types of massages. A Swedish massage is relaxing, but it’s very surface. Our deep tissue massage is corrective, and it is designed to let you live a healthier, hap-

pier life. I’ve also learned that communication is key—we listen to our clients and address their needs. MICHAEL: I think we are seeing a shift towards the West Coast approach to massage therapy. Out there, it is a way of life; here, it’s just starting to be respected as a legitimate practice. We believe that it is just as important as any other medicinal practice. How do people respond? KIM: Really well. Our clients consist of men and women anywhere from 16-94 and everywhere in between. I will have a client come in and I can see and feel the stress in them. When I am finished with the massage, I have found all that stress, treated it and released endorphins. We give people a totally different experience and have had a lot of people convert to and fall in love with our holistic approach. When is the best time to come in and get that experience? MICHAEL: We make ourselves available to the community seven days a week. Our busiest times are the weekends, and those visits should be scheduled a week in advance to be safe. If you would like, I can offer you a free trial of what it is we do. I mean, of course. Is it possible to say no to a free massage?





Children in


Jennifer Ozgur is a mother, wife and teacher who still finds time to get out and about with her family

April is officially spring. Parks begin to fill with b-ballers and runners take to the streets. There were balmy teasers in March, but after the winter we have had this year I’m not too optimistic. Since it’s those April showers that bring May flowers, it’s good to have a plan B for when the weather does not comply with your best laid plans and Mother Nature decides to throw a hissy fit. Lodged between The Country Bagel and Rite Aid in the Parkway Shopping Center lies The Games Keep. This shop is the perfect remedy for cabin fever if the elements are not quite fair enough. The setup is simple enough—shelves and shelves of games: board games, card games, role playing games, educational games. Just not (gasp!) video games. Here, the only thing that gets plugged in is your mind. This is not your grandma’s Parcheesi, though the owner can probably order it for you. Here, imagination meets strategy, mythical lands and arch nemeses. I entered on a Friday night, passing the time until my takeout order was ready. As I was perusing the selection of divertissement-in-a-box, my attention periodically turned to tables filled with young people animatedly engaged in serious fun. I think they were speaking English, but I couldn’t follow the conversation—something about lives and powers; there may have been a charm or spell involved. What most impressed me was the intensity with which they played. Picture the cast from The Big Bang Theory in an ESPN Texas Hold ‘Em tournament with a Lord of the Rings theme. Intrigued, I went to the service desk and asked what was going on. The owner, Karl Kemmerer, explained that “gamers” come in all the time to play table-top entertainment. This happened to be a spontaneous open play, but he hosts regular events, too. Thursday nights are Magic the Gathering from 5–10pm. Other role playing games, like Dungeons & Dragons (I am having high school flashbacks!) and Pathfinder, are every Sunday from 2–8pm and every second and fourth Saturdays from noon until whenever. I asked Karl to tell me more, and he was happy to share: most gamers are male, though there are some females that come in; they vary in age but tend to be younger college students, since that is where many discover this type of entertainment. The exception is if parents are into the genre, then they may introduce their children starting at around age eight. Entire families are welcome to the open plays, or even one child can come as long as they are able to self-govern. Any games from the outside are welcome, but there are also plenty of store copies to use. If hunger calls, food is welcome and many local establishments will deliver. There is pizza and Chinese food in the same strip mall. I found the scenario fascinating, and when I asked Karl why he created The Games Keep, he came back with a very logical, “Why not?” For the past eight years, he’s been able to be his own boss while working in an area that he’s always loved. Sounds like a plan, indeed!

211 E Market St  610.429.0467

Busy Week Ahead? Let Chefanti do the cooking! Fresh, healthy, order-ahead, familystyle meals available for take-out or delivered to your door. Order online for one night or the whole week!

“Grab & Go” Lunch Available M-F, 11:30am-2pm APRIL 2014 THEWCPRESS.COM




Bartender of the



Mike O’Donnell’s at home amid the exceptional food, drink and music at The Social Lounge Are you from West Chester? I’m from Quakertown. I ended up in West Chester because I attended the university. What did you study? I started out studying communications. Later I switched my major to liberal arts, with a concentration in journalism. And now you’re a bartender? After all that, I’ve found that I really enjoy bartending, and I have been doing it for about seven years now. I tried the nine-to-five thing. I have some friends that hate it and some that enjoy it, but I know for sure that it’s not my thing. A friend of mine got me a job here, and it’s a perfect fit for me.

What makes it a perfect fit? I’ve worked at many other bars, but this one just fits my personality and my taste. Being 29, I’m over the college scene and really appreciate the clientele that we attract here. What clientele would that be? We see a lot of business professionals and younger couples. If you have good taste in beer, food and music, this is the place for you. What do you like about the drink selection here? I am a huge craft beer guy, and that’s what we’re all about. Our draft list just expanded and we got a bunch of new taps, so we are able to offer a wide variety of craft beers. We offer great cocktails as well. We use a lot of fresh ingredients, and we do a lot of muddling. Also, our happy hour is from 5-7pm, and we have great food and drink specials. Can you tell me more about the food? So for the happy hour I mentioned, we offer five or six plate options that change nightly depending on what Danny has up his sleeve. Danny Funk is our head chef, and he is amazing. Everything from our appetizers to our entrees is, I would say, the best in town. We also have great veggie and gluten-free options that have become really popular.

Do you think music has a lot to do with the atmosphere here? I love my music as much as I love my craft beers. I really like to listen to vinyl. As far as genre goes, I listen to it all, and I really love listening to my record player, but you really cannot beat live music like we have here. Live music beats it all. And how is the music at Social? We have it four or five days a week and do a weekly open mic, which is always fun and interesting. You can see everything from stand-up comedy to rap battles. For the most part though, we get a lot of singer/ songwriters or rock music. The lead singer of WaveRadio, Colin McGetrick, does a recurring show every Thursday night that has been a big hit for us. It does sound like you’re a perfect fit for The Social Lounge. I think I am—I really enjoy working here. Everything they do here is a craft. They put a lot of thought and care into all aspects of the restaurant—the food, the music, the drinks—and it really shows. Speaking of drinks, I’d like to test out this beer selection. What’s your favorite right now? I recommend the Centennial IPA by Founder’s. It’s really delicious.



Our Favorite Photos of the Month See all of our event photos from March online at

We caught the first annual Bride Guide to West Chester Bridal Showcase... photos by Niki Rutkowski

...sampled cupcakes while finding spring inspiration at Nich Boutique’s Spring Launch Party... photos by Luke O’Brien

...and enjoyed some cake and champagne at Tish Boutique’s one year anniversary party. photos by Luke O’Brien



Best Steak House In West Chester Live Music on Weekends, Patio Dining Fabulous Martinis, Seasonal Menu

125 W Market Street West Chester, PA 484.760.6100 ď ´







DJ Romeo curates a playlist of great pump-up music that will rock your next workout

I recently celebrated my 30th birthday. Instead of dwelling on the potential downsides of turning the big three-oh, I made a conscious decision to do the opposite. I started to eat healthier, cut out sodas and snack foods and got myself a personal trainer at Mitch’s Gym. Although my trainer, Sarah Price, comes off as a very friendly and easy-going person, when it’s time to train she is all business. She has kicked my ass for the past few months, and I can proudly say I will not be ashamed to take my shirt off this summer while at the beach. A key component to my exercise routine has been music, so the natural choice was to start making mix-tapes specifically for working out. The following list is the first of many mixes available to download on my soundcloud for free, so check it out:

One Republic — Counting Stars (Jerry Wallis Mix) Trinidad James & Blur — Pop the Molly Woo Hoo Drake — All Me (Rock-it Scientists Mix) Lrad & Public Enemy — Bring the Noise Bootleg/Bangin New Knife Party (Goodfellas Mix) Justin Timberlake & Jay-Z — Holy Grail (Beatbreaker Mix) Pitbull, Ke$ha, Icona Pop & LMFAO — Timber Riverside Shots (Starjack Mix) Zedd — Stay the Night Beyonce ft. Jay-Z — Drunk in Love (Starjack Mix) 2 Ulimited — Get Ready for Crank it Up (DJ Bosa Mix) Martin Garrix — Animals (Beatbreaker Mix) Anthem Kingz — We Like to Party (Showtek vs Fatman Scoop) Katy Perry — Dark Horse (Anthem Kingz Mix) Kid Ink ft. Chris Brown — Show Me (Danny Diggz Mix) Alice Deejay & Neyo — Better Off Working Hard Red Hot Chili Peppers — Otherside (Goodfellas Mix) Avicii — Wake Me Up (Skeletron Mix) Scooter — Maria (Anthem Kingz Mix) DJ Jean — The Launch Avicii — You Make Me (Starjack Mix) Vanilla Ice — Ice Ice Baby (Electrixx Mix) Miley Cyrus — Adore You (Anthem Kingz Mix)



kooma 151 W Gay St (Old Kooma Location) 484-947-5410 


Pho Rice Vermicelli Special Dishes


Vietnamese Egg Rolls Select Asian Beers Seafood Stir Fry Korean BBQ Summer Rolls plus other Chinese, Korean & Vietnamese dishes


Happy Hour Mon-Fri 4:30-6:30pm $5 Wine $2 off Martinis $3 Drafts 20% off Appertizers

Closed Mondays Tuesday–Thursday: 11:30am-10:00pm Friday–Saturday: 11:30am-11:00pm Sunday: 12:00pm-8:00pm reservations accepted

takeout available



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