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Cold treats & fun activities to help you enjoy the hottest days of the season.


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Letter

from the

Editor

Dan Mathers shares some personal insight into this month’s theme

Every so often, I lie awake, staring at the ceiling, fighting off anxiety. The focus of my restlessness may be money, or a deadline, or something I should have taken care of during business hours but procrastinated on until the day was done. However, the complications I can fix come morning don’t bother me half as often as the metaphysical problems over which I have no control. In my twenties, I experienced these anxious nights more regularly, but I’ve since learned to take responsibility for the conditions that lead to them: I don’t drink caffeine after noon; I shut off my phone and read paper books before bed; and I exercise regularly. Even so, I still have my triggers, one of which is the end of summer. Remember summers when you were a kid? The days were gloriously long, and those three months dragged on to the point that you needed to relearn basic lessons from the previous year come your return to the classroom. But what about now? By the time this magazine is in your hands, we’re likely two to three weeks from Labor Day, yet it feels like May ended only two or three days ago. As an adult, summers speed passed. It’s all about perception. When you are one year old, a year is 100% of your life — it’s everything you’ve ever known — but by the time you’re 10 a year is only 10% of what you’ve experienced. This past year was a little less than 3% of my life. The longer you live, the faster your days, weeks and years seem to pass. If you’re following me, I think you’re beginning to see the source of my anxiety. Even assuming that advances in medicine let me live to 100, experientially my life was halfway over when I turned seven. At this point, I’m basically living on borrowed time; if the stats we have about readership are right, odds are you’re in worse shape than I am (sorry). Summers of old were so sublime that their memories, all of which I recall bathed in a glorious, golden glow, trigger in me a reminder of how fleeting our lives really are. Certainly, too, in accounting for how time flies as an adult, we should also consider the way we lived as children versus the dayto-day of being grown up. We’re now constantly rushing from one responsibility to the next, filling our days with less of what we want and more of what we think we need. Maybe the solution is partly as simple as actively slowing down. And guess what? This issue offers up just a slim sampling of the foods, festivities and fun that West Chester is providing through the end of the summer (you’re welcome). You’ll find highlighted in these pages — both in advertising and editorial — inspiration for all the ways you can slow down the pace of your hectic lives and capitalize on the remaining days of warm weather and sunshine. Obviously aging and learning isn’t all bad. With wisdom comes the opportunity for appreciation. Understanding the value of the time we have before us offers the chance to go out and really carpe diem. And I do suggest you seize these, the dog days of summer; it’s much better to flop into bed and fall asleep exhausted than it is to toss, turn and stare at the ceiling, thinking of all the things you chose not to do today. Believe me. —dan@thewcpress.com

The

Press PUBLISHER Dan Mathers dan@thewcpress.com

ADVERTISING MANAGER Nick Vecchio nick@thewcpress.com MANAGING EDITOR Kate Chadwick kchadwick@thewcpress.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Nazarena Luzzi Castro nazarenaluzzi.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jesse Piersol jpiersol@thewcpress.com Danielle Davies ddavies@thewcpress.com STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Erik Weber @westchesterviews

“Deep summer is when laziness finds respectability.” –Sam Keens

COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd bboyd@thewcpress.com Jamie Jones jjones@thewcpress.com Andrea Mason amason@thewcpress.com DJ Romeo romeo@thewcpress.com Kate Chadwick kchadwick@thewcpress.com Published By... Mathers Productions 1271 Phoenixville Pk West Chester, PA 19380 mathersproductions.com 610-299-1100 The WC Press is a monthly magazine mailed to more than 3,000 homes throughout West Chester, as well as being dropped off to about 100 locations in and around the borough. For a free subscription — digital or mailed — visit thewcpress.com.

Worth

Noting

Our no-nonsense table of contents

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#THEWCPRESS Our favorite social media posts from fans are getting printed

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SLEUTHOUND On the Beat with a new solve-a-crime adventure

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DECOR & MORE Introducing a new home goods shop with an artistic touch

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CERAMICS ARE COOL Escaping the heat with an afternoon at The Painted Plate

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A PLACE TO CALL HOME An inside look at West Chester’s real estate market

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PHOTO HUNT Spot the five differences and win a Barnaby’s gift card

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@thewcpress #thewcpress Like and follow us on social media, then tag us in your posts for a chance get your work published here. Our favorite image each month () will earn its photographer a gift card to @barnabyswestchester

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Market Forecast

Resident astrologer Kate Chadwick provides your planetary predictions with a particularly local twist Aries (3/21-4/19): Gird your loins, ram friends, especially parents: work will be throwing up challenges and kids will have trouble adjusting to back to school. Plan a family outing, even if it’s just a good walk around town and some Gemelli gelato. Taurus (4/20-5/20): September appears to be one big lovefest, bullish ones: meeting a special someone if you’re single, possible baby talk if you’re partnered? Even if it’s just a shower invitation, babies are on the horizon. Get thee to Tish, stat. Gemini (5/21-6/20) Things are looking bumpy for September, twin stars—at least where other people are concerned. All the other people: partner, family, colleagues will test your patience. Schedule yourself a day to reset at Baldwin’s Book Barn. Cancer (6/21-7/22) All is calm in love and family under the present aspects, crab friends. Work will be ramped up a bit, but luckily, you’re feeling good and healthy, too. Carry that beach body mentality momentum into the fall with some fitness classes at barre3. Leo (7/23-8/22) You’re rolling out of Leo season and into September with all signs pointing to “you,” kitty cats, and that’s your favorite. The universe wants you to seek advice from your elders this month; take a senior family member to Painted Plate and chat. Virgo (8/23-9/22) We’re heading into Mercury retrograde at the end of September, steadfast friends, so you’ll want to keep your head down. No sudden movements or big changes at this time. Take it easy and order takeout; America’s Pie always works. Libra (9/23-10/22) Whether you’re single, partnered, or parenting, the love game is strong in September, lovely Libra. Put your focus there. And if you’re looking to meet someone, have a date night, OR a family outing, there’s something for everyone at Uptown! Scorpio (10/23-11/22) Slow and steady is your mantra this month, stealthy scorpions. Rise about the fray, as there will seemingly be turmoil all around, including some emotional outbursts. Yikes. Not your scene. Slip away to WC Public Library and hide. Sagittarius (11/23-12/21) Curb your tongue, archer friends. This is a tall order, as you’ve got foot-in-mouth syndrome, but try. The first half of September looks testy, but remember: flowers soothe all ills, even for men. Put Flowers by the Greenery in your contacts. Capricorn (12/22-1/19) Always climbing, industrious goat; your eyes are perpetually on the prize, especially in your career. The universe is asking you to step back and broaden your focus. Art gallery visits are just the ticket; start at Visual Expansion. Aquarius (1/20-2/18) Stick close to home this month, Aquarius friends, and accept every invitation that comes your way. A special opportunity awaits among friends, whether it’s love or money, who knows? Show up to brunch with sweets from Yori’s Bakery! Pisces (2/19-3/20) Someone you thought was in the past may boomerang back into your life this month, pesce pals. While this may not be a bad thing, do proceed with caution. A casual date at Mercato is a good way to test those waters. –kchadwick@thewcpress.com

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On the Beat with West Chester’s New Solve-A-Crime Adventure

story KELLY MURRAY AUGUST 2021 THEWCPRESS.COM

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leuthound’s Mark Stokes wants everyone to know this: it’s Sleuthound, with one h.

“Sometimes people can’t find us online because they type in Sleuthhound with two h’s, but it’s just one,” Stokes laughed. This tiny typographical mix-up is a subtle twist of irony for West Chester’s newest interactive outdoor mystery experience, which has been seeing record attendance since it opened for business this past May. With lots of word-of-mouth referrals and a feature profile broadcast on Fox29’s Good Day Philadelphia, Sleuthound has quickly become a popular group activity for those looking for something to do outside in the borough. From girls’ nights to couples’ nights to just trying out something new nights, people have been coming out to see just what Sleuthound is all about. And it’s no surprise, as the family-friendly

experience offers a creative avenue for attendees to solve an interactive mystery against the beautiful backdrop of downtown West Chester. In short, people are having no problem discovering Sleuthound—and they are loving every minute of it. The self-described solve-a-crime adventure currently operates exclusively in West Chester and invites its guests to enjoy an evening of case-cracking entertainment aided by live actors right in the borough. Attendees can expect to go on a hunt for clues that are unlocked by rounds of trivia, karaoke, and interactive challenges among the borough’s bars and food establishments. That’s right, gumshoes. Your best karaoke performance could very well set you on a path to crack the mystery and earn borough-wide notoriety—or at the very least, bragging rights among your teammates.

Sleuthound creator Mark Stokes gets in costume for their 1980’s themed mystery adventure. Currently, Sleuthound offers two outdoor events: Stuck in the 80’s and Escape Room. Both of these events are open to all ages, and they each run approximately 90 minutes. These walkabout adventures are self-directed, so they could take as much or as little time as needed—it really just depends on the team’s sleuthing skills. “Sometimes I get calls at 1:30 in morning from Kildare’s from teams who are still solving the mystery,” said Stokes, letting out a chuckle. “So, yeah, some people just really have a great time with it.” While it’s safe to suspect those detectives miiiight have been enjoying a few adult beverages along their beat, not every adventure has to go into the early hours of the morning. Stokes

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said that the fastest time to solve the mystery so far has been one hour and 23 minutes—certainly an impressive record for solving a crime that involves quite a bit of detective work—on foot— throughout town. So, what’s the story with these crime-centered quests? Let’s crack the clues and find out. Since May, Stuck in the 80’s has taken place on Saturdays and involves solving a dastardly crime against some beloved 80’s iconic personalities. We won’t give them away, but rest assured when you learn who they are, we imagine you’ll be dead set on discovering just what happened and solving the crime. Attendees of Stuck in the 80’s are even encouraged to dress up in their best 80’s fashion. That’s right, you can leave the suit and tie and trench coat at home; styles with neon, fishnets, ripped jeans, and big hair are all welcomed. Before starting the adventure, teams meet with a character named Inspector Dumas who will deputize each team and give the proper credentials to start

the mystery-solving evening. Participants then follow the clues to interview suspects and receive discounts, free food and drinks along the way at the “portable offices” located around the borough. Oh, and that 1:30am call that Stokes mentioned? That’s part of the experience. Sleuthound offers its guests a hotline to call if they get stuck on a clue and need assistance. The Sleuthound team will give additional clues to help teams stay on track (although we suggest using the hotline before last call). Once the crime is solved and the result is called in, the team has completed their mission. It’s a truly entertaining way to jump back in time and solve a fun-filled mystery—no DeLorean required.

I had friends in the borough with businesses who were struggling a little. Sleuthound is a way to get people out of the house, do something fun, and connect with the small businesses in town. -Mark Stokes

Sleuthound was recently featured on Good Day Philadelphia, where Mark put on his ’80s best and showed reporter Jenn Fred around town. As for Sleuthound’s Escape Room, it occurs on Fridays and is the only outdoor escape room activity in the tristate region. It’s a non-linear scavenger hunt designed to get teams to follow clues that will lead them to a successful “escape” out of the borough. (We know, we know—who would want to leave the borough? But you can return after you win to celebrate your victory.) Teams are paired with a guide and can even bring their very own sleuth hound or sleuth pup along for the adventure, as pets are welcome to join the pursuit. Speaking of returning to the borough, Stokes himself is one of the many who have made their way back to Chester County after moving away. Originally a native of Chestnut Hill, Stokes manages the day-to-day operations for Sleuthound and has been an integral part of creating the experience.

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The Sleuthound Experience: Stuck in the ’80s

“A truly dastardly crime has occurred right here in our borough, and I desperately need your help on this one. You may run into my boys Crocket and Tubbs while you’re out there. They’re the best we got and might have found some evidence that can help you. Don’t overlook this guy Wang Chung, and I really don’t trust that Material Girl. Good luck and above all be careful out there!” - Inspector Dumas The 80s mystery unraveling officially begins with an urgent call to action sent by email to all those attending the Solve-A-Crime Adventure. Written by Slethound’s own Inspector Dumas, the teams receive instructions and the time/ place to meet to kick off the crime solving evening.

It was his love for helping others that led to the development of this new outdoor entertainment venture in the first place—and its one-of-a-kind name. “When I was younger, my father had harness horses. I grew up in Chestnut Hill, but we would come down to West Chester a lot and go to Farmer in the Del and Jimmy John’s. I have so many memories of West Chester from back in the day,” explained Stokes, who would go on to move to Philadelphia and spend 25 years living in the city before returning permanently to Chester County in 2005. But it’s clear that his admiration for West Chester and its deep sense of community never left. One of the inspirations behind creating Sleuthound was rooted in helping the local small businesses who were hit hard in the pandemic. “The idea [with Sleuthound] was to get people out of the house. But I’ve always been a business owner, and I just know the hardships of running your own business, and [the pandemic] was something that hit everybody out of the

Amateur sleuths trying to solve the mystery (and enjoying a beverage at Kildare’s to lubricate those thinking muscles). blue. I had friends in the borough with businesses who were struggling a little. Sleuthound is a way to get people out of the house, do something fun, and connect with the small businesses in town.” It was also that same business sense and passion for people that helped coin the Sleuthound name (with only one h!). As a college student, Stokes spent his summers bartending for many years in Stone Harbor, New Jersey, creating fond memories akin to his time spent in West Chester. Stokes explains that it was one of the factors behind the name: the SH in Sleuthound is a nod to the SH in Stone Harbor—a clever homage expertly hidden in plain sight. Covering the areas of town along Gay and High Streets, Sleuthound has partnered with many establishments in the borough to bring its slew of interactive games and challenges

Once they arrive at the designated location, the teams are deputized by the Inspector and are given a packet that outlines their mission. But not everything is as it seems...teams must crack a very specific type of code to figure out their tasks. (We won’t give it away though, so you might want to reflect on it before you try it.) Once they figure out the code, they’re able to embark on the mission which will take them on a fun-filled adventure through the borough. Tasks vary from doing challenges with strangers to having dance parties on the sidewalk to tracking down Sleuthound characters—a few are mentioned by Inspector Dumas above—all while documenting each completed task by photo and/or video. After the team collects all the evidence and has come to a conclusion about the crime, they send in their answer accompanied by their photos and videos to the Inspector, and teams who complete their tasks the fastest win a prize!

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to its crime-solving teams. But this isn’t just an excuse to go bar hopping. Sleuthound also partners with pizza shops and restaurants like The Couch Tomato Cafe and Meatball U., which has been a major resource for the burgeoning independent entertainment business. The restaurant serves as a starting point for teams and offers free drinks, meatball sandwiches, and discount cards to attendees. The pricing structure is also intentionally wallet friendly, as Sleuthound wants to keep their prices low. Tickets are $15 per person, and children under 12 are permitted free of charge—but they must be accompanied by an adult to carry out their sleuthing. Sleuthound also proudly offers a 33% discount to all current members of the military, veterans, law enforcement officers, and firefighters. All monetary transactions are handled over Venmo for an easy, no-fuss experience. What’s more, Sleuthound will even customize the storylines of their Solve-A-Crime Adventures to give groups a unique experience. So, if there’s a birthday in

Much like an escape room, solving the Sleuthound mystery requires participants to piece together a variety of different riddles and puzzles... sometimes quite literally. the group or maybe it’s a bachelorette outing, Sleuthound will ask questions to get some extra tidbits of information and create a storyline specifically geared for that group. It's a customized crime adventure on the turn of a dime. And it’s this spirit of camaraderie and community connection that really drives Sleuthound. Along with the local businesses with whom they partner, Sleuthound also employs a number of actors and writers who collaborate to create the fun storylines and interactivity of the experience. Sleuthound works with West Chester University theater groups and the Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center to source their actors. From the adventure locations to those bringing the mystery to life, the Sleuthound experience is truly a West Chester original.

What the Sleuths Have to Say... “I would DEFINITELY do that because that looks like A LOT OF FUN!" - Mike Jerrick (Fox 29 Good Day Philadelphia) "I LOVE this! What a GREAT IDEA!" -Jennaphr Frederick (Fox 29 - Good Day Philadelphia) "It's a ton of fun every weekend at Sleuthound. I didn't know I had that inner 80s inside me just waiting to get out. I love seeing one of our patrons start out, perhaps a little shy in the beginning, to then belting out the Journey hit, “Don't Stop Believin’" at the top of their lungs on a street corner. Everyone gets so into it and has a blast! It's TOTALLY GNARLY!" - Sean Mack, Sleuthound Team Member

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And the fun is just beginning. After summer winds down, Sleuthound will begin rolling out more programs including fall and holiday themed experiences. Their fall program begins on September 17th and will include seasonally appropriate escapades like a Ghost Tour, Cemetery Walk, and a Haunted Whodunit. Like their summer events, the fall program will offer a way for its guests to get outside and experience West Chester through a journey back in time—although these journeys promise a bit more late-night scares rather than Back to the Future vibes. During these al fresco events, guests will walk among historic West Chester streets and surrounding areas that are allegedly haunted by borough residents of days past, and even American and British soldiers who fought and died at the Battle of Brandywine during the Revolutionary War. Crafting Sleuthound’s fall program of scary strolls and cemetery capers has come with its own memorable discoveries. While researching and developing the Cemetery Walk event, Stokes learned a fascinating story about 19th-century burial practices in West Chester. We did some sleuthing of our own, and indeed, the origins of one of West Chester’s nearby cemeteries comes with an intriguing beginning. In 1851, graveyards in town were closed, and residents were no longer allowed to bury loved ones within the borough limits. In response, some congregations took matters into their own hands. After a government approval, land was purchased just north of the borough, and the congregations created a new cemetery. They dug up their members’ existing graves, extracted the coffins, and moved them there. By 1854, the new cemetery was open, and the bodies were fully relocated. And ever since the relocation, there have been a significant number of paranormal occurrences reported in said cemetery. This discovery has only further enriched Stokes’ excitement for the upcoming Cemetery Walks. We won’t reveal the cemetery in question, though. We’ll leave that one a secret until Sleuthound officially announces

I’ve always been a business owner, and I just know the hardships of running your own business, and [the pandemic] was something that hit everybody out of the blue. -Mark Stokes its fall program and folks can witness the spooks themselves during one of the late-night walks. For those who may be spooked by the possibility of spotting a ghost, the Cemetery Walks will also include outdoor movie nights. Nothing like the silver screen to brighten up the surroundings, even if those surroundings are gravestones. So, aside from the mystery themes and the locations shrouded in secrecy, one thing is very clear: Sleuthound was created to bring people together. “The goal is to bring a great experience to the public. People have already gone to events and sent messages to us asking, ‘What’s coming up next?’” says Stokes. “We listen to the community and the public, and we encourage our guests to

get a hold of us to make anything happen. We plan to continue to grow and to serve the community.” It sounds like pretty soon, Sleuthound may be growing its own horizons beyond the West Chester borough limits. With plans to expand and opportunities to franchise, Sleuthound intends to offer outdoor-themed adventures to nearby boroughs like Kennett Square, Media, Malvern, and Wayne. The themed entertainment business is also available to do private parties and corporate events and is open to designing experiences around new themes like classic television and comedy shows. But it’s safe to say that when people ask about its beginnings, Sleuthound’s story can always be traced back to where it all began, right here in West Chester.

Ticket information and event details can be found at www.sleuthound.com. Those Interested in becoming an actor, writer, or guide with Sleuthound are encouraged to email their inquiries to sleuthoundjobs@gmail.com.

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Design Dilemmas Andrea Mason of Andrea Mason Design is a professional interior designer who wants to help you upgrade your space

Given that so much of our summer is spent outdoors, finding the perfect outdoor furniture is important. But it can also be exhausting, especially with the overwhelming number of choices. Listed below are the most popular materials, along with the pros and cons of each and how to properly care for them. Wicker or Rattan: I love how versatile this is. You can use it in a traditional or more modern setting. There is so much texture, and it can be a pretty way to add personality to your space. Pros: Different colors and finishes and can be very affordable. Cons: Wicker and rattan don’t handle natural elements very well. Look for the “all weather wicker,” which is not technically wicker, but a polyethylene resin material. You can barely tell the difference between the real and synthetic wicker, and this will hold up the best outside! Maintenance: Apply tung oil to your wicker or rattan with a dry cloth before you take it out for the season and then again when you are putting it away. Wood: The most popular of outdoor materials, wood has a multitude of styles and colors to choose from. Pros: A long lifespan, and most will repel water and mold. Cons: Wood pieces will splinter in harsh weather if not properly maintained, so proper care is especially important. Maintenance: Oil and seal your pieces annually. Use a UV paint if you are painting to keep the sun damage at bay. Aluminum: This is a very sleek material that will look great anywhere and comes in an array of colors and patterns. Pros: Very durable, cost effective and tolerates the elements. Cons: It’s not the coziest material and will need cushions for comfort. A cushion will also help for those hot days when aluminum retains heat. Watch out in windy areas; these pieces are lightweight and can blow over. Maintenance: Clean with a mild soap and water at the beginning and end of the season. Metal and Steel: These sturdy pieces of furniture will look fabulous in any style setting and they come in every imaginable color. Pros: Easy maintenance, durable, and versatile. Cons: Just like aluminum, this material heats up on hot days. Extra care is needed for galvanized steel because it can rust. Maintenance: Similar to aluminum, soap and water will do the trick. Apply a protective finish to your steel to shield from rust. If you have access to an indoor area, try to cover and store your patio furniture indoors during the off season. When choosing these pieces, don’t be afraid to mix and match. Combining a wood table with a wicker sofa and an aluminum side table can give an outdoor space a unique look. Make it the outdoor oasis you’ve always wanted. Care for it to make it last, and enjoy these last weeks of summer! –amason@thewcpress.com

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DECOR more Pine + Quill weathered lockdown and has since become a staple for home goods with an artistic touch story KATE CHADWICK photos ERIK WEBER

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S

ometimes you have to get out of Dodge for inspiring ideas before bringing them home to implement. For Dianna DeStefano and her former partner, Richard McFarland, it was a road trip out West during the pandemic that prompted the inspiration behind Pine + Quill, Dianna’s charming home décor and gift shop on North Walnut. “The pandemic was in full swing, and we thought we would open after it. But things wound up moving swiftly—which was great! We didn't run into too many issues with the pandemic because we were all pretty used to living within the protective measures, and we knew it could be done safely and stay within the CDC guidelines when we opened.” Dianna was already the owner of The Paperly Studio, an online business for her calligraphy and hand lettering for wedding invitations and special events. Before Richard left to pursue other projects, the original plan was to merge his photography and her calligraphy. But they outgrew that plan as soon as the present space was found after an exhaustive search, including

locales in Oxford and Kennett Square. In the end, the present space won out not just because of the physical building, but the town. “I spent a lot of time in West Chester 20+ years ago, and it's grown so much over time and in such a good way. It's a special town where you want to raise your family, with a diverse demographic and good school district.”

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Dianna DeStefano in her store, Pine + Quill, which opened in November 2020 at 23 N Walnut St. can't imagine it any other way. My love for this store and the process came as a surprise to me. I never felt so energized by work and truthfully, it doesn't feel like work to me. It's so much more than just a store. It's connecting with and being part of a community. If I knew I would love this path as much as I do, I would have certainly started building this business sooner.”

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Once the deal was sealed, the pair rushed to open by Black Friday 2020. “It was a crazy six weeks, but thankfully we didn't have a lot of renovations to do,” Dianna said. “We only had to paint, purchase, and merchandise. Of course, sales could have and would have been better if we weren't in a pandemic.”

Ironically, Dianna never envisioned a brick-and mortar location. “To be honest, I wasn't sure I wanted a retail store until I was in the thick of it: planning, merchandising, and setting up,” Dianna told us. “Then I fell in love with it and

Jumping in feet first came with its own learning curve. “As someone who is starting out, every aspect of this is new to me, except the intuition of how to execute the creative side of the store,” Dianna said. “I'm learning as I go, which

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certainly means I hit some bumps and surprises along the way! I learned how important contracts are when starting a business. It's easy to get caught up in the excitement, the day to day management and all the constant changes, but you can forget some important foundational processes that are in place to protect you. I've learned how to hone in and stick to my business model. Sometimes I have to say no to people, which is hard for me, but necessary. I also learned that West Chester is full of resources and the community is all about supporting each other. I made instant friends with other businesses in town, and I'm forever grateful.” What she has now is a space that feels both wide open and cozy, a showcase for local artists and artisans, with a focus on women-owned vendors. “I wanted a store that offered many different things, at many different price points, and something for everyone,” Dianna said. “Men love the store, young college kids can find gifts, young professionals can find furniture for their home. I also wanted to offer a lot of locally

sourced products. And if it's not local, I try to offer a variety of U.S. made, not on Amazon, small-batch products.”

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+++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Pine + Quill’s best sellers are the laser wood cut art from local woman-owned business Sunshine Letter Co, along with candles and books. “I currently have about 10 local artisans, and I also offer seasonal home decor, furniture, hand-picked antiques, handmade jewelry, organic skincare and travel maps. I think these items sell so well because they are different,

and you can't find them anywhere else,” Dianna told us. “I want this store to be a place where people can find something unique as a gift or for themselves.” Craft workshops are now being taught at the store, in the shop's roomy basement space. “It's perfect so that I can host large groups. These workshops can be private events, too, if someone has a group in mind. I'm open to anything, and would love to see more experiential events happen at the shop. So if someone is crafty or knows someone who is, they’re welcome to host a workshop at Pine + Quill. Hence....arrive...linger...experience...in the logo!” It was a challenge, but in the end, she’s thrilled with the outcome. “We knew that with West Chester being a bigger town, the opportunity for success was much greater than other nearby towns. And we wanted to be part of a borough and not a shopping center.” Pine + Quill is open Tuesdays 10am-5pm, Wednesday through Saturday 10-6, Sundays 10-5. Closed Mondays. On Instagram at pineandquillshop.

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Becca Boyd shares tips on life and cooking on her blog at homebeccanomics.com

Beccanomics

This month I’m featuring a notso-classic burger that works perfectly over greens and tastes gorgeously fresh thanks to the cilantro, scallions, and limes, as well as a “cookie” that works as well with your morning coffee as it does your after-dinner wine. Since it contains lemon, coconut, olive oil, dried cherries and pistachios, a mature palate is helpful for full appreciation. –bboyd@thewcpress.com Turkey Zucchini Burgers makes 5 burgers Sauce Burger 1/4 c. plain Greek yogurt 1 lb. lean ground turkey 2 Tbsp. tahini 1 medium zucchini 2 Tbsp. finely chopped cilantro 1 Tbsp. lime juice 1/2 tsp. cumin 1 Tbsp. lime juice 1 garlic clove, minced 2 scallions, thinly sliced 2 Tbsp. water 1 tsp. cumin 1/4 tsp. kosher salt 3/4 tsp. salt 1/4 tsp. black pepper 1/2 tsp. garlic powder 1/4 tsp. black pepper

1. Grate zucchini on the largest holes of a cheese grater, then transfer to a clean kitchen towel. Twist it off and squeeze until you can’t get another drop of water, then measure 1c. 2. Combine all burger ingredients in a large bowl and divide the mixture into five parts. Shape each part into a burger patty and transfer to a plate. 3. Heat grill pan, skillet, or grill over medium-low heat. Spray with nonstick spray. Place burgers onto pan and cook each side until golden brown. 4. Meanwhile, combine sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk with a fork until smooth. Prepare burger buns/pitas. 5. Transfer cooked burgers to buns or salad and top with sauce, as well as sliced tomatoes, lettuce, etc. Biscotti with Lemon, Coconut, Pistachios & Dried Cherries 1 c. white whole 1/2 c. shelled pista- 2 eggs wheat flour chios 1/2 c. dried cherries 1 c. cornmeal 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 c. unsweetened 3/4 c. sugar zest of 1 lemon shredded coconut 6 Tbsp. EVOO

1. Heat oven to 350. Whisk flour, cornmeal, coconut, baking powder and salt. 2. In another mixing bowl, whisk eggs, sugar, oil, and lemon zest until smoothly combined. 3. Add to the flour mixture and mix gently until almost combined. 4. Add cherries and pistachios and mix JUST until uniformly combined. 5. Line a baking sheet with parchment and shape dough into two 15x3” logs. 6. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and reduce oven temperature to 325. 7. Let cool for 20 minutes, then transfer logs to the cutting board and slice diagonally into 1/2-3/4” slices using a serrated knife. 8. Return sliced biscotti to pan, cut side up. Bake in a reduced-heat oven for 10-12 minutes or until lightly golden. 9. Remove to a wire rack to cool. AUGUST 2021 THEWCPRESS.COM

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• Custom Framing • Local Chester County Artists • Antique Maps • Restoration Services • Fine Art Printing

Visual Expansion Gallery

132 North High Street | West Chester, PA 19380 | 610-436-8697

frameshop@visualexpansiongallery.com | VisualExpansionGallery.com

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CERAMICS are Cool Escaping the Heat with an Afternoon at The Painted Plate

story JESSE PIERSOL photo ERIK WEBER

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hen the temperature pushes 95 degrees for the third day in a row, and it’s time to find something to do other than visit a gelato shop (again), shop online, or FaceTime with family members who have escaped to the shore, I did what any person entertaining a spunky 88-yearold mother would do: I clicked over to paintedplatepottery.com and reserved a 2pm slot to paint some ceramics.

“Quaint and soothing” are the words used to describe the vibe at The Painted Plate by Archie, who greets us when we roll through the front door. Archie is a member of the tiny team that does everything from helping customers to pick out just the right pottery piece and colors, to refilling paints and cleaning the store. She’s been working here for a little over a year now, officially starting in May 2020 after being hired just as COVID hit and things began to shut down. I couldn't agree more with her appraisal; indeed, the soft lighting and delightfully cool chill offer a welcome respite to the sweltering reality just

beyond the door. Inside, shelf after shelf is filled with all manner of bisque-colored figurines, garden décor, vessels, dishware, and more that beckon soon-to-be artists to claim them. Each item has a price on the bottom which includes all materials and time required to bring a piece to life, as well as firing it once completed. Behind the display area, a few families with young children sit at tables painting, quietly absorbed in creating their masterpieces. In these tranquil

environs, it is easy to

lose oneself completely

to the creative impulse. As I am chatting with Archie, my mother wastes no time in selecting a chubby round bird figurine as her project, to which I immediately object, because we had clearly decided on gnomes as our motif in the car ride over. She does not care and wheels her

Managing Editor Kate Chadwick and her daughter Maura enjoy some one-on-one time at The Painted Plate. photo ERIK WEBER rollator over to an empty table to get started. I quickly (and correctly) grab the largest gnome I can find. In these tranquil environs, it is easy to lose oneself completely to the creative impulse. Within minutes of sitting down with my tiny plastic containers of red, lime green, grey, and peach glazes, I was laser focused on creating flawless, razor-sharp edges on my gnome’s hat and beard. Like Archie suggested, I began with the lighter hues before moving on to darker shades, meticulously applying the optimal three coats that she told me made for even coverage and rich, vibrant colors. I became one with my task in the merciless pursuit of perfection, imagining my finished gnome on display not just in my flower garden, but perhaps at a regional art show, or with a blue ribbon attached at a ceramics competition. I disappeared into a state of flow

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so intense that I forgot my mother was across the table from me, trying to tell me that there were no more brushes left for her to use. Yes, that’s right. There weren’t any left, because I’d used them all myself. No matter, because I needed those brushes. For these precious few minutes, I was standing on the threshold of greatness, and this gnome perched before me would not wait.

in a lot,” she continues. “She brings in a different pattern that she saw on a mask or a piece of cloth, and she paints that pattern onto a plate. Each plate is one of each kind and she does an amazing job. They’re beautiful.”

Meanwhile, at the table behind me, a young girl painted a cat figurine with the exuberant abandon of youth, covering it with a patchwork of every color in the store.

it’s nice to see how

Archie confirms that there is no right way to approach this most important work. “A lot of people overthink it,” she muses, aptly summarizing my personal approach. “They think you can’t make mistakes, that it has to be perfect, but it’s really open to interpretation. Sometimes people think there are a strict set of rules, but it’s a lot more open than that.” “We have one customer who comes

“Everyone who

comes in is just

super friendly, and creative everybody can be.”

Tools such as silk screens, which Archie likens to in-depth stencils, allow for intricate designs. “The colors are mixed with a special paste, and the end result ends up looking super cool.” Speckled paints offer another variation, with numerous different colors swirled throughout them. Last year, COVID put a damper on business. “For a long time, it was pretty

Editor Jesse Piersol escaped the heat with her mom Christine [pictured] and painted garden decorations. photos JESSE PIERSOL quiet,” Archie recalls. “Not too many people came in, and it was only by reservation. We only had six or seven tables a day. Then, with people wanting to leave their house, they needed something to do.” She says that in the last six months business has really improved, evidenced by the hundreds of brown bags filled with completed projects awaiting pickup that line the floor by the cash register. In a few weeks, Archie will leave for college, but she’s already looking forward to her visits home when she’ll be able to work in the store again. Her favorite aspect of working here is interacting with the customers. “Everyone who comes in is just super friendly,” she says. “And it’s nice to see how creative everybody can be.” The Painted Plate is located at 104 Market Street. Call them at 610-738-0603, or visit paintedplatepottery.com.

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a p l a ce to ca ll

a n in s i d e lo o k at west c hester's r eal estate m arket fe at u r i n g gr e at o ptions at every p r ic e p oint story KATE CHADWICK


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hen assembling and titling this article, songs just kept popping into my head: “You’re My Home,” “Sunny Came Home,” “Sweet Home, Alabama,” “Take Me Home, Country Road,” “She’s Leaving Home,” “Take The Long Way Home,” “Burning Down The House.” Okay, so maybe not that last one. So integral are homes to the human condition that I could have easily listed a dozen-plus tunes in well under 30 seconds. We love the concept of home so much that we pay homage to it in song— not to mention in books, movies, and television. We have entire industries devoted to the maintenance and upkeep of them, the interior and the exterior décor, the landscaping and the driveways and the pavements, the cleaning and the furnishing and the renting and the managing and the Airbnb-ing. And, of course, the buying and the selling. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s been how important it is to love the actual space in which we dwell, because most of us have spent a whole lot of time in that space over the past 18 months— and counting. Some of us have apparently coped with being confined to our living quarters most of the time by redecorating and even renovating; the price of lumber skyrocketed some 288% between April 2020 and June 2021, according to Fortune. Online sales at Lowe’s more than doubled in the first year of the pandemic, according to CNBC, and Home Depot’s shot up by 80%. As recounted in the “What’s Growing in the Borough” story in our last issue (you do subscribe to this magazine, don’t you?), people are even gardening in record numbers, giving a much-needed economic shot in the arm to garden supply stores’ bottom lines. Sales of everything from paint to furniture to kitchen utensils have been through the roof (sorry—it was right there) thanks to pandemic-propelled home improvement projects. But still others have ditched their present living spaces altogether and struck out into home buying and/or selling territory. In some cases, that territory has been a bit far-flung. Once it became apparent to many of those in the workforce that they could work just as efficiently—if not more so—without having to commute to an

office, they set out for their vacation properties, in some cases turning them into a permanent home base. Many fled cities for seashore or country life—one need only glance at the buying frenzies in the nearby Pocono Mountains or Jersey shore points to see this phenomenon in action. Here in West Chester, the real estate market has been equally…brisk, shall we say? These are the statistics provided by the TriCounty Suburban Realtors board from March of 2020 through June 2021, as well as listing and sales statistics for the month of July as of this year as of the 28th. Here in West Chester, we wanted to find out just what the market is like for both a buyer and a seller, and we tapped the Kit Ansty Team to help. And apparently the market frenzy is happening right here as well, according to Kit. “I have been a Realtor for 34 years, and I have seen the market go up and go down—with the

Report Summary: 5/20-6-21 (for WCASD) Total Listed: 2,255 Total Sold: 1,800 Average # Sold per Month: 124.3 Average Sold Price: $479, 275 Median Sold Price: $444,500 July 2021 Current Inventory: 180 Average List Price: $657,129 Median List Price $567,450 New Listings: 170 New Under Contract: 138 crash of 2008 seeing prices in our area take their biggest drop,” he told us. “But I have never seen a real estate market like this one.” Indeed, according to Kit, it’s been breaking records at all price points. “Take June in 2020 in West Chester—we had 85 settlements. In June of this year, it was 179 settled. The average days on the market in 2020 was 47, now it’s 37.” The supply/demand disparity—more buyers than sellers, in this case—has driven the average sale price up, too. “The average sale price in 2021 in West Chester is $537,767, and in 2020 it was $454,754,” Kit said. “The current market has the lowest inventory that I can remember, but the pool of buyers is greater than ever for numerous reasons.” One of those reasons, proba-

bly the primary one, is historically low interest rates on mortgage loans. “Even though prices have risen, the payments are affordable.” Sooooo, is it a buyer’s market or a seller’s? “This is without a doubt the best seller’s market I have ever seen in 34 years,” Kit said. “The demand by buyers is off the charts, and the supply of homes available for sale is at an all-time low. That’s at all price ranges.” The result? Homes being snapped up in record time. “If you list your home at the right price and it is in excellent condition to show, you most likely will get multiple offers at full price—many times it will be over the asking price and with many of the contingencies being waived,” Kit explained. And West Chester remains a big draw to all kinds of buyers; young professional first-time buyers, empty nesters looking to downsize, families looking for room to grow, and real estate investors looking for the perfect rental property. “West Chester offers so many things that buyers of all price ranges find attractive,” Kit said. “The first-time home buyer has a large number of affordable communities to choose from. For example, Bradford Square, where you can buy a townhouse or a flat between $200,00 and $350,000, and the amenities include a community pool and tennis courts, plus walking distance to West Chester borough. The move-up buyer can find again a wide range of communities both in townhomes, carriage homes, and resale homes [that are not new construction]. The move-up buyers many times are moving because they need more space going from a smaller townhome or single. An example of a popular move-up community is Radley Run in West Chester, both in East Bradford and Birmingham Townships.” The Ansty team provided a sample of what the inventory in the WC zip codes looks like and helped us to break it down into categories: first-time buyer, with properties listed below $350,000; step-up buyer, with properties between $350,000 and $650,000; and higher-end executive offerings of $650,000 and over. All of these listings are either active (for now!), pending, or recently closed sales. Just what kind of real estate bang will you get for your West Chester buck? Let’s take a look...

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your ad here 610.299.1100

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750 E Marshall St, #710 This 1015 square foot 2BR, 1BA twostory condominium in the Goshen Commons community is within walking distance to Chester County Hospital, parks, and the downtown borough restaurants and shops, and is an easy commute to major roads, within minutes of Routes 202, 100 and the WC bypass. The unit gets plenty of natural light and is very well-maintained. This home comes with an in-unit washer/dryer, plenty of closet and storage space, and has new flooring throughout the main living area. The oversized master bedroom is located on the first level and has sliders to the porch/balcony overlooking mature landscaping and greenery. The second bedroom is on the upper level and it offers a skylight, walk-in, and utility closets. The condo’s HOA fee includes exterior and common area maintenance, lawn care, and snow removal. This condominium was listed for $215,000 and it sold for $230,000.

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1324 West Chester Pike, #110 This end-unit 2BR, 2BA condominium in Rose Hill Estates offers a private setting overlooking a wooded area and has a private balcony. The open floor plan offers a dining area as well as an eat-in kitchen with pantry. The unit has oversized windows and recessed lighting. The master bedroom has a skylight, cathedral ceiling, and huge walk-in closet. The master bathroom features a jetted tub and glass-door shower with a seat. The unit has a full-sized washer and dryer. There is access to the community pool for a nominal annual fee. The unit is within walking distance to public transport, and is perfect for either an owner-occupied or rental investment property. It’s listed at $259,900 and was pending as of press time.

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125 E Miner St This 3BR, 1BA brick row home has charm to spare and is just the epitome of borough living. It’s within walking distance to….well, everything. The interior offers exposed brick, an updated kitchen with granite countertops and tile floor, stainless steel appliances and gas stove. There is a private brick patio in the generously sized backyard, as well as a shed for storage. sThere are two bedrooms on the second floor, and a third on the third floor. The house comes with two parking spaces, and updated windows and heating system. This home was listed at $359,950 and sold for $365,000.

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508 N Brandywine This single-family home offers 3BR and 1.5BA. The full-sized eat-in kitchen has cherry cabinets, granite countertops, a breakfast bar, and there is also a large pantry. The family room has a gas fireplace, newer hardwood floors, and French doors leading to a patio in the fenced-in yard with a shed. Three goodsized bedrooms upstairs and a full bath with marble floor. There is also an attic for extra storage. There is an attached garage and a private driveway. This home is listed at $499,000 and is still available as of press time.

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1513 Links Drive This 4BR, 5BA executive carriage house townhome is an absolute oneof-a-kind property located at The Links community, which overlooks the beautiful West Chester Golf and Country Club with views of the course and pond. This home was built in 2008 and has spectacular upgrades in every large room, too numerous to mention, and is in excellent condition. There is a butler’s pantry in addition to the eat-in gourmet kitchen with island and stainless steel appliances. The home has two gas fireplaces and a fully finished basement with garage access and an outside entrance. There is a two-car attached garage, an elevator, and multiple decks on every floor for entertaining family and friends. The HOA fee includes common area maintenance, lawn maintenance, snow removal and trash removal. The home is listed at $774,000 and as of press time was pending.

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26 W Union St The ultimate in borough living, this charming and exceptional one-of-a-kind single-family home dates back to 1830. The home is owner occupied on the first floor, with two 3BR and one 2BR apartments upstairs, for a total of 10 bedrooms and four bathrooms.This spectacular home also offers an in-law suite with a private entrance. The large and beautifully landscaped backyard - a rare find within the borough - has a unique detached 2-car garage made from a reconstructed dismantled barn. This home is in a prime location, within walking distance to all of the amenities downtown West Chester has to offer. The property is listed at $1,500,000 and the sale was pending at press time.

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Far and Wide

Jamie Jones of WhirlAway Travel takes your travel queries and offers the kind of insight only someone who’s been there ( time and again) can provide. “We have not traveled since preCOVID and are in the beginning stages of planning a family trip for the winter. What can we expect?”-JC

Travel has definitely changed over the past 18 months, and I don’t think it will stop anytime soon. Depending on the type of travel you are planning, my insight varies but one thing is consistent: pack your patience! As a general guideline, I have highlighted some key points below. Passports Before you even think about planning an international trip (anywhere outside of the U.S., Puerto Rico or USVI), check your passport expiration date. Most countries and airlines require that your passport is valid for six months past the date of return. Current passport processing times are 18 weeks for routine service and 12 weeks for expedited. Getting emergency appointments is nearly impossible unless you are willing to fly across the country to get an available appointment. And yes, we’ve had clients who have done this! Flights I’ve lost track of the schedule changes and flight cancellations we’ve dealt with the past few months. Gone are the days of half-empty flights and super-cheap tickets. Additionally, the demand for business and first class has increased dramatically, driving up prices and limiting availability. Travelers want space and they are willing to pay for it. If you’ve ever considered flying private, now is the time to get serious. Yes, the cost is much higher, but avoiding the aggravation of commercial airports, schedule changes and cancellations might make the added cost worth it. International Travel After being shut down for over a year, many countries are beginning to welcome us back with open arms. Tourism is essential to many economies. For those of you comfortable with travel, autumn is a good time to go, especially to Europe. My recommendation is to not bite off too much. Entrance requirements vary from country to country and even within some countries. What is applicable the day you book that safari to Kenya could change five times before you depart. It’s wise to stay updated. That said, the feedback and personal experiences we’ve had from international travelers have been excellent this summer! Domestic Travel The demand for domestic tourism is far outweighing the supply. Are the National Parks on your must-see list? Plan now for next summer or travel during a shoulder season. Also, every industry in U.S. tourism is struggling with staffing. This, coupled with overwhelming demand is the perfect scenario to pull out some of that patience you packed! Cruises & Guided Tours Both have been the most conservative and thoughtful in reopening. Knowing the terms and conditions is important, and some have been more flexible than others with refunds and future travel credits. For many of us, travel is an important part of our lives. While it may have been put on hold for the past 18 months, we are able to get back out there and explore again. Just remember to pack that patience! —jjones@thewcpress.com

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Turks Head Music Festival is coming up! If you can spot the five differences in this photo from a previous year, email your answers to contests@thewcpress.com and you’ve got a chance to win a Barnaby’s gift certificate.

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Summer Hits List DJ Romeo curates a list of the tracks you’ll be singing all month long The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations in the next few months. You’ll soon know them by heart and play them ‘til they’re tired. And, you can now stream the list in its entirey at: www.thewcpress.com/playlist @DJRomeo24 | www.DJRomeo.fm

STAY – The Kid LAROI, Justin Bieber Love Again – Dua Lipa Fancy Like – Walker Hayes Take My Breath – The Weeknd Just Feels Tight – FISHER Skate – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic Better Days – Dermot Kennedy Lying – Dan + Shay Drive – Clean Bandit, Topic, Wes Nelson You Are My High – DJ Snake Okay – X Ambassadors Don’t Go Yet – Camila Cabello Just A Mess – Tones And I Lost – Maroon 5 Lifetime – Swedish House Mafia, Ty Dolla $ign, 070 Shake Off Of My Mind – Icona Pop, VIZE You for Me – Sigala, Rita Ora Happier Than Ever – Billie Eilish Where Are You Now – Lost Frequencies, Calum Scott Tears For Later – Don Diablo, Galantis Coloratura – Coldplay Beautiful – Anne-Marie Don’t Wait Up – Shakira Be Where Your Feet Are – Jason Mraz Can You Handle My Love?? – WALK THE MOON Summer’s Not Ready – Flo Rida, INNA, Timmy Trumpet Kiss My (Uh Oh) – Anne-Marie, Little Mix Not Into You – Brooksie Smells Like Teen Spirit – Malia J Solar Power - Lorde

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Profile for The WC Press

The WC Press - August 2021  

Voice of the Brough

The WC Press - August 2021  

Voice of the Brough

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