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A P S Z SINCE 1948

BEVERAGE A West Chester Tradition Locally owned and operated since 1948, Spaz Beverage has been providing Chester and Delaware Counties with a great selection of imported, specialty and domestic beer. We also offer a variety of soda, mixers, spring water, mineral water and non-alcoholic beer.




Mon-Thurs 8:30am-9pm Fri & Sat 8:30am-10pm Sunday 10am-6pm


1015 West Chester Pike (610) 696-6320 www.spazbeverage.com

This is Your Computer

This is Your Computer With A Solid State Drive

Any Questions? Ask Your Doctor about Upgrading to an SSD Today

In the middle of the block at 28 South High Street  computerwc.com  610.431.0400  support@computerwc.com



New Year’s

Cocktail Party Countdown to 2014 Dress to Impress!

 Tuesday, December 31st from 9pm-1am  Extensive open bar including Champagne specialty drinks  Fine hors d’oeuvres  Champagne toast at midnight Purchase tickets by 12/15: $50 per person Purchase tickets after 12/15: $60 per person


ike P r e t s e h C 1227 West 0 8 3 9 1 A P , r e t West Ches com . e n o t s y e n wcblar 222 5 6 3 4 0 1 6 THE WC PRESS | VOICE OF THE BOROUGH

The Press

May all your Christmas lights stay lit, and all your presents be a hit. May joy and laughter deck the halls, and may no one burst your Christmas balls. Publisher Dan Mathers Dan@thewcpress.com

Graphic Designer Nazarena Luzzi Castro nazluzzidesign.com

Advertising Manager Nick Vecchio Nick@thewcpress.com

Columnists Chelsea Durning cdurning@thewcpress.com DJ Romeo romeo@thewcpress.com Jennifer Ozgur jozgur@thewcpress.com Clare Haggerty chaggerty@thewcpress.com Jeremy Malanka jmalanka@thewcpress.com

Copy Editor Kehan DeSousa kdesousa@thewcpress.com Contributing Editors Jesse Piersol jpiersol@thewcpress.com Contributing Photographers Luke Darigan lukedarigan.com Luke O’Brien snappedstudio.com Editorial Intern Gabrielle Dallazia Photography Intern Annie Tennyson

Published By The WC Press 13 South Church Street West Chester, PA 19382 thewcpress.com 610-344-3463

The WC Press is a monthly magazine distributed free of charge to more than 250 area businesses. For a free digital subscription, visit thewcpress.com. For more information about specific distribution locations visit thewcpress.com/distribution.

Worth Noting... Our no-nonsense table of contents

11. Event Photos Our favorite images from the past month 19. Owner of the Month A chat with Cyndi Meadows of Penwick Design 23. Holiday Shopping Guide You best bets for local shoppping 39. Giving the Gift of Giving with the Community Foundation 43. Makeover Peter’s Salon styles a lucky lady 47. Local Talent Outside-the-box baker Maryellen Bowers 49. Holiday Activities Six festivities for you and the family 57. Bartender of the Month Ryan Crammer of Pietro’s Prime 58. An American Christmas from the outside looking in 63. The Look Tish Boutique’s best two looks this month 65. Games Give PhotoHunt and IconPop a shot DECEMBER 2013 | THEWCPRESS.COM


Open Year Round!



Family owned and operated for 57 years! 703 East Gay Street | 610-696-4678




hill C A ane , C C Y dy am IDA s Can e cre and L O h i a ic dy H ont vanill t can ks! R U M O the of t twis chun Y d f n ER rd o ble rmin olate D OR Blizza A peppe choc


From the Editor...

So many thank yous, only 550 words WHEN I FIRST MEET READERS, I’m often asked the same question: “How long have you been publishing the magazine?” The answer always seems to surprise people, me most of all–this magazine feels like it’s been around for so much longer than two years. It’s hard to believe just how much the publication has evolved since its inaugural issue in March of 2012. A significant part of that evolution is due to the fact that–if I’m honest–I really wasn’t all that good at my job when we first started. I knew a bit about how to write stories and place pictures, but that was about all. It was equal parts confidence and hubris that led to launching this magazine, because–in retrospect–I didn’t fully grasp the scope of the job. Looking back on that first issue, I feel a bit nostalgic… and also a bit embarrassed. Scrolling through it while writing this column, I noticed seven errors by the time I got to page four. Sure, I was crushed for time, there were no editors but me, and I hadn’t slept for two days by the time we went to print, but that’s nobody’s fault but mine. I was in over my head. I’m sure there’s still plenty for me to learn as this company and this magazine both grow, but I’ve learned more in the course of the last two years than at any other point in my life. I’ve learned that filing tax returns as a business is quite a bit different than handling personal finances, that working out of your spare bedroom causes serious cases of cabin fever, and that hiring a copy editor is a really, really sound investment. But, most importantly, I’ve learned that the success of any venture is less about the qualifications of any single individual and more about the abilities of the people with whom he surrounds himself. When we launched this magazine there were three names in the masthead. Today there are 14. Still, when I look back on March 2012, what I find most striking is what hasn’t changed. There were 43 advertisers in the first ever issue of The WC Press, and 32 of those advertisers are still in the magazine you currently hold. To me, that number is more flattering than any balance sheet that’s ever come across my desk... not that I yet fully understand business accounting. So, to finish up the year, I just want to give a thank you to those businesses that’ve been with us from the very beginning. It’s their support that makes this magazine’s existence possible. And who knows? If they stick it out with us for the next 10, 20, 30 years, I might just become half decent at my job. Here’s hoping. -DM Thank you to our founders’ club... Alibis Cafe, America’s Pie, Avante Salon & Spa, Barnaby’s of America, Benny’s Pizza, Burrito Loco, Calista Grand, Dave’s Automotive Repair Enterprises, Doc Magrogan’s, Halladay Florist, Import Intelligence, Kildare’s Irish Pub, Kooma, Landmark Americana, Limoncello, Mitch’s Gym, State Farm Insurance Agent Nancy Ellis, Nich Boutique, Nonna’s, Pietro’s Prime, PJ Whelihan’s, Ryan’s Pub, Salon Chemistry, Saucey, The 5 Senses, The Note, The Social Lounge, Toby’s K-9 Kamp, Vudu Cafe & Lounge, West Chester Computer Doctors, William J. Shehwen, esq, and Zukin Realty

Sunday Fun Day!

Burger Night Specialty Burgers Starting At $5 Wings $7 All Day Brent Christopher Acoustic At 9:30PM

Monday Burger Bonanza

Specialty Burgers Starting At $5 Ed Lover Hosts Bar Bingo & Dance Party $2.50 Stella Artois Pints All Day

Wednesday Wing Night

10 Wings, 8 Flavors, All For $4 Kids Eat Free Off The Kids’ Menu $2.50 Corona Bottles All Day Quizzo & DJ At 9:30PM

Oven Pizza Thursdays

Pizzas Starting At $5.99 $2 Miller Light Bottles All Day Acoustic & DJ At 9:30PM


Chef Special Beginning At 3:00PM $3 Blue Moon Pints All Day DJ Infamos At 9:30PM Acoustic Jam Happy Hour 5-8PM


Chef Specials Beginning At 3:00PM $3 Shocktop Pints All Day Schaffer Sound DJs At 9:30PM





Shopping locally isn’t just a nice idea–when you live in West Chester, it’s easy to make that a reality. And, to make it even easier, downtown businesses stayed open late and offered opportunities to meet the artists and artisans. photos by Annie Tennyson


Mary Manning, Bill Blazak and Elizabeth Taylor at Visual Expansion Gallery

Megan Kely, Jerry, Allen Blumenauer at Moonflower

Cyndi Meadows and GiGi Singh at Penwick Design

Tanya Zotava at OBVI

Karen Cavin, Maggie Hanna and Renee Guide at The 5 Senses

Mimi Zaborowski at Nich


www.pjspub.com | 610-235-4200 1347 Wilmington Pike, West Chester, PA

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 DECEMBER 2013 | THEWCPRESS.COM




West Chester shut the streets for a parade of marching bands, soldiers and military vehicles in honor of our veterans. The parade culminated in an honorary ceremony on the courthouse steps, hosted by Mayor Comitta. photos by Annie Tennyson

Megan, Nathan, Doug, Katerina, Mike, Jaysen, Anthony, Ben

Brian Lefko




24-HR GYM 造 HAGANAH F.I.G.H.T 342 Hannum Ave, West Chester, PA MrStuartsMartialArts.com 610.888.8212





Goblins, ghosts and ghouls (and more than handful of those guys from “Duck Dynasty”) roamed the streets of West Chester during the annual Halloween parade which loops its way through the borough. photos by Annie Tennyson

Emma Kleckner, Stan Halladay, Jake Laws, Jane Halladay, Max Mullertz

Ellie and Abby Snyder, Emma Schinski

Christopher Camphere, Benjamin Dailey





Faunbrook B&B Guest stays d WeddinGs d events For 2 to 100 Guests

Book Your Holiday Parties Now! 699 W. Rosedale Avenue • West Chester, PA 19382 610.436.5788 • 800.505.3233 • www.faunbrook.com

We are Insurance. We are Farmers. Brandt van Naerssen agency owner Business 610-386-7326 Fax 610-441-7583 Cell 610-745-3276 bvannaerssen@famersagent.com

1000 Continental Drive, Suite 500 King of Prussia, PA 19406-2820 www.farmersagent.com/bvannaerssen



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

Owner of the Month Cyndi Meadows runs the cute, classy and always cool Penwick Design Story Dan Mathers Photo Luke Darigan When was Penwick opened? I bought the store in 2006. The previous owner was vague about when it opened–there was an owner before her–but she had it about 18 years. Have things changed since you’ve taken over? When I first took over the store, there were two baby stores in town, so I kept the children’s items light, but now that those stores are gone, I have greatly expanded my baby clothing and gifts. Also, the store was originally called ‘The Hayloft,’ then ‘Penwick/Hayloft.’ When I came in I dropped the name ‘Hayloft’ and added ‘Design’ because of my background. What is your background? I was educated as an interior architect and worked as the director of interior design at Cathers & Associates where I became an associate. I left when I purchased the store. Why did you decide to make that move? In the position I was in, it was more management, and the projects I was involved

in required a lot of travel–I was in Florida and New Jersey quite often, which made it hard on the family. I wanted something different, something where the whole family could be involved. What was the transition like? I loved it. Part of the stress in my old job was that I had clients demanding things, plus I had people working for me, and I had to make sure what they were doing worked. It had become a stressful job, trying to meet the demands of both clients and employees. So what is the best part about running Penwick? Oooh. Hard to say. I’d probably say the interaction with the customers, particularly with our custom invitations. I’m usually meeting people at a very exciting time in their life: a new baby is coming, or they’re getting married, and I get to enjoy that occasion with them a little bit as I get to know them. The other great part is being able to go find new and exciting items to bring into the store–something innovative and fun. What are some of the most innovative and fun items in the store? Well, we brought in a brand new line called Vapur. They replace all the water bottles we’re wasting. It’s made in the US, BPA-free, and you

can roll it up and put it in your purse when it’s empty. We also have pottery vessels that are a combination of candles and potpourri. They’re beautiful to look at, there’s no flame and they’re filled with fragrant oils that last more than a year. People use them in vacation homes to keep them fresh, and realtors use them to make homes smell more inviting. We also try to highlight local artists. Any local artists of note? Well, we carry West Chester tiles by Rhoda Kahler, which has been a great relationship. She takes an impression of the words West Chester, PA, off a pipe, utilizes imagery that feels like West Chester, then finishes each with different glazes. We also have GiGi Singh who makes beautiful, handmade clay jewelry. You’re very involved with all things local, right? One thing that’s been a benefit of owning Penwick and working in West Chester is that it has allowed me to become more involved in this community. I’m the chairman of the BID marketing committee, and I’m on the Historic Preservation Awards committee, which has been going strong for three years now. I’m also involved with a newly formed group called The Bride Guide to West Chester, where we highlight businesses, including Penwick, who are involved in the wedding industry. We’ll be doing a bridal show at the historical society on Sunday, February 23. WCP



Excite all of your senses

at West Chester’s most alternative & unique boutique! A vast array of “one-of-a-kind” products, including...

Hip Clothing • Bags & Accessories • Jewelry Galore • Incense/Oils/Candles • Tapestries/Blankets • Eclectic home/Dorm décor • Hemp products • Grateful Dead, Bob Marley & ‘60s Memorabilia • Tie Dyes & Cool T-shirts • Hand-blown glass & local artwork • Tobacco accessories • Groovy Gifts Gift Certificates Available

130 W. Gay Street 610-431-6607 www.moonflowershop.com A portion of our proceeds go to environmental and pro-peace charities! All major credit cards accepted. Open 7 Days A Week

10% off purchase with student ID! SINCE 1992

Talk to your neighbors, then talk to me. Nancy Ellis, Agent 1515 West Chester Pike West Chester, PA 19382 Bus: 610-692-4398 nancy@nancyellis.net




See why State Farm® insures more drivers than GEICO and Progressive combined. Great service, plus discounts of up to 40 percent.* Like a good neighbor, State Farm is there.® CALL FOR QUOTE 24/7.

*Discounts vary by states. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company State Farm Indemnity Company, Bloomington, IL

The Take-home Chef Chelsea Durning is a cook by trade, and she’s not shy about sharing her wisdom with our readers ‘TIS THE SEASON FOR giving… and sweets! Cookies are the perfect thoughtful gift to give around the holidays, so with that in mind I’ve assembled a list of some of my absolute favorite tasty treats. Try some of these recipes as gifts for your loved ones–I promise they’ll love them, and it won’t hurt your wallet. Mint Meringue Trees 2 egg whites; ¼ tsp mint extract; ½ cup sugar, granulated; green food coloring; ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips In a large bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the mint extract, and gradually add the sugar and beat until stiff peaks form. Fold in a drop of the food coloring to make the desired green. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper. Using a pastry bag with a star tip, pipe 3-inch tree shapes onto the lined baking sheet. Decorate the cookies with the chocolate chips. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until set. Triple Chocolate Yule Logs 1 ¾ cups all-purpose flour; ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder; ¾ cup powdered sugar (10x/confectioner’s); 1/8 tsp salt 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened; 1 tsp vanilla extract 1 cup white chocolate chips; 1 cup chocolate jimmies Combine flour, sugar, cocoa and salt; set aside. Beat butter and vanilla in a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy. Gradually beat in the flour mixture until well blended. Cover and chill the dough for about 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Form dough into 1-inch balls. Shape the balls into 2-inch logs about a ½ inch thick. Bake for 12 minutes. Cool completely. Melt the white chocolate chips on high for 45 seconds. Stir chips until completely melted. Dip each end of the cooled cookies into the white chocolate and then the chocolate jimmies. Snowmen Cookies 1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese, softened; ¾ cup (1 ½ sticks) butter 1 cup powdered sugar (10x/ confectioner’s); 2 cups flour ½ tsp vanilla extract; ½ tsp baking soda Cream together the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla. Add flour and baking soda and mix well. Shape the dough into an equal number of ½ and 1-inch balls. Using one small and one large ball for each snowman, place balls, slightly overlapping, onto an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten to ¼ inch thickness with the bottom of a glass that has been dipped in flour. Bake cookies at 350 degrees for 19-20 minutes. Cool completely. Sprinkle the snowmen with sifted powdered sugar. Decorate with gels, mini chocolate chips and colored jimmies. cdurning@thewcpress.com










Artifact BOUTIQUE 200 WEST GAY STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 610–431-7111 shopartifact.com

Burgundy Artifact Dress


Artistic EYEWEAR 127 NORTH HIGH STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 610–738–7150 artisticeyewear.com

Handmade Wooden Frames


Blink BOUTIQUE 136 WEST GAY STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 610–431–2212 shopblink.com

BCBGeneration Tweed Dress

Looking for the perfect holiday dress? Look no further: this burgundy dress with a jeweled neckline is sure to knock Santa right off his sleigh!

$59.00 Drift frames are handmade in America by a small team of engineers and artisans from reclaimed wood salvaged from barns, yachts and more. They’re exclusively available at Artistic Eyewear.

$595.00 This is the perfect dress for any of your holiday festivities! The BCBGeneration black and white tweed mini with black leather trim detail and cute side pocket will really stand out in any crowd.






Butterflies & BLOSSOMS 3 NORTH FIVE POINTS ROAD WEST CHESTER, PA 610–430–7601 butterfliesandblossoms.net

Children’s Toys


Christines‘ CONSIGNMENT 105 WESTTOWN ROAD WEST CHESTER, PA 610–692–9375 christinesconsignment.com

Designer Jewelry & Shoes


Electric AVENUE 323 EAST GAY STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 610–692–3600 electricavenuemusicwc.com

Vinyls & CDs

Butterflies and Blossoms offer a wide range of new and gently used toys for all ages. In addition to Melissa and Doug they carry unique toys from 2013 toy of the year Cloud B, plus Orb Factory, Kinetic Sand and many others.

$5-$45 Get your favorite designer shoes without paying designer prices. These Gucci black and gold sandals go great with a J. Crew matte gold flower necklace with teardrop crystals and matching bracelet.

$19-$300 This season, you can choose something classic, or brand new. Pick up The Beatles’ Live at BBC Volume II or Arcade Fire’s Reflektor on vinyl or CD for your favorite music lover.



29 S. Church Street 610-696-5200 www.halladayflorist.com

Our Family, your town, your florist since 1957




Halladay FLORISTS 29 SOUTH CHURCH STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 610–696–5200 halladayflorist.com

Seasonal Holly Vase


Kaly CLOTHING 37 WEST GAY STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 610–436–8272 kalyclothing.com

Faux-Fur Scarves


Kreutz Creek VINEYARDS 44 EAST GAY STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 610–436-5006 kreutzcreekvineyards.com

Holiday Wassail

A seasonal bouquet makes a great centerpiece or gift. This arrangement of tulips is accented by holly, a traditional Christmas plant.

$13.99 These American-made Dana Herbert scarves are manufactured in Portland, Oregon. They go perfectly with any coat, or you can spice things up and use them as an accent over a sweater.

$40.00 This white wine, made with Niagara grapes and pumpkin, will be a hit this holiday. The Holiday Wassail is spiced with cinnamon and cloves, and can be served warm or chilled.



One bite and you’re hooked

ramsheadbarandgrill.com 40 East Market Street 484-631-0241

It’s hard to beat our California BLT with tots and an IPA 30



Merchant of MENACE 1351 WEST STRASBURG ROAD WEST CHESTER, PA 215-704-7419 themerchantofmenace.net

Reimagined Mittens


Moonflower BOUTIQUE 130 WEST GAY STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 610–431–6607 moonflowershop.com

Reiki-charged Candles


Nich BOUTIQUE 29 SOUTH HIGH STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 610–436-8181 shopnich.com

Aztec Cardigan

These one-of-a-kind mittens, hats and scarves are beautifully crafted from “gently worn” woolen sweaters. That’s right–paper and plastic aren’t the only materials worth recycling!

$38.00 Reiki is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing, and these candles have been infused with a variety of positive energies from peace to abundance.

$7.00 Stay warm in style with this Aztec print cardigan. Wear it alone on a crisp fall day, or layer under a heavy jacket during a colder winter night.



Visit our new location

148 W Gay St warm coats, cozy sweaters, holiday dresses, affordable gifts and more! Bring this ad in for 10% off one full-priced item through December

@ sa Fo lo ll nc ow he fo m ri ist ns ry an p d irin de g si st gn yl s es


A top-notch salon with a very real feel.

610-585-0102 salonchemistry.net You can find Salon Chemistry on Middle Alley between Walnut and Matlack Streets. Just head down Market Street and Salon Chemistry is in the lot to your left, behind the Salvation Army.




Obvi BOUTIQUE 30 SOUTH HIGH STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 610–696-2477 obvionline.com

Urban Expressions Handbag



Personalized Plate


Penwick DESIGN 132 NORTH HIGH STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 610–431–2739 penwickdesign.com

Personalized Mug/Tumbler

You can never have too many bags. These vegan leather handbags make practical gifts that are not only stylish but also friendly to the animals and the environment.

$92.00 Select from hundreds of different pre-sculpted clay products, and go at them with a brush and some paint. What’s better than an artistic gift that’s both personal and useful?

$19.50 For the always-on-the-go person who has everything, these customizable mugs/tumblers are the perfect gift. Choose a pattern and color and personalize it with an initial, a name or a short phrase.



Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday 10am-6pm Tuesday, Thursday 10am-7pm

Sunset Hill Jewelers

Custom designed wedding rings with quick turnaround times

(one to three weeks!)

23 North High Street West Chester, PA 610-692-0374 sunsethilljewelers.com




Spaz BEVERAGE 1015 WEST CHESTER PIKE WEST CHESTER, PA 610–696-6320 spazbeverage.com

Samuel Adams Winter Lager


Sunset Hill JEWELERS 23 N HIGH ST WEST CHESTER, PA 610–692–0374 www.sunsethilljewelers.com

Layered Necklaces & Dangle Earrings


The 5 SENSES 133 WEST MARKET STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 610–719–0170 the5senses.com

Serving Bowl Set

A seasonal staple, this ruby-brown malt blend is brewed with spices that are sure to put you in the holiday mood. Subtle hints of ginger and cinnamon will warm you up on a cold winter night.

$34.79 You can never go wrong with jewelry! Pair a long necklace that can be worn multiple ways with a pair of dangly earrings and your shopping is done!

$750.00+ It’d be hard to have the perfect holiday dinner without a set of matching serving bowls. These bowls can be used just for the holidays, or all year round!






Tish BOUTIQUE 138 EAST GAY STREET WEST CHESTER, PA 610–692–7500 tishstyle.com

Tibi V-neck Dress



West Chester Borough Map


Honeyjawn UNIVERSITY 13 SOUTH CHURCH STREET WEST CHESTER, PA honejawnuniveristy.com

Crew-neck Sweatshirt

Like everything from Tibi, this cobalt blue v-neck dress is fashionforward yet classic. Its metallic shine cool winter colors makes it the perfect piece of festive style for the holidays.

$395.00 For the aspiring cartographer (or maybe just a collector): a map of the West Chester Borough. This framed piece measures 20”x20” and is originally from the 1873 Witmer Atlas.

$195-$295 Hoodies are so 2013. Nowadays all the cool kids at Honeyjawn University keep a collection of crew necks. This comfortable sweatshirt is versatile–wear it casually by itself or layered over a collared shirt.



Happy Holidays!

From our families at Zukin Realty to yours. We are grateful for our friends, family and community.

610-696-0953 ZukinRealtyInc.com 38


Giving the


of giving From

the second floor balcony of the Chester County Community Foundation's headquarters in the Lincoln Building, downtown West Chester looks like a postcard. Historic buildings stand in stalwart counterpoint to the smartphone-wielding businesspeople bustling on the sidewalks below. It's easy to imagine that this is the entirety of West Chester life, especially with the nostalgia-tinged glow of the holidays. But underneath the veneer lies a well of need that the Chester County Community Foundation has been working to fill since 1994. The Community Foundation has built a substantial amount of money over time from the contributions of people of significant wealth and modest means, and uses the income from these funds, in the form of grants, to meet the community’s charitable needs. "Chester County Community Foundation was started as a vehicle to help people in Chester County care about their community," says President and CEO Karen Simmons. "We figure out ways to connect people with causes that mat-

Considering the works of the

chester county

community foundation

By: Jesse Piersol

ter." Currently, there are about 365 of these “causes that matter,” with charitable funds worth more than 40 million dollars. If you're anything like me, it's always a struggle to choose gifts for other people that aren't the things you would actually like to receive. Although my 81-year-old mother really does enjoy her growing collection of high-end bicycle clothing, why not let the holiday spirit shine another way this year? Whether you want to support education, the arts, the environment, or human services, Chester County Community Foundation

These featured organizations are just a sampling of how you can keep your money in West Chester and your heart in the right place.

has a cause for you. These featured organizations are just a sampling of how you can keep your money in West Chester and your heart in the right place. You can find a full listing of CCCF's causes at www. chescocf.org.

ACT in Faith of Greater West Chester This new coalition of churches of all denominations within the West Chester area aims to help those who have "fallen through the cracks" of other avenues of physical, financial, and spiritual assistance. Their web site features stories about people such as Walter, who needed a little help in order to afford the cataract surgery just out of the reach of his disability income. ACT in Faith covered the payment, and Walter got his muchneeded surgery. How to Help

Donate via the web site: www.actinfaithgwc.org Send a check

ACT in Faith of Greater West Chester 212 S. High St., West Chester, PA 19382 DECEMBER 2013 | THEWCPRESS.COM




Brandywine Valley Association If you're passionate about the environment, then you might consider a donation to the Brandywine Valley Association. Just a stone's throw down route 842 outside the borough, the BVA maintains open space for the people of West Chester. Additionally, they host programs for kids to learn about the environment. As Karen relates, "The kids get to go wading in streams, to see how erosion and pollution affect the environment." How to Help:

Donate via the web site: www.brandywinewatershed.org Send a check:

Brandywine Valley Association 1760 Unionville-Wawaset Rd., West Chester, PA 19382

Volunteer English Program of Chester County Located just four blocks up Market Street from the Lincoln Building, this tiny grassroots organization matches volunteers who want to be English tutors with speakers of the more than 40 different languages being spoken in Chester County today. Most of the people that VEP supports are educated adult refugees and immigrants who need to acculturate to life in Chester County. How to Help:

Donate via the web site: www.volunteerenglish.org Become a volunteer:

Click the Volunteer link from the home page.

Chester County Art Association

West Chester Public Library

If you’re a patron of the arts, you’ll find few midsize organizations that do as much for the community on a modest budget as the Chester County Art Association. From their headquarters on Bradford Avenue, they host art shows, as well as art classes for children and seniors. In the summer, they bring teens in to mentor younger kids through their Teen Volunteer Program.

"Libraries have gotten so defunded by the government lately that they really benefit from donations," Karen says. Contributions are especially needed so the library can purchase large print books and iPads for seniors, as well as books and magazines in Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.

How to Help:

Donate via the web site: www.chestercountyarts.org Send a check:

Chester County Art Association 100 North Bradford Ave., West Chester, PA 19382

West Chester Food Pantry The West Chester Food Pantry offers a concrete way to help needy families in the community. "Food banks are already seeing an upsurge in demand as a result of the cuts to the federal food stamp program," explains Karen. Donations of funds, food, and your volunteer time are always welcome. How to Help:

Donate via the web site: www.westchesterfoodcupboard.org Send a check:

West Chester Food Cupboard 545 E. Gay St., West Chester, PA 19380

How to Help:

Donate via the web site: www.wcpubliclibrary.org. Take the tour:

Support fundraising efforts of the library by enjoying its annual Holiday Home Tour on December 7.

If cash is tight this year, you can always volunteer your time or expertise to a worthwhile organization. If, on the other hand, you've got an extra couple million dollars that need a good home, consider starting your own fund through the Chester County Community Foundation. For my part, I'll be making a donation on my mother’s behalf to one of these funds this year. I'm sure my mom will love it. Along with her fancy new merino wool bike jersey. WCP DECEMBER 2013 | THEWCPRESS.COM


B es

ppy and Healthy Holid a H a r o f s ay Se he as t Wis

from all


pa S n ea your fri ends at Peter’s Salon & Europ

1009 West Chester  Pike 610-436-6464  peterssalon@aol.com



Makeover photo Andrew Hutchins

Peter's Salon & European Spa transform a lucky mom. Laurie, a wife and busy mother of three, wanted a striking, short hairstyle that is easy to maintain with an interesting color that catered to her fine hair, which tends to lose volume and lay flat. Her stylist, Tina, knew that Laurie’s fine hair would work much better as a short textured style that allows for lift and volume. She added interest by creating a slightly “tilted” appearance by styling her hair back on one side. Tina chose a deep, rich auburn red for Laurie’s base color and low-lights and then added blonde and strawberry blonde highlights to create dimension and accent the texture of the cut. The style was finished using their exclusive Muti-Dimensional Primer for added volume as well form paste to showcase the separation and finally shaping spray for hold. Tina also used their Keratin Color Lock treatment to add extra shine and prevent fading. Skincare specialist Jessica did Laurie’s make up using soft apricot hues to complement Laurie’s natural color. Pastel caramel eye make up and glossy coral lipstick finish this perfect holiday look. WCP



presented by High Street Caffe

Happy Hour

7 Days a Week creole fusion gourmet takeout takeout craft beer $35 prix-fixe menu Jazz on Tuesdays 322 s HigH street 610-696-7435

HigHstreetcaffe . com 44


Children In Tow Jennifer Ozgur is a mother, wife and teacher who still finds time to get out and about with the family HAPPY HOLIDAYS. SEASONS’ Greetings. Winter Break. All innocuous terms coined to avoid offense. But let’s be honest: it’s code for, “Merry Christmas, unless you’re Jewish, then happy the-word-that-either-starts-with-a-Hor-a-Ch-I-can’t-quite-pronounce.” When did all of this generic good wishing begin? My formative years took place in Allentown. I was in all the music groups, and I remember actually having Christmas concerts with, like, Christmas music. You know, “Joy to the World” and all that. Then came the token Hanukkah songs, and they were travesties. Trying to find rhymes for words like 'dreidel' and 'latke' results in very bad lyrics, and the average country bumpkin can’t quite master the incidentals (or accidentals, if you are a band geek) of the Phrygian scale. As a result, the melodies were either butchered or conveniently scrubbed of all ethnicity. Yes, it made my Jewish friends happy to have their faith recognized in the programs, but they were also confused. Why Hanukkah? It’s not a big deal in Judaism. Meanwhile, the Christian students crooned Mel Torme’s "White Christmas" and flashed “Now THIS is music” glances toward our Jewish brothers and sisters. In an attempt to unite, the decision made by the administration actually created a rift. I was Catholic at the time, so I didn’t think much of it. However, there were the few Indian and Asian students who took a very nonplussed attitude to the whole issue. Nowadays, I see where they were coming from; I am now Muslim. Muslims don’t have a December holiday–we go by the lunar calendar for holidays–so you’re likely not wishing me happy holidays. I also doubt most people have Gita Jayanti (the Hindu holy day) in mind when they offer generic tidings of great joy. How about Buddhism? Native Americans? Start wishing people a prosperous solstice to honor the Pagan celebration, and see the looks you get. The Freethought Society recognized this conflict among various believers and non-believers. They erected a “Tree of Knowledge” on the lawn of the Chester County Courthouse in 2007 with secular books ornamenting the display. The tree made its appearance for three “holiday” seasons during Old Fashioned Christmas weekend, respectfully residing next to Baby Jesus and a menorah. I found it to be refreshing to see several beliefs represented–those of the New and Old Testament and one of a belief in the beauty of human ideas. I enjoyed the acceptance of different lifestyles represented in front of the iconic images of American freedom. Peace on Earth; justice for all. That is, until 2010, when the county commissioner decided to ban the installation. Since then it has become a battle among, well, I can’t honestly say. Is it the God-Fearing against the Atheists? The Abrahamic vs. the Polytheists? Church vs. State? Right vs. Left Wing? All I know is that around the time of the New (solar) Year, people find themselves wanting to acknowledge each other in the spirit of peace on Earth. I think it would be nice to see the corner of High and Market as a true communal representation of good will toward Men. And women. And transgendered. And… jozgur@thewcpress.com



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Local Talent Maryellen Bowers is the funloving baker behind Cakes & Candies by Maryellen Story Dan Mathers Photo Luke Darigan When did you start baking? I’ve been around baking since I was two, with my Nana. I started baking when I was 17. Why did it take so long for you start on your own? I wanted to be a hair dresser, then an interior decorator, then I went to school to get my occupational and physical therapy degree. I didn’t really want to bake. What changed? I was raised in a family– as cliché as it sounds–where every woman learned how to cook and take care of the man in her life. I was the black sheep; I broke the mold a little bit. But when I was 17 I made a Winnie the Pooh cake, and I had a lot of fun. From there I started catering parties and would put out dessert spreads and was told, “This is what you should do.” I thought it was crazy–this was just something I did for fun–but the good comments kept coming. At the time I was doing payroll invoicing for a cable company and baking here and there, and I realize baking was what I loved to do,

so why not try to make a career of it? Do you ever get high on your own supply? I don’t like sweets. Sweets give me headaches, so I don’t even taste test the things we make. I just know when it’s right. I think I have a gift, and I like to use my gift to make other people happy. How long ago did you turn pro? It was March 2011 that the retail location opened, but I’ve been plying my trade since I was 17. Would you consider baking to be a form of art? 100%. You’re sculpting, you’re creating, you’re painting, you’re molding– you have to be a visionary, and you have to have imagination. I mean, yes, you can be a basic baker who puts bagels in the oven and calls it a day, but for the items we create, you have to have imagination. A lot of what we do is outside the box; it’s not basic birthday cakes. That’s where the artistic ability comes in. I may not be painting on a canvas, but I’m painting on your buttercream. What’s the best part of the job? The best part of the job, now that we have a retail location, is working with my customers–taking the ideas they bring to me and creating their vision, whatever the specifications. I also love going to events and seeing smiles on people’s faces. I like giving to and helping raise money for charity, and having this location has enabled me to do that. Plus, it’s nice being my own boss–I have creative rights.

What are some of your best selling items? Always wedding and birthday cakes. But we also do really fun things like the Bliss Cookies–double stuff cookies, like an Oreo inside a peanut butter cookie. Cake pops are a huge seller, so are our caramel apple dumplings and our chocolate centerpieces. What’s the most creative thing you’ve ever put out there? In my opinion, the most creative thing we ever designed was for the Red Ball last year, a Mad Hatter-themed Tea Party for 1,200 people at the Please Touch Museum. We prepared petit fours, fruit tarts, tiramisu, chocolate strawberries, marshmallows shaped like mushrooms, cake pops, chocolate bars and a Mad Hatter cake. I have to bring this up: I understand our own DJ Romeo is going to be spinning on your float in the Christmas parade. Excellent choice. We’re really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a wild month. Why’s that? Well, besides the parade, we also have pictures with Santa Claus at our shop on Saturday, December 14, from 10am-3pm, which is free. And, gearing up for the holidays we have corporate gigs, holiday gifts, Yule logs and we’ll be making a bunch of our famous The Pike cakes: vanilla cake with an apple pie inside, and a chocolate cake with a pumpkin pie inside that’s all encased in buttercream. Ohmygod… Yeah. It's that good. WCP






wic d a Ch by Kate


re you feeling it? You know, it. The magic of the season, the partridge in your pear tree, the hot in your toddy, the sugar plum in your … fairy. No? Well, it’s bearing down on us, whether you’re ready for it or not. Yes, there’s too much to do and not enough time; there will be boring office parties and dysfunctional family gatherings to attend and hideous holiday sweaters to wear–or, worse yet–to behold. Oh, and eggnog. It’s easy to get so wrapped up (no pun intended) in all the madness that we run right past the simple, special things that make the holiday season so darned festive. But don’t fret, because we’ve got tidings of great joy right here: six things to do in West Chester this month that will get the bah out of your humbug. So take a break from the shopping and the wrapping and the planning and the running around, and breathe. Then do one of these things, or better yet, do them all. And smile–Santa is watching, dammit.

Annual Holiday Home Tour You say your house isn’t ready for the holidays? That’s okay! Get the heck out of yours and get inside some beautiful homes that ARE all dolled up for the season during the West Chester Public Library’s 3rd Annual Holiday Homes Tour. This year’s tour will feature nine beautiful private homes, built between 1787 and 1959. Two West Chester University properties will also be included: the Alumni House and Tanglewood, the home of the university’s past, present and future presidents (kind of like those Christmas Carol ghosts). The self-guided tour is on Saturday, December 7, DECEMBER 2013 | THEWCPRESS.COM




from10am-3pm, with a snow date of December 8, and it’s a walking tour–perfect for burning off Christmas cookie calories. WCPL’s Victoria Dow tells us that folks often make a day of it, touring houses in the morning, taking a break for lunch in town, and then visiting the rest. You can purchase tickets at the West Chester Public Library, online at wcpubliclibrary.org, or at the Chester County Book Company. The cost is $30 in advance, $40 the day of the event, and proceeds benefit the library’s ongoing programs and events (which should score you some brownie points with the guy in the red suit). Then there’s the added and pretty priceless bonus that it may kick your own holiday home-sprucing into high gear. For more information, call 610-696-1721 or visit wcpubliclibrary.org

"It's A Wonderful Life : A Live Radio Play" at Chester County Historical Society


no matter the stresses this time of year can bring, the touching and funny tale of George Bailey’s back-from-the-brink Christmas Eve never fails to charm.


town with singers from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Performing Arts (hum along under your breath and let them do the heavy lifting). There is a suggested $5 donation for the performance (more brownie points with Santa!) www.uptownwc.org www.chestercohistorical.org

The Nutcracker

at WCU presented by Brandywine Ballet

There’s a reason the classic film It’s a Wonderful Life is such a perennial holiday favorite; no matter the stresses this time of year can bring, the touching and funny tale of George Bailey’s back-from-the-brink Christmas Eve never fails to charm. The Uptown! Entertainment Alliance, which has been working to bring a theater to the borough since 2010, presents this engaging saga re-imagined as an ensemble 1940s radio broadcast, and Uptown!’s Angela Scully tells us that last year’s Christmas production played to a full house. The play, written by Joe Landry, is being presented at the Chester County Historical Society (225 North High Street), which is across the street from the borough’s future multi-use theater site, the National Guard Armory. The performance is at 6pm on Saturday, December 7, and immediately following the show, you can join in some candlelit caroling through

If you’ve never seen a production of The Nutcracker at Christmastime, well… really, what the heck is wrong with you? Please don’t die having only experienced Tchaikovsky’s iconic holiday music as the soundtrack to a car commercial. The Brandywine Ballet brings this classic event to their resident theater, WCU’s Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall, from December 13-22. That’s eight performances, with morning, matinee and evening shows, so you have no excuse to miss out. Trust us: you really don’t have to be a ballet aficionado to enjoy this magical production. Brandywine Ballet’s Logan Sossman suggests kicking your experience up a notch by attending one of the Nutcracker Tea events prior to or after select performances, where the whole family can enjoy tea sandwiches, desserts and hobnobbing with the dancers at  DECEMBER 2013 | THEWCPRESS.COM




Breakfast With Santa

WCU’s beautiful Phillips Memorial Library, adjacent to the concert hall. Kids will get a gift bag, and the library provides the perfect backdrop for photo ops with the Sugar Plum Fairy and her sidekicks. Ballet tickets are $18-42, Nutcracker Tea tickets are $25, and both can be purchased online at www.brandywineballet.com.

Mars Drinks Old-Fashioned Christmas Parade If this doesn’t do it, we’re afraid there may be no hope for your Christmas spirit after all. We’ve got your ten drummers drumming here at the Annual Mars Drinks Christmas Parade, along with your pipers piping and probably a few ladies dancing, too. If you prefer your holiday events to have that straight-out-of-a-Rockwellpainting feel, this is your gig: small-town charm plus world-class parade equals lots of happy elves. Now in its 35th year, this annual favorite hits all the right notes, and Mark Yoder of the Greater West Chester Chamber of Commerce tells us that last year’s parade drew nearly 35,000 spectators, “7-10 people deep the entire milelong parade route.” That’s a lot of holiday spirit! The parade steps off at 7:15pm on Friday, December 6 at New and Market Streets. Check the West Chester Chamber of Commerce website (www.gwcc.org) for the new parade route, parking restrictions, and an agenda of holiday events in town all weekend long. Make sure to visit the Mars Drinks tent for your hot chocolate fix, hoist your favorite little one onto your shoulders, and enjoy.

Parade-watching is an appetite-builder, so how about breakfast with Santa the next morning? Sponsored by the West Chester Parks and Recreation Department, this hot and cold full breakfast buffet takes place at the Chester County Historical Society on Saturday, December 7. Seatings are at 8:30 and 10am, and the cost is $14 per person. Children aged 2 and over will get a gift from Santa Claus, as well as the opportunity to discuss the all-important list with him, while Mom and Dad get a great photo op for the Christmas card. This event will sell out, and registration is necessary - no walk-ins. For more information, call 610-436-9010, or visit www.west-chester.com/recreation.php

Gingerbread House Making Wait: an activity for the kids that will keep them busy for more than five minutes, exercises a motor skill or two, provides killer photo opportunities, and at the end, you get a sugary treat? Where do we sign up? At the West Chester Municipal Building, 401 East Gay, where West Chester Parks and Recreation will hold Gingerbread House Making from 2-4pm on Saturday, December 7. The cost is $12, all materials are provided (plus extra candy for munching), and Parks and Recreation employees and volunteers will be on hand to assist with all the architecture. For more info about the event, call 610-436-9010, or visit www.west-chester.com/recreation.php Christmas comes but once a year, boys and girls, so please: put on your hideous sweater, hoist your eggnog, and take in the sights, the sounds and the splendor of the season in West Chester. And breathe. Don’t forget to breathe. WCP DECEMBER 2013 | THEWCPRESS.COM


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In Pursuit of Food Jeremy Malanka is back on the beat, eating the best the borough has to offer and serving up his opinion TAKEOUT AND DELIVERY FOOD can be dull and inconsistent. Long delivery times, cold meals and poor quality of service seem to be the standard in many places. Luckily, West Chester offers some great services that make delivery a breeze and give you access to restaurants with incredible variety and customer satisfaction. OrderUpWC.com makes the process unbelievably simple. The website has almost every delivery restaurant represented, and quick Yelp reviews help you choose that perfect meal to order in. Everyday deals and free stuff make ordering over the phone seem so 2012 (unless, of course, you’re using their mobile app). In my opinion, the best delivery spot in the area is America’s Pie. Their menu is extensive and offers everything from tacos to gourmet pizza to the best sandwiches in the borough. My favorite is the Ellis Island: fried eggplant, soppressata, caramelized onions, sharp provolone, and pesto mayo on a long roll: the perfect amount of flavor and crunch to keep me ordering it whenever I’m in the mood for a sandwich. If that’s not your bag, try one of their 80-plus other sandwiches, hoagies or wraps. If you can’t find something you like, they pledge to make any modification to their food until it’s exactly what you’re craving. Couple that great service with a true passion for food and you can tell why they’ve won Best of the Main Line two years in a row. When it comes to Mexicali, we have a couple of great options in town. Burrito Loco, which has only recently started offering delivery, is a great addition to my order-in options. They offer standards like giant burritos, cheesy nachos, and crispy tacos, as well as more exotic fare, like my personal favorites: chimichangas. I am pretty sure God himself created these fried delights. Think of a massive burrito with all the fixings (guacamole, beans, rice, salsa, and chicken) that’s been fried and topped with lettuce, tomato and sour cream. ¡Es loco guay! Since they’re family-owned, the customer service is great, and they pack all their deliveries with lots of napkins (often forgotten in West Chester) and house-made hot sauce. Best of all, they’re the fastest delivery in town. Baco Taco does not deliver, but they offer quick and easy takeout as well as an ultra-convenient takeout window. Again, great service makes ordering super simple and fun. The first time I went, for example, I asked the staff to choose for me. They selected the chicken Santa Fe burrito, loaded with an array of flavor and perfectly cooked, moist chicken. The best part was the cinnamon cream served on the side, which I could eat every day with absolutely anything. To wash it all down they chose the Plain Jane smoothie, which had fantastically fresh berries to cut the spice of the burrito. Baco Taco is my new go-to, post-bar takeout spot. With the cold weather keeping us indoors, we are lucky to live in a borough with such a variety of food. Sure, not everyone offers menu items and service as great as these places. But with the order in bar set so high, I’ll bet other restaurants will start to follow suit, leaving customers convinced that bad delivery options are so last year. jmalanka@thewcpress.com



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  PietrosPrime.com pietrosprime.com/facebook



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

Bartender of the Month Ryan Crammer tells us it’s all about good food, good music and great service at Pietro’s Prime Interview Dan Mathers Photo Luke Darigan How long have you been bartending? Just about 11 years. And how long have you been here? Since August of ’07. Were you anywhere in particular before here? I worked at TGI Fridays–that’s where I got my start. I met the owners of Pietro’s, Sean and Marisa, before they opened this spot, and they insisted that I come work for them. And I’m glad I did; I love the people I work with, and most of them have been here since we opened. Really? Low turnover seems rare in the restaurant industry. There’s a great vibe here. We get through each shift together. There’s definitely a family feel. Is that just because you’ve worked together for so long, or does it have anything to do with the restaurant itself? It all starts from the top, from the owners, the managers. This restaurant is the succes-

sor to the Giunta’s Market, and John, our manager, was involved there. Coming here, he kept that family vibe going, as did the owners. What have been some of your best experiences here? I’m a big fan of the live music: Glenn Ferracone, Paul Klinefelter, the Pompeo Brothers. Between the food, the drinks and the entertainment, the quality of what we’re putting out is really high, and it makes it great to work in that environment. Anything coming up? Well, right now we have John Grecia every Wednesday; he’s an incredible piano player. We also have a Glenn Ferracone gig every other Thursday that we’re trying to work out now. The crowd feeds off the vibe of that great music, and starts grooving together. That’s what it’s all about. What’s the crowd like? It’s a pretty broad demo, from young professional on up. We don’t get the 21-, 22-, 23-year-old, young, rude crowd in here. I do a good job being tough on them. And, when the state police know you’re tough on carding and you don’t have that kind of crowd, they stay off your back. In six years we’ve never had the police here. No underage drinkers, no nothing. It’s responsible service.

I find a good way to judge a crowd is by asking the bartender what three drinks he serves the most often. For us, it’s vodka, whiskey or beer, whether it’s a martini, a Manhattan or one of the craft beers on draft. Likewise, I think you can judge a man by what he drinks. What do you sip on when you’re not behind the bar? Last night it was an 1800 margarita with a splash of Carlino’s fresh-squeezed orange juice. Other than that, maybe a shot of Crown Royal, a glass of wine with dinner, and I like good beer. There are a lot of options in this world — don’t limit yourself. As someone who likes good beer, are you the one who selects what comes in on draft? Our bar manager Andy and I kind of do it together. We encourage our reps to bring us samples so we know what we’d like to bring in. More so then beer, it’s a real hard afternoon when a wine rep comes in with a case of different wines and they want us to try all of them. Sounds brutal. You know. Some would call it a fringe benefit, but here it’s work. Are those the only benefits of the job? Like compared to a nine-to-five job? I mean, I prefer it. As hard as you work, as much pressure as there can be on you, you can still have fun bartending. If you know what you’re doing, and you do it with discipline, it’s barely work. WCP





’ C

hristmas was cancelled in my country.

Actually, it was more than that: Where I grew up, Christmas was illegal. I was born in Belarus, one of the former Soviet Socialist Republics. The USSR was atheist by government mandate. Soviet leaders considered religion to be a major obstacle to building a truly communist society–an ideal they found more important than making the cut to paradise. Still, Soviets managed to turn the situation around and began celebrating New Years as if it were Christmas. As a little kid, I remember my dad showing up a couple hours before midnight on December 31 with a Christmas tree. We wanted to exchange gifts and needed something to stick them under—an evergreen somehow seemed perfect, even if many of us didn’t remember why. Right after the fall of the USSR, each former republic decided to incorporate religious holidays back into the calendar. Belarus went even further, and now we celebrate both the Catholic and Orthodox Christmases, on the December 25th and January 7th. It would be difficult to explain to an American child why Jesus was born twice (or why he has to die twice come Easter), but for us it

seemed normal; we already celebrated two New Years-both old and new-so we might as well double up on Christmases. But, despite the newfound freedom of religious celebration, the big holiday remained the first day of the New Year, when children ran to Christmas trees to find what Santa had brought. Even today, more than two decades after the fall the the USSR, people in Belarus still haven’t caught on to the idea of the grand Christmas celebration and all the commercialism that comes with it. I have lived in the US for almost six years now, and I’m thankful there is only one Christmas here. The holiday is all-consuming. It takes over radio waves, it takes over TV stations, it takes over every shelf in every store… and it seems like it’s starting earlier every year. By now I have figured out that I should repot my plants before the end of September, because in early October my go-to store, Big Lots, starts breaking down the gardening section and replacing it with holiday decorations. And, because the Christmas season is somehow five months long, my plants have no choice but to spend half the year in pots that are simply too small. Belarusians start their gift shopping a day or two before New Year’s Eve and finish it just in time to stuff our faces with fried potatoes and caviar.






I find myself buying necklaces and earrings to be shipped to distant relatives in Florida whom I’ve never met (and likely never will)

I understand that some people like to be ahead of the game, but I have always wondered, who actually buys Christmas decorations in September? Is there a pressing need for wreaths while late-season flowers are still blooming? Do these same overachievers get their Halloween costumes ready in June and buy their turkey in August? Another thing that starts a little too early for my taste is Christmas music. By late October many stores start replacing their Top 40 or techno playlists with The Jackson 5’s version of “Frosty the Snowman” and the Beach Boys crooning “Little Saint Nick.” Whether I choose to acknowledge it or not, Christmas songs make me feel bad about buying another pair of jeans when I should seriously start thinking about saving up to buy gifts for others. [If we’re cutting for space, this might be the ‘graph to lose, as the ‘early’ theme is already brought home with the Big Lots anecdote.] In many ways, my husband is blessed to have a large extended family, but come Christmas time, that blessing can seem like a curse. Since his mother is remarried, every year there are three Pollyanna lists–from his father’s, mother’s, and stepfather’s family– that we have to tackle. are very excited to distribute among the members of the clan. Even long-term girlfriends and boyfriends of family members cannot escape the draw and get sucked into a mandatory gift exchange. While each family is kind enough to set a maximum dollar amount for their Pollyannas, I’ve found Americans treat this number much like they do the speed limit: the goal is to get as close to the max as you can. In Belarus the gift exchange is more symbolic. A tree ornament, candle or new lipgloss would make for a good gift for the closest of family. Here I find myself buying necklaces and earrings to be shipped to distant relatives in Florida whom I’ve never met (and likely never will).


The only thing we count in Belarus is the last ten seconds until the New Year, so we can take a break from vodka and open that bottle of champagne we’ve been saving.

Through all of this, I’m confronted with a hundred generic Hallmark movies about Santa not making it on time to distribute all the presents. There’s even an official countdown to Christmas on the Hallmark channel. The only thing we count in Belarus is the last ten seconds until the New Year, so we can take a break from vodka and open that bottle of Champagne we’ve been saving. And, we really have only one film everyone watches. It doesn’t involve elves, or talking snowmen, or deers with glowing noses. No, Russian-speaking families gather together to watch a movie about four guys who get so drunk on New Year’s Eve that they each wake up in the wrong city without a clue where they are. Whether I like it or not, there is an undeniable appeal to the way Christmas is celebrated here. Months of pessimism and aggravation, and yet Christmas morning I’m as excited as anyone else to get my hands on the gifts I’ve so specifically requested. I’m excited to hold my husband’s hand as Santa passes in the Old Fashioned Christmas Parade, to sip mulled wine and spiced cider with friends, and gorge myself on helping after helping of rich and decadent food. Maybe it’s the food, maybe it’s the gifts, maybe it’s something in the air, but despite the frustration, despite the money spent and the hours wasted, when the season suddenly comes to an end, I miss it, and I’m left patiently awaiting it’s arrival the following August. WCP

– Tanya Zotava





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


The Look

THE LOOK Outfit One

Outfit Two

Black Skinny Denim

Black Pencil Skirt with Vegan Leather detail

by Current Elliot – $182

White Tank by Vince – $48

by Lucy Paris – $60

Cobalt Tweed Blazer

Black & Ivory Colorblock Turtleneck

by Rebecca Taylor – $495

by Milly – $275

Story Ashley Tischler Photo Luke Darigan

FROM THANKSGIVING DINNER TO HOLIDAY PARTIES, having the perfect outfit makes the season. With a focus on classic silhouettes, timeless lines and feminine accents, designers such as Rebecca Taylor, Milly, and Current Elliott did it right this season, keeping it simple and chic. Tish knows how many gatherings, parties and events every woman attends during the holiday season. So, what’s their advice for finding the perfect look? Seek out pieces with an unexpected touch, whether it is the black pencil skirt with a vegan leather trim or a blazer with a slight peplum detail, it’s a great way to put a trendy twist on a classic style. Whatever you chose this season, be sure to shine.WCP





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Classic Characters

Can you name the characters in eight classic Christmas films from these awkward images? If so, email your answers to contests@thewcpress.com





WE ARE PROUD TO OFFER UP A print version of everyone’s favorite bar game... and you won’t have to pay 50 cents. You can actually WIN money. Compare the two photos at right. They may look the same, but there are seven subtle differences between the two. Find those seven differences and identify the items that have been changed. Then send an email to contests@thewcpress.com listing those items. You’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card to a local business. Winners will be chosen at random, and their name will be posted to Facebook along with the solution at the end of the month. So make sure to like us and follow along if you want to play. Enjoy!

Can you spot the seven changes to this hilarious moment?


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.





Modern Xmas Mix DJ Romeo curates a playlist of modern Christmas tunes... and by modern we mean made within the last 20 years IT’S THAT TIME OF YEAR again: when you can’t turn on the radio, walk into a retail shop or flip on the television without being bombarded with corny Christmas tunes. There must be more than 1,000 different versions of “Silver Bells,” “Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer” and “Let it Snow” available on iTunes. Christmas music is an indispensable part of pop culture. We all know the classics by Frank Sinatra and Bing Crosby, so I decided to go with a more modern vibe with my list this year. And yes, in my world N’SYNC is still considered modern. Romeo@thewcpress.com

N’SYNC - “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” Taylor Swift - “Last Christmas” Trans Siberian Orchestra - “Carol of the Bells” Michael Buble - “It’s Beginning to Look a lot Like” Chris Brown - “This Christmas” Coldplay - “Christmas Lights” John Legend - “O Holy Night” Rihanna - “I Just Don’t Feel Like Christmas Without You” Dog is Dead - “Christmas Wrapping” Selena Gomez - “Winter Wonderland” Carrie Underwood - “Do You Hear What I Hear” Lady Gaga - “Christmas Tree” The Killers - “Don’t Shoot Me Santa” Death Cab For Cutie - “Baby Please Come Home” Fiona Apple - “Frosty the Snowman” Jason Mraz - “Winter Wonderland” Sean Kingston - “The Little Drummer Boy” Best Coast & Wavves- “Got Something For You” Julian Casablancas (The Strokes) - “I Wish it Was Christmas Today” Christina Perri - Merry Christmas Darling Justin Bieber - “Mistletoe” Dave Matthews Band - “Christmas Song” Britney Spears - “My Only Wish (This Year)” Beyonce - “Silent Night”





Profile for The WC Press

The WC Press Holiday Issue - December 2013  

Voice of the Borough

The WC Press Holiday Issue - December 2013  

Voice of the Borough