The WC Press Holiday Issue - December 2014

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DECEMBER 2014 THEWCPRESS.COM

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Computer Support (clothing optional)

Introducing RemoteWC!

Remote technology support services you can trust. (Anytime, anywhere, in any attire)

Schedule your remote session today at RemoteWC.com 4

Brought to you by West Chester Computer Doctors, located in the middle of the block at 28 South High Street  610.431.0400  support@computerwc.com THE WC PRESS | VOICE OFwww.computerwc.com THE BOROUGH


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The

Press PUBLISHER Dan Mathers dan@thewcpress.com ADVERTISING MANAGER Nick Vecchio nick@thewcpress.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Julie Ryan jryan@mathersproductions.com Nazarena Luzzi Castro nazluzzidesign.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jesse Piersol jpiersol@thewcpress.com Kate Chadwick kchadwick@thewcpress.com CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Andrew Hutchins afhutchins.com

“If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.” -Bob Hope COLUMNISTS Becca Boyd bboyd@thewcpress.com Diane LeBold dlebold@thewcpress.com Brad Liermann bliermann@thewcpress.com Jennifer Ozgur jozgur@thewcpress.com DJ Romeo romeo@thewcpress.com Published By... Mathers Productions 13 South Church Street West Chester, PA 19382 mathersproductions.com 610-344-3463

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

Worth

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Our no-nonsense table of contents

BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Talking good food and great people at The Blarney Stone THE MAKEOVER Calista Grand works a color miracle HOLIDAY CHEERS A teetotaler’s guide to a drinking town. THE LOOK Tish Boutique keeps you ahead of the fashion curve OWNERS OF THE MONTH Trevor Shylock and Matt Kay of East Coast Float Spa HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE The best of what to buy in the borough THE GUY’S GUIDE Six guys, six shops, and six gift choices guaranteed to please PHOTO HUNT Your favorite game returns to these pages

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From the

Editor

“The excellence of a gift lies in its appropriateness rather than in its value.” –Charles Dudley Warner

Earlier this year I decided I was ready to cut cable. It seemed like the wave of the future, and if the wave of the future saw me sending less money to Comcast every month, I was all about it. To fill the void where endless channel surfing once thrived, I came up with a hodgepodge of tech tools and apps. I ran Netflix through my XBox, streamed HuluPlus through my laptop and set up Amazon Instant Video on my Roku. I cut the commercials by a third, my entertainment bill in half, and was introduced to Amazon Prime. Prime gave me access to a whole host of original programming, free streaming movies and TV shows, and—best of all— free two-day shipping on just about any product I could imagine. I’m not much of a shopper, but have you spent any time on Amazon? It learns your habits and tastes and keeps offering you amazing deals on things it already knows you want. After watching a POV video of drones racing through a forest that reminded me of the speeder bike chase in Return of the Jedi, I became slightly smitten with the idea of owning a quadrocopter of my own. Now if I pop on over to Amazon, I’m greeted with awesome deals on all things remote-controlled. It’s kinda weird that they’re pushing women’s wigs on me—I swear, it was for a Halloween costume—but for the most part they’ve been pretty spot on. For me, Mr Shop-local-support-local-buy-local, this posed a moral dilemma. By early November I’d found myself thinking, “Huh. I bet it’d be super easy to just Amazon all my Christmas purchases.” I even created a Google Doc with embedded links to the remote-controlled Nerf gun towers I was gonna buy my brothers. Boy, this was going to be easy! But then, when has the act of buying things ever really been all that difficult? Sure, you have to get off the couch and hit the mall, but then you’ve got 100 stores within walking distance, and all you have to do is grab what you want and swipe your plastic. Done. The difficulty in Christmas shopping is in finding the right gift for the right person, and while the internet’s got me pretty well figured out, it’s yet to lend a hint as to what my hippie sister’s into. Then I started assembling the Holiday Shopping Guide. It wasn’t until I was walking through actual, physical stores that I started to get actual, worth-while ideas. Yes, Chelsea would love these earrings made by Ethiopian fair-trade laborers; yes, she’d totally be into these essential oils hand-gathered in Temple Mountain Sanctuary. I even found things I know my mom will love… but she actually reads this column, so I’m not going to give anything away. I’m all about supporting local, but I’m also a realist and a citizen of the digital age. Some people on my list will be getting gifts that ended up on my doorstep 48 hours after I clicked a link. But not all of them. Some will be getting gifts I hand-picked, gifts that a small business owner helped me select, not some algorithm. I know that I’m going to take great pride in doling out those gifts to the people I love... just as soon as I finish binge-watching this next season of The Walking Dead. –dan@thewcpress.com

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Bartender of the

Month

PHOTO Andrew Hutchins

INTERVIEW Dan Mathers

Sean Evans talks good food and great people at The Blarney Stone. How long have you been bartending here? I started out at the door around four years ago. I was student teaching at the time and wanted to make a little extra money by working the door here. I ended up getting some shifts behind the bar training and just took off with that. I guess you were a student at the time? Yeah. And are you teaching now? I teach in Downingtown School District—I’ve been doing that for three years. I teach learning support. What does that mean? I help kids with reading, writing, math needs and behavior needs on a daily basis. It’s small group instruction.

That’s a full-time job, right? Yeah. That’s full time. What time do you go in to work? I have to be there by 8:20, but I go in early. I like to get there around 7:00 to 7:15. I like to get my stuff done early and be prepared for the day. Do you work any shifts here during the week? Yeah. I work on Monday nights, wing night. I’ve been doing that for a bit. How does that work out with getting up in the morning? It works out fine. I’m only here on Monday nights for a few hours—it’s Fridays that I’m here all night. It doesn’t interfere—it works out really well, and I enjoy it. Do you find it tempting to maybe start bartending more, or are you committed to your field? I’m committed to my field—teaching is my career and my passion. I love bartending on the side—you meet tons of great people, especially here at the Blarney Stone. We have great regulars who come in all the time and new faces, too. I’ve met tons of great people from all kinds of different occupations and lots of guys who share lots of the interests that I have.

Have you made real friends through the job? I have. We have an awesome group of guys who all play fantasy football together, and I look forward to that every year. Do you get a lot of people coming in here for NFL games? We do. It’s great in here because we have $2.50 Miller High Life during the games, plus ¢50 wings. Our wings just got voted the best in Chester County; if people haven’t checked those out, they should. Any other food you recommend? Evan, our chef, does a fantastic job back there. Everything is great. The wings, the roast beef, the burgers. You can’t go wrong with a burger. Got some good specialty burgers? Our Bushmills cheddar burger is a big one. It’s got cheddar cheese, bacon, Bushmills barbecue sauce… it’s a good, good burger. Still, my favorite is just a plain butcher burger. Get the chipotle mayo and the baconnaise on the side. I’m sorry, baconnaise? Baconnaise. Is that what I think it is? It’s a bacon mayonnaise. I guess it’s mixed together? I’m not a chef—I’m just the bartender, but it’s good stuff.

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Home

Becca Boyd has a passion for good food

Beccanomics

The recipes I’m sharing with you today represent my holidays, past and present. Though that orange box of gingersnaps has a certain charm, this recipes makes cookies that are spicy, buttery, soft and chewy—a holiday explosion of flavor I’ve perfected over the seasons. The fried dough represents my past: sneaking pieces of fried dough at the family’s Feast of the Seven Fishes is a memory so entrenched I can only hope one day it will be recreated by my own children. Please top them with roasted long hot peppers and sharp Parmigiano Reggiano—that taste is my gift to you this holiday season. Soft and Chewy Gingerbread Cookies makes 4 dozen 2/3 c. molasses; 2/3 c. brown sugar; 2 tbsp. ground ginger 1 tbsp. cinnamon; 1 tsp. allspice; 1 tsp. cloves; 1/2 tsp. salt 2 tsp. baking soda; 1 c. butter, cut into tablespoons 1 egg, lightly beaten; 3 3/4 c. flour (more for kneading/rolling) 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 2. Combine molasses, brown sugar and spices in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to boil. 3. Remove from heat and stir in baking soda – mixture will bubble. 4. Stir in butter, 1 piece at a time. 5. Add egg and stir. 6. Add flour and salt. Stir. 7. Spread 2-3 tbsp. of flour on a clean counter top and turn out dough onto counter. 8. Knead dough gently, about 1 minute to form cohesive ball. 9. Divide ball in half. Refrigerate one half. Roll out dough on lightly floured countertop to 1/4 inch thickness, and cut into shapes. 10. Transfer cookies to baking sheets lined with parchment paper. Space 2 inches apart. 11. Bake for 6-8 minutes. Cookies will look puffed but should be set before pulling out. Repeat with second half of dough. 12. Let cool slightly and transfer to wire rack to cool completely. Fried Dough – Zeppole makes 12-16 four-inch pieces 1/2 c. lowfat milk; 1/2 c. + 2 tbsp. cool water 3 c. all-purpose flour; 1 1/2 tsp. salt; 1 package rapid-rise yeast 1 tbsp. sugar; 2 tbsp. olive oil; 2-3 c. oil/shortening for frying Kosher or regular salt, for sprinkling 1. Heat milk over medium heat in a small saucepan until bubbles break the surface. Pour into liquid measuring cup and add water. 2. Combine milk/water, flour, salt, yeast, sugar, and olive oil in a large bowl. 3. Stir until combined and then knead with dough hook until smooth, tacky and elastic (this will take about 5 minutes in standing mixer on medium speed). 4. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray and transfer dough to bowl, turning to coat in oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise at room temperature about 1 hour. 5. When ready to fry, divide dough into two-inch balls and stretch into half-inch thick, 4-inch wide disks. 6. Heat either vegetable oil or shortening over medium heat until it reaches 350 degrees or test the oil with a small amount of dough. If it bubbles, it’s probably ready. 7. Place disks into hot oil. Flip once the bottom is golden brown. Cook until the second side is golden brown and remove to a paper towel-lined plate; immediately sprinkle with salt. bboyd@thewcpress.com

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The

Makeover

After

Going from dark brunette to snowy blonde with Calista Grand Genessa just recently got married and was ready for that post-wedding change. She got it thanks to a new product called Olaplex and the talents of stylist Ashley McLaughlin and makeup artist Kate Ray. Olaplex allows you to do what used to be nearly impossible: go brown to platinum in one day. The process required three applications of the Olaplex mix, and the look was finished off with a white silver glaze to cancel out any warmth. For the cut, Genessa received layers, going from short to long from the crown of her head, to give volume at the top without removing too much weight through the length. To avoid drawing attention away from her new hair, her makeup was mostly light, crisp colors. With a black gel liner, a little wing at the ends of her eyes, and a medium coverage foundation and peach blush. A shimmer highlight was added to her cheeks and a brunette brow powder to make her eyebrows seem thicker and fuller. The look was finished off with a light peach gloss to add shine without too much color.

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Home

Diane LeBold and the West Chester Food Co-Op examine local food production and bring eaters closer to the source of their food

Grown

The term “urban agriculture” may seem like an oxymoron, but it’s a working reality in some neighborhoods in Philadelphia. And, if the nascent West Chester Food Co-op has its way, it may someday become a reality in the West Chester community as well. First, a little background: Although denizens of the digital age may tend to think of urban agriculture as a new phenomenon, it’s been around since the first human settlements. When I did a quick check on Wikipedia, I found that ancient urban farms were established in places as disparate as Egypt and Machu Picchu. Stepping forward a couple thousand years, extensive urban farms were common in 19th-century Paris and other European cities. In the 20th century in the U.S., war-motivated Victory Gardens produced more than nine million pounds of produce a year. To find out how urban agriculture works today in our region and what it can add to a community, I met with Andrew Turner, a leader of the West Chester Food Co-op and a farm educator for Weaver’s Way Community Programs (WWCP) in Philly. Andrew said the WWCP urban gardens are not quite the same as what we generally know as “community” gardens. Community gardens are usually divided into small plots, each one tended by an individual. In contrast, each of the four neighborhood gardens connected to WWCP is tended communally and the produce is donated to food banks and other community food resources. Andrew noted that the main purpose of the WWCP gardens is to educate the community. Schools near the gardens regularly bring students to learn about—and get hands-on experience with—things like planting, harvesting, composting, seasonal food, and medicinal plants. Students range in age from kindergarten through middle school, although, Andrew said, university students occasionally come to the gardens. Andrew, who came to the U.S. from Scotland in 2007 to do graduate work in community planning, and interned at the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in Kimberton for two years after he completed his degree, thinks the benefits of participating in urban agriculture are both tangible and intangible. “At the WWCP gardens, we do a lot of education and vocational training. And the community benefits from the food we produce,” he explained. “But I think there are benefits beyond the physical part of what we do. In many ways, participating in the process of growing and harvesting food is an inspiration for people. And it brings people together in a way that builds a stronger sense of community. Everyone who participates gets something out of it.” Suzanne Adams, chair of the WC Food Co-op Steering Committee, agreed. “I think urban gardens help connect citizens with their food sources, encourage healthier eating and strengthen community bonds through shared effort,” she said. “And, like an urban garden, a food co-op is also about building community. So the West Chester Food Co-op will be much more than just a grocery store.” dlebold@TheWCPress.com

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holiday

Cheers

R

by Kate Chadwick

The Teetotaler’s Guide to Navigating the Holiday Season In a Drinking Town

aise your glass—it’s the most wonderful time of the year. The family, the friends, the gifts, the music, the cookies... dammit, man, the cookies! Also, the expenses, the obligations, the excess calories, the stress. Wait... raise your glass, but don’t overdo it. Many a holiday office party has been ruined when Stevens from sales spent too much time at the punch bowl and insulted the boss’s wife. That cup of cheer may seem like a must-have when we’re out celebrating the season, but there’s a fine line between “cheer” and “obnoxious.”

Whether you’re not indulging in alcoholic beverages because you’re expecting, you’re the designated driver, or, like this reporter, you’ve had quite enough for a lifetime, thank you, your favorite bars around West Chester have got you covered, and there's no need to stand around sipping on a ginger ale all evening. We hit seven local bar/restaurants in a weekend, with a little holiday shopping wedged in between, to find the best booze-free beverages around. So on your marks, get ready, and go - the leg work’s been done for you. You’re welcome.

when he’s had too much cookies and milk.”

Pietro's Prime

O

ur first stop was Pietro’s Prime, where bartender Derek Krissinger awaited us. He’d clearly given some thought to the season at hand and we have to say he set the bar pretty high with his N/A creation, the Mrs. Claus, telling us, “Someone has to help Santa

Derek started by placing a drop of grenadine in the bottom of a martini glass, then blended cranberry juice, whipped cream, and a splash of cherry juice until he had a pink, creamy consistency. He then topped it with more whipped cream (he had us at whipped cream, seriously), and then, at the suggestion of manager-slash-elf John Boland, sprinkled it with a smattering of cinnamon for that holiday touch. A sprig of mint, and voila, a confection that was both tart and sweet. We enjoyed this concoction (really, really slowly—it was that good) with Pietro’s Cheesesteak Pizzoti, lovely little meaty egg rolls served with a side of spicy sriracha ketchup for dipping. Typically, we’d enjoy a cheese steak appetizer with an N/A beer, and Pietro’s offers Buckler, which is made by Heineken. Either way, visit Derek for the perfect break to keep you sated and clear-headed between rounds of holiday shopping. 

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kildarE's

A

h, Kildare’s! For a nice Irish girl like yours truly, a place like this feels like home. But how does one hang out at an Irish pub without having a wee drop? The easiest way to do it is to simply order your favorite cocktails, minus the alcohol. Oh, and bring some friends

(somehow, at this point in our tour, there were four of us), because you will definitely want to order the Irish Nachos that manager Erin Wallach hooked us up with. They’re made with potato chips, naturally. They were delicious, and well, we did get chicken on them, so nutritious, too. Kinda. Anyway, Erin furnished our group with a virgin Bloody Mary, a virgin Bay Breeze, and a virgin version of Kildare’s 007, the latter of which is typically made with or-

N

Landmark

ange vodka, orange juice and seltzer; in this case the drink was simply OJ and seltzer, which is really quite refreshing. And of course, if you did decide to go the N/A beer route at Kildare’s, Kaliber is what you’ll find in any proper Irish bar, and it’s what you’ll find here. It’s a lovely taste of the Old Sod, with the added bonus of not turning your brain to mulch if you need to keep your wits about you. Because Santa is, of course, watching.

ext stop on our N/A WC tour was Landmark, which was bustling with a lively Saturday lateafternoon crowd. Bartender Jules Burch and manager Rob Stuart put their heads together and served us up a Very Merry Punch. This pint glass of sunshine consisted of a combination of orange juice, pineapple juice, and a splash each of sour mix, club soda, and grenadine. Garnished as it was with a cherry and a wedge of pineapple, then plunked down on Landmark’s swirly, soft green marble bar, it looked just as festive as it tasted.

mark's appetizer menu, which were served up with cheese sauce and a spicy honey mustard. (Also? They’re gigantic, so bring someone to help you eat them, and we loved the faux newsprint paper they were wrapped in.)

For an accompanying snack, we opted for the Soft Pretzel Sticks from Land-

Properly carb-fueled, we set out for our next stop... 

By the time you read this, though, Landmark will have rolled out some new winter menu items worth trying. We’re particularly excited about the Shepherd’s Pie, which would be a perfect match with their N/A beer offering, Kaliber. It’s made by Guinness, and, if you’re not familiar, it’s a sturdy, full-flavored brew, as N/A’s go.

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Barnaby's

before even walking up to us by being engrossed in the November issue of The WC Press when we arrived).

Anyway, Barnaby’s was our first stop on Day Two of our N/A WC tour, where we sat with the lovely and charming Caroline Angelucci (who scored points

We weren’t up for an N/A beer at that hour, but if you happen to be when you go, Barnaby’s offers both Kaliber and O’Douls. Caroline proceeded to further ingratiate herself by serving up a smooth, silky, and dare we say even breakfast-appropriate Virgin Orange Creamsicle. (What!? It had orange juice.)

S

ometimes—even if you’re not a drinker—you can end up sitting at a bar before your first meal of the day. It happened... don’t ask how.

Ram's Head

M

aybe bartender Amy Sumser had her Spidey Sense tuned to “high” on the day of our visit, because she hooked us up with yet another breakfast of champions. It is, as we know, the most important meal of the day. Amy constructed us a Strawberry Pineapple Fauxhito, and it was a masterpiece for both the eyes and the palate. She started with fresh, muddled mint, strawberry puree, and a dollop of pineapple juice, then added a tart shot of lime juice and a splash of club soda, which kept this four-star mocktail

Basically, it was fresh OJ and cream, whipped with ice to frothy perfection and served up in a chilled martini glass with a big slice of orange (more breakfast) as a garnish. It was so refreshing it reminded us of summer, so sure - why not get the Jamaican Jerk Chicken Bites to go with? These boneless little nuggets provided just the right amount of spice to juxtapose the creamy drink, and provided a nice throwback to summer on a cold, blustery day. from straying into too-sweet territory. And to go with, we selected the Bacon Deviled Eggs and you should really, really do this, too. For real. The deviled eggs had a discernable splash of vinegar, which is how they should be done, and they weren't just topped with crispy bits of bacon: Ram's Head upped the meat ante by garnishing the plate with tasty chunks of Genoa salami. Amy’s Fauxhito was the perfect accompaniment to the salty, savory eggs, and her cheerful, chatty demeanor steeled us for just a bit more shopping before our stop at...

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Kooma

W

e’re thinking that Kooma employee Grace O’Donnell is probably excellent in a crisis. Why? Because the message about our impending visit never reached her, yet she managed to not only improvise a mocktail on the fly, she proceeded to knock it right out of the park.

The Social Lounge

B

y the time we hit Social Lounge, we were pretty stuffed, so we lived vicariously through David, the absurdly handsome man seated next to us at the bustling bar, who was enjoying a Cowboy Burger. This behemoth was topped with barbecue sauce, bacon, and onion rings, and would have been great with the Kaliber we enjoyed.

Her Krisp Kringle Kucumber mocktail not only tasted great, its cool green color gave it an oh-so-festive visual appeal. Grace muddled cucumber, mint and lychee, added a splash each each of sour mix, pineapple and lime juices, then a spritz of club soda, and served it up in a chilled martini glass with a garnish of lychee fruit, a sliver of cucumber, and a mint leaf. Cool as a….well, you know, and so crisp it fairly crackled. It was an outstanding accompaniment to the Spicy Short Rib Barbecue Wraps she recommended to this nonfish eater. Those Bibb-lettuce wraps stuffed with shredded, zesty beef were nothing short of a revelation. Having eaten our way around town, we asked for a to-go container preemptively, but the remaining (two) wraps may have been eaten in the car on the way home. We’re adding “visit Kooma more often” to our New Year’s resolutions.

As for a mocktail, barmaid Jennifer Brown proceeded to knock our stockings off with a Sparkling Raspberry Fizz. (Please note: Jennifer told us this mocktail can also be made with cranberry if you prefer something a bit more tart.) This gorgeous concoction (the color alone made it worth ordering) was an exercise in simplicity—definitely something you should keep it in mind when entertaining at home this season. Jennifer layered fresh raspberry purée in the bottom of a Champagne flute, topped it with club soda, and floated a couple of raspberries on top, then garnished it with a sprig of fresh mint. Give it a little stir, and oh my—it was just lovely. Tart and and sparkly and not too sweet, this drink was as beautiful and festive as a glass of Champagne, with none of the...behavioral issues.

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“

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

"

The

Look PHOTO Andrew Hutchins

The holidays are already here!

STORY Ashley Tischler

It's hard to believe the holidays have come again... and so quickly. Luckily, it's a time full of our favorite fashions for all our upcoming holiday parties. These two looks offer a chic and easy way to polish your holiday style. First, we are mad for plaid this season. Adding a plaid accessory adds a festive touch to every outfit. And of course, we believe everyone must own a pair of waxed denim. It's a simple way to add the look of leather without the price. And while denim trends are always exciting, nothing beats a cozy sweater when it comes to cold-weather dressing. It's no secret Tish loves dresses. As an outfit in itself, a dress is both easy-to-wear and can be one of the most versatile pieces you own. Wear with knee-high boots, or throw on the tights and booties. Rework a dress by adding layers, vest, scarves and sweaters. Get the most you can out of all your dresses this holiday.

Outfit One Sweater - Milly, $425 Denim - DL 1961, $269 Reversible Scarf - $42 Outfit Two Dress - Swing, $289 Pendant Necklace - $29 DECEMBER 2014 THEWCPRESS.COM

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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

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The Real (estate)

Deal

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

Since 2006, there have been 32 acres in the borough that have remained the untouched, razed site of a former industrial plant for Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, a company now owned by Pfizer. The property sits just half a mile east of West Chester University and is bordered by South Bolmar and Adams Streets and East Union and Nields Streets. In 2004 Wyeth closed its operations and by 2006 had demolished all buildings on the property. Since that time, many uses have been proposed, with a minor league baseball stadium gaining the most traction. This past July two impactful decisions were made regarding the property. The first deals directly with the current property owner. When Wyeth began operations in the late 1980s at the site, an agreement was made with the borough to fund the operations of a new sewage treatment plant to handle the pharmaceutical waste they would create. In 2011, Pfizer gave notice to the borough that they would cease making the payments. The borough sued, arguing that the agreement forced Pfizer to make the payments in perpetuity, and in July a common pleas courts sided with the borough and ruled that Pfizer had to continue making annual payments of $750,000 and pay more than $1.7 million to bring their sewer bill current. The second decision was made by borough council and deals with any potential future owners of the property. Via a 4-3 decision, council voted to change the zoning of the property from industrial to mixed-use. This decision was later vetoed by the mayor, not for the merits of the Wyeth property, but because it was tied to a controversial zoning change impacting the Apartments at Chestnut Square on East Chestnut Street. However, council's decision remains deeply relevant, since there was little opposition to the portion of the proposal dealing with Wyeth, so the likelihood of the proposal resurfacing in front of council is good. Despite being in the midst of industrial lots and the remaining toxins in the soil, the property still holds huge potential, but there are some unresolved questions. Would the borough hold a new owner to the same $750,000 in annual payments? Would any financing institution touch a deal for a property that has been identified to be polluted by benzene, methylene chloride and toluene toxins? This town has always been a creative one, and there's no doubt that ingenuity will benefit us when the time comes to consider new uses for this property. That consideration should come sooner rather than later. We are on the cusp of significant population growth, with the addition of more than five hundred residents once the three new borough apartment projects finish. That momentum and excitement around development could carry into innovative ways to develop this property within the bounds of the borough. –bliermann@TheWCPress.com

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Owners of the

Month

PHOTO Andrew Hutchins

INTERVIEW Dan Mathers

For Trevor Shylock and Matt Kay, founding East Coast Float Spa was as much about passion as necessity What was your first introduction to floatation therapy? M: I first heard about it when Trevor and I were in college at Penn State through my psych program because the guy who created floating, Dr John Lilly, an American neuroscientist, created the concept back in the 1950s to study consciousness. He wanted to see what happened when you removed all the sensory input you constantly have coming in, and find out what happens to humans when that’s all gone. And your first experience? M: I was interested in it right away, but at the time there was nowhere to do it around here, so about three years ago on vacation out California I got to do it for the first time. Like many people, when you actually get to experience it for the first time, I was like, “Wow, how have I lived without this,” and for me, the next question was, “Why can’t I do this back home?” It was so amazing that I wanted to talk to my friends about it; I told Trevor that I was considering getting one of these in my house. You liked it that much? M: If we didn’t start this business, I'd have some type of floating device in my house. What went into starting this business? T: We’ve been working on it for over two years. We actually took a road trip across the country and visited 12 other float spas as we did our research to understand exactly what we’d want to do with our spa— to incorporate the best practices from all the different spas. M: Some places still have these metal tanks like they first did back in the 1950s— not the nice, open rooms like we have—so we wanted to figure out the best in everything from the device in which you’re floating, to the ambiance of the spa, to things like our post-float lounge experience.

What is the experience actually like? T: The best way to understand it is this: my first time floating was actually in the Dead Sea, and it’s the same kind of feeling. It’s a room with no light, no sound, and a large tub with 10 inches of water with 1000 pounds of salt dissolved in it—you float effortlessly on the surface and just relax. Do you find there’s an awkward, introductory phase for new clients? M: We understand that, for 90% of the people who walk through our door, this is going to be a new experience, so we do our best to make sure it’s relaxing. T: You walk in the door, take off your shoes, put on a pair of slippers, and we even have an introductory guidebook to floating. Then we’ll take you back into the rooms, show you around, explain how it works step-bystep, answer all your questions. M: We want to make sure everyone has the absolute, best experience possible. Why are you so passionate about it? T: Whew. You’ll know once you do it. It’s so beneficial for your body, for your mind. It’s something that you do not have access to anywhere else in your life. To have that mental and physical break from everything going on in our lives these days is a needed respite.

Is there science behind that? T: Oh my gosh, yeah. Decades of research. M: It’s not just us saying this; it’s not just, “Oh, our clients tell us this.” It’s all backed up by science. We like to just call it “floating,” but there is an entire scientific discipline called restricted environmental stimulation therapy. There are international research projects studying the efficacy of floating in treating chronic pain disorders. Have you personally experienced any benefits? M: I was in a bad car accident ten years ago—I’ve got a metal plate in my hip, a metal rod in my leg. I couldn’t walk for months, and I was on every type of painkiller there was. I tried a lot of things, but for my money—and I’m clearly biased because I work here—this is the most effective way to naturally relieve pain. Alright, I’m sold. How do I go about setting up my first appointment? M: Well, expect to be here for about two hours—your suite is blocked out for 90 minutes for a 60-minute float to give you time to relax and shower—then you can actually go right to our website and schedule online, or you can call us up to schedule, and we can answer any questions you might have.

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Children in

Tow

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

With only a month until the new year, it’s time to take stock of 2014 and set some goals for the future. As I reflect back over the past twelve months, I am very thankful for this column. Every month, I get to sharpen my skills as a writer while I challenge myself to get out and do something in the borough so I have material for the next issue. But after two and a half years, I find myself wanting to grow a bit more, develop a more meaningful relationship with my readers. Of course, that presumes that in fact I have some… I know of two people at the YMCA who comment every month, so at least I’ve got some faces to put with my target audience. To that end, I would like to take some space in December’s issue to reach out to anybody who’s been reading my monthly 550 words to give some feedback: Do you like my approach? Do you have any suggestions for future subjects? How’s my style? I'm also trying to solicit interaction. Rather than pontificating at my audience, I’d like to engage with you all. Therefore, I will begin my resolution a few weeks early by starting this month… As I mentioned earlier in November, one of my favorite elements of the holiday season is the decorations. I love seeing the red bows on street lights, wreaths on doors, pine bough swags on window sills. At night, I drive around town in search of candles in every window, LED icicles tastefully dripping from rooftops and Moravian Stars hanging from Victorian porches. A feast for the eyes. Oohs and ahhs. And then, there are the not-so-subtle displays, a la Griswold. Inflatable snowmen, mismatched strings of colored lights with random blinking strands and plastic light-up nativity scenes. I appreciate both the classic and the over-the-top, if not for the curb appeal, for the pure curiosity. I love cruising out in the evenings in search for the newest contributions. The early birds get them out over Thanksgiving break. Once December hits, there are the weekend warriors who bedeck their exteriors over Saturday and Sunday. (It's the only time during the year that I look forward to Mondays.) Finally, there are the last-minute bandwagoneers who put up the token bush netting and plastic candy canes by the sidewalk. In my effort to embrace both the season and my new goals of engagement, I propose a challenge: find your favorite holiday display in the borough, take a photo and send it to me. If your quest leaves you unfulfilled, be the creator and nominate your own work. Winners will be selected based upon the picture and caption, then published in January’s issue. I think it will add an extra excitement to the festivities this year as I make my traditional drives throughout the borough. “Will that house get submitted?" I’ll wonder as I point out electrified creations to my kids in the back seat. With any luck, you all will help me to pop my writing bubble and reach a new level for 550 in 2015. jozgur@thewcpress.com

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What people are saying about The WC Press...

“”

The WC Press has been an incredible marketing partner for us. What makes them so powerful is the fact that they are a member of our community and know the market like no other resource. They truly partner with many members of the community, and I feel like they are invested in our success. –Frank Herron, Barnaby’s of West Chester

“”

People love to pick up a copy of The WC Press in my store. The magazine has become a great source for local news and event information that people are interested in, which makes it a great choice for my business to advertise in. The owners go out of their way to help local businesses and donate their precious time to many organizations in town that support the downtown of West Chester.

“”

–Cyndi Meadows, Penwick Design

We jumped on board with The WC Press when they published their first issue (in black & white). These guys had something special from the start and a vision to see their publication grow and reach our whole community... mission accomplished! We enjoy working with their whole creative team from advertising to social media; we are able to reach more customers through a broader spectrum of advertising, and we couldn’t be more pleased! –Laura Aloisio, DARE Auto

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Sign up now for 2015 and save up to 43% on your advertising

2015 Themes January - The Real Estate Issue February - The Literary Issue March - The Fitness Issue April - Going Outdoors May - The Photography Issue June - Summer Fun Guide July - The Automotive Issue August - Fall Fashion September - The Food Issue October - The Halloween Issue November - Health & Beauty December - The Holiday Issue

Interested? Contact Account Director Nick Vecchio 610.299.1100  nick@thewcpress.com The WC Press is published by Mathers Productions llc 13 S Church St, West Chester, Pa 19382  610.344.3463  mathersproductions.com


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Holiday

Shopping Guide 0ur recommendations for shopping locally this holiday season

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Artistic Eyewear 127 N High St West Chester, PA (610) 738-7150 artisticeyewear.com

$209

Kaenon Polarized Limited-Edition Sunglasses

Kaenon’s popular Clarke-style sunglass is featured in a limitededition frost color for the winter season. An easy fit for a broad range of face and head shapes, this frame, with retro-inspired styling, puts simplicity on a pedestal.

Blink Boutique 136 W Gay St West Chester, PA (610) 431-2212 shopblink.com

$268

Parker’s Black & Nude Lace Cocktail Dress

Parker’s gorgeous cocktail dress looks amazing super-dressed up with your favorite heels and metallic clutch, or styled more casually with black tights and black suede booties.

Butterflies & Blossoms 3 N Five Points Rd West Chester, PA (610) 430-7601 butterfliesandblossoms.com

$5+

Charm It! Charms from Disney’s “Frozen”

No matter your age, Frozen was the biggest hit of the year, and Charm It! is all the rage. Limited supplies are available of these necklaces ($8.99), bracelets ($5.99) and charms ($5).

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Give your pets a gift they’ll really enjoy this holiday season, and let PetCare Group treat them while you travel.

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SAFE AT HOME, WHILE YOU’RE AWAY!

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THE WC PRESS | VOICE OF THE BOROUGH

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| petcaregroup.com


Chefanti 211 E Market St West Chester, PA (610) 429-0467 chefanti.com

Healthy, Home-Cooked Meals

~ $26

What’s better than the gift of a good meal? Chefanti meals are freshly prepared, available for pick-up or delivery every Monday through Friday and serve three or more adults.

Christine’s Consignment 105 Westtown Rd West Chester, PA (610) 692-9375 christinesconsignment.com

$299

Bonn Bons by Lori Bonn Sterling Charm Necklace With smokey stones and two druzy charms, this sterling silver necklace is perfect for New Year’s Eve. Best of all, this stunning piece retails for $545—that’s the beauty of consignment!

Disc Hounds 323 E Gay St West Chester, PA (610) 696-8668 dischounds.com

Digital Transfers

$15

Do you even know anyone who owns a VHS player anymore? That’s why transferring those old tapes to DVD is the perfect gift—you’re preserving cherished memories!

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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 44

THE WC PRESS | VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Electric Avenue 323 E Gay St West Chester, PA (610) 692-3600 electricavenuemusicwc.com

$375

“The Beatles in Mono” Box Set on Vinyl

This remastered edition on vinyl of The Beatles in Mono is even more detailed than the CD version. Part of a brand-new mastering project, these 11 albums have been returned to the way they were meant to be heard. It’s the holy grail for Beatles fans.

Halladay Florist 29 S Church St West Chester, PA (610) 696-5200 halladayflorist.com

Holiday Bouquet

$80

Celebrate the season with Halladay Florist by sending this vase of hydrangea, roses, berries and holly, the perfect centerpiece for any holiday gathering.

Kaly 37 W Gay St West Chester, PA (610) 436-8272 kalyclothing.com

Raven + Lily Fair Trade Jewelry

$28+

Fair trade jewelers Raven + Lily work with women artists in Ethiopia to create handmade jewelry using brass, copper and silver from melted bullet casings and other recycled materials. Proceeds fund local schools and job training in Ethiopia.

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Kreutz Creek 44 E Gay St West Chester, PA (610) 436-5006 kreutzcreekvineyards.com

Holiday Wassail

$14.99

Kreutz Creek’s Holiday Wassail is made with a white wine base and pumpkins grown in their garden. They’ve spiced it up with cinnamon, ginger and cloves, and it can be served warm or chilled throughout the holiday season and beyond.

Malena’s Vintage 101 W Gay St West Chester, PA (610) 738-9952 malenasboutique.com

$175

1920s Hand-beaded and crocheted evening bag

Ever since Leonardo DiCaprio donned a tux to portray Jay Gatsby, the 1920s have coming roaring back into style, and this authentic flapper evening bag is no exception.

Merchant of Menace 1351 W Strasburg Rd West Chester, PA (215) 704-7419

Francisca Pop Top Evening Bag

$92

This clutch shoulder bag with fold-over flap is hand-crocheted with more than 500 post-consumer recycled pop tops and has a fully lined, fabric interior.

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Moonflower

$6+

130 W Gay St West Chester, PA (610) 431-6607

Kuumba Made All-Natural Botanical Infusions

Fragrances, botanical body care and herbal first aid products that offer essential and perfume oils, plus lip balms and shimmers and hydrating body lotions, all made with hand-gathered herbs, resins and oils in the Temple Mountain Sanctuary in Tuscon, AZ.

Nich Boutique 29 S High St West Chester, PA (610) 436-8181 shopnich.com

Flash Tattoos

$22

The jewelry-inspired metallic tattoo trend that’s been everywhere from Beyoncé to the pages of Vogue is the perfect holiday stocking stuffer. Or finish off your holiday party dress with a little extra sparkle. Just apply, glimmer and go.

Optimal Massage 121 E Gay St West Chester, PA (610) 696-6880 optimalmassage.com

One-Hour Hot Stone Massage

$100

Massage is an act of self-care that should be customized to your body’s unique needs. For a hot stone massage, therapists heat the stones to the perfect temperature and then hold them in their hands to massage your sore, tired, aching muscles.

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The Painted Plate

$19.50

104 W Market St West Chester, PA (610) 738-0603 paintedplatepottery.com

Personalized Pottery

Make a personalized gift for any family member with a customized hand-painted plate—go for a holiday theme or a classic, year-round design.

Penwick Design

$32

132 N High St West Chester, PA (610) 431-2739 penwickdesign.com

Jellybean Rugs

Jellybean rugs bring a smile to your home or theirs. These mats are made from recycled PET plastic, are machine washable and durable for indoors or out.

Pure Blend Available at... Carlino’s Specialty Foods or online at www.pureblendteas.com

Hand-Blended Teas

$10

Made from the world’s finest organic and fair-trade ingredients, these 100% gluten- and dairy-free, non-GMO, sugarfree teas are made right in Downingtown, and their 2oz tea packs make perfect stocking stuffers.

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Ruberti Sports 510 E Barnard St West Chester, PA (610) 692-7005 rubertis.com

Custom Sweatshirts

$20+

Sure, you could run to the mall and just buy a hoodie that everybody else will be wearing this season, or you can trust Ruberti Sports to customize one for you!

Sterling Optical 40 E Gay St West Chester, PA (610) 692-9289 sterlingoptical.com

Kate Spade Lyssa Frames

$249

This is a beautiful, full-rim, semi-rimless frame for women made of acetate plastic. This model features a rectangular shape with a single bridge and gold glitter frames.

Sunset Hill 23 N High St West Chester, PA (610) 692-0374 sunsethilljewelers.com

Holiday Two-Tone Jewelry

$1500+

‘Tis is the seaon for sparkle, and these white and yellow gold rings, necklaces and earrings accented with diamonds are a stunning addition to any holiday look.

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The

5 Senses

133 W Market St West Chester, PA (610) 719-0170 the5senses.com

Spiritiles by Houston Llew

$114

Handcrafted in Atlanta, finely ground glass is handpainted on copper, then fired in a kiln. Spiritiles visually share the brilliant moments in life with people you love.

Tish Boutique 138 E Gay St West Chester, PA (610) 692-7500 tishstyle.com

Structured Scarf/Cape

$79

A soft, cozy, one-size-fits-all structured scarf/cape makes a perfect holiday gift. Contour at the neck hugs away the cold and creates an awesome collar, and the leather and brass clasp is a fashionable accent. Plus, it’s available in different colors.

Visual Expansion 200 West Gay Street West Chester, PA (610) 431-7111 shopartifact.com

Map of Chester County

$60

This 27”x23” map was published by T. J. Kennedy in 1856 and is just one of many local and regional maps available at Visual Expansion Gallery. Make sure to take advantage of their custom matting and framing!

DECEMBER 2014 THEWCPRESS.COM

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CarolThiel.Zumba.Com Contact Carol for Current Hours 56

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Tell Me something

Good

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

Who they are: We’ve got a two-for-one special this month, readers: Hannah Cunliffe and Lindsay Dietz. What they do: Hannah and Lindsay are students at West Chester University, where both are education majors. Hannah, 22, has a dual major in early grades and special education, and Lindsay, 21, majors in middle grades with a focus on math and special ed. Why they’re on this page: Unlike a large number of their peers, both Hannah and Lindsay will be spending their winter break volunteering with the Rafiki Africa Winter Alternative Break project, where they will be teaching in Kenya. When we contacted Dr. Beatrice Adera, Student Teaching Coordinator and Assistant Professor of Special Education, she told us that felt she had to nominate both students, as she simply could not choose between them. It’s easy to see why: Hannah is an active member of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), an on-campus club which Lindsay, who is in the honors education fraternity Kappa Delta Pi, happens to chair. The club participates in various activities, both on and off-campus, for and with people with disabilities. Outside of the WCU community, Hannah is also a volunteer director at Camp PALS San Francisco, a camp for teens and young adults with Down Syndrome. What they like about West Chester: Well, there’s the university, obviously; both students chose WCU for it’s strong education department, but, as Lindsay, an Egg Harbor Township, NJ native mentioned: “It’s far enough away from my parents that they can’t do any surprise dropins, but close enough to home that I can visit when I need to.” Hannah, who hails from Lititz, PA said “There is always something happening in West Chester on the weekends, whether it’s a 5k run, or the Restaurant Festival, or the Halloween Parade. There’s never a dull moment.” Adds Lindsay: “Everything is so convenient: I can walk to boutiques for a new dress, or to meet friends for a bite to eat.” She’s a big fan of the crab dip at Landmark, and also told this reporter something she already knows: “I also really love Carlinos, because they have the best meatballs in the world. I could eat their meatballs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.” What we like about them: Their total enthusiasm for this project. Hannah, who has taught abroad before but never in Africa, told us: “I am beyond excited to be given this incredible opportunity. It’s amazing that WCU and its professors provide these experiences to their students.” This will be the first teaching abroad experience for Lindsay, and who said that she’s even looking forward to the jet lag. “I am so lucky to have an opportunity to be submerged into a new place, try to understand a different way of life, and make a difference while I'm at it,” she said. Moral of the story: These kids today...they’re pretty amazing, when you think about it. Do you know a WC resident who’s doing good things and deserves a little recognition in Tell Me Something Good? Let us know! Email details to kchadwick@thewcpress.com.

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what’s on the wish li ir st?

ne?

timeli

what ar intere e their sts?

guys guide

The

rsol Jesse Pie hotos by p & y r sto

West Chester guys find the perfect gift in downtown West Chester

e do wher e? liv they

who is it for? pric

e ra nge?

It’s probably a myth that men struggle with holiday shopping more than women, but that didn't stop us from exploiting the stereotype for an interesting story about downtown shops helping "clueless" local guys on their quest to make the right choice. Six guys, six shops, and six gift choices guaranteed to please.

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Henry Ventura Shopping For: Grandparents Budget: $50

H

enry's biggest shortcoming is waiting until the last minute, but that hasn't stopped him from picking the perfect gift—literally—at least once: "One time, I rode around town on my skateboard and picked flowers from people’s 11 10 9 8

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She shows him a line of picture frames, and then guides him to an assortment of cheese platters, which Henry likes. "I could treat them to a meal I make." Polly agrees. "Yes! Put a coupon in there. Good for one meal cooked by your grandson." He picks up a pale, green, lacquered wooden tray from San Francisco-based Rock Flower Paper. It features artwork by Guild of Natural Science Illustrators member Kelly Leahy Radding. "I like this one— it has soothing colors in it. Those colors would go well with eating, and having a calm environment. I also like pictures of flowers on things—it makes those things seem natural and healthy. Like I’m connecting with the earth."

Polly's Advice: Shop earlier than Christmas Eve to get the best selection. But for the men who wait until the last minute, Polly recommends KALY's "Men's Night" on Tuesday, December 23rd. "We have food and drinks, and plenty of help for them to shop. Plus, we'll wrap all their presents!"

Tim Spellman Shopping For: His Wife Budget: Stocking Stuffers

T

yards, and then bought a vase." Today, KALY owner Polly Zobel is helping Henry select a gift for his grandparents, which causes him to become contemplative about their relationship. "When I was younger, I thought my grandparents were super stern and strict. As I got older, I started seeing a lot of myself in them. I realize they’re toward the end of their lives, so they are carefree about things that we tend to be guarded about. They can be honest and unfiltered. It's a great opportunity to be able to connect with that." Henry and Polly poke around the store, "Maybe even something I can personalize," says Henry. Polly encourages him. "The gift should be a reflection of you."

im Spellman shows up for his shopping trip already in violation of the

Guys’ Guide rules: he’s brought along a helper. Daughter Roxanne, who just turned one, periodically dozes off in the carrier. Back in West Chester after a 10-year stint in New York working in film, Tim is on the hunt for small gifts for his wife. “She has Celiac disease, so an olive oil store is a good place to start. Lots of gluten-free options.” Kate Schroeder of A Taste of Olive wants to know what dishes the Spellman family cooks. “Pork chops, risotto, she makes this Persian dish,” Tim offers. Kate fills a tasting cup from one of the olive oil vats that line the walls. “When you said risotto, I thought of this.” She hands him the cup of Sorrento lemon olive oil and instructs him to put the cup in his palm to 11 10 9 8

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warm it. “Just like a wine, you want to smell it, kind of slurp it when you taste it.” Tim strolls over to a shelf filled with gourmet mustards, where Kate picks out a blend called Little Thief, a popular choice for sandwiches and hot dogs. When he mentions his wife enjoys simple foods like toast with peanut butter and jelly, Kate has just the thing: she twists the lid off a jar of dark, chunky, dense blueberry butter. “This tastes like the jam my grandmother used to make on the farm." With so many choices at A Taste of Olive, Tim finally settles on a goat milk caramel from Fat Toad—good for everything from graham crackers to ice cream—and adds a bottle of the garlic olive oil and a jar of the blueberry butter.

Kate's Advice: Knowing the types of food the recipient cooks makes it easier to choose a complementary oil or vinegar. “If the shopper has no idea, we suggest a traditional balsamic or a flavored Tuscan oil.” 

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Dr. Greg Weisenstein Shopping For: His Wife

Budget: Can't put a price on love

I

t’s reasonable to assume the president of West Chester University wouldn’t need more ram-themed items, but for his wife, that couldn’t be further from the truth. “Sandra puts so much time into the university as a volunteer,” he says. “Each year we host about 120 events at our home. She does all the decorating for the holidays, too, when we have about 2,000 people come through the house. Little mementos

Mark Falcone Shopping For: His Nieces, ages four and five Budget: Whatever they want!

M

ark Falcone's eight feet off the ground, suspending himself, completely prone, from a lime green horizontal ladder. He grins with delight and jogs over to a pole anchored in the concrete

from the university are very meaningful.” “When you’ve been married 45 years, it’s not about finding the perfect gift. It’s about finding something from the heart.” Dr. Weisenstein’s list is in good hands with the two WCU students running the Ram Shop today. Katie Cromleigh, a senior history major, and Veronica McLaughlin, a junior art major, are full of ideas. Finding out that Sandra has a Pandora charm bracelet, Katie and Veronica pull out a collection of WCU-themed charms, including a doublesided one for $46 that features “WCU” on one side and the University’s horned mascot on the other. “One of the tricks to good shopping is knowing what the person already has,” Dr. Weisenstein offers. “I know she has other WCU Pandora charms, but not the ram.” Dr. Weisenstein is impressed with the line of high-quality watches with different

WCU logos on the face. He picks out several, noting that his wife gravitates more toward gold than silver. “Is this the most expensive one you have? Because that’s the one she would most likely pick.” Everyone laughs, and Veronica pulls out another one with a metal band. “This one,” she says. Katie and Veronica have done a good job. He decides on two watches, one for casual wear and one for formal occasions. “I already have a very nice watch from WCU, but she doesn’t. So it would be kind of sentimental to have matching watches... much more so than matching t-shirts.” The Pandora charm also makes the final cut. Everything gets wrapped in purple tissue paper and tied with gold ribbons.

floor. He grabs it with both hands and extends out into a sideways handstand called a flagpole, still smiling. The ladder is a segment of the Ninja Warrior course he's built in a warehouse on Lawrence Drive. The course, along with giant trampolines, obstacle courses, and a 100-foot zip line, are all part of iCORE Fitness, his spin on the traditional gym. "It’s a new way to get fit that’s a lot more fun." Mark has invested everything to start iCORE, so he's looking for budget-friendly gifts for his nieces. Michaela is four, into girly and crafty endeavors, while Marisa is five, and enjoys science and sports. In his words, “One likes to be a princess, and the other wants a telescope." Butterflies and Blossoms owner Michele Albrecht has something for every kind of kid. Though many people know the store as a consignment shop, Michele also stocks a unique assortment of new toys.

"We try to have toys that no one else has. You can’t go to Walmart and find our toys." Michele shows Mark a collection of Melissa and Doug sticker books with pieces that can be moved throughout the book to create stories. "Like Colorforms,” she offers, “except with lots of pages, rather than one scene.” She picks up a nearby sand art kit. "They've been around forever, but people still love them." They take their time perusing a stand filled with charm bracelets. All charms are $5, and the assortment is unique to each store in the area that carries the line. For Michaela, Mark settles on an enormous stuffed giraffe, quite possibly the most splendid thing in the entire store. "What kid doesn't like stuffed animals?" he asks. For Marisa, it is a police officer uniform, complete with accessories that make sounds. "Her Dad is a cop, so she's going to love it."

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Veronica's Advice: "Think ahead of time about what colors they like.”

Michele's Advice: "Sometimes an old-school gift like a coloring book with crayons can be so much more engaging than an iPad or video game. Sticker books are also great for kids." 

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Andrew Travis Shopping For: His Dad

Budget: Everything he's got

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t’s important to note that Andrew Travis is the only guy who shows up for his shopping trip with a wallet full of money. The nine-year-old Starkweather student doesn’t hesitate in describing the best gift he ever gave. “The Christmas joy I gave my Dad. He wanted to spend time with me, so I gave him an empty box and said ‘Dad, let’s spend some time together.’ We went and played racquetball.”

Justin Sochovka Shopping For: His Dad and his Grandpa Budget: $140 for both

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ustin Sochovka has to be sent home to change clothes because he showed up in a black hoody—far too casual for

Andrew’s shopping assistant is Jennifer Newport, who has been managing Éclat for five years. She puts her Liberal Studies degree/Math minor from WCU to good use. “With chocolate, you need art, science, math, and chemistry. A bit of everything.” She shows him a selection of “Destination Bars,” oversized chocolate bars with flavors from around the world. An earnest and informed shopper, Andrew gamely tries them all. He finds the 70% dark chocolate, Belgian-style cacao nib bar quite rich, but he is unsure. “I like dark chocolate, but I don’t really know what my Dad likes.” Next, Jennifer shows him Eclat’s selection of mendiants, a great choice for party trays. “Mendiants are a French confection, 11 10 9 8

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Jennifer's Advice: Jennifer suggests solid chocolate over truffles for folks travelling during the holidays or shipping their gifts. For hand gifting, truffles are always a hit.

his Guys’ Guide photo shoot. He happily obliges, returning shortly in a button-down shirt, ready to pick out some gifts for his dad and his grandpa. His best gift ever? “My Grandpa has a very big ego. For his 75th birthday, I took a picture of his face and made a four-foot cardboard cutout of it. He loved it. It still hangs in his attic window, overlooking the neighborhood. Keeping watch.” Karen Cavin of The 5 Senses takes Justin to one of the store’s sections stocked with men’s items. This particular shelf is filled with rustic leather journals and logs made in Utah, for everything from hunting and fishing to golfing and notetaking. Justin is intrigued, but far from sold. “My Dad hunts but he doesn’t ever get anything, so I can’t get him a log.” 11 10 9 8

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similar to bark, but we make them thinner, so there is more surface area. The flavor releases faster, and it’s more intense.” Andrew likes the Madagascar variety, but doesn’t know that his dad would agree. “It’s hard knowing what he likes. He likes a lot of chocolate, but he never tells me.” After sampling everything in the store, Andrew goes back to his original choice, the BRU cacao nib bar. He buys two—one for his dad, and a second one for himself. Jennifer wraps one of the bars in bright blue ribbon, his father’s favorite color. Andrew struggles to put his change back in his wallet, casually noting, “This wallet is Italian leather, but it was made in France. French bills are smaller than U.S. dollars, so it’s a little awkward.”

He’s already bought a smoker for his dad for Christmas, so Karen shows him a display stocked with New Jersey-based Hoboken Eddie’s BBQ sauces. “They use local ingredients wherever possible,” Karen says. They look over the choices, some of which are quite spicy. “A BBQ sauce would be perfect for him,” he enthuses. “If he’s going to use it all the time, though, I’m getting him a mild one so he has something to share with everyone. It will be great to pair with the smoker.” Justin selects a bottle of Apple Brandy BBQ sauce to go with his dad’s smoker, and a rustic golf log for his grandpa. He is quite pleased. “All gifts secretly benefit me. The BBQ sauce? That’s for me. And the golf log reminds me of Grandpa. I can see him using it when I go golfing with him.”

Michele's Advice: Take advantage of the store’s wish list. “Giftees tell us the things they like and we keep track, so shoppers can buy them later.” But she is cautionary. “Our items are one of a kind, so if they snooze, they lose."

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Great Food, Great Drinks

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Christmas

Playlist

DJ Romeo curates a list featuring his favorite holiday albums of all time

This year, I thought I'd switch things up. Rather than spouting off another list of songs or another grouping of holiday classics, I figured I'd introduce you to my top five favorite holiday albums. Some are classic, others contemporary and—one in particular—corny in just the right kind of way. djromeo@thewcpress.com

Trans-Siberian Orchestra Christmas Eve and Other Stories This 1996 debut album from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra is also the band's best. They burst onto the scene by mixing familiar holiday songs with opera and progressive rock epicness. Michael Bublé Christmas Michael Bublé has the singing ability of the classic crooners with a little modern edge. There is little new material here, in terms of the song choices, but he puts his romantic spin on each. Now That's What I Call Christmas! This two-disc holiday music compilation, part of the Now! series, was released in 2001 and sold six million units by 2004. It's the best collection of the best artists from Sinatra and Tony Bennett, to Elvis, to The Beach Boys and even Elmo! *NSYNC Home for Christmas Maybe I love this album because it makes me feel like a kid again, maybe it's because it's genuinely good, or maybe it's because of JT's frosted tips. Who knows? Whatever it is, this album's got the holiday magic. A Motown Christmas When you get sick of all the standard Christmas tracks, cue up A Motown Christmas. Sure, they're doing all the same tunes, but they've got that funky twist and there's no denying a young Michael Jackson's charisma.

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BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: It's everyone’s favorite bar game, in print (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 five subtle differences between the two. Find those five 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!

Identify the five differences between these two photos of the best Christmas move ever made?

Facebook.com/thewcpress 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

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