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VOICE OF THE BOROUGH  DECEMBER 2015


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The

Press PUBLISHER Dan Mathers dan@thewcpress.com ADVERTISING MANAGER Nick Vecchio nick@thewcpress.com GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Julie Ryan jryan@mathersproductions.com Daniela Pinto behance.net/danielapintophoto COPY EDITOR Jon Roth jroth@thewcpress.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Jesse Piersol jpiersol@thewcpress.com Kate Chadwick kchadwick@thewcpress.com STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Andrew Hutchins hutch@mathersproductions.com COVER PHOTOGRAPHER Justin Muir justinjamesmuir.com

Worth

“What I don’t like about office Christmas parties is looking for a job the next day.” –Phyllis Diller 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.

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Our no-nonsense table of contents

HOLIDAY ROOTS How one local tree farm keeps the past in the present LOCAL TALENT Randall Graham finds inspiration in Chester County HOLIDAY SHOPPING GUIDE Our suggestions for shopping local this holiday season BARTENDER OF THE MONTH Chatting with Alyse Kullman of Ryan’s Pub THE MAKEOVER Peter’s Salon & European Spa indulges a lucky client BUDGET-CONSCIOUS STOCKING STUFFERS Big ideas for small gifts THE LOOK Fringe is In at Tish Boutique HOLIDAY HOSTING, SIMPLIFIED Avoid the added stress of extra cooking around the holidays OWNER OF THE MONTH A quick conversationg with Chet Reber of The Painted Plate FRESH FACES The feature that introduces you to the new people in town

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From the

Editor

“Christmas is doing a little something extra for someone.” –Charles M. Schulz

My family doesn’t casually decorate. When I was a child, my dad would deck every window with lights, clip them along the gutters and staple them across the roof. Our sunroom had high ceilings that we’d capitalize on with Christmas trees so large my dad needed an extendable ladder to screw anchors into the wall and secure the tree in place. I’m twice as tall now, so maybe the trees were only half as big as I remember, but that still puts them over ten feet. I remember the excitement of unpacking decorations. The attic stairs would come clanging down, and we’d scurry up to race beneath rafters, avoiding the itchy insulation. It was as though that space held some secret cache of treasure, rather than stuff we no longer wanted but had deemed too valuable to throw away. My sister and I would hunt through that garbage with hunched backs, searching for tattered cardboard boxes labeled “X-Mas.” As a middle-schooler, I began to develop an understanding for the consequences of my actions, albeit a rudimentary one. I never managed to anticipate broken bones or detentions—or avoid the decisions that led to them—but I did understand the consequences of decorating: the problem with decking the halls is that, eventually, you need to undeck them. Every glass bauble needs to find its way back into tissue paper and bubble wrap. Come January, all those once-magical boxes need to be hauled back up to the attic. So what I figured was, if I vehemently opposed decorating, I couldn’t be held liable for the consequences. If I didn’t hang a single bough, I couldn’t be made to haul their dried carcasses to the compost. My mom disagreed, but teenagers just want to feel they occupy the moral high ground. And so it was that, at an early age—even before I’d encountered broken bulbs or burnt-out fuses—I developed a Grinch complex. But I wasn’t a Scrooge. There’s one part of the holiday tradition I’ve always cherished: the giving of gifts. Before I had any money of my own, I’d handmake books of mazes or a series of handformed and painted clay characters. As I started working, I spent those funds on the people closest to me. My first year post-college, I blew more on a single gift for my mom than on any previous Christmas’ combined bounty. That guitar left my mom in tears and—I’ll admit—I’m getting watery eyed now thinking back on it. Some may decry the consumerism of the holiday. Even I have my qualms with bypassing Thanksgiving to jump-start the capitalist bacchanalia, but I still love holiday shopping. Now, my excitement about the buying of things doesn’t mean I’m chipper about decorating. My girlfriend has already begun asking about tinsel and trees, and I’ll give her whatever she wants (after all, her section of my gift-giving Google spreadsheet is already five columns deep). So, I’m anticipating that, come January, I’ll inevitably wind up willing our cheap vacuum to extract every last pine needle from the carpet. I’m just thankful this house has low ceilings.

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Hereテ不 To You, Rudolph...

Independent family owned, service and design driven eyewear and sunglass boutique OLIVER PEOPLES - DITA - BLAC - ALAIN MIKLI - MONOQOOL - JF REY - RAY BAN - LA EYEWORKS

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photo Stephen Rogers

Holiday

Roots

How one local tree farm keeps the past in the present by Jesse Piersol

F

ew images capture quintessential Chester County nostalgia like a Christmas tree farm. Douglas Firs in all stages of life, from scruffy youngsters to their mature counterparts flush with vigor, share a blanket of snow. High upon a hill, a centuries-old stone farmhouse keeps watch. Train tracks along the distant border of the property suggest purpose and motion in the otherwise still countryside. It is a perfect moment. And then the phone rings. “Are you coming up here or what?” It’s Bob Wiggins. “I see you parked down there. I thought maybe you were afraid or something.” Bob is the owner of Wiggins Tree Farm, and he’s telling me to quit taking photos and get here already. The poetic view makes it hard not to step back in time, though, to when those train tracks carried visitors here in the century before it became a tree farm. But first we’ve got to see what’s at the top of that gravel driveway.

Planting the Seeds Sitting in the kitchen over coffee, Bob and his wife Mary Ann share the history of the house, which was originally built in the 1850s by the father of famous Impressionist painter Mary Cassatt. “Mary’s father was president of the Pennsylvania Railroad,” Bob says, “and then the brother took over. It was their summer home, probably. They’d take the train from their home in Philly to the Westttown station.” In 1924, the Catholic Church acquired the property, transforming it into a camp for kids from Philadelphia to come and experience the country. For some, those memories lasted a lifetime. “Every now and then, we’ll still get a visit from someone who was a priest or a nun or a counselor at one of those camps,” he says. “They’ll say, ‘I was 12 years old and I always wanted to find this place again.’” The stories are pretty powerful, including one about a recent visitor who passed away not long after making the important journey one more time. “She told me, ‘I came out

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That’s right-there’s a Christmas tree train.

photo Chuck Denlinger here when I was a Girl Scout. I always wanted to find this place again before I die.’” Like the property itself, Bob’s backstory doesn’t include a lengthy connection to tree farming. During college in 1970, he started selling trees at a retail lot. “I bought 300 trees for three dollars apiece and sold them for six. I made a thousand dollars, which was a lot for a college student in 1970,” he recalls. “They were Scotch Pines—heavy, ugly trees. I’d be outside with the trees, and there would be a knock on the door. My mother would stick her head out, take the money, and I’d give the person the tree.” The endeavor was the first in a long line of profitable businesses for the enterprising Drexel business grad. “I started an auto tag business, doing notaries for fifty

cents apiece. The businesses just kind of developed on their own from there. I happened to be at the right place at the right time.”

Branching Out Today, Bob’s ventures have expanded to include a payroll business run by his older son, a shredding business, and some real estate investments, with other small businesses along the way. What started as Bob and his mother performing notary services has grown into an auto tag business with four locations. At this time of year, it’s all about the trees. On their farm, a small shed serves as the entry point for customers. No matter the size, all trees are $45. “We collect the money at the end of the driveway,” says Mary Ann. “We only take checks and

cash. Sometimes people will hand us a credit card, and we tell them we don’t take credit cards.” Those cash-less customers aren’t sent away empty-handed, though. Mary Ann hands them a slip of paper with the Wiggins address on it and tells them to mail a check. “We get these nice notes from people along with the check,” she laughs. “Sometimes we’ll get a check in the middle of the summer and we don’t have any idea who they are. I never even ask their name or address or phone number; the checks show up.” Bob adds, “If you don’t pay, it’s on you. I really don’t care. I’m not going to go through life worrying about it.” At the farm, most customers are families from the area. “They bring their dogs,” Bob says. “They might get dirty, because they’re cutting and dragging a tree.” Bob describes the customers who shop at the Wiggins retail lot on West Chester Pike, which offers cut trees harvested from their Cochranville location. “In the retail lot, it’s not so many families. It’s that young guy who comes in and wants to buy a tree with a girl he met.” For customers who don’t mind a drive, the trees at the Wiggins’ Cochranville location are cheaper. “They’re $35,” says Bob. “And they’re bigger.” Regardless of location, Mary Ann notes that there has always been one definitive indicator of how business will be on a given weekend. “If people know there’s going to be bad weather, we’ll move all the trees that we would have sold during the whole weekend on that Saturday. People don’t come out to the farm in bad weather.” Also, a certain bird tends to wield a surprising amount of influence over tree shopping habits as well. “If the Eagles are on at 1 on Sunday, business is dead until they’re done, when the game’s over,” she chuckles.

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photo Kristin Wilton

Other aspects of tree shopping have changed over the years. “The last weekend before Christmas, they won’t come here to the farm. People today are so organized,” she muses. “It used to be we’d sell trees up until midnight of Christmas Eve. Today, that last weekend before Christmas is dead.” One thing has stayed the same. “We’re a no-frills tree farm,” says Bob. “If they want hot chocolate and cookies, they can take the train.” That’s right—there’s a Christmas tree train. On the three Sundays following Thanksgiving, customers can ride the West Chester Railroad out to the Wiggins farm and select their tree. Departing the Market Street station, the train chugs along at a leisurely pace, with refreshments provided along the way. Once reaching the platform, customers are on their own to choose that perfect tree, after which Wiggins employees load it onto the train for the ride back into town. The idea for a Christmas tree train grew out of the railroad’s “Polar Express” ride. “It was four or five years ago,” Mary Ann recalls. “They didn’t cut any trees that year—it was just a train ride at night.” “We had a generator and lit the trees and put lights on giant candy canes down by the tracks,” Bob adds. photo Jesse Piersol

We’re a no-frills tree farm. Mary Ann continues, “It was flurrying that night, with a big full moon, just the perfect picture.”

Making the Cut If the thought of taking a historic railroad trip to pick out a Christmas tree seems charmingly romantic and oldfashioned…well, it is. “You can’t make a living growing trees in this area today,” asserts Bob. “You can’t afford to buy a property to grow trees. Anyone who does it today is up the mountains where you can buy land cheap.”

Those wholesalers in the mountains grow their trees for big box retailers. “You’ll see that the trees at those places are all the same. Every tree you see at Home Depot or Lowe’s is that magic size of seven and a half to eight feet tall,” Bob says. “Those wholesalers make their living by wrapping huge numbers of trees, putting them on pallets, and shipping truckload after truckload. Here at the farm, on the other hand, we’ll sell 1,000 trees in a year.” Now 65, Bob appreciates the fact that he can operate the farm. “If this was my livelihood, it wouldn’t be worth my time and effort to grow trees. Sure, you get to live on a pretty property, but it has to be a hobby, and not a money maker, because of the taxes and property value. Maybe one of my kids will take it over. Otherwise, it probably won’t be a tree farm in the future.” The next stage of life for the Wiggins tree farm property isn’t a pressing concern on this day. Instead, we sit in the kitchen and imagine when that first customer will roll up the driveway. Mary Ann already knows. “It’s always that college parent who shows up right before Thanksgiving. They’ll knock on the door and say, ‘My son is going to come home for Thanksgiving and I want to have a tree up for him.’” Those visits spent with both new customers as well as the families who come here year after year keep everyone at Wiggins dedicated to nurturing those tiny saplings, trimming them by hand each season to encourage symmetry and balance as they grow. It takes patience and commitment, not just to the trees, but to maintaining the place and its history within the changing economic landscape. In the words that Bob Wiggins threads repeatedly throughout our conversation, “Really, it all just takes time.”

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Ask your

Doctor

Dr. Geoff Winkley is a board-certified emergency medicine physician who operates Doctor's Best Immediate Medical Care

Although most people look forward to the excitement and spirit of the holidays, the frenzy and pace of planning, decorating, shopping and entertaining all in one month can overshadow the enjoyment. What can be done to help maintain balance and well-being during the holidays?

Watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas! The story concisely conveys what the holidays and Christmas are really about: caring for others, sharing with others, and having compassion for others. While most of us set out to achieve an idealistic Christmas experience (Whoville’s dazzling packages, fantastical toys, and neverending platters of food), we can thank the Grinch for teaching us that it's not the toys or decorations or presents that make the Whos—or us—happy: it’s the comfort and sense of community we get from feeling closely connected to others. For many of us, we eagerly anticipate the religious or secular aspects of Christmas because we hope to feel joy, comfort and love in our hearts and minds. We may expect to “be happy” and to have the time for reflection, appreciation and kinship. However, those expectations are often tempered by how we attempt to achieve them or whether we achieve them at all. Our mental and physical health can suffer when we set overly high expectations and fall short, or are overwhelmed during the pursuit. It’s normal to become susceptible to illness and injury when we are stressed or tired, especially since depression, anxiety, weight gain and excessive drinking are common outcomes of stress. To avoid some degree of one or all of these outcomes, consider the following to minimize their impact on your health... Simplify your expectations. Analyze the trade-offs between your time, budget and wants, with what you (and your family) need to enjoy the holidays. Prioritize those needs. Consider the time and money you want to expend to prepare for and participate in holiday activities, keeping in mind your normal expenses, responsibilities, routines and the need to enjoy the holidays! Stay focused on what is important to you and avoid comparisons to what your neighbors do, or to what advertisers and the media portray. Remember how the Whos felt on Christmas morning. Avoid excess. Excessive eating, drinking, socializing and spending may seem fun in the moment, but can cause injury, weight gain, fatigue and future stress. Frequent, excessive or latenight eating and/or imbibing can lead to or worsen conditions such as gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) and irritable bowel syndrome. Over-the-counter medications can provide relief for most symptoms, but extreme symptoms should be addressed immediately with a primary or urgent care doctor, or the ER. For everyone’s safety, if you do drink too much, don’t drive. In the age of Uber and designated drivers, there’s no excuse for driving impaired. drwinkley@thewcpress.com

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randallgraham.com

Local

Talent

PHOTO Andrew Hutchins

INTERVIEW Dan Mathers

Randall Graham finds inspiration in the history and natural beauty of Chester County. You’re from the area, right? Just about my whole life. I grew up in Malvern and really the only time I’ve left Chester County is when I went off to college at University of Delaware, where I studied graphic design. What’d you do with that degree? I was doing murals and stuff, but as life has progressed, I got serious about my painting. What did that entail? Well, when I wanted to bring it to the next level, I took classes with Neilson Carlin, a masterful painter out in Kennett Square; he actually did the official painting for the Pope visit. I also spent a brief but incredibly important time studying with Bo Bartlett, another masterful painter who’s spent many years painting in Chester County because he was mentored by Andrew Wyeth.

What draws you to Chester County? The simple answer is how beautiful it is. We’re lucky to have four seasons, different light all through the year, rolling hills. Nature inspires me a lot, the way light tells a story with landscape and composition. Another thing that I inspires me alongside the natural beauty of Chester County is its history. My father is a retired history teacher and he always made sure the history of a place was important to me. There is something about your home being important to you—it’s a deep-rooted feeling that helps the art come out. Where have you been finding inspiration lately? I’ve been getting into a new series painting through a window when it’s raining. I call it my “en Rain air” series. They’re a cool a juxtaposition of abstract and reality while keeping my landscape painting roots. People find them really interesting, and I’ve been trying to figure out how far I can take it, how big I can make it. Seems there is some particular difficulty in the style. You’ve gotta be pretty obsessive about getting the raindrops right. How long does it take you to capture the image? Some pieces are done in one sitting. If it’s a smaller canvas, I have a mini

van, so I can sit in my car while it’s raining and work from there. I’m able to have a conversation with nature about how the water is moving, how the water is reacting depending on the storm. And if it’s a short storm? Most of the time I draw or do some painting or sketches in the car. Obviously nowadays you can just snap a photo with your iPhone, but I prefer to have sketches and paintings to work from; I find you kind of lose something when you’re just copying a photo. And where can people see these works? At the moment I have so many commissions I’m just trying to keep up with, but I did a big project for the Malvern Township Building and Public Library, big murals for their 120th anniversary, so that’s a good spot to see my work. You can also find me at Chester County Art Association. What do you do? I’m a member and supporter, but I also teach there. I teach a variety of classes throughout the year, but I typically teach plein air, outdoors stuff. I’m teaching a landscape painting class and introduction to oil painting in January. Sign me up! Visit chestercountyarts.com to sign up. It’s amazing that the classes frequently fill up and that this community embraces and grows with the arts.

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HOLIDAY

Our suggestions for shopping local this holiday season by Janae Fecondo

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Family Owned. Community Supported. Speakeasy Inspired. Boxcar Brewpub is the ideal spot for happy hour, a big night out or a relaxing weekend meal with the fam. Award-winning beers and a new homemade menu makes Boxcar the tastiest new place to be: • West Chester-crafted Boxcar brews • Seasonal beer cocktail menu • Local PA wines & ciders • Cuisine sourced local from scratch • 6-packs and growlers to-go Check out our ever-expanding event schedule online including an extensive line-up of live music. Consider us for your next private event in our upstairs lounge. 142 East Market Street, West Chester, PA 19382 www.boxcarbrewingcompany.com | 484.947.2503

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WE'RE JUST TRYING TO MAKE YOUR LIVES EASIER. YOU CAN THANK US LATER. The truth is, love it or hate it, shopping for holiday gifts is difficult. Sure, you could just snag a few gift cards, but where's the fun in unwrapping a piece of plastic? The key to a great gift is finding something that's thoughtful, something that will really light up their eyes. Of course, Amazon Prime can simplify the process for you, but you won't know how it fits, how it feels, how it smells, until it's arrived on your doorstep. There's something exciting about walking through the streets of the borough, popping into shops, talking to employees and owners and really getting a feel for what it is you're purchasing. And so, with that in mind, we've picked out a few of our favorite gifts from a few of our favorite shops to give you that head start we're all looking for. Happy Shopping!

ARTISTIC EYEWEAR 127 N High St 610.738.7150 artisticeyewear.com

Recycled Record Sunglasses:

$495

Vinylize Eyewear Vinylize Eyewear combines a love of music and a dedication to quality and individuality with these frames handmade in Europe from vinyl records.

BLINK BOUTIQUE 135 W Gay St 610.431.2212 shopblink.com

Fur Vest:

$258

Ella Your favorite fashionista can pair their favorite flannel with this warm, stylish fur vest. (Maybe throw a bold-colored pendant necklace in their stocking!)

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BUTTERFLIES & BLOSSOMS 3 N Five Points Rd 610.430.7601 butterfliesandblossoms.com

Race Track Rug and Cars:

$29

Melissa & Doug Let your child's imagination run wild with this roll-up rug patterned with a race track and accompanied by the cars to drive on it. Vroom!

CHRISTINE'S UPSCALE RESALE 150 Westtown Rd 610.692.9375 christinesconsignment.com

Leather Purse & Wallet:

$218

Michael Kors This Michael Kors leather purse and matching leather wallet pair perfectly, making for a timeless set... and you'll save big!

DISC HOUNDS 323 E Gay St 610.696.8668 dischounds.com

Digital Transfer Service:

$15

Save Your Memories Do you even know anyone who uses a VCR anymore? That's why transferring those old tapes to DVD is the perfect gift!

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we'll manage your social media for $200 per month find out how: info@mathersproductions.com

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HALLADAY FLORIST 29 S Church St 610.696.5200 halladayflorist.com

$100

Holiday Floral Arrangement:

Holiday Bouquet Dress up the table or spruce up any room with this elegant and tasteful holiday bouquet !

JANE CHALFANT 123 N High St 610.696.0290 janechalfant.com

Fur Scarf:

$138

Dino Gaspari Spread warmth to your friends and family with this furtrimmed scarf from Jane Chalfant. A stylish and cozy twist on the typical fur trend.

JOHN L SMITH 550 Hannum Ave 610.436.4909 smithusedcars.com

2009 BMW 328i xDrive:

$17k

Luxury Sedan Get the highest quality pre-owned cars for great prices from the area's largest dealer, voted Readers Choice winners for nine years straight!

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KALY 37 W Gay St 610.436.8272 kalyclothing.com

Peyton Poncho:

$88

Wind River This chic outer layer will add style (and warmth) to any outfit.

KREUTZ CREEK 44 E Gay St 610.436.5006 kreutzcreekvineyards.com

Holiday Wassail:

$18

Spiced Wine Made from Vidal Blanc grapes and pumpkins with additions of cinnamon and cloves for a little spice. It can be served warm or chilled, perfect for any holiday gathering.

MAINLINE CUSTOM CLOTHIERS 129 W Market St 484.908.7098 mainlinecustomclothiers.com

Custom Sport Coat:

$199

Enzo's of Italy Mainline Custom Clothiers offer a wide selection of readymade men's clothing, but they specialize in custom suits, for men who appreciate the perfect fit.

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The Nutcracker

December 11-21, 2015 Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall

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MOONFLOWER 130 W Gay St 610.431.6607

Pendants: most under

$50

Natural Gemstones Add some sparkle from nature to your holiday list. Moonflower specializes in sterling silver jewelry with genuine gemstones, rocks, minerals, shells and fossils.

NICH 29 S High St 610.436.8181 shopnich.com

Love Candle:

$28

Claro Charity Candles Every Claro candle sold provides a night of shelter for a homeless orphan, so you're giving so much more than the gift of a beautiful candle.

OLD SOUL DECOR 119 W Market St 484.983.7311 oldsouldecor.com

Brass or Aluminum Cuff:

$75

Soko Jewelry The Dash Cuff is hand-cast from brass & aluminum, individually crafted by the artisan using reclaimed brass door handles, sink faucets and even engine blocks.

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THE PAINTED PLATE 104 W Market St 610.738.0603 paintedplatepottery.com

Ceramic Light-up Tree:

$65

Paint Your Own Pottery Personalize and decorate ceramic Christmas trees, ornaments, holiday serving dishes and more—the options are nearly limitless.

THE RAM SHOP 134 N High St 484.887.8111 wcuramshop.com

Winter Hat or Scarf

$20

West Chester University Apparel This town is chock full of WCU alumni, and—while they’ve long been proud of their alma mater—they’ve never had a better opportunity to wear that pride on their sleeve… literally.

SPAZ BEVERAGE 1015 West Chester Pk 610.696.6320 spazbeverage.com

Celebration IPA:

$38

Sierra Nevada This holiday ale, featuring layered pine and citrus hop aromas to balance the rich, malt sweetness, is just one of the many craft 12-pack options available at Spaz.

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STAY CHIC 131 W Gay St 610.429.8161

$55

Little Black Dress:

Mustard Seed In a classic A-line cut, this new twist to the little black dress is perfect for any occasion. It’s pleather insets and colorful bodice add just the right amount of personality.

STERLING OPTICAL 40 E Gay St 610.692.9289 sterlingoptical.com

Sparkly Sunglasses:

$199

Kate Spade These Kate Spade Ursula retro-inspired sunglasses are anything but ordinary. Steer away from the traditional sunglasses and gift a memorable pair this year.

SUNSET HILL JEWELERS 23 N High St 610.692.0374 sunsethilljewelers.com

Diamond or Gemstone Rings:

$1200

Stackable Rings Stackable rings tell your story, each is set with diamonds and a gemstone that represents your lives. Choose between a selection of white, rose or yellow gold.

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THE 5 SENSES 133 W Market St 610.719.0170 the5senses.com

$75

Beer Scrabble Flight:

Artech Glass Studios Giving new life to what would otherwise end up in a landfill, these glasses are a terrific gift for that hard to please guy. It's the perfect thing to pour your Celebration IPA into.

TISH BOUTIQUE 138 E Gay St 610.692.7500 tishstyle.com

Volcano Candle or Diffuser:

$15

Capri Blu This refreshing take on candlelight is formulated to burn for hours with a cozy fragrance. Best of all, they're crafted from recycled glass!

VISUAL EXPANSION GALLERY 126 N High St 610.436.8697 visualexpansiongallery.com

Shadow Box:

$395

The Brewmaster's Tools These vintage items were designed and especially framed to portray the craftsmanship of the trade and make the perfect gift for any beer geek.

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And you can advertise for as little as $151 a month. Full Color

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THE WC PRESS | VOICE OF THE BOROUGH

The WC Press is the voice of this community, and we do our best to share our knowledge of interesting businesses, inspiring people and all the intricate stories that unfold within this town.


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Bartender of the

Month

PHOTO Andrew Hutchins

INTERVIEW Dan Mathers

Alyse Kullman of Ryan's Pub talks good bar food and the benefits of loving where you work Where are you from? I’m from West Chester. Born and raised. Did you ever leave? No. Never left. Went to WCU and now I’m getting my Masters at Immaculata. Studying? Nutrition and dietetics. So what’s the plan? I’m in the middle of my dietetic internship in order to sit for my boards and become a registered dietitian. How’s that gonna impact your bartending? Well, umm, luckily I’ve been at Ryan’s for almost five years, and they have helped me get to where I want to be. Prob-

ably, when I get set up in my field, I will have to say goodbye to bartending. How far in the future is that? Probably within the year. And they nominated you for Bartender of the Month!?! Hey, I put my time in! How so? Well, I have only ever bartended at Ryan’s; I was one of the rare ones hired as a bartender. They needed someone for Monday nights, I had just graduated college and was available. It worked for both us, and I never left. What's made you stand out? I feel like I have been available as much as possible, as far as picking up shifts and helping out. I can’t always put in 40 hours a week, I have a second career, but I pick up shifts whenever I can. If they need me for a party or randomly filling in, I am there, available and willing to help out. What are your favorite things about working at Ryan’s? I feel like I don’t need to go out if I work here. All of my friends come here, everyone I work with are friends. Instead of going out on a Saturday night, I get the benefit of seeing all my best friends while I’m working.

Do you think that’s true for anywhere in town? I think that all the bartenders have their crowd that comes to see them, but I like the laid-back atmosphere at Ryan’s, and the great crowd. Some places you just go for a cocktail or just to have food, but here you can really let your hair down. That’s not to say you can’t come have a cocktail and food... Oh, no, you can do whatever you want at Ryan’s! I think that our food is phenomenal—when I go out to eat, I go to Ryan’s. But, then, I’m always at Ryan’s. I think it’s an indicator of a well-run business when the majority of employees hang out at the bar where they work. I used to work at Applebee’s, so now I don’t eat there. That’s not how it is here at all. The food is done right, and it’s not food that’s just out of a package and thrown on a plate. It’s homemade, made from scratch, and I’m into that, considering my field. That’s your official opinion as a notquite-registered dietician. As far as wings and chicken fingers and great bar food, it’s all made from real ingredients and made well. Besides, you don’t always have to eat healthy.

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The

Makeover PHOTO Andrew Hutchins STORY Tina O'Brien

Peter's Salon & European Spa gives a young professional a new, seasonally appropriate look Our model, Dalva, is a young professional with a desire to look natural-yetstriking. For this season, her stylist Tina chose to add depth and richness to her natural brown hair. Tina glazed her hair with a Demi color made up of a combination of warm reds and auburn tones. This gave Dalva the shine and body she needed as well as the deep richness that looks so beautiful with her flawless skin tone. Her hair cut is a mix of shattered layering to maximize movement and maintain length. The shorter fringe around her face creates interest and softness. Dalva's makeup was applied by Karissa, her esthetician. Karissa first prepared her skin by deep cleansing with a European Facial. She then chose a soft pale foundation to complement Dalva's natural skin tone. Her eyes are accentuated with natural shades of taupe and soft browns. An autumn coral blush softly accents her cheekbones and a cranberry lip color brings out the warmth of all the shades. With each season Dalva changes her hair color, cut and makeup to refresh her style.

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Budget-

Conscious

STOC KI

NG

STUF F

ERS

big ideas. small gifts. by Chelsea Mathers

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CHILDREN LANTERN-MAKING KIT

Moonflower 130 W Gay St | 610.431.6607

$24

A great crafty gift to enjoy with a sibling. These lanterns come with all the supplies you need to make them at home. Decorate, paint, and hang as a lamp shade. Owner Aimee Beaver says, “They add a splash of eclectic mood and style to your space!�

PAINT-YOUR-OWN PLATE

$19

The Painted Plate 104 W Market St | 610.738.0603 | paintedplatepottery.com Pick a plate, create a design, and paint your masterpiece. Then come back a week later to pick up your fired and glazed product. But it doesn't have to just be plates: pick from Santas, Christmas trees, and ornaments. Best of all, you're giving the gift of spending time together!

INFANTS ORGANIC DIAPER CREAMS

Kaly 37 W Gay St | 610.436.8272 | kalyclothing.com

$17

Bull City, the manufacturer of these products, is run by two moms who want to provide their families with the most natural lifestyle that they can. These gifts could come in handy for the health conscious new parents in your family!

KNITTED TOYS

Kaly 37 W Gay St | 610.436.8272 | kalyclothing.com

$20

Any and all of the Pebble Products sold at Kaly are handmade, fair-trade and 100% organic. Featured here are knitted beany toys for babies that come as dragons, sheep, and even one-eyed monsters!

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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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TEENS FINGERLESS GLOVES

Moonflower 130 W Gay St | 610.431.6607

$20

These wool gloves fit any size, are handmade in Nepal, and come with a soft fleece lining. The cut-off fingers make it easy to text and type. The company that distributes these fair-trade gloves gives a portion of the proceeds to various pro-peace and environmental organizations.

PERFORMANCE SOCKS

Fairman's 43 W Gay St | 610.344.9959 | fairmans.com

$14

It used to be guys wore either white socks or black socks, but those days are behind us! These comfortable and fashionable socks from Stance are made for sweating and skating, but can be worn comfortably even if they're just "chillin.'"

HOSTESS HOLIDAY COOKIES

Yori's Church Street Bakery 15 N High St | 610.344.9674 | yorisbakery.com

$15

Mix and match your favorite cookies at Yori’s Bakery! Yori’s has jimmie, cherry almond, and drizzle spritz, German butter squares, Swedish pecans and more! You can also find a holiday favorite, Pizzelles, by the bag.

HOT CHOCOLATE

Gemelli 12 W Market St | 484.557.8482 | gemelligelato.com

$15

Gemelli’s gourmet hot chocolate jar is all you need to make their signature French hot chocolate at home. It includes the jar, hot chocolate mix (8 servings), semi-sweet chocolate chips, mini marshmallows and even instructions. Who knows? Maybe they'll be appreciative enough to offer you a mug in return!

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WIFE RECIPE DICE

The 5 Senses 133 W Market St | 610.719.0170 | the5senses.com

$22

Ever struggle to decide what you want for dinner? Try these fun recipe dice by Lovewild Design. You can roll the dice for a combination of ingredients for a meal, and there are different sets of dice to choose from depending on your mood. They come in either a neat satchel or a jar and are fun in any kitchen!

SHEA BUTTER BATH SALTS

Beau Etre 148 W Gay St | 610.430.0811 | beauetre.com

$22

Owner Kimberly Mitchell tells customers, “As you transition into the winter, so does your skin. Don't wait to feel dryness—treat your skin and keep it hydrated." You can scoop your own salts in flavors such as grapefruit and lemongrass, or treat your loved one to any of their other Silvanus organic bath and body products.

HUSBAND BOTTLE OPENER

The 5 Senses 133 W Market St | 610.719.0170 | the5senses.com

$26

Assuming your man likes to drink beer (most do, right?), then stop into The 5 Senses to pick up this stylish onehanded opener complete with a handy silver box for storage. These openers are designed by Kebo and can fit into any back pocket.

BUNGEE LACES

Chester County Running Store 24 S High St | 610.696.0115 | runccrs.com

$6

Never tie laces again with these innovative stretch laces from iBungee. They give the wearer a perfect comfort fit and provide instant tension adjustments.

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The

Look

Fringe is In at Tish

From pants to skirts, from bags to sweaters: this season fringes are everywhere! Fringe gives an on-trend nod to the '70s that we are seeing now through spring 2016. The first look our model is wearing is a flirty fringe suede skirt with an oversized sweater. Perfect for the holidays, and you can easily add leggings going forward into the deep of winter for another chic look. The second look is a navy dress, in a ponte fabric, with a sweater vest to add another layer, paired with our favorite fringe bag for a stylish day-to-night look. Left: BCBG Suede Skirt $198, Love Token Cowneck Sweater $138, Shiraleah Tote Bag $118 Right: Amanda Uprichard Ponte Dress $195, Sanctuary Clothing Sweater Vest $148, Triple Global 7 Crossbody Bag $72

photo Andrew Hutchins story Ashley Tischler

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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

When I was a kid, I loved the twelve weeks of holiday madness from mid-October to January first. Amid the chaos of shopping and family visits, I found a certain comfort in the usual high points. It commenced with getting together a Halloween costume. Just as the trick-or-treat candy was almost gone, the anticipation of roast turkey and pumpkin pie offered promise enough to carry me through to Thanksgiving break. Once Santa came to town on his sleigh at the end of the Macy’s Parade, I began to comb through circulars that came in the mail, making lists of what I wanted most for Christmas. We’d drive around looking at lights from Dec 2th until New Year’s. Once back to school, I’d feel a strange sensation upon writing the date on the top of my paper with a new number, painfully realizing how long I’d have to wait for the magical time to reappear. As I got older and the magic of it all gave way to adult obligations and drudgery, I became a bit of a Bah-Humbug. I would lament at seeing Christmas tree ornaments along with jack-o-lanterns on the same shelves at the store, commenting on Big Business rushing the season. Traffic from shoppers drove me insane, noting the irony of people cutting each other off in the parking lots as they rush to buy presents during the season of comfort and joy. I’d bitterly acknowledge the people clinking a quarter into the iconic red pot with the ringing bell, wondering why that same awareness of the less fortunate disappeared in July. But not this year. This year, I’ve been drinking it all in. If you recall, I wrote a few months back that my husband went back to his country of origin and took our son along to spend some quality time with his grandparents. Ten weeks stretched into three months because I encouraged them to extend their stay since my boys were thriving and I was enjoying the down time with my daughter. I was able to slow down to appreciate the beautiful foliage during some great runs around town, stroll through the restaurant festival without a stroller, and even have a few girls’ nights out in town. This year, I was looking forward to Old-Fashioned Christmas as soon as I put away the orange plastic pumpkin. I actually began the holiday house cleaning BEFORE the holidays! I was looking forward to my boys' arrival the day before Thanksgiving. In my time alone, I’ve been creating my own wish list of activities we’ll do together during the season: decorating cookies, stringing lights outside, making plans to visit other families with kids and rushing outside to throw that first snowball of winter. Yes, I’ve turned over a new leaf this year and decided to embrace the spirit of the holidays. Whether it’s Jesus in a manger, a menorah or kinara, a Tree of Knowledge or crescent and star, we all have something to celebrate: another 52 weeks to do it all over again. May you and those you hold dear have a great end to 2015 and prosperous start to the new year. jozgur@thewcpress.com

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Holiday Hosting

Simplified Avoid the added stress of extra cooking around the holidays by counting on these local purveyors by Kate Chadwick

W

hen it comes to hosting holiday get-togethers, well…I’m an excellent guest. I won’t show up early, I’m never the last to leave, and I always bring something for the host(s). I’m sociable, civilized and although I’m not a huge fan of small talk, I can manage it with almost anyone. I don’t drink, so I won’t get sloppy and hit on your man or vomit in your powder room, and am always glad to offer designated driving services. I’ll eat almost anything you put in front of me (except seafood, bananas, coconut, or babies – as in veal or lamb), and I’m an excellent dishwasher. It’s not that I’m a bad hostess, per se, it’s more that I’m a panicky one. Friends and family always tell me that my home is warm and welcoming (if not necessarily immaculate)—I’ve

become used to them showing up at any time of day or night, and I’m fine with hosting the occasional after-work happy hour or girls’ night in. But the formality of a holiday gathering involves a bit more planning and…adulting, I guess, than I’m comfortable with, so I’ll take all the help I can get. If you can relate to this at all, you’re reading the right article, because we touched base with several local businesses that will help you keep your wits about you during your holiday happenings and streamline the hosting process. BONUS: This article will help you to be a good guest, too, as you can bring most of these things along with you when you’re invited to a holiday party just as easily as you can put them on your own table.

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Meats Colonial Village

Except for a five-year stint in my youth, I’m an unabashed carnivore. And, if it’s meat you want, you go to Colonial Village Meat Market. I spoke with Kevin Kelly, who owns the West Chester Colonial Village, about some of their main course options. Why slave over a hot stove all day, supervising a roast or a turkey when you can order one ready to go from Colonial? Or even, as Kevin suggested, a turkey sandwich. “We roast a turkey breast here in the store, then we slice it down for sandwiches, add the gravy, you pick it up and you’re all set.” Of course, the hot meatball and hot roast beef trays are still quite popular, especially for afternoon (think when a football game is on) or more casual holiday get-togethers; set them up with a basket full of rolls and let your guests have at it. But if you want NO fuss, “Get the hoagie trays,” Kevin said. You don’t have to do a thing but take the lid off, and people can grab something relatively substantial and eat it right in their hand. “Definitely for more casual events, when people want to start eating as soon as they walk in the door.” Or you can opt for something as simple as a pepperoni and cheese tray. This is not to say, by the way, that Colonial is not an option for more formal holiday dinners. You can order Chicken Francaise or Chicken Marsala entrees, for instance, or even a full filet mignon dinner, complete with sides, for a large group or an intimate party of two. Colonial Village Meat Market 929 South High Street, West Chester, 610-436-9514, colonialvillagewestchester.com

Sides Carlino’s

In the interest of full disclosure, I’ve been a Carlino’s fanatic for years. I was born in Ardmore, I bought my first house there, and the Carlino’s on County Line Road was a weekly stop. Also? They have everything there, from prepared hot entrees and sides to frozen pastas, sauces and soups, to take-out salads and sandwiches to dozens of cheeses to a full bakery. Technically, you could probably host an entire holiday feast and get everything from Carlino’s, but for our purposes, let’s go with sides. And their star side this holiday season is the humble Brussels sprout. Move over, green bean casserole—there’s a new savory side dish in town. When I was a kid, Brussels sprouts were typically boiled, like its larger cabbage cousins. Not anymore. These flavorful little veggies are roasted in olive oil and then dressed up with maple balsamic, pecans, gorgonzola cheese, and dried cranberries. (See also: how to get kids to eat their vegetables.) While you’re at it, swap out your mashed potatoes for some of Carlino’s Pumpkin Ravioli in Butternut Squash Sauce—perfect for pasta fans and vegetarian guests. And feel free to tell your guests you just threw it all together. We won’t tell. Carlino’s Market, 128 West Market Street, West Chester, 610-696-3788, carlinosmarket.com

Wine Kreutz Creek

Although a visit to Kreutz Creek Vineyards in West Grove is always an excellent idea, you don’t have to set foot out of the borough to grab a bottle of delicious local wine to serve to your guests (or to bring to a holiday party), because Kreutz Creek Vineyards Tasting Room is located right on Gay Street. And when we asked co-owner Carol Kirkpatrick for suggestions for the holiday table, she responded with a bottle (or two) of “whatever you like.” That’s not quite as cavalier as

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it sounds, because Kreutz Creek offers a variety of wines that can be paired with any course—“including salads, and their dressings,” says Carol—so forget the old “white with fish/red with meats” adage. “People should eat what they like, and they should drink what they like with it,” says Carol, and the team at Kreutz Creek is ready to help you with selections for whatever is on your holiday menu. But whatever they may be, Carol suggests picking up a bottle of their limited Holiday Wassail, made with pumpkins grown in their own garden. “We suggest serving it warm,” she said. “Not only does it taste like the holidays, it’s a great fragrance for your home for when your guests come in out of the cold. You can put it in a pretty mug and hand it to them as soon as they walk in, or you can’t go wrong serving it with pumpkin pie for dessert.” Wine with salad AND dessert—now that’s double duty. And P.S. If you’re looking to get those guests out of your house, bring them to the tasting room—if you time it right, you can catch some great live entertainment. Kreutz Creek Vineyards Tasting Room, 44 East Gay Street, West Chester 610-436-5006, kreutzcreekvineyards.com

Chocolates Eclat

Okay – more disclosure: you’ll notice it’s all about the sweets from here on out. And, if you can pair a wine with your salad dressing, there’s no reason, to my mind, why you can’t have candy for an appetizer. And when you’re looking for something

that unique, you go to Éclat. “The Parallel Bars have been a big hit,” according to Éclat owner Chris Curtin. “What’s nice about them is one square is like a whole dessert.” But just because it’s candy doesn’t mean it’s automatically dessert—their Porcini & Thyme Parallel Bar is just one example of the unique twist on confections that you’ll find at Éclat, and those earthy flavors are perfect for this time of year. Feel guilty eating chocolate? Drink it, with their Hot Chocolate Cocoa Sticks, in four fabulous flavors. Okay, yes, it’s skirting the issue, but in the interest of efficiency…Simply stir it into hot milk; it doesn’t get much easier than that, and the tasting pack makes a great hostess gift. For guilt-free (mostly) chocolate indulgence, keep Éclat’s First Harvest Bars in mind; a percentage of the profits for this one-of-a-kind candy goes right back to farmers in Peru, from which the cocoa beans for the bar are harvested. It is, after all, the season of giving, and that is something you can feel good about. Éclat Chocolates, 24 South High Street, West Chester 610-692-5206, eclatchocolates.com

Cookies Yori’s Bakery

Once upon a time, about two years ago, I was racing into West Chester for a Christmas party. I was coming from New Jersey, running way behind schedule, and had nothing in hand to bring to the hostess. I parked the car and ran to Carlino’s, but it had closed mere minutes before. And then, walking back to the car, like a beacon in the dark, I spotted Yori’s for the first time. The door was locked, but the lights were on and I saw people inside when I pressed my cold, pathetic nose against the window and knocked. And a young lady came to the door, let me in, and sold me the most beautiful tray of cookies you ever saw. Thus began my love affair with Yori’s Bakery that continues to this day. (And it’s not just the cookies – it’s the chocolate chip cupcakes and the donuts and the BUTTER CAKE. But I digress.) Ahem. According to owner David Yori, “It’s all about the cookies in December.” From old standards like gingerbread men (and women) to German classics like Pfeffernusse (spicy little cookies dusted with powdered sugar) and Springerle (a biscuit type cookie made with anise and imprinted with Christmas images), Yori’s is your cookie connection. You can special order them or just pop in and grab a ready-to-go tray. They’re also available in onepound boxes, which David says businesses order plenty of as gifts to clients. Just order in advance. “We can’t make enough cookies. We could make them all day, every day and we still sell out.” As problems go, that’s a delicious one to have. Yori’s Bakery 15 North Church Street, West Chester, 610-344-9674, yorisbakery.com So there you have it. One less stressful thing you can cross off your holiday to-do list. Keep your focus on your friends and your family, not the food.

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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 64

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 | VOICEwww.computerwc.com OF THE BOROUGH


Home

Becca Boyd has a passion for good food

Beccanomics

It’s always the same question: "What can I bring?" The answer is usually, “An appetizer or a dessert would be great," triggering frantic Googling. Look no further! I’m sure my mom will be upset when she finds out I shared this cookie recipe (it’s time-honored and memorable), and this crostini will please the crowd and doesn’t require utensils bboyd@thewcpress.com

Chocolate Mint Cookies Makes 5 dozen 3/4 c. unsalted butter (one and 1/2 sticks); 2 tbsp. water; 2 c. (12 oz) semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips; 1 1/2 c. brown sugar; 2 eggs, room temperature; 1/2 tsp. salt; 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour; 1 1/4 tsp. baking soda; 2 (6 oz) boxes of Andes Mints, unwrapped and halved; red and green sprinkles or decor of your choice 1. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, combine water, butter, brown sugar and chocolate chips. Stir until smooth and melted. 2. Transfer to a bowl and cool at room temperature about 10 minutes. 3. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and salt. 4. Using an electric mixer, beat in eggs, then slowly add in dry ingredients. 5. Chill dough 1 hour (or up to several days) in fridge. 6. Preheat oven to 350. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. 7. Arrange cookies 12 per sheet. 8. Bake 8 minutes. As soon cookies come out of the oven, put one Andes Mint half on each cookie. 9. After five minutes, swirl melted Andes Mint with the back of a small spoon. 10. While mint is still soft, add sprinkles/jimmies. 11. Cool to room temperature on a cooling rack. 12. Cookies will keep up to a week in an air tight container at room temperature. Honeyed Ricotta, Tomato, and Balsamic Crostini Serves 8 2 pints cherry tomatoes; 1 tbsp. olive oil; 1/2 tsp. kosher salt; 1 long, thin baguette, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds; 4-5 smashed garlic cloves; Olive oil; 1 garlic clove, halved; 1 1/2 c. Ricotta cheese; 1/4 tsp. kosher salt; 3 tbsp. honey; 1/4-1/2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves, to taste; Balsamic syrup for serving 1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place tomatoes on sheet. Toss with olive oil, garlic, and salt. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until blistered and burst. 2. Reduce oven temp to 400. Place bread rounds on baking sheet. Brush or spray olive oil to lightly coat one side. Bake for 12 minutes or until just beginning to brown around edges. 3. Remove bread from oven and rub each slice with the cut side of the garlic. Let cool completely – can be stored in an airtight container up to three days. 4. Meanwhile, make ricotta mixture by beating ricotta cheese, salt, honey and thyme with electric mixer until lightened, about three minutes on medium speed. 5. To assemble, spread about 1 tbsp. amount of ricotta mixture onto each crostini. Top with 1-2 tomatoes and drizzle with balsamic syrup.

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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

On Saturday, December 5, during West Chester’s Old-Fashioned Christmas weekend, you’ll be able to enjoy crepes from a local chef, artisan coffee from a local roaster, hot apple cider from a local orchard, a special bake from La Baguette Magique, and much more—all outdoors at the second “Pop-up Co-op” hosted by the West Chester Food Co-op. Under canopies in the former Rite Aid parking lot at Gay and Walnut Streets, the Pop-up is a stop for hungry shoppers drawn by the delicious aromas wafting in the chilly air. With a focus on using locally-sourced ingredients, French chef Sylvie Ashby is preparing both savory and sweet crepes using ingredients from Baily’s Dairy in Pocopson, Eclat Chocolates in West Chester, and North Star Orchard in Cochranville. She’s also offering a creamy sweet-potato soup using local vegetables. Born and raised in Normandy, Sylvie left France 27 years ago to study in America and decided to stay. After a career in international marketing, she now runs Cuisine de Sylvie, where her approach to cooking clearly reflects her French heritage. “I left corporate America to do what I love—cooking traditional French food and educating people in how to feed themselves more sustainably,” she said. “In France, people are used to cooking with local, seasonal products. They have a relationship with the environment. I teach people to enjoy seasonal food.” Complementing Sylvie’s crepes at the Pop-up is fragrant java from Hobo Ed’s Artisan Coffees. Owner Ed Humpal explained that he uses the “pour-over” method of brewing to highlight the nuances of his hand-roasted, single-origin products. “There are differences among coffees from different places, just as there are differences among wines,” he explained. “A chardonnay from California tastes different than France. Coffee works the same.” With the help of his son, Michael, Ed roasts his coffee in small, “human-sized” batches so he can retain the distinctive characteristics of each type of bean. “Giant coffee companies blend huge batches of beans from multiple origins, so they have to roast them at temperatures within a homogeneous range,” he said. “Individual, human-sized batches can be controlled in just the right range to ensure a strong flavor profile and to reflect the specific style of the individual roaster.” Also on hand at the Pop-up—warm apple cider from the presses at North Star Orchard. North Star was founded by Ike and Lisa Kerschner more than 20 years ago and specializes in unique and heritage tree fruits—including more than 300 varieties of apples—plus a wide variety of vegetables. They’re a GMOfree farm dedicated to using safe, sustainable farming methods. Ike also lectures and offers workshops in sustainable agriculture. Their products are available at several farm markets in the area, including the West Chester Growers’ Market. –dlebold@TheWCPress.com For more details on these local providers, visit: cuisinedesylvie.com; hoboed.net; northstarorchard.com; and magicbaguette.com. For more on the West Chester Food Co-op, visit www.wcfood.coop

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Owner of the

Month

PHOTO Andrew Hutchins

INTERVIEW Dan Mathers

Chet Reber, owner of The Painted Plate talks about art, business, family and parties When did you open? March of 2000. What made you decide on the business? My wife and I lived in town about a block away from the shop. At that point we wanted to open a business, but didn’t know what we wanted to do. She approached me with the idea, and I’d never heard of it. We visited another store, painted some stuff, and said, “Yeah, we can do that.” About a week later, we got the funds together, and we flipped a coin to see who’d get to quit their job… and I “won.” Did you face immediate difficulties due to leaving your job? Well, the steady income. We were in our 20s, and we were jumping without a parachute. It ended up working really well for us, but for the first six months I was either at home or at the shop. What were you doing before this? Outside sales for an international shipping company. That’s interesting background for paint-your-own. Outside of being a kid in art class, I had never really painted or fired pottery. The first time I ever fired a piece of pottery was when a kiln was installed here. How are you today? Have you found your inner artist? Yeah. I studied art in college a little bit, so it wasn’t totally out of my comfort zone, but I’m pretty comfortable with painting pottery now. I can’t really do much else, but painting pottery or shaping pottery I can do. Someone who is actually an artist wouldn’t think what I do is necessarily art, but we’re a business. What’s the biggest upside to the business? Being my own boss is the greatest. I enjoy being downtown in a successful business and being part of the community. It’s a much better job than I was in or probably would be in. I love talking to customers and getting to know repeat customers. It’s great finding people who like coming back to our place. I want everybody who

comes into our shop to wanna come back to our shop; we become friends with our customers. I have some very good friends who started as customers. Is your work schedule more flexible now than when you first started? Absolutely, and that flexibility is great for my family. I have four kids: my oldest is 14, and he was born about a year after we started this business. Then we had another son shortly after that who was born with a neuromuscular disease. Having the flexibility to be there for him if I need to be there means the world to me. I have two other daughters, one’s eight and the other is seven, who love the fact that I own The Painted Plate. Lots of adorable ceramics in the house? We don’t have an enormous amount of pottery in our house, but our kids’ friends

have birthday parties at the shop. Do you do a lot of parties? It’s a huge part of the business. Our goal is to have four or five parties a weekend. That’s a lot of kids coming through. It’s not just kids. Kids come through with Mom, then Mom wants to come back with her friends on a Thursday for ladies night. Sounds like you’ve got a lot of variety. There have been a ton of paint-your-own places that have opened and closed since we’ve been here, but we’ve adapted and tried new things. We did beads, mosaics, some glass fusing. We’re doing canvas painting. Keeping it new and adapting to what’s going on is what’s kept us going and kept us successful. That, and the fact we opened in West Chester. Being part of this town is just amazing for business.

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Tell Me something

Good

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

Who she is: Kate Parsons What she does: Kate is a certified life coach and a founding member of the Chester County chapter of PRO-ACT (Pennsylvania Recovery Organization - Achieving Community Together), an organization devoted to reducing the stigma of addiction. Why she’s on this page: We reached out to Jamie Johnson, Deputy Director for the Chester County Department of Drug and Alcohol Services, who nominated Kate. “She left a job with a pharmaceutical company to become a life coach helping others in recovery,” Jamie said. “Not only did she start the Chester County chapter of PRO-ACT, she’s also shown Anonymous People throughout Chester County, a must-see documentary (available on Netflix) that tries to reduce the stigma of addiction and raise awareness of it as a medical illness.” What we like about her: Kate took a giant leap of faith, not only to help herself, but to help others. As the saying goes: knowing you have the problem is the first step. “Halfway through my 34year pharmaceutical career, I began my recovery from substance use disorder,” Kate said. “In 2009, I experienced a major life change that shook my recovery foundation. It resulted in me looking deeply into my life and ultimately changing the direction of it,” Kate said. That's when she retired and started her life coaching business. “I focused on partnering with individuals in coaching with making better decisions for a better life.” But that’s not where the story ends; it’s more like where it begins. What she likes about West Chester: A lot. “I have so many favorite restaurants and shops in West Chester, I could fill this entire page!” Kate told us. But much of it is less specific than particular places and things. “I lived in Europe for five years,” she said. “And the borough reminds me of the neighborhood feeling and sense of community there.” Moral of the story: Act upon your ideas, because they can have a domino effect. For Kate, that meant not just starting her life-coaching business, but something larger still. “I had a vision of creating a community for those suffering from Substance Use Disorder and other co-occurring disorders where they could get the services they need to achieve long-term change,” she said. “My pursuit of this vision led me to PRO-ACT, an organization that not only focuses on reducing addiction’s stigma, but to ensure the availability of adequate treatment and recovery support services, and influence public opinion and policy regarding the value of recovery.” And as Kate’s story ably demonstrates, recovery can extend beyond oneself. If you or someone you love are struggling with addiction, please reach out for help to PRO-ACT of Chester County at 800-221-6333 or councilsepa.org/programs/pro-act 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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These two photos may appear to be same, but there are six differences between them. Identify the things that have been changed, then send an email to contests@thewcpress.com listing those changes. You’ll be entered to win a $20 gift card to a local business.

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Giving the gift of

Music

DJ Romeo curates a list of the best albums for holiday buys, along with the top 15 songs to download this month

Music is a perfect gift for everyone on your list. Whether you are shopping local this December at Electric Avenue or Mad Platter or choose to be lazy and buy an iTunes gift card, these are the albums to buy and the songs to gift. Happy Holidays everyone! djromeo@thewcpress.com www.djromeo.fm | @DJRomeo24

Albums

Adele - “25” Jeff Lynne’s ELO - “Alone In The Universe” Justin Bieber - “Purpose” Chris Stapleton - “Traveller” Trans-Siberian Orchestra - “Letters From The Labyrinth”

Singles

Justin Bieber - “Love Yourself” Ariana Grande - “Focus” David Guetta f./ Sia & Fetty Wap - “Bang My Head” (Remix) Twenty One Pilots - “Stressed Out” Adam Lambert - “Another Lonely Night” Macklemore & Ryan Lewis f./ Leon Bridges - “Kevin” Adele - “When We Were Young” Chris Stapleton - “Tennessee Whiskey” Coldplay - “Adventures of a Lifetime” Sam Hunt - “Break Up in a Small Town” Missy Elliott f./ Pharrell Williams - “WTF (Where They From)” Diplo & Sleepy Tom - “Be Right There” One Direction - “Perfect” Thomas Rhett - “Die a Happy Man” Gwen Stefani - “Used to Love You”

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Fresh FacPHOTO Andrew Hutchins INTERVIEW Dan Mathers

The feature that introduces you to the new people in town you should get to know, like Krystal Reinhard of Old Soul Decor What brought you to the area? Well, I originally grew up in this area, and when it came time to buy a house, I bought in the borough. In terms of the store, I chose to open here because it was more of an artsy downtown location with a lot of development going on. I wanted to attract a younger demo with an appreciation for vintage. Have you ever left Chester County? I did my undergrad in Vermont, then I started out as an art educator teaching at Essex high school in Vermont. I think moved back to this area and was teaching at the Woodlawn School on the Main Line. After that I went to grad school at PA Academy of the Fine Arts. What’d you study? Fine art.

Did you utilize that degree after graduation? Honestly, the time after graduating was kind of a lost spot in my life. I knew I wanted to sell my artwork—I am classically trained, landscapes and portraits—but I’m a people person, and I didn’t want to be locked in a studio alone all day. So, I ended up getting into interior design, which let me interact with people all day and apply my artistic skills. Sounds like a great merger of the two. It was. I was able to use my expertise, not just in selecting the art going into clients homes, but in doing interior design—it’s an artform. Because of my skill set, I offer a variety of options A lot of people don’t handle project management or sourcing furniture, or picking colors or buying artwork, but it’s sort of a one-stop-shop with me, for retail and design. Let’s talk about retail. You just opened up right? I was looking for a space but had initially anticipated buying a building. I live in the borough, and I would travel past Market Street on the way home every day. When this building became available, I knew it was a beautiful space—with the exposed brick and hardwood floors and a cool industrial feel—that was like a gallery

that would showcase everything. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up. What’s the concept? It’s all vintage and antique home decor. I carry everything from area rugs, to lithographs, to artwork, to antique jewelry and even furniture. Everything is sort of antique? Well, I know not everyone loves the antique idea, so I didn’t want to exclude anyone from coming in. So, I do have some items that are new (things that would make great gifts for the holidays). I have a hand towel line, Creative Women, that’s fair trade, handwoven and made from organic materials, and a jewelry line that’s handmade using natural and upcycled materials. Sounds like you care about where your products come from. Even with the vintage, it’s environmentally friendly—you’re recycling. I’ve always been very concerned about being environmentally conscious. Do you still practice your art? This is also a functional studio. I can design on CAD or I’ll be in the back painting. You can browse and ask questions while I’m painting; I never wanted it to be a stuffy store where you feel like you can’t touch anything—there’s a style for everybody.

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Profile for The WC Press

The WC Press Holiday Shopping Guide - December 2015  

Voice of the Borough

The WC Press Holiday Shopping Guide - December 2015  

Voice of the Borough