Page 1

inspiration for shopping locally this holiday season

( Like a package of holiday cookies from Yori's Bakery )


2

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

3


4

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

5


6

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

7


8

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


The

Press PUBLISHER Dan Mathers dan@thewcpress.com

ADVERTISING MANAGER Nick Vecchio nick@thewcpress.com MANAGING EDITOR Kate Chadwick kchadwick@thewcpress.com EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Courtney Potts courtney@thewcpress.com GRAPHIC DESIGNER Nazarena Luzzi Castro nazarenaluzzi.com CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Michael Lynch mlynch@thewcpress.com STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Erik Weber @westchesterviews CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Amy Tucker amytuckerphotography.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 Jamie Jones jjones@thewcpress.com Andrea Mason amason@thewcpress.com DJ Romeo romeo@thewcpress.com Rotary Club of West Chester rotary@thewcpress.com Moore Maguire Group realtalk@thewcpress.com Published By... Mathers Productions 24 W Market St, Ste 4 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.

Cover photo of cookies fresh out of the oven from Yori’s Church Street Bakery by Erik Weber

Worth

Noting

Our no-nonsense table of contents

13

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

16

LOCAL GIFT GUIDE Inspiration for shopping locally this holiday season

39

BEACON OF LIGHT North Star offers guidance to single working parents

55

DECEMBER EVENTS Our guide to the can’t-miss happenings this month

59

PHOTO HUNT Find the five differences between the two pictures and win!

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

9


10

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Letter

from the

Editor

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

Reflecting on my gift-giving habits in search of inspiration for this column I realized that my holiday spirit seems inextricably linked to my bank account... but completely opposite of the infamous Scrooge (Ebenezer or McDuck). For me, the fun of getting into the holiday season involves the planning and purchase of thoughtful and well-intentioned gifts for all the important people in my life. When my bank account is full, so is my holiday cheer. I was always low on Christmas while in college, mostly because I was incredibly broke — I kept my shopping lists short and the spirit never hit until I’d finished making the mashed potatoes on Christmas Eve. Comparatively, after I graduated, I felt like Kris Kringle himself. With a lack of fiscal responsibilities and a reliable paycheck, I was all too prepared to give. That first year I bought my mom a guitar and my brothers a PlayStation. I was feeling the spirit the second Halloween decorations came down. The responsibilities of adulthood quickly caught up with me. I had car payments, and rent, and utilities, all while wasting too much at the bar and attempting to save for a down payment. My purchasing power was depressed, and my spirit suffered accordingly. I remember how upset I felt the whole season, how stressed I was about letting my little brothers down, and how I finally confessed to my mom that I just couldn’t spend like I had in the past. I shouldn’t have been surprised when she told me I was crazy. But then things settled into a comfortable rhythm. I found a life partner who could split the bills (and that down payment), and I was left with extra cash come 12/25. I bought electric scooters. I bought a Nintendo Switch. I bought iPads and jewelry and all kinds of gifts that I was ecstatic to share with the people I loved. Unfortunately, 2019 is looking like another lean year. We found out halfway through November that our dog, Knuckles, needs a $3,500 knee surgery. There was never a question as to whether we’d pay for the procedure; he’s the goodest of boyes, and he’s only six. He deserves to sprint and wrestle and enjoy his years here. His happiness is a better gift than any I’ve ever given. The good news is that I’m now aware of how I allow my finances to determine my enjoyment of the season, and being aware has made me feel a bit sheepish about how much I’ve bought into the capitalist Christmas machine. This year, I’ll be spending significantly less, but that doesn’t mean the folks I love will go without — I was thrilled to discover just how many awesome and reasonably priced gifts we’ve featured in this year’s guide. If you exclude the obvious outlier (a Mazda CX-5), the average price per gift comes out to $99.57; half the gifts are $50 or less. Sure, it’s not quite a guitar, but I think the custom bracelets from Giunta’s Furniture will thrill my mom... and for a tenth of the price. I may be approaching the holidays with less cash on hand, but I’ll have a healthy dog and a healthy dose of self awareness. I plan to invest in some economical gifts and endeavor not to let the balance of my bank account shape the spirit of the season. —dan@thewcpress.com

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

11


12

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


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

ď‚Ť

@chef_scrappy

@katec616

@tishstyle

@eatdrinkomyogacafe

@elixiremily

@beermillwc

@gemelligelato

@kalyclothing

@visual_expansion_gallery

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

13


14

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Making a Difference Each month the Rotary Club of West Chester contributes a column that explores the organizations and initiatives that are making a difference around the world and right here in our community.

Tanzania may seem a world away from West Chester. The differences in climate, culture, traditions, education and beliefs between the two places could hardly be greater. But, for one group of Rotarians, there is a strong connection between our idyllic suburban Pennsylvania town and the sub-Saharan African nation. Albinism is a genetic condition resulting in the lack of pigment in one’s skin and eyes. In the United States, it is relatively rare, occurring once in about every 14,000 births. In Tanzania and neighboring countries, however, it is much more common. In fact, the difference is an entire order of magnitude greater: albinism occurs once in every 1,400 births in the region. It is also much more deadly, not from the disease, but from the ancient beliefs, superstitions and the practice of voodoo. Albinos are believed to be cursed and are thus persecuted and even killed. Certain albino body parts are believed to carry magical powers and are considered very valuable. Children are often dismembered and sold to witch doctors. It is not uncommon for parents to cut off a hand of their own child and sell it for quite a bit of money. Here in West Chester, Rotarian Ernest Zlotolow engaged the international committee of the Rotary Club of West Chester and created the Children’s’ Orthopedic Rehabilitation Strategies (or CORS) initiative. This group combats the atrocities that are occurring half a world away by soliciting money from major donors to fund operations. One of the most powerful contributions that CORS makes is contingent on its relationship with Shriner’s Hospital in Philadelphia. Shriner’s doctors have completed several reconstructive surgeries and fitted countless victims with prosthetics who were flown here from Tanzania. Since it is cumbersome to bring people here, Shriners and CORS have also created an outreach program, training surgeons and prosthetic teams worldwide in the cutting-edge programs developed here in the Philadelphia area. Recently, a symposium was held in Havana Cuba, funded by CORS, where 100 surgeons were trained in the practices. Obviously, these only fix part of the problem. The greater issue is the underlying beliefs that have been in place for centuries. That is why CORS is working with organizations such as Amnesty International and Under the Same Sun to change perceptions of people with albinism and persecute those who hunt and/or profit from their deaths and dismemberment. There has been progress, but there is still quite a bit of work to be done. Changing cultural norms — even ones that we here in the states feel are obviously abhorrent — is often a long and challenging process Living in West Chester, it’s hard to believe that such atrocities still exist. But thanks in part to the hard work of a few Rotarians, CORS continues to fight for those folks. –Rotary@thewcpress.com Interested in making a difference? The Rotary Club of West Chester meets at West Chester Country Club every Thursday at noon.

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

15


16

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


inspiration for shopping locally this holiday season

photos by erik weber

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

17


18

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


@allthedogslove

All the Dogs 13 S Church St 484.887.0282 allthedogslove.com

Weatherproof Urban Booties Protect your best friend’s paws from the wintry elements in these anatomically engineered booties. They’re lightweight, waterproof and polar fleece lined. (Bonus: they’re handmade in the USA.)

$56

@artisticeyewear

Artistic eyewear 127 N High St 610.738.7150 artisticeyewear.com

Thierry Lasry epiphany sunglasses Thierry Lasry’s sunglasses are based on the concept of futuristic vintage, fusing vintage inspirations with an updated, modern and avant-gardist touch. The Epiphany frames are made from the Italian Mazzucchelli acetate, which is the highest quality acetate available; it has more clarity and gloss than any other, perfectly suiting these thick, cat-eye frames.

$595

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

19


20

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Colonial Village Meat Market 929 S High St 610.436.9514 Colonialvillagewestchester.com

Filet Mignon Roast What better gift than a hot (and delicious) meal on the table? Colonial Village Meat Market will trim and tie your roast in minutes. They can also provide cooking instructions for you to ensure the perfect result.

@dischounds

Disc Hounds 323 E Gay St 610.696.8668 dischounds.com

Digital Transfer Kit With Disc Hounds transfer kit, old pictures, cassette tapes, films and slides can be transferred to one place and converted to a format compatible with today’s digital standards, available on USB or DVD. No more having to dig through old closets or boxes to find a specific memory. The gift of preserved memories is one that may be treasured for generations.

$99

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

21


22

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Fresh april flours freshaprilflours.com freshaprilsprinkles.com pinterest.com/frshaprilflours

seasonal subscription box Subscribe to quarterly shipments of three, 4oz pouches of our premium sprinkle blends right to your door. Or give the gift of seasonal sprinkles to your favorite baker! You’ll receive seasonal sprinkles four times a year and receive early access to holiday blends.

$100

@freshaprilflours

@giuntasfurniturewestchester

giunta's furniture 513 E Gay St 484.887.8271 giuntasfurniture.com

Inspiration Bracelets These locally made, beautiful and readyto-wear bracelets are made to order. The stones, medals and charms can represent an intention, feeling or reminder — the choice is yours. Design a unique, wearable gift for your loved one this holiday!

$26-48

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

23


24

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


H. rosE

@h.rose.kiddos

148 W Gay St 484.887.0085 hrosewc.com

Liza Reindeer Liza is a faux fur metallic reindeer adorned with fabulous lashes and a uniquely silky-soft cuddling composition, made by Jellycat Inc. She’s perfect for that trendy kiddo bursting with holiday spirit!

$35

KALY 37 W Gay St 610.436.8272 kalyclothing.com

B.U. Sterling Necklaces These beautiful pieces are handmade in Pittsburgh and feature a variety of stones and charms, such as: ’Protected by Love’ with prehnite, the stone of prophecy; ’Courage‘ with Labradorite, the stone of magic and transformation; moss aquamarine, the stone of courage; and ‘All You Need is Love’ Sterling silver.

$50-77

@kalyclothing DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

25


26

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Malena's vintage 101 W Gay St 610.738.9952 malenasboutique.com

1920s Sterling Silver Filagree Necklace Timeless and elegant, this exaggerated filigree pendant necklace features 360-degree views of delicate details. It’s accented by faceted blue and clear glass stones, attached to a long, period-authentic chain. The perfect gift for someone that is as unique as this one-of-a kind piece!

$125

@msmalena

phineas gage 29 S High St 484.266.7344 Phineas-gage.com

Queenstown Sweater Made from Optim Wool Fibres blended with Cashmere to create a super soft sweater, this Rodd & Gunn crew neck comes in four different colors, Bark (brown), Ink (Navy), Cloud (off white), and Fog (gray). Easy to layer with a button down, a coat or just wear it as-is.

$178

@phineas_gage_wc DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

27


28

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


@thepranahouse

the prana house 109 N Church St 610.436.1407 thepranahouse.com

Signature herbal wellness line At The Prana House you can find a variety of their signature organic wellness products in the form of herbal teas and their beloved “Be Well� Syrup, created by founder Jacque Maldonado. Each blend was made for preventative care and wellness for body, mind and soul.

$11-35

@sunsethillwc

sunset hill 23 N High St 610.692.0374 sunsethilljewelers.com

Walnut Wood Watch The Hyde series within the JORD collection is a model of minimalism. Cutting through the noise, the Hyde wood watch features a stark black face, polished walnut band and precision quartz movement, creating a timepiece that will truly speak to you. This holiday, elevate your daily wrist wear and give the gift of time to someone special.

$219

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

29


30

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


A taste of olive 26 S High St 610.429.0292 atasteofolive.com

Variety gift box The variety gift box from A Taste of Olive is the perfect way to please the palate. Pick and choose between boxes with balsamics and traditional olive oils, or dabble in packs featuring a variety of oil flavors. Our favorite is the salad combo, which comes with three oils and two balasamics, perfect for serving on the big day.

$34-38

@atasteofolive

@the5senseswc

The 5 senses 133 Market St 610.719.0170 the5senses.com

Bob Deane Pottery Like everything sold at The 5 Senses, this clay pottery is made in North America — in fact, it comes from right around the corner in Media, PA. Artist Bob Dean’s pottery makes use of locally sourced creek clay and is both oven and microwave safe.

$14-36

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

31


32

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


@paintedplatewc

The painted plate 104 Market St 610.738.0603 paintedplatepottery.com

Holiday Platter The options are limitless at The Painted Plate, and rather than simply spending money on some generic platter you (or your kids) can craft a custom holiday platter to gift to loved ones. Simply pick out the style of plate you want (there are also ornaments!), apply your design, and The Painted Plate’s talented staff will handle the rest.

$39

three dog bakery 1502 West Chester Pike 484.266.0151 threedog.com/bakery/west-chester

moosey Sweater This beautiful sweater is hand made of 100% wool, using all-natural, organic plant dyes in the spirit of Three Dog Bakery’s commitment to products and treats that are safe for your pet. It comes in sizes ranging from XXS to XXL.

$35

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

33


34

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


TISH 138 E Gay St 610.692.7500 tishstyle.com

cashmere leopard scarf This heart-shaped leopard-print scarf has become the style of the season. The fact that it’s incredibly warm and cozy is just a bonus, on top of how good you’ll look wearing it. It’s the scarf you have been looking for!

$168

@tishstyle

@visual_expansion_gallery

visual expansion gallery 132 N High St 610.436.8697 visualexpansiongallery.com

West Chester-Themed Holiday Ornament These unique, West Chester-themed ornaments are perfect for any reader of this magazine (they love WC, right?). The ornaments are of local scenes by local, talented artists. They are printed on 2x2” marble with gold cord to hang from the tree, and include a gift box.

$16

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

35


36

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Yori's Bakery

@yorisbakerywc

15 N Church St 610.344.9674 yorisbakery.com

Box of Holiday Cookies This delicious dessert box contains an assortment of small butter cookies. It has seasonal cut-out shapes and holiday cookies that include gingerbread, pfeffernüsse, almond crescents, linzer tarts, ice box cookies and others. All of the baking is done on premises, making each cookie from scratch with only the highest quality ingredients.

$16

piazza mazda 1340 Wilmington Pike 610.399.5330 piazzamazdaofwestchester.com

2019 CX-5 Sport AWD We’ll leave the description to the experts: Kelly Blue Book says, “The styling would suit a luxury vehicle, the cabin is similarly upmarket, and the fuel economy is remarkable. The CX-5 is a must-try.”

$26,820

MSRP

@piazzamazdawc DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

37


38

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


B

T

O F N L O IG C A H E

Of N O R T Y nts N fer T H U O Pare C s G STAR R E O F C H E S T king uidan c e t o S i n g l e W o ri c k stor w y by Kate Chad


Shop Local at Uptown! UptownWestChester.org Hap Holid py ays a Here re !

40

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Board of Directors North Star of Chester County Spring 2019

I

n January of 2014 I walked out of my marriage. The reasons I left don’t matter; there was no abuse but the situation was dire and beyond repair. I had two young children and was working part-time in the office at their elementary school while getting a foothold in freelance writing, including with this magazine. Between the office work and freelancing, I was making the equivalent of a full-time salary, albeit a very low one. I was also leaving behind a house that we owned for a rental that I’d be paying for by myself. It was the financial equivalent of walking off a cliff, and I plunged head-on into one of the most challenging years — financially and otherwise — of my life. An acquaintance, providentially, had posted her townhouse for rent on Face-

book the very day I decided to leave. When I inquired about it for me and my children, she immediately knocked down the monthly rental amount by $200. That unprompted act made the difference between having to stay and being able to leave (and to this day when I see her at the grocery store I get choked up and hug her and thank her and embarrass her, but I digress). I then started navigating such things as food stamps (for which we qualified, but which took just under four months to receive) and coming up with deposits for utility companies who regarded me as an entirely new customer and not half of a couple who’d had accounts with them for years. I also investigated rental assistance, for which we did not qualify. It was a dizzying and humbling maze of paperwork and pay stubs

and websites and sitting in waiting rooms to meet with social services workers. It brought the notion home to me that you don’t have to be out on the streets to be in a precarious situation, where one setback in the form of an unforeseen medical bill, car repair, or layoff would make all the difference in keeping a roof over our heads. According to a study last year by the Pew Research Center, approximately one-third of American children live in a single-parent household, a figure that has

High average rents in Chester County combined with stagnant wages have created a tenuous situation for many households, especially those led by single parents... DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

41


42

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


jumped from 13% in 1968 to 32% in 2017, largely due, in a nutshell, to people marrying less and divorcing more. Most of those single parents are mothers, accounting for 21%, and another 4% of America’s kids live with single dads. Here in West Chester, there’s an organization whose goal is to directly assist those single working parents, and in a lasting fashion: North Star of Chester County. Founded in 1993 as Interfaith Housing Assistance Corporation of Chester County, North Star is now a 501c nonprofit whose purpose is to help those single parents, like me, who are not necessarily in crisis or emergency situations, but who are working as hard as they can and barely keeping their heads above water. It works with its program participants to prevent things like financial instability and homelessness, not just treat them. The founding of the agency was prompted when a group of people noticed a need in West Chester, according to North Star Project Manager Nick Lohr. “Through their churches, they discovered single working parents were reaching out to the faith community for assistance,” he told us. “Because our parents work full time, they often do not qualify for other forms of assistance like LIHEAP (which helps low-income households pay their electric bill) or food stamps.” An entire demographic, falling through the cracks. “We guide single parents toward self-sufficiency through a three-year program that includes financial assistance, education, and a lot of mentoring support, which we call case management,” said Nick. “Often, our program participants earn too much to qualify for other programs or benefits because they work full time, but the catch-22 is that it’s not enough to get by on their own.” High average rents in Chester County combined with stagnant wages have created a tenuous situation for many households, especially those led by single parents, leading to serious housing instability. “Our founders recognized the need and sought to remedy it, not just in the short term with rental assistance, but for the long-term by helping people become self-sufficient,” Nick said.

That financial support North Star provides includes crucial rental assistance. “We pay a portion of a program participant’s rent directly to their landlord, on an ongoing monthly basis,” Nick told us. “The amount paid is assessed by the case managers during the application process, and it is adjusted during their time in the program.” Rental assistance is tapered down in the third year to avoid the “cliff effect,” a term used among nonprofit groups to describe the sudden loss of benefits when their time in a program has ended. “The rental assistance helps our parents maintain their housing by discounting the rent, giving them the financial breathing room, the hand up that they need.”

All names have been withheld for the people appearing in this story out of respect for their privacy. They are all real, local families who have benefited from the help of North Star. Taking into account that there are often no quick fixes in economically fragile circumstances is one of the things that sets North Star apart. While there’s very definitely a need for those agencies who help folks in crisis or emergency situations, this one is in it for the longer haul. “The length of our program is unique among social service providers in Chester County. Our agency founders

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

43


AMY TUCKER PHOTOGRAPHY

Faunbrook B&B

An 1860s grand manor estate on the south side of West Chester

Weddings d shoWers d rehearsal dinners guest stays d events d 2 to 100 guests 699 West Rosedale Avenue • West Chester, PA 19382 610-436-5788 • 800-505-3233 • www.faunbrook.com

44

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


saw that self-sufficiency takes time to achieve, which accounts for the threeyear timeline.” Former client Ellie is a perfect example: A former social worker who inherited her grandchild after the loss of her son to the opioid crisis, she was in her fifties when everything shifted. Like so many single parents, she was making ends meet, but with the realization that one financial crisis always loomed. North Star assisted her with her rent, and she learned in their workshops how to manage her money. Today she is paying her rent on her own and is financially self-sufficient. “While in our program, participants meet with a case manager, one-on-one, to complete a monthly budget,” Nick said. “In these budget meetings, case managers help the parents to set goals, access resources, and learn financial literacy.” North Star also conducts free workshops throughout the year on self-sufficiency. Recent offerings included a presentation on insurance, domestic relations and child support, as well as one on tax preparation.”

North Star somehow manage all of this with a part-time staff, including Nick, Executive Director Joyce Lacy, L. Diane Toaltoan and Ros Tilghman, both Senior Case Managers, and Case Manager Catherine Welch. “Joyce and I run the day-today operations in the office, which includes everything from answering calls from people in need of help, writing grants, organizing our annual fundraisers, administration, and outreach,” Nick told us. “Our case managers are the ones who work closely with program participants and guide them toward self-sufficiency. Meetings with the case managers occur in the evening and on weekends, which is when the parents themselves are most available.” The organization also has a veritable army of volunteers, approximately 50 annually, according to Nick. “Many volunteers assist us during our fundraisers, but we also receive help delivering furniture and, for those with proper clearances, providing daycare during our workshops.” Longtime volunteer Sandy Liddick, who is also co-chair of the group’s fundraising committee, feels it’s time well spent. “I really like helping with this particular orga-

nization because they are helping people who are working really hard to make ends meet. They teach them the tools they need to increase their income and decrease their expenses, which is such a valuable lesson.”

Ellie is perfect example: A former social worker who inherited her grandchild after the loss of her son to the opioid crisis, she was in her fifties when everything shifted. Over the years, North Star has grown steadily, expanding beyond West Chester to serve all of Chester County. Although Nick was unable to determine an exact number of families they’ve assisted, there have been many. “Since 2012, our records show more than 400 families have been served in some capacity, 220 of whom received two or more months of rental assistance. It is safe to say we have helped hundreds of families avoid homelessness.” And the needs of those families are always evolving. “Chester County was a more affordable place to live 20 years

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

45


46

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


To qualify for the program, a person must be a single parent, working at least 35 hours a week, living in Chester County in non-subsidized housing, and raising their children with no other adults in the house. “Our parents are working hard but struggling to make ends meet and need relief as well as coaching on how to budget.” Occasionally, North Star is contacted by an individual with needs assistance outside of the organization’s immediate funding capabilities, such as security deposits or eviction avoidance funds. They’re unable to provide emergency assistance but can refer them to local community partners to help them find solutions. The process for getting assistance with North Star is fairly straightforward. “For

qualified parents, they come in and meet with a case manager to complete a budget as part of the application process,” Nick told us. “We require at least one month’s worth of paystubs to verify full-time employment. A second budget meeting is completed the following month to complete the application process. The case manager determines their level of assistance and, at their discretion, is brought to our Program Committee for approval; that committee is comprised of staff and select board members.” If approved, the applicant becomes a participant in the program, and their rental assistance begins the following month.

“Our parents are working hard but struggling to make ends meet and need relief as well as coaching on how to budget. “

ago,” Nick said. “In the last two decades, wages haven’t kept up with the rise in housing costs. Public transportation is also lacking in our area. Reliable transportation, affordable housing, and living wages are all things with which our families struggle.” In recent years, they have also noticed an uptick in inquiries from grandparents, like Ellie, who are now raising their grandchildren, much of which is attributed to the nationwide opioid crisis.

While the rental assistance is pivotal in giving the program participants a hand up in a difficult situation, that’s not all North Star does. “We provide additional support services, including gas and grocery gift cards, as needed, children’s programming, including financial assistance with summer camps, and delivery of gently used donated furniture,” according to Nick.

Five years ago when I was in this situation, evidence that my acquaintance and eventual landlord wasn’t the only one who got me through a challenging time in my life was everywhere. It took the form of donated furniture, home-cooked meals, and random gift cards that materialized on my doorstep in those first few difficult months. To say that it was a humbling and touching experience is an understatement. Sometimes it takes a village to get us through life’s toughest times. The folks at North Star are just such a self-contained village. “I am truly proud of this agency,” North Star Executive Director Joyce Lacy told us. “The hardworking parents who are striving to meet their goals, the integrity of the case management team, and the unwavering support of our Board of Directors all combine to make a positive impact on the quality of life for economically challenged Chester County families. They will succeed in our program.” Sometimes, we all just need something to guide us. For more information on North Star or to donate, please visit northstarofcc.org, or call 610-696-5675.

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

47


48

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Home

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

Beccanomics

December is beloved by so many of us, the word itself conjuring cozy fires, candlelight and fetes galore. In reality we rush at breakneck speed, anxious to procure the perfect gift, decorate like the magazines and bake enough cookies for yet another exchange. I’d like to do my part to help: here are two seasonal recipes that I’ve made ahead and frozen to great results. They’re family favorites and sure to be hits. Make them now and come the holiday, you’ll be glad you did. –bboyd@thewcpress.com Flourless Peanut Butter Blossoms makes 3-4 dozen 1 3/4 c. light brown sugar 2 large eggs 1/2 tsp. vanilla

1 3/4 c. peanut butter (not natural style) kosher or sea salt to sprinkle 3-4 dozen Hershey Kisses

1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat brown sugar and eggs with electric mixer until blended, about 1 minute on low speed. 2. Add vanilla and peanut butter and continue mixing on low until evenly and smoothly combined, about 1 minute. 3. Cover dough and refrigerate at least 30 minutes. 4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line baking sheet with a Silpat or parchment paper. 5. Scoop batter with a 1 inch spring-released cookie scoop or roll into balls (tablespoon amounts). Sprinkle lightly with salt, and place in preheated oven. 6. Bake for 10 minutes on the center rack of the oven. Let cool on baking sheet about 2 minutes and gently press a Hershey Kiss into the center of each cookie. Let cool about 8 more minutes before gently moving to wire rack to cool completely. Freeze in airtight plastic bags. Pumkin Waffles makes 8 1 c. canned pumpkin 2 c. milk 1/3 c. mild oil like vegetable 1 tbsp. vanilla extract 2 large eggs 1/4 c. brown sugar

2 1/2 c. all purpose or white whole wheat flour 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1 tsp. salt

1. Heat waffle iron. Whisk pumpkin, milk, oil, vanilla, eggs and brown sugar until smoothly combined in a medium mixing bowl. 2. In a larger bowl, whisk flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined. 3. Add wet ingredients to dry and fold until smoothly combined. 4. Add in scant, 1-cup amounts to iron and remove when baked through. To freeze, cut in half and freeze on wire rack. Once frozen (about 20 minutes), combine waffle halves in plastic gallon sized ziptop bag. Toast in toaster to reheat and serve.

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

49


50

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


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

Holiday shopping has arrived and it’s a comfort to know you won’t have to look any farther than our own backyard for terrific gift ideas. If you have someone in the family who is a lover of home decor, or just beautiful things in general, then I will set your holiday shopping at ease. I have a list of my favorite West Chester talent below from wall art to home decor... Atwater Designs: Using the cyanotype photographic process, artist Sarah Rafferty produces brilliant blue originals and prints of plants from our own Chester County. Along with wall decor, she also produces soft Belgian linen pillows, the sweetest greeting cards, and wrapping paper that you won’t want to throw away. If you need something custom, Sarah accepts commissions and helps find the right design and fit for your needs. @atwaterdesigns | atwaterdesigns.com. Rachel Altschuler: Finding her inspiration in nature, Rachel creates stunning paintings of birds, from roosters to owls and everything in between. She captures their beauty with purposeful brushstrokes and vivid colors. Rachel’s concentration to the detail in their eyes really brings them alive. Her art work can complement modern and traditional homes and would be the perfect gift for a bird lover, the outdoorsy type, or anyone who appreciates something simply beautiful. @rachelaltschuler_artdesign | rmaad.com Tiffany’s Wreath Co: Winter, Spring, Summer or Fall, Tiffany has the wreath that will be perfect for you or anyone on your gift list! Her faux florals and materials look amazingly real and give a look that will last. These are perfect for a front door or decor inside the home. Tiffany puts her clients first by using quality materials and piecing together each wreath with care. @tiffanyswreathco | etsy.com/shop/TiffanysWreathCo Stitch Fellas: These original hand cross-stitched pet and family portraits are the ultimate sentimental or comical gift. Brandi Jones fully customizes these to your liking and they would look wonderful on any wall, traditional or modern. She creates cross-stitched ornaments as well, which are perfect for this time of year! @stitchfellas | etsy.com/shop/stitchfellas The Knot Chick Studio: Macrame is so hot right now, and how nice is it that we have the talent of Laurie Baum in West Chester with her creative macrame wall hangings and plant hangers. Working with a variety of colors, she can customize or you can purchase one of her designs on her Etsy account This fun macrame decor will radiate all of the bohemian vibes that your special someone will treasure! @the.knot.chick | etsy/shop/theknotchickstudio. Good luck shopping (even if you won’t need it with this list), and cheers to a happy New Year! –amason@thewcpress.com

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

51


52

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Can’t-Miss December Ev ents

Every Weekend

Santa’s Express

Every Saturday and Sunday in December up through Christmas, you can join Santa for a 90 minute journey on a heated, decorated train through the Chester Creek Valley. Santa will be greeting everyone at Market Street Station and then going along for the ride to Glen Mills. Once at Glen Mills passengers can disembark and explore the historic station. There are plenty of photo opportunities on Santa’s lap inside the station! Passenger’s will enjoy live entertainment onboard from Greg Wright and friends! The train will depart four times a day, at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm. Tickets are $25 for adults, $18 for kids and $8 for anyone under two years old. 230 E Market St | 610.430.2233 Wcrailroad.com

December 3

Giving Tuesday

This event offers shoppers in Downtown West Chester the opportunity to knock out some of their holiday shopping while also cementing themselves solidly in Santa’s “Nice” column. All day Tuesday, shops and boutiques in the borough will be donating 10% of all their sales to charitable organizations. So come out to support local businesses AND some local non-profits. Downtown West Chester

December 1, 8 & 15

December 6

train will be departing their Market Street Station at 8am and 10am on the first three Sundays in December and shuttling riders to Wiggins Tree Farm. Passengers will enjoy coffee, hot chocolate and donuts on their way to the farm, where they’ll disembark and go pick and cut a Christmas tree. Your tree will then be bundled, tagged and placed on a flat car, which will be in tow on the train for the ride back to the borough. Tickets are $22 for adults, $16 for children and kids under two ride free. All trees are $50 with the purchase of your train ticket. 230 E Market St | 610.430.2233 Wcrailroad.com

West Chester’s biggest annual parade is the highlight of the holiday season. It features hundreds of dancers, performers and musicians. There are also dozens of events surrounding the parade itself, and the borough will be filled with holiday cheer. And, if one night isn’t enough, you can tune into QVC on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day when they will be replaying the event. Downtown West Chester

QVC West Chester Christmas Tree Train West Chester Railroad’s holiday-themed Christmas Parade

Window Decorating Contest

The downtown retail and restaurant business owners are putting on their creative hats, and stepping up to the challenge to be selected as one of Downtown West Chester’s Five BEST decorated store-

fronts! The Borough’s Public Arts Commission (PAC) will make their rounds to select winners based on originality, artistic merit, quality of theme, overall interest, and craftsmanship. So bundle up, put on your walking shoes, and enjoy the festive displays of creativity, beauty and lights in Downtown West Chester! Downtown West Chester

December 6 & 7

The Bullies Christmas Carol & Holiday Cheer Concert

This event starts off with a silly show where terrible twins Ebbie and Neezer bully their classmates, steal toys from homeless children, and do everything they can to ruin the school’s annual All-Inclusive, Non-Specific Holiday Celebration. But when three goofy ghosts show the siblings the past, present, and future consequences of their awful deeds, they take another look at their choices. This is followed up by a Holiday Cheer Concert which involves: The Broadway Kiddos, The Broadway Kids Cabaret, WCStudio Singers and Uptown Singers. The show runs 90 minutes, so Friday’s 5pm showtime will get you out of the theatre in time for the parade. Saturdays show kicks off at 1pm. Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center 226 N High St | 610.356.2787 uptownwestchester.com

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

53


54

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


December 7

Kris Kringle Krawl

West Chester Sports Leagues presents the area’s biggest bar crawl kicking off at Barnaby’s before heading to Mas, Ram’s Head and Kildare’s. Each stop will feature food and drink specials, and prizes will be awarded for best Christmas costumes. Tickets are $20 in advance, $25 at the door and the registration begins at noon the day of the event at Barnabys. To purchase tickets, visit thewcpress.com/kringlekrawl Barnaby’s of West Chester 15 S High St | westchesterleagues.com

Holiday Bazaar

Come visit Santa and Mrs. Claus on Dec 1 from 11am-3pm. Spread holiday cheer with kids activities, local crafters, vendors, pet adoptions with 4 Paws, local beer, wine, cider and spirits. Highland Orchards 1000 Marshallton-Thorndale Rd 610.269.3494 | highlandorchards.net

Breakfast with Santa

Kids will share their holiday wishlist and pose for photos with the big man himself (but keep in mind, the event is BYOCamera). Plus, everyone gets to enjoy a delicious breakfast. Tickets are $16, and children under two are free. High chairs and booster seats are not provided. Registration and payment will need to be completed and submitted in advance. You can find the necessary forms here: thewcpress.com/breakfastwithsanta Chester County Historical Society 225 N High St | Chestercohistorical.org

A Night Under the Stars

From 6:30–11:00pm, Friends Association for Care and Protection of Children invites guests to its 31st Annual West Chester Charity Ball. Last year, Friends Association helped 210 children and 92 families overcome homelessness, a feat that might not have been possible if not for the amount raised at the West Chester Charity Ball — the Association’s largest fundraiser. Replete with gourmet food, wine, music, and a lively auction, the event has evolved into one of the most awaited events in town. Purchase your tickets in advance online at wccharityball.givesmart.com West Chester Golf & Country Club 111 W Ashbridge St | 610.696-0150 westchestercc.net | friendassoc.org

December 12, 14 and 15.

The Chester County Ballet Co. presents The Nutcracker

Ring in the season with Tchaikovsky’s timeless score and the classic tail of Clara and her Uncle Drosselmeyer as they battle the Mouse King. Tickets range from $7-50, and there will be four performances over three days, so check the ticketing website for more information. Henderson High School Auditorium 400 Montgomery Ave tututix.com/harrisondancestudios

Elementary School Choirs. The show starts at 6:30pm, and adult tickets are $28 in advance, $33 at the door. Students receive a $13 discount. Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center 226 N High St | 610.356.2787 Uptownwestchester.com

December 13-29

Into the Woods

This performance is one of Chester County’s signature holiday events, and features original, traditional choreography by David Kloss and Donna L. Muzio, integrated with new choreographic elements by Nancy Page. There will be eight performances and show times and prices vary, so check their website for ticketing info. Emilie K. Asplundh Concert Hall 700 S High St | brandywineballet.org

Resident Theatre Company presents Into the Woods, a modern twist on the beloved Brothers Grimm fairy tales, that is one of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s most popular shows. An ambivalent Cinderella, a bloodthirsty Little Red Riding Hood, and a Prince Charming with a roving eye are among the cockeyed characters in this fractured fairy tale. The show will play every Friday, Saturday and Sunday throughout its run, plus a show on Wednesday 12/18 and Thursday 12/26. Times and ticket prices vary, so consult their website for specific details on the show you’re interested in. Resident Theatre Company 226 N High St | 610.356.2787 rtcwc.org

December 14 & 15

December 26

December 13-15 & 19-22

Brandywine Ballet presents The Nutcracker

Chester County Choral Society presents Handel’s Messiah

Handel’s Messiah has been described as a commentary on Jesus Christ’s Nativity, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension, and the Baroque-era oratorio still awes listeners 250 years after the composer’s death, having become a musical rite of the holiday season. There will be one West Chester performance on Saturday at 7:30pm, followed by a Sunday performance in Paoli. Tickets are $20 for adults. Bayard Rustin High School 1100 Shiloh Rd | chescochoral.org

December 19

Family Jazz Night: The Cartoon Christmas Trio

Merry Christmas! Since its inception in 1995, established solely for the purpose of capturing the nuances of the holiday music of Vince Guaraldi and his contemporaries, Cartoon Christmas Trio has been the premier interpreter of the classic soundtracks of holiday cartoon music, especially the music of “A Charlie Brown Christmas”. The Trio will be joined by baritone Grant Youngblood and Hillendale, Pocopson and Unionville

Xmas Hangover Beer Bonanza

You’ve got two options on Boxing Day: 1. Deal with the consequenes of your Christmas Day overindulgence and get in some shopping. 2. Keep the party going at Split Rail Tavern where they’ll be tapping select beers from major breweries. We know what our choice will be. Check their Instagram, @splitrailtavern, for updates. Split Rail Tavern 15 N Walnut St | 484.999.8805 splitrailtavern.com

December 31

Uptown’s New Year’s Eve Gala: Puttin’ On The Glitz 2019

Welcome in the new year with dinner, dancing and first-class live entertainment, all in support of Uptown! Music will be provided by The First Ladies of Rock & Soul, and food is provided by John Serock Catering. Tickets for the event at $150. You can also become an event sponsor for as low as $500, and receive a number of tickets to the event. The party kicks off at 6:30pm. Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center 226 N High St | 610.356.2787 Uptownwestchester.com

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

55


56

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


Near and Far

Jamie Jones of WhirlAway Travel explores some travel options abroad and highlights their local counterparts

Much to my children’s dismay, I am not a huge fan of tons of gifts during the holiday season. Last year my son wanted a go-kart, and Santa delivered a go-kart, fully charged on Christmas morning. He rode that thing until the battery died that afternoon and maybe four times after that over the rest of the year. I am not sure that he even knows he still has it. This has been the case year after year. The kids want something; we get it; it loses its luster by March. Every year I do my best to follow a simple rule when it comes to gift giving: something to wear, something to read, something you want and something you need. Luckily, West Chester has an answer for every check on that list. Something to Wear – H. Rose Boutique on Gay Street has the most adorable children’s clothing (as well as some gems for moms and grand moms). I have scored cute clothes that my tween wears over and over again, as well as a sweater for my mother-in-law that I was tempted to keep for myself. H. Rose Boutique is reasonably priced and sure to check the women off your list this holiday season. Something to Read – Sustainability is the trend and for readers who value actually turning a page, Second Reading Book Store on Church Street has you covered. With an ever-changing array of everything from the obscure to best sellers, there is something for everyone. An added bonus is that proceeds support the West Chester Area Senior Center. They also take used books, so when your family is done, take them back in so someone else can get lost in a good book. Something You Want – Monkey Fish Toys in Bradford Plaza is my go-to here. This is one of my favorite stores to visit. I usually find myself playing with Aaron’s Crazy Putty or kinetic sand while I am waiting to check out. Beanboozled (a game about guessing Jelly Bean Flavors) makes a great stocking stuffer, and the game room in the back has something for every family game night. Something You Need – I have to put in a shameless plug for my business, WhirlAway Travel. I truly believe that travel is essential for the future of our world. You get to meet new people, experience other cultures, spend time with loved ones or travel solo and learn a bit more about yourself. We get so caught up in the day to day that we forget how big and diverse the world is. For me, travel is something I need in my life and I hope to instill that value in my family. Reflecting on the past year, my fondest memories have not been the stuff I have collected, but the experiences I have had with friends and family. I do enjoy giving thoughtful gifts with meaning; taking the time to shop in our town, putting thought into each gift selected — year’s past have produced memories that bring me joy and hopefully some to the recipient as well. This holiday season, make sure to support our local businesses and follow the simple guidelines above. —jjones@thewcpress.com

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

57


58

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


If you can spot the five differences in this photo of holiday cookies, email your answers to contests@thewcpress.com, and you’ve got a chance to win a Barnaby’s gift certificate. Congrats to our November winner, Jim Green.

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

59


60

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


December Playlist DJ Romeo curates a list of the tracks you’ll be singing all month The following is a list of songs that will take over the radio stations in the next few months. You’ll soon know them by heart and play them ‘til they’re tired. But, good news: you can download them first and look like the cool musical genius to all of your friends. djromeo@thewcpress.com

www.djromeo.fm | @DJRomeo24

Jonas Brothers – “Like It’s Christmas” Selena Gomez – “Lose You To Love Me” Dua Lipa – “Don’t Start Now” The Chainsmokers – “Push My Luck” Panic! At The Disco – “Into the Unknown” Marshmello ft. YUNGBLUD & blackbear – “Tongue Tied” Ant Saunders – “Yellow Arts” Luav ft. LANY – “Mean It” Arizona Zervas – “ROXANNE” The Black Eyed Peas ft. J Balvin – “RITMO” Billie Eilish – “everything i wanted” Kesha ft. Big Freedia – “Raising Hell” Major Lazer & Khalid – “Trigger” AJR – “Dear Winter” King Calaway – “Happy Christmas (War Is Over)” Sam Smith – “I Feel Love” Jack Johnson – “New Axe” Martin Garrix ft. Dean Lewis – “Used To Love” Louis Tomlinson – “We Made It” BTS ft. Luav – “Make It Right” Coldplay – “Orphans” Olivia Rox – “It Girl” Lukas Graham – “Lie” Bon Jovi – “Unbroken” Kanye West – “Follow God” Hootie & The Blowfish – “Rollin” Khalid – “Up All Night” Goody Grace ft. Blink-182 “Scumbag” Noah Cyrus ft. Leon Bridges – “July” Meghan Trainor ft. Lennon Stella & Sasha Sloan – “Workin’ On It”

DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

61


62

THE WC PRESS VOICE OF THE BOROUGH


DECEMBER 2019 THEWCPRESS.COM

63


Profile for The WC Press

The WC Press Local Gift Guide - December 2019  

Voice of the Borough

The WC Press Local Gift Guide - December 2019  

Voice of the Borough