On June 1, Kirstin Rabe Day will return to the show ring at Devon.
It’s been a while. Twenty years, in fact.
With her erect carriage, her spit-shined boots and gloved fingers, Kirstin will be the picture of equestrian elegance.
But beneath her finery, emotions will be churning.
I’ve made it back.
When she last competed at Devon, Kirstin, now 38, was a junior at Radnor High School. She won two ribbons.
Seven months later, she had to give up riding altogether, and with it, her beloved horse.
Years of anorexia and depression had wracked her body, sapped her spirit, and were threatening to steal her very life.
Over winter break of senior year, she’d had an auditory hallucination during what she calls a “complete emotional breakdown.” (Self-starvation will do that to the brain.)
“This is the end,” the voice told her, clear as day.
She was 17 years old.
“I felt for the first time that I was facing my own mortality,” Kirstin tells SAVVY. “All of a sudden it was like, “Oh my God. What have I done?”
She didn’t tell her mom about the voice but did say she thought she was dying.
Kirstin spent the next four-and-a-half months as an inpatient at The Renfrew Center for Eating Disorders in Roxborough. While her friends were enjoying the last hurrahs of high school, she was digging into dark corners 24/7, sorting out the perfect storm that had swallowed her: her perfectionism, her genetic predisposition to depression, and some family trauma.
***TRIGGER WARNING: The rest of this article contains information that may be triggering to people with eating disorders. Please proceed with caution or skip this story. ***
Kirstin had always been Type A+. “To not excel at something doesn’t really fly with me.”
In kindergarten, she told her mother she was stupid because she’d gotten something wrong. “I was hysterical,” Kirstin recalls. “I could never accept and go with the flow.”
In Kirstin’s mind, “nothing was ever good enough. If it was OK, it was terrible. If it was bad, it was catastrophic.”
Her parents didn’t push; she pushed herself. “From academics to sports to relationships, everything was intense for me.”
Despite the caring support of family, teachers and friends, Kirstin hated herself. And it went way beyond looking in the mirror and thinking her skinny frame “looked huge.”
By eighth grade, she had full-blown but still undiagnosed depression and anxiety. “Instead of using my words to say ‘I’m depressed; I hate who I am,’ I took it out on my body,” Kirstin says.
She began restricting her diet and, by high school, had completely ritualized meals.
Her daily regimen: carefully cut fruit, dry salads without protein, apples and Diet Coke.
She did her own grocery shopping, fearing others might sneak something into her food.
“It was very important for me to eat in the kitchen alone. I didn’t want anyone to force me to eat more. This was a private thing I was doing. The thought of taking that away would cause me to feel enraged in a very disordered way.”
After a few months, her body adapted to starvation. “It doesn’t take long to feel like you don’t need food.”
To stay on the straight and increasingly narrow, she’d leave little notes around her bedroom and in her backpack. “DE,” she’d write. Don’t eat.
Her hair thinned. Her period stopped. She suffered constant blinding headaches. She was irritable. And so exhausted she could have gone to bed at 5 o’clock every day. “At times, I felt like I could have slept for years. I was just so tired from it all.”
Still, she stuck with it. “I also started feeling this was helping me control parts of my life that were very out of control, like my parents’ divorce.”
Because she would burn too many calories, her doctors forbade Kirstin, a multi-sport athlete, from playing lacrosse and soccer.
By 10th grade, she was seeing her team at Penn Medicine Radnor most days after school: adolescent medicine/eating disorders specialist Dr. Janice Hillman, a therapist and a nutritionist.
On weekends, she still rode and trained for horse shows at Berwyn’s Greylyn Farm. “I’m not sure why I was allowed to ride,” Kirstin says. “Maybe because my parents had invested so much in my horse. My mom knew I loved it so much. I think she wanted me to have some bits of happiness.”
Remarkably, Kirstin managed to get straight As and says she “rode really well,” showing in the local hunter classes at Devon in 1997 and 1998.
There were times when she’d plateau and her family would think she “was getting a little better,” only to see her plummet again. “It became our new normal. This was how we were functioning even though we weren’t really functioning.”
When the bottom fell out and she entered Renfrew in January of senior year, she “was petrified” that she’d fail to get better. But she channeled her perfectionism toward recovery, determined “to be the best inpatient Renfrew had ever seen.”
Her stay was grueling.
Re-introducing food and restarting her metabolism caused night sweats and abdominal cramping. She always felt “painfully, excessively full.” Hunger cues that anorexia had obliterated had to be relearned.
As her body slowly re-calibrated, her emotions woke up, too. “I’d been using the disorder to numb my feelings. Once you start to feed yourself, your emotions come to the surface. It’s a lot to work through.”
She recalls the time a fellow patient’s personal story moved her to tears. “It was the first time I’d cried in years.”
Kirstin went home in mid-May, caught up on schoolwork with a tutor, and graduated on time in June. Her first post-hospitalization challenge came right after graduation, during senior week in the Outer Banks.
“My biggest fear was that I’d become out of control with eating – even though I’d never been someone who binged. I didn’t know what my new body would be like once I started eating normally.” She brought along her Renfrew meal plan, finding “security” in predetermined amounts of “safe” foods.
She gradually introduced new foods and was eating normally by the time she entered Lehigh University in the fall.
To stay on track – and to help others – Kirstin began speaking to sororities and student groups, a practice she continued all four years.
Her message: This happened to me, it can happen to you, and it’s OK. Eating disorders, depression and anxiety are tough to get through but there’s help out there.
“I always got a good turnout,” Kirstin recalls. “I had a lot of coffee. People wanted to talk to me one-on-one afterward.”
After graduation, she took a job in jewelry design in New York. Nine years ago, she married her college boyfriend and after their daughter, Ella, now 6, was born, moved back to the Main Line. Today, she’s a VP of design for The Jewelry Group, commuting to Manhattan four days a week to create fashion jewelry for Nine West, DKNY, Marchesa and Givenchy, among others.
In 20 years, Kirstin has never had an anorexic relapse.
But she’s had two major depressive episodes – the first so severe she had to take a medical leave and move back to her mother’s Berwyn home for four months.
The second episode was recent, 10 months after her son, Wyatt, now 18 mos., was born. Kirstin thinks it may have been triggered by a traumatic illness suffered by her daughter, which required her hospitalization at CHOP.
Pregnancy was challenging. She dreaded the surging hormones, the potential for post-partum depression, her ballooning body and people touching her belly.
“I hated the way I felt in my pregnant body,” Kirstin says. “I love being a mom. I love my kids. I didn’t love being pregnant.”
Anti-depressants, which her doctors allowed her to take during pregnancy, have become a way of life. For Kirstin, depression means “extreme sadness” and “feeling everything is catastrophic … It rolls in like a black cloud if I’m not taking medication for it.”
And those who scoff at pills? “They’re ridiculous,” Kirstin says. “Medication is amazing. You have to hang on until you find the right doctor and the right prescription.” (Although she does allow that medication doesn’t work for everyone.)
In the last several years, Kirstin has reclaimed her voice, even stronger and wiser than the one she used at Lehigh.
She circled back to Dr. Hillman, the Penn Med doc who saw her through her darkest days. With Hillman’s help, Kirstin developed Strength is Beautiful, an educational program about eating disorders and mental health tailored to different audiences.
So, when she’s not a full-time jewelry executive or hanging with her husband and kids, there’s a good chance Kirstin is out speaking. (“I’m so lazy,” she deadpans.)
In six years, she’s shared her “Strength is Beautiful” story with thousands, most recently with Agnes Irwin’s middle and upper schools, Lower Merion 10th-graders, Villanova and Jefferson medical students, and maybe with your own daughter or son. (Surprising fact: one in three people with eating disorders is male.)
She’s also spoken repeatedly at Renfrew centers and addressed the first National Eating Disorders Association Conference in Philly last May.
What’s the biggest thing we don’t understand about eating disorders? That they’re not about food. Or poor body image. Not really. They’re about trying to manage emotional distress through disordered eating behavior, Kirstin says. For her and other survivors, restrictive eating was a coping mechanism, a cry for help, a symptom of deeply buried pain.
Two years ago, Kirstin re-ignited another passion from her youth. She got back in the saddle with the same trainer, Rachael Tennyson, and at the same barn, Greylyn Farm.
When she enters the show ring at Devon next week, Kirstin’s mind will be clear; her heart will be full. She’ll silently salute Kirstins lost and found: the sick girl she once was and the resilient woman she’s become.
“I’m an open book now. I’m not numb anymore.”
Strength is indeed beautiful.
Hold your horses. Devon’s delights reach far beyond the show ring.
For starters, take shopping.
Thirty-seven vendors are up and peddling at the Country Fair this year. Another 23 are open near the grandstands. That makes 60 reasons to shop the show. And that’s not even counting the biggest retail earner of all: Devon Souvenirs (now open 365 days a year online).
As veteran Country Fair vendor chairman Joan Oates often says of the show: “The shopping’s amazing. We even have horses.”
Sixteen of the Country Fair’s 37 peddlers are local, most come from far afield. (Devon has THAT big a rep on the show circuit.)
What sells most, besides Devon swag? Jewelry, women’s clothing, housewares and equestrian gear, Oates says.
Perennially popular local popups: Polka Dots Boutique, Tuyet jewelry, Eastcote Lane vintage/painted furnishings and Malvern Saddlery, among others.
Shops with staying power: The Apple Tree has sold women’s fashions at Devon for 35 years(!) Runner up: Hats by Katie, here for 27 years.
Bracing for a big splash: Valley Forge Flowers, in the large old Anthropologie stall near the back grove. “I can’t wait to see what they do with the space,” Oates says.
A fresh face to look for: English newcomer The Oak & Rope Company, customized oak gifts – from cutting boards to backyard swings.
Most enthusiastic/surprising newcomer: Christine Shirley, a late sub for Jennifer on the Avenue. The sewing studio/clothing shop in downtown Wayne just opened a second store in Devon’s cutest cottage and is over the moon about capturing a spot at the show.
Oates and Patty O’Shea, who handles non-Country Fair vendors, spend months finding the magic mix in the right location. Shopkeepers pay either a flat rent or a combination of a smaller rent and 10 % of sales to Devon Horse Show, Inc. Oates and her team make the rounds nightly, collecting sales slips.
Despite the outlay, vendors do so well, most return year after year. Which makes snagging a spot a coup.
“Four or five new names are being added daily this time of year,” Oates tells SAVVY a week before the show’s open. “Our waitlist is years long.”
The oldest and largest multi-breed outdoor horse show in the country, Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, 23 Dorset Rd., Devon, runs Thursday, May 23 to Sunday, June 2. Call 610-688-2554 or visit devonhorseshow.net.
Come one, come all, to the greatest show on turf (and sand).
What to know before you go to the 2019 Devon Horse Show and Country Fair:
Parking: The same hodgepodge of lots and front yards. The new garage on Dorset, if approved, is still years away.
Tickets: $15 for adults, $7 for kids 6 – 18 and seniors 65+. Free for tykes 5 and under. First-come, first-served bench seating. No sneaking into boxes or grandstands. (Have a Horse Show habit? pay $75 for an 11-day pass.) $2 off sales to groups of 10 or more, seniors, kids and active military. Reserved grandstand seats are $15 to $75 (for Grand Prix night) – and are sold by the performance.
- Free admission & parking on Community Night, Thursday, May 23 after 5 p.m. and on Family Day, Sunday, June 2 (8 a.m. – 3 p.m.)
- Free admission and special seats for military, first responders and their families (Thank you, Patriot Chevrolet/Buick/GMC) on Monday, May 27 with a special Tribute to Heroes and announcement of the new Halo Awards (best service dogs).
- Discounts on food, midway rides and souvenirs on Family Day, Tuesday, May 27 with free Back Barn Tours 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.
- Don a hat and saunter on in for free on Ladies Day, Wednesday, May 29, until 1 p.m. (Delicious Ladies Day details below.)
- The Devon Plant Sale. Green thumbs know to grab all the show’s greens and florals at cut-rate prices before the gates close on Sunday, June 2.
In the ring:
- Dogs, dogs and more dogs – Enter yours in the 3rd annual Dog Show, presented by What a Good Dog, 7 p.m. May 23. Watch Border collies herding sheep and ducks Friday, May 24 (night), Radnor Hunt Hounds Parade Saturday, May 25, “Airmutts” K9s in Flight May 31 and June 1. Leashed dogs welcome anytime.
- Young riders – May 23, 24, 25 (Junior Weekend). Costume Pony Hunt Teams (below) Saturday, May 25 at 4:30 p.m.
- Your pals and neighbors: Locals/amateurs compete May 31, June 1, June 2 (day).
- Handicapped riders – Sunday, May 26 (day).
- Shetland ponies – Watch them race Monday, May 27 (day).
- Thrills, Chills & Spills – Pony Steeplechase May 26 (day), Arena Eventing, hugely popular in its third year Sunday, May 26 (night), and five nights of Open Jumpers (May 28, 29, 30, 31, June 1).
- Fancy pants – Antique Carriage Parade steps off from St. David’s Church, Sunday morning, May 26. Scurry, carriage driving, and coaching May 27, May 28. High-stepping Saddlebreds and Fresians May 29, 30, 31, June 1.
In the money:
- Whoever wins the $250,000 Sapphire Grand Prix of Devon on Thursday, May 30 (8 p.m.), when the best IN THE WORLD vie for the show’s biggest purse. With wall-to-wall crowds (hello Uber), it’s a total zoo, but so worth it.
- Not too shabby: The $70K Idle Dice Jumper Stake June 1 (night). Over the course of the show, nearly $900,000 is awarded. Take that, Wellington.
- NEW this year! Shine her Mary Janes for the Itty Bitty Tea Party (ages 12 and under) in the Pavilion, May 25. Tea-party treats, a special craft and a favor, $30. Limited space. Reserve in advance.
- Ladies Day, Wed. May 29, 11 a.m. Two options:
- “The Enchanted Garden” ticket includes entrée into enchanted garden-themed hat contest (with fab prizes), gift bag, “Lavender Lemonade” cocktail reception, live jazz. Tickets are $50. $60 at the door. (Bring your wallet. We’ve got our eyes on the Hermès scarf they’re raffling off.) NEW THIS YEAR: An “Professional Milliner” hat contest category exclusively for milliners and hat sellers. Other categories: “Most Enchanted,” “Best Hat to Toe,” “Best Hat and Purse Pairing,” “Best Group” and “Best in Show.”
- NEW this year! The Enchanted Garden & Luncheon The hat contest and reception PLUS a gourmet luncheon buffet with open wine bar at nearby Terrain Gardens. Spare your aching tootsies and take the free shuttle to lunch. Combo tickets are $125.
- Picnic/boxholder contests. Prizes for “best food” and “best theme” box/skybox Friday, May 31 at 6 p.m. and for best tailgate picnickers during the Antique Carriages Parade at St. David’s Episcopal Church on Sunday, May 25.
- Children’s Day, Sunday, June 2. Cupcake decorating, storytime, flower planting in tea cups, and a visit from therapy dog Harvey begin at 9:30 a.m. followed by the Itty Bitty Hat Parade at 12:30. $8 ticket includes activities, hat and hat decorations.
- A cold one at Clydesdale’s, souvenir shopping, winning on the Midway, people watching, lemon sticks and fried Oreos (if you must).
A Not-Everyday pleasure:
- Winning the Devon Derby raffle. This year’s prizes include a lease on a 2019 Buick Encore (courtesy of Patriot dealerships), Phillies game/VIP dinner, TREK performance bike, $1,000 gift certificate to Walter J. Cook Jeweler, a $500 shopping spree at Bloomingdales and more.
New point of pride:
- The induction of Devon show manager, Pete Doubleday, into the Show Jumping Hall of Fame on Grand Prix night after St. David’s pastor Frank Allen returns to sing the national anthem.
New (but less obvious) this year:
- The new gazebo, new gravel and levelling of the main parking lot on Dorset Ave. Bye-bye, big tire ruts.
- Swell new spot for competitors to chill: the “Exhibiters’ Lounge,” complete with A/C, sofas, TVs and snacks.
- Less sweltering conditions for Garden Café kitchen volunteers, thanks to a new exhaust fan. Ahhhh.
- New windows in the Art Gallery and Valley Forge Flowers booth (formerly Anthropologie).
- Fresh paint for boxholders.
- New stormwater measures.
- A new fridge and other upgrades to the secret-handshake Hospitality Room. (If you have to ask where it is, you’re probably not invited.)
- Nicer digs for the show’s most elite horses. Last winter, another 80 stalls of the 600 on Valley Forge Road were rebuilt with safer barriers and tighter security. Because show ponies of this caliber – shipped in from places like Switzerland and South America – cost a mint.
Something to look forward to:
- Devon’s 125th Anniversary Gala on May 1, 2021 in the tented Dixon Oval. Dine and dance ‘til you drop. Details TBD.
Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, 610-688-2554, 23 Dorset Rd., Devon, runs Thursday, May 23 to Sunday, June 3.
By Lisa Kazanjian
Build it and they will come.
This, and the chance to make art accessible to the masses, are what inspired Marny Baxt to open Trace, an approachable gallery/gift shop in Ardmore.
Like Baxt herself, Trace is a breath of fresh, laid-back air.
“My goal is not only to bring handmade art back into our lives,” she says with an enthusiasm that you just can’t fake. “I also want to connect the public with the artists themselves and bring their stories to life.”
To that end, Trace will host regular artists’ lectures and meet-and-greets.
Among the works currently at Trace: Nick Moen’s Bright Angle porcelain, Serena Stevens‘ oil-and-canvas collages, Bluma Project glass jewelry, Jeff Rosen‘s handmade candles and Stacy Fay‘s pendant necklaces.
An added bonus: A portion of some sales will help support educational projects around the world.
A former human resources executive and tech consultant, Baxt seems born for her new role in the arts. Her mother was an artist/jewelry designer in Atlanta and Baxt grew up vacationing in Asheville, NC with the likes of Harvey Littleton and Dan Chihuly.
She opened Trace after a two-year quest to trace her identity following the death of her parents.
The store’s logo, created by Philly’s cool GDLOFT, shows four separate “traces” of color representing her parents, daughter Julia, and herself. The four unite to form the singular joyful word: “TRACE.”
Trace, 80 Rittenhouse Place, Ardmore, 484-413-2793, is open Tues. to Sat., 10:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m., Sundays, 11 to 5. Custom art curation to suit your space and budget available.
Knocked down in Round One, Picket Post developer still swinging
With so much shade hurled his way, it’s a wonder real estate developer Dave Ludin doesn’t just cower in a corner, then limp away.
Surely, that’s what the 100 Chesterbrook neighbors hoped would happen after they swarmed the May 16 Tredyffrin Planning Commission meeting.
Chesterbrook residents brought the sound and the fury: day-glo “NO” signs, impassioned speeches, riotous applause.
At issue was whether the commission would recommend a zoning change to township supervisors.
Who knew five acres could cause such fireworks?
The acres in question are home to Picket Post Swim & Tennis Club’s closed Chase Rd. pool and still-open tennis courts. Short on members and hard up for cash, Picket Post agreed to sell the land to Ludin’s Green Bridge Development for $1.3 million last year. (Our first story about the saga here.)
But unless the plot is rezoned from “rural conservation” to “residential,” Ludin can’t build a single shack. (He wants to erect 36 townhomes, plus retrofit the property’s historic barn to house four condos.)
The battle, pitting Chase pool neighbors against Picket Post members (many of whom live within a mile of each other) has been simmering for months.
Last Thursday night, it boiled over.
Most speakers railed against the zoning change and Ludin’s project: Too dense! Doesn’t fit the neighborhood! Will burden T/E schools! Will stress first responders and sewers! Look at the ugly fence he put up, the tarp on the barn roof – Ludin doesn’t care about the place or our property values! Why are we losing open space to bail out a poorly-managed swim club, anyway? Will set a dangerous precedent!
Picket Post members, fewer in number, spoke their peace, too: Ludin’s plan will improve neighbors’ stormwater problems! It will remove an eyesore! It will save the historic barn – a pricey proposition! Not everyone can afford Life Time – the community needs an affordable swim club! Zoning is supposed to change with the times!
The argument that seems to have won the day: If Ludin gets the zoning change, nothing stops him from “maxing” out his project to maximize profits. The ugly elephant for many in the room: the supersized Parkview at Chesterbrook townhomes surrounding the shopping center.
After much hue and cry, the vote was 5 to 0 (two recused) to recommend against the zoning change.
We caught up with Ludin after the vote. His statement, in a nutshell:
- He’s gratified that “almost everyone agrees that something needs to be done with the property.”
- He’s “pleased that many of the speakers requested a further opportunity to work with us on a plan for the redevelopment of the site” and “welcomes the chance to continue our extensive dialogue with the community.”
- He disputes speakers’ claims that there had been minimal outreach to the neighbors, citing two town halls, five meetings with township officials, three with the Chesterbrook Civic Association president, and 40+ sitdowns with individual homeowners. He says his lawyer last fall asked the township solicitor twice via mail “whether the township wanted to acquire the property and was assured it remained uninterested.”
- He asserts that, to his knowledge, “we are the only ones to come forward with an actual plan to address the complex issues” involved, namely, saving the historic barn and Picket Post Swim Club, spiffing up a property that’s gone to seed, addressing existing stormwater, pedestrian circulation and infrastructure problems.
An idea floated at the meeting that seemed amenable to some on both sides: adding a covenant to the zoning change that prevents Ludin from supersizing his proposal.
Tredyffrin supervisors still have to hold a public hearing on the zoning request, then take their own vote.
If the “no” vote holds, there’s talk of a fundraising campaign that would allow an entity – the township, perhaps – to buy the land, turn it into a pocket park and restore the barn.
In the meantime, it’s clear Ludin’s not waving a white towel anytime soon.
Ice cold is red hot, particularly when it comes to trimming fat and rejuvenating skin.
The latest chilly technique, Cryoskin, available exclusively at Strafford Chiropractic, is getting a warm reception up and down the Pike.
These photos – of real Cryoskin Main Line clients at Strafford Chiropractic – explain why.
And SAVVY’s Caroline O’Halloran (below), before and after eight facial and neck toning treatments. “My face feels tighter and smoother, my lines have softened, and my neck is less chicken-like,” O’Halloran reports. “It didn’t hurt a bit. It was actually relaxing.”
Cryoskin has two settings. One for slimming, i.e. freezing away fat cells. One for toning skin and cellulite by boosting circulation and collagen production.
By the way, if you hate needles in your face, Cryoskin’s for you. You can’t even get Crysoskin if you’ve had Botox or facial-filler injections in the last three months. Here’s a 16-second peek at the process, in the sure hands of Cryoskin Main Line’s Amie Hamel.
The closest cousin to Cryoskin is CoolSculpting, an older technology that generally takes longer, costs more, can cause discomfort and can’t be customized. With Cryoskin, a technician can move her magic wand repeatedly over tough spots like driver’s side facial wrinkles and midriff bulges.
Pretty cool, right?
Cryoskin Main Line at Strafford Chiropractic & Healing Center, 3 sessions for $972, 5 sessions for $1495, 6 sessions (recommended for anti-aging facials) for $1764, ten sessions for $2740.
So we had to be cajoled into visiting the revamped BodyX. Sure, it had new owners, but we’d been there, done that.
How wrong we were.
BodyX has been radically made over, with a roomful of new toys, and a functional fitness focus that’s been packing them in since the new owners took over in March.
Partners in business and in life, Killian Riggs and John Daley visited cutting-edge gyms from Miami to Manhattan, i.e. FHITTING Room, The Tone House and Anatomy. And brought the best of the best back to the Main Line.
So a BodyX circuit might include a spin on an assault air bike, lifting a landmine, and stepping on a sand dune. Ten-hut.
Sounds extreme but it’s not. “Anybody can beat you up and send you out the door,” Daley says. “We want to make you strong in the safest, most efficient way possible. “
So, no rushed cardio moves like burpees here – they’re too hard on joints and “people do them wrong,” the two say.
And no split-second, timed circuits (á la Orange Theory and F45). “By the time you perfect the movement, you need to move on to the next station. We hate that,” Riggs says. At BodyX, you spend “a solid 7 or 8 minutes at each station” so you get each move right.
“We’re the closest thing in a group setting to personal training,” says Daley. He and Riggs coach every class together, seven mornings a week. “We’re patrolling the floor, correcting the entire time. If a back is out of alignment or a knee drops, we tell them.”
Both are fitness nuts who brought big Main Line followings to BodyX.
A Bryn Mawr native, Riggs is a NASM personal trainer with multiple mobility certifications and a certified sports massage therapist who’s worked with the Flyers, the Nets and with teams at Villanova, St. Joe’s, Agnes Irwin and EA, among others.
Daley has a kinesiology/exercise science degree from West Chester and was lead trainer at Fit Tribe in Newtown Square and Focus Fitness in Bryn Mawr.
Besides 45-minute strength and cardio classes that begin at 5:30 weekday mornings, the two lead recovery classes on weekends and see private clients in the studio or at their homes.
Oh, and they don’t sleep.
BodyX, 22 N. Bryn Mawr Ave., Bryn Mawr, Unlimited monthly $169. Ten classes $149. First class free. BodyX founder/nutritional consultant/chef Frances Vavloukis still leads on-site cooking classes and special events for adult and children.
Redeveloper of Swedesford Plaza: ‘Heard you loud and clear’
Remember when we told you about plans to put luxury apartments at the old Circuit City/HH Gregg on Swedesford Rd. in Tredyffrin?
Tredyffrin sent developer Bozzuto back to the drawing board last year. Do a better job with stormwater and parking, then come see us.
Now, Bozzuto’s returned with a new plan that addresses both issues – no zoning variances needed.
Formally presented to officials last week, the new plan has a radically different footprint and several new wrinkles:
- A four-level parking garage with spaces for 395 cars. Residents park on their own floors. (Old plan: 1.8 spaces/apartment unit. New plan: 2.5 spaces/unit.)
- More green space including rain gardens to absorb stormwater. (The current HH Gregg site has 75% impervious surfaces, new plan brings impervious under 65%.)
- A “pork chop-shaped” road to discourage drivers from turning the wrong way onto Contention Lane bridge.
- The target market: empty nesters and yo-pros (pre-kids).
- The proposed rents: $1800 – $3300.
- The number of units: 250. (But the mix is now 143 one-bedrooms, 93 two-bedrooms and 14 three-bedrooms.)
- “High-end luxury” finishes and amenities like fitness studio, co-working space, resort-style pool, bike shop, dog park/waste station, sidewalks and paved access to Chester Valley Trail.
- The projected impact on T/E Schools: 19 new students total in grades K through 12, according to Bozzuto’s demographer.
Bozzuto and shopping-center owner Echo Realty floated the plan to neighbors May 6. That night, and at the May 16 township planning meeting, folks aired concerns over school impact, traffic, density, height, pets and parking.
According to Bozzuto’s Pete Sikora, the redevelopment will cost $70 million and, once built, will throw off $600,000 in taxes each year. Overall, he tells SAVVY he’s pleased with the planning commission’s reaction to the new blueprints but is still “working through” a 22-page letter from Tredyffrin engineers. “We need to get some things cleaned up before we’ll be requesting a vote from the Planning Commission,” he says.
What do you do when you have four kids in five years?
You start a new business as soon as the baby’s out of diapers.
Scratch that: You start two. Duh.
Two months ago, overachieving Berwyn mom Melissa Sinni launched The Blue Beret, an online marketplace for charming children’s fashions, home decor and gifts, with $10 monogramming and such.
A few weeks later, she founded The Main Line Co-op Pop Up Shop.
And this week, her first pop-up opens with bang – nah, a pop – in downtown Wayne.
Sinni assembled an all-local cast of creatives, jumped on unrented space next to Aubusson Home, and timed the lease to high season in Wayne, i.e. the Devon Horse Show, the Radnor Memorial Day Parade and the Wayne Music Festival.
Her first side hustle, The Blue Beret, was inspired by Sinni’s pre-Mommy life as a buyer for Linens and Things and Ross. Regular jaunts to Europe and beyond convinced her she could source cool accoutrements for kids. Like handmade dresses from England and adorable kiddie suitcases from Australia.
Sinni also figured the western Main Line was short on children’s wares. “We’d love to have a brick and mortar location,” says Sinni.
Why, of course, you do, Supermom.
The Main Line Co-op Pop Up Shop, 22 E. Lancaster Ave., Wayne, is open May 23 – June 9. Mon. – Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Sundays 11 to 4.
Janny Scott enthralls at Villanova’s Ardrossan, calls her childhood home “unsustainable”
An SRO crowd (with a long wait list) filled the drawing room at the Main Line’s most iconic mansion, Ardrossan, last Sunday.
On tap: a talk and book signing by one of the Ardrossan’s many residents, Janny Scott, hosted by Wayne’s Main Point Books.
Her new book, “The Beneficiary: Fortune, Misfortune, and the Story of My Father” is the talk of the town, an insightful tell-all (or rather, tell-most) about the moneyed folks who lived on the once 800-acre dairy farm and “survived against the odds from one Gilded Age into the next.”
Its colorful cast includes, of course, Janny’s father – the brilliant, charming, tortured Robert Montgomery Scott who died from liver disease caused by alcoholism – and Janny’s grandmother, the glamorous Hope Montgomery Scott – Devon Horse Show devotée, dirty jokester, and the model for the Katherine Hepburn character in “The Philadelphia Story.”
Not sure if it was the subject matter – the rich are different, or are they? – or the swanky setting, but Janny Scott was spellbinding. An erudite former New York Times reporter, she knows how to turn a phrase in print and in public. During the Q-and-A, a handful in the audience spoke of personal ties to Ardrossan, obviously tickled to be back.
Still, the future of the family’s remaining acreage and their Horace Trumbauer-designed “big house” are murky at best. After Scott explained that the Ardrossan property “is in the process of being sold” (large chunks have already become a Radnor public park and home sites), she dropped this little nugget: “The house may very well be sold as well. It’s all winding down at this point … The family can’t go on subsidizing it forever.” (Scott’s cousin, “What a Good Dog” owner/trainer Mary Remer lives on the mansion’s second floor. Janny Scott’s 90-year-old mother, Gay, lives in a different house on the property.)
When the talk adjourned, the crowd dispersed to peruse Ardrossan’s splendors and ponder its fate. Would this be their last visit? Would a knight with deep pockets ride to the rescue? If a 50-room, 33,000-sq. ft. mansion can’t be someone’s home in 21st-century America, couldn’t it at least become a museum? Or an elegant country inn, perhaps?
Janny Scott’s book explains her fascinating family. The fortune, misfortune and ultimate fate of her girlhood home has yet to be written.
“The Beneficiary: Fortune, Misfortune, and the Story of My Father” by Janney Scott, $28 in hardback at Main Point Books in Wayne and other retailers.
Paoli pride: Mark these words
With plans for a new train station and a spiffed-up streetscape chugging along, Paoli’s been forward-thinking for years.
Last week, the town took a big step backward, but in a good way.
250 years backward.
The township brass, business folk, a military honor guard, and history buffs unveiled a new historic marker on a patch of grass once occupied by The Paoli Inn (and briefly occupied by British soldiers in 1777).
Built by Joshua Evans in 1769 and named for Corsican war hero Pasquale Paoli, the humble hostelry lived a nice long life, growing with the times, then dying by fire in 1899. Its history, its very being is pivotal to Paoli. No Inn; no Paoli.
So a tip of our tri-cornered hats to the Paoli Business & Professional Association for taking its history and ongoing ties to Corsica seriously. The PBPA raised $3K for the marker, its installation and dedication at Paoli Village Shoppes.
Stellar showing for Stoga Rugby
Kudos to Conestoga Junior Boys Rugby team, just crowned state champs for the first time in club history. Coached by Pat Humbert, the Pioneers knocked off defending champion Berks County Rugby, 24-20 on Sunday.
The win caps off an undefeated, 9-and-0 season for these 8th and 9th graders.
Little-known fact: Founded in 1971, Conestoga Rugby club is the oldest high school-affiliated rugby program in the U.S. Alums have gone on to play at premier colleges and club, both here and abroad.
Brazen caper at Little House Shop in Wayne’s Eagle Village
Say what? A woman stole a $2,000 necklace in broad daylight from the luxury Little House gift shop – at 2:35 p.m. on Saturday, May 11 – then drove off in her Mercedes SUV.
Uh, didn’t she know security cameras are EVERYWHERE?
After sharing surveillance footage on Facebook, Radnor Police tell us they have a suspect but the case is still under investigation. As of this writing, the suspect had not been arrested, according to Detective T. J. Schreiber. Anyone with info should call Radnor Police at 610-688-0503 or email [email protected].
This and That
Some sadist driving south on Rte. 202 in Tredyffrin threw a kitten from a car window last Friday morning. Tredyffrin Police found the kitten on the side of the road transported it to an emergency vet, but the kitten had to be euthanized. No arrest yet, so if you saw something, say something (610-644-3221). Whoever did it faces up to seven years in jail and a $15,000 fine, under PA’s new animal cruelty law.
Wayne Wawa murder defendant Brian Kennedy’s first court appearance went down as you might expect: the beefed-up police presence, the red prison jumpsuit, the judge holding Kennedy for trial in the shooting death of his ex-wife, Stephanie Miller, on March 28.
Except for this shocker: We learned that a Conestoga student, Patrick Winnemore, witnessed the whole thing. The senior, a rugby player and former junior firefighter, was working at the Wawa on Sugartown Rd. that night. Winnemore, 18, was the prosecution’s star witness, retelling those soul-searing minutes in detail. Bravely done, Patrick. No one, especially one so young, should have to see what you saw.
“Justice was served.” Not what you’d think a man facing a life sentence for first-degree murder would say after a jury found him guilty. But those were Jonathan Wesley Harris’ exact words as he was led out of a Norristown courtroom May 9. The jury deliberated five hours before voting to convict Harris in the brutal strangulation death of Ardmore model Christina Carlin-Kraft. The defense tried to convince the jury that Harris was high on cat tranquilizers, pot and cocaine and didn’t know what he was doing. No dice.
Main Line Health has become an oasis of medical care for the LGBTQ community, particularly for transgender people turned away by others. The health system has LBGTQ Inclusive Care family-medicine practices in Paoli and Bryn Mawr and lists 14 LBGTQ-friendly providers on its website.
The Belmont Hills BYOB Cotaletta has a new outpost in Center City, Cotaletta Fitler Square. Have cutlets, will travel.
Should have seen this one coming. Life Time is launching on-site, resort-style apartments, although not in Ardmore or King of Prussia. The Heathy Way of Life company expects to build its first Life Time Living projects in Dallas, Vegas and Miami. We’ve long joked that Life Time, which just announced plans to add co-working space to KOP – wants to take over members’ entire lives. Uh, no joke.
Wawa’s (Canadian) goose may be cooked in downtown Wayne. (Wawa nerds will get the reference.) The Radnor Planning Commission voted unanimously to recommend that Radnor commissioners nix a proposal to put a supersize-ish Wawa at Lancaster and Aberdeen. Planners didn’t even let the pro-Wawa attorney put on its case, which isn’t closed yet. The matter still has to go before commissioners.
Breaking bad in Chester County. Dealers are deluging southeastern PA with crystal meth, according to Chesco DA Tom Hogan. Some are using meth to help ease symptoms of opioid withdrawal; others combine it with heroin/fentanyl to prevent fatal ODs. Dealers are rushing in to fill growing demand, using existing opioid supply lines. Hogan’s office says at least three people high on meth were implicated in murders and shootings in the last year.
A SAVVY shoutout to Lower Merion grad Gideon Glick, 30, nominated for a best-actor Tony for his role as Dill in To Kill a Mockingbird on Broadway. Dill moved to NYC his senior year of high school for a role in the hit musical, Spring Awakening, and hasn’t looked back. Another local Tony tie: People’s Light in Malvern will stage the world premiere of Mud Row June 26 – July 28 by Dominique Morisseau, an uber-hot playwright of 12-time Tony nominee, Ain’t too Proud – the Life and Times of the Temptations. James Corden (!) returns to host the award show June 9.
A second shoutout to Matthew Robinson and Minding Your Mind for pulling off a blockbuster 2019 A Celebration of Life: Philadelphia May 9 at The Ballroom at the Ben. Sure does the heart good to see well over 500 young Philly folk (the event’s biggest turnout to date), come out to raise funds for mental health and suicide-prevention programs. Proving once again that, contrary to semi-popular belief: millennials rock.
Wayne Music Festival roars back to town Saturday, June 8. Three stages, multiple acts and genres (Bob Marley’s reggae band, The Wailers, is headlining), food and beer gardens and a Friday kickoff party at 118 North. The music begins at 2 p.m. and ends with a bang (fireworks) at 10:30. BYOC (chair). Proceeds go to CHOP.
The Saturday Club of Wayne threw a baby shower (without the party) for the domestic-abuse shelter Laurel House. And guess what? We all get to see the gifts. Just look for this cute-as-pie display at Bloomingdales in the next week or so.
The always-charitable Saturday Club is one of ten groups participating in “Works of the heART” for Laurel House at the KOP Mall.
If it’s Tuesday, it must be … time for Yoga in the Park. Local yogi Mary Noone is leading 9:30 a.m. asanas and 6:30 p.m. setting-sun salutations at the Philander Knox estate, the event venue in Valley Forge Park. Classes, all intermediate level, will be held on the terrace. Advance tickets required. $20 per class; $15 for VF Park Alliance members. Join the Alliance for mimosas and mingling after each evening class.
Conestoga students will get to sleep in next year, too, just not as long as Radnor students. The T/E School Board voted to push back Stoga’s start time a half hour, from 7:20 a.m. to 7:50 a.m. Middle school will begin at 8:27 and elementary school at 9:10. The AMA, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention all recommend high schools start at 8:30 a.m. so T/E’s 7:50 bell is, er, a start.
And finally, thought you might like to snack on a little eye candy from last Saturday’s sunny (yay!) Radnor Races at Radnor Hunt Club. The Main Line’s annual warm-up to Devon, a smashing time was had by all.