You smell smoke, call 9-1-1, first responders rush on over.
But what if – gulp – there aren’t enough first responders?
That’s the scary scenario laid out in a new report about the state of volunteer firefighting in PA.
Numbers have fallen off a cliff: from 300,000 volunteers in the 1970s to 38,000 today. The report calls the drop-off nothing short of a “public safety crisis.”
While the situation’s not as dire here, our Main Line fire companies – staffed largely by unpaid volunteers – are hurting for help.
“Forty years ago, Bryn Mawr had 55 or 60 volunteers. Today, we’re lucky if we have 25,” says Lower Merion Fire Marshall Charles McGarvey, who served on the state panel that prepared the new report and oversees the township’s seven volunteer companies. The days when one town’s fire unit could handle a call are over, says McGarvey. “Today, we’re calling all seven companies to get people there.”
Staff is also stretched at Berwyn Fire Co., which provides fire, rescue and EMS services to most of Tredyffrin and Easttown. The average number of personnel responding to calls has plunged from 16 in 2000 to just 10 today, says Eamon Brazunas, volunteer chief in Berwyn and a 20-year firefighter. “Folks need to listen and step up.”
The story’s similar in Radnor. “Like everyone else, we’re losing volunteers,” says Chief Joe Maguire, a Radnor police sergeant who’s volunteered for Radnor Fire Co. since 1974. “Guys get married and get jobs out of the area or can’t afford housing in Radnor.” Maguire says the fire company has never scratched a call but “we might have two people on the first engine instead of six.”
Turnout can be a crapshoot. A recent night fire call to Berwyn drew “two paid guys and me,” Brazunas says, while 20 volunteers swarmed a daytime car flip. Fortunately, “the stars aligned” for a recent morning fire in Wayne’s Glenhardie condos. “If it happened in the middle of the night or you change one or two things, there could have been multiple injuries or even death.” (For the record: seven fire companies assisted Berwyn, the building was saved, and just one resident was treated for smoke inhalation.)
Thanks to a partnership with Stoga, Berwyn has adequate volunteers “on paper,” Brazunas says. But with competing demands of work, school and family, “availability is a big issue for us. It’s much harder than when I started 20 years ago.”
Radnor has had some success with Valley Forge Military Academy cadets and college kids but volunteers still need to be trained. When they learn that Level 1 firefighting certification takes 180 hours, it’s not unusual for new recruits to walk away, Maguire says.
Lower Merion is so eager for fresh reinforcements, it’s launched a snazzy recruiting website.
“Some of our guys are in their 70s,” says Fire Marshall McGarvey. “We appreciate all they do, but they’re not running into burning buildings anymore. We need some young blood, but a lot of young people can’t afford to live here.”
Adding fuel to the fire: surging demand. Lower Merion fire calls have doubled in the last 30 years. Although nearly half of LM’s calls last year were for false alarms. All those new condos have fire alarms. “They’re killing us,” McGarvey says.
In Radnor, Maguire says “about 99 percent” of fire calls are false alarms. “It’s hurting the fire company – and it hurts morale – when firefighters take time out of their day and jump on a truck for nothing. It takes a toll.”
Over in Berwyn, Brazunas talks about the area’s “silver tsunami.” Fire calls are holding steady but EMT calls are ballooning. He estimates one ambulance call a year for each bed in a senior center like Daylesford Crossing or Paoli Pointe. “They’re putting 162 beds at [soon to open] Brightview Devon, so what do you think is going to happen there?” Nearby RCA, the addiction treatment facility that replaced Devon Manor, has added 100 ambulance calls a year – and it’s only opened a few buildings so far.
With fewer volunteers, the need for paid staff is growing but donations are stagnant. “Seniors are keeping us going,” says Brazunas. “A lot of little old ladies send us notes and $5 and $10 donations.” But young families who move here from out of state often assume – wrongly – that first responders are fully funded by taxes, he says.
Donations are down in Radnor, too. “Our appeals to many of our businesses fall on deaf ears,” Maguire says.
Any kind of help is welcome. “Stop by your local fire house,” urges McGarvey. “Even if you can’t fight fires, offer to help with fundraising or administration.”
While the chiefs say they’re mostly pleased with support at the local level, they’re less happy with Harrisburg. “Political courage is required,” says Brazunas. “We need bold, decisive action, head-turner type of stuff.
Adds McGarvey: “Lobby your legislator to support the whole report – not just the part that costs no money. We can’t let it just sit on a shelf like past reports.”
Among possible legislative fixes: incentivize volunteers with tuition, housing and tax breaks, standardize and fund firefighter training, streamline EMS billing reimbursements.
Other streamlining might be in order, too. “Do we need all these fire companies?” McGarvey muses. “There’s duplication of services. Maybe we can do better with less. Sometimes tradition gets in the way of progress. We have to do what’s right for the people we serve.”
‘Life Time effect’: Hip to be [on the] Square
When Macy’s went dark in Suburban Square, some feared the worst: Was one of America’s oldest open-air malls edging toward obsolescence? Would the sinking of the Square’s venerable old anchor drag other retailers down with it?
Not even close. Seems that shiny new anchor, Life Time Athletic, has righted the ship. And lifted other boats with it. Foot traffic to surrounding stores is up 31 percent since the posh health club opened in May.
When it woos tenants, Square owner Kimco Realty even brags about the “Life Time effect” – the influx of well-educated, “top-tier” folks who work out their bodies then stick around to work out their wallets. Turns out the mammoth company, called a “category killer” in fitness, has been a boon to everyone else.
“People are coming to Life Time three, four and five days a week, then staying in the Square,” Kimco Mid-Atlantic President Tom Simmons tells SAVVY. “They embody where the tenant mix is going.”
Indeed, Life Time is turning Suburban Square into a hub for healthy living as well as fashion. Witness:
- Ethically sourced Oath Pizza, which just opened across from Life Time (see our story below).
- Juice Press, poised to squeeze in near SoulCycle in the spring.
- HipCityVeg, bringing vegan vittles near Sweetgreen, also in early spring.
- Mostly organic Le Pain Quotidien, due to open late summer/fall 2019 at one end of the new Station Row on Coulter Ave.
- Quick-serve, healthy Mediterranean eatery Cava, coming to Station Row’s other end.
- A thriving SoulCycle and across from it, Lululemon, the Square’s busiest boutique on a recent Friday.
- Well-received popup fitness classes offered seasonally in the courtyard.
(Also headed to Station Row: The area’s first Ruby and Jenna, a cheap ‘n chic fashion boutique; preppy outfitter Gilbert & Evans, which is moving from its current home next to Gap; the one-to-one middle/high school Fusion Academy; and if talks are fruitful, Urban Outfitters, or other URBN brand. Plans to knock down the current Urban and four adjacent buildings near the farmer’s market and build a multi-story retail/apartment building in their place are still in “preliminary stages,” Simmons tells SAVVY.)
No names yet but Kimco is close to reeling in full-service, indoor/outdoor eateries for the old Parlour and City Sports spaces near Life Time, marketing that section as “Restaurant Row.”
Still, at the end of the day, there’s one factor even bigger than “the Life Time effect” and the flurry of food options: parking is no longer a pain. The Square picked up 650 spaces in the last year, most of them in the new, free garage. Convenience counts.
Dough yourself a favor: try Oath Pizza in Suburban Square.
Newly open near the Apple Store, the brand was born in a tiny seaside shack in Nantucket. Ardmore is Oath’s 12th location and its first in PA.
The crust alone is a revelation. Grilled and seared in avocado oil, it’s super thin, uniformly golden and remarkably crisp, never soggy or burnt.
Oath’s other claim to fame: it’s the only certified humane pizzeria in the U.S. Pies and toppings are cruelty free, sustainable and ethically sourced. No hormones, no preservatives, no antibiotics. (Meat comes from all-natural Niman Ranch.)
Order a half or whole 11-inch pie from a menu of “highly decorated” combos or “make a selfie,” aka build your own.
We tried the top-selling “Bella” and the seasonal “Banh Mi.” Marvelous. Alas, the “Seasonal Forager” salad was just OK. Skip it and split a chocolate-chunk cookie pizza for dessert.
Eat in – there are 22 seats – takeout or order online.
Coming to Oath in early 2019: an indoor hydroponic vertical farm so the pizzeria can grow its own greens. Cool.
Oath Pizza, 59 St. James Place (across from Life Time Athletic), Ardmore, 484-417-6054. Figure on $8 to 14.
A Christmas miracle: Whole Foods sets a date for Newtown Square
The new Whole Foods Market at Ellis Preserve will (finally) open at 9 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 18. The first 200 comers get mystery WFM gift cards for $5 to $100. And everyone gets free coffee and pastries beginning at 8.
It’s been a long time coming. Whole Foods signed a lease in 2015, built the store, then sat on it for a year and a half. And wouldn’t tell us why. Rumors swirled: Was there a sinkhole? A faulty floor? A labor shortage? Most likely culprit: complications from the Amazon takeover.
Count on the usual array of natural and organic merch (some locally sourced) and oodles of grab ‘n go goodies like a build-your-own acai bowl station.
And just so you never leave: the store’s Darby Creek Café will serve pub food and booze – 12 local beers on tap, plus wine and sherry-based cocktails daily from 11 to 10. (Sherry? Really?)
Testing the waters at Stillpoint: the area’s first yoga-and-float studio
“Like a screen saver for your brain,” wrote Dianne Rutstein, owner of Stillpoint Yoga and Float, in a news release about her new flotation tanks.
That got SAVVY’s attention – so we sent street teamer Courtney Mullen over to King of Prussia for a little float ‘n’ tell.
“Think silky soft” reports Courtney. Undress, shower, slip into your personal pool and “you feel like you’re wrapped in liquid cashmere.”
And that screen saver thing? It’s for real, Courtney tells us. After a few snow-angel stretches, she relaxed, let go and enjoyed a complete “de-cluttering” of her cranium. “You’re not exactly asleep and not exactly awake. Sounds weird but it’s lovely.”
Other touted reasons to float: it fights inflammation and detoxifies, relieves joints, shoulder and neck tension, and helps with insomnia, jet lag, anxiety, addiction and PTSD.
Each of Stillpoint’s four 8’ x 5’ pools is filled with 10 inches of body-temperature water made magically buoyant by magnesium sulfate (what our grandmothers called Epsom salts).
Choose your ambiance: pitch black or soft-colored lights, total silence or mellow music (their playlist or yours). Then lay back and drift, like you’re bobbing in the Dead Sea but without the tourists. Almost everyone floats in their birthday suits, by the way. Not to worry: each shower/pool suite is completely private.
“Shoulders are softer and smiles are bigger when floaters leave Stillpoint,” says Rutstein. Floating, she says, gives people “the gift of quiet” – something SAVVY readers sure could use as the holiday season hits peak crazy.
Stillpoint Yoga and Float, 600 Clark Avenue, King of Prussia, 484-322-5159. First-time floats are $60 for 60 minutes; $70 for 90 minutes.
Power to the people: Pushing back against PECO
Nearly five years after ice storm Nika, the western Main Line still remembers her – and not fondly. Hard to forget a freak storm that knocked out power for a week or more in much of Berwyn and beyond.
Generators were purchased. Fingers were crossed.
Late last July, PECO announced a fix: its “PECO 2020 Plan” was headed to Easttown. It would upgrade the local power grid, add weather-resistant equipment, install new poles and heavy-duty aerial wires, and trim trees and bushes as needed. (Burying lines wasn’t feasible, PECO said. Too costly, too hard to repair.)
So far, so good. But in October, yellow dots started popping up on hundreds of trees across the township. And folks started connecting them. PECO’s tree-removal company was marking trees for removal as part of the 2020 project. Some of the trees were centuries old; those yellow dots condemned them to, well, death.
Neighbors circulated a petition, posted lawn signs and demanded that PECO explain its criteria for culling treasured trees. The township’s beauty and property values were at stake, after all. Local officials were sympathetic but said their hands were tied – it was a state matter.
After 120 folks jammed an October meeting with PECO at Easttown Library, the utility pushed pause.
And at a second meeting with Easttown residents last week, PECO said it was working on a new plan for a designated area around Beaumont, Newtown and South Leopard roads. PECO said “30 to 50 percent” fewer trees would be lost but declined to give hard numbers. (We asked.) By one resident’s count, 502 trees were tagged in that area. PECO also agreed to work with township officials and individual homeowners to plant new trees to replace the fallen. And it vowed that tree cutting wouldn’t resume – alas, a few had already come down – until the new plan was finalized in 2019.
Some neighbors have been mollified but others remain miffed. Among them: the Easttown resident who launched the petition, Oswaldo Luis-Bracco, who, for the record, does not have a yellow-dotted tree on his lawn. The fact that PECO now says it can save up to half the trees initially targeted suggests the utility had “no clear criteria” for tree removal, Luis-Bracco says. He also claims PECO never studied the plan’s environmental impact. And needs to. And he’s worried for neighborhoods beyond Easttown. The “re-designed area is like a drop in the ocean,” Luis-Bracco tells SAVVY. “It is likely that … an extraordinary number of trees will be removed from Chester and Delaware counties.”
Residents with tree-cutting concerns should contact PECO. E-mail [email protected]
New community for special-needs families blossoms in Berwyn
Having a child with special needs can be a lonely road. The kids – especially as they get older – need a life outside of school: somewhere to socialize, play sports, maybe even hold down a part-time job.
The parents need a network, too – folks facing the same hurdles, friends who won’t blink if their teen has a seizure or can’t make eye contact.
Enter the All Abilities Foundation of Greater Philadelphia, a new nonprofit that’s quickly becoming a godsend for scores of Main Line families.
AAFGP hosts low-cost socials and sports programs for youth with special needs – preschool through high school and beyond. It’s headquartered at St. Monica’s in Berwyn but all creeds, all challenges, all families are welcome.
And celebrated. All that’s asked is that parents stay on site. Because the foundation is as much for caregivers as it is for kids.
“Some of us have felt like ghosts in a community that doesn’t know we exist,” says the group’s co-founder, Trish O’Brien, whose daughter Hannah, 17, has Down Syndrome and is a sophomore at Conestoga. “It’s a safe place where we feel accepted and support each other.”
When the group rented half of Devon Lanes, fourth-graders bowled next to 24-year olds. And no one cared that the pins weren’t falling. “Everyone was high-fiving. No one was embarrassed.” O’Brien says. One woman with a special-needs child was so starved for community, she drove two hours to an All Abilities event.
But the Foundation has much more than kickball and Disco Bingo on its vision board. It hopes to lease and retrofit the original St. Monica’s schoolhouse, a 100-year old building that was slated for demolition a year ago. (The parish’s newer school building is currently leased to Regina Luminis Academy.)
Not only would the rehabbed space host All Abilities activities, it could also house a café, a catering hall and a safe work program – where the handicapped could earn real paychecks. “It’s an amazing opportunity for us,” O’Brien says. The Foundation hopes to sign a long-term lease with the Archdiocese next year. But for now, the focus is on marshaling support – grant-writers and private donors – and spreading the good news.
Based at St. Monica’s in Berwyn, All Abilities Foundation of Greater Philadelphia plans socials, outings and sports programs and hosts a speaker series for parents. To support the Foundation or participate, email [email protected]
Louella on the move (again!)
With boutiques in Wayne, Malvern and Bryn Mawr, Louella has most of the Main Line covered. Now, it’s heading to the shore.
“Avalon is where my customer is in the summer,” says owner Maria Delany who tells SAVVY she searched “all over the eastern seaboard” – including Margate, Ocean City, even Nantucket – before settling on seasonal space just off Avalon’s Dune Drive.
The new store will be pint-sized but packed with Louella faves like Lisi Lerch earrings, Powerbeads by Jen, Scout bags and Jude Connally dresses, plus a full roster of parties and special events, Delany says. “I love that Avalon is a shopping destination but not as overcrowded as other towns.” She plans to open in May.
Sizing up our supermarkets
Plenty to chew on in a new survey of 13 Philly-area supermarkets by indie non-profit Consumers’ Checkbook. Key takeaways:
- Wegmans was the overall winner with top marks for quality (90% ranked it “superior”) without highway-robbery prices.
- Whole Foods was ranked most expensive. While produce prices have ticked down since the Amazon takeover, meat (in particular) will still cost you a bundle. And those much-touted deals for Amazon Prime members (an extra 10% off sale items) haven’t amounted to much because Whole Foods doesn’t run many sales. Still, customer satisfaction (74%) came in second after Wegmans.
- Acme was the second most expensive market with prices 13% to 15% higher than Giant and Wegmans – and only middling quality ratings.
- Sort of surprising: produce prices were highest at Target.
Sorry, Costco and Trader Joe’s shoppers. Neither was included in the study.
Personalization perfected at Wayne’s bellaDONNA gifts (Sponsored)
By Rebecca Adler
BellaDONNA Gifts in Wayne takes the guesswork out of gift-giving thanks to owner Donna Martelli, who will help you pick out the perfect present, personalize it and festoon it with (free!) wrapping.
A registered nurse, Martelli launched bellaDONNA (formerly Beethoven Wraps) 20 years ago out of her home as a gift-wrapping business.
Her current two-story location (the lower level houses Martelli’s luxury consignment shop, BD reFIND) brims not just with one-of-a-kind wares and seasonal finds (Frasier Fir candles, pompom garlands and wreaths, Nora Fleming serving trays, handmade SallyeAnder soaps) but also with Martelli’s warm, winning and hilariously self-deprecating personality.
Why change names? Shoppers thought Beethoven’s Wraps sold wrap sandwiches. And she settled on bellaDONNA because the plant is a lot like Donna herself: indigenous to Italy and grows to about five feet tall. “[The plant] looks sweet and innocent but it’s not; it’s lethal. If people know me and my sense of humor, it just fits. I look sweet and innocent because I’m tiny but … I’m from South Philadelphia, I’m Italian, I’m a Scorpio.”
She’s also refreshingly accommodating. Same-day or next-day in-house personalization is available. Monogram a Corkcicle bottle or tumbler with vinyl decals (below right) or ask bellaDONNA to engrave classic Mariposa silver (below left), wood trays and glassware. It’s like Tiffany without the turnaround time.
“You don’t have to worry about an order coming in wrong,” says Martelli. “[And] it looks like you thought about the gift for a long time.” Embroidery is also available for pillows, tea towels, stuffed animals and more.
Another draw? True to its wrapping roots, BellaDONNA will bedeck your purchase in eye-catching paper or a swirl of cellophane at no charge. Want to add a bottle of wine, a fresh-baked cookie or a baby outfit from another store to a gift basket (starting at $35)? No problem. You can even bring your outside purchase to bellaDONNA for professional wrapping.
bellaDONNA Gifts, 106 E Lancaster Ave, Wayne, 610-995-9550, is open Monday – Saturday, 10-6.
This and That
Open only since May, Imbibe Food & Drink at the old Stella Blu in Conshy has closed. Sean Weinberg‘s other spots, Biga in Bryn Mawr and Alba in Malvern are still going strong.
A roving prankster or something more sinister? No one knows who’s running around snatching the ban-digital-billboard-in-Paoli signs from local lawns and streets. At least 93 have been stolen to date, including two from the Malvern property owned by the signs’ creator, Pattye Benson. It’s gotten so bad, Benson says, that she won’t replace missing signs unless homeowners agree to file a report with Tredyffrin Police. Chief Mike Beaty tells us he’s following several leads. Among them: at least one surveillance video.
Going, going, but not necessarily gone. A liquidation sale is in progress at Performance Bicycle in Paoli with everything – including bikes – marked 10 to 40 percent off. The Philly-based chain just filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and is running liquidation sales in all 102 locations. At least 40 stores – as yet unnamed – will close. No word yet on whether Paoli will be one of them.
Original Bake at Home Pizza (better known as Mom’s Bake at Home) is no more. After a 28-year run, the popular Devon pizza shop has closed. Owners chose not to re-up when their lease ended a few months ago.
Looks like the bagel shop that’s soon to replace Mrs. Marty’s Deli in Bryn Mawr has alighted on another, er, punny name. First, it was Bagel ‘N’ Mawr, which was starting to grow on us. A new sign in the window calls it Up-Ryes Bagel. That one may take a while.
Another week, another theft at a local gym. But instead of lifting wallets from parked cars, a woman walked brazenly into Barre3 in Berwyn. She distracted staff, stole credit cards then took herself on a holiday shopping spree in KOP. Call Easttown cops (610-341-9780) if this gal, shown below entering Saks Off 5th on Nov. 30, or her getaway car, also below, look familiar.
Hard lesson learned. A woman left her 2018 Cadillac Escalade running on North Wayne Ave. when she ran into Paola’s Cucina to pick up her order a few weeks ago. Naturally, a thief hopped in the SUV and sped off.
Prosecutors won’t seek the death penalty for the suspect arraigned last week in the strangulation death of Ardmore model Christina Carlin-Kraft. Jonathon Wesley Harris was denied bail after he admitted he killed Carlin-Kraft in a violent scuffle over drugs in her Sibley Ave. condo.
A SAVVY shoutout to the Devon Horse Show and Country Fair, which just completed its latest pledge to Bryn Mawr Hospital: $2 million over five years. The hospital’s Intensive Care Unit now proudly carries the Devon name. To date, the horse show has given $15 million to the hospital. (Not too shabby.) Care to kick in some more? The nonprofit Devon Horse Show Foundation is hosting a holiday shopping party at the new Anthropologie at Devon Yard, Dec. 18, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Ten percent of sales go to the Foundation. Click here to RSVP.
Mt. Joy – that indie rock band led by Stoga grads Matt Quinn and Sam Cooper – is still killing it. Last year they played Conan O’Brien. On January 7, they visit Jimmy Kimmel. And last night, they opened for Weezer at the new Met Philadelphia – seating capacity 3,500. Nuts.
Malvern-bred Adam McKay (“The Big Short”) continues to prove he’s movie gold. The Great Valley grad and former SNL head writer just scored two Golden Globe nominations – best director and best screenplay – for “Vice,” the scathing Dick Cheney biopic that hits theaters Dec. 25. “It’s a movie that’s a lot like the times we live in: part absurdist and comedic, part darkly tragic and dramatic,” McKay told the AP. “Vice” led all Globe movie noms with six, including nods for an unrecognizable Christian Bale as the Veep, Amy Adams as his wife, Lynne, and Sam Rockwell as Bush 43.
May we suggest … (our annual roundup of all-local nifty gifts)
***BUT FIRST, SAY SAVVY SENT YOU AND GET…
- 10% off Your Organizing Consultants gift certificates purchased through Dec. 24. Give the gift of time with all-pro home and office organizer Anna Sicalides.
- $10 off every $100 in gift cards purchased at the luxurious Day Spa by Zsuzsanna in Wayne through Dec. 24. Trust us: she’ll love it there.
- 10% off gift cards to Restore Crysosauna in Haverford or Wayne until Christmas. It does the body good. Or treat yo’self to a holiday detox/refresh: two whole-body or local cryo sessions for just $25 – normally $100. (Must use 12/21/18 – 12/31/18.)
- 10% off Rebecca Adler Art (details below).
For the modern art lover …
…a striking portrait by Main Line artist Rebecca Adler. If the name’s familiar, she also paints with words as a writer for SAVVY. Rebecca paints bold, modern figures and sells them at collector-friendly prices. Original acrylics $25 -$250 or collaborate on a custom order (nudes, pets and more) starting at $130 for an 8 in. X 10 in. canvas. Use code SAVVY10 for 10 percent off.
For Devon devotées…
For your cheering committee…
… a Spectator Sports tee printed with a fun phrase like Hurry Up We’re Missing Brunch, #Serial Spectator, First Cheer Then Beer, and My Legs Are Tired Too. Company founder/CEO is Shannon Connolly (Academy of Notre Dame ’05). After spending the last four years cheering on her marathoner wife, the Newtown Square native decided loyal sideline supporters deserved some race-day swag, too. Order onesies, shirts, mugs and totes online, $12 to $30.
For hands-on homebodies…
…Terrain: Ideas and Inspiration for Decorating the Home and Garden, the new book by the crafty crew behind the Main Line’s newest nursery at Devon Yard. 400 pages, 450 gorgeous photos and step-by-step instructions to create rustic-chic centerpieces, wreaths, garden containers and more. Order it from Terrain or Main Point Books ($35).
For your fly workout buddy…
… Chirp leggings. She’ll soar through her asanas in a pair of these high-waisted, high-performance tights made from recycled plastic bottles. Chirp Clothes were created by artistic Wynnewood mom and former environmental science teacher Amanda Meltz, who’s bird-brained, but in a smart way. Profits from her bird-themed line of yoga clothes and sweats ($36 – $68) go to Bird Safe PA an initiative that helps prevent bird window strikes. (Not so fun fact: A billion birds die flying into windows each year in the U.S.)
For a friend who’s soul searching…
… an astrology reading with Tara Vogel. The new certified astrologer/life coach at Village Wellness in Berwyn, Vogel creates personal birth charts, aka blueprints for the soul, and uses them to help clients reconnect to their natural gifts, find direction and meet life’s challenges. First 90-minute session is $160. Follow-ups are $120. Buy Village Wellness gift cards here.
For your dog walker…
… Gretchen’s People Soaps, handcrafted by Lower Merion meter maid Terry Delgado and named for her beloved basset hound, Gretchen. Moisturizing bars are made with all-organic oils, butter and herbs and come in yummy flavors like chocolate, strawberry and vanilla. Snap them up at Kindred in Bryn Mawr by the bar ($12.50) or box (3 for $36) with a portion of sales going to Basset Hound rescue.
For home entertainers…
…a copy of The Fox’s Kitchen, a new cookbook from Radnor Hunt, a club known as much for its merry-making as for its foxhunting. Club members and friends contributed nearly 100 cherished recipes and 15 full party menus to this 288-page hardcover tome. Proceeds benefit The Hounds Foundation, which promotes land conservation and preserves the tradition of hunting with hounds. (And what a long tradition it is. Founded in 1883, Radnor Hunt is the oldest continuous active fox hunt in the U.S.)
For someone sweet on scarves…
…a Savannah Bella ($36 – 40), handmade in Narberth by Sheryl Condit and her daughter Sarah Bronson. Jewelry and scarf rolled into one, each is embellished with beads and is, literally, a snap to wear. No tying required. Just snap the special closure in back and you’re good to go.
For the youngest of Nova Nationers…
…Count on Villanova, a picture book of fun VU facts for toddlers ($15 at Main Point Books. Author is proud Nova grad and Rice U. math professor Robin Ward.
For a dandy dresser…
…a funky pocket square by Rex Riccardi, an award-winning fashion startup founded by Devon Prep buddies Chris Muth (Class of ’19 and a childhood cancer survivor) and Ryan Klauder (Class of ’18, Pitt ’22). The $35 silk squares feature art by Muth’s pal, NFL Pro Bowl placekicker Garo Yepremian, who lost his battle with cancer in 2015. Ten percent of Rex Riccardi sales go to Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation. Note for history buffs: Rex Riccardi is Latin for King Richard II, who apparently pioneered pocket squares in the late 14th century.
For friends you value but don’t exchange gifts with…
… a personalized “gratitude card.” Wynnewood’s Sheri Resnik says she created the cards “as an easy way to let people in your life know how thankful you are for them.” She’s also big on common-sense gun laws so 10 percent of sales go to Everytown for Gun Safety. Buy a single card or a pack of five ($25) at Grove 1.2.1 in Bryn Mawr where owner Sandy Edelstein says she’s donating 100 percent of her profits on card sales to Everytown.
As SAVVY closes out another year, we’re counting our blessings. Topping our list: growing family of readers and sponsors. Hope you’ll throw a little love to our late-fall advertisers: Malvern Business & Professional Association BellaDonna Gifts in Wayne, Argyle Bouquet in Haverford and Ardmore, Your Organizing Consultants, Austin Hepburn Installs Windows and Doors, Vaughan Home Builders Campli Photography, Realtor Sue McNamara, Sporting Club of the Main Line, Village Wellness in Berwyn, Woodlynde School, Day Spa By Zsusanna in Wayne, Restore Cryosauna in Wayne and Haverford, Realtors Beth Mulholland and Gabriella Peracchia at Berkshire Hathaway Devon, KingsHaven Lighting and Decor in Paoli, Hunter Reed Fine Homes and Estates; MovementRx Studio in Wynnewood; Hope Chest in Haverford; Village Square Townhomes in Paoli and Mojo Fitness in Wayne and Paoli.