Lindsey Renninger Schuster might just be the most photographed woman on the Main Line.
She takes multiple “mirror selfies” each day.
She stars in professional shoots up to 150 times a year.
She’s photographed incessantly on vacation.
Always camera-ready, she changes clothes five times a day.
No, Schuster’s not a celebrity, a socialite or even a model, at least not technically.
She’s “Lindsey” of The MotherChic – the blog, the brand, and, as of May 9, the fashion line at Nordstrom.
In less than four years, she’s clearly crushing it.
Each week, 800,000 women click on her posts and scroll through her feeds, seeking style inspiration, deals, tips and maybe a little escape from their kiddos. What’s Lindsey wearing this morning? How does she get those beachy waves in her hair? Hey, Lindsey: What should I wear to a “mountainside chic” wedding?
412,000 follow her in Facebook, 90,000 on Instagram.
In 2018 alone, readers of The Motherchic placed 200,000 orders to assorted “affiliated” retailers.
What started “purely as a hobby” when her kids were napping has exploded into a profitable, full-time job. “I didn’t do this to make money … I didn’t even know you could make money from blogging,” Schuster tells SAVVY.
Now 37, she has two employees (one is her sister), plus a part-time photographer (her husband’s cousin Alison Cornell) and a nanny. “I needed a better balance. I invested in a team so I could be with my family more,” says Schuster, confessing to “a few challenging years” juggling four boys (now 10, 8, 6 and 3) and her growing business.
Two years ago, she moved The Motherchic into a stylish, three-level space near her Villanova home. The headquarters also functions as a backdrop for photos and videos and a storeroom for her ever-changing wardrobe. “This is my girl haven,” Schuster says. “It has everything I would want in my house but can’t, because my boys would destroy it.”
The Motherchic and its creator – while surely going places – are deeply rooted in the Main Line.
One of five daughters, Lindsey Renninger was raised in Berwyn, graduated from Conestoga in 2000 and Bucknell in 2004, married high-school sweetheart Paul Schuster, and, for seven years, taught at Mary C. Howse Elementary School in West Chester.
You’d glean (almost) none of this from her blog, however. For safety’s sake, Schuster reveals only that she’s “a Philly native” and lists a Villanova P.O. box on her subscriber emails.
She began cultivating an online following six years ago when she launched a frank and funny parenting blog, Sisters To Sons. A typical post: why it’s impossible to successfully paint your nails during nap time.
After two births and with another on the way, she had craved a creative outlet. “I could do laundry or I could do something for myself,” Schuster explains. “I loved staying home but part of me was a little bored.”
So, Schuster started writing about being a mom, figuring she’d eventually go back to teaching.
But the blog caught fire and two years in, when her then 6-year old started griping (“Mom, are you going to put that on the blog, too? Are you going to keep telling stories about me?”), Schuster decided a personal family blog, however witty, “wasn’t fair to the kids.”
And because she loved fashion and readers had always asked about her outfits, she retooled as The Motherchic. “Like the Mothership, just chic-er,” is how she explains the name on the blog’s “About” page. “Motherships are headquarters for EVERYTHING.”
From the start, Schuster’s pitch and appeal have been national.
Her clothes aren’t bought at the boutique on the corner but at megastores at the mall where retailers like Nordstrom, Macy’s, Lululemon, J. Crew and Nike that can afford to “partner” with influencers of her ilk. (Perhaps because she’s not a Kardashian or a Clooney, Schuster calls herself merely a “micro-influencer.”)
Most of her audience – primarily women aged 35 to 54 – lives elsewhere. Her top readership cities, in order: Chicago, New York, DC, Philly, Boston, Dallas and LA.
The radiant images Schuster posts on her blog all have blurred backdrops. So readers can easily picture Schuster strolling through their own towns – maybe Soho instead of Wayne. Or Beacon Hill, rather than Bryn Mawr. Only locals know she’s sashaying through Suburban Square or pirouetting near a fountain at the King of Prussia Town Center.
Everything about the blog clicks with her audience:
- the just-us-moms, chatty writing.
- the real-mom-around-town photos.
- the mom-tested (if not especially groundbreaking) fashion tips, e.g. wear nude underwear with white jeans, too-tight clothes are rarely flattering.
- the approachable, affordable clothes. High falutin’ fashion, this is not.
Lindsey is like the fun mom next door – in relentlessly cute clothes. She tries to showcase a variety of styles but says she’s a “ripped jeans, fun shoes and t-shirt kind of girl.”
Out of the blue, the LA-based clothing brand, Gibson, came calling nine months ago, messaging Schuster on Instagram. Would The Motherchic like to birth a new baby – her own clothing line?
“We told them we envisioned a collection based off everything we learned from our readers and what resonated with them,” she says. The team reviewed The Motherchic’s top sellers and decided to focus on ”elevated basics” that you can dress up or down.
Her sister, Abby Ryan, who studied fashion design at Drexel, drew the easygoing designs, which were sent to Gibson.
Gibson would tweak them, then manufacture and mail back samples. “The day the boxes arrived was like Christmas morning,” Schuster recalls. The team rushed to try on the clothes and sent back suggested tweaks.
Gibson would tweak again. This went on for months, until one day, a phone call from Gibson made it real.
“When they finally said this is the launch date [May 9, 2019] and you have to have everything photographed by a certain date [The Motherchic team shot the look book at The Sarasota Modern hotel], Schuster did cartwheels. “I was like, ‘Wait. This is really happening! I’m going to have my own collection and it’s going to be sold at Nordstrom!’”
Pieces are mom-friendly: flowing and forgiving, rendered in soft fabrics. There are touches of trends like neon, smocking, tie-dye, front-tucking and spring florals, but nothing is so faddish it can’t be worn again in spring/summer 2020 and beyond.
And everything – in keeping with both brands’ reputations for accessibility – is $89 or less.
Followers of The Motherchic should log on to the blog first thing on May 9 to page through the look book and shop the collection, Schuster advises. She also plans to go live on Facebook that day.
The goal is a sellout and maybe a little FOMO. Sellouts are not unusual with limited-edition blogger collaborations.
The collection will only be sold online, which is just fine with Schuster. That’s where her busy moms shop anyway.
We asked Schuster for her secret sauce. When so many mommy blogs shrivel and die, how did The Motherchic blow up so fast?
Schuster says it’s her authenticity. “I don’t try to be anything I’m not. I’m genuine and I think it comes through.”
She responds to most readers’ Facebook queries herself. And if she doesn’t know the answer, she says so. The personal touch matters.
She’s also upfront about the commercialization of her site and her multiple brand collaborations.
(Typically, a retailer/designer sends Schuster a gift card which she uses to buys clothes – “but only things I like.” She gets a commission on clicks and purchases on “affiliate links” on her posts.)
What she didn’t tell us – but we gathered from our extended visit to The Motherchic’s headquarters – is that Lindsey is meticulous.
And hard working.
Really hard working.
It looks glamorous – and sometimes is – but being a walking billboard is no walk in the park.
Putting out eight or more Facebook posts a day, publishing four or five blog posts a week (the beast must be fed, even on vacation), Instagramming your personal life so readers can better connect to you, planning brand campaigns, shopping, dressing, posing, writing, launching your own collection – it all takes time.
Truly, Schuster’s life is more crammed than her closet.
When what’s on your cell phone is your job, you’re almost always working. “I don’t want my kids to see me on my phone all the time,” Schuster says, confessing to editing posts and answering readers’ questions while she “watches the pot boil” at dinner.
Long term, Schuster would love to collaborate on more collections and perhaps start her own permanent fashion line.
Until then, she’ll keep posing and posting, engaging with readers and seeking opportunities. “I never dreamed I’d be doing this,” says the overachieving blogger. “But I love my job; every day is a new adventure. I hope my audience will grow with me – even when I’m too old to post about my ripped jeans.”
Avalon Bistro & Bar has breezed into Bryn Mawr. And like a puff of ocean air at the beach, it’s rather refreshing.
Everything goes down easy here: the Prohibition-era craft cocktails, the Italian/French fare, and the prices. A full-service spot where the bill won’t give you agita. We’ll drink to that.
“Refined but not fancy” is how chef-owner John Brandt-Lee describes his new 70-seat baby. (He also owns Bar Avalon in downtown West Chester.)
Our party of six passed around baked meatballs ($13), mussels in white wine/garlic broth ($14), the mushroom soup special and fried cauliflower ($11). All were deelish.
Among the “Bigger Plates” we enjoyed: the “Judy Foodie” short ribs over pappardelle ($24), the red snapper with baby shrimp and white beans special (below left) and the salmon with eggplant caponata (below right, $26).
The menu will change seasonally but two West Chester faves – the Lamb Bolognese ($22) and the Avalon Burger ($19) will stay put, Brandt-Lee tells us.
Lighter and brighter than its antecedent, Avalon’s vibe is a lot like the shore town: sophisticated yet casual. We admired the painted-tin ceiling, the comfy private booths and the brick walls upstairs. During our visit, Brandt-Lee was still noodling future uses for the upper level. Bourbon-and-cigar bar? Overflow dining? Small private parties?
When the building’s owners nixed plans to bring Marbles back to the long-dark Verdad space, Brandt-Lee swooped in, signed a lease and opened subito (in just two months).
He kept the place on the down low for weeks, unspooling new dishes as the kitchen proved its mastery. Since April 25, Avalon’s been in full throttle. Just like its namesake town will be, come Memorial Day weekend.
Avalon Bistro, 818 W. Lancaster Ave., next to Bryn Mawr Film Institute, (610) 520-9700, is open Tues. – Fri. 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Sat & Sun. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Tues. – Fri. Happy Hour 4:30 to 6:30. Closed Mondays. No reservations (for now).
The mall’s new Bartaco is ripe for the chillin’, with a tidal wave of fresh tacos, Margs and Mescals, and a beachy-keen vibe, indoors and out.
Ultra-casual, Bartaco is still a table-service joint – even if you do “tally your table’s order” on paper and hand it to your server.
Choose from “Not Tacos” (salsas, salads, soups, apps, $3 – $11), “Tacos” (12 varieties from Baha fish to roasted duck, $2.50 – $3.50 each), “Rice Bowls ($8.50) and “Sides” ($2.50). Tacos are “palm-sized” – three to five are suggested per person. (For an extra quarter, carb counters can swap out tortillas for bibb lettuce.)
Our party of three tried what seemed like half the menu and spent $82, cocktails included. Our fave tacos included:
- Glazed Pork Belly (just avert your eyes to the 300 calories listed on the menu)
- Tuna Tatako
- Seared Swordfish
- That night’s “secret taco” – fried avocado – a chef’s pick that you have to know to ask for. (Now you know. So ask.)
Also killer: the grilled corn on the cob with cotija, lime and cayenne.
Naturally, Bartaco takes its booze rather seriously.
No swill here, the chain pours only mid- to top-shelf liquors, Assistant Manager Angela Scaffidi tells SAVVY. While we liked the Margaritas ($10.50 and made with Bartaco’s own 25% reposado tequila), we swooned over the “Smoke on the Water” watermelon mescal cocktail ($11).
Décor is navy-blue-nautical-meets-whitewashed-surf-shack. Lots of Ropey driftwoods and hanging plants. An ’80s fern bar re-imagined for 2019. No TVs anywhere; chitchat encouraged.
This is Bartaco’s 20th location and its first in PA. It’s owned by the Del Frisco group (which also owns popular Barcelona in East Passyunk.) Seems bar-somethings are big with this bunch.
Bartaco, 350 Mall Blvd., King of Prussia (on the crosswalk between Neiman’s and Macy’s), 610-521-8826, is open Mon. – Thurs. 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Fri. – Sat. until midnight, Sundays until 10 p.m.. Download the app to join the waitlist. High Tide Happy Hour (discounted drinks only) weekdays, 4 – 6:30 p.m.
The coolest group you never heard of is now hard to miss in downtown Wayne.
Quietly doing good out of its Devon offices for 33 years, Uncommon Individual Foundation (UIF) now has a whiz-bang multimedia studio on Lancaster Ave.
And we’re all the better for it.
Led by a whip-sharp team using state-of-the-art gizmos, the UIF REC Studio hosts community workshops and produces original videos relating to the foundation’s mission: promoting mentoring and entrepreneurship. You can also rent the studio or hire its team to help with marketing and branding.
REC’s new front-and-center storefront is no accident.
“We wanted people to see the space and wander in and ask, ‘How can you help me?’” says REC Studio Director Lucy Lopez, a former TV journalist in Canada.
REC Studio is small but, boy, is it loaded.
There’s a green screen (for superimposing digital backdrops), a teleprompter, a TriCaster, an intimate “set” for interviews, a black curtain for solo shots, space for community workshops on video production, marketing and photography, professional lighting, high-end SONY cameras, an editing suite – the works. The green screen, alone, is a hoot:
UIF is also home to OnUp Media, a video crew that documents creative minds in and around Philly. (Animations? You betcha.) Among its Main Line subjects so far: Laura Kelly of The Handwork Studio and Anna Welsh of LittlebagsBIGIMPACT and the South Wayne PorchFest.
OnUp began sharing its videos, including its popular “OnUp Innovators” series, across social media platforms last year. They’re all wonders to behold. (We can’t post the YouTube links because they’ll slow down the SAVVY site but do search for them.)
OnUp is also producing Shop Talk, in-studio video chats with enterprising locals, hosted by Lopez. (More on that in a future SAVVY.)
The whole enterprise is sustained by Uncommon Individual Foundation’s $60+ million endowment. “We’re fortunate to be able to do the things we love without having to worry about funding cuts,” says Lopez. Uh, you can say that again.
UIF was founded by former Radnor parent Richard Caruso and former Radnor Superintendent of Schools John Crosby in 1986.
A brilliant, self-made entrepreneur who credits mentors for his success, Caruso endowed a foundation to pay it forward. (Crosby just wrote a book about Caruso and UIF, Built to Help Each Other.) UIF offers free mentoring programs in entrepreneurship, education, literacy, technology, and most recently, media, to schools, groups and, of course, individuals.
By Rebecca Adler
Family-sized suites, premium bedding, an abundance of activities and an indoor pool.
Wagsworth Manor may sound like the ideal spot for a first-class vacation, but sorry, this one’s for the dogs.
Designed and built from the ground up with pets in mind, Wagsworth Manor Pet Resort in Malvern offers boarding, day camp, grooming and plenty of pampering for dogs and cats – and peace of mind for pet parents.
“[Wagsworth] is over-the-top, whatever you want for your pet,” says operations director Chelsea Harris, daughter of owners DeeDee and Brad Francis. “We’re like The Four Seasons.”
With good reason.
The Francis family traveled around the country to check out top facilities before opening Wagsworth Manor in Malvern, their second pet resort, 12 years ago.
Outdoor space for exercise and fresh air were paramount, says Harris, who notes that the sprawling, 24,000-sq. ft. property sits on six acres and has five Astroturf play yards – to keep paws mud-free, of course. (Their scaled-down sister site, Great Valley Pet Hotel, offers more of a cozy, bed-and-breakfast vibe.)
Another key design feature: multiple boarding rooms with separate air-filtration systems to help minimize illnesses, a common problem in smaller, retrofitted animal retreats.
At Wagsworth, super-privileged pups can even upgrade to suites with window views, literal toddler beds (to appeal to Thomas the Train Engine enthusiasts) and flat-screen TVs.
The staff prides itself on staying in contact with owners, providing photo proof of happy pups for anxious moms and dads. Staffers also relay information about eating habits and health exams.
Wagsworth offers a host of a la carte activities, a requirement for furry guests because playtime and human interaction make for a more pleasant stay.
- Dogs exercise and play fetch in the full-size saltwater pool where life jackets are available for less experienced swimmers and the lifeguard is always on duty.
- One-on-one cuddle sessions and tuck-in services go a long way to please people-loving pups. Staff will even read your fluffy friend a bedtime story.
- The sports plan provides plenty of group playtime. After a fun day of exercise, dogs relax on fleece-topped beds. Suites in the new “Silo” can fit a family of dogs.
- Look for puppy playdates in winter to help with socialization as well as a chance to pose your pet with Santa or the Easter Bunny.
Want more ways to spoil Spot? Try a tricked-out birthday party. Augie, a German Shepherd and longtime Wagsworth guest, celebrates his big day with his buddies from day camp, complete with cake and a private photo session.
Dogs often hit up the on-site spa before they check out.
“When you’re away on vacation, don’t worry,” says Harris. “Your dog is on vacation, too.”
Wagsworth Manor Pet Resort, 27 Spring Mill Drive, Malvern. Call 610-251-9247 for pricing and availability.
Story and photos by Rebecca Adler
Sisters Meg Robertson and Molly Ryan know a thing or two about marking milestones – their custom stationery is sold in more than 500 stores across the country (!)
Before their graduation announcements and hand-glittered bat mitzvah invites get tacked to fridges far and wide, they’re born in Berwyn at Kramer Drive Paper & Design, the sisters’ design studio/gift shop.
The self-taught designers launched Kramer Drive (a street from their childhood) out of Ryan’s attic on a whim. Accustomed to making their own invitations, they saw a hole in the market for fun, affordable, high-quality products.
Fifteen years, 17 employees and a whole lot of paper later, they’ve become a staple in the stationery industry. They’re also a first stop for Main Line families for wedding save-the-dates through birth announcements and graduation-party invitations.
The small-town, everybody-knows-your-name ethos has helped Kramer Drive stay afloat in a sea of online competitors.
Customers have “come in crying” after Internet invitation disasters, they say. But with onsite design and printing and a team of (all women!) production partners, Kramer is well equipped to handle any and all snafus.
“Kramer Drive is for people who want service, who don’t feel confident ordering themselves, who still go into stores. Or [they’re having] a really big event and they don’t want to screw up!” Robertson says, with a laugh.
Why you’ll want to RSVP yes to Kramer Drive’s personalized papers:
- The selection is endless – choose layers, fancy florals, or classic clean lines. Recent custom orders: a holographic bat mitzvah invite and a hand-drawn sketch of Praiano, Italy for a destination wedding.
- Their high-quality materials fit any budget.
- The in-store production team hand glitters, lines envelopes, ties ribbons and takes prides in quick turnarounds.
- Flexibility and creativity go hand-in-hand as Robertson and Ryan find new ways to put their designs to work. Think shower invites re-imagined as wall art, custom stickers for gift bags, and keepsake posters for your recent grad’s dorm room.
- The chipper sisters take the stress out of stationery decisions.
“We really like to celebrate the people that come in and make them feel comfortable and at home,” says Ryan. “That’s what we thrive on, the relationships that we’re building. And typically, once they come, they always come back.”
Kramer Drive Paper & Design, 575 Lancaster Avenue (across from Handel’s), Berwyn, 610-687-1979.
Main Line, meet StudioFlora. We think you’ll like her – she’s bloomin’ fun.
The new flower/gift shop is up and snipping – creating arrangements or helping you create them, in the old Homeology space.
Owner is Chrissy Piombino (Chrissy Custom Floral), whose bustling floral-design biz outgrew her Devon home.
“People would walk down to my basement and say, ‘This is so cool!’ I wanted to take that feeling and bottle it here,” Piombino tells SAVVY.
Customers can choose stems from refrigerated cases, then design their own centerpieces in the workshop space upstairs – with as much or as little professional assistance as they’d like.
Or they can outsource it completely to the creative hands of Piombino or assistant floral designer Debbie O’Brien.
Besides handling weddings, showers and such, StudioFlora will run year-round, hands-on workshops and parties. So we black thumbs – who are all thumbs at crafting florals – can create cool stuff like terrariums, succulent planters and floral jewelry.
The lower level is an artisanal gift shop stocked with local goodies like Moss + Brooke apothecary and candles (created by Devon resident Spencer Rhodes), Julie Miller pottery, and Bar Spoon Beverage cocktail mixes.
Poimbino gutted the old furniture store, installing whitewashed floors, pristine walls and punchy art on two levels.
Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins added some razzle-dazzle to Habitat for Humanity’s 30th anniversary gala April 18. Among the audience questions he fielded at the Radnor Hotel [edited for clarity/brevity]:
- What was it like to ride in the Super Bowl parade? Really cold but the libations helped. It was surreal. We had 3 million people. The Pope had 1 million so I like to say we’re more popular than the Pope.
- To what do you attribute your staying power in the NFL? [He’s 31]. Accountability and availability. Football has a 100 % injury rate – I’ve been blessed. The margin between good and great is very small in the NFL.
- Tell us about your charity? The Malcolm Jenkins Foundation started in 2010 when I was playing in New Orleans. We provide educational programs, mentoring and scholarships to youth. We’ve expanded to NJ, Ohio [Jenkins played for Ohio State], and PA and my mom is the president. We provide opportunity and skills but it’s a band-aid. Habitat for Humanity changes the environment.
- What about your social justice work? I co-founded the Players Coalition, which advocates for racial justice because our criminal justice system is riddled with huge racial disparities and mass incarceration, which has a human cost. It’s destroying families and communities of color. I took two trips to DC which were very frustrating. So I’ve decided that most of my work will be on the state and local level.
- What are your guiding principles? Manhood (I’m a father); Scholarship (I majored in Strategic Communications), Perseverance (When you’re trying to disrupt the status quo there are things you have to persevere through) and Uplift.
“Building houses, communities and hope,” Habitat of Montgomery and Delaware Counties has amassed quite the track record. In 30 years, it has built and sold 84 homes to families, completed 69 low-cost home repairs, revitalized two neighborhoods, opened two ReStore resale shops, and logged more than 100,000 volunteer hours. Nice.
Story and photos by Susan Greenspon
Step into Haverford’s Home Grown with your décor redo in mind — then prepare to get sidetracked.
Where to look first in this eye-popping space that’s bursting with colors, textures and unique designs? Gravitate toward the rattan hurricane lamps in dozens of shapes and sizes.
Spot that slender cobalt vase and the squat, textured one in white. They’re behind a set of gold Sputnik-like bookends.
One wall is a study in Zen, with Asian influenced pots, a raised-trunk silver elephant and a teal pagoda candle holder.
There are shelves of sumptuous shawls and throws, rows of tableware and stemware and unique serving pieces in cool materials like agate, maple, copper and horn.
There are even sections filled with adorable kids’ items and a corner with kitschy gifts for dog owners. The website touts the well-curated collection as “For Cocktail Hour,” “For the Table,” “For the Home” and “For The Baby” and is updated often. It’s all a labor of love for owner Elizabeth Bloom and her talented team: her mom, Linda Wood, Colleen English and Amy Cutler.
“We are all full-time employees … and our clientele has gotten to know and trust all four of us,” says Bloom, a Main Line native who opened Home Grown in Manayunk in 1996 and moved to Haverford (“our sweet spot”) in 2001. “Eighteen years and two renovations later, we are still in the same, fabulous space,” Bloom says.
“Home Grown has morphed into a hub for interior designers, new homeowners and second homeowners, and, most importantly, we are a place to buy quality goods designed to withstand the test of time.”
At Home Grown, it’s all about having a passion for your home.
“As we all pare down in many facets of our life and really reflect on consumerism and accessibility, it has only made our point of view stronger and our business model more successful,” says Bloom. “Quality over quantity – we will never waiver.”
Bloom acknowledges that home design and entertaining are more casual than they were 23 years ago, but no less special. “We now gather around the table with our kids. We use our living rooms. We entertain poolside and in our kitchens more often than our dining rooms.”
On a recent afternoon, Linda Wood was finishing up with customers and preparing to ship orders. We asked her what makes Home Grown a go-to for so many.
“Personal service,” says Wood. “And the fact that we handpick every single item that comes in the store. That makes us special.”
And one-of-a-kind. “We only buy what we can touch, feel, see and hold,” Wood adds.
Home Grown, 393 Lancaster Ave., Haverford, 610-642-3601, is open Mon. – Fri. 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Saturdays 10 to 5. Closed Sundays.
Pull up a chair and listen to your local fire company
Concerned about your first responders? If you’re served by the Berwyn Fire Company, you should be.
BFC does a fantastic job but its expenses are rising as its financial reserves are sinking.
It’s too complicated an issue to tackle in this SAVVY but you can get the full scoop at one of the town halls the fire company will host over the next several weeks.
They won’t be passing the hat; they’re just trying to be proactive about future fire station needs and mounting pressures on the EMS/fire system.
Surprise! It’s your favorite Eagles player
Philadelphia Eagles tight end Zach Ertz is a certifiable stud – on and off the field.
So studly that he showed up at St. Norbert School in Paoli last month to surprise third-grader J.D. Sobota, who’d recently had radiation on his brain for an AVM (arteriovenous malformation).
St. Norbert School had already raised $7,200 to help pay for J.D.’s surgery at Stanford. (Which coincidentally is Ertz’ alma mater.) But the school decided to go one better. It reached out to J.D.’s favorite Eagle to see if he might stop by. Ertz agreed and even hung around for a Q and A and autographs.
Like we said: stud.
A Gino Giant-sized farewell to Gino Marchetti
The Chesco/Cape May resident and Pro Football Hall of Famer passed from pneumonia at Paoli Hospital on Monday. He was 92.
We were too young to watch his nine All-Pro, Reggie White-like years as a defensive end with the Baltimore Colts, but we sure loved his Gino Giant double-decker burgers. (We ALWAYS chose Gino’s over McDonald’s.) Boggles the brain that Marchetti’s initial investment of $4,700 in 1958 with teammate Alan Ameche was parlayed into what became the biggest fast-food chain in PA.
In later years, Marchetti enjoyed fishing, bowling and spending time with his wife of 41 years, his four children and stepdaughter, his 16 grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren.
‘A better chance’ to succeed in Lower Merion (and Radnor)
Don’t recognize the house in this drawing? Then you don’t know your ABCs.
It’s where seven promising, under-served minority students are hanging their hats this year so they can attend Lower Merion High School – getting A Better Chance (ABC).
ABC scholars get the works: housing, academic/college advising, SAT tutoring, character-building workshops, volunteer and leadership opportunities.
And all that attention pays off in a 100-percent college acceptance rate to schools like Georgetown, Tufts, Howard and NYU.
Radnor also has an ABC program with a house on W. Wayne Ave. Both nonprofits welcome donations and support.
Main Line natives enshrined in Phila. Jewish Sports Hall of Fame
A few locals were just inducted into the Philadelphia Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Among them, Wynnewood native and Lower Merion High School and Dartmouth multi-sport phenom, Myra Sack, and Radnor High School/BU and Boston Bruin Colby Cohen. Sack, who earned an MBA with high honors from BU, is chief program officer for the youth-development program SquashBusters. Cohen helped the Bruins win the Stanley Cup in 2011 and is currently a color analyst for NBC Sports, Westwood One and ESPN and other outlets.
Eagles VP of football operations, Howie Roseman, was also installed Tuesday night.
Gnocchi for everyone!
Mary Ann Esposito, host of America’s longest running cooking show, Ciao Italia on PBS, is coming to King of Prussia.
She’ll be at Davio’s on May 4 to lead a gnocchi-making workshop with the restaurant chain’s owner Steve DiFillippo. Folks are paying $100 for the lesson, wine tasting, dessert and a copy of Esposito’s new book.
This and That
Wait, the Life Time Athletic in KOP isn’t big enough? 150,000 sq. ft. is too, um, cozy?
Apparently so. The “healthy way of life company” (fitness/nutrition/spa/sports) wants to expand its holdings on Swedesford Rd. Life Time paid nearly $5 million to buy land next door. On its drawing board? A two-story, 45,000 sq. ft. facility for co-working (“Life Time Work”) and extra parking, which members have asked for. That’s Life Time, slowly taking over our lives, one big building at a time.
The man accused of gunning down ex-wife at the Wayne Wawa has a court date in mid-May. Brian Kennedy, 34, of Devon, is facing first-degree murder charges in the death of Stephanie Miller, 37. In case you were spring-breaking and missed it, here’s our story on this tragedy and its aftermath.
More difficult days for Valley Forge Military Academy in Wayne. In a new lawsuit, a 20-year-old former cadet claims he was “toothpasted” – a ritualized sodomy with a lacrosse stick while he was clothed. In 2017, Main Line Suburban Life reported juvenile charges against three then-VFMA students in this alleged incident. (Stop us if this sounds horribly familiar.) The former cadet also says there was a “culture of abuse” at the school and he was waterboarded, beaten up and sexually abused while the school looked the other way.
A whole bunch of folks at VFMA are already upset that the president hired to fix the school’s woes (sinking enrollment, financial and discipline problems) left abruptly – without an explanation – in March. A few parents have filed a federal lawsuit to bring him back and get the current chair of VFMA’s board of trustees ousted. Oy.
We’re planning to yuck it up at McKenzie Brew House next Saturday, May 11, when the brewpub’s Malvern location debuts “Laugh It Up in Malvern,” a comedy show headlined by Richie Byrne, hosted by James Mattern, and featuring Jon Cleck, Josh Frank and Cisco Hernandez. Show goes on at 8. Click here for $15 tickets! $20 at the door.
Radnor High School students are doing a happy dance. Next year, they can sleep in an extra hour. The school board just became the first district in Southeastern PA to approve an 8:30 a.m. start time, which is precisely what the AMA, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been calling for. Lower Merion and Tredyffrin/Easttown school districts are both looking into later high school start times.
Seems Radnor’s on a roll. U.S. News & World Report just gave it a big fat gold star. Magnate schools Masterman and Downingtown STEM were ranked tops in the state, but guess which PA school came in next? Little old Radnor, which was listed 237th in the country and third in PA. Conestoga was ranked 298th overall and fifth highest in the state.
In our eyes, fashion designer Nicole Miller will always be a Philly girl (even if she was born in Texas and raised in Massachusetts). Only seems right that her very first museum-style career retrospective should be here, in our fair city. Almost everything on display at Drexel’s URBN Center comes from the overflowing closet of Miller’s local alter ego, Mary K. Dougherty, who owns Nicole Miller boutiques in Manayunk and Center City. “A Philadelphia Store-y: 25 years of Nicole Miller Philadephia” runs through Aug. 30.
Two reasons to stop by Main & Vine in Villanova this month. One: to see what the new Culinary Director has whipped up for spring. Because Chef Karen Nicolas comes with an A+ resume: Gramercy Tavern in NYC, Equinox in DC, and Harp & Crown in Philly. And two: to check out the new patio seating.
Shoutout to loyal SAVVY advertiser Anna Sicalides (Your Organizing Consultants), tapped by Toll Brothers for their “Build Beautiful” blog. Her topic: how to create a clutter-free craft room. Awesome. Here’s an idea for next time: a post on creating a clutter-free office for SAVVY. Ha.