Troubled waters at Life Time Athletic in Tredyffrin.
The entire facility closed for a few days this week after “a loss of water flow” due to “a construction error,” according to the club’s messages to members.
Wait, the building was “constructed” in 2017 and they’re just finding the error now?
Confused, we reached out to corporate. And yes, the club’s current water woes are indeed connected to the sinkhole that sunk part of the indoor pool just two months after the club’s grand opening.
Life Time was trying to prevent another collapse of its indoor pool after “proactively having our facility scanned by geo-technical engineers in light of the sinkhole activity often found in this geography,” LT spokeswoman Natalie Bushaw tells SAVVY, “not unlike other businesses in the area.” A contractor working in the pool pump room “unknowingly struck a plumbing line,” Bushaw said via email. “Unfortunately, this line was then filled with grout used during remediation work, compromising the club’s plumbing.”
So LT, not liking the look of its recent soil scans, feared another sinkhole and hired a subcontractor to “implement ground remediation measures.” And all hell broke loose.
But here’s what could be concerning. Looks like the subcontractor was again injecting grout to shore up the soil and prevent another sinkhole. Begs the question: was the job done right the first time?
Our report during the summer of 2017 sinkhole closure showed that Life Time opted for a cheaper fix for the sinkholes that plague the limestone-rich KOP area. Our story described Life Time’s decision to go with a “value-engineered” proposal from subcontractor Compaction Grouting Services after it balked at the price tag of the plan the company first recommended. On its website, CGS even bragged about bringing down Life Time’s price by drilling fewer compaction holes at the Swedesford Rd. site. Our sinkhole story provided a link to that web page.
And at press time Thursday, two days after the entire club closed on Tuesday, it was still not at full speed.
When we snooped around late Wednesday morning, we spied a flotilla of white pickups, wastewater management and plumbing trucks – maybe 15 trucks in all – working like heck out back.
Life Time had hoped to open by late morning Tuesday but stayed closed after “construction teams found additional challenges during the repair,” according to its note to members.
Refugees from KOP drove down to the Ardmore Life Time on Tuesday and Wednesday, enjoying a rare invitation for an “onyx club” member to hit up a higher-level “diamond club.” At least one area competitor, Purenergy Studio in Paoli, graciously invited LT members to come in for free workouts.
When KOP did re-open, there were no showers, no towels and no swimming and Life Café was operating at half mast. Services were “limited … due to issues that have limited water use at the club,” the club wrote to members.
“The club … has reopened with limited services as the contractor continues to resolve this issue,” Bushaw wrote. “Of course, we aim to resume full services to our members as quickly as possible.”
It’s all a bit of a head-scratcher. In 27 years, Life Time has become a national phenomenon, an “athletic resort destination” – just ask them. Members extol LT’s plush amenities and its full roster of classes, equipment and services. The company is even expanding into the luxury apartment and co-working businesses, aiming, it seems, to infiltrate members’ every minute.
And yet, this ably captained, luxurious lifestyle yacht takes on water – not once but twice – after it sets sail for the shifting soils of eastern Tredyffrin? Who would’ve thunk it?
When she died by suicide at age 32, Alexandra Rapoport wrote a last request to her family: “Spread a message of prevention and recovery from eating disorders – even if it’s the smallest action like ‘liking’ a group on Facebook.”
Alex had battled bulimia for 20 years. She never quite beat her disease – she died in June of 2016 – but perhaps, with an infusion of hope and help, others might.
Three years after Alex’s memorial service at Wayne Art Center, her father has honored his daughter’s wishes – and then some.
He has become, in his late 60s, a socially-conscious, international style pioneer. “I’ve tried to take Alex’s request on steroids,” says Frank Rapoport. “It helps with the daily journey of processing grief.”
Rapoport’s improbable journey – from Main Line attorney to fashion designer/entrepreneur – began with a single, heartsick trip. He and his son had carried Alex’s ashes to Katmandu, where, as an honors student and soccer player at Goucher College, she’d spent a semester and “found connection and peace.”
Despite her challenges, Alex was an “old soul,” her dad says. An artist, yoga teacher, mountain biker and practicing Buddhist who loved Nepal so much, she hoped to move back one day.
Father and son retraced Alex’s steps and sprinkled her ashes in Katmandu’s holy rivers.
From Nepal, they traveled to the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan in the high Himalayas, where Rapoport bought a life-changing souvenir: a “crazy cool” handwoven vest.
“Is it from Peru? Guatemala?” his wealthy Park Avenue friends wanted to know. They’d never seen anything like it. “Bring back more of them,” they begged.
And that’s when “a light bulb went off.” Last May, Rapoport returned to Bhutan. With help from a politically-connected friend, he struck deals with weavers and pattern makers. SamSara Gear was born.
He chose the name because it’s Sanskrit for reincarnation. SamSara would bring Alex’s spirit back to life.
Rapoport donates a portion of proceeds to Heart Your Body (a charitable trust Rapoport created in Alex’s honor), the Academy of Eating Disorders and the Multi Service Eating Disorders Association. (His daughter is remembered in other ways. Wayne Art Center awards the Alexandra Adele Rapoport Memorial Scholarship to a talented Radnor High School art student each year. Alex Rapoport was an art major at Goucher College.)
Rapoport has since tweaked designs for SamSara vests ($350) and coats ($600 – $700) to make them “less boxy.” He’s added a line of affordable Nepalese bags and backpacks ($40-$80) and $30 wool hats and booties. And he’s ramping up production and storage to meet demand.
He sells online, at private parties and trunk shows, and in a small showroom at Spogue Kitchens & Bath.
And one day, he hopes to sell to Anthropologie. “They’d kill to have this,” Rapoport says.
Aquilla wore her “Disrupt the Norm” tee to help her envision disrupting cancer cells during chemo treatments. (It worked – she’s cancer free.)
Arianna withstood school bullies wearing her “Grit for Days” sweatshirt.
And “Meg Happens” blogger Megan Stone says her power tee has made her powerful – “unstoppable even.”
Another day, another affirmation for Four Girls on a Mission.
The four girls are founder Meghan Kelly of West Chester, her mother and two daughters.
The mission is to promote girl power through clothing and be a warrior for women by donating a dollar from each sale to programs that support women’s safety, education and wellness. Partners include local charities Unite for HER, Family Lives on Foundation and the Philadelphia Eagles Foundation.
In a few years, Four Girls tees have taken off. Already strong, sales soared after Four Girls was asked to join Nicole Miller on runways in New York and LA. There are Four Girls “power flannels” and soon, a baby line. The men’s line – “redefining what it means to be a feminist” – is expanding. And next year, Four Girls will launch three new designs and its own mental-health program for local high schools.
Kelly first thought she founded Four Girls out of frustration: shopping for her two daughters was impossible. She’d shop the boys’ department to find clothes for her science-minded older daughter. And she couldn’t find practical clothes for her younger daughter, who adored sparkles, rainbows and frills but found they got in the way when she dug for worms, made mud pies and played superheroes.
A search for girl power tees left Kelly appalled. “I found vulgar, negative messaging and designs that put boys down to raise girls up,” Kelly tells SAVVY. Was Wonder Woman punching Batman the best we could do? Kelly wondered. Why did girls’ tees say “princess” and boys’ tees say “boss”? Why are my girls being fed the same messaging I was fed as a young girl?
But when Kelly dug a little deeper she saw the seeds for Four Girls were more personal and planted long ago: When her second-grade teacher told her parents she was “too focused on boys” because she played football with them at recess. When a boy on the opposing middle-school soccer team punched her in the face because she’d stolen the ball and he was humiliated. And more recently, when she discovered “the patriarchy was alive and well” at her most recent corporate gig.
Years ago, her father’s encouraging notes in her school lunchbox had helped carry her through the day. Maybe her t-shirts could do the same for her daughters – and for other people’s daughters.
The company logo appears on each shirt’s back right shoulder. Why? Because Four Girls always has your back.
Four Girls on Mission sells women’s, kids and men’s styles from $20 with free shipping.
Radnor alum Gretchen Bauer is making national waves from sunny Sarasota with her “properly made-in-the-U.S.” handbag line, BSWANKY.
A hit with celebs and influencers, Bauer’s bags are designed to be “transformational,” she says.
Not only do they easily convert from tote to backpack, but they’re “happily made” by immigrant women artisans, many of whom used to work in sweatshops.
“Every day I hop out of bed with unfettered optimism and the firm belief that BSWANKY will change the way women are treated in the U.S. garment industry,” Bauer tells SAVVY.
BSWANKY also partners with various charities for its “giving back” handbag lines. And its python bags are created in partnership with Florida Everglades Python Hunters – a solution to invasive python species that are devastating the fragile ecosystem.
“A woman I’ve never met in Malvern bought EIGHT BSWANKY HANDBAGS!!! OMG!!” exclaims Bauer with her usual gusto. “We plan to get on the shoulder and back of every woman in the world!!!”
With a ‘tude like that, she just might.
BSWANKY bags start at $350 and are sold online, in stores and at horse shows in Florida, Beverly Hills, and closer to home, at ViVi G. Shoes in Eagle Village Shops and Rick’s Heritage Saddlery in West Chester.
Bala Cynwyd’s Amanda Olsen loved throwing birthday parties for her two boys.
What she never loved? The mountain of gifts that came with them. Presents – usually in the $20 range – that her boys didn’t want, cluttered her house, and would end up in a landfill in a few years.
What if everyone could go in on one big gift that her son really wanted, like, say, a new bike or a $300 Lego set, she wondered?
But there was no simple way to get the word out and collect the money. And so, ta-dah, she created one.
The person throwing the party buys the special “big” present, creates an online campaign on Givzie, then invites guests to contribute to it online. Piece of (birthday) cake.
On a $20 “give,” party guests pay a $2 transaction fee – less than the cost of a gift bag (or the gas to buy one).
The account is free to set up – but account creators can opt to donate 10 % of raised funds to one of three Givzie-approved charities: Philly play space Kith + Kin’s Mama Share program, Cradles to Crayons and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Schools can partner with Givzie for fundraising and Givzie will donate 10% of profits.
Olsen calls Givzie a win-win: the birthday boy or girl gets something substantial and guests don’t have to “run out the day of the party to pick up a gift that ends up on the proverbial pile.”
A former jewelry designer who taught jewelry-making at Main Line Art Center and Wayne Art Center, Olsen got the entrepreneurial bug after she helped a friend run her custom rocking-chair business. The Givzie idea had been rolling around in her head for four years, she says.
She envisions Givzie becoming part of the culture, with people asking, “Do you have a Givzie?” when they’re invited to birthday parties, bar mitzvahs, showers, retirement and going-away parties – any celebration that involves gift-giving.
“I feel 100% confident that this is a great idea, that it solves a real problem, and that it has potential to have a positive impact on our consumption and cluttered lives.”
Here’s one swell formula: Create luscious body-care products that are preservative- and cruelty-free. Manufacture and bottle locally and sell online and at area popups.
And send batches to local sober-living houses because self-care is everything for people in recovery.
Is h. honeycup conjurer Cindy Barberes the bee’s knees or what?
After 25 years in corporate financial services, Barberes has done a career 180, turning a batch of sour – a family member’s fight with addiction – into one sweet little company.
h. honeycup is sold online and at trunks shows. Top seller is the $50 Citrus Humbles Kit.
Others locals making good(s) this season…
….The residents and volunteers at Camphill Village Kimberton Hills, a community where adults with disabilities live with dignity, equality and purpose. (Amen to that.) Residents create art in Camphill’s crafting classes and sell them to support the nonprofit’s operating fund.
…Berwyn “hobby farm” owner Allison Sanka. (Farm tagline: “four animals + three humans + helping animals.”) Sanka whips up handmade soaps, lip balms, skin salves, grocery bags made from chicken-feed sacks and more, then sells them on Etsy and DONATES 100% OF THE PROCEEDS to farm-animal rescues and sanctuaries. This quarter’s designated recipient: First Ladies Farm and Sanctuary, which saves roosters, peacocks, ducks and cats from cruelty and abandonment in Florida.
… Soap Up for Cyclists from Free Love Valley Soaps in Chester County.
Owner Wendy Crowell (above) lost her bicycle-riding sister to a distracted driver and donates a portion of every bar sold to nonprofits that support safe cycling, like the Schuylkill River Greenways and the Greater Philly Bicycle Coalition. Her small-batch soaps are made from 100% essential oils. They’re gentle, hand-poured and cured for 6 weeks so they last practially forever. Nice.
Other local gifts catching our eyes…
Got someone on your list who’s Main Line proud? Gift them with an antique map of your favorite local township, borough or rail stop from Malvern Maps. Owner Dave Mackey (above) has been a collector for 21 years – ever since he stumbled on an 1881 map of Berwyn at the Devon Horse Show. Mackey sources and sells original and fine reproductions of antique maps online and at Buckwalter Galleries in Malvern. Reproductions start at $20; originals from around $100.
You can’t take your pooch into White Dog; here’s the next best thing. Pay artist Jay McClennan to paint your pooch so he/she can grace the walls of the newest White Dog Café in Glen Mills, set to open early next year.
Not only will your dog be immortalized and receive the adulation he/she so richly deserves, but you’ll be doing some good. McClennan will donate half his fee to Brandywine Valley SPCA and Alpha Bravo Canine, which provides free service dogs to former military with PTSD. And you get a $250 original drawing of the painting for your own walls. Two paws up, right? McClennan’s paintings start at $1,200.
Casting about for a local gift for a foodie friend? So were we. Until we alighted on Aneu Chef/Owner Meridith Coyle’s newish cookbook. Gift secured. Before we wrapped it, we let our fingers do the walking. It’s our kind of book: tried-and-true recipes, most with a minimal number of ingredients, almost all with a healthy bent. And yup, Coyle’s signature Energy Balls, Mango Chicken Salad and Aneu Day Juice are all here. Splendid. Score a $38 hardback at Aneu Kitchen in Paoli or Rosemont.
Tasty tidings in Paoli: city-style ramen & sushi at Nom Nom Japanese Kitchen
A top Tibetan chef joins forces with a Chinese restaurateur and brings forth … a Japanese joint?
Such is the unlikely but rather marvelous mélange at the new Nom Nom Japanese Kitchen in Paoli Village Shops.
What owner Alan Su did for Philly with his well-reviewed Nom Nom Ramen, two Nom Nom Bowls, Yamitzuki & Aki Nom Nom, he’s doing for the Main Line: serving up surprisingly sophisticated versions of bao buns, rice, ramen and poké bowls at reasonable prices.
Based on our recent visit, Nom Nom deserves a much longer run than Skinny Pizza, which came and went in the same building next to Nudy’s in a flash.
Su gets a lot right. The Zen vibe. The compostable takeout containers. The open kitchen. The friendly service. The decent wine glasses for those who BYOB. And tasty food that had us plotting a swift return. Su told us to try the Oyako Don chicken ($12) next time. OK, we’re on it.
Nom Nom Japanese Kitchen, 35 W. Lancaster Ave. (next to Nudy’s), Paoli, 610-232-2608 is open for lunch, dinner and takeout daily from 11:30. BYOB.
Charm offensive: Bravo TV’s Southern Charm star visits Wayne next week
Heartthrob Craig Conover, the lawyer-turned-reality-TV-star-turned-pillow designer, is hosting a pillow party at ELLIE Main Line next Sunday. Alas, it’s not a pajama party. Sigh. It is, however, the only PA stop on Conover’s smokin’ hot pillow tour, so reserve your spot pronto.
Conover will showcase his Sewing Down South holiday pillows, pose for pics (with everyone who shows) and no doubt, charm one and all.
Only 200 tickets are being distributed – a $50 VIP ticket gets you first dibs on photos and a $175 bag of ELLIE swag, donated by owner Diane Oliva. Proceeds from VIP tix go to Lend a Hand Bahamas.
ELLIE’s also planning special deals on their fab women’s fashions, bubbly, wine and lite bites. Charming.
Craig Conover pillow party at ELLIE Main Line, Eagle Village Shops in Wayne, Sunday, Dec. 22, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. Call 610-293-6822 for VIP and free, general admission tickets.
Three grand dames bite the dust in North Ardmore
Three large circa-1920 homes – recently used as rentals – were just bulldozed on Montgomery Ave. near Suburban Square. Soon to rise in their stead: 39 Montgomery, a four-story luxury condo building by residential developer C.F. Holloway, III.
Each includes three bedrooms, three baths and two-car garages. No prices on the website but in this neighborhood, with these amenities, we’re easily talking seven figures.
Size 14 or higher? Have we got a (new) store for you!
Online fashion brand ELLOQUII just opened its first PA location – where else? – in the King of Prussia Mall.
Hard to say which ELOQUII is more obsessed with: trendy fashions or fit. The brand boasts eight in-house designers and a technical fit team.
Its 2,500 sq. ft. KOP store carries dresses, workwear, outerwear, separates, essentials and swim. Customers get rewards via an app and free two-day shipping on in-store iPads orders. Prices are fast-fashion moderate – along the lines of H & M.
The company’s CEO says its online community was “passionate about the need for a Philadelphia location.” Hence, the KOP expansion, it’s sixth bricks-and-mortar site.
A plus-size, e-commerce pioneer based in New York and Ohio, ELLOQUII was bought by Walmart last October, a move that didn’t sit especially well with some of its rabid fans.
ELLOQUII, upper level of the KOP Mall between Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor, 610-621-5668.
Sheex: so much better than counting sheep
“Performance” fabrics aren’t just for the gym. They work in the bedroom, too. (No, not THAT kind of performance.)
Now open in the KOP Mall: SHEEX, purveyors of the world’s first high-tech, high-performance sheets.
SHEEX offers the same moisture-wicking, temperature-controlling, breathability and stretch as your fave Nike tank – good stuff you can’t get from cotton sheets, no matter how high the thread count.
Sick of our own bedraggled, stretched-out (and occasionally sweaty) cotton sheets, we sprang for a king set. Tight as a drum and soft as can be. Sheex, where have you been all my life?
Created by two women basketball coaches at USC, SHEEX also makes mattresses and thermo-regulated jammies. Hear that, ladies?
SHEEX, Upper Level of KOP Mall between Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor, (856) 334-3021.
Ruby and Jenna take Suburban Square. So do a few others.
“Elevated trends at un-elevated prices to serve the New York girls’ lifestyle.” That’s the mantra at mother-daughter owned Ruby and Jenna, which just opened its 12th store in the Square’s new Station Row. Whether the Long Island duo successfully serves the Main Line Girls lifestyle remains to be seen. But the prices sure seem right.
Other Square newcomers: Glassblower and potter Simon Pearce just opened next to Oath Pizza. And activewear retailer Rebel is operating a new popup at 32 Parking Plaza. Look for cool brands like Alo, Koral and Beyond Yoga, along with Jade and BMat yoga mats and antibacterial yoga bags from Pure Bag.
by Rebecca Adler
Want to impress at your next dinner party with little-known facts about Philly? Try this one on: we’re the nation’s craft capital. No, not the DIY, church bazaar, mitten-knitting craft but fine-art craft. Handmade works of consummate craftsmanship.
And at CraftForms 2019, Wayne Art Center’s 25th anniversary exhibition of contemporary craft, you can explore 90 incredible examples, whittled down from more than 700 entries from around the globe.
“Artists and visitors come from all over the US and beyond and are blown away by what Nancy has built,” Patti Hallowell tells SAVVY, referring to Nancy Campbell, the longtime leader of Wayne Art Center. “It was her mission 25 years ago to lift up craft as a form of fine art. CraftForms is her baby.”
What’s on view? A breathtaking 12 ft. X 8 ft. sculpture of reclaimed garden hoses that took five years to scavenge. A porcelain house of cards printed with a family tree’s worth of photography. A whimsical carved-wood wardrobe. An imposing metal raven forged with personality by a local metalworker. And a stunning, nature-inspired tapestry by Philadelphia artist Steve Donegan.
A companion show, Westward Ho, featuring 79 southwestern pieces of fine-art craft – and not a glimmer of turquoise – is on display in WAC’s second main gallery.
Craft has been around since colonial times but truly took off here, thanks to the WWII GI Bill. Art schools proliferated, solidifying Philly’s status as a hotbed for the handmade – a distinction bestowed on the city by the American Craft Council.
Today, metro Philly “has become a great place for artists to come work because it’s affordable,” says exhibition coordinator Patti Hallowell. “The community is very supportive of each other … We’re proud to be part of it.”
The exhibit is free and open to the public through February 1, but there are lots of other reasons to pop into this world-class art center in our own backyard (and right off the Radnor Trail!) throughout the year:
- Shop local and handmade December 14 & 15 during Holiday Shopping Weekend. Vendors include Pandemic Design Studio and Tessa Downs Ceramics out of Wayne and HKM jewelry from Newtown Square.
- Sip and see the art at the four-course Patron Wine Pairing Dinner January 23, prepared in WAC’s state-of-the-art kitchen, where culinary classes and visiting chefs are hosted year round.
- Get creative in more than 500 classes or sign the kiddos up for summer camp. “We have classes for ages two through 102,” says longtime art center director Nancy Campbell. Some 5,000 students of all artistic abilities and economic backgrounds enroll in WAC programs each year. Painting, drawing, ceramics and more take place in the center’s nine light-infused studios.
“We’ve been meeting the cultural needs of our community since 1931,” Campbell says of the beloved nonprofit which has undergone two major expansions since its humble beginnings in a garage on Louella Avenue. “The arts are really important for people and their well-being. Arts provide a means of learning, interacting and socializing. We’re here to foster that.”
Wayne Art Center, 413 Maplewood Ave, Wayne, 610-688-3553, is open Mon. – Fri., 9 to 5, and Saturday, 9 to 4. Enrollment open for Winter 2020. CraftForms 2019 is free and open to the public through February 1.
Four movers & shakers re-imagine the Main Line
The Main Line is a success story: a “best in class” place to work, dine, play and school your kids.
But strip back the shiny veneer and there are issues. Foremost among them: transportation.
That was the consensus of four visionaries invited to “re-imagine the Main Line” in front of 240 guests at Main Line School Night’s 4th annual Fall Celebration at The Inn at Villanova University last week.
Restaurateur Marty Grims (White Dog, Autograph, Moshulu & more) talked about how his staff needs reliable public transport and gridlock-free roads to get to work.
Bryn Mawr Film Institute founder Juliet Goodfriend bemoaned the Main Line’s increasingly clogged roads, challenging parking and moviegoers’ perplexing “resistance to taking the train.”
Madeline Bell, President/CEO of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, said traffic woes in West Philly factored into CHOP’s decision to build a second, full-service hospital in King of Prussia.
And Brandywine Realty Trust CEO Jerry Sweeney praised the proposed King of Prussia rail extension, calling public transportation essential to successful office and housing projects. “Untenable commutes” to low-wage service jobs in King of Prussia contribute to high turnover and chronic labor shortages at the mall’s shops and restaurants.
When they were introduced to the audience, the four were asked how they re-imagined the Main Line through their work.
Goodfriend talked about re-imagining a “very old form of entertainment, the movie theater” as a community non-profit to “save it from becoming a health club.”
An architecture aficionado, Grims said he recast his restaurants as entertainment, where the look and feel would be just as crucial as the food and service.
Bell, who was once a nurse at the hospital she now runs, said re-imagining children’s health care was about “thinking big and stretching yourself a bit.” CHOP needed to get closer to the children it was caring for – and that meant expansion to the Main Line.
For Sweeney, development is all about re-imaging physical spaces and “not being afraid to change the status quo.”
Looking forward, the panelists had specific suggestions for improving the area.
For Goodfriend, Bryn Mawr Film Institute’s success is dependent on the film industry making high-quality movies that people want to see.
Marty Grims hopes townships ease parking requirements for small businesses. “Sometimes, they get a little too involved.”
Madeline Bell says communities shouldn’t gentrify so much that “people can’t afford to live in them.” She says she and her staff worry daily about whether the health care model will drastically change after 2020.
And in these times of tumult, Jerry Sweeney would like to see adjoining townships join together to analyze development and take a more “macro approach.” He says developers should really listen to the people and make sure their projects are “contextually appropriate.”
Proceeds from Re-Imagining the Main Line benefited Main Line School Night, a nonprofit that offers affordable, accessible lifelong learning opportunities for area residents.
When radio executive Alice Allan went hunting for day care for her kids, she came home deflated.
“Places smelled of stale formula,” she says. “Teachers were talking to each other while the kids were entertaining themselves.”
Convinced she’d never find a center up to snuff, she opened one herself.
Twenty-one years, three kids and an early-childhood degree later, Allan is still in the day-care business – and loving it.
Her latest venture: Wayne Early Childhood Center.
Her other location, Oaks Early Childhood Center, has a wait list. But because Wayne is relatively new – just a year old – and off the beaten path on Walker Road, your child might just snag a spot.
What sets Wayne Early Childhood Center apart?
For starters, it’s privately owned. Allan is a hands-on operator and spends most of her days in Wayne. “I’m always in every classroom, saying hello, seeing what’s going on,” she says. If something needs to be painted or fixed, Allan’s on it. No need to wait for corporate.“I’m invested in every family. I make sure everyone is happy and it’s run the way I want it run,” she says.
Second, she hand selects staff. “I might interview ten people and not find anyone. I’d rather be in the classroom myself than put someone in there who’s not a fit for the center.”
She looks for “people who are nurturing, who understand where children are developmentally so they can help them achieve.”
She values her staff and pays above the industry average. Teachers have early childhood and childhood-development degrees and experience.
Third, she keeps it personal.
While her license allows 15 in the infant room, she only takes eight and maintains a four-to-one child-staff ratio. “Everyone has one-on-one time and plenty of tummy time. There’s a lot of interaction. We’re always talking to our babies.”
And finally, her curriculum focuses on play and learning. All ages enjoy the spacious, new outdoor playground and Mini Music Makers are regular visitors to the Toddler 1s and Toddler 2s rooms. Older toddlers enjoy drama and theater and rotate through sports units.
Teachers begin singing ABCs to infants and counting in English and Spanish at age one. (Allan, who was born in Puerto Rico, is fluent in both.)
PreK teacher, Elle Parkin, is working on a master’s in Early Childhood Education. Her lesson plans “challenge the kids. They’re having fun but there’s a purpose behind everything they do,” Allan says. There’s even a PTO for parents.
With kindergarten expectations higher than ever, “we make sure our children leave the program with a strong foundation. They can write their own names; they know sight words. They have pre-math, writing and science skills.”
Wayne Early Learning Center prepares kids for success, Allan says.
“Parents are looking for a place where kids are learning, not babysat. They want a structured curriculum that tracks development and challenges their kids. We provide that.”
Wayne Early Learning Center, 600 Walker Rd., Wayne, 610-995-0151, is open weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays – with help from Carlino’s in Ardmore and West Chester
By Dawn Warden
Round Two of holiday feastivities (and we do mean feast) is only a couple of weekends away, and as always, Carlino’s Market has your back.
First order of business: ensuring those college kids don’t come home to an empty fridge. Cover the late arrivals, the late-nighters and the late sleepers with a one-stop assortment of Carlino’s quiches, tomato pie, chicken wings and tenders, lasagna, meatballs, provolone, long hots, and fresh rolls. Throw in some cookies and brownies, and call the job done. Just don’t blame Carlino’s if your house ends up the favored destination all winter break!
Your progeny won’t be the only ones reaping the benefits; with a few culinary assists from Carlino’s, you can save time while finishing up the shopping and trimming. Their prepared items make eating on-the-go feel healthy and keep you fueled and on your feet.
And, Carlino’s has all the staples you need to make cooking a family/friends bonding activity. Just keep it simple so all ages can participate. Nothing makes a home feel warmer than preparing a meal together, and Carlino’s is happy to share its pantry with yours.
Of course, Carlino’s will cater to all of your entertaining needs throughout Christmas, Hanukah and New Year’s, including culinary gifts.
If you are haven’t considered soup, this is your year to make a splash with your spoon. Try the Carrot Ginger, or go heartier with Carlino’s Holiday or Vegetarian Lentil soup. And don’t forget their famous Matzo Ball soup. It hits the spot no matter what it’s paired with.
For Seven Fishes folks, Carlino’s can lighten the load with fried calamari and smelts — two favorites that can be served on their own or as savory toppers for Caesar salad. There’s also baccala salad, a delicious tapas-style appetizer when served as crostini. And, for true decadence, you can’t beat the velvety lobster bisque.
Hop onto carlinosmarket.com to peruse the entire menu of rustic, seasonal dishes, a blend of Carlino’s family recipes and new, on-trend creations. With convenient online ordering for in-store pick-up, entertaining is quick and easy.
The last day to order for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is December 17th, so don’t wait too long. If you want delivery, best call a manager asap to reserve your spot. And, while you are at it, ask what’s on the menu for the New Year. Ring it in right with Carlino’s on your table!
Carlino’s Market, 2614 E. County Line Rd., Ardmore, 610-649-4046, and 128 West Market St., West Chester, 610-649-4046, is open weekdays 9 to 7, Sat. 9 to 6, Sun. 9 to 4. Catering, gift baskets, gift cards, delivery and quick pick-up available.
Fourteen victims recount losses at hands of thieving kitchen contractor
The fly-by-night Paoli kitchen contractor we wrote about last year has a new home: state prison. A Chester County judge has sentenced con artist contractor Michael Sheehan, 41, who operated out of the former Element Kitchen in Paoli, to two-and-a-half to 10 years in prison and ordered him to pay $446,294 in restitution.
Fourteen furious victims showed up at his Nov. 26 sentencing hearing to give impact statements, including Kaitlyn Zitzer of Berwyn, who lost a $12,000 bathroom deposit she gave Sheehan while she was in labor with her first child and Suzanne Smith of Newtown Square who was cheated out of $15,000.
“Given the amount he stole, the number of families victimized, and the fact that, when you realistically consider his earning potential, we are most likely never going to be paid back in full – it seems a reasonable penalty,” Smith tells SAVVY. “I certainly don’t take delight in what this sentence means for his family … But what he did is a crime, one that he committed over and over again, and with intention. This is not a case of a business going bad, of ‘things getting away from him,’ as Mr. Sheehan would have liked the judge to believe at his sentencing.”
In recent months, Sheehan had worked as a cook in a pizza parlor, at Whole Foods, and as a project manager, according to his attorney. He had amassed $11,200 for restitution, less than four percent of what he stole, Smith says.
A new plastics practice blooms in Bryn Mawr
Double board-certified facial plastic surgeon Jason Bloom just opened swanky new offices at Two Town Place in Bryn Mawr.
Bloom and his team are offering the works: injections, energy-based tightening procedures, and, of course, surgical facial fixes. Rumor has it the artwork alone is worth a consult.
This and That
’Tis the season for pickpockets. Shoppers at our two Trader Joe’s – Ardmore and Tredyffrin – have had wallets lifted out of their purses in the last few weeks. A wallet inside a locker at Club La Maison in Wayne was pilfered for credit cards. And of course, there have been thefts from cars in the parking lot at Life Time Athletic KOP and other area clubs. Yuck.
Some Lower Merion parents think younger kids will be thrown under the school bus if the district OKs a shift in school start times next fall. Elementary school parents are gathering signatures on a detailed letter that lays out about a zillion reasons why they oppose the district’s plan to move elementary school starts to 7:45 a.m. The letter is being emailed to [email protected] and will be presented to school board members at Monday night’s meeting.
Talk about burning the midnight oil. The Tredyffrin Planning Commission met until 2:30 in the morning a few weeks ago before signing off on two hotly contested developments. Planners gave the all clear to the Conestoga High School expansion, including a controversial parking lot on Irish Rd., despite the school district’s vote to seize 13 acres adjacent to the high school. T/E claims overcrowding is so dire it simply can’t wait until the nursery land is developed.
The commission also OK’d an assisted living facility on Russell Rd. in Paoli, one more ALF for the township’s growing pile. Neighbors fought the ALF’s size and impacts on traffic, stormwater and first responders. Lest you think their gripes fell on deaf ears: the board of supervisors just voted to review existing ordinances related to assisted living centers and development, including bulk and height.
#Nobillboardsintheburbs. Catalyst Outdoor Advertising won’t take no for an answer. In Chesco, it’s asking the Court of Common Pleas to overturn Tredyffrin’s veto of the digital billboard it wants to put on Lancaster Ave. in Paoli. And over in Delco, Bartkowski Investment Group (aka Catalyst) has a Jan. 21, 2020 court date over its plans to install four billboards in Haverford township, including two in Bryn Mawr, at the corner of Penn St. and Old Lancaster Ave. Never mind that local folks have been going ballistic over billboards for years.
Love fresh air and nature? Volunteer at Stoneleigh, a natural garden in Villanova. Overseer Natural Lands is accepting applications through Dec. 31 for the public garden’s ambassador training program for aspiring greeters, tour guides and event helpers. Sorry, no snow birds. Training sessions run from late January through March.
The Main Line’s smallest borough once again comes up big in sustainability. Narberth Civic Association is now loaning out zero-waste party kits. Seems members have oodles of cloth napkins, utensils and more and are willing to share with party goers. The NCA board is moving toward a more formal “lending library” with the hope that folks will ditch disposables when they entertain. Narberth, you may recall, was first in the area to ban single-use plastics.
Has it really been seven years since Sandy Hook? Nudge our legislators to act to end our gun-violence crisis – and honor those affected by it – this Saturday, Dec. 14 in Chester Springs at the Henrietta Hankin Library, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan will be there, along with local volunteers from Moms Demand Action. “We lose 100 Americans every day to gun violence,” PA Moms leader Marybeth Christiansen tells SAVVY. “This week’s targeted shooting at a Jersey City kosher deli confirms that we all have much to do to end hate.” You said it, sister.
The Blue Octagon moved out of Malvern last spring. Now it’s pulling the plug on Wayne. “It is all good and I’m very excited for my next venture, Blue Octagon Style,” owner Krissa Wichser tells SAVVY. Until she spills the beans to us in January, she’s running a storewide clearance sale, so hop on over.
Clover Market is coming in from the cold. The handcrafted holiday gift market moves to the Baldwin School for the first time this weekend. Choose from 70 hand-selected local vendors, plus food and adult brews. $15 Early Bird tickets get you first dibs on parking and shopping at 9 a.m., a mimosa and canvas tote. The market is open Saturday, Dec. 14 and Sunday, Dec. 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
El Limon is suddenly …. everywhere. The taqueria that gives out free Margaritas is taking over the old Avenue Eatz in Wayne, it’s fifth Main Line spot and tenth overall.
ReDecor is expanding a few doors down in Bryn Mawr. As of this Sunday, the award-winning home consignment shop will be open at 874 Lancaster Ave. as well as at 880 Lancaster Ave.
Knit Wit is bowing out of Bryn Mawr. The entire store is 75 percent off.
KQ Burger opened November 12 in the Whole Foods in Wynnewood. An offshoot of Fishtown’s popular Kensington Quarters, KQ serves sustainably sourced burgers and fried chicken sandwiches with seasonal toppings. We hear they’re still working out the service kinks.
She’s a former Main Liner so be sure to root for Miss Maine in next week’s Miss America pageant. A Baldwin alum and one time Bryn Mawr College PIMF violinist, Carolyn Brady is the first African-American to represent Maine in the pageant.
Sorry to see Pipeline Tacos close in Wayne and even sorrier to hear the reason: its owner is fighting cancer.
Salon 55 West in Ardmore is out. Queen Stylista’s Mane Artistry is in. Salon QMA began on N. 52nd Street in Philly.
QVC broadcast live – for hours – from Valley Forge Flowers a few weeks ago. Makes sense since VFF in Eagle Village Shops is home turf for Barbara King Home and Garden. King (below right), the unofficial Martha of the Main Line, regularly sells her line of tasteful garden and home accents on QVC.
The Prep just won another state football championship but its crew program is making waves, too. Berwyn’s Michael Linquatta (shown below with his proud fam) just signed to row at Yale. And three of his teammates are Ivy bound, too.
Two big retirements in the Main Line nonprofit world. Mr. Congeniality aka Bob Madonna is retiring from Devon-based Surrey Services for Seniors, where he’s been top dog for four years. Madonna, 66, plans to stay on as a Surrey ambassador and help other nonprofits “become more entrepreneurial in their revenue generation.” Surrey made big strides during his tenure as President and CEO, adding a weekend respite program and a new site in East Goshen and expanding its home-delivered meals and free dental program.
And after 30 years, Sallie Dixon is retiring as director of Thorncroft Equestrian Center in Malvern, one of the oldest therapeutic riding facilities in the U.S. Thorncroft was founded 50 years ago by Sallie’s husband, gentleman farmer Saunders Dixon.
Ring a ling, hear them ring Sunday, Dec. 15 at 7 p.m. Join the “Community Christmas Carol Sing-Along” with the bells of the famed carillon at Washington Memorial Chapel in Valley Forge Park. Bundle up – it’s an outdoor affair.
And finally, Team SAVVY cooks (!)
Frankly, we’d rather make reservations. But when we tie on our aprons during the holidays, here’s what we’re likely to whip up:
~~~Kathy Stevens’ Polar Queen Cocktail~~~
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3 oz. half and half
1 ½ oz. tequila blanco
1 oz. peppermint schnapps
2 tsp. simple syrup
peppermint stick, crushed
mini candy canes
To make simple syrup in a saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil over medium heat. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Transfer to a jar to cool. Store sealed in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Fill cocktail shaker with some ice. Add everything but the crushed peppermint stick and mini candy cane and shake well. Pour through a strainer. Top with crushed peppermint stick and a mini candy cane.
~~~Caroline O’Halloran’s (Almost Vegan) Anti-Inflammatory Muffins (courtesy of Mary K.)~~~
Preheat oven to 400 degrees; makes 12 muffins
1 cup cooked, mashed sweet potato (Prick one medium organic sweet potato with fork, roast at 400-degrees, scoop and mash. Treat your dog to the skins!)
¾ cup canned coconut milk, slightly warmed
2 TBSP olive oil
½ cup maple syrup
1 cup organic brown rice flour
¼ cup organic coconut flour
1 TBSP aluminum- free baking powder (Trader Joe’s has it)
2 TBSP ground organic flax seed (Trader Joe’s again)
½ tsp salt
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp turmeric
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Line muffin pan with muffin/cupcake papers, quickly sprayed with coconut oil to prevent sticking. Combine sweet potato flesh, coconut milk, olive oil and maple syrup until smooth.
In separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Pour dry into wet and combine. Don’t overmix.
Fill cups two-thirds full. Bake for 30-35 minutes on center rack. They are done when a toothpick comes out clean. Check for doneness along the way. You may need to turn down heat or move the muffin tin to bottom shelf if they are getting really brown on top and the toothpick is not coming out clean.)
Let cool. Can be frozen.
~~~Lisa Kazanjian’s Crispy Brussels Sprouts Afelia (Greek Cypriot dish from Zaytinya)~~~
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, rinsed and halved
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
1 TBSP olive oil
roasted pine nuts
2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
1 tsp. coriander seeds, toasted in a hot pan, then crushed with the back of a spoon
1/8 cup pomegranate seeds
A few craisins, soaked in warm water ‘til squishy
Heat a frying pan until crazy hot. Add olive oil, sprouts, and sprinkle salt. Toss for around 10 mins. as they blacken and char on both sides.Mix yogurt, olive oil and salt in a separate dish. Allow sprouts to cool. Put layer of yogurt sauce on a dish. Layer sprouts, roasted coriander, then pine nuts, craisins and pomegranate seed.
~~~Barbara Bigford’s Classic Glazed carrots (serves 6)~~~
2 TBSP chopped onions
2 TBSP chopped parsley
2 TBSP butter
10 2TB butter
10 medium carrots
1 10 .5 oz. can chicken consommé (I use Campbell’s)
1/4 tsp sugar
Dash of nutmeg
Cook onions and parsley in butter for 5 min. Add carrots, consommé, sugar and nutmeg. Cover and cook 15 min. or until carrots are tender and sauce is slightly thickened. (I often remove lid for last 5 min. to thicken sauce.)
~~~Courtney Mullen’s Cranberry Maple Squash Quinoa with Feta~~~
1.5 cups quinoa
4.5 cups water
1 large butternut squash, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup dried cranberries
salt to taste
crumbled feta cheese (however much you want!)
For the dressing, whisk together:
• 1/4 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup maple syrup
• 2 TBS balsamic vinegar
• 2 TBS orange juice
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard
Preheat oven to 400. Peel and cube squash. Toss with olive oil and salt and spread in a single layer on a sheet pan. Roast 45-50 minutes, stirring once halfway through baking. While the squash roasts, cook quinoa. Follow directions on package or combine 1.5 cups dry quinoa with 4.5 cups water, and simmer until all water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked, cooled for at least 20 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
Add quinoa, squash, and dried cranberries to large mixing bowl. Add dressing and stir well. Finish with feta and salt to taste. (*Pro tip: add sautéed spinach or kale. Be creative!)
~~~Rebecca Adler’s Simple Apple Raisin Noodle Kugel~~~
1 bag Pennsylvania Dutch egg noodles medium or wide
width (not fine)
1/2 cup sugar
2 sticks butter
1 1/2 cup raisins
7 extra-large eggs
7 sliced peeled apples
Sprinkle of cinnamon
Cook noodles in salted water as directed and drain. Add butter, eggs, sliced apples, sugar, raisins, then sprinkle with cinnamon.
Bake in a 9 X 13 glass baking pan at 350-degrees for 1 hour, uncovered for first 10 minutes, covered with foil for next 40, then remove foil for last ten. Cut into squares and serve.
~~~Nicole Schaeffer’s Traditional Pumpkin Bread (courtesy of Aunt Merle)~~~
chopped walnuts (optional)
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
3 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 ½ tsp salt
1 cup canned pumpkin
2/3 cup water
2 tsp baking soda
3 cups flour
Perheat over to 350. Mix ingredients thoroughly. Do not grease loaf pan and fill no more than halfway. Bake 50-60 minutes
Makes 2 small loaves. Double recipe to make 4 smaller or 3 large loaves.
~~~Aly McBride’s Grapefruit Pound Cake (via Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home)~~~
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1 TBS grapefruit zest
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
3/4 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup grapefruit juice
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 TBS plus 1 teaspoon grapefruit juice
Preheat oven to 350 F. Coat 9×5-inch loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, and salt together in a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and fragrant. Add the eggs to the bowl with the sugar mixture and beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until the mixture is thick and the whisk leaves a trail. With the mixer running, add the milk, then the oil and finally the vanilla. With the mixer on low, add the dry ingredients, beating just until combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spray a small paring knife with nonstick cooking spray, then run the knife lengthwise down the center of the batter, about 1/2-inch deep. (This helps the cake develop an even crack down the center as it bakes.) Bake for 30 minutes, then rotate the pan and bake for another 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.
While the cake is baking, make the syrup: Combine the grapefruit juice and sugar in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then continue to simmer for 1 minute.
When you remove the cake from the oven, transfer to a wire rack (still in the loaf pan). Immediately use a skewer to poke deep holes into the cake (about 3/4-inch apart). Brush the cake with the syrup, pausing as necessary to allow it to soak in. Keep brushing the cake until you’ve used all of the syrup.
Let the cake cool for 10 minutes after you’ve brushed it with the syrup, then turn it out onto the cooling rack. Allow to cool to room temperature.
To make the glaze: In a medium bowl, stir the confectioners’ sugar and grapefruit juice together until the glaze is smooth – it should be thick but with a pourable consistency. Drizzle over the cake allowing the glaze to drip down the sides. Let the glaze set before serving. Well wrapped, the cake will keep at room temperature for 2 days.
~~~Kara O’Halloran’s Holiday recipe~~~
Drive to state store. Buy a bottle of wine.
All of us at Team SAVVY wish you and yours a warm and wonderful holiday and a smashing start to 2020!