Meet our Fig bloggers!
Meet the virtual voices of Fig. Our columnists have something to say, and West Chester is listening. So, sit back, relax and learn about the best of everything from pancakes to parties!
Brian Fahey is the Head of School at West Chester Friends School. Prior to coming to West Chester he was a teacher and coach at Wilmington Friends School for twenty nine years. He has taught elementary, middle and high school and has coached at both the middle and high school levels. He was a member of the Newbery Award Committee for 2011 and is currently serving on the Caldecott Award Committee for 2016. Follow Brian on Twitter @brianfahey61.
Sarah is a born and bred West Chester eco-enthusiast. Since graduation in 2010 from Franklin and Marshall College with a Bachelor or Arts degree in Environmental Studies and Public Policy, she has been actively exploring and carving out her career path in the environmental world. She is a Teacher-Naturalist at the Ashland Nature Center and an intern at Greenable. She may not be able to give you all the latest pop culture gossip, but she can tell you about recycling, environmental issues, recycled crafts, and how you can easily introduce “green” into your lifestyle.
It was on a beautiful piece of Illinois farmland that Mark pushed his first shovel into garden soil. After he “grew up,” Mark focused his M.S. degree studies in the Longwood Graduate Program on compost and potting soil. After the Longwood Graduate Program, Mark started The Organic Mechanic Soil Company, LLC. As a frequent guest on NBC’s The 10! Show, he showcases the joy of gardening. Mark is also an approved consultant for the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, working to educate farms and businesses on food-waste composting.
Gold+Arrow is a collaboration between Kelly Margera and Jessica Conjar. We’re cousins, but we feel more like sisters. We have a passion for creating and appreciate the details. whether it is interior styling or event styling, we’ve got you covered. We do everything from styling to custom decor to event/party planning-if we don’t have what you need, we’ll find it (we’re great at it). Our goal is to meet whatever needs you have and make your experience stress-free and fun! Visit our personal blog at goldandarrowstyle.com/.
Jen Anderson is a born and raised Chester County native and a West Chester resident ever since her “grown-up” years. She is a former elementary school teacher and is the Publisher of West Chester Macaroni Kid – a hyper-local newsletter and website that highlights events and great information for area families. After spending her early parenting years scouring the Chester County area to find meaningful and fun activities for her two children, she now enjoys being able to share those findings with local families through the Macaroni Kid website and the Family-Friendly Fig Blog. Jen is passionate about seeking out great things to do, and sharing it with other parents and caregivers to help them “stimulate, entertain, and exhaust their kids.” The Chester County area offers so much for parents with children of all ages and she’ll help you find it.
When she isn’t playing with or chasing her kids or attending fun family-friendly events, she enjoys running the Chester County streets and trails, finding delicious new area restaurants to try (with and without a kids’ menu), reading a great new novel, or seeking out new ways to keep her family healthy and happy. You can look forward to finding great family fun and can also follow her @MacKidWChester or find more at westchesterpa.macaronikid.com.
Jennifer Ozgur is a teacher, writer, wife, and mother of two children. Originally from Allentown, Pennsylvania, she came to West Chester as a music student at WCU and later graduated with a degree in English education. When she’s not teaching English to middle and high school students, she enjoys exercising at the Y, cooking, cross stitch, DIY home projects, writing, and binge-watching shows on Netflix...with the fantasy of one day writing a series of her own. Her writing has been featured as a monthly column in multiple publications and she also writes for a nonfiction graphic publication, Brain Bug—a science magazine for middle-schoolers. She's currently working on true crime novel and a screenplay, in addition to some other covert operations. Her current adventure is her children's book, "One Million Kisses," due out in April of 2016. It is a poem paired with whimsical illustrations designed to grow with your child as he/she learns the possibility of being kissed a million times. Learn more at 153Promise.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JenniferOzgur.
A resident of West Chester for many years, Suzanne invites you to explore and celebrate the region’s bounty and its journey to our plate. Raised on a farm in western Pennsylvania, she grew up with the rhythms of seasonal food, a taste for the perfectly ripe and fresh, and a sense of stewardship for the earth. She is an admirer of M. F. K. Fisher, who wrote lovingly about food in the context of place, time, and company.
Jennifer Hetrick considers herself a language thrower of sorts. Having graduated from Clarion University of Pennsylvania with a B.A. degree in philosophy and a minor in English writing, she contributes to several local publications and she is currently managing a three-year poetry project called the labors of our fingertips: poems from manufacturing history in berks county, and the first volume was published in September 2015. She features her poetry-teaching on a blog called Poetry with Jennifer Hetrick. Her other blog, the garden harlot, easily explains her penchant for hiking and photographing scenes of plants from unexpected viewpoints. A lot of her freelance writing involves focusing on farms, local food, kindness, compassion, exploring the mind, and green-speak.
Carlino's Specialty Foods brings to life an authentic gourmet take away experience, where respect for Olde World recipes blends with new world trends, in a bustling marketplace steaming with hospitality, foodstuffs and a la carte delicacies, for everyday, easy entertaining or big occasions. Fast, fresh and fabulous.
Eileen is the Director of Development and Recruiting for the Academy of Food Marketing at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia, PA. Through her various food industry experiences, Eileen is called upon to advise food product manufacturers and retailers in the specific area of marketing to consumers affected by gluten allergies and Celiac Disease. Eileen was diagnosed with Gluten Sensitivity in 2006 and since then Eileen has become a thought leader in this fast growing nutritional category. Eileen has recently published research on the topic of Gluten Free in food trade publications and guest speaks at industry conferences. Eileen cureently teaches as an adjunct faculty in Marketing at West Chester University in West Chester, PA and has taught at St. Joseph’s University's Food Marketing Department in Philadelphia, PA, Cheyney University as well as Immaculata University in Immaculata, PA and various community colleges in the Southwest. You can reach Eileen at email@example.com
Rebecca is a freelance writer and educator with a love for cooking, gardening and culture. She works with VanDuzer Design & Marketing, who handles the marketing and blog writing for Wolff’s Apple House, Lone Star Farm and Conebella Farm. Her role includes copy writing and blog writing. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Roosevelt University and a BA in Professional Writing from Kutztown University.
Colleen Perrin is the founder of the Beer Ladies and is a communications professional when she isn’t taking care of her family or going to Beer Ladies events. The original Beer Ladies group is based in West Chester (the West Chester Beer Ladies), where Ronna Dewey is president. Be sure to like the group on Facebook for local beer news and information as well as for all the latest details about their events. There are also Beer Ladies’ groups in Media and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
I am a 500-hour Yoga Alliance instructor and have been teaching for more than 10 years. I love sharing yoga with all levels of students. I am also a recently certified National Academy of Sports Medicine Personal Trainer and have had a dedicated workout program of my own since I was a teenager. My business, Bala Fitness, strives to meet each student at his or her level and help them achieve individual fitness goals. Bala means "strength and power" in Sanskrit, the ancient language of yoga. My focus is on proper alignment and form, whether in yoga practice or in strength training, and I am dedicated to helping all of my students find their own inner power.
Devin Gage is a Certified Professional Training and owner of Gage Strength Training which is a private small group training facility established in 2012. Devin has 8 years of experience as a coach which has helped him impact hundreds of people’s lives through their weight loss and fitness goals. Devin’s philosophy is that “nobody cares how much you know until they know how much you care” and has used this philosophy to help men and women overcome obstacles and barriers to better health that have limited them in the past.
Julie Funk has enjoyed a career of over 25 years dedicated to the education of individuals on the path to better health, disease prevention and self-management. She serves as Director of Community Health and Wellness Services at Chester County Hospital, where she oversees the hospital’s many programs for preventive health and lifestyle management.
Founded by Phil Wendel in 1984, acac Fitness & Wellness Centers have become the gold standard for health and wellness facilities. With several locations in Virginia and Pennsylvania, including West Chester and Exton, acac members and guests have a full spectrum of programs, services and equipment at their fingertips. acac is committed to serving people of all ages and fitness levels, and offers extensive children’s facilities, diverse adult programming and medically-based health and wellness services. To learn more, visit acac.com.
Sharon Kelly is a psychologist in private practice with offices in West Chester and Saint Peter’s Village. Originally from New Jersey, Sharon has lived around the country and abroad before settling in Chester County with her family. She is currently available in her West Gay Street office weekdays by appointment only for individual therapy, couples counseling and life coaching; visit her website for more information.
History aficionado Malcolm Johnstone is West Chester’s Business Improvement District (BID) executive director. Malcolm, who moved here 10 years ago to “make great things happen,” considers West Chester to be a treasure and strives to make it a destination for out-of-towners.
Jenn, a resident of West Chester for over 20 years, has taken full advantage of all the great things the borough has to offer: the night life, the businesses, the education, and, most importantly, the shopping! As a mother of three, she is constantly on the hunt for the greatest items to make her busy lifestyle a little easier. She considers herself a product guru not only because of her passion for the latest or greatest inventions but also because of her career as a QVC guest spokeswoman. She loves raising her family in West Chester for many reasons, but mainly because of the small-town feel and the sense of community that surround her. The entrepreneurial spirit she witnesses everyday is contagious, and she is excited to share with you her latest finds!
Philip Horton is a renaissance man in training. He has a background in education, music and politics. A lover of food and a drinker of wine, Philip has brought an energy to West Chester that many find annoying and overbearing. Committing his life to yoga and reading, he aspires toward goals that are barely attainable.
I've been making houses for years- from playing Susie Homemaker in the crawlspace of my childhood home in Ohio to creating futuristic home model for the elementary school science fair as a girl. My mom even let me have free reign to decorate our guest room complete with Dorothy Draper inspired wallpaper! I dug the bold black and white checked drapes that I made for my college room at UVa. But the really serious stuff started when I had a home and family of my own - from my rag rolling the bedroom walls in our first home in the Boston suburbs to creating a mosaic table top to put the pieces together of my first marriage... Thats when I figured I should put this serious craving to make homes to work. While raising my teen sons, I studied design at Moore and Harcum. I worked in corporate design long enough to be reminded that I am a homemaker at heart. Finally when my guys left the nest 5 years ago, I spread my wings as well, and started my own residential interior design business. As an owner of Decorating Den Interiors, my grownup dreams are coming true and I love collaborating with my clients to make their homes a reflection of their dreams as well.
Stephanie Hanson is the Community Manager for Garage Sense and Monkey Bar Storage. She enjoys sharing helpful tips on organization, doing DIY projects, and playing with her yellow lab, Oakly. Visit her personal DIY blog, here.
Catherine Quillman has been a freelance Arts journalist since 1985 and was a suburban staff writer at the Philadelphia Inquirer from 1989 to 2007. Her last years with the paper were spent incognito - she was the "Spy Diner," covering a broad restaurant scene in the Philadelphia suburbs.
As an illustrator and artist, she loves exploring West Chester and painting its garden-filled backyards and the carriage houses along the alleys. She also enjoys researching and writing about West Chester's former 19th-century residents (who are as diverse as "Buffalo Bill" Cody and painter Mary Cassatt). Her research and writing on the borough's "East End," recently earned her a preservation service award from the West Chester Downtown Foundation.
Catherine's walking tours of West Chester are available through her web site http://quillman-publications.com/ and at the museum shop at the Chester County Historical Society.
To read more about Catherine's work, visit her personal web site http://www.catherinequillman.com/
She hopes you continue to read her blog, Quillscripts, to discover what to do, what to see, and what best finds there are in West Chester, PA.
Kristin is a resident of downtown West Chester and loves exploring the town, both in sneakers at sunrise and in heels at night. She is an avid runner and loves cooking healthy foods, though on the weekends she will indulge with a decadent dinner, snack or dessert, often accompanied by a good craft beer with her husband by her side. Balancing these two sides allows her to try lots of new healthy recipes and workouts, as well as sample many of the decadent things West Chester has to offer!
Antoinette opened her first store in West Chester in 2006 shortly after graduating from Gettysburg College. She named it OBVI Boutique, short for Obviously, a term she and her college girlfriends frequently used. She has since expanded and successfully opened another store in Conshohocken in May 2011. The ever-changing canvas of fashion keeps her excited about the industry and loving what she does.
Mike is a long-time classical music fan, both of professional performances by established artists and amateur performances by talented musicians who have not (sometimes “not yet”) made the big-time. Although his profession is as an engineering educator (now retired from a forty year career in the chemical engineering program at Villanova) his greatest avocational passion is classical music. As a performer (French hornist) he has been a regular member of the Delaware County Symphony, Immaculata Symphony and several years ago the Rose Tree Pops, as well as occasional gigs with other similar groups. He also writes the program notes for DCS, the Immaculata Symphony and the Newark Symphony in Delaware, and frequently gives public talks (NOT lectures!) on classical music in the area.
Daniel is a CFP® and Partner with SimoneZajac Wealth Management, located just west of Philadelphia in Exton, PA. Daniel is involved in new business development, serves as a lead advisor with existing clients, and is charged with leading negotiations on strategic business acquisitions. You can follow him on his blog at www.financeandflipflops.com, for which he has been named to a list of the top 50 Financial Advisor Blogs and Bloggers as per a February 2016 list by kitces.com.
MacElree Harvey is a full service law firm with offices located in West Chester and Kennett Square, PA and Centreville, DE. Providing initiative in the practice of law for more than 135 years, MacElree Harvey serves clients in over thirty areas of law and is committed to providing clients with the depth of expertise and the resources expected of large firms without sacrificing the responsiveness and personal attention typically found in much smaller firms. To learn more about the firm, please visit www.macelree.com.
Heather is a professional gardener in the Kennett Square area. She passionately serves her clients with fine gardening services, providing detailed and specialized care to their indoor and outdoor gardens or landscapes. Heather loves working here in beautiful Chester County and while her first concern is always her clients, happiness, and creating beauty, her next greatest concern is planting to sustain our native ecosystem. Heather is excited to share helpful gardening tips and planting ideas with the Fig community!