Break A Sweat With HiLo House

Megaformer - Maura Markley land Hi Lo House - Social Stylate
Maura Miller is bringing a new full-body workout to Delaware.

Working out. It’s difficult, it’s rewarding, it’s exhausting and invigorating. It makes us strong, it keeps us healthy, it puts us in a great mood, and it makes us really sweaty. It’s all of these things and so much more. Maura Miller, the House Director of Delaware’s first boutique fitness studio HiLo House, says, “The physical and mental benefits of exercise go hand in hand. At this point in my life, with three kids under three and opening a new studio, I need exercise for my mental health. It’s ‘my time.’ It’s a part of who I am.”

As the daughter of a former aerobics instructor, Maura is no stranger to fitness. She was introduced to gymnastics at the age of two, and by the time she was a teenager she was a three-season athlete, playing soccer, basketball, and softball. “I was in high school when I fell in love with exercise,” Maura tells us, “I loved how it made me feel. When I was able to drive, I would get up at 5am and go to the gym before school. Working out was a sense of accomplishment for me.”

That determination and love turned into a thriving business. Maura opened Pure Barre Greenville with just one pure barre class under her belt. She tells us, “I was presented with the opportunity to start Pure Barre and without hesitation, I said yes! My experience was in exercise and teaching yoga privately and to athletes. But I knew with hard work, determination, and passion, it was going to be a huge success! Mindset is everything!” She ran the Pure Barre studio for five years before saying it was time to give the opportunity of owning a business to someone else. “It was not an easy decision for me because I care about the community I created,” Maura shared. “Pure Barre was my first baby and will always hold a very special place in my heart. It took me almost a year and a half to find the right buyer. I was not going to sell it to just anyone.” We can certainly understand that!

Versaclimber - Maura Markley land Hi Lo House - Social Stylate

Always on the move, Maura says she’s continuously looking for new ways to grow and to challenge herself. She found a new challenge in two fitness machines she discovered while on a trip in Colorado: the VersaClimber and Lagree Megaformer™. The VersaClimber, of Lebron James and Lady Gaga fame, provides all the physical benefits of climbing a mountain, sans the knee pain. This low impact, full-body training tool sculpts the upper and lower body simultaneously, giving us one serious workout. The Lagree Megaformer is a powerhouse machine from Lagree Fitness that’s all-encompassing. Imagine doing cardio, core, balance, flexibility, strength, and endurance training all at once and with minimal joint impact. Well, that’s what the Lagree Megaformer does. These two machines make up the foundation of fitness classes offered at HiLo.

“There is 100% a need in the boutique fitness market for high-intensity, low impact cardio, endurance, and strength training,” says Maura. She and her husband Nick are the first to bring this concept to Delaware. “I pitched my idea to the developer of 2000 Pennsylvania Ave and she loved it,” Maura says of the HiLo House studio location. “I knew that this was my opportunity to bring another fitness first to Delaware and to continue to share my passion for fitness, community, and creating a platform for others to grow.” The husband and wife team works together in this endeavor, with Nick as owner and Maura running the day-to-day operations.

So what’s a HiLo experience like? We needed to know. “Our guests can expect a space that encompasses community, fitness, killer beats, and mind-body health and wellness,” Maura explains. “My yoga background is at the core of who I am and creating HiLo from the ground up has allowed me to tap into that energy.”

The details direct from Maura: “At HiLo, you will experience instructor-led, group fitness classes on two different machines. The Versaclimber class is a 30-minute, upper and lower body workout. The Lagree Megaformer class is a 45-minute, full-body endurance workout that strengthens, sculpts, and stretches the body. We will also offer combo classes – 25 minutes on the Versaclimber followed by 25 minutes on the Megaformer.  We will offer these classes in two studios; our Versaclimber studio boasts 15 climbers, and there will be 11 machines in the Megaformer studio. Both machines are low on impact and high on intensity, which means they are, safe on the joints, and extremely effective when it comes to producing the results you’re looking for: improving cardiovascular health, building muscle, and sculpting the body. ”

We’ll be able to get our fitness on at HiLo House soon; they’re slated to open in May. Leading up to their grand opening, HiLo will offer free community classes!

Maura echoes what many of us (especially on the Social Stylate team!) strive for: “I want to be healthy, I want to stand confidently in my own skin, and I want my body to do what it is meant to do, and that’s move! I want to age gracefully and set an example for my children.” And working out is a surefire way to achieve all of it.

To stay updated on HiLo House’s opening date and class schedule, follow them on Facebook and Instagram!


Coffee Talk with Lizzie Johnson

There are few things better than a cup of coffee and a good conversation, which is why we try to set up a coffee date with a different person every month. It’s a great way to catch up with old friends and chat with people we’ve been dying to meet.

I sat down with Lizzie Johnson, one of my best friends, and an authority on all things skincare; she is also co-owner of Houppette, a European-inspired cosmetics boutique in Greenville, Delaware. Fun fact: Houppette is one of Social Stylate’s first clients! It’s impossible to visit the store and leave without a shopping bag. Makeup, skincare, accessories, sleepwear, lingerie: what more could a girl ask for? And their spa is to-die-for. (Read about my Kindred facial here.)

Lizzie starting working with Houppette in 2001. What started as a summer job during college (with a brief break to work in Miami 2009-2010) turned into a thriving and fulfilling career. She considers herself “very fortunate, and at this point, I feel like it’s part of my DNA.”

In pursuing a career in beauty, she says that at first, the beauty industry found her, and not the other way around. “But it was definitely serendipitous,” she tells me. “I’ve always loved product and how transformative it can be. But what keeps me motivated in this industry is the profound impact products can have on how people see themselves, and how empowering that can be.” The way skincare and makeup can boost a person’s confidence are heartwarming, and to have a part in that journey is so rewarding.

Lizzie talks to me about how the conversation surrounding beauty has changed into something more inspiring, “from how people should fit some ideal mold to how we can use beauty products to express our unique self. I think that’s truly beautiful,” she says. And I couldn’t agree more.

x, Lauren

Coffee Talk with Lizzie Johnson

1. How do you take your coffee? I usually drink matcha tea every morning, but when I want a coffee, I go for an almond milk latte.

2. Favorite coffee shop? I waffle back and forth between Starbuck’s and Brew Ha Ha. It depends on whether I have more time for pickup or if I have to swing in fast (i.e. mobile order).

3. What makes you smile without fail? Dogs. I’m such a dog person. They’re so unapologetically themselves and have such personality.

4. What’s your guilty pleasure? Luxury loungewear (I adore Skin and Eberjey) and good wine.

5. If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, what would it be? Probably The Birdcage. I grew up in South Florida in the early ’90s, so it’s a little nostalgic for me. And every time I see it, I catch a line I hadn’t before or notice something new. Nathan Lane and Robin Williams are brilliant.

6. What’s your favorite thing to do on the weekends? I love low-key hanging out with friends and family. Like in sweats, watching movies, lots of talking and catching up–and maybe mimosas.

7. If you could go anywhere in the world right now, for free, where would you go? Japan. Hands down. From the bustle of Tokyo to the tranquil temples to traditional onsens–I want to see and experience it all.

Coffee Talk with Lizzie Johnson of Houppette in Greenville, Delaware - Social Stylate



David Ferron: Custom Cat Suit

Last Christmas I was given an incredible gift. After visiting the Philadelphia Museum of Art ‘Fabulous Fashion’  Exhibit – I was inspired by the Christian Lacroix catsuit on display.

Christmas Gift: design a custom catsuit to wear to Monte Carlo for the tennis tournament.

We started to look for for a designer that would inspire. David Ferron is from Unionville, PA  and a graduate of Parson’s School of Design. He has worked for Calvin Klien, Behnaz Saraphour, Bibhu Mohapatra, Tomas Maier, and Nicole Miller. Excited to start the process – we looked for a fabric source. Ellen Catanzaro’s fabric spoke to me from the moment I saw her work!

We sat down to discuss my design ideas. Catsuits first made an appearance around the 1940s. Lacroix is known for eye-popping ’60s Pucci pattern-on-pattern design extravaganzas. Lacroix designed for Pucci for three years, Pucci is considered the inventor of the Capri pants, which were extremely popular  during the 1950s. The designer is well known for psychedelic patterns in a kaleidoscope of colors.

“Throughout my career as a designer, I have always thought that the difference between art and design is that the former did not have a function. Art could simply be, whereas design has to serve a purpose, it has to fit a body. There is a point where fashion design can become art, that is when a garment affects someone on an emotional level. Then it is art. Some of the best designers can fit the body beautifully while evoking an emotional response.

Recently, fashion design has become the focus of extremely successful exhibits in art museums around the world. From the monumental “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty,” exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2011 to “Items: Is Fashion Modern?” at the MoMA in 2017 or “Fabulous Fashion,” at Philadelphia Museum of Art in 2018, it is clear that fashion and art are deeply connected. Fashion and art both have the power to help a viewer understand the depths of their own conciseness, pulling references from the past while showing glimmers of the future.” – David Ferron

The inspiration is the process. Thank you David Ferron and Ellen Catanzaro for making this gift an incredible experience!

Look for David Ferron’s fashion show in March at the Brandywine River Museum!

p.s. Thank you Doug Ingerson – best gift ever. xoxxo



Stand With Presence

This past weekend I took a walk along the Brandywine River to see the fall foliage. I was inspired by the new garden sculpture installation at Somerville Manning Gallery – especially Stand With Presence by Vicki Vinton.

The reaction to the sculpture was immediate and powerful.  Vinton’s inspiration for Stand With Presence was simple: a friend of hers was experiencing writer’s block and, in her true artist form, Vicki drew a red figure and sent it to her friend with a note – dig deep.

Stand With Presence by Vicki Vinton - Social Stylate

“Current events are just old events dressed up in today’s fashion. The process of creating whether it be painting or sculpting must hold in it some sort of history. Simply the passing of time or a nod to events that have gone before.” says Vinton.

This is a pivotal time for women.  Women of all ages are rising up, speaking out, and making themselves heard as never before. Stand With Presence is a symbol of courage, and beauty –a reminder to keep your beliefs in yourself strong. A reminder that we have the answers if we take time to be present.

Over the past few years, we have seen the power of storytelling play out in one of the largest stages for women. Storytelling is rooted in our culture and has been proven to be one of the most effective ways to share who you are with the world while also providing the power to find our inner strength.

Stand With Presence invites women of all ages to share their stories and bring their strongest selves to their biggest challenges. Raising two boys on my own for the past ten years and starting a business has been my greatest gift, and has given me strength and courage. Your story can transform your life, change the lives of others, your story can change the world.

SStand With Presence by Vicki Vinton - Cindy Pettinaro and Carroll Ivy - Social Stylate

Carroll Ivy and her friend, Cindy Pettinaro Wilkinson, pose with the Stand With Presence statue.

Follow along: #StandWithPresence @standwithpresence @smg_gallery


For over thirty-five years the Somerville Manning Gallery has introduced current art trends into an area already steeped in a rich art tradition, mounting exhibitions that relate to this cultural heritage both past and present. Recognized as experts on N.C. Wyeth and his family, Somerville Manning Gallery has created multiple exhibitions on N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Jamie Wyeth. Also represented are the Wyeth women, daughters of N.C. Wyeth, Henriette Wyeth Hurd, Carolyn Wyeth, and Ann Wyeth McCoy.