Category Archives: Community Information

Fish Stand

Cranford Fish Stand: Fresh, Sustainable, and Local!

Fish StandEveryone is excited for the opening of Cranford Fish Stand, located at 200 South Avenue East, this Thursday, October 19! We spoke with owners Jill Sabochick, John Sabochick, and Kevin Pipchick earlier this summer to find out how they differ from other markets, why they chose Cranford, and how they plan on making fish fun! While talking over coffee about this new fish adventure – I quickly realized that this group of friends are seriously having a great time working together! Jill, John, and Kevin all worked at a small business software company prior to 2014. They moved around from city to city together and finally ended up in Jersey City! While living in JC, the friends realized that they craved fresh seafood. Fish markets in NYC were in an abundance, but they found a lack of fresh fish in this downtown area. John commented, “We just said, we should do this!”

 

They all wanted to provide a product that was sustainably sourced. They found local people in the industry who were able to inform them where the fish came from and where it was caught. Since everyone was in a small business together, their entrepreneurial spirit was a huge asset! The friends began their fish business at the local farmer’s market in Jersey City. Their fresh product became in high demand and the business expanded in 2015. They opened up their first store, Jersey City Fish Stand, approximately one and a half years ago. Because of the popularity of fish markets and consumers craving to know more about where their meals come from – Jersey City Fish Stand was recognized locally in a Summer 2017 issue of USA Today!

Cranford Fish Stand

 

The owners are now ready to take their exploding business to other areas of New Jersey and Cranford is lucky enough to be the site of their second store! Jill attributes the popularity of the fish market business to the fact that “people are obsessed with sustainably-sourced fish –where it came from and how it was caught.” “The industry is so interesting right now with customers wanting to be informed with purchases!” she remarked. The goal for their Cranford Fish Stand is to truly provide the customer with a unique shopping experience.

 

They want you to embrace the concept that “fish is fun!” There are so many types of fish to encounter, that over the course of the year -over 200 could make their debut at Cranford Fish Stand! The menu will rotate based on the season and “what’s catching”. John explained that there are a lot of fisheries that they work with and they hand select from those distribution sites. “Everything is provided fresh, never frozen. We only bring in enough to sell within 24 hours. This is what makes us very unique – the fact that our menu is changing daily!”

Their staples will be salmon, bass, and scallops. Clams and oysters will often come from Barnegat Bay, NJ as well as other fisheries in Point Pleasant and South Jersey. The owners will supplement local fish with selections from Southern Atlantic, Gulf, West Coast, and Alaskan fisheries. Each day there will be approximately a dozen varieties in their front case.

 

So, what can you, the customer, expect when you walk through the doors of Cranford Fish Stand? Jill remarked that they want you to have a “personal walk-through experience”. The employees will guide you through your selection, the origination of the catch, and provide cooking techniques for each choice! She commented, “It’s a true personal shopping experience when you walk in the door – with fish!”

 

Fish StandCranford Fish Stand will also have specialty grocery items and oven-ready, prepared sides. Customers will be able to select side dishes, produce, marinades, soups, dips, and spreads. The owners want you to enjoy one-stop shopping for your meal. Once your fish has been chosen, you will be able to leave the store with everything that will complement the highlight of the meal! Jill commented that “people may not know that seafood is extremely easy to cook. We make it so you can choose a simple recipe or a more intricate version!”

 

Why did they choose their second location to be in Downtown Cranford? “We chose Cranford because it was a destination spot”, mentioned Kevin. It just so happens that Kevin grew up in Cranford and his family and friends still reside here! However, it wasn’t just the hometown draw that landed them their fish market in quintessential Cranford. Kevin commented that the “cultural and food scene is thriving!” “Everyone, young and old, is invested in the town. Small businesses are welcome and everything is local and unique. Hopefully the trend will continue on an upward swing! We feel the town will support us in this movement and this is our total motivation!”

 

Please join Jill, John, and Kevin as they open their doors to Cranford this Thursday, October 19. All information can be found at their Facebook Page, Cranford Fish Stand FB. There will be a ribbon cutting ceremony that begins at 4:00 pm followed by a reception from 5:00 until 7:00 pm. New customers can enjoy light hors d’oeuvres, prizes, and of course…FISH!! The fun of fish is picking it out – let them make it an experience for you! In Cranford – everything is fresh, sustainable, and local!

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Little Free Library 07090

Message in a Bottle: A Feel-Good Story at the Perfect Time!

Like many of us this past week, Sara Liptack of Little Free Library 07090 in Westfield and her family were saddened and upset by the recent violence in our country. A message from two best friends in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina quickly changed Sara’s mood and she felt the need to share her incredible experience with the entire community!

Little Free Library 07090

During a fun night out with Cross Fit friends over the summer – Sara decided to keep a unique bottle of coconut rum that her friend had brought back from his hometown in Puerto Rico. Being an Earth Science teacher at Westfield High School, she was fascinated by ocean currents and how messages in bottles have been used in scientific studies. Sara, her husband, and her daughter Lyra decided to take that bottle and have some “good old-fashioned fun!”

 

They wrote a letter on August 18, 2017 and told of the location of drop-off in the sea, their excitement to see how far the letter would travel, and shared their contact information. The family rolled it up tightly and placed it in inside. Sara’s father “Pop-Pop Steward”, an avid fisherman, went out on his boat about 6 miles from Manasquan Inlet and tossed the bottle into the sea on September 7.

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Time passed and heavy tropical storms came and went. Sara said she was talking to her husband just the other day as they were collecting sea glass at the shore. Both wondered when or if they would ever find out about the bottle. She anticipated it could be even a decade before she would hear anything. Sara worried that perhaps someone would just see it and think the bottle was trash.

 

Literally one week later she received an amazing text. Best friends Wende and Christine from Kitty Hawk, a very small beach town in the Outer Banks of NC, had discovered the bottle during one of their morning walks on October 5! This was less than one month from entry into the ocean! They thought the bottle was cool and then realized there was a message inside. They fell in love with the fact that someone was on the other side of a heartfelt story and quickly texted Sara.

Sara was utterly amazed that these two women had not only found the bottle – but in the exact opposite direction as she had speculated! She was so happy that they were also happy to connect with her! She figured the intense tropical storms were the cause for the interesting direction of the message’s path into NC. The crazy part of this whole story is that Sara’s aunt, uncle, and cousins live in this small town of Kitty Hawk yet neither family knew each other! Maybe now they can all remain friends and visit!

 

Sara commented that this has been such an exciting experience. Wende and Christine wrote a new letter and included everyone’s contact information. They tossed the bottle back out to the sea. Sara was able to share with her class the interesting news and her students have been eager to investigate the history of using communication and science experiments through bottles. She feels that in this digital age, it’s a true “old school adventure”. She wants her students to realize that there is more to experience in life than just on an iPhone or iPad.

 

This is definitely a “stay tuned” type of story. I can’t wait to see where the bottle turns up next! With the craziness in the news this week, Sara’s impression on this story is one that we can all take to heart – “it happened to the right people at the right time”. Perhaps one small story of connection can motivate others to do the same.

 

You can visit on Facebook at Little Free Library 07090 or stop by to grab a book at 710 E Broad St in Westfield!

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Jumble STore

Junior League of Elizabeth-Plainfield: Ready to Rock 95 Years!

I know many of you drive past The Jumble Store on 110 Walnut Avenue in Cranford. It’s a fabulous resale store, right? But do you know much about the incredible women’s organization running this shop or how the Career Closet, housed in the upper floor, serves hundreds of women ready to re-enter the workforce? I had the pleasure of meeting the current President of the Junior League of Elizabeth-Plainfield, Nydia Diefenbach, and was just awestruck to find out how much the members give back to our own Union County.

By official definition: The Junior League of Elizabeth -Plainfield is “a chapter of the Association of Junior Leagues International, Inc. and is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. Its purpose is exclusively educational and charitable.” However, it’s how these women live up to these ideals that will make you want to support them – or join them! Here are just a few “hot” charitable events and programs that they have this year!

Jumble SToreThe Jumble Store – serving Union County for over 80 years and is such a great resource for the whole community! From Halloween costumes, designer dresses, brand name jeans, purses, accessories, toys, knickknacks for the home – you won’t leave empty-handed at their resale shop! The proceeds all go back to aiding those in the community and to fund League driven projects such as Career Closet and Teen Closet. For information regarding store hours, special tag sales, or when to donate your own items – please visit their website at JLEP Jumble Store

 

Career Closet – for over 20 years the JLEP has been serving agencies such as the Urban League and other similar social services agencies. Women served are part of a re-entry program back to the workplace and come as clients of the agencies. There are appointment dates throughout the month and usually three set dates. The client may choose eight articles of clothing/accessories to compliment her business wardrobe. For example, a woman may leave with a two-piece suit, blouse, a new bra, purse, scarf, and a pair of shoes. “March Blitz” is a big month for the Career Closet! Every Wednesday of the month, 20-25 clients visit to receive their new professional outfit. Sizes of career wear range from 0-16 plus. If you would like to donate please label “Career Closet” and donate during store hours (listed in website link) or email [email protected]

Career Closet Event: November 18 – In partnership with “Heeling for Hope”, a Union County mentoring program for at-risk young women, JLEP has a day of treating them to a new look and fostering a positive outlook for the road ahead. These girls have the wonderful opportunity to visit the store that Saturday and pick out an outfit and a new pair of shoes. This is to celebrate their success and give them a sense that what they are wearing is appropriate and ready for any community or career event! JLEP is asking the community for donations of NEW shoes as part of this event. Professional shoes such as pumps, dressy flats, and low heels are all welcome! Email Career Closet Committee Chairs, Val Camara and Flo Baker at [email protected] for more information/questions.

JLEPTeen Closet – JLEP provides three workshops during the year focusing on the needs of at-risk teen girls. This past year all were held in Elizabeth and presentations were given on three separate career areas: medicine, tech/engineering, and business. The girls were educated about each area of business, given resume building techniques, and worked on presentation/job interview skills. They were also given amazing swag bags full of information and local resources.

Angel Tree Toy & New Clothing Drive – Tuesday, October 18 through Thanksgiving is their coveted Angel Tree project. This is a 30-year tradition at JLEP! They partner with Healthy Families Elizabeth and each year provide holidays for over 200 children! New outfits/pajamas combined with one gift is what is given to each child. JLEP encourages all of Union County to support this enormous holiday drive! An Amazon Wish List will go live soon and you can have the opportunity to help these ladies! Email Angel Tree Committee Chair, Laura Lanigan, at [email protected] for more information/questions.

1st Annual Little Black Dress Initiative – fashioned after a sister London chapter, the ladies of JLEP will start their “Little Black Dress” fundraiser this fall! Members will wear the same black dress for five days straight and a button that will say “Ask Me About My Dress”. The fundraiser will kick off on Giving Tuesday (11/28) and will run for the next five days. By leveraging the iconic “little black dress” and heavily using social media channels – the goal is to put a spotlight on poverty. All funds will directly benefit the Career/Teen Closet.

Ready to Celebrate 95! The women of JLEP are so excited for the chapter to be turning 95 IMG_7963years this Spring 2018! This summer they started the “Drive to 95”. Their goal is to accomplish 95 activities in 2 years! The League will extend an invitation to the entire community to celebrate their big anniversary – a Kentucky Derby Fundraiser! More information to follow but it will definitely be on Derby Day at a local country club. Expect cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and game day contests!

The JLEP consists of about 170 members – both sustainers and active members. They are always seeking new women to join the league and have some exciting socials coming up where you can find out more information about this amazing group! The League membership is open to all women of Union County – particularly members from Cranford, Westfield, and Scotch Plains/Fanwood.

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Nydia mentioned that this League is very unique and welcoming. “We are mix of all walks of life: young people, new moms, empty nesters, and all ethnicities. This a diverse group of women – not your typical “ladies who lunch” – although we do lunch and love hanging out with each other! We are a close group of women who like to volunteer – we are very volunteer driven!”

How can you become a member or find out more information about this organization making powerful footprints in Union County?

Sunday, October 22 – JLEP will have a table at the Cranford Street Fair and this will be their kickoff to their membership drive! Meet some of the women and get more information about the League!

Tuesday October 24 – New Member Happy Hour at Stage House Tavern in Scotch Plains fromIMG_7957 IMG_7958 7:30 – 9:30 pm. Come out and enjoy a night of meeting new friends and finding connections with other women. JLEP New Member Chairs will be hosting and available to answer any questions. New Member Packets will be ready for pick up!

 

 

 

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Friday, October 27 – Start your morning at Rockin’ Joe’s Coffee in Westfield at 9:00 am and sip coffee with the ladies of JLEP. Come alone or bring your child! Find out about the JLEP and meet some new friends in the community!

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Embellish

Cranford’s Embellish is Your Pinterest Project Dream Shop

EmbellishAt the height of the handmade craft frenzy where people can see something on Pinterest and bring it to life – Donna Del Guercio of the former “Belladonna’s Yarn Room and Interiors” brings you her new store, “Embellish”. You’ll be spending quite a bit of time in this store, located at 106 North Union Avenue in Downtown Cranford. Donna is set to open on Thursday, September 28! This is a one-stop crafting experience and unique to Cranford. From crocheting, to paper crafts, to large appliqued letters to decoupage – you will take delight in spending some quality crafting time at Embellish!

 

Donna had her highly popular and Cranford renowned fabric and furnishings store “Belladonna’s” but decided to take her creative side and her business in a new direction. Donna wanted to “reimagine the store as something else”. It was time for a change and to bring something to Cranford that was unique and in high demand! I sat down with Donna in the shop, which had already transformed itself into a crafters paradise, to find out what you have the opportunity to create in a few weeks!

You may see something on Pinterest and realize that you don’t have the correct materials or tools. This store exists to provide you a space to create anything and everything you want – from unique gifts, wall decals, birthday banners, signs, and embellished totes. Anything that you can think of – Embellish probably has all the equipment you need to make it a reality!

The highlight of the store is “AccuCut” – a machine that is known for its brilliant die-cutting ability. Donna began showing me the massive collection of templates that cuts plastic, cardboard, and other materials. The possibilities are endless with this equipment – perfect for die-cut personalized picture books, photo albums, journals, scrapbooks, party favor boxes, wall decals, and huge letters fit for decoupage.

Get ready for the holiday season now! The same old gifts at department stores are boring! Find the perfect gift for teachers, co-workers, employees, family members – all unique and individually designed by you! Wreaths, cards, and ornaments can be personalized and carefully handcrafted.

Speaking of events…Embellish will offer group classes focusing on a particular holiday. Donna hopes to have a preset group of classes that will be offered 3-4 times a week! Halloween/Fall crafts will include favor boxes, wreath making, floral arrangement demos, and crocheting scarfs. Winter/Holiday crafts will include ornaments, cowl scarf kits, favor boxes, table setting crafts, and homemade holiday cards! She has everything to make your holiday come to life with paper crafts and adornments! Embellish will also offer custom gift wrapping and custom favor boxes for those who are in a time crunch and need some crafty help!

Everything that is made during the seasonal classes will be available for purchase in the shop! Donna will have pre-made kits that you can take home and create on your own time! Since Donna used to be a storefront decorator – her store will be a gifters delight with all of the creations for you to “see and shop”!

 

EmbellishDonna will continue to provide her fans with knitting and crocheting classes! Sign up for “Beginning Knitting” on Tuesday nights: 10/3, 10/10, 10/17 and 10/24 from 6:30-8:00 pm. “Beginning Crochet” will be taught on Wednesday nights: 10/4, 10/11, 10/18 and 10/25 from 6:30-8:00 pm. The cost is $100 for four sessions. Call the store at 908-272-8100 or send Donna an email at [email protected]. Space is limited!

 

She will bring in guest “teachers” from time to time to instruct participants on a special craft item or method. Also, a brilliant corner of the shop is adorned with buttons, beads, and necklace/bracelet fastener for those individuals who want to learn to create their own jewelry! It’s truly a maker’s delight! For the future, Donna would like to be host to Ladies Night Out and BYOB gathering at Embellish where you can reunite with friends over crafting for a particular holiday or event!

 

EmbellishWhat makes Embellish so unique? Donna is opening this new shop to be a boutique crafting experience for you – the customer. It’s not just pre-made designs – but catering to a seasonal design that you would like to sit down and create! Better yet – the inspiration for her store is her little sister, Nicole, who recently passed away and who was “one of the most creative people”. In honor of Nicole, Donna is starting a foundation called the “pixiemagic”. Her sister was “the most generous person” and therefore 10% of each sale at Embellish will go toward this foundation which will reach out and benefit local charities to make a “real difference in individual’s lives”. This crafty store is going to be around for a long time – imagine all the possibilities that you can dream up and “embellish”! Craft away my friends! Be sure and stop by Thursday, September 28 from 9:00 am– 5:00 pm and tell Donna “hello”!

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Summer

End of Summer Bucket List 2017 – It’s Not Too Late!

It’s crunch time! Summer is slipping away and the kids officially go back to school next week! I always feel like I need to do one last thing before the hustle and bustle of fall arrives. Spontaneous day trips are sometimes the most memorable adventures and there are a ton of fabulous things to do in our wonderful state of New Jersey. I love finding special places to share with everyone! Do one or all of the things listed on this “2017 End of Summer Bucket List” and have a wonderful closing to summer!

 

Deep Cut Gardens (152 Red Hill Road, Middletown, NJ): Spend the day and bring a picnic Summerlunch/dinner! One Trip Advisor wrote, “Deep Cut Gardens is a treasure and worth going out of the way to visit. Situated on land once owned by crime boss Vito Genovese and only minutes from the Parkway!” Enjoy 52 acres of gardens and greenhouses in this “living catalog of cultivated and native plant materials to be observed throughout the seasons.” You will literally be in awe as you walk through lily ponds, “umbrellas” of hemlocks, meadow walks, natural ponds, rose & boxwood mazes, Japanese gardens, and bonsais! These are just some of the magnificent natural scenes you will experience on this adventure! Oh – and bring some of your painted rocks to hide along the trails – it’s a big deal at these gardens to find hidden rocks! Open 8 a.m. till dusk year-round, FREE admission, FREE parking. Website: Deep Cut Gardens Website

 

South Mountain Fairy Trail (Entrance at Locust Grove picnic area across from Millburn Public Library – GPS location is 197 Glen Avenue, Millburn): The whimsical world of fairies Summerhas taken the country by storm – and it’s not just for girls and small children. Creating “magical worlds” out of natural materials found in the woods and adding a little swing or front door for decoration is enjoyed by all ages! This trail of fairy homes at the beginning of the Rahway Trail of the South Mountain Reservation was created by a special education teacher and mother who began setting up tiny homes at the bases of trees. As the trail became more popular, children and adults come to bring their own materials to set up an individual fairy home to add to the village. You can walk the entire Rahway River Loop (2 ¼ miles) and take in breathtaking sights like the Hemlock Falls and Maple Falls Cascades. You may also choose to take the short cut back to the parking lot! Be prepared to feel a bit of wonderment as you step into the magical forest! Open year-round, parking outside of Rahway Trail area

 

SummerSwan Paddle Boats and the Regatta Playground (Cherry Lane, West Orange): The entire “Waterfront” at the South Mountain Recreation Complex is new and beautiful! You can enjoy hiking/walking along the 1.7-mile reservoir walking path, picnicking, paddle boating, playing, and taking in the breathtaking water scenes! The Regatta Playground is a vast, nautical-themed play space and has plenty for active younger and older children to enjoy. The entire park is on synthetic grass and rubber safety surface. The playground has a path that leads to the Clipper Pavilion picnic spot. The Swan Paddle Boat launch is located at the shore of the Orange Reservoir and your family (children over 2 years) will delight in paddling around in a swan! Free parking at Oakdale Parking Lot on Cherry Lane. Playground open year-round. Paddle Boats Mon-Fri 12-8 p.m. and Sat-Sun 10a.m. – 8 p.m. Paddle boat rides start at $15 for a 2-person boat.

 

Silverball Pinball Museum Arcade (100 Ocean Avenue, Asbury Park): You also don’t have to Summerbe a kid to enjoy an entire museum dedicated to the “living, breathing, blinking tribute to our pinball and video gaming past”! Asbury Park has a ton to offer in terms of restaurants and the beach scene – so you have to stop here on your way back to town. There are 600 games in rotation! Visit their website at http://silverballmuseum.com/asbury-park/ to see the details on pricing, but $12.50 gets you in for one hour! There are no coins – it’s free play with your entry pass. The museum also boasts a café full of your favorite boardwalk eats such as the Jersey Shore Fry Co. and Cluck U Chicken! Spend the day! Open Sun-Thurs 10 a.m. – midnight and Fri-Sat 10 a.m. – 1 a.m.

 

Holsten’s Brookdale Confectionary (1063 Broad Street, Bloomfield): One of the oldest ice Summercream shops in New Jersey and just celebrating its 75th Anniversary, Holsten’s is a must-see spot as it takes you back in time to the way ice cream shoppes used to be experienced! Customers will revel in the old-fashioned atmosphere and “take a step back in time”. It was even a hot spot on the hit series, Sopranos! You can find a vast assortment of homemade ice cream flavors such as the popular Butter Pecan, Maple Walnut, Rum Raisin, and Orange Sherbet. Their menu features ice cream sodas, sundaes, and grill favorites such as burgers, hotdogs, and even breakfast! The candy counter is also a hit – eager patrons can purchase homemade chocolates and candies! Open Mon-Sat 11 a.m. – 11:30 pm and Sun 12 – 10 p.m. Website: http://holstens.com/

 

Shore Fresh Seafood Market and Restaurant (57 Channel Drive, Point Pleasant): You have Summerto visit their beachfront location for the “Best Lobster Roll of the Jersey Shore”. Hailed by hundreds on Yelp reviews – customers from all over the eastern seaboard flock to this site for “overflowing” and delicious lobster for under $12! Celebrating 15 years at the shore, Shore Fresh is located on a fisherman’s co-op – “one of the few remaining in NJ!” Thirteen fishermen return each day with fresh catches and the market serves them right to you from their icy storefront fish case. You know exactly where your dinner originated! They have a shore-eclectic indoor theme and a beautiful outdoor view. It’s “simple, fresh, genuine seafood” all year round and BYOB! Open Sun-Thurs 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and Fri-Sat 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. Website: http://www.shorefreshseafood.com/

 

Cranford Canoe Club (250 Springfield Avenue, Cranford): I could put this day adventure in Summerevery year! Before the club cuts back on its hours – you HAVE to visit in the summer and the fall! You will experience the town and the Rahway River in a whole new light! It’s a truly surreal experience whether you are by yourself, a loved one, or with your family! Children are definitely welcome and safe. The Canoe Club supplies life vests and paddles. Starting at $25 you can take a kayak or canoe for 2 hours on the river – going up and down the secret passageways of Cranford! The views are breathtaking all year round but especially during the height of the foliage colors! Open Mon-Fri 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. and Sat-Sun 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. Bring a Driver’s License! Website :http://www.cranfordcanoeclub.com/

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Solar Eclipse

The Great American Solar Eclipse: How to Celebrate NJ Style!

Solar EclipseThe greatest astronomical event in decades is about the take over the United States on August 21 and the country is ready to celebrate! This momentous experience has been coined “The Great American Solar Eclipse” because of the total eclipse’s path spanning across 14 states starting with Lincoln Beach, Oregon at 9:05 am PDT and ending in Charleston, SC at 4:05 pm EDT. NASA’s official website on the eclipse is here: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/. Americans are excited due to the fact this is the first coast-coast eclipse in 99 years – since 1918! The day will also be a memorable experience for all current adults and children. Are you ready for this event? Here is everything you need to know – from safety to solar party events!

 

A couple seconds after our fastest shutter speed exposure bracketing began, the slower shutter speeds reveal he extent of the sun's corona. The longer shutter speeds wash out the prominences erupting from the sun's surface.

A couple seconds after our fastest shutter speed exposure bracketing began, the slower shutter speeds reveal he extent of the sun’s corona. The longer shutter speeds wash out the prominences erupting from the sun’s surface.

According to NASA, the “moon passes between the earth and sun – totally obscuring the image of the sun”. Day becomes night for a few seconds! Will you see the stars? Scientists say “no”- but you may see Venus in the Western Sky – below and to the right of the sun. According to astronomers, this will be “the most photographed, most Instagrammed, most Tweeted eclipse ever!” Click here for NASA’s video of the path of the eclipse: The Path of the Eclipse

 

 

While New Jersey is not in the direct path of the eclipse, residents will definitely have a spectacular view! Our state will see a “partial” eclipse – about 70-75% of the sun will be covered. Here is the timeline of the day:

  • New Jersey will begin to experience a partial effect around 1:22 pm
  • The moon will gradually cover the sun until a maximum eclipse (75 percent sunlight blockage in the Garden State) occurs at 2:45 pm, lasting about two minutes.
  • The eclipse will be finished at 4 pm

Protect Your Eyes!

IMG_6176NASA warns eclipse watchers that homemade filters and sunglasses are NOT SAFE!! It is crucial that you and your family are wearing proper, certified solar viewing glasses and that they are held to your face with your hands (for children). All viewers in the Garden State need to wear their glasses for the ENTIRE event – especially prior to the maximum effect! Even a small amount of exposure is dangerous. There is never a safe time to look up at the sky when it’s only 70% blockage! Make sure your little ones are in constant supervision during the event and that they are never looking up at the sky without protective eyewear!

 

NASA recognizes 5 safe eclipse glasses that are “certified” – meaning that they meet international standards for safe solar view and they have the ISO Logo and letters CE (ISO 12312-2). These companies are Rainbow Symphony, American Paper Optics, Thousand Oaks Optics, TSE 17, and Baader Planetarium. If you don’t have glasses, try to get them ASAP – most are sold out online! Do not buy from any street vendors and if it doesn’t have the logo, do not trust it! You cannot look at the eclipse through your smartphone or any unfiltered camera, telescope, or binoculars. Do not take pictures with your phone either! Your equipment must have a “solar neutral density filter” and you have to be wearing filters for your eyes. Here’s a guide to how to view the eclipse safely: Solar Eclipse Safety

 

Events in Town That You Won’t Want to Miss!

 

Cranford Public Library’s Solar Eclipse Viewing Party: If you are 7 years and older, head to the library for a science workshop about the eclipse starting at 11:00 am. Solar eclipse glasses will be handed out at this event. All families are welcome to join the library staff at Sherman Field down the street from 1:00 – 3:00 pm for the eclipse viewing. Bring blankets and chairs! Protective eyewear will be distributed while supplies last! Children must be with a caregiver.

 

Westfield Memorial Library: All are welcome to visit the library from 10:00 am till 3:00 pm to enjoy live streaming of NASA’s live videos of the eclipse!

 

Scotch Plains Public Library: Join them for a family friendly solar eclipse celebration at 11:00 am. The library will host crafts, activities, and themed treats. Come to make your own pinhole camera and free viewing glasses will be provided while supplies last!

 

Trailside Nature and Science Center: Head over from 12:00 – 3:00 pm for an eclipse viewing – weather permitting. Please bring your own solar eclipse glasses!

 

Elizabeth Public Library: Enjoy an eclipse viewing with presentations from a local astronomer (glasses provided) or choose to watch a live NASA Solar Eclipse video feed!

 

Other Events Throughout the State…

 

Robert J. Novins Planetarium at Ocean County College Math Campus, Toms River, NJ: Members of A.S.T.R.A. and planetarium staff will be present for FREE eclipse activities including solar telescopes for safe viewing!

 

Raritan Valley Community College, Branchburg, NJ: Head to their 3M Observatory to view the eclipse from 1-4 pm! Bring your own solar glasses!

 

Liberty Science Center: Soon to be “the largest planetarium in the U.S.” – events start at 10:00 am and conclude at 5:30 pm. There will be a STEM team to explain the science behind the eclipse as well as fun activities, lectures, telescope viewings, sun spotters, and live views from NASA! Enjoy a special 4:45 pm showing of the “Pink Floyd: Dark Side of the Moon Laser Show”. Here is the event link: The Great American Eclipse at LSC

 

Newark Museum Dreyfuss Planetarium: Starting this Wednesday, August 16 through Friday, August 18 at 3:00 pm every day, enjoy the special presentation of “Eclipse: The Sun Revealed”. Recommended for children 8 and up, this video gives participants an up-close view of a total eclipse and explains the amazing science behind this natural phenomenon. Here is their awesome trailer: The Sun Revealed Trailer and the event website is listed here: Newark Museum The Sun Revealed Event

 

Other Ways to Enjoy the Eclipse-

 

NASA LIVE: Watch unprecedented images and live video of the eclipse from numerous spacecraft, the International Space Station, and from the Eclipse Ballooning Project (teams from universities fly balloons as high as 10,000 ft. and send back views through NASA TV). Click here to be directed to their website for all the live feeds: NASA Live Stream

 

Solar EclipseSo why such a big fuss over two minutes of the moon covering the sun? Is it worth it? I found a quote by Anthony Aveni, a retired professor of astronomy and astrology at Colgate that sums the excitement surrounding this total eclipse event: “Science has taken the myth out of the eclipse, but not the emotion.” August 21 promises to be a memorable and exciting day – let’s hope it’s a beautiful and cloudless day in New Jersey!

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NNO

August 1, 2017: Out and About on National Night Out!

 

This national event keeps getting bigger and better each year! In this day and age – the communities and their police departments need to have a working relationship in order to keep the towns safe and maintain open communication. On August 1, 2017, the goal across the country is to “promote community interaction with the police and increase public awareness of police programs in the community.” Crime prevention is key! Cranford, Westfield, and surrounding towns have a great night planned for everyone. Head outside, walk to the downtown, and enjoy a night meant for families!

 

Cranford: (6-9 pm) Meet at the Patrolman Robert F. Hand Plaza and on front of the lawn of the Cranford Police Department Headquarters. Police/emergency vehicles and police motorcycles will be present for children to explore. Kids will be able to meet police and safety personnel and find out more about their professions. An annual NJ Blood Drive will also take place– residents should consider donating blood as there is a huge shortage in the state of NJ! Other fun events this evening will include a live DJ, face painting, animal performers, a rock wall, bungee run, and a demonstration from Hands of Life!

 

Westfield: (6-9 pm) Meet at the North Avenue Train Station area during the town’s Sweet Sounds Downtown Jazz Festival! Not only will you enjoy the outdoor music, but the Westfield Police and Fire Departments will be present with personnel to meet and vehicles to tour! Children will receive free hot dogs and soda! Other activities include a fingerprinting station, prizes, coloring station, and children 14 and up can register for the Police Explorer Program.

 

Clark: (6-9 pm) Meet in the parking lot of Arthur L. Johnson High School. Emergency responder vehicles will be present for children to explore as well as the opportunity to meet hired protectors of the town! Other activities include food & drink, safety vehicles, and fire/safety equipment demonstrations!

 

Fanwood: (7pm-dusk) Meet at LaGrande Park for an exciting evening with the local fire/police departments! Families will experience games, face painting, “Dunk a Cop”, a bounce house, food, police cars, and ambulances for touring!

 

Scotch Plains: (6-9 pm) Meet at Alan Augustine Village Green for fun demonstrations by police, fingerprinting, inflatables, rides, and music by the local band, The Broadcasters!

 

Union County: (6-10 pm) Meet at Meisel Avenue Park in Springfield, NJ. Children can explore emergency vehicles and participate in games, activities, and police/fire department demonstrations. The evening concludes with a showing of “The Secret Life of Pets” at dusk. Bring a blanket, some picnic food, and be ready to hang with the family all night!

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Color Race

NJ Summer Races So Hot You’ll Want to Take up Running!

When it’s pushing 100 degrees outside and you’re a runner, you need some motivation to hit the pavement! After my friend told me about the Sea Girt 5K and the town’s Centennial celebration – I made it my mission to find the top 10 fun races this summer in New Jersey -personal opinion, of course!

 

Saturday, August 5: Sea Girt 5K Run/Walk

Registration/Information: http://www.seagirt5k.com/

Times: 5K Run/Walk begins at 8:30 a.m., Kids Races begin at 10:00 a.m., and Kids’ Activities are from 8:30 a.m. until 10:30 a.m.

Info: This is a traditional Jersey Shore race made even better this year by the borough and Police/Fire Departments celebrating their Centennial! The race brings competitors, fun

runners, walkers, and children all together! This is a chip-timed run for those looking to improve their time and enter the race competitively. The kids’ activities involve a climbing wall, inflatables, obstacle courses, and ice cream!

Entertainment/Food: Live music from Billy Lawler Band and an after-race party at Fratello’s Restaurant and Bar

Proceeds: Money raised will benefit the Sea Girt Recreation Center and their programs for children and adults. This year the Sea Girt 5K also teamed up with Red Sneakers for Oakley – which raises awareness of childhood asthma/allergies.

 

Stomp The Grapes 5KSaturday, August 5: Egg Harbor Stomp the Grapes 5K

Registration/Information: Stomp the Grapes Race Info

Times: 5K Race begins at 9:00 a.m.

Info: Take a chip-timed run through the Renault Winery – just minutes from the Jersey Shore! Complimentary glass of wine for finishers over 21 and souvenir wine glass for all finishers!

Entertainment/Food: Refreshments for everyone immediately following. For an additional $10, you can enjoy a lunch buffet by the renowned executive chef of Renault Winery!

 

Saturday, August 19: Insane Inflatable 5K (Drum Point Sports Complex,Brick Township)

Inflatables RaceRegistration/Information: FB link for Inflatable 5K

Times: Race begins at 8:30 a.m.

Info: It’s not about the running, it’s the #CrazyFun! Feel like a kid going through insane obstacles like the “Wave Runner” or the “Mattress Run” on a 3.1-mile course.

Entertainment/Food: Midway Games & Inflatables, local food trucks, live radio station DJs, adult beverages, and merchandise/goodies from national and local sponsors!

 

Saturday, August 19: 1st Annual All Cancers Suck -5K Color Run/Walk (Sussex County Fairgrounds, Augusta, NJ)

Color RaceRegistration/Information: http://allcancerssuck.org/

Times: Race time from 9:30 a.m. till 12:00 p.m.

Info: A fun 5K/Walk/Run dedicated to the celebration of life and to recognize those living with cancer. A flat course with water misters and colors spraying/painting you the colors of a rainbow – representing the ribbons of all cancer colors!

Entertainment/Food: Vendors, goodie bags, and live music during and after the race!

Proceeds: Support whatever cancer your loved one is a survivor of or currently fighting – proceeds go to cancer research and awareness.

 

Sunday, August 20: Ocean City Guts & Glory 5K Run/Walk

Registration/Information: Guts & Glory Race Info: Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation

Times: 5K begins at 8:00 a.m.           

Info: Certified track, run/walk through the gorgeous Ocean City beach town, pets & strollers welcome!

Entertainment/Food: Ocean City is a hot shore spot – and the race promises music, food, and tons of fun!

Proceeds: All proceeds benefit the Cohn’s and Colitis Foundation which is the only IBD research and support organization for this disease

 

RaceTuesday, August 22: The Brew Run Series 5K/Fun Run: Human Village Brewing Company (Pitman, NJ)

Registration/Information: Brew Run Sign Up/info

Times: Race is from 6:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m.

Info: 5K/Fun Run followed by immediate entrance to the brewery!

Entertainment/Food: Following the race there is a brewery tour, sampling of the local beer, music, and raffles. Party continues till 9:00 pm. There’s also race swag! Participants

choose from a Brew Run Growler or Pint Glass!

Proceeds: Money raised will benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Gloucester County

 

Saturday, August 26: Apache Crossfit – Toms River Ratstafarian 5K/5-mile Run

IMG_5250Registration/Information: Ratstafarian Race Info

Times: Race begins at 10:00 a.m.

Info: If you’re a wilderness guy/gal, you’ll love this race! 100% off road running through swamps, creepy critters, streams (mid-calve deep), wood trails, and tons of yucky fun!

Entertainment/Food: Race ends with a celebratory party at The Bahama Breeze with dancing, eating, drinking, steel drums, and island atmosphere. All participants who pre-register get a hat, a rat bag, island drink, and food.

 

Saturday, August 26: Wall Township “Kids Tri for the Y”

Registration/Information: http://cymca.org/kidstriforthey/

Times: Tri events from 8:00 a.m. till 10:00 a.m.

Info: Join the YMCA of Wall Township for their inaugural triathlon for kids 16 years and under! Swim in the outdoor pool, take a trail bike ride, and complete a trail run! All events take place at Camp Zehnder

Entertainment/Food: Participants will get a t-shirt, refreshments, and awards will be presented

Proceeds: All money raised will benefit the Y’s Annual Campaign which provides summer camp scholarships to families in financial hardship. Proceeds also go toward the LIVESTRONG campaign which delivers YMCA classes to adult cancer survivors – focusing on overall healthy living.

 

Saturday, September 23: The Heroes for Children 5K and Family Fun Walk – West Orange, NJ

Superhero RaceRegistration/Information: Super Hero Race Info

Times: 5K Run is 9 a.m. till 11a.m. and Family Fun Run/Walk is 10 a.m. till 11:30 a.m.

Info: Meet at the South Mountain Clipper Pavilion for a morning of family fun! Certified 5K course on flat pavement. Raise awareness about child abuse/neglect in NJ. Superhero costumes encouraged!

Entertainment/Food: Following the race is music, face painting, crafts, activities, $5 admission to Turtle Back Zoo, Codey Arena, and miniGolf (day of race only)

Proceeds: Money raised will benefit local Children’s Advocacy Centers (CACs) and Multidisciplinary Teams (MDTs) that make a difference in the lives of children of abuse/neglect

 

Sunday, September 24: Run the Vineyards – Down the Shore 5K (Cape May Winery)

Registration/Info: RuntheVineyardsDowntheShore5K

RaceTimes: Race time is from 9 a.m. till 12:00 p.m.

Info: Cape May Winery is the hottest winery destination this time of year! This is a chip-timed, 5K race with the last ¼ mile finishing through the winery! Walkers are welcome as long as you complete within one hour!

Entertainment/Food: Following the race enjoy 4 tasting areas with amazing views and plenty of seating in the vineyard. Your race souvenir will be a wine glass and tech shirt! Live music, food, and breathtaking views is all you need to complete the day!

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Be Van You

Have Paint, Will Travel!

Be Van You

You’ve probably have heard of these paint-and-sip shops and events that are trending right now, and for good reason–it’s a blast (I can say that because I’ve done it myself!). But two Cranford moms have a new spin on the paint-night business that will bring the artsy fun right to your front door! 

Be Van YouTammy and Jeanette launched Be Van You this March as a mobile paint-and-sip business that brings painting and crafting parties directly to clients. The name is a nod to Van Gogh–the idea being that even you (yes, YOU) can be an artist, because with Tammy’s expert yet gentle guidance, even those folks who can hardly draw stick figures become something of a Van Gough, and clients marvel over the beautiful art they never knew they could create! Jeanette said, “We want people to find the creativity in themselves. Just like in the movie Ratatouille, where the lesson is that anyone can cook, we believe that anyone can paint!” 

Be Van You isn’t just for adults who want to paint while enjoying a glass (or two … or three) of wine. Tammy and Jeanette offer parties for all ages, including kids, and they also cater to corporate clients as well for creative team-building events. 

What can you expect if you hire Be Van You to host a party at your home or business? Jeanette said, “We bring everything from tables and chairs to all the art supplies … we even have lighting to set up outside for under-the-stars parties, tarps to cover floors, and aprons. The only thing we don’t provide is liquor and food.” An adult paint party costs about $35 a person (8-person minimum at that price), and Be Van You makes everything super easy so that you can include a payment link for guests in your online invitation. And if you don’t want the party in your house, Be Van You will travel to the location of your choosing. 

They have several art party packages for children, and you can choose to add on face painting and goody bags to make it a party that the kids will never forget. These parties are terrific because each guest gets to go home with a work of art!

You can find more information about Be Van You on their Facebook page @BeVanYou or call (908) 324-8364

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6th Annual Miles With Moms 5K and Fun Run 4/23/17

Miles With Moms 5 K and Fun RunThe 6th Annual Miles with Moms 5K and Fun Run is fast approaching, and I’m thrilled to be a sponsor of this wonderful family-friendly race that raises money for the Mothers’ Center of Central NJ. The event will take place on Sunday, April 23rd at Oak Ridge Park in Clark, with the first race starting at 9 am, and it’s sure to be a memorable day for adults and kids alike. 

I caught up with Miles with Moms volunteer Jenn Gillman to chat about this year’s event. Jenn said, “This is an event that has something for EVERYONE in the family–a 5k race, 1 mile race, free fun run for kids, great music, delicious refreshments, wonderful raffle items, and ways to keep the kids busy. Runners, walkers, moms and dads with strollers, kids, friends and neighbors are all welcome.”

If you’ve been hesitant to do a 5K with your children, this is the perfect “ice breaker” 5K since it’s specifically geared toward families. Jenn said, “We have special crafts, activities, and races just for young kids. Our DJ will be playing fun music appropriate for young listeners; we have a face painter who will be offering free face painting for kids; and Creative Kids from Scotch Plains and Tinkergarten will be back with plenty of hands-on activities for kids to partake in. We also have a free Fun Run for children age six and under where everyone gets to show their speed.”

Besides all the races and activities, there will be refreshments and lots of raffles with chances to win some great prizes. And let’s face it, any event is better when you leave with a prize in hand! There will also be awards given out for the top finishers in several categories of the races.

Based out of Garwood, the Mothers’ Center of Central NJ is a nonprofit that creates and supports a community for all mothers. According to Jenn, “The fundraising done through the Miles with Moms 5K helps pay for our rented space, keeps costs at a minimum so all of our programming is accessible to everyone, and pays for exciting events for our members.” 

The Mothers’ Center has been around for almost 40 years, offering daytime and evening activities for moms and their children, fostering lifelong friendships among Union County mothers. For more information about the Mothers’ Center of Central NJ, visit http://cnj.mom-mentum.org/

To register for the Miles with Moms 5K visit www.njmileswithmoms.org2017 flyerScreen Shot 2017-04-07 at 11.37.52 AM

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