Category Archives: Cranford NJ Community Information

Kick Glass Art Studio in Cranford NJ

Our theme of women-owned businesses continues with the latest artsy addition to Cranford: KICK GLASS ART STUDIO. (Seriously, how great is that name?!)

Kick Glass Art StudioDonna Slevin and Sheila Hughes are co-owners of Kick Glass and have been lifelong friends, having grown up together in Westfield. Donna has an impressive 30 years of experience as a stained glass artist and 10 years working with fused glass. Sheila has trained with Donna in creating both stained glass and fused glass, and with Sheila’s 20 years’ experience in business, these two combine the best of both artistic and business minds.

Located at 536 South Ave East, Kick Glass offers classes in stained glass from beginner to expert, for ages 18 and up. “We have classes in fused (warm) glass from beginner to the tapestry technique. We have had private parties for Girls’ Night Out and Westfield Single Moms. And we offer business bonding opportunities! The studio is very large so people can bring their own food and drinks.”

You’d be amazed at the different types of works you can create with glass at Kick Glass. Donna said, “We offer a variety of ways for you to explore your artist talent using the glass medium. You can create bowls or paint using ground up glass. Our classes are educational. We want you to learn how to master the techniques used in both fused (warm) glass and stained glass.” Besides group classes, Kick Glass offers open studio time for more seasoned glass artists, as well as private one-on-one lessons. 

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I’m passionate about the restoration of historic homes, and Donna shares that passion when it comes to stained glass, which was featured prominently in many older homes. She said, “Stained glass is a centuries-old art form, and I want to make sure it lives on. When walking around the streets, we see many houses with older stained glass windows that could use a little TLC to help restore them to their former glory. We also want to encourage people to add a unique stained glass piece to their own homes.”

Follow Kick Glass on Facebook or visit their website to keep up to date on their upcoming classes and events: And don’t miss their official ribbon cutting with the mayor of Cranford on March 21st! 

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Strong As A Mother Fitness in Cranford NJ

We mothers have all been there–trying to get our post-baby bodies to look like they did pre-baby! But STRONG AS A MOTHER FITNESS classes are helping local moms gain strength and fitness (and quite possibly fit into those old jeans), all while bonding with their babies! 

Jenna Rosa and Dana Ryszetnyk launched Strong as a Mother Fitness in September of 2016, offering mommy-and-me exercise classes to the local community. “Each of us was drawn to postpartum fitness after the birth of our first child. We recognized that this type of fitness class was missing from our community.” Both Jenna and Dana are certified group exercise instructors, and Dana has been teaching pre- and post-natal exercise for 10 years, so she is an expert in this field. 

Jenna and Dana host classes indoors at the Strength and Fitness Club located at 570 South Ave E. in Cranford, and they also conduct outdoor classes at Unami Park during warm weather months. All fitness levels are welcome in Strong As a Mother Fitness classes. According to Dana, “It doesn’t matter if you worked out until the day you gave birth or if you have never stepped foot in a gym. We offer modifications to meet everyone’s needs and our classes are a judgment free space. We like to say strong mamas aren’t born, they’re made.” 

Mothers may attend the classes as soon as they’re cleared by their doctors or midwives to return to exercise (generally at least 6 weeks postpartum). Each mother brings her baby, and the ages range from 6 weeks old to 2+. Dana said, “Our moms like the balance between getting a good workout and tending to their child’s needs. We have eliminated the need for childcare, which they love. Beyond the physical health benefits of our classes, our moms appreciate the comaraderie of the group. We organize monthly events for our students outside of the gym. This further promotes our sense of community.”

Classes cost $18 each for drop-in, and there are significant savings if you buy bulk class packages (5 classes for $80, 10 classes for $150, unlimited monthly classes for $120). The fact that you don’t have to pay for childcare while getting a workout makes these classes such an excellent value. 

The Strong As a Mother class schedule can be found on their Facebook page @Strongasamotherfitness as well as on their website: You must register to attend each class by 8:30 am the morning of the class:

Best of luck to all the mommies out there who take the leap and try a workout with Strong As a Mother Fitness . . . I’m sure both you and your bundle of joy will enjoy it immensely! 

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Cranford Resident Creates GORGEOUS Floral Arrangements… Flowers By Maggie

Flowers By Maggie

Who DOESN’T love fresh flowers?! Whether it’s a simple vase of tulips on a kitchen table, a dramatic arrangement at an event, or a classic bouquet held by a glowing bride, flowers make everything more special. No one knows that better than Margaret Iacovano of Cranford, whose business “Flowers by Maggie” provides truly breathtaking floral arrangements for weddings and special events.

Margaret has lived in Cranford for 17 years with her husband and three children. (I’m always amazed by the number of talented artists who live a stone’s throw away from me!) Her skill in floral design was honed through years of education and practice. Margaret said, “I studied Ornamental Horticulture at SUNY in Farmingdale, NY. While in college I worked part time in a small mom and pop flower shop that serviced my neighborhood in Brooklyn. Later, I spent some time designing atriums in office buildings. I quickly developed a love for flowers. After graduation I worked on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in a high-end floral event company. I went on to manage other businesses in New York. I have also studied interior decorating and have a passion for creating beauty indoors and out.” 

As so many of us moms know, it’s not easy finding a balance of work and home life. Margaret found that balance by starting her own company, initially on a very part-time basis. “After having my family, I started doing events for friends and neighbors, and formally started my own freelance event company on a part-time basis. My business has grown primarily through word of mouth. Teachers in my children’s schools, nurses from the hospital where I gave birth to my babies, sisters and coworkers of my brides, etc.” 

The fact that Margaret’s business has grown so much just from word of mouth proves that her services are topnotch! Only when people are continually THRILLED with your work does word of mouth help build a business. 

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Flowers by Maggie is known for its stunning arrangements not only at weddings but also Bar and Bat Mitzvahs, Sweet 16 parties, bridal and baby showers, birthday parties, fundraising events, corporate events, gifts, and holiday decorating. I asked Margaret what makes her business different from other floral design companies. She replied, “I do 100% custom work. Each and every event is different. I feel it’s my job to get inside my client’s head and bring their vision to life, which means I spend time and ask many questions. I also tend to use more seasonal and interesting flowers, greenery, and plants. The thank-you letters and cards that I receive confirm that I am doing just that. I was recently told that I made a bride’s ‘dream come true.’ I take pride in everything I do and strive to make the process as easy and fun as possible.” 

I always like to hear about the unique experiences of local business owners, and Margaret certainly has had quite a few of those! Some of the surprising jobs she’s done for clients: A four-foot-tall wedding cake that involved three 12-inch layers of flowers and three separate meetings with the pastry chef . . . A Bar Mitzvah with a hockey theme, including 30″ vases filled with hockey pucks, “ice” and flowers arranged into a hockey skate . . . And making a flower collar for a bride and groom’s cocker spaniel dog!

Clearly, Flowers by Maggie can do anything! 

To book a service or see more of Margaret’s amazing work, visit her website at You can follow Flowers by Maggie [email protected] and reach her by phone at 908) 653-9255. Tell her that 365 sent you! 

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Turn-key Cranford Cape Cod For Sale $339,000! Yes, PLEASE!!

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There’s nothing to do but unpack your bags in this immaculate Cranford cape cod! First floor boasts gleaming hardwood floors, living room, formal dining room, updated kitchen with contemporary gray cabinetry and farmhouse sink, bedroom, and charming full bath, with a beautiful neutral paint scheme throughout. Upstairs are two additional bedrooms and bonus area. Attached garage, laundry in basement. Close to schools, downtown, NYC transportation, and major highways.


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Happy Holidays, Cranford!

Art Imitates Life in Cranford!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and that festive feeling has been captured so perfectly by Lloyd Garrison in his painting of Downtown Cranford during the holidays!


I mailed a frame-able print of Lloyd’s painting to all homeowners in Cranford this week as a little holiday surprise. Already I’ve heard from several people who have framed it for their own homes or are giving it to someone special as a gift. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me!

screen-shot-2015-12-02-at-12-05-24-pmThis is the second year in a row I’ve chosen to send out a work by Lloyd–and it might not be my last! There’s something about his paintings that gives me the feels BIG time and reminds of the many things I love about living in Cranford. His depiction of Downtown Cranford is no exception. Lloyd said, “There are not many town centers that can be painted easily. Cranford’s downtown has such a quaint look to it and lends itself to storytelling through painting.”

I couldn’t agree more! Downtown Cranford looks especially quaint when it’s all dolled up for the holiday season. The lights, wreaths, garlands, and glittering window displays all beckon you in, not to mention the friendly people who live and work there. I do so much of my holiday shopping in Downtown Cranford, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. 

Lloyd Garrison has been an acclaimed artist for 50 years and is available for commissions. You can reach him at (609) 918-1776. View more of his beautiful artwork—and order holiday cards featuring his art—at


"I love getting those pics! They're beautiful!" Kristin Schultes, Cranford Resident

“I love getting those pics! They’re beautiful!” Kristin Schultes, Cranford Resident

"Thank you so much! Love!!! ❤️❤️❤️" Mindy Weiss Affronti, Cranford Resident

“Thank you so much! Love!!! ❤️❤️❤️” Mindy Weiss Affronti, Cranford Resident

It has given me such great pleasure to share these works of art with my friends and neighbors! Wishing you all the Happiest of Holidays!  

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Bella Organici in Downtown Cranford Takes Beauty to a Whole New Level!

Downtown Cranford is home to yet another new and exciting business (woman-owned, I’m proud to add!). Bella Organici recently opened on Alden Street, a spa boutique dedicated to helping you “love your skin, soul, and glow.” 

Bella Organici

Owner Danielle Deco grew up in the beauty business: her father owns several wildly successful spas around the United States and in Dubai. But Danielle didn’t merely ride on the coattails of her father. She received a BA in biomedical engineering from Northwestern University, so she knows the science behind the beauty industry. Danielle went to cosmetology school in Chicago and makes sure to keep current by continually enrolling in courses and seminars to learn the latest treatments. She holds a master cosmetology license from Chicago and a NJ estheticians’s license.

Danielle has operated spa boutiques in Hoboken and Fair Lawn, and opened the Cranford location this past September. If you’re a fan of the NJ Housewives, guess what–Danielle has treated some of them, along with a host of other celebrities! She lives right in town with her husband and two beautiful sons (one in high school and one in preschool!), and she knew she could bring something different to Downtown Cranford. 

Bella Organici wears many hats. Among the services you can receive there: high-end facials, back treatments (“facials” for your back coupled with mini massage and hot stones), luxury foot treatments, spray tanning, nutrition consultation, makeup application, body wraps/scrubs, and more. In addition to those services, Bella Organici has a spacious meditation room where unique classes are held, such a recent vegan cooking class, beginner’s yoga, chakra cleanses, and others. It’s also a boutique where you can purchase skin care, jewelry, candles, and other goodies. 

What makes Bella Organici truly different from other boutiques that offer similar services is that ALL their products are ORGANIC (hence the name of the business). Danielle is vigilant about seeking out holistic skin- and body-care products that are natural and beneficial to your skin. Even her spray-tanning solution is organic, made in the USA, and won’t leave you with that all-too-familiar fake-tan stink! And if you’re in need of more serious skin treatment, Bella Organici has both a doctor and registered nurse on staff to administer medical aesthetic skincare. Danielle said, “My clients are loyal and keep returning for our services, because we’re honest, and our approach is ‘beauty before madness,’ meaning that we strive for the least invasive measures possible to help you achieve your beauty goals.” 

Bella Organici

I had my assistant, Christine, test out a service at Bella Organici: an ice facial. According to Danielle, “We’re the only East Coast spa from Maine to Florida that carries Sculpt Ice. It helps detoxify acne and tighten the skin.” Christine had this to say after her facial: “I went for a test drive at a car dealership after the facial. I don’t know if it was a sales tactic, but the salesperson would not stop raving about my ‘glowing skin’! And two different people that day mistook me for being in my twenties.” (I’m gonna out her right now: she’s 40!)

Bella Organici is located at 29 Alden Street (downstairs). Call 908-313-8232 to book an appointment. Visit their website at for a list of services, and make sure to follow them on Facebook to stay up-to-date about their upcoming classes and events. 

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A Nightmare on Elm St in Cranford NJ

Welcome to the REAL Nightmare on Elm Street, right here in Cranford!

Nightmare on Elm St

There’s a house in Cranford that’s a trick-or-treater’s dream come true–if you like scary houses! Affectionately known as The Nightmare on Elm Street, 403 Elm Street has been creating the creepiest, most awesome Halloween-scape for 14 years, and raising money for charity at the same time! 

Irene and Marc Pearl were Cranford high school sweethearts who ended up raising their family in town. Their daughters Stephanie, Deborah, and Melissa begged to decorate the house for Halloween, and eventually Marc caved and started collecting PVC pipe from his day job as a plumber to create some over-the-top Halloween decorations that pop out at passers by. 

Stephanie happens to be one of my clients–I helped her find her current home in Clark, but she and her husband, Christopher, return to Elm Street to help bring the Nightmare to life every Halloween! 

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According to Stephanie: “We get 1,000 trick or treaters every year. The street is closed down on Halloween to assure the safety of the kids, since some of them tend to jump into the street when they get scared by the moving decorations! Every year, we try to add a little something new to it. A couple of years ago it was a big zombie carousel swing set. This year, there’s a cool spider web that kids have to climb under to get the candy.”

Stephanie went on, “I’ve been doing this since I was in high school, and I loved scaring the neighborhood kids! The young ones would start off nervous, staying on the other side of the street, and every year they’d get a little braver and come closer, until they are begging to go to ‘the scary house.'”

Marc passed away four years ago, but the Pearl family continues his tradition of being the scary house, and they have raised thousands of dollars for charity while doing so. Stephanie said, “For the last several years we’ve been collecting for the Cranford First Aid Squad, which is near and dear to our family. There’s a collection table in front of our house — just put your donations where the eyeballs are!!” 

Cranford is so lucky to have a family like the Pearls, who bring so much joy to kids and adults alike, all while supporting a worthy cause. 

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Cranford NJ Residents LOVE Their “Mayberry Town”


TOWN PRIDE. If you couldn’t tell, it’s something I have in spades, and it makes me happy when I see others express pride in their hometown. Recently a thread was started in one of our favorite Facebook Groups: Cranford NJ Area- Families, where residents shared their favorite things about Cranford. The list went on and on and gave me the feels, reminding me of all the wonderful events and attributes of this town I call home.

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The original Facebook thread was started by my friend Rich Pierce, when he shared his love of the annual Scarecrow Stroll and wrote: “It is another great unique, Cranford thing. In this day and age of everything becoming so homogenized, it’s a breath of fresh air.” Rich went on to mention more of his favorite things about Cranford (including that we have a real working farm at Dreyer’s), and asked what other people find unique about Cranford. Here are just some of the terrific replies:

Samantha Sam: “I love the sense of community, and when someone is in crisis people pull together and take over to help the person or people in need. And our police department who are present and diligent in keeping us safe. So grateful to be a part of this community.” 

Ashley Marie Seibel: “I love the traditions that have stayed since I was little and probably even before that: the Christmas house tour, duck drop, team sports rivalries, etc. . . . Even my mom and I both having some of the same teachers. My grandparents moved here from Brooklyn back in the 60s and raised their family, my parents raised me and my brother here, and now my husband and I are raising my sons here.” 

Pauline Elizabeth: “Neighbors who become good friends.”

Kristin Ferrara: “Here is my list . . . lots of these are thanks to the Jaycees! Easter Egg Hunt, Memorial Day Parade, Cranford West, Fourth of July Fireworks, National Night Out, Oktoberfest, Ducky Derby, Scarecrow Stroll, Pumpkin Chucking/Halloween Parade, Herning Halloween, Luminaries, Santa Home Delivery.”

Personally, I have to add the wonderful Cranford Paint Out plein-air event hosted annually by The Artist Framer, which has put Cranford on the map as a true arts destination! The quaint Canoe Club is another favorite of mine, long with the festive decorations that homeowners display at Halloween and during the holiday season. Robert Schott’s AMAZING snow sculptures in front of his home on Springfield Ave make me giddy. The top-notch education that my sons have received throughout their schooling here is truly a gift. The gorgeous classic architecture of the old houses in town makes a realtor like me swoon. A downtown with non-chain stores where I can buy unique gifts is something I’ll always treasure. The gorgeous parks and ponds in town are little slices of heaven. And let’s not forget the fabulous RESTAURANTS–too many good ones to name, all worth the calories! 

There are just so many reasons to love Cranford–and that’s why I’m NEVER moving from our special “Mayberry Town”! FEEL FREE TO ADD WHAT YOU LOVE ABOUT CRANFORD!





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A Scarecrow With A Cause at The Scarecrow Stroll in Downtown Cranford!


Cranford’s Hillside Avenue School is once again making a difference in the community, this time with an impressive food drive that coincides with the Scarecrow Stroll in Downtown Cranford!

Third grade teacher Lori Talbot informed us that the third grade students made a terrific scarecrow for the stroll, aptly named “Hangry.” Big-eyed Hangry is set up right in front of Augusta Mae Consignment Boutique on Alden Street, and the kids have left instructions and a collection box for nonperishable food donations, all of which which will go to the Community Food Bank. Among the items most needed at the Food Bank:

**Canned meat and fish

**Peanut butter

**Boxed meals

**Cannned/packed fruits and vegetables

**Shelf-stable milk

**Note: No glass, cellphone, baby food, soda, or water 

According to Lori: “The students are so excited! They’ve already collected 144 pounds of food! They will be collecting at Augusta Mae for the rest of the month, as well as collecting in school.”

Hillside Ave School is competing against other schools in the Students Change Hunger food drive that is taking place from now until December, so Hangry could help Hillside be the big winner! 

There are more than 90 adorable scarecrows set up throughout Downtown Cranford, so take a stroll to check them out, and bring a donation for Hangry while you’re at!

If you can’t donate food, here’s a link where you can donate money to the food bank in the name of Hillside Ave School, and every dollar counts as a pound of food!

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Cranford’s Chapman Plumbing Came to my RESCUE!!


Plumbing. It’s something every homeowner has to deal with regularly, and sometimes it ain’t pretty! I recently had a major sewage backup (don’t things like that always seem to happen at the WORST possible time??), but thanks to the deft and quick work of Chapman Brothers Plumbing, my house survived relatively unscathed!

I was preparing for a trip out of the country, as luck would have it, when our main sewer line backed up, flooding our first floor. Bill from Chapman Brothers came within MINUTES, stopped the water flow, and dug a hole in the yard to cut into the pipe from the outside so that our basement wouldn’t get flooded. He snaked the pipe and used a camera to make sure the flow was clear. And all this was done in the middle of a THUNDERSTORM! I couldn’t have been in better hands.

Originally founded in 1932, Chapman Brothers is one of the longest running plumbing and heating companies in New Jersey! Owners Bill Schinestuhl and Tom Swick are master plumbers themselves, and you won’t find them sitting behind desks but out in the field every day getting their hands dirty, no pun intended. Their services span plumbing, heating, and air conditioning, and they are available 24/7 for emergencies–don’t you love hearing that?!

Bill said, “We’re local, and we try to respond to emergencies as fast as possible. We try to get the people back into business as fast we can, and we like working directly with homeowners. Our goal is to make everybody happy and build value in what we do.”

Chapman Brothers gives back to the community as well. Just this past spring, Bill and his team donated their labor and plumbing supplies to a local family in need that was featured on an episode of “George to the Rescue”! 

The Chapman Brothers offices are located at 36 North Avenue East in Cranford. According to Business Operations Manger Judy Swick, “It’s nice to have a storefront that people can walk into. We still provide customers with that old-fashioned face-to-face interaction, and after all these years, we’re not going anywhere.”

I’m sure glad that Chapman Brothers aren’t going anywhere, because I’ve got them on speed dial now. You can contact Chapman Brothers at 908-276-1320 or visit their website:

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