Category Archives: Cranford NJ Community Information

Cranford ROCKS!

Cranford ROCKS! A New and Fun Tradition!

My Assistant Angela is in LOVE with this rock... she tells her kids "Don't forget to be awesome!" before every soccer game!

My Assistant Angela is in LOVE with this rock… she tells her kids “Don’t forget to be awesome!” before every soccer game!

A Cranford mom (and one of my favorite clients EVER!) has brought an adorable new tradition to town that is making people smile left and right! It’s called Cranford Rocks, and it has nothing to do with music.

Kristen Mider moved with her husband and children from Brooklyn to Cranford 3 1/2 years ago. Back when she lived in Brooklyn, her family participated in something that is unofficially known as Kindness Rocks, where people of all ages paint rocks and hide them in the neighborhood for people to find. Kristen said, “The idea is that someone will stumble upon one of the rocks, and it will brighten their day.”

 

 

One of Kristen’s friends lost her son to suicide and asked that people create Kindness Rocks in his memory, and that further inspired Kristen to continue this activity.

 

Around 6 months ago Kristen launched the Cranford Rocks Facebook  group to introduce the Kindness Rocks theme to our town. “We were the first to create the rocks in Cranford, hide them, and post about it on Facebook, and as soon as we did, it just took off. The page went from having just a few followers to several hundred.”

Kristen stresses that everyone is welcome to participate–even adults who don’t have children have painted and left rocks. The rocks are often painted in very bright colors, sometimes with messages on them such as  “Let the Sun Shine” or “Be Kind.” 

Kristen’s kids have found rocks at Lincoln Park, Unami Park, Nomahegan Park, and even Eastman Plaza in Downtown Cranford. And they’ve made sure to hide just as many rocks as they’ve found. Kristen said, “It empowers the kids–I want them to know they have the power to make the world a nicer place and lift someone’s spirits. They get so excited when people post photos of their found rocks online.” 

So go out in your backyard, find a rock, paint it, and leave the rock where someone will find it and then hopefully pay it forward! 

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:
IMG_9186

Get Fit with Legg Day!

You’ve heard it before and you’re bound to hear it again: DIETS DON’T WORK. Not beyond the short-term, anyway. What experts encourage instead is a healthy and active lifestyle for the long haul. But some folks need guidance in this arena. Besides cooking and eating healthfully, how do you choose the best workouts for your level of fitness? 

fitness

fitness

Local health and fitness expert Ashley Legg is here to help! Through her cleverly named business–Legg Day–Ashley provides nutritional and fitness counseling to people of all ages and sizes. All the counseling is done virtually (over the computer and phone), which saves precious time since you don’t have to drive to meet with a nutritionist/personal trainer; Legg Day is always at your fingertips. 

If you’ve run into Ashely in her new hometown of Cranford, then you’ve clearly seen that she practices what she preaches (she’s gorgeous!). But like many of us, she didn’t start out doing this dream job of hers. Ashley began her career in journalism and was a general assignment reporter with an NBC affiliate in Oklahoma City. She said, “I’d been a journalist my whole adult life, but when we made the decision to transition our lives east for my husband’s work, I left my job to start my own business, Legg Day Fitness.” 

Although she worked in journalism, Ashley was a fitness enthusiast all the while. She began competing in bodybuilding competitions in 2015, and along the way became an expert in healthy eating and fitness training. She has over 200 videos on youtube in which she discusses nutrition and shares workouts, and on Instagram, Ashley has almost 6,000 followers. She is certified through the National Academy of Sports Medicine as a Fitness Nutrition Specialist. 

Regarding her client base, Ashley said, “Most people just want to feel better about themselves inside and out. I would say 95 percent of my clients want to lose weight. Some of my clients who come to me are already fit and active but want to improve their performance and nutrition knowledge. I also have a lot of new moms who want their pre-baby bodies back. There are also clients, both men and women, who want to build muscle. The short answer is I have clients all across the board, which is possible because all of my plans are customized to the individual based on his or her goals, body, age, and ability level.”

fitness

It’s so rewarding to witness people take action towards their goals day after day, week after week and month after month. I encourage them to earn their progress and we celebrate successes often! I’m there with my clients every step of the way, through the good and the bad, the lows and the highs. I believe my business stands out because I can relate to many people who have felt lost when it comes to eating right and working out. I have been there, I have felt low and I have doubted myself. I have tried every fad diet out there, my weight has been a rollercoaster from low to high, vice versa. The difference is, I have found my balance to live a healthy and active lifestyle and now, I just love sharing that knowledge with others so they can find their balance.”

For more information about Legg Day Fitness services and packages, visit http://www.leggday.com/

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

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. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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: http://kickglassart.com. And don’t miss their official ribbon cutting with the mayor of Cranford on March 21st! 

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

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: www.strongasamotherfitness.com. You must register to attend each class by 8:30 am the morning of the class: https://strongasamotherfitness.com/classes/

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! 

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

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. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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 www.flowersbymaggienj.com. You can follow Flowers by Maggie [email protected] and reach her by phone at 908) 653-9255. Tell her that 365 sent you! 

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

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

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

OPEN HOUSE ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 8, 2017 FROM 1-4PM

For more information or to schedule a personal tour, fill out the form below:

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your Phone Number (optional)

Subject

Your Message

captcha

Enter The Captcha Characters Above Then Click Submit

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

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!

screen-shot-2015-12-02-at-12-05-55-pm

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 www.lloydgarrison.com

 

"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!  

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

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 http://www.bellaorganici.com for a list of services, and make sure to follow them on Facebook to stay up-to-date about their upcoming classes and events. 

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

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! 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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. 

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it:

Cranford NJ Residents LOVE Their “Mayberry Town”

image037

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

 

 

 

 

If you liked this post, say thanks by sharing it: