Category Archives: Westfield Shopping

Shopping and services in and around the Westfield New Jersey Area

Blende

Custom Beauty Right Around the Corner

BlendeTwo Westfield mothers and professional makeup artists, Kiera Karlin and her business partner Nikki Tardibuono, celebrated their grand opening of Blende on May 2. Keira has made quite a name for herself in the celebrity makeup world. For over 25 years she has been using custom blending with some of the hottest celebs on set for popular TV shows and movies. Nikki is equally known in the industry and is a licensed esthetician certified in cutting edge techniques that bring a unique draw to the business.

What’s funny is that Keira and Nikki met as mothers in the Westfield school system when their children were little. For the longest time, they didn’t even know the other was a makeup artist! Once they established that connection they set out to open a custom blende makeup studio because they craved a home base. 

Kiera said, “It was just sort of a natural progression…I wanted to bring it home. I wanted to make it available for everybody – not just celebrities. We started talking and both wanted to have it in Westfield- we just love this town. This location just fell in our laps! We have the exact same tastes, the exact same aesthetics, we put out the same image – it just works!”

 

Why will you crave their products? The highest quality of ingredients goes into all of their products. Everything is paraban-free and vegetable and mineral based. Whatever you desire is custom-made to your liking from foundation, concealers, primers, highlighters, eyeliners, lipsticks, and glosses. 

“Everything can be tweaked and tuned to take care of any issue that anyone has – specific to them – no more hit-or-miss makeup purchases!” Kiera said. Whether you have under-eye circles, acne, fine lines–your makeup can be made with ingredients that help to correct these common issues. They take into consideration your entire profile when designing your custom makeup – eye color, skin type, hair color, coverage needs, everything! Did I mention the studio is equipped with the SAME makeup lighting found in the Hollywood trailers?  If you look amazing in the store, you look amazing everywhere!

 

Blende beauty care starts with the teenage years. While the rage right now may be heavy makeup, these women stress that “less is more” for teen beauty. The key is to “enhance” their natural beauty and learn how to conceal issues they may have with “as little makeup as possible.” Under eye circles and acne can be treated with tea tree oil or other natural compounds mixed into the makeup. Keira stated, “Teach them early that they are beautiful the way they are!” 

As for us “women in our prime” who may be seeing a few wrinkles and lines creeping in and may wonder where to start, Nikki says, “Everyone should start with skin care. Start with a canvas that is right and that will help your makeup look better!” Blende carries an amazing Swiss skin care line called Luzern Skin Care and they will guide you to the best product for your current skin care situation. These ladies can teach new moms how to “get out of the house in 10 minutes with a face that looks fresh” and provide “over 60+ women with skin care products and makeup that can take years off!” 

 

In addition to the custom blende makeup services, Nikki has a multitude of unique services. She offers “microblading,” which is a new form of tattoo artistry where eyebrows are created with a handheld tool that produces fine hair strokes that appear as actual hairs. This is “great for fill-ins and women who need whole brow reconstruction”, stated Nikki. There’s also a new method to “eyelash line enhancement” that produces thicker lashes. The pigment is deposited directly in between the lashes and not drawn on as an eyeliner. Nikki commented that this gives the “look of fuller and darker eyelashes” and is perfect for women with lighter skin and hair color. 

What excited me is a new procedure called “Dermaplaning.” With a blade held at a 45-degree angle, Nikki removes the outermost layer of dead skin cells and fine hairs, and the end result is a “beautiful canvas for makeup.” She recommends this procedure for anyone experiencing acne, blackheads, fine lines, and wrinkles. This procedure may be desired more than those at the dermatologist because it’s all done by hand–no machines, more precision, and no downtime!

 

Finally, their parties sound so fun – I want to book one for this weekend!

 

SIP AND BLENDE PARTY:  take over their store, BYO cocktails, play your fav songs and choose a custom blende product to be designed for each of your BFFs!

 

MAKEUP LESSONS PARTY: using a mirror and a set of their vegan brushes their makeup artist does half of your face and then you try to match the other half using the techniques you were taught during this amazing group lesson. Perfect for Sweet 16, birthday parties, and Ladies Night!

 

GLAM AND GO PARTY: the store is closed for you and your closest friends while you sip cocktails, listen to music, and snack on apps. Everyone gets a personal makeup artist creating their custom look before you all hit the town! Perfect for girls’ night out and bridal parties!

 

I know what you may be thinking right now…gleaming storefront, custom makeup, cutting-edge services…all of this has to cost a fortune, right? You’d be surprised that the answer is shockingly the opposite. How many times have you shopped at a major beauty supply store and just DUMPED products into your basket knowing that half of it probably wouldn’t work? Usually half wasn’t the correct color and it couldn’t be returned. Tons of dollars just wasted! Ladies, think of Blende as an investment that won’t break the bank. Their foundation is $50, lipstick $32, and mineral eye shadow $24. Very comparable to the other major makeup lines and it’s all made for YOU! Visit their studio at 106 Elm Street or go online to BlendeBeauty.com to schedule online.

 

These women have created the answer to a makeup issue we have all been facing since our teenage years! I’m very excited to walk back through those doors, where it’s like a grown-up candy store – I’m not sure where to start!

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“Wood”n’t You Love A Handcrafted Gift?

One of my favorite words is HANDMADE. I admit I’m quick to fall in love with pretty much anything that’s been made by hand with tender loving care. I’m not crafty in the slightest, and maybe that’s why I’m all the more impressed by the talented local artisans we have in our midst, like Stephanie Mattielli of Westfield, whose woodworking business is taking off. 

westfield woodworkingStephanie’s business–eponymously named Stephanie Mattielli Woodworking–officially launched this past October, but her experience with woodworking goes way back. Stephanie said, “My dad taught me how to use tools at a young age, so I’ve always had an appreciation for building and tinkering in the workshop. My family actually built my parents’ house, and it took us five years. We worked on the weekends and after school. It took us six months alone to clear the land of the trees. My dad would cut the trees down, then into fifteen-inch sections, which would then be split into firewood. So part of my chores growing up would be to split and stack wood. I also worked with my dad in the summers in his business as his ‘apprentice’ working on everything from decks to roofing. I think because of this I’ve always enjoyed just putting on a tool belt and going to work.”

I have so much respect for anyone who works with their hands. And to be a woman excelling in a formerly male-dominated field like this . . . well, that just knocks my socks off! 

Using her woodworking expertise, Stephanie creates a variety of rustic-chic pieces that compliment any decor, including wooden slab trays, hostess trays, platforms, chargers, coasters, and stump tables. “My hairpin tables seem to be a fan favorite,” she said. 

All of the wood used in Stephanie’s pieces comes from her parents’ land in South Jersey; most of the wood is oak, but some pieces are made with cedar or birch. Stephanie cuts all the wood in her father’s workshop, but then she adds the finishing touches in her Westfield home. I was curious to know what tools she uses to create these beautiful works of art. “We use just about everything depending on the piece; chainsaw, planer, table saw, band saw, router, drill press, different sanders, etc. I probably spend the most time sanding as it feels like it’s a job never quite done.”

Wood is a material that will never go out of style, and if you browse Pinterest, Houzz, or design magazines, you’ll see just how popular natural wood furniture and accents are right now in the world of interior design. Stephanie said, “I love the joy in natural wood, which is everything from the grain to knots to organic cracks, and my work shows that. With my stump and hairpin tables, no two pieces are alike as they come from different parts of the tree so they can’t be recreated.” Stephanie’s pieces are unique conversation-starters, but they are also practical, and that combination makes them such wonderful additions to any home. 

You can shop the Stephanie Mattielli Woodworking collection on Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/StephanieMattielli. Follow her on Facebook @stephaniemattielliwoodworking for updates on new products that might be coming down the pike, such as cutting boards and coffee tables. If you have something in mind that you don’t see on her Etsy site, contact Stephanie, because she gladly takes on custom orders! 

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The Westfield Farmers Market Offers Much More Than Local Produce!

farmer's marketIf you’re anything like me, you try to SHOP LOCAL and EAT LOCAL whenever possible. Well, you can kill two birds with one stone by visiting the fabulous WESTFIELD FARMERS MARKET, open every Saturday from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm from now until October 29th! You’ll find everything from Jersey Fresh produce, baked goods, dog treats, fair trade coffee, cooking spices, and take-home Italian meals–what’s not to love??

The Westfield Farmers Market sets up on the south side of the Westfield train station, where there is still plenty of free parking spots available on Sundays. Here’s a list of the terrific vendors:

Chickadee Creek Farm – certified organic vegetable, flower and herb farm

Donaldson Farms – fresh produce

Skeba Family Farm – fresh produce

A & M Naturals – natural soaps, body butters, lip balm, and candles

Gourmet Nuts and Dried Fruits

High Mountain Foods – frozen pastas such as ravioli; focaccia; pickles; fresh mozzarella

Lithuanian Bakery – breads, pies, and donuts

Little Bear’s Biscuit Barkery – gourmet organic dog treats

Mo’Pweeze Bakery – delectable and divine allergy-free cupcakes and baked goods

Neil’s Sharpening Services – bring your kitchen knives, scissors, and tools (3rd Saturday of each month only)

Nicola’s Pasta Fresca – artisinal homemade pasta

Paolo’s Kitchen – frozen prepared Italian-style entrees

Patricia and Paul – artisans of fine oils and balsamics

Reign Coffee – specializes in Organic Fair Trade coffee from Central America

Top of the Mountain Honey Bee Farms – 100% pure and natural local honey

Wildtree Organic Spice Blends with Fran – rubs, seasonings, dressing, and marinades

WildtreeI caught up with Fran Prybylski, who runs the “Wildree with Fran” booth. After sampling her yummy offerings, I could see why people rave aboutWildtree products, even non-cooks like myself! Fran sells Wildtree certified organic spice blends, marinades, sauces, and salad dressings, as well as an array of flavored grapeseed oils (all products are peanut-free!). They’re designed to make cooking easier, as they are all matched up with simple recipes.

According to Fran: “The Wildtree products help families prepare and serve healthy meals on the table quickly. Since they’re made with certified organic ingredients,  the flavors are bright and delicious. Even in my own home, Wildtree always provides an answer to the mealtime dilemma of ‘What’s for dinner?'” A Westfield resident, Fran is no stranger when it comes to cooking, and said, “I love to mentor and inspire people to cook delicious food in their kitchens or outdoor grills.” Fran frequently hosts cooking workshops where participants make 10 hearty take-home freezer meals using Wildtree seasonings and oils.

At her Farmers Market Booth, Fran’s customers love sampling the different marinades, salad dressings, and sauces. “My top-selling products consistently are: Asian Ginger Plum Dressing & Marinade, Wicked Good Slow Cooker Sauce, Rancher Steak Rub, and the Scampi Blend seasoning. However, the Outrageous Orange Sauce, Spicy Thai Chili Sauce, and Happenin Hot Pepper Jelly have become super popular this season at the Market.” Ummm, I’m pretty sure I’d eat my own hand if it were cooked in that Wicked Good sauce!

I asked Fran about the vibe among the vendors at the Farmers Market. “There is such a nice camaraderie here. I make an effort to greet all the vendors at some point throughout the day. My first friends at the Farmers Market were the members of the Greater Area of Westfield Chamber of Commerce. The Market’s Director, Chris Devine, has been supportive and so much fun to work with. I always appreciate Tim York, Mary, and Gene’s weekly visit to check in on me. My favorite neighbors are the A&M Naturals ladies that sell handmade soaps. Sam from Chickadee Creek Farms is an inspiration to watch as she soley sets up and breaks down her gorgeous organic produce stand. I’ve enjoyed watching Mo’Pweeze bakery’s success as a true allergen-free bakery in NJ. And Nicola’s fresh pasta creations are so delicious and my weekly lunch.”

See! Even the vendors themselves shop at and enjoy the Market! So if you’re in town this Saturday, make a point of heading to the Westfield Farmer’s Market, where you’ll not only find great food but meet some great people too.

You can reach Wildtree with Fran at (917) 226-1958 or visit her Facebook page: Meal Plan with Fran.

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Jay’s Cycle Center in Downtown Westfield, NJ

 Jay's Cycle Center

There’s one thing all businesses that have stood the test of time seem to have in common, and that’s INTEGRITY. Jay’s Cycle Center in Downtown Westfield is a shining example of a business that radiates integrity, which is one of the reasons it has been a thriving local business for more than 50 years!

Owner Jay Tintle is the second generation of Jay’s. Did you know that the business first started as a pet and hobby shop run by Jay’s mother in Scotch Plains? At the time Jay’s father “Big Jay” was driving a cab, but he was extremely mechanically inclined and noticed that a few bike accessories that they carried in the shop were selling quite well. Eventually Jay’s parents saved money and bought some bicycles, put a work bench in the shop, and according to Jay “slowly started pushing pets out and bringing bikes in.” The rest is history! At one point the Tintles had several bikes shops in the area, but by the 1960s they decided to focus on just one store in Westfield.

Jay’s moved to its current location in 1984, and last year they did some renovations to spruce up the place. Boy, does it look sharp inside and out! When you walk in you’ll see rows and rows of every type of bicycle, from children’s bikes to beach cruisers to mountain bikes and electric bikes. Jay said, “We have the largest inventory of bicycles in the area–besides what you see in the store, we have 300 built bikes off-site as well.” There is also a great selection of gear for bikers, from shoes to clothes to helmets . . . heck, even energy snacks!

Toward the back of the shop is Jay’s service center, where bikes that need it get TLC from the expert staff. Jay said, “We really pride ourselves on the team that we have here. I couldn’t even tally up the years of experience among our staff. Whether it’s working on an electronic-shifting bike, rebuilding shock for a mountain bike, or simply changing a flat tire, we can take care of anything. And we’re always happy to educate our consumers on how do to things like check air pressure, change their own tires, etc.”

Jay's Cycle Center

When I asked Jay what makes his business a standout in our community, he used that very word integrity. Jay said, “You can send your ten-year old son here alone and be confident that he won’t be taken advantage of, he’ll be treated with respect.” That is music to any parent’s ears, as I can attest!

Jay continued, “We try to cater to anyone who walks through our door and give them a positive, fun experience. You’ll always be greeted with a hello, maybe with some friendly sarcasm, and then we’ll get down to business without being intimidating. Whether you’re a seasoned racer or a family looking for a baby bike seat, we treat every customer with a great deal of respect.”

With the weather having turned beautiful, it’s the perfect time to get a tune-up for your bike, or maybe even treat yourself to a new one (I noticed some great sale prices on beautiful bikes while I was in there!). Whatever your reason for going to into Jay’s, you won’t be disappointed by the selection, the service, and that ever-present integrity.

Jay’s is located at 227 North Ave East in Westfield with FREE PARKING and is conveniently open seven days a week. Visit their website at http://jayscyclecenter.com/ for hours and information, as well as online shopping!

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Utopia Salon and Day Spa in Westfield Exceeds Expectations!

Utopia Salon and Spa

I can hardly type this blog right now. Why? Because my limbs are like Jell-O, thanks to the blissfully relaxing MASSAGE I just got at Utopia Salon and Day Spa in Westfield! My Executive Assistant, Marketing Director, and I had decided upon a girls’ spa day to get rejuvenated before the end of the busy year, and it turned out to be the best … idea … ever!

Located at 349 South Ave, Utopia wears two hats: upscale salon on one side, and full-service spa on the other. I’d known about the hair services in the bustling salon, but I had no idea that the spa area of Utopia is truly a retreat all its own. Nubia Suarez has owned the salon and spa for 10 years now, and she says: “The name ‘Utopia’ means the ‘most perfect place on Earth,’ and that’s exactly what we strive for here at our own Utopia.”

When you enter the spa, you forget all about being in a hair salon in Westfield! You’re greeted by soft music, calm lighting, and offered ice water or a mimosa. The pedicure area is luxurious, with silk pillows at your back and tropical-esque baths at your feet. I was delighted to see fresh rose petals sprinkled on the beds in the massage rooms–not something you see at every massage!

We all got massages from Tina Silva, whose deft hands worked out all the knots–heck, I almost fell asleep! Tina utilized hot stones as well, something new to me, and it was incredibly relaxing. I also had a facial with Sueli Cifarelli (a licensed skin-care specialist who knows her stuff!), and my skin was positively glowing afterward! My assistant Angela had a soothing spa pedicure, followed by a beautiful yet subtle makeup application in the salon area. I have to confess that once I took a look at Angela’s gorgeous makeup, I immediately scheduled an appointment to have my own makeup done for a holiday party! That Olivia is an absolute GENIUS!!!

After our treatments we all wondered: 1) Why hadn’t we tried this place before, and 2) When could we come back?!! 

Utopia is currently offering some fabulous spa packages as winter specials–check them out on facebook or visit http://www.utopiasalonnj.com/. You can reach the salon and spa at: 908-928-0008. Tell them we sent ya!

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Some Local Shops in the Cranford/Westfield Area That Offer Gift Wrapping!

unknown_2I have a confession to make: I loathe wrapping gifts. Sure, I love the way a beautifully wrapped gift LOOKS, but I don’t have the motivation nor the Martha Stewart talents to make it happen. And don’t get me started on how much money I’ve spent on gift bags and tissue–the poor man’s wrapping! Needless to say, I really appreciate when stores offer FREE wrapping on your purchases, and I often make a point to shop at such stores for the gift wrap alone!

Here’s a list of some local shops that will pretty-up your purchases with custom gift wrapping or gift bags with tissue. They’ll save you time, money, and a perhaps few paper cuts. I know I will be the making the rounds this holiday season!

Periwinkle’s Fine Gifts

19 N. Union Ave., Cranford

Unique gifts, accessories, housewares, and greeting cards

Artemisia

19 Eastman St., Cranford

“Gifting with a conscience”–all items are fair trade or made in the USA

Augusta Mae

35 Alden St., Cranford

Fine consignment, jewelry, and accessories

Simply 

11 N. Union Ave., Cranford

Art gallery, gifts, and expert framing

Cougar Headquarters

415 Centennial Ave, Cranford, NJ 07016
(908) 497-9900

Cranford’s Ultimate Spiritwear and custom t-shirt store.

Bittersweet Designs

212 Lenox Ave., Westfield

Accessories and gifts for any occasion

The Town Book Store

270 E. Broad St., Westfield

One of the last independent bookstores in Union County

Williams Sonoma

127 Central Ave., Westfield

Everything for your culinary and entertaining needs

Patricia & Paul 

20 Elm St., Westfield

Over 40 varieties of oils and vinegars, plus housewares, gifts, and specialty grocery items

J.Winthrop on Elm

33 Elm St., Westfield

Jewelry, accessories, clothing, and housewares

The Farmhouse Store

221 E. Broad St., Westfield

“Like no other store in Westfield”

Thinka Dinka

264 E. Broad St., Westfield

Children’s toys, books, and huge Lego selection

Learning Express

104 Quimby St., Westfield

Unique toys and FREE personalization

Gallery U Boutique

439 South Ave. W., Westfield

Art gallery and gift/accessories boutique

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Westfield NJ’s Home Video Studio

Now here’s something a lot of us have been wanting to do for years . . . transfer our old home videos to DVD! A certain family member who will go unnamed has a tower of VHS tapes that could eclipse the Chrysler Building. Where should we go to get those precious memories onto DVD so that we can actually WATCH them again? Home Video Studio!

Westfield resident Dan Weiniger owns and operates Home Video Studio (HVS)c. HVS offers the following services: Video Editing, CD & DVD Duplication, Video to DVD, Photo Video Keepsakes, Home Movie Transfer (8mm, Super 8mm & 16mm), Sports Scholarship Videos, Legal Video Services, Format Conversions, International Conversions, Video Tape Repair, Photo & Slides to Video & DVD, and more.

Dan holds a master’s degree in digital design and has extensive knowledge about the ever-changing world of video. He and his team can create professional video montages using your personal video footage and photos set to music for an incredible viewing experience that would be the highlight of any milestone occasion, such as a wedding, 50th wedding anniversary, 1st birthday, etc.

Of his thriving business, Dan said: “I love the joy I bring to people when they view images they haven’t seen in years.” He told me about an elderly client who brought in her 8 mm film to transfer to DVD. When she viewed the DVD for the first time in front of Dan, she started crying. Dan asked her if something was wrong with the transfer, and she replied no — she simply had been moved to tears after seeing images of herself as a baby being bathed tenderly in a sink by her late mother.

I can also speak of my personal experience: When my Dad passed away a few years back, my mom gave me all of their old 8mm films. Dan took them all, and transferred them to dvd for my mom, and my sisters. The footage was amazing….my parents when the got engaged, married, and all of us as we grew! Needless to say, I won for the greatest gift ever! It was of great comfort to my mother to be able to watch those films and remember the special moments.

Don’t let precious memories lie stagnant in your closet. You can reach Home Video Studio at 908-301-9300. Visit their website to view videos of the many services they offer: www.homevideostudio.com.

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Westfield’s Hazel Mae Home “Vintage Finds… Redesigned”!

As a realtor® I get to see many gorgeous houses. One thing I have noticed about truly great home design is that every room should have one antique in it. But how can Grandma’s mahogany sideboard fit seamlessly into your Pottery Barn dining room? Enter Hazel Mae Home, a Westfield, NJ custom furniture painting company whose slogan reads: “Vintage finds . . . redesigned.”

Hazel Mae Home (HMH) was started by Westfield resident Kristin Stellingwerf in 2013. Kristin had just moved into a beautiful house and found that some of her family’s heirloom furniture wasn’t quite fitting in with the paint schemes throughout the home. She attended two workshops studying chalk paint and began painting some pieces, including a vintage oak dresser for her daughter’s room. Friends saw the dresser and other furniture that had been transformed by Kristin’s deft painting and refurbishing, and the rest is history.

HMH uses Annie Sloan chalk paint on furniture. It is a very thick paint, and once you see furniture painted with it, you’ll recognize it from a mile away. The term “chalk paint” is actually a

Photo: Abigail Thomas Photography 2014

Photo: Abigail Thomas Photography 2014

registered trademark of Annie Sloan. Kristin says, “I love Annie Sloan’s color palette, and that her colors can be mixed easily to make custom shades.” That’s good news for clients who have a specific color in mind for a piece of furniture, such as one client who hired Kristin to paint a kitchen cabinet in a unique shade of orange.

I asked Kristin to tell me what inspires HMH, and she replied: “I like taking things that are old and unloved and making them new and beautiful.” She knows her way around garage and estate sales (and even so-called junk left on curbs); she finds what some would consider throwaway pieces and gives them the HMH treatment, creating furniture and accessories that double as artwork and become statement pieces. Worn, gilded photo frames have become shabby chic jewelry displays; threadbare chairs have become stunning accent pieces reupholstered with vintage grain sack (yes, HMH does a little upholstery work too!). Kristin keeps a running list of items that clients are searching for, in case she comes across them at a sale.

TrayCollage2

Photo: Abigail Thomas Photography 2014

Photo: Abigail Thomas Photography 2014

Most of Kristin’s sales are from commission pieces, and I love seeing the”before” and “after” photos of clients’ furniture on the HMH blog. My personal favorite was the transformation of a client’s dated side table into a grand serving tray worthy of high tea. I also adored her gray nesting end tables so much that I purchased them for my son’s room! And I’ve noticed that Kristin adds surprising little touches to her work–for example she placed the sweetest printed shelf paper inside the drawers of a client’s dresser, which                                           added a delightful layer of feminine whimsy.

If you have an antique that has seen better days but that you just can’t part with, don’t hesitate to contact HMH. In addition to her painting services, Kristin can do minor repairs from fixing cracks and wobbles to repairing scratches and gouges. And because she has a strong design background, Kristin can help clients who don’t have a clue what their furniture should look like; Kristin will go to their home and analyze the space to come up with an appropriate design plan.

You can follow the HMH blog on the website http://hazelmaehome.com/  and on Facebook. But beware–you might start taking an inventory of all the furniture in your house and wanting it all to look like Hazel Mae Home!

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Bring Some of Nature’s Beauty Into Your Life At Williams Nursery in Westfield NJ!

A sure sign of spring is the reopening of Williams Nursery for the season. I swear I could spend all day roaming its greenhouses, awestruck by the beauty of thousands of flowers in bloom.

 

Williams NurseryDid you know that Williams Nursery dates back all the way to 1920, when it was started as Williams Floral Farm by Royalston Williams? The nursery has thrived through multiple generations, and is now helmed by Royalston’s great-grandson David Williams along with several members of his family.

Today’s Williams Nursery offers a complete selection of shrubs, trees, perennials, annuals, herbs, and vegetables. Right now you’ll find gorgeous Easter lilies and the area’s largest selection of pansies, including unique varieties with frilly edges. If you’re like me and have a black thumb, fret not! The staff is perennially (pun intended!) friendly and knowledgeable about all things horticulture.

What makes Williams stand out among other nurseries is its commitment to offering uncommon plants that are new and exciting. According to David: “I will travel to trial gardens around the country to personally see how the new is growing before bringing it into our store. One of the coolest plants that we will have this season is ketchup and fries, a new plant that is a tomato and potato grafted together as one plant. Very cool.”

Williams NurseryIf you’re a lover of butterflies, David and his staff can direct you toward perennials that will attract butterflies. And if you love hydrangeas as much as I do, Williams sells newer varieties that flower from May straight through to the first frost.

Williams holds special events throughout the year, including an annual Halloween costume contest and the town’s biggest Easter egg hunt. In the fall, the great lawns become something of a harvest festival, with a giant pumpkin patch and weekend hayrides, pony rides, corn maze, and other games. This May they will host an organic gardening seminar, and in June you can attend a cooking-with-fresh-herbs demonstration (dates to be determined–follow Williams on Facebook for info).

IMG_7549 Williams Nursery Don’t forget to visit their great gift shop as well. Aptly named The Gift House, the shop has everything from jewelry to candles to garden-themed housewares — heck, I even bought my mother-in-law a pretty little purse at Christmas — and the prices are more reasonable than you’d expect. You’ll also find local jams and honeys and so much more in the main garden house.

Williams Nursery is located at 524 Springfield Ave. in Westfield. They’re open 7 days a week from 9-5 and sometimes later. Visit their website at http://www.williamsnursery.com/home

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ALEX and ANI in Westfield Hosts Charity Events!! Shop AND Support at the Same Time!

ALEX and ANI Charity By Design – CPL Event

ALEX and ANI

Not that any of us ever need another reason to shop at Alex & Ani, but here’s one, anyway.

On Tuesday, March 17th, from 6:00 – 9:00 PM, the Westfield store, located at 200 East Broad Street, will donate 15% of all profits they make to the Cerebral Palsy League.  So that new bling you’ve been eyeing up will not only look good on you, it will make you feel good, too.

Each year The Cerebral Palsy League (CPL) serves not only hundreds of Union County infants, children, and adults with developmental disabilities, but their families, as well.  Their goal is to enable people with disabilities to reach their greatest potential and to lead happy and productive lives as participating members of their communities. For more information of the CPL, visit their website at http://www.thecplinc.org/ .

This is nothing particularly new for Alex & Ani.  The company is well known for its charitable contributions to many different institutions and organizations.  At least a partial list of them can be seen here:  http://www.alexandani.com/charity-by-design-partners .

They are also hosting a few others for neighboring towns and charities in the month of March.  On Wednesday, March 18th, also from 6:00-9:00 PM, 15% of all sales will o to Buddy Ball of Edison, which children with special needs an opportunity to participate in an organized sports program.   On Monday, March 23rd, same hours, the benefits will go to the Tamaques Elementary School PTO.  And on Tuesday, March 24th,   proceeds go to the Union County Vocational-Technical School Project graduation.

It’s always heartening when a local business finds a way to support the community it serves.  The beautiful jewelry at Alex & Ani is reason enough to shop there, but this makes the experience all the sweeter.  Treat yourself, and help out others, by hitting the shop on one of thee evenings!

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