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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! 

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123 Besler Ave Cranford

Exclusive! Rare Multi Family Opportunity in Cranford NJ

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The possibilities are endless in this bright and airy 2-family Cranford home! Lower level unit features 3 bedrooms, 1 full bath, living room, dining room, and kitchen with lots of cabinets. Upper level unit has been totally updated with 3 bedrooms, beautiful full bath with dual sinks, living room, dining room, and modern kitchen with cherry cabinets, new countertops, and stainless steel appliances. The finished basement is accessible from both units with spacious recreation area, laundry room, and gorgeous full bath. Hardwood floors and central air throughout, 2-car garage, and fenced backyard. Just over 1 mile to downtown Cranford and .5 miles to Garwood train station, close to parks, and top schools. Not in a flood zone! Great income opportunity!

*This property is exclusively listed for $575,000 with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Westfield West Office 908-233-0065 

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Cranford - April 2017

Cranford/Westfield NJ Area Market Activity April 2017

The Spring Market is in FULL FORCE, and the activity in our local towns is brisk! Let me know if you would like a No Obligation Market Analysis of your home!  I would be happy to help!

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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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Comedy For A Cause Hosted by the Junior Woman’s Club of Westfield 3/24/17

Comedy For A CauseWant to eat, drink, and laugh until your sides hurt . . . all while supporting a great cause? Then get your ticket to the COMEDY FOR A CAUSE benefit hosted by the Junior Woman’s Club of Westfield on Friday, March 24 from 7-11pm at the Scotch Plains Italian American Club.

This “Funnyraiser,” as it’s affectionately come to be known, will include stand-up comedy, live music, a full buffet (provided by everyone’s favorite Five-Star Catering), unlimited wine/beer/soda, tricky tray, auction, raffle, and more! Proceeds from the Funnyraiser will benefit High Expectations Inc., a NJ-based nonprofit that provides recreational sports programs for the special needs community.

Event Co-Chair Mary-Eileen Fay explained how High Expectations was chosen as the beneficiary of the Funnyrasier: “Every year the club invites a few nonprofit organizations to our May meeting and we vote on which charity we will support through our major fundraiser. This is always a difficult decision because we wish we could say yes to all of them. We all were so moved by High Expectations, which is dedicated to the enrichment of the ‘whole person’ by providing developmentally disabled individuals and their families with access to athletic, recreational and social activities to supplement their educational and vocational training.”

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Mary-Eileen went on to say, “Both my twin nephews are affected by autism, and if it were not for High Expectations, my nephews would not have played sports. They look forward to practices and games where they could be themselves and never feel judged. It has provided life-long friends for them and their parents. My nephews also love to perform and tell jokes, and that’s how I was inspired to incorporate comedy into the fundraiser.”

After catching one of his hilarious stand-up shows, Mary-Eileen selected renowed comic Rich Vos as the headlining entertainment for the Funnyraiser. Rich has been featured on HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central, and countless other media outlets. He grew up in Plainfield, New Jersey, so it’s great to have a comic who truly understands his audience.

Live music at the event will be played by the local KGB Band. Comprised of former high school friends, the KGB Band has become widely known as a top cover band in the Cranford-Westfield Area. And in case you were wondering, KGB stands for Kevin’s Garage Band! Kevin is also the director of Westfield’s Washington School Show band. 

Tickets to the Funnyraiser cost $75 per person. You can purchase your tickets here: http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/2770089. If you have any questions or would like to become an event sponsor or donate a tricky tray prize, email [email protected]

For more information about High Expectations, visit their team website: http://www.leaguelineup.com/welcome.asp?url=highexpectations.

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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: http://kickglassart.com. 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: 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! 

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Another Iconic Cranford Home Sold!

307 Prospect Ave Cranford

 

Sometimes I can’t help but fall in love with a home that my clients are buying or selling. Just take one look at this stunning colonial on Prospect Ave in Cranford, and you’ll see why it was such a pleasure to help my clients Amy and Rich purchase this dream house! It is truly an iconic home with so many standout features that this family will get to enjoy for years to come. My personal favorite feature is the AMAZING sleeping porch at the top of the grand staircase! Currently used as a fantastic family room, it is not difficult to picture it being used during warm summer evenings long ago. It is so charming! And I couldn’t imagine a more wonderful town for anyone to buy a home in…that is why I love living and working in Cranford!

307 Prospect Ave Cranford

If you’re not living in your dream house yet, don’t worry … IT’S OUT THERE! And I can help you find it. You can search properties through this site, but better yet, give me a call or email me so we can discuss your goals. I’m always one step ahead of the market trends and often I know of properties before they hit the MLS. Let’s schedule an appointment to meet to discuss YOUR specific needs! Coffee on me!

 

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Check Out Kidoolo….A GREAT New Kid’s Party Place in Springfield!

A Party Place Like No Other!

kidoolo

There’s a new PARTY PLACE in Springfield, and it’s just what the doctor–okay, the kids–ordered! I had my assistant Christine check out the space with her two children ages 7 and 6, since mine are a wee bit too old for this spot, and her kids are already begging to go back!

Kidoolo (pronounced KID-uh-loo) opened on Route 22 in Springfield this past fall. Owned by husband-and-wife team Trish Stephens and Marc Turner of Westfield, Kidoolo doesn’t look like any other party place in our area. You won’t be accosted by crazy, swirly, brightly colored patterns on the walls and carpets when you enter. The interior design of Kidoolo is sleek and modern, clean as a whistle, and actually pleasant for parents to look at. Christine said, “I found myself asking where they got the cool leather benches for parents to sit on!”

There is a main sitting area for parents, with an adjacent “bar” where you can order light snacks and beverages. When Christine and her family were visiting, they were offered free ice water, which was a nice touch. Off the main lobby are our different play areas:

  • A climbing structure and toys.
  • An interactive dance floor area (not a separate room) featuring games projected onto the floor and a twinkling disco ball above.
  • A state-of-the-art laser tag arena, styled to look like New York City.
  • A video game room with 8 flat-screen TVs, various game consoles with tons of games, and bench seating, similar to the interior of a Game Truck.

Kidoolo was Trish’s vision, after receiving her MBA and working for 20 years in business and marketing for such companies as Nickelodeon. Trish said, “I  saw a void in the market when I was s earching for great kids’ play venues that provided awesome parties that weren’t overly crowded and were a little swanky . Also based on families hectic schedules, I wanted to offer exceptional services that made party planning stress free and extremely easy.”

 

Christine’s kids were able to play in all but the video game room, which wasn’t operating at that time. Christine said, “My kids actually did play on the climbing structure for a few minutes, but I would definitely say it’s best suited for children under age six. It’s a great spot for younger siblings to play while older siblings enjoy the other play areas.” 

She went on, “The dance floor was a lot of fun for my kids–they’ve seen this at other indoor play areas, but this one was actually working correctly, whereas similar floors at other locales seem not to work as well. They even played a successful faux soccer game!”

Kidoolo According to Christine, laser tag was the biggest hit with her family. “We were ALL dripping sweat and cracking up by the end of it; we had the best time doing it together as a family. The room is very dark, lighted by black lights, with lots of New York landmarks and buildings to hid behind, and it looks really snazzy. Music and sound effects blast through while you’re playing. All of our laser guns worked perfectly, which I imagine could be a concern. My daughter was a little scared at first because of the darkness and the loudness, and the manager was kind enough to turn the sound down for us! Each laser tag game lasts 8 minutes. You can purchase just one game, or an hour of games, which is what we did.” 

With a private party room on site and various all-inclusive theme party packages, Kidoolo seems like a terrific choice for any kid’s birthday celebration. A great way to check out the facilities before you book a party is to bring your kids for open play or open laser tag. Open Play (which only includes the climbing structure and dance floor) is held Tuesday through Thursday from 10am-4pm, Fridays from 10am-8-m, and Saturdays during select hours as listed the Kidoolo Facebook page (@Kidoolo). Laser Tag is available Friday evenings and select Saturday hours as listed on Facebook. 

Look out for a GRAND OPENING event on Saturday, January 28 from 12:30-3pm! 

For more information about Kidoolo, visit their website at http://www.kidooloplay.com.

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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 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! 

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