Tag Archives: Kids

Escapology

Escapology Opens in Garwood – The Live Escape Room Right in Your Neighborhood!

 

Escapology

Many of you may have heard about the escape room frenzy – they seem to be popping up and no one knows exactly what they involve unless you have actually participated in one. I’m here to tell you that the very BEST escape room around is opening up just minutes from the Cranford/Westfield area and is going to be around for quite some time because it’s just that exciting!

Adults, like kids, get bored easily with the same old thing. The new Escapology Escape Rooms in Garwood (Escapology Home Page) at 300 South Avenue next to Crunch Fitness has the most intriguing and gorgeous rooms around! They will keep changing as long as you keep visiting with your friends and family! Read all about the latest in group entertainment and what you can expect when they open their doors.Their soft opening is scheduled for NEXT FRIDAY, November 24 at 11:00 am! Walk-ins are welcome while they work on training their fabulous staff!

I sat down over the summer to speak with one of the owners, a Westfield resident – Michael DiChiaro. Believe it or not – he’s an airline pilot with a passion for mystery and riddles! He filled me in on why the partners decided to start this business in Garwood, why escape rooms were on the mind, and what keeps them excited every day when they go into work!

 

The franchise owners are Michael DiChiaro and his wife, Michelle DiChiaro. They joined with their friends, James Minniti and Ana Minniti. Michael explained, “This is a family entertainment business”. They discovered the fascination with escape rooms while his eight-year-old daughter was playing similar games on her IPad one day. She loved them so much that he scoured the internet to see if they existed in real life. They found the impressive company, Escapology, and Michael and his wife went for a visit. “We really loved the entire concept – it’s fun being a detective – like playing Clue!”

They wanted to open up a local entertainment center that was geared towards family entertainment, corporate team building, and hanging out with friends. The owners fell in love with the franchise Escapology because each room is intricately designed with televisions, amazing scenery, and hidden clues that could possibly open secret doors! This is the largest franchise in the business of escape rooms and is an overseas company that started in the United States in Orlando and Las Vegas. Michael stated, “There is no match to the quality of this particular company – amazing quality with computer based training!” Escapology is really like live “Clue” – you have some facts and you go and solve a problem.

With 42 escape rooms already in New Jersey, the partners felt the need to set up business in Garwood because the area was rich with families and so close to neighboring towns and NYC area residents! The Garwood location will be the first Escapology in the Northeast.

 

Unique to Escapology -there will be a large lobby and private lounge perfect for hosting gatherings of friends, business events, or epic parties. Six people will be able to play a mystery in any of the six themed rooms! Each experience is approximately 60 minutes – or depending on how quickly you are able to solve the mystery! With the addition of a private party room – this makes for a great afternoon or evening night out!

EscapologyOne can host huge events perfect for 80-90 people. A business could do a presentation in the lobby with breakfast or a birthday party with a chance to mingle afterwards. The presence of a large television can be used for any purpose – photo slideshow, business presentation, and videos! Escapology is also offering catering from local restaurants to add to the party experience!

Michael recommended that the age for playing the escape games is 8 years and up due to the complexity of the puzzles (however any child under the age of 8 is welcome and FREE). Individuals ages 8 and older will be asked to pay the special Grand Opening Price of $29 (Saving Santa room slightly more)! Children 18 and younger must have a signed waiver. The business welcomes everyone to come out and enjoy the excitement of escape rooms – perfect for large families, scouting events (earn a patch for a scavenger hunt/detective work), birthday parties for kids and adults, corporate events, mingling with friends, and holiday fun!

Here is a peek at the six rooms that you can experience at Escapology…

Cuban Crisis: You are Don Frederico, a CIA Field Operative, your code name is Gerrard “Gerry” Droller and you work directly for the President of the United States, J.F. Kennedy. Your mission is to infiltrate Fidel Castro’s palace, locate the secret KGB office, and find out who was responsible for shooting down the American plane.

Arizona Shootout: The whole shoot out takes only 30 seconds – the most terrifying 30 seconds of your life! After the dust settles, 3 bodies lay in front of you. Quickly, you notice two of your people are injured but the rest are unharmed. The marshals have won the fight! However, there is some bad news: the other 2 outlaws are nowhere to be found. The marshals must quickly identify who has been shot and who is on the run. You will have 60 minutes to complete this task or the 2 outlaws will surely escape to Mexico!

Antidote: You are a team of scientists investigating Dr. Brandt’s abandoned laboratory. You’ve been tasked with finding the only known antidote to virus TS-51 before it gets passed into enemy hands.

Budapest Express: Moving through the cabins and gathering evidence, the killer knows you are hot on their trail and has decided you are their next target. With you out of the picture they would be free to escape when the train stops. Solve the riddles and puzzles, gather the evidence and solve the murder before it’s too late!

TH3 C0D3: You are an FBI agent and know that Nitr0 always provides a kill code for every crime in case things go awry. You must find that code, kill the program, and escape within the hour so you don’t take the fall for the biggest crime in American history

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Saving Santa: (Just in time for the holidays!) PLEASE NOTE! This game is designed for children and is perfect perfect for 5 to 14-year-olds. Adults will find this game too easy so bring the children and let them solve the puzzles! Four-year-olds may be a little young but the room has a fun design and there are special treasures to find along the way! Their Secret Elves will guide you through the game and let you know whether the adults may need to help the youngsters along! Escapees MIGHT actually get to meet Santa who MIGHT have a small gift to thank them for saving him!! But don’t let on….

It’s just too much fun and I can’t wait to bring my friends and family to experience a PRIVATE game room – because you NEVER play with strangers! Make sure you book online NOW for any date on or after December 7: Escapology Online Booking. Again, there is a soft opening on Black Friday, November 24 – just walk in anytime starting at 11:00 am!

With the holidays right around the corner– it’s a great time to visit with friends and family. Visit their website at Escapology Garwood to find out more information on your visit and to order gift certificates! Make sure to “Like” and follow their Facebook page EscapologyNJ for current deals and promotions! Call 908-232-2222 for any questions or email Michael or one of his partners at [email protected]

Garwood’s original real-life escape game experience! Located in a prime spot next to Crunch Fitness in the Kings Shopping Center, up to 6 players will be challenged in this new attraction by working together to find clues, solve puzzles, and pick locks that will free them from the game room. Do YOU have what it takes to escape?

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Little Free Library 07090

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

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

Little Free Library 07090

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Get Ready For Some Fall Fun… Jersey Style!

cranfall 02141 ss25The chill is settling in at night, the leaves are starting to change color and wisp away in the wind, and football season is in full swing. The weather is gorgeous in our lovely towns and the area is packed with the most quintessential events to “ease into fall”! It’s nice to have a handy guide of what’s on the schedule to give you options for these autumn weekends in Cranford, Westfield, and neighboring towns!

 

Cranford Paint Out 2017, Cranford (Saturday, September 16, 1:00-5:00 pm)

Cranford Paint OutThere’s still time to register by September 13!(visit Registration) If you love to paint and love our town of Cranford– you HAVE to attend this event sponsored by The Artist Framer of Cranford. Whether you are an adult or child, everyone is welcome to head to The Artist Framer to check in (11 am – 1pm day of event at 17 North Avenue East) and then go paint your vision of your favorite spot in scenic Cranford. Visit the event’s Facebook page at Cranford Paint Out FB Page for inspirational suggestions by The Cranford Historic Preservation Society. Vasari Classic Artists’ Oil Colors will be on hand to give you an opportunity to try some of their newest paint colors! Whether you participated in the event or just enjoy seeing artists in action – head to Alden Street at the closing to view all of the finished masterpieces!

 

Centennial Village Group 10th Music Fest, Cranford (Saturday, September 16, 4:00 – 9:00 pm)

IMG_5376Walk over to Lincoln School in Cranford (132 Thomas Street) and bring your friends and family to this FREE event! There will be live bands including Hugo Furst and the Lovehandles, local food vendors, lawn games, 50/50 raffles, and a tricky tray! This will be an entire evening of fun! All proceeds go to preservation and beautification of Centennial Village where some of our favorite restaurants and shops reside! Head to their Facebook page for more info at Music Fest FB

 

22nd Annual Fanny Wood Day 2017, Fanwood (Sunday, September 17, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm)

IMG_7158Go to South Avenue in Fanwood, NJ and the fun begins! The lineup for this festival is crazy! Local business and restaurant have put together insane contests such as the “Pancake Eating Contest”, “Chicken Wing Eating Contest”, and the “Bubble Gum Blowing Contest”! The local YMCA will be a huge attraction with their Family Zumba Class at 11:30 am, “Paint Your Own Y-Shirt”, “Make Your Own Slime”, and obstacle courses! In addition to these fun events, festival goers can experience a car show, local vendors, petting zoo, pony rides, rock climbing, kiddie rides, and live entertainment. Sounds like non-stop fun! For more info head to their Facebook page at FannyWoodDay2017 FB

 

28th Annual FestiFall, Westfield (Sunday, September 24, 10:00 am – 5:00 pm)

IMG_7159The Greater Westfield Area Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce another fabulous lineup of events at FestiFall this year! Rain or shine – bring the entire family to Downtown Westfield to experience over 250 local vendors, arts & crafts, live music all day, children’s activities in the Kid Zone, and local culinary treats! For more information closer to the event, check out their Facebook page at FestiFall FB

 

7th Annual Rubber Ducky Race, Cranford (Sunday, October 22, 4:00 – 5:00 pm)

Ducky Race

Ducky Race

Cranford Ducky Derby

Hanson Park Conservancy brings you another highly anticipated event in October. Walk to Sperry Park and watch over 1000 individually numbered rubber ducks race down the Rahway River and spill over the falls to the finish line! Winning ducks will be announced at the event and coveted prizes are local merchant gift bags, local shop gift certificates, and monetary awards! Get your tickets for ducks now at Periwinkles (North Union Avenue in Downtown Cranford) or the Cranford Canoe Club (Springfield Ave). Single ducks are $5 and $20 will get you a flock of 5! These colored ducks are hot items and cannot be purchased the day of the race! All proceeds benefit Hanson Park maintenance and educational programs. Here is the Facebook page for the event: 7th Annual Rubber Ducky Race FB

 

 

13th Annual Feast of St. Michael, Cranford (September 28 – October 1)

IMG_7155Literally thousands of local residents will flock to St. Michael’s School Parking Lot (Holly & Alden Sts.) to celebrate the church’s patron saint during Feast Hours and enjoy fun for the whole family. Everyone loves this event and this year is no exception: popular bands every night including the Alden Street Band and Goldenseal, amazing rides, local vendors, and memories to last forever! The event kick-off is September 28th at 6:00 pm! For bracelet night/discount ride information head to their Facebook page at Feast of St. Michael FB

 

10th Annual Scarecrow Stroll, Cranford (October 24-November 5)

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For a decade, this has been a cherished tradition in Cranford. Everyone loves heading into downtown to see the newest and most creative scarecrow for the year and vote on their favorites! You, your family, or an organization from Cranford or any neighboring town can still register and design your own through their Facebook page at Scarecrow Stroll FB Page! Registration closes October 13. Since this is a special anniversary – it promises to be the biggest and best scarecrow event yet! I’ve heard there will be a special “Nighttime Stroll”. Get ready for some downtown fun!

 

Duke Farms in the Fall, Hillsborough Township (1112 Dukes Pkwy W, Hillsborough Township)

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Enjoy breathtaking sights at this sprawling estate in Hillsborough: just a 50 -minute car ride and you are in paradise! You’ll find “almost 1000 acres of land devoted to an ongoing exploration – of native species, preservation and sustainability efforts. Duke Farms brings you festivals, workshops, and an award-winning café! Come enjoy an “Autumn Waterfall Walk” where you can enjoy a 3-mile walk past 4 waterfalls and 6 water bodies, a Fall Mystery Walk, Bat Storytime for kids, and huge sunflower fields! Visit dukefarms.org for more info!

 

 

 

Grounds for Sculpture, Hamilton Township (80 Sculptors Way, Hamilton Township)

Grounds For SculptureCelebrating 25 years – autumn is the perfect time to get away and explore the grounds. This is a 42-acre sculpture park and museum where, no matter where you roam, you will always stumble upon some stunning installment of art. It’s a “magical place where art and nature are always at play”. Just one hour away – take a drive for a “Moonlight Tour and Dinner” at the renowned Rat’s Restaurant, Vineyard dinners, Sing-a-Long Happy Hours, First Fridays, picnic lunches, and Tots on Tour. Our own Cranford Library even has museum passes for this destination! See the full calendar of upcoming events at groundsforsculpture.org

 

Liberty Hall Apple Harvest Time, Union (1003 Morris Avenue, Union NJ)

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Throughout September enjoy strolling through Liberty Hall’s gorgeous orchards – out back by the historic firehouse and firetruck! You can have a “semi- private” experience picking your own apples in this stunning landscape of apple trees, flowing shrubs, and trees displaying their change of colors. $8 for a small bag and $15 for a large bag. Call ahead at 908-527-0400 to make sure the apples are plentiful and ripe before you come! http://www.kean.edu/libertyhall/events/apple-harvest-time

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Summer

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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Back 2 School

Patricia Perry Salon: A Westfield Experience Dedicated to Curls, Color, and Community!

Patricia PerryI know there are a million NJ hair salons to choose from– so why did I decide to pick the Patricia Perry Salon in Westfield (www.patriciaperrysalon.com)to write about this week? My friend told me about her positive experience at the salon – from the gleaming chandeliers, to the sweet woman who shampooed her hair, the first-class service, and finally how amazing her hair felt and looked! The more I learned about Patricia, her ideals, and what the salon means to her – I had to write this article!

 

Patricia was born in Portugal and came to the United States when she was four years old. She has been in the salon industry since she was 14 years old!! She started shampooing at a friend’s home and has been working in salons in Union County from 19 years old until the present! In fact, Patricia loves the “hair business” so much that she even quit law school for it! She decided to give the salon industry 100% of her devotion and dedicate her career to curls, color, and health conscience hair products! Oh – and don’t forget the community – she and her husband love to give back to the community that’s supported them through this crazy ride!

That’s right – this is a family business which is what I love about our community! Matthew and Patricia Perry met, married, and started this salon business together! They have two beautiful children, Jacob and Emma, and live in Clark, NJ. They opened Patricia Perry Salon in April 2015. She grew her extensive clientele in Union County salons and then came to a point in her career where they wanted to open their own salon and “do things the way we want to do it!” Matthew and Patricia went into this business as a total partnership. Patricia devotes her days to styling, the salon, and education – while Matthew handles the paperwork and marketing. You’ll always find him at the front desk so make sure to say “hi” next time you visit!

 

She decided to make it her mission to conquer CURLS! As she worked in the salons she noticed the curly-haired clients left with wet hair and tons of product while the other women left with a gorgeous blowout. She wanted every client to feel like they left the salon with a “finished product” and equally as beautiful. She made curls her “niche” and her main focus for Patricia Perry Salon. Did you know that 80% of the population has some sort of curl/texture to their hair? Patricia wants women to “fall in love with your hair all over again!” She says, “Love who you are – embrace your curls!”

 

Patricia PerryPatricia has been deemed a “Deva Curl Ambassador” – meaning she has done extensive education on her own and at the Deva Curl Deva Academy in the field of DevaCut, No Poo Transformation Service, and Pintura Highlighting. DevaCurl is a company devoted to curly hair products and stylist education of curl management. Everything you need to know is on their website here www.devacurl.com. Patricia is a “DevaStylist” and other stylists come to her salon to learn how to cut and style curly hair. All the stylists at Patricia Perry Salon are educated on curls and can formulate and prescribe styling regime for each person – it’s very individualized.

 

No harsh chemicals will ever be found at Patricia Perry Salon – even their keratin treatments are formaldehyde-free! “We are extremely environmentally and health conscience about the hair care products we use and sell and we stand behind them 100%. The salon specializes in boutique hair color. They use the “top of the line” Goldwell products (www.goldwell.us)– the standard for luxury hair color. Goldwell, founded in 1948 is “the most intelligent and caring system for creating and maintaining vibrant healthy hair color.”

 

Patricia PerryWhen you walk into the salon you will see a display case of the most beautifully labeled and packaged hair care products. They sell Davines ( www.davines.com) , a family company started in 1966 in Parma, Italy, and the leader in eco-friendly products. Davines is “farm-to-table “hair care. Earlier this year, Davines partnered with the Slow Food Foundation– “a global nonprofit that preserves food and agricultural biodiversity by connecting local farmers with alternative markets- to launch the next generation Essential Haircare. The concept is truly unprecedented. The line is comprised of nine product families. Each contains one specific active ingredient from a Slow Food farm in Italy and the name, face and story of the farmer who grows it with care and passion.”

 

Patricia Perry Salon wants to give you the whole package when you walk in their door. From going back to get your shampoo, to the styling experience, to walking out the door with your fresh, new look. You will be offered your choice of mimosas, wine, champagne, coffee, tea, or infused water! “It’s all about customer service. We stand behind everything we do. We know there are so many salons to choose from – we feel we are bringing something different to the table!”

 

Back 2 School

The salon also has an awesome “Back to School Drive” scheduled for Wednesday, August 30 –  between 10 am and 7 pm bring in a new lunchbox and your child will receive a free haircut! All proceeds benefit the YWCA of Union County. Please call the salon in advance to make an appointment for that day! “The community has completely embraced us and we want to continually give back to them!”

 

 

Trust me, I’m not trying to change anyone’s loyalty to their NJ local hair salon – but if you are looking for a new salon to experience or you haven’t had the best “curl” treatment – why not stop in? Every stylist at this salon is amazing and a true artist! You won’t be disappointed!

302 South Avenue East, Westfield, NJ 07090

 908-301-1001
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Solar Eclipse

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

Protect Your Eyes!

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Other Events Throughout the State…

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Other Ways to Enjoy the Eclipse-

 

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

 

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

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NNO

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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GaGa Pits

Cranford is Going Gaga Over GaGa Pits!

Gaga PitsAnyone know what these things are? I didn’t either – but I HAD to find out because one magically on a Sunday afternoon at Orange Avenue Pool! Adults were scratching their heads and kids were screaming with delight! You’re about to reach a new level of “cool” with the kids because I’m about to school you on the game of GaGa and how a community came together to give Cranford the hottest new pastime for children!

According to the GaGa Center, “GaGa is a fast paced, high energy sport played in an octagonal pit. The more players the better! Dubbed a kinder gentler version of dodge ball, the game is played with a soft foam ball, and combines the skills of dodging, striking, running, and jumping, while trying to hit opponents with a ball below the knees. Players need to keep moving to avoid getting hit by the ball. Fun and easy, everyone gets a serious workout.”

Remember dodge ball in gym? I believe that’s pretty much banned now so they had to reinvent the wheel! With GaGa, about 10 children enter the “pit” and have to avoid being hit by the foam ball. Last player standing, wins. Then it starts all over again. I hear it’s quite addicting! For reference or if you want to look “cool at the pool” – here are some “official” rules that I found online. Of course, our Cranford kids may make up their own “house rules”!  GaGa Official Rules

So how did the GaGa Pit come to Cranford? News travels, folks! The GaGa Pit was constructed Sunday, July 9 and I had the name and number of the “head honcho” within the hour. I called up local Cranford resident, Frank Klapinski to find out how this phenomenon came to be at Orange Avenue Pool.

The story that unfolded is the very reason I love our town. Someone comes up with an idea for the community and, with the power of the people and the kindness of their hearts, it just gets done! Frank and some other local fathers had been to a cub scout event at Camp Speers in Dingmans Ferry, PA. Everyone had a blast with this new GaGa Pit and they all thought, “We need to do this! We have to bring this to Cranford!”

Upon arrival to Cranford, a “team” was assembled and their feet hit the ground running. They scoured the internet and found their desired pit design. Around Memorial Day the team called and met with the Director of Cranford’s Recreation & Park’s Department, Steve Robertazzi. Everyone put their heads together to come up with the perfect spot for the pit. The old tether ball court in the back corner of Orange Avenue Pool seemed like the perfect spot for this new addition! The group continued to meet to develop the plan, fundraise, and construct their materials list.

When they say, “It takes a village” – it truly did in this case! All of the pressure-treated wood came from Home Depot. The fathers and their children met during two nights off and cut the wood and preassembled walls. The Orange Avenue Pool staff, DPW, and the GaGa team took out the preexisting asphalt court and prepped the area for the arrival of the pit. Then all of the pieces were transported to Orange Avenue in pickup trucks that the fathers’ owned. Finally, on Sunday, July 9, they assembled the GaGa Pit in about two hours!

The children who knew about the game GaGa were very excited and soon began teaching the other children at the pool. Everyone came to watch this new game being played! Frank commented that the attraction of the game is that all age groups can be included and the “simple, unstructured rules” are appealing. “It keeps kids constantly active!”

Frank said that this project was a lot of fun. He mentioned, “We had a lot of cooperation – the dads were very excited.” This “GaGa team” (including Frank) consisted of all Cranford dads: Dave Mehr, Steve Kelly, Keith Muccigrosso, Andrew Soytka, Dominick Lanzisera, Cameron Andre, Greg Wofsy, Craig Sjursen, Robert Kelly, Chris Bath, and Joe Uglialoro.

Frank wanted to add a note of thanks to Cranford’s Steve Robertazzi and the pool staff, the DPW, Pat Giblin for supporting the idea, and the spouses for supporting the dads and their idea! He mentioned that the whole GaGa team is “happy to donate a small, fun thing back to Cranford!”

Okay folks – there it is! Read the rules and head over to the pool! See what all the fuss is about! It’s bound to be a great summer over there! Thanks Cranford dads for taking action and adding to our wonderful town. Who knows – you may start seeing more GaGa Pits popping up in unexpected places!

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kids-summer-camp-clipart-SummerCamp

Last-Minute Summer Camp Ideas in the Cranford/Westfield Area

Some parents plan ahead when it comes to summer camp. I knew one mother who kept a spreadsheet detailing the various camps that her children would be attending! But for those of us procrastinators: this list is for you! Here are some fun camps in Cranford and Westfield that still have openings. This list is by no means exhaustive, so feel free to share if you know of a great local camp that has availability this summer! And although I didn’t include them here, there are still many openings for camps at the Westfield Area YMCA and through the Westfield and Cranford Recreation Departments. Here’s to a happy summer for the kiddos!
Camp: Camp Invention
Location: Orange Avenue School, Cranford
Description: hands-on STEM type activities
Date(s): July 10-14, July 17-21st (camp goes from 8:30-2:45 daily)
Ages: entering grades K-6
Cost: $250 per week
 
 
Cesar-KaiCamp: Cesar Kai Academy
Location: Wanut Ave, Cranford
Description: martial arts, games, crafts, outdoor play, field trips (no uniform required)
Date(s): July 17-Sept.1 (half and full-day options)
Ages: 6+
Cost: Half day = $149 per week; Full day = $249 per week; One-day = $55; snack included
 
ColoCamp: Color Chips
Location: United Methodist Church, Cranford
Description: art and craft camp with art show at camp’s end
Date(s): July 10-Aug.17 (9:30am-12:30pm, M-Th)
Ages: Enterting grades K-5; Entering grades 6-10
Cost: $175 per week; sibling discount
Fire Me Up!
Camp: Fire Me Up
Location: Downtown Cranford
Description: various pottery, craft, and painting camps
Date(s): June 26- Aug.24 (1-4:30pm)
Ages: 6-10+ depending on camp
Cost: starts at $249 per weekly camp; snack included
Camp: Hoops There It Is
Location: Cranford Community Center
Description: coed basketball fun, games, and skill-building
Date(s): Aug. 14-28 (9am-3pm; early drop-off available for additional fee)
Ages: 5 through high school
Cost: $235 per week; can purchase lunch for additional fee
Camp: Jump Immersion School
Location: South Ave, Westfield
Description: immersive language learning (Spanish or Mandarin); crafts, games; outdoor play; theater
Date(s): June 26-August 18 (9am-3pm; before and after care available for additional fee)
Ages: 3-7
Cost: $145-$305 per week depending on how many days per week you choose (2-week minimum); sibling discount
Camp: AR Workshop
Location: North Ave, Westfield
Description: a unique DIY craft project each day
Date(s): June 26-29 (9am-12pm)
Ages: 8-14
Cost: $40 per day ($20 gift certificate towards future workshop if you book all 4 days)
Camp: Just Bead Yourself
Location: Downtown Westfield
Description: beading and craft activities
Date(s): June 21-August 31 (half and full-day options)
Ages: 6-17 (age ranges vary per camp)
Cost: varies per camp
 
Camp: St. Paul’s Day School
Location: E. Broad St., Westfield
Description: Weekly themes, playground fun, crafts, water play, and more
Date(s): now through July 14
Ages: 2-6 (must have completed a 2’s program to enter; cutoff is having completed kindergarten)
Cost: $285 per week
Urban Sewciety
Camp: Urban Sewciety
Location: South Ave, Westfield
Description: Weekly themed sewing projects and a Teen Fashion Design Camp
Date(s): June 26- Sept 11 (younger) and August 7-11 (teen)
Ages: 7 and up and 12 and up (if no prior sewing experience must have completed a Beginners Workshop to enter)
Cost: $250 per week (materials included)
 
Camp: Valencia School of Music
Location: Elm Street, Westfield
Description: Intro to Music Performance; Rock and Roll School; Godspell theater
Date(s): July 10-14; July 17-21; July 31-Aug. 25 (
Ages: 6-10; age 10+ depending on camp
Cost: varies per camp
 
Camp: Westfield Indoor Tennis
Location: Grove Street, Westfield
Description: tennis fun and skill-building
Date(s): June 26-Aug. 18 (half and full-day options)
Ages: 4-17
Cost: mornings 9-12 = $365 per week; afternoons 1-3:30 = $305 per week; full day 9-3:30 = $630 per week
Camp: Winning Writing Academy
Location: Westfield
Description: writing and reading proficiency, games and activities
Date(s): July 31-Aug. 4 (morning and afternoon sessions)
Ages: Entering grades 3-9
Cost: Each half-day camp is $249 for the week; save 20% when you sign up for both morning and afternoon sessions.

 

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Have a wonderful and fun summer!!

 

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Be Van You

Have Paint, Will Travel!

Be Van You

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

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

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

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

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

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

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