Tag Archives: Small Businesses

Perrotti's Cranford

Perrotti’s: 50 Years as Cranford’s Small Town Treasure!

Perrotti's CranfordThere are certain places that just epitomize “small town.” The barber shop that’s been cutting hair for generations…the ice creamery that still churns its ice cream from scratch…and of course, the local butcher. Cranford happens to be home to one of the best old-fashioned butcher shops you’ll find anywhere: Perrotti’s.

For almost 50 years, Perrotti’s Quality Meats has been the neighborhood butcher shop where locals go for quality meats and prepared foods. Brothers Mario and David Perrotti learned the art of butchering after emigrating from Italy to Elizabeth, NJ, where they worked in a pork store for years. In 1967, they opened their own shop in Cranford, 23 South Union Avenue at the corner of South Union Ave. and Cherry Street, and have been operating as a family business in that very spot ever since.

 

It just so happens that my mailer coming out next week of Stephen D’Amato’s painting of Perrotti’s and their upcoming 50th Anniversary coincide! That’s right – the store opened on October 18, 1967 and it’s a huge year for celebrating! I caught up with Nick Perrotti, David’s son and current owner with his brother, Dave, to find out what makes Perrotti’s such a town favorite and how they are going to do to celebrate their “golden anniversary”.

 

Besides having the finest quality meats around – it’s one-stop shopping for a family meal once you enter the store. Coming in for the perfect side dish is what keeps the door revolving at Perrotti’s. The family grew up in a household where guests were always served homemade food and family gatherings were a feast. They learned the art of cooking for a large family from their mothers and grandmothers and knew that you didn’t just serve a plate of meat – the sides were equally as important. “You are walking into my home when you walk into here,” said Nick.

What started out as a “butchering business” evolved into customers coming in for the entire meal. The staples are their homemade marinara sauce, cheesy mashed potatoes, meatballs in homemade tomato sauce, Eggplant Parmesan, stuffed shells, their famous lasagna, legendary rice pudding, and always fresh rolls. Perrotti’s takes the prep work out of the dinner dilemma and in thirty minutes or less you have a delicious four-course meal!

 

Perrotti’s draws you in because they represent customer service at its finest. Whether you visit the store every week or only around the holidays – they will all remember you, your name, and the last thing your ordered! Nick commented, “We have customers coming here since we first opened! Fourth generations of customers are even walking through these doors and that’s why we love Cranford – it’s such a great town and a close-knit community. My dad and uncle – they owe it to the people – they put out a good product – but word of mouth made this place a success. Neighbors telling neighbors – and that still happens today.”

 

Nick asks that you don’t be shy! He encourages you to ask for whatever you need: what side dish goes best with your meal, what you should cook for dinner, or what cut of meat is best for your recipe! They will gather all the ingredients and even tell you how to prepare your entire meal! If it’s your first time to the store, Nick says they’ll “give you a tour of the store and show you what we have to offer!” From giving cookies to your children, to carrying your bags out to the car, or calling when you meat has finally arrived – it’s home town service at every step! I visit on a weekly basis, and for that, my family is eternally grateful! As a matter of fact, my sister Aileen stops in EVERY time she visits from Maryland so she can stock up on the amazing homemade pierogies!

 

“We are involved in people’s lives here not because we HAVE to, but because we really like to be! Our customers like to stay and hang out with us!”

 

 

 

Perrotti's Cranford

 

Perrotti’s wants you to know that they will definitely be celebrating their 50th Anniversary. The original Mario and David will make an appearance in their white aprons on October 18. The rest of the week will be filled with free coffee, giveaways, and cookies. You can also commemorate the event and purchase custom-made shirts and sweatshirts or their traditional anniversary coffee mugs!

 

 

 

 

Of the Perrotti’s painting, Stephen said, “I went through a period of feeling intrigued about Cranford and what it meant for me to be a resident and to discover the history of Cranford, exploring these old buildings with so much charm and character that are still standing. Perrotti’s struck me as one of those hidden treasures of Cranford.”

 

Indeed, Perrotti’s is a treasure in every sense of the word, the kind you can only find in a very special town. Please don’t be shy next time you visit Perrotti’s – talk to Dave, Nick, Tony, or Jim and ask them a few questions or even how their day is going! You just might walk out with a four-course meal and some new best friends – I know I did!

 

You can find Perrotti’s on Facebook at PerrottisQualityMeats FB and at their website with a detailed listing of butcher items, prepared food, and deli selections: http://www.perrottiscranford.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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Cranford’s Yale Terrace Brewery: 25 Years in the Making!

Yale Terrace BreweryCranford residents and all surrounding towns began rejoicing at the very mention of Yale Terrace Brewery coming to town. The opening of a craft brewery right in the heart of town is pure joy to all! Craft beer lovers – your prayers have been answered. Welcome Yale Terrace Brewery to 26 Eastman Street.

 The Yale Terrace Brewery website is packed full of information at ytbrewery.com but I needed to know the information that wasn’t posted on social media. I met with Vinny Savinelli – longtime Cranford resident and beloved owner of Vinny’s Pizza and Pasta to get the real scoop. As he told me the story of how the brewery was created, it was immediately evident that brewing with his best buddies has been a life-long passion.

 

Vinny related that it all started on Yale Terrace in West Orange with four friends: Pete Merrigan (the brewmeister who has the ingredients down to a science), Tom Brisco (the first mate), Rob Jones (official beer lover and taste-tester), and himself (the most business-minded of the crew). They grew up together as children and have been best friends since 1992. “I was there every day since junior high school!” commented Vinny.

 “We all get together and brew – we experiment with many different things – all different grains and grain quality from Europe, Canada, Oregon, Washington, and New York.” He mentioned that they are “always brewing, mastering, and experimenting with new concepts”.

 “We are even putting berries in our beer! We love our wine-infused IPA – it’s absolutely fantastic!” exclaimed Vinny.

Yale Terrace Brewery 

All of their beers are named only by a number. Each number represents a house number on a street of someone close to them. It could be a friend, relative, or someone they met during the journey of growing up together. The number could also refer to a memory or experience that they had at one of those locations! The owners joke that these beers will make for great conversations with customers – trying to guess what each one means! Here’s a freebie: # 19 Morse Street has a special Cranford connection to one of the owners!

 

The brewery will always have their 4 core beers (just like their friendship). They are #17 Yale Terrace: Cream Ale, #26 Yale: Oatmeal Stout, #34 Yale Terrace: Vienna Lager, and #161 Main Street: IPA. You can meet all of these beers at their home website. Throughout the year they will frequently rotate seasonal beers and special brews– for up to 8 beers on tap at a time. “We have 24 beers that we are all proud of – and will rotate weekly!” Vinny’s personal favorite? A Scottish IPA with five different hops imported from Scotland – the hop extract is placed in the whirlpool at the end and he claims that it’s phenomenal!

 

Why did they choose Cranford for their brewery location? Aside from the fact that Vinny’s pizza parlor is next door, he mentioned that “it’s all about the community – most breweries are on back roads or warehouses. This is in the center of town and next to a commuter train station – it’s the ideal location! The response from Cranford and the whole area has been tremendous! The support has been great – from the community and local businesses.”

 

The majority of the extensive licensing process is complete so it’s full steam ahead for getting the brewery to open as soon as possible (they are hoping mid-September). The owners want everyone to know that this is not just a place to sit and drink! The plan is to be open at least 6 days a week. Customers can expect to have live music, trivia night, and sports games on the flat screen TVs throughout the room. They want to have classes on brewing beer starting with the fermentation process on the premises. They want people to come in empty-handed and they will walk you through the process of brewing. At the end of the experience you have created your own beer in their brewery. The owners will also conduct tours of the brewing process and hope for customers to come in to drink pints and go home with growlers!

 

The grand opening is going to be “major” according to Vinny. Craft beer lovers should anticipate giveaways of YTB merchandise, live music, and incredible food from Vinny’s. The first day will be “open for everyone to come – expect mayhem and craziness!”

 

Yale Terrace BreweryWhat can YOU do before the doors open soon? Their YTB green shirts are everything! If you don’t own one get it NOW! Head here: YTB Store. That shirt is your ticket to the hottest event in town and the key to getting VIP information before anyone else! Owner Rob Jones also has a VIP Member fundraising campaign found here: YTB GoFundMe. For a limited time, you can gain VIP status and earn reward levels ranging from YTB accessories to a personalized brewing session with you and your friends!

 

Want the most current events and brewery info at the touch of a button? Join the mailing list at YTB Website and like them on Facebook at YTB Facebook

 

Yale Terrace BreweryAt the end of the interview I realized that I wasn’t just excited for a craft brewery to be opening in Cranford, I was happy for these four owners. Vinny commented that “it’s crazy that the four of us get along so well!” It isn’t often that friends get to work together and create something that they’ve been doing for 25 years! I’m rooting for this town and the lifelong friendship of these four men. I have no doubt that the surrounding towns will embrace the brewery and the owners as well. So, when you visit YTB in the near future – raise a pint to these guys who have been “creating unique quality beers…from grain to glass”!

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NosVino

NosVino: The Euro Café Brought to Westfield

NosVinoHave you ever exited a restaurant at night with half a bottle of wine still waiting to be finished? (Ok, it doesn’t happen to me very often, either!) You get my drift, though, right? The party has broken up and you still want to keep the evening going! Chris LoBrace, manager of the new NosVino in Westfield, has the answer to your evening woes!

 

The new outdoor seating at NosVino, an upscale wine and beer store on Central Avenue, is a welcomed sight to the Westfield restaurant goer searching to find a seating area to complete the evening.  Re-opened in August 2016 under a new look and new name (formerly Cool Vines), the process of obtaining a sidewalk café license was a bit of a process. But now that the bistro and chairs are in place – everyone is wondering what to expect! This store is ground-breaking, being the first wine store of its kind to obtain an outdoor café.

 

“To be honest, this is a good town for couples and families, but there isn’t much public space to enjoy alcohol and just sit outside!” commented Chris.  

 

So, what exactly is this café connected to the store? Chris stated, “We wanted people to behave the same way as restaurants, but with our store.” A big dream, some bistro chairs and flowers, and the space was created. Here’s how it works. You purchase an adult beverage of your choice from inside the store and hopefully some of their delicious charcuterie (more about that later).  After that, the experience is all yours. They recommend bringing your own method of keeping your wine chill, your own corkscrew/bottle opener, and glasses – whatever accoutrements you would bring to an outdoor picnic! Then pick a spot outside and enjoy the scenery and the company of the people who came with you!

 

Basically, once you exit the store you are in downtown Westfield and have entered Café NosVino! Folks- this is not a restaurant, a bar, nor are they serving booze. What you do have is a “self-service café”, mentioned Chris. The employees at NosVino are “not allowed to handle the alcoholic products in any way.”

 

“We have a lot of cool stuff!” added Chris. Yes, they certainly do! NosVino means “our wine”. Owner Erick Garcia has truly hand-picked an impressive array of domestic and imported wine and beer. You can find the best rosé, microbrews, champagne, and ciders all cooling in their refrigerated section! The shelves are stocked with Asher’s chocolate products from Pennsylvania, Plymouth Artisan Cheese from Vermont, domestic pre-sliced prosciutto, figs, and chorizo.

 

NosVino’s vision for the present: They want to cater to restaurant goers who are frequenting the BYO’s in town. The store wants to provide an outdoor space for those who still “want to enjoy the evening in Westfield and finish their bottle of wine!” commented Chris. “We want people to have the Euro experience – that is how you kill the time- outdoor with friends! Maybe you go for that 2nd bottle of wine!” They also want to be that “rendezvous” point for parties.  “Start the night at NosVino and treat it as a “welcoming café!” said Chris. 

 

Plans and wishes for the future? They want to further define the café and individualize it. NosVino is planning formal food pairing suggestions with in-store wine and beer available for purchase. Streamed music outdoors is also in the works! 

 

Other notable features of the store?

·      Their Beer Club/Wine Club started this month. 

·      Free spirit/beer/wine tastings inside every Friday and Saturday.

·      Stop by for free wine tastings during Westfield jazz nights

·      Free delivery to all downtown restaurants Thursday-Sunday 5-9 pm

·      Schedule a private event for you and your friends for wine tasting classes, wine pairing seminars, whiskey sipping, and beer education!

 

For now, NosVino simply asks that you make use of this al fresco sidewalk café and do what the Euros do – sip the hours away enjoying the company of those around you!

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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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The Nearly NewYorkers

The Nearly NewYorkers… A Cranford Culinary Workshop

Let’s face it–everyone loves to EAT, but not everyone loves to cook or knows how to do it well! Two savvy Cranford mothers came together to launch The Nearly NewYorkers, a culinary workshop that will light up your kitchen, enhance your cooking techniques, and bring your loved ones together for an evening of full bellies and lively conversation. 

 

Erin Reilly and Sydney O’Hagan both were born elsewhere and found themselves living in Manhattan. With all the joys and changes that children bring, they independently took the big leap and decided to move to the suburbs and each fell in love with Cranford…and the very same street. Sydney moved to Cranford in 2014, while Erin and her family moved in the following year, and Erin said, “We got along really well right away.”   

As Erin and Sydney’s friendship grew, they found they had a mutual love for wine, food, adventure dreaming, running, and travel. They started training together for a half marathon, and during the long runs they’d pick topics to discuss. On one such occasion, “dream vacations” was the discussion … for 11 miles. Each took her turn, and Sydney revealed her secret desire was to attend a culinary workshop hosted by renowned food writer and French chef Mimi Thorisson. Later that night Sydney sent Erin the details of the workshop: it would take place the Thorisson family’s 19th century, 27-room, sprawling French chateau nestled in the countryside of Médoc, France. (Discover Mimi’s stunning blog at thttp://mimithorisson.com/). With Sydney being the “dreamer” and Erin the “doer,” the trip was decided! It took a year of planning and funding along with a whole lot of support from friends and family, but soon they found themselves ready to board a plane to France!

The four-day workshop in the gorgeous French countryside was a dream come true for both of these moms as they sampled the very best of French wine and food and learned to create phenomenal dishes. Sydney shared, “We had an incredible time and we came home and were like” –as Erin finished her sentence–“it just followed us, the feeling. We had all this stuff we brought home … we thought we should have a dinner where we bring France home to everyone!” “As a thank you to them,” Erin added. “We tried to emulate what Mimi did.”

The concept of their business was easy. Sydney mentioned, “We constantly share meals with each other–eating each other’s food all the time. We know how the other person cooks.” The two families are always together eating lunches, snacks at the pool, dinner prep collaborations–the total advantage of living so close! They set out to create their workshop, focusing on what they thought was current and poignant to today’s households. Erin said, “This was a combination of the two interests – entertaining in a beautiful way to make people feel loved and special … and a workshop where we can teach people how to do something and maybe make it a little more easy, or fun, or try something they’ve never tried before.”

Why the name The Nearly NewYorkers? Don’t be offended thinking that they live in the suburbs yet are longing for their old NYC life. Just the opposite. They are loving the location of Cranford in such a rich, cultural environment. “You can have the best of all worlds here,” they agreed.

Their concentration is spot-on; how to cook meals using fresh and wholesome ingredients and stretch your dollar as far as it can go. They both grew up being taught that you “don’t throw things away – no one has the budget for it.” Sydney added that they want to teach you “how to use a product and get the most out of it.” And cooking novices need not fret; Erin said, “We’re not technical – we try to be ‘easy’ and ‘useful.’”  

The Nearly NewYorkers

Their first workshop focused on cooking with CSA produce, and the feedback they received from attendees was glowing. Erin said, “After our first night – it was literally roaring in here — everyone having such a good time– it was exactly as we wanted it to be! We want them to come in and be chilled out – have a cocktail and get to know each other.”

Have I piqued your interest now? Go to www.nearlynewyorkers.com and click on “Workshops.” Each workshop costs $40 ($5 off if you bring a friend) and includes cocktails and food pairing, cooking demonstrations, hands-on food prep, learning how to extend the ingredients into other meals, and an adorable take-home recipe package. These intimate workshops are held at Erin’s beautifully renovated Cranford home with an open concept great room that opens into a picturesque backyard deck and outdoor space perfect for entertaining!

Now here’s the scoop for what’s in store for the summer:

Canning and Fermentation Workshop (July 15): You’ll sample cocktails based on the theme – we’re talking Bloody Marys and “Red Beer” (secret recipe from Sydney’s mother!). Learn how to make homemade kombucha, pickled vegetables, kimchi, and sourdough bread. You’ll come away learning the entire canning process for preserving fruits/vegetables and how to store those more difficult liquids (broths, soups). Expect a memorable dessert – a little birdie mentioned sourdough waffles …  yum!

Back to School Lunches and Dinners Workshop (August 26): “Our kids like to cook and are adventurous eaters – they are interested in food. If they make it, they are more prone to eat it. School lunches are a good opportunity to engage kids in their food.” This workshop will focus on how to give kids their “protein” when many schools are nut-free, how to prepare fun bento-style lunches versus boring sandwiches, how to make the most of meal-prep Sundays, and “what tools are essential, and how to really stretch your dollar.”

  

What’s their vision for the future: bridal showers, Couples Night, Kids Baking Parties, Cooking Essentials for New Parents, What Every Newlywed Needs to Know, and more. And while their gorgeous and inviting homes are perfect for the intimate gatherings they currently offer, their big dreams may lead to their own commercial space one day. In the meantime – it’s another brilliant concept put into place by two moms with small kids who dreamt big and made it happen.

“Food is the central thing to everything– how we show our family we love them, how we entertain, how we take care of people. That’s how I want people to feel making food with us – they feel welcome, warm and special.”

Let The Nearly NewYorkers help you be the cook and entertainer you always dreamed to be!

 

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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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Say Bye-Bye to Mosquitoes and Ticks!

We’re well into spring, the flowers are blooming, the sun is shining, and it SHOULD be a wonderful time to get some fresh air! But two things can majorly get in the way of enjoying the great outdoors: TICKS and MOSQUITOES. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to enjoy my patio without having to worry incessantly about either of those pests!

 

With the large population of deer combined with the rivers and ponds in our area, it’s an unfortunate truth that we have to deal with ticks and mosquitoes. The threat of Lyme disease makes ticks particularly worrisome, and their tiny size means that many bites go unnoticed. As for mosquitoes: not only do their bites itch like crazy (and they just loooove biting some people more than others–you know who you are!), they also carry dangerous diseases and can cause secondary infections.

Last Bite MosquitoIn recent years I’d heard glowing reviews of businesses that will treat your yard periodically to ward off ticks and mosquitoes. One friend said it was “life changing,” now that her family was able to enjoy pest-free backyard living after suffering endless mosquito bites in years past. It almost sounded too good to be true. I caught up with the co-owner of Last Bite Mosquito Control to discuss these services and see what all the fuss is about. 

Last Bite is based out of Monmouth County but services all of Union County. They are members of the Westfield Chamber of Commerce and will soon be opening an office in town. Twin brothers and physical education teachers Jason and Jeremy Julio launched the company in 2013, after Jeremy’s son had contracted a staph infection from an infected mosquito bite (scary!). They thoroughly researched mosquito and tick prevention, got licensed, and their family company has grown exponentially ever since. 

When it comes to preventing mosquitoes in your own backyard, home remedies just don’t cut it. Jason said, “Mosquitoes can breed in something as small as a bottlecap.” So even if you get rid of a couple of mosquitoes here and there, it takes an expert to locate and treat the breeding areas of mosquitoes. 

The treatment process is described as follows on Last Bite’s website: 

Last Bite Mosquito Control has highly trained and licensed technicians that will survey your yard and identify any high risk areas that could be used as mosquito breeding grounds.  A fine mist of our Barrier Spray (derived from the chrysanthemum plant) will be applied to the perimeter of your home. cThe treatment will include trees, shrubs, evergreens, flowers, foliage plants and all landscaping within the treatment area. Larvicide will then be placed to all mosquito breeding grounds at no additional charge. Our Barrier Spray treatment kills mosquitoes and ticks on contact and continues to provide protection for up to 21 days. All products we use are EPA approved.

You and your pets can use your yard as soon as 30 minutes after it’s been treated by Last Bite! They offer a package where they will come spray every 21 days from spring through fall; a pay-as-you go plan; or or you can purchase a one-time spray, which could be a life-saver for a backyard party you might be hosting. Jason said, “We encourage our customers to have open communication with us to let us know if there’s ever a problem, and we will always come back to your property. Our treatments are 100 percent guaranteed.” 

I’m looking forward to getting my yard treated by Last Bite this month so I can put my feet up on the patio and relax without having to swat myself every five minutes! 

For more information about Last Bite call 866-742-4887 or visit http://www.lastbitemosquito.com

Stop by Last Bite’s booth at Westfield’s Spring Fling on May 7th and tell them Sharon says hello! 

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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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