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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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Open HOuse pIc

GSMLS Open House List For Cranford, Westfield, and Surrounding Areas of NJ

 

Click here for the Open house list, and call if you have any questions! 908-447-3579 cell

Here is the scheduled  GSMLS Open House List  for residential real estate in Cranford, Westfield, Clark, Garwood, Kenilworth, Mountainside, Scotch Plains and Fanwood NJ for the weekend of July 15th and 16th. Open Houses are on Sunday from 1-4pm unless otherwise noted. (A few are Saturday!) Please let me know if you would like information about these, or any other properties. Please let the hosting agents know that I sent you! Click this link if you would like a Free, No Obligation Market Analysis on your home, or click below to view all available GSMLS listings:

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Cranford Porchfest

Cranford Porchfest 2017: Taking Porch Sitting to a Whole New Level!

Cranford Porchfest

I can’t think of a more perfect union: porches and music! Add our quaint town of Cranford into the mix and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect day! Here comes Porchfest 2017 to Cranford! Folks, get ready for October 21st from 2:00 pm until 5:00 pm!

A great town begins with people who care and have an invested interest in the happiness of all who reside. Thank you Cranford Community Connection for finding this national phenomenon and realizing that Porchfest is exactly what our town needs! Founded by Lesley Green and Gretchen Hildreth in Ithaca, New York in 2007 – the concept of Porchfest has taken the country by storm. When so much negativity is surrounding us, the need to come together as a community through the power of music and neighborly love is overwhelming.

 

Porchfest is a FREE musical event and completely powered by the “do-it-yourself” concept. It is orchestrated by local volunteers, space provided by homeowners, entertainment performed by musicians donating their time, and a day enjoyed by the community!

 

The purpose of the Cranford Community Connection is to bring the neighborhoods of Cranford together to celebrate community and friendship. The masterminds behind Porchfest are all Cranford residents: Ashley Legg, Randy Geis, Jennifer Geis, Owen Dingelstedt, Chris Lenza, Jackie Carr, and Patricia MacLean. When the group was asked to brainstorm an event that would be perfect for the town, Jennifer immediately thought of Porchfest. The committee’s instant response was, “Wow, we gotta do this – we have to make it happen!” Within the first few minutes of Randy Geis’ Facebook post in December, the “Likes” started pouring in! Everyone wondered what this was all about and the anticipation kept growing!

 

I sat down with Randy Geis to get an idea of their vision for Cranford Porchfest in October and how you can submit your perfect porch or enter your band/music group for consideration! Randy indicated that they want to keep the first Porchfest very simple. “Every porch host, performer, and attendee is in effect a co-creator and real-time manager of the event.” It’s meant to be an afternoon of families walking around Cranford – “enjoying time together and the music we have put together.”

 

He said, “Our goal is to hit the four quadrants in town!” They ideally would like the participating porches to represent those areas with equidistant walking into town. There will be no streets closed, no outside food vendors brought in, and no souvenirs for sale. The committee encourages everyone to put a chair on their back, bring a stroller, ride a bike, or walk the town.

 

The event will take place from 2:00pm – 5:00pm with 8 porches participating in Cranford Porchfest. There will be 3 performances at each home and the set up and take down will all occur within the hour. At 5:30pm the “big act” will perform in the gazebo next to the Cranford Fire Department!

 

The call out is right now for musical acts and porches and all information can be found at their new website Cranford Porchfest

 

So you think you have the perfect porch for a musical act?

Deadline to submit is July 13!!

Pssst! You don’t even have to have a REAL porch! The committee will take into consideration stoops, yards, driveways – anything that allows a large crowd to gather and is street-facing. They ask that you are available the date of the event and are willing to work with the 3 musical groups that will be performing at your home. Also, they hope you don’t mind music goers enjoying your lawn! If you think that you have the hot spot for a band and the traffic on your street is minimal – hurry to submit your home with pictures and address to Cranford Porchest. They will be choosing 8 homes and hope to have porches that represent each section of town. Once selected, you will receive further information from the committee.

 

I have a great band or musical act and would like to be considered!

Cranford PorchfestSubmissions will run from July 1 – September 1

Randy said that the committee wants music from “across the board” – they want to consider everything! You’re in luck! If you or someone you know is in a jug band, church group, solo act, string quartet, kid band, rock band, or can play a mean harmonica – you may just have a chance! They encourage groups from all over New Jersey – not just Cranford. All genres are welcome as long as you love to perform! You must be available on October 21, be able to complete your performance within an hour, and are ready to celebrate music in Cranford! Start by submitting your musical act or band to Cranford Porchfest.

 

The fall will definitely be exciting with the appearance of a new town-wide event that is focused on family, neighbors, and celebrating music within the community. Cranford is host to so many beautiful homes and the fact that music goers can walk or bike the streets of town to congregate on lawns and listen to music is simply heavenly. Cranford residents are all in such anticipation for this October afternoon! Stay posted for a future blog from me highlighting the specifics on Cranford Porchfest 2017 and what porches you’ll be rockin’ on!

(p.s. Sneak peak! The homes posted in this blog are ACTUAL porches that have already been selected!)

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Welcome Home!

Gorgeous Riverfront Home In Cranford, NJ! $665,000

Cranford NJ Home For SaleThe minute you step foot on this special property, you’ll NEVER want to leave! Located on one of Cranford’s prettiest streets, this classic colonial has curb appeal in spades. The entire first floor has newly installed hardwood floors, thick chestnut trim, and oversized windows that let sunlight pour in. Relax in the spacious living room with wood-burning fireplace and a stunning view of the gorgeous grounds and Rahway River. The dining room opens into a totally updated kitchen with granite countertops, ample cabinetry, recessed lighting, and stainless steel appliances. A cozy sun room and powder room complete the first floor. Just off the kitchen, a brick patio extends the entertaining space outdoors, where the parklike backyard and welcoming gazebo at the water’s edge make every day feel like a vacation. The second level offers two good-sized bedrooms, an updated full bath, and a spacious master suite with vaulted ceilings, skylights, walk-in closet plus a double closet, and en suite full bath. The living space continues in the walk-up attic with finished office/4th bedroom and two large storage rooms. Laundry is located in the full basement along with ample storage space. With multiple zone heating and central air, a detached garage, million-dollar views from almost every room, and an unbeatable location close to top schools, parks, and Downtown Cranford … this home has it ALL!

 CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS AND FLOORPLANS!

*This property is listed for $665,000 with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Westfield West Office 908-233-0065. 

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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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Cranford Home For Sale! $539,000 Open House 6/4/17 1-4pm

406 Central Ave Cranford Open House 6/4/17   1-4pm

This charming three bedroom dutch colonial situated on a tree-lined street in the heart of Cranford is the perfect place to call home! High ceilings, hardwood floors, and period details beautify the first floor, which includes an entry foyer with closet, living room with fireplace, formal dining room, den, powder room, and spacious eat-in kitchen with granite countertops and stainless-steel appliances. Enjoy outdoor entertaining on the covered deck and patio. The second floor offers three bedrooms and an updated full bath. A walk-up attic provides ample storage space and the possibility for expansion. A recreation room, office, and laundry can be found in the partially finished basement. Detached 1-car garage. Don’t let this one slip away!

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View more photos and floorplans here: 406 Central Ave, Cranford

*This property is listed for $539,000 with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Westfield West Office 908-233-0065.

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123 Besler Ave Cranford

Exclusive! Rare Multi Family Opportunity in Cranford NJ

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

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

CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE PHOTOS AND FLOORPLANS!

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IMG_9186

Get Fit with Legg Day!

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

fitness

fitness

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

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

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

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

fitness

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

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

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Northside of Cranford EXCLUSIVE Listing!

wide_IMG_8194_4962596Enjoy an easy living lifestyle in this 4-bedroom, 2.5 bath Cranford charmer! You’ll love coming home to the inviting living room with gorgeous hardwood floors and stunning floor-to-ceiling fireplace. A formal dining room connects to the totally updated kitchen with modern cabinetry, 6-burner stainless steel stove, sleek granite countertops, and recessed lighting. Enjoy your morning coffee in the adorable sun room that opens onto an expansive patio perfect for entertaining. Two bedrooms and a full bath complete the first floor. The second floor boasts two large bedrooms (one with walk-in closet), a full bath, and ample storage space. The full basement offers opportunities for expanded living space and includes a bathroom and laundry area. With central air, an oversized attached garage, great closet space, professional landscaping, and a wonderful location close to schools and the town pool, all you need to do is unpack your bags! 

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

For more details and floorplans, click HERE, or contact me for a private showing!

 

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