Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Holidays Happened

Obviously I haven't updated in awhile. I just sort of didn't know what to write about after twenty kids, not much older than mine, and their teachers/administrators got gunned down in the Newtown, CT shooting. Was I going to talk about holiday gifting? Food? Lament on how to fill these days off for my own kid who is alive and well? I don't think so. Nothing seemed...seems?....appropriate. But I'm at work today while B took E to the American Museum of Natural History today. So I thought I'd just try to dive back in.

Hope everyone had nice holidays- whatever it is you may celebrate. For me, it actually came and went in a blur. I didn't even get to take advantage of the "holiday hours" in the mall(s). Normally, I just like the frenzy of it all. I just wasn't motivated this year. I didn't do the Black Friday thing like I usually do. I never "need" anything and sometimes I don't even buy anything. It sounds crazy, I know, but I just like being part of the energy. I opted to sleep instead. We didn't really have any gifts to buy, except for E, and we didn't even have that much to buy for him either. I feel like I was at work most of December.

I definitely was at work that fateful Friday of the shootings. I'm not going to say a lot about it- it's already all been said, meme'd on FB, argued, debated, and I'm tired. I'm just sad. Sad for those who lost their lives, for the parents and families, and just in general. I've never been a scared or neurotic person any day of my life. I don't fear dark parking lots, I don't worry about driving through "bad" neighborhoods...I've gone anywhere I've needed to go, alone if need be, anytime I needed to and never even thought twice about it. It's just been life. I've always been on the go-go-go. I don't have time to wait for an escort. When I was eight months pregnant, I got it in my head that I needed a mannequin. I wanted to sell my clothes and I felt they'd look better displayed on a mannequin. The only place it looked like I'd be able to get one was Newark. I just said to B- hey, by the way, I need to go to Newark to get a mannequin. It's not like he'd tell me that I couldn't go and if he did, I'd look at him like he lost his damn mind. If I need something, wherever it is, I'm going. The only thing I'd say I'm scared of are bugs. BUT, NOW, I also can't say that anytime I'm sitting in a movie theater I don't have a fleeting thought of, "Wow. People came to a movie, innocently, there to relax...only to lose or almost lose their lives...". Or just wondering what it would be like if I was in one of those life-threatening/altering situations. It would have never even occurred to me prior to the movie theater shooting. It's jarring. I hate that I even have that though. We can all point fingers, needing to find somewhere or someone to place the blame on. But the bottom line is that innocent people lost their lives suddenly, painfully and unfairly. I hope we, as a nation, are able to come up with some solutions, quickly, to stop all the madness.

I didn't do anything different by the way. I don't do anything different. I didn't run to get E from school that day. I wanted to see him of course, but I didn't run out like a lunatic. I didn't change his routine or buy him gifts just because I was thankful for him. For me, the best way to honor those who were savagely murdered was to just live. Live like we always do. On the go. Not let my world be rocked on the outside even if I was crying on the inside. I can't let situations like that change me. I'm not going live scared. I'm not going to let my kid live in fear or in a bubble. It's easy to succumb to sadness and fear but it's not my way. It never will be. Not after 9/11 and not after these crazy, random rampages. They will not win. The only way for me to feel some sense of control is to go on, business as usual and just make sure my kid feels happy and secure as usual. People have been discussing where to turn to get through this type of nightmare and for me- I just turn inward to my own strength reserve. Through my own life experieneces, I've learned I have a wealth of it to draw from.

I'm going to lighten the mood a little, talk about what we were up to and do some reviews. Work has been crazy the past few weeks. It SUCKED after Hurricane Sandy- SCARY sucked. I think though, with that storm, people weren't really ready for Thanksgiving or couldn't host it. We're usually slow right AFTER Thanksgiving, when everyone else picks up. But I think people decided Christmas was going to be their Thanksgiving this year and wanted their homes to look good. We had more chandelier orders than usual that people NEEDED for the holidays. It was crazy trying to get them done, but we did- EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. And they all looked fab if I do say so myself. There are some pics on our FB page. If you're not friended to us- by all means, click that like button. We were really excited for them because we'd visited the homes prior, knew where they were going and couldn't wait to see them hung and lit.

We had a very low-key Jewish Christmas. We did nothing on Christmas Eve. On Christmas Day we went to the Edgewater Multiplex Theater to see Wreck It Ralph at 12:50p. It was the perfect time because people were still home doing whatever is their holiday tradition, so the place was pretty empty. It was crazy there by the time the movie ended. E liked the movie. I fell asleep in the first fifteen minutes, so I have no idea how the movie was up till about the middle. I didn't LOVE some of the name-calling in it but other than that- it was pretty innocuous. I always spend the whole time in those animated movies trying to figure out who the voices are. Dinner was at Kiku in Paramus not long after the movie ended. E ate pretty much nothing as predicted but hibachi was a compromise between B and I. I know it's in my DNA to want Chinese food on Christmas but I don't really LIKE Chinese food. I really need to be in the mood for it, not forced because that's what the rest of the Jews are doing that day. It was fine. I knew I also had a Pam special (A la Cupcakes) "chocolate chip cookie cupcake" waiting for me at home so dinner really didn't matter to me. My friend Margaret also dropped off a box of homemade holiday cookies so I knew those were there too. But that was it. Like I said- low-key.

Someone asked me about Miller's Ale House the other day and I realized I forgot to write about it. It's the new place next to 24 Hour Fitness- where the Tenplex used to me. We tried to get in there once, but it was already like an hour wait at around 6p. We bailed that time. But on Black Friday, I think everyone had already been to the malls in the morning and had too many Thanksgiving leftovers to bother going out to eat. We were able to get in right away. It's HUGE. I guess it would be considered THE Bergen County sports bar now. I'm not exactly sure what constitutes the title "sports bar" but this place has like 100 tv's, all over, all tuned into sports. I know they play sports on tv at the Allendale Bar & Grill, Glen Rock Inn, and I'm sure many smaller-type pubs in every town. Even TGIFriday's. THIS, though, is a sports bar. It's just gigantic with a menu to match. They have a HUGE menu. Now, I'll admit- I think I made a personal mistake with my food choice. I ordered lobster tails. But they were broiled, like it said on the menu and I didn't really like them. BUT that was my own fault. I think I just don't like broiled fish. I forget what E and B had but they both liked their meal. That's saying a lot when talking about E. It also was fairly inexpensive. The service was good and all in all I have no complaints. I'd go back if there wasn't a huge wait. I'd just pick something else to eat. It's definitely kid friendly. It looks like a young crowd and it's definitely a "hang out" for the college (over 21's) and early to late 20's crowd. I can't say I didn't feel a little old.

My friend also mentioned taking the kids to Kid-netic in Montville during this break from school. I have actually been there. Just for a birthday party in the spring. I put the address in my GPS and was stymied to learn that it is only twenty-five minutes from Glen Rock. I didn't believe it at first. I went to pick up a train table from an old high school friend who lives there and I felt like it took me at least forty-five minutes to an hour to get to her. Maybe Montville is really big? At any rate, I meant to write about it after the birthday party and never got to it. It's a great kid place. I'm a little afraid to write about it because it seems like every time I do write about somewhere, they close. Hello, that means you Cutie Patooties. Kidnetic is clean and they serve food- like for lunch, to daily patrons. The food thing is a huge bonus. The only other places I've encountered that does that are Funtime Junction in Fairfield, NJ and Wee Play in Nanuet- which I don't even know if it's still open. They have one of those huge climbing jungle gym things like at Kids U but it seems more manageable for the littler ones for some reason. I didn't have to go in there for E at all. Then they just have open floor space with things to climb on and a zip line thing. It's good for getting out all that energy for sure. It just looks nice in there too. I've never been there for an open play but I'd definitely go if I had the time. It looks like they have some cool classes too.

I don't know what I'm going to get to do the rest of this week. I'm not sure how many days and when I'll be at work vs home. But if I go anywhere cool, I'll let you know. Happy and healthy to you all!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Real Housewife of NJ

I suppose I'm a "real housewife" in my own right. Although, as real housewifing goes, I'm not too adept in the kitchen or at "homemaking" in general, but that's not really what people think of when you say "Real Housewives" anymore. If you walk into a conversation about them, you're talking about New Jersey, NYC, The OC, Beverly Hills, Miami or Atlanta. Possibly even DC if they are a real aficionado on the topic since those ladies only lasted one season.

B and I always end up in such random situations. One night I was out with a friend and B was walking with Ethan in town. He walked by the Glen Rock Inn and lo and behold, just casually having dinner outside was Rosie Pierri (Kathy Wakile's sister), of RHONJ fame. I got a text from B that she was there, quickly prompting a text back saying, "You got a picture with her, right??!". Since my loving husband hates to disappoint me, he did go back making our three and a half year old do his dirty work. He had E go up to her and say hello. Yadda yadda, he got the picture. E and Rosie. She was super nice and she introduced B to her friends, one of which is Robyn Levy, the editor/owner of New Jersey Dining Out magazine.

Robyn invited B (and +1) to an event she was having this past Friday night at Al Di La in East Rutherford. It was a cocktail party collecting toys for children in need. B thought it would be nice to get out and go to it. He was appreciative of the invite and we had toys to give anyway. I happened to wake up with a cold that morning, it was raining and about forty degrees out so we thought about cancelling, but we already RSVP'd and had a sitter so we figured we'd just go. Well, I couldn't have been happier that we did decide to go!

It was a cocktail party to collect toys, BUT it was also part of an episode of RHONJ's next season. If there was any event for me to randomly end up, anyone that knows me knows this would be it. How exciting, right? Whatever- judge away if you're a Housewives Hater but I know for plenty, it's definitely a fun guilty pleasure. For me, it's not even a hidden one- I'm out and proud of my Housewives love.

At first, we didn't see anyone affiliated with the show. We were there for what seemed like awhile, made friends with another couple- Christina & Matt, who made the night really fun just by being cool to hang out with and very friendly. B & I can always find stuff to talk about with each other, but it's nice at one of these kinds of things, to find other people to chat with.

THEN, we see Cameras, Flashbulbs, and HOUSEWIVES (and husbands, grown children, and siblings)! Oh my! I realized that since it was FOR Dine Out NJ, food and drink companies were sponsoring and there to get their stuff out there. Kathy was promoting her cannolis, Christopher Laurita was promoting BLK Water (and maybe other liquids?), and I guess Jacqueline was there to support her husband (and just be...herself), Rosie was there because she's Kathy's sister and friends with Robyn, and Rich Wakile and kids were there to support Kathy. I think Rich's sister was there too. She looked familiar. I feel like she may have been on the show at least once. Or she just looks familiar to me.

First of all- all the women are SMALL. Way smaller than on TV. Not that they're "big" on tv, but you know what I mean. Jacqueline is SO tiny! Like, I felt like the jolly Green Giant next to her. They were all VERY nice and very happy to take pictures. I am obviously not shy about asking- just ask Matthew Settle (Rufus, Gossip Girl) who I chased down on a Manhattan street for a photo. Everyone was trying to get their attention but they were very personable and friendly. Rosie remembered B from the time they met on the street so that was pretty cool.

The cameras were on them all from the minute they came in until we left hours later. It was odd- I love have some tv moments but I really couldn't imagine being on camera for THAT long, just having regular conversations. It's not like cameras are just "around" unobtrusively. These are big, lighted, in-your-face cameras. More than one at a time. And I think the "characters" are supposed to just try to "act natural". But I don't even know how you could. B, Matt, Christina and I were all in the background of the filming at least 3/4 of the time but we could move around, talk freely, etc, and not have to be "on". It actually seemed like a lot of work!

We had fun. It was a really nice party in general. I'd never been to Al Di La before but the food was REALLY good. They had a pasta station with a vodka and a red sauce and both were delicious. I LOVE vodka sauce but it has to be good. Apparently there are so many ways of making it, some places can really mess it up. Well, mess it up for me anyway. But this was PERFECT vodka sauce. They had a chocolate fountain, the cannolis, a candy bar, an OPEN bar (alcohol), and lots of passed hors d'oeuvres. There were even pigs in a blanket. No event is complete without them. Again, at least in my book.

I didn't get to meet Robyn because she was all over the place doing her thing. I didn't want to interrupt her. So I just want to publicly thank her for throwing a great party and including us. It was an awesome event to get to be a part of and I got great pictures. Anytime I get good pictures, life is good.

Al Di La:
New Jersey DiningOut:

Friday, December 7, 2012

Winter Camp

I was looking for something for E to do over winter break because I work. There really isn't anything I found that seems like a deal worth the cost. There were a few things I saw but they were for 2-3 hours a day which doesn't really help me. I'd basically be bringing him somewhere then turning around and picking him up. No good.

BUT- when I was in college, I worked at the YJCC Bergen in Washington Township hostessing birthday parties and doing "winter camp" there. I looked them up and they still do it! Doesn't help ME because they start at kindergarten age and E isn't there yet but I thought I'd pass on the info for anyone who needs it-

Basketball & all-day fun PDFPrintE-mail
Wednesday and Thursday, December 26 and 27 Vacation Camp is under way for children in grades K-3; Thursday and Friday, December 27 and 28, Basketball Mini Camp is in session for children in grades K-8.

YJCC Vacation Camp invites children in kindergarten through third grade to enjoy a fun-filled day of activities, including swimming, gym, arts and crafts, a special activity, lunch and snack on Wednesday and Thursday, December 26 and 27. The program fee for each day, lunch and snack included, is $70 for YJCC members and $80 for non-members.
For information about Vacation Camp, contact Wendy Fox at (201) 666-6610, ext. 5820 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
Click here for a registration form.

Basketball Mini Camp is offered for children in kindergarten through eighth grade on Thursday and Friday, December 27 and 28, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. Drills and a variety of skills are practiced, under the direction of Jenny Jurjevic, YJCC athletic director. The fee for Basketball Mini Camp is $30 per day, which includes a camp T-shirt. An extended day program is available until 2:00 p.m. for an additional $15 per day (lunch not included).
For information about Basketball Mini Camp, contact Jenny Jurjevic at (201) 666-6610, ext. 5790 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Click here for a registration form.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


I know I write about my hairdresser Don, and his staff, a decent amount but that's because they deserve the accolades! I leave Salon Azano loving my hair every single time. I had my 20 year high school reunion on Thanksgiving Weekend and I got my hair done the Wednesday prior. I wasn't worried for one second that it would look awesome.

I did the pink again- apparently Eufora, the hair care product company Don loves and believes in, came out with a "fashion" line- the fun colors, like red, hot pink and violet. Those are supposed to last way longer- approximately eight weeks, vs maybe the four I get out of the previous one. They said the color on those is extremely vibrant so since I'd never tried those, I was a little afraid to do it right before my big event. I opted for whatever pink/magenta color I usually do and Don still made it more concentrated somehow. The only difference is that I had him also throw in a few blond highlights. Because I actually like as the pink starts to fade it's a mix of pink, blond, and some dark. I love the outcome! Not just because of the color, but how it feels. Usually when you mess with your hair like this, it ends up dry, dry looking, and just not...sleek. He mentioned he put a deep conditioner on and it worked like a charm. It's my regular, shiny hair, just pink'd.

All I can say is that you shouldn't be afraid to play with your hair, play with color, etc. Just like in my store- you can have everything be a thousand shades of beige or you can take a risk and go for the knockout! I love the funky colored hair. Even elderly ladies compliment my hair, the more bright and vibrant it looks. And if you don't like it, it doesn't even stay in THAT long.

I added pictures of it down and half up so you can see the different looks. I get a half a head of highlights, extra color (pink), a cut, and blow dry. It takes around an hour and a half to two hours. Without the extra color it's definitely about 30 minutes less. He's phenomenally quick without sacrificing quality.

 Half up

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Soiree

Salon Azano Holiday Soiree!

The air is getting colder
the holidays are near
a time for celebration
for those we hold so dear!

You are cordially invited to join us for a festive holiday soiree!

Exclusive to our guests of the evening:

Get a sneak peak of our 12 day holiday promotions

Live demo's of simple at home holiday styles and make-up tips for a night out


Sit with a stylist for a personal lesson on at home styling

First look at our Grand Prize of the holiday!

  • 450 Livingston St
  • Norwood, New Jersey 07648
  • (201) 750-3322

  • Monday, November 26, 2012

    20 Years Later NMHS 1992

    1992. It's been twenty years. Some days it feels like forever ago and some days I can't believe it was so long ago. But it is what it is and "what it is" happens to be twenty years since I graduated high school.

    It's been the twenty year mark for many of my newer friends, not from my little town in Bergen County, NJ. I have Long Islanders, some from Pennsylvania, South Jersey (which might as well be another state), and even a handful from Connecticut. I don't know how to really describe my town except to say that many of the people I graduated with, I'd started out with not even in kindergarten but at Brookside Nursery School. Brookside was just the place to go in town I guess. It's no longer there, in it's old familiar spot on River Road. It's two residential homes. Sometimes when I drive by I try to look between them to see if the old treehouse is still there. I think it is!

    That's a lot of years to be with the same people. We had two elementary schools that went from K-3 when we were there. They've moved the grades around a few times since prior to me starting and since I have graduated. But back then it was K-3, 4-7 and 8-12. Both elementary schools fed into one middle and one high school so we got to know the kids from the other side of town by the time we were going into fourth grade. Now I think the elementary schools are K-5 so it's less time with all the people they'll eventually graduate with. I didn't necessarily think it was a great idea have eighth graders with seniors but the rest of it was fine. I always liked meeting new people- still do. So it was exciting to get with all these new kids for fourth grade on up.

    I never really had a clique in school. And while there were definitely "sub-groups", I feel like there was nothing set in stone with who hung out with whom. People sort of over-lapped and could move from group to group because we only had a class of approximately one hundred and thirty students at any given time. We had some come, some leave, move, go to private school, and some even came back at some point. Everyone had their FRIENDS, but I feel like everyone was still pretty friendly with everyone else.

    My best friend in my grade was Ann Marie. I mostly hung out with her but somehow I ended up in a group with Kerry, Lisa, Jen P (class of 91), and maybe a few other people but I have "mom brain" now and can't really remember. We were all in the Ski Club together, at least for one year. But I always had a job, since I was thirteen, so I had work friends from other towns. This Jewish girl joined T.A.R.G.E.T. at St. Joe's (Catholic) church so I had friends from there, older and from other towns. I had boyfriends who were older and from other towns. I just never wanted to be pinned down. It started in fifth grade when I was sort of part of a group. I'd see people turning on each other or talking about each other and I didn't want it to end up being me as the odd one out. So I just kind of did my own thing. It worked for me. I found it easy to just be friends with everyone minus the drama. The only downside was, well, not being part of a group. I have friends now who talk about their "group" from growing up- the group they're still friends with today, still tight knit and sharing 30+ years of memories. In that aspect I guess I'm a little wistful of those kinds of relationships but I would much rather be on the periphery of drama than in the thick of it. I did the same in college and I can say with almost 100% certainty that I never really had falling outs with people having to do with group drama.

    I was on the reunion planning committee for the ten year reunion. We were all around twenty-eight years old and I felt like I was on of like five people not married or in a serious relationship yet. It was kind of weird for me. I was living a totally different life than most of my high school peers. I was online dating like it was a job, I was traveling all over the country for business, I had a roommate, a shore house, and I just wasn't "settled" in any way. It was different though in the way that there was no Facebook. I really hadn't seen anyone in ten years. I'd lived down in central jersey until 2001 and my ten year reunion was in 2002. I'd only been back in Bergen County for a year. It was really cool to reconnect and see everyone but since there was no Facebook, nothing really stuck, at least for me.

    This time it was different. It was...cozier? The majority of the class has been on Facebook for some time now. So it wasn't so much small talk because we already know the basics. So we could have more interesting conversations. Not even just in MY class but people from my high school in general, people I didn't know that well in school or just didn't really like, yet getting to know them "virtually" has been really nice. Some people I didn't know were funny- are. Some are my political allies, some I've been shocked at how racist, sexist, and ignorant they are, and some have become some of the most fascinating, charitable, kind people I've ever encountered. I definitely think Facebook has enhanced the reunion experience in a positive way for the most part. I'd never pick up a phone to talk to people I knew way back when, but it's fun to share photos, laughs, memories, and whatever else on a more consistent basis than just waiting for once a decade.

    It was great to see everyone. We had it at Sanzari's New Bridge Inn. I'd been there for dinner once but a very long time ago. I didn't even know they had an upstairs party room. It was awesome. It has it's own bathrooms, which are clean and nice. The food was really great. The bar was big and the bartenders were quick with orders. They have an ipod hook-up so we didn't even need a DJ. They were easy to deal with, awesome on price, and just very accommodating- complimentary valet and a coat check. Basically you get the perks of a reception hall without the reception hall pricing. We would totally do it there again.

    The only thing I wish is that we had more time. Four hours wasn't enough. Next time we will have to negotiate for five. I feel like I blinked and it was over. Granted, I did have like six drinks (you know how I love Malibu) which almost never happens. But trying to talk to everyone was a huge task. I'd start talking to one person and get swept away to talk to someone else. I wish Heather (who looks exactly like she did in high school), Ryan, Rich, Andrew, Maria, and anyone else not on Facebook will get an account so they can see pictures and be part of our little group on there. Everyone looked great too! As a group, I certainly don't think we looked like we graduated twenty years ago! Jen W, Anne, Kathy, Ron, Preeti, Aaron, Brian B, Donna, Kelly, Nicole V, Marie & Michelle- wished we could've caught up more. Megha- I'm so glad you made it from so far away. We just needed more time. Marlo- I'm glad B could entertain Doug and it's always good to see you. Judy- thanks for being a reader and being so complimentary. Melissa- we probably could've talked the whole night, as usual. Devon- I feel like I saw you walk in and out and that was it. But I know I can count on you for good FB discussions. Justin- it was great to see you and Stacy. Next time you're by my house, just ring the bell. Cris- it was great sitting with you and I love your wife. Dan B- didn't know you were coming but I'm so glad you did! Suzanne- it was great to have a few minutes in the beginning to chat. Marisa, Karen M and Jen C- next time we need more "planning sessions" just to get together for the laughs. Nesoff- we did it. And it was awesome. I loved our late night chats and always just picking up where we left off. Can't wait to do it again! I know I probably left people out but I'm doing this off the top of my head. If I think of more stuff, I'll come back and edit.

    This whole post actually came about from an unlikely source. I say "unlikely" because I just didn't expect to have an avid blog reader that's a guy from my graduating class. Actually, a guy I started out with in kindergarten with, then graduated with, is more accurate. So Joey- here's your shout-out. We were talking and he told me he reads all my stuff and loves it. I was so flattered. Not because I'm not confident in my writing (haha), but because I write a lot about kid stuff, review, and not for a particular audience but I just got the feeling it was more of a mom-reader thing. I don't write about sports or anything typically "guy" so it's nice to know I have a wider appeal than I thought. Thanks Joey. I'm glad we did get some time to catch up. Hopefully it won't be another five-ten years for the next time. I'm always happy to see you and your big smile.

    It's over. It's sort of like the day after Christmas or your wedding. It was so much planning, then the night just flies by and you wished you could even remember it all.

    Thank you those who came and the whole class of 1992!!

    Wednesday, November 14, 2012

    Aardvark Winter

    Aardvark Winter Registration:

       Here are all the details you need to register for the Winter Semester.
    Open registration begins Monday, November 26th at 4pm!
    • Registration for new families opens at 4pm on Monday, November 26th on our website at The registration page is also directly accessible here. If you haven't registered for a class with us before, please create an account before November 26th.
    • Winter semester is ten weeks and will run from Saturday, January 5th through mid-late March.
    • Winter semester tuition is $245.
    • Every class features two teachers: both a class leader and a backup guitar player.
    • Each semester features a different Music For Aardvarks CD, which families receive at the first class meeting.
    • Tuition for siblings enrolled in the same class is $150 for the second child and $100 for the third child.
    • Siblings under 10 months as of the start of the semester are free!
    • All classes are Mixed Age unless otherwise noted.
    If you have any additional questions, please contact us by emailing info [at] or by phone at 201-615-1292

    More Music

    Sing It!

    Friday, November 9, 2012

    Randoms on Sandy

    Where to start....

    Well I'm about ready to buy my Jersey Strong T-shirt, that's for sure. We're supposed to have weather that's sunny and in the 60's the next few days, like nothing ever happened. Meanwhile we're all forever impacted by the nightmare of Sandy. It's all kind of surreal on one hand and all too real on the other. I'm up in Bergen so when I look at pictures of the decimated shore, the roller coaster in the water, and the spots where homes used to be, for now, I can just pretend it's a bad dream.

    As I see the photos it's like my life flashing before my eyes- high school prom weekends in Seaside and Wildwood, day & weekend trips with boyfriends, my now husband, and my son. "Dancing, smiling and shakin' that ass" at D'Jais in Belmar, late nights at Headline in Neptune, morning wrap-up at 114, 15th St in Belmar with my college girls Julie, Jess, Yundi, Marissa, Allison and whomever else came down to hang out. My crazy weirdo date at some mansion in Deal, showing E the Phillips St beach club in Deal and getting him a burger at the Windmill. Days and nights growing my relationship with B on the boat at the marina in Sea Bright. Stalking John Bon Jovi's house by the Navesink, hoping to sometime catch a glimpse of him. Nights at Jenk's seeing The Nerds or having a Rider reunion night, "CAB'S HERE" going from Belmar to Headliner or Belmar to Jenks. Staying in Loveladies with my out-of-state friends, showing them the "Jersey Shore house" and the boardwalks we call home. I could go on and on and everytime I think about it I want to cry.

    Here, while we aren't under water, trees were and are still down like dominos. There is a house up my street that looks like they must have been trapped in there, with no power, for like eleven days, because a giant tree is across their driveway, blocking their cars in, tangled in every power line they had in their corner. It looks insane. I was dropping my kid off at his school, I went to go home and I literally got lost in my own town because of detours from down trees. I actually started panicking because I could not find my way out. My neighbors were out of power for at least nine days. It's been a total shitshow up in the Rock. And Ridgewood, HoHoKus, etc.

    Of course people have it worse. In life, someone's always going to have it worse. As long as there are starving children in other countries, people are going to have it worse. But I think we can feel bad for everyone. If it's happening to you, whether it's "big" or "small", it's still happening and it still sucks. So let's remember that next time you want to say to someone, "At least.." Well, "at least you're not submerged in shit while someone's pissing on your head" is how it comes out. Just simply say, "I'm sorry. I can only imagine how hard that is...". Let's stop trying to quantify people's pain and suffering. Because if you want to ration out your sympathy based on your definition of important, you better not ever have anything to complain about yourself. Be kind to your neighbors, friends, strangers, etc. This was a traumatizing event. If complaining makes someone feel better, so be it.

    Some of our customers and friends are still without power. It's day 12. It's so scary and disheartening. You feel forgotten. That's how we felt after Irene and the freak snow storm last October when we lost power for 6-7 days. During Irene it was just us and five homes across the street so no one seemed to care. But I had a two year old and it definitely lost it's "adventure" appeal quickly. My heart goes out to anyone that still has no power. We have power, heat and wifi in our store, Shades of Soho. So if you're in the Glen Rock area and you still need to power up and have no where to go, our door is open- 175 Rock Rd, next to Gianella's and Greek Taverna.

    I want to thank the Carr's (Liz, Joe, Syd and Jordan) specifically for always being ready to help us out- whether it's having a gaggle of tween girls to watch E or offering us a place to stay when our power went out, it's nice to know we have family in Glen Rock.

    We got to know some of E's friends' parents a little better and got to hang out with ones we already know, being able to host them for playdates while they had no power at home. So shout out to E's "brothers", Jason & Sam. Good to have you Katz's and Nissenbaums.

    Thanks to Borough of Glen Rock Facebook page and the Ridgewood-Glen Rock Patch for keeping us as informed as possible, hour by hour on outages, trees down, work being done, etc. It was really a community effort that was a great comfort as I was sitting in my car trying to power up two phones when our house went dark during the snow.

    I've been trying to post as many relief efforts as I can- including our own-!/notes/bryan-kule/new-jersey-small-business-hurricane-sandy-no-retreat-no-surrender/10151524410632977 There are just so many! But if you have something you'd like me to post, just email me at something you're doing personally, something for your business, whatever- however you want it worded to the public, and I will post it.

    So we're all trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together again. It's like a hose with 100 leaks. Patch one, another pops up. Devastation in all it's forms is all around us. But like everyone's been saying, we're resilient, Jersey people. Same with NY. We'll make it through, with everyone's help. Just keep being kind, patient, and paying it forward and we'll all be okay.

    Thursday, November 8, 2012

    In the wake of Sandy

    I know I haven't really written anything personal, yet, about all the tragedy, fallout, etc that has occurred since/from the hurricane...I just can't. I will. I want to. I just need to find the words. Those who know me personally know that it is a rare time when I don't have words, thoughts, and opinions to share....but bear with me. This is one of those times. All I can say is that I can't quantify tragedy. I feel sad, sorry, empathy, compassion, love, positivity, warm heartfelt thoughts, and a million other things for EVERYONE who was affected in any way shape or form from this devastation. Just remember that suffering is suffering, large or small and be kind and humane to your neighbors, friends, and strangers in this time of need and loss. Thanks for listening and reading. I will continue to post any updated info people might find pertinent regarding places to go, people to see, ways to help, who to help, where to help, where you can get help, something to do or something to eat. 

    Below is a letter Bryan and Sam wrote. If you could just take a look it would be much appreciated. If you'd like to pass it on, even better. 


    New Jersey Small Business:  Hurricane Sandy - No Retreat, No Surrender

    We hope that you are all safe and well in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, and our hearts go out to all of you who were affected by the devastating storm, many who have been loyal customers to our small local shop.

    As many of you know, we are Jersey Boys through and through. Our emotions are tied to every tragic story up and down the map of our great state that we love so dearly. I was brought up in North Jersey (Bergen County), Sam in South Jersey (Salem County) and we met as roommates in Central Jersey while attending Monmouth University. Our time in College along the Jersey Shore was a time and place in which our budding brotherhood connected our hearts to the beaches, places and friends where we called home for many years.

    After graduating college in 1993, Sam and I traded in our books and flip flops to go into business together and most recently started Shades of Soho in 2009, a boutique lighting store where we make and design ALL of our own products…Everything is 100% Jersey Made!  
    Most products can be customized without any additional charge.

    Our operations and flow of sales have been greatly impacted by the storm leaving us bumped and bruised and feeling helpless in many ways. How do we keep our relatively new business going and provide for our families while also trying to help others who are clearly worse off at this time than we are?

    For the remainder of this year we will be offering 10% off All of our in-house products and services as well as 10% off any items on our website
    During this time we will be donating 5% of all sales to Hurricane Sandy New Jersey Relief Fund.

    We are asking for you to share this post on your Facebook wall and/or Tweet out to all of your followers to help spread the word to those who are looking to create a look in their homes that is different than everyone else’s while making a difference in homes of the of the people who lost so much.

    We thank you in advance for your time and support!

    Revive – Rebuild – Recover!
    Bryan and Sam

    Once we made a promise we swore we’d always remember
    No retreat, baby, no surrender
    Blood brothers in a stormy night
    With a vow to defend
    No retreat, baby no surrender
                -Bruce Springsteen

    Wednesday, November 7, 2012

    Kevin Smith "Silver Lining" Storm Story

    I tried to share the story on FB but all I got was the photo. So I put it here-

    From Kevin Smith's Facebook Page-

    The New Jersey Nor’Easter of ’92

    My heart goes out to all the folks on the east coast who're staring down weather so nasty, NYC is suspending mass transit services. Batten down the hatches, make sure you've got your smart phones charged, and keep a flashlight and a stack of comic books handy for when the power goes off.

    But I'd rather light a candle than curse your darkness - so lemme tell you a quick story about the storm that changed my life.

    Pictured is my childhood home at 21 Jackson Street. Hardcore fans might recognize it as Randal's house in CLERKS II, but at one point twenty years ago?

    It was underwater.

    I grew up in the seaside borough of Highlands, New Jersey - a tiny town most know as the home to Gateway National Park (or Sandy Hook to area folks). While the beach community earned the name from the rolling hills that overlook the Shrewsbury River and the Atlantic Ocean, there are parts of downtown Highlands that fall under the "below sea level" measurement - even though it's dry land.

    When you're not from a well-known, happening city, anything big that happens to your town - no matter how dire - somehow validates you as well, earning the world you live in a "place on the map". This is especially true in childhood: At 9 years old, I was told in school that my house and many others in my neighborhood were technically below sea level. This captured my imagination no end: Would Highlands one day suffer the same fate as Atlantis? Fuck the dazzle and danger of living in NYC: at any minute, the mighty sea might claim MY hometown!

    21 Jackson Street is about a block from the Shrewsbury River. Whenever there was high tide, we'd see puddles of water bubble up from the sewers. And while severe storms would often bring some of the river pouring over the bulkhead and into my street, we'd never had water IN the house.

    That all changed on the morning of December 11th, 1992.

    About a month or two before the storm, Jason Mewes and I had purchased two Volkswagens: a Beetle and a Rabbit. The Beetle we were sharing as the car we’d use but Mewes was fixing the Rabbit to replace it. Once he'd gotten it right and plum, we intended to sell the Beetle and split the loot.

    Jason called me the night of the storm and said "They say there's a big storm coming and it's gonna flood. Maybe we should move the cars uptown."

    “They’re safe in my driveway because it never floods here,” came my famous last words. “And they’re Volkswagens, so I think they’re like waterproof or something.”

    My Mother woke me that morning barking "If you wanna save your comic books and laser discs, get out of that bed right now! You've already lost your CARS!"

    Half awake, I stepped out of the bed onto the carpeted floor. And as my foot pressed into the wall-to-wall, water engulfed my toes. With my second step came the same result.

    That woke my fat ass up.

    I immediately pulled all my bagged & boarded comics from the bottom shelf of my bookcase and threw them on my bed. I lifted my laser disc trunk onto the bed as well, even though the bottom was already soaked.

    When I ran to the living room window to check on the cars, I saw my Mother wasn’t kidding: I’d lost both cars. They were still in the driveway, mind you – but both were submerged to the hood in water. Submerged and filling, as I saw through the windshields.

    A ferocious low pressure system called a "Nor'Easter" brought gusty winds and heavy rain that quickly evolved into tides 10 feet above the norm. If you lived uptown in Highlands, you lost power for 102 hours. If you lived downtown in Highlands, you lost everything.

    50 mph winds and torrential downpours coupled with catastrophic tides hammered Highlands for nearly three days. The Nor’Easter drove the river over the bulkhead so the banks of the Shrewsbury River were now my living room and kitchen. Evacuations were mandatory but I stayed in the house with candles and the cats. I remember sitting on my couch watching blown up cat food kernels float by and thinking "Fuck my stupid life..."

    Two days later, I finally waded out of downtown Highlands in hip-deep water, got up on the highway and walked the 5 miles to Quick Stop, thinking the whole time “We’re supposed to start shooting CLERKS next week…” I called Scott Mosier in Vancouver from the Quick Stop pay phone to tell him we’d have to delay production ‘til spring ’93 the earliest - if we did it at all. After that, I sat behind the counter and vended cigarettes to some of the most serious smokers I’ve ever met – all of them willing to brave disaster-level weather just to calm their nic-fits.

    CLERKS never seemed further away than that moment. Everything I owned was waterlogged and all of my dreams were suddenly submerged, so how could I think about making some stupid movie? I was gonna be homeless, for shit's sake! Hell, I couldn’t even drive anywhere even though I had two cars: both were sleeping with the fishes. I was 22 and trying to start my life but a storm system wouldn't let me. The Nor’Easter of ’92 destroyed by world…

    For about a week. That’s when the FEMA folks showed up.

    I’d never heard of the Federal Emergency Management Agency before the Nor'Easter of '92. The government sends FEMA into natural disaster areas to help with rescue, recovery and rebuilding. They’re the calm voice in the worst moment of your life that lets you know all of your shit can be replaced and your home can be rebuilt.

    Then they give you the money to do so.

    It was like something out of a dream. The only caveat: naturally, you couldn’t ask for money to replace dopey shit like comics and laser discs: it was for home repair.

    And car replacement.

    With their engines and car seats marinating in sea water for three days, our Volkswagens were no longer usable. So Jason Mewes drags me to Borough Hall to file for the only real property we owned that was on the FEMA approved reimbursement list: our two waterlogged Volkswagens that we’d bought for roughly $400.00 combined. The FEMA agent who took our information couldn’t figure out our relationship with the communal property arrangement so she put the paperwork under Jason’s name. She said we’d know if we qualified for reimbursement in a month.

    “We’ll never hear from them again,” I told Mewes as we walked home.

    A month later, my Mom comes to the door of what was left of my post-flood bedroom and says “Jason’s on the phone. He says it’s urgent.”

    When I picked up the kitchen phone, I couldn’t get my greeting out before Jay was screaming “FEMA SENT US FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!!”

    “Four thousand dollars?!?” It was then (as it still remains) a lot of money to a guy raised in a lower, lower, LOWER middle class family. “For what?!”


    We were so excited, I didn’t have the heart to correct his math.

    I went car-less for awhile and sunk my half of that four thousand bucks into CLERKS – which we started shooting three months later in March of 1993, thanks in no small part to FEMA.

    And so, East Coast: As you await the wrath of Sandy, worried it'll turn your life upside down, lemme just throw this into your ever-bubbling brain soup for you to stew on…

    You never know what good’s gonna come out of the bad.

    For what it’s worth, I’m sending you positive vibes.
    May Batman protect you all.

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

    Dear America by R.Heitmann

    I can't find where this letter came from but it brought tears to my eyes. If anyone has the source- let me know. I saw it on FB but just copied & pasted. I thought I should pass it on! And if anyone has resources for people, places to drop stuff off, etc, just post in the comments here or in the comments section on FB on my blog page!

     Dear America,

    We are the REAL New Jersey. We are NOT the cast of MTV's Jersey Shore or Jerseylicious or the "Real Housewives" of New Jersey. We are hard-working people who happen to live in a beautiful state that is often the butt of biased comedians' jokes. But that is because they don't know us; they only know the stereotyped Jerseyite.

    We are educated. We are resilient. We take great pride in our state. Our parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents were immigrants who worked in refineries, docks and train stations. We are the sons and daughters of blue collar workers that allowed (by hard work , sacrifice, and sweat) New York City's economic development to occur. We are the grandchildren and children of police officers, teachers, railroad workers and firefighters.
    We also take amazing pride in our homes. Why? Because we have worked many jobs to afford them in a state that is very expensive to live in due to our resources. You see, others save up to visit here; we have to work that much harder to live here. Yet, we relish our mountains, we enjoy being near forests and streams, and our New Jersey Coastline is the most amazing natural site. Though a cliché, our backyards are the vacation spots for other people. From Keansburg Amusement Park to Atlantic City, we offer a plethora of experiences enhanced by the majestic and natural beauty of our beaches and the friendly demeanor of our people.

    And when our backs are up against the wall, we will come together and work toward a common goal. So pray for us, assist us if you feel inclined to with donations….and then WATCH US as we get through this difficult challenge victoriously, We will be ready to serve frozen custard, funnel cake and salt water taffy with the sounds of: the Seaside Park Roller Coaster, Atlantic City Casino's, Bon Jovi playing at Asbury Park, screams from Runaway Rapids in Keansburg, horse and buggy rides in Cape May, the yelling kids on the Himalaya at Point Pleasant or the sound of Jetskis roaring off the water in Sandy Hook and Belmar in the background.

    We are New Jersey…and we will get through this with our diligence and the Grace of God.

    ~ R. Heitmann
    November 1, 2012

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    Ridgewood Y powered & OPEN

    Good news is the YMCA is up.
    As our doors at the Ridgewood Y have reopened, we'd like to invite our neighbors and community members who are still without power to come into the Y to warm up, take a shower, have a coffee, charge your cell phones, access our wifi, or get some exercise in one of our fitness centers or heated pools. No need for a Y membership - this invite is open to all. We're here as long as you need us. Please...
    feel free to share this with friends or neighbors in need.

    Today's Schedule
    We are holding classes today; however, please be aware that the pools are still heating and may be a bit cooler than usual. If we need to cancel any swim classes today due to the pool temperature, we will post that info at Please check the link or call us at 201.444.5600 before coming in for your swim class today.

    Makeup Classes
    With regards to missed classes, we'd like to let everyone know that due to the extended time we were closed, we will be offering makeups for classes missed last week. To schedule a makeup class, please contact the appropriate program director (contact details below). All makeup classes must be booked in advance (please, no drop-ins) and must be taken during the current session (running through December 30th). Below is a list of contacts for scheduling makeups:

    Janet Oliver - ext 304 or email
    Job Pama - ext 392 or email

    Youth Sports
    Mike Rainiere - ext 339 or email
    John Duke - ext 337 or email

    Health and Fitness
    Carol Livingstone - ext 330 or email

    Family Life
    John Duke - ext 337 or email

    We'd like to once again welcome everyone back to the the Y. We're glad to be back!

    Donation Info- Backpacks for Kids

    I'm going to post donation info/drop-off, etc as they come in to me. This one is from someone I graduated New Milford High School with. She's in Bergen County-

    We are collecting school supplies for the children who are living in shelters in the Moonachie/Little ferry area. Many homes were destroyed and school supplies are low, we are looking for the following:
    gender neutral backpack
    glue/glue sticks

    Bring the backpacks with supplies to:
    110 David Place Hillsdale NJ (place on front porch bench) if no one is home I will leave a Bin for them.

    402 Monroe Avenue New Milford NJ..I will leave a bin on left side of the garage
    Since school will need to resume soon, time is a factor I would like to deliver the backpacks by thursday to the Woodridge high school where they are accepting donations this week.
    Thank you
    Vicki Cifelli
    By: Moonachie - Hurricane Relief Fund

    Sunday, November 4, 2012

    GR Office of Emergency Managment

    **NEW UPDATE** 9:50p: Just a late update. Some streets are starting to come back on with power. Jerome, and that area right there, Hillman, Central Ave and the stores down by Turvinos. Hope that helps. There may be more on that I missed.

    Update for Nov 4, 6pm. Today, we have seen PSE&G in the Borough. There have been lineman and tree crews. They have been working throughout the town cutting wires so that our DPW can get in to cut trees. Their tree crews have also been taking trees off wires. I am hopefull with the amount of service I have seen today, we will get some restoration sooner than later. Remember, we do have a lot of poles and transformers as well as high tension wires on the ground and that takes longer to do.
    We had another conference call with PSE&G today. They state that they have a plan and they are sticking with it. It basically says that they restore service to the critcal areas first then they start in the spots where the most people will get service back.
    Schools will be closed Mon and Tues. Garbage pick-up is as scheduled but we ask that you please bring it to the curb. Recycling pick-up is susspended indefinately. You may take any garbage, recycling ...
    or tree debri to the recycling center and they will gladly take it.
    Borough Hall will be open tomorrow from 8:30am to 10pm. Thanks to GRTV, we have wifi here for anyone that comes in to charge their electronics to use.
    I'd like to share with you something that happened in another town yesterday. A crew was clearing a tree from lines and somehow, the operator was electricuted. Thankfully, they were able to revive him but he had to be transfered to another hospital for the treatment of burns. If one of the trained professionals can have this happen to them, it should be a reminder to all of us that are not professional. STAY AWAY FROM WIRES! YOU NEVER KNOW.
     Have a safe night and here's to more progress tomorrow,

    Saturday, November 3, 2012

    Comprehensive Women's Care of Oradell

    Comprehensive Women's Care of Oradell- Dr Craig Wiener's office is seeing patients by candlelight. I went there yesterday morning with Ethan to get a prescription and the whole office staff was there working in the dark/limited light from outside/candles.

    They are super dedicated to their patients. They offered food, water, and a place just to be. To talk. Ethan ate a giant muffin and fed Dr Wiener's fish. He was in heaven.

    Everyone wants to feel like their doctor and staff really care. Well, here's testament to an office that really does go above and beyond for their patients.

    Their phones are down but I think calls are going to Lisa's cell phone. They also update their FB page as necessary- it's been every few hours. That's how I got in touch with them. They posted on FB, I posted that I'd like to come in, and they said, Come On Down!

    Here is their FB page-

    And here is their website-

    Their address is:

    555 Kinderkamack Rd
    Oradell, NJ


    Friday, November 2, 2012

    Bergen YJCC Info

    For All PJ Library Families and Friends:
    The Bergen County YJCC has asked us to relay the following

    The YJCC continues to welcome the entire community on
    Saturday and Sunday in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
    Saturday, November 3: 7:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    Sunday, November 4: 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
    Members and non-members are invited to come in to recharge
    electronics, shower, use our fitness center, gym (open gym -
    no organized activities) and pool, or just hang out.
    There is no charge
    We look forward to seeing you at the YJCC.
    Bergen County YJCC

    605 Pascack Road
    Township of Washington, NJ 07676

    (201) 666-6610 /

    Thursday, November 1, 2012

    YJCC Washington Twsp OPEN TO ALL

    For All PJ Library Families and Friends:
    The Bergen County YJCC has asked us to relay the
    following message:
    The Bergen Couty YJCC will be open from
    6:00 am-3:00 pm on Friday, November 2 and again
    from 7:00 am-2:00 pm on Saturday, November 3.
    Members and non-members are invited to come in to
    recharge electronics or shower, as well as use our fitness
    center and pool (at no charge), or just hang out.
    On Friday there will be games and programming in the
    gym from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon for children in grades
    K - 3. Babysitting will also be available, for a fee, on a
    first come, first served basis. Jimmy Mike's cafe will be
    open until noon on Friday.
    We hope that you are weathering the storm as best as
    possible and we look forward to seeing you at the YJCC.

    Bergen County YJCC

    605 Pascack Road
    Township of Washington, NJ 07676

    (201) 666-6610 /

    Another Sandy Benefit

    UPDATE: WGIRLS-Inc. relief fund will partner with local 501c3 organizations on the ground in NYC to make certain funds are used optimally. As the relief efforts roll out we will be better able to determine where the needs are greatest.

    The WGIRLS NYC 6th Annual Bachelor/Bachelorette Auction - "If The Price Is Right" YOU CAN PURCHASE TICKETS HERE.

    IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO HELP by making a donation to the relief fund or in kind donations to be included in the silent auction on NOVEMBER 29th, please visit or contact us at PLEASE HELP SPREAD THE WORD!

    The WGIRLS NYC Annual Bachelor/Bachelorette Auction - "If The Price Is Right" TO BENEFIT HURRICANE SANDY RELIEF

    Wednesday, October 31, 2012

    Sandy Benefit Concert

    FILE - This Aug. 14, 2012 file photo shows Bruce Springsteen performing at Fenway Park in Boston. NBC is holding a benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy featuring some artists native to the areas hardest hit. Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi of New Jersey and Billy Joel of Long Island are scheduled to appear at the concert Friday, Nov. 2. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, file)
    Enlarge Photo

    Associated Press/Michael Dwyer, file - FILE - This Aug. 14, 2012 file photo shows Bruce Springsteen performing at Fenway Park in Boston. NBC is holding a benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy featuringmore some artists native to the areas hardest hit. Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi of New Jersey and Billy Joel of Long Island are scheduled to appear at the concert Friday, Nov. 2. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer, file) less

    NEW YORK (AP) — NBC is doing a benefit concert for victims of Hurricane Sandy featuring some artists native to the areas hardest hit.
    Bruce Springsteen and Jon Bon Jovi of New Jersey and Billy Joel of Long Island are scheduled to appear at the concert Friday.
    The telecast will benefit the American Red Cross and will be shown on NBC and its cable stations including Bravo, CNBC, USA, MSNBC and E! Other networks are invited to join in.
    The concert will be hosted by Matt Lauer. It will air at 8 p.m. Eastern and will be taped-delayed in the West.
    Other performers include Christina Aguilera, Sting and Jimmy Fallon.
    The telethon will be broadcast from NBC facilities in Rockefeller Center in New York City.