Friday, January 23, 2015

Old School

I like to ice skate. Always have. I've only done it a handful of times in my adult years but it's like riding a bike. You just know what to do when you're back on the ice.

I want E to be able to skate. Not to play ice hockey but I want him to be able to hold his own on the ice. I just think it's a good skill. It's exercise, it's fun, and it's great for balance and coordination.

A year or two ago, I asked B about going and he refused. The only other thing he's flat out refused to do is ski. His feeling is that he's in his mid-forties and he can't afford to get hurt. It makes sense. He does need to work. He's not a big fan of the cold to begin with. His extremities have poor circulation and his hands and feet get cold to the point of pain. Bottom line is that he's just not doing it. So I thought I'd just take E by myself. That was interesting...

First place I went was the Ice House in Hackensack. It must have been the winter before last. I know I had looked up where I went as a kid- Mackay Park in Englewood and it was closed at that time. I'd heard of the Ice House and figured it would be fine. Uh, no. Not so much. The parking lot was a zoo. It was crazy there and I had a hard time parking. Then, it wasn't just an indoor rink. It was a bunch of rinks. Hockey people everywhere and just mass chaos. This was not the relaxing, fun, old school day I had been thinking it would be. I also liked the indoor/outdoor combo think Mackay offered.

E was really too young for me to try to get him out on the ice with any hope of independence. I should've signed him up for a lesson instead of trying to get him to learn from me, by myself. I had to hold him up the entire time I was there. I was dressed for the Alaskan tundra or whatever so I was sweating my behind off. I basically had to carry him around the ice. I don't think we made it that long and later that day through the next three days I thought my body would never recover. My arms were like lead weights. I decided we were not going back there. Not alone. If anything, I needed another set of hands.

Miraculously, Mackay Park opened back up for a limited time for the winter of 2014. I never made it there but that was good to know. I looked them up on New Years Day and saw they had an open skate time for that day. I told B that I wanted to go as a family. He agreed to go but he wasn't going on the ice. I said that was fine and off we went.

It was just as I remembered it. My parents never took me there. I had a neighbor friend when I was of elementary school age whose mom loved to do stuff like ice skating, baking, and other Suzie Homemaker kind of stuff. Her mom included me in all their activities and took me to the rink. My mom let me sign up for lessons since my friend's mom was going to take me. Well, I'm pretty sure they changed NOTHING. It looks like even the skates are the exact same ones from the 80's. I don't mean they looked the same- I mean, they looked to BE the same ones. I don't care. I love the whole atmosphere there.

Mackay Park is a combination of indoor and outdoor. You can see outside into the distance. It's a covered space but not enclosed. It's definitely no frills. No fancy skates or locker rooms. No big pro shop or indoor restaurant. The snack bar is exactly that- an old snack bar with some goodies to hold you over. The lockers are old. But the plus of it all- it isn't chaos in there. Parking was easy and stress-free. It's just people who want to skate. Now, I would've liked them to run a Zamboni over the rink after the hockey players left and before the public skate began but I guess they don't do that. I got spoiled on New Years Day when they didn't have hockey going on before the public skate. It was a bit choppy for E's taste and lack of balance. At some of the bigger places they allow you to use cones to balance while skating but I didn't see any or see anyone with any at Mackay. I could've used one New Years Day for sure. It was less carrying and holding up than the Ice House time but I was definitely in pain for three days after this time as well.

The cost isn't bad. It's $8/per person if you're not a resident and $4/per person to rent skates. If you're a resident, I think the cost is half that for entry. They do group lessons for figure skating and they do hockey programs. The figure skating lessons seemed really reasonable in price. There also seemed to be a party room too for children's parties. Not sure on that one though.

It's where you go just to skate. For the love of skating, and to get nostalgic. They play music, it isn't crowded, and you totally have the space to be able to get a 5-6 year old around a rink. I took E again the next weekend and got him to the point where he could go around the entire rink on his own without falling. I don't have time or money for any lessons this go-around so it's all about Mama. If that's all he gets to this winter, I'll consider it a success. I kind of feel like it's something *I* would like to get back into for the future. It's a little more interesting than the daily grind of the treadmill!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

One, Done and Full of Fun

I had someone in my store yesterday tell me all about how having an only child is a mistake. Again. If I had a dollar for every time someone told me something like that or the litany of other things they think (negatively) about having one child, I wouldn't ever need to play the lottery. I'd be swimming in money. It always goes the same way. Customer sweetly asks if I have any children. I tell them I have one. They ask how old. I tell them he is in kindergarten. They ask when I'm going to have more. I tell them I'm not...They tell me how I'm wrong. Every way I'm wrong.

I used to get really annoyed. Ok, sometimes I still get annoyed. Not even for me. But for my friends who can't even make that choice. Some don't have the choice to even have one. Some have one but haven't been given the choice to have more than one. For numerous reasons and circumstances. I don't know why it has to be spelled out, but having more children isn't always a choice. I have friends who do have one, and had that one "naturally", meaning with no medical intervention. Yet now, they have what's called secondary infertility. Or they've developed some kind of medical problem where they have numerous miscarriages or other chromosomal issues that could cause dire circumstances for them and/or their fetuses. So simply stating an opinion, uninformed, about someone's personal circumstances, as to strong feelings that someone else should procreate more, is not only asinine, but can be very hurtful to someone who wants more children very much. I just wanted to put that out there, even though that has nothing to do with me and my reasons for having an only.

When I was in my early twenties, I just assumed I'd be like my mother and have three. I don't know why I thought this. I just did. Then, as I got older, my life totally changed from what I thought it would be, my timeline changed, and so did my feelings on children. I became way more self-aware and I really grew up. I thought about what it means to be a parent, to me. I also know my strengths and weaknesses. In my process, I decided that when becoming a parent would become a reality, I only wanted one.

Believe it or not, I'm not here to do the usual. I'm not going to go into why I think one is the best. I want to talk about how it's no one's business why you want one or five. Out loud. You can THINK whatever you want. Hey- when someone tells me they're pregnant after their first- I think a whole bunch of things. Like, "why?", or "I'm sorry". Not because I don't like being a mom. I think those things because *I* personally couldn't imagine wanting another child. But I don't SAY those things. Unless in the context of a conversation that usually started with someone telling me I should have another. Or, if I'm specifically asked what I think from a specific person, wanting an opinion as to whether THEY should have another kid. Otherwise, I keep my thoughts on procreation to myself. It doesn't affect me. I can have plenty of opinions on stuff that doesn't affect me. I sit on message boards all day and night giving opinions on stuff that doesn't affect me. That's because people put stuff out there to be opined on. That's *why* they're on there.

It's been said that fat shaming is the last socially acceptable prejudice. I disagree. I think only-child-shaming is another. It seems to be ok to tell someone that having one is wrong, they're going to be weird or self-centered, or mean. Yet, I feel like if I told someone they should've had less children, which I can't say I haven't thought of some people, I would be able to hear pin drop in the horrified silence. This double standard is mystifying and irritating to me. I've thought about just making sad eyes, implying that I can't have more, but I don't want to have to do that. I just want my choice to be ok. It's ok to me, so why can't it be ok to you, who has no stake in my parenting whatsoever?

The woman who went into her whole monologue yesterday about only children had specific reasons, unique to her, as to why she believes only children are a bad idea. She has a son, she doesn't like her daughter in law, and her son and his family live hours away in another state. She didn't plan for this and didn't want it to be this way. But that's HER stuff. Not mine. Delving further- her husband told me their son was a great kid and is now a doctor. Because they only had one they were able to pay for private school growing up and his college and medical school with no loans to either them or their son. Basically, everything was fine until he got together with his wife. I think she has regrets that maybe if she had a daughter, things would be different. Or if there was another child, one of them would've stayed with her. She would've had another chance. She's a "what if"-er. Yet, there are no guarantees with anything. Or anyone. More kids wouldn't have guaranteed her happiness. Or children around in her older age. And it certainly has no bearing on me having more kids or whether B and I will have this problem with our only child.

I just don't know why it's ok to want more kids, but it's not ok to want less in this society. Everyone's situation is unique to them. One person's nightmare only child story can be countered with someone else's awesome experience. So far, we're having an awesome experience.

I can't tell you why to have one or more. What I can tell you, on the almost "eve" of my son turning six, is that I feel like I won the lottery of children. I can't say he's perfect, that he's Harvard bound, or that there aren't moments I can't wait to drop him at school. I can say that I feel lucky to be his mom and I feel like I got the best of all worlds in my kid.

I don't know what it's like to have more than one child. Though, the one I have is what I feel encompasses everything that could be the yin and yang of more. I think of him as a jack of all trades (master of some?). Making sure he has the out-of-the-box experiences that keep him well-rounded makes me feel like I get to "have it all". To me, it's the same as if I had multiple children with different interests. I also don't know any other way. I feel lucky that I have a child that wakes up happy, literally laughing and smiling, every single day. Always has. That when I wake him up from a deep sleep to get ready to go to school, I tickle him awake, he just laughs and gets up. There is no scowling and telling me to leave him alone. He doesn't give me a hard time about his clothes or where he's going. He's never declined to go somewhere or been apprehensive about having a new experience. I'm never saying, "I wish I had a kid who................". Ok, well, that's not exactly true. I do wish I had a kid who eats. But that's another story altogether. The bottom line is that I can't complain. I have a happy, well-adjusted kid. He's empathetic, sympathetic, and a really good person. He radiates warmth and pure joy. He has a great sense of humor and amazing comedic timing. He has a maturity I didn't know was possible at his age. He's awesome, he's mine, and I'm cool with just having one pretty terrific kid.

I don't know what it's like to want more kids. I don't have to know though. I'm not having any more kids. Even if I end up hating my daughter in law, I'm still not going to wish I had more kids. I am one hundred percent confident in my choices. I feel no guilt at all for not giving my kid a sibling. Families come in all forms and sizes. That's just the end of the story right there. No apologies.

You have to be confident in your choices. You can't need to be validated in choices by other people. Sometimes I think people feel like they need to tell you what they think about this just to feel validated in their own. I've never told someone to just have another. Because I don't care if they do or if they don't. Not because I don't care about them, but because they're babies who turn into people. Not kittens. Babies who turn into people who are ALL different. I don't know how someone else will handle being a parent of more than one. I don't know how anyone could feel comfortable in seriously telling someone else to have more. Unless they plan on being involved monetarily, emotionally, physically, etc. If you don't live in someone's house with them, you shouldn't be that invested in their procreation. Just because you hated being an only child doesn't mean someone else will too.

I feel like we are who we are. Some things are just in our nature. We can see it in kids every day in the same family. Why does one kid wake up smiling every day since birth and other wake up crying and angry? That's just their personality. Maybe someone is shy, introverted, odd, just because that's who they are. Maybe being an only didn't help but maybe it didn't have any bearing on those traits at all. I do believe you can pull out or temper good and bad traits in any kid, regardless of whether or not there are siblings. You may just have to work harder on some traits more than others in either scenario but I don't know that anyone could say the definitively that having one or more than one is better than the other. I only know and care what's good for me. And that's all anyone should care about. Because there are no guarantees and no Magic 8 Ball that can predict how life will go. There certainly is no way to tell what will work for anyone else besides you.

Next time you're tempted to tell someone, unsolicited, how many kids to have, to just have another, or tell someone why their situation isn't ideal, take a moment to think- "Do I really care?", "Is my opinion going to change their situation?", "Do they really need to know what I think about only children vs multiple children?" Lastly- keep in mind that you could ruin someone's day with just that advice or statement when they want but they CAN'T.

Just remember that no matter the number of kids someone has, or doesn't have, there is a reason, or multiple reasons. If it's not the number you'd choose, just be glad you aren't them and confident in your own choices.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Food With Friends

Using the Selfie Stick- Thanks Emma!

Sunday was the big day. The day all my message board friends finally got to get together to honor our two fallen friends, Marie & Christine. It was the get together that almost didn't happen because of the weather. The weather did not play nice and we got a black ice mess the likes of something we haven't seen yet this winter. It ruined my morning but it wasn't about to ruin the afternoon. Amy and I were trekking down to Al Dente in Hillsborough no matter what. In my Mini Cooper. I was hoping to catch Gwyneth on Stern but I should've known that Amy and I would be chatting the entire hour plus ride over there.

The crew who closed down the joint
I can't even say how amazing the whole experience was to take part in. It was so awesome to finally meet people I've shared so much with for the last eight or nine years with. Some of these women have been on there for ten or more years. It's a place we will always call home and feel like we have a place there. I only wish I had gotten to talk to everyone. I realized after there were people I didn't even get to say hello to, let alone speak to for a minute, let alone more. Next time. I am just so impressed with the turnout of women who made it from near and far, even in terrible weather.

Kari and her boyfriend Joe Trani generously offered up his restaurant, Al Dente, as a meeting/eating place. This was great because Hillsborough is as centrally located as we're going to get for the women on a message board for all of NJ (and some transplants in and out). It was pretty perfect actually. I certainly don't mind driving a little over an hour.

I didn't really think about the food, because, well, I'm not a foodie. I mostly eat Jenny Craig food and I like simple things. Kari had discussed the menu prior but I didn't really pay attention. They were talking about stuff I never heard of and I didn't really care. I figured I'd eat the plainest thing and call it a day.

Well, this definitely exceeded any expectations and then some. Al Dente is in a cute little strip mall with plenty of parking. We found it easily- it's right off Rt 206S. We walked in and there are two rather large rooms. I assume one could possibly have a smaller party in the back even while they were open in the front for regular business. As in, the back is private enough to do that. I thought it was going to be more of a "gourmet pizza joint" but no, it's an amazing food restaurant with a really nice ambiance.

I tried a few things I wouldn't ordinarily try. First of all, there were chicken wings. Any chicken wing connoisseur could tell you that not all wings are the same and not all are good. I've had some really gross wings. Even recently- I ordered "mild" wings somewhere and couldn't even eat them. My mouth was melting off. But these didn't have sauce so I was intrigued. They were so good I am still thinking about them. They were spiced perfectly. Just enough but not too much. And the best part was that they didn't NEED any sauce. So they weren't messy to walk around and eat while talking to people. I wished I'd ordered (and paid) for some to go.

I saw these ravioli things and wasn't sure what was inside. But I do love a good cream sauce so I tried this peachy-colored raviolis. They were fantastic. I found out later they were pumpkin ravioli in an Alfredo sauce. Of course I had the penne vodka, which is always my standby favorite. Yum. I also had their mozzarella and tomato with balsamic which was great, and their bread. It was a flat bread- I don't know what it was but it was awesome.

There were things I ate I can't describe and don't have photos of, so you'll just have to trust me when I say that it was all fabulous.

For dessert there were cookies and then, their version of Nutella pizza which was superb. I grabbed the last slice and I was so glad I did. I was also glad there was only one left because I could've eaten the whole pie. I guess Nutella pizza is a "thing" now and boy am I glad. What a great addition to any menu. It just feels lighter than any cake and not as naughty but still dessert and still delicious.

I looked through the regular menu and see the prices are really reasonable too. I don't know if this is indicative of the area or just this particular place. I don't know the area well and have not eaten anywhere around there. But most of the entrée prices are between $11-$16 with nothing over $23 and that's for one thing. There are a few things in the $16-$20 range but very little. It's worth a lot more!

It's also BYO. So get your favorite alcoholic drink and bring it on in with you. We did!

This was the best place for our big celebration of our internet family and to celebrate the lives of two wonderful women taken from us way too soon. I wish I lived closer to be able to be a regular at Al Dente for B, E and my Saturday night meals out. If we're ever cruising around in the area though, we are sure to stop back. And I hope our message board party becomes at least an annual thing. Though, I don't know that it's fair to make Kari work so hard. She did work her tail off and everything came off without a hitch. I'm sorry she didn't really get to hang more but she was running around making sure everyone had enough everything and just being the Hostess with the Mostess. Thanks Kari- you made it extra special for sure. I hope there was leftover wine for you.

Al Dente Italian Restaurant
Authentic Italian Cuisine
381 Triangle Road
Hillsborough, NJ 08844

Friday, January 16, 2015

Small Town Politics *Updated with video*

Here I go with controversy again. Although this time, I am actually not trying to be controversial. I just have some thoughts about what's going on in the town I live in and I'm curious if anyone has any answers.

I've lived in Glen Rock since 2006. I never really paid much attention to the real nitty-gritty of the politics. We even own a business here and haven't been too involved in politics. No one bothers us, we don't bother them. It's been fine. Neither my husband, nor I are from this town, so we don't even really know the players in any controversy. We know some of the police officers just from being out and about around town, setting our house/fire alarm off, and when I got my wallet stolen and filed a report in town in case it turned up here.

So, I didn't know anything about the current situation with the officers who have been suspended without pay- Officers McInerney and Scott. I had heard about a previous officer who had been let go under allegedly murky circumstances, but I didn't know him either and was just reading information here and there in the NJ news.

I am part of the Glen Rock Facebook pages though, where a lot of this stuff is discussed. I started following this story about the police much closer because it seemed to be a really hot button topic where the officers who were let go are being vehemently supported by the townspeople. A council meeting was set for this past Wednesday where this was going to be discussed. I'd already planned on going but it became definite when someone came into my store, in town, and handed me a flyer to come out in support of the officers. I was intrigued by the amount of support, appreciated the grassroots approach, and thought I should find out what the heck is going on here.

The meeting was supposed to be at 7:30. I got there at 7:15. I was lucky to get a parking spot because it looked like at least seventy-five people in the lot alone. Then I got up into the courtroom and luckily a friend saved me a seat because it was already standing room only. The room was PACKED. I found out later people I knew were there and I didn't even SEE them.

It got started and they immediately went into the situation. The two officers in question were there, their lawyers, the president of the PBA, officers from all over the state, and just a boatload of residents. It could've been anywhere from 250-500 people in total. The number has been different everywhere I've read about it. One by one, people spoke positively and passionately for these officers. People were ANGRY. They were booing, hissing, yelling, and throwing sarcasm. They had signs. I was waiting for tomatoes to be launched.

I know I've seen these officers around but I don't know them personally. So, I'm a totally objective resident, which is the point of this blog entry. I listened to each person speak. There were people these officers have helped, to people who have known them since elementary school, old teachers, friends, colleagues, relatives, and lawyers. It was seriously inspiring. I'd hope one of these guys would end up at any emergency call I could make.

The council just sat there pie-eyed & frownie-faced. As I guess they have to do. This is what I got out of it- Apparently, the police chief suspended these guys without pay or benefits. The council signed off on it. They claim they are not privy to why these men were suspended. They. Don't. Know. WHY. Not that they couldn't SAY why, which they basically said about everything else, but they don't KNOW. Meanwhile, what *I* do know, is that suspended without pay doesn't usually happen without it being something so bad that you wouldn't be able to keep a lid on it in such a small, talky town. So right there, the fact that no one seems to know anything seems odd, at best.

To me- the not knowing why or saying they don't know why- that's really the long and short of it and the main issue. This is where I need someone, anyone, to give me some clarification. The council is supposed to represent the people. Correct? The council has certain abilities and it's also their job to oversee the police department. Correct? So how does something like this happen? How are they able to sign off on something, something so major as to suspend without pay/benefits, without knowing the reason for it? And if they do actually know, and say they don't, then they're lying to their "boss", which is the townspeople. Correct?

Further, a special someone (I don't know the title) was hired to investigate further. At $350/hr. So now they're going to spend the townspeople's money on something they should've been able to already know and handle. Correct? Who just decides it's ok to spend that money? WHY does that money have to BE spent? All this is whole thing is going to do is cost the town more money, which translates into more taxes, in a town already bloated to the gills with taxes. Nevermind complaining about the schools costing the taxpayers too much money, how about stuff no one can even answer for that might've been pushed under the rug if these two guys weren't so beloved??

None of this sounds right to me. Like I said- I don't know the officers. They sound like fantastic men. Now I feel like I should know them. There were hundreds out in support of them. The council answered nothing. And I do understand that legally, they couldn't answer certain things. Maybe they couldn't answer the whys if they actually knew them. But to say they signed off on something but didn't KNOW why- well, that, to me, sounds shady as hell. Isn't it their job to know? And THEN, make decisions?

Rightfully, I'm concerned. Even if they give them back their jobs, how will it be to work there? A divided police department is good for NO ONE. It's sad and it's scary to think how that would even work. We do have problems here- real ones. Break-ins being a big one. We need a unified police department in the town I live and work in where no one just gets to go rogue and the council knows what's going on at all times.

Video of meeting:

Fundraiser for the officers:

FB page in support of the officers:

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

ATNY Winter Session

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Classes run 11:00am - 4:00pm.  Actors have the option of any single classes in the day or our 5-hour Intensive Programs.  Call ATNY for info and guidance.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Jersey Pizza Co

I wouldn't think of Wood-Ridge as "close" to Glen Rock. So when my friend Melissa said she and her husband were going to be partners in a pizza place in Wood-Ridge, I thought, "well, that's kind of far". She invited us to the grand opening set for January 2, 2015. A Friday. We had to work until 6p, but we planned to go after. The thought of taking route 17 to Wood-Ridge on a Friday at pretty much rush hour didn't exactly thrill me.

Well, I was pleasantly surprised. No traffic and we got there in like twenty minutes. It's actually not far at all. So I just wanted to dispel the idea that you would definitely be in for a traffic nightmare if you were to go there from a more upper Bergen area. It's totally worth the trip. It's also a great stop on the way to the Meadowlands. If you are going to something there and want to eat somewhere that isn't fast food, but isn't a whole long, involved thing either.

It's not "just a pizza place". I wouldn't travel just for regular pizza. I just wouldn't. But this is more gourmet. Not complicated, but not your average slice place. They make slices and sell by the slice, but as a non-Italian, I don't know what you'd call this kind of pizza, but it's...fancier. It seems like pizza you'd actually get in Italy. I've never been to Italy either, but it's what I'd imagine in my head the food would be like. For a girl who has a freezer packed with PB&J and who grew up on spaghetti with :::whispers::: ketchup (hey, blame Rita), fancy pizza or fancy food of any kind, is not usually my bag. But I loved it.

They did a great job with the décor. Cool old black and white photos. Nice tables. The seating is pretty intimate, so the grand opening was pretty packed. If you have a large party, maybe you can call ahead? It's also BYOB so if someone gets comfortable with their wine or whatever, it might be difficult to get rid of them. But the coolest thing is the chalkboard in the back. Instead of kids just running amok, the chalk-wall can keep them occupied for hours. It's the whole length of the back corridor by the bathrooms. Close enough so that you're not worried about where your kids are, but far enough that you can eat in peace without being circled by kids like buzzards. There is nothing more annoying than kids running wild in any eating establishment. Here- E was quite entertained. Covered in chalk but happy.

As for the food, I thought it was really great. Even to the point that B asked me if I was eating machine or something. Hi, don't comment on my food intake, thanks. I actually don't usually eat that much at dinner and save a lot to go home. I was snarfing up food like nobody's business. I did only eat half my sandwich but I also sampled everything else we ordered as well. I had the garlic knots with marinara dipping sauce first.

For my meal, I had the Drunken Parm sandwich. It's grilled chicken with vodka sauce and mozzarella. On a long roll. I LOVE vodka sauce. But not all vodka sauce is alike and not all of it is good. This was terrific. It came with chips- the kind of chips that usually come with lobster at a Portuguese restaurant. I don't know what they're called but you should know what I mean.

I saw there were polenta fries too which the table next to me had ordered. They looked interesting. I've become a more recent fan of polenta. We'd already ordered though and I didn't want to complicate things by ordering more. B and E both got pizza. E got plain and B got the "Four Seasons" pizza. The Four Seasons is Kalamata Olives, Artichokes, Mushrooms and Ham. B said his was awesome. E ate his which says something right there, for a kid who eats basically nothing. He also ate his weight in those chips.

Nutella pizza
For the finale- we ordered the Nutella pizza. Now, THAT, is something to try. We've only had it at Amano in Ridgewood. This was a little different. It was nutella spread on the dough, with white chocolate chips and almond slivers. It was great because it wasn't super sweet but satisfied the dessert craving. It also didn't have the feel of blowing a week's calories on it. It might be three thousand calories, but it didn't feel heavy or greasy. Rob asked me what I thought of it- I think it's heaven. Although, now that I think about it- I bet it would be good with powdered sugar too. Not that it's necessary- I'm eating it with or without extra sugar. B and I ate two slices each. E ate one and saved one for the next day's dessert. Don't think he forgot about it either, like he usually does with any dessert he brings home. No, no. He was waiting for that last slice.

Edit: Rob saw this & texted me. Powdered sugar coming right up. Damn. Talk about customer service!

They had a limited grand opening menu just to test stuff out and get it going. I'm really looking forward to trying some of the other stuff. They do have a full menu with amazing sounding salads. I'm always good for a mozzarella Caprese salad, which is on the extended regular menu. I think E would like to try the sliders. I also love a big menu with a lot of options. Even if I order the same thing every time, I like that there are choices available. And there actually are a decent amount of things this picky eater would want to try. I already know I love the vodka sauce so a penne vodka might be next up also.

There is a catering menu too, if you're in need for a party. That's always good to know. While I do like to be loyal and I am a creature of habit, it's always good to have another place in your back pocket to try when you need to go large.

Lastly, I think you get a large portion for your money. They aren't overpriced. I've been to many an overpriced pizzaria. I think their prices are very fair, especially for what you get. They definitely don't skimp. My sandwich was enough for me to eat half for dinner and take the second half for lunch the next day. Without feeling like I was going hungry. There is no way I could've eaten both halves in one sitting, even if I hadn't sampled a piece of E's pizza, had some chips, and ate the garlic knots.

It's a really lovely place and I hope they do well there. Rob's best quality is that he really wishes nothing but the best for everyone else. I sincerely hope that feeling boomerangs back on to them. E got to hang with his girls, Brooke & Lauren so that was a pleasure. Rob was inspecting the pies like he should've been wearing a lab coat and taking notes. He didn't like the first Nutella pie that came out for us so he trashed it and had a new one made. Now, that's someone who knows how important a first impression is and how paramount customer service needs to be, especially in a new restaurant. He certainly didn't have to do that for us, and even if it didn't look great, we would've understood that kinks need to be worked out. But we definitely appreciated his attention to detail! Thanks Rob! Thanks Melissa for asking us to come check it out. We never know where to go to eat except for our old chain restaurant stand-bys. Last time we were in that area and didn't know where to eat, we just ended up at Boston Market. I'll take Jersey Pizza Co instead.

E & the girls. As usual. He never even asks why
there are never any boys around...

Jersey Pizza Co
200 Hackensack St
Wood-Ridge, NJ


Monday, January 5, 2015

Nailed It! *Updated*

I am typically very loyal. When it comes to anything, but especially services. I've been going to the same hairdresser for about twenty years. I only had one regular person before him- since I'm only forty. I went to my nail place for seventeen years. Since I was seventeen. I don't like change and I'm a Cheers kind of gal. I like to go where everyone knows my name. My old nail place, Joanne Nails in Dumont, they would always fit me in, they'd put two people on my nails at the same time to quicken the pace, which I loved, and it was like home.

I moved in 2006 though and I still kept up going to Dumont. Even though I had plenty of nail salons nearby. But it would take me almost thirty minutes, with traffic, to get there. Once I had a kid, and really no help, I couldn't do that drive. Thirty minutes there, an hour or two in the salon depending what I was getting done, and then thirty minutes back. It was like a half day excursion.

I started going somewhere near me. But every time I'd find a nail technician I liked, she'd be gone the next time I came in. Then I also switched up what I was getting done. Nail technology changed and I changed with it. I used to get silk wraps, which I could fix or do at home, so it would be less expensive, and just have the nail salon clean it up. If I did have it done in the salon, it took forever. UV gel nails came out and I jumped aboard. I couldn't fix them at home but I also didn't need to go every week or two. Then I started doing the gel/shellac polish over the gel nail. With the UV gel & shellac, I have been known to get away with four weeks and no broken nails. Only catch is, at the place I was going, the only technician who could do the gel nails at the time, and who became my person, was in demand, and off on my most convenient day to go. It got to the point where I couldn't get an appointment that worked for me for a whole week. My main issue though was I was bored of their nail color selection. I guess those shellac polishes cost more than regular ones and they just won't buy new colors fast enough.

I started hopping around. I need to go on a specific day of the week when my son is in a two hour drop off class. I went to one across from his class. It's a nice place. It's clean, convenient, and they have a ton of colors. But they are more expensive than the place I was going so I still wanted to shop around. I went to one in the same town that did a nice job but it was an odd experience for many reasons but I really didn't go back because it was the longest manicure ever. I should've had more than enough time, meanwhile I was watching the clock and getting nervous because it was taking forever. I actually started falling asleep while she was working on me. I kept nodding off and jolting awake. They also kept trying to push other services on me and using guilt like I saw in comedy act recently.

Then, I went somewhere that I just pulled into as I saw it. It was raining and cold and I didn't have time to mess around. It was the worst manicure I've ever had. I told her I needed a gel nail fill-in. This is where it goes awry. Because all these nail places call services something different. Gel nails and gel polish mean two different things. But fill-in is supposed to mean the same everywhere. Yet, somehow it doesn't. I said gel fill-in and she told me $29. I looked at the price board and didn't see $29 anywhere near the fill-in prices but thought maybe she was giving me a special for being new. Next thing I knew- I had these little foil pieces on every finger. I looked like I had mini baked potatoes on me. I had no idea what the hell was going on. Then she's just scraping off my polish with some kind of scraping tool. Also never happened to me and I was freaking out on the inside.

After she did that, she said- oh, gel fill-in? I felt my adrenaline going and was like, "YES, THAT'S EXACTLY WHAT I SAID! A GEL FILL IN!" So she mutters something and said, "Ok, fill-in $40, gel polish $14, so $55". I'm no math scholar but even I was like- That's not even correct math! So at first I said ok. Because what was I going to do- I had scraped nails and no way to fix them. But then I quickly told her no way, that she's more expensive than anyone I've ever heard of, and to just put regular polish on top of the gel nail. I hadn't had regular polish in a dog's age. I was pissed. I was pissed because had she told me $55 from the get-go, I would've just left and picked one of the three other ones nearby. She made my gel nails so thin, within 2-3 days, one broke off fully and three had pieces that chipped off. I had to go old-school and buy glue and spent the next two weeks gluing like crazy. Of course most of them separated so I got water in there and got a fungus on my thumb. It was awesome.

I couldn't take it anymore, so I went to the new place, Fei Fei Nail & Spa down the street from my store. It's brand new, it's super clean, and it was a DREAM. It could be the best manicure I've ever had. Or at least in a REALLY long time. Most of these newer salons do little back and neck massages at the end of your manicure. But sometimes it's hurried and not that great. This was wonderful. Strong and not too short. More important, the actual manicure was fantastic. I got my nails done about a week ago and they're still perfect. The nails aren't too thin or too thick. They have a ton of shellac colors. It was just a very lovely experience. I'm going to assume most or all their people know how to do UV gel nails too so I am not stuck just waiting for the only person in there to be able to do my nails. It cost me five dollars more than the place I was going but it's worth the $5.

All the rest of the prices are pretty comparative to any place around me. But what I really like best is that they have more "levels" of spa pedicures. Many places just have a regular or a spa pedicure and it's the difference between $22 or $50. Or $22, $35, or $50. Fei Fei has six price points above the regular pedicure at $22. They also have detailed explanations of what you're paying for. Usually you just say spa pedicure and you don't even know what you're supposed to be getting. I just always hope for a longer massage. But this menu seems great. They also have all the usual things, including waxing and what not, but you've probably read all about my wax-tales. I'm definitely loyal to my girl Tara for that.

Oh, and Fei Fei is open on Sunday, which none of the other places in downtown Glen Rock are. There is Eden on Prospect, but it was really hard to get in on a Sunday there. For some reason they don't do Sunday in the downtown. Sunday is the only day my husband is off and I could possibly run out to get a quick pedicure. So that's definitely a plus for me!

Check out Fei Fei. 192 Rock Road, Glen Rock. 201-251-3870

Day 16! Stretching it as long as I can!