Lifestyle & Travel

May 17, 2012

Custom Designs and Fantastic Finds for Decorating Shows and Locals Alike

In the 200-year-old farmhouse nestled on the border of Cedar Grove and Verona, Patty Cain is engulfed by the old Amish country.

The space, crammed full of one-of-a-kind pieces handmade from 1800’s reclaimed barn wood from Lancaster County farms, displays Cain’s original designs and handsome, custom-made farm tables.

The business of transforming antique wood into handcrafted, custom furniture Cain started more than a decade ago has established her as the local expert on architectural salvage, Amish antiques and custom vintage creations.

March 13, 2012

Anthony Robert Salon Gets Even More ‘Jerseylicious’

The "Jerseylicious" cast: Tracy DiMarco, Anthony Lombardi and Gigi Liscio. Credit: The Style Network/Timothy White.

To hear salon owner Anthony Lombardi speak, you’d never know he’s the star of the hit reality series “Jerseylicious.” He seems to have taken the seismic shift in his life and career all in stride.

The show’s popularity has catapulted this small-town salon owner into big-time celebrity and turned his new normal into a life of talk show interviews, public appearances and photo shoots not to mention several months of filming a year. Oh, and the actual business of running a salon.

If all that wasn’t enough, Lombardi is also in the middle of opening a brand new, cavernous space just up the block from his current location in Verona. The new salon, to be located at 277 Bloomfield Avenue, is slated to open in April.

Now entering its fourth season, the show propelling Lombardi’s expansion has been a hit for the Style Network from the very start when it won the channel its best ever ratings for a new show among women age 18 to 49. Since then, “Jerseylicious” has gone on to win close to 10 million viewers and has become the network’s number one series.

March 4, 2011

Paris Part Deux

An Icelandic volcano only erupts once every couple of hundred years so it makes sense that it would occur on my 10th wedding anniversary celebration planned for Paris.

I know all of you out there in Baristaville have been worried sick about me and my travel plans. “Oh, no,” I could almost hear you collectively say. “What is to become of Stacey and her trip to Paris?”

It’s cancelled. But don’t worry about me. I’m fine. If you could, please pray for Kevin. He’s sinking into a deep depression, and I fear for him.

We made the decision to cancel our trip Monday morning when Charles de Gaulle Airport still hadn’t reopened, and we were due to leave in 5 days. Plus, I saw the photo on the front page of the Sunday New York Times, which displayed hoards of people crammed into a Parisian train station and yet another on their website showing trapped passengers sleeping on cots in a European airport.

While I’m sure European airports are beautiful, as everything in Europe seems to be, I thought our celebration might have lost a little of its luster and even more of its romance had we spent our last nights there stuck in a terminal wedged up against strangers.

And, anyway, my experience two weeks earlier traveling with Kevin to Ft. Lauderdale had ominous implications for our Parisian vacation.

March 3, 2011

Paris in April

I’m leaving. For Paris. And I’m not taking my kids.

It’s crazy, I know. But somehow I managed to pull it off. I’m flying to France with my husband for five days to celebrate our anniversary. Ten years. We’ve been together for fifteen, married ten, and that’s worth a trip I think.

Last year when I could see the decade marker on the horizon I said I bore him two children, and he needed to take me to Paris to repay me. I was half kidding, but my husband who is always game for spending our money agreed. But a year is a long time for Kevin who has a very short-term memory, and I never expected the trip to be realized.

Apparently, neither did Kevin. He wanted to go to Paris; he just never thought we would last. He can’t believe we’re actually still together.

I’m in it not so much for the anniversary but mostly to get away from my kids. Taking them was never an option. I might as well flush our money down the toilet. Why would I spend a couple grand just to listen to my kids complain at the top of the Eiffel Tower, down the Champs-Elysees, and alongside the Seine when I could listen to them complain right here at home for free?

March 1, 2011

Playset Season

playset.jpgIt’s that time of year again or maybe it was that time of year as soon as the thermometer hit 60. Either way, jungle gym companies are glad to see the return of warm weather and the parents it ushers into its stores and onto its websites.

I successfully refused to succumb to this requirement of suburban family life for more than eight years. And, then, last year I cracked.

My kids didn’t badger me or complain. I’m not even sure they wanted one. I wanted one. Whenever we were outside in the backyard my kids wandered around aimlessly, invariably returning inside to the couch. I wanted to shoo them back outside and tell them to go play. But with what? We didn’t have a pool or swings or even a paved driveway to draw on. I decided for my sanity and their survival we needed a playset.

I actually had visions of summer days whiled away on the swingset or in the attached fort, children’s laughter floating by on a balmy breeze, as I worked uninterrupted nearby.

But I wanted one thing to be perfectly clear. If I was going to take out a second mortgage to finance a playset for my kids, they would have to live on it. I’m not being funny, and this isn’t hyperbole. I mean literally.

The playset we eyed up had a house-like enclosure and a picnic table and was practically as big as my house. It was certainly a suitable dwelling for two smallish people. They could come in for the winter but not until then. And if we ran some electric wire and plumbing to the fort, I might not ever have to see them again.

But as with all fantasies, once realized, the facts on the ground don’t quite match the vision. And so it was with my dream playset.

February 12, 2011

NYC Take Two: The Met

File:MET Hall New YorkCity.jpgLast week I wrote about my escapades in Manhattan with my children (and husband), and promised more to come. I know those of you in Baristaville have been desperately awaiting the next post so here it is.

As you’ll recall we spent roughly 24 hours on Day One at the Museum of Natural History. On the second day of our world wind tour of kid-friendly sites in the city, I chose The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Okay, this one is not so kid-friendly if you happen to be under eight and male.

We tried to make it as much fun as possible for my son, who’s seven, by taking him first to the Egyptian Art Collection with its extraordinary display of tombs and mummies, followed by its astonishing Roman Period Temple of Dendur. The temple, surrounded by a moat, is resurrected in the Sackler Wing with its two-story window wall overlooking Central Park. The room itself is a work of art, but the grandeur and glory of the museum and it’s contents was lost on Vovie.

Regardless, we persisted in attempting to interest him, and pursued the Arms and Armor collection. That was sure to please a little boy with an intense interest in weaponry from the Pirate Period and unnerving violent tendencies. But when he repeatedly said he wanted to die so as to end his misery, we realized we need to curtail our plans.

February 10, 2011

Day at the Museum (of Natural History)

With my plans for Paris scrapped, I decided to do the next best thing. I packed my bags and drove the 15 miles to my destination.

The Greatest City in the world is mere minutes from my home, and yet I never go. I want to, I think I will, but I don’t. So I suggested we spend the week, which was Spring Break for our kids, at the museums we had at our daily disposal. The ones we neglect and of which we don’t take advantage. We would get to spend some quality time with the kids and expose them to art, culture and the wide world beyond our insulated borders.

We went for two days and did all 5,000 exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Oh, and the Central Park Zoo. We started with the Museum of Natural History, which has a special significance for me because it was where I had my first kiss with my husband and, later, where I would pass on my visits to my obstetrician, whose office was across the street.

We had already purchased tickets, the Super Saver pass, which I might even call the Super Duper pass if one intends to view every possible special exhibit as we did. Once we got there we simply printed the tickets out, and we were off. We saved money and avoided lines. Our trip was already off to a good start.

January 7, 2011

Spring is in the Air and at the Park

hersheypark.jpgWe were granted a glimpse of spring, taunted by a glimmer of hope and then flung back into the dark days of floods and near freezing temperatures. But all that’s about to change– in Hershey, Pennsylvania at least. For the next two weekends Hershey Park is hosting its annual pre-opening season celebration, Springtime in the Park.

This year the park has extended the event to two weekends so visitors have even more opportunity to enjoy the park at reduced rates.

To me, even at full price, Hershey Park is heaven, but maybe that’s because I spent virtually every family vacation there since birth. In fact, my dad even had a Hershey Park outfit, which he wore every day for the entire week at Hershey. My mom packed the suitcase full of coordinated short sets for him, but my dad decided he only needed one, his chocolate brown shorts and tan plaid button-down. He said he was trying to do Milton Hershey proud with an all chocolate-themed outfit. I think he accomplished his goal.

For our part, my sister and I achieved a less lofty but equally ambitious aspiration, which was to ride the Mini Himalayas until the park closed without throwing up.

January 5, 2011

How I Roll

rollerskates.jpgCalling all children of the 80?s and anyone who missed that generation but would appreciate 80?s era fun. I think that includes just about everyone. At least it includes me, and I think I can speak for everyone.

The 80?s are alive and well and tucked away in a little haven of nostalgia in Florham Park. You could pass by the squat, white cement box of a building if you’re not looking for it, but you shouldn’t. Inside is a relic preserved, undisturbed, straight out of 1980.

When I opened the glass front door and pushed through the metal turnstile after sliding my $6.50 under the plexi-glass window of the admission booth, I walked right back into 8th grade. There before me was the painted-over cinderblock walls of my youth and within them the flashing multi-colored lights, sparkling disco ball, and oval roller rink of the darkened room. I was in heaven.

I sat on the circa 1970?s orange laminate bench the same color as the rubber wheels of my brown rental skates and started to lace up. My 8-year-old daughter needed help pulling on her skates, but I was too busy. “Evacuate the Dance Floor” was playing, and I had to get out there.

January 5, 2011

Ski Weekend

So now that my son likes cold, snowy whether, the question is will he like skiing? As you read this I am heading north on the New York State Throughway to a little ski resort about an hour over the Massachusetts border. There, we will welcome in a New Year with sore muscles but also with copious amounts of soda, Pringles and raucous rounds of Old Maid.

Over past years my son has gone skiing many times. My husband skis and intends to force our children to also whether they like it or not. Vovie, in fact, loves to go skiing, he just doesn’t like to ski.

Mostly, he loves the hotel rooms, the bottomless cups of hot chocolate, the hot tubs and the stuffing himself full of all the junk food allowed on vacations. He just doesn’t like to ski. But this is almost a new year and definitely a new Vovie. Maybe this year is the year – the year my kids don’t cry when we wrap them layers of fleece and thermal, hats and helmets, gloves and goggles and shove them into rigid, heavy plastic boots, attach them to unwieldy planks and push them out into the bitter cold. I really don’t see what the problem is.