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.
Did I get your attention? Good. But this isn’t that kind of story.
It’s actually a story about a family, this time from the UK, who chose to keep their baby’s sex a secret for five years. Through the baby’s infancy, toddlerhood and all the way up until “it” was about to enter elementary school the parents, Beck Laxton and Kieran Cooper, referred to their child as “the infant” and only told a few close friends and family members the sex of the child.
But five years later the secret’s out. And it’s a boy!
New mom and writer, radio producer and Montclair resident, Hillary Frank, is calling on other mothers (and dads) for her newly launched blog and podcast, The Longest Shortest Time. Her site vows to tell “the truth about early motherhood,” and, Frank hopes, to create a space for new mothers and those about to become new mothers to find support and help through those first long days of motherhood.
Frank became a new mother herself about a year ago when her daughter, Sasha, was born on a snowy winter day in February. At the time Frank had been a freelancing radio producer for such national shows as This American Life, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Studio 360 and Marketplace. She was used to hustling for work, but her pace slowed as her belly grew.
“As I became more and more pregnant, I started to shave off more work,” Frank said. “When I came back I shaved off more and more until I had none.”
Montclair resident, adoption-advocate, and author Zara Phillips just released the American version of her adoption memoir, Mother Me, after having previously published it in her native England. It hit bookshelves here yesterday, Valentines Day.
Phillips’s book chronicles her journey to discover the truth about her birth and herself. Although Phillips knew she was adopted ever since early childhood, it was something that was never spoken about.
“Yes, you know, but don’t tell anybody,” Phillips recalled of the prevailing sentiment in 1964 when she was adopted. “I could never talk about being adopted.”
Verona School District Superintendent Steven Forte considers himself a “very competitive person,” something that makes any undertaking he’s involved with a personal challenge.
Forte’s next challenge is looking into the possibility of moving the district’s current after-care program now run by the Montclair YMCA under the control of the district, something he believes the district can run better and maybe even turn a profit.
In the short time Forte has been at his post he has taken on the issue of extended kindergarten, arranged for college courses to be taught at the high school, sought to overhaul the district’s technological infrastructure and is now contemplating taking control of the after-care program.
Up to the challenge
These issues, rather than appear daunting to Forte, pose challenges, and he seems up for it.
Parenting one kid even on the best of days is hard enough, but author and autism advocate Kim Stagliano has raised three, all with autism. Stagliano shares her experience on December 8 at Watchung Booksellers when she discusses her book, All I Can Handle, I’m No Mother Teresa, a memoir about “raising children with autism and laughing your way through it.”
Stagliano has certainly faced her fair share of challenges in raising three severely disabled daughters. Still, she sees the comedy in it.
“I want people to laugh and see the humor of the book.”
Humor that’s evident in the way Stagliano braves even the most taxing of situations. In describing the difficulties of potty training one daughter who forgets to flush while attempting to keep her other daughter, who is drawn to water of any kind, away from the toilet, she coined the term “crapisode.”