April 13, 2016

home improve 4-13-16

GLORIOUS GARDENS : “We plant containers that our customers bring in or purchase so that they have exactly what they want without having to do all the work at home.” Lisa Miccolis, owner of Bountiful Gardens in Hillsborough, is shown working on a special container garden.

How does your garden grow? It’s probably not in full-fledged bloom yet, but it is definitely time to get started. As so often in life, preparation is key. Preparing the soil, adding compost and mulch, planning for color and texture, sun and shade are all very important considerations. more

April 6, 2016

NTU_Dr Charles Allen Princeton Eye Care

CLEAR VISION: “In my practice, I see patients of all ages, and focus on three specific areas: children, glaucoma, and specialty contact lenses.“ An optometric physician (optometrist), Dr. Charles Allen, O.D., F.A.A.O. often consults and lectures on these vision conditions. He will attend a meeting In New York in April regarding the development of myopia in children.

“On a clear day, rise and look around you …

“How it will astound you …

“On a clear day, you can see forever … more

NTU PTS Fitness 2-17-16

FRIENDLY FITNESS: “We are set apart by our size, standards, and personal service. We have a very friendly atmosphere and accessible space. The members enjoy knowing the owner and the trainers and our interaction. We know your name when you come in!” Alex Obe, owner of P.T.S. (Personal Training Studio) Health & Fitness, is shown in the center’s new Wall Street location.

Fitness is for you … and you … and you!

Alex Obe, owner of P.T.S. (Personal Training Studio) Health & Fitness Center at 390 Wall Street, just off State Road, is determined to bring fitness to everyone. Size, shape, age, previous experience are all part of one’s individual package, but none of these should be an obstacle to a positive session at the gym. more

March 23, 2016

NTU Estir

PEACE OF MIND: “My job is to interpret your situation, assist you in getting proper coverage, and find the best company to serve you. We offer you peace of mind.” Esther Tanez, CPIA is founder and owner of ESTIR Inc.

Esther Tanez, CPIA (Certified Professional Insurance Agent) is a high achiever, a person who has succeeded in her chosen profession and also continues to look for new ways to help people. Whether guiding them in their search for appropriate insurance for their needs, helping with taxes and bookkeeping, or encouraging them in establishing new businesses, she is ready to assist customers to find the best outcome for their specific situation. more

March 16, 2016

shutterstock_75462820

Get those baskets ready!

Make Easter fun for the whole family with these personalized Easter gifts. Simply click on each item to purchase. more

February 24, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-02-24 at 8.51.44 AMBella Boutique is here to stay! Opened in April of 2015 in the Princeton Shopping Center, it was an immediate success.

“We have been so busy,” says owner Christina DiDonato. “The customer response has been incredible, and it has definitely exceeded our expectations.”

Co-owner with her husband Adriano DiDonato, who is general manager and buyer at the popular Bon Appetit, also in the Princeton Shopping Center, Ms. DiDonato is very pleased to be in this location. “A big plus at the shopping center is the easy accessibility and very convenient parking for customers.”

It was also very important for Ms. DiDonato to offer a uniquely pleasing environment for her shoppers. The boutique’s setting with stone-paneled walls and mediterranean-style motif, provides a very comfortable sense of space in a relatively small area. The fitting rooms with wrought iron appointments add to the overall charm of the boutique’s inviting atmosphere. more

January 6, 2016

“Before I knew it, the lavender was flourishing!”

Marie Voorhees smiles as she relates the success of the fledgling lavender plants she put into the ground four years ago on her family farm.

Located at 890 County Road 601 in Skilllman (down the road past the Montgomery High School), Hidden Spring Lavender Farm & Shoppe has become a popular destination for scores of customers who have discovered the many uses of lavender.

“Lavender goes back to Roman times,” says Ms. Voorhees. “It not only has a lovely fragrance but has soothing and relaxing properties that people enjoy, and they also appreciate the homemade aspect of everything we have. I make everything myself. These are not products made across the ocean.”

Perfect Spot

It all began when Ms. Voorhees left her corporate job, and decided to go in a very different direction. She and her husband had purchased her parents’ farm, and it was the perfect spot for a new career.

“I had always loved gardening,” she explains, “but I had no experience with lavender. I thought I’d like to try it — it’s such a lovely scent. I started with 1000 plants, and I really did it to have something nice for myself.”

Once the lavender began to bloom, people started stopping at the farm, asking to purchase it, says Ms. Voorhees.

“Strangers came by in the driveway, and wanted the lavender. They said the farm was a hidden treasure, and we decided to call it Hidden Spring Lavender Farm & Shoppe.”

The 1000 plants soon became 2000, and now she has 4000 (with 2000 more coming next spring) as well as 12 different kinds of lavender.

“I was particular about including different species and fragrances, and all have an individual character. We combine several different varieties to get our own distinctive lavender scent.”

Charming Showcase

With the lavender flourishing, Ms. Voorhees next step was to open a shop, offering a variety of products, which she would make herself. “My plan was to have sachets, neck rolls, dream pillows, and eye pillows. The shop building was the original cow barn and chicken coop. My husband built cabinets, and we put in new windows and new Dutch doors.”

The result is a charming showcase for the 200 products Ms. Voorhees provides, among them soaps, lotions, bath products, shampoo, dusting powder, heat wraps, even deodorants and pet products. The fact that everything is natural is very important, she adds. With many people concerned about the numerous chemicals in so many products today, the availability of all-natural lavender choices is a definite plus.

“Everything is completely natural, made from essential oils, and lavender has anti-bacterial qualities,” explains Ms. Voorhees. “Our deodorants are all natural and include only lavender and baking soda. They are very popular and very effective. The foaming hand soap, lotions, and our lavender tea are all especially popular.

“I started with aromatherapy, including soaps and lotions, and people started coming in for gifts. Now, we have a steady group of customers who really know what they want. They are from all over, and people find us online too. We once had a rock star come in from New York, and also people from the South, even from Canada. And lots of regulars from the area, including Princeton.

The customers seem to like everything in the shop, including the wide price range, which extends from $3 to $70. And they are often amazed by the variety of products.

Dried lavender branches and wreaths are favorite decorative gifts. Lavender “linen water” sprays for sheets and pillows are wonderful air fresheners, and also have a soothing, calming effect that may help people sleep. The lavender bath tea bag is filled with lavender and herbs, and when put in the bath tub, it can induce relaxation.

Treasure Chest

The “Pampering Hand Set” includes massage oil, cuticle cream, lavender exfoliant scrub, and nail brush. The “Gentleman’s Gift Set” with shaving soap, shaving brush, after-shave, and “mechanic’s” soap comes in a treasure chest-style box and will be sure to please a special guy in your life.

A wonderfully soft plush teddy bear is filled with lavender, offering a very long-lasting scent, and is irresistible to all ages. It is available at $33.

Wedding and baby shower favors include little boxes of lavender soap, and at various holiday times, Ms. Voorhees offers a number of seasonal gift items. Gift baskets are another highlight, and these are available ready-made or customized.

Your four-legged friends will also appreciate the range of lavender pet products. “These can help pets relax, and help them feel and smell good,” reports Ms. Voorhees. “We also have shampoo that can help repel fleas.”

Culinary lavender for cooking is another popular product, and is available for fish, poultry, and baked goods. Sipping lavender tea is a favorite with many customers, adds Ms. Voorhees. She notes that she has a specific recipe for every item, and also offers a recipe book.

The response to all her lavender products has been beyond her expectations and the growing demand keeps her very busy, says Ms. Voorhees. “I love what I make, and I take pride in what I’ve done. I never envisioned this happening. I thought it would be nice to have my own business, but the success is more than I ever imagined. It’s wonderful! I think the most enjoyment I have is being creative and seeing people love the products. I am also so pleased that many people who have received our products as gifts have now become our customers.”

An added attraction of shopping at Hidden Spring Lavender Farm is its lovely rural setting. The farm’s location invites customers to another world, filled with natural beauty and a relaxed atmosphere.

Hours are Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The shop will be open on Saturday only in January through March, so that Ms. Voorhees has time to add to the supply of products to keep up with the increasing demand, and also to get ready for the June harvest.

For more information, call (609) 558-7034 or visit the website at www.hiddenspringlavender.com.

December 30, 2015

Army Navy Store

A young man recently stopped in at the Princeton Army & Navy Store at 14½ Witherspoon Street. It was a chilly day, and he quickly walked to the back of the store, selected a blue hooded sweatshirt, put it on, and left.

“I didn’t realize it was so cold out, and I wasn’t dressed warmly enough,” he explained.

“This was typical,” points out owner Michael Bonin. “People stopped in to get what they needed, they found it, and often wore it out the door,”

That isn’t going to happen anymore. After almost 70 years, Princeton Army & Navy is closing its doors. The advent of on-line shopping has brought challenges to many retail establishments, and Princeton Army & Navy has been no exception.

Long Run

“Recently, the volume began to decline, especially as on-line shopping became more popular,” explains Mr. Bonin. “This became a real challenge. I want to emphasize that the timing is right, however. We are going out on our own terms. We are fortunate to have had a real long run — 65-plus years. We had a buyer for the building, and it was the right time.”

It has been the “right time” for the store since its opening as Princeton Army & Navy at the end of World War II. A family business from the beginning, it was started by Joseph Caplan, Mr. Bonin’s grandfather.

It actually began in 1911, notes Mr. Bonin. “My grandfather started it in 1911 as a clothing and gift shop. It closed for a while, then reopened as an Army & Navy store in the 1940s, and my late father Alvin Bonin, took over the operation in 1960.” more

December 16, 2015

NTU edpascal

FESTIVE SCENE: “I enjoy creating. I design all the clothes, and I also designed the decor in the boutique, as well as the holiday windows.” Christina Depascal, owner of the new Depascal Atelier, looks forward to introducing customers to her intriguing collection. Shown is the holiday window display, highlighting the handmade papier maché dress, crafted from vintage newspaper. Also included are festive poinsettias, a variety of jewelry, and contributing to the natural motif, a rustic bird house, bird’s nest, and birch tree branches.

“We want women to be able to look their best. The first thing people notice about you is how you are dressed. Everything here is handmade and one-of-a-kind.”

Christina Depascal, owner of Depascal Atelier, also designs the clothes at the new women’s boutique. Opened in October at 20 Nassau Street, this is a unique and inviting new fashion studio. more

December 9, 2015

NTU All Good Dogs

PET PALS: “We offer love and attention to dogs 24/7 in a cage-free kennel alternative. And, we bring peace of mind to dog owners, who know their animals will have the best of care.” Carole Lini, owner of All Good Dogs, is proud of the staff members shown in the photo holding two of their canine charges.

Does your dog need a home away from home? Is he or she becoming a “pooch potato”? Too much rest-time and not enough play-time and exercise? With so many people working out of the house today, that special canine companion may experience all of the above and be lonely as well.

Fortunately, Princeton area dogs have a happy alternative: All Good Dogs, which operates two nearby facilities, one in Plainsboro and one in Lawrence, as well as a third in Cherry Hill.  more

December 2, 2015

NTU Camillo 12-2-15

DINING ITALIANO: “We’re keeping the Camillo’s tradition with the same authentic Italian cuisine. At the same time, we are continuing to offer many of the Avanti specialties.” Camillo Tortola, chef/owner of the new Camillo’s Avanti in Pennington, is happy to offer his signature Italian cuisine to both former and new customers.

Good news! Camillo is back. After a hiatus of two years during which time he had closed Camillo’s Cafe in the Princeton Shopping Center, Camillo Tortola has opened Camillo’s Avanti.

He recently purchased Avanti Restaurant at 23 West Delaware Street in Pennington, and is now ready to offer customers his traditional classic Italian cuisine in Camillo’s signature relaxing and enjoyable atmosphere.

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well,” says Chef Tortola, quoting Virginia Woolf.

As a chef, he has been devoted to creating delicious authentic Italian dishes. It is what he has been doing his adult life, and what fascinated him when he was a boy. Born in Italy, and brought up by his grandmother in the small village of Miranda, Camillo was intrigued by his grandmother’s cooking. more

November 18, 2015

Hamilton Jewelers has been a showcase — not only for quality — but for a family-owned and operated business since its founding in 1912.

It is a true success story. Guided by former owner the late Irving Siegel, his son Martin Siegel, and now Irving’s grandson Hank Siegel, president and CEO, it continues to thrive. In an age when many establishments no longer stand the test of time, this is a special achievement.

As Martin Siegel has noted, “I started to help my dad in the business when I was 12 years old. I never thought of doing anything else. I came into the business formally in 1955, and now my son Hank is president and CEO. It has meant more than I ever expected to have the family business continue. It’s the dream of a father, passed on to a son and grandson.” more

November 4, 2015

NTU

Dr. Aly Cohen is on a mission. Board-certified rheumatologist, integrative medicine physician, and environmental health specialist, she is the founder and medical director of The Smart Human.

Dr. Cohen is recognized as one of the leading authorities on the harmful effects of exposure to everyday chemicals in the U.S. Helping people to make smart choices in a world in which they are constantly bombarded by chemicals is her goal.

“The Smart Human seeks to educate, coach, and empower everyday people to make safer, smarter choices for human health,” explains Dr. Cohen. “We help hospitals, schools, and manufacturers make changes to reduce unsafe chemical exposure to the children and adults whom they serve.” more

August 26, 2015

“When new patients come in, I let them know I have a lot of tools — a big tool box!” explains Dr. Edward Feldman of Feldman Wellness Center in Kingston. A Doctor of Chiropractic and Diplomate of the National Board of Chiropractic, he is also registered in Biodynamic CranioSacral Therapy, certified in the Feldenkrais® Method and in the advanced Clinical Nutrition Response System.

“I was always interested in the natural approach to healing: the mind/body approach,” he points out.

This philosophy led him to investigate chiropractic, and after graduating from the State University of New York at Buffalo, he earned his Doctor of Chiropractic degree from New York Chiropractic College.

“Chiropractic is complementary to traditional medicine,” explains Dr. Feldman. “The course of study is similar to that of medical school, a four-year program, but with special emphasis on anatomy.”

Proper Alignment

In chiropractic, the emphasis is on the spine and nervous system and keeping both at a level of optimum function. If the spinal vertebrae become misaligned, a number of problems can result, including headache, backache, shoulder and neck pain, sciatica, and more. Through a series of adjustments to the spine, the chiropractor can help restore the spine to correct alignment.

“Chiropractic can be helpful to people of all ages, including children and babies,” reports Dr. Feldman. “Regular treatments can restore proper alignment and function.”

Sometimes, however, even after chiropractic treatment, patients may continue to experience problems,” he points out.

“Often after an incident, such as a car accident, a fall, etc., a person may seem recovered, but in fact, there can still be a problem internally. The body is incredibly resilient, and after a fall, accident, etc., it can seem to get better, but there has actually been a long-term reaction, which has never been fully resolved.”

In this situation, Dr. Feldman frequently utilizes CranioSacral Therapy. This is a special hands-on therapy during which he identifies the palpable rhythms of the cerebral spinal fluid.

“These rhythms are likened to the pulses that the heart produces,” he explains. “When the heart beats irregularly, your body feels uncomfortable and can indicate unhealthiness. However, when it is beating regularly, you would never think twice about it. Similarly, when I make contact with the body, I am looking to feel movement throughout your whole body, trying to sense the inner rhythm of your nervous system. We call this inner rhythm the breath of life. When this life force of energy is not moving properly, it becomes blocked and your body is no longer moving as a whole system. Chronic issues, such as back or neck pain, headaches, digestive issues, or breathing problems can begin to arise.

Sense of Safety

“There are many reasons why the breath of life can become blocked,” continues Dr. Feldman. “These include physical or emotional trauma or chronic stress. This blockage can manifest in many different ways. That pain in your wrist could actually be a manifestation of a problem elsewhere in your body, such as your neck/shoulder junction. That headache you are experiencing could be a result of the fall you had many years ago that left a restriction in your tail bone. That TMJ you have could have arisen from whiplash in a car accident, or even from too much dental work.

“What is unique about this therapy is the client’s sense of safety during a session that allows the nervous system to settle. Now, the body has time to open up and feel again after being shut down both mentally and physically for so long.”

Benefits can include restored energy and vitality, alleviation of pain, and improvement in digestive disturbances.

In addition to CranioSacral therapy, Dr. Feldman often incorporates the Feldenkrais Method as part of the healing process. Developed by Dr. Moshe Feldenkrais, with whom Dr. Feldman studied, this is a special therapy, which helps train the body to adapt to new patterns of movement. As Dr. Feldman explains, “This extremely effective movement therapy is based on sound neurological principles that benefit your body and mind through sequences of gentle, no-stress movements. Learn how changing some of your habitual ways of moving can increase your energy and alleviate chronic pain and fatigue.

“Lessons include guided attention and easy movements that teach you how to reduce unnecessary muscular effort and improve your awareness of the whole self in action. Results can be extraordinary and may include greater vitality, more flexibility, decreased tension and stress. Doing regular Feldenkrais classes is a great way to keep your body tuned and in balance.”

The Wellness Center offers both individual and group sessions in the Feldenkrais Method.

First Meeting

“I highly recommend CranioSacral therapy and the Feldenkrais Method,” notes a patient, who has been helped by Dr. Feldman. “In my very first meeting, all the tension in my neck went away within less than half an hour, when he applied CranioSacral Therapy. Through Feldenkrais exercises, I not only began to alter the way I moved, but also strengthened my neck and arm, as this method complemented the CranioSacral Therapy.”

Most recently, Dr. Feldman has added another treatment option to his Wellness Center: Advanced Clinical Nutrition. He completed a post-graduate training program in Nutrition Response Testing, and has found it to be of great benefit to his patients.

“This is a non-invasive method of analyzing the body to determine the actual root causes of health conditions, and assists the practitioner in determining the patient’s nutritional deficiency or imbalance so it can be corrected,” he explains.

Dr. Feldman works with patients to make specific changes to diet, eating habits, and routines to bring about the best results. Through these diet changes, and consuming whole food supplements (actual food in capsule form), patients have been able to lose weight, lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and alleviate food allergies, says Dr. Feldman. It is a very individualized therapy, customized to each patient.

As he points out, “The body has the full potential to fully repair itself when given the right nutrients.”

Adds a pre-diabetic patient, who has benefitted from Nutrition Response Testing: “Dr. Feldman tested me, and found out what organs in my body were weak and needed to be boosted and which foods were adding to this weakened condition. I followed his recommendations exactly as he laid them out for me, and my improvement was immediate. After only one week of healthy eating and taking my supplements, my digestive problems vanished, and I lost two pounds.

Energy Level

“My second week on the plan was even more successful. Besides dropping an additional three pounds, my energy level was supercharged! My thinking is clear. My focus is great. My health has improved tremendously. I could not have put myself in better hands.”

Dr. Feldman now looks forward to helping even more patients at the Wellness Center. “All the treatments are very individualized. I take into consideration the whole person, including their lifestyle. With this treatment approach, and incorporating the different therapies, I feel we can help people who were not helped before. We are trying to make a permanent resolution of the problem, not just a quick fix that doesn’t last.

“I’d like to get the word out to more people, so they can benefit from our in-depth model. Essentially, our method is an in-depth treatment of the body as a whole. Our therapy emphasizes not just local treatment of a shoulder or neck or hip, but identifies global patterns of action throughout the body and how it moves or doesn’t move as a whole integrated system.”

Dr. Feldman sees patients Monday, Tuesday, Friday 8 a.m. to 6 p.m, Wednesday until 7, and Saturday morning. He can be reached at (609) 252-1766. Website: http://www.feldmanwellness.com.

August 12, 2015

FAMILY BUSINESS: “Customer service is the reason we are one of the few independent stores still in operation. Customers know they can count on us, and on the quality and value of our product line — including our focus on office and school supplies, and so much more.” John Roberto (left) and Andrew Mangone, co-owners of Hinkson’s, The Office Store, are proud of their long-time family business.

FAMILY BUSINESS: “Customer service is the reason we are one of the few independent stores still in operation. Customers know they can count on us, and on the quality and value of our product line — including our focus on office and school supplies, and so much more.” John Roberto (left) and Andrew Mangone, co-owners of Hinkson’s, The Office Store, are proud of their long-time family business.

There aren’t many left anymore. Those familiar family-owned, independently-operated businesses that used to line Princeton’s downtown and streetscape are now largely part of its past, not its present.

Fortunately, Hinkson’s, The Office Store, continues to thrive. Quality products, personal service, a helpful, knowledgeable staff, and loyal customers are all part of the Hinkson success story. Its tradition and reputation have truly stood the test of time. more

August 5, 2015

NTU Total Home

Peace of mind. That is what Total Home Manager offers its clients — from the smallest repair to the largest renovation to an on-going coverage and maintenance plan, with 24/7 emergency service.

Imagine not having to worry about the leak in the roof, cleaning the gutters, shoveling the snow, waiting for the plumber to arrive, or painting the house. more

July 22, 2015

NTU ArleesThe reviews are in, and they are good! In keeping with the growing trend of juice bars springing up across the country, customers are lining up to sample — and re-sample — the range of choices at Arlee’s Raw Blends.

Opened in April at 246 Nassau Street, the new juice bar is owned by the brother and sister team of Brian Moore and Paula Taylor. Their establishment, with its emphasis on cold-pressed juice and natural and organic ingredients, is special, they maintain.

Their background includes spending summers at their grandparents farm (owned by the family for three generations) in Georgia, and a familiarity and love of fresh produce and healthy eating.

“I’ve always been on the road to health and wellness, and my journey led me here,” explains Ms. Taylor. “The business evolved, and we grew into this. There is a movement toward healthy eating today, and we see that more and more people want to eat healthy.” more

July 15, 2015

Fashion was a passion for Christina DiDonato from the time she was a young girl. The creativity and ingenuity involved in putting together stylish outfits intrigued and inspired her at an early age. more

April 29, 2015
UNIQUELY YOUR OWN: “At Toggle Home, we strive to connect the past to the present by creating heirloom monograms with a modern twist. Our luxury monograms are hand-crafted and fully customizable to reflect each individual’s style and aesthetic.” Kate Johnstone-Butcher, owner and founder of Toggle Home, is shown with her sons Henry (left) and Porter.

UNIQUELY YOUR OWN: “At Toggle Home, we strive to connect the past to the present by creating heirloom monograms with a modern twist. Our luxury monograms are hand-crafted and fully customizable to reflect each individual’s style and aesthetic.” Kate Johnstone-Butcher, owner and founder of Toggle Home, is shown with her sons Henry (left) and Porter.Customers have found the latest addition on Chambers Street to be irresistible! Since its opening on April 10th, Toggle Home Monogramming & Design has already sold out of a number of items, and visitors to the shop are selecting a variety of monograms to personalize clothing, accessories, blankets, and furniture, among other items.

Customers are not only delighted by the extensive choices of monograms but also by the bright and cheerful decor of the shop. With its yellow and white color motif and warm welcoming atmosphere, it invites shoppers to linger and look!

“We offer a specific type of high quality monogramming that can be completely personalized for each customer,” explains founder and owner Kate Johnstone-Butcher. “I will do custom design, and the monograms can be any size, all different colors, and many different designs.”

An interior designer with a distinctive eye for design and detail, Ms. Johnstone-Butcher also offers professional design services for people in their homes. In addition, before the space became available at 12 Chambers Street, she also operated Toggle Home as an online business for several years, as well as providing traveling trunk shows and pop-up stores.

Original Concept

“It was always my hope to have my own place, however,” she notes, “and when this location became available, there was a whirlwind of activity to get ready. I love the aspect of having everything here in one place for people. When you come in the shop, you will see me. I am always here to help customers, and we have new things coming in all the time. This is a destination place for shoppers.”

Monogramming had long been a special interest for her, adds Ms. Johnstone-Butcher. “Growing up on the North Shore of Long Island, I was around lots of monogramming. At that time, it had a special kind of meaning to it — a family heritage, for example, a connection to who you are. It seemed that monogramming had gotten away from that in recent years — it had become more frivolous — and I wanted to get back to that original concept.

“That feeling of connection is why I chose the name Toggle for the store. One meaning of toggle is connection. Our monogram collection includes a nod to the classics with a modern twist and a commitment to tasteful simplicity. I also wanted it to be accessible and affordable for people.”

Customers may bring in their own items for monogramming, she adds, but they will also find a wonderful selection of merchandise in the shop. Items include everything from furniture and custom chandeliers to clothing and accessories to linens, tote bags and table skirts, as well as choices, including sweaters, for children and toddlers.

“We have items from around the world, with many from the U.S.,” reports Ms. Johnstone-Butcher. “Some of the favorites with customers are robes, pajamas and sleep shirts, and blankets, including wonderful cotton “pom-pom” blankets available in 22 different colors. We also have soft cashmere ponchos for women.”

Baseball caps, tote bags, wine bags, and cosmetic cases are in demand for monograms, as are neckties, and even Wellington boots! The selection of 100 percent linen hand towels in assorted colors provides opportunities for a welcome hostess gift.

Pagoda Design

“Our pagoda lanterns, chandeliers, and candle holders are very big sellers,” adds Ms. Johnstone-Butcher, “and customers also love the pagoda design for their monograms.”

Furniture includes chairs, beds, sofas, custom upholstery, and X benches (popular for use as an ottoman or at the foot of the bed), and all of these can be monogrammed.

Design choices for monogramming are seemingly limitless. Every type and style of lettering and initial is available and in every color. In addition to initials, many design choices, such as animals (Staffordshire dogs, elephants, and zebras are very popular), feathers, nautical knots, pineapples, and dragons, among many others, are favorites.

In addition, a selection of jewelry includes gold and silver bracelets and pendants, which can be engraved. A very popular necklace includes a chain, featuring small pendant “tags” suitable for engraving of name, initials, or other design. Starting at $40, including engraving, this is a charming graduation gift.

Many of the monogrammed choices will also make wonderful gifts for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, birthdays, graduations, and other special events. Red, white, and blue themes are popular for Memorial Day and Fourth of July gatherings.

“We also have lots of wedding items, such as beaded bags and robes, that are very popular monogrammed gifts for bridesmaids,” says Ms. Johnstone-Butcher.

Enthusiastic Response

Prices generally range from $25 for jewelry and small cosmetic cases to $45 for hand towels, $65 for tote bags, and $95 for the pom-pom blankets. All prices include monogramming, which typically takes five days for items in stock, somewhat longer for custom designs.

Ms. Johnstone-Butcher is delighted with the enthusiastic customer response, and reports there is never a dull moment. “I have not been bored a single day. I can hardly believe how busy we have been. It is wonderful to start out with an idea, to create something, and then be able to see it through.

“I am so pleased by the warm welcome both from the customers and the other merchants, and I am very humbled by it. I look forward to growing the business and continuing to deliver unique, special monograms. I love to create new designs, and I am also inspired by ideas from the customers.”

And, she adds, “Remember, with monogramming, you are only limited by your imagination, and we are here to help guide you through that imagination!”

The shop is currently open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hours may be extended in the summer. (609) 921-6057. Website: www.togglehome.com.

April 2, 2015

Enticing aromas emerge from Nina’s Waffles at 31 West Mechanic Street in New Hope, Pa. It gets even better when you step inside! Not only are the aromas irresistible, but the waffles are prepared right before your eyes.

The 18th Century Liège waffle is the inspiration for Nina’s recipes, explains manager Heather Lacey. “Our owner Louis Zanias was born in Greece, but grew up in Brussels. He had the Liège waffle during recess at school, and from the time he was a boy, his dream was to introduce these waffles to the U.S.”

That dream came true in 2012, when Mr. Zanias opened Nina’s Waffles, which is named for his youngest daughter. His experience in the restaurant business has given him insight into achieving success in the food industry, but Nina’s Waffles is really in a class by itself.

“We have a great following. There has been terrific word-of-mouth,” reports Ms. Lacey. “It’s amazing how many people have become so passionate about it and how many customers keep coming again and again. People come in and bring the whole family, as well as guests who visit.”

Wonderful Aroma

Nina’s Waffles is set apart in many ways. To start, there is no other enterprise in the area offering the traditional Liège waffle, notes Ms. Lacey. “You really have to go to Manhattan, and no one has our special recipe.

“We make our own dough in a bakery here, and import pearl sugar from Belgium. Unlike other sugar, it doesn’t burn at high temperatures, but becomes caramelized. This helps provide the wonderful aroma people experience here.

“Sean Lawson is Louis’ partner at Nina’s, and he helped develop the recipe for the dough. He also works on the ice cream recipes. He and Louis invent new flavors every week. It’s Philadelphia-style ice cream, with no eggs. We have 100 flavors, with 16 typically available at any one time.”

A waffle and ice cream combination is a favorite for many, she adds. “Most people like to have ice cream on top of the waffle, but others enjoy the waffle plain with no topping. We call it a ‘Naked Waffle’, and it’s delicious because it has a light sweet flavor due to the caramelized sugar.”

Waffle bites are another very popular choice, especially topped by chocolate ganache sauce. “Five or six bites are in a serving, and chocolate is drizzled on top. Some people add a scoop of ice cream,” says Ms. Lacey,

In addition to chocolate, the variety of waffle toppings includes nutella banana, homemade whipped cream and strawberries, dulce de leche, apple whipped tatin cream, and peanut butter caramel.

Special Favorites

The ice cream, which is made on-site with milk from a local dairy, is equally popular, and is available in cones and pints as well as atop the waffles. New flavors, such as key lime pie and blushing cheese cake, are added all the time. Special favorites include vanilla (still number one!), double chocolate, double espresso crunch, mint chocolate chip, sea salt caramel, orange honey blossom, roasted raspberry, and toasted coconut — to mention just some!

“Our small batch ice cream has something for everyone,” points out Ms. Lacey. “Our motto is ‘a little sugar and a lot of love’. We want to be sure that people taste the flavor and not the sugar.”

Nina’s Waffles offers take-out, sit-down for 20 as well as catering, and Ms. Lacey is enthusiastic about the waffle and ice cream truck, which is available for parties and corporate events.

“We have done parties for the eating clubs at Princeton University, and we will be adding a second truck this fall. It’s a vintage 1971 British truck, and we’ll be able to handle even more events. We really look forward to watching the business grow.”

Best Waffles

A second Nina’s Waffles opened in Doylestown, Pa. recently at 30 East State Street, she reports, and this, too, is enjoying a very positive customer response.

“And here in New Hope, we get people from all over, including lots from Princeton. On weekends, many come from Philadelphia and Cherry Hill, and in addition to the great word-of-mouth, many find us on-line. We were also voted the best waffles in the entire area in ‘The Best of Philly’ in Piladelphia Magazine.

Assorted pastries, including small individual tarts and cakes, are also available at Nina’s, as are gluten-free products.

Waffles are priced at $3 for plain and $5.50 with a scoop of ice cream. Ice cream cones are $2.95 and up, starting with kiddie size (available for all ages).

In addition to the tasty waffles and ice cream, customers enjoy the friendly, down-to-earth atmosphere at Nina’s. The staff has a good time, as does Ms. Lacey. Elizabeth Duane, points out that “Heather goes out of her way to explain to the staff how everything should be done, and in a very fun and nice way. We all enjoy sharing information about the waffles and ice cream with the customers.”

Adds Ms. Lacey: “We really look forward to greeting the people. I’ve been in the restaurant business a long time, and it still touches my heart to hand a little girl an ice cream cone and watch her eyes light up or to see someone’s face when they taste our waffles for the first time. I think we spread happiness!”

Nina’s Waffles is open Wednesday and Thursday 1 to 9 p.m., Friday 1 to 10 p.m.,  Saturday noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday noon to 9 p.m. After Memorial Day, hours will be extended to seven days through the summer and fall. (215) 862-1660.

Website: www.ninaswaffles.com.

 

March 25, 2015
TEAM WORK: “Sometimes, interior design can be an intimidating process, and people don’t know what to expect. At Sophia Rose Designs, our clients are very important, and they can count on us to help them. We are there for them, and are glad to take on all kinds and sizes of projects.” The Sophia Rose Designs team includes from left: Carly Tipton, owner Lisa Sprague, Sally Wood, and Barbara Shearn.

TEAM WORK: “Sometimes, interior design can be an intimidating process, and people don’t know what to expect. At Sophia Rose Designs, our clients are very important, and they can count on us to help them. We are there for them, and are glad to take on all kinds and sizes of projects.” The Sophia Rose Designs team includes from left: Carly Tipton, owner Lisa Sprague, Sally Wood, and Barbara Shearn.

Lisa Sprague, owner of Sophia Rose Designs, is embarked on a new adventure. In 2014, she purchased the longtime Saums Interiors business in Hopewell, and looking to put her own stamp on the operation, re-located it to Pennington.

“All my previous experience came together so I could take advantage of this opportunity,” explains the area resident. “I had spent 15 years working on various interior design projects and kitchen and bathroom remodels, including designing and coordinating numerous projects, from powder rooms to house additions to outdoor living space. I felt the timing was right to establish my own business.”

So, last October, Ms. Sprague opened Sophia Rose Designs, named for her two daughters, at 1 Tree Farm Road, located in a small shopping center on Route 31 North in Pennington.

The focus of her new business is kitchen and bathroom design, and she has assembled a professional team, including interior designer Barbara Shearn, as well as builders, contractors, and sub-contractors.

Staying Put

Ms. Sprague has a home contracting license, and coordinating the projects and working closely with clients is her specialty. “I’m the project manager. I work with the clients and coordinate everything from beginning to end, and I develop a strong, close relationship with the client.”

Homeowners are often opting to stay put and upgrade their existing space rather than move, she adds. Kitchens and bathrooms are especially popular remodels, and very important in terms of resale if the clients decide to sell later.

“Many people are remodeling instead of moving today. People are enjoying being home and entertaining at home,” points out Ms. Sprague. “Upgrades and new additions are very popular. The kitchen is the heart of the home. People just like to congregate there, and you want it to be warm, welcoming, and functional. Also, some of our clients are serious cooks, and it is important to them how things are arranged. We talk about this in the planning stages.”

Indeed, Ms. Sprague spends a lot of time with clients determining their life-style and the extent of time spent in the kitchen and their likes and dislikes.

“We offer a full range of design and decorating services, from planning and drafting to shopping and decorating. Lots of things are in fashion now, and it can be eclectic. For example, I’ve just been working on a kitchen with a rustic floor and contemporary cabinets.

“Also, there’s a new floor product, which is ceramic but looks like hardwood. It’s great for the kitchen or bath. You don’t have the problem of constantly having to wipe up any water that has dripped on the floor.”

Traditional Look

“Both traditional and contemporary styles are favored now, and you also see a transitional look, that is, a combination of both styles.”

Ms. Sprague notes that she continuously researches the latest advances in kitchen and bathroom design and products. “There are many, many wonderful choices today in cabinets, countertops, appliances, flooring, and also in paint, wallpaper, and window treatments.”

Both light and dark cabinets are popular, with maple wood cabinets a real favorite in the kitchen. “You can do so much with maple — paint, stain, and glaze,” she explains.

For countertops, granite is very popular both for its look and durability. Others include marble (especially for the bathroom), quartz, and Corian, as well as laminate.

In the case of backsplashes, which are so important in the kitchen, tile is always in demand, and other choices are granite and wood.

Among the cabinet lines available at Sophia Rose Designs are Kraftmaid Kitchen Cabinets and New River Kitchen Cabinets; in addition, Stanley Furniture, Sherrill Furniture, Robert Allen Fabrics, and Thibaut Wallpaper are offered.

Open and Spacious

Islands are a big item in many kitchens these days. “Many clients like to have an island,” points out Ms. Sprague. “They are so useful. You can do whatever you want with them. They can be used for storage, as a cook-top, or dining area — whatever you want.”

Kitchen design, as well as design generally in houses today, often focuses on an open, more spacious motif. Residents are opting for an uninterrupted flow from room to room. “A more open feeling is popular today,” observes Ms. Sprague. “One way to make existing space more effective is to take down a wall.”

The bathrooms of today are a far cry from those of years past. “Bells and whistles” abound, with choices galore. Lighting, cabinetry, countertops, and especially, the variety of showers offer customers tremendous variety.

“In the bathroom, we see a pull away from jacuzzis now,” reports Ms. Sprague. “Showers are very important today, with a lot of frameless models with more glass, and a big variety of shower heads, including waterfalls, cascades, and sprays.”

Helping the client to find the best kitchen or bathroom within their budget is a priority for Ms. Sprague. “Budget is a number one concern, and the cost of labor and materials a major factor. I help them select something within their price range. By the way, if you want to make a change with the least cost, it’s by painting.

“I like to work with the customers so much. I like to help make them happy, and I love winning their trust when they see we’re going in the right direction. The finished product is very important to us, and we’re involved every step of the way.”

Room Settings

“It is also very important for me to have good people working with me,” continues Ms. Sprague. “I am only as good as the team, and we have a great team at Sophia  Rose Designs.”

The attractive showroom offers a variety of room settings, and many samples, including wallpaper and window treatments, for customers to inspect. There is also a selection of retail items, focusing on home accessories, as varied as candles, lamps, and rugs.

“We plan to add a lot more merchandise, including artwork, dinnerware, etc.,” says Ms. Sprague. “We will also be offering Le Cadeaux Melamine dinnerware, appropriate for indoor or outdoor dining.”

Selected items are on sale, she adds, and Sophia Rose Designs also offers “Buy the Look” options, including accent furniture, artwork, mirrors, lamps, and design ideas to help customers plan their own room settings.

“For clients, a new bath or kitchen can be a dream come-true,” points out Ms. Sprague. “For us, every day is a new adventure. Nothing is really the same — different projects and different people. I am looking forward to establishing our business in the area. This is a great location, very busy, with a lot of walk-in traffic. We are sure people will enjoy visiting our showroom.”

Sophia Rose Designs is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday 10 to 5. (609) 730-4171.

Website: www.sophiarosedesigns.net.

MILLION DOLLAR SMILE: “With our prosthodontics practice, we respond to many different situations. With our experience and confidence, we are able to treat complicated conditions and situations.” Dr. Steven C. Isaacson. D.M.D. and Dr. Suzanne B. Reinhardt. D.M.D. of Prosthodontics of Princeton are pleased to offer their patients state-of-the-art dental care.

MILLION DOLLAR SMILE: “With our prosthodontics practice, we respond to many different situations. With our experience and confidence, we are able to treat complicated conditions and situations.” Dr. Steven C. Isaacson. D.M.D. and Dr. Suzanne B. Reinhardt. D.M.D. of Prosthodontics of Princeton are pleased to offer their patients state-of-the-art dental care.

A missing tooth or teeth? A damaged, fractured, or worn tooth? Teeth looking a little “gray”?

If you can identify with any of these situations, Prosthodontics of Princeton may be able to restore that million dollar smile.

Located in Princeton Professional Park at 601 Ewing Street, it is the practice of Dr. Steven C. Isaacson, D.M.D. and Dr. Suzanne B. Reinhardt, D.M.D.

Dr. Isaacson, who graduated from the University of Pennsylvania School of Dentistry, is continuing the practice started by his father, Dr. George Isaacson in the 1960s. After a one-year general practice residency at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Steven Isaacson went on to obtain specialty training in prosthodontics at Temple University School of Dentistry, with an emphasis on reconstructive and cosmetic dentistry. He then joined his father’s practice in 1988.

Restoration And Replacement

Dr. Reinhardt, a graduate of the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, joined Prosthodontics of Princeton in 2004, after extensive training in cosmetic and reconstructive dentistry, including post graduate specialty training at the Manhattan campus of VA NY Harbor Health Care System.

Prosthodontics are dentists who specialize in the aesthetic restoration and replacement of teeth. Two or three years of additional training after dental school are required, where the dentists are educated in state-of-the-art techniques and procedures for treating many different dental conditions. These include crowns, bridges, complete and removable partial dentures, dental implants, TMJ-jaw joint problems, traumatic injuries to the mouth’s structure and/or teeth, and snoring or sleep disorders.

“Teeth can have problems due to extensive cavities or periodontal conditions, or injuries,” explains Dr. Isaacson. “Also, sometimes people have grinding or clenching problems, which can wear down teeth or cause TMJ. We do a full mouth evaluation and come up with a treatment plan with a number of different options.”

One of the major advances in dentistry has been the growing emphasis on implants, he adds. “Implants began in numbers in the 1980s, and this was a total change. Before that, bridges and dentures were used to replace missing teeth.”

Root implants are the most widely used type of implants, and can provide a base for a single tooth or support a bridge or a denture, he explains. They are close in size to a natural tooth. Implants are inserted into the jawbone, and offer stability because the bone grows onto the implant, and once the fusion has occurred, it will allow for more natural and comfortable substitutes for lost teeth than dentures or bridges.

Candidates for implants must have healthy gums and adequate jaw bone to support the implant, points out Dr. Reinhardt. “We now offer ‘Teeth In A Day’. In some cases, we can provide extraction and the implants in one day. It is exciting and really on the cutting edge.”

Brighter Smile

Another important part of the Prosthodontics of Princeton practice, and increasingly popular, is teeth whitening. Many people are looking for a brighter smile these days, and are opting either for over the counter products to do the job or the more thorough and professional procedure a dentist can provide.

Whitening will remove surface stains, due to coffee, red wine, berries, and the passage of the years, notes Dr. Isaacson. “We evaluate a patient to see if whitening is appropriate. For example, only original teeth can change color, not crowns. Whitening can produce great results. We follow the ADA guide lines, and we have not experienced any harmful side effects.”

He adds that whitening is not generally done on patients under college age.

Dr. Isaacson and Dr. Reinhardt emphasize that they participate in continuing education to keep up with the latest advances in their field. “We attend education classes once a month. There are changes and advances in materials, techniques, implants, and medicine, etc. There are so many new materials coming along to help teeth to be strong and beautiful.”

Porcelain veneers (laminates), and bonding are just some of the possibilities available today to keep a smile looking great.

Both Dr. Isaacson and Dr. Reinhardt look forward to continuing to help patients achieve the best outcome for their dental needs They do all they can to provide a comfortable and relaxed environment, and are pleased to have a very strong patient base. “Some of our patients are referred to us by general dentists, and we are very proud that most patients have been referred by other patients. We have a very loyal following.”

All Ages

Although the specialty at Prosthodontics of Princeton is reconstructive and cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Isaacson and Dr. Reinhardt also treat patients for general dentistry. Their patients are all ages, including children. As they point out, “If someone needs restorative work, we can see other family members for general dentistry.

“I enjoy the patients so much,” continues Dr. Reinhardt. “It is wonderful to know that what you are doing is helping them and making a difference for them.”

“I like dealing with the people,” adds Dr. Isaacson. “I love all the different personalities. We really help to make people over, and it’s about trust. I try to explain about the procedure and help the patient become knowledgeable about what is happening. I feel a real closeness with them, and we can truly make a difference in their lives. It’s amazing when someone looks in a mirror and is so happy after the work. I am especially proud of being able to continue my father’s practice. We were a family of dentists.”

Prosthodontics of Princeton is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and one Saturday a month 8 to 1. (609) 924-1975.

Website: www.prosthodonticsofprinceton.com.

March 18, 2015
HEALTHY EATING: “We want Terra Learning Kitchen to be an eye opener. Our message is about eating healthy and eating seasonally. We saw an opportunity to offer healthy food at affordable prices at this central location.” Shown left to right is the Terra Learning Kitchen team: kitchen manager Margo Allen, Raoul and Carlo Momo of Terra Momo Restaurant Group, Dorothy Mullen of the Suppers Program, and pastry chef Natalie Russano.

HEALTHY EATING: “We want Terra Learning Kitchen to be an eye opener. Our message is about eating healthy and eating seasonally. We saw an opportunity to offer healthy food at affordable prices at this central location.” Shown left to right is the Terra Learning Kitchen team: kitchen manager Margo Allen, Raoul and Carlo Momo of Terra Momo Restaurant Group, Dorothy Mullen of the Suppers Program, and pastry chef Natalie Russano.

Reinforcing attitudes about the importance of home-cooked food and educating consumers about the negative consequences of processed foods is the goal of Terra Learning Kitchen.

Indeed, it is a “Kitchen with a Mission!”

“Our shared mission is to promote health by providing tasty whole food for a reasonable cost and educating our community about cooking nutritious food deliciously,” says Raoul Momo, co-owner of Terra Momo Restaurant Group and a founder of Terra Learning Kitchen (TLK).

“Terra Learning Kitchen is dedicated to educating the public about wholesome food and cooking, and how to make healthy food and delicious food the same thing. It offers a variety of cooking classes as well as healthy grab ’n’ go lunches and take-out dinners,” adds TLK kitchen manager Margo Allen.

Combined Venture

Located inside the Program Building of the Princeton Family Y, TLK is a combined venture of the YMCA, The Suppers Program, and the Terra Momo Restaurant Group.

Started in January of 2014, TLK has continued to evolve, and now offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner to go. Eat-in or take-out selections are available five days a week, as well as cooking classes and events focusing on cooking instruction, preparing the meals, and then enjoying the culinary results.

Parties of all kinds, celebrations, and corporate team building events are all popular options.

Delicious and nutritious is the key, point out Raoul Momo and Dorothy Mullen, who are supporters of TLK. Mr. Momo and his brother Carlo Momo are the owners of Terra Momo Restaurant Group, which includes such popular eating establishments as Mediterra, Teresa’s Caffe, Eno Terra, and Terra Momo Bread Company.

Ms. Mullen is the founder of The Suppers Program, a non-profit organization dedicated to furthering healthy nutrition and emphasizing its importance in reducing a variety of illnesses and addictions.

Supper meetings are held in central New Jersey, when people gather to “cook together, eat together, learn together, and taste and feel their way to vibrant health using whole food,” reports Ms. Mullen.

Four Principles

“Four principles guide us to our mission,” she adds. “(1) the active practice of non-judgment, (2) whole food preparation, (3) no commercial messages, and (4) restoration of the family table.”

Much of this philosophy is evident at TLK, where the focus is on education about healthy eating as well as providing nutritious dishes.

“There is great need and growing interest for programs that help people understand how to eat better and more nutritiously,” says Mr. Momo. “We share a mutual goal of enhancing people’s well-being and healthy eating. We are very pleased to be adding another dimension to that experience through culinary education. We hear it all the time — people are eager to learn how to eat better and make choices that improve their health, as individuals and as families, without compromising taste.”

But how to do this when everyone is so rushed, trying to balance numerous obligations and tasks, and where budget is a never-ending consideration?

Easy accessibility to nutritious food at affordable prices is the key, believes the TLK team, and they want people to understand the consequences of fast food, processed food, and the health consequences that can result.

“At TLK, we prepare healthy food, all made from scratch, and we make it accessible and convenient for people,” says Ms. Mullen. “We are value-driven. I really come at this from the health angle of preventing disease and unnecessary suffering. Unhealthy eating can be a factor in obesity, diabetes, and other health problems, including addictions, especially in connection with processed food.”

Best Outcome

In the best outcome, healthy eating can ultimately help to prevent illness and reduce medical expenses.

TLK cooking classes include the basics, such as knife skills, soup-making, seasonal cooking, etc., notes Ms. Mullen. “Mini Chef” school is available for children, and it is never too soon for the youngest among us to discover the pleasures of preparing and then eating their culinary creations.

Food and kitchen accessibility — not just from vending machines, microwave ovens, and fast food establishments — is a major concern of the TLK partners. They believe there has been a growing “disconnect” between people and their food, and this has been apparent in the design and use of buildings.

“There was a time when public buildings like schools, libraries, and YMCAs all had proper kitchens. The cafeterias actually cooked food. These days public buildings are being built just with snack bars, warmers, and microwave ovens. This loss of kitchens from public spaces reinforces the sick idea in our culture that good food doesn’t matter, that cooking isn’t necessary,” notes the TLK team.

“What we stand up for by collaborating on TLK is the idea that there’s no separating the health of the people from cooking delicious food. Once you lose a couple of generations of people who know how to cook, it takes a big effort to reverse the mistake. There aren’t enough mothers and grandmothers — and fathers too — passing along skills and traditions, standards, and food values. What used to happen naturally and simply in families now requires complex solutions, including instruction.

“We did a very big experiment. The results are in. You can’t erase local food traditions and cooking from a culture without really bad consequences like diabetes and obesity and all these food-driven diagnoses.”

Back on Track

“Therefore, kitchens in public spaces have to be about more than just getting some food out wherever people gather. The culture needs them to be teaching and learning kitchens too because somehow we have to get our derailed train back on the tracks.”

“That’s why Terra Momo is collaborating with the YMCA and Suppers,” adds Mr. Momo. “The Y and Suppers have health missions, and Terra Momo prizes high standards for quality and sourcing of food. They come together in TLK, which is creating a higher bar and a model of what has to happen with kitchens in public spaces in order to turn around this massive, destructive trend.”

Menu choices at TLK include a variety of tempting dishes. The very popular Breakfast Burrito consists of scrambled eggs, turkey bacon, and cheddar cheese; Frittata of the Day features seasonal vegetables and crustless egg quiche; the Smoothie of the Day offers fresh fruit and vegetables, and there is also Greek yogurt, homemade granola, and seasonal fruit compote.

Soup and chili are very much in demand, including turkey chili with ground turkey, kidney beans, bell peppers, onions, and tomatoes; spicy vegetarian chili is another option and includes white beans, black beans, red and green bell peppers, and eggplant spiced with chipotle peppers.

Chicken and kale soup offers chicken breast with carrots, celery, onions, and Tuscan kale, and brown rice (optional).

Salads include Tuscan Kale with tossed almonds, feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes in a white balsamic vinaigrette; also Chop Salad featuring local greens, feta cheese, radish, red onion, cauliflower, and crispy garbanzo beans, served with a choice of dressing; and Goat Cheese & Apricot, served over mixed greens with toasted almonds, and choice of dressing.

Noodle-less Lasagna

Tacos and enchiladas round out the menu, and include coconut and chili chicken or pulled pork carnitas on corn tortilla with such toppings as shredded local lettuce, pickled jalapenos, cheddar cheese, queso fresco, Mexican crema, and salsa verde.

Vegetarian enchiladas include corn tortillas filled with quinoa, kale, black beans, and mozzarella cheese, served with tomato sofrito sauce. Other choices are Chicken Cacciatore, Noodle-less Lasagna, including layered roasted zucchini, eggplant, red pepper, house marinara, mozzarella, ricotta, and kale. Turkey meatballs with marinara are another choice, among many others.

Prices range from $3 for the Frittata of the Day, $5 for chili, soup, salads, and tacos, to $8 for Chicken Cacciatore and Lasagna.

“We use only the freshest ingredients, focusing on locally-sourced and seasonally available produce,” says Mr. Momo. “We have a brand new kitchen space, which has been completely renovated. We are open to all the Y members and to the general public. We really want to be involved in the community. I enjoy serving the community. I live here, my kids go to the Y, and I’m really involved on a personal level.

“There is really nothing else like TLK in the area. We plan to have more cooking classes and more events in the All-Purpose Room. We’re excited, and we look forward to seeing our concept and vision grow.”

Terra Learning Kitchen seats 18 inside, and also offers outdoor seating and a picnic table in the garden in warm weather. Parking is free and convenient, and TLK is open Monday and Friday 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday 8 to 5. (609) 580-1664. Website: www.terramomo.com. It is also possible to order online.

March 11, 2015
LOOKING GOOD: “We provide hair and make-up services for the multi-cultural community, specializing in wavy, curly, and kinky hair,” explain Nelson (left), and Najwa Comeau, owner-operators of the new Makeovers Studio on Leigh Avenue. They look forward to introducing their services to many more clients.

LOOKING GOOD: “We provide hair and make-up services for the multi-cultural community, specializing in wavy, curly, and kinky hair,” explain Nelson (left), and Najwa Comeau, owner-operators of the new Makeovers Studio on Leigh Avenue. They look forward to introducing their services to many more clients.

Helping clients to look their best is the goal of the owner-operators of Makeovers Studio at 21 Leigh Avenue. Najwa Comeau and Nelson opened the new hair and make-up salon in October, 2014. Both are experienced hair and make-up artists, and believed the timing was right to offer their special skills to the community.

“We think we are filling a need in Princeton for hair and make-up services for the multi-cultural community,” explains Nelson, who has previously worked as a stylist in New York City, Philadelphia, and the Princeton area.

“We are about helping you to find ways to reinvent yourself,” adds Najwa, whose specialty is make-up. “A new look can give you new confidence!”

She was especially pleased to open the new studio at the location of her grandmother’s former salon, Burrell’s Salon/Impulse Corner.

Grandmother’s Legacy

Doris Burrell opened the salon in 1947, and owned and operated it until its closing 12 years ago. The salon drew customers from all over the Princeton area, and as far away as Asbury Park and New York. Customers included a mix of ages and ethnic backgrounds.

“I enjoy carrying on the legacy of my grandmother and continuing what she started,” says Najwa. “She had the first business owned by a black woman in Princeton, and she inspired the careers of a lot of people. I helped my grandmother in the salon when I was a girl, and I liked to be there. I was always interested in hair and make-up.”

Najwa and Nelson completely renovated the space, removing walls, adding new lighting, and artwork. Many of the paintings are Nelson’s original work.

“Eventually, we hope to have an ‘Art Night Out’ once or twice a month, where people can come, enjoy the artwork, have refreshments, and spend time together with us,” notes Nelson.

In addition to her paintings, Nelson’s creativity extends to her hand-crafted jewelry, which is on display. Earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and anklets are all available for sale. She also creates silk pillow cases, which are noted for helping to keep hair styles in place overnight when one is asleep.

Hair and make-up services are the major focus at the studio. Both licensed cosmetologists, Najwa and Nelson keep up on the latest advances and techniques. Both had previously worked as make-up and hair artists at photo shoots for magazines, billboards, and fashion shows and events.

Open to Learning

As they point out, “It is very important to keep up with all the advances and new techniques in both the hair and make-up fields. We are always learning and always open to learning.”

“Nelson is a master stylist, and specializes in hair extensions and color,” continues Najwa. “She knows about many kinds of extensions, and also has special training for non-surgical hair replacements.

“The right system is important,” points out Nelson. “There are temporary extensions and semi-permanent ones. Extensions are very popular today.”

Straightening and relaxers are other services, and different kinds of techniques, including keratin treatments, are available. Steam treatment to restore moisture to hair is another service.

Dreadlocks and braiding are also offered, and in addition, wigs are available. “Sometimes, people have wigs for medical or religious reasons, while other times, they just want a change in their look,” reports Nelson.

Treatments for dry hair, thinning hair, and scalp conditions are also available, as is corrective care for those who have had a bad hair day or for do-it-yourselfers who have made color mistakes.

“Must-Have”

“Color is extremely important,” says Nelson. “One of my specialties is color for relaxed hair. It must be done properly.”

“Color is a “must-have” for many clients, and for many reasons,” adds Najwa. “Some people want to look as natural as possible; others want to go with a trend or make a statement, and be ‘out there! The sky’s the limit!”

Both Najwa and Nelson emphasize that it is essential that color be applied with careful attention and professional care.

“If you want to make a statement, come to us!” says Najwa, with a smile. “You can have a make-over, and your hair and make-up will reach a whole new level.”

Make-up lessons and applications are available, as well as make-up for weddings, proms, and other special occasions. “It should be occasion-appropriate make-up,” points out Najwa. “Make-up can change for different occasions and from day to evening; just as your wardrobe changes, your face can change. And there is an art to it.

“The idea with make-up, really, is to look like yourself, but enhanced. With instruction, you can learn to apply make-up in five minutes — the ‘Five Minute Face!’ Be sure to have all the products you need nearby and only the ones you will use. First, even out the skin, then groom the eyebrows, apply liner and mascara, blush, lip — and you’re done!

“Five Minute Face”

Najwa adds that skin type — color, tone, oily, dry, etc. — is important for make-up choices. Make-up can also change seasonally, as in summer or winter, and life-style is another issue.

“I teach a workshop on the ‘Five Minute Face’, and focus on office to evening,” she explains. “You go to work with day-appropriate make-up, and you can take that same face with you for an evening occasion. I’ll show you how to make it ‘evening’ without washing, just a little sprucing up to make it evening-appropriate, and you’re ready to go!

“What I enjoy so much about make-up is seeing how much everyone likes it. Make-up is fun. I work with so many ages, and it’s creative and artistic. We have young teens come in, and they may be experimenting with make-up for the first time. We want to help them with appropriate make-up and also to learn about proper hygiene with the use of make-up. It is also important not to keep make-up products too long, especially eye products. For example, you should get new mascara after three months.”

As in the case of the hair industry, make-up changes have exploded over the years, reports Najwa. “There are so many more shades and products and techniques today than when I first started.”

The clients at Makeovers Studio are all ages and ethnic backgrounds, and include a number of men, who are often experimenting with color, especially gray reduction, and eye brow grooming, notes Nelson.

“Generally, with hair, our bread and butter is style and blow dry, and frequently for clients who come in once a week.”

Three Generations

The salon is offering a $20 discount off hair services for first time customers.

Both Najwa and Nelson are pleased that the studio is off to such an encouraging start, including enthusiastic word-of-mouth communication.

“It’s wonderful to have the business here,” adds Najwa. “I grew up and went to school in this neighborhood. How many people can say they have a business in their home town? And there are three generations in town: my grandmother, my mother, and me. Also, my brother Shahid Abdul-Karim is a policeman in Princeton.

“I feel blessed to carry on my grandmother’s legacy, and also to work side by side with Nelson, who is so much like and just as talented as my grandmother.

“We look forward to growing the business and building a brand of quality that people can count on. We want to be a staple in the community. We believe we are helping people feel good about themselves. When they look better, they feel better, have more confidence and self-esteem. It’s very creative work, and the fun part is seeing how happy our clients are.”

Makeovers Studio is open Monday by appointment, Tuesday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday 11 to 7, Thursday 10 to 8, Friday 10 to 6, Saturday 10 to 4. (609) 285-3721. Facebook: Makeovers Studio 21.

Piccolo Trattoria is almost too good to be true. This Ristorante Italiano is located in the Hopewell Valley Crossing Shopping Center just off Route 31 South at R Denow Road in Pennington. It offers an exceptional array of Italian dishes, including pizzas, pasta, and paninis, as well as appetizers, entrees, soups, and salads of all kinds.

Owned by Fami Elabed, it is one of three Piccolo Trattorias he has established, including two in Pennsylvania.

“This is my passion,” he says. “We’re set apart by our fresh ingredients, special recipes, and our presentation. We are brilliant at the basics! And we have many regular customers from all over the area and beyond. We are very popular with families, and we have a children’s menu.

Mr. Elabed’s passion for Italian cuisine, served to his guests as if they were his own family, is the driving force behind all three Piccolo Trattorias. At the age of 12, he entered the hospitality industry by working at a pizzeria and learning every aspect of the trade. After high school, he took the next step in his career by apprenticing under chefs who taught him the nuances of creating authentic Italian cuisine. And always, there was the underlying desire to own and operate his own restaurant.

Spacious Restaurant

This dream was realized in 2001, when Mr. Elabed opened the first of his Piccolo Trattorias, in Newtown, Pa., followed by the Pennington location in 2005, and then most recently, the restaurant in Langhorne, Pa.The spacious Pennington restaurant combines a pizzeria, bistro, and main dining room with seating for 170. Outside, patio dining accommodates 25 people, who can enjoy the attractive setting which features a large fountain.

The restaurant reflects an Italian ambiance with artwork and posters of Italian scenes decorating the walls. Handsome tile flooring is notable throughout the bistro, dining room, and pizzeria. White tablecloths, yellow and black napkins create an inviting setting for guests in the main dining room, while the pizzeria is more informal, with a relaxed down-to-earth atmosphere.

Lunch, dinner, and take-out are available at Piccolo, and catering has also become a big part of the business, “We bring the restaurant to your house,” reports Mr. Elabed. A complete variety of dishes is offered for every size and style of events, he adds.

“We also do a lot of corporate business, both catering at their locations and luncheons and dinners here.”

The menu at Piccolo is truly remarkable. The number and variety of choices offers a dish for every taste. Appetizers include the very popular Antipasto Rustico, with prosciutto, sopressata, sharp provolone, shaved reggiano, fresh mozzarella, kalamata olives, roasted red peppers, marinated artichokes, and grilled marinated vegetables drizzled with extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil. An assortment of calamari (fried and grilled) is another favorite, as are the restaurant’s signature crab cakes.

Daily Specials

Piccolo is known for its bronzini fish dishes. This popular Mediterranean fish is baked and filleted, and served with black olives. Chicken Amali is always in demand, and salmone alla Piccolo (grilled salmon over sauteed cannellini beans and spinach in a port wine reduction), and shrimp scampi are other favorites.

“We also have specials every day,” notes Mr. Elabed. “We find that some people like to have their favorite dish every time they come in, and others like to experiment and try something different.”

Popular pasta dishes include numerous choices, such as fusilli matriciana (pasta tossed with a tangy sauce with grape tomatoes, sauteed pancetta, onions, fresh basil, and fresh garlic); fettucine alfredo (egg noodle pasta in a creamy parmiagiano and pecorino romano cheese sauce, with chicken or shrimp); and homemade gnocchi ( homemade potato dumplings in a choice of gorgonzola cream sauce, vodka cream sauce, mariana bolognese or pesto sauce, with chicken or shrimp), among many others.

Piccolo’s apple walnut salad with gorgonzola cheese in homemade Piccolo classic balsamic vinaigrette is another very popular choice.

And then, there are the pizzas! Just about every possible pizza combination one can imagine is available. The Brooklyn Old World Pizza is Piccolo’s signature pizza, with its thin crust, special plum tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and a touch of parmigiano cheese.

“This is a real specialty for us,” says Mr. Elabed.

Homemade Bread

Many, many others are on the menu, along with the paninis, strombolis, and calzones, all Italian specialties.

Mr. Elabed points out that many gluten-free choices are offered. “We accommodate people who have special dietary needs, and we have many vegetarian dishes.

Homemade bread is also baked on the premises, and Piccolo is known for its popular garlic knots.

Desserts highlight homemade tiramisu and cannoli, among many others, including a variety of chocolate specialties. Cappuccino and espresso are available, along with a selection of other beverages.

Piccolo does not have a liquor license, but many diners bring wine or spirits to accompany their meal.

Prices at the restaurant cover a range, with appetizers from $7.99, paninis from $9, pasta from $11, and other entrees from $14.

Mr. Elabed is proud of the reputation he has established with his restaurants, and looks forward to continuing to please his customers’ palates. “We are in the hospitality business. Our goal is to make everyone happy from the time they come in until they leave, after having had a great meal. My passion is to make sure that whoever walks in is part of the Piccolo family. We welcome our guests. We want them to enjoy coming to dine with us.

“We also feel we are part of the community, and we always want to give back. I believe hard work pays off. We have established very high standards, and we continue to meet those standards. Customers can count on that. And I have a great staff, who give wonderful service. Many have been here since Day One.”

Piccolo Trattoria is open Sunday through Thursday 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday, Saturday, Sunday until 11. (609) 737-9050. Website: piccolotrattoria.com.