August 21, 2013
MIND, BODY, & SPIRIT: “Important benefits of yoga are self-awareness and self-care. Yoga affects you physically, mentally, and spiritually. People are attracted to yoga as a way to quiet their mind and make the body flexible and strong.” Certified yoga instructor Romy Toussaint, founder and owner of Romy Yoga, is shown demonstrating the yoga Tree Pose.

MIND, BODY, & SPIRIT: “Important benefits of yoga are self-awareness and self-care. Yoga affects you physically, mentally, and spiritually. People are attracted to yoga as a way to quiet their mind and make the body flexible and strong.” Certified yoga instructor Romy Toussaint, founder and owner of Romy Yoga, is shown demonstrating the yoga Tree Pose.

An hour of quiet amidst the rush of the smart phone, iPad, texting, twitter, and e-mail. An opportunity to stretch and exercise in a non-competitive environment. A chance to learn techniques of physical, mental, and spiritual mindfulness that can be incorporated into your daily life.

All of these are possibilities and options at Romy Yoga, located in Lawrenceville. Opened in 2007 by certified yoga instructor Romy Toussaint, it offers instruction for all ages, both men and women, and for people of all levels of yoga experience.

“My style is vinyasa yoga, focusing on flow, and I also incorporate different styles into a session,” explains Ms. Toussaint. “My teaching and practice are different. I incorporate yoga teaching and yoga philosophy into the session as well as the physical poses and exercise.

“There is an 8-fold path to yoga awareness,” she continues. “The yoga principles are actually like spokes on a wheel, and include Yamas (moral principles), Niyamas (personal discipline), Asana (physical postures), Pranayama (mindful breathing), Dharana (turning inward), Pratyahara (concentration), Dhyana (meditation), and Samadhi (enlightenment).”

Beneficial Components

Yoga can be exceptionally helpful for one’s well-being, adds Ms. Toussaint, who came to the U.S. from Haiti, and discovered yoga in 1992. She points out the various beneficial components. “For example, what is your mental state when you come to the yoga class? What is it when you leave? Are you practicing gratitude? Are you being helpful and loving to others? And it is so important to be in the moment, which yoga helps you to do. It is an awareness of one’s breathing and concentration.

“Then there is the strength, flexibility, and balance component. All are significant in the yoga session.”

Ms. Toussaint had been working with other yoga studios in the area since 1998 before opening Romy Yoga. She is also a certified personal trainer, a specialty she continues to practice. “I had always been involved in physical fitness,” she explains. “I had been a soccer coach and swimming instructor in high school and college. Being physically active was very important.”

Her yoga students are all ages — from children to retirees — and she points out that it is never too late to begin. “One woman who was 65 came for the first time, and continues to come. She said ‘it has changed my life!’”

Many of Ms. Toussaint’s students emphasize the unique aspects of her classes. Lawrenceville resident David Morhaim has practiced yoga for 15 years, five with Ms. Toussaint. As he points out, “Several things set Romy apart, including her variety. She has never duplicated a class; she teaches all eight segments of yoga, and challenges us to incorporate them into our lives, on and off the mat!

“She’s also got a great sense of humor, and doesn’t hesitate to make us laugh in class. She is a true student of yoga and leads by example, and she creates a safe, spiritual space in which to practice. In short, she’s the best I’ve found!”

Sense of Clarity

Another student points out the completeness of Ms. Toussaint’s classes. “Romy is the complete yoga experience. She provides an amazing physical challenge, but even better is the mental clarity that is gained from every practice. I have gone to classes with other instructors, but she is definitely the most complete for both mind and body. I most enjoy how I feel when the class is over: relaxed, calm, with a sense of clarity. I can’t imagine my life either without yoga or without Romy!”

Ms. Toussaint also emphasizes that one’s state of fitness or health condition are taken into consideration. “If people have special physical constraints, such as injuries, arthritis, etc., they can still participate in yoga. I make it my priority to help everyone find what they need in the class. We can make modifications for individuals, and people can come in and do whatever they are able. I cater the practice to everyone in the room to their individual situations — and challenge them to be the best they can be, or to be as challenged as they want to be.

“One of my favorite times with a student was truly memorable. She had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and she came to yoga classes right after surgery and during all of the chemotherapy treatment. No matter how bad she was feeling, she came, and she always felt better when she left.”

Classes range from one-on-one to groups of four to 15, says Ms. Toussaint, and most students attend twice a week, although some come once a week.

Classes are held in a spacious studio in Ms. Toussaint’s home, and it is very conducive to a fulfilling yoga session. In addition to the yoga classes, she has special workshops. Most recently, there has been been a five-week “Yamas Immersion” in which students focus on the guiding principles of yoga.

“Studying these principles allows for the insight and wisdom to remain focused on truth so that the principles can grow and become manifest in all areas of our lives,” notes Ms. Toussaint. “Each week begins with an extended group practice focusing on each Yama through assana, meditation, reflection, and discussion.”

Yoga Retreats

Ms. Toussaint’s interest in yoga extends beyond her own classes. She attends yoga retreats and other yoga classes. As she points out, “I am a student of yoga as well as a teacher.”

She also teaches at Bristol Myers-Squibb and the Pennington Ewing Athletic Club, as well as giving presentations on yoga to various groups and organizations, including care-givers, corporations, and schools.

“In addition, I teach yoga to girls who are pregnant or who have had a baby, and have returned to school. This is in West Trenton, and is an opportunity for them to see how yoga can relate to their life. I have taught the history and philosophy of yoga, and little snippets that people can take back to their environment, whether it is a corporate environment, caregivers helping patients, or a teenaged girl struggling to continue her education, while she is pregnant or caring for a baby.”

Ms. Toussaint is elated to be able to do work she loves. “I enjoy this so much. I am always happy! I come out happier at the end of a class, and I enjoy how much I learn being with others and hearing their stories and seeing them all so pleased at the end of a class.

“I look forward to educating people about yoga and all its benefits. I am doing what I love!”

For more information and about class hours, call (732) 991-6607. Website: www.romyoga.com.

August 14, 2013
NATURALLY DELICIOUS: “Everything here is very healthy, all-natural without additives or preservatives. We make the juice right in front of the customers, and all the food is made fresh everyday too.” Ammel De Bernard, owner of Tico’s Eatery & Juice Bar, is shown near his juice machine, with wheat grass and fresh pineapple in the foreground.

NATURALLY DELICIOUS: “Everything here is very healthy, all-natural without additives or preservatives. We make the juice right in front of the customers, and all the food is made fresh everyday too.” Ammel De Bernard, owner of Tico’s Eatery & Juice Bar, is shown near his juice machine, with wheat grass and fresh pineapple in the foreground.

Tico’s Eatery & Juice Bar is a unique gathering place in Princeton. Located at 33 Witherspoon Street (corner of Witherspoon and Spring Street), it offers all-natural juices, super smoothies, and a variety of fresh, made-to-order sandwiches, including wraps and paninis, as well as tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and enchiladas.

In addition, breakfast, with omelets, egg, cheese, and bacon sandwiches and more, is available at this popular establishment.

Opened in July 2006, Tico’s is owned by Ammel and Renee De Bernard. Originally from Costa Rica, Mr. De Bernard explains that “Tico” is a nickname for a Costa Rican person. He has emphasized the Costa Rican focus on fresh fruit and vegetables in his restaurant.

“In Costa Rica, fresh fruit is always available. We eat it all the time, and we also have many fruit juices and smoothies.”

Smoothies and Juices

Carrying this tradition forward at Tico’s has been a big success. Even during the darkest days of the Recession, Tico’s kept going, with smoothies and juices always popular. Now, things have taken a turn for the better, Mr. De Bernard reports.

“The juice bar business has grown 400 percent in the last two years. It is 100 percent natural juice. We don’t add water or sugar, and we make it right in front of the customers.”

And there is a lot more than OJ! Strawberry, peach, watermelon, pineapple, mango, cantaloupe — to name just some, and customers can also request their own favorite combinations.

Smoothies, available with fresh fruit and frozen yogurt, or as frosties with ice and fruit only, also have a variety of choices. “Tropical Storm” with mango, strawberry, orange, and banana; “Costa Rican”:  mango, pineapple and banana; “Jamaican Jammer”: pineapple, strawberry, orange, and banana — and many others — are sure to please on a hot summer day. Some customers make it a point to sample each smoothie, says Mr. De Bernard.

One of the most popular is “The Green Monster”, he adds. It includes organic kale, organic spinach, celery, cucumber, green apple, lemon, and ginger. It is available in 16-ounce and 24-ounce servings, as are all the juices.

Mr. De Bernard is very particular about the fruit and vegetables he includes, and as he says, “I go to the produce market and pick out the fruit and vegetables myself. Some fruit, like the pineapples, comes from Costa Rica.”

Informal Food

Informal food, including breakfast and lunch choices, features sandwiches, salads, soup of the day, quesadillas, burritos, paninis, enchiladas, and tacos, among other options.

Tico’s has a Latino flavor, with the tacos, burritos, quesadillas and enchiladas, but it is not exclusively “South of the Border”, says Mr. De Bernard. The paninis add a touch — and taste — of Italy, and hummus is a Middle Eastern favorite.

Many customers come in more than once a week for their favorite juice and smoothie, as well as their lunch of choice. Among the popular quesadillas are the chicken and cheese, BBQ chicken (with chicken, cheddar, black beans, corn, and onions), and the Veggie Deluxe, with roasted red peppers, portabella mushrooms, spinach, cheddar, and feta cheese.

Tacos, burritos, and enchiladas are all made to order, and many combinations are available. This is also true of the paninis, and favorites include Tico’s Signature Panini — Caribbean-style marinated steak with sauteed onions and cheese; Napa Valley Chicken Panini, including grilled chicken, Monterey Jack cheese, marinated portabella mushroms, sliced tomatoes, red onion, and parmesan pepper corn dressing; also, Turkey Habenero Panini with oven roasted turkey, roasted red peppers, red onion, baby spinach, Monterey Jack cheese, and habanero sauce.

Mr. De Bernard has been careful to keep his prices reasonable. Breakfast sandwiches start at $2.95, paninis are $7.45, lunch sandwiches $6.49. tacos and enchiladas $5.95, juices from $3.99, and smoothies $4.29.

“I’m really trying to make a difference for people,” he says. “What I really enjoy is interacting with customers and seeing them happy with what we have here. If I can help them become aware of the need for a healthier diet, that is important.”

Healthiest Place

Mr. De Bernard, who is also a wood worker with a Master’s degree in furniture restoration, has been working with a dietician to offer 3-day and 5-day juice cleanses. “This is very helpful for digestion and can also help in weight loss,” he explains. “We’re the healthiest place in town! The shelf life of anything we have is 30 minutes. There is no shelf life! Everything is completely fresh. I want people to be aware of things like expiration dates and also of how your food is made and the ingredients. This is so important for your health.

“We also work hard to keep up with what the world wants,” he continues. “We keep updating all the time. I want to be a real part of the community. I’m here to stay! This is not about getting rich for me. My satisfaction is with the community getting healthier. There are a lot of smiling faces here, and I have gotten to know so many of the customers. This is the real pleasure.”

Tico’s can seat 26 at the restaurant, and take-out is also available. In addition, he now has a juice truck, and can make juice and smoothies for special events, and he is also regularly at the Trenton Farmers Market.

Restaurant Hours are Monday through Saturday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Customers may call ahead to order. (609) 252-0300. Website: www.ticosprinceton.com.

 

HELPING HANDS: The rehabilitation team at Princeton Care Center consists of three distinct therapy disciplines: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Each discipline focuses on a different aspect of patient care. Shown is Carole Rotilio (above) practicing a physical therapy step-walking exercise with the help of physician assistant therapist Kasia Rebus.

HELPING HANDS: The rehabilitation team at Princeton Care Center consists of three distinct therapy disciplines: physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech therapy. Each discipline focuses on a different aspect of patient care. Shown is Carole Rotilio (above) practicing a physical therapy step-walking exercise with the help of physician assistant therapist Kasia Rebus.

Providing qualified, compassionate care, a congenial environment, and stimulation through a variety of activities and events are the priorities of Princeton Care Center.

“At Princeton Care Center, we are dedicated to the ‘Art of Living Well,’” notes the staff of the long-term and sub-acute rehabilitation facility. “Our residents enjoy dignified care in a location that encourages independence and enhances self-esteem.”

For people whose physical or mental condition make long-term care a necessity, Princeton Care Center is a positive option. Formerly the Princeton Nursing Home on Quarry Street, it reopened at 728 Bunn Drive 10 years ago, and offers skilled nursing care.

“We are an independent, family-owned business, and one of the last ‘Mom and Pop’ operations in the nursing home field,” says William Bogner, owner and director of Princeton Care Center since 1985.

High Standards

It’s a very hands-on business, adds Mr. Bogner’s son Ezra Bogner, LNHA, who is the facility’s administrator. “I grew up in the business, and we are very personally involved. One of us is always here. This is such satisfying work. I enjoy being able to help and provide for people in need. Our guiding principle is that this is the residents’ home. We want them to be comfortable and feel secure.”

The staff is acutely important in establishing that atmosphere, and ensuring that capable, qualified, and caring staff members are available at all times is a priority. As Mr. Bogner points out, “We look for people with warmth and compassion. And we do thorough background checks. We have set very high standards. This is critically important.”

Princeton Care Center is very proud of its staff at every level, adds Patricia Chiorello, Vice President of Operations. “There is real longevity with our staff. One staff member has been here for 40 years, others 30, and many for more than 10 and 15 years.

“We have registered nurses, and the social workers and aides are all licensed or certified. Nurses are on-site 24 hours a day, and residents are seen by physicians, including specialists, on the premises. Dental, podiatry, audiology, pharmaceutical specialists, and a dietician are all available.”

Long-term care includes a designated expanded area for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, whose care is overseen by specialists in that field.

Also, points out william Bogner: “Every measure is taken not to have residents go to the hospital unless absolutely necessary. We have IV therapy here, a lab for blood work and other tests, X-ray facility, and EKG. In addition, hospice services can be arranged, and residents on hospice can stay here.”

Privacy and Space

119 individuals can be accommodated in the 65,000 square foot, 3-story facility, which features spacious private and semi-private rooms, all scrupulously clean. “The double rooms are Lazy L shape,” adds Ms. Chiorello, “The beds are not side by side, so there is more of a sense of privacy and individual space.”

Other features include a centrally-situated nurse’s station for each unit, lounge/recreation room in each unit, physical therapy gym, occupational therapy suite, hair salon and barber services, and attractive dining rooms. In addition, handsomely landscaped grounds, featuring walkways and patio, encourage residents to spend time outdoors.

The decision to enter a long-term care facility is one of the most difficult a person can face, and the staff is very much aware of this, says Ms. Chiorello. “We often see families in very difficult, stressful situations. They are trying to do the best they can, but realize they need more help to care for their loved one. I am so glad when we can put it together for people, and see the residents come to their new environment and have a positive experience.”

In fact, she adds, it often becomes more positive than was hoped for. “When residents are with people of their own generation, they can share memories, experiences and stories that they will all understand and appreciate. There is socialization and stimulation.”

William Bogner adds that the double room setting is also frequently a plus. “We see people from different backgrounds in double rooms who get along and become good friends. Sometimes, I thought it might be a problem, but so often, they get along very well. It’s amazing how often it works, and is a positive arrangement.”

A variety of activities is available for the residents, and they are encouraged to participate to the extent they are able. Activities are tailored to the individual. Bingo, gardening, flower arranging, painting, exercise programs, religious services, entertainment (singers, poetry reading, sing-a-longs), movies, and library setting are all offered, as well as visits from intergenerational volunteers.

Events and Outings

Events and outings are scheduled, including a birthday party with cake and entertainment each month for all those celebrating a birthday that month. Special holiday programs, such as a Fourth of July barbecue, are planned, and residents can choose to participate in restaurant, theatre, and museum outings, among others.

Pet therapy dogs are welcome to visit residents, says Ezra Bogner, and families may also bring their own pets. “Many residents enjoy this opportunity to spend time with a friendly animal.”

Dining service is the best, adds William Bogner. “Much of our dining service is restaurant-style. Residents order from a menu with a variety of choices, and meals are served. It adds a very nice touch.”

Both long-term residents and short-term sub-acute patients (those who require specific therapy after a stroke, heart attack, injury, surgery, hip/knee replacement, etc.) participate in rehabilitation care, which includes physical, occupational, restorative, and recreational therapy, and cardiac recovery.

20 beds are available for rehab patients, and they have their own dining room. They stay for varying lengths of time depending on their situation. As Ms. Chiorello notes, “We have to be sure they will have a safe discharge to home and be able to do everything they need to do in their home environment.”

William Bogner is proud of Princeton Care Center’s commitment to the highest standards, and that the facility has been awarded a 5-Star rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. “We keep our standards strong in today’s challenging world of health care. There are more and more demands on the system.

“The positive feedback we receive means so much to us. People will come and say ‘My uncle was here, my mother was here, and they had such good experiences.’ We get letters from people who say we have made a difference for them and their family. I do appreciate the positive feedback so much and knowing that we have been able to help people who need it.”

Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurance are accepted by Princeton Care Center. For further information, call (609) 924-9000.

Website: www.princetoncarecenter.com.

CONSUMER-FRIENDLY: “We bring consumers and businesses together in one place. It is the most efficient way to see products,” says James McLaughlin, Sr., partner in MAC Events, LLC. Shown is a photo of a MAC Events Home & Garden Show at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Va.

CONSUMER-FRIENDLY: “We bring consumers and businesses together in one place. It is the most efficient way to see products,” says James McLaughlin, Sr., partner in MAC Events, LLC. Shown is a photo of a MAC Events Home & Garden Show at the Greater Richmond Convention Center in Richmond, Va.

“This industry has really been around from the time of the old Persian markets, when the caravans of camels would bring in goods, and people gathered to see what was available.”

James McLaughlin, Sr.,  partner in MAC Events, located in Spring Lake, refers to the time-honored custom of showcasing products and services for consumers to examine and evaluate in a central and convenient location.

“If you build it, they will come” was the famous line in the movie Field of Dreams. That happened to be about baseball, but the concept is similar. Offering opportunities for interested consumers to see a large number of products in one setting is a proven winner.

“These kinds of shows and events are a multi-billion dollar business,” reports Mr. McLaughlin, who has been in the business since 1969. “It really started when I was in the RV (recreational vehicle) business. By Labor Day, we always had a lot left over, so we decided to have an event featuring them. We rented Convention Hall in Asbury Park, and it was a big success. So, I got into the promotion business. Now, we promote businesses with Home, Flower, and Women’s shows. We have nine consumer and two trade shows every year. They are currently held in New Jersey and Virginia.”

Three Areas

The consumer shows enable businesses to exhibit their products for the consumers. The trade shows are business-to-business. That is, a business displays items that other businesses are interested in. For example, a builders show featuring building supplies would draw builders and contractors.

The consumer shows focus on three areas: home, flowers, and products and services appealing to women.

“In the Home shows, we have everything except furniture,” points out Mr. McLaughlin. “Windows, doors, kitchen supplies, interior decorating, exterior siding, etc.”

Flower shows highlight flowers, gardens, landscape design, garden accessories, outdoor lighting, and more. The Women’s events offer an interesting variety, he adds. “They can include fashion, cosmetics, and jewelry, as well as travel and food, and information on health and medical issues. Health professionals can be on hand to give seminars and educational material.”

Celebrities are often invited to the events, reports Mr. McLaughlin. “They will come and meet and greet the consumers, sign autographs, answer questions, etc. Some of our most popular celebrities were the people from the PBS This Old House TV series. They were great, very down-to-earth and friendly.”

Mr. Mclaughlin’s specialty is looking for and finding opportunities in advertising, marketing, and research. These shows and events are a win-win situation both for businesses and consumers, he believes.

Best Value

“If someone buys an ad in a newspaper that they can afford to pay for, they hope that enough people will see it and respond. We can run ads in many newspapers that will be seen by many readers, as well as ads on line, on billboards, etc. This is the best value for a small business for display and presentation and the most efficient way to see products. Take it directly to the consumer who is interested in that product. For example, if someone is planning a new kitchen, they can see the possibilities first hand.”

Once he and his partners decide on the focus for an event, then they find a suitable location, he explains. “If we decide to have a show in Edison, for example, we have to find the right setting. This could be a shopping mall, banquet hall, college campus, arena, etc. We have had events all over, including in Giant Stadium in the Meadowlands.

“Next, we rent the place, and then find the businesses to participate. We have anywhere from 150 to 300 to 400 companies, most typically between 200 and 300. 85 percent are repeat businesses. We can get anywhere from 2,000 to 25,000 consumers coming to the event, which lasts two to four days, with consumers coming within a 20 mile radius, even 40 miles for the flower shows.”

MAC Events provides the place and the booths, and the companies are responsible for setting up their displays. All sizes of businesses, including retail stores, participate.

Planning and Execution

Mr. McLaughlin enjoys seeing all the planning for the event come together. “The organization and execution of the event is very satisfying. I also really
enjoy walking up and down the aisles, watching people buy flowers, seed, lawn care products and equipment, whatever they’re interested in, and just generally enjoying themselves.

“Also, one of the nicest things about this business is that we don’t have inventory to worry about. We don’t own a thing; we rent everything.”

The Home and Flower shows are typically held January to March and also in October and November.

For further information on MAC Events, call (800) 332-3976. Website: www.macevents.com.

 

August 7, 2013
ROAD TO RECYCLING: “When small businesses and home owners make an effort to recover scrap metals and old appliances, machinery and equipment, it reduces the need for mining, refining, and producing new metals, an extremely polluting process,” says Dan Brown, owner of Metal Recovery Systems LLC. He is shown in front of one of his collection/delivery trucks.

ROAD TO RECYCLING: “When small businesses and home owners make an effort to recover scrap metals and old appliances, machinery and equipment, it reduces the need for mining, refining, and producing new metals, an extremely polluting process,” says Dan Brown, owner of Metal Recovery Systems LLC. He is shown in front of one of his collection/delivery trucks.

Dan Brown is helping to save the planet.

As owner of Metal Recovery Systems LLC, he collects metal products, including scrap metal, appliances, machinery, and equipment, and delivers it to a junk yard, where it is targeted for recycling. Preventing these items from adding to the mass of debris in overflowing landfills is an enormous contribution to a healthier, safer, and more sustainable environment.

Born and brought up in Princeton, Mr. Brown has worked as a superintendent in several buildings, and as he says, “I saw a lot of stuff lying around that people didn’t know what to do with. I realized that there could be a business in collecting it, especially with builders and plumbers. They often have to get rid of water heaters, cast iron tubs, and other metal objects and appliances.”

In January 2012, he opened Metal Recovery Systems LLC, which is headquartered in Princeton.

Far-Reaching

It’s a simple plan, with significant and far-reaching consequences. “The way it works is that individual homeowners or business people call ahead — 24 hours notice is helpful — to let me know they have items to be picked up,” explains Mr. Brown. “I go to their location, collect what they have, and when I have filled up my truck, I take everything to an area junk yard. They weigh the truck with the contents on a giant scale, and I am paid according to the weight. Cast iron items are separated, also copper and brass, because these bring higher prices.”

The collection is free of charge to Princeton residents and businesses who provide the discarded items. There is a nominal charge to cover gas for clients in the surrounding area, says Mr. Brown. A typical job takes a half hour to pick up the items. It is a year-round business. “As long as I can get the truck on the road, we’re good to go,” he adds, with a smile.

Items include a wide array of metal objects. Appliances of all kinds — stoves, refrigerators, washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, and toasters; also floor and table lamps, outdoor products, such as lawnmowers, wheelbarrows, and yard tools, including power tools, are all collected.

“We will even take junked cars, also steel shelving and cabinets, as well as electronics and IT equipment containing both metal and plastic, such as computers, TVs, cell phones, iPods and gaming consoles,” points out Mr. Brown. “Large metal-based items, including furnaces and old farm equipment are other products, and we also collect copper wires and pipes, brass pipes, and plumbing fixtures.

“I find unusual things too: for example, a golf cart,” he continues. “People accumulate many things over the years, and some of the customers are people who are moving and cleaning out. They have been really receptive. They get to clean out their house, I take it away free of charge, and it’s getting recycled.”

A win-win prospect, for sure.

Repeat Customers

Mr. Brown’s focus is Princeton and Mercer County, but he has also collected items in other areas of central New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. The business has grown steadily, he reports, and he has many repeat customers and lots of referrals.

“Businesses, especially plumbers and builders, are my primary source, and I have also worked with restaurants as well as lots of homeowners.”

Occasionally, Mr. Brown finds items that he likes and decides to keep, such as a vintage, handsomely crafted metal bucket and a brass mortar and pestle from a pharmacy of long ago. “When it can be salvaged, sometimes I can give an item a second life myself.”

Mr. Brown is proud of the work his company is doing to help the environment. “Our primary goal is to work with corporations, small business owners, and our fellow American citizens to continually push the percentages of metals that are recycled higher with each passing year, hoping one day to reach a level of 95 percent of all metals being recycled.”

He also wants clients to know that they will receive an Accredited Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emmission Reduction Certification when he picks up their material.

“Whether we remove a washing machine from your house, or many thousands of pounds of scrap from your factory each month, Metal Recovery Systems issues you a signed and sealed certificate that legally accredits the GHG Emission Reduction Credit to your business or family.

Smart Sustainability

“When you work with Metal Recovery Systems to have your metal recovered by us directly from your business location, residence, school, or your company worksite, this planet-friendly greenhouse gas reducing efficiency allows for tremendous reductions in carbon emissions when compared to recovering metals further down the waste stream. It’s just one more example of Smart Sustainability in action.

“As the owner/operator of this business, I work hand-in-hand with the community to build relationships. It’s been a challenge and an adventure. I’m having fun and the satisfaction that I’m helping to dispose of metal garbage in a responsible fashion and avoid having the material sit in landfills indefinitely.

“I hope to see the company grow and to have an even bigger customer base. I have two trucks now, and eventually, I’d like a fleet of trucks!

“It’s important to build trust,” he continues. “I’m a member of the community. This is my town. I’ve been a volunteer fireman for 12 years. What I hope for is to develop the reputation in town that when someone needs to have metal products removed, they call Dan. They will know that he gets the job done well, and is courteous and responsible.”

Metal Recovery Systems is available Monday through Saturday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (609) 577-2396. Website: www.metalreco.com.

COMPASSIONATE CARE: “We want our residents to be as independent as they can be and reach their potential. It is so important to get to know them, and we want it to be as if we are helping them in their own home.” Merwick Care & Rehabilitation Center Director of Admissions and Marketing Rowena DeCicco is proud of Merwick’s personal attention and compassion for residents. Shown in the photo are assistant administrator Barry Fliegelman (right) and assistant activities director Susan Grollman wishing a happy birthday to one of the long-term residents.

COMPASSIONATE CARE: “We want our residents to be as independent as they can be and reach their potential. It is so important to get to know them, and we want it to be as if we are helping them in their own home.” Merwick Care & Rehabilitation Center Director of Admissions and Marketing Rowena DeCicco is proud of Merwick’s personal attention and compassion for residents. Shown in the photo are assistant administrator Barry Fliegelman (right) and assistant activities director Susan Grollman wishing a happy birthday to one of the long-term residents.

Individual, personalized care and assistance are the priority of Merwick Care & Rehabilitation Center. As its mission statement points out: “Our compassionate, caring, and friendly staff provide long-term skilled nursing services addressing the medical, social, and emotional needs of each individual. We promote autonomy while at the same time providing individual support services, guided by the principle that aging should be a continued stage of development and growth, rather than a period of decline.

“We are dedicated to supporting and nurturing the individual by embracing a person-centered care approach. We strive to consistently deliver the highest level of services in a comfortable setting that respects personal dignity, achieves positive outcomes, and enhances the quality of life. Our positive approach to long-term care transforms conventional institutions into diverse environments where residents participate in a rich daily life.”

Merwick’s new facility, opened in 2010 at 100 Plainsboro Road, is directly across from the recently-opened University Medical Center of Princeton at Plainsboro.

With its 200 beds, including 80 for short-term rehabilitation, it is substantially larger than its former setting at 79 Bayard Lane, with 88 beds, notes Director of Admissions and Marketing Rowena DeCicco. The new facility is owned by Windsor Healthcare Communities, a long-time company in the healthcare industry.

Princeton History

Merwick has a long Princeton history. Opened in 1957, it was for many years the care and rehabilitation unit of Princeton Hospital. Its location at 79 Bayard Lane was the long-time home of the late Paul Matthews, Episcopal Bishop of New Jersey. His home where he lived for 42 years, contained a small chapel or “oratory” built by the Bishop.

The current facility is notable for its configuration and numerous and spacious windows, allowing light to stream in throughout the area. Patients’ rooms all have large windows, creating a view of the Millstone River and Park.

“There are more amenities in the new building,” says Ms. DeCicco, who has been involved in healthcare for 10 years. “We also have a big focus on stimulation and socializing. We have stimulation rooms and solarium rooms, as well as sitting areas and four small libraries situated at various places throughout the building. Aides and activities specialists are always there to lend assistance and guidance.

“Exercise is important too,” she adds. “We have a 3500 square-foot fitness center both for the rehab patients and long-term residents. Weight training and strength equipment and treadmills are all available. There are also physical, occupational, and speech therapists on hand.”

Therapy Dogs

Activities include arts and crafts, trivia games, Bingo, music, live entertainment with singers and DJs, a Netflix movie night every week, as well as wine and cheese gatherings. Every other week, films are shown on the big screen in the facility’s movie theater. Daily events are posted as well as televised on Merwick’s in-house channel. In addition, therapy dogs visit patients, and this is becoming more and more popular for those in long-term care. Family members may also bring a pet dog to visit, if it has up-to-date vaccinations.

Of the 120 long-term residents’ rooms, 50 are private. The spacious semi-private rooms are outfitted with wall room dividers, offering a distinct sense of privacy. All rooms have complimentary flat screen TVs, telephones, call buttons, touch light lamps, and in-wall oxygen. There is also an area set aside for patients suffering from dementia and related conditions. Hospice services are also available, when needed.

Doctors and nurses are always available, reports Ms. DeCicco. “Either the medical director or associate medical director is always here, and nurses are here 24/7. There are three social workers, as well as our physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Aides are available to help patients with medications and personal care, such as bathing, grooming, etc. We also have a dietician on staff, a beauty salon, spa therapy, yoga, and geriatric massage.”

Two dining rooms, where meals are served to patients at tables with fresh linens, are attractively designed, and patients can also be served meals in their rooms, if preferable. Outdoor areas for relaxing, reading, or socialization are another way for people to be together.

“Windsor Care has really thought of everything,” points out Ms. DeCicco. “They have added iPad services and Wi-Fi internet throughout the building. We also have a Merwick van to transport residents to outings, including shopping, restaurants, and other recreational activities.”

The sub-acute rehabilitation center, located in the Luxor Pavilion, is directed by Kessler.Core, a division of the famous Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. Short-term medical and rehab services are provided for those who are recovering from surgery, injuries, strokes, etc.

Strength and Stamina

“This is a bridge between hospital and home,” points out Ms. DeCicco. “We have 80 sub-acute rehab beds, and rehab is very individual, depending on the needs of the patient. Some stay for a few days, others for a 100 days. People are helped in so many areas, such as improving their strength and stamina, balance, walking up and down stairs, getting in and out of bed, and also going outside. We have a therapy garden with a gazebo, which will open in June. This includes all different surfaces — brick, pavement, sand, and a putting green — that people can encounter when they leave rehab.”

The rehab unit also includes Nintendo Wii, where patients can interactively play a variety of games, helping them improve balance, coordination, standing tolerance, etc.

Ms. DeCicco is proud of the experience and skill of the Merwick staff. “They exhibit the qualities of compassion, kindness, and patience so important in healthcare work. We also have volunteers, including some from Princeton University, who help in a number of ways, such as assisting with activities, visiting with patients, transporting them, and helping in administrative work.

“On May 29, we will have an event, ‘Spring Into Shape’. It’s a Senior Health and Fitness day open to the public. We will have information on health, balance, and blood pressure screenings, healthy eating tips, entertainment, and food,” adds Ms. DeCicco.

Merwick has enjoyed a fine reputation over the years, she adds. It has registered in the 97th, 98th, and 99th percentile for cleanliness, quality of medical care, admission process, and choices/preferences according to the National Research Corporation Survey Data of New Jersey Skilled Nursing Facilities.

“I really enjoy our long-term residents, says Ms. DeCicco. “I love hearing their histories and stories, and I am happy when rehab patients are able to return to their homes and resume their lives. Merwick has a long history, and the residents are really the history at Merwick.”

For more information, call (609)-759-6000, or consult the website: www.windsorhealth
care.org\merwick.

July 31, 2013
LANGUAGE OF LAUGHTER: “I hope I have created a universal platform. Laughter is a bond for everyone. It’s a bridge to others.” Actress, comedienne, and teacher Susanna Spies, president and founder of Comedy Playground, is offering a week-long Comedy Camp for kids in August.

LANGUAGE OF LAUGHTER: “I hope I have created a universal platform. Laughter is a bond for everyone. It’s a bridge to others.” Actress, comedienne, and teacher Susanna Spies, president and founder of Comedy Playground, is offering a week-long Comedy Camp for kids in August.

Helping kids find their voice through stand-up comedy is the goal of comedienne, actress, and drama teacher Susanna Spies.

The Princeton native, graduate of Littlebrook School and Princeton High School, will be back in her home town the week of August 19-23 to launch her Comedy Playground Summer Camp for kids and interested adults.

“With stand-up, I think you can show your own view of the world,” says Ms. Spies, president and founder of Comedy Playground. “I try to help students be comfortable with their own voice. They get to use real experiences, personal material, whatever is on their mind.”

An actress and stand-up comedienne, Ms. Spies has performed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York, among other locations.

Character Work

Best known for her character work, she has introduced her “faces” on stages throughout the U.S., in “The Dryer”, featuring more than 30 characters in her one-woman show. She recently filmed Nuvo TV’s hit stand-up show, Stand Up and Deliver, and has performed at the most well-known comedy venues in Los Angeles, including The Improv, Comedy Store, Laugh Factory, Comedy Union, and many other venues throughout the U.S.

Always interested in working with young people, she was a drama instructor for middle school students in Los Angeles, and developed her own curriculum.

Eventually, this led to her establishment of Comedy Playground, a program for youth, headquartered out of the Hollywood Improv. The program started with three students, and now has reached thousands since its beginning in 2002.

Ms. Spies works with students ages eight to 19, as well as with adults, 19 to 45 in “Finding Your Funny” workshops, and for seniors 55-103 in “Senior Stand-up” workshops.

“Laughter is ageless, a universal longing, a tool helpful to all,” she points out. “One of my students was a 103-year-old woman who used a walker. She could focus on her own issues with humor. It’s never too late to laugh!”

People come to Comedy Playground classes for a variety of reasons, she adds. For many, it’s simply a chance to have fun, while others may be hoping for a career in comedy.

Point of View

“Some of the kids who have come to my classes have been successful in getting work in comedy,” says Ms. Spies. In fact, after eight weeks of classes in improvisation and stand-up comedy under her tutelage, all the students have an opportunity to perform at Hollywood Improv.???

The training process involves activities that not only examine the structure and delivery of jokes, but also encourages participants to express their point of view. “I’m encouraging them to share who they are through comedy,” explains Ms. Spies.

The three hour classes include improvisation and warm-up exercises, then developing stand-up routines. “It’s heart to head to hand,” she continues. “They feel it, think about it, and then write it. Stand-up takes discipline and focus. It’s very concentrated. You start with ‘What I feel’ and then think about it. That’s the premise, and then we develop a joke.”

The kids are free to have fun, without worrying that they may be wrong or making a mistake, she adds. “I like them to understand that there are no wrong answers. The hardest thing is to get them to believe that whatever they do is okay and won’t be wrong. They can feel free to be themselves.”

Students benefit from the classes in many ways, she believes. “It increases self-confidence and self-esteem, and also helps develop time management skills, presentational skills, critical thinking, and expository skills. It’s wonderful to see a very timid kid come of his or her shyness. They can blossom and become passionate about doing stand-up. I love bonding with the kids and giving them this opportunity. I’m really passionate about this.”

Ms. Spies is equally passionate about her own performances. As she says, “When I’m performing, I’m at home; I’m in my element, and am very free and liberated.

Comedy Boot Camp

Offering the Comedy Camp Workshop for kids and young people, aged 8 to 13 and 14 to 19, as well as for interested adults, is Ms. Spies way of sharing her skills with the residents of her home town. The camp will be held August 19 through 23, for one week. Cost for the camp is $375, with classes Monday through Friday at 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

“This is week-long comedy ‘boot camp’, with an ending show,” explains Ms. Spies. And no previous experience needed. As she says, “You don’t have to have any performing experience, as long as you have opinions, like to laugh, and have something to say. You learn your own stand-up comedy routine, develop it from ideas, and share it with the community.”

She adds that programs in the arts can always benefit from the generosity of individuals and organizations. “We will be grateful to anyone who supports us at any level.”

Energy and a sense of excitement accompany the Comedy Camp, and as she points out, “My motto is ‘Why sit … when you can stand up!’ and ‘We each have our own story … now is the time to share it!’”

Register as soon as possible. Places are limited. For more information call (323) 397-2709, email Susanna at susanna@comedyplayground.com or visit the website: www.comedyplayground.com.

FINANCIAL FUTURE: “A boutique investment advisory organization is small and focused. We do investment management only. Our career portfolio managers carefully research and analyze companies for sound investment ideas.” R. Todd Lincoln, partner and co-founder of Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group LLC, is shown second from left in the back with the firm’s team, including back row: Rob Hoffman, Bill Hamill, Ned Grassi. Front row: Lindsey Amery, Carlton Savoye, Suzanne Twitchell. New partner Alan Moucha is missing from the photo.

FINANCIAL FUTURE: “A boutique investment advisory organization is small and focused. We do investment management only. Our career portfolio managers carefully research and analyze companies for sound investment ideas.” R. Todd Lincoln, partner and co-founder of Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group LLC, is shown second from left in the back with the firm’s team, including back row: Rob Hoffman, Bill Hamill, Ned Grassi. Front row: Lindsey Amery, Carlton Savoye, Suzanne Twitchell. New partner Alan Moucha is missing from the photo.

How best to plan for retirement? What about rising college costs? How to establish a legacy plan?

Whether they are on the verge of retirement, a family with young children, or individuals deciding how best to disperse their assets when their own lives are over, many people are concerned about all of these issues.

Helping individuals, families, small endowments, and non-profit organizations to identify their financial objectives and manage and grow their assets is the mission of Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group LLC.

Established in 2011, it is a small (seven partners), independently-owned SEC-registered investment advisory firm, located at 212 Carnegie Center, Roszel Road.

Highly Focused

“We manage portfolios of publicly-traded securities for private clients and non-profit institutions who seek objectives-based investment strategies and a partnership approach to wealth management and client service,” explains R. Todd Lincoln, co-founder and partner.

In the wealth management business since 1984, Mr. Lincoln began his career with Merrill Lynch in San Francisco. He came to Princeton 27 years ago, and in 1999 joined the Princeton firm Glenmede Trust. When the opportunity to create a boutique, highly focused investment management firm arose, he and like-minded colleagues decided to take on this new adventure two years ago.

“Our clients are high net worth individuals and institutions, including libraries and foundations, who are looking for something different from what most financial services firms offer,” says Mr. Lincoln. “We can deliver proprietary, value-added advice, and portfolio management strategies not typically found at ‘platform-based’ financial services firms, such as brokerages, banks, and trust companies. We find opportunities for individuals and institutions who think out of the box.

“We invest primarily in publicly traded securities with strategies ranging from balanced portfolios of carefully selected stocks and bonds to concentrated all-capitalization equity portfolios.

“I’m on the advisory side,” he adds. “I help clients and institutions understand the options, and that this is an opportunity for a long-standing relationship with us. We help them identify their objectives and explain about risk tolerance.”

Mr. Lincoln points out that the portfolio managers spend many hours researching and analyzing companies. They visit companies and management teams, and deliberate among themselves before buying or selling a security for client portfolios.

Investment Ideas

“Investment ideas arise both through top-down and bottom-up channels,” continues Mr. Lincoln. “Many of our investment ideas are generated through research of economic and industry trends, and the companies fulfilling the needs implied by such trends. All investment opportunities are evaluated from three analytical perspectives that together help us identify individual portfolio candidates with sound risk/return profiles.

“(1) Economic or industry trends. We look for companies that will be the beneficiaries of powerful and long-lasting industry or economic growth trends. (2) Business model. We must be able to understand how a company makes money and the quality and sustainability of its competitive advantages. (3) Valuation. We look for a current stock price or company ‘valuation’ that allows us to see proper growth patterns and eventual prosperity.

“Once a stock becomes a portfolio holding, we critically and continuously monitor the company’s industry prospects, its operations, and its stock valuation to measure how these factors are evolving vis-a-vis our investment thesis.

“Diversification is always important, such as including 20 to 30 companies that are all different, but it is also important to be opportunistic and find companies that will fit our disciplined approach and investment process.

“We have a lot of client engagement,” adds Mr. Lincoln. “Many are very involved in their portfolio. We try to be as transparent as possible. We want clients to be engaged and know what we are doing and why.”

Clients are from all over — from Princeton to San Francisco — and they are all ages. “We have 20-year-olds and 80-year-olds. We want to start the 20-year-olds out on the right track. The key is trust. We find that people go to professionals who want to build trust, and then continue to build on that trust to form a long-term relationship.”

Financial Future

The economic turmoil beginning in 2008 brought with it an icy wind of worry for many who feared for their financial future. Some called it the Great Recession, almost rivaling the Great Depression of the 1930s.

“We call it the ‘Great Re-setting’,” reports Mr. Lincoln. “People began to reset priorities and values. I hope we will have a smarter planet, and I think we have smarter consumers going forward. They are paying off debts, and investing more. The internet allows the individual consumer to be more informed, to learn, and get background. It’s important to educate yourself upfront.”

People still have concerns about the U.S. economy and the uncertainty in the world situation today, he notes, “but public corporations are delivering share holder value in spite of the government’s dysfunction.

“We look forward to growing our firm over time, and getting our story and business points out to people. In the competitive landscape today, we want to explain our story and our differences, and give like-minded investors an opportunity to work with us. We have an eye towards long-term investing: that is, three to five years of holding a stock on average. Our own money is managed along with that of our clients. Princeton Portfolio Strategies Group are investors, not traders — a very important distinction.”

For more information, call (609) 436-5680. Website: www.princetonpsg.com.

 

July 24, 2013
VIOLIN VIRTUOSITY: "This is a full-service violin shop, including restoration, appraisals, acquisitions, new violins, and rentals. I make and restore violins and also continue to perform." Jarek Powichrowski, owner of Princeton Violins, LLC in Kingston, looks forward to sharing information about violins with his customers.

VIOLIN VIRTUOSITY: “This is a full-service violin shop, including restoration, appraisals, acquisitions, new violins, and rentals. I make and restore violins and also continue to perform.” Jarek Powichrowski, owner of Princeton Violins, LLC in Kingston, looks forward to sharing information about violins with his customers.

Not only can Jarek Powichrowski produce beautiful music on the violin, he also restores, repairs, and makes the instrument.

Owner of Princeton Violins LLC at 4444 Main Street (Route 27) in Kingston, Mr. Powichrowski is eager to share his expertise with area musicians and music lovers.

“This is an upscale violin shop. I specialize in and carry fine instruments from contemporary violin makers, also Italian and French violins from the 18th and 19th centuries.”

Mr. Powichrowski, who was born and grew up in Poland, began studying the violin before he was 10. He loved it right away. “I wanted to play very much. I had been fascinated by a little violin in the display window. And I was also very interested in how the violin worked.”

Master of Music

Jarek studied at the Chopin Academy of Music in Warsaw, earning a Master of Music degree. During this time, he was also chosen to perform with Jeunesses Musicales World Orchestra in New Orleans.

After studying at the Summer Academy Mozarteum in Salzburg, he later auditioned for noted violinist Professor Lewis Kaplan of the Julliard School of Music in New York. Jarek was given a full scholarship, arranged by Professor Kaplan, to study with him at the Mannes School of Music at the New School in New York, where he earned his second Master of Music degree.

Jarek then went on to study with Professor Kaplan at the Julliard School in the Advanced Certificate in Performance program. He performed two seasons with the Bowdin Musical Festival in Brunswick, Maine, and he also participated in master classes with some of the world’s finest violinists.

In 1991, Mr. Powichrowski toured the Far East with recitals and master classes in Malaysia and Japan. He also gave concerts in New York City.

Mr. Powichrowski has not only played major violin concerts with orchestra, but he also enjoys playing smaller works, especially by Polish composers.

As time went on, his interest began to focus on restoring and making violins. As he says, “I wanted to know everything about the violin. In 2003, in New York, I worked with a French violin maker focusing on restoration. Then, I began to think I could also make quality violins. I went to Cremona, Italy to work with a private tutor, and I made violins under his guidance. Sometimes, people think the greatest violins were made long ago, but I say the ‘Golden Age’ of violin-making is today!

Many Secrets

“I learned many secrets during my studies in Cremona, and have been a luthier (one who makes stringed instruments) for over 10 years. I encourage people to come in and try these beautiful Italian violins and see how they are made. I will happily divulge these secrets to passionate musicians!”

Mr. Powichrowski came to Lawrenceville in 2005, where he has given concerts. “I wanted to be near Princeton. I believed this would be a good place for my business, and I have learned that many people have very fine violins here. Some need restoration and repair, and now people do not have to go to New York or Philadelphia for this work.”

Mr. Powichrowski’s workshop is at the back of the store, where he does his restoration work and where he makes new violins. He uses spruce, willow, and maple for his violins. As he explains, “Spruce is used for the top of the violin, and maple for the back and the scroll. The characteristics of maple is that it is very hard wood. Spruce is closer to soft wood, but is incredibly durable. I use willow for the block and lining.  It is very strong and light.”

Mr. Powichrowski points out that very few tools are used to make a violin. “The tools are the same as those used 500 years ago: files, gougers, scrapers, planes and the most important tool is the square.”

It is incredibly painstaking work, and he says it can take more than 200 hours just for the gouging and carving. Completing the work from start to finish may take up to six months.

Of course, strings are essential, and Mr. Powichrowski notes that string-making has evolved. “Originally, it was gut, but now it’s synthetic material. I especially like the strings from Evah Pirazzi.”

Small Violins

Violas and cellos are also available at the shop as well as small violins for children. “Children can start as young as three, although five or six is more typical. There are a lot of talented kids. I enjoy setting up instruments for children. They need a good violin to start with.

“Also, if someone says they can’t have a good sound from a small violin, it’s a lie. Sound adjustment is very important, and it’s my specialty. Sometimes, musicians come in with a violin and they’re looking for a better one, but often it just needs a sound adjustment.”

A variety of accessories, including strings, chin rests, bows, and more, is also available at the store. A rental program is offered, with violins at $20 or $30 per month. “You will find my sales prices lower than those in New York or Philadelphia,” says Mr. Powichrowski.

“I very much enjoy making violins and talking with musicians and people who love music,” he continues. “Because I am a musician, I enjoy working with musicians and talking with them about the instrument. I do very dedicated work for musicians of all ages. And I enjoy advising people. The client receives very personalized attention and service here.

“I am also very encouraged. I have clients from all over — even Australia! I look forward to having even more customers — both professional musicians and others who just love music and want to play the violin. While I don’t provide lessons, I gladly help with instrument selection and advise about what may work best for the client. I also have a bulletin board where teachers can leave class and concert information. I want to become part of the local music community.”

Princeton Violins is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (609) 683-0005. Website: princetonviolins.com.

 

 

CREATIVE COLOR: “Color, cut, and style all work together. We think of it as totally wearable fashion.” Tim and Kate Bricker, owners of B+B Hair Color Studio, are shown with stylist Jill ­Harer at their new Witherspoon Street location.

CREATIVE COLOR: “Color, cut, and style all work together. We think of it as totally wearable fashion.” Tim and Kate Bricker, owners of B+B Hair Color Studio, are shown with stylist Jill ­Harer at their new Witherspoon Street location.

Color is the key. In the hair industry today, it’s all about color. It is the major focus of nearly all salons.

“Hair color is a total fashion statement today,” says Tim Bricker owner, with his wife Kate, of B+B Hair Color Studio at 190 Witherspoon Street, Suite 4. “It’s just amazing how much color has evolved. The quality of color hair products has improved tremendously. It’s completely safe now. We have a super-nurturing hair color Nectayar from Europe that consists of all natural ingredients. Hair color actually improves the condition of the hair, and increases the shine.

“It can also add the perception of depth to fine hair. In addition, color can change and enhance the skin tone, and it can even appear to change the shape of the face.”

Mr. Bricker says B+B Hair Color Studio clients are all ages, “from 16 to 96!”, and  are both men and women. “Men often like to have gray blending, and they can look 10 years younger with this!”

Tone-on-Tone

For girls and women, the variety of choices is extensive. Blond highlights are always popular, but darker “chocolate” shades are also favorites. And, of course, color is still used to cover gray.

“What is really big now is tonal, tone-on-tone color,” report the Brickers. “It’s multi-dimensional, and gives a very natural look. We are definitely natural hair people here. Our focus is natural.

“Ombre is a popular look,” continues Mr. Bricker. “It can be achieved with hair painting or foils, and it is most often done on longer hair. The color is applied part way down, not at the top. Also, we specialize in cool color tones, and they are very popular. It can be light or dark, and it is basically the absence of red tones, so there is no brassiness. If it’s light, we think of it as ‘Fifth Avenue Blond!’”

For those unfortunate do-it-yourselfers who have had an unhappy color experience, the Brickers have corrective color treatments that can undo the damage.

Cutting and color go hand-in-hand, and Mr. Bricker was recently one of five top stylists from across the country, who trained with celebrity stylist Nick Arrojo (seen on the TV show What Not to Wear) in precision razor cutting.

“Precision razor cutting is good for all hair styles,” he explains. “It gives texture, movement, and lift to the hair. The way hair cutting is approached changes, with new techniques constantly coming along. We are always training and participating in continuing education.”

Ambassador Salon

“Also, we have recently partnered wth the Arrojo Studio in Manhattan, and we are an Ambassador salon for Arrojo. Only a select number of salons are chosen as Ambassador salons. We can send our stylists to be trained by his staff, and we carry the Arrojo products.”

The Brickers have trained other stylists throughout the northeastern U.S. As platform artists and master hair color specialists, they also style models’ hair at shows and events in New York City and elsewhere.

In business for 15 years in Princeton, they have always specialized in color and cutting. “I always loved the creativity of it, and I especially liked all the differences involved in hair color. I could see how complex it was,” explains Mr. Bricker.

While the majority of their clients have mid to long hair, the Brickers enjoy working on all lengths and types of hair. Curly hair provides its own challenges, and Mr. Bricker points out that color can enhance the curl, as it reflects the light.

Styling Products

For those with straight hair, he notes the current popularity of the curling wand, and also the variety of styling products that keep the style in place. “We believe the Arrojo products are the best because they are created and tested by hair dressers in the Arrojo studio in New York. This translates into a premium product that is completely user-friendly.”

Their recent move from their former State Road location has provided the studio with much more space, and it offers a very contemporary, sleek, and sophisticated look. “We wanted to be ‘Soho Sleek’! We feel like the Soho of Princeton,” point out the Brickers, smiling. “We are very specialized, and we’re all about being a boutique. We also wanted to be in downtown Princeton, and Witherspoon Street is great. It has lots of energy, and it’s where it’s happening.”

Their many long-time clients agree, and they are also intrigued by the studio’s high tech TV and iPad connection. “We have a big TV screen and can transfer the images to an iPad we give the clients’ says Ms. Bricker. “We can show them whatever style they are interested in. Even styles from celebrities at the Grammy’s and other events.”

“We pride ourselves on offering our clients the best service we can,” adds Mr. Bricker. “We enjoy making people look and feel better. They’re happier, and it makes a difference for them. We look forward to continuing to help our clients have the very best cuts and color.”

Studio hours are by appointment Tuesday through Saturday. (609) 683-4455. Website: www.bbcolorstudio.com.

July 17, 2013
FARM TO TABLE: “Someone can come in, have a ham and cheese sandwich on Rye with lettuce, and know that everything was grown or made within a five-mile radius. This is really farm to table.” Robin McConaughy, proprietor of the new Brick Farm Market in Hopewell, also owns Doublebrook Farm, which raises pastured, grass-fed cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens and turkeys, and in addition, features an extensive area for vegetables and herbs. Ms. McConaughy is shown spraying her sheep with apple cider vinegar to help reduce flies.

FARM TO TABLE: “Someone can come in, have a ham and cheese sandwich on Rye with lettuce, and know that everything was grown or made within a five-mile radius. This is really farm to table.” Robin McConaughy, proprietor of the new Brick Farm Market in Hopewell, also owns Doublebrook Farm, which raises pastured, grass-fed cattle, pigs, sheep, chickens and turkeys, and in addition, features an extensive area for vegetables and herbs. Ms. McConaughy is shown spraying her sheep with apple cider vinegar to help reduce flies.

Brick Farm Market has recently opened for business at 65 East Broad Street in Hopewell.

Robin and Jon McConaughy have a mission: healthy eating, humane treatment of farm animals, environmental responsibility, sustainability, and a local focus.

“The demand for healthful, local products has always driven our desire to become farmers. Like most people who care about healthful food, we want to know about everything that goes into creating what we serve to our family and friends. After a lot of research, we decided that if you want something done right — do it yourself! We started Double Brook Farm in earnest in 2006. Our passion for a local, sustainable, and humane operation has guided our approach to the farm from day one.”

As interest in and demand for the high quality products the McConaughys were providing grew, they expanded their operation to include raising sheep, pigs, and turkeys in addition to the cattle and chickens. They also cultivated a section for vegetables, including lettuce, carrots, potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and a variety of herbs and other produce.

Now, where to sell all this high quality, fresh, local food?

Dedicated Outlet

As Ms. McConaughy explains, “We created Brick Farm Market to be the dedicated outlet for the farm — a full-service market within a stone’s throw of the source: Double Brook Farm. The market enables us to interact with our customers and share with them how the food they are buying is grown, raised, or made.”

Opened at 65 East Broad Street in Hopewell on May 17 at the former location of the Malek Chevrolet building, the market offers a variety of items either from the farm, made on the premises, or from like-minded vendors who share the McConaughys’ mission.

“With the Brick Farm Market, Double Brook Farm, our restaurant, Brick Farm Tavern (to open in 2014), we have a local sustainable operation that takes food from farm to market to table, and then back to the farm in the form of compost or animal feed. Three entities that rely on each other to create a full-circle model of responsible food creation and consumption.

“What you will find at the market reflects a culmination of informed choices and best practices. From selecting the seeds we grow, to humane animal treatment, to limiting our fossil fuel needs with clean energy, to preparing recipes with choice ingredients to educating the customers, we are taking some of the guess work out of nutritious, local, sustainable shopping.”

Brick Farm Market offers an attractive, convenient two-story setting in which to display the variety of items. Upstairs, the butcher shop features artisanal cuts of beef, pork, lamb, and chicken, charcuterie, and cheese. A long counter offers ample space for seating.

Downstairs, customers will find a juice/water/coffee bar, creamery (ice cream and other dairy), produce and herbs, bakery, and prepared foods. Tables are available for sit-down eating.

Amazing Team

The Brick Farm Market staff is friendly and knowledgeable, and happy to answer customers’ questions.

“We have very passionate, dedicated people working with us,” says Ms. McConaughy. “An amazing team of people. We want to be able to delegate and have a real partnership with them.”

General manager Deeann Lemmerling was previously with Bon Appetit in Princeton. Co-manager Jerry Baker is also a sommelier. Karen Child, formerly of The Village Bakery in Lawrenceville, is in charge of the bakery, and everything is made on the premises, including bread, croissants, cookies, brownies, Danishes, cupcakes, tarts, and cakes.

Bob Martinez, director of the creamery, makes the ice cream on-site. Single and double scoops are available in cones and cups, as well as quarts and pints. He is experimenting with new seasonal flavors in addition to the traditional vanilla and chocolate. Current specialties are blueberry gelato, salted caramel, and summer rum raisin. Ultimately, 32 flavors will be offered seasonally.

Chef Chase Gerstenbacher is in charge of the prepared foods, including rotisserie chicken, braised beef, chicken pot pie, shepherd’s pie, among many other dishes. He is also responsible for producing beef stock.

“We make our own bacon and sausage,” adds Ms. McConaughy, “and we also have a charcuterie, Salumeria Biellese, a certified slow food charcuterie in Jersey City, which uses our meat to make the prosciutto and other specialties.”

Michel Lemmerling, former owner of Bon Appetit, is the cheese guru (a “Taste Fromage”), and as Deeann Lemmerling points out, “We have an interesting cheese selection — all local, including brie-style, cheddar, Swiss, and gouda-style. Michel is an expert with cheeses around the world, and he is enjoying this new adventure, finding the best local cheeses.

“Aging Caves”

“We also have ‘Aging Caves’ for cheese and meat in three refrigerators, and customers can look into these and watch it being aged.”

Wooden bins are filled with a variety of vegetables and herbs, and Ms. Lemmerling explains that the bins were made of recycled wood from a former church in Trenton. “We also kept some of the vintage signs from the Malek Chevrolet dealership.”

Among the tempting treats customers can eat at the market or take out is the signature hamburger for $8; a variety of panini sandwiches for $7; breakfast dishes (served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.), including eggs benedict, egg white scramble with roasted potatoes, cheddar, and greens; and breakfast croissant egg, cheese, with choice of ham, chorizo or country sausage, ranging from $5 to $7. Large plates include roasted sausage sampler, beer braised short ribs, and half rotisserie chicken — natural or BBQ, among others.

Ms. McConaughy looks forward to Brick Farm Market becoming an important part of the community. “People are really enjoying the fact that everything is local, and I know they will love having the store here. We have local employees, and we will be a local place. I can’t wait to come in and see the place humming.

“Also, we are a local market, and we can run out of things. It will reflect the season. We offer what a local farm can provide. We don’t sell anything here unless we have grown it or made it. The exceptions are coffee and drinks, but they are local. Our stipulation is: did it come from the farm? If not, is it local? If it is not local, is it within a 100-200 mile radius? And is it from a company that supports our mission of fair trade and sustainability? We will continue to evolve, and we like to show that a local farm-to-table operation can be profitable.”

Brick Farm Market offers a number of other items for sale, such as coffee and travel mugs, baseball caps, T-shirts, and canvas shopping bags, all featuring the friendly Brick Farm Market rooster logo. Fair trade large woven bags are offered for shoppers to use in the store. Gift cards are also available.

The McConaughys landscaped the property surrounding the building, and the ample parking is a plus.

Hours through June are Thursday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday 8 to 6, Sunday 8 to 1. Starting in July, the market will be open Tuesday through Sunday 7 to 7. (609) 466-6500. Website: brickfarmmarket.com.

 

FAMILY FARM: “We started the farm store in 2012. We wanted to do something for the community. We are a small full-service high quality market with produce from our own fields and products from others who share our ideas. Every farm and company whose products we carry is carefully vetted.” Shown left to right in the Blue Moon Acres Farm Market in Pennington are farm store manager Natalie Rockwell, farm manager Scott Morgan, and sales and marketing director Ashley Lyons.

FAMILY FARM: “We started the farm store in 2012. We wanted to do something for the community. We are a small full-service high quality market with produce from our own fields and products from others who share our ideas. Every farm and company whose products we carry is carefully vetted.” Shown left to right in the Blue Moon Acres Farm Market in Pennington are farm store manager Natalie Rockwell, farm manager Scott Morgan, and sales and marketing director Ashley Lyons.

“Something this good comes along once in a blue moon!” says Jim Lyons, with a smile. Describing the origin of his Blue Moon Acres Farm and Blue Moon Acres Farm Market, he is proud of this family business he started with his wife Kathy Lyons in 1992.

“Our farm began 21 years ago in Buckingham, Pa.,” he explains. “In the beginning, it was a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) operation. People would buy a share, and then come and get their vegetables.”

The Lyons started growing a small variety of greens and produce, and within a few years, the focus shifted to microgreens — small specialty greens for garnishment, especially in fine restaurants.

“We started with three restaurants in New York, and now we provide microgreens for 280 restaurants in New York and Philadelphia,” says Mr. Lyons. “When I first told my father about my work in farming, he said ‘Get a real job!’ Now, he’s a big supporter.”

Top Quality Produce

In 2007, the Lyons purchased 63 acres on Willow Creek Drive (just off Titus Mill Road) in Pennington. “We went from seven to 70 acres,” reports Mr. Lyons. “We came to Pennington because we needed more acreage. In addition to selling microgreens to the top restaurants and caterers in the New York/Philadelphia corridor, we now also operate markets at both of our farms.”

Ensuring that he can offer top quality produce to customers is a priority, and the Lyons have done extensive research about proper farming techniques. “We are certified organic.” points out Mr. Lyons. “We use only natural methods in our growing process — no chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, or growth regulators. The premise now is the same as it was in the beginning: to grow good quality food that is in accordance with sustainable agriculture procedures.

“Our goal is to produce the healthiest, most nutrient-dense foods in the most sustainable way possible,” continues Mr. Lyons. “To achieve this, our focus is primarily to encourage the numbers and diversity of beneficial micro-organisms in the soil. With healthy soil microbiology, growing crops becomes easier. Without it, the farming methodology would require an ever-increasing amount of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and no doubt, genetic modification, to attempt to achieve the same yields, all the while producing what I feel would be a nutritionally inferior crop.

“The interaction of the various microbes with one another and with the roots facilitates nutrient cycling and nutrient uptake by the plants.

“A good balance of bacteria to fungi in the soil also helps create good soil structure by the formation of soil aggregates. With good structure comes more pore spaces in the soil allowing the soil to, among other things, retain water better. Roots are also able to go deeper because soil is not compacted.

“Disease issues become less of a problem because the healthy microbes cover the plant top to bottom. So when a disease spore lands on a plant leaf or a root is attacked, the diseases are not able to compete because the surface of the leaf or root is already covered with healthy mircro-organisms. Also, even weeds can be lessened by enhancing the fungal populations in the soil.”

Long Grain Rice

In addition to the microgreens, Blue Moon Acres Farm grows baby greens (the next step up) and kale, chard, collards, kohlrabi, corn, red cabbage, and tomatoes. The Lyons also look forward to having blueberries soon, strawberries, and ultimately fruit trees.

We have also started growing long grain rice and arborio (Italian rice for risotto) as well as 30 other strains. The chefs at the restaurants are very happy about this,” reports Mr. Lyons.

Customers will also find beets, beans, and broccoli, carrots and corn, onions, potatoes and peppers, as well as spinach, squash, and turnips, among many other choices.

“We have three categories of produce: our own, which is organic, other organic, and local, which can also be organic,” explains Ashley Lyons, director of sales and marketing, and the daughter of Jim and Kathy Lyons. “We use the word ‘traceable’ about the products we have. We have a carefully curated selection. We know what farm or company they come from, and we have a personal relationship with the owners.”

In addition to produce, the farm market carries a variety of other items, including local area jams, jellies, honey and bee pollen, homemade ketchup, cheese, ice cream, chicken, soaps and lotions, coffee and tea, and various soft drinks, bread, and homemade chocolates.

The market also features a cafe, with chocolate and plain croissants from the Terra Momo Bakery in Princeton, various muffins, biscotti, and other specialties. “We have coffee beans from Coffee Scoop,” notes Ms. Lyon. “The beans are organic and Fair Trade. Also, the decaf uses the Swiss Water process and no chemicals.”

O Wow Cow Creamery

Laurie’s Chocolates from Bucks County, Pa. are another treat. The hand-crafted, award-winning chocolates are available in many varieties, including the popular chocolate peanut butter “Buckeyes”.

“We have small batch ice cream from O Wow Cow Creamery in Pennsylvania,” adds Ashley. “We also carry ice cream from the Bent Spoon in Princeton.”

The variety of breads includes baguettes and batards from Terra Momo Bakery and loaves from Berkshire Mountain in Vermont. Blue Moon Acres is the only establishment in the area to carry Berkshire Mountain bread, points out store manager Natalie Rockwell.

Pasta from Lucy’s Ravioli in Princeton, cheeses from Cherry Grove Farm in Lawrenceville, and chicken pot pies and fruit pies from Griggstown Farm are other popular items.

Ms. Lyons also points out the lavender soaps, lotions, and sachets from Pear Valley, owned by her aunt and uncle, Patti and George Lyons. “These are all natural products, with no chemicals.”

Customers also enjoy the variety of seasonal fresh flowers from the garden Kathy Lyons has planted.

Blue Moon Acres Farm Market prices cover a range, and include small coffees at $1, croissants at $2.50, muffins at $2, and baguettes at $2.50.

Series of Events

The Lyons family look forward to holding a series of events in the summer and fall. “On Saturday, July 14, we will have a special dinner created by elements’ chef Scott Anderson, using our own certified organic produce,” reports Ms. Lyons. “A part of the proceeds from ticket sales will benefit the Trenton Area Soup Kitchen.”

In August, an outdoor barbecue is planned, followed by a Farm Camp-out in September, Fall Harvest in October, and holiday Open House in December.

Ms. Lyons adds that she is very proud to be part of the family business. In addition to her parents, her sister Alissa and brother Chris take part in the farm’s operation. “I can’t imagine doing anything else,” she says.

“I enjoy the fact that we are taking care of the land in a way that will leave it better than when we found it. And, with the store, in connecting with the local producers and growing our own produce, we are reaching out to the community. The support from the community for quality food continues to grow. People appreciate what we have, and they are knowledgeable about it. They are informed consumers.

“We look forward to expanding what we offer and to taking on the challenge of growing whatever we can grow in the area.”

Blue Moon Acres Farm Market is open Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9 to 5. (609) 737-8333. Website: www.bluemoonacres.net.

July 3, 2013
CROWNING GLORY: “Our focus is hair — cutting, color, and styling. We help to make people feel good about themselves. If someone looks better, they feel better.” Joanna Kulikowska, owner of La Meche Hair Design, is shown in the salon’s new studio at the Village Shopper.

CROWNING GLORY: “Our focus is hair — cutting, color, and styling. We help to make people feel good about themselves. If someone looks better, they feel better.” Joanna Kulikowska, owner of La Meche Hair Design, is shown in the salon’s new studio at the Village Shopper.

In a rut after the long winter? Are those gray days getting you down? Spring will be here soon, and maybe it’s time to shake things up, stir the ingredients! A new look, a new hair style, perhaps a new color for the new season?

All of these are available at La Meche Hair Design, which recently moved to the Village Shopper, 1340 Route 206 in Skillman.

Formerly located at the Montgomery Center for many years, the salon has a brand new sleek, contemporary look in an attractive, light-focused setting.

“I wanted to have a very clean look,” explains owner Joanna Kulikowska. “The products are hidden on shelving behind the mirrors, so it is very uncluttered. My father, husband, and brother all helped me with the design and renovation.”

Good Foundation

Ms. Kulikowska has been affiliated with La Meche for 16 years and a partner for 10. In November, she became sole owner. Originally from Poland, she came to the U.S. at the age of 16, knowing no English. She learned quickly, and eventually attended Mercer County Community College, majoring in accounting — certainly a good foundation for any business.

In time, her interest shifted to the hair and beauty industry, and she became a licensed cosmetologist. The creativity involved in cutting, styling, and color appealed to her. “My father was an artist, and my mother was very artistic, and I’ve always liked the visual aspect of things.”

The right hair cut, style, and color can make all the difference, she notes, and that is the specialty at La Meche, which means “lock of hair” in French.

“We do everything for hair — cut, color, style, and straighten. Some people still like perms, and we offer that too,” says Ms. Kulikowska. “A lot of people with curly hair want it straightened. The really popular hair style today is long and straight. Especially with young people, but also with women in their forties.”

On the other hand, Ms. Kulikowska especially enjoys cutting and styling short hair. “I specialize in that. I love short hair. You can do a lot with it and have a lot of different styles.”

When helping clients with a style, she takes into consideration facial structure, hair texture, and life-style. “I always ask clients how much time they are willing to spend on their hair,” she explains. “They may bring in a picture of a hair style that looks simple, but in reality, it requires time to get that look.”

Fashion Statement

Some people just don’t have the time or inclination to style their own hair, she adds. “We have clients who come in once, even twice, a week for a blow dry.”

What is major in nearly all hair salons today, of course, is color! “Color is huge,” says Ms. Kulikowska. “Almost everyone wants it. It’s even starting with younger girls, if their parents allow it. It’s like a fashion statement. It’s certainly not just to cover gray.”

Color products are safer than in the past, she points out. “Many have less or no ammonia now. With color, the idea is to look as natural as possible, and there are new techniques and color formulations to achieve that. Ombre is very popular now, and is a hand-painted technique, starting at the top of the head, and gradually lightening the hair throughout its length. It goes from darker to light, and is best on dark hair.

“Balayage is another method, similar to Ombre, and is hand-painted from the roots out. It is multi-dimensional and gives a very natural look.”

Traditional highlighting is also very popular, and there are many ways to achieve color  variations throughout the hair. Also, these days, many brunettes are opting for red highlights, adds Ms. Kulikowska.

All ages, and both men and women, are choosing color today, and typically, they come in every four to six weeks for touch-ups — or a complete change!

Linkage Meu

For those who may have had a bad do-it-yourself color experience, La Meche offers corrected color treatments. Doing it yourself is  not quite as easy as the ads and commercials indicate, and a professional not only has the experience but can offer knowledgeable advice about appropriate color for the client’s skin tone and overall coloring.

Special conditioning treatments are also available, notes Ms. Kulikowska. “We recently started offering Linkage Meu, a 3-step salon treatment, including aromatherapy. It provides instant smoothing, conditioning, improves the quality of the hair, and lasts five weeks. It’s very good for excessively dry hair and for hair that has been blown dry too much or improperly.

“Also, for people with thinning hair problems, I suggest they use Biotin, a vitamin helping hair, nails, and skin.”

La Meche is a family-oriented salon, she points out, and clients include women, men, and children. “Our staff is very focused on service. People want to be taken care of. They want to feel welcome. We give superior attention to each client.

“We have many regular and long-time clients, who have been with us over the years. There has been great word-of-mouth,” she continues. “This is very individual work because every client is different and has different hair requirements. All of us have continuing education here. There are always new things coming along, new techniques, and new color formulations. I look forward to expanding the staff, including younger people. We will be up-to-date with all the new styles that young people like.”

“Mostly, I enjoy making every individual happy. They always have a smile on their face when they leave!”

La Meche is competitively priced, with cuts starting at $55 and color at $75. Gift certificates are available, and also special sessions, including make-up, for brides and bridal parties.

Walk-ins are welcome, and tea, cappuccino, soda, and light refreshments are offered.

Hours are Monday by appointment, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Wednesday 8 to 5, Saturday 7 to 4. (609) 924-7800. Website: lamechesalon.com.

June 26, 2013
SWIM TIME: These three young swimmers show their form as they get ready to take a dip in the Nassau Swim Club’s six-lane, 25-foot pool. “This is a safe, peaceful environment, where kids can really have a summer just being kids without all the pressure that is so prevalent today,” points out Ansie Monaghan, President of Nassau Swim Club Board of Trustees.

SWIM TIME: These three young swimmers show their form as they get ready to take a dip in the Nassau Swim Club’s six-lane, 25-foot pool. “This is a safe, peaceful environment, where kids can really have a summer just being kids without all the pressure that is so prevalent today,” points out Ansie Monaghan, President of Nassau Swim Club Board of Trustees.

Nestled in the woods near The Institute for Advanced Study is a hidden gem. Located at the tip end of Springdale Road, Nassau Swim Club has been welcoming members for nearly 50 years.

“We are a small safe family community,” reports Anne Merrick Mavis, board member and director of marketing. “Families return year after year for the friendly atmosphere, great swimming, and good company. My kids, now 15 and 13, love it. This is a place that they look forward to. They spend all day here. It’s their summer home.”

A private, cooperative, board-run organization, Nassau Swim Club offers 200 memberships to families and individuals. Its community atmosphere is enhanced by members taking part in the club’s operation. As Ms. Mavis notes, “Members take on two responsibilities when they join. For example, mowing the lawn, getting the pool ready, or helping with barbecues, picnics, etc.”

The club has several social events throughout the season, including its Memorial Day opening, the Fourth of July, Labor Day, and various other occasions, including a silent auction fund-raiser for the pool.

Princeton and Beyond

“We have a ‘Night Under the Stars’ with a special dinner, also a Texas Barbecue and a Movie Night, when we set up a big projector outside,” reports Ansie Monaghan, president of the board.

Members include people from Princeton and beyond, she adds. “They are people from all over the area, with different backgrounds, and we might not meet each other if it weren’t for the pool. It’s nice, too, because the kids are often from different schools, so they make new friends, as well as seeing people they already know.”

Adults are pleased that there is always a designated two-lane lap area in the six-lane, 25-foot pool, except for three hours — 8 to 11 a.m — when the swim team practices.

Children of all ages enjoy the opportunities geared to their level. A baby or wading pool is available to kids five and under. Its location beside the main pool is a plus, points out Ms. Mavis. “When my children were small, I could be with the 2-year-old in the little pool, and also keep an eye on my older child in the regular pool.”

In addition, chairs and tables are set up in shady spots surrounding the pool area.

A 13.5-foot diving well is another feature, which is also available for water polo.

Two life guards and one supervisor/life guard are always on duty. They are 15 yeas old or older, and have received life guard-, first aid-, CPR-, and AED- certified.

Small group swimming lessons are free to all ages, including adults.

Focus on Fun

The club’s swim and dive teams are part of the Princeton Area Swim & Dive Association (PASDA) and teams consist of boys and girls six to 18. They compete against teams in the area, and are at all ability levels. Various meets are held, including a championship meet at the end of the season.

The focus is on the enjoyment of swimming and the pleasure of being on the team. As the club statement notes: “At the conclusion of a meet, individual swimmers are ranked and awarded ribbons. The individual swimmers’ combined scores result in a winning team. We have a number of very good swimmers, but the emphasis is on fun and being part of the team. We believe that creating an atmosphere where kids are enjoying the activity keeps them interested. We encourage team members to come to practice daily, but we understand when other summer commitments take priority.”

Team members are required to have completed the deep end test and have a desire to have fun, continues the statement. “No previous experience is needed to join the team. Parents of participants are asked to volunteer to work at three of the meets, either home or away, and to bring a baked good for the home meet. You will also be asked to work one event at the championship.”

Regulations for the dive team are similar to those for the swim team.

General pool regulations require that children under 12 be accompanied by an adult (except for team members). Those over 12 may be unaccompanied, if they have passed the deep end test, and have signed parental permission.

Children often go on to become life guards as they grow up, says Ms. Mavis. “My son Andrew, who has come to the pool since he was four, will be a life guard this summer.”

Unique Atmosphere

Supervisor David Adlai-Gail, 19, has been with Nassau Swim Club since his very earliest days, and has a singular history. He came as a baby, began swimming at two, but as he reports, he actually came before he was born. “My mom came to the pool when she was expecting me!”

Nassau Swim Club provides a unique atmosphere that results in long-standing memberships, points out Ms. Monaghnan.

“It’s such a special place. You can always count on it here. It will always be the same relaxed, tranquil environment, as well as a place to make new friends. We want to keep it this way and have it continue to be this special place where we are able to offer the joy of swimming and an atmosphere of simplicity. And, it is a joy to be part of an organization that teaches children the love of water.”

Ms. Mavis agrees, adding: “We really are set apart by the simplicity, the wonderful setting with the natural shade, and the cooperation among the members. What a privilege to be part of such a special place.”

Family and individual memberships are available at reasonable costs, including discounts for those over 55, students, and those from nearby Princeton University, The Institute for Advanced Study, and Princeton Theological Seminary. There is also a generous guest pass policy.

Members may bring their own snacks or lunch; a refreshment concession is operated by students on an intermittent basis.

The pool is open from Memorial Day through the second week in September from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (609) 436-0797. Website: www.nassauswimclub.org.

 

ROOF REHAB: We came to Princeton in 2008 because there a was a need for a roofing company like ours here. We hire only the best roofers in the business. Princeton is our customer. We do all sizes and styles of roofs — everything from sheds in the backyard to large houses and mansions.” Dan Simpson, project manager for Russell Roofing, looks forward to even more Princeton projects.

ROOF REHAB: We came to Princeton in 2008 because there a was a need for a roofing company like ours here. We hire only the best roofers in the business. Princeton is our customer. We do all sizes and styles of roofs — everything from sheds in the backyard to large houses and mansions.” Dan Simpson, project manager for Russell Roofing, looks forward to even more Princeton projects.

A good roof over your head — that’s about as important as it gets. And when you consider this very significant investment, you certainly don’t want one that leaks or will not withstand the elements over time.

Russell Roofing, known for high quality products and workmanship, has recently been taking on many more projects in Princeton and the area. “We now have a branch office at 812 State Road,” says Russell Roofing project manager Dan Simpson. “We specialize in unique roofs, including slate, cedar shake, copper, and tile, as well as asphalt shingles. Many Princeton houses have slate roofs, and also a lot have skylights. We are a 5-star skylight installer, only one of 100 in the entire country.

“We offer a solar ventilating skylight, which just became available in March. The remote control operates by solar power. We already have many orders, and today, there is a 20 percent tax credit for the solar skylight.”

A family business, Russell Roofing was founded 20 years ago in Oreland, Pa., and its motto is: “If It’s Russell, It’s Right. Guaranteed!” Known for residential, commercial, and historic renovation, the award-winning company is proud of its high ratings from customers and professionals alike.

Master Elite

“We are a certified ‘Master Elite’ contractor with GAF, the largest shingle manufacturer in North America,” points out Mr. Simpson. “That status puts us in the top 2 percent of roofers in the U.S. We are also a 5-Star installer with CertainTeed shingle manufacturer.”

Russell Roofing handles all types of roofs for private residences, churches, universities and colleges, and commercial buildings. Its employees are highly qualified, having undergone stringent instruction and testing.

“All our roofers are certified and trained by Russell Roofing and the  shingle manufacturers,” explains Mr. Simpson. “All our employees are drug-screened, background-checked, and fully insured. Safety First is our motto, and this is a year-round business. We do put roofs up in the winter; but we’re very careful, and if it’s too windy, we don’t go up.”

Roof problems come in many forms, he notes, but improper nailing is the major mistake. “I have been surprised by the disregard for application that some roofers have exhibited on roofs we have to repair or replace, “reports Mr. Simpson, who is a certified roofer himself.

“Nailing is hugely important. We hand-nail all our roofs. We not not use nail guns. Hand-nailing requires great attention to detail. There is only one layer of asphalt between your home and Mother Nature. If the shingles are applied properly and correctly nailed, they can last as long as the roof underneath. The manufacturers have specifications which require the nails to be in a particular spot. A tiny change can cause a problem.”

As project manager, Mr. Simpson comes to the customer’s house for a free consultation. This includes inspection of the roof, measurements, and a diagnosis. “After the diagnosis, I’ll put together a full, detailed proposal. Also, I can do on-the-spot repairs immediately if I see a problem.”

High Profile

The style, age, and size of the house can determine the appropriate roofing, he adds. “For example, long-lasting cedar shake is appropriate for a Tudor house, perhaps one that dates back a long time.”

Tile is very good-looking, and is often popular for southwestern or Spanish-style homes, he points out. It is also very long-lasting — perhaps 100 years or more — and Russell Roofing has installed tile roofs on some high profile buildings, including Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

“Slate is appropriate for older houses and large stone houses,” continues Mr. Simpson. “Slate, which can also last 100 years, is very heavy, and newer houses cannot bear the weight. In addition, however, there is synthetic slate now, which looks authentic, and is not as heavy.”

Complete attention to detail and personalized service is the hallmark of Russell Roofing, he emphasizes. “We believe in doing the job right the first time, and we do everything accurately according to the manufacturer’s specifications. We see the job through completely from beginning to end. We don’t stop work until the job is done. There is a foreman on the job every day, all day. A production manager also stops in every day, and the project manager comes as often as possible.”

As project manager, Mr. Simpson oversees a number of different jobs. An average house takes three days for complete roof installment. Larger houses can take a week or more, he explains.

He is very proud of the quality work Russell Roofing provides. “During Hurricane Sandy, of the 16,000 houses with Russell Roofing shingles, not one shingle blew off. In an emergency, such as trees through a roof or solar panel, or shingles blown off in a storm, we come right away and put a tarp over it. Our job is to keep the house water-tight.”

Masonry Department

In addition to residential work, the company provides roofs for many commercial and institutional buildings including stores, office buildings, factories, warehouses, schools, churches, and municipal buildings.

Although the company’s major focus is roofs, it also installs gutters, siding, and windows. It has recently added a masonry department as well. “We would get calls for roof leaks that were actually coming from the chimney. The challenge really is trying to find the water — the source of the leak,” he explains. “It doesn’t always show up where the water comes in.

“We do chimney repair and replacement as well as stone and brick veneers.”

Customers can count on Russell Roofing for the highest quality and dependable service. And Mr. Simpson points out, “According to the Better Business Bureau, the average life of a roofing company nationwide is two years. It’s so often a race to the bottom: to see who can give the cheapest price. Russell Roofing is now in its 21st year.

“Our pricing is very fair and disciplined. It varies depending on the materials and the size of the job. We do live-job costing — everything is completely identified: the numbers of hours, numbers of workers, materials, etc.

“I knew right away Russell Roofing was the right company for me,” he continues. “I am proud to be associated with a company that believes in quality and doing the best for the customer with a superior level of service. “I’d certainly have them put a roof on my house!

“We look forward to continuing to be a contractor of choice in the Princeton area.”

For more information, call (609) 630-6300. Website: www.russellroofing.com.

June 13, 2013
“THE PLAY’S THE THING”: Princeton Summer Theater (PST) is an opportunity for young actors, directors, designers, and theater administrators to become part of a unique artistic community. Shown from left to right are members of the PST 2013 Company: Pat Rounds, Maeve Brady, Evan Thompson, Sarah Paton, Brad Wilson, and Holly Linneman. All are Princeton University undergraduates or members of the Class of 2013.

“THE PLAY’S THE THING”: Princeton Summer Theater (PST) is an opportunity for young actors, directors, designers, and theater administrators to become part of a unique artistic community. Shown from left to right are members of the PST 2013 Company: Pat Rounds, Maeve Brady, Evan Thompson, Sarah Paton, Brad Wilson, and Holly Linneman. All are Princeton University undergraduates or members of the Class of 2013.

There is nothing quite like it. The planning, the preparation, building the set, the rehearsals, the lighting, the costumes, the smell of the make-up, and finally, the thrill of seeing it all come to life in front of an audience on opening night.

Princeton Summer Theater (PST) has been providing these experiences since 1968, and will celebrate its 45th anniversary this season.

It is a unique summer theater company, organized and operated by young people, nearly all Princeton University students or recent graduates. They are from all over the U.S. and what they have in common is a love of the theater and the excitement of participating in this special undertaking, which is unlike any other.

Princeton University has a long history of encouraging theater. Its popular Triangle Club, its connection with McCarter Theatre, and the establishment of the James Stewart Theater — a tribute to one of its most famous alumni — are all testimony to its support of the arts.

Future Professionals

In the 1930s, members of the student-run Theater Intime introduced a summer theater at the University. Until the 1950s, the summer company was known as the University Players. In 1968, it became semi-dependent on Princeton University, and was renamed Summer Intime. Then, in the late ’70s, it became known as Princeton Summer Theater. Every summer, a new company of Princeton students and graduates comes together to present a season of four plays and one children’s show.

Dedicated to training future professionals in the theater, PST offers students and young professionals experience working in every area of theater production, from performance and directing, to design, to marketing to theater management. Some famous alumni include John Lithgow, Bebe Neuwirth, among others.

“This is such a valuable experience for us. It let’s us work on our craft,” says PST artistic director Emma Watt, Princeton Class of 2013. “It’s a co-op operation, run by current students and graduates. It’s full-time, and a real ensemble with a company of actors.”

Two weeks of rehearsal are required for each production, and presenting five plays in eight weeks is intense, points out PST communications director and Princeton University junior Maeli Goren. “We work from 10 in the morning to 10 at night. On the morning of opening night, we start rehearsing for the next show. There are a million surprises every day. This work is good work. We’re proud of it. We’re doing it for real.”

Members of the PST staff and company live and work together, and the University provides housing on campus. “I think this is the coolest thing because we all live together,” continues Ms. Goren. “You feel you are enveloped in this little bubble of creativity. One member of the company recently said, ‘I don’t think I have ever talked about theater with so many smart people in the same room before!’”

The artistic director is charged with selecting the plays for the season, and Ms. Watt has chosen, as she describes them, “a romantic musical, a southern melodrama, an adaptation of a famous novel, play and movie, and an Iraq war story.”

Ensemble-Based

The season begins with the popular musical She Loves Me (June 20-30), followed by Crimes of the Heart (July 4-14), the ingenious spoof of The 39 Steps, and the Iraq War story, Time Stands Still (August 1-11). The last is to be directed by Ms. Watt.

“We look for ensemble-based shows that emphasize variety,” explains Ms. Watt. “I do like to have a play by a female playwright. In this case, with Beth Henley’s Crimes of the Heart.”

The children’s production How Thumbelina Found Her Wings (July 4-6, 11-13, 25-27, August 1-3, 8-10, at 11 a.m.), written by company manager Annika Bennett, is also in that category.

“We have four productions, five performances of each, and Saturday and Sunday matinees,” says Ms. Goren. “The audience here is subscriber-based, and we like to offer them something different. They like the variety, and they are very enthusiastic. People are so excited about us. We are the ones doing summer theater here. McCarter basically closes down in the summer.”

“I’ve been surprised at how excited the members of the community have been and the recognition,” says Sarah Paton, Princeton Class of 2013. A member of the company, who also appeared in PST’s 2012 season, she hopes for a career in the theater. “People see us on Nassau Street and say ‘Weren’t you in such and such play?’

“Another thing that is so special about PST is the opportunity to do all these different productions. I know it will take a long time in my later career to do such interesting plays again. This is a wonderful experience.”

Great Dynamic

Princeton University junior Pat Rounds, another member of the company, agrees and points out that “This is a professional group, and we’re getting paid to act. It’s a great dynamic, and we have this common goal of going from show to show very quickly and giving our best.”

It all begins, of course, with auditions. It has been correctly pointed out that “The first step to the cast party is the audition”. But the experience can fill the most confident actor with trepidation, and getting the part is an achievement indeed.

Ms. Watt is on the look-out for certain qualities in those who audition. “I look to see how the person is connected to his or her body and how they are listening to the words they are saying, and how that works together,” she explains.

“I look for someone who is having fun and likes to ‘play’,” adds Ms. Goren. “We will all be living together, and I want to feel I can spend time with this person. We have people coming from other schools to audition for us. As a young artist, it’s difficult. We can offer this great program. We will feed and house you, and you get a chance to act.”

Princeton Summer Theater is funded by contributions from various groups and organizations in addition to Princeton University, including businesses, corporations, individuals, in-kind donations, and the sale of tickets. The Princeton community is known to be supportive of the arts, and the performances are always well attended in the Murray Hamilton Theater on the campus, which seats 189 people.

The series of children’s workshops is another popular aspect of the PST season. “The kids love this,” says Ms. Goren. “It’s taught by the actors, and the kids get to interact with them. Also, after the performance of the play, there is an autograph session when the kids can meet their favorite characters.”

Main stage performances are Thursday through Saturday each week at 8 p.m., with matinees Saturday and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 general admission, $20 for students. The children’s show is $9. Subscribers pay $65 and save 35 percent for four reserved seats that can be used in any way: one for each play or all for a single performance. For ticket information, call SmartTix at (877) 238-5596 or visit www.SmartTix.com. Contact PST staff at (609) 258-7062 or via email: princetonsummertheater@gmail.com.

Curtain Going Up!

June 5, 2013
FINEST FLOORS: “All the people — our installers, our sales force, everyone — have great experience and integrity. The company is all of us. We know why customers come here. They want the work done correctly the first time. We don’t do a job incorrectly. We provide one-on-one service and build up trust.” Joe Rossi (left) partner in Regent Floor Covering, is shown with operations manager Christina Hughes, sales manager Russell Vizzini, and partner Jay Kuti.

FINEST FLOORS: “All the people — our installers, our sales force, everyone — have great experience and integrity. The company is all of us. We know why customers come here. They want the work done correctly the first time. We don’t do a job incorrectly. We provide one-on-one service and build up trust.” Joe Rossi (left) partner in Regent Floor Covering, is shown with operations manager Christina Hughes, sales manager Russell Vizzini, and partner Jay Kuti.

Family businesses are not the norm these days. Once upon a time, such independently-owned operations dotted the retail landscape. Now it is a tribute to the outstanding reputation, knowledge, and skill of Regent Floor Covering that it is one of a selected number of such businesses not only still going strong, but celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.

Established in 1963 by Felix Rossi and his partners, it is located at the Pennington Square Shopping center, Route One north in Pennington. It has a long history of satisfying customers who have remained loyal patrons over the years.

“Some of our customers are third generation,” says Joe Rossi, son of the founder, and now partner with Jay Kuti. “They know they can count on us. We have set a higher standard for quality service, and we strive to uphold our customers’ expectations.”

Mr. Rossi really learned the business from the inside out, coming in on weekends and after school as a boy, experiencing the full spectrum of the operation, including installation. He joined the business full-time in 1985, and became partner 20 years ago.

Complete Selection

Customers, who are from all over the Princeton and Pennington area, find a complete selection of floor covering, including carpet and area rugs, hardwood, ceramic tile, stone, marble, and slate, vinyl, and laminates. Regent carries a wide range of products including the finest quality lines in all categories.

“We are set apart not only by the quality of our product, but because we sell, install, and service it,” adds Mr. Rossi. “In carpeting, the biggest thing today is the softness of the yarn. It’s both soft and durable, and people really like this.”

“It’s especially popular in the bedroom, living room, and den,” points out operations manager Christina Hughes. “Hardwood floors are also favored in living rooms, and we are seeing wider widths, with more texture.”

Hardwood laminates are big sellers now, add Mr. Rossi and Ms. Hughes. “In the bathroom and kitchen, porcelain tile can have a wood look. It doesn’t matter if it gets wet. It has become very popular in the last few years.”

Tile continues to be in demand with many customers, and for a variety of rooms. Regent Floor has a tremendous selection, with many sample floor designs on display in the attractive and spacious showroom.

“The diversity of the products within tile alone is incredible,” says Ms. Hughes. “Granite is very popular for countertops, porcelain and ceramic for floors, and also slate and marble. River stone is in demand for shower floors now, too. It’s a very textured look. We have products and tile that have a rustic to a more modern motif.”

Smooth and Polished

“Marble is available in different finishes, including textured for the floor and smooth and polished for the walls. Glass tile is offered in many designs and is often popular for accent. The design glass tile is a favorite for borders, but can also be used for entire wall tile, especially in the bathroom.”

Kitchens frequently feature laminates and tile, adds Mr. Rossi. “The latest is LVT — luxury vinyl tile. It can look like wood or stone, and is very durable. This has become very popular, and the price is right.”

Man-made and natural tile comes from all over the world, he and Ms. Hughes report. The color range is huge, with choices for every home decor and design.

In addition to floor covering, Regent offers a variety of window treatments, from shades to shutters, and in many styles and designs. Cordless, pleated, vertical, room-darkening — all are available.

As the company has evolved and expanded, it has really become a one-stop-shopping destination, especially by virtue of its remodeling and renovation capabilities. “The latest expansion was about 10 years ago, when we went into complete kitchen and bath remodeling,” reports Mr. Rossi. “It has been very successful. We were already doing backsplashes and countertops, and the customers really pushed us into it. They didn’t want to deal with all the different contractors. Now, we can do it all for them. We have in-house carpenters, plumbers, etc. — all the specialists.”

Regent is also known for carpet, tile, and grout cleaning, he adds. “Carpets should have a professional cleaning every 18 months and every three or four years for tile. We also do rug binding and repair. We provide service for everything we sell. We also do commercial as well as residential work, including stores, businesses, offices, restaurants, etc.”

New Products

Regent’s clients have included Gillespie Advertising, The Ferry House, Merrill Lynch, Chapin School, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton Township, and Princeton University, among others.

The Regent team, including 20 staff members, makes a point to attend shows and seminars around the U.S. in order to keep up-to-date with advances and new products.

There is a wide price range, and Regent works hard to be as affordable as possible, says Mr. Rossi. “We have something for everyone’s budget, and we will work with people to find the right product in their price range. We can offer flexible financing options.”

“We also have special sales periodically,” adds Ms. Hughes. “We will have promotions in May in connection with our 50th anniversary.”

Mr. Rossi has noticed a number of changes in his more than three decades in the business. The biggest change has been customer knowledge, he reports. “People are more informed than ever. They have done research on the internet, and it makes it easier for us. Because they have that knowledge, they appreciate a company that knows what it is doing and has integrity. After 50 years in the same community, we have earned the customers’ trust.

“I enjoy seeing a project come together,” he continues, “and seeing the customer be so pleased with an outcome that was above and beyond their expectations. And it is never dull! Every day is different, every job is different, every customer is different.”

“We surround ourselves with complete knowledge of our products,” points out Ms. Hughes. “I look forward to continuing our relationship with the customers and being able to offer so many product choices for them.”

Regent Floor Covering is open Monday, Tuesday, Friday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday 9 to 8, Saturday 10 to 4. (609) 737-2466. Website: www.regentfloorcovering.com.

May 29, 2013
BEST BEDS: “The addition of the mattresses, headboards, and pillows has been a nice way of diversifying what we have. It’s a perfect fit for our business, and brings in our existing customers as well as new ones.” Debbie Schaeffer, President and CEO of Mrs. G TV • Appliances • Sleep Center, is pictured in the showroom, where 16 beds are on display.

BEST BEDS: “The addition of the mattresses, headboards, and pillows has been a nice way of diversifying what we have. It’s a perfect fit for our business, and brings in our existing customers as well as new ones.” Debbie Schaeffer, President and CEO of Mrs. G TV • Appliances • Sleep Center, is pictured in the showroom, where 16 beds are on display.

Mrs. G • TV • Appliances has recently added a new level of comfort for its customers. The long-time Lawrenceville store at Baker’s Basin Road and Route One is now offering a sleep center, with several lines of Serta mattresses and pillows, as well as headboards.

“We carry Serta mattreses, the number one mattress brand in the country,” says Mrs. G President and CEO Debbie Schaeffer. “Our Serta mattresses have levels — tier 1, 2, and 3, so a great mattress can be within your price range.

“We have also set aside a special section for the mattresses away from the main activity of the store. We encourage customers to take 20 minutes and lie down to try out the different mattresses. It is very important to have a mattress that gives you the right support. Come in and try out a firm, plush, or super soft mattress.”

The Serta mattresses available at Mrs. G are i Comfort, Perfect Day i Series, Perfect Sleeper, and Smart Choice.

Memory Foam

“The Comfort model is currently the most popular,” reports Ms. Schaeffer. “It has memory foam and also a cooling gel to keep you cooler at night.”

This Cool Action™ Gel Memory Foam is designed to deliver superior pressure relief and more targeted support, while offering a cooler nights sleep. In addition, it is anti-microbial and dust mite-resistant.

The i Comfort line also includes a motorized adjustable model, allowing for raised head and foot positions. It can be comfortable for reading in bed or watching TV as well as sleeping. It is also helpful for people who need special back, neck and shoulder support or who may need a raised head position to prevent acid reflux.

The Perfect Day i Series technology combines the exclusive Cool Action™ Gel Memory Foam with the most advanced Duet™ Coil individually wrapped Coil Support System. This mattress also offers individual support for each sleep partner.

Serta has joined forces with the National Sleep Foundation (NSF) to introduce the all new Perfect Sleeper, the first official mattress of NSF. It is engineered with input from the NSF to help solve many of the most common causes of poor sleep.

In addition to mattresses, Mrs. G is carrying the Leggett & Platt line of headboards in contemporary and traditional styles. Available in wood and metal, they are in assorted colors. There is also a fun trundle bed, which is very popular with children. The pull out bed underneath can also be raised to the level of the top bed, creating a comfortable double bed for adults.

Cool Gel Pillow

“The head boards are very affordable at $199 and up,” says Ms. Schaeffer. “Our mattresses — twin, queen, and king — start at $559 for the Perfect Sleeper, including box spring.”

Pillows and sheets are also available, she adds. “You need a good pillow for support of the head and neck. It is important to have the right pillow, and also, it should be changed at least every two years. Among the styles we have is a cool gel pillow, offering cool comfort”

“We are partnering with the Center for Sleep Medicine at Capital Health to offer an event on May 16,” she continues. “Doctors from the Center will talk about the importance of sleep. Sleep is so necessary for your health, and so many people don’t get enough. You should sleep in a dark room, not use electronic devices before sleeping, and no alcohol two hours before going to bed.”

Mrs. G, of course, has been known for many years as the place to go for top quality refrigerators, washers and dryers, cooking appliances, including top-of-the-line outdoor grills and outdoor kitchens, dishwashers, and TVs, all at very reasonable prices.

“I really want people to realize that our prices are very competitive with the big box stores,” points out Ms. Schaeffer. “We buy collectively with 5000 independent stores from the largest buying group in the country with $14 billiion in buying power and that is how we offer excellent prices.”

Established in 1933 in Trenton by Beatrice and Abe Greenberg, the store originally focused on plumbing supplies. Over the years, it became known as Mrs. G, and evolved into a showcase for a diverse selection of fine quality brands with inviting displays and special areas for customers to browse.

Family Operation

Mrs. G continued as a family operation, when Debbie Schaeffer, the Greenbergs’ granddaughter, joined the business, and became president five years ago. While taking the business to further heights, Ms. Schaeffer emphasizes the philosophy that has always characterized Mrs. G: “taking care of the customer, having a good selection of brands in the showroom, and continuing the long tradition of supporting the community and local charities.”

The showroom has also become a popular venue for community and professional events, hosted both by Mrs. G and various other local organizations and businesses. Ms. Schaeffer and Mrs. G have received many honors and awards, including Princeton Regional Champer of Commerce Innovator of the Year Award 2011, Legacy Award for Women in Consumer Electronics 2010, Princeton YWCA Tribute to Women Award 2010, and Mercer Regional Chamber of Commerce Outstanding Small Business Award 2009, and the New Jersey Retail Merchants Association (NJRMA) 2012 Retailer of the Year.

“We believe it is very important to give back to the community and be part of the community,” explains Ms. Schaeffer. “This has always been important at Mrs. G. Also, one of the things I enjoy most is the interaction with our customers. We have so many regulars, and I love it when I can help them find the right product for their needs. And if there is ever a problem, we get them service, and work to make it happen for them. This is so important to us.”

Ms. Schaeffer has also worked hard to provide Mrs. G with the most-up-to-date and professional website available. “This is so necessary today. We realize how important it is to have a really strong social media presentation. A website is powerful. You want it to have impact and be easy to access. We update it all the time.”

Easy access is key — to the website, just as it is within Mrs. G’s 20,000 square feet of showroom The availability of so many choices under one roof is a boon to busy shoppers. As Ms. Schaeffer says, “We are a one-stop appliance, TV, and Serta mattress super store. With our large inventory, you can easily make the best selection.”

And in addition, get a good night’s sleep!

Mrs. G is open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 9 to 6, Sunday 11 to 5.

(609) 882-1444. Website: www.mrsgs.com.

May 8, 2013
TIME TO TRAVEL: “The best thing for me, what I enjoy most, is when I custom-plan and get to deliver a trip, and make it happen for the clients. They can have a life-changing travel adventure that is unforgettable.” Melanie Tucker, owner of Tough Love Travel, a research and design service, is seated by a display of items from her travels. “My everyday life is informed with touchstones from my travels, which help me to take little ‘virtual visits’ each day to these remote and beloved places.”

TIME TO TRAVEL: “The best thing for me, what I enjoy most, is when I custom-plan and get to deliver a trip, and make it happen for the clients. They can have a life-changing travel adventure that is unforgettable.” Melanie Tucker, owner of Tough Love Travel, a research and design service, is seated by a display of items from her travels. “My everyday life is informed with touchstones from my travels, which help me to take little ‘virtual visits’ each day to these remote and beloved places.”

Melanie Tucker was born with a wanderlust! Now, after having traveled to every state in the U.S. and 32 different countries, she is owner of Tough Love Travel, a research and design travel service, which specializes in creating custom travel itineraries for individuals, couples, families, and social groups.

The former Princeton resident, now headquartered in Lambertville, is enthusiastic about her unique approach to travel planning.

“I offer extraordinary, life-changing trips to more than three dozen destinations, including South Africa, Alaska, Belize, Turkey, Italy, Key West, Costa Rica, Peru, Paris, Thailand, and more — and I research new places all the time.

“The idea is to get travelers out of their comfort zone, while still focusing on their interests, and providing them with a unique trip that they will always remember.”

On The Road

Ms. Tucker remembers her own first “unique” trip very well. “When I was seven, my dad got a camper, hooked it up to the family car, and we took a road trip out west. I was so full of memories from that trip! We got close as a family, and I loved it. I have a huge wanderlust and a huge curiosity.”

These characteristics have continued through her adult life, and have taken her around the world. As she notes, “I raised four sons, partly in our home in Princeton and partly in my Ford van, as we road-tripped to four corners of the U.S., as well as Mexico and Canada.

“My love of travel eventually took me around the globe. I witnessed martial law in Tiananmen Square in 1989, side-stepped cobra charmers in the souk of Marrakech, hiked up Arenal Volcano, saw my first mummy in Pompeii, and rode the Orient Express into Budapest! Through all these experiences, I was touched by the magic of travel, and inspired to build Tough Love Travel, creating completely custom travel intineraries. My mission is to share my passion of off-the-beaten-track travel with my clients.”

Tough Love Travel actually evolved from her experiences with friends and family, who sought out her expertise for their own travels.

“Friends would often ask me what I had done with the kids on a trip, and I started planning travels for them and their relatives. It just grew. So often, people don’t really know how or have time to plan this, and travel time is so precious. You really only have 18 summers to travel with your own kids. I realized this could be a business, and it all came together in 2007.”

Over the years, Ms. Tucker has developed an extensive network of contacts, including interpreters and guides, all over the world. She can guarantee that her clients will enjoy high quality experiences in the setting of their choice. As she notes, “I have traveled so much for three decades, and I have made it my mission to research places. I go off the beaten path, and seek out unique places and experiences.”

Dream Trip

The first thing she does when meeting a client is establish their interests, life-style, and budget. “When planning a trip, I need to know how experienced a traveler someone is, how much do they want to learn, and how much they can spend. Most people really like to splurge on a couple of things and save on others.

“What is their dream trip? What are their interests? Are they literary people, art aficionados, do they like to go fishing? Are they foodies?”

Whatever trip the client envisions, Ms. Tucker can make it happen. For example, foodies take note: “Ever gone truffle-hunting with a farmer and his dog in Umbria? Or how about a day of lobster-diving in Belize, after which your guide takes you to a remote shore and builds you a fire of coconut husks and grills lobsters for lunch!

“There’s a cooking class in Fez, learning the art of tagine cooking right in the kitchen of a Berber woman … a tour of Paris, one chocolate shop at a time … ceviche wars in South America? … a wine route called the Vinehopper in South Africa … private cooks in villas in Barbados, dinner parties in the home of a Cesarine in Italy … and more.”

For the intrepid traveler bent on seeing and experiencing off-beat and challenging adventures, Ms. Tucker offers the following, among other journeys.

“Wonder what it’s like to sleep in a Quechuan family’s home, 11,000 feet high up in the Andes? Or sleep with grizzly bears out on Katmai? Want to swim with 25-foot manta rays off the big island of Hawaii, or in the sardine run off South Africa?

Soup-to-Nuts

“How about bidding at a rug auction, deep in the Atlas mountains of Morocco? Or spending a few magical days with the Moai statues of Easter Island? You can hike the Chilkoot or the Incan trail, jam in the home of a local musician in Cape Town, or stay overnight in a longhouse in one of north Borneo’s tribal villages. Sleeping in treehouses? On boats or trains? It’s all available.”

The point is that Ms. Tucker will arrange everything. As she says, “It is a full service soup-to-nuts travel plan. I will do all the research, coordinate a plan, refine the itinerary based on your feedback, make and confirm reservations, and deliver your travel packet — a detailed, well-orchestrated game plan, including your daily itinerary with local lodging and regional cuisine, all your activities and guides, trains/boats/buses and transfers, travel tips, and even a packing list if you desire.

“You will enjoy an inspired adventure itinerary, 100 percent customized to your physical, intellectual, and financial activities. It will fire your imagination, open your eyes, bond your group or family, and provide stories and memories for years to come.”

The customized travel plan is 10 percent of the cost of the trip starting at $499. Ms. Tucker is so convinced that her clients will have the trip of a life time that she guarantees a refund of the travel fee if they are not fully satisfied.

For those who might want to venture out on their own, but still need the expertise of an experienced traveler, Ms. Tucker has also launched a new travel plan for do-it-yourselfers. “This is a 12-page bulleted document with everything you need to plan a trip to a specific place. It is $99 for an un-customized plan, in which you basically make up your own plan and reservations, but with the benefit of valuable recommendations from an expert.”

Ms. Tucker attends a number of travel shows throughout the country, from Washington, D.C. to California. She has a booth with exhibits, brochures, and slide shows of favorite excursions, and she is particularly looking forward to the upcoming National Geographic show in Dallas in November. “I have created a “foodie” travel show that people find inspiring, fun, and educational. I am excited to present this in front of National Geographic’s audience of 18,000!”

Something New

In addition, Ms. Tucker has created slide shows which she presents locally at the Princeton Public Library and in similar settings. She also recently taught three classes at the Princeton Adult School, including “Trips to Savour — Novel Foodie Experiences”, “Thorny Travel Problems (money, packing, safety)”, and “Off the Beaten Track Travel.” She has been asked to schedule additional classes next fall.

For Ms. Tucker, travel is both nurturing and inspirational. As she says, “It’s seeing and smelling something new. Meeting folks who are at once altogether different, but also just like me at their core. I often ‘friend’ these people on Facebook after my trip, and stay connected as world events and our lives unfold.

“I think from a personal perspective, the biggest benefit of travel is what one discovers about oneself. From a larger perspective, the biggest benefit is to serve as a wandering ambassador for our country. As I tell my own grown kids, every time they go out into the world and show kindness and respect, they are creating a positive face for the U.S. in foreign countries. Everyday people need to experience Americans like this, and by doing so, we will create more acceptance between cultures.

“When you travel, you must trust enough to open yourself up to this incredible experience. You also need to keep your head and be alert and aware. And you must always show respect for the people and the culture.”

Ms. Tucker can be reached at 609-923-0304. Website: www.toughlovetravel.com.

SWEET SEDUCTION: “We enjoy getting to know the customers and seeing a smile on their face when they have a cupcake. Everyone has a favorite.” Amy DeSanto (left) and Corina Dumitru-Fritz, owners of Dessert Boutique in the Village Shoppes at Montgomery, are encouraged by the success of their “sweet” enterprise.

SWEET SEDUCTION: “We enjoy getting to know the customers and seeing a smile on their face when they have a cupcake. Everyone has a favorite.” Amy DeSanto (left) and Corina Dumitru-Fritz, owners of Dessert Boutique in the Village Shoppes at Montgomery, are encouraged by the success of their “sweet” enterprise.

Honey lavender, red velvet, chocolate peanut butter, tiramisu, pink champagne, French toast with bacon, chocolate merlot, lemon and orange, canoli, black forest, peanut butter and jelly — sound good?

These are just some of the specialty cupcakes at the new Dessert Boutique located in the Village Shoppes at Montgomery at 1378 Route 206 South in Skillman.

Cupcakes are a very “in” treat these days, report owners Amy DeSanto and Corina Dumitru-Fritz. Everyone seems to like them. They are no longer just the traditional treat to share with the class at school for a birthday — although, of course, they are still a big hit with children.

“Cupcakes have grown up,” notes Ms. DeSanto. “People will come in to get a cupcake for themselves, or for a hostess gift, and also for office gatherings. They can be appropriate for many occasions.”

Bio-Chemists

After working as bio-chemists in the pharmaceutical industry, Ms. DeSanto and Ms. Dumitru-Fritz decided to pursue their true passion and create their own line of gourmet baked goods. It is not such a departure as one might think. “Baking is chemistry,” points out Ms. DeSanto.

“We had both enjoyed baking as girls, and Corina had actually had a bakery in Allentown, Pa. We had kept in touch, and I, too, had always liked the idea of having my own business.”

The space was available in the new section of the Village Shoppes at Montgomery, and Dessert Boutique opened its doors right before Christmas 2012. It was a hit from the start!

“People found out about us right away,” report the owners. “We were very warmly welcomed — both by customers and our neighboring businesses. We already have regular customers who come in all the time, and they stop in all times of the day. Some come in the morning for one of our muffins, croissants, or scones; others stop in at lunchtime for a savory, such as a mini mushroom quiche or spanakopita. Then, after school, a lot of kids come in for a cupcake, and in the evening people stop in for dessert and coffee, perhaps after a movie.”

Customers are coming from all around the area, including Princeton, Montgomery, Rocky Hill, and Hillsborough.

In addition to the wide array of cupcakes — 20 different flavors available each day — a selection of pastries, such as cream puffs, Napoleons, mini fruit tarts, mini cheesecakes, brownies, and cookies are offered. Also, muffins, scones, turnovers, donuts (weekends only), and sticky buns are popular in the morning.

Sculpted Cakes

Fresh squeezed orange juice will be available soon, and currently, coffee (at 79¢ and 99¢), hot chocolate, and a variety of specialty soft drinks, such as Aloe juice, Zico coconut water, Honest Tea, Illy iced coffee, and Coke in glass bottles, with sugar, not high fructose corn syrup, are offered.

Ms. Dumitru-Fritz is particularly known for her special occasion sculpted cakes — from wedding to birthday to novelty creations for kids (including with cake pops). She is an expert cake designer, and her creations are beautiful to behold — true works of art.

They can be seen in full array on Dessert Boutique’s website. They must be ordered well ahead of the event: three to four weeks for birthday and anniversary, two months for weddings. The wedding cakes can also include cupcakes. Ms. Dumitru-Fritz made one containing 350 cupcakes!

“For a wedding cake, the bride will come in, and we will discuss in detail what she wants — flavor, style, etc.,” she explains.

The establishment’s primary business is take-out, but it also offers charming ice cream parlor-style tables and chairs and a sofa for on-site sampling. The store’s attractive “confectionery” pink decor (along with pink gift boxes) is a perfect match for the cupcakes. “Little girls absolutely love it here, with all the pink,” says Ms. DeSanto.

And all ages enjoy the friendly, relaxed atmosphere — including the irresistible aroma of fresh baked cupcakes (which are baked throughout the day) that greets customers as they step inside.

Super Bowl

The store was an especially popular spot for Valentine’s Day, as one could imagine, but it also had a very busy Super Bowl Sunday. “People really wanted to have cupcakes for the event,” note the owners. “We weren’t expecting such a big turnout that day, and we were very pleased!”

Prices include $3 for a cupcake and $1 for a cream puff. A dozen cupcakes at $33 offer a savings, and there is also a Cupcake Club, with a punch card format. After four purchases, the card is punched; when 10 punches are reached, a free dessert is available. Gift certificates are also offered.

The owners plan to provide new amenities for customers while continuing to offer their signature specialties. “We look forward to adding new tables and chairs, and in the spring, we will also have tables outside. We are so happy to have our dream come true, and we are very encouraged. We look forward to becoming a real part of the community.”

Dessert Boutique is open Tuesday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday 10 to 4. (609) 580-1192. Website: www.dessertboutiquenj.com.

May 1, 2013
ONE WISH AT A TIME: “One Simple Wish allows anyone in the general public help children in foster care fulfill their wishes. Our goal is for every single foster child in the U.S to know that we are here and a resource for them. We want them to know that we care and that they can come to us.” Danielle Gletow, founder and executive director of One Simple Wish, headquarted in Trenton, is proud of the organization she began in 2008.

ONE WISH AT A TIME: “One Simple Wish allows anyone in the general public help children in foster care fulfill their wishes. Our goal is for every single foster child in the U.S to know that we are here and a resource for them. We want them to know that we care and that they can come to us.” Danielle Gletow, founder and executive director of One Simple Wish, headquarted in Trenton, is proud of the organization she began in 2008.

“The most astonishing thing about miracles is that they sometimes happen.”

—G.K. Chesterton

One Simple Wish is a non-profit organization that has been making small miracles happen for foster children and vulnerable families since December of 2008.

As its mission statement points out: “We offer everyone a glimpse into the life of a child in foster care and connect people to create rewarding, meaningful relationships between those who want to give and those who need help. One Simple Wish believes in working together with a vast network of Community Partners throughout the United States. We positively impact the lives of thousands of children and families in need every year.”

One Simple Wish is the result of the vision, determination, and dedication of one woman: Danielle Gletow. She saw a need, and found a way to fill it.

“My husband and I had wanted to adopt a child in 2006, and we looked into all the options,” she explains. “We became foster parents with the hope of adopting. Over time, we had three foster children, aged two, 18 months, and six weeks.”

Multiple Homes

Eventually, they were able to adopt a baby girl through the foster care system, at about the same time that they had their biological daughter.

Their experience gave Ms. Gletow an insight into the world of foster care, providing her with information she had been unaware of previously. For example, she reports: “500,000 children are in foster care in the U.S. in the child welfare system. Of these, 100,000 children are legally available for adoption, but many are eight, nine and older, or special needs children. Foster care often includes multiple homes and institution placements, sometimes within the same year or even month. Nearly 58 percent of children in foster care are children of color.”

In addition, notes Ms. Gletow, more than 20,000 children age out of foster care every year, with little or no support. These young people are several times more likely to end up homeless, addicted to drugs, or incarcerated. It is estimated that more than 250,000 prisoners in the U.S. were once foster children.

Her own experience and the information she had gathered prompted Ms. Gletow to try to find a way to brighten the lives of foster children in some way.

“We had met so many children through case workers and friends in foster care that we wanted to do something,” she explains. “We wanted them to have the experiences a child with his or her own parents has.”

Ms. Gletow began with the idea of fulfilling wishes — small and large. “For example, a case worker knows if a child’s birthday is coming up, or if they have mentioned something they’d like to have.”

Children’s Wishes

She came up with the plan to match the children’s wishes with donors who could fulfill them. “People can go on-line to our website to see what wishes the children have made, and then they can donate specifically for a wish request or give an unrestricted donation of any amount. A typical wish is $100. We then purchase the item, which can be shoes, clothing, games, scooters, skates, gymnastic lessons, movie tickets, visits to an amusement park, etc. We have also outfitted more than 1000 girls with prom dresses, shoes, and handbags. The wish candidates are aged from birth to 25.”

The program started in New Jersey, and then branched out. Ms. Gletow established a network of community partners, such as social service agencies, group homes, churches, schools, and other organizations that support children and families in need throughout the U.S. One Simple Wish is now in 36 states with 350 partners.

“We work with non-profit groups and agencies; there is no government funding for One Simple Wish. It’s all through individuals and corporations. We don’t feel the state welfare system is as well-structured as it could be. We continue to try our best to work closely with the Department of Children and Families as often as possible.”

One Simple Wish has grown in all ways since its beginning. In particular, donations, community partners, and its recognition factor have all expanded dramatically.

As Ms. Gletow reports. “We have grown from receiving $24,000 in donations the first year to more than $500,000 this year. And if you count the in-kind donations of toys, clothing, and personal care products, it is close to $1 million. We have received donations and grants from Walmart, PNC Bank, Staples, Janssen, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and PSE&G.”

Ms. Gletow has appeared on the “Making A Difference” segment of NBC Nightly New, and she was chosen as a CNN Hero — one of 24 selected from 10,000 nominees worldwide. Such recognition has been invaluable.

Successful Lives

“Between NBC and CNN, One Simple Wish has continued to grow and grow. We now have five employees, and will open a branch office in Colorado. 5000 wishes have been granted to date — 95 percent of all the wishes requested. We have annual dinners to raise money and also to honor the kids. We award three $1000 scholarships to young people who have exemplified successful lives within a foster care environment.

“Last year, One Simple Wish had a tour of 30 cities around the country to grant wishes. It was 30 wishes in 30 cities in 30 days! We look forward to more of these, and this year, we will go to five states with seven stops in 10 days, and deliver 3000 gifts!”

May is Foster Care Awareness Month, and One Simple Wish will have a team running the Long Branch Marathon on May 5. Each team member is committed to raising $1000, which will be donated to the organization.

Ms. Gletow is rightfully proud of what she has achieved. With the support of her staff, concerned community groups, and individuals, she has put a remarkable program in place. “I am very proud to have created something that has gone on to create a life of its own. I have always believed in the innate goodness of people, and I haven’t been surprised that people are stepping up. If you give someone a way to make a real, meaningful difference, they want to be part of the solution.

“I love the fact that we have a truly immediate impact,” she continues. “It is memorable, an opportunity to make a child smile. We focus on those smiles. It also makes me proud and happy that I can leave a legacy, and one that is important for my children. My kids can see that you can find success and happiness that has nothing to do with making a lot of money.”

For more information on One Simple Wish, call (609) 883-8484. Website: www.onesimplewish.org.

PERFECT FIT: “We are a soccer specialty store, and I believe we are filling a need here in Princeton,” says Tibor Teleky, owner of Princeton Soccer Experience. Shown is one of his very youngest customers, three and a half year-old Princeton resident Heidi Johnson, who is trying on a brand new soccer shoe.

PERFECT FIT: “We are a soccer specialty store, and I believe we are filling a need here in Princeton,” says Tibor Teleky, owner of Princeton Soccer Experience. Shown is one of his very youngest customers, three and a half year-old Princeton resident Heidi Johnson, who is trying on a brand new soccer shoe.

It’s soccer here, but in the rest of the world, it’s football — not to be confused with our own American football. By whatever name, it is growing in popularity, and players of all ages and every skill level, are eagerly participating. Tibor Teleky, owner of the new Princeton Soccer Experience, which opened at 190 Witherspoon Street in early February, is himself a player, coach, and long-time soccer enthusiast.

“I have been involved in soccer a long time,” he explains. “I’ve been playing since I was a kid, and I have been and am coaching club teams, including the Princeton Football Club, among others. The Princeton Club has 24 teams, with all different age groups, starting at under 10.

“There was really a need for this kind of store,” he continues. “There is nothing like it in Princeton, and the interest in soccer is very strong now. Kids start playing in middle school and even earlier.”

Repeat Customers

Mr. Teleky, a graduate of Rutgers University and recipient of an MBA degree from Central European University in Budapest, has also worked in the corporate world with Merrill Lynch. He decided to pursue his dream to open a soccer shop, however, and he definitely wanted it to be in Princeton.

“I like the international aspect of Princeton, and I wanted to have the shop here and in the downtown, where there is a lot going on. People here are really interested in soccer, and I’ve already had a lot of customers in the short time I’ve been open, including many repeat customers.”

The shop features a wide range of soccer equipment, clothing, and accessories in a light and bright setting, which also features a large TV screen, showing soccer matches.

Items are available for men, women, and children, and include balls, warm-up clothing, soccer shirts, T-shirts, team jerseys, shorts, and shoes.

Light and Dry

Adidas is the main line available, but Mr. Teleky notes that he is developing the Princeton Soccer Experience’s own brand of dry-fit soccer shirts. “These are light and dry, and wick moisture away,” he explains. “They are very comfortable and cool.”

A variety of balls in different colors and designs, weights, and sizes, including the small “skill” balls, and size 4 for kids, are all available. Prices of balls range from $11.99 for skill balls, $17.99 for regular size, all the way up to $150 for a top-of-the line hand-stitched model.

Shoes, including the Adidas Predator F 50 and the Samba for kids, are among those available, at different price ranges, with a good quality shoe starting at $50. They are all in bright, contemporary styles.

“Most people have more than one pair of soccer shoes,” points out Mr. Teleky, “and we can definitely accommodate them.”

Shin Guards

Colorful fan scarves representing different teams are available, along with assorted accessories, including gym bags, shoe laces, shin guards, ankle protectors, pre-wrap, and ball pumps.

Mr. Teleky is also proud of the large number of trophies on display, won by teams he has coached.

“I had been thinking about doing this for more than two years, and I am so happy to see it materialize. I’ve met so many people since I’ve been here. I enjoy meeting all the customers and talking about soccer. I also look forward to expanding my selection as time goes on.

“In addition, my long-term goal is team sales. There are a lot of different clubs throughout New Jersey, and I’d like to become a soccer supply and service store.”

Princeton Soccer Experience is open Monday through Saturday noon to 7 p.m., Sunday noon to 4. (609) 580-1924.

April 24, 2013
POWER WORK-OUT: "We incorporate as many different ways of moving the body as possible, so the members can get a full body work-out," says Tiffany Perkins-Munn, owner of Title Boxing Club Princeton. Shown is trainer Daisy Romero, practicing on one of the 100-pound punching bags. Title Boxing Club offers classes in power hour boxing and power hour kickboxing.

POWER WORK-OUT: “We incorporate as many different ways of moving the body as possible, so the members can get a full body work-out,” says Tiffany Perkins-Munn, owner of Title Boxing Club Princeton. Shown is trainer Daisy Romero, practicing on one of the 100-pound punching bags. Title Boxing Club offers classes in power hour boxing and power hour kickboxing.

Spring is here — officially — even if the weather is still chilly. Nevertheless, bathing suit season is right around the corner, and it’s not too late to get those abs, upper arms, and thighs toned — and of course, the extra “avoir du pois” around the middle!

Help is at hand. Title Boxing Club Princeton has recently arrived on the scene, and it can provide just the workout you need.

“This is a full body work-out in one hour, and it can burn 1000 calories,” says owner and general manager Tiffany Perkins-Munn. “It’s group fitness, but with a trainer, so it has personal training appeal. Typically, there are 30 people in a group with one instructor. We use a 15/30/15 model. fifteen minutes of warm-up, including cardio, with jumping, running, and calisthenics. Then, 30 minutes of work on the heavy bags — jabbing, punching, kicking, and kneeing, with various routines under the guidance of the instructor. It’s important that everyone execute the moves properly, and people are more motivated with an instructor.

“The last 15 minutes are a cool-down period, doing exercises that strengthen the core, such as plank and others.”

Fitness Concept

Title Boxing Club Princeton is one of 102 franchises in 33 states across the country. With corporate headquarters in Kansas, it was established five years ago as a unique fitness concept by the Title Boxing manufacturing Company and former professional boxer Danny Campbell.

“Title Boxing is the largest manufacturer of boxing equipment,” explains Ms. Perkins-Munn, who has a corporate background. Having earned a PhD in statistics and psychology, she had worked for Morgan Stanley on Wall Street for several years. Ready for a change, Ms. Perkins-Munn looked into franchise opportunities, and was impressed with Title Boxing Club.

“I like new challenges and opportunities, and I like them to be diverse. I’ve always had an affinity for working out, and my husband owned Grand Slam, a family recreation center in South Brunswick. I’m a statistician, and I ran the numbers for Title Boxing Club. I did a financial model, and then I went to the corporate office in Kansas. The corporation had a good working model. I liked it that it was organic, and they had a franchise development group and ideas of how to market it.”

After administrative training at the Kansas office, as well as hands-on boxing instruction, Ms. Perkins-Munn decided to open the facility in Nassau Park Pavilion at 485 Nassau Park Boulevard.

“I wanted to be in Nassau Park Pavilion,” she explains. “It’s a regional mall, and everything is here. People don’t mind driving a distance, and there is lots of parking, which is important.”

As the franchisor, Title Boxing Manufacturing Company requires 4500 square feet, and also oversees the look of the space, which is workmanlike and practical. “I call the look ‘industrial chic’”, says Ms. Perkins-Munn. “It’s spacious with gray walls and an open ceiling. This is a place where you can get something done.”

Row After Row

One is struck immediately upon entering by the sight of row after row of 54 100-pound punching bags (“Our hanging heavy bags,” says Ms. Perkins-Munn). This is a floor-bolted system, with the bags suspended on steel bars above. The franchisor provides each franchise with the large heavy bags, also small speed bags, gloves, and wraps, cardio equipment, including tread mill, AMT 3-in-1, and glide, as well as weights, balls, etc.

There is also a ring in which a member can work out one-one-one with a trainer, who wears special mitts.

The hour work-out is intensive, energetic, and focused. Ms. Perkins-Munn notes that the client target age is teens to late ’50s, but older clients are also welcome, as are people at all levels of fitness and boxing ability.

“We guarantee that if someone comes in three times a week for three months, they will reach their reasonable fitness goal. This is our 90-day challenge. They can lose weight and inches, tone up, strengthen their core, increase stamina and energy, improve coordination, and feel better, all the while having fun. Don’t forget that exercise is a great stress-reliever.

“Clients don’t have to know how to box,” she continues. “We will teach them. The structure of the class is the same, with clients of different levels all together. Beginners wear different color gloves, so the trainer is aware of their level, and can modify the exercise accordingly.”

Even if people have particular issues, such as knee or shoulder problems, they can still participate, she adds. “They can do modified exercises, but still get the benefit of the work-out.”

Membership Packages

Title Boxing Club Princeton will have 14 trainers, all of whom are certified. “They must be certified to work here, and then they receive further specialized Title Boxing training here,” explains Ms. Perkins-Munn.

The Club offers membership packages on a monthly or yearly basis: at $59 a month, if the amount is fully paid for a year in advance, which also entitles clients to special discounts. $69 and $79 monthly payment plans are also available. The first class is always complimentary.

A special offer is available for those who sign up before the end of April. They will receive a free special starter kit, including gym bag, gloves, wraps, wrap bag, and T-shirt.

“We are very encouraged,” reports Ms. Perkins-Munn. “People are signing up, and we expect to have 31 classes a week, five classes every weekday, and three on Saturday and Sunday. Hours will vary day to day, but we will start early — 5:15 a.m. and the latest class will be at 7:30 p.m.

“This is an exciting new adventure,” she adds. “There are always surprises. You have to deal with a lot of moving pieces concurrently, but I always like challenges. I am enjoying meeting all the people and hearing their stories. I look forward to having lots of people join the club and get great exercise!”

(609) 759-1627. Visit the website for specific hours and further information. www.titleboxingclub.com.

 
ARTISTIC ENDEAVOR: “Seeing my creations come to life is my biggest thrill. I want every piece to be just right. You feel it when it happens. You know when it is just right.” Jennifer J. Shortess, artist and owner of Artemis Boutique, is shown with a display of her artistic creations, including fused glass sculpture, the photograph in the background, and the necklace she is wearing. The shop also features the work of many other area artists.

ARTISTIC ENDEAVOR: “Seeing my creations come to life is my biggest thrill. I want every piece to be just right. You feel it when it happens. You know when it is just right.” Jennifer J. Shortess, artist and owner of Artemis Boutique, is shown with a display of her artistic creations, including fused glass sculpture, the photograph in the background, and the necklace she is wearing. The shop also features the work of many other area artists.

When they step inside, shoppers are reluctant to leave Artemis Boutique in Princeton Forrestal Village. As one customer said recently, “This is a hidden gem! Artemis Boutique is truly unique. You could spend hours here and find treasures in every nook and cranny, and in such a relaxing and comfortable atmosphere.”

That is what artist and proprietor Jennifer J. Shortess has hoped to achieve. When she opened the boutique in November 2011, it was with the intention of offering an inviting showcase both for her own creations and the work of many area artists.

“Nearly everything is one-of-a-kind and made in America,” says Ms. Shortess. “This is an opportunity to exhibit the work of so many talented area artists and still create my own work. I love working with the artists, and I love giving them the venue to show their work.”

Ms. Shortess, who grew up in the arts and crafts community of Sugar Loaf, New York and earned a Masters of Fine Arts from the Savannah College of Art and Design, is a multi-talented artist. She has worked in video and film, creates fused glass pieces in many designs, as well as jewelry, and is an accomplished photographer.

Open A Store

Opening Artemis Boutique actually came out of necessity, she reports. “I had taken a course in stained glass, and then I began making jewelry. I started in the basement, then the kitchen, and I actually took over the house with my artwork. Finally, my husband said ‘Open a store!’

“I liked the idea of being in Forrestal. It’s a good location, with convenient parking.”

An intriguing array of artwork, jewelry, decorative items, and accessories is on display. Jewelry choices include sterling silver, semi-precious stones, and crystals. Fused glass lamps, fused glass sculptures, suncatchers, and Tiffany reproduction lamps are the work of Ms. Shortess. Also available are handmade, handpainted silk and crocheted scarves, paintings, and photography. Woodstock wind chimes, Murano glass from Italy, and fragrant soap “rocks” are other special offerings.

Among the artists represented is painter Mary Endico, who specializes in water colors. “I’ve known Mary all my life, and I am proud and grateful that she has consented to allow me to sell a few hand-picked pieces,” says Ms. Shortess. “Her water colors have the bluest blues I have ever seen.”

A number of the artists whose creations are on display work in more than one medium, she adds. “The multi-talented Deborah Bowen offers handmade jewelry, fused glass, stained glass, and crocheted scarves. Ruth Hunt is unique in her creations of handbags made of duct tape — really! — and faux decorative cakes that really do look good enough to eat. The purses in black are Chanel-like, and no one can believe they are made of duct tape.”

Limited edition evening bags from Harrison Morgan Accessories and turquoise necklaces made by Mr. Guy for Harrison Morgan Accessories are all originals. A pink stole made of the softest alpaca fur is another statement piece by Harrison Morgan.

Private Collection

“Natalie Sarabella is known as the Rock and Roll Star of Christmas ornaments, and sells at Bergdorf Goodman, Frontgate Catalogue, and soon the Franklin Mint,” says Ms. Shortess. “Her work is stunning and also includes private collection paintings, jewelry, pillows, perfume bottles, and much more.

“And Michelle Sauber makes wonderfully pretty earrings, as well as her totally original ‘stemware’ wine charms to identify your wine glass, made out of antique and new buttons. Gina DiEnna creates all sorts of beautiful, stunning, and fun jewelry. We are now carrying her ‘Bling It On’ line of jewelry: Swarovski crystals in clay and beautiful big Swarovksi crystals in rings.”

These are just a sampling of the fascinating collection at Artemis Boutique. Ms. Shortess notes that the selection changes frequently, with new items arriving all the time. “We also carry men’s jewelry, such as cufflinks, bracelets, and tie tacs.

“Some of the items here are art for art’s sake, such as many of my glass sculpted pieces” she continues. “I was thinking of of the four elements — fire, water, air, and earth — when I created these.”

“I also like things to have multiple uses.” For example, her illuminated glass sculptures are electrified as lamps. They can also be inverted to have an entirely different look. In gorgeous colors, gracefully combining form and function, they are a real collector’s item.

Her collection of fused glass also includes soap dishes, coasters, and key rings.

Ms. Shortess’ photography is equally interesting and eclectic, and features many scenes of the southwest, as well as urban settings focusing on doors and windows, and unique glimpses into ballet.

Payment Plan

Artemis Boutique also offers a bridal selection including a range of items, from champagne flutes and hand-decorated wine goblets to custom-jewelry and keepsakes to registers/guest/gift books and photo albums. A lovely personalized gift is the wedding invitation presented in a custom-painted frame.

Prices cover an extremely wide range, from $5 to $5000, and everything in between. “I have glass drop ornaments from chandeliers for $5, which can serve as wonderful prisms,” notes Ms. Shortess. “There is really a piece for everyone’s budget. I am very competitively-priced, and we also offer a payment plan.”

Ms. Shortess’ emphasis on everything from the whimsical to elegant to dramatic reflects her own creative vision and the varying forms it can take. It was also a factor in her choice of Artemis as the name of the boutique.

“Artemis is the Greek goddess of the hunt, and was an early feminist, a protector of women and children, and also of arts and crafts,” explains Ms. Shortess. “She was independent, and wanted to do her own thing.”

Ms. Shortess looks forward to introducing more customers to the intriguing selection at Artemis. “This is a new adventure for me, and I am thrilled with how it’s going. We have regular customers and great word-of-mouth. Now, I look forward to being able to continue to showcase the work of all the artists as well as my own. I very much like being able to support the area artists and offer customers an opportunity to see their work. And I certainly love being surrounded by beautiful things. The items here are handmade, unique and one-of-a-kind.”

Ms. Shortess notes that a special exhibition and reception will be held for area painter Kelly E. Reilly on Friday, April 26 from 5 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, April 27 from 12 to 7.

The boutique’s hours are Wednesday, Thursday, Friday noon to 4:30 p.m., Saturday noon to 3 and by appointment. (609) 454-5908. Website: www.artemisboutique.com.

 

 
April 10, 2013
CREATIVE COLOR: “Color, cut, and style all work together. We think of it as totally wearable fashion.” Tim and Kate Bricker, owners of B+B Hair Color Studio, are shown with stylist Jill ­Harer at their new Witherspoon Street location.

CREATIVE COLOR: “Color, cut, and style all work together. We think of it as totally wearable fashion.” Tim and Kate Bricker, owners of B+B Hair Color Studio, are shown with stylist Jill ­Harer at their new Witherspoon Street location.

Color is the key. In the hair industry today, it’s all about color. It is the major focus of nearly all salons.

“Hair color is a total fashion statement today,” says Tim Bricker owner, with his wife Kate, of B+B Hair Color Studio at 190 Witherspoon Street, Suite 4. “It’s just amazing how much color has evolved. The quality of color hair products has improved tremendously. It’s completely safe now. We have a super-nurturing hair color Nectayar from Europe that consists of all natural ingredients. Hair color actually improves the condition of the hair, and increases the shine.

“It can also add the perception of depth to fine hair. In addition, color can change and enhance the skin tone, and it can even appear to change the shape of the face.”

Mr. Bricker says B+B Hair Color Studio clients are all ages, “from 16 to 96!”, and  are both men and women. “Men often like to have gray blending, and they can look 10 years younger with this!”

Tone-on-Tone

For girls and women, the variety of choices is extensive. Blond highlights are always popular, but darker “chocolate” shades are also favorites. And, of course, color is still used to cover gray.

“What is really big now is tonal, tone-on-tone color,” report the Brickers. “It’s multi-dimensional, and gives a very natural look. We are definitely natural hair people here. Our focus is natural.

“Ombre is a popular look,” continues Mr. Bricker. “It can be achieved with hair painting or foils, and it is most often done on longer hair. The color is applied part way down, not at the top. Also, we specialize in cool color tones, and they are very popular. It can be light or dark, and it is basically the absence of red tones, so there is no brassiness. If it’s light, we think of it as ‘Fifth Avenue Blond!’”

For those unfortunate do-it-yourselfers who have had an unhappy color experience, the Brickers have corrective color treatments that can undo the damage.

Cutting and color go hand-in-hand, and Mr. Bricker was recently one of five top stylists from across the country, who trained with celebrity stylist Nick Arrojo (seen on the TV show What Not to Wear) in precision razor cutting.

“Precision razor cutting is good for all hair styles,” he explains. “It gives texture, movement, and lift to the hair. The way hair cutting is approached changes, with new techniques constantly coming along. We are always training and participating in continuing education.”

Ambassador Salon

“Also, we have recently partnered wth the Arrojo Studio in Manhattan, and we are an Ambassador salon for Arrojo. Only a select number of salons are chosen as Ambassador salons. We can send our stylists to be trained by his staff, and we carry the Arrojo products.”

The Brickers have trained other stylists throughout the northeastern U.S. As platform artists and master hair color specialists, they also style models’ hair at shows and events in New York City and elsewhere.

In business for 15 years in Princeton, they have always specialized in color and cutting. “I always loved the creativity of it, and I especially liked all the differences involved in hair color. I could see how complex it was,” explains Mr. Bricker.

While the majority of their clients have mid to long hair, the Brickers enjoy working on all lengths and types of hair. Curly hair provides its own challenges, and Mr. Bricker points out that color can enhance the curl, as it reflects the light.

Styling Products

For those with straight hair, he notes the current popularity of the curling wand, and also the variety of styling products that keep the style in place. “We believe the Arrojo products are the best because they are created and tested by hair dressers in the Arrojo studio in New York. This translates into a premium product that is completely user-friendly.”

Their recent move from their former State Road location has provided the studio with much more space, and it offers a very contemporary, sleek, and sophisticated look. “We wanted to be ‘Soho Sleek’! We feel like the Soho of Princeton,” point out the Brickers, smiling. “We are very specialized, and we’re all about being a boutique. We also wanted to be in downtown Princeton, and Witherspoon Street is great. It has lots of energy, and it’s where it’s happening.”

Their many long-time clients agree, and they are also intrigued by the studio’s high tech TV and iPad connection. “We have a big TV screen and can transfer the images to an iPad we give the clients’ says Ms. Bricker. “We can show them whatever style they are interested in. Even styles from celebrities at the Grammy’s and other events.”

“We pride ourselves on offering our clients the best service we can,” adds Mr. Bricker. “We enjoy making people look and feel better. They’re happier, and it makes a difference for them. We look forward to continuing to help our clients have the very best cuts and color.”

They also look forward to their upcoming grand opening event on April 11 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Nick Arrojo will be on hand to meet B+B Color Hair Studio clients and visitors.

Studio hours are by appointment Tuesday through Saturday. (609) 683-4455. Website: www.bbcolorstudio.com.