You’ve spent countless hours and energy getting your home just perfect. You’ve labored over the right paint, the best furniture and even invested in some art. But have you put in enough thought about how you are protecting your home? While you can invest in a state-of-the-art system, there are plenty of ways to improve without breaking the bank. Here are six home security tips I recommend.
Looking for some uncommon native plants to add interest to your summer garden? Try these pollinator magnets that have another bonus – they are all deer-resistant. Each plant adds striking beauty to the garden while offering pollinators critical nectar and pollen.Asclepias exaltata (Poke Milkweed)
Most milkweeds require full sun to grow well, but those of us with shadier gardens have an alternative - Poke Milkweed, which is happiest in dappled sun at the woodland edge. Large clusters of fragrant white flowers appear on this graceful plant that typically grows 3 to 5 feet tall. Milkweeds are not just for Monarchs – in addition to being the required larval food for Monarch caterpillars, milkweeds are important forage plants for many pollinators. Poke Milkweed is irresistible to bees and butterflies.
Eryngium yuccifolium (Rattlesnake Master)
The sword-shaped, blue-green leaves of Rattlesnake Master are interesting enough – but then come the unusual bristly flower globes that rise above the foliage. These fragrant “blooms” attract an enormous array of pollinators. Like many other plants in the Carrot Family, Rattlesnake Master attracts a variety of natural enemies – insects that are nature’s form of pest control. Grow this plant in full sun in average garden soil with good drainage. Often reaching 4 to 6 feet, Rattlesnake Master will add unique structure to your garden for most of the growing season. Native to much of the Southeast up to New Jersey, Rattlesnake Master grows well in our area – see it on The High Line in New York City.
Opuntia humifusa (Eastern Prickly Pear Cactus)
It may be hard to believe, but this species of Prickly Pear Cactus is native to much of the Northeast. Perfect for a hot and dry spot, especially in a sunny rock garden, this plant sports large, showy yellow flowers accented by orange “nectar guides” that entice many native bee species. Both the pads and the prickly pear fruit are edible to humans, but make sure to clean them properly to eliminate the spines. Prickly Pear is deer resistant, but Bambi may sometimes discover the tasty fruit before you do.
Pycnanthemum muticum (Short-Toothed Mountain Mint)
All of our native Mountain Mints are extremely attractive to pollinators and natural enemies. In a study by Penn State Extension, 78 pollinators visited Short-Toothed Mountain Mint within a two-minute period! Unlike culinary mints, such as Spearmint and Peppermint, Short-Toothed Mountain Mint will not monopolize your yard – it spreads via rhizomes but is not overly aggressive, and is easily pulled. The plant’s silvery bracts surround small pinky-white flowers that can last up to six weeks. Plant this aromatic, deer-resistant native in full to part sun with average to moist soil.
When trying to find these more unusual native plants, you will often have the best luck at local native nurseries and native plant sales. Also ask your favorite garden center to stock more native plants – our challenged pollinators need them!
Kim Eierman, a resident of Bronxville, is an environmental horticulturist and Founder ofEcoBeneficial . She teaches at the New York Botanical Garden, Brooklyn Botanic Garden, The Native Plant Center and Rutgers Home Gardeners School.
Bergen County's past, present and future in movies will be the focus of a free presentation Tuesday at Bergen Community College in Paramus.
The Bergen LEADS Class of 2016 spent 10 months studying and researching the industry's history in the county for "Take 2, Bergen: Bergen County Film Through the Years" from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at the Ciccone Theater. It also will provide current key film locations and offer recommendations to increase the number of movies made in the area. Industry notables Roger Paradiso and Gary Donatelli will moderate the discussion. Paradiso is the writer, producer and director of the Broadway play "Tony ‘N’ Tina’s Wedding," starring Mila Kunis and Joey McIntyre, and executive producer for the film "City By The Sea" with Robert DeNiro and Frances McDormand. He is also the co-producer of the "Thomas Crown Affair," starring Pierce Brosnan and Rene Russo. Donatelli, a seven-time Emmy Award winning director and producer, directed several daytime dramas, including "One Life to Live," "General Hospital" and "The Bold and The Beautiful." There will be a vendor fair and networking session after the presentation featuring the Fort Lee Film Commission, the New Jersey Television & Motion Picture Commission, Fairleigh Dickinson University Film, TV, & Original Content Production, Sixth Borough Media and Bergen Community College Theater.
Bob Rotay of Edgewater had only three things to do: cook dinner, take out the trash and write a play.
It was 2013 and the Michigan engineer’s then-12-year-old daughter, Rachel, had just finished another musical composition, and Rotay’s wife, Susan, wanted to see it come to life.
Fast forward two years and the family’s work — “Glockcoma,” starring Loni Ackerman of Broadway’s “Cats” — is running in the Midtown Theater Festival. “I learned a lot of practical things as an engineer that have lent themselves well to writing a play,” said Rotay, a diagnostics engineer for General Motors staying in Edgewater while the play runs in New York. “Engineers always understand the scope and boundary of a project. “And a play is a product of design with scope,” he explained. First thing Rotay did was Google “how to write a play.” After 20 unhelpful minutes, he said, the engineer got to work. He began by adopting the metaphors found in the lyrics and constructing a story. “Smiling faces fill the spaces left behind broken frames forgotten names as time goes by.” — Turning Pages, Rachel Rotay."Glockcoma" zooms the lens back on the life of an elderly yet talented woman living alone in a New York City apartment who examines her life as it comes to a close. Those who’ve read the script do the same in turn. “Who goes to New York and drops $1,000 on plays?” Rotary asked. “Fifty to 70-year-olds and this means more to them than someone who’s 20." The show will also run in the New York New Works Theatre Festival at the end of August.
“The play is very reflective,” he said. “From what i’ve been told you think about yourself and you think about others and I think that’s good.”
Actress Lea Michele came to books and greetings in Northvale, NJ
NORTHVALE, N.J. — "You've Got Mail" may have predicted the demise of local bookstores as they failed to compete with large chains. In Northvale, Books & Greetings proves the opposite is true.
"We offer so much more than just buying a book. We sell books the old fashion way — we read them," Owner Kenny Sarfin said. Sarfin has been in the bookstore business for over 35 years. His family previously owned a bookstore in Manhattan before he opened Books & Greetings nearly 10 years ago.
The store's name touches on Sarfin's hope that everyone feels welcomed in the store. The welcoming presence comes in different forms, whether its kids enjoying the large toy section or Sarfin's attempts to represent multiple points of view. "It's a bookstore, we have to promote both sides. We're not biased toward anyone or any one thing."The store's employees have their own tastes and interests to help customers get an in-depth opinion on the various books sold in the store. Sarfin personally enjoys mysteries from authors like James Patterson, Vince Flynn and John Sandford.
Books & Greetings has gained a reputation for numerous events and book signings with a range of authors. Many celebrities pass through the store, including Nicholas Sparks, Regis Philbin, Julie Andrews and Shaq. Some local authors have also been invited such as Ann Arnold from Closter and Old Tappan resident Carol Roth. The store integrates with the local community.
A Demarest hockey team plans on working with Books & Greetings for a fundraiser weekend, the owner said. Any customer who mentions the team while purchasing a book will have 20 percent of their purchase donated to the local team. The exact date of this planned fundraiser has not been decided yet. All events are highly advertised through local avenues or the store's email list which has over 10,000 subscribers. Books & Greetings is located in the shopping center at 271 Livingston Street, Northvale, N.J.
Miriam Dubinsky of Clifton is hoping mothers of all walks of life will relate to her Hoboken photography exhibit. Motherhood Connection” features a selection of photographs of families in Bergen and Essex counties on display at the Hoboken Library from July 5 through the end of the month.
“The focus of the exhibit is to capture the connection of mothers with their children,” said Dubinsky, a mother of nine who gave birth to a baby girl last week.
“From what clients have told me, nobody thinks that they’re perfect but at the same time, everyone thinks motherhood is beautiful and meaningful.”
Dubinsky’s camera was her best friend growing up in Moldova. She comes from of a small family and was one of two children, always longing for more playmates.
Not much has changed for Dubinsky, who is rarely without a camera or a baby —whether it’s her own or someone else’s.
“I got more into photography when I became a mom,” Dubinsky said. “I wanted pictures of my kids and it naturally progressed from there.”
Dubinsky began promoting her business in 2013 and predominantly takes photographs of Northern New Jersey and New York City families.
She is a newborn and family lifestyle photographer, traveling to clients homes and offering sessions in her natural-light studio in Clifton.
All of the pictures in her exhibit, however, share a common theme.
“It’s about the relationship that a mother has with her child,” she said. “That way, moms can look at the pictures and identify themselves.
"Motherhood is beautiful and challenging, and everyone has their own struggles.”
A new study suggests exercises, especially running, may help protect a person from getting cancer.
Yoga After A Year's Absence: Back To My Future
"Do not stop trying just because perfection eludes you." -- B.K.S. Iyengar
"Yoga teaches us to cure what need not be endured and endure what cannot be cured." -- B.K.S. Iyengar
"When I practice, I am a philosopher. When I teach, I am a scientist. When I demonstrate, I am an artist." -- B.K.S. Iyengar
As my never-alas-met, always-kept-in-mind, and ever-inspiring late master-Yoga-teacher, B.K.S. Iyengar, said: "Your body exists in the past and your mind exists in the future. In Yoga, they come together in the present." Like every good koan, Mr. Iyengar's seemingly simple statement requires more than a little time to unpack. In my own case, that unpacking has now gone on for the 32 years I have spent mostly on but sometimes (due to illness, injury, or the wild, fey vicissitudes of life) off my Yoga mat. My most recent hiatus from my chosen discipline, my favorite art-form, has lasted a full calendar year, and I have just returned to my practice (but not, yet, teaching) at Teaneck, New Jersey's Stone Center for Yoga & Health, the very first studio I found when I moved north from South Carolina in 2001. In fact, Charlotte Chandler Stone, the studio's founder, had moved about a block from her original location near Teaneck's Queen Anne Road, and I had simply thought she'd closed, like so many other businesses in Bergen County, during our Great Economic Depression. Not so: She'd enlarged her space, and had thrived... three blocks from my home.
For me, the studio where I choose to practice (and its teachers, students, and physical and spiritual space) comprises "my Yoga home," its composite elements as important as family members and friends, treasured paintings and recordings, books, long-used pots and pans, clothes, and the skin on my back. For me, a studio has always been a chapel, a temple, a dojo, a pilgrimage site, a constellation of altars. If it is not all those things, and most Yoga studios in America are not, it isn't a place I want to spend time, remove my street-armor, and lay open my body, mind, and spirit to the contemplation-in-motion that is Yoga. Anywhere I hang my hat is patently not home; and anywhere I may lay down a mat is not, either. If a studio isn't a sacred community, the practice within it will not accomplish Mr. Iyengar's goal: to bring body, mind, and soul together in the present. One must choose well and mindfully when one chooses a studio, and here, at the very, very end of my time in Teaneck, as I prepare for a move to another part of the country altogether, I have chosen to return to Stone Yoga, and to Charlotte, Ellen, Nancy, and Sue, the four teachers who have all, very, very gently and lovingly, brought me back to my mat, exactly as I find myself today.
Begin where you are.
Where I was, after a year of serious family illness, multiple surgeries, and various and sundry economic blows, was depressed, de-conditioned, and completely derailed, as far as my Yoga practice went (and as far as living in the present tense, as well).
At the very end of 2013, as I stopped teaching Yoga at various gyms and studios in northern New Jersey, and prepared for the coming physical and financial siege, I had neither the free time nor the disposable income to take class in Bergen County.
I took several Gentle Yoga classes in Englewood, and looked into studios farther afield, but lacked all motivation to commit to my mat, either at home or in any of the places I investigated.
Like Goldilocks and Cinderella, I was looking for a perfect "fit"... or none at all.
As well as a Yoga-home, I needed other like-minded Yoginis and Yogis as much as I needed Yoga. I required well-seasoned teachers who had never bought into the smorgasbord of "Show-Biz Yogas," fad sub-genres of the grand old Sub-Continental vernacular which have taken on the coloring of America's culture, and which feature competition, commercialism, and crass gimmickry.
I needed the opposite of Hot Yoga and Ashtanga-one-sequence-for-all. Cinderella here needed a bespoke glass slipper, and a group of fellow travelers wearing comfortable, well-worn duds.
I needed less, not more. I needed eyes-closed Yoga. I needed someone to keep this old racehorse from bolting out of the gate at full gallop. I needed... the real deal.
Finally, informed by my friend and fellow-Huffington-Post-blogger, Kathryn Livingston (Yin, Yang, Yogini: A Woman's Quest for Balance, Strength, and Inner Peace), that Stone Yoga was still very much a thing, I called Charlotte, and told her about my fallow year, disheveled psyche, and rusty joints. She welcomed me back to the discipline, but insisted I start slow and easy, taking class with only her, herself, Ellen, Nancy, and Sue. I was happy to put myself in her hands, and theirs.
Nancy Fader, like me, a Usui Reiki Master/Teacher, is also a certified Vedic Thai-Yoga Massage Bodyworker, a Middle Eastern dance performer, choreographer, and teacher, a professional Tarot reader and teacher, and a Yogini specializing in Yin and gentle/restorative Yoga. Nancy and I hit it off right off the bat, and, if she's not teaching, she's usually next to me on her mat. Woman's a fool for Yoga. Sue Pearly, in addition to practicing Yoga (most particularly, Structural Yoga) for 23 years, has studied shamanism for the past seven years and has become a Medicine Woman and a Reiki practitioner. Sue also begins every class with a poetry reading (her latest included a line from one of Dana Faulds' poems: "Leave something somewhere," and says she has only two speeds: slow and slower, which suits her students just fine. (By the way, I can attest to the fact that Sue has yet another speed: infinite.) Ellen Mendelsohn, at 72 my only elder on the Stone Center faculty, and 40 years a music educator, began studying Yoga a year before I did, in 1981, and teaches without a shred of self-consciousness or drama. She focuses on proper alignment which I, long-accustomed to Iyengar's rigor, settled into as second nature, but she also teaches to the student, not the asana: before her, we are all individuals, all individually-abled, and she focuses an eagle eye on each of us, tailoring her instruction for the Yogini with poor lymphatic drainage in one arm, the Yogini with osteopenia, the Yogini back on her mat after a year's absence. Charlotte Chandler Stone, founder and director of the Stone Center for Yoga & Health, began her practice in 1973 while a student at the University of Zurich. Charlotte holds many, many certifications in Structural Yoga Therapy, Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy, Cardiac Yoga, Wellness Coaching, the clinical management of osteoporosis, Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction, and teaches both students and Yoga-teachers-in-training, and Yoga therapists, blending the techniques and wisdom of Structural Yoga, Viniyoga, Ayurveda, and Feldenkrais. Passionate about teaching the person, not the pose, she boils it all down to one mantra, however: "Love. Only love." Charlotte expands a bit as regards that special mantra. The words were those of her primary teacher, Mukunda Stiles, who developed Structural Yoga Therapy. His student and assistant, Charlotte attended Mukunda wherever he went over the course of the '90s and 2000s. "He was very powerful," she says, softly, "and he empowered me, calling on me to find what my own purpose was on this earth, and to go and fulfill that dharma." Says Charlotte, "Every morning, I wake up and know what I'm supposed to do that day... and go and do it." As I speak with her, and take class with her now, at the end of my sojourn in New Jersey, I can attest firsthand to Charlotte's remarkable growth and blossoming as a teacher and mentor since first we met, back in 2001. A charismatic and vivid presence in the classroom -- I like to think of her as a "maternal warrior of Yoga" -- Charlotte is surrounded by other strong students who have morphed into teachers in her presence and under her tutelage. But as highly-qualified as my three new (and one re-found) teachers are, they are first and foremost humble-at-the-head-of-the-class, and all display great good humor and joy in Yoga. There is no judgment here, no emphasis on rigid conformity to the perfect asana. There is, in fact, no past or future in their classes, just lots and lots of the present.
I am precisely where I need to be, right here and right now, and it feels -- as I leave New Jersey for good -- as though I've come full circle, and home.
A Waldwick singer-songwriter who performed on a Hoboken train platform for two and a half years considers himself fortunate that he wasn't there the morning of a deadly crash.
A group of pedestrians cross as a car stopped at the crosswalk at Broad St. and Prospect St. in Westfield in this file photo. (Tim Farrell | The Star-Ledger)
HACKENSACK — Bergen County Sheriff Michael Saudino asked police in the county to ticket anyone breaking pedestrian laws in October—including for jaywalking, The Record reported.
County officials announced the crackdown Tuesday in Hackensack after the pedestrian death toll reached 24 in 2014, the highest in 16 years. While only eight pedestrians have died in 2015 in Bergen County, the last three months of the year are typically the deadliest for walkers throughout New Jersey.
Billboards will warn motorists over the next two weeks to focus on pedestrians, not their phones.
Paramus alone saw two serious pedestrian accidents earlier in the week.
A Garfield man died Monday night after he was struck by a car at Garden State Plaza, police said. Anna Bello, 74, of Haledon, struck Anthony Marchese, 59, while turning her Subaru into a parking aisle.
On Tuesday afternoon, Janis Vahanian, 60, of Paramus, struck an 11-year-old girl with her Hyundai, police said. A crossing guard was controlling traffic as the girl crossed Spring Valley Road.
HACKENSACK, N.J. – The Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders on Wednesday approved a resolution to apply for and accept nearly $1.5 million in state grant money that will be used to fund early intervention services for young children with developmental disabilities, according to a statement.
The grant, which totals $1,480,493, is from the New Jersey Department of Health, according to the statement, which adds that it will be used to aid children ages 0-3.
According to officials, the grant has risen dramatically in recent years (from $1.2 million in 2014), in part because of an increasing caseload that risen from 1,132 active cases in 2014 to over 1,300 today.
Officials said the increase is also due in part to increased technology needs, noting that the grant money is funding upgrades as the state moves toward a “more centralized coordination across the state as well as mobile technology that will eventually allow coordinators to immediately input data from the field.”
“Early Intervention is so important, not only for the 1 in 41 children born in New Jersey being diagnosed with autism, but for all children who experience other developmental disabilities or delays,” said Freeholder Vice Chairwoman Tracy Zur, who serves on the Human Services Committee. “We know that the earlier we can help these kids, the better the outcomes. I’m glad that Bergen County continues to receive increased funding from the state to help us deal with the ever increasing numbers of cases.”
The grant is administered by the Bergen County Department of Human Services’ office of Special Child Health Services, which uses the funding to serve as service coordinators for the New Jersey Early Intervention System, according to the statement.
The Special Child Health Services service coordination unit is the single point of contact for families in Bergen County, according to the statement, which added that service coordinators arrange, coordinate and monitor a continuum of services for children and families of children ages 0-3 with developmental delays or disabilities.
Children are evaluated for eligibility on several different criteria, and the office then works with families to develop assessments and individualized plans that enable several comprehensive community partner agencies to ensure delivery of service, according to the statement.
Service coordinators also work with the 70 Bergen County school districts to facilitate a smooth transition for these children into preschool.
“We recognize that no one agency can tackle these issues alone and our early intervention service coordinators do incredible work bringing all these agencies together,” said Freeholder Joan Voss, who chairs the Human Services Committee. “This is something that more and more of our families deal with and I’m proud that Bergen County is on the forefront of making sure our kids get the best start in life as possible.”
Referrals to early intervention can come from doctors and medical professionals, the New Jersey Department of Children and Families, child care and social service agencies or self-referrals from parents.
Families who are interested in learning more about Early Intervention Services are urged to call the State’s hotline at 1-888-653-4463. The office can also be found online .
Back in my 20s I was young and pretty in New York City. It was the life I'd worked for and the life that I wanted. Nobody I knew had kids and nobody, it seemed, wanted them. Near the end of my 20s I found myself unpartnered and pregnant. It wasn't the path I would have chosen but I decided to make the best of it. Finding a bigger apartment and child care was a challenge.
Finding great mom friends felt impossible!
By the time my son was three I was married and living in the burbs. My white picket dreams came into focus while my fun girl dreams faded away.
A few short years into suburbia it was time for me to start dating again -- dating for mom friends! Looking back, it seems crazy that I didn't think of it sooner! Why not apply the skill and savvy I'd learned from dating to finding cool mom friends?
Just like with regular dating I created a mental "must have" list. I wanted to be a part of a group of moms more than a one on one situation. I wanted social and economic diversity and basically fun loving people. What I really wanted was moms who were just like me -but not. (One of me is plenty!) How hard could that be to find?
Turns out is wasn't that easy, but it also wasn't too hard. I trolled for mom at the playground and in churches. There were online meet ups and mommy circle at daycare. I still love the sisters of the Red Tent but that's not really a mom's group.
I finally found "my people" in the Mocha Moms. Mochas offered diversity of experiences and parenting philosophies and it's also just fun. It's the first mom's group I've come across that's not about the kids! We have spa days, wig parties and wine tastings. There are family events a couple times a year, but basically it's by moms, for moms! My group puts me back in touch with the non-mom me but leaves room to honor family life. Fun time apart from the kids allows me to be better with the kids!
I have no desire to go back to being the single version of myself but I also don't want to put her on a shelf. I need to find ways to be foot loose and fancy free while honoring the family person I've grown into. My mom's group allows me to be every part of myself and that's a real gift. On June 4th I'll celebrate my 17th year as a mom! It's a tremendous accomplishment and the hardest job I've ever loved. My only regret is that I didn't shop for mom friends sooner. The Longest, Shortest Time podcast is hosting an event called Speed Dating for Mom Friends. It's exactly what it sounds like and it sounds totally fun! If you're a new mom, or a lonely mom, I say get on out there girl! Start dating for mom friends! Whether you prefer groups, one on one mom friends or something else, I hope you find "your people" in the ocean of mommies out there. As we honor and are honored as mothers this Sunday, take a moment to raise a glass to your great mom friends! They love us, care for us and keep us sane! Happy Mother's Day mamas! Now go on out there and get yourself a girlfriend!
SHOUT OUT: Fort Lee merchants have banded together to help the residents of the Avalon apartment complex in the wake of last month’s devastating fire.
Members of the Business District Alliance (BDA) of Fort Lee donated nearly $5,000 by purchasing gift cards for area restaurants and other businesses selected on the basis of a priority list provided by the Edgewater Strong charity.
BDAFLlist1111The members then got area business owners and others in town to kick in $2,400 more worth of cards (see list, below).
The cards were being distributed by Edgewater Strong.
“I want to thank our valued business owners in Fort Lee who were quick and happy to help the numerous families impacted by this terrible fire, “said Romina Luppino-Starace, president of the non-profit BDA of Fort Lee.
“Because of their generosity and that of our board members, we can do our part to ensure these families have the basic essentials they need to get back on their feet.”
“It’s about neighbors helping neighbors, “said Stuart Z. Koperweis, Executive Director of the BDA of Fort Lee. “BDA Board members live, work, and own businesses in Bergen County. “Their commitment to helping their neighbors is evident in the selfless service they provide to the BDA by giving countless time, energy, and talent to Fort Lee,” Koperweis said.
“So it came as no surprise when board members voted unanimously in favor of donating funds from the BDA to give to the fire victims, while supporting the local businesses,” he said
Content gathered & updated by the Bergen Review Media team.