Mompreneur Spotlight: Diana Robles of Loveprint Photography

Sometimes life’s unexpected turns have their own way of leading you to exactly where you belong.

New Jersey native Diana Robles has always loved taking pictures and capturing special moments. After the birth of her son in June 2013, she began photographing his every move. I know we can all relate, right moms?!

At that time, she had relocated to North Carolina to be with her husband, who was stationed there. Diana then had the idea to share her talent with her fellow marine moms on base, as well as her new city. She wanted to capture special moments of families, just as she had done for herself.

With the combination of promoting herself via Instagram, Facebook and word of mouth, she eventually found herself running her very own photography business. After nailing down the family circuit, she started to expand her portfolio by including models.

Today, her areas of expertise include family, maternity, newborn and children. She also holds private sessions. In addition to participating in events around New Jersey, such as the NJ Baby Expo, she is also partnered up with two studios in Hasbrouck Heights and Union, NJ.

With her vision and photographical flexibility, she can basically accommodate any need so whether you want an indoor, outdoor, family or solo session, Diana is your girl! Let’s support this fellow Mom Boss!

Take a look at her work on her Instagram and Facebook pages.

To save 10% on your session, please use promo code: JCMOMBLOG!

xoxo

 

loveprint

Mompreneur Spotlight: Christine Goodman of Art House Productions

arthouse_cgoodman

Jersey City was a very different city back in the day. There wasn’t a vast amount of cafes, farmer’s markets were rare, and art galleries didn’t exist. The city lacked a general sense of artistic expression. Sixteen years ago, Jersey City resident Christine Goodman was just an actor and student of the arts searching for a place to host her first open mic night. Today, she is the Executive Director and creative force behind Jersey City’s art venue, Art House Productions.

Art House Productions started out very small and grew alongside Jersey City. As the community’s interest in the arts grew, so did Art House Productions. As the programs expanded, so did the staff, as well as the business. Naturally, so did Christine. She grew as an artist, teaching people of all ages, but more importantly, as a business owner.

In addition to searching locations, applying for permits, hiring a staff, social media advertising and filing to become an official non-profit organization, she’s even helped create the Jersey City Arts Council, where people can go and ask all the art-related questions pertaining to all art endeavors in Jersey City.

Today, the Art House Productions is a multi-art venue, offering programs in music, art and theatre. There are programs available all year round, from acting classes for adults, open mics, dance programs, theatre festivals and their very popular program, STAGES! Theater company for Youth. This is a semester-long, afterschool program for performers ages 7-17 years old. At the end of the semester, the kids put on an actual performance for the public.

Their newest program is the Access Committee, which accommodates those individuals with disabilities. The program not only introduces the differently abled to the arts, they are encouraged to attend the shows and participate in them as well. A few weeks ago, the committee hosted, “The Twelve Dates of Christmas,” a one-woman show, featuring Rachel Handler, an amputee.

Still a proud Jersey City resident, but now a wife and mom to two little ones, Christine is proud of what her dream has become. As we sat in the art gallery chatting, I could sense the pride she has for all flourishing artists. I can’t wait for Lola to break a leg next year and attend the STAGES! Program!

xoxo

Hudson Kitchen: Jersey City’s Only Kitchen Incubator

the-hudson-kitchen             photo credit: Tamara Fleming Photography

I was introduced to ‘mompreneur’ Djenaba Johnson-Jones of Hudson Kitchen this past November during the first Midnight Market (http://tinyurl.com/jponulp) and I was immediately impressed. Her perseverance and determination is inspiring. She’s the perfect example of looking around and identifying what is missing in the local community and doing something to fix it.

Upon being laid off from her corporate gig in marketing and business development, she decided to take the opportunity to go after a dream — becoming a personal trainer and starting her own fitness and food concierge service. After becoming certified and acquiring a few clients, Djenaba had hoped on finding a location to begin her meal preparation delivery service but unfortunately she was not able to do so.

Rather than letting that take her down, she came up with a new goal she knew would be beneficial to the growing food business in Jersey City. After struggling to find the resources and information to start her own health and fitness company, Djenaba launched Hudson Kitchen in July of 2015, which is a kitchen incubator, devoted to the development of early-stage catering, retail and wholesale food businesses.

In March 2016, she hosted the first ever ‘Table Talk Live’ networking event, which was open to food entrepreneurs and the press. With 75 food entrepreneurs on hand and industry professionals in attendance, guests benefited from panels such as, “Finding Your Mix: Following Your Dreams as a Food Entrepreneur,” which included local food entrepreneurs: Dawn Pascale, founder of OM Sweet Home, a specialty bakery focusing on plant-based and gluten-free desserts and cakes; Alysis Vasquez, executive chef and owner of Chilltown Kitchen, a Jersey City Chef Collective & Pop-Up Supper Club; Eddie Cotto, Jr., executive chef and owner of ME Casa Restaurant and Catering; Lloyd Ortuoste, co-founder of Baonanas, an artisanal banana pudding company.

Using her background in marketing, Djenaba’s first networking even was a hit, which of course prompted a second Table Talk Live event back in June, titled “How to Market on a Budget”. This past Septembers Table Talk Live event was a speed networking event, where 25 food entrepreneurs got 6 minutes with each of the 17 food experts in attendance.

This was a great collaboration, with some of the food experts being local grocery store owners and buyers for Whole Foods. These events are now part of a quarterly series. The latest Table Talk Live event was held on December 8th.

In addition to their very successful networking events, Hudson Kitchen also hosts workshops for food entrepreneurs. Past workshops included, “The First 10 Steps to Starting a Food Business” and “Pricing Food Product for Profit”.

The upcoming workshop, which is going to be a 7-class series, begins January 24, 2017. Titled, “From Concept to Farmer’s Market in Four Months,” the idea is to help future food entrepreneurs get into the 2017 farmers markets, which begins in May. You have the option of taking all 7 classes or as many as you’d like. All information can be found here.

She’s determined to help future entrepreneurs avoid the same setbacks she did and hasn’t stopped pursuing her initial dream — in 2017, Djenaba will be opening a communal kitchen location, that will be shared by local food businesses in need of food preparation space. For more information, visit http://www.thehudsonkitchen.com/.

xoxo

Jersey City Tooth Fairy

As a woman, mom, aunt and mentor to a few younger ladies, I stress the awareness of fear; don’t be afraid to take chances, changing your mind, or maneuvering out of your comfort zone. With a Masters in chemical engineering, Dr. Min Jin Kim worked in the engineering field for 4 years before deciding to leave to enroll in dental school. A lot of us wish we could start over, but how many of us really go for it? Well she not only went for it, but excelled at it, such as her current position as Chief of Pediatric Dental Services at the Department of Dentistry at Jersey City Medical Center (JCMC).

Achieving her goal in 6 years, she completed her residency at the Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn and in 2013, moved to Jersey City. Today, in addition to her Chief of Pediatric Dental Services position, she also teaches pediatric dentistry to dental residents enrolled in the General Practice Residency program at JCMC.

Currently, Dr. Min Jin Kim is opening up a pediatric dental office in the Old Colony Square plaza in downtown Jersey City. About one year ago, she decided to open up her own pediatric dental office. With the guidance of mentors and bosses, she soon found a location. Suited for children of all ages, special needs children and adults as well, the office will be open 7 days a week – yes, I said 7 days a week – and have extended office hours during the week. There’s also plenty of free parking available, which is usually a nightmare for anyone familiar with the downtown Jersey City area.

She recently gave me a tour of the soon-to-be office. She has super-cute balloon light fixtures, alligator sink handle covers, and the entire ceiling is going to painted like the sky, complete with white cloud light fixtures. Families will be able to sit side-by-side during teeth cleanings and watch TV, which are installed in the ceiling above the chairs. At the end of each visit, children will be able to spin the prize wheel and be inducted into the ‘No Cavity Club’ – I mean really, how cute is that?! Make sure you also check her out on Instagram (@deartoothfairyjc), which has plenty of photos.

I applaud her courage. It’s extremely important that women are given real life examples of what is attainable. Remember, not all superheroes wear capes!

xoxo

Imagination Approved

My daughter Lola is an only child and has a very active imagination; she loves to change her voice and do impressions, usually performing for either her father and I or her stuffed animals, demanding our attention.

I searched Jersey City and surrounding areas for a drama or acting class, but only found a few that were geared towards younger kids and only offering standard active play time. Luckily, I saw an Instagram post about Treasure Trunk Theatre (TTT) hosting a new imaginative play program at Three Little Birds.

Founded by Elisa Pupko 4 years ago in Brooklyn, TTT combines her love for the arts and teaching children. After relocating to Brooklyn from Seattle, with her husband, she became a nanny while pursuing an acting career. During that time, she came up with an idea to put together a program to teach kids something different – how to enjoy imaginative play.

She rented a space in a yoga studio, ran her program and after one year, was hosting her first camp. The rest is history! Today, in addition to their recent partnership with Jersey City’s Three Little Birds, a performance studio, TTT offers programs at 9 other locations in Brooklyn, as well as being a part of 2 after-school programs. TTT has 15 teaching artists, with backgrounds in theatre and child education, ready to accommodate any demand.

Lola joined the class and it was kismet! She met a few other girls her age who also had very active and colorful imaginations. Elisa took them on a wild adventure to find the royal rose. The girls did improv, while Elisa encouraged them to use their broad imaginations to lead the story their own way. They opened the treasure trunk and found crowns and wands to take along their adventure. The entire experience was magical to watch; Lola was in her element. At the end of the class, Lola immediately asked when she could return!

I invite you to bring your little ones to explore a magical adventure with Elisa. All my readers can take their first class for just $5! Follow this link to register for an individual class date and enter promo code ‘jcmomblog’ at checkout.

Class Details:

Imagination Adventure
For Ages 3-6
Thursdays 4:30-5:15pm (September 15 – December 15)
No Class November 24

Three Little Birds                                                                                                                                            16 Erie St                                                                                                                                                        Jersey City, NJ, 07302

“Imagination Adventure –  Act, Move, Create, and Play… Where will your imagination take you today? In this class, children will go on a dramatic adventure that begins with the opening of the treasure trunk. The props and costumes inside the trunk provide the spark that inspires a story that we will create using our voices, bodies, and imaginations.  Children will learn how to work together as an ensemble and explore the art of improvisation. This class provides a great way for children to begin incorporating dramatic arts into story telling. Every class is a new adventure!” – Elisa Pupko

xoxo

Women in Motion

Who doesn’t want to feel and look better?! Most women want to get fit, but are intimated entering a gym. Some women are lucky enough to have support from family members or lifelong friends, but some of us don’t. Between working, taking care of yourself, perhaps a family, and the tons of other things us women juggle from day-to-day, who even has the time to get to a gym? I recently caught up with Danielle De Angelo, co-owner of Jane Do, a fitness studio created by women, for women struggling with fitness.

Founders Danielle De Angelo and Jacey Lambros, former Radio City Rockettes, banded together to develop Jane Do. They wanted to create an environment where women empower women, a judgement free zone. With an emphasize on dance, and not necessarily “working out,” the point of the program is to have fun and build a sisterhood with your fellow members. Between the two of them, they have over 17 years of Rockette dance experience. “It’s a fusion of traditional athleticism and classical dance,” says Dani, who researched and developed with Jacey for over a year. “Women can have the strength of an athlete with the body of a dancer.”

They created a methodology of dance and fitness, specifically crafted for individuals looking for an exercise alternative. There are two studios in New Jersey – one in downtown Jersey City, and the other in Edgewater, with a third studio soon to be opened in Hoboken. The studios are sanctuaries for tons of moms, both pregnant and post-partum. They band together for the monthly challenges and the special Friday night dance sessions. Dani told me, “Moms can come and let their hair down. They can take a minute for themselves.”

I was invited to take their ‘Tramp Stamp’ class with Jeanne, who was 5 months pregnant by the way. She had the most energy in the class and put us all to shame when it came time to jump on the trampoline and hold our planks! I was heavily impressed. I didn’t have the confidence I’d be able to get through the class, but before I knew it, the class was over and I felt great about myself!

At the moment, the studios have a total of 15 instructors that are all former or current NBA and Broadway dancers. More importantly, they are all certified in the Jane Do methodology, which is provided in-house. At the end of our talk, Dani said something to me that really inspired me to become a part of the community. “Our goal is to allow women to find strength in the studio, which they can take outside and do amazing things with – the main purpose is to encourage women to be confident.” Amen, sistah!

If you decide to take a class at the studio, let me know — I would love to find my strength alongside you!

xoxo

 

 

Babies & Barre

Six years ago when I was a new mom, I remember feeling so much love, but also very alone at times. I wasn’t alone in the physical sense; there was my husband, there with me every step of the way, Lola’s grandmother’s checking in, and my big sister trying to answer all of my questions from one moment to the next. But the one thing I was missing was a fellow new mom to talk to, or even cry to – yes, I’m a big crier.

“I started taking barre when I had gained a large amount of weight from having breast cancer at 26,” said Paulina Kashirsky, owner of JC Barre. “The hormones and sickness had me up to a size 12 and I hated my body. I tried running and classes at the gym, but never felt like I was pushed or much changed happen. A friend told me to try barre and I was hooked. The changes started after a few weeks of committing to an unlimited package but I still felt I lacked cardio.  I also always felt like the frumpy no make-up girl in class. I opened JC Barre after testing multiple barre work outs but found one with cardio breaks bit in and tweaked on the method to make a fast flowing and body shaking (I love the shake since it shows change is happening) and fat burning class. We wanted to create a studio that was simple but wasn’t intimidating to any body type and had no preset pretenses. As time went on we saw that people loved our instructors who were often dancers and added dance and cardio blend classes to complement our barre classes.”

Today, six years later, I am so happy to see that there are so many chances for new moms to connect in Jersey City. JC Barre holds a mommy and me barre class (baby not required), where new moms, veteran moms and future moms can get some exercise in and meet new friends. How cool is that!?

I recently sat down with JC Barre’s manager, Megan Smith. I immediately felt like we were bff’s — Megan has such a bubbly and outgoing personality, we were immediately new best friends.

She has 21 years of dance experience behind her. She started dancing when she was 3-years-old. During her Hunter College days, where she majored at their School of Dance. After graduating, she was introduced to Pilates, fell in love with it, and that is when she decided to pursue fitness as a profession.

She is a certified Pilates, MegaPlyojam instructor and an A.C.E. personal trainer, specializing in pre-post-natal. With various clients in NYC, she also teaches youth fitness to the kids at the OLC school. While a college student, she was also a nanny so she has always had a fondness for kids. Doesn’t my new best friend sound super cool?!

When I asked Megan to sum up the studio in a few words, she described as, “A place that’s less stuffy than most barre studios. Always very welcoming and never any judgement.” She adds that the mommy and me classes are a great social factor where you meet new mom friends, and get to connect with them a few times a week at the same time, seeing results with the core-strengthening exercises.

I had never taken a barre class and was intimated. I’m no ballerina, that’s for sure. I attended the mommy and me B3 class and really enjoyed it! It was a fusion of ballet and Pilates. We used small weights that really worked both my arms and legs. Even though it was my first time taking the class, I didn’t feel left behind or judged in any way. Megan encouraged us all and provided clear instructions. The few babies in the class enjoyed the class as well – most of them napped the whole time. After class, I chatted with the fellow moms and even though I have a big girl now, we shared stories and advice. I even bumped into one of the moms at a JC kids event a week later. That’s our awesome community for you!

In addition to 4 mommy and me classes during the week, they also have early morning, evening classes and weekend classes. I highly recommend attending a class to not only become a fit mom, but to find new mom friends along the way. They even offer a Flyaroo fitness class for kids ages 5-6, which is a fitness, yoga and cardio blend that incorporates different cultures from around the world. You can find their full schedule and prices on their website: http://www.jcbarrestudio.com/

*Special deal for my readers and first time JC Barre students: You can take any class on the current class schedule for free. Be sure to mention the JC Mom Blog. *

Keep an eye out for them at the upcoming Grove Street Holiday Market – you just may nab a free class card. They also offer new student specials and have different promotions all year round.

xoxo