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

Jersey City’s First Midnight Market – November 4th 6:30pm-Midnight

Growing up in Jersey City in the early 90’s, I led a typical childhood — going to the mall, movies, and going out to eat with my parents. Occasionally we would drive out of Jersey City looking for some culinary diversity. After living somewhere your entire life, eventually you will have eaten everywhere. Luckily, Jersey City now features some of the most diverse and delicious food establishments, ranging from food trucks, store fronts, and pop-up shops. Nowadays, I don’t have to travel far to satisfy any of my food cravings!

On November 4th, a bunch of those great establishments will be at the first ever Midnight Market, hosted by two Jersey natives and fairly new Jersey City residents, Perla Nieves and Alysis Vasquez. The ladies are best friends, with a combined expertise in social media and hospitality. Alysis is also the owner and chef of Chilltown Kitchen, the JC pop-up supper club. They cooked up the Midnight Market idea together.

“As people in our late 20s, there isn’t much to do in town after dark besides go to a bar or head into the city.  The ideal spot would be a place to go and just dance with our friends, grab some late night bites, sip on an inexpensive drink and just vibe,” says the French Culinary Institute graduate. “Since that space doesn’t exist, we decided to create it ourselves. Tapping into JC’s love of markets and need for nightlife, we came up with the Midnight Market.”

The Midnight Market is going to be a ‘pay it forward’ campaign, focusing on community strengthening and supporting local businesses. “As an exercise in building community and supporting our vendors, we decided to take a shot of grassroots version of kick starter. The vendors agreed to sell food at a $5 price cap. As a community we can support and encourage their hard work by essentially crowdfunding the participation fee ($150 per vendor)! Contributors can choose their favorite vendor or leave it to fate through random selection,” says Alysis.

The event will be held at the increasingly popular Harborside Atrium, located at 210 Hudson Street. I’m looking forward to covering this event — not only do I get to eat delicious, non-expensive food, but I also get to support our community, which is what Jersey City Mom Blog is all about. See ya there!

xoxo

Namaste, Moms

I’ve practiced yoga on and off for the past 7 years. When I was first introduced to yoga, I instantly fell in love with how it made me feel. I’ve practiced vinyasa, hot yoga, pre-natal yoga and most recently, gentle yoga and meditation. I’m always on the go, both physically and mentally — I just don’t know how to stop. I’ve even contemplated taking up transcendental meditation but finding the time to attend an introductory class has been an obstacle in itself. Luckily for me, Kathleen Kraft, studio manager and YogaCity NYC regular features writer, offered me the opportunity to attend the gentle yoga and meditation class by the Michelle Timek Yoga studio.

Anytime I am covering an event or business for the blog, I want to make sure it can be beneficial to my fellow moms. Well, a few minutes after sitting down with Kathleen, owner Michelle Timek and her husband Dan walked in with their newborn baby girl and it made me smile from ear-to-ear. Seeing her walk in with her child assured me kids are welcomed and will be treated with care and attention; it can be very disheartening to support a business that does not welcome children with open arms. At that very moment, I knew exactly why I was sitting there! In addition, I get to support a new mom and a fellow mompreneur.

Kathleen has been teaching yoga for 3 years and also teaches kids yoga/creative movement to 3rd and 4th graders at the Stevens Cooperative School in Jersey City and Hoboken. A few of the other instructors are moms as well, and all of the instructors have a pre-natal background. The studio offers mommy and me classes for children ages from newborn to 5-years-old. At the moment, they offer two sessions on Tuesday and Saturday. This is a mommy friendly studio!

Located on the 9th floor at 150 Bay Street in downtown, you immediately feel an at home vibe; maybe that’s due to the fact you are in an actual residence. Studio owners Michelle and Dan actually live on one half of the studio. The space has great natural light and a wonderful corner of horticultural beauties.

michelle-timek-1

On October 29th, the studio is hosting a babycare and breastfeeding preparation workshop. The course is being taught by Jayne Freeman, who has been working with pregnant families for over 8 years in and around Jersey City. She is a certified childbirth educator, breastfeeding counselor and postpartum doula. Jayne has also taught at several pediatric practices & hospitals; she was a consultant for the Partnership for Maternal and Child Health where she directed the postpartum mood disorder initiative. To register for the event, please visit: http://www.michelletimekyoga.com/workshops

I will keep you all updated on future workshops. When the warm weather returns, we can all attend rooftop yoga, the only studio is Jersey City offering such a thing! I simply can’t wait.

xoxo

Spooky fun for the whole family at HudsonPLAY

On Sunday, October 30th at 12pm-3pm, HudsonPLAY is hosting a fun Halloween event. The event will feature a magic show, face painting, a DJ and dancing. All HudsonPLAY activities are included in the admission price except for the Virtual Reality roller coaster rides.

Prizes will be given to those individuals who win the Best Dressed and Most Creative (individual and family) costume contests.

If you purchase tickets before October 23rd you will take advantage of the early bird prices at $20 for kids over 2 years old, $5 for kids 2 years old and under and $5 for accompanying adults.

At the door prices are $25 for kids over 2 years old, $10 for kids 2 years old and under and $10 for accompanying adults.

Follow this link to purchase tickets: https://clients.mindbodyonline.com/classic/home?studioid=845184