Mompreneur Spotlight: Nicole Jurick’s Peasful Kitchen

Nicole

If you are like me, scrolling through your timeline can sometimes cause serious anxiety. It’s as if all the ‘best’ moms in the world have decided to post all the great things they are doing with their kids the moment I open Instagram.

Moms put so much pressure on themselves. I am my own worst critic when it comes to parenting especially when it comes to my daughter’s diet since I don’t have much experience in the kitchen. Luckily there is a local resource teaching moms how to make healthy, good food from scratch for your baby and family!

Fellow Jersey girl and former Redbook Editor, Nicole Jurick, from Peasful Kitchen, is going to save our day and spare us the anxiety!!

Peasful Kitchen was created 4 years ago by Nicole and her former business partner, Suzanne Gallagher.

Just like your favorite chick flick or female comedy film, two very sleepy moms meet in the aisle of their local organic supermarket and soon find a friendship. They had babies around the same age and found a friendship comparing stories of attempting to do something while taking care of a new baby.

Coincidentally, both found themselves making their babies homemade organic purees and thought it would be a fun idea to offer a cooking class to moms just like them. What originally started as a ploy to have a mom’s night out, they started their cooking classes in 2013 in Hoboken, running their classes out of the Cugini Kitchen which has since closed.

Today, Nicole and her team hosts a variety of classes/series, at Pilsener Haus & Biergarten in Hoboken. There you can learn how to make food not only for your baby, but for your entire family. Their events are for parents only though.

In addition to Summit and Princeton New Jersey, additional locations include Houston, Texas and Boston, Massachusetts.

You can also host any of their series classes in home. Baby showers are hugely popular. Guests prepare food for the mom-to-be so she won’t have to worry about preparing food for herself once the baby arrives. As we all know, once you bring the baby home, the last thing you want to worry about is making dinner. Who has the time or energy for that?! This is a perfect gift idea. It’s unique and a great alternative from the usual baby shower rhetoric. All you need is a kitchen!

You can check out their in home and on location series here.

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

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

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

Let Your Fingers Do the Walking

Over the years, I have visited countless nail salons. I’ve tried acrylic nails, gel manicures, French manicures, spa pedicures and the standard manicure/pedicure combo. I have bounced around from salon-to-salon looking for the best, but have never truly felt completely satisfied. If it’s not being bombarded with obnoxious amounts of chemicals in the air, I’m constantly being subjected to inferior work. I’ve literally walked from the manicurists table to the drying table to find smudged polish on a few of my nails. Grrr!

Recently, I’ve been taking my daughter, Lola. She is a 5 year old who is obsessed with beauty products. Seeing her sad face as she pointed out the bad polish, along with the horrid smell of products in the air, was too much for this mommy to bare. No one messes with my baby!

Luckily for me, I saw an “opening soon” sign on Central Avenue in the Heights for a salon, “The Nail Loft.” The name sounded so sophisticated, my interest was immediately peaked! I quickly googled the name and the first thing that appeared was a beautiful chandelier, with gorgeous furniture in the background. The walls are covered in abstract wall paper, which is only enhanced by the sun’s rays reflecting from their enormous storefront window.

nail-loft-2

Opened in January of 2016, not even one year ago, the place is just as fabulous as promised! Lola and I absolutely love getting our manicures there. They provide sparkling water, all the technicians are professional and courteous and there’s no horrid smell. We have never left unsatisfied and I’m even planning on throwing Lola’s next birthday party there; yes, you can rent the space out for birthday parties, bridal showers, or baby showers! Oh, and most importantly, the prices are affordable on just about any budget.

The Nail Loft also condemns the use of MMA (Methyl Methacrylate), which the majority of nail salons use since it’s less expensive. How do you know if a product contains MMA? The product has a strong irritating chemical odor and/or the nail extensions are extremely hard or virtually impossible to remove with normal solvents designed to remove acrylic nails.

That’s all I’ve ever experienced in any salon my daughter and I have ever visited. The Nail Loft promised to never use products that contain MMA — I was immediately sold! If you haven’t visited them yet, I highly recommend it. Your fingers and lungs will thank you for it later!

xoxo

In Mamas Kitchen

Tina and I connected over social media – we are two passionate moms pursuing our dreams, in hopes of inspiring others to do the same. I recently sat down with Tina Rivera, head baker and owner of Baking Mama where we discussed her love of baking and her family.

Hoboken’s quaint new family owned bake shop, Baking Mama, offers a variety of handmade French macarons, cookies, cupcakes, cakes, and other baked treats. Tina welcomed me with a big smile from behind the counter, where I can see she was arms deep in dough, baking something I’m sure would be delicious!

One of her bucket list items was to open up her own bake shop. She has been baking from home in her free time since 1994 and just 6 months ago, with the support of her husband, opened Baking Mama. With her two kids all grown-up (tear), her husband reminded her this is her time and she should go for it. When they saw the for sale sign on the front door of the vacant shop, they signed the lease within a week. Sounds like destiny to me.

Open 7 days-a-week, you’re likely to find Tina or one of siblings behind the counter welcoming you with a warm smile. Due to the community’s voice, Tina will soon be opening up for the morning commuters and offering breakfast, treats and drinks.

Additionally, the shop hosts baking lessons for groups of 3-4 people. Sounds like a great girls/moms night out, or even date night! They also host kid lessons. Follow them on Instagram to keep up with all the exciting updates @Iambakingmama.

Tina will be creating Lola’s birthday cake for her upcoming 6th birthday party and I will be sure to post pictures!

xoxo

 

baking-mama-front
Baking Mama is located at 88 Hudson Street