By Taylor Smith 

Camps are not just for kids. For runners, a host of options are available across the country. Here are a few to check out…

Craftsbury Running Camps, Vermont

Based out of a cross-country ski center where Olympians train, Craftsbury Running Camps offers one workout few other camps do: biathlon practice. Daily running workouts are complemented by guided strength training, swimming, and mountain biking. 

Did all that running work up an appetite? The campus dining hall is committed to making sure 50 percent of its ingredients are local.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Situated on Church Street, the latest bakery to hit downtown Montclair is decidedly French in scope and personality. 

Owner and head baker Arben Gasi makes special effort to use New Jersey-sourced ingredients for the regional French menu. The majority of food products are from an urban farm in East Orange, and all of the cheese is made in the Garden State. “We use organic, stoneground flour so we minimize the loss of nutrients,” says Gasi.  more

Green spaces to wander and roam during the warmer months

By Taylor Smith 

D&R Canal

Frenchtown along the Delaware River

The Delaware & Raritan Canal stretches more than 77 miles along the Delaware and Raritan Rivers.The park crosses Middlesex, Mercer, Burlington, Somerset, and Hunterdon counties within New Jersey. It is one of the state’s most popular avenues for kayaking, canoeing, running, walking, bicycling, and fishing. It is also a valuable wildlife corridor with recent bird surveys revealing more than 160 species of birds, almost 90 of which nest within its borders. The upper portion of the canal includes stops in charming Frenchtown, Stockton, and Lambertville, which are great weekend destinations for the arts, dining, and shopping.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Weighted blankets have been used in niche medical communities for many years, but only recently have the suggested health benefits taken off as a newfound trend. Without a prescription or dramatic changes in one’s routine, weighted blankets have allowed some people to fall asleep faster and to feel less general anxiety. 

These specific blankets are engineered to be 7-12 percent of your body weight to relax the nervous system and mimic the sensation of being held or hugged. Also known as “deep touch pressure stimulation,” many weighted blankets are designed to apply gentle weight to pressure points on the body. Similar to what is experienced during massage or yogic exercises, these pressure points can correspond to improved mood, feelings of safety, and relaxation.  more

Design by Calligaris

March 21-24 at Piers 92 & 94

By Taylor Smith 

The Architecture Digest Design Show, to be held March 21-24 at Piers 92 & 94 in New York City, is a four-day design destination peppered with special events and curated finds from over 400 brands in the luxury residential and hospitality worlds. Organized by sections (including Furnish, Refresh, Made, and Shops), special features are the AD Apartment and DIFFA’s Dining by Design.  more

A memorable getaway could be less than an hour away

By Taylor Smith

Looking for a spring getaway, or the perfect place to host a special event? Now’s the time to visit one of these stunning inns, all located within the Garden State.

Courtesy of the Nassau Inn

The Nassau Inn
10 Palmer Square, Princeton

A full-service hotel in downtown Princeton’s Palmer Square (, The Nassau Inn is the ideal place for an escape or romantic getaway any time of the year. Offering historic charm with modern amenities, The Nassau Inn features the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, a beloved local gastropub with significant Princetontonian charm and history. During the winter, guests will enjoy the oversized stone fireplace and snug atmosphere. A favorite of Princeton students and alumni, visitors will notice the colorful mural painted by Norman Rockwell behind the bar. Past guests have left their mark in the surface of the dining room’s tables, and a famous photo gallery of noteworthy Princeton University graduates lines one wall. Live music is a staple, and the American grill menu is also served al fresco on the restaurant’s outdoor patio during the warmer months.

In walking distance to Princeton University, The Nassau Inn has always had a storied connection to the Ivy League institution. Originally opened in 1769 at 52 Nassau Street, The Nassau Inn was demolished and rebuilt in 1938 at 10 Palmer Square to make way for road adjustments and construction of today’s Palmer Square, the site of much of downtown Princeton’s shopping, dining, and even housing.

The hotel has 188 guest rooms and four banquet rooms with over 10,000 square feet of meeting and event space. A popular site for weddings any time of year, The Nassau Inn’s Prince William Ballroom is perfect for a joyful reception or a timeless candlelit dinner.

The Bernards Inn
27 Mine Brook Road, Bernardsville

World-class dining and accommodations come together at The Bernards Inn in Bernardsville. Called “the grand dame of the Somerset Hills,” The Bernards Inn offers four-star, farm-to-table gourmet cuisine. In addition, the executive pastry chef goes above and beyond to create spectacular desserts and wedding cakes. Managed by a team of wine directors, The Bernards Inn’s wine collection has been awarded the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine for the past eight years. Each of the specially appointed guest rooms includes pastoral-themed oil paintings, architectural detailing, and antiques that capture the traditional settings of the great estate homes of the Somerset Hills. more

By Taylor Smith

During decades of economic decline, Asbury Park was mostly known as the place where musical icon Bruce Springsteen got his start at The Stone Pony nightclub in the mid-1970s. However, since 2000, Asbury has seen a dramatic revitalization and influx of new residents from urban centers like New York City. In fact, modern-day Asbury has been affectionately dubbed “Brooklyn on the Beach” for its large population of artists, musicians, foodies, and creatives. Real estate projects, like the new Asbury Ocean Club, and new restaurants dominate the historic boardwalk, and day trippers flock to the seaside town year-round.

Over 39 bars, several blocks of art galleries, antique shops, restaurants (from traditional Italian to vegan), and an art house cinema lure visitors from the nearby NJ Transit depot. The tradition of live musical acts is still alive and well at venues like The Stone Pony, Wonder Bar, and the vintage bowling alley-music hall Asbury Lanes. Food trucks serving ceviche, empanadas, and Johnny’s Pork Roll gather north of the Convention Center at North Eats. The seasonal Market at Fifth Avenue features independent artisans and designers selling everything from woven leather jewelry to locally-made sunglasses.  more

Fashion Designer Ann Lowe

By Anne Levin

In the annals of the accomplished whose work has gone largely unrecognized because of their race, Ann Lowe occupies a prominent spot. Lowe was an African American fashion designer whose lavish creations were coveted by the rich and socially prominent. While she earned such distinctions as Couturier of the Year and made the Who’s Who in American Women list, she rarely received the attention she deserved.

In 1953, Lowe designed the ivory silk taffeta gown that Jacqueline Bouvier wore for her wedding to John Fitzgerald Kennedy. The dress featured trapunto, a layering of fabrics to create a dimensional effect — a technique for which Lowe was known in fashion circles. But the future first lady is said to have credited “a colored woman” with creating the famous gown, neglecting to identify her by name.

Lowe’s designs made the pages of Vogue, Town & Country, and other popular fashion magazines. Her skill and artistry impressed French designer Christian Dior. At one point in her career, she had her own label and a store on New York’s Fifth Avenue. Her dresses were sold at Neiman Marcus, Henri Bendel, and Saks Fifth Avenue, where she was the head designer of a special boutique with a privileged clientele. Yet her genius was rarely recognized. more

Photo courtesy of  Simms Jewelers.

Engagement and Wedding Ring Design Trends

By Taylor Smith

Engagement and wedding ring influencers like Gurki Basra, senior buyer of jewelry and watches at Barneys New York, say that the top 2019 trends in engagement ring styles include colored stones, multiple bands, and a mix of metals. Gray diamonds in particular have begun to emerge as a style statement as younger brides become more adventurous in their choices.

If you’re drawn to an edgier look, but worry about your tastes changing down the road, jewelers advise that you can always reset your ring. Raw diamonds or uncut diamonds are another option for unique engagement rings. Raw diamond styles range from ultra-contemporary to minimal and organic in shape. They also tend to be slightly more affordable since they’re unpolished. In addition, no two raw diamonds are alike, fulfilling another engagement trend of one-of-a-kind pieces. The brilliance of a raw diamond is also something to behold, as they are warm in hue and contain a vast color spectrum, making the diamond look as though it is lit from within.

Photo courtesy of Aires Jewelers

The challenge of finding the right combination of metals, diamonds, gemstones, and setting is challenging for any bride or groom. Many jewelers recommend that buyers keep the metal and stone in the same color family. For example, yellow gold dramatically captures the luminescence of a yellow diamond. Similarly, a chocolate-colored diamond in a yellow gold setting generates a warm, luxurious feel. Complementary colors can also create an unexpected effect, such as a rose gold setting matched with a green gemstone. more

Designer Danielle Frankel Focuses on Classic Tailoring and Fit

By Taylor Smith

Danielle Frankel launched her eponymous wedding dress fashion label in New York City in 2017 after having worked at both Marchesa and Vera Wang. It was Frankel’s own nuptials that spurred her to create her wedding dress designs, which are produced exclusively in the United States, along with veils, bras, jackets, belts, and jewelry. She began by taking her own private clients on a hunch that modern women were looking for something that was less Cinderella-inspired and more modern and aesthetically unusual.

For example, Frankel’s own wedding dress included a silk-faille coat dress with an off-the-shoulder collar. The look was inspired by her husband’s white button-down shirts. For the reception, Frankel chose a 90s-era silk-duchesse coat that she purchased at the Brooklyn Flea Market. A similar wedding dress design is available in her current collection (the Lou for $10,995). This aesthetic of clean lines and menswear-inspired tailoring soon caught the attention of buyers at Bergdorf Goodman, and her wedding dress designs are now available at Bergdorf’s in New York City as well as Mark Ingram and Moda Operandi Madison. The designer also has a presence at exclusive retailers in Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Tokyo, and Hong Kong. Her looks are sold online at and Both online retailers are committed to bringing the most cutting-edge fashion to people around the world. As stated on its website, Moda Operandi in particular aims to “connect you directly to the world’s best designers.”  more

Photo courtesy of Camp Invention.

From Nature to STEM, Area Camps Offer an Abundance of Options

By Laurie Pellichero

While it’s just the beginning of spring, summer will be here before we know it. Now’s the time to start thinking about where to send the kids to camp – and make those reservations before they fill up. Here is just a sampling of the many options right here in the area, each unique in its own way.

Camp Invention
Camps held in Bridgewater, Chester, Cranford, Hillsborough, Madison, Somerset, and Vauxhall

Camp Invention is a nationally-acclaimed summer program where STEM concepts come to life. Led by local teachers at area schools, the five-day program has tapped into kids’ natural curiosity since 1990, giving them the opportunity to become innovators through teamwork and immersive, hands-on creative problem-solving. Each year, the Camp Invention education team collaborates with National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees to develop a new, action-packed Camp Invention experience for children ages kindergarten through sixth grade.

With the 2019 program, Supercharged, campers will take on four exciting challenges. In Innovation Force, the children will collaborate with inventor superheroes and take on the role of engineers, fabricators, and innovators to conquer villains. Creative problem solving is the focus of Deep Sea Mystery, where campers team up to rebuild ships and design underwater equipment. In DIY Orbot, participants explore circuit boards, motors, and gears as they design a remote-control bot to take on obstacles from sports to dance. And kids will gain confidence in Farm Tech as they code bots to turn a polluted wasteland into a money-making machine and create devices to save animals. more

By Taylor Smith 

Want to develop your creative craft or pen that novel that’s been living inside you? Do you have a passion for painting, drawing, sculpture, or film? Are you considering a teaching career in the arts? We’ve rounded up some top Master of Fine Arts programs in the Northeast that can add an extra spark to your resume and potentially help you to make that career change or land the job you’ve been dreaming about.

Columbia University
Location: New York City
Program: Applicants apply to either painting, printmaking, sculpture, photography, or “new genres.”
Length: 2 years
Famous Faculty: Nicola Lopez, Sanford Biggers, Gregory Amenoff, and Kara Walker.
Selling Points: If location is a determining factor, it doesn’t hurt to spend two formative years training and studying in Manhattan, arguably one of the largest art capitals in the world. Being an Ivy, Columbia also ranks high for exclusivity, accepting only two percent of applicants to Columbia’s MFA in visual arts. As of 2013, the program also offers a concentration in sound art, so if experimenting with audio is your forte, this is the place for you. more

By Stuart Mitchner

My only problem with a ceremonial institution like last month’s celebrating black history is in the way “history” implicitly detracts from the ongoing immediacy of the African American experience. “Lives” in my title can be read both as a reference to the lives of people and to the force that lives in the present, which happens when we listen to Charlie Parker or Billie Holiday, read James Baldwin or Frederick Douglass, admire a painting by Jacob Lawrence or a photograph by Gordon Parks, or go online to watch First Lady Michelle Obama’s stirring speech at the 2016 Democratic Convention.

The good news is that millions of people have been reading Obama’s memoir, Becoming (Crown $32.50), and David W. Blight’s Frederick Douglass: Prophet of Freedom (Simon and Schuster $37.50).

Blight’s landmark biography begins with President Barack Obama’s September 24, 2016 dedication speech at the National Museum of African American History and Culture, in which he delivered “a clear-eyed view” of the “tragic and triumphant” experience of “black Americans in the United States.” After referring to “the infinite depths of Shakespeare and scripture” in black history, Obama paid tribute to “the fight for our freedom … a lifetime of struggle and progress and enlightenment … etched in Frederick Douglass’s mighty leonine gaze.” more

New Jersey’s Activist First Lady is also a Big Fan of Drumthwacket

By Wendy Greenberg | Photography by Tom Grimes

Tammy Snyder Murphy became aware of climate action some 24 years ago while living in Frankfurt, Germany, where her husband worked in financial services. “I was stunned,” she recalls. “People took cloth bags to grocery stores. They recycled trash, just as a matter of course. It opened my eyes.”

The personal commitment to sustainability was a lesson that is still with her today, as first lady of New Jersey. In fact, Tammy Murphy is a passionate advocate for several key issues,
the environment among them.

Since her husband, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy, took office just over a year ago, Murphy has channeled a “can do” attitude, which she attributes to her parents, to support the agenda of her husband and Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver. She sees herself as a “convener,” and says, “There are four people in this office,” referring to three staff members and herself. “Tell us what you need. We’ll help get it done.”  more

Photo Source: American Museum of Natural History

By Taylor Smith 

On view through August 9, 2020, “T. rex: The Ultimate Predator” is sure to ignite the imaginations of visitors at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. 

The new exhibit asks, “How did T. rex evolve to become the most fearsome carnivore of the Mesozoic?” Spectators can take in life-size models of the fearsome predator; fossils, casts, and interactive activities; and an immersive multiplayer virtual reality experience developed just for the exhibition. Children are sure to marvel at how this 12,000-plus-pound terror began as a tiny critter. They will also meet T. rex’s family members, some of whom are small and even have feathers! more

By Taylor Smith 

Located in Northern New Jersey’s Morris County, Morristown has been called “the military capital of the American Revolution” for its strategic role in the war for independence from Great Britain. According to British records, the first permanent settlement of Morristown occurred in 1715.  more

Dennis Pike Photography

Say “I do” in style 

By Taylor Smith 

Tucked into the mountains of Sparta in Northwestern New Jersey, Rock Island Lake Club is a wedding venue to remember. With the potential to personalize nearly everything, this is not your traditional banquet facility. more

Kimchi ramen

By Taylor Smith

In case you haven’t heard, your gut health has a dramatic impact on your overall brain and body-wide health. The “good” bacteria found in probiotic rich foods can actually help improve the microbiome of your digestive system. The following are some of the best good bacteria-fueled foods to include in your daily or weekly routine. more

By Taylor Smith 

Westfield’s premier cryotherapy center, Chill Cryotherapy, has announced its expansion into an adjacent storefront at 327 South Avenue West in Westfield, N.J. The business offers customized protocols for specific health and wellness concerns, such as weight loss, muscle recovery, anti-aging, and chronic pain.  more

Maine gear giant collaborates with small backpack brand for special-edition boots 

By Taylor Smith 

For outdoor enthusiasts, the Bean Boot is one of the most iconic pieces of active footwear. Leon Leonwood Bean created the leather and rubber boots in 1911 to combat the problem of cold, wet feet during Maine hunting trips. In 1912, the Bean Boot (originally called the Maine Hunting Shoe) went on sale under the new company name, L.L. Bean.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Philanthropist and former Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg recently announced on his Twitter account: “I’m giving $1.8 billion to @JohnsHopkins for financial aid so admissions can be permanently need-blind. I want to open the same door of opportunity that I had for generations of talented students, regardless of financial aid.” 

The donation is the largest ever to a higher education institution. Bloomberg wrote in a following New York Times op-ed, “My Hopkins diploma opened up doors that otherwise would have been closed, and allowed me to live the American dream.” Bloomberg has stated that he was able to attend Johns Hopkins because of a National Defense student loan.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Each year, thousands of new movies are produced and released, and only a few are nominated for Academy Awards. Many of these chosen films actually began as books, plays, and short stories. Here is a collection of seven written works that have gone on to become beloved Oscar-winning films.  more

Since its publication in 2017 by Fordham University Press, Pre-Occupied Spaces: Remapping Italy’s Transnational Migrations and Colonial Legacies has resonated with critics and readers alike. It was awarded the 2017 American Association of Italian Studies Book Prize in the 21st-century category and was one of five finalists for the prestigious international 2018 Bridge Book Award. In December, it received an Honorable Mention for the Modern Language Association Howard R. Marraro Prize in Italian Literature. more

By Taylor Smith

In the late winter season, nothing beats a bouquet of freshly cut blooms to add some cheer to your home. Flowers have the ability to brighten anyone’s day, and science suggests that simply looking at flowers can improve your mood. What’s not so cheerful? Dealing with a bouquet of dead or dried-out flowers. more

How to clean up your home and work space once and for all

By Taylor Smith

Organizing consultant Marie Kondo’s book “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” has sold over two million copies for good reason.

In her native Japan, Kondo says that tidiness and simplicity are a matter of everyday living. She cleverly applies these feng shui principles to cleaning house, simultaneously challenging long-held beliefs in cleaning little-by-little every day, storing things for a different season, and/or discarding one item for every new item brought into your home. more

By Taylor Smith

A new Strava activity tracker feature called Route Builder for mobile can make planning the location and distance of your next run much easier.

Andrew Vontz, Strava’s director of communications, says that the new mobile feature also makes exploring a new town or city much more safe and efficient. “You can land almost anywhere in the world, someplace you’ve never visited before, and, with a just a few swipes on a map, create the best possible route,” Vontz told Runner’s World Magazinemore

By Taylor Smith 

Located at 179 East Houston Street in Manhattan, Russ & Daughters was founded in 1907 by Joel Russ, who had recently immigrated from Poland. He began his life in New York City by selling herring out of a barrel on the Lower East Side to crowds of hungry and homesick Eastern European Jews. Over the course of seven years, Russ graduated from a barrel to a pushcart. Soon, the popular pushcart became a horse and wagon operation, and in 1914 Russ had saved enough money to open a physical store. While the original business was located on Orchard Street, Russ moved the store to nearby 179 East Houston Street in 1920, where it has remained ever since.  more

By Taylor Smith 

Iconic American Girl characters come to life on Monday, February 18

Sleepover camp is in session at American Girl Live, a 90-minute musical at the Mayo Performing Arts Center, perfect for kids ages 5 and up. Five spunky campers will face various feats of growing pains and bravery as they turn to their favorite American Girl characters for advice. Each character —inspired by a different period of history — will share stories of conviction, demonstrating the strength of friendship.  more

By Taylor Smith

CAP Beauty is an unusual beauty store.

Beyond makeup, lotions, and potions, CAP Beauty prides itself on holistic beauty with the philosophy that what you put into and onto your body can actually improve the quality of your thought and life. more