Sunday, October 16, 2016

An Abundant Life - A Season Of Harvest

A few weeks ago I wrote about the wonderful store, Cheese + Wine Hoboken. At the time I mentioned that the gorgeous owner Victoria has regular events in the store and around town, and now it's time to whet your appetite even more by describing some of the wonders I've discovered since I walked through those golden gourmet doors.The space is so lovely and inviting, and the smell of the fresh foods and cheeses intoxicating. Add to that mix some carefully curated pairing events with experts in the fields of fine wine, food and cheese, and you'll find yourself in a living dream. At the first event I attended, a wine and cheese pairing with the excellent Leigh Friend of Food Matters Again sharing information about her choices for the cheese selection and John Kafarski from David Bowler Wine sharing tips about his selection of fabulous wines, from the first bite of delectable cheese and sip of ambrosia-like wine, I was transported to Paris and some of the most memorable times I have had there. Two weeks later, I attended a Fall Wine & Food Pairing presented by The Hoboken Wine Group with hosts Julie Hartigan, Professional Chef and Recipe Developer and Tom Kobylarz, WSET Level 3 Certified founding member of that group and also of consulting company Wine Solutions. The selection of food and wine and the taste combinations were exquisitely delectable, and the hosts so informative and knowledgeable, inventive and charming that it was a privilege to spend time with them. Stop by to check the schedule and watch the website for updates. The reservation list fills quickly for these popular events, so make yours early.

Cheese + Wine Hoboken
The Wines Of The Cotes du Rhone Region In France
Wine And Cheese Pairing
With Leigh Friend From Food Matters Again And John Kafarski From David Bowler Wine
Complimented By Lovely Arrangements From Christina Andersen Floral Designs
And Fine Breads From Choc O Pain French Bakery

 Fall Wine & Food Pairing
Presented By The Hoboken Wine Group
With Hosts Julie Hartigan, Certified Trained Chef And Tom Kobylarz, WSET Level 3 Certified

Sharing A Harvest Of Caring

Last March I wrote about the wonderful organization Handbags Of Hope and an event I attended that had been organized by the founder, the effervescent Erika Hernandez. I had the opportunity to attend another event last weekend in support of Breast Cancer Awareness, a beautifully planned afternoon of sharing and caring and support and empowerment. There were so many wonderful speakers and people involved and I will only show a few here - follow Handbags of Hope and find out all the details - you'll be blessed to know what they're doing and be a part of their journey.

Handbags Of Hope
Belles In Pink
At The Culinary Conference Center
Hudson County Community College, Jersey City, New Jersey

Founder Erika Hernandez, Stunning As Always
Shares Life Affirming Messages

With The Gorgeous Cocktail Vixens
Mixologists Extraordinaire

Dr. Garret Wirth Enlightens and Informs

Anita Kopacz, Editor In Chief of Heart & Soul
Takes Us On A Guided Meditation

Beauty And Smiles Abound


Jannie Susan

An Abundant Life - Holistic Cures

A few years ago when I was walking through an outdoor fair on a pier in Hoboken, I stopped by a table where they were selling a product called "Tick Tock Naturals". It looked lovely, and when I saw that it was an organic insect repellant I decided to try it. My mother still lives in the house I grew up in, and although it's in a suburb that has long become less rural, the house sits on three acres of land that is at heart swamp land and is an oasis for wildlife and bugs of all kinds. It's one of my mother's and my pleasures to sit on the porch and enjoy the warmer weather - the house is not air conditioned and in summer the porch is a haven in the evenings. But year after year, no matter what we try, at a certain hour the mosquitoes descend and make porch sitting impossible. Neither one of us likes the more toxic bug repellants, and so we try to sit and swat for a while, but eventually have to give up and go indoors. When I saw the lovely packaging of Tick Tock Naturals and told the lovely woman selling it about my very buggy history, she offered to let me smell it and I was hooked. There is nothing toxic or harmful or even slightly unpleasant about the ingredients - everything has been chosen and combined in a way that is healthy and healthful and pleasant. The base of it is grape seed oil, so it keeps your skin feeling soft instead of sticky, and the scent is based in lemon grass, in the family of citronella but a much more soothing sibling. The owner Dr. Susan Eisen who created it, had a bout and battle with a lyme tick, and ever after wanted to make sure there was something on the market to help people avoid her experience with a product they could actually enjoy. She is a holistic chiropractor and a sustainable product warrior - someone who cares about health with a passion that you can trust.

Dr. Susan Eisen of Tick Tock Naturals
Keeping Us Healthy Inside And Out
Sharing Her Story Over A Lovely Lunch
At Lackawanna Coffee, Grove Street, Jersey City

An Artist Emerges

I met Christopher Lettiere through Instagram - we have no idea what the initial connection was, but when I started looking at his posts and saw his beautiful work and then realized he was in Hoboken, I asked if I could visit him in his studio and do a post. He graciously invited me to his home and shared some of his story with me. The name he has given to his photographic work is "Unsigned Photos," and in a way that I think many of us can understand, it grew out of the end of a relationship that went terribly wrong, leading him to a place and time in his life when he needed to go underground. That was a difficult thing to do once upon a time, even for those of us who remember a time without Facebook, but in these days of social media it's nearly impossible. He had to close down all of his accounts and find a way to continue to follow his creative life's work as a street photographer, so a new identity as Unsigned Photos was born. One of the qualities about Christopher that I admire the most is his ability to create an environment around his subjects that makes them seem entirely alone. He captures the people and places he photographs in private moments - not as a voyeur or an eavesdropper, but as a celebrator of their inherent beauty. In a wonderful way, his own journey has informed his work - his deep understanding and respect for protecting personal space creates deeply meaningful and personal works of art.

Christopher Lettiere
In His Studio


Jannie Susan

Sunday, October 9, 2016

An Abundant Life - Chemistry

Anyone who knows me knows that I have a passion for glass. Vintage pieces are some of my favorites, but there are artists working today who have taken the history to heart and are mastering the combination of science and art to create newly inspirational works. When I see a shelf of glass work or even one piece, I am mesmerized - the different styles and colors and techniques are always fascinating and beautiful. I learned about glass blowing in chemistry class in high school, when my teacher had us make our own beakers and pipettes and test tubes, and though I have seen glass blowers at art festivals over the years, I never followed up that initial experience with more in depth discovery about the process until one recent evening when Sean Baumbach, the owner of SRBArtGlass, invited me to his studio and offered to show me how he makes the gorgeous pieces he designs. He's an excellent  teacher, but I was so enthralled with watching him work that I don't remember the technical terms and techniques he described, so I'll leave you to see the story yourself in the photos I took as they really do speak a thousand words. You can find Sean on Etsy where in addition to sculptural art glass pieces he sells drawer pulls and other specialties for interior design and also takes custom orders. He also designs and creates laser cut leather accessories under the associated name of SRBLeatherCraft. A visit to his Etsy store or his Instagram page is a feast for the eyes, and if you're anything like me you'll feel like a kid in a candy store.

Sean R. Baumbach In His Studio
SRBGlassCraft and SRBLeatherCraft



Gourmand Heaven

A few blocks away from Sean's studio, you can find another kind of chemistry at work, and a feast for the eyes as well as the taste buds. Cheese + Wine Hoboken serves up some of the most delectable specialties anywhere, along with perfect pairings of carefully selected wines. The owner Victoria has created a space to savor, and hosts regular tasting events in her beautifully designed store. She's also such a community minded spirit that you can find local treats such as Choc O Pain French Bakery bread and the luscious creations of Christina Andersen Floral Designs, and you'll find her collaborating with artists and galleries and other local businesses in their spaces as well as her own. Coming up on October 14 is a food and wine tasting you won't want to miss - a Fall Food And Wine Nine Course Event that will pair food and wine and wonderful cheese for unforgettable flavor sensations. Reservations are a must for these exclusive events, so contact Victoria or one of her wonderful staff to reserve your space.

Cheese + Wine Hoboken
720 Monroe Street
Hoboken, New Jersey
(201) 683-8162

Delights For The Senses

I found my way over to meet Victoria at Cheese + Wine by way of Christina Andersen and her lovely floral  designs. I met Christina at Rummage And Ruffage at The Church of the Holy Innocents in Hoboken one day where she has been sharing her beauty out of doors, and she gave me a flyer from Cheese + Wine where she also sells her gorgeous designs along with the pottery of two amazing artisans. A creative force of nature, Christina Andersen Floral Design will compliment any event or table - her designs grace the space at Choc O Pain French Bakery and Cafe, and add a special compliment to the pairing events at Cheese + Wine Hoboken. The flowers she shared with me the day that I met her have added beauty to my table for weeks. For quality and pure loveliness Christina Andersen Floral Design adds abundance to every setting.

Christina Andersen Floral Design
At Rummage And Ruffage In Fair Weather
Year Round At Cheese + Wine Hoboken
(201) 401-9349

Bringing The Beauty Back Home


Jannie Susan