SmartTalk Conversations concluded its 2013 New Brunswick series with Marie Osmond. The series is renowned for bringing inspirational speakers to the State Theatre, as well as other locations across the country. While some orators attract a few males to the theater, mostly women attend this evening making it a huge girls’ night out. After Magic 98.3 personality Debbie Mazella introduced Ms. Osmond, the fun began.
As her life flashed before our eyes on the screen, we were able to follow her showbiz career from her days as a little girl to present. As many know, Marie is the only girl of nine. The Osmond Brothers were extremely popular in the 60s and 70s. Marie began her own singing career at the age of 12, and in the mid-70s teamed up with Donny for a TV variety show.
After a trip down memory lane, she shared with us all what she’s been doing more recently. Osmond is the co-founder of the Children’s Miracle Network, which is the largest children’s charity in the U.S., and all the money made stays local; she has been making dolls for the past two decades; she suffered from postpartum depression, and was the first celebrity to write a book about her experience; her dancing skills helped her make it to the finalé of the fifth season of Dancing With the Stars; and Vegas is a second home since she’s been performing with brother Donny.
She made an interesting point. In life, you make decisions based on your self-esteem. If you have a low image of yourself, you’ll make choices that reflect what you think you’re worthy of, like the partner you marry. This was shared not only to explain her marriages, but to also to help us all understand why we might make bad choices.
Marie also shared her formula for life:
- Be Still – This way you can listen to your intuition
- Be Active in Learning – Feed your mind and continue to grow.
- Be Willing to Serve – Love thy neighbor as thyself. Be prepare to help those in need.
- Be Open to Prosperity and Humor – If you’re not, you might never be happy.
Mazella returned for the Q&A part of the evening. Some people traveled quite a distance for the show. She was asked about her dolls, singing career, her Vegas act, and Dancing With the Stars. At the end, she signed some autographs and proceeding backstage to meet VIPs, who were lined up well past the stage door for a chance to meet her. I must say, she’s very sweet, and her trademark smile is beautiful in person.
The SmartTalk Conversations series held in New Brunswick is always on a weeknight, which is not as convenient as being at McCarter on the weekend, but is worth the short trip. The show starts at 7:30, so that gives mothers of school-aged kids the chance to get dinner on the table before heading out. If you can take off by 5:30, you can have dinner with a group of girlfriends before heading to the theater.
After three seasons of attending this series, I can honestly tell you that everyone leaves with motivation to take on new challenges, or eliminate things that have held them back. The series starts again next January, so I hope to see you there next year!
All photos for the 2013 season have been provided by ITM Photos.
Prom is coming up, and caps and gowns are soon to follow. The next step will be a big for seniors who will continue on with their education. They’ll finally get the freedom they’ve been yearning for, but what’s that? Responsibilities come with that? Oh yes, young grasshopper, you will need to do laundry, prepare meals occasionally, and condense your life into the space of half a dorm room. You will be granted one wish… the help from adults in form of a gift. So adults, if there is a special grad-to-be in your life, here’s a creative list of fun gifts, and fun versions of practical gifts for your high school seniors.
Samsung Galaxy Camera - This 21x optical zoom camera runs on Android 4.1 (Jelly Bean) and can access apps, music, video, etc., making this a very smart camera, and still relevant compared to smart phones.
HyperJuice Plug – This high-capacity (15,600mAh) portable battery back will fully power up a mobile phone and a tablet simultaneously in about 1.5 hours. A must have for power-hungry smart phones.
Vizio Smart TV - The built-in apps include Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Crackle, Hulu Plus, YouTube, Facebook, Pandora and more for video on demand, streaming music, and viewing photos.
Compact 85-Lumen Pocket Projector - Brookstone’s portable projector connected to a smartphone, tablet, or laptop could display video, and substitute for a TV if you don’t need live programming. It also enhances watching a movie.
Roku 3 - Already have a TV for your grad? Then pick up this streaming player to convert it into a smart TV. It has the same apps as the Vizio above plus HBO GO, for a total of 750 channels for on-demand viewing.
iPad with Retina Display - Great for streaming video, gaming, and listening to music in bed with headphones. Of course, it can be used for a number of other purposes!
Streaming Movies – Sign up for Netflix or Amazon Instant Video if you don’t already have an account, and give your password to your graduate who can watch movies and TV shows via a smart phone, tablet, laptop, Roku, or smart TV.
Seagate Backup Plus – This 1TB external hard drive is compatible with PCs and Macs right out of the box, and can be used to store documents, music, photos, video, etc. and back up files.
Keurig - Single cup brewing system for a fresh cup of Joe to wake up to, or keep them awake while cramming.
Dry-Erase Write Fridge - Allows you to write messages on front of the fridge.
Pizza Oven and Microwave - This is a winning combo for a dorm.
Decked - This shop in town carries skateboards that can be used for transportation or recreation on campus.
Tailgate Party – Freshman usually don’t get to have cars on campus, but that shouldn’t stop them from tailgating. Buy tickets to the homecoming game and pick up some customized tailgating and stadium gear from Sports Unlimited or Team Tailgate Shop.
Check out last year’s post for more ideas!
Fiasco Theater has reimagined Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine’s Tony winner Into the Woods for McCarter Theatre audiences. This is a musical of four intertwining Grimm’s fairy tales, of which all characters are simultaneously led into the woods, but Fiasco has put its own spin on it.
The classic fairy tale adaptations include Cinderella, Jack and the Bean Stalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and Rapunzel. The newer story of the Baker and His Wife, created just for Into the Woods, ties the other tales together for a magical romp on the intimate Berlind stage. We get the typical Disney happily ever after at the end of the first act. The second act shows us what happened after we close the book, with darker elements that are closer to the original German story lines.
The troupe of 10 actors play 18 characters, with large doses of humor. A couple of male actors occasionally play females, cementing the comedic tone. Co-directors Noah Brody and Ben Steinfeld are both triple threats, as they also flex their acting and singing muscles on the stage. There are no set changes, but props are constantly in use and repurposed to add to the farce, as is the lighting and sound effects.
The performances were brilliant. Patrick Mulryan develops the naïve Jack as a sympathetic character who tries to please his mother (Liz Hayes) and get back his beloved cow Milky White, who is hilariously played by Andy Grotelueschen. The baker (Steinfeld), and his wife, Jessie Austrian, are charming as they stealthily manipulate others to gain access to their own happiness, and Jennifer Mudge, as the witch, subtly deceives us all.
Into the Woods is laugh out loud funny, and the cast’s delivery was perfectly executed. The entire ensemble offer us a pure form of acting that is stripped of the Broadway glitz, and exposes their polished skills. Their talents also include playing instruments along with the pianist, Matt Castle.
This is a fantastic production of Into the Woods that is worth seeing. It’s running time is 2.5 hours with a 15 minute intermission. The first act runs 1.5 hours, and can feel long for some.
There will be an autism-friendly performance on Tuesday, May 21st at 7 PM, with autism specialist staffing, modifications to sound and lighting, $25 ticket prices, and staffed relaxation and activity areas in the lobby. Other special evenings are Pride Night on May 16th, the After Dark Party on May 17th, Dinner and Theater on May 29th, and an ASL (American Sign Language) Interpreted Performance on June 1 st.
Its run has been extended from June 2nd until the 9th. Tickets are selling out quickly, so head into town now to get your tickets at the McCarter Theatre Box Office or purchase them online.
While handmade crafts the kids made at school for Mother’s Day are cute, deep down inside mama may still want a bit more. What she’s looking for may or may not be found in stores. Something a mother could ALWAYS use is more time. And what mom doesn’t love being pampered? A gift would also be nice to give if there’s money in the budget, which could be something that only costs one dollar. I’ve compiled a list of Mother’s Day gift ideas with all budgets in mind. For more gift ideas, check out last year’s post here.
They say you can’t buy time, but you actually can indirectly. If you pay for services, mom will have more time for herself, and if you’re on a tight budget, do-it-yourself projects are in order.
- Honey-Do List – Perform some tasks on the list to make her life easier, or hire a handyman take care of things around the house.
- Breakfast in Bed – Yes, it’s cliché, but it’s the fact that you took the time to make her breakfast and pamper her. Make mom her favorite breakfast and bring it on a bed tray with her favorite hot beverage. Add orange juice in a champagne flute with seltzer with a strawberry slice on the rim, or a Virgin Mary with a celery stalk in it to make it more special. Place the paper or a magazine and a single red rose on it, and you’ll make her feel like royalty by pampering her. You’ve just bought her 30 minutes of sleep and 15 – 30 minutes after the meal to read while you clean up. Breakfast ideas and recipes here.
- House Cleaning – If you normally don’t pay to have your house clean, make an exception one time. Give her a certificate for maid service to clean your home so she can accomplish other great things, or have fun with her girlfriends. If you’re on a budget, have everyone pitch in to clean the place.
- Shoe Shine – Everyone can help shine all of her shoes with or without shoe polish.
- Cook All Meals – Don’t worry, it’s only for Mother’s Day. If you can’t cook, purchase prepared food from McCaffreys, Bon Appetit, Lucy’s Ravioli, D’Angelo’s, or Wegmans. Another plan is to order take out (Chinese, sushi, etc.). No matter what you do, clean up the mess after the meal!
- DVR – It can be TiVo or from your cable company. A DVR allows her to watch shows on demand, plus skip through all the commercials on previously recorded content. This will save 10 minutes for every 30 minute show. You will spare her 40 minutes for a movie scheduled for two hours, so it adds up!
- Personal Assistant – Concierge of Princeton can provide someone for the day or a few times a month to help her catch up, or the family can be at mom’s beck and call.
- Babysitter or Mother’s Helper – Someone to watch the kids while mom can be productive or needs some “me time”. If you’re on a tight budget, set up playdates, or ask a friend to watch the kids.
Most women love being treated like a queen. Examples of the royal treatment are massages, spa and salon treatments, and being catered to.
- In-Home Massage – Magnificent You will bring the massage table to her, or dad can do his best to release the tension in her muscles.
- Spa Treatments – Metropolis in the shopping center has great services. AQUASPA offers a wide variety of services, and is having a Mother’s Day promotion. Another option is to have the kids make a facial mask for her skin type, apply it, and add cucumbers slices over her eyes.
- Mani-Pedi – LaJolie is conveniently located downtown, or the kids are conveniently at home waiting to massage mom’s hands and feet and apply nail polish.
- Date Night – Guys, find a babysitter, dress up, bring her flowers and take her out to dinner. Be chivalrous by opening the car door, dropping her off in front of the restaurant or using valet parking, helping her with her coat (if applicable), and DO NOT forget to compliment her. Take her to the Peacock Inn in Dining Room 3 under a ceiling of twinkle lights for three to four-courses of fine dining, to elements for the Chef’s Table of a nine-course avant-garde menu, or to her favorite restaurant whether it be casual or upscale.
- Bath – Draw a bath for her, have candles lit, and soft music playing. Have a cocktail and hors d’oeuvres ready for her to indulge in. Give her a gift basket with bath bombs, a good book, a sea sponge, and body gel. Optionally, you can add a spa towel, waffle robe and matching slippers. A bluetooth speaker will allow her to listen to music from her computer, tablet, or mobile phone.
- A Good Night’s Sleep - If her mattress is over 10 years old, chances are she’s not sleeping as well as she could. Bring her over to Princeton Mattress in the shopping center to choose the one right for her to get the maximum REM sleep to feel refreshed in the morning. If this is out of the price range, consider getting a mattress topper to pamper your queen.
It’s sometime hard to find the right gift. If you listen carefully, you can pick up clues as to what she likes, or figure it out based on her interests.
- Perfume – Purchase her favorite fragrance, or pick up a gift card from Sephora or Perfumania at the Quaker Bridge Mall.
- Chocolate – John & Kira’s is the best chocolate I’ve tasted from the tri-state area. They’re made in small batches from local ingredients, and since they’re fresh without preservatives, there’s a short shelf life. If your budget is smaller, pick up some Lindt Truffles in town.
- Jewelry Box – These come in all sizes and price ranges. Perfect for keeping her jewelry and watches organized and scratch-free.
- Cosmetic Bag – These also come in all sizes and price ranges, and are quite handy. If you have a bigger budget, add airline or cruise tickets inside as a nice surprise.
- Hot Air Balloon – Balloons Aloft can make her dreams come true with a sunset flight.
- Tandem Skydiving – Skydive Jersey is for the mom jumping for adventure.
- Stationery – You can order personalized stationery at Paper Source on Nassau Street, or pick up blank note cards at Target or a dollar store.
The Nassau Inn is rich in history, and is the oldest hotel in Princeton. It’s centrally located at Palmer Square, surrounded by shops, restaurants, and the Green, which is where a number of events are held, and during warmer weather you can sit out there and relax. Additionally, Princeton University is conveniently just on the other side of Nassau Street.
Many see the original wing of this hotel, and think it’s a small bed and breakfast. This is the furthest thing from the truth, since it has only 28% fewer rooms than the massive Marriott at Forrestal, which is a blander, cookie cutter choice. In fact, there are two additions, and the larger wing may not be as obvious to passersby.
Nassau Inn’s recent renovation made a statement by decreasing the number of rooms and suites from 203 to 188, opting to increase the square footage of some rooms and update them. The accessories and linens have been replaced, and every room is different finishings. This makes it sort of a fusion hotel, taking the charm of a B&B and mixing it with some modern and high-end elements of a boutique hotel, and the conveniences and facilities of a chain hotel, making it quite a unique property.
The many faces of this facility include the guest rooms, a venue for private events like weddings and Sweet 16 parties, home to the famous Yankee Doodle Tap Room bar and restaurant, which has 19 craft beers on tap (read more here), and a popular spot for corporate events. These four components makes this a full-service hotel, but what makes it unique in this area is its independent operation despite its size.
I must’ve been greeted by at least 25 staff members while walking through the hotel. The many faces of those working behind the scenes smiled with sincerity. These are the people guests tend to ignore in hotels. They make themselves visible, acknowledging to guests that they are there to anticipate theirs needs, and make their stay optimal. This is pretty much on par with four and five-star hotels. My new moniker for the Nassau Inn is “Land of a Thousand Smiles”.
The Nassau Inn has a beautiful stone, brick, and cedar exterior with an iconic red door centering the façade. It sits on prime real estate in Princeton, and is front and center for a number of Princeton events. Girls’ Night Out, Communiversity, the Christmas tree lighting, the Menorah lighting, the JazzFeast, and the Memorial Day Parade, are just a few events taking place right in front of the hotel on the Green, or just moments away.
If you arrive by train, you could walk to the hotel from the Princeton Station, check in, then walk to any other location in the central business district, and beyond, i.e. to the Community Park Pool. Princeton University is less than two blocks away, and you can get to McCarter Theatre, Richardson Auditorium, the Garden Theatre, Princeton University Art Museum, the Princeton Public Library, shops, restaurants, and offices all in minutes without the need of a car. If you do arrive by car, you can park at one of the two garages conveniently located at Palmer Square.
Besides having a friendly staff, this hotel is clean and cozy, and well equipped with up-to-date technology. There are a number of public spaces inside and out that offer quiet moments. You can snuggle up in front of one of their fireplaces, sit outside next to the red door, or find some other nook where you can read, have a drink, or enjoy a wonderful conversation.
Nassau Inn also offers a number of specials and packages, whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure. If you use their facilities for a wedding, the bride and groom get a suite for one night. There’s a business special that offers parking, internet, domestic calls and one continental breakfast, plus a number of other specials and packages.
Their banquet facilities are impressive, and the renovations included improvements to them as well, i.e. an access ramp to the Ballroom, and touchscreen control panels in the banquet rooms controlling screens, window shades, lighting, etc. This 18th century hotel retains its charm from yesteryear with the modern conveniences we certainly crave today. Here’s a breakdown of the Nassau Inn’s many faces.
- Hotel – Overnight guests can stay in one of 188 rooms and suites. The guest rooms are spacious, especially considering you’re downtown. The suites are a good size, and are great for road warriors who’d like the space for small meetings or interviewing, or parents who’d like a separate space for the kids. Rooms and suites are quiet, offer nice bath products, have a coffee machine, flat screen TVs, turn down service, and a newspaper delivered to your door - amenities of a four-star hotel. The specialty suites also offer robes, valet clothes stand, compact CD stereo, and more.
Rest Traveller, Rest, and Banish Thoughts of Care; Drink to Thy Friends and Recommend Them Here. ~ Seen above the fireplace in the Yankee Doodle Tap Room, originally from a pub in Cambridge, England.
- Restaurant – The legendary Yankee Doodle Tap Room has so much to offer. Executive Chef Michael LaCorte has returned, and has a new menu items for spring. I recommend the lumpmeat crab cakes, wild mushroom risotto, and fried goat cheese salad. The new burger recipe is amazing, with a special blend of ground short rib, brisket, and chuck, topped with Applewood-smoked bacon on a sourdough bun, and the slider version was my foodie friend’s absolute favorite appetizer. There’s a fireplace inside; Norman Rockwell’s 13 foot Yankee Doodle mural hangs behind the bar; the Princeton University Wall of Fame greets you as you enter; Einstein, amongst others, has carved his name on one of the tables, and there’s a fabulous blue slate patio with space heaters for outdoor dining next to The Green.
- Personal Events – They can handle weddings, Sweet 16s, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, Quinceañeras, family reunions, or whatever your special event is. It can be small or large, with or without a DJ team or band. There are 14 banquet rooms of various sizes to choose from, plus they have a variety of food and beverage options. I personally enjoyed a Sweet 16 bash I was invited to at the Nassau Inn. The kids dominated the Palmer Room, while some adults sat by the roaring fireplace or at the bar sipping on cocktails. I was inspired to have one there for my daughter one day.
- Professional Use – The banquet rooms can accommodate companies and small businesses who need space for interviews, meetings, seminars, parties, conferences, and more. The rooms have projectors, screens, sound systems, wireless internet access, and all the things necessary for professional presentations. A total space of 10,000 square feet is available. There’s a catering staff, plus a technology manager on hand to assist you with your requests to make sure your event runs smoothly.
This post is written by guest blogger Maggie VanDagens
Spring’s first harvest, horseradish, bursts from the ground to waken our senses. The teary-eyed run from the house when you cook horseradish yourself. But here in New Jersey, Muirhead Foods produces a horseradish mustard that was an award-winner at the Napa Valley Mustard Contest.
Like all of their products, the horseradish mustard is an adaptation by Barbara Simpson, chef/owner, from the naturally flavored foods served at Muirhead when it was a Ringoes, NJ restaurant owned by her parents. Today, the restaurant is retired, but their horseradish mustard still provides a sweet tang to chicken and other meats.
Easy Chicken Breasts with Horseradish Mustard
4 chicken breasts, boneless
4 Tbsp Muirhead Horseradish Mustard
3 Tbsp butter
½ cup chicken stock
1 cup heavy cream
Cooked rice or noodles for serving
Coat each chicken breast with 1 Tbsp horseradish mustard. Melt butter in a heavy skillet. Sauté both sides of chicken. Cover skillet and completely cook chicken (about 10 minutes). Remove cooked chicken and set aside. Add chicken stock to skillet and stir to deglaze solids from the skillet. Add heavy cream and cook to thicken sauce about 5 minutes. Serve chicken over rice or noodles. Cover with thickened cream sauce. Serves 3 to 4.
Muirhead has 29 finishing touches for your meals. To order the horseradish mustard online or get more information, visit Muirhead Foods. The Cherry Grove Farm Store on Route 206 in Lawrenceville also carries a limited supply of Muirhead mustards.
After being in business for 100 years, Hamilton Jewelers has decided to close their Lawrenceville store to better serve other locations. The closing of this store will allow Hamilton to expand their flagship location in Princeton, and widen their selection at their Red Bank and Palm Beach stores.
Lawrenceville will liquidate the inventory that can’t be incorporated into the other stores. Hamilton Jewelers will have a closing sale, including fine jewelry and timepieces at all stores to make room for the new collections at the Princeton location starting on April 18th.
Speaking for the Hamilton family, we offer a sincere thanks to all of you who have made Hamilton’s Lawrenceville location successful for 40 years, said Hank Siegel, President of Hamilton Jewelers. We look forward to continuing to serve you in Princeton, Red Bank and Palm Beach, but most importantly, we hope to see you at our exclusive sale so we may thank you personally for your business over the years.
There will be an amazing selection of gems, watches, jewelry, home decor and gifts sold at reduced prices during this brief sales event, so now’s the time to buy Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and graduation gifts! The Lawrenceville store will be closed from Saturday, April 13, 2013 to Monday, April 15, 2013 to prepare for this special sale.