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People That You Meet

April 20, 2018 | By Vanessa Pollock

READ UP ON THE AMAZING PEOPLE WHO COMPRISE OUR WONDERFUL COMMUNITY!  HAVE SOMEONE TO NOMINATE?  PLEASE EMAIL vavpteam@gmail.com AND LET US KNOW!


Robert Slater

Favorite charity: CareServeGive and Veterans related cause


What town do you live in?
 
Rahway

Where did you live before that? Woodbridge

What brought you to SOMA? Employment

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)? Vocational Rehabilitation Supervisor at JESPY House

What’s your favorite feature of your home? bedroom

Where do you love to go on a date night? nice restaurant

What’s music/album are you really into these days?  Nirvana Never Mind

If you could have a super-power, what would it be? teleportation

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 5 years? "BLACK PRIVLEGE" -Opportunity Comes to those who Create IT by Charlemagne Tha God

What’s something that amazes you? people

Describe your family: odd salad

Describe your ideal day: wake up, watch NEWS 12, ESPN Sports Center, eat, bike ride, hang with friends, eat at waterside cafe

Favorite local place to eat? Toro Loco

Who/What did you aspire to be when you were little? Construction worker

What is your favorite store? POLO 

Mountains or Beach? Beach

Favorite movie? The Doors directed by Oliver Stone

What inspires you? the success of my friends

How would you describe your “style”? smooth variations

Coffee or tea? neither

What charity are you passionate about/how do you live out “CareServeGive? I hope that I CareServeGive daily, working with my clients to find meaningful employment and help them achieve their full potential and independence.

I am passionate about any Veterans related cause.




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Amy Howlett

Favorite charity: CareServeGive

What town do you live in? Maplewood

Where did you live before that?  Jersey City

What brought you to SOMA?  We wanted a backyard where the kids could run around and play and more space to live.

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)?  I run the General Store by Work and Play website and my serious hobby is surfing.

What’s your favorite feature of your home?  Our front porch.  We have it set up like an outdoor living room and love entertaining on it.

Where do you love to go on a date night?   Arturo's or Coda for a day date.

What’s music/album are you really into these days?   I'm obsessed with the song Addictions by Lucy Dacus.    

If you could have a super-power, what would it be? I would want the power to read minds.  It would take a lot of the guessing out of life.  

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 5 years?  I was blown away by Hillbilly Elegy.   

What’s something that amazes you?  My children amaze me every day and the fact that they were once the size of peanuts.

Describe your family:  I have a husband and two boys, ages 4 and 8.  We're a little crazy and irreverent.  Some of the things we let our kids get away with might surprise most people.

Describe your ideal day: Surfing at low tide in warm water, followed by fish tacos.

Favorite local place to eat?  In Maplewood? Arturo's.  In the whole world? Hot pot in Chengdu, China.

Who/What did you aspire to be when you were little?  I wanted to be Madonna, but I usually told people I was going to be the first female president.

What is your favorite store?  General Store by Work and Play, of course!  I can shop all of my favorite stores and makers on one website. 

Mountains or Beach?   Beach!  And places like Big Sur that give you mountains and beaches.

Favorite movie?  The Veronica Mars movie.  My husband calls it my happy place.  I watch it when I get really stressed.  

What inspires you?  People who try and learn new and difficult things as adults inspire me.  

How would you describe your “style”?   I like to wear dresses over jeans, which my husband refers to as hippie-chic.

Coffee or tea?   Both!  I have a cup of pour-over coffee every morning followed by some Earl Grey tea.

What charity are you passionate about/how do you live out: “CareServeGive" My jobs throughout life have been ones that embody CareServeGive.  I worked for Human Rights Watch after college, and as a lawyer I focused on civil rights cases and prison conditions.   My husband and I like to give to charities involving kids like St. Jude.  We also give to the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence.  



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Emily Zacharias

Favorite charity: CareServeGive

What town do you live in? Dear Maplewood

Where did you live before that? Upper west side.

What brought you to SOMA? In 1983, my husband wanted to

live in CA, and I needed to be in NY. Maplewood was our compromise!

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)? I work on stage as an actor and singer. I direct live events, and in the past 5 years have been teaching and coaching fearful speakers.

What’s your favorite feature of your home? the 1874 molding, our bay windows. Also, our mature trees and the God of all things- the ancient rock lording over our front yard.

Where do you love to go on a date night? hmmm. Dinner at home is lovely, or a play here, live music there, vodka tonic everywhere.

What’s music/album are you really into these days? Maria Schneider Orchestra, The Bad Plus, WBGO Singers Unlimited.

If you could have a super-power, what would it be? Bring back the dead- my mother and father for family dinners. And off- topic, I think I’ll guest curate at the 2019 Venice Biennale.

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 5 years? The Road- Cormac McCarthy

What’s something that amazes you? Aging into my 60’s and feeling more freedom and clarity of heart and mind than I expected.

Describe your family: Darling husband man, 2 strong, handsome, gifted, funny, fabulous sons. SO lucky our niece and nephew’s family moved here a few years ago!

Describe your ideal day: Two cups of coffee with toast/hummus and yogurt. NY Times. Stroll through Old Barcelona, bike to lunch on the Dingle Peninsula, read/listen to music, squash with sons, backgammon with husband, play with neighbor kids, vodka tonic sunset, see a surprise play that undoes me. Train home.

Favorite local place to eat? the next new place with a fusion menu, easy decor, and within biking distance.

Who/What did you aspire to be when you were little? I was raised to be a visual artist, and then I heard Laura Nyro.

What is your favorite store? ABC Carpet, but they’re downsizing. The gift shop at Cooper Hewitt. Good consignment stores.

Mountains or Beach? Woods

Favorite movie? Gee....

What inspires you? ideas embedded in art that connect people to their hearts.

How would you describe your “style”? Arty.

Coffee or tea? Both, please.

What charity are you passionate about/how do you live out: “CareServeGive" We spread it around- to underserved children, environmental concerns, health issues, political watchdogs, and our great local organizations. My best give is the welcoming rope swing in the back yard for my friends aged 4- 12, the neighborhood kids.



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Audrey Rowe

Favorite charity: SOMA Community Coalition on Race


What town do you live in? 
Maplewood, NJ

Where did you live before that? Houston Texas

What brought you to SOMA? Corporate relocation with AT&T

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)?  Program Director with South Orange/Maplewood

Community Coalition on Race AND entrepreneur offering skin care cosmetics and consultation with Mary Kay  

What’s your favorite feature of your home?  Spacious first floor with lots of windows and a "killer" kitchen

Where do you love to go on a date night?  Any place with good food, good music & the option to dance

What’s music/album are you really into these days?  My daughter SZA's album, CTRL

If you could have a super-power, what would it be?  Making "broken" people whole 

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 5 years?  Instinct:  The Power to Unleash Your Inborn  Drive by T.D. Jakes

What’s something that amazes you?  How God-like yet depraved we can be

Describe your family: Involved, supportive, over-booked, outgoing, spiritually aware, talkers, loyal

Describe your ideal day:  Basking in sunshine and warmth, near water having an uninterrupted,   heart-felt conversation with a loved one or close friend

Favorite local place to eat?  The Parkwood Diner

Who/What did you aspire to be when you were little?  A nun or brain surgeon

What is your favorite store?  Costco

Mountains or Beach?  Definitely beach

Favorite movie?  I love old, classic musicals   "Singing in the Rain"  

What inspires you?  My faith in God  

How would you describe your “style”?  Edgy sophistication

Coffee or tea?  Tea - preferably herbal

What charity are you passionate about/how do you live out “CareServeGive? South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race is my charity choice because, there is so much that needs to be achieved in the area of race, equity and inclusion, yet so little appetite and funding to actually make it happen.



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Marie Mcgehee

Favorite charity: http://www.familyconnectionsnj.org 

What town do you live in? Maplewood, NJ

Where did you live before that? Newton, Mass.

What brought you to SOMA? We relocated to SOMA for my new job.

What do you do (For a living or as a serious hobby)? I work on the PR team at Verizon based at our corporate headquarters in Basking Ridge, NJ. I'm really fortunate to work at a great company with an amazingly talented team. It's amazing to see how much technology is changing how we live, work and play. By 2020, 77 percent of all jobs in the U.S. will require computer skills, and this is not limited to science, technology, engineering and math known as STEM, but really all jobs whether you're a journalist, a teacher, a marketer, film editor or doctor. For the latest on what's happening in the world of tech and the people behind it, check out our podcast series called Up to Speed:  a Verizon Podcast, at http://www.uptospeedpodcast.com. You can also download the series on iTunes or Google.

What's your favorite feature of your home? Our deck. When the weather is nice we love to sit under the stars and tree lights with our friends.

Where do you love to go on a date night? Watching movies or catching up on shows at home.

What's the album/music you're really into these days? For a while I was listening to 4:44 by Jay-Z on  repeat. I think it's his best album (IMHO). He is an amazing storyteller, the message is real, the way he invokes other artists into his music like Stevie Wonder or Nina Simone is great, the videos are visually stunning,  and the marketing for the album was flawless. It's just a really great body of work. I tend to gravitate to artists who are great songwriters, great musicians, great lyricists and great entertainers...Jay-Z is definitely one of those artists for me. 

If you could have a super power what would it be?  That's a tough one. My mother died when I was pregnant with my daughter so I would probably just want a way to talk to her daily and give her a hug.

What's the best book you've read in the last 5 years?  Ugh! I wish could say something truly profound here but sadly, I can't remember. Real talk. I read a ton for work of course and I'm a bit of a political news junkie, but I haven't taken the time to read a book just for me in years. There are many on my waiting list.

What's something that amazes you?  My husband's tireless energy. He loves people and loves to connect with people and help people. He has never wavered in that since we met more than 20 years ago and to me that's pretty amazing. He doesn't do it for the accolades. That's just who he is.

Describe your family: We are pretty tight. It's just the three of us here in SOMA, me, Frank (my husband) and Madison (our daughter). We're all super busy so we work really hard to make sure that we stay connected and grounded to each other. Our extended family and close friends live on the East coast, Midwest and West coast plus Haiti. We don't get to see each other nearly as often as we would like, so we try to make every moment count when we do. The great thing about this community is that many of our friends here in SOMA have become like family. We are truly blessed to live in such a welcoming community. 

Describe your ideal day: No meetings and sleeping in. For me, simplicity is key.

Favorite local place to eat? I love the Able Baker. Everyone is so nice and it just has a great energy. We are so fortunate to have so many good local places to choose from. We like Abril Cocina, Arturos, Village Trattoria, Parkwood Diner, and Cornbread. Also the Haitian restaurant on Springfield ave, Woulibam, reminds me of my childhood - really good food.

What did you aspire to do when you were little?  I wanted to be a doctor like my dad, but quickly changed my mind when I went to college.

What is your favorite store?  Perch, No. 165, Words Bookstore and Salvage Style are my favorites. I also LOVED Avian and John on Springfield avenue and was very sad to see it close. I try to support as many local businesses as possible.

Mountains or Beach?  The beach especially Cape Cod in the summer. My parents took us there every year growing up and I became hooked. Now we go to Martha's Vineyard, which is an annual tradition we started when Madison was a baby. It's magical and it's an opportunity to reconnect with family and friends.

Favorite movie - Moonlight. Everything about it is stunning.

What inspires you?  Smart people who are using their brains, talent and influence to do positive things in the world whether on a large or small scale.  There are so many folks like that here in SOMA so living in this community really inspires me. I'm also a very visual and creative person so I love being inspired by anything creative whether it's music, a movie, a painting, as long as it's positive. Real experiences like traveling to other places also inspires me. I was born in Haiti and while I was raised in the US, I love going back. There is a resiliency, natural beauty and raw energy there that is unparalleled. 

How would you describe your style?  Eclectic. We love art and have a lot of it in our home ...mostly paintings that our parents handed down to us (a combination of Haitian and African American art) some sculptures and photographs that we've picked up along the way. I love to mix the old with the new. For example, in our living room we have a classic contemporary  couch that is  surrounded by two antique tables - one of the tables is canary yellow.  We also love bold color, whether it's the fire engine red walls in our dining room, navy blue walls in our den, or the forest green ceiling in our guest bedroom. I never like to walk into a home and feel as if I am walking into a showroom at the mall or someone else's vision of what style is supposed to be. Everyone has a style it's just a matter of bringing it out and expressing it.

Coffee or Tea?  Coffee. Recently, I bought myself a coaster that says "my favorite coffee is the kind where no one talks to me while I drink it." True story! 

What charity are you passionate about/how do you live out "Care, Serve, Give"? Last fall, I was invited to join the Board of Trustees at FAMILYConnections which is a growing family of 35 specialized programs including counseling, training, skill-building and prevention for 4,000 children and families  in 7 counties throughout the New Jersey including Essex County. In SOMA, FAMILYConnections' services include in-school based programs such as the Hub at Maplewood Middle School and the Loft at Columbia High School. It's really important that programs like this continue to exist in our district with the right level of support and resources.   http://www.familyconnectionsnj.org 



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Nubia DuVall Wilson

Favorite charity: Community Coalition on Race

What town do you live in? South Orange

Where did you live before that? Upper East Side, Manhattan

What brought you to SOMA? My husband and I wanted to live in a suburb close to NYC that was safe and had diversity, culture, and homes with character. SOMA had all of those things!

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)? I am the president and founder of Cielo Consulting, a boutique lifestyle PR and marketing agency that works out of Work and Play in South Orange. I am also a writer. I have a blog about travel and life lessons learned while being a parent, EncountersWithNubia.com, and I just finished writing a novella that I am publishing this year.

What’s your favorite feature of your home? We have a Tudor home from 1929 and the geeky English major in me loves our stained-glass windows with Latin phrases.

Where do you love to go on a date night? We go to The Hills in Millburn often. Cassidy’s might be our new go-to spot now for SOMA.

If you could have a super-power, what would it be? Feel like I slept for 12 hours in only 7 hours of sleep every night!

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 5 years? Shameless plug: Encounters with Strangers written be me and published the week before Ella was born in June 2013!

Describe your family: My husband Chris and I have a four-year- old daughter, Ella, and a three-year- old son, Lucas (we call him Luke). Chris and I are lucky that our parents live nearby too. My parents are in Hillside and Chris’ are in Flanders.

Mountains or Beach? Beach please! I joke with my husband that I want to have a beach house in the Caribbean when we retire…I used to handle The Tryall Club’s PR and I have Jamaican roots so perhaps there.

Favorite movie? Coming to America with Eddie Murphy has always been one of my favorite movies since childhood. When I left home (Maryland) to go Barnard College in NYC, I felt just as excited as Prince Akeem!

What inspires you? My children. If it were not for them, I don’t think I would have had the guts to start my own business, Cielo Consulting back in 2015. Being able to see them as much as I do while running my business is something I cherish very much, and it pushes me to work hard and succeed daily.

What charity are you passionate about/how do you live out “CareServeGive? On a local level, I am active with the South Orange/Maplewood Community Coalition on Race. I also care about spreading awareness for child sex abuse, so this year I will be giving back to an organization that is fighting for policy reform in D.C. and is educating parents called Stop Child Predators through the sale of a novella that I wrote, The Survivors Club (coming soon!). It’s a very important issue and we must all know the facts and protect our children.



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Gary Rosard

Work website: www.garyrosard.com   

Favorite charity: http://www.hrc.org

What town do you live in? Millburn.

Where did you live before that? Before that, briefly in Maplewood, before that 23 years in Manhattan

What brought you to SOMA? After all those years in NY, my partner (now husband) and I were ready for a change. More open space, quiet, having a garden. We had a couple friends in Maplewood and when we came to check it out, realized it was ideal. We needed an easy commute to the city and liked the sophisticated culture out here.

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)? I’m an architect specializing in comfortable modern homes. Sometimes people think of modern design as cold and sterile, but we bring a lot of warmth into our designs and make sure they function well for our clients’ lifestyle.

What’s your favorite feature of your home? The back garden. It’s a lush refuge. We have zero lawn.

What ‘s the best book you’ve read in the last 5 years? Patti Smith’s “Just Kids”.

Describe your ideal day: A long hike on a remote beach, swimming in the sea, napping under the umbrella. Then a great dinner out in the local town.

Favorite local place to eat? Arturos for basic. A Toute Heure in Cranford for something more upscale.

Who/What did you aspire to be when you were little?  My grandparents drove me over the Verrazano Bridge right after it opened. I was 9 or 10, dazzled looking out the window from the back seat. I decided then I wanted to be an architect. I didn’t know at the time that architects don’t generally design bridges.

Of all the places you’ve traveled, which is your favorite? It’s an odd toss up between southern Utah and Rome.

What can you not live without? Dogs. Dogs.

What inspires you? Quantum Physics.

Coffee or tea? Black tea, but an occasional espresso.



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Katie Rickard

Charities of Choice: 2Buckets


Where did you live before that? Marina del Rey, CA - we had a one year stint in Staten Island, NY in between CA and NJ as well.  

What brought you to SOMA? My husband, Danny, was working in the city and we had one child already...so between the train line and the community feel, it was a no brainer. 

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)? I am currently an aspiring mobile app developer! I am incredibly passionate about service work and volunteering, so I created an app called 2Buckets that will make it super easy and accessible to give back to your community.  In addition to 2Buckets, I am a certified Elementary School teacher (but I've been at home with my kids since they've been born) and recently got approved to substitute teach in SOMA school district.

What’s your favorite feature of your home? I have a really large walk-in closet that is super rare in these towns.  I love it and last year I had an organizer come and make it even better!

Where do you love to go on a date night? Danny (my husband) and I are pretty social people, so we love meeting friends out (we love the Liberty Tavern!).  If it's just us, we're a "dine-in movie" kind of couple.

What’s music/album are you really into these days? Good Old War (check them out if you haven't...they're amazing!) is always in rotation.  Pink's new album is awesome.  My family also has the Spongebob Squarepants Broadway Musical cast album on a constant repeat.

If you could have a super-power, what would it be? Probably to be able to fall asleep before 11.  I'm not sure that's a super power, but I'm SUCH a night owl and end up waking up cranky every morning.  

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 5 years? Evicted by Matthew Desmond.  

What’s something that amazes you? My husband.  He's basically the best there is.  

Describe your family: My husband Danny (see question #10) is amazing.  He has supported our family and my dreams and passions without blinking an eye for the past 10 years - and done so with grace and a smile.  Plus he makes dinner AND does the dishes.   My son Sean is almost 9 and he might be the sweetest boy there is.  He is gentle and kind and smart.  My middle Lucy is 7 and is a unicorn.  She is silly and funny and loves dancing and makeup and making people laugh.  Maggie is 4 and I openly weep thinking about sending her to kindergarten next year.  She gives the best hugs and loves to play games and puzzles and use her imagination.  I'm an incredibly lucky woman.  

Favorite local place to eat? So many great places but I LOVE any savory scone from Cedar Ridge Cafe.

Who/What did you aspire to be when you were little? I wanted to be Hailey Mills initially.  When I realized that wasn't going to happen, I decided I wanted to be a teacher.    

What is your favorite store? Home Goods!

Mountains or Beach? Beach

Favorite movie? Newsies, The Devil Wears Prada, Jurassic Park (the 1st one)

What inspires you? The Obama Family for sure.  Also our town.  We live in a really special place where so many creative people live and work.  It's fascinating to me to meet someone new and find out what they did before living here.  

How would you describe your “style”?  I've got pretty awesome hair, so that's usually how people recognize or define my style.  But aside from my hair, it's "target/h&m/kohls/things on sale" chic.

Coffee or tea?  Black Coffee

What charity are you passionate about/how do you live out “CareServeGive?  So 2Buckets is a mobile app that hopefully will inspire people to volunteer in an easy and meaningful way.  It's a time-focused volunteering app.  So basically the user would put in "I'm free from 10-1 on Thursday" and 2Buckets would put you somewhere to serve.  The opportunities will all be commitment and training-free.  Basically, it's trying to capture the episodic volunteer.  The volunteer who wants to serve, but can't commit to the 1st Friday of every month.  It's also a great way to shine a light on many different service organizations in our community that need help. 



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Avian Carraby

Charity of Choice: http://www.haiti155.org

Personal Website: avianandjohn.com

What town do you live in? We lived in South Orange for 15 years and raised our boys in the SOMA schools.  We recently moved to Vauxhall.  Our store is in Maplewood at 1857 Springfield Avenue.

Where did you live before that? Before South Orange, we lived in Irvington.

What brought you to SOMA (or surrounding town)? The schools!

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)?  My husband and I are owners of Avian and John: a lifestyle store – we sell everything for the home and also some clothing, little bit of accessories, bowls, etc.  We feature a lot of homemade furniture – made by husband, out of recycled wood – it has an industrial feel.  We have been in business for 15 years.  We previously had a store in Brooklyn and we still sell at the Brooklyn Flea. This month we are hosting an Artisan Market bc a lot of people came in store asking if our stuff was vintage (it isn’t) and we wanted to educate others that people do make their own stuff! Sundays in October, 11am-6pm, behind the store in the parking lot.

What’s your favorite feature of your home? My living room, because I think we were able to show all the different pieces that we love – some from travels, some John made – it has become our most favorite place.

Where do you love to go on a date night? A movie

What’s music/album are you really into these days? I like a bit of Jazz – the person I’m really in love with lately is Gregory Porter.

Describe your family: My husband is my best friend (we’ve been in love since we were 18!), and my two sons – who both have the same qualities as me (we are all quiet Aries).  My husband complains that we are so quiet!

Describe your ideal day:  On the beach in Barbados!

Favorite local place to eat? Tandoori Chef 2 in Maplewood.

What is your favorite store?  Arhaus, in the city.

Of all the places you’ve traveled, which is your favorite? India.

What can you not live without? My husband!

What inspires you? My kids.  I definitely want them to be better than us. By working hard and doing good – I’m hoping they will, in turn, be inspired by us!

How would you describe your “style”? People say Loose and Funky – I like the men’s area of Zara!

Coffee or tea? Tea.

Also, what charity or organization are you most passionate about? http://www.haiti155.org. It’s a nonprofit organization based in NYC. Their mission is to inspire and support long lasting social and economic change in Haiti, which begins with empowerment at the grassroots level. Haiti 155 supports this process through technical guidance, resource ?mobilization and entrepreneurial innovation.


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Kelly Lombardi

Charities of Choice: Boomer Esiason Foundation

What town do you live in? J & L: Maplewood, NJ

Where did you live before that? Clinton Hill, Brooklyn

What brought you to SOMA? Dynamic community & quick commute to the city.

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)? Obsessing over real estate was previously a hobby, now I do it professionally! Realtor.

What’s your favorite feature of your home? Hands down, my screened-in back porch. It's my little oasis.

Where do you love to go on a date night? Via Carota in the West Village. We're close enough to the city that we can still easily go to our favorite restaurants when we want to.  

What’s music/album are you really into these days? If You're Feeling Sinister by Belle and Sebastian

If you could have a super-power, what would it be? Getting my children to fall asleep on command. 

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 5 years? The Dollhouse - it was the perfect beach read.

What’s something that amazes you? Ever since proactively learning about and then experiencing it for the first time, the female body's ability to grow and deliver a baby. I would do it over and over again if I thought I could care for that many children!

Describe your family: With 3 sweet girls under the age of 7 our family can currently best be described by kitchen dance parties, both successful and failed attempts at sharing, and plenty of hugs.  

Describe your ideal day: Coffee delivered to me in bed by my husband, a leisurely stroll to yoga class, followed by a day with my family on some sort of local adventure. And delicious food, my ideal day always includes really good food.

Favorite local place to eat? Arturo's, Folklore Artisanal Taco, Roosterspin, Ani Ramen.

Who/What did you aspire to be when you were little? For some odd reason, a dentist.

What is your favorite store? Maplewood Mercantile (Salvage Style, Meus, Mothers+Daughters), City Workshop Men's Supply Co

Mountains or Beach? Mountains in winter, beach in summer.

Favorite movie? A childhood favorite: The Princess Bride.

What inspires you? I'm inspired to be the best possible version of my self and to be a strong yet compassionate role model for my daughters.

How would you describe your “style”? I guess classic casual with a touch of vintage?

Coffee or tea? Coffee (actually espresso!)

What charity are you passionate about/how do you live out “CareServeGive? Environmental issues and the Boomer Esiason Foundation (Cystic Fibrosis)



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Kimaya Salaskar

Website: www.kimaya.com

Charities: Saint Barnabas Cancer Center

Anything exciting coming up? We have a lot of fun and exciting events coming up at Kimaya Kama in the spring like wine and cheese evenings, mimosa sundays and our second anniversary celebrations in the first week of May which will be a week full of raffle prizes, free gifts and other fun stuff.

What town do you live in? I live with my husband Manoj in South Orange.

Where did you live before that?  We moved to South Orange from Manhattan. I am originally from Bombay (Mumbai), India and my husband grew up in London.

What brought you to SOMA?  We were looking for a weekend home to get away from the craziness that is Manhattan and we came across a gorgeous home in South Orange. I fell in love with the gaslights and all the unique old homes. It was too close to Manhattan and the taxes too high for it to be a weekend home so we decided to take the plunge and move.

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)? After moving here I opened my first store Kimaya Kama in South Orange. By 2014 we needed to expand to a larger space and I found the perfect location in Maplewood Village. This May we celebrate 2 years of being at 168 Maplewood Avenue opposite St. James’s Gate in Maplewood. I love clothes, jewelry and putting great outfits together so this is perfect. I enjoy everyday I spend at the store meeting friends and neighbors.

I also own a small Real Estate company in New York, Kama Properties. I have worked in Real Estate in Manhattan for over 10 years, I enjoy the hunt for the perfect apartment and negotiating the best deal for my clients.

Who are you named after? My name Kimaya means Magic in Marathi.

What book is on your nightstand? The life-changing magic of tidying up by Marie Kondo. I have been working on getting rid of the clutter in our lives, my nephew told me that this book was truly life-changing when he sent me a copy.

What show does everyone need to binge watch? I love watching crime shows. These are some of my favorites – Luther, Wire in the Blood, Broadchurch, Hinterland, The Killing, Criminal Minds, The Fall and Sherlock. The best show to binge watch is Game of thrones.

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning? I get ready pretty quickly, I can take a shower, do my make-up and be ready in 20-30 minutes at the most.

Salty or Sweet? I love ‘Spicy’, everything must be super hot. My favorite line while ordering is “can you please make that extra-spicy?”

Describe your ideal day: I love to cook, so my ideal day is one where I get to spend a lot of time in the kitchen cooking an elaborate meal. And have someone else clean up.

What makes you laugh? My husband Manoj keeps me entertained and makes me laugh all the time.

Who/What did you aspire to be when you were little? I have always wanted to build an animal sanctuary to help stray, hurt and ill-treated animals. This is something that I still hope to achieve someday.

Of all the places you’ve traveled, which is your favorite? I loved Costa Rica, the people there were really friendly, everyone seemed happy and they respected their wildlife. The weather was lovely as well.

What inspires you? People who work selflessly for the betterment of others inspire me. Good Thoughts, Good Words, Good Deeds.

How would you describe your “style”? My store Kimaya Kama is a refection of the style and clothes that I love. I would say it’s Boho-Chic but we also have Trendy tops and jackets, Elegant dresses, Artsy accessories and Delicate jewelry.

ALSO: WHAT CHARITY or ORGANIZATION are you most passionate about? I am a breast cancer survivor and a huge supporter of all the cancer charities. I know that without the hard work of fundraising and research for cures and treatments I would not be here today. It is very important to keep the researchers funded so that hopefully one day there will be cures for all cancers. At Kimaya Kama for every scarf we sell we donate one to the Cancer patients at Saint Barnabas Cancer Center.



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Janine Territo & Laura Himmelein

Charities of Choice: www.take-the-cake.org

What town do you live in? J & L: Maplewood, NJ

Where did you live before that?
J: Evanston, IL
L: Manhattan -- Greenwich Village

What brought you to SOMA?
J: A job opportunity in NYC
L: After seriously considering turning our apartment closet into a sleeping alcove for our then 18 month-old, we decided it was time to join other friends and migrate to Maplewood.

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)?
J: Managing Take the Cake is my main job at the moment, aside
from parenting.
L: In addition to my work with Take the Cake, I am an event designer with my own business, Party Cake Party Cake (www.partycake-partycake.com).

What’s your favorite feature of your home?
J: My kitchen! It’s bright and cheery and where I spend a LOT of my time!
L: My deck. It’s relaxing and secluded. I love hanging out there with friends -- or just a cup a coffee. It always feels like a little mini vacation. I miss it during the winter and always put off storing the furniture till the last possible second.

Where do you love to go on a date night?
J: I’m almost always up for a night at the movies! If I’m lucky, we’ll have time for dinner, too. We love Wild Ginger, Walia, Arturo’s and cocktails at Coda. We also have some Montclair favorites, like Mundo Vegan and MishMish.
L: My husband and I love seeing comedy shows. The Bell House in Brooklyn is one of our favorite venues.

What’s music/album are you really into these days?
J: I’ll always be true to my old favorites, Bob Marley, Cake, Stevie Wonder, Billy Bragg, Paul Simon, Joan Armatrading, Ben Folds, etc. But lately I’ve been enjoying Portugal. The Man and The Weeknd and (I’m slightly embarrassed to admit) Selena Gomez.
L: I listen to an eclectic mix of favorites (from the Beatles to the Violent Femmes) as well as newer stuff. Just now I was listening to Alessia Cara’s “Here”.

If you could have a super-power, what would it be?
J: Although fraught with troubling consequences, I would have to say time travel!
L: Flying. That would be incredible!

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 5 years?
J: It’s really hard to pick one but Lucky Boy by Shanthi Sekaran was a fantastic and thought-provoking page turner!
L: This is tough -- I can barely remember what happened last week. So I’m going with a recent read. Lilac Girls. It really lingers.
What’s something that amazes you?
J: How quickly my kids are growing up (and how much I love AND like each of them). Everyone said it would go too fast but I didn’t believe them! My first baby is turning 21 years old this month and I honestly don’t know how that happened!
L: The generosity of our local town. When people hear of a need or a cause -- they pitch in and step up.

Describe your family:
J: My husband and I have a “blended” family of 6 kids, ranging in age from 12 to 21. It’s been incredible to watch them grow and see how much they love and respect each other. I didn’t grow up in a big family and I had no idea how much fun it is!
L: Full of boys and animals. My husband and I have two amazing sons, ages 13 and 16, and 6 cats (don’t ask) and two dogs.

Describe your ideal day:
J: Coffee, someone else cooking for me (preferable great vegan food!), time laughing with my best friends, hugs or phone calls from my kids, most likely a nap (!) and a quiet night by the fire with my husband.
L: Any day spent near the ocean. The waves and salt air always centers me. Spring, summer, winter, fall -- any time of year. There is nothing like it.

Favorite local place to eat?
J: I have so many favorites, but I’d have to say Cedar Ridge Bakery & Café is my top choice. It has a fun and relaxed
atmosphere and the food is wonderful. I especially appreciate all of the delicious and innovative vegan food on the menu! If we’re with the kids, Pandang is a perfect crowd-pleaser! Something for everyone and they’re the nicest people in the world!
L: I love so many for different reasons. Park Wood diner is one of NJ’s best. Love Coda’s fish tacos and calamari salad. Love Palmer’s quiches (seriously the best I’ve ever had); Cedar Ridge’s egg salad sandwich can’t be beat. St. James Gate is a must for their mussels and Dublin burger (with blue cheese); Village Coffee’s goat cheese omelet is one of my favorites; Wild Ginger’s lunch menu is a must to try. You need to go to Abril Cocina when you crave Mexican. The Able baker is the place to go for cookies, cakes, brownies – and anything else your sweet tooth desires.

Who/What did you aspire to be when you were little?
J: Honestly, I think I aspired to be a combination of Phoebe Cates, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Marcia from The Brady Bunch!
L: A Martha Stewart type with A Kate McKinnon twist.

What is your favorite store?
J: [words] Bookstore and No 165
L: Perch, Words, No 165

Mountains or Beach?
J: Mountains!
L: You’re wrong, Janine : ) It’s the Beach.

Favorite movie?
J: Harold and Maude
L: Dolores Claiborne

What inspires you?
J: The children with whom I work and their caregivers. I’m amazed and inspired by their resilience, positivity and
generosity despite the most challenging circumstances. They remind me to be my best self and to focus on what is most important to me.
L: Janine took the words out of my mouth. The kids we have had the honor of meeting are truly incredible. The thing is, they are kids -- who just want to be kids. And it’s this resilience that is so inspiring.

How would you describe your “style”?
J: Casual. On my most stylish days, I actually change out of my exercise clothes!
L: Classic contemporary. Over the years I’ve found what works for me and pretty much go with that – with a few updated accessories, etc. thrown in.

Coffee or tea?
J: Coffee! Definitely coffee.
L: Coffee

What charity are you passionate about/how do you live out “CareServeGive”?
J & L: In 2014 we founded Take the Cake, a Maplewood nonprofit serving Essex and Union counties. We provide fun, customized and free parties to families who couldn’t otherwise celebrate their children’s birthdays. We are committed to the idea all children deserve their very own birthday party! (You can check it out at www.take-the- cake.org!)

 


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Zenobia Oaks

Organization of choice: Christian Love Baptist Church (http://christianlovebaptist.org/)

website: http://spokenwordz44.wixsite.com/nswsylieworkshop

What town do you live in? Maplewood

Where did you live before that? Good ole Newark, NJ. 

What brought you to SOMA?  I was led to this town by divine grace.

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)? I literally write and recite poetry for a living. It was once a hobby that turned into a business. This business is called Neo_SoulZ. Do what you love and it won’t feel like work is such a true statement. Neo_SoulZ is an open mic entertainment company whose primary focus is writing and reciting poetry to uplift and encourage others through the art of poetry by creating open mics and poetry workshops.

I offer a basic workshop designed for anyone who wishes to change their life by changing their words using the art of poetry. The goal is to convince someone by changing their words they can then change their life and use poetry as the tool to do so. We snap our fingers to the profound words of spoken word artists not just locally but from all over the tristate.

Along with the love of poetry I go to senior centers , hospitals, schools, youth orgs, to the park, in a store and just recite poetry to people just to encourage others but in the end I always end up being encouraged.

Neo_SoulZ brings together a community culture of like minds through the art of spoken word & poetry and reintroduces it as a world of healing and self-awareness through the art of writing and reciting. By using the Power of Poetry to uplift, inspire and encourage people.

What music/album are you really into these days? I love gospel music mixed with neo soul.

If you could have a super-power, what would it be? I do have a super-power. And that is the power to uplift, inspire encourage and to spread love using the gift of poetry.

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 5 years? The Bible. It gives me strength when I’m weak.

What’s something that amazes you? The power of Love amazes me.

Favorite local place to eat? Burnet BBQ –  the original one on Burnet Ave in Union

Who/What did you aspire to be when you were little? When I was about 5 years old I knew I wanted to be some sort of entertainer. Couldn’t quite articulate exactly what at that age.

What is your favorite store? Any grocery store.

What can you not live without? God

What inspires you? The thing that most inspires me is love. It changes people.

How would you describe your “style”? Simple, natural, with a touch of 70’s yet still beautifully unique.

Coffee or tea? Green tea all day baby! ????

Also, Do you have a charity or organization that you are passionate about? I am very passionate about my church Christian Love Baptist Church. My beloved Pastor Reverend Ronald B. Christian who was the senior Pastor passed away last October which was a shock to the world. But who are we to question God. He was the vessel who believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself. His gift was the gift of love. He loved everyone. He didn’t care whether you were black, white, gay, straight, if you had a Platinum credit card or a Family First card from the welfare department. He just wanted to love people to a better place. He truly was a man after God’s own heart. He taught me how to love the unlovable because I at one time was the unlovable. We at CLBC continue to live his legacy of love.I serve as a greeter/usher at Christian Love.



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Hannah Zollman

Charities of Choice: www.take-the-cake.org

What town do you live in? South Orange

Where did you live before that? Rockville, MD

What brought you to SOMA? Husband's job

What do you do (for a living or as a serious hobby)? I am a fundraising consultant and own my own business Mission Driven Fundraising (missiondrivenfundraising.com).

What’s your favorite feature of your home? Hard to pick just one feature -- I love it all!

Where do you love to go on a date night? Carvel...we always end up there for dessert!

What’s music/album are you really into these days? Anything my Amazon echo plays

If you could have a super-power, what would it be? Mind reading

What’s the best book you’ve read in the last 5 years? Lilac Girls

What’s something that amazes you? NYC...still feel like a kid in a candy store every time I'm there (even though I lived there for 6+ years)

Describe your family: Handy and kitchen extraordinaire husband and an energetic and curious toddler

Describe your ideal day: Any day spent with family...or a massage

Favorite local place to eat? Boccone South -- Amazing gluten sensitive options (including pizza AND pasta)!

 Who/What did you aspire to be when you were little? A lawyer helping people What is your favorite store? Costco

Mountains or Beach? Beach - grew up in Florida

Favorite movie? Don't have one

What inspires you? People who give selflessly of their time

How would you describe your “style”? Mom comfortable

Coffee or tea? Coffee. Lots and lots and lots of it.

What charity are you passionate about/how do you live out “CareServeGive?