The Princeton Sports Bar & Grill – The New Celebrity Hot Spot

Recently the hubs and I were invited to the Grand Opening and VIP party at The Princeton Sports Bar & Grill. We were thrilled to be invited and be one of the first to check out a new pub in one of our favorite towns, Princeton, NJ.

Many of you may remember The Princeton Sports Bar & Grill as Sotto Ristorante or even The Annex. Boy has it changed. Owner John Procaccini added 15 hi-def flat screen TV’s around the bar, so you will never miss a game. Finally there’s a sports bar in town! It’s the perfect place to grab a drink after work, watch a game and for of-age college students to hang out.

Energy filled the room at the VIP party. Outstanding appetizers were passed around. I especially liked the buffalo shrimp. We also tested out the crab fries with cheese which were delish as well.

Dan the bartender - "The Best Bartender in Mercer County"

While there, I dubbed Dan the bartender as “The Best Bartender in Mercer County”. First of all I must say that Dan makes a mean dirty martini, but what we loved most about him was his personality. Dan was so full of life, what you want your bartender to be. He was personable, fun and mingled with the customers. So often we go out on the town and the bartenders are just miserable and lack a personality. Not Dan! Dan really is the man at The Princeton Sports Bar & Grill.

Besides finding “The Best Bartender in Mercer County”, our night was filled with a few other surprises. We ran into Doug Palmer, former Mayor of Trenton.

Doug Palmer, Former Mayor of Trenton

Ed Tseng was also there in high spirits signing his book “Game. Set. Life.”

Ed Tseng

To top the evening off, we chatted it up a bit with famed Princeton professor Dr. Cornel West.

Dr. Cornel West

Talk about a party! We had some night out!

So head on over to The Princeton Sports Bar & Grill, tell Dan I sent you. Dress your best, because you never know who you might run into.

Wedding Industry Networking Event 7/27/10

Tonight the hubs and I headed over to the Marriott Lafayette Yard in Trenton, NJ to meet up with our good pal Michelle Lawlor, owner of Lucky 17 Photography to check out the NJ Wedding Industry Networking Event. I had been invited by my good friend Erik Kent, owner of NJWedding.com. The go to source for any Jersey Girl bride-to-be.

I chatted a bit with Erik about the event. Here’s what he had to say.

I even ran into Denise Taylor, owner of Great Looks 4 Less. They are located in Mercer Mall, right off Route 1 in Lawrenceville, NJ. Great Looks 4 Less specializes in ethnic hair and offers a wide selection of services and products. Stop by and check them out.

I also met the women of Anywhere Childcare. They specialize in special event childcare & babysitting services. They provide children with a kids reception while the parents are at the “adult” reception. How cool is that? Check out my brief interview with the ladies.

We truly had a great time networking with all the industry professionals tonight.

Getting Lucky with Lucky 17 Photography

Chatting it up with incredible photographer Michelle Lawlor, owner of Lucky 17 Photography

How long have you been interested in photography and taking photos? What made you get into it? Just for fun?

I’ve been interested in photography for as long as I can remember. I have my grandparents to thank for that. I spent a lot of my formative early years with my grandparents, and would often fall asleep looking at the old-time portraits of them hanging on their wall. My grandparents were also very big into swap meets and yard sales, and I started to collect antique and often non-working cameras thanks to my travels with them. I loved (and still love) the way old cameras looked and felt. When I could actually put film in them and make pictures, it was like no other joy I’d ever known. Going on into high school and college I was constantly taking photos everywhere I went and filled my room with photos of friends and family. My first long-term job was at a busy portrait studio in the mall, and I put myself through college working full-time making pictures there. At times it was incredibly stressful, but I look back at that time in my life as a valuable learning experience, because I learned to think on my feet and adapt quickly to get the shots I was after. You have to move fast with little kids – their attention span is very short so every second counts. J So while my “career” did start just for fun, it still continues to be a huge source of joy in my life today.

When did you start your company Lucky 17 photography? What has been your proudest moment since its inception?

I started Lucky 17 Photography initially as Lucky 17 Consulting about 6 years ago. At the time, I couldn’t decide which profession I loved more: Graphic Design or Photography. Back then, I was doing more graphic design work than photography (logos, business cards, flyers, etc), and that was what I focused on initially. However as time passed I started to do more photo work and used my design skills to help me design complimentary products using my photography. Finally, it felt like I’d found my calling and things really started to click. I still maintain both halves of my business today, but a larger portion of my business comes from photography. I design all of my clients’ greeting cards, books, and albums, and so the graphic design skill set constantly comes in handy. I can give my clients unique, one-of-a-kind pieces, and that means a lot to them.

My proudest moment? Wow. That’s a tough one. There have been a lot of milestones along the way. I think I would have to say that my proudest moment was delivering my first wedding album to my very first bride. She was so thrilled with her album she literally carried around everywhere she went for a whole week. And that was no small feat because the book was 11”x14” and weighed about 12 pounds. That meant a lot.

Tell me about the type of photography you do.

Without trying to sound cliché, my photography blends a photojournalistic approach with traditional portraiture to get a complete observatory perspective on my clients’ events. Let’s be honest, many of us have a particular vision in mind when we say we want photos of something. I know that with a formal event like a wedding, for example, 99.9% of brides I encounter envision the pictures they’ve seen in bridal magazines. They see celebrity weddings and say “OH, that’s what I want!” They want to be the gorgeous, laughing bride with the debonair, handsome groom, and they want the romantic candid shots. And I LOVE that. I find that when you ignore the camera and truly just live in the moment – that’s when the real “you” comes out, and that’s what I love to capture. However, that’s only one half of the event. In my humble opinion, there is still a need for formal photos, like the ones taken of your parents and grandparents. There is something to be said about tradition. You still want the grand portrait from your wedding that you can hang proudly on your wall. I can keep them ultra-traditional, or we can mix it up a bit and give your portraits a modern edge. I strive to give my clients both styles of photography with my event coverage.

 
 
 

Katie & Nick DeVito Wedding

When I saw some of the wedding photos you took for various couples, I knew you had to be our wedding photographer. Besides weddings, what other types of people/things do you shoot? Tell me about some of the bands you’ve shot and celebrities.

Katie! That’s so sweet. Thanks so much. Your wedding was a blast to shoot and I’m so glad to have been a part of that amazing day. Aside from weddings, I also do general portraiture, which includes families, teens, seniors, children, maternity, pets, and live music and promotional shoots. I also do some music journalism, freelancing for various publications, and that’s really a lot of fun. Music’s a huge part of my life and I get a real kick out of shooting bands.

I work with a lot of great local bands but also occasionally get to shoot major acts too. I’ve had the great pleasure of covering performances from bands like the Arctic Monkeys, Bloc Party, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Phantom Planet, OK Go, Van Halen… the list goes on and on. My boyfriend is currently in the band Honah Lee, and I do a lot of their publicity and live coverage, as well as when they go on tour. It’s a whole lot of fun!

Green Day

What services do you offer? What do you think separates you from the rest of the photographers out there? Everyone thinks they’re a photographer nowadays with the easy access of special cameras and PhotoShop.

Aside from photography and graphic design, I can also do photo restoration, scanning, archiving, and some light retouching. If you have some old family photos you’d like digitized to either enlarge or share on Facebook/Myspace and don’t have a clue where to start, get in touch. I adore old photos and just love breathing new life into faded, cracked, ripped and stained old prints.

The age of digital photography has brought a lot of new photographers to the field. Modern cameras make it easier and easier to take a good picture. It’s incredible what you can do now even with your small pocket camera. My pocket camera is pretty souped-up and any advanced amateur can make great images with it with only minimal practice.

However I believe what sets me apart from the pack is my training, my knowledge of the history of photography, my ability to pose and address difficult lighting situations quickly and effectively, my experience with digital processing, archiving, and color correction, and most importantly, my passion for each event or assignment I undertake. Photography is my art, my outlet for my creative energy. I pour a little bit of my soul into each and every shoot, and I strive to make it fun for everyone involved. Believe it or not, I hate being in front of a lens as a subject. I 100% know how it feels to dislike being photographed, and keep my shoots lighthearted and fun. It’s a very personal experience to be photographed by someone you don’t know, and so I immediately work on establishing trust between my clients and I. I’m not going to take unflattering photos of you and then smatter them all over the internet. I want you to look your best and I’ll do whatever it takes to get the best pictures I can create.

I really, truly care about each of my clients and take my work very, very seriously. I’m not one of those photographers that will spend half of your wedding reception outside smoking cigarettes, missing the little moments that make a wedding day so special. I work very hard for each of my clients and treat each special event as if it were my own. I throw my heart into it. My ideal clients are those that value photography as much as I do. When I connect with those people, the possibilities are endless.

If you could shoot one celebrity who would it be and why? Place you would most like to visit to shoot?

One celebrity? Hmm. That’s a tough one. I think it’d have to be Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters. I’ve taken pictures of him playing live but I’d really like to take a crack at doing a portrait session with him while his band is on the road, sort of a tour documentary style thing. He’s been called “the nicest guy in rock and roll,” and though he seems to be a private individual, I’d love to get behind the scenes and really try to capture his personality through photography. So Dave if you’re out there, give me a call. LOL.

As far as a place to visit and shoot, I’ve always wanted to go to Ireland. My ancestors were from there and someday I hope to travel to the town that my family’s from and document the rolling countryside and my family’s history. Oh, and I’d love to stop off at the Guinness factory for a pint as well. People tell me there’s nothing like a Guinness poured in Ireland. I’d like to find out for myself.

I love to travel as well, and am available for travel around the world. Have camera, will travel.

What is your favorite photo someone has taken of you? Why?

This one’s easy. Last June I was hired to photograph the wedding of two of my very close friends. I brought my lovely and talented second shooter Heather with me to cover the reception because the bride and groom wanted me to be a guest when it came to be party time. We split the day in half and I shot all of the early day’s events and then handed the reigns over to Heather when we hit the reception. My boyfriend was also a guest at this wedding and so he and I had the rare opportunity to dance together. Of course Heather was on her game and snapped some photos of him and me laughing and dancing. It was really “us” – having a great time and enjoying the night. There’s one in particular where I’m in a mid-laugh in his arms and I just love it. We’re not “cheezing it” for the camera, just enjoying the moment.

 

How can people contact you? Why should someone hire you?

Contacting me is a piece of cake. You can visit my website at http://www.Lucky17Photography.com, email me at Michelle@Lucky17Photography.com or call me at 609-610-2953. I’d love to hear from you!

Choosing a photographer for a special event or portrait session is an important decision. A client should take into consideration a few things when deciding on hiring a photographer:

  1. Does his or her style fit what I’m looking for? Am I looking more for a candid approach or formal portraiture or both?
  2. What’s my budget? Does this photographer fit into my price range?
  3. After our initial consult/email/phone call or meeting, do you feel that we get along on a personal level? Do you feel comfortable around him or her?

I pour my heart into each session, shoot, event and assignment. A potential client should hire me because I truly care about the art of photography and the customer experience. I’m not a photo factory and I only take on a limited amount of assignments per year, in order to ensure a level of customer service and personal availability that you won’t get with a larger studio. When you meet with me regarding booking an event, you’ll be seeing my smiling face behind the camera at the event, not some stranger you’ve never met. When you have questions or need help, I’m the one there to assist. In an era of automated everything, I find that a personal touch makes all the difference.

NJ Unemployed Officially Launched

As you know from my previous posts, I have been forming an NJ Unemployed group. Well it’s official! My NJ Unemployed website has officially launched. Please take a moment and check it out. Additionally, there is also a NJ Unemployed LinkedIn group, Facebook Fanpage and Twitter page.

My mission is to bring the NJ Unemployed community together. We are all in this together. If you have any ideas for the site, please feel free to contact me.

Mrs. G’s & Trenton Thunder Team Up

I’m in a box, outside but inside. I can smell popcorn and hotdogs. Anticipating seeing golden retrievers. Where am I? If you guessed the press box of the Trenton Thunder, you guessed right.

Recently the hubs and I were invited to sit in the press box at a Trenton Thunder game as part of the Mrs. G’s VIB blogger series. Debbie Schaeffer of Mrs. G’s has teamed up with the Trenton Thunder to provide various giveaways throughout the season. Tonight they were giving away a brand new Weber grill.

Nick and I were positioned in the front row of the press box. Before the game got started, the staff at Trenton Thunder put out an amazing spread of food. I must say their BBQ ribs were incredible! If you haven’t already heard, Trenton Thunder has a brand new menu, check it out here.

All the Mrs. G’s VIB bloggers were very excited to be a part of the event. It’s not every day you are invited to sit in a press box. While the men were going to concentrate on the actual game, I was going to focus my attention on other aspects of Waterfront Park. As I already mentioned the food was superb.

Besides the players, Derby and Chase are the other stars at Trenton Thunder. They are 2 golden retrievers who, if you have been to a Trenton Thunder game, would know exactly who they are. They are the “bat boys” or “bat dogs” in this case. They run onto the field and retrieve the bats that the players throw. They are super cute and who doesn’t love a golden retriever. One of the dogs came up to the press box and I was thrilled to be able to see him and pet him. I guess all the fame has gone to his head, or it could have been the heat, because he was less then friendly. As I said in my live-tweeting that night, he was a bit of a primadonna.

I checked out the Trenton Thunder store, as I was hoping to score a nice comfy Yankee’s sweatshirt, as they typically carry a lot of Yankee paraphernalia. No such luck. Not one Yankee sweatshirt to be found. Oh well.

During the 5th inning there were the 5th inning fist pumps. Only in Jersey! The field sign flashed G-T-L and the crowd went wild. Fists were pumping all over the stadium. Even in the press box.

Mick Foley the famed wrestler was there to throw out the first ball and to sign autographs afterwards. When we arrived I was asked if I was interested in interviewing him. I had to Google him real quick, because quite frankly I had no idea who he was. Not a wrestling fan. But there was a huge line of people waiting to get his autograph. My girls from “Jerseylicious” would have been proud to see him sporting his leopard shirt. Between the leopard shirt and the 5th inning fist pump Trenton Thunder was Jerseylicious for sure.

Did you know Trenton Thunder does birthday parties? How cool is that? What a great way to celebrate your child’s birthday than at a game.

At the front gate there was a huge blow up slide, which I was tempted to try out, but being that I was wearing a skirt, didn’t think it would have been the best idea.

#9 cutie Austin Krum (Photo courtsey of @ShutterBugGeek)

#9 (Austin Krum)

is super cute, the food is great, the crowd had fun and I was so happy to be a part of the day. In the end, the Thunder and Sea Wolves were tied. Our blogger friends had left, but ya never know what can happen, so we needed to wait it out. Sure enough, Brandon Laird scored a walk off home run to win the game. He also hit for the cycle last night (the hubs said, not sure what that means).

Thank you to Trenton Thunder and Mrs. G’s for inviting us to participate. I had a blast. Now, if you are looking for a more detailed article on the actual game, you’ll need to check out my hubs report. He’s the sports enthusiast.

Electrolux is the proud sponsor of the Mrs. G’s VIB series.

See Shells in the Sea Food at Legal Sea Foods

The hubs and I decided to try out Legal Sea Foods in the Short Hills Mall for a quick bite.

We were greeted by about 8 employees who were all gathered at the front desk. We were ushered all the way to the back room, where no one else was, far away from anyone.

The food was nothing to write about, but I will.

I ordered the Lobster Bisque soup and Nick got the Clam Chowder. We both found shells in our soups and spit them out. Mine was pretty bland, I was a bit surprised. Nick also ordered the crab cake appetizer which he enjoyed. It was fairly good. I ordered half a Caesar salad, and it was bland. I was definitely not impressed at this joint. I hate feeling like I threw $50 out the window. But we did that night. The service was also very poor. Our server never came to check on us and ask how everything was. Nick had to get up and literally flag someone down with his napkin to get someone’s attention to ask for more Caesar dressing. My salad was very dry, only a drop of dressing.

Nick’s Guinness and my peach bellini were both good though. I guess the more you drink the better the food gets there.

Fried Pickles in LBI

Recently the hubs and I headed over to Daddy O, a restaurant in Long Beach Island. I heard they had fried pickles and needed to test them out.  My husband ordered a beer and I ordered the “O” Cocktail, which tasted more like “Oh bad decision”. It tasted like cough syrup. I sent it back and asked for a Pinot Grigio. We then ordered their beef sliders, truffle French fries and of course the fried pickles which I came for. The sliders were nothing special and they were way too large. Not bite size at all. The truffle fries were out of this world and the fried pickles were a little disappointing. They basically cut a whole pickle in half, and fried it. The pickle was too big and the breading came right off. I would have preferred them to use sliced pickles (like for a sandwich) and then fry them. They would have been bite size and similar to the delicious ones I once had in Florida. We received the bill and I was a little shocked that we were charged for the first drink I ordered but had sent back, but not the glass of wine (which was cheaper). Not that we’re cheap, but the server did take it back no problem but charged us for the more expensive of the two. It’s not a place we need to visit again, but at least I won’t go without saying I should have tried those fried pickles.

Salon Hair Every Day

 

Anthony Robert Salon

Before

Everyone knows that your hair looks its best when you step out of a salon. The problem is, trying to replicate that look every day when getting ready. When I heard that Anthony Lombardi of the Style Network’s hit show Jerseylicious was doing blowout sessions at his salon the Anthony Robert Salon in Verona, NJ, I had to inquire.

Anthony came up with a great idea! Clients can come in and schedule a blowout session with him and he will teach them how to replicate the look using the tools and products they already own. I thought this was fantastic! I could learn how to get great hair by doing it myself with the tools I already have. What girl doesn’t want to wake up, get ready and look like they just stepped out of a salon? I sound like a commercial.

Since I was long overdue for a haircut, I figured I would kill two birds with one stone and make a haircut appointment and blowout lesson with Anthony. I couldn’t wait to see him again! When I met him at the Jerseylicious premiere, he was so nice and such a down to earth guy.

The hubs and I arrived to the Anthony Robert Salon and was greeted with such enthusiasm and a hug from both Anthony and Jeff, who is a stylist there.  Anthony invited me to have a seat and we discussed what I wanted to do with my hair. I told him that I am growing it long again and was looking for a little trim. I needed a sprucing up and maybe some layers, but not too Jennifer Aniston first season Friends!  Anthony laid out the styling tools I brought with me. I felt the need to explain why I had each item. But he guessed them right on! The wide tooth comb is for detangling after a shower, the boar bristle round brush is for styling while blow-drying and the other brush is just to detangle throughout the day. Ok, he knows what he’s talking about!

I headed off to the shampoo area where Jeff did my shampoo. Then back to the chair where Anthony would snip and cut away. Once he was finished cutting, Anthony said you shouldn’t blow-dry immediately after a shower. Once you take a shower, towel dry your hair, keep a towel on it, do a few things and then blow-dry. You should be able to wring your hair and it not be dripping. It should be damp. Anthony then sprayed a Bio-Ionic leave-in conditioner in my hair, followed by the Bio-Ionic Thermal-Active Bodifying Blow-Dry Spray and finished with a dime size amount of Moroccan Oil. The blow-dry spray will add texture to hair but not leave it sticky or hard to manage. I told him that in the past I’ve bought tons of products to use before blow-drying, but that I can never get a brush through because the product leaves my hair sticky and tough. He assured me this product would not do that. The Moroccan Oil is meant to give your hair a little shine and help to create the look you are going for.

Anthony then grabbed a few hair clips and sectioned my hair off. He said to always blow-dry your hair in ¼” sections. This will help from getting your hair tangled in the brush. He said the back of your hair is typically the hardest for most people to do because of the angle, so people should do the back first and then work forward. Anthony grabbed a section of hair on the back of my head, his blow-dryer and couldn’t stress enough how important it is to keep the nozzle on your blow-dryer. You know what I’m talking about ladies. You buy a new blow-dryer. It comes with a diffuser and this other nozzle looking thing. The nozzle thing goes in the trash. Right? That’s what I’ve always done. But we can no longer do that. That nozzle is what helps to isolate the hair you are trying to blow-dry so your hair doesn’t blow everywhere. It keeps it all together.

When working on each section of hair it is important to, again keep the nozzle on your blow-dryer, and work from your roots down with your brush and blow-dryer. If you are looking for more volume hold a section straight up, bring your round brush to the root and blow dry out. Make sure your blow-dryer isn’t right up against your hair, give it some space.

Anthony worked on the left side of my hair and once he showed me the proper technique, I mimicked his work on the right side of my head. I’m not as coordinated as Anthony with holding a dryer in one hand and a brush in another and working quickly. I kept having to put the dryer down to get my brush just right and meanwhile shooting all the hot air from the dryer right on to Anthony. Sorry Ant! By the end of my lesson, I was a pro. Ok, maybe not a pro, but I was able to blow-dry my hair without constantly putting my dryer down. Anthony and Jeff were very supportive and gave me positive feedback throughout my lesson.

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Once my hair was dried and blown out, Anthony applied SemÍ DÍ LÍno Diamante™ Cristalli Liquidi, an illuminating serum to add some shine to my new do. I immediately recognized the smell of the product. I said this smells so good. Everyone agreed. It reminded me of boy’s in the 80’s wearing Drakkar Noir. Remember those days? Not only did my hair look amazing, but it smelled amazing too.

After

I was thrilled with my new do and my blowout lesson. I really learned a ton! I gave Anthony and Jeff a hug and was on my way, but before I left, Anthony gave me a great summertime tip. If you aren’t able to rinse off after a swim in the pool, mix a bit of conditioner with water into a spray water bottle and spritz your hair after swimming. This will help rid your hair of some chlorine from the pool and help to keep your hair healthy and shiny and not dull and fried.

Ladies… I highly recommend that you schedule an appointment with Anthony Lombardi of the Anthony Robert Salon for a blowout session. You already have the tools, now you need to learn the technique. Don’t you want to be able to style your hair like you just stepped out of a salon every morning?

To schedule your appointment call the Anthony Robert Salon at (973) 857-1922.

Anthony Lombardi on Twitter
Anthony Robert Salon on Twitter
Anthony Lombardi on Facebook
Anthony Robert Salon on Facebook

Gladiators? Gladly!

I was thrilled to be invited to the Sam Edelman event at Nordstrom’s, Short Hills Mall. What girl wouldn’t want to cover a shoe event is beyond me. We arrived a little early, which allowed me time to browse through the Sam Edelman collection. I may have drooled a bit. Customers were all a buzz as they checked out the hot new designs and trends by the famed shoe designer. His designs are incredible. It’s no wonder he is considered one of the best shoe designers of our time.

A few models roamed the women’s shoe section showcasing his famed designs. Servers passed around some delicious vanilla milkshakes, which was a nice little treat. I couldn’t wait to be able to chat with Sam.

Sam was immaculately dressed as you could expect, and nicer than I could ever imagine. Before I chatted with him, he walked around introducing himself to customers, helping them find the perfect shoe for them. He took photos with people and signed customer’s shoe boxes. He opened each box to see what each person selected and commented on each pair. He really made everyone’s purchase personal.

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The Nordstrom’s staff, along with Sam Edelman’s staff and family was ready to answer any questions and help out in any way. Everyone did a wonderful job organizing this event.

I was allowed the opportunity to sit down with Sam and ask a few questions. Sam grew up in New York City with his three sisters. More so, he graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. “I went there as one of 100 men and 900 women, so I practically had 800 sisters at one time or another”. Needless to say, Sam grew up having a lot of female friends.

I asked Sam “Did you always want to be a shoe designer?” He stated “That’s the best question anyone has ever asked me. It should be the first question people ask, but they don’t.  I always grew up knowing I wanted to be in the leather business, or shoe business or something like that, because my parents were in the leather business. Going back to your question about a lot of female friends, my first day at Sarah Lawrence College, I was standing in line to register for classes and this really pretty girl was in front of me and I said ‘what are you registering for’ and she said’ Italian cause I want to be a singer’, she said ‘what are you’, and I said ‘Italian cause I want to be a shoe designer and work in Italy’ and I speak fluent Italian because of that”.

Sam Edelman

As a young man, prior to designing shoes, Sam worked as the Vice President of New Business & Licensing for Candie’s Corporation. He was in charge of all new business activities. He went on to a short stint in the real estate business, but again geared towards shoes. He opened up design centers and sales centers for the shoe industry. He then started Kenneth Cole with Kenneth. It was during that process with Kenneth that he really got immersed in product development. Following that, a man named Doug Tompkins hired Sam as President of footwear for ESPIRIT in 1984. When Sam got to Espirit, Doug told him to hire a designer and while he was thinking about hiring a designer he started designing the shoes himself and has been designing shoes since 1983/1984. The couple founded the Sam & Libby shoe brand which they sold in 1996. About a year and a half ago, Sam Edelman shoes was developed and is now being sold in Nordstrom’s, Macy’s and Zappos.com to name a few.

I asked Sam if he had any plans to eventually expand and include a men’s line. He said “No. Not interested in doing men’s shoes I find men’s customer’s so slow to respond and react where women really understand fashion. That’s not to say young men’s fashion isn’t interesting. It is interesting. I like women’s fashion first and foremost. Maybe in five years my son and I will do something in men’s, but not right now”.

I stated to Sam that his shoes are beautiful and very detailed and asked him where he gets the inspiration for his creative designs. He stated “our inspiration comes from almost anywhere. It can come from the bazaars in Morocco or it could come from vintage jewelry. The truth is inspiration always has to be trend on. Just having an idea when you are working in a field, mountain or reading a magazine isn’t enough. Inspiration has to mix with being trend on, with understanding what’s happening. We specialize in trying to understand the trends and what’s really going on. So I would say, inspiration comes from the streets of Europe and it always comes from fashion”.

Little girls love to wear their mommy’s shoes and in turn, grow up with a love of great shoes. I know I did. I asked Sam why he thinks that’s the case. He says when little girls are born they love shoes. “It’s totally chemical, hormonal, it’s part of what women are all about. So often you put a pink dress down in front of a two year old and the little girl goes crazy. She has to have it! Nobody taught her that pink dresses are a good thing; it’s something that comes out of the sky. I’m a big believer in that. I know a lot about horses and I know that one out of three little girls dreams of having a pony and there is no reason, it just happens. It’s just hormonal. It’s part of being a girl”.

Sam was a delight to speak with and after speaking with him; I was introduced to his beautiful wife Libby Edelman, who was more than thrilled to chat with me about her new line, cleverly called, Libby Edelman.
Sam and Libby worked together for 30 years, and are about to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary. Their life has always focused around shoes and have always worked creatively together “although he really is the shoe designer for Sam Edelman” she stated. It just sort of came about that they were going to design a second line and would utilize the name and Libby jumped right on it. “I’ve never really done it full on until now”.

Libby Edelman’s line is available on HSN, in Lord & Taylor and some independent stores across the United States. They are currently working on selling Nordstrom’s, Dillard’s and a number of others.

I asked her how her shoe line differs from Sam’s. She said “we shop together and use the same inspiration, but mine are more affordable, they are half the price. We are gearing it towards a different customer”.  One of the questions I had for Sam was what would he say to someone who might not be able to afford his shoes, I guess he’d say go buy my wife’s shoes. Libby went on to say “we have some shoes under the Sam Edelman label that start at $49 retail and go to $150”. Sam Edelman was started 6 years ago to really be an affordable priced shoe. “We were starting the company and looking at magazines and they were showing inexpensive clothing with high and low kind of stuff and the shoes were $700-900 and we said that’s crazy. No one’s doing great fashion trend shoes that are $100 or less so that’s where Sam Edelman started” Libby said.

I asked her “why do you think women love shoes so much?  Men always pick on us for it because we take up the whole closet, but they have their tools and gadgets”. Libby motioned to my husband Nicholas and asked if he was my husband. I said absolutely and she said “here’s a piece of advice and Sam would say the same thing, it’s much cheaper to let her buy shoes than to get a divorce”.  She went on to say, “as much as we try to explain why women love shoes, part of it is you can gain weight or lose weight but you will still have the same shoe size. You can brighten up your wardrobe with just one pair of shoes. You don’t have to go out and buy a whole new wardrobe. If you’re depressed you buy a pair of shoes. When you’re happy you buy a pair of shoes. When you get married you buy a pair of shoes. It’s all about striking that emotional chord in a woman when designing shoes”.  Isn’t that the truth!

“I’m guessing your shoe closet is bigger than Sam’s” I said with a wink and a smile. Libby responded “it probably is. Although he has great shoes. His shoes may look very simple, but they are fantastic. I don’t have as many shoes as people would think, because we are designers and we are always a year ahead so we’ve moved on so we have to have some shoes to wear but we’re always thinking about the future. I donate my old shoes and move on to the new shoes. I have more evening shoes than day shoes. I keep my evening shoes, because you don’t wear them as often”.

I asked Libby what she thinks is the biggest style trend for shoes this season. She talked about a lot of organic things, such as, stones and metallic’s.  And of course, a lot of bling. “Anything that’s very different whether its stones or bling, a lot of gladiators. We have a lot of beading. A lot of wedges which goes forward to next year, lots of cork details lots of espadrilles. Those are things that are very strong now and get even stronger” she stated with enthusiasm.

After chatting with Libby, my husband Nicholas was dying to know what shoes Sam wears. Sam was wearing grey leather loafers by Alexander McQueen. Who he feels was one of the top designers ever. We asked Sam what men’s designer he recommended; he said John Varvatos makes great men’s shoes.  

Before we headed out, I was able to chat briefly with Erika King, Women’s Shoe Manager of Nordstrom’s Short Hills Mall. “How would you describe the collection as it relates to shoe trends for Spring/Summer and what do you see as a potential best seller” I asked. Erika replied “Sam Edelman always hits the trends. Right now spring and summer is big on embellishments. Gladiators are always really big and nude is also a really good trend for spring & summer”. We both agreed that Sam’s collection is really hitting these trends well. She stated the gladiators are big sellers and whenever they get Sam Edelman shoes in, they sell out right away.  I can understand why. His shoes are magnificent. Erika mentioned that Nordstrom’s has been carrying Sam Edelman for many years. They carried his designs since they were Sam & Libby years ago. I asked Erika if she had a personal favorite in the collection. She said that she loves all shoes, but tends to gravitate towards the gladiator style. Regarding Sam Edelman she said “I really love his embellishments and textures. I love all of them”.

My husband and I walked around a bit more and I decided to try on the super cute Daria gladiators, in nude, which has a bit of a wedge and a back zipper. They fit really well and you can tell they are well made shoes. My feet felt extremely secure in the shoes. I debated if I should purchase them or not, but being that the hubs and I are both unemployed, thought we should wait a bit for the splurge.

Daria

We grabbed a bite to eat and walked back through Nordstrom’s and I’m glad I waited on the Daria’s because I then spotted them in charcoal grey and decided I liked those better than the nude ones because I felt I would wear them more and they would go with more clothes I own. My birthday’s coming up. Who knows! If you’re wondering, I’m a 7 ½.

Daria

Some of my other faves from the line are the Kinley in black leather, said to be the “It wedge of the season” and I also liked the Quinly a totally cute suede open toe sling back.

Kinley on Model

Kinley paired with trouser socks

Quinly

Nick really liked the Hudson “a signature gladiator sandal with embellished front and back zipper”.

Hudson

I saw many people purchasing the Quebec, a suede open toe shootie with zipper mania, in a bright teal.

Quebec

It’s definitely a show stopper of a shoe. Or a toe stopper? Ok, a bit cheesy. It’s one hot shoe. Unfortunately I’m not that daring or balanced enough to be able to pull it off well. I need to be a bit closer to the ground. Thank goodness gladiators are one of the top trends of the seasons.

Rachael Zoe even named Sam Edelman’s Portia boot one of her Top Picks on Piperlime. His style is feminine, trendy and sexy. All of his shoes are detailed to perfection. Remember the movie “What Women Want” with Mel Gibson? Sam Edelman could have made this movie, since he knows exactly that.

Thank you Sam Edelman for making flats sexy and mile high heels affordable. You rock!

Make sure you follow these shoe mavens on Twitter!

http://www.twitter.com/samedelmanshoes
http://www.twitter.com/libbyedelman

LBI “I Do” Wedding Road Show

Welcome to LBI!

My husband and I were invited to attend the LBI “I Do” Wedding Road Show on Sunday, April 18, 2010 by Erik Kent of NJWedding.com which was organized by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce.  If you don’t already know, NJWedding.com is a Jersey girl’s go-to website for everything wedding related in New Jersey.

We met up with Erik at the chamber and met some of the event’s sponsors and chamber staff. The event was designed as a way to showcase Long Beach Island (LBI) and show why it’s one of the growing hot spots in New Jersey for weddings. Couples would have the opportunity to travel at their own pace in their cars to each venue, which would have a variety of exhibitors featuring their wedding services.  Couples could get a special book stamped by each vendor they visited, return it to the chamber office, in hopes of becoming the big winner to win an all expense paid wedding. Wow!

While we waited to start our tour, I began chatting with Annie Esposito, a Bridal Show Coordinator for WedAlert.com. WedAlert.com is a great website that is nationwide and with just a click of a mouse couples can search their Vendor Search Directory, Reception Site Locator, Wedding Song Directory and check out some great planning tools.

Throughout the day Frank Dicopoulos (Guiding Light) hosted for NJ Discover as they live-streamed the day’s events.

Ronald Faillace, President of Trolley Tours, Inc. greeted us as we boarded the trolley. The trolley would be taking the media/press and a few others around to each wedding venue for the day. It was such a fun way to tour the great island of LBI. The trolley’s are available to wedding parties in addition to a wedding motor coach (bus) also available to wedding parties or guests so that everyone can have a good time at the wedding and arrive to their destinations safely. The back of the trolley says “Just Married” so you can tell the world that it’s your big day. This is such a cute way to add some creativity to your wedding day.

The first stop on our trolley tour was to the Holiday Inn Manahawkin, where I was greeted by a mimosa. What a welcome! I walked into the room and immediately spotted Kevin Moninghoff from the Alliance for Wellness and was treated to an amazing massage. While I was being massaged, NJ Discover came over with Frank and interviewed Kevin on his holistic center and myself on the massage. I didn’t say much, I was way too relaxed. Kevin is not only open for business at his spa in Manahawkin but he travels and will be more than welcome to go to any location with his tables and give massages. Wouldn’t that be a nice way to relax before the big day? Getting a massage in your hotel room or bridal suite? Or even a nice treat for a bridal party? I’m sold. They also offer Site Corporate Massages and Pilates and Yoga classes.

Katie getting a massage by Kevin while Frank interviews from NJ Discover

The Stateroom was our next stop which offers a variety of ceremony sites including beach, bay front or a garden ceremony. What girl doesn’t love options?   The Stateroom is where I found the best cupcakes I have ever had. A Sweet Memory is a cookie & cupcakery owned by Annmarie Cooney which is out of this world! Not only are her cupcakes a feast for the eyes, but the margarita cupcake I tried was a feast for my tummy. It was the best cupcake I have EVER had! I also met Marie Addonizio of La Di Da which is a makeup and lash studio. I was so excited to hear they do threading. That is a service that is very hard to come by. Marie is an esthetician, makeup artist and massage therapist. Katie Reynolds Hood decorated the tables of this venue with beautiful tablescapes from the Reynolds Garden Shop. I grabbed a pretzel dipped in chocolate from the Philly Pretzel Factory located in Lakeside Village in Manahawkin, NJ. Shear Heaven Salon & Day Spa was there and offers some great packages in addition to their spa parties.

Yummy treats!

Next stop was the Surf City Yacht Club.  Moester’s Bakery had a large display of cakes available to sample. I opted to test the cannoli cake, which was delish. I chatted it up with the owners of Small Potatoes which is a catering company and after viewing their menu, I was drooling. They have plans to open a restaurant in the near future. Red Sails Salon was well represented at this event offering reasonably priced services for men, women and children.

The Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club is “the only premier ocean front wedding venue on Long Beach Island” and is a full service catering facility with the option of customizing anything to the extent of their ability. At the Sea Shell Resort couples can have a poolside cocktail hour and hang out in their tiki huts and enjoy a panoramic view of the Atlantic Ocean. We entered this venue and were greeted by Barbara Crowley the harpist from our wedding. We were so excited. We headed off to the bar and grabbed a glass of champagne and took a stroll outside, taking in the beautiful scenery.

Barbara Crowley, harpist

Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club

Brant Beach Yacht Club was another stop in our travels.  They pride themselves on being “one of Long Beach Island’s most spectacular waterfront wedding reception venues” and they assure you that “your day will be everything you’ve ever dreamed”! After checking it out, I couldn’t agree more.  I grabbed a piece of salt water taffy from the Parties by Design NJ candy buffets. After all, salt water taffy is a Jersey shore staple. Tammy’s Cake Walk had some beautifully displayed cakes which showcased her beach themed designs. Perfect for a beach wedding! Roberto’s Dolce Vita a Northern Italian/Continental Cuisine restaurant has a menu that sounds divine and we were thrilled to receive a 15% off coupon, another place we will have to visit.  Bistro 14 in Bay Village was passing around a medley of samplings that were out of this world. I particularly loved their crab cakes and chocolate mousse. I can’t wait till they open for the season; we will have to check it out for the full experience.

Daddy O Boutique Hotel and Restaurant was our second to last stop on our tour. The establishment is very hip and chic with a South Beach vibe. My husband and I regularly visit LBI and enjoy the beach atmosphere and charm of the town, but Daddy O reminded me more of a lounge in NY, not very LBI. They were the only stop on our tour that didn’t offer beverages or snacks and there were only 2 vendors at this location. Quite honestly, I wasn’t that impressed. I didn’t feel especially welcome there and it didn’t have that warm, friendly feel of LBI that we all love. However, I did notice they had fried pickles on their menu and haven’t had them since I was vacationing in Florida as a child. I may need to go back to try them out.

Our final destination was Mallard Island Yacht Club which was the pièce de résistance of our whole trip. Unfortunately many of the vendors had already packed up by the time we got there, but it’s no wonder this is such a hot spot for weddings. Everywhere you look, you have an amazing view of the beach, the island or the Barnegat Bay. It’s truly unbelievable. Erik Kent from NJWedding.com recommended we take a look at the enormous bridal suite they have. I don’t need to explain how amazing it is. You can watch a video tour of the bridal suite here…  

This event was spectacular! I wish I had been to a bridal show like this when I was getting married. I was able to check out a variety of venues with exhibitors at each. It wasn’t crowded like most bridal shows tend to be. Lori Pepenella of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce along with Erik Kent of NJWedding.com did a phenomenal job orchestrating the event.  It was very well planned and thought out. My husband and I had a blast!

Participating Venues at the road show included: The Boathouse, Bonnet Island Estate, Brant Beach Yacht Club, Daddy O Restaurant & Boutique Hotel, Holiday Inn Manahawkin, Long Beach Island Foundation of the Arts & Sciences, Mallard Island Yacht Club, Sea Oaks Country Club, The Sea Shell Resort & Beach Club, The Stateroom, Surf City Yacht Club and the Tuckerton Seaport.

Media Sponsors of the event included: New Jersey Bride, NJWedding.com, New Jersey Department of State, travel and Tourism, Brides.com Media, (201)BRIDE and WedAlert.com. Magic 100.1 was the Broadcast Sponsor.