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.

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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.

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.

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

The Early Show

As you know, I’ve been working with PARADE magazine on the “What People Earn” project. Please Become a Fan on the “What People Earn” Facebook Fanpage.

PARADE pitched their story about the project to CBS’s “The Early Show”. Since I had been chatting with PARADE about my job search, employment history, social media and the NJ Unemployed networking group I created, they thought I would be a great candidate to go on “The Early Show” and discuss how I’ve been using social media and networking in my job search, as well as my NJ Unemployed networking group. As I’ve mentioned, the NJ Unemployed group started as a way for individuals who are unemployed in NJ to come together, share experiences, stories and struggles. I plan to bring in employers looking to hire, as well as presenters to speak on resume writing and business etiquette to the group as well.

“The Early Show” producers agreed that social media is a great way to network and hopefully gain full-time employment. So on Monday, April 12, 2010 between 8:00am-9:00am EST, I will be discussing social media and unemployment, as well as the “What People Earn” project. I hope you will tune in. If you are one of the lucky ones who are employed, set your DVR!

3D TV’s Are the Future and The Feature

Last week I attended the “Techlicious” blogger event at Mrs. G’s in Lawrenceville, NJ, sponsored by Mrs. G’s and Electrolux. It is part of a 5 part blogger series that they have been hosting all year.

Suzanne Kantra of Techlicious came to speak to our group on 3D TV’s. My husband was very excited to attend this event as he is very tech savvy and actually used to write for a technology magazine a number of years ago. This was right up his alley. As for me, I’m not much of a techy girl. I figured I would attend to see some friends and try to understand the tech language as best I can.

Suzanne was unbelievable! I understood every word. She doesn’t speak in total techy language. Her company gears itself towards woman, and explaining and discussing technology through a woman’s point of view and speaks in layman’s terms. This was perfect for me.

 She talked about the differences in TV’s and how 3D TV’s are simply a feature of a television. I always wondered how that worked. Many movie companies are selling their movies in 3D now and cable companies are beginning to offer 3D shows on television. I had no idea. I thought it was just for movies like “Coraline” and “Avatar”.

We were then able to have the 3D experience, I watched a group of people who were diving out of an airplane and it was super cool. It is definitely a cool feature for a TV. Plus, for kids or individuals who enjoy playing various games, you are able to hook them up to the TV for a 3D experience. Pretty cool!

 Later that day, I found out that Mitsubishi seems to be the front runner of these televisions. They are on their third round of TV’s already. My husband always says not to buy the first one that comes out, wait for the second as they have worked out the kinks by then. So based on this information, I would feel most comfortable purchasing a Mitsubishi 3D television over another brand that may have only put out one 3D TV thus far.

This was definitely a cool learning experience, plus it’s always great spending time with the Mrs. G’s VIB’s (Very Important Bloggers). Kudos to @debbieschaeffer and @mrsmonj for organizing another great event.

Jerseylicious Red Carpet Premiere

Not for nothing, but this past Sunday, I was looking pretty Jerseylicious as the hubs and I headed off to the “Jerseylicious” red carpet premiere at LUA in Hoboken, NJ. Being that I’m a Jersey girl and a reality TV lover, this was the place to be.

LUA Restaurant, Hoboken, NJ

We arrived at LUA and the place was already hopping. Everyone was in great spirits and excited to congratulate the cast of Gatsby Salon’s” Jerseylicious.” We found a spot near the bar and I quickly realized we were right near all the action. The cast and their families were all around us.  I walked up to a few of the cast members and congratulated them on the show. I must say, the cast really worked the crowd, walking around saying hi to everyone. No signs of Alexa or Olivia though.

The premiere was organized by The Hip Event in Montclair, NJ and they assured me that the cast will be answering questions in the press room. About half an hour after being there, we went into the press room, each cast member spoke to each person from the press. I had already thought about what questions I would ask. I wanted to be original and fun, like my Blues Traveler interview. Enough of the “what are you wearing, what do you think of the Jerseylicious v. Jersey Shore” business.

Jerseylicious Cast Gigi Liscio, Anthony Lombardi. Tracy DiMarco, Gayle Giacomo and Christy Pereira (l-r)

First up, Anthony Lombardi, who owns the Anthony Robert Salon in Verona, NJ.  Anthony and I already chatted it up a bit earlier and I knew he was a totally down to earth guy. I’m not one to brag, but before Anthony and I started the interview he told me that my husband and I were his faves. I’m not shocked, we’re Jerseylicious too. We were there to have a good time and watch a fun show about our home state, Jersey baby.

Anthony said he’s proud to be from Jersey and that’s what makes him Jerseylicious. “I’m proud of everything the State has to offer. I love everything about this State, I’m a Jersey boy at heart and I wear it on my sleeve and if that makes me Jerseylicious, so be it” he stated. When I asked Anthony what Jersey celebrity he thought had the best style, he took off his hat, displaying his shaved head and said “I gotta say Bruce Willis. He’s another Jersey boy that lets it all out there, he made it big and he’s not afraid to say he’s from New Jersey.” Anthony always uses a little Bay Rum on his head after shaving and says it feels fantastic.

Christy the salon manager, who is also Gayle’s daughter, came over to speak with me next.  She is proud to be a Jersey Girl and said “I think all us Jersey girls have our own style and originality. We’re loud and bold and not afraid to say what we want to say.” Christy’s favorite NJ celebrity is Bon Jovi. “Even for a gentleman, he has great hair, he always looks great. I love the fact that he’s never too dressed up. He’s my all time favorite.” Christy’s go-to style product her Gatsby hairspray.” I can’t live without it” she said with excitement. Who knew the Gatsby Salon had their own product line? I sure didn’t. At one point during the night I was able to chat it up in the ladies room with Christy. We talked about Twitter and I offered to give her a Twitter 101 lesson if she ever wanted. I told her it’s a great tool to market the company and herself.

Gayle Giacomo, Gatsby Salon owner, says she really likes style and has always liked to look nice. “I want to be the best I can be, even at 52. I think our women in Jersey care about what they look like, it means a lot to us.” She really looked beautiful for the premiere. Jon Bon Jovi would have agreed, he’s her fave Jersey celebrity. Her favorite products are the SkinCeutical line and Kérastase for her hair.

Another new addition to the salon, Gigi is full of personality and said that her hair and nails are what makes her Jerseylicious. She is proud of her nails and stressed that they are real and she cut them down recently. She stated “being Jerseylicious means being well put together, feeling good about yourself and being confident.”  For cosmetics Gigi loves MAC and for hair she likes Chi hairspray, Kérastase and Goldwell.

Last but not least, I had the opportunity to chat with Tracy who was looking super stylish in her leopard print dress and teased out hair. I asked her what makes her so Jerseylicious and she said “I think that I don’t take no for an answer, I don’t let people tell me what to do. I mean I’m my own person, I’ve never followed anyone in my life.”  She discussed her role on the show and said she’s pretty much the “I don’t take anything from anybody kinda girl”. Tracy said we will see that and how Olivia tries to push her around but it doesn’t really work out for her. Like Gigi, Tracy said her hair is the most Jerseylicious thing about her.  She is a self-proclaimed tease queen. “Tray tease that’s what everyone calls me.”  Jerseylicious is about personality and, being friendly and nice to everyone, she said. “I mean it’s the greatest place to be, Jersey, and everyone needs to stop hating on it.” Hear Hear!

Asking Tracy what NJ celebrity’s style she adores she stated without hesitation “Bruce is pretty up there”.  Being that my husband is a huge Springsteen fan, and Anthony already stated he loves Bruce Willis’s style, I needed to clarify. My husband was eagerly awaiting an answer.   “Bruce Springsteen or Bruce Willis? If you say Springsteen, my husband is going to be very happy” I said. “Oh yeah I was saying Springsteen. Who doesn’t love Baby Bruce?” Tracy replied. So now we know who my husband’s favorite Gatsby Girl is, Tracy, without a doubt. 

Tracy is a huge fan of Chi Helmet Head hairspray. She swears your hair won’t move and stay in place forever. “People say oh my hair doesn’t stay. That product, it will never let your hair fall. It’s the best thing on the market” Tracy declared.

We ended up grabbing a drink with Tracy at the end of the night when the place was clearing out. We talked about Bruce (Springsteen that is), the show and more. I was a pleasantly surprised how nice Tracy was. I saw the previews before the premiere, and they make her out to be the not so nice one. But like she said earlier in the night, she’s just a Jersey girl who doesn’t take no for an answer and isn’t a follower. I can respect that. She’s really just a Jersey girl. Since I’m a Jersey girl born and raised, I get it.

Guests watch the premiere of Jerseylicious

Next up the viewing party. There were TV’s scattered around the bar and we all gathered around cheering on the cast and watched the premiere episode. The show is about the re-invention of the Gatsby Salon in Green Brook, NJ. The owner Gayle decided to renovate Gatsby Salon a decade after her husband’s passing, with the help of her daughter Christy, the salon manager. Not only did they want to change the physical look and feel of the salon, by updating it, they wanted to bring in some fun younger new stylists to help with the salons re-birth. The cast is full of bold, bright personalities with tons of style and flair. The remaining episodes will document the lives of the new stylists as they enter a new journey with the Gatsby Salon.

Right before we left LUA, we ran into Brielle Morelli, a Season 2 Jerseylicious hopeful. Brielle is hoping to land a role as a featured cast member for next season. She’s super sweet and we are crossing our fingers for her.

After meeting this super cool, down to earth cast, I am without a doubt a Jerseylicious fan. The show is fun and totally Jersey. How could you not love it?

Make sure you check out Jerseylicious on the Style Network Sunday nights 10/9 c.

Follow the cast on Twitter:

@Jerseylicious
@GatsbySalon
@AntLombardi
@gastbygirl
@Tracy_DiMarco
@mystyle

Originally written for http://www.mrsmonj.com

Photos courtesy of The Hip Event.