Category Archives: Rising Stars

Hip New Jersey sits with the state’s up-and-comers before they hit the mainstream. We’ll find out what motivates them on their journey to the top!

Wellness By Roma

Wellness by Roma

#HipNJ’s Lisa Marie Latino met with the Garden State’s newest business owner on the block, Roma Bajaj Kohli of Wellness by Roma!

Roma, a certified yoga teacher and fusion food enthusiast, has developed a wellness journal that guides users (specifically, time-starved moms!) on achieving a holistic lifestyle that encompasses the best mind, body and soul practices.

“I understand that time is of the essence for a lot of people, so I want to help them adapt good habits that will allow them to enjoy a peaceful and energized life,” explained Roma.

Roma knows first-hand on how embracing yoga and organic recipes can help bring about positive changes to one’s life. “I was struggling with my husband working around the clock while I was home with our two children. Being a stay-at-home home, I felt lost. My background was in fashion, but I felt trapped and wondered where my life was going. When I dived full-force into this lifestyle, a part of me was healed.

What Roma couldn’t have predicted was that her new mindset help bring her family closer together. On weekends, the family practices yoga together in their family room and enjoys a healthy meal afterwards. Roma looks forward to these moments more than anything in the world.

For more on Roma, visit WellnessByRoma.com.

Penelope Lagos

Penelope Lagos of “I Miss My Best Friend”

In honor of #WorldBookDay, #HipNJ‘s resident author Lisa Marie Latino chatted with fellow scribe Penelope Lagos about her debut book, I Miss My Best Friend.

I Miss My Best Friend is a heart-warming story for children that will help them learn how to deal with the loss of a pet. Penelope also offers ten helpful steps parents can use to help their children cope with grief.

The poignant story and detailed illustrations were inspired by the death of Cassius “The Legend” Lagos, who was Penelope’s beloved best friend for 16 years.

“Losing Cassius was like losing a child to me,” Penelope explained. “You never get over the death, but the book has helped me heal.

“It’s been therapeutic.”

Her love for four-legged creatures goes beyond Cassius. She is a huge animal advocate and strongly believes in being “a voice for the voiceless.” She holds a certification in Canine Fitness and Conditioning as well as Advanced Pet CPR/First Aid.

“Author” and “Animal Ambassador” are only two of the many hats Penelope wears. She is a New Jersey native and Rutgers University graduate who has acted in numerous indie films and commercials as well as volunteering at The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Penelope was the recipient of an achievement award honoring critical funds raised for LLS.

For more on Penelope and to purchase her book, visit PenelopeLagos.com.

Lisa Marie Latino’s wardrobe provided by Privée by Priya. Lisa Marie’s Makeup and hair provided by Blush Brides NJ. Order her debut novel “Ten Years Later” on Amazon

Brynn Stanley

Brynn Stanley Performs for Minette’s Angels

Attendees of the Minette’s Angels Celebration of Angels gala on Thursday, April 26th at the Park Savoy Estate will be treated to the soulful jazz vocals of Brynn Stanley at cocktail hour! 

This Fairleigh Dickinson University graduate has been charming audiences on both coasts with her “Classic” EP that contains her unique interpretations of some of the timeless American standards. Her smooth, silky voice has drawn comparisons to classic legends like Ella Fitzgerald and Peggy Lee and modern stars like Norah Jones and Diana Krall.

Brynn got her start playing piano and singing with her sister, Jackie, in her parents’ living room. She would orchestrate family performances, and force her siblings to be in her short films and music videos. And thanks to her Dad’s shared love of The Beatles, Brynn memorized the words to every song and learned to sing harmony. Early stage fright reserved those performances for her family living room, but while attending college, Brynn took a leap of faith and began to sing publicly.

One night, while sitting around a piano with friends singing Broadway show tunes, Brynn’s friends encouraged her to try out for the upcoming musical. She eventually landed the lead role of ‘Sheila’ in the musical “Hair”. The following year Brynn changed her major to pursue her newfound passion.

After graduation, Brynn embarked on a singing career, immersing herself in countless performances with the most polished bands and venues in the Tri-State area. These performances included being the featured vocalist for official events held by the Governor of New Jersey and appearances at Mayo Performing Arts Center, The Metropolitan Room and Shanghai Jazz.

In 2013, Brynn headed West to California to broaden her career prospects and, through newly formed musical relationships, created her first ever original album, 2015’s “Hello, California”. The album is a unique blend of contemporary pop and hints of the jazz she loves, with influences ranging from Sara Bareilles to Michael Bublé.

Ultimately, Brynn knew she wanted to record standards from the Great American Songbook. Thanks to Executive Producer, Eric Lindquist of Sonopath Productions, this dream became a reality with the release of “Classic”, Brynn’s five-song EP. The recordings were done in Los Angeles with Grammy & Emmy Award-nominated engineer Jorge Vivo and producer & jazz recording artist Tony Guerrero at the helm.

Currently, she can be seen performing in and around New York and Los Angeles with her jazz trio at the famous Chateau Marmot in Hollywood, Vitello’s Jazz and Supper Club, Herb Albert’s Vibrato’s and Shanghai Jazz (voted “one of the top 100 great jazz clubs in the world”). While developing a reputation as a soulful jazz singer with an enthusiasm to please audiences of any age, Brynn continues to garner strong reviews from press, band mates, bandleaders and concert promoters.

For more information about Brynn Stanley, visit BrynnStanley.com.

To learn more about Minette’s Angels and to donate, visit MinettesAngels.org.