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!

everybody loves hazel

Everybody Loves Hazel

New author Carla Komar is promoting positivity and friendship in her release of children’s book, “Everybody Loves Hazel”.

This New Jersey native encourages happiness and the joy of helping others to young children through a lovable chick named Hazel. She sat down and chatted with #HipNJ‘s Lisa Marie Latino about her book and unique home design.

Carla’s daughter Charlie, along with some of her friends, kicked off the segment with a very important question, “What does love mean to you?” Charlie gave the very special response of, “When my mom comes home from work, I give her a big hug!” Clearly positive vibes run in this family.

Carla’s cute chick Hazel believes in happiness, hope, peace, trust, friends, and love. The story focuses on Hazel’s trip into town to pick up her pink birthday cake, where she meets some friends along the way. As readers follow Hazel’s journey, they learn that helping others makes every day a brighter, happier one!

The character of Hazel stemmed from a children’s accessory line created by Carla. The six meanings of Hazel are represented by different fun, colorful bracelets. Not only are these bracelets cute and fashionable, they are a reminder that a little kindness goes a long way.

Carla’s home is just as colorful as her book and bracelets. Carla’s background in children’s apparel brought her all around the world, and she has brought a piece from each journey into her home. This eclectic home décor speaks to the creativity that blossoms in the Komar household!

Whether you’re an up-and-coming author or just need a little dose of positivity, this is a must-see segment!

For more information on Carla Komar or to purchase “Everybody Loves Hazel,” please visit

Rising Stars: Nikki Stanzione

Nikki Stanzione is a Hollywood force to be reckoned with, and we were super honored to host her at the #HipNJ studios!

This West Orange native is a true “five tool player”- she sings, acts, hosts and much more! She chatted with Lisa Marie Latino about her vast career that spans both US coasts.

After graduating Rutgers University, Nikki made the bold move to Los Angeles to pursue her dreams.  Soon after settling in LA, she was regularly featured on the soap opera “All My Children”, and recurred as “Cynthia” on “Young and the Restless”.

After her soap opera stints ended, Nikki took her talents to Miami. During her time in South Florida, she appeared regularly in the musical comedy “Laffing Matterz”.  She also hosted a national daily live interactive game show, “My Games Fever,” which was seen nationally on MyNetwork TV.

These experiences, among many other endeavors, launched her into her biggest role to date- as host of “New Mexico Style,” on the Southwest FOX affiliate, 2 KASA FOX. It was there she interviewed the biggest and brightest personalities in the country, and asserted herself as one of the industry’s best presenters.

Currently, Nikki is staring in Off-Broadway, is penning a novel and recording music.

For any up-and-coming entertainer, this is a must-see segment; hearing Nikki’s story will motivate you to keep on your path to stardom!

For more on Nikki Stanzione, please visit her website.

Master Phil Ross, “The Kettlebell King”

A “kettlebell” may not look like much, but it is a valuable key that unlocks your mind, body and soul’s optimal potential.

#HipNJ got a chance to have a personal workout session with one of only eight masters of kettlebell training in the world, Master Phil Ross

Master Ross has been training all walks of life for 38 years- from UFC fighters, NFL athletes and celebrities, to children, law enforcement officials and those who are looking to improve their health.

Personally, he is in a class all on his own; at almost 52 years old, he has the stamina and physique of a 25-year-old.  His bountiful passion and charming personality helps clients get through their grueling workouts at his studio in Ho Ho Kus.

Master Ross- who is also a Master RKC, bodyweight specialist and 8th Degree Black Belt- was introduced to kettlebells by former UFC champion Frank Shamrock.  He proceeded to learn everything he could about these unique objects.

He has turned his unparalleled kettlebell knowledge into a vast library.  The Kettlebell Workout Library is a culmination of more than 6 years of Kettlebell Based workouts designed by Master Ross. Strength, explosive power, balance, flexibility, durability, longevity and cardiovascular endurance are all addressed.  The 20-hour DVD Compilation consists of 104 Kettlebell-based workouts and a 140 page full color manual.  You can find more information here.  

To learn more about Master Phil Ross and to try using kettlebells yourself, visit Phil’s website.