Mountain Creek Resort’s 2nd Annual Smoke N Blues Festival

Mountain Creek Resort in Vernon celebrated Memorial Day Weekend under sunny skies and summer-like temps with its 2nd Annual Smoke N Blues Festival on Sunday, May 24.

Hundreds flocked to the outdoor venue to enjoy delicious BBQ favorites and groove to the area’s top Jazz and Blues artists, including Bob Lanza, the VooDudes and the Chuck Lambert Band.

Mountain Creek and Crystal Springs Resorts have an extensive lineup of events and activities for the summer, including Action Park Waterpark’s Opening on June 13 and the annual NJ Beer & Food Festival, taking place on June 20 where guests (21+) can sample over 150 beers, jam to live music and indulge in a BBQ feast right on the golf course at Crystal Springs.

Photos by Lauren Scrudato/Mountain Creek Resort

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#HipNJWeddings- Richard O’Malley

#HipNJ wedding planner extraordinaire Richard O’Malley sat with our Kendall Zoppa to talk about current trends for the 2015 wedding season!

Through his company The O’Malley Project (T.O.P.), Richard has planned the Garden State’s most prestigious events for over 15 years and has 10,000+ parties on his resume.  He’s planned fetes for every walk of life, from Presidents and celebrities to sweet 16’ers and (of course) brides.

“Every thing I do is truly unique because we design the occasion around your lifestyle.  We’re seeing people become more comfortable forgoing tradition and doing what’s important to them,” Richard explained.

One bride that Richard worked with wanted something so out-of-the-box, she wanted her wedding dress made out of balloons.  The dress got so much attention, “Lady Gaga‘s people ended up calling up my balloon guy to make her a custom dress!”

Richard’s favorite wedding venue is The Garden Vista in Passaic.

“Because of its historical status, the owner [Jim Robbins] of the building had to keep the ballroom intact.  He refurbished the apartment building around this sprawling ballroom from the 20’s that can hold 400 people!”

Beyond party planning, The O’Malley Project offers consulting services for small businesses to help make entrepreneurs more profitable!

For more information on Richard O’Malley and The O’Malley Project, visit

ted allen

Ted Allen at Menus for the Mind

The students of P.G. Chambers School got a real treat when Food Network’s Chopped host Ted Allen stopped by for a special visit!

The visit was part of the 20th anniversary of P.G. Chambers’ Menus for the Mind Lecture Luncheon Series, which supports the school’s children with disabilities.  Past A-List guests include Cynthia Nixon and Tim Gunn.

#HipNJ‘s Kimberley Merlo chatted with Ted and some of the key players that made the amazing day happen!

Over 200 guests packed P.G. Chambers’ Cedar Knolls cafeteria to celebrate the event, which was part of the school’s 60th anniversary.

“To me it’s a privilege to have opportunities like this.  I get to learn, and this is nothing but fun!” Ted exclaimed.  As you can see in our segment, he truly bonded with the students by answering their questions and taking selfies!

Event co-chairs Jerry Rose and Joanne Balady were ecstatic over Ted Allen’s enthusiasm and the large community support.

“Money raised today goes to wheelchairs and iPads and different equipment that will help the children keep focused in class,” explained Jerry.

“Every child is unique in what their needs are,” added Joanne.  “Luckily, a lot of people here are friends of the school, and are so willing to contribute and support the children of P.G. Chambers!”

“Everyone deserves a place to realize their potential, and to see this I’m overwhelemed,” gushed Ted.

For more on P.G. Chambers School, visit


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