Tag Archives: Kenneth Barilari

Remembering Dr. Jan Huston-Pryor

Jan Huston-Pryor, beloved mother, wife, and doctor, tragically passed away this week. #HipNJ would like to tell you about her life, her family, and her incredible work.  

Her husband, Jonathan Pryor, her confidante and nanny, Amy Kolb, her twelve children, her grandchildren, and her siblings  join the community to mourn her passing. 

Huston graduated with a B.S. degree in Nursing from Michigan State University, followed by an M.S. degree in Clinical Psychology from Western Michigan University. After practicing as a nurse for some time, she returned to Michigan State for medical school. Following a number of years as a vascular and general surgeon, she found her professional calling: to provide diagnosis and surgical treatment of breast disease. In 1999, she founded Summit Breast Care, opening several offices in Northern New Jersey where patients, including the uninsured, received great care.

She also served as medical director of the Connie Dwyer Breast Center at St. Michael’s Medical Center in Newark. Most recently, she worked as a medical director at Hackensack UMC-Mountainside Hospital, where she was a strong proponent of evidence-based screening and treatment of breast disease. She was also the key investigator for a study of the Breathlink test, a promising cancer screening tool utilizing genetic markers in a patient’s breath.

Connie Dwyer, founder of the Connie Dwyer Breast Center at Saint Michael’s Medical Center, remembers Dr. Huston as a skilled breast surgeon who put her patients first. “She cared about each and every patient, always taking time to ensure that they received the surgical care and follow-up necessary to manage a breast cancer diagnosis,” she said. “Dr. Huston will be missed by all who knew her. We have all lost a hero in the fight against breast cancer,” she stated.

Janet Lesko, former Director of the Connie Dwyer Breast Center at Saint Michael’s Medical Center, shared her thoughts. “I had the privilege of working closely with Dr. Huston,” she said. “She was a first rate breast surgeon who was dedicated to her patients.” She stated that Dr. Huston gave out her personal cell phone number so that patients could call her for any reason, providing them with an extra level of comfort knowing that she was only a call away. “We all enjoyed working with her. She had great ideas on how to improve our services to patients, and was at the forefront of emerging technologies in the fight against breast cancer,” Lesko concluded.

“She was the doctor I would introduce patients to, and no one would be turned away as long as she knew their situation,” Deborah Q. Belfatto, co-founder of Susan G. Komen North Jersey, remembered fondly. “The joke was, you could show your library card and she would help you!”

“Her and I go back many years, and have attended a number of educational and outreach events together. She was often honored for her work, and we feted her in 2003 at the Pink Tie Ball. She was a significant part of Komen and touched countless lives. The community has suffered a tremendous loss.”

Everyone who was asked to speak about Dr. Huston cited her compassion and love for her patients. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family.

Services celebrating Dr. Huston’s life will be held in the First Presbyterian Church in Caldwell, with a memorial gathering on Saturday, March 25 from 1-5pm. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, March 26 at 3:30 p.m.

Arrangements are in care of the Codey & Jones Funeral Home of Caldwell. To share memories and condolences, please click here. Memorial donations can be made to the First Presbyterian Church at Caldwell Memorial Fund.

CandyStax by Lucia

Lucia Pitti on CandyStax by Lucia

By Kenneth Barilari

#HipNJ spoke with Lucia Pitti, creator and designer of CandyStax by Lucia, about her signature jewelry.

I was shopping at Neiman Marcus one day and came across these gorgeous colorful beaded bracelets in a glass display,” Pitti says. She checked the price tag, and could not believe how expensive they were. “I decided to look into making my own at a much more reasonable price,” she says. She did some research, formed relationships with vendors, and started creating her own pieces. 

“People quickly noticed my arm candy and asked if they could buy them, so that’s how I started my little company,” Pitti says. She came up with this name because the colorful stacked gemstones reminded her of candy, “and who doesn’t love candy?”

Pitti started her company five months after her wedding. “I had dedicated so much time to meticulously planning every detail of my wedding, that when it was over, I knew I wanted to start on another creative project,” she says. She crafts every single piece by hand and makes them exclusively.

CandyStax by Lucia has just launched an online store, which Pitti is extremely excited about. She has received requests to start an online store before, but never had the motivation to actually do it. Now, the popularity of her company has grown so it was the perfect time to launch.

To celebrate the launch, customers can currently receive 15% off site-wide, ending March 19th, as well as free shipping if your order is $200 or more. “I am releasing the Spring 2017 Collection on the first day of spring, March 20th, so there will be a new promotion at that time,” Pitti says.

Prices range anywhere from $39 to $78. “I always love a good bargain, so buyers will almost never pay retail,” Pitti says.

Pitti’s current favorite item, or her current “candy-crush,” is the Rose Gold Hammered bracelet. “Rose gold has become such a big trend and it adds a pop of flair to any stack,” she says.

To learn more about CandyStax by Lucia and to check out their merchandise, click here.

#HipNJ Speaks With Laurie Berkner

By Kenneth Barilari

#HipNJ caught up with children’s recording artist and author, Laurie Berkner, to discuss her latest album, new book, and performing at the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning.

Laurie Berkner, a Princeton native, was named “The Queen of Children’s Music” by People Magazine. The singer-songwriter has released 11 best-selling albums over the course of 20 years. The Laurie Berkner Band’s latest, Superhero, is their first since 2008 to be comprised entirely of all-new, original songs.

In writing songs for Superhero, Berkner says that she was inspired by many things. Her childhood love for fireworks and bubble baths inspired songs “Fireworks” and “Bubbles.” Her desire to share ideas that she wishes she had thought more about when she was little was another inspiration. “For example, that doing something thoughtful is enough to make you a superhero, and that choosing to say “Yes” to something can make your life better, even if it scares you,” Berkner says. Her daughter also served as inspiration for a few tracks, including “Tea Party” and “Elephant In There.”

“I’m so excited about this,” Berkner says of her upcoming book, We Are The Dinosaurs, out March 21. “The text is the lyrics to my song, “We Are The Dinosaurs,” and the pictures bring the song together into a story,” she says. “There is also sheet music printed onto the back of the hardcover itself.”

“When I write a song, I usually start with one idea like a phrase, a theme, a rhythm I like, or a melody I’ve started to develop,” Berkner says of her songwriting process. “Then, I slowly bring in the other parts that are missing by playing with the words and the notes and thinking about what I’m trying to say or express. It’s a pretty thorough process that starts from nothing and ends up as a song.”

When it comes to her book, it was a very different experience, as the book consists of her song lyrics. “Writing a song is a creative process that comes directly from me, and working on the book was more about reacting to the creative process of a team of other people, and then helping to shape it.”

Laurie Berkner has seen many successes, such as performing at Carnegie Hall and the White House, as well as being featured on television. She also sang the opening credits for an episode of “Weeds.” So, what does she consider her greatest accomplishment? “I think my greatest accomplishment is just that I’ve actually made a living being creative and doing something that I love for the last twenty years. And that I’m still doing it,” she says.

Berkner is slated to perform at the New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in Readington. “I’ll sing many of my best known songs, as well as some from my new album, Superhero. She urges fans to get ready to move and dance.

Through her music, Laurie Berkner wants children to see their own importance, and “that music is a powerful and fun way for them to express themselves, both physically and emotionally.”

To learn more about Laurie Berkner, and to purchase her latest album and book, head over to her website.