Today’s Local Love is one of our own! Lisa Marie Latino serves as Hip New Jersey’s host, executive producer, and co-creator. She also owns and operates Long Shot Productions, works in-season for the New York Giants Radio Network, and is author of the romantic comedy novel, “Ten Years Later.” She was born and raised in East Hanover, but she now resides in Jersey City.
What is your favorite local restaurant?
Through my travels, I’ve been fortunate to visit so many amazing places across the Garden State. That being said, I’m going to take it old school with this answer. If you live in the East Hanover area, you know that The Godfather of East Hanover has delivered consistent Italian food for decades. My favorite dishes include their pasta fagioli soup, shrimp beeps and California arugula salad. I make sure to visit or order Godfather whenever I’m back in town!
What is your favorite local boutique?
Over the years, Hip New Jersey has covered St. Joseph Health’s Fashion with Compassion benefitting their children’s hospital. One of the highlights of the event is their collection of top Garden State boutiques. Each time I attend, I don’t bring an outfit to wear on-camera because Reve Boutique in Englewood always has something sensational that I can grab for the evening. Their styles are very on-trend and flattering to my body type.
What is your favorite salon or spa?
I met Christopher Catanese a few years ago working on a campaign through Hip New Jersey. I immediately connected with him because of our birthdays (we are both December 12 babies!) and he gives a seriously amazing haircut. I followed him to his new salon, Facez Beauty Bar in Pequannock.
Since our work is far and wide, I have a list of salons that I go to depending on the area we’re filming: Blo It Out Lounge in Hoboken, Tantrum Salon in Totowa, Cutting Edge in Fairfield, Moxie Salon & Beauty Bar in Livingston, and Drybar in Summit.
However, my favorite (and most convenient) is Alaina Antonicello of Blush Brides NJ. Alaina’s story is one of my favorite Hip New Jersey successes. Two years ago, she e-mailed through the site asking about ways we can partner with her traveling hair and makeup studio. We invited her to one of our studio days, and she’s been our go-to glam girl ever since, both professionally and personally (even on Halloween!)
What is your favorite local health and wellness center?
My favorite place to relax and unwind is actually not in New Jersey, although not too far away: The Lodge at Woodloch. This nirvana is tucked away in the Poconos woods and features the best farm-to-table cuisine, the latest spa treatments, and classes that feed your mind, body, and soul. It also holds sentimental value–my husband and I go every year for our birthdays, and we even got engaged there!
Where is your favorite local place for home decor?
Hip New Jersey and Beyond Main teamed up for a Small Business Saturday Facebook Live show featuring businesses in Downtown Summit. It was hard to film while being surrounded by so many gorgeous selections at Great House by Bonny Neiman and A.HOME. My husband and I are currently renovating a house, and I can’t wait to visit those stores and start accessorizing!
Where is your favorite local daytime hangout?
This is a true workaholic answer but here we go: I genuinely love our office in Fairfield. We decorated it with the help of Caitlin Rutkay of CR Interior Designs and it has such a modern, upbeat vibe. I miss the days of convening at the office with our staff and spending lunch breaks devouring kale caesar salads from Zest.
What is your favorite nighttime hangout?
My favorite view in the whole world is the New York City skyline. Living on the water in Jersey City, I luckily don’t have to travel far (aka my balcony). When I do venture out, I like to frequent Hyatt House, Liberty House, Pier 13, W Hotel, and Blue Eyes Restaurant for their cool atmospheres and alternative Manhattan looks.
What is your favorite local place to do business?
Conducting business in all corners of the state, there are many local coffee houses I’ve fallen in love with. Two of my favorites are Trend Coffee & Tea House in Montclair and Boxwoods in Summit.
What is your favorite “Made in Jersey” product?
Last summer when we were taping segments for HipNewJersey.com, I was surprised with a painted denim jacket by Hoboken’s Curic and Curic. They combined my “Ten Years Later” book cover with the New York Giants logo and created a very cool, unique, artsy concept. I was blown away by their talent and generosity. It will forever be one of my favorite gifts.
What is your favorite New Jersey downtown district?
Every downtown district in the state has its own distinct flavor. Newark Avenue in Jersey City has a romantic, whimsical vibe; Montclair has the hustle and bustle of a mini Manhattan; Summit is dripping in modern luxury; Cape May is quaint and timeless. I’m not sure if Wildwood boardwalk counts as a “downtown district” but in my opinion, it’s the best strip along the Jersey Shore.
What is your favorite New Jersey-based service business?
I’ll use this space to call out my brother Petie’s company since he is the polar opposite of me and would never draw any sort of attention to himself – Platinum Electrical Services. Also check out Candystax by Lucia for gorgeous custom bracelets!
How has COVID-19 affected your business?
On the surface, COVID-19 has tried to take out everything I’ve worked so hard to build for the past ten years. I’ve never had a lull in my schedule, and now I’m facing an empty calendar indefinitely. It’s scary, especially for our tight-knit production crew. I just want to get back creating beautiful content with them!
However, I’m finding much beauty in this moment. I’m using quarantine to organize and streamline company practices. On the Hip New Jersey side, we are working hard promoting our show on its new platform, News 12+, and our online small business initiative, Local Love. I’m doing a lot of writing, creating, and planning. I’m usually in 10 different places at once, so it’s nice to slow down and get back to basics. It almost feels like I’m creating my companies again.
Another project I launched during this time is a videocast series called “Live From My Living Room.” Once a day, I stream an interview with someone from around the country and learn how they are navigating their work and personal lives through this uncertain time in history. I think it’s important to document what’s happening since we’ve never seen something like this before (and hopefully will never see it again!)
For all things Garden State, keep checking out HipNewJersey.com!