2014 New Jersey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

New Jersey‘s marquee event happened on November 13th at the Asbury Park Convention Hall, and we were there to catch all the VIP action!

#HipNJ‘s Kelly Dillon was on the red carpet with the newest members of the New Jersey Hall of Fame Class of 2014, including inductees Brian Williams of NBC News, former Governor James Florio, and The Shirelles.

“It feels absolutely incredible [to be here],” gushed Williams.  “I just drove up Route 35 from our house down in Ocean County … I was raised 100 yards from Route 35 behind a furniture store in Middletown,  and my whole upbringing is along this stretch.”

Among the honorees was beloved late star of “The Sopranos“, James Gandolfini.  James, who suddenly passed away last year, was celebrated by his Sopranos family, including show creator David Chase; director Timothy Van Patten, Vincent Curatola (John “Johnny Sack” Sacrimoni); Tony Sirico (“Paulie Walnuts” Gualtieri); Aida Turturro (“Janice Soprano“); Vincent Pastore (Salvatore “Big Pussy” Bonpensiero).   James’ wife, Deborah Lin Gandolfini, accepted the honor on his behalf.

“We miss Jimmy so much,” Pastore said.  “it’s very hard for everyone who is here tonight … to show up at an event without him being here.  We were HBO’s Rat Pack.”

Dominic Chianese, who played “Uncle Junior” on the hit series, shared some words about Jim with #HipNJ‘s Lisa Marie Latino at Joe Torre’s Safe-At-Home Foundation Gala, which was also on 11/13:  “James, I loved him so much and I can’t explain it.  I wish I could have been there.  What a great man”.

Other A-listers in Asbury Park included Bruce Springsteen; Class of 2014 inductee Howard KatzNBC Sports legend Dick Ebersol; Dionne Warwick; novelist Harlan CobenLt. Gov. Kim Guadagno and E Street Band drummer Max Weinberg.

For information about the New Jersey Hall of Fame, log onto www.NJHallofFame.org.

#HipNJ Cares: BBN Foundation 2nd Annual Fall Gala

#HipNJ is proud to support the BBN Foundation and their annual gala for the second year!

The mission of the BBN Foundation is to support and provide educational programs that promote effective and compassionate communication in healthcare. Their objective is to improve healthcare through better communication.

We attended their fete at The Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange, and spoke to the key people who are making groundbreaking changes in the medical world.

Dr. Anthony Orsini, developer of the “Breaking Bad News” model, explained to our Lisa Marie Latino about the strides the organization has made since we spoke a year ago.

“With the money raised last year, we were able to expand the program into training doctors in five different specialities in four different hospitals in New Jersey,” dished Doctor.  “I’m also very happy to announce that, as of this year, we’re expanding the program to Florida and Virginia“.

Count the BBN Foundation among the many trends #HipNJ sets across the country!

Debbie Woodbury, author of WhereWeGoNow.com and a cancer survivor, lauded the program: “We’ve all gotten bad news, and I’ve heard so many horror stories [about how medical professionals handled the situation], so it’s wonderful that someone is doing something about it.”

To learn more about the BBN Foundation or to join the cause, log onto www.BBNFoundation.org.

Happy Veterans Day! Presenting the American Dream Wedding Scavenger Hunt

The town of Bernardsville recognizes the large sacrifice made by American men and women serving in the armed forces.

To show their appreciation, businesses banded together to sponsor The American Military Dream Wedding Giveaway, an all-inclusive, all-expense paid wedding of a lifetime. The finalists competed in a scavenger hunt where the winner took all!

#HipNJ’s Julie Dedoussis was behind-the-scenes with the owner of Diamond Dream Fine Jewelers, Faina Shapiro, who tells #HipNJ that they donated engagement rings and wedding bands for The American Military Dream Wedding Giveaway. She had an idea to do something good for the veterans, which turned into this great event that brought the community together!

Nicole Russo, the winner of the scavenger hunt, has a military fiancé overseas right now and did the race for him. She says winning would be a great motivation for him to get home as soon as he can! Nicole had no words after this amazing win of a lifetime; she was so happy to have the opportunity for her family to all be together on her special day.  Without the generosity of all the participating vendors, she never would have been able to afford her dream.

For more information visit www.DiamondDreamJewelers.com.

Live Hard, Work Hard, Play Hard.