Tag Archives: garden state

Orlando Victims and New Jersey Natives

In a weekend marred by tragedy, light is shone as celebrities and public figures who originate from the #GardenState show their support through social media for the Orlando victims and their loved ones.

On Friday night, Christina Grimmie, a former third place finisher on The Voice and native of Marlton, was shot dead while signing autographs after her concert at The Plaza Live in Orlando, FL. She was headlining alongside Before You Exit. Grimmie, 22, was a popular YouTube artist before auditioning for season 6 of The Voice, where she turned all four chairs and ended up on judge Adam Levine’s team.

While her killer’s motive remains unknown, Grimmie has received an outpour of condolences from friends and fellow Jersey-born celebrities. A vigil will be held for her in Marlton on Monday evening.

? #ripchristina

A photo posted by Nick Jonas (@nickjonas) on

Following Grimmie’s death, the country woke up Sunday to news of yet another tragedy in the same city. At Pulse, a gay night club in Orlando, a gunman opened fire, killing about 50 people and injuring around 50 others. The attack is both the deadliest mass shooting ever to take place in the United States and the deadliest attack ever against the LGBT community. The gunman was killed by the police and there are possible links to ISIS.

Reports have confirmed that a few New Jersey residents were among those murdered. Celebrities native to the Garden State also took to social media to express their condolences to all of the victims and their loved ones.

But even in the midst of the rough weekend, some exciting events were still happening all over.

Friday, June 10th

94.5 PST held its annual Summer Bash Friday in West Windsor at Mercer County Park Festival Grounds. Performers included Fifth Harmony; Charlie Puth; Melanie Martinez; R City; and Troy Sivan.

Saturday, June 11th

Down the shore, the Wildwood Beer Fest was in full swing Saturday afternoon at Fox Park on Ocean Avenue. Both nationally recognized and local craft brews were featured along with food, beer seminars and live bands.

Sunday, June 12th

The Copa America Centenario, an international men’s football/soccer tournament, kicked off last weekend. The tournament’s format is similar to the FIFA World Cup. This year, the United States is the host nation and this weekend, the tournament found itself in #NJ at MetLife Stadium for a qualification round. Ecuador and Haiti played with Ecuador winning 4-0.

Ecuador a cuartos de final! #copaamericacentenario #newjersey #metlifestadium @laprensasportfm @superk800radio

A photo posted by Kristy Maria Alvarado Cabello (@sambaalvarado) on

The Paper Mill Playhouse, a regional theater that stages shows, both new and old, and serves as an established facility for aspiring actors, in Millburn received the Regional Theatre Tony Award at the 70th Tony Awards at the Beacon Theatre in New York City.

Congratulations @papermillplayhouse for a well deserved honor. #tonys2016

A photo posted by Jerry Rose (@thejerryrose) on

Childhood Friend of Christina Grimmie Shares Memories of Late Singer (HipNJ Exclusive)

By Kenneth Barilari

Singer Christina Grimmie of Marlton was fatally shot on Friday night after performing at The Plaza Live in Orlando, Florida. #HipNJ had the opportunity to speak with her childhood friend and next door neighbor, Kristen, about her memories with the singer.

Grimmie started posting covers of popular songs on YouTube in 2009 and quickly gained popularity. In 2014, she auditioned for The Voice with a stunning rendition of Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball” that made all four judges turn their chairs. She joined Adam Levine’s team and finished the competition in 3rd place.

THE VOICE -- "Live Finale" Episode 621B -- Pictured: (l-r) Adam Levine, Christina Grimmie -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

THE VOICE — “Live Finale” Episode 621B — Pictured: (l-r) Adam Levine, Christina Grimmie — (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)


In February and March 2016, Grimmie opened for Rachel Platten on her Wildfire Tour, where she performed songs from her latest EP, Side A.

Kristen said they both attended Vacation Bible School growing up, where they would rehearse Bible songs together. Grimmie was always performing in their hometown, “whether it was in a basement or a bar,” making it clear that singing was her passion from a young age.

Grimmie attended Cherokee High School, where she sang in the choir and participated in Cherokee Idol, the school’s annual singing competition.

When Grimmie joined The Voice, “the whole town was behind her,” Kristen said of their hometown. She said that the singer received tremendous support every step of the way.

Grimmie has given the world a ton of memorable performances, both on The Voice and on her own YouTube channel. Her cover of “Party in the U.S.A” has become her widely popular on YouTube, with over 12.5 million views to date.

Kristen recalled one song that stood out to her, Grimmie’s cover of David Guetta and Sia’s “Titanium.”

“It made me melt. It was incredible,” Kristen said. Grimmie’s cover of “Titanium” now has over 18 million views.

When she first heard the news of Christina’s injuries that would later become fatal, Kristen could not believe it. “I woke up to my phone blowing up with the news. It was devastating. I’m still in shock I cannot believe she’s gone,” she said.

Flowers and pictures have been placed around the Fallen Chief Memorial and Marlton will hold a candlelight vigil in the singer’s honor tonight.

When asked how people that knew Christina would describe her in three words, Kristen responded, “Talented, kindhearted, and independent.” Christina Grimmie’s talent and compassionate heart will be remembered always, and her voice will live on through the memories she gave to both her fans and those who had the opportunity to get to know her.

Restaurant Latour at Crystal Springs Resort

By Kenneth Barilari

#HipNJ’s Cara Di Falco brings us to Restaurant Latour at the Crystal Springs Resort in Sussex County.

According to Executive Chef Anthony Bucco, the restaurant exists in a destination area that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of all things Jersey. Between the farmland and the stretches of the Appalachian Trail, the spectacular setting shapes everything about Restaurant Latour.

Latour has close working relationships with local animal farms, with a “synergy” existing between them. They also have a Chef’s garden, which provides easy access to fresh herbs and vegetables, and is open for customers to see in action.

The restaurant works with another local farm that does foraging. They scour the property and surrounding mountains for edible wild produce. This adds a wonderful health component, as there “are reasons certain things come up at certain times of the year,” Chef Bucco states. He feels that it is important that people remain aware of this.

Latour’s entire menu is done as tastings. There are five courses and diners have choices within each course. Or, if they are feeling brave, Chef Bucco and his team can decide the meal.

“I take a lot of pride when somebody hands over the responsibility of choosing for them,” Bucco said. “That’s the greatest compliment you can pay to a chef or a kitchen.” He loves the opportunity to sculpt a diner’s experience.

Bucco also stated that “there is no nicer sunset in New Jersey” than the one he sees from the restaurant. So, head over to Restaurant Latour for a delicious meal and a beautiful view.

For more information, visit Restaurant Latour’s website.  And for an exclusive recipe from Chef Bucco, visit Cara’s food blog at CaraDiFalco.com!