Tag Archives: new jersey

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.

Choose New Jersey’s Growing the Garden State “Rocking Reception”

On October 9th, #HipNJ‘s business, labor, academia, nonprofit and government elite gathered at Choose New Jersey‘s inaugural Growing the Garden State “Rocking Reception”.  Over 320 packed Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster for great food, cocktails, entertainment by The Infernos, and high-level networking with New Jersey’s “business rockstars”.

#HipNJ‘s Lisa Marie Latino chatted with many of the party’s VIPs on the red carpet, including Tracye McDaniel, president and CEO of Choose New Jersey; Ed Walsh, managing partner of Avison Young and the event’s chair; Randal Pinkett, president and CEO of BCT Partners (and Season 4 winner of “The Apprentice“!); former New York Giants great and senior VP of Avison Young, Bart Oates; Linda Bowden, New Jersey president of PNC Bank; Poonam Khubani, VP of Telebrands; and CEO of Siel America Glauco Pensini,  who moved his business to the Garden State, thanks to Choose New Jersey.

“The only two [New Jersey rockstars] who aren’t here are [Jon Bon Jovi and Bruce Springsteen],” quipped Bernie Flynn, president and CEO of New Jersey Manufacturers.

The “rocking reception” featured Steve Adubato as emcee and Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno as the keynote speaker.

“You all know as well as I do that it’s a very competitive world, and companies have a choice.  We have to thank Choose New Jersey because we’re now in the game,” proclaimed Guadagno.

Choose New Jersey is a privately funded nonprofit dedicated to lead generation, business attraction and marketing that encourages investment in New Jersey, with a focus on helping the state’s most distressed cities become engines for economic growth.  More than $320,000 was raised at the “rocking reception” to help fuel Choose New Jersey’s mission.

Steve Kalafer, Chairman of Flemington Car & Truck Country of Dealerships and the Somerset Patriots, summed up the night- and the cause- best:

“Choose New Jersey because there’s a return on investment.  Choose New Jersey because it’s the most educated workforce in the United States.  Choose New Jersey because we’re at the cutting edge of technology.  Choose New Jersey because it’s right…and it’s hip!”

#HipNJ couldn’t agree more- we live in the best state to live, work and play!

For more on Choose New Jersey, visit ChooseNJ.com.

Off-Broadway Star Kimberly Aliano

#HipNJ’s Lisa Marie Latino recently went backstage with Off-Broadway star Kimberly Aliano, who is currently crooning in “My Big Gay Italian Wedding” and “My Big Gay Italian Funeral.”

“I am a big advocate for the gay and lesbian community, so to appear in these shows is very special for me, in more ways than one,” proclaimed Kimberly.

“My Big Gay Italian Wedding” satirizes the controversy surrounding same-sex marriage while drawing on larger than life gay and Italian characters. Kimberly marries the two principles, Anthony Pinnunziato and Andrew Polinski.

“My Big Gay Italian Funeral” picks up where “Italian Wedding” leaves off, at the funeral of Anthony’s father Joe. Kim plays Fanny Zucchiatti, owner of the Spectrum Gay Nighclub in Brooklyn.

Her latest “Funeral” performance- on Father’s Day- was dedicated to her dad.  Gary Potenzone, Sr., co-owner of the legendary Apollo Flag Company, passed away earlier in 2014.  (Apollo is now owned by Kimberly’s mother, Deborah and uncle, Albert Potenzone).

“I couldn’t think of a better gift to give him in heaven than singing and acting in his memory,” Kimberly bittersweetly explained.

While Kim confidently struts her stuff on stage, her road to stardom hasn’t been easy. Kimberly has struggled with her weight her entire life- a plight that the image-driven music industry hasn’t been sympathetic towards.

“I had a lot of doors shut in my face because of my appearance,” said Kimberly, a plus-size model and children’s book author (“Chubby…is everywhere!”) Despite the obstacles, Kimberly’s pipes have landed her cushy gigs, including singing for President George W. Bush at Drew University.

When Kimberly isn’t performing, the lifelong Totowa resident likes to chill at home with her husband, Giovanni, and her two kids, Vincenza (6) and Antonio (1). She is very involved in charity work, and helps out at her siblings’ store, Sweets and Stuff by Apollo.

Something tells us that her schedule is going to get a lot busier!