Tag Archives: nj

Fabulous Females: Parker Sanchez

There’s a meme I see often – “Real Queens Fix Each Other’s Crowns.” This month’s Fabulous Female very appropriately has a real crown! Parker Sanchez, from Hardwick, is the reigning Mrs. Universal. On top of that she’s a part time SAHM of two active toddlers and works part time at The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms. Parker recently changed careers after teaching ballroom dancing for over a decade. Prior to teaching dance, Parker attended Fordham University, where she obtained a B.A. in American Studies and an M.A. in History. Beauty and brains!

Parker has been involved in pageantry for ten years, and once she entered her first pageant she was hooked. For her it was a way to network with incredibly passionate, driven women who were doing serious volunteerism and using their titles to promote causes dear to their hearts. Parker is an ambassador and advisor for The Unmentionables, a nonprofit organization that provides forcibly displaced individuals and communities around the world with safe and consistent access to sexual and reproductive health education, services, and protection and empowerment programs.

Parker manages to single handedly run a household with two toddlers and a husband who’s in law enforcement (with a crazy schedule), volunteer for The Unmentionables and use her title as a megaphone to promote other causes she cares about. It’s exhaustive, but she has the support of her husband Pablo, or as she calls him, “Mr. Universal.” She told me that Pablo isn’t the type of guy to ask “why?”, but instead says “why not?” to any crazy idea or plan she has. There’s nothing more empowering for a woman than a husband who’s supporting and understanding (oh yeah and he’s my cousin!).

When I asked Parker how she’s able to juggle everything, she said she multitasks like a boss! For her the drive is that she wants her children see a mom who’s passionate about bettering the world, and to demonstrate to them that you can do anything you set your mind to … and of course Starbucks helps!! Give me that red eye stat!

Robin DiLauri Filippone Lends Her Voice to the Pink Crusade

By: Robin DiLauri Filippone

The Inferno’s Band travels all over the world. There have been so many unbelievable experiences but to this day, there is one that I still have a hard time explaining in words…

My first time performing with The Infernos at the Susan G. Komen North Jersey breast cancer walk was a day I will never forget. I can’t begin to tell you the emotions that were inside of me. A surreal feeling, as if you are a part of something so much bigger. A truly magical feeling. An ocean of pink. Thousands of women who were sisters. An unspoken family. Holding each other, hugging, laughing, singing and dancing at 8AM in the morning!

The Infernos were also a part of another amazing event, Minette’s Angels 15th anniversary gala. The night was a beautiful execution of selfless people helping those in need while keeping the memory of mother, wife, sister, friend, Minette McKenna.

This year, breast cancer hit me right at home. My best friend, Tracy, who is like family, was diagnosed. My dear survivor warrior friend Deb Belfatto (whom I met when through the Infernos band,) directed us to Tracy’s angels on earth- the man who would soon saved her life, Dr. Michael Scoppetuolo and his lovely wife, Rosemary.

Needless to say, when I was asked to sing at the Fashion for the Pink Crusade, which raises funds for the Saint Barnabas Breast Center (that helped my friend get through 20 grueling treatments of chemotherapy) there was no choice but to say YES. The honor is all mine. The idea of filling a room with music among survivors, family members, donors, and friends fills my heart with such joy. I am singing a ballad of hope and strength.

For more information about Fashion for the Pink Crusade, click here.

#TrainYourBrainDay NJ’s Finest Escape Rooms!

escape room

Today is #TrainYourBrainDay! Looking to put your brain power to the test? An escape room is the perfect way to actively engage in some brain puzzles with your closest friends and family! The concept is simple—you are locked in room and must solve puzzles and riddles using clues, hints, and strategies to escape in under 60 minutes. I’ve had the pleasure of partaking in a few escape rooms with my family. It was a lot of fun—I highly recommend!

The first escape room I did was The Dorm Room at Amazing Escape Room in Princeton, NJ. As a college student, I thought it was really neat being able to do puzzles in a place that felt a lot like my college home! My first experience in an escape room was tough but definitely a great learning experience for future escape rooms. It laid the groundwork for being able to decipher clues and come up with strategic ways to solve the puzzles and riddles. Unfortunately, my group and I fell just short of escaping. We still had a great time!

The next escape room I did was Lost Jewel of Zanzibar at Escape Room Center in my hometown of Bridgewater, NJ. Set in Africa in 1930, the objective is to find a mystical gem from  a powerful warlord before time expires. I really liked the safari-adventure feel to this room. It almost felt like a Disney attraction! With a little more experience under our belts, my family and I were able to escape this room under 60 minutes. Woohoo!

My most recent escape room experience took place in Power Surge at Escape Garden State, minutes down the road from the #HipNJ HQ in Fairfield, NJ. This room takes place in Thomas Edison’s secret office. The goal is to access his secret work before time expires or else it will be gone forever. Personally, I thought this was the most challenging of the three I’ve done. It took a lot of ideas, guessing, and yes some clues from the Game Master, but we were able to escape! It was definitely my family’s most impressive escape yet!

If you’re looking for a new and exciting way to test your puzzle-solving skills, check out any of the locations I mentioned. The staff was very accommodating and the whole experience was seamless, fun, but definitely a challenge!

New Jersey escape rooms can be found in Princeton, Bridgewater, Fairfield, Hoboken, Atlantic City, Cherry Hill, Hackensack, and Freehold.