Christine Goodman: Art House Owner and Jersey City Mom

Christine Goodman Art House Owner Jersey City

I’ve known Christine Goodman since before either of us had kids. It’s been amazing to grow into motherhood with her. Her words are always inspiring.

JCFamilies: Tell us who you are, professionally.

Christine Goodman: I am the founder and executive director of the visual and performing arts center Art House Productions. Now in its 16th year, we present plays, art exhibitions, and a quarterly citywide arts festival – JC Fridays.

Christine Goodman Art House Owner Jersey CityJCF: How did JC Fridays start?

CG: JC Fridays came about after the closing of 111 First Street, an artist enclave in Jersey City. When that building closed, a lot of our arts community felt really beaten down. Art House had a meeting with arts organizers, arts friendly businesses, and other community leaders, to see how we could move the arts forward in Jersey City.

The idea of JC Fridays came out of that meeting. Even to this day, it continues the spirit of the community coming together to support one another around the arts. There was a real need for that. I think that’s why it’s such a successful program.

JCF: How important are the arts to a community?

CG: The arts are an extremely valuable component of any healthy city, particularly in times where people feel like they don’t have a voice. The arts gives people a platform, a meeting place, a community. A vibrant arts scene makes people feel invested in the city and in the communities in which they live.

JCF: What’s a typical workday like for you?

CG: It starts at 6 am – but through no decision of my own.

JCF: Because of the kids?

CG: Yes. Should we talk about a work day, or about my family?

JCF: Both.

CG: So I have my predawn experience with my one year old. That’s how we roll into the rest of the morning. I have two kids. The day starts with them waking up pretty early. My husband and I get them to school, and then I’m at Art House. It’s a 24/7 job. As a founder, an organization like this is a third child. This is my teenager.

JCF: Why did you call it a teenager – what makes it a teenager?

CG: First because it’s 16 years old. But also because it has really has matured. It can stand on its own. It has its own identity. It’s wonderful to see that through all the growing pains, we have created an institution that means a lot to many people.

Christine Goodman Art House Owner Jersey City

JCF: How do you balance your business and your family?

CG: That’s the million-dollar question. It’s evolving. It’s a balancing act. As professional mothers, we continually walk the line of making sure that we’re there for our kids, that they have what they need, and also that we’re taking care of what the businesses needs, which can mean that you are on call at the strangest hours.

There’s no easy answer or a magic pill for running a business and being a mother of two. We have these standards of excellence as professionals and mothers that we can handle everything. The short answer is that it’s really tough. I think the short answer is in continually making sure that your children know that you’re there for them and empowering other people around your business as well.

JCF: How do you do that?

CG: For me, it means making sure that my kids feel comfortable at my business. I don’t run a 9-5. They’re comfortable at Art House. They’re comfortable in the theatre. They have space here that’s their own. They’re welcomed when they walk in the door. At the times when there needs to be a lot of juggling, they can be in the space of my business and feel like they belong.

The other thing is being realistic about my timelines, about what is humanly possible for me to accomplish. I think that the Christine before kids would work all night if she needed to. Christine after kids needs to make sure that the timelines and support systems are in place. Which has been a wonderful change for me.

JCF: Do you ever work at night?

CG: Taking a meeting at 7 pm is tough. It means that there are other people who have to sacrifice in order for that to happen. Even for me to be at the shows that I produce – I’m continually figuring out how to navigate. The natural result is that I’ve had to not hold on so tightly to the idea that I need to do it all myself at Art House. And it’s been great. There’s a beautiful leadership team here that’s really wonderful and rocking it out. It takes a village on both ends.

Christine Goodman Art House Owner Jersey CityJCF: What was it like going from one to two babies?

CG: Having my first child and the incorporation of motherhood into business ownership was overwhelming at first, and then manageable. We found our rhythm and knew that it wouldn’t last forever, but it was working.

But when the second baby came along, the juggling wasn’t going to work. It wasn’t possible. At that point, I needed to make sure that we had a theatre manager and a technical director who could be on site in the evenings and make sure that the shows went smoothly in my absence.

JCF: If you had to do it all again, what would change?

CG: Nothing. Through owning my own business, I was able to bring my kids to work with me for the first 10 months of their lives. I could pursue my love of the arts and keep the business going. It was a wonderful opportunity and for that I am extremely grateful. In an ideal world, I don’t even know how I would change it, because my kids are growing up in the theatre and I think that’s a unique experience for them too.

JCF: What is the best advice that you ever got?

CG: It wasn’t any specific thing. Having the influence of other mothers around me that were making it work, and knowing that it didn’t always have to be perfect, was amazing. Being able to see that we all mess up, and we’re all feeling our way through this – and that it’s possible to raise children who are kind, aware, intelligent human beings while still not always getting it right felt like such a relief. It shifted the focus from being supermom to being a human being and the best mom I could be. That gave me more confidence. It’s nice to know that we all drop the ball, and we all feel like we’re constantly playing catch up, and we forget the diapers, and we try to figure out a last minute dinner, and we forget the paperwork for the school, but at the end of the day, our kids are good people. And that says to me that I’m on the right track.

Mel Kozakiewicz blogs at

Chitra Mittal: Innovator and Proprietor of Liberty Physical Therapy

Chitra Mittal: Liberty Physical Therapy In Jersey City

Tell me about yourself.

I’m a physical therapist. I’ve been in Jersey City for 5 years. I was a travelling physical therapist for about 5 years before that, switching cities every 3-4 months. I got to see what’s out there.

Are Jersey City patients unique?

Jersey City has highly educated people who are motivated to do the right thing.

Be honest – You love it here, right?

Absolutely. Jersey City is home. And so is this office.Chitra Mittal: Liberty Physical Therapy In Jersey City

Do you have children? 

Not yet.

Want ‘em?

Maybe one. I don’t know. It’s tough.

Is your extended family in Jersey City?

My family is in India, so my husband is all I have here. And work keeps me too busy to visit more than once a year.

I understand. It’s tough. So your work has your heart.

Right. We started in November of 2011 in a small room. We’ve already expanded twice and now we’re the largest outpatient facility in Jersey City.

Why do you think you grew so quickly?

We treat each patient individually. It’s always one on one. I think patients see the value in that. We can make sure patients are doing the exercises the right way, which is important because if they’re not doing them correctly, it’s a waste of time. And there are no cookie cutter programs. They’re tailored to the patient’s specific needs. The services we offer here are very different, very cutting edge. They’re not offered anywhere else.

Chitra Mittal: Liberty Physical Therapy In Jersey CityReally? Like what?

Dry needling, for example.

Sounds scary.

(laughs) No no! There are trigger points in muscle. When muscles are in spasm, there are points that get activated. To alleviate that, you can either sustain pressure or use a needle. Patients love it. It’s very effective. And we also have the women’s health program.

I’m not sure what that means in terms of physical therapy.

One of the most common injuries for women is in the pelvic floor. So for example, during pregnancy, the body goes through significant changes. The hormones change but also certain muscles are overstretched, or a C-section is also traumatic to the body. The role of the pelvic floor is critical. Your bladder is there, your vagina is there, your bowels are there, the bone alignment is there, and the muscles are working hard to hold you up.

If a woman thought she had an injury in her pelvic floor, how would she know?

Is she having pain? Is there weakness-

Wait – you could fix that?? Isn’t that an…inside problem?

We do internal evaluations. We assess muscles internally. Depending on what has happened during pregnancy, women may be experiencing painful sex, spasms, weaknesses in the hips, or the problem might be that the pelvic muscles are simply working too hard. We assess which muscles are working and we create a plan to solve it.

Chitra Mittal: Liberty Physical Therapy In Jersey CitySo you can fix it. You’re saying these aren’t permanent damages?

It is definitely a fixable problem. I hear women say things like, “It’s ok to leak a little bit because I had a baby,” No! You don’t have to leak in any way. It’s completely fixable.

I feel like you might save some marriages doing this kind of work.

I’d love to. Actually a lot of spouses do call in for new (and busy!) moms.

So let’s say a mom has pain, like during sex. And two years later –

Don’t wait two years. Wait six weeks to eight weeks.

So this is completely normal to you.

Completely. Not just to me. In France, pelvic floor physical therapy is covered and routine. Dysfunctions develop when time passes. Avoid the limp, so to speak.

Tell me the signs. What are women looking for?

Is there pain? Are you not able to sit for longer than fifteen minutes? You mentioned painful sex – that’s very common. Or leakage of urine, or if the stream is slower or if you’re having trouble in any way, schedule a visit. Anything that’s different or painful.

This feels like it could be a difficult conversation to have.

Listen – pregnancy is a trauma to the body. There are changes that happen in your body due to the pregnancy. You can revert back. It is a taboo, sure. Women don’t want to tell their friends that they’re having trouble having sex with their husbands. But this is fixable.

Are there easy changes women can make on their own?

Yes. Start with simple things like breathing. Take the time to breathe correctly. Take five minutes to breathe all the way down to the pelvic floor. Your breath should reach all the way down. Uncross your fingers, close the door, and zen out. Close your eyes and imagine your breath is reaching all the way down to the floor and relaxing it. It makes a world of difference.

How can women get more comfortable with their bodies?

Remember that it’s your own body – don’t have such a disconnect. Your body will be there for you so be there for your body, take care of it!

Chitra Mittal: Liberty Physical Therapy In Jersey CityCan we talk about your work day? Do you talk about this stuff from sunrise to sunset?

Haha. Yes! I need to disconnect a bit from work my husband says! I usually get to work around 10, maybe 10:30. I do a little bit of work at home first and I’m usually here until 7:30. For the sake of my marriage I try to leave at 7:30. But we’re open until 8:30.

What does your husband do?

He works here!

For you?

With me! He manages the business aspect. Billing, finances – I can’t do it all. He’s better qualified than I am to do that. As an entrepreneur I have learned that you can’t be the best at everything. You have to build a really fantastic team. That’s the only way you can grow. I learned that the hard way. Now I delegate whatever someone else is better at than me.

Your advice is invaluable. What else you got?

As long as you’re honest with yourself about where you need to improve, you’re good. But know you own strengths and weaknesses. It’s critical.

Give us one more for the road.

If you haven’t exercised in a while, see a physical therapist before you go to the gym to avoid injury. That one’s for the men too.

Indiegrove Owner Zahra Amanpour Decodes Co-Working While Parenting

Zahra Amanpour is the owner of Indiegrove, Jersey City

Zahra Amanpour is the owner of Indiegrove, a shared office space located at 121 Newark Avenue – right by the Grove Street PATH.

Jersey City Families: Can you explain co-working?

Zahra Amanpour: Co-working is part of the shared economy movement. The idea is that if a lot of people work together in a shared space, they can get a community as well as a much nicer office. It provides a real advantage to a small businesses, freelancers, and people who are just getting started.

JCF: What advantages?

ZA: Well, the end result is that the consumer saves money, but it’s about so much more than that. It’s about community and leveraging resources. It’s built on the concept that people can come together who are independent minded and trying to build something, or create something, and providing the space for collaboration. We’re tapping into each other’s resources and supporting local business at the same time. There’s marketing, accounting, lawyers…Every type of business you can imagine – it’s a very diverse environment.

JCF: It sounds like a great place to focus. It’s so hard to work from home.

Zahra Amanpour is the owner of Indiegrove, Jersey CityZA: Tell me about it. I’m a mom, I know what that feels like. This is an extremely positive and ambitious business to be in. When you’re a mom, your mind is in such a different place.

JCF: Like how?

ZA: Like, oh! My kid’s asleep! Now I’m going to sit at the computer for 2 hours and try to be an entrepreneur in my yoga pants. It’s so hard to switch back and forth.

JCF: I get that. I do that.

ZA: Indiegrove is flexible. You can get full time options, part time options, you can pick up your kids in the middle of the day when the school calls you – Lots of moms in particular enjoy that flexibility. At least 70% of people who work out of Indiegrove have small children.

JCF: You said you have a child?

ZA: I have a daughter, she’s almost 2.

JCF: But you’ve owned Indiegrove for four years.

ZA: The transition was shocking.

JCF: I bet.

ZA: I’ve always been the type of person who just stays at work until the work is done. I’ve been at every networking event… When you have a kid you miss things that you’re not even aware of. I had to learn how to leave work on time. I had to be much more disciplined with my schedule. I had to learn time management – how to make my time go further.

JCF: For me, there was an identity crisis component to becoming a mom too.

ZA: Yes. Me too. I’m not just a business person anymore, I’m a mom now. She’s a part of who I am. It’s much more intertwined.

JCF: Has it gotten easier? You said she’s two now?

ZA: Almost two. I’ve gotten much better at balancing everything. You start to build your confidence, but it’s only recently that I feel like I’m at peace with both. I don’t feel like one is taking from the other anymore. I stay home on Fridays.

JCF: True or False: Success in business isn’t typically congruent with motherhood.

ZA: Let’s say this – on a daily basis, in order to be successful as a business person, you can’t let the people that you’re dealing with know about all the things you’re dealing with, even if they’re important to you. I could get a call from the school, but then I have to go into a meeting and pretend nothing is happening.

JCF: Right. That’s so hard.

ZA: I know. I’m always trying to emotionally disconnect even though I don’t want to be disconnected.

Zahra Amanpour is the owner of Indiegrove, Jersey CityJCF: But are there other skills that you’re gained as a mom that are helpful in business?

ZA: Sure. Absolutely. When you’re a mom, you have to get out of bed no matter what. If you’re sick or whatever. So you get really good at pushing through things in your business too. Also I’m much more patient now.

JCF: Where is your daughter during the day?

ZA: I had her home with a nanny the first year, but she’s a very social kid, so she’s at a daycare center now.

JCF: Did you like the nanny option?

ZA: So my daughter was born in October, and the idea of shipping her outside in the middle of February was not something I wanted to do. I wanted her to be in a quiet environment the first year of life. I wanted it to be very peaceful. I prioritized that. It was expensive though, that was a drawback.

JCF: Got any advice for moms who want to be successful as entrepreneurs?

ZA: Carve out your time. Be very adamant about what you can be available for at what time. If you don’t have that, try to create that for yourself because you need to get a break to think. There’s no time to think, to strategize. When you’re an entrepreneur, everyone thinks you’re flexible. Like your business is your side thing. But you need to let people know this is your passion, your livelihood. You’re not available. This is not a side thing.

JCF: Zahra – you’re amazing.

Wait! Tell them this too: You shouldn’t feel guilty! If you had a job, your time away from your kids would be expected. You’re not choosing you business over your kids. You’re trying to put your mark in this world, and you can have that.

Zahra Amanpour is the owner of Indiegrove, Jersey City

JCity Realty’s Natalie Miniard

JCity Realty Natalie Miniard

Natalie Miniard is the principal broker, co-owner of JCity Realty.

JCF: Tell me about yourself.

Natalie Miniard: I live in the Heights; I’m single. I moved here 20 years ago from Jacksonville, FL. Bright lights, big city, right? I got as far as I could afford and viola, I fell in love with Jersey City. Once I learned Jersey City, there was no way I was moving to the city.

JCF: Was real estate your first job in Jersey City then?

Natalie Miniard: I waitressed at Outback for like 2 months, they never should have hired me. I had no idea what I was doing. I worked at Frankie and Johnny’s for like 5 years.

JCF: How did you make the transition into real estate?

Natalie Miniard: I just took the course. The financial investment that you put into getting your license is so small compared to the return that you can make in this industry.

JCity Realty Natalie MiniardJCF: What did you do with your first commission check?

Natalie Miniard: I bought my first piece of property in the Heights. My father thought I was nuts. It was a 700 square foot, 4-floor walk up. I thought I’d made it.

JCF: You definitely made it. Your office is beautiful!

Natalie Miniard: Thanks! Yes – A local developer came to me and presented the idea of opening an agency. Real estate is my passion, 100%. It’s a no-brainer.

JCF: What part do you love?

Natalie Miniard: I’m fascinated with development. My personal passion would be the preservation of really beautiful real estate.

JCF: What do you do for fun?

Natalie Miniard: I’m a little bit of a cliché I guess – I do work a lot. I’m fortunate to be in an industry that allows me to be in a community, a neighborhood that I love.

JCF: Do you work more than 12-hour days?

Natalie Miniard: (laughs) I guess it’s about 7 am-10 pm. Part of being in this industry is that you’re always on. When I go out, I always see people, which is part of what I love.

JCF: What do you do when you’re having a bad day?

Natalie Miniard: I push through it. Sometimes I cry. It’s hard to have a bad day right now. This company is becoming everything I could have hoped for. When I’m having a bad day I try to look at everything we’ve accomplished.

Which characteristics are most important to be successful?

Natalie Miniard: Patience. When you’re in real estate in general, you have to wear so many hats. You’re a designer, you’re a financial planner, you’re a developer, you’re in marketing… Sometimes you’re a psychologist! You have to have patience with your customers, which is fair enough, you should. Remember, this is their home.

JCity Realty Natalie MiniardWhat vision do you have for the company?

Natalie Miniard: I didn’t open this agency to be mediocre. I have to be a bit nurturing in this role, I’m going to be successful if my agents are successful.

JCF: What challenges do homeowners have with Jersey City?

Natalie Miniard: Part of the problem is the lack of options to buy. Almost everything is built as rentals. The other concern is schools of course. Schools are not there yet. It’s a concern that many young couples have here.

JCF: It creates a transient population.

Natalie Miniard: It’s true. But it’s sad, because the desire to stay here is there. People would stay here. There are benefits to raising children in Jersey City with the culture and the community that is exposed to them… Also being so close to where so many parents work allows parents to spend more time with their kids as opposed to spending that hour and a half commuting to the suburbs.

JCF: It’s tough, right?

Natalie Miniard: It’s a struggle that many parents grapple with. It’s in every financial bracket.

Mel Kozakiewicz blogs at and has been living in Jersey City since 2003.




Phone: (718) 825 – 6598

78 Erie Street, Jersey City, NJ, 07302

Fastrack Language is Montessori after school program founded by experienced Montessori teachers. They strongly believe in an environment that fosters love and enthusiasm for learning.



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Phone: (201) 519-2200

Join Angela in her studio in Jersey City where you can come and enjoy a day of creating! Angela teaches children ages 4 and up and adults how to sew and make dolls.





Phone: (551)-227-7244

140 Sip Ave , Jersey City, NJ, 07302

Myrtle&Flossie is a lifestyle brand with a focus on postpartum care, offering a diverse blend of homeopathic body-care products, “easy fashion”, vital info, and specialized wellness services that will leave any woman, mom, or non-mom healthy and happy. Keeping mama’s looking and feeling great!


Dees Apothecary

Dees Apothecary makes skincare and hair-care products that are 100% natural, therapeutic, cruelty free and chemical free. Each batch is freshly made with the best raw materials. We use herbs, spices and essential oils to bring you unique products as fresh as your food.


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Joys In Teaching Tutoring Service

Phone: (201) 423-1200

JIT is a tutoring and babysitting service offering in home, off site and online services. Our goal is to ultimately establish grants and sponsorship’s where low income families can receive services for little to no charge




No sugar added, vegan, gluten free snack bar


Mom, Entrepreneur and Director. All in One Woman: Elizabeth Cain

Elizabeth Cain Jersey City

JCFamilies: You are a busy lady! You have a four-year- old, work as Jersey City’s Director of Cultural Affairs, and own two businesses (Hound About Town and Hazel Baby & Kids.) I picture you waking up at like 5 am. Am I close?

E. Kane: No. Well, some days. I do wake up first – before my husband or son. I just lay in bed and go through emails. Then I get ready, get Landon off to school (my hubby and I do this together, which is nice), and have my coffee on my way to work.

JCFamilies: What’s your favorite coffee spot?

E. Kane: It changes depending on what I want to eat with my coffee. I like Smith and Chang,Dames, Beechwood, Short Grain…

JCFamilies: Is that your only downtime then? The morning?

E. Kane: Hmm…Yeah. Probably.

JCFamilies: So tell us about starting your businesses, Hazel Baby & Kids and Hound About Town. Was the process what you expected it would be?

E. Kane: I think there are always surprises, but I’m the type of person who runs into something and just tries to solve it and move on. I roll with the punches. I mean, I would prepare as much as possible, but I don’t get overwhelmed easily.

JCFamilies: Was there anything in particular that stands out as particularly challenging?

E. Kane: I think unpacking the initial inventory was a lot, but it was also really fun. I think the biggest challenge of a small business is that you don’t know where your money is coming from, or if you’re going to have it. You never know if you’re going to get paid or not, if you’re getting a paycheck. It’s all on you. Luckily we live in a community that’s supportive of small businesses, which is what I love about Jersey City.

JCFamilies: What else do you like about Jersey City?

E. Kane: I travel a lot, and I noticed that you don’t get the kind of hometown feel in other towns that you get in Jersey City. Especially in urban areas.

JCFamilies: Would you change anything?

E. Kane: Nothing I can think of.

JCFamilies: Not to push the issue, but what about for your son? Maybe the schools? Is your son in the public school system?

E. Kane: He’s not, but that’s a whole different conversation. My son has food allergies, so he goes to the Scandi School. They’re vegan, and they teach the kids about food. They teach them how to cook. They don’t let outside food in, so it really helps a lot with his allergies.

JCFamilies: How did you come to recognize that problem?

E. Kane: He was basically covered and really thin…I mean, he had skin issues when he was a baby. Like on his neck and stuff. Before I knew, I was eating peanut butter & jelly sandwiches in the mornings and then breastfeeding him. Turns out he was allergic. I would bring him to the doctor and they thought it was heat rash. But he was so thin as a little baby.

And I didn’t see other babies with heat rash. It just didn’t sound right. I worked for an allergist in college, so I knew about the severity of food allergies.

JCFamilies: Thankfully you figured it out.

E. Kane: Absolutely. It’s terrifying. I can’t send him to school, I can’t send him to birthday parties…I really want to start a support group because it’s so scary.

JCFamilies: How would you describe your parenting style? What’s important to you as a mom?

E. Kane: We do a lot of positive gentle parenting, and his school supports that too. It’s like community parenting. We set boundaries and there are consequences. We do workbooks and have playtime. We try to keep a good balance. It’s hard, but I try to spend as much time with him as possible. My mom takes care of him too.

JCFamilies: What does he like to do?

E. Kane: He likes to dig, so we build things. (He’s four.) We’re doing Legos a lot now. He goes outside and a pile of dirt will entertain him for hours.

JCFamilies: Some moms might say that you “have it all”; Got any tips?

E. Kane: Well, I think the secret is that you can’t do it alone, and you can’t be afraid to ask for help. I ask my mom, my husband, my son’s teachers, my friends. Everyone! And I also don’t get all bent out of shape if something doesn’t work out. It’s constant prioritizing, but a lot of it feels pretty natural.

JCFamilies: Natural? What’s your educational background?

E. Kane: I went to the University of Vermont. I went because everyone else was going – our generation was all going. But I would definitely go again. I’m not utilizing my degree – I was a Pre-Med/Nutrition & Dietetics with a major in Chemistry.

JCFamilies: Do you regret that course of study at this point?

E. Kane: I wouldn’t change my experience for anything. Life took me in a different direction, and I’m glad it did honestly. I’m not a 10-year planner. I don’t look out into the future that far in advance. That’s not the type of person that I am. My benchmarks are more short term.

My long-term goals are to be able to spend time with my family, make money, be secure… and so my short-term goals are always focused on what I have to do today to make them happen.

JCFamilies: At one time, you were a single lady with a completely different life. What was the transformation like?

E. Kane: It was kind of organic. The timing just ended up being right for everything. I met my husband at a show in Maxwell’s where he was playing with his band. He lived outside Philly at the time. That was probably in 2007.

JCFamilies: That’s not even ten years ago. It’s 2016 now. A lot has happened since then!

E. Kane: Wow. Yeah.

JCFamilies: So what were you doing at that time?

E. Kane: I was working for Silverman doing the building part of the business – we did purchasing, design and building. I was also directing the Downtown Special Improvement District. I’ve never really done only one thing. Even when I was single I was working and bartending at night.

JCFamilies: So how did you know how to start a business?

E. Kane: We had a lot of support. Friends and people I knew. I did a lot of research. There was a lot of trial and error.

JCFamilies: What are you working on now?

E. Kane: We’re setting up the online stores at Hazel Baby & Kids, so we can help new moms with their registries. That’s exciting. And we’re setting up entertainment in the parks with the city.

JCFamilies: You’re amazing Elizabeth.

E. Kane: Really I just want to leave everything better than I found it.

JCFamilies is represented by Mel Kozakiewicz. Mel is the founder and CEO of The Moxie Group, a consulting company for all your marketing needs.


Why you should come to Exchange Place Plaza on June 10th?


Not that any of us need a reason to strap the kids into the double stroller and get out of the house, but sometimes we need a little motivation (or at least a destination.) Never fear – JCFamilies is throwing (another!) party. Save the second Fridays for the next five months for the Feministival.

The JCFeministival is a monthly party-in-the-park type event that brings local female business-owners out of their shops and gathers them in the sunshine overlooking one of the world’s most beautiful skylines. (Did someone say Springtime selfie?)

Imagine yourself (and your entourage – screaming children are especially encouraged) wandering around the Exchange Place Plaza on a Friday afternoon while the kids are suddenly clapping to music, or focusing on a magician, allowing you to socialize with other women who absolutely understand your simultaneous need to hold your kids close and watch them run far, far away. Don’t worry about forgetting the snacks. There’ll be food there.

At the Feministival, you’ll have the opportunity to watch the water glisten and chat with women who somehow had the wherewithal to start and grow businesses. You’ll connect with women who are passionate about their work, women who have something to share with the world. Women who, in addition to being your almost neighbors, are also health care providers, artists, and educators. Women who inspire.

Come find me! I’ll be the one with the messy-bun and the black t-shirt that one of my kids just spilled yogurt on. (Oh wait. That’s all of us.)

 who You! And your kids. Everyone’s invited!

 what JCFeministival!

 where Exchange Place Plaza

 when Second Fridays, 3-8 pm (5/13, 6/10, 7/8, 8/12, 9/9)

 why To support local female business owners, to make friends, to watch

 how If you’re not up for a walk, the Light-Rail stops at Exchange Place, the kiddies giggle, to bask in the glory of our city and so does the PATH.

Mel Kozakiewicz is the founder and CEO of The Moxie Group, a consulting company for all your marketing needs.

Picky eater or feeding disorder? Meet Alyssa Kane: Feeding Specialist and Speech Language Pathologist in Jersey City

 Alyssa Kane speech language and pathologist in Jersey City





Alyssa Kane, speech language and pathologist in Jersey City

Author’s Note: Except for Alyssa Kane, all names have been changed to protect the privacy of the families and children under Kane’s care.

 Alyssa Kane speech language and pathologist in Jersey City
Alyssa Kane – Speech Language Pathologist

After multiple choking incidents, Emily Carter realized that her 2 ½ year old son Jayson was not chewing his food. He had a difficult relationship with eating, and even at 2 ½, he hadn’t transitioned properly to solid foods – a transition that generally takes place around 1.

“We felt scared and overwhelmed,” Emily remembers, “and out of our depth. Jayson was diagnosed with ‘failure to thrive,’ was in the 4th percentile on growth charts, and was extremely fearful of food.”

Upon a friend’s suggestion, Emily met with Feeding Specialist and Speech Language Pathologist, Alyssa Kane. (Note: While Speech Language Pathology is a broad field with many different areas of focus, Alyssa primarily works with children who have feeding and/or swallowing disorders.)

“Alyssa is a wonderful human being—warm and welcoming—and terrific with children. Jayson took to her immediately.” And so, for the next year and a half, Alyssa worked with the Jayson and Carters.

“Alyssa engaged Jayson in exercises and games to teach and encourage him to chew. Later, Alyssa helped us introduce new and more complex foods, increasing the number and types of foods he would eat. He only ate pasta and baby cereal at age 2.5, so it was an incredible accomplishment on her (and his!) part to move to a wider variety of foods. Alyssa also connected us with a nutritionist who helped us create meal plans and ideas that dovetailed with what we were working on with her. For us, Alyssa was a miracle worker and it’s not too far from the truth to describe her as life saver,” said Emily.

When asked, Alyssa does not refer to herself as a miracle worker, but she is passionate about her work. “My love for this kind of stemmed, and I’m happy that I took on this end of speech language pathology. I feel very fortunate to have chosen a profession that I love so much.

“Moms feel anxious, overwhelmed, and lost when their children aren’t eating correctly. 95% of the parents I work with probably feel that way. They’re nervous about their kids’ nutrition and hydration and they’re spending all day trying to feed their kids. Their doctors tell them to keep going, or they get advice from parents or friends that ultimately isn’t useful. ‘Eating is instinctual,’ they’ll hear, or ‘Don’t worry. He’ll figure it out.’ And I think some parents don’t understand that they’re not the reason that their child is struggling. They think it’s their fault. Simply, it’s not true,” she explains.

Anita Klein, another mother whose child has worked on feeding with Alyssa, whole-heartily agrees. “Our son Miles underwent cardiac repair surgery at just three weeks old. He was not feeding well. We wanted to get him to eat and thrive,” she said, “but it wasn’t coming together.

“Before I met Alyssa, I had no idea that babies as young as weeks old could have feeding issues, or that there was help. I thought it was instinctual too, and was blown away that it wasn’t.

“It isn’t a bad thing to have trained eyes on your child. There is a difference between a picky eater and a child who needs assistance, and there is nothing wrong with you or your child if you need help. You’re not alone. Working with Alyssa has given us tools to help Miles try out new textures and foods, and make eating fun instead of a chore.”

Which, to Alyssa, is the goal. “Raising children is hard,” she says, “I want to help parents feel like mealtimes are enjoyable and pleasurable for their family.”

Alyssa primarily works with kids from the age of 0-3, but these kinds of issues can arise throughout adolescence. “There are lots of reasons kids can have feeding disorders,” she says, “There are sometimes medical issues like premature birth, gastrointestinal concerns or underlying cardiac conditions. Other feeding disorders could be a result of sensory or developmental disabilities. Or you may have a very typically developing child who is just having a hard time with chewing or transitioning to solids.

“And their feeding concerns vary too. Let’s say you have a 24-week preemie. Typically in the NICU, they’ll try to bottle-feed, but these children aren’t able to coordinate sucking and breathing on their own, so we’ll try a technique called pacing which involves taking a lot of breaks. Other children have cardiac conditions and they fatigue quickly. Maybe they’re at high risk for aspiration (food going into the lungs), or reflux or in some cases, they have severe issues where they’re refusing to eat.”

In addition to her job at the hospital, Alyssa sees patients in the privacy of their homes, and at their convenience. When first meeting a concerned parent, Alyssa sets up a consultation session where she completes an initial evaluation to understand the child’s medical and feeding history. (Often there’s an underlying medical issue, but not always.) Then she’ll observe the child eating (or resisting, depending). She’ll also provide recommendations and referrals, as well a full written evaluation to be sent out to whomever the family wishes.

Think your child might have a feeding disorder? Consider contacting a feeding specialist if the following apply to your child:

  1. Feeding refusal including arching away from bottle/breast, crying, pushing food away, parents needing to use distractions in order for child to accept food
  2. Prolonged mealtimes (greater than 30 minutes)
  3. Irritability or fatigue during feeding
  4. Difficulty transitioning to solid food (including purees and/or table food) at appropriate age
  5. Difficulty chewing
  6. Coughing, gagging, choking, vomiting during mealtime
  7. Difficulty breathing while eating
  8. Not growing and gaining weight appropriately
  9. Recurring pneumonia or respiratory infections
  10. Child eats only a limited repertoire of food items (beyond “picky eaters”)

To learn more, or to contact Alyssa, visit her website at

Written by Mel Kozakiewicz ([email protected]) for

Downtown Pharmacy in Jersey City

Downtown Pharmacy, More than just a drugstore. New Location in Park Avenue, Jersey City

Downtown Pharmacy in Jersey City

There is nothing like a convenience store when you are a parent right?. Those stores where you can solve almost all your problems in one visit. Imagine this scenario, you have a birthday party coming up but also some playdate this week, you run out of fruits and snacks and you want to impress your significant other tonight with an anniversary dinner, but Oh wait!  You need to pick your prescriptions up as well.

If you live in Downtown Jersey City, we have a place where you can do this and more with no crowd and in a beautiful and comfortable space, plus they have a cute little shopping car for your kid to have some fun too.

Downtown Pharmacy in Jersey City

For over 10 years, Downtown Pharmacy has been a staple in the Paulus Hook community. Now the shop’s progressive owners have opened a second location right on Park Ave in Jersey City. More than just a drugstore, Downtown Pharmacy has become a versatile community hub that’s true purpose is to serve the neighborhood and its people. Having tailored the store to its nearby residents, Downtown Pharmacy carries just about anything one could need on a daily basis. Manager Alex Pan states, “We built our business based on the needs of the people in the community and their requests.”

Downtown Pharmacy in Jersey City

The new location, like the original on Essex Street, offers everything from organic food to natural salon products. Downtown Pharmacy also have open requests as well, in the rare event that they do not carry what their customers are looking for. What’s more, the shop has geared itself towards the needs of local families, particularly those with a new child. The shop carries brands such as Babyganics, Honest Company, California Baby, and other high-quality product lines ideal for those who want to choose the best for their kids. In addition, both locations allow moms who are nursing to rent hospital grade Medela breast pumps. While the quality of hospital grade breast pumps such as Medela are preferred to many commercially sold pumps, the rentals can also be more cost efficient, especially in the short term.

Downtown Pharmacy in Jersey City

Downtown Pharmacy may have a vibrant upscale look, but the shop prides itself on being affordable as well. For instance, its staff provides free delivery to local residents for anything from prescriptions to groceries (customers are also able to refill prescriptions via smartphone). Downtown Pharmacy is nostalgic of the days when being the community drugstore meant being the focal point of the neighborhood, and in many ways, they have become just that. “A lot of the time customers are at work, then can refill their prescription through mobile and we can deliver their prescription to their doorman at no additional cost,” said Pan. “We want to be helpful to our community.”

Downtown Pharmacy’s new store is located at 18 Park Avenue in Jersey City. To learn more call: 201-885-2939 or visit them at: