Mari Kennelly: Innkeeper of White Lilac Inn in Spring Lake

White Lilac Inn in Spring Lake, NJ

White Lilac Inn in Spring Lake, NJ

“Whenever you go on a trip to visit foreign lands or distant places, remember that they are all someone’s home and backyard,” says Vera Nazarian, author, artist, and publisher. And the next time you enjoy your stay at a B&B, remember that’s also the home for the innkeeper. I’ve always enjoyed traveling and spending my time at an inn rather than a hotel. The personal hospitality of an inn and all the uniquely personal touches of each guest room is the way to go for me. Innkeeper Mari Kennelly of the White Lilac Inn in Spring Lake, knows a thing or two about hospitality and that’s a large part of what keeps her guests returning year after year. The Old Shamrock Lodge has come a long way! Spring Lake is a beautiful destination even if you already live at the Jersey Shore. A night or two at the White Lilac Inn makes a perfect romantic getaway (hint, hint). The fireplaces that burn ethanol(those are my personal favorite type of fireplace)…the whirlpool tubs…beautifully appointed rooms. I would happily spend a few days there and be a tourist in Spring Lake.

White Lilac Inn is located at 414 Central Ave, Spring Lake, NJ 07762.
Call Innkeeper Mari Kennelly at 732.449.0211.

To listen to the interview with Innkeeper Mari Kennelly click here.

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Jeff Mach: Creator of The Steampunk World’s Fair

steampunk imageThe Steampunk World’s Fair is “beautifully rambunctious,” according to creator, Jeff Mach. So what does that mean exactly? You might want to check out Steampunk for yourself, especially if you’re in the market for something completely out of the ordinary. This 3-day festival, which is suitable for people of all ages, is definitely not ordinary. And who wants to be known as ordinary — not you, right? Jeff Mach Events is known as the producer of the world’s largest Steampunk event, but this is not his only event. For more information on Glimmerdark and other Jeff Mach creations, check his website for complete details. The Steampunk World’s Fair takes place May 13-15 in Piscataway, NJ, and all the festivities occur at both the Radisson Hotel and Embassy Suites. Tickets are available online and at the door, but you’ll save money if you purchase them online. Don’t miss this annual special event which incorporates science fiction, science fantasy,  technology, fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history, and aesthetic designs inspired by 19th century industrial steam-powered machinery. I’m thinking you gotta find out for yourself! I’ll be there so please say hello — I’ll be the one without the goggles 🙂

The Steampunk World’s Fair:
May 13-15 in Piscataway, NJ
Takes place at The Radisson Hotel and Embassy Suites
Details and ticket information here.

Listen to Part 1 interview with Jeff Mach.

Listen to Part 2 interview with Jeff Mach.

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Filmmaker Chris Vaglio: Producer of “The White Spruce”

Grey Sky FilmsComedian and Filmmaker Charlie Chaplin famously said, “All I need to make a comedy is a park, a policeman and a pretty girl.” Filmmaker Chris Vaglio of Grey Sky Films and his crew of creatives didn’t have a policeman or a park but there is a newscaster and a Christmas tree farm. Producer Chris Vaglio’s film,  The White Spruce, took top honors as the Home Grown Comedy Short at the Garden State Film Festival and won again at the recent Hang on to Your Shorts film festival in Asbury Park. This short gem is cast with crazy characters who randomly come together at a Christmas tree farm on the night before Christmas to purchase their tree. The film is currently making the festival rounds before it finds a permanent home online. This was Part 3 of my annual Filmmaker Series — all filmmakers I met at the Garden State Film Festival in Atlantic City. If you’re a lover of independent films, make a point of checking out a local film festival. You’ll have the opportunity to see films that you won’t find in the big screen theaters, and even better, you can typically meet the filmmakers and speak with them. Aspiring filmmakers, this is your chance to see what it takes to get your film to the screen. Many of the indie filmmakers I’ve met had either minimal budgets or no budgets, yet through perseverance and alternative funding sources, they made a film. So can you 🙂

To listen to the interview with Filmmaker Chris Vaglio click here.

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Filmmaker & US Navy Veteran Howard Kuker: Producer/Writer of “22 a Day No Way”

Veteran imageQuote from Abraham Lincoln’s Second Inaugural Address on March 4, 1865: “With malice toward none, with charity for all, with firmness in the right as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in, to bind up the nation’s wounds, to care for him who shall have borne the battle and for his widow and his orphan, to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” Lincoln made this statement after the Civil War, noting the government’s responsibility to care for the war veterans and their families. Unfortunately, to date, this concept remains a work in progress for the US. Veteran’s are still underserved. Filmmaker Howard Kuker set out to make a difference in the best way he could, and his film “22 a day No Way” is a call for action to end veteran suicides which total approximately 8,000 per year — 22 veterans a day take their lives. The plight of US Veterans should be important to all of us, so at Howard’s request please forward his film on to your senators and congressmen every week until positive steps are taken. Phil Falcone, who wrote and directed Joe’s War, collaborated with Howard Kuker on this project. Here is an interview with both gentlemen from TV. This interview was Part 2 of my Filmmaker Series on filmmakers I met at the Garden State Film Festival.

To watch “22 a Day No Way ” click here.

(Please note Howard had some technical difficulties in the beginning of the interview, but he persevered and it was just fine.)  To listen to the interview with US Veteran and Filmmaker Howard Kuker click here.

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NJ Filmmaker Michael L. Boylan: Writer & Director of “The Radio”

The Radio pix“I just had a crazy, wild imagination all my life, and science fiction is the greatest outlet for me,” says Director and Master Storyteller Steven Spielberg. It seems that Filmmaker Michael L. Boylan, owner of Pennant Films, might be channeling some of Spielberg’s magic, since he’s also a science fiction fan. This was the first part of my annual Filmmakers Series following the Garden State Film Festival. About a year ago, Michael introduced Jersey Coastal Live to his short film, The Radio, and I attended the premiere in an Atlantic Highlands movie theater. By the way, Steven Spielberg feels the best way to see any movie is in the theater surrounded by other people. However, some indie movies never find their way into the local theaters and can only be viewed at a film festival. These festivals for movie lovers of all ages offer unique opportunities to meet filmmakers, actors, and the crew up close and personal. I saw 17 films in 2 days at the GSFF and wished I could have seen more!

Michael Boylan has another short film, The Suitor, which is going to be screened April 8th in Atlantic Highlands. This is Michael’s first venture into the world of horror/comedy and looks like great fun. “Every time I go to a movie, it’s magic, no matter what the movie’s about,” says Director Steven Spielberg. So enjoy the magic and meet the Filmmaker too!

  • The Suitor premieres Friday, April 8 at AJ Dillion Gallery.
    54 1st Ave, Atlantic Highlands, NJ
    Doors open at 7:30pm, film begins at 9:30pm.
    FREE screening so come support indie films.

To listen to the interview with Filmmaker Michael L Boylan click here.

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Power Foodie Tracey Seaman: Recipe Development Specialist & Food Stylist

Tracey Seaman

Tracey Seaman

“There is no sincerer love than the love of food,” claimed George Bernard Shaw, one of the world’s greatest playwrights. This certainly seems to be true whether you are savoring a perfectly cooked steak or a hot and cheesy slice of fresh pizza from your favorite local pizza joint. Food is highly personal and we all have our own special personal relationship with it — for better or for worse. Some find their joy in cooking and some in eating. And for others, it’s all about gathering around the table and bonding with family and friends over a great meal. Tracey Seaman has been involved with food in many capacities during her culinary career and still has a passion to share her love of food and cooking. Judging by the amount of food photos on Facebook alone, many of us are obsessed (me included) with what we’re cooking these days and want to show off our creations to the world. I’m so fortunate to have a wonderful friend who shares my love of cooking. We get together a few times a month and just cook. No recipes. Nothing is planned in advance. What’s in the freezer to be defrosted? Chicken wings? Perfect! And then the kitchen magic begins with some creative use of spices and whatever is on hand in the pantry. We have found over the years that cooking and conversation and wine make for a perfect evening. We’ve never written down anything we have done and we’ve never cooked the same thing twice. Yes, I love to cook and especially love to cook for people I love. Really. For me it’s a recipe for success. Try it for yourself. I know Tracey would approve!

To listen to the interview with Tracey Seaman click here.

There was a technical glitch at the very end of the interview with Tracey and her call dropped. I ended the interview a few minutes early and apologize for the technical issue — life goes on, right?!

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Aaron Cole Martin: Certified Recovery Coach for CFC Loud N Clear

CFC image“The mentality and behavior of drug addicts and alcoholics is wholly irrational until you understand that they are completely powerless over their addiction and unless they have structured help, they have no hope,” said comedian and actor Russell Brand. How can you argue with that quote? If we knew how to stop the heroin epidemic that continues in NJ, we would do so. And one sad fact is that for those in NJ who are seeking treatment, there are not enough places to go and not enough people to help. Aaron Cole Martin is one of the lucky ones who was able to turn his life around after years of addiction. He gave full credit to this organization for his accomplishment: CFC Loud N Clear Foundation. They have a positive solution in place for those who are willing to step up and work hard hard to overcome their addiction. My goal today is to raise awareness and get the conversation going. The heroin problem plaguing NJ is right here where you live and work. From the cities to the suburbs it’s right under your nose and perhaps in your own home. Sincere thanks to Aaron Cole Martin for sharing his story and bringing to our attention CFC Loud N Clear. Maybe they are the answer you or a loved one is seeking. Call CFC for more information. CFC 732.962.5442.

For more information on CFC Loud N Clear click here.

To listen to the interview with Aaron Cole Martin click here.

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Alexis Werner: Advocate for PTSD, Film Producer & Director of “Our Way Home”

owh image“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others,” said Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Political and Spiritual Leader. Temple University sophomore Alexis Werner has been serving others for many years, and at 15 years of age started Seeds of Hope to help veterans. Now she’s produced and directed a documentary, Our Way Home, which follows the stories of nine veterans from WWII to the present day focusing on the devastating effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Alexis was inspired to help vets after she saw how badly her stepfather suffered from PTSD. Both Alexis and her stepfather appear on camera as part of the documentary. Watch the trailer here. The goal of the film is to raise awareness of PTSD which is an ongoing problem for vets. PTSD affects 7.7 million adults in America alone. As many as 20 percent of veterans who served in Afghanistan or Iraq are at risk for developing PTSD, and about 30% of Vietnam Veterans suffer from PTSD. I would never have imagined that Alexis and I would share the bond of living with a family member who struggled with PTSD — her stepfather and my ex husband. Our Way Home will be screened in Philadelphia on February 29. Complete information is available on the website. The screening is free and there will also be a panel discussion. If you are a vet or know one in the Philadelphia area, please share this information.

To listen to the interview with Alexis Werner click here.

To learn more about the film Our Way Home click here.

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Anne Dennish aka Nanci A. Smith Launches Her 2nd Book: “Waking Up”

Author Nanci A. Smith, aka Anne Dennish, and Rob.

Author Nanci A. Smith, aka Anne Dennish, and Rob.

“Failure is staying within your comfort zone; success is stepping out of it,” says author Anne Dennish, aka Nanci A. Smith. To be sure, Nanci/Anne knows more than a thing or two about leaving her comfort zone. And she’s never looked back! “Waking Up” is Nanci’s second book and it’s a very personal journey through her battle with breast cancer and surviving the trials of divorce, relationships, children, addiction and more. Because there are always more than enough challenges that we face on even the good days. Naturally Nanci could never have predicted how much her life would change for the better when she began writing for Wall Stadium. Love at the track? Oh yeah, that happened. This book represents a personal wake up call for Nanci on many levels. This Sunday, February 21, marks her 2 year Survivor Date. Her life is just where it needs to be; Nanci is right where she belongs. She’s blessed with an optimistic outlook and the ability to plow ahead in spite of adversity. Read Waking Up to get a better understanding of her positive spirit and to discover how you might benefit from her shared wisdom. Waking Up will officially launch in early March so watch Nanci’s Facebook page for details of the big day. You’re gonna want to read this book and give it as an inspiring gift to a special someone.

To listen to the interview with Nanci A Smith click here.

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Jim Shaw of Blu Trinity Comics: Comic Artist & Comic Theorist

Comic Book Artist Jim Shaw

Comic Book Artist Jim Shaw

“My mother had all these maxims — like, classy girls never chew gum, never read comic books, never get their ears pierced, never get their hair dyed,” said actress and funny lady Jennifer Tilly. Who knew we were related!! I grew up hearing the same maxims but they never kept me from comics (or anything else). MAD magazine rocked my young world, and posters of Alfred E. Neuman were plastered on my bedroom walls. My mother made many attempts to rip them down but I wasn’t having it. My comic collection was an important possession back then, and part of my daily reading materials right up there with Nancy Drew.

Here’s an interesting fact I learned while researching comics for my interview with artist Jim Shaw. In 1895, The New York World, owned by Joseph Pulitzer, began publishing a series of comics by Richard Outcault taking place in Hogan’s Alley, and featuring a boy in a yellow nightshirt who becomes known as “The Yellow Kid.” The Yellow Kid became very popular in New York City, and, in 1897, William Hearst’s New York Journal hired Oucault to draw the cartoon for them instead. Pulitzer responded by hiring George Luks to draw his own version of The Yellow Kid. Both strips ended in 1898. As a side note, both the World and the Journal were known for sensationalism, each trying to top the other with more interesting stories, rather than sticking to reporting the facts. This practice has become known as “yellow journalism.”So that’s where that phrase came from — a comic strip!

Comic artist Jim Shaw shared some good information for aspiring artists, so the interview is worth a listen just for that alone. Jim teaches a class, How to Draw Comics, at Brookdale Community College in Monmouth County, NJ. Check out Brookdale’s web site for the semester schedule to see when the next class begins.

To find out what Jim is up to click here.

To listen to the interview with Jim Shaw click here.

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