Local Expert: Holiday Sounds

BY MATTHEW HEARON-SMITH

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, Christmas songs are here to stay. Even though shrinking radio playlists make the same 15 or so songs seem inescapable over the holiday season, and we can’t help but roll our eyes at the opening notes of that ridiculous Paul McCartney track — we are the reason Christmas songs will never die. We are drawn to the spirit of the season, and each song brings us back to the warm memories of holidays past. The best thing we can do to combat the repetition is to find the good stuff. We’ve put together the perfect holiday playlist of songs that unequivocally do. not. suck. From buried treasures to by artists we thought we knew so well, to timeless classics that hit the mark, this playlist has got you covered until the tree comes down.

Matthew Hearon-Smith is a Union City based Music Supervisor currently working on Film, TV and Ads. He is a three-time Guild of Music Supervisors Awards nominee, a Hollywood Music In Media Awards nominee and winner of "Best Use of Music in a Film" at the 22nd Chlotrudis Awards. His specialties include music curation, licensing and clearances, creative placement and deliverables management.

You can follow Matt on Twitter here.
















Hoboken Business: Engle & Völkers Hoboken x Dino & Harry's Steakhouse

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WARNING: I love steak. I really do. Steak in my opinion, like a good cup of coffee or a nice bourbon - needs nothing, you should just be able to enjoy it as is. But I have never been to Dino & Harry’s Steakhouse. Ever. Growing up in Hoboken, I’m very familiar with what an institution it is. I even remember past incarnations of the Steakhouse. But somehow I’ve just never been. So when Jane Estes, owner of Engle & Völkers Hoboken pitched the feature idea, I was into it. SanMartin and I head to E&V offices and I’m ready for steak. I’m dying to find out if it’s as great as everyone says. 

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The Engle & Völkers office is beautiful and shiny and new. We head out the backyard space where Dino himself and Sharon, who handles marketing for D&H and is also a realtor at E&V, are getting the grill going. There are two beautifully fat 32 ounce porterhouse steaks getting the D&S house seasoning treatment and then thrown onto the grill. 

The time has finally arrived - they’re done cooking, Dino has cut into them and we’re about to chow down. The steaks are cooked perfectly, in little time and are the kind of meat that melts on your tongue. I add some D&H steak sauce because it’s their signature sauce and I feel I need the whole experience. While the sauce is good, the steak doesn’t need it. Its absolutely delicious. When Sharon and I sit down for our interview we talk about the best meal to order, the history of the establishment and the fact the steaks are now available to order online to cook at home. Just in case you were wondering what the best meal is, Sharon says steak with mashed potatoes and creamed spinach with one of the bottles of wine off their insane wine list, but that’s met with some conflict as Jane says the lamb chops are the most amazing thing. I think you can’t go wrong with either choice.

Don’t sleep on these little cuties by @sweet.deliciousness

Don’t sleep on these little cuties by @sweet.deliciousness

Next I sit down with Jane to talk about Engle & Völkers. A long time resident of Hudson County (and my neighbor for almost 20 years), I ask her why she thought to bring an E&V to Hoboken, to which she explains that with so many people moving over from the city, Hudson County is truly the 6th borough with many people looking for luxury homes. E&V is known as a luxury lifestyle agency, and Hudson County is rapidly moving that direction. We also discuss their annual Cystic Fibrosis Halloween Gala in honor of her late business partner Nick Constantino which is catered by 10 businesses including, you guessed it, Dino and Harry’s. 

My time at Engle & Völkers was so lovely, we had amazing food and ended the way I like all hectic days to end— with a nice glass of wine outside. I can’t wait to get the full Dino’s experience and get to-go steaks perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve at my house. And don’t worry SanMartin, I think I found where we’re having our own little Holiday Party!

For more information on Dino & Harry’s Steakhouse, check out their website here and their Instagram here, as well as Engle & Völkers Hoboken here and here

Jersey City Business: ChicpeaJC

Photo by Greg Pallante and taken from @chicpeajc

Photo by Greg Pallante and taken from @chicpeajc

I think it’s safe to assume that if you’re a Jersey City resident, you know who ChicpeaJC is. I’d even venture to say her reach extends to a lot of Hudson County residents . But I really wanted to meet Lynn Hazan, the face (and a lot of the time, body) behind Chicpea. 

I send her a DM on Instagram introducing myself, HudsonCounty60 and my pitch: ChicpeaJC’s top 3 Jersey City businesses she would bring out of town guests to. I really didn’t think I would hear back— I’m sure I only get a small portion of the DMs she gets, and I still get a lot. But by the end of the day she responds. We pick a day to shoot, her three businesses, and we’re off.

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When I walk in to our first location, The Hair Room JC, there she is with her laptop, and three iPhones. She says this is her usual MO and she wanted to give us a glimpse of her real life. And it makes sense. Not only does she run ChicpeaJC, but she throws huge events (like the upcoming Terminal of Terror), runs the nonprofit Content Creators Academy, and has an entire additional side business where she does the marketing/social media for other businesses - while also finding time to workout and raise a daughter. 

Let’s talk about The Hair Room for a second. I can’t get over how cute it is! It’s like walking into a salon from the 50’s. Every station is a vintage vanity, there are pink rotary phones and a bathroom lined with vintage hair dye boxes and makeup. Lauren and Amber, the women in the shop that day, are equally as lovely and nice, not to mention Amber is done with Lynn’s hair in record time.

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We move on to lunch at Uncle Momo’s. Uncle Momo's is a Lebanese French Bistro on Grove Street, and Lynn swears by it. The interior is typically French, and the kind of bistro I fantasize about having a nice glass of wine at, on a perfect fall afternoon. The food is the kind of Mediterranean food I've always loved-- hummus, falafel, schwarma, kofta, etc. Everything is absolutely delicious and tastes fresh. Lynn calls it the most underrated restaurant in Jersey City, and I couldn’t agree more. 

I ask her about Content Creators Academy, or CCA.JC, her nonprofit youth mentorship program that aims to teach kids the skills they need to market themselves and their entrepreneurial pursuits in this digital era. The program teaches students skills like photography and editing, building a brand, video editing and creating content. The organization brings in mentors from different fields for the students to talk to and learn from. This is exactly the kind of program I wish was around when I was younger. Did I mention it's entirely free for the kids?

Photo taken from @chicpeajc

Photo taken from @chicpeajc

Lastly we move on to Another Man's Treasure Vintage, a business I consider to be a part of the #HudCo60Fam, and one of Lynn's favorite places to shop in Jersey City. AMT Vintage has made a name for themselves as a vintage authority, and every single piece shows you why-- they have items dating back to the 1920's and it's all beautifully curated. She and Meika, the owner, are clearly very well acquainted-- as soon as we walk in Meika pulls out some pieces she's been holding for Lynn, including a body skimming gold dress, reminiscent of a 90's runway look. This was absolutely my favorite part of the day, if not for anything else other than Lynn's clear enthusiasm for fashion, something her followers are well aware of. She comes alive in the store in a way she hadn't all day. It felt for a moment that we were really hanging out and I was digging it. 

My day with Lynn was inspirational, educational and illuminating. It gave me something to aspire to with my own business and platform, and showed me that the work never stops, the rewards to reap do get better. If you're not already following Lynn check out her blog here, and her Instagram here. Also don't forget the wonderful businesses we checked out below.

And don't forget, Spooky Terminal and Terminal of Terror are coming up October 27th. Tickets are available here.

Till next time friends!

The Hair Room JC: Website, Instagram

Uncle Momo: Website, Instagram

Another Man’s Treasure Vintage: Website, Instagram

Content Creators Academy: Website, Instagram