Judy’s Comments

Wine Tasting A Home Run

Maria Baniel is an Independent Wine Consultant and supporter of Garden State Woman who conducted a wine tasting event for the Garden State Woman Education Foundation last week at Lenfell, the Mansion at the Florham campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University.

We love to hold events at FDU. The setting is elegant, especially this time of year when the grounds are beautiful. It is fun to let your imagination wander back in time and speculate on the life style of the residents of this magnificent property. For this event, Ashley Overa and Michael Malinowski treated us to wonderful music. Joseph Knight of Knight & Hammer displayed his extensive collection of custom made jewelry, donating 20% of sales back to us. We thank all our many guests who were surprised by a door prize drawing of a trip to Italy (not airfare) given by Anna Maria Sorrentino of Shop, Wine and Dine. As usual, the event went smoothly because of the careful planning of our own Megan Sones.

There are always behind the scenes events that contribute to any successful endeavor. Our thanks to Bourbon Street Liquors in Flemington for their support and Dianna and Adam Lee of Siduri Wines in California for generously donating their wines.

Wines that were sampled included:

Barefoot Bubbly Brut Cuvée • California • Chardonnay

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Responding to increasing educational costs

Given a choice of how to handle escalating costs in New Jersey public schools over 80 percent of those responding to our recent poll indicated they preferred having teachers contribute more to their benefits packages and reducing administrative positions and expenses. These are difficult, challenging issues facing many of our communities across the state. It will be interesting to see how Governor Christie's tough stand with the teachers union works out.


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Women Wine Vintners

Women have broken down doors in many male dominated professions. This is especially true in the wine industry. However, it has not been an easy path. In Europe, where the people are bent on tradition, a woman would only gain control of a winery when widowed or when there were no sons for inheritance. In the United States, a woman not only has to be educated and hard working but also needs to excel in winemaking to become recognized. As a result many of the wines made by woman today top the charts, earn high scores and tend to be expensive. Just look at Heidi Peterson Barrett. She is the only person (male or female) to ever receive four perfect 100 scores for her wines from Robert Parker, a highly acclaimed wine critic. Why is it that we have to work so much harder than our male counterparts?

To learn more about the struggles and achievements of women vintners, join us on Thursday, June 10, 2010 at Lenfell Hall at the Madison Campus of Fairleigh Dickinson University from 6-8:30 PM. You will not want to miss this learn and laugh evening. Sponsored by the Garden State Woman Education Foundation, the networking and wine tasting event will be a fundraiser for the Foundation. Conducting the tasting will be Independent Wine Consultant, Maria Baniel. Maria has an extensive knowledge of all aspects of wine making. Maria has selected wines from California, Argentina and Italy made by incredible women vintners.

Make your reservation today

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The Perfect Escape

Iam not a big "beach person" other than to hear and look at the ocean but I recently returned from 7 days in Mexico and it was heavenly. We flew to Cozumel via Charlotte, NC from Newark. It is an easy journey on US Airways (Newark to Charlotte is a little over one hour; clearing security and customs in North Carolina = one hour and the flight from NC to Cozumel is a little over 2 hours.) Cozumel is an island that offers a variety of scuba diving and snorkeling options. I was traveling with my son who is an avid scuba diver. He was going to Mexico for the wedding of close friends and wanted to catch a few dives beforehand. Since his usual dive buddy could not make this trip, I convinced him that he should have someone with him. In exasperation (and to shut me up) he agreed to let me tag along. I was looking for a few days of solitude - my scuba diving days are past but I understand the fascination of the ocean.

We arrived at an oasis – Baldwin's Guest House Cozumel - The perfect place to sleep, read, have amazing breakfasts and relax. The innkeepers, Dale and Kathy Gardner are very attentive. They share their wonderful B&B with lots of native creatures and birds. Dale and Kathy have been on the island for more than 15 years. They came down from Western Canada to Cozumel. Among the natural disasters, they have experienced hurricanes. All the food and supplies come to the island by ferry. When a hurricane is forecast, the ferries stop running two days before the storm and for a week after the storm. Kathy told me that two years ago, a hurricane wiped out thousands of birds because they had no shelter. Island living requires a certain resourcefulness.

If you visit Cozumel by cruise ship, you will most likey miss seeing the wildlife, neighborhoods and the lifestyle of the native people. There are children everywhere and lots of young girls with babies. The other phenomenon is mopeds. They are the transportation of choice and seem to be driven at record speed with anywhere from 3-6 people (an entire family – no helmets for the children) on board. The food everywhere we went was delicious and affordable. Visitors seem to be mostly from Europe and the West Coast of the USA.

Where have you visited that opened your eyes to a different way of life. Reach me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Wishing you and yours a restful 3-day weekend. Have you signed up for our wine tasting on June 10, 2010? Hope to see you there.

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Credit and Credit Scoring

Beginning today, I will post a new Judy's Thoughts every Monday. Hopefully it will be a subject that inspires you to respond. I encourage you to join Judy's Circle so that you can comment on my postings. This will be a place to share your thoughts.

It seems ludicrous to me that credit scoring companies have big budgets for tv advertsing to tell us how important our credit score is. Is this a disconnect? Worrying about your credit score is another attempt at manipulating us. With many wondering how to just make the mortgage payment, why should we also be worrying about our credit score? Most of us want to get out of debt not take on more. For years, the US economy has thrived on the backs of the middle class and credit. Now the economy needs to find something else to stimulate it other than the willingness of Americans to exist on credit.

The thought for the week is: What is your five year plan to get out of debt and send the whole concept of being manipulated by my credit score out the window? Any suggestions? Regsiter with Judy's Circle and share your thoughts with other readers.

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NJ Sexual Violence Prevention Plan

At last a movement to stop sexual violence before it occurs. The 2010-2020 New Jersey Sexual Violence Prevention Plan is the result of a three year collaborative effort by national, state and local partners. Historically, New Jersey focused most of its efforts on crisis response and survivor treatment only after an incident of sexual violence has occurred. Funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this new plan represents a proactive, cutting edge and comprehensive set of actions to stop sexual violence before it occurs in New Jersey.

Sexual violence is part of a larger culture of violence that shares risk factors with other societal problems of child abuse, gang violence, bullying, and domestic violence. These problems plague our communities, schools and families and require our joint efforts to solve them.

These thoughts are excerpted from a report prepared by the Prevention and Public Education Committee of the Governor’s Advisory Council Against Sexual Violence of which I have been a member for the last two years.

Please join the Garden State Woman community facebook group and share your thoughts on addressing violence in New Jersey.

We encourage you to learn more about Denim Day which will be observed this Wednesday, April 28th.  Sponsored by NJCASA to raise awareness, you can learn more from their website. Sign up on Facebook to give your support to this important movement.

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NJWAN Honors Three

Recently I was one of three women honored by the New Jersey Women & Aids Network (NJWAN) at their Spring into Action Luncheon at the Pines Manor in Edison. Sally Hodder, MD, Infectious Disease Medicine at University of Medicine & Dentistry of NJ; Mildred C. Crump, President of the Newark City Council and Judy Chapman, Founder of Garden State Woman, were 2010 Women of Excellence Award Recipients. NJWAN is a private, non-profit organization that is the only women-specific statewide AIDS service organization. Thank you to Executive Director, Monique Howard and the dedicated staff for this honor. You are  all truly amazing. To learn more: www.njwan.org.

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Women not satisfied with financial plans

In our recent on-line poll 75% of participating women indicated they are not satisfied with their financial plan and indicated they need help re-thinking their financial future.

Back in 1998 when I started Garden State Woman we found that women generally were not nearly as involved as they should be in planning and managing their personal and family finances. It doesn't look like much has changed in the past 12 years.

We at Garden State Woman are thinking through various ways we might help women take much greater control of their financial futures. Stay tuned.

I welcome your input at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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When the blizzard of February 26th forced us to reschedule our 5th Annual Garden State Woman Education Foundation luncheon, I was convinced it was a message from above that we were not on the right track. However, when our luncheon on March 12 was over, I knew we were definitely on the right track. In addition to the amazing women that were recognized, along with an impressive list of nominees, there was a spirit of camaraderie and friendship that filled the room. Not only were there contingents of family and friends in attendance, but also co-workers came out in support.
We had truly impressive support from sponsors including Rothstein Kass, Gibbons P.C., Verizon, Merrill Lynch, Sobel & Co, Berkeley College, Strides, Wolff & Samson, Coughlin Duffy.
Attendance was at capacity. Thank you everyone for your support of this event. One of the ways that you can stay involved is to join Judy’s Circle. This is a trusted community of people who believe that the dreams, aspirations and expectations of women and girls should not be limited by gender or ethnicity. These are people who “Get It”. Join us as we continue our crusade to recognize the amazing women of New Jersey and give them the respect they have earned.

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Remedy For Cabin Fever - Find Some Fun

The Morning After
What to do about Cabin Fever. It is the morning after another winter storm in New Jersey. It seems as if this winter is going to go on forever. Not only did this storm hang around but it also necessitated the rescheduling of  our long anticipated 5th Annual Garden State Woman Education Foundation Awards luncheon to Friday, March 12, 2010 at noon at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park.  The event drew a sellout crowd of family and friends of the awardees. We deliberated long and hard before we trusted our intuition that told us that changing the date was the right call. As the snow piled up and the wind blew, we were glad that we had made the decision.
We recently took a 48 hour trip to New England that proved to be a homerun. A business meeting for my husband drew us to Cambridge, Mass. We drove up the day before the meeting and bunked in a highly recommended spot – the Kendall Hotel – see the write up under Your Life and click on Fun . After the morning meeting, we headed for Stowe, Vermont for a late afternoon appointment.   After the meeting we found a wonderful resort, the Golden Eagle,  where we checked in for the night. We took a short ride up to the ski lifts and  the village of Stowe. The next morning we found a great Dutch Pancake House and then explored the Main Street. I found a wonderful hand made ski cap to bring back with me. An interesting fact about the children living in Stowe. During ski season, every Friday everyone heads to the ski slopes!
My suggestion for Cabin Fever – do something fun.


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Prostate Cancer & The Men In Your Life

My husband through the years has always said that if you live in New Jersey long enough you eventually have to come down with some form of cancer. A little over two years ago his words came back to bite him. He was diagnosed with prostate cancer, a cancer that often goes undetected for too many years. It is also a cancer that can be "dealt with" effectively if caught in time. Yesterday he met with a friend who also had developed prostate cancer in his early 40's - my husband wishes he was in his early 40's!

My message is a simple one, make the men in your life - your dad, husband, significant other, brother, uncle, friends - get their PSA level tested every year starting at age 50 or even before. A rising PSA result at 4.0 or above is a warning sign that he needs to see a oncology specialist. Be a nag. It can make a difference.

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Last week's networking event

The 1st quarterly networking event held by the Garden State Woman Education Foundation was held at the Park Avenue Club in Florham Park on JUanuary 19th. Over 50 professional, corporate and business owning women showed up to network, enjoy the wine and food and to listen to two really interesting presentations.

Dr. Lorraine Maita, with a practice in Short Hills, shared her expertise and knowledge about how we can all live younger longer by preventing and slowing degenerative diseases of aging and restoring your health and vitality through comprehensive and personalized assessments, guidance and support. Dr. Maita had the group sitting on the edges of their chairs.

Jenny Rossilli, a trained kettle bells instructor, had the group on their feet watching her demonstrate kettle bells as an easy to learn, highly effective way for all of us to get and stay in shape in only minutes two or three times a week. After her discussion and kettle bells demonstration Jenny was surrounded by attendees looking to learn more and to sign up for instructions.

It was another exceptional night of networking for women who understand the huge personal and professional benefits of quality networking. Watch for our upcoming events.

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I want to hear from you

Our Bed & Breakfast on line guide has gotten the attention of a number of our readers. For example, Sarah Brevli, Executive Director  of the Warren County United Way noted: Judy " it looks like you have hit on a great idea with the on line B&B guide"

Another email from Pat Mayer, a cancer survivor, tells us about a B&B in Asbury Park, Mary 's Place By The Sea, that welcomes women who are struggling to put their life back together or  adjusting to living with cancer. Pat has personal experience at this B&B and cannot speak too highly of the benefits of connecting with wonderful, caring people who understand your emotional struggle.  "It is a lovely B&B that provides oceanfront views, lovely accommodations, meals, yoga, massages - basically whatever the "dr orders".


An email from the U.S. Department of Labor announces that nearly $100 million in green jobs training grants will support job training programs to help women and others to find jobs in expanding green industries and related occupations. For details check out http://www.doleta.gov.


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Our Bed & Breakfast Guide Is On Line


Our Bed & Breakfast Guide Is On Line
In keeping with our intent to inform you about the best of New Jersey, we have a new, New Jersey Bed and Breakfast Guide. This timely Guide comes in handy for last minute gift ideas – a gift certificate for a stay at one of these unique spots – or better yet, a gift to yourself of a special stay to enjoy these very wonderful inns of the garden state. This is the first of several guides that we will be preparing for you in 2010. A link to this guide is The B&B Guide .

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You Have Spoken! Poll Results

 You have spoken! 

Over 97 % of you who took our web site poll disagree with the proposed new mammogram guidelines that would push examinations off from the recommended 40 years old to the proposed 50 years of age. The new guidelines also suggest eliminating breast self examinations.
I think both new proposed guidelines are another example of the weakness in government controlled health care. Health is a private personal matter that does not belong as a discussion point for legislators. Most women are perfectly capable of making their own health decisions. They need the support of their insurers. It should not be an adversarial relationship. The current attitude among many in the health care reform movement is that we are too dumb to be trusted with our decisions. This attitude only jeopardizeswomen’s health.
Reach out to your elected senators and make sure they understand your point of view on health care reform. Go to their website at::
            Frank Lautenberg at www.lautenberg.senate.gov
            Robert Menendez at www.menendez.senate.gov.

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Thoughts on Health Care Reform Legislation

This email came to us from Sanofi-aventis U.S. asking that it be distributed to our readers as an information piece. We think it is important for all our readers to understand the various points of view of the interested parties in the health reform legislation. We trust you will find this information helpful.

Dear Colleague,

As you may know, the U.S. Senate is scheduled to begin floor debate on health care reform legislation this week. We expect amendments to be introduced on the Senate floor that will negatively impact our industry and jeopardize patient safety and access to medicines. We ask that you contact your Senators to ask them to vote NO against amendments that put patient safety, access to innovative therapies, and access to Medicare Part D prescription drugs at risk.

As a constituent, your views matter to your Members of Congress, and you can make a difference. Beginning today, we encourage you to reach out to your legislators and make your voice heard by demonstrating support for health care reform that ensures that all Americans have access to affordable, quality health care, including prescription drugs. Take action today!

This upcoming activation presents a prime opportunity to send a letter or place a call to elected officials to underscore the importance of voting NO on amendments that seek to:

  • Allow foreign drugs to be imported, which could increase the flow of counterfeit drugs into the U.S. and potentially cause harm to American patients without guaranteeing lower prices;
  • Limit medical innovation by seeking to undermine the 12 years of data protection provided to innovator biologics in an amendment to establish an abbreviated regulatory pathway for approval of biosimilar products; and
  • Impose market-distorting price controls such as mandatory drug rebates, which, according to government and other experts, will likely have the effect of raising Medicare Part D premiums by as much as 20 percent and other unintended consequences.

Now, as the Senate works to finalize its bill, we urge you to demonstrate the strength of the biopharmaceutical sector by joining in this industry-wide effort to take action on issues affecting our industry. We encourage you to contact your Senators to ask them to vote NO on amendments which harm patient safety, innovation, and the Part D benefit.

Please take action today and write a letter on behalf of the Sanofi-aventis U.S. grassroots network prior to December 14, 2009.

Your action is critical to the success of this effort and to the passage of comprehensive health care reform. Thank you in advance for your participation.

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What a disappointment Nancy Pelosi has turned out to be

Her latest assault on women is the men's health care bill that includes the Stupak amendment. So many women voted for a Democrat because they didn’t want Roe vs. Wade overturned – well, they’re not overturning Roe vs. Wade – they’re just making sure there is no insurance funding for abortions and at this point, it appears for any female reproductive care – since both the House and Senate bills include lists of specific services that must be covered by health insurance companies and be provided without asking patients for additional money. It’s hard to understand why all the services provided in a basic well-woman visit to the gynecologist aren’t on any of those lists i.e. maternity care, newborn care, pediatric dental and vision services, and substance use disorder services. hmmm, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, other procedures pre-post childbirth?

As Madelyn Albright said: “There's a special place in hell reserved for women who don't support other women.”

Please contact your elected representatives and tell them that women are fully 51% of America’s population and deserve the same care and attention as their male counterparts.

My friend JoAnn Dixon shared this information with me and asked that I share it with you.  Please share your thoughts with me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or register with Judy's Circle to post comments below.

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Congratulations Kim

Congratulations to Kim Guadagno on her election as the first Lieutenant Governor of the State of New Jersey. We know problem solving  will be a challenge and we wish her the best as she and newly elected Governor Chris Christie tackle reigning in government spending and corruption  -  as well as unemployment.  What advice do you have for the newly elected team? Email me your thoughts: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


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Which Exit?

If you happen to think that despite a real failure of leadership, New Jersey is an okay place to live, work and educate your children then it behooves you to get out and vote. In our gut we know that all the campaign jargon will be just that after the election. Just as the Sopranos and Desperate Housewives have joined the tag line for New Jersey, Which Exit?, most of our elected officials leave much to be desired as role models. However, for better or worse, what you see is what you get.

One interesting element of this gubernatorial race is the election of a Lieutenant Governor. This is a new position and it will be interesting to see how it evolves. This position was created  to provide someone to be in charge if the governor is unable to perform the duties of the office. No other responsibilities have been assigned and it will be up to the governor to create the job description.
Since this is a three way race, it will be interesting to see how the vote unfolds. If we believe the hype, one candidate feels the need to bask in the shadow of national politicians and their massive spending, another candidate appears to offer us the opportunity to return to the good ole days of the previous Republican president; and the third candidate offers the choice of a governor not attached to either the Democratic or Republican party machine. The candidates for the Lt. Governor position have been selected by the candidate for governor of their party. Jon Corzine has selected Loretta Weinberg; Chris Christie has selected Kim Guadagno and Chris Daggett has selected Dr. Frank J. Esposito. It is interesting to speculate whether they will have an impact on the voting.
In a state with the highest taxes in the nation, a small business climate that is hardly friendly and gridlock throughout that requires no matter where you want to get to – add at least one hour to sit in traffic - we will vote with optimism the selection of governor.
REMEMBER, you are only entitled to complain if you VOTE!!!

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The splendor of autumn In New Jersey is only tempered by the realization that the long, dark, cold days and nights of winter follow. Blue sky speckled with wispy clouds provides a serene backdrop for the gold, yellow and red of changing leaves.

Every rain brings us closer to winter as the leaves are washed from the trees. Fortunately the farm markets keep our spirits up with wonderful pumpkins and apples together with the usual fall display of multi-colored mums and kale. Even though Daylight Saving Time ends November 1 and the first day of winter is December 21, planning for winterizing the house, pets, family and the yard, must be put in motion. Also room needs to be made in our schedules for Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa and the New Year.

This is where things become tricky. Very important to remember that you can only do so much. Try delegating. (Sometimes it is easier to do it  yourself but planning can be more fun with someone). The holidays can be great opportunities to involve the family in preparations. Autumn is a wonderful opportunity to share the beauty of nature with your children. Walk around the field where they play sports and point out the changing colors. Notice the squirrels looking for acorns and the birds flying south. Carve a pumpkin or hang some Indian corn as a welcome sign on the front door. Collect some particularly beautiful leaves for a table decoration. Be sure to check for ticks when you get home – best to wear sweats with tight legs. Plant some spring flowers with the children. There are endless chances to have fun - don’t forget to include the family dog

I recently attended the Far Hills Race Meet which benefits the Steeplechase Cancer Center of Somerset Medical Center. As was often the case this summer, it was a rainy day, but not too cold because it was not windy. It was the type of weather that animals enjoy more than most people. For me, it was great fun. There are countless opportunities for fun outdoors in the fall. Football, soccer, lacrosse, golf to name a few. I guess there is even fall ball if you are still in the baseball mode.

It does the spirit good to enjoy being outside. It also does the body good to get some exercise. So button up, find a scarf and mittens and ENJOY.

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