The Millstone Times March 2021

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2 The Millstone Times

March 2021

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IN THIS ISSUE: Real Estate. ................................... 11 Home Improvement....................... 15 Food and Dining. ............................ 20 Monroe TWP News-As We Age....... 23 Pet Pages........................................ 28 Family Matters.............................. 30 Kids. ................................................ 34 Health and Wellness. .................. 37


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March 2021

The Book Smart Project By Pam Teel Tasha Toth and her husband, Kevin, both of Roosevelt, to date, have collected and donated over 18,000 children’s books to lower income families, school districts, and other organizations in need of books across the state of New Jersey and abroad. As a child, Tasha had always loved reading a new book and was fascinated by how each book was a different world and story to her. Books were magical to her. She always felt that every child should have a book to explore. When she grew older, she and her father had made a plan to start a project that would help children who were less fortunate have access to books to read at all times. Sadly, in 2011 her father passed away before they could put their plan into action. Three years later, while still living in Flemington, Tasha wanted to honor her father by going ahead with the project that they had planned together. She posted on Facebook groups pitching the idea of collecting children’s books from the area and giving them to local teachers who needed them for their classrooms. The response from the community was incredible, and thus, The Book Smart Project (formerly known as The Taleeny Weeny Reading Project) was born. The first six months of putting their plan into action produced thousands of books that went out to teachers across the state. Over the years, Tasha and Kevin have collected all kinds of children’s books from families in New Jersey that no longer had a need for the books, and in turn, the Toth’s donated these books to hun- dreds of teachers all around the state, mostly in low-income areas. Some of the places they donated to were Hunterdon Medical Center in Flemington (for their pediatric offices), Camp Bernie, Home- Front in Trenton, Community Health Action in Staten Island, and DYFS. They have also partnered with a couple of other organizations with the intentions of spreading the gift of literacy to children all around the globe. They partnered with ‘Literacy Movement 4 More’ to get books to those in need in India and overseas, and with ‘Empower and Help’ a Manalapan based nonprofit organization focused on child literacy. They have also sent books to Caribbean countries that have been affected by natural disasters. Through their partnership with Empower and Help, they have also donated books that have gone to Bangladesh and to refugees in Lebanon and Jordan. Tasha, who is fluent in Arabic, has also helped translate handmade greeting cards to Arabic to send to the children of Syria who are in hospitals needing some moral uplifting. “We are so proud of all the progress we have made over the years and look forward to doing more and getting more books in the hands of children to help them explore and experience the great ad- ventures of reading,” stated Ms. Toth. “We aspire to get books in the hands of ALL kids to ensure every child has the opportunity to be Book Smart.”

Here’s how you can help: If you would like to donate children’s books for children here in your own town and state, you can drop off children’s books only at Vesuvio’s Family Restaurant at 221 Millstone Road, here in Millstone Township. There will be a special marked box inside for drop off. The Costaglia family is always happy to help out their community! Attention Scout masters- This would be a great opportunity for your troop to earn a badge. Contact Tasha and Kevin and start a collection of books on your own with your friends and neighbors. Teachers in Millstone and nearby townships, if you are in need of more books for the children to read, visit the website or email Tasha at: thebooksmart- /website at: (teachers, schools, hospitals, other organizations, you will find a request books page on here) "You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax- All you need is a book!" - Dr. Suess

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6 The Millstone Times

March 2021

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Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy also referred to as PRP Therapy, is a progressive non-surgical treatment to treat a variety of conditions including arthritis, ten- don injuries, and ligament injuries. PRP is part of a group of state-of-the-art treatments collectively referred to as Regenerative Medicine. PRP treats an injured area naturally using your body’s own growth factors to accelerate healing. It has been shown to be safe and effec- tive for numerous joint and soft tissue injuries. It has been extensively researched in numerous medical journals and publications all over the world. Some of the many uses of Platelet Rich Plasma include osteoarthritis (degenera- tive arthritis) of the spine, knee, shoulder, hip, hands, and feet, as well as menis- cus tears, plantar fasciitis, and rotator cuff tears. The procedure is simple and is performed in the office. The PRP process begins when a small amount of the patient’s blood is removed from the arm and placed into a special container. The blood is then placed into a device called a centri- fuge which spins the blood to help the separate the portion of the blood which becomes concentrated with platelets, thereby giving the procedure its name. These platelets are important because they release growth factors to recruit stem cells and to assist in healing an injured area naturally. Once the PRP is isolated, it is injected to the injured area under the guidance of an ultrasound machine to help accelerate healing and reduce pain.

This healing works on the simple principle that your body is perfectly capable of healing itself. Your blood contains all the essential components that the body produces to repair tissue damage. Each time you have an injury, the platelets in your blood along with growth factors, stem cells, cytokines, and other elements create a scaffolding on the site. The damaged tissues use this framework to regenerate and repair. The entire process takes approximately one hour, and pa- tients are sent home the same day. Patients on average report more than 50% improvement in 6 weeks and up to 100% improvement in 12 weeks. This may eliminate the need for more aggressive and expensive treatment options such as long-term medication or surgery. In a recent study, researchers at Hospital for Special Surgery gave patients with early osteoarthritis an injection of PRP and then monitored them for one year. After one year of the PRP injection, physicians evaluated the knee cartilage with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). While previous studies have shown that patients with osteoarthritis can lose roughly five percent of knee cartilage per year, the Hospital for Special Surgery investigators found that a large majority of patients in their study had no further cartilage loss. At minimum PRP also prevented further knee deterioration.

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The Millstone Times Celebrates The StarsFrom New Jersey

Kendra Goodwin • Hometown: Randolph, NJ

K endra Goodwin Allen, popular ice skater and ice dancer from the late 1990s and early to mid-2000s, never competed in an actual Olympic Games. However, she has “lived it” through her husband Jeremy; he was a coach at the 2018 Olympics in South Korea. “I guess I got to live it vicariously through him,” she states with a chuckle, “so that was pretty cool. Just because my husband and I have this shared passion because he was a paired skater himself, we met through figure skating at the training center at the University of Delaware and the rest is history. So, going to the Olym- pics, whether as a coach or as an athlete, that was just a huge moment for us as a family.” Goodwin’s life has been rewarding. She has her family, her job as a high school Speech and Language Pathologist, and many rich memories of when she performed with some outstanding partners, they are pairing their skating talents with hers to attain lofty heights. The 37-year-old Goodwin has been married since 2010, and she and her husband have two children: 6-year-old daughter Kajsa, and a two-year-old son, David. “That’s what I’ve always wanted, a family,” she says. “We all just love each other. That’s number one.” Her job is number two. “Working with adults with disabilities, I’m so thankful I attained my mas- ter’s degree and focused on school.” She did have to leave competitive ice dancing, but if she didn’t, she wouldn’t have been in her words, complete. “There was something else that I wanted in life other than figure skating. I’m very happy that I was successful in doing that.” Goodwin was adopted after birth from Indonesia by Tom and Cecilee Goodwin of Ran- dolph. “I try to go home as much as I can,” says the Illinois-located Goodwin. Goodwin, who also has a sister, Anya, attended the University of Delaware, majored in Psychology, and minored in Linguistics, and received her Master’s in Speech Pathology from Northwestern University. She teaches at Mundelein High School in Mundelein, Illinois. Goodwin reflects with much gratitude about her younger days in Randolph. “I remember that it was a very safe community, very easy to walk around by myself. My best friend Mere- dith and myself would spend hours outside and go to the beach right on our lake, Shongum Lake, and we’d just ride our bikes around for hours. Again, it was a very safe community so my parents never had to worry while we were out during the day. I remember doing Indian Princesses with my dad. Indian Princesses is probably one of my fondest memories with my dad, where we were able to do the camping trips and go hiking together with my friends and their dads, and that was very enjoyable.” Her mom and dad started Goodwin and her sister in group skating classes at Mennen Arena. “My parents supported us fully,” she says, “and you have to have a lot of commitment for the sport, so we did decide to eventually go with just figure skating. I was doing dance as well as gymnastics, and then the figure skating all at one time. We had to get to that point where we had to choose one.” Goodwin says that is one of the things she likes about her parents, is the fact that they exposed her to many things. She now does the same for her own children. “I think because of that my parents were very supportive, putting everything into figure skating for us. Without that support, I never would have gone as far as I have gone.” Goodwin fondly recalls her dad, suit on for work, driving her to early morning practices at 6 a.m., where she would skate for a couple of hours and then head to Center Grove Elementa- ry School. “That was every morning for me,” she remembers. She also did camps and skating camps in Canada, Colorado, and Lake Placid. In middle school she discovered ice dancing, which she describes as “Ballroom on ice.” “I started ice dancing with my coaches at Mennen Arena, Colleen O’Connor and John Powell. They really got me into the ice dance part of it. You’re going to be with somebody when you’re out there competing out on the ice. That’s what I liked: the idea of being out on the ice with somebody else, practicing with them and performing with them, and not just being alone out there.” She continues, “The ability to express, that is a huge thing in ice dance. I’m really very naturally introverted to be honest with you, and I think growing up with skating as a commitment kind of made it harder for me socially, so partnering was a huge social outlet for me where I was able to express artistically as well as socially, having somebody with me and learning that way.” Goodwin’s initial two national pairings were with Paul Goldner and Ty Cockrum. Her mom, seeking an ice dance partner for Kendra, sent her photo to all the coaches around the

United States. “I tried out with Paul first and it went really well. We developed a partnership. I was a freshman, I believe, in middle school, and our moms drove us everywhere. He was from New York and I was from New Jersey; his mom would drive an hour to meet us in New Jersey, and then vice-versa we would go up to New York.” Cockrum was a little further away- Seattle, Washington. “We went out there, and the trial went real- ly well,” Goodwin says. “The coach was great, and my parents were willing to give me the opportunity to let me move out to

Kendra Goodwin and Brent Bommentre Perform Jonathan Ferry/Ge ty Images

Seattle when I was 16, a high school junior to pursue ice dancing with Ty.” It was a culture change for her. “Not the typical teenage life,” she says with a laugh. “I grew up really quickly.” Goodwin’s greatest success came with partner Chris Obansky. Competing in the junior level, the duo captured 1st place in the 2000 Junior Grand Prix event in China, and they were also the 2001 United States Junior National silver medalists, and also finished 11th at the 2001 World Junior Figure Skating Championships. It was quite a run of success, and then the partnership bond was broken when Obansky chose to serve as a Mormon mission- ary. “It was huge,” she says of their paring. “It really opened up my eyes to understanding his faith, in general just understanding the commitment involved. Not only did Chris have figure skating, but he also had his faith and religion, and I had to respect that. I couldn’t be mad at him for anything about it. I was very upset, but this was something that he felt he needed to do at that moment. For me, it was hard, it was definitely a challenge for me because of the sacrifices I had made with moving around, with moving to Delaware to skate with Chris. There’s a lot of sacrifice that goes into this sport. The girls sacrifice more so than the boys because there are more girls that are looking for partners than boys. I felt like we were at a pivotal moment in our career, but there was nothing I could’ve done about it. It was something Chris really wanted, and I had to support that.” “At that time, we really could’ve been a very strong team nationally and internationally if we had had a longer partnership.” News spread of Goodwin’s seeking a new partner, and she found one in Brent Bommentre, whose close proximity to Goodwin’s Delaware, he was in Philadelphia, was perfect. And that wasn’t all. “I think our personalities really went well together,” Goodwin says. “Brent is very personable, he’s very friendly, very outgoing, very funny. I really appreciate humor, so there was a lot of laughing in our partnership.” And serious skating as well. The team won a pewter medal at the 2004 United States Championships and also took part in 2004 Skate America and the 2004 Cup of Russia. “I felt like it was a very positive experience with Brent.” The partnership disbanded early 2005, and Obansky rejoined Goodwin on the ice for the rest of 2005 and 2006, and then Bommentre was back in 2008. “I feel like I really grew a lot through those partnerships,” she says, “even though there were many of them.” Her parents were fonts of wisdom once more, telling her that from each partnership she’d learn some- thing new, and the same thing with the coaches. “I really like that philosophy of not being fearful and just giving it a try and doing the best you can under those circumstances.” Goodwin still occasionally laces on her skates. “I do yes, I do,” she says with glee. “I work very part-time, and I do have a couple of students that I work with.” Although inspired by fellow skaters in her life, her parents are tops to her. “Especially now that I am a parent, just looking back at everything that they did for me and for skating, and the trust that they must’ve had for me as a teenager moving out to Seattle onmy own, I think that really promoted that hard work ethic and that really supported the belief inme and gave me more confidence. They trusted me and respected that and they knew I was going to be responsible and make good decisions. Because of that, I grew as much as I did.”

By Steve Sears

8 The Millstone Times

March 2021

Believe- Do you? By Pam Teel

Millstone resident and first time author, Phyllis Mitchell, writes a down to earth com- pelling book about discovering and embracing her God given Psychic abilities. Abili- ties she was born with but that remained virtually dormant for the earlier part of her life until she was ready to accept her gifts and learn to use them in a way that would benefit others. Phyllis’s book delves into her life and how her family, both living and deceased, have encouraged her to accept her gifts and find the courage and confidence to finally em- brace her abilities. Calling herself a late bloomer, Phyllis finally faced up to her spiri- tual side and answered the calling that she had felt ever since she was a teenager. Tired of living a double life as a CPA in a business world but hiding the spiritual part of her being, this book explores Phyllis’s journey in finding her way to bringing both her worlds together and become one with herself. Throughout her book, Phyllis encour- ages readers to explore their journey and find their truth about themselves. Phyllis’s journey shows how in just a few short years she was able to come to fruition with the extent of her own psychic abilities, through hard work, exploration, seeking others advice, her own intuition, taking classes, and learning about things she didn’t fully understand. With newfound knowledge, she was able to discover her own hid- den abilities. For example, she realized that she could read tarot cards by taking a tarot card class and she came to the realization that she could talk to people who passed when a man who died in her own town connected with her asking her to give a mes- sage to his family. Her story is about her role as a mother, business-woman, teacher, student, friend, rel- ative, and now a spiritual advisor. Phyllis has a passion to help people in such ways as using her abilities to relay messages from deceased loved ones to those who need com- fort or closure, or teaching like-minded people ways to develop their own intuitions. Writing a book was always on Phyllis’s mind. The encouragement of her husband and

family and the guidance from relatives on the other side, her grandmother, mother, and sister to name a few, allowed Phyllis’s book to become a reality. Phyllis starts out in chapter one by paying homage to her grandmother Carmella who was a gifted seer who had her own successful business reading tea leaves and telling the future. Some of her clients who came to be read were in high political positions. Note, reading tarot cards in the early 1900’s was illegal and subject to jail, but Carmella could always tell who the undercover cops were who were trying to nab her from the true clients. Call it intuition! There were many relatives in the past in Phyllis's family who were psychically gifted as well as some family members today who are spiritually gifted in one way or another. During Phyllis’s lifetime, she was always drawn to visiting psychics, getting readings, and believing in spiritual beings, who to this day still bring her guidance. Phyllis finally overcame the last obstacle that somewhat was holding her back from her true calling. She worried about what others would think of her being psychic. Would her business clients, neighbors, friends and yes, even some family members stop talking to her or think her crazy? She was worried about the stigma that still exists today because there are many who are quite skeptical about psychics and their abilities. Having the full support of her immediate family helped her in a big way to overcome her fear. Her husband told her to pursue her new career and to focus on herself and do what makes her happy. Her son Sean helped her with all the technical support making it easier for her to take that leap of faith and make that conscious decision to just be herself and accept the truth. Her son Dean put it all into perspective for her when he told her, “Mom, You do You!” And that’s exactly what she has been doing. There’s no hesitation from here on in. Phyllis has come full circle and has finally embraced the gifts that God has given her. She started her own tarot card and medium business, launched her own website, created a YouTube and podcast both called Psychic Connection, can be found on Instagram, speaks on radio shows and podcasts, teaches classes, hosts open discussions and now has written a book. I am sure there is more to come!!! You can find more information about Phyllis, schedule a reading with her and order a copy of her book - Believe- Do You? at: www.readingsbyphyllis. com Tune in every other Tuesday to her YouTube channel -Psychic Connection- or listen to her podcast with the same content. Please note that a portion of the book proceeds will go to Phyllis’s favorite charities. Helping People is her passion!

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Rise Reaches Out to Our Neighbors in Need Now More Than Ever! By Pam Teel

Since the late ’60s, communities have been aware that acting locally is the first step in solving the big problems like poverty that still trouble our world. In Central NJ, Rise helps families and individuals recover from setbacks by providing services to help people feel valued, safe and optimistic about their futures. Rise has been fortunate to assemble a talented, thoughtful and warm-hearted team along with the hundreds of partners and volunteers that are truly motivated and driven by Rise clients’ successes. This collective generosity ensures that Rise’s vision and mission are enacted daily in the organization’s offices and stores and in the com- munity at large. In the fifty-four years it has been in existence, Rise has grown significantly, especially under the guidance of its current Executive Director. Leslie Koppel, a Monroe Township resident, started out as a manager of the Rise Thrift Store. When the director of Rise left, Ms. Koppel interviewed with the Board of Directors who decided to take a leap of faith and give her a chance. Equipped with her Master’s degree in Public Policy and the support of coworkers in all ranks, Ms. Koppel quickly stepped into the role of Executive Director of the entire organization. She began at a crucial time in Rise’s history: with programs floundering and supporters questioning their future, the new leader had her work cut out for her. She immediately found it necessary to re-establish all grant, corporate and donor relationships. In time, she was able to do that and much more through sound management strategies, persistence and belief in herself, her staff and Rise’s mission.

Executive Director of Rise, Leslie Kop- pel and her dog Tilly. Tilly is well known around Hightstown.

In 2020, Rise addressed skyrocketing need for its services due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Helped by an outpouring of community support, Rise was able to fully respond to the 300% increase in the number of families seeking assistance. Continuing food distribution to those in need, the 3,100-square- foot Rise Pantry now helps to serve an average of 764 families per week. In 2020 alone, 68,765 boxes of food were distributed to people in the Hightstown, Roosevelt, East Windsor, Monroe, Plainsboro and Cranbury areas. As Rise looks ahead to 2021 and the ongoing impact of COVID-19, it knows that the need for services will only increase. With learned experience, the support of grants, donations and sponsorships, and collaboration with community partners, Rise will meet the needs of community members and ulti- mately help them to rise beyond their current situation, overcome barriers and reach their full potential. Rise will continue to provide services outdoors and in safe indoor settings. Ms. Koppel hopes that, “By this summer we can bring some children back together into a classroom for learning and fun. We are planning for an expanded Rise Youth Conference to travel and stay in a local university. Of course, we are ready to pivot to hold the conference at a local park – we just want to provide opportunities for our kids to reconnect with each other and our com- munity. Last summer our Rise Camp created an outdoor mural, and we look forward to again providing learning experiences to local kids. We welcome youth volunteers and community partners as we plan for summer 2021.” Ms. Koppel is constantly, pleasantly surprised by the generosity of individuals, businesses and corporations – whether it be in their volunteer commit- ments or through their donations. During COVID 19, “the Rise volunteers were on the front lines, helping people get through the darkest days of the pandemic.” She is thrilled that Rise is helping to meet the community’s needs and proudly says, “No one here needs to be hungry. They can get food. If they need clothing, they can get scarves, coats and gloves and they can get vouchers to Rise Thrift Store for additional clothing and household goods. We can help them with paperwork and connect them with State and Federal service programs. Children can have school supplies, attend camp and learn about safety. We cover holidays with food baskets and gifts. Sometimes, we can even help with emergency funds. We believe we are meeting the needs of low-income families in our community to the best of our funding ability.” Below are some of the programs that are offered by Rise as funding allows: Free Breakfast and Lunch provided by Mercer Street Friends. Through Federal funding, 300 to 400 meals a week are given out to families with children. Rise Academic Enrichment Summer Camp . Part of the programming at Rise is a commitment to serving local youth and teens. In partnership with the East Windsor Regional School District, they host the Rise Academic Enrichment Summer Camp Program, a six-week summer day camp for local children from kindergarten through 12th grade. This program is designed to offer quality summer childcare and volunteer and employment options for local families while providing a fun and educational experience for campers. Fees are assessed on a sliding scale in order to be affordable to all families. Rise to College Readiness. This initiative provides support for the practical mechanics of applying to college. It assists the underrepresented juniors and seniors in the East Windsor Regional School District in navigating the complex process of planning, searching, applying, choosing and paying for college. Barriers are removed and mentors provide guidance to the students interested in pursuing higher education. Rise to Entrepreneurship. Have an idea for a business? These weekly classes will help you to prepare and launch your new venture (youth and adults). Health Screenings. Rise partners with local agencies to bring a variety of health services to clients.

...continued on page 26

10 The Millstone Times

March 2021


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REAL ESTATE NJDOBI Offers Guidance on Filing Homeowners Insurance Claims to NJ Homeowners Impacted by Tropical Storm Isaias Atlantic Hurricane Season Peak is mid-August through late October

The Department of Banking and Insurance provided guidance on filing a homeown- er’s insurance claim for storm-related damage, as well as information about flood in- surance to help New Jersey homeowners who have suffered property damage caused by the recent tropical storm that rattled the state. “Tropical Storm Isaias caused widespread damage throughout the state. Homeown- ers who have suffered property damage due to the storm should know that they can file a claim with their homeowner’s insurance company. We also want homeowners to know that if they have an issue or concern related to their insurance claim, they can contact the department for help,” said Commissioner Marlene Caride. Homeowners insurance protects homeowners from damage to their home, other structures not attached to the home like detached garages, storage sheds and fences, as well as personal property like furniture. Homeowners insurance policies exclude water damage caused by flood. Renters insurance policies also exclude coverage for flood damage. Only flood insurance covers a person’s home and their personal property from floods. Consumers can purchase a flood insurance policy from the National Flood In-

surance Program, a federal program which is the primary provider of flood insurance for residential property. Private flood insurance is also an option. Hurricanes bring many hazards to New Jersey’s coastal communities and inland areas. A storm that does not reach the strength of a major hurricane can still cause widespread damage. The peak potential for hurricane and tropical storm activity in New Jersey runs from mid-August through the end of October. Hurricane season runs June 1 through November 30. How to File Homeowners Insurance Claim Call your agent or insurance company. Call your agent or insurer as soon as possible to report your loss. Have your policy number ready along with any information that may be relevant and have paper and pen to record the claim number, contact information for the assigned claim representative and any important information about your claim. Ask your agent or insurance company what documentation you will be need to provide to them. If you have any questions, your agent or insurance company will assist you. Make necessary repairs. If your property has been damaged, it is important to make any necessary temporary repairs to protect the property from further loss or damage. For example, if windows are broken, have them boarded up to protect against vandalism or weather. Be sure to save all receipts or bills to submit for your claim. Work with claim adjuster. Your insurance company will assign a claim adjuster to inspect the damages and determine coverage. You should co- operate with the adjuster and keep written notes about conversations regarding your claim. The company should provide you with a copy of the damage estimate and if you request it, give you the name of a contractor who will do the work at the price estimated. You are not required to use the company’s recommended contractor. If all or part of the loss is not covered, the company must explain how coverage is excluded under your policy. Resolving disputes. If you and the insurance company do not agree, first try to resolve your issues with the company. Sometimes it helps to have your contractor speak directly with the claim adjustor. If you cannot resolve the dispute with your insurance company, you can: Contact the Department’s Consumer Hotline at 1-800-446-7467 (8:30 am to 5:00 pm EST Monday-Friday), or go to the Department website and click on Consumer Assistance - Inquiries/Complaints, at Understand Flood Insurance Flood insurance is not part of most insurance policies written for homeowners, as well as policies for condominium-owners and renters. Consumers can purchase a flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or from an insurance company offering private flood insurance. Consumers should be aware that flood insurance is not effective until 30 days after it is sold. Therefore, consumers who want flood insurance for this storm season should contact an approved flood insurance agent immediately and not wait for another approaching storm. For more about flood insur- ance through the NFIP, go to:

14 The Millstone Times

March 2021



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Top Home Improvement Trends 2021 By, Surabhi Ashok

The home improvement mar- ket has never been as bus- tling as it has been over the recent months of Covid-19. According to Businesswire, a Consumer Specialists Survey conducted on 600 homeown- ers in June of 2020 published that 57% of those homeown- ers made home improvements during the beginning months of quarantine. This trend is still seen almost a year later. This surge in home improve-


ment activity can be attributed to the increase of time one spends at home. Due to self-isolation, many homeowners not only have more time to divulge in these activities, but have come to realize the projects that need to be done. One of the top home improvement trends continued in 2021 is home offic- es. Due to safety concerns, many people have been working from home. Ac- cording to Zillow, “about two-thirds of Zillow survey respondents say they’re working from a room that’s not a dedicated home office.” Creating a desig- nated space allows people to separate their work and home environments and concentrate away from their families. The “Zoom Room” has also gained traction. A zoom room is an area dedicated to video conferences. This room would contain an aesthetic and plain background and be removed from the noisy parts of the house. According to, many homeowners and buyers are turning their attention towards backyard-related improvements as well. This stems from the desire to spend more time outside after being confined in houses for months. It also comes from the fact that meeting with limited people outdoors is safer than meeting with them indoors. The immense number of standing heaters for porches and patios that are being sold, for example, reveal this trend. Another top improvement trend in 2021 is the home gym. Most fitness cen- ters have been closed in order to slow the spread of the virus. Some people have continued to work out in the safety of their own homes. Research and Markets says that over the lockdown, the sale of fitness equipment like exer- cise bikes and treadmills grew 170%. The widespread inclination as of 2021 for interior design has been simple and clean, with a focus on open floors, light paint colors, and less items. A simplistic and cozy decor is what a lot of families are gravitating to. According to, things like throw blankets, candles, and houseplants are very common to see now. Ultimately, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a home improvement trend that many Americans scramble to keep up with this year. Source: • ty-Increases-During-COVID-19 • Home-Shoppers • • dynamic&utm_medium=BW&utm_code=m6djfc&utm_campaign=1386770+-+Fitness+Equipment+- Sales+Grow+by+170%25+During+Coronavirus+Lockdown&utm_exec=- joca220bwd

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FOOD & DINING Baked Feta with Broccolini, Tomatoes and Lemon This vegetarian dish is bursting with flavor from broccolini, tomatoes, onion, cumin, salty feta and fresh herbs. Serve over cooked rice, orzo or pasTA! Ingredients: • 1 bunch broccolini, ends trimmed, thick stalks split lengthwise, or broccoli, • 1 small red onion, peeled, quartered and cut into 2-inch (5-cm) wedges • 1 lemon, ½ cut into thin rounds and the remaining ½ left intact, for serving • 3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil, plus more for serving • 1 teaspoon (5 ml) ground cumin • ½ teaspoon (2.5 ml) red-pepper flakes • Kosher salt and black pepper • 2 (6- to 8-ounce/170- 226-g) blocks feta, cut into 1-inch (2.54-cm) slices • Cooked orzo or farro, for serving • ½ cup (125 ml) fresh basil or cilantro leaves and fine stems, roughly chopped Preparation: 1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F (204 C) with a rack set in the lower third. On a sheet pan, combine the broccolini, tomatoes, onion and lemon slices with the olive oil and toss. Add cumin and red-pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper, and toss again until evenly coated. Nestle the feta slices into the vegetables. 2. Roast 15 to 20 minutes, stirring halfway through but leaving the feta in place, until the broccolini is charred at the tips, the stems are easily pierced with a fork and the tomato skins start to blister and break down. 3. Drizzle with olive oil and serve with the remaining lemon half for squeezing. Top with fresh herbs, if using. Watermelon: Did You Know? stalks trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces • 2 cups (500 ml) grape tomatoes, halved

Did you know that watermelon can help you lose weight? One cup of nutrient rich watermelon has only 46 calories. Watermelon is 90% water in weight. It is one of the best fruits to eat and enjoy if you are trying to lose weight. It also is a great source of an amino acid called ARGININE, which helps burn fat quickly. Snacking on watermelon does help you feel full, so you won’t have cravings between meals. Did you know that watermelon also contains more citrulline than any other food? The amino acid in citrulline is most notable for its role in vasodilation and proper blood flow. Citrulline takes its name from the Latin term for watermelon, Citrullus Lanatus.

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