Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in our area?
I am originally from the Jersey shore (Wall Township) and lived all over the country for my career for about a decade. I always knew I’d come back to Jersey to be close to family and to enjoy everything I loved about growing up here. My husband and I lived in Hoboken when we first returned to NJ and decided to make our way to the burbs when we were ready to start a family. We’ve been in our home in Scotch Plains almost 4 years now and we really love everything the area has to offer.
What drew you to the area?
My husband works in the city and at the time we moved, I was working at News 12, so we wanted an area that was a doable commute for both of us while still being fairly accessible and not too far from our parents, who are both still in the shore area. We love how centrally located we are, the family-friendly feel of our town and the surrounding towns, and our wonderful neighborhood. It has really proven to be a great fit for us as we are growing our family!
What are your children’s names and ages?
We have 2 sons, Kennedy is 3 1/2 and Ashton will be 2 in October. We also have a daughter in heaven, Charlotte, who we lost shortly after she was born due to breathing complications at birth. She would be turning 5 this September. And, we are thrilled to have just welcomed another little girl to our family, Lila Mae, born on August 8th.
You’re very open about the loss of your daughter, how has that helped with the coping process?
I have found it tremendously healing and helpful to share my experience in the hopes of helping others going through the loss of a baby. Losing our daughter irrevocably changed me as a person, changed the way I look at life and changed the way I parent. Sharing with others, spreading awareness for those who haven’t been through it, and being a resource for those families who share in the devastation we’ve experienced has helped me move forward in my life in a way that I hope honors my daughter. It also helps me feel close to her, which is a gift.
Tell me about your switch from News 12 New Jersey to being a part of Cuisinart, QVC and NJMOM. What gave you “courage” to make the change?
It was a very big leap for me! Being a TV news anchor and reporter was all I had done for my entire 15-year career, and something I truly loved and was (and still am) very passionate about. I love sharing stories, writing, and the adrenaline of live TV (which I still get with QVC!). But, I knew long-term I needed more flexibility to have the kind of life I wanted for our family as my kids grew. So, when I found out I was expecting another little babe, and had the QVC and NJMOM opportunities come up all within a few months, I just knew it was time to take a jump and try something new that would offer me more time with my kids and more control to make my own path. Not to mention, they were both phenomenal fits for me with my passion for food and cooking and all things motherhood. It has been wonderful so far— challenging, fun, and filled with opportunity. In addition to my role with Cuisinart on QVC and NJMOM, I’m also doing TV segments on my own on various networks as a contributor and On-Air Lifestyle Expert, as well as social collaborations. I love sharing products and finds that work for me as a mom and woman and connecting with other mamas about their tips and tricks too!
Would you share some of your tips for balancing work + family life?
It’s all a work in progress so no big tips here! Now that I work from home many days to prep for QVC or in my work for NJMOM or prepping for TV segments etc, it’s a different struggle trying to sometimes get work done in off time with my kiddos. While I do have child care a few days a week, every week is slightly different for me with my work commitments. I do find myself working at night a lot more, after they’re in bed, which I know many moms do too! I would say my biggest tips are to try to put away the phone when it’s family time. We have a no-phones at meal-time rule that my hubby and I really stick to and hope to continue as our kids grow and eventually get devices of their own. Another thing that has helped is to outsource and delegate things around the house that you’re able to financially that will help allow you more time with your kids.
What are your favorite local activities you do with your kids in the winter? And summer?
We spend a ton of time with our extended family all year round, doing things like homemade pasta parties and cookie decorating days with cousins in the fall and winter months. The kids really enjoy checking out some of the great indoor play places in our area, we love Giggles in Cranford. In the summer, you can find us at the shore many a weekend, at the beach in Spring Lake or on LBI or out on the water and hanging with family. We also love Mindowaskin Park in Westfield and the splash pad at Ponderosa Park in Scotch Plains, or eating outdoors in one of the many adorable, walkable towns around us like Westfield, Summit or Morristown.
Do you test out a lot of the activities you post about with your kids?
Yes! I don’t share anything that I haven’t tried myself and truly love and find worthy of sharing.
What’s your favorite part of being a mom?
Oh gosh, there is so much! Seeing the pure joy and innocence in the little moments, watching them discover something new or accomplish something themselves for the first time, and now watching our sons’ bond as they really play together and love on each other is just more fulfilling and heartwarming than I could ever imagine.
What’s the hardest part for you?
Parenting after the loss of a child brings a lot of added fear and worry, and it’s been hard for me to balance and temper that in my parenting journey and be mindful of the ways that it could affect my children. I’m cognizant of it always, because as moms we always want to do what’s best for our kids. I’m also not the most patient person, so patience is definitely always a big challenge for me, especially in this toddler phase!
Where’s your go-to spot in the area for girls night? For date night? To get a cup of coffee?
There are so many great spots around northern Jersey in general! And we aren’t afraid to drive a little bit for some great food for date night 🙂 If you haven’t made the trip to Razza in Jersey City, it’s at the top of our list. Locally to us, we love Fiorino in Summit, Ristorante da Benito in Union, or Huntley Taverne in Summit. Salted Lime in Somerville is great and our FAVE sushi spot is Mr. Pi’s in Warren, love to grab a girls lunch there! The huge, inventive rolls can’t be beat. I’m a big Rook coffee fan when we’re in the shore area, but here near us we love Boxwood or Rockin’ Joe.
Is there a “bucket list” activity or destination in New Jersey for you and your family?
We just did a little “babymoon” weekend getaway to Cape May and we definitely want to go back as a family! I went a few times as a kid with my own family, and it’s just such a quaint, pretty town with so much to offer. That’s definitely on our list.
To follow along Marisa’s parenting journey you can visit her website or follow her on social media here: