We all make them, and then inevitably break them: the dreaded New Year's Resolutions. What if we told you they didn't all have to be eye-roll or groan inducing? Put your best foot forward with positivity (we all need it) by pampering yourself, feeding your brain, and nurturing your sense of adventure as you head into 2018 at these New Jersey establishments. You'll actually want to keep those promises you made yourself in January all year round.
Resolution: Explore the Great Outdoors
New Jersey is known as the Garden State for good reason: the state is home to natural splendors including more than 2 million acres of forest, teeming with local wildlife. What better resolution to make than to experience this magic up-close-and-personal? For a great primer, start in the mountainous north western part of the state, which contains a plethora of hiking trails suitable for all skill levels. Feel a true sense of accomplishment as you summit the hills and relish in the beauty of the breathtaking vista below. Be sure to add these to your to-do list: Allamuchy State Park-Deer Park in Warren County, Kittatinny Valley State Park in Sussex County, Stephens State Park in Morris County, and Buttermilk Falls, Crater Lake, Hemlock Pond in Sussex County.
New Jersey is also known as an optimal state for birding, so be sure to pack your binoculars. Or, if you'd rather explore in a group setting, the NJ Audubon often organizes field trips, photography classes, workshops, and walks. to various regions in the state.
The National Park Service turned 100 on August 25, 2016. Help celebrate the centennial by visiting one of New Jersey's 12 NPS sites. Snap a selfie with the Paterson Great Falls, catch a sighting of the elusive Jersey Devil in the Pinelands National Reserve, or bask in the sun at Sandy Hook, part of Gateway National Recreation Area.
Resolution: Quit Stressing
With stress contributing to a multitude of health issues and general malaise, might we suggest your resolution be to eliminate it (or at least curtail it as much as possible). Step foot into one of New Jersey's most luxurious and "transformational" experiences at Woodhouse Day Spa in Summit (with a second location in Montclair and a third in Red Bank) and you'll realize success in no time. Slide those aching toes into comfortable slippers, don a warm fluffy robe, and take a sip of calming tea, available in a variety of flavors. If you're looking to truly unwind or even catch up since most of us are severely deprived, Woodhouse offers a selection of replenishing sleep services. Nap in a calm environment, with or without a specialized "sleep massage". In addition to other rest and relaxation services, including signature massages, the spa provides a range of skincare, facials, hair removal, and nail care packages - over 70 to be exact. Looking for a double-whammy resolution of relaxing and reconnecting with friends? Book the Two's Company package and treat your bestie to massage, facial, and pedicure. Bonus: if you're a commuter from/to NYC, this location is mere steps from the NJ Transit train station. 420 Springfield Avenue, Summit
Mindfulness is in the spotlight lately and for all the right reasons: the practice teaches you to truly enjoy and be present in the moment, and goes hand in hand with stress management. A very popular way to familiarize yourself with the technique is through meditation. Attend a general class at Dharmachakra Buddhist Center in Vauxhall for a mere $15 and experience a guided meditation and discussion. If Buddhism interests you, you'll have the opportunity to learn about it through classes on offer, but you do not need to be Buddhist to attend anything at the center - all are welcome. Join the Meetup group for more information. Millburn Mall, 2933 Vauxhall Road, Vauxhall
Resolution: Step Up Your Beauty Game
For makeup aficionados and novices alike, the Bobbi Brown Cosmetics Studio in Montclair provides the ultimate beauty experience. The world-renowned operation employs makeup artists who create the brand's iconic runway looks for New York Fashion Week. This location is part makeup store, part instructional salon, and part self-confidence studio. Learn the tricks of the trade from specially trained makeup artists in one the studio's exclusive workshops.
Schedule a one-on-one appointment with a Bobbi Brown artist who will create personalized looks for you based on your preferences, and then leave you with step-by-step instructions on how to recreate the looks on your own. So, stop by this local beauty haven, and step out with glamorous new looks for the new year! 8 Lackawanna Plaza, Montclair
Resolution: Learn Something New
Learning a new skill or taking up a new hobby can be both rewarding and a ton of fun. Adult education classes are also a convenient way to make new friends while satisfying your intellectual curiosity. The catalogs of available courses here in New Jersey are endless: learn a new language or perfect the one you started to learn back in high school, wow family and friends with a newfound ability to whip up creative and delicious dishes, fine tune your photography skills, or design your own artistic masterpiece in a multitude of mediums from ceramics to sewing. That's merely scratching the surface; most schools also offer classes in career development training, defensive driving, test prep, and financial literacy - all skills to complement and optimize your already fulfilling life. Prices vary based on course and institution, so look into the following as your starting point: The Adult School with classes in Chatham, Madison, Florham Park, Basking Ridge, and Westfield; Berlitz Ridgewood Language Center; Ramsey Adult School; South Orange-Maplewood Adult School; Caldwell/West Caldwell Center for Continuing Education.
Are you dreaming of becoming Jersey's Van Gogh? The Yard School of Art in Montclair might set you on the right path with full course catalogs available for adults, teens, and children of all skill levels. Pro-tip: sign yourself and a friend up for the Wine & Wheel with Friends program, where you'll sip on some vino while creating a ceramic masterpiece (just don't drink too much vino, else your bowl may come out looking more like a blob). Classes range from Introductory Drawing and Introduction to Graphic Design to a Printmaking Intensive and Video Editing in partnership with the Montclair Film Festival. It pays to be a member: each class is discounted $20+. Registration can be done online at montclairartmuseum.org or by mail. 3 South Mountain Ave., Montclair
Resolution: Lose Weight... But Indulge a Little, Too
If we had to poll most people in New Jersey about their New Year's Resolution right now, most would probably say they'd like to shed a few pounds. Don't we all? Exercise doesn't have to be a chore - make it an experience! Head to New Jersey Rock Gym to break a sweat by learning knot techniques, belaying, and conquering the facilities 12,000+ square feet of terrain. Dangling from a rope not your thing? Try bouldering: climb mid-range heights with the safety of a padded floor beneath you. The gym is home to New Jersey's "largest free standing Boulder Island" which features a repelling tower and observation deck. Feeling challenged yet? Ladies, climb for half price on Tuesdays, college and high school students can enjoy discounts on Mondays and Fridays respectively. 373D Rt. 46 W, Fairfield
A surefire way to sweat out those extra calories is with aptly named Fire Shaper Hot Yoga, with studios in Westwood, North Haledon, Tenafly, and Rutherford. According to the Fire Shaper website, you might burn 900 calories in a 75 minute session, though every person's body chemistry is different, so go in with an open mind and a body ready to build muscle and strength. Most classes range from 95 to 105 degrees Fahrenheit generated by non-damaging "Far Infrared Radiant panels", though some are labeled as "warm" at a cozy 86 degrees. The studio recommends drinking at least 16 oz. of water prior to a class, which should be in line with another of your great New Year's resolutions to drink enough water.
With all that activity under your belt, why not loosen it a bit with an over-the-top treat? After all, life is too short to eat kale all the time. Get your fill of the most decadent angelic rings of dough at Glaze Donuts in Wayne or New Milford.The shop made waves with its Italian Rainbow Cookie donut (red, white, and green layers of fluffy cake dough mixed with almond flour and almond flavoring, then filled with marzipan and raspberry jelly, and topped off with chocolate and chocolate sprinkles), but look past the hype to the many, many decadent options. You're treating yourself, aren't you? We suggest opting for the "Better Than Entenmann's". It sounds simple - a cake donut coated with Belgian chocolate - but if you've ever had one of those blue-and-white boxed gems and thought it was good, this is pure heaven due to the thick fudgy layer of chocolate that settles around the center and the uber-moist yellow cake. Other fun and equally indulgent options are the "Chocolate Disgusting" (sounds like the right way to break a resolution), the "Cronangle", the "Ring Ding-ling", and the "Blueberry Doughnish".