The Chocolate Spectrum in Jupiter Florida

It’s almost Mother’s Day,

so I thought it would be the perfect time to introduce you all to a very hardworking, Jupiter Mom! Valerie Herskowitz is the owner of the Chocolate Spectrum in Jupiter Florida. She works very hard to help her son and others, with developmental disabilities, through chocolate. Read the interview below and get to know her and her mission.

Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Valerie Herskowitz and I am the owner and founder of The Chocolate Spectrum in Jupiter Florida, an artisan chocolate company and store. Our mission is to employ and  train adults with developmental disabilities. I’ve lived in South Florida my entire life (I will not tell you how many years that is!). I did have a brief two-year time where I lived in Massachusetts, but it was way too cold for a southern girl like myself. I have two children named Hunter and Blake. Hunter, it is a 27-year-old man who lives in Orlando, Florida. He is a behavior analyst and works in the autism field. Blake, is a chocolatier in our business. He is 26 and has severe autism. I also have two amazing step kids name Seth and Daniel. And a terrific little grandson named Samuel. And I’m also blessed with an amazing daughter-in-law name Poom. We don’t have nay pets. Blake, like many other individuals with autism, has allergies to all animals.

When did you start your business?

The Chocolate Spectrum started in 2013. Two forces in the universe came together. First one was the fact that my son Blake had absolutely nothing to do after high school. Although I looked for programs for him for two years before, I came up with nothing. Coincidentally, at the same time, I had gotten involved in pastry arts and chocolate making, as I had semi retired from my speech therapy practice. We started making pastries and chocolates for friends and family but soon the word got out and we developed an online business as well as a business selling at shows. Other young men and women with similar issues that my son had joined us in the kitchen and in the business. Eventually two of them were hired as employees. Then in the middle of 2016, we moved into our own brick and mortar shop in Jupiter Florida.

What are the major influences for your business? What made you choose chocolate?

As we are a social enterprise and the major influence of our business is our mission, which is to train individuals with autism. We do serve the rest of the community as we have training and classes for everyone as well as the opportunity for people to have parties at our shop. I picked chocolate, as I mentioned before, because it was just a coincidence and Blake seem to really enjoy working with it.

What do you find most challenging about running your own business?

This business presents many challenges, especially for an individual like myself who is older. Also I have many other responsibilities in my life such as teaching at the University, taking care of my father, and of course taking care of Blake. Therefore the biggest challenge I have is time, which I absolutely do not have enough of!

What is the most rewarding thing about running your company?

There are many rewarding factors about this business first of all, most importantly, my son, Blake, has a job six days a week. Without this business, he would be sitting at home watching TV. But it is also just as rewarding to be able to offer the same opportunities in the form of paid employment to the other individuals that work here as well as  recreational activities for many others who have autism and other related developmental disabilities.

Can you share a little bit with us about your involvement with Autism Community?

I have and continue to be extremely involved in the autism community. In 1999 My husband and I started a nonprofit called National Autism Registry. Through the years, we have offered many community activities for individuals with autism as well as for the family. My business itself is a community activity. I do not take a salary or any form of compensation and therefore it is also part of my community involvement.

What do you like to do on your days off?

I seriously do not have any days off yet, as this is a seven day a week business. If I do have a couple of hours on the weekend. I hope to share it with my family and to take care of my father who is quite elderly. I do hope as the years go on that I will get some time off, LOL.

What living person, other than family members, do you most admire?

I have two groups of individuals that I admire the first one is the D’Eri Family at Rising Tide Carwash down in Broward County. They are the individuals that started the ball rolling on employment options for adults with autism and they have been amazing mentors toward me. In addition, my dear friend Bonnie Schmidt, The founder of ScentsAbility Candles is also someone I admire greatly. She is doing a similar venture with candles also down in Broward.

 

Where can we find The Chocolate Spectrum online?

Our website at www.thechocolatespectrum.com. You can shop on our website at shop.TheChocolateSpectrum.com. We’re also on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.
Facebook.com/TheChocolateSpectrum/
twitter.com/thechocspectrum
Instagram.com/thechocspectrum

Upcoming events:

Book a private party with us.
Make chocolate every Thursday 2-5.
Contact us about summer camp.

 

Thank you for sharing your story and your images, Valerie!

As always, thanks for reading the blog, friends! Please shop locally for Mother’s Day this year!

Don’t forget,

if you or someone you know is thinking of buying or selling a home in the Northern Palm Beach County area, I’d LOVE for you to Contact Me! Let me help you have an enjoyable real estate experience! ❤️ Nicole

Meet Local Artist Sarah LaPierre

If you live anywhere in Palm Beach County,

you have most likely seen my next guest featured in a number of local publications or at local events! She’s a very busy young woman, making the world a more colorful place, one painting at a time! I’m really excited about the opportunity to interview this super talented local! So, without further adieu, Meet Local Artist Sarah LaPierre!

Tell us about yourself:

Sarah LaPierre, born in Palm Beach Gardens FL circa 1991. Full time resident of South Florida, made a huge move all the way over to West Palm Beach a few years ago. I live there with my partner Michael, our 2 adorable ex-alley cats Dredd and Ditto, and our sweet American pit bull terrier Dex. Dex might possibly think he’s a cat too!

When did you start painting and was it always with a knife?

I’ve been creating in someway or another from early childhood. Since my dad was an artist, and his studio was in our home, the materials were always around. Creativity was very much encouraged.
I didn’t begin painting regularly till I was 18. At that time it was more experimental, exploring brush work across all sorts of genre with different textures and mediums.

Major influences:

My connection to my dad and his work remains the strongest influence in my own. I consider my style the next generation of his. In that, it’s a combination of both history and future, with techniques learned from pop as well as new methods discovered along the journey.

Most challenging about running my own business:

Balancing a creative drive and a “life” outside of work. It’s a battle, but it has become very important to me to manage my time better and realize the difference between the essential and non-essential. It’s easy to fall into a hole of never ending to-dos when you work from home because it’s always present till you consciously make the effort to put it aside.

Most rewarding about managing my own business:

Seeing something I work hard at developing, grow and prosper is very rewarding. But also, the fact that I am able to manage my own time is wonderful. I love having the flexibility to make time for family and travel whenever I choose.

What do I like to do on my days off:

I enjoy spending down time with my family and pets, usually outside. A trip to Jupiter’s dog beach is always a good time!

What living person do you most admire:

I am blessed to have lots of truly admirable and wonderful people in my life, even just here locally. All of them for various reasons, so much that it’s hard to name just one, either within or outside of my life circle.

Where can we find Sarah LaPierre online:

You can find more information about me and my artwork online at www.sarahlapierre.com however the best way to see what’s new or upcoming is to follow my social accounts @thickpaint on Instagram and on Facebook @Sarah LaPierre-Artist

Any upcoming events you would like to share with us?

I’ll be showing at my last festival of the spring season this weekend at SunFest in West Palm Beach May 5th-7th! After that keep and eye out for upcoming events with my new gallery representation Ready2Hang Art in Downtown Abacoa (Jupiter).

 

Thank you for sharing your story and your images, Sarah!

As always, thanks for reading the blog, friends!

Don’t forget,

if you or someone you know is thinking of buying or selling a home in the Northern Palm Beach County area, I’d LOVE for you to Contact Me! Let me help you have an enjoyable real estate experience! ❤️ Nicole

 

Meet Jupiter Local R. H. Ferriell – Author

We’ve (finally) got some real fall weather headed our way, so it’s the perfect time to introduce you all to today’s talented and creative Jupiter Local, R. H. Ferriell.

Rebecca Holden is a Children’s Book author that lives right here in Jupiter, Florida. I’m so happy she agreed to share her story on the blog!

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Tell us a little about yourself

My name is Rebecca Holden and I was raised in lovely Louisville KY. I moved down to West Palm Beach after getting married in 2012 and now we live in Jupiter. While I could never have imagined living in FL, here I am and Jupiter is really charming. It’s a full house we live in… With two young girls, two dogs, one cat, three fish there is rarely a dull moment. During the summer my stepson and stepdaughter come to stay as well, and watching them all together is really sweet.

When did you start writing and who/what was the inspiration behind starting your first book?

Words have always been amazingly important to me, and writing is something my family has always suggested I try. Getting married and moving was a huge, bittersweet step for me. It was in a very joyful time, so much happiness but I left all my friends and my entire family. I thought I would try honoring them all by actually trying what they had always wanted me to do. Throughout the story are hints of friends and family and personal memories. I even tapped one of my very talented cousins for the illustrations.

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How many book have you written?

This is my very first attempt at publishing a story, but I do have a second ‘Mrs. Julie’ story mostly written, in case this goes well. This one is Halloween themed, so it has a very limited time of year for selling. This next one is much less holiday specific.

What is you latest book title who/what was the inspiration behind it’s story?

‘Mrs. Julie’s Pumpkin’ is my first story. It was inspired by my friends and family, and a deep love for the fall season and its holidays.

What do you find most challenging about writing?

Most challenging to actually writing the story, I would have to say creating a character others will want to relate to, or remember, maybe even recognize in their own lives. Setting the scene was easy, I just tapped into so many memories of my own. In addition to that, I have always been really very shy and do not like to be in the spotlight much. The success of this story, in a large part will my depend on my getting out there. Always a work in progress for me, but things like this interview are a great way for me to work on that.

What is the most rewarding thing about writing?

Like I said, I love words. In a time of ‘OMG’ and ‘LOL’ I fear actual words lose their relevance. I don’t use elaborate wording, but it’s not dumbed down either. If a child can see how wonderfully words can create something memorable and beautiful with words, perhaps they too will come to love words and language as much as I do.

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What do you do on your days off?

First and foremost, I am a mother. When the girls are at school, I spend quite a bit of time at a local barn where I board my horse (another new adventure for me) and trying to learn there. It’s amazing to connect with an animal that is so large (just under a solid ton), she trusts me and I trust her. The barns can be very physical too, it helps keep me active.

How do you juggle writing & family?

Not a difficult task for me. After the girls go to sleep, I have hours to think about characters and lessons I want to express through the pages.

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Where can we find your books online?

This book is currently available on Amazon.com and through the publisher at Dorrancebookstore.com. In addition, I have an authors page through Facebook, R. H. Ferriell. Hopefully it will reach some of the local bookstores soon.

Thank you for sharing your story, Rebecca!

As always, thanks for reading the blog, friends!

Don’t forget,

if you or someone you know thinking of buying or selling a home in the Jupiter area? I’d LOVE for you to Contact Me! Let me help you have an enjoyable real estate experience! ❤️ Nicole

 

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Meet Local Milka Gordillo of Dreamallows

Oh my goodness you guys! Today’s featured maker is responsible for some of the tastiest goodies in South Florida! Jupiter local, Milka Grodillo, is the owner & chef at Dreamallows. She makes deliciously awesome marshmallows and you NEED some in your life. Trust me on this one!! I’m pretty excited to share her story on the blog today…enjoy!

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Tell us a little about yourself.

Milka Gordillo, Originally from Venezuela, raised in Miami Beach and have been in Jupiter for 2 ½ years. I have two kids (13 year old Adrian and  2 month old Mateo). We have two fur babies (Julio (lab-13 years old) and Nino (lab-8 years old).

When did you start the Dreamallows brand and who/what was the inspiration behind starting your business?

I graduated from Johnson & Wales University with a baking & pastry degree. I wanted to create a business based on small desserts. I am a firm believer that dessert should be part of your daily routine but it has to be small to avoid the extra calories. LOL! Dreamallows started in 2014 as an idea to re-create marshmallows. I wanted to create a healthier version of the famous marshmallow removing corn syrup and any additives. It took me over a year to come up with the perfect formula, logos, licenses, packaging. The process was fun but challenging. It launched October 2015 at the West Palm Beach Greenmarket.

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What products do you offer?

I offer stuffed marshmallows in all different sizes. The original size is 1X1 making them the perfect BITE! Yes, they are stuffed (inside) with flavored callebaut chocolate ganache & we also make our own salted caramel to stuff them!

Who makes up the Dreamallows crew?

Myself (chef), husband (Hiram) & Adrian (13)- helps out at the greenmarket, packaging and of course “tasting”  🙂 We are waiting for Mateo to get older to get tasting too!

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What do you find most challenging about running your own business?

Not having enough time to be in several places at the same time. It is a small business & most events are on weekends. Having to stick to 2 events per day.

What is the most rewarding thing about running your company?

If it is your passion it is not work! I feel like I am always playing.

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What do you do on your days off?

We are addicted to the beach, outdoor activities as a family. I am a foodie and love trying new places. I also love reading and researching new restaurants and always always work on Dreamallows. Flavors, and packaging.

How do you juggle work & family?

We are a family owned business. We attempt to have fun together while working but I do have a schedule to work on Dreamallows as family time is extremely important. Balance is key to success.

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Where can we find Dreamallows?

You can find them online at www.dreamallows.com, and follow us on Instagram/facebook/twitter @dreamallows. We will also be at the West Palm Beach Greenmarket, Every Saturday (this is our 2nd year at the Greenmarket), we will be participating at the Fresh Fest in February & Arti Gras – Abacoa. Elements Yogurt off US1 in Jupiter carries our 6 packs, and Guanabanas has a s’more dessert (using Dreamallows) which is part of their special menu on weekends only! It comes with a scoop of ice cream!! Follow us on our social media for additional local events we will be part of.

Is there anything else you would like is to know?

Dreamallows are a one bite experience! Enjoy!

As always, thanks for reading the blog, friends! I have several talented makers to feature over the next few months, so stay tuned!

Don’t forget,

if you or someone you know thinking of buying or selling a home in the Jupiter area? I’d LOVE for you to Contact Me! Let me help you have an enjoyable real estate experience! ❤️ Nicole

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Meet Local Nicole Hodson of Boho Garden Crowns And Events

Hi! I’m so excited to be bringing you the first, “Awesome Local” feature for Fall 2016! Today’s blog interview is with the very talented Nicole Hodson of Boho Garden Crowns And Events! I’ve been following Nicole online for quite sometime and I’m in awe of all her amazingly beautiful floral creations! Warning: This post is going to make you want to dance in a flower crown and have pineapple floral arrangements in every room!

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Tell us a little about yourself.

Hi! My name is Nicole Hodson! Born & raised in Syracuse NY, and transplanted here in Jupiter Florida my freshman year of high school! I met my husband (Bob) here while finishing up college (he went to FSU & I went to the art institute of Fort Lauderdale ) and the rest is history! We have one human baby named Bobby (he’s 4 years old) & hoping for another baby nugget this year!

 When did you start the Boho Garden Crowns brand and who/what was the inspiration behind starting your business?

I started Boho Garden Crowns when I graduated college. My husband and I moved to Asheville, NC (my favorite place on the planet) and I was tottally inspired by all the amazing wild flowers scattered all over town! I started making fresh crowns for locals and people visiting the city! I started selling them out of a boutique in downtown Asheville & it was a hit! We moved back to south FL, where I still continued to grow and nurture my business. I started branching out doing floral installations working close with local photographers and the bridal community! My degree is in fashion merchandising and design so I have always tied in the element of wardrobe styling into my business, which is a fun twist that my clients love!

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What are the services you offer?

Fresh flower crowns, floral crown bars (think of a DIY taco station except it’s with fresh flowers to make a floral crown), floral installations for stores, events and parties, workshops, bridal/wedding packages, wreaths, and wardrobe styling!

Who makes up the Boho Garden Crowns crew?

Myself and an amazing co-worker Sara, who always comes with me to large events!

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What do you find most challenging about running your own business?

The work-life balance. I’m a business owner but I’m a mom & wife first. Making sure I set aside time for myself and my family is still challenging but I’m learning to find the balance!

What is the most rewarding thing about running your company?

The look on my clients face when they see the finished product. It’s so self fulfilling. Especially with my brides, a lot of them sit down at our initial meeting stressed, confused and not sure how all these elements will come together. The biggest compliment is when a bride/client leaves feeling relieved and excited knowing all their floral Pinterest wishes will be granted! 🌸

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What do you do on your days off?

My days off consist of waking up slow with my husband & son, cooking a great yummy breakfast or grabbing an Acai bowl and head to the beach!

How do you juggle work & family?

I make sure I set aside time for both. I try and set my phone down at a certain time everyday to be MOM & wife! Owning your own business makes you very accessible at all times. You don’t really ever “clock out” so making sure I’m honoring myself, my business, and my family is crucial!

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Where can we find Boho Garden Crowns online?

I have a Facebook: Boho Garden Crowns & Events. I also have a Instagram: bohogardencrowns  I am in the process of putting together a website in the coming year! You can find all my upcoming workshops and events on all my social media accounts!

Is there anything else you would like is to know?

I love doing workshops, I’m always trying to be very active in the community with local shops and artisans! I have tons of awesome floral workshops coming up in the next few months for the holiday season! I’m also opening a little floral cart in October outside of a boutique called Marston in Abacoa. I’ll be selling fresh floral arrangements and potted succulents!

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As always, thanks for reading the blog, friends! I have several talented makers to feature over the next few months, so stay tuned!

Don’t forget,

if you or someone you know thinking of buying or selling a home in the Jupiter area? I’d LOVE for you to Contact Me! Let me help you have an enjoyable real estate experience! ❤️ Nicole

 

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