| The Jersey City-Lovin’ Crew | ChicpeaJC Takes Over Chilltown

As you know, BURBS + a BBQ is all about helping new-to-Jersey City mamas and papas find their way in this amazing little city. Since moving here in April 2014, I've amassed a short list of resources that have truly helped our family find and experience the best of this city. I call them -- us, really -- the Jersey City-Lovin' Crew. Each of these resources speaks to a different facet of me: me as mama, me as foodie, me as creative, and me as a grown woman who has independent interests from those that intrigue my mama-brain. The latter is fulfilled by today's feature. I like to learn about the underground culture, as well as the above ground awesomeness that co-exists in a city with me. And the community in Jersey City is so tight, so supportive and so incredible to be a part of, it makes a big city outside of a major world city feel small. And those who celebrate that, deserve celebration themselves. First up in this series of Jersey City-Lovin' Crew features is Lynn of ChicpeaJC.

 Lynn Hazan, Boss Woman at ChicpeaJC

Lynn Hazan, Boss Woman at ChicpeaJC

If you've lived in Jersey City for more than five minutes, you’ve certainly heard of Lynn, also known as the woman behind Jersey City’s culture blog ChicpeaJC. Lynn launched ChicpeaJC just as we moved across the Hudson last year, and to witness its growth explode in less than a year has been exciting, both for her and for our city. It quickly became one of my favorite JC Resources, as I sought to learn more about my new city, and the people and businesses that inhabit it. Why?

Lynn gets to the heart of this city, and in the process has stolen the heart of her readers with an honest, open journey of discovering what makes all of Jersey City awesome. As she details in this post, just one year ago she was living the Manhattan corporate life. But Lynn felt a calling for something greater, and thankfully she answered it. In doing so, she filled a need for both Jersey City’s existing and its growing new population to learn who else is here.

There is also a Mini-Chicpea, and with 'mama to a toddler' amongst her list of titles, I had to know how she does it all. Lynn was gracious enough to share a little behind-the-scenes and how she manages the madness of life as both a mama and a #girlboss. Here’s what she had to say:

B+aBBQ: Hi Lynn! Can you tell me a little bit about a day in the life of ChicpeaJC and how you balance it all?

Lynn: Every day is so different, but generally this is how I sort of structure my day:

5:30am: Wake up, coffee, social media 6:00am: Workout (If I am not working out, I am either writing or emailing) 7:00am: Kid wakes up. Feed it, dress it, entertain it. 8:00am: Take way too long to choose my outfit of the day 9-ish: Go to a coffee shop either in JC or in the city to write 12ish: I eat 1-5pm: Running around, interviews, meetings, photoshoots

How do I balance it? I don't. I always have a list of things I want to scratch off the list and only get through about half. That being said, I do my best. Some days are better than others, and I try to outsource whatever I can (laundry, order Fresh Direct, etc.).

B+aBBQ: That’s smart mama-#girlboss management. I could learn from you (as I fold my seventh pile of laundry, and start to lose my sanity)! When it comes to writing or working on ChicpeaJC, is it straight hustle-bustle or do you have any quirky routines, like making a cup of tea and burning a candle before you can write? 

Lynn: Hustle bustle, really. I do what I can when I can... sometimes I am up way too early transcribing interviews, or writing in between meetings, or after I put my kid to sleep. Since I post every single day, I just know that something needs to go up by the evening, no if’s and’s or but’s. I get it done. That being said, there is always coffee involved!!! I love going to modcup in The Heights.

B+aBBQ: What makes the hustle-bustle worth it? Was there an “a-ha!” moment this year, where you knew this is what you are supposed to be doing right now?

Lynn: Being able to connect with different people from different walks of life, and spreading the word about locals or businesses is extremely satisfying. When people send me messages telling me they went to check out a place, or they were inspired by a post, I find that extremely satisfying. It's a lot of work, but it is the most rewarding job I've ever had.

I still get those a-ha moments... I think almost on a daily basis. When businesses or people tell me that a post has truly helped them, or inspired them, that is when I feel like it was meant to be. In my previous job, I always felt like something was missing, like I was meant for something bigger and greater, like I was meant to make some impact on people. When I launched the blog, I was able to connect with so many different people from different walks of life, and that ended up making a huge impact on me.

B+aBBQ: What was the most impactful post (for you) that you’ve shared on ChicpeaJC this year?

Lynn: There were two; the first one was Engine 9. It was a post about a local firehouse and it went up on 9/11. Just the whole experience of being there, hearing their story and really connecting with the firefighters was an amazing experience. The second one, "Of God & Gucci" was the story of Keith, who was sexually abused by priest in the Catholic Church when he was a young boy. This was a hard story to write, but I know it made a huge impact on a few people, so much so it allowed them to come out and also tell their story and seek out help as a result.

B+aBBQ: I found both of those posts incredibly moving, and they each show that you are really getting to the soul of Jersey City. Not only light-hearted and fun topics, but serious topics that affect our citizens, as well. When it comes to light-hearted topics, though, your love for both hip-hop/music and fashion really shine through. How did you become interested in both, and how do you stay connected to your passions with all that you do?

Lynn: It's always been part of me. I started my love for hip hop music at around 14, and I dabbled in the different art forms, dj-ing, dancing, mc-ing etc., so its always been part of my life. Now I just teach a hip hop class once a week, which I've been doing for 4 years now. With fashion, it’s just part of who I am. I wake up and dress up. It's like brushing my teeth. It's just part of who I am and my daily life.

B+aBBQ: One last question for you. Being that B+aBBQ is the resource for JC parents, I have to know: what is your favorite Jersey City gem to share with “Mini-Chicpea” (her daughter)?

Lynn: I think all the parks are awesome...Van Vorst park is so beautiful in the summer, its a nice escape. We just go there and hangout, have a picnic, and I will let her run around. We've also been taking her sometimes to Grove Kitchen for lunch. They are so kid-friendly.

Thanks so much, Lynn,and I agree on both fronts (check out my roundup post on the JC parks we’ve visited and love here, and my post on the Kitchen here)!

Lynn has so much in the pipeline, she didn’t even know where to begin with what to tell you all to look out for. Each month features the release of a new ChicpeaTV episode (have you seen the first three?), she’ll be hosting more events (like her recent Raw Dinner and many hip hop parties), potentially compiling a comprehensive JC events calendar (can’t wait for that!) and has a surprise one-year anniversary special coming up in May.

To say, "keep an eye out and your ear to the ground" would be silly. You won't be able to miss her. But I'll say it anyway. Definitely follow ChicpeaJC (links below) and support Lynn. I always say the more Jersey City Lovin', the merrier: we should all support each other as Jersey City comes up... and it's coming up fast.

Connect with ChicpeaJC on the interwebs:

Thanks again to Lynn, and look out for the next Jersey City-Lovin' Crew feature next week, with the two lovelies behind the most stunning publication coming out of Jersey City right now, EIGHTY mag. If you have any questions for Lynn or about ChicpeaJC, post them in the comments below or contact her via one of the links above.