Between my time as a head reporter in an active newsroom and a freelance writer for dozens of publications, I've authored thousands of feature-length articles on countless subjects throughout my expansive career. Diverse perspectives, written in my unique voice, flow through all genres of my writing, from Lifestyle and Human Interest, Food, Arts, and Culture and Health and Wellness, to FamilyReal Estate, and Decorating and Home Improvement.

Please check out this page for a collection of feature articles across these categories, and click the hyperlinks or sidebar pages for a look at each of these sections individually.

A model life: Oceanside miniature shipbuilder back to work after Sandy

Powerful storms wreak havoc on people’s lives, forcing them to pick up the pieces and gradually move on. That’s certainly true for Jack Pesso, whose handcrafted collection of model ships was damaged in October 2012 in the aftermath of superstorm Sandy. “That storm took away my life,” he said of his seven-decade-long hobby and passion for building exquisite replicas of the Titanic, the USS Constitution and other notable seafaring vessels. Six years later, Pesso is slowly putting back together...
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Interior Designer Gives Home Decorating Tips for a Cozier Bedroom

Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York With spring on the horizon, love is in the air. Now might be the perfect time to take a fresh look at how you can cozy up your home’s inner sanctum: the bedroom. Bedrooms are meant to be restful retreats, a place for recharging and relaxation, says interior decorator Jeanne Campana of Jeanne Campana Design in Centerport. “Selecting a soft color palette with soothing textures can create...

Long Island Couples Prove it's Never Too Late to Fall in Love

"And it takes no time to fall in love But it takes you years to know what love is." — From the song "Life Is Wonderful," by Jason Mraz Love can seemingly happen to anyone — anywhere, anytime. Or so the modern celebration of Valentine’s Day would have us believe. The holiday, rooted in ancient Rome, has morphed into the elevation of the picture-perfect happily-ever-after. Yet for some, relationships seem easier to navigate as seasoned adults than as those in the bloom of youth...

Landscape Designer Offers Ideas for Sprucing Up Your Backyard This Spring

Spring is here! With Covid-19 not quite in the rearview mirror, you’ll be spending lots of time at home and a spruced-up landscape will work wonders to rejuvenate your spirit. As we once again begin to welcome friends and family into our homes, a relaxed yet safely distanced al fresco setting is the perfect place for entertaining. This spring you’ll want to maximize your space, which can best be achieved outdoors, where you can push out the boundaries, advises Ken Muellers...

Dogs' Best Friend: Dix Hills Resident Works for Access at Long Island Parks

On any given day, you might find Ginny, Sophie and Cody out walking at Heckscher Park in Huntington. That’s Ginny Munger Kahn, president of Long Island Dog Owners Group, an organization that seeks to increase outdoor access for dogs around the Island, and her two glorious golden retrievers. "My main exercise is walking my dogs," said Munger Kahn, 66, of Dix Hills. "That’s what I love to do: I don’t run; I don’t bike." Dogs, like people, should have access to parks and beaches...

At Home on Fire Island All Year Round: The Joys and Challenges

Brendan Reynolds summered for a decade on Fire Island before giving in to his love for the sea. He moved into Lonelyville, an idyllic beach community on the western end. "It was very nice not to have to lock your doors and be able to sleep with windows open and hear the ocean," says Reynolds, 46, about his decision to settle on the Island 25 years ago. Byron Chenault and his family, too, went from spending summers on Fire Island to moving into their Ocean Beach vacation home four years ago...

How To Create A Warm, Safe Outdoor Space At Home For Hosting

Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York Though Covid-19 is on the rise, it won’t quash your desire to entertain friends and family. To gather together safely at your home, take a few steps to create a lovely, socially distanced space, protected from the elements and frigid winter temps. Outdoor living spaces are great in winter when protected under the roof of a covered patio or pergola, says interior decorator Jodi Dell...

Take a Trip Down Memory Lane with Long Island's Nostalgia Shops

These are just some of the 1,500 different nostalgic candies, toys, merchandising signs, and collectibles available, at Bobb Howard’s General Store, where you’ll find penny candies, like Necco Wafers, Wax Lips, Atomic Fire Balls and Whistle Pops, starting at 5 cents and going up to $3-plus, for pre-packed assortments. "In dark times, people want comfort," says Eileen Caplin Wysel, who’s owned the New Hyde Park store with her husband, Ronnie Wysel since 1982. "There’s nothing better than...

How To Warm Up Your Home With Decorating Tricks

Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York As winter marches on and the thermometer dips ever lower, you’ll want to hunker down at home. Instead of turning up the heat to warm up your abode, consider a few decorating tricks to create both a warmer feel and cozier look to your surroundings. Forget the standard white painted walls and opt instead for a creamy white hue, like Chantilly Lace from Benjamin Moore, advises Christine Conte...

Holiday Shopping Destination: Acres of Stores in Farmingdale

Though you won’t find any farms in the Village of Farmingdale, there are acres of vibrant shops and restaurants on Main Street to graze. "Farmingdale's Main Street is becoming a destination location where people are coming to shop … and it’s a full-day experience," said Laura Napolitano, owner of Back in Time, a vintage home décor shop, adding, "I think we all complement each other here on Main Street." Visitors come from Queens and Brooklyn and points east, Napolitano said...

What To Know When Building A Greenhouse

Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York If you’re an avid gardener, you’ll want to get a jumpstart on planting for the spring and summer seasons. And there’s no better way to start than with your very own greenhouse. The first step in designing a greenhouse is figuring out where to put it, notes Andrew M. Simko, owner of Garden Under Glass, a Dix Hills-based company that builds the foundation, assembles, and glazes greenhouses...

Pro Tips For Making Your Dream Room A Reality

Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York If you’ve always dreamed of a special room designated just for you or your family, dream no more. Creating a room that can serve as a sacred space for hobbies, passions, and favored pastimes is easily attained. The first step in approaching any room design is to consider the room’s function, says interior designer Dawn Totevski of Sayville-based Design Inspiration. Once you know...

Let There Be Light: Tips to Brighten Up Your Home

Sign up for our COVID-19 newsletter to stay up-to-date on the latest coronavirus news throughout New York On dreary winter days, you’ll want to bring as much light as possible into your home. To add light, consider all the elements, from walls to windows, that can enhance it, advises Liz Kohart, an interior designer at Liz Kohart Interiors of Garden City. Use light colors to cover your walls, Kohart advises. “Soft shades of white and taupe will make a space feel brighter,” she says...

3 years after transplant, Long Islander's on a mission for organ donation

Gratitude seems to come naturally to Ken Abbott: He’s thankful for the medical team that got him through his heart transplant and for the donor who gave him a second chance at life. Abbott, 54, of Centerport, is also grateful for his blood type (A-positive) and self-proclaimed smaller stature. “Those two factors helped to contribute to my not waiting as long as most people for a heart transplant,” he said. His transplant doctor, he recalled, explained to him and his two brothers that...

Renovating Your House Without Any Demolition

Renovating your house doesn’t have to mean taking it down to its studs. It does, however, entail some big decisions. First establish why you want to renovate, says Micah Finkel, owner of the Brooklyn-based Sons & Co., a custom millwork company. Are you looking to create your dream house or improve its value at resale, or, perhaps, to accomplish both? Also, consider whether you’re renovating for aesthetic or functional reasons and convey your intentions to the designer and contractor, says...

A Few Little Tips for Decorating in Small Spaces

As more and more people downsize or move into ever smaller homes, co-ops and condos, they’re faced with the challenge of fitting all their possessions into a more limited space. The first thing to do in tackling a smaller space is to assess what you plan to put in it and take a closer look at your things, says Donna Sheehan, interior designer and owner of Inner Sense Interiors of Bellport. “Letting go of some things can lead to gaining others, such as a workable albeit small closet...

'Change comes slow' in LI community, agent says

"The beauty of Elwood is it doesn’t really change,” says Maria Rielly, an agent with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty of Huntington who has lived 52 years in the hamlet. “Though there used to be more farms, change comes slow. Even with the changes, it still has a hometown feel." Elwood earned the title “The heart of Huntington” because “it’s more or less in the middle of town,” says Robert Hughes, Huntington town historian. “What’s nice about it is that although there are...

Oyster Bay's Bahr Gallery is an ode to the 1960s and '70s

A “Hippies Use Side Door” sign ironically greets visitors to the Bahr Gallery in Oyster Bay. Clearly, hippies would be ushered right through the front door to join the dozens of middle-aged men and women who on a recent evening swayed side to side, bopped their heads, tapped their feet and sang along to the music of the Grateful Dead. The music was provided by David Gans, known as “the voice of the Grateful Dead” for his decades of introducing “Dead” shows on syndicated radio programs. The set...

One surgery launches Gift of Life and 35,000 more in Manhasset

What began with one cardiac surgery at St. Francis Hospital in Flower Hill to save a 5-year-old Ugandan girl has morphed into more than 35,000 life-giving operations around the world, largely due to one man: Robbie Donno of Manhasset. The operations have been organized and sponsored by Gift of Life International, a program of Rotary International begun by Donno 44 years ago. “When people ask my profession, I say, ‘I’m a garbage man, and I do heart surgery on the side,’” quipped Donno, 73...

How to Make The Most of Your Closet Storage Space

Today’s closet is not simply a place to stash your clothes. Rather, with the proper design, a closet virtually becomes a room within a room, a showcase to proudly display your wardrobe. The first thing to address in designing a closet are the hanging clothes, because there’s really nowhere else for these clothes to go, says Bonnie Reich, president of Symmetry Closets, a storage design company based in Holbrook. “When you walk into a closet, it’s not just about packing it in,” says Reich...

Cotton grows in Roosevelt Community Garden, makes debut at history events

The fact that cotton makes most people think of the South has not stopped one Long Islander from growing it here. Gloria Cassell, who has a plot at the Roosevelt Community Garden on Fulton Avenue, cultivated the cotton from a plant her dad brought home five years ago from Tamms, Illinois, where family members grow the plant as a hobby. “He brought it back and said, ‘If anyone can figure out what to do with this, I know you can.’” An avid gardener since moving into her Roosevelt home in 2012...
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