East Hampton Hosts Panel Discussion on Nutrition

Photo credit: Lisa Tamburini

Left to right: Alyson Follenius, Michele Sacconaghi, Thuyen Nguyen, Charlotte LaGuardia, Dr. Gerry Curatola, Nicole Teitler

The conversation surrounding health and nutrition has been at the forefront of individual minds since the onset of the pandemic. Now, as mask regulations ease up and America reopens its doors, the question remains: how do we not only become healthy, but stay healthy? 

On Thursday, May 20, I returned to the Hamptons to moderate a panel discussion surrounding nutrition at The Hedges Inn. It was part of Wellness East Hampton, a month-long series in East Hampton hosted by Discover the Hamptons, James Lane Post, McKenna Interactive Media, Discover Long Island, and the East Hampton Chamber of Commerce. In conversation were Thuyen Nguyen of Thuyen Skincare, Dr. Gerry Curatola of Rejuvenation Health, Charlotte LaGuardia of ThriveEast Nutrition, Hamptons Wellness Coach Alyson Follenius, and Wellness Foundation President Michele Sacconaghi. Each individual added their own take and expertise to what is an ever evolving field of study.

Nutrition is typically defined as a branch of science surrounding food and nourishment for the human body. In taking a step beyond the traditional definition, the talk touched upon the ways human health is linked to our every day world— from stress, to family ties, to the very basics of what we eat.

Here are my 5 personal takeaways from the nutrition panel discussion:

  1. The “deposit” and “withdrawal” method. Each action, especially what we consume, is either adding to our nutritional value or taking away from it.
  2. No two individuals are alike. As such, we should manage our expectations and rid the word “diet” from our vocabulary. There is no one size fits all to health.
  3. It’s possible to reverse hereditary chronic illness through healthy eating habits and awareness. We have the power to change the future of our health.
  4. Move away from continental breakfasts and include more fruits and vegetables for added variety. Pack in nutrition at the start and all throughout the day.
  5. What you eat, how you sleep, how you move all influence stress. It’s a triangle of wellness where one directly impacts the other.

Watch the full video here.

They’re Dancing In The Streets

Quarantine parties are now in, literally. But DJ CHEF is making celebrating seem a lot less isolated.

When quarantining first began in March, Marc Weiss, “DJ CHEF”, got a call for milestone 40th “birthday rodeo” in East Islip. From there, he joined in on a birthday shoutout parade in Long Beach, a community effort to lift neighbors spirits that began on March 22. Every day at 3:30 PM kids up to 18 years old get balloons, provided by Once Upon A Party, and the full DJ CHEF treatment. Beyond the streets themselves, CHEF goes both Instagram and Facebook Live, allowing an even larger audience to join in. It’s a local effort but comes with a global truth: we all need to feel connected right now.

“I just wanted to take a moment and thank Once Upon A Party LBNY and DJ CHEF for volunteering your time and services to make our birthday shoutouts extra special,” Ali Wash, parade coordinator, said in the private Facebook group, Happy Birthday Shoutouts LB. To date, the group has over 1,100 members.

That’s when the idea hit for private birthday party parades, giving individuals a chance to celebrate on a more personalized level. In just a few short weeks client requests have amounted to half a dozen private parades on a weekly basis across both Nassau and Suffolk Counties. While some requests come through email many have reached out via social media (@DJChefRocks). The DJ CHEF party van parks in the driveway with “go to birthday party” music blasting through the power speakers, lined in LED lights, and a wireless mic hooked up so CHEF himself can rev up the crowd.


“I’m happy I found a way to help out in this awful situation,” CHEF said. In addition to the socially distant acceptable party atmosphere, he provides half a pan of his famous Chocolate Banana Dream cake, complete with a sparkler candle. The rest, such as balloons and decorations, is provided by the clients themselves.

“We just finished a DJ CHEF specialty. It was absolutely delicious and it hit the spot,” Dawn Suriani said on Facebook. “Sharing culinary gifts in a unique way in this unique situation we are all in.”


The community parade is an altruistic endeavor, free of charge, but a private arrival to the driveway comes at a fraction of his usual birthday party fee– which is quoted based upon requests. CHEF expressed, “I’m trying to be sensitive to peoples personal situations. It’s really just about helping everyone out during this challenging time.”

DJ CHEF is also offering half pans of Chocolate Banana Dream for $30, with a half pint of chocolate sauce for an additional $5. Clients looking for an indoor party can have a DJ Dance Birthday through Zoom. Call 516-263-2433 and visit his website.

DJ CHEF Heats Up Your Bachelorette

The East End has long been Long Island’s go to destination for all things vacation, and that includes bachelorette parties. It’s a quick ride from NYC and during the cooler months a lot of properties become vacant, making them cost effective options for weekend renters.

But during the summer months renting a house alone can come at a decent cost. Then, factor in the cost of a night out with dinner, drinks, and the responsible Uber ride, it rings up quite the credit card statement. On the opposite end of things, staying in at whatever luxe property the maid-of-honor or bride tribe found may not necessarily be the final hoorah you were looking for.

Luckily, there’s a way to enjoy that weekend stay without the hefty price tag. DJ CHEF is the best of both worlds, bringing quality entertainment DJing and freshly cooked food directly to your East End getaway.

Dubbed “The Chef that rocks”, he is already making headlines in the bridal industry– Winner of The Knot “Best of Weddings” the past three years, LIWeddings “Best Bachelorette Party”, Voted #1 Unconventional Bachelorette Party idea by Elite Daily, and a Food Network Cutthroat Kitchen Champion.
His unique interactive style of cooking and DJing turns all kinds of tables while the bride and her girls let loose in the comfort of their own home. CHEF brings it all. Cooking appliances, flatware, all the ingredients, and all the talent. It’s like having a high energy dance club with a private chef, who happens to be cute too (sorry ladies, he doesn’t strip). All you need is a good group of friends and kitchen space. 


Need a good instagram video? Grab some trendy glasses. Want to spice things up? Peel the banana, for the banana bread pudding dessert, as sexy as you can. Whether it’s bikini’s and shot glasses or pajama’s and wine, DJ CHEF’s master mix of beats will ‘Spice Up Your Life’, take you down those ‘Country Roads,’ or have you feeling like a ‘Move to Miami,’ and pretty much everywhere in between. 

The Float Place

Floatation therapy, or sensory deprivation tanks, have taken off in popularity since I first wrote about my experience in 2018. The concept began in the 1950s when two Drs, Dr. Jay Shurley and Dr. John Lilly, were at the National Institute of Mental Health. They became curious how the human mind would react to the presence of nothing, and thus REST began (Reduced Environmental Stimulation Therapy).

Given the myriad of benefits, it only makes sense that this form of therapy has grown into a cultural phenomenon; softened skin, lower blood pressure, reduce hyperactivity and heart problems, flushing toxins, forming proteins needed in joints and brain tissue. It aids in stress management, sleep, muscle soreness, and reduces pain and swelling.

Since my initial experience I have undergone treatment six times. What began as a hyperactive mind and cynical viewpoint has quickly transformed to a state of acceptance and sense of self. The Float Place, in the Village of Patchogue, contributed to my positive mindset.


I immersed myself in the tank with a time crunch of only an hour, compared to the typical 90-minute sessions I’ve grown fond of. However, for the first time, this experience I went completely dark– no sound and no [night] light. It sounds starling because it is, but that’s the point. How many of us can so easily shut off, not the outside world but, our own minds? Before I knew it I awakened refreshed as the music played, cueing the end of my session.

Post-shower, I sat in the relaxation room before bolting out the door. A water station, hot Yogi tea, books, even color energy glasses. I put on a violet shades to incite creativity and inspiration as I sipped a detox tea. Two other female entrepreneurs were resting, one was a frequent visitor and the other endured her first trial.

“I don’t think I’ll get used to it,” one said to me. “I have an overactive mind.”

“Neither did I,” I replied. As I informed her of my initial struggle to accept REST, someone came in to inform me, rather comically, that I was so deep in my sleep that it took two rounds of music to wake me up. I turned to the other woman, “I guess I’ve gone from rookie to regular.”

The Float Place isn’t a high-end establishment that feels like a luxury spa, nor is it trying to transform you to an exotic location. With a personality all of its own, it feels like your quirky neighbors living room, inviting you to relax over tea and light conversation.

Before I left I contributed to the Affirmation Tree, a place where visitors write on paper ‘leaves’ their wishes and hopes for others. I’d tell you what I wrote but I encourage you to experience The Float Place for yourself– then try and find my little note.


sitting in front of the affirmation tree


The Float Place has two locations, in Patchogue and Deer Park. Visit them at http://www.thefloatplace.com.

Anything But Plain Tea

This article first appeared in The Independent Newspaper. Read more about #EverythingEastEnd here


Brazilian born Tathiana Teixeira, a trained classical ballet dancer since the age of four, learned early on the importance of a healthy body and mind connection. Whole leaf tea proved to be a great way to maintain that homeostasis.

Through this revelation, Tathiana decided to share the “secret truth about tea,” by offering the ultimate tea experience, educating today’s tea drinkers a single cup at a time. Together with her husband, Alessandro, PLAIN-T was born.

“We are passionate about what we do,” said Alessandro Teixeira, whose first tea with his wife and partner was a memorable Jasmine Pearl blend. “We believe in the mental and physical health benefits that can be gained through the consumption of whole leaf tea, in challenging the status quo by thinking and acting differently. Our 13-year-old and eight-year-old daughters and their friends are all drinking tea. It is exciting to witness the joy, sense of discovery, and appreciation by each new PLAIN-T customer.”

Tea is the second most consumed beverage in the world, behind water. As such, PLAIN-T has the innovative ability to tailor make its product to fulfill the needs of discerning clients, thanks to its tea master with over 30 years of experience. This jet-setting couple travels the Earth for hand-picked teas in prize-winning gardens, developing an expansive artisanal selection of first class teas. They gather plants from India, Japan, China, Sri Lanka, South Africa, and Egypt.

“For the most part, the rest of the world is ahead of the U.S. when it comes to tea. In several cultures, tea is a way of life, embedded into cultures and enjoyed daily in different forms from morning to evening — something that we foresee taking place in the U.S. market in the near future,” explained Teixeira, who ensures that all of PLAIN-T products are harvested by hand, not machine, and sans pesticides or chemical use.

To receive the most benefit from tea leaves, it’s best to drink green tea within six months and black within a year.


In their latest endeavor, the Teixeiras were introduced to Robert and Barney Swan in Southampton in 2017, a team on a mission to clean up 326 million tons of C02 before 2025. Titled the 2041 South Pole Energy Challenge, PLAIN-T will support the world’s first “green” arctic trek by supplying the expedition team whole, loose leaf tea for the entire journey.

Practicing what they preach, PLAIN-T’s continued commitment to a better future includes eco-friendly practices such as sourcing of recyclable and biodegradable materials, electronic account management, and sourcing natural light as much as possible in the warehouse.


Teixeira said, “We aspire to be a company as green as our leaves. Through our collaboration with the South Pole Energy Challenge, we are looking to learn and improve our methods.”

PLAIN-T has supported local charities such as The Retreat, Hayground School, Samuel Waxman Cancer Research Foundation, Southampton Historical Museum, Guild Hall, Children’s Museum of the East End, Paddle for Pink, and the Ross School. The company partners with organizations likeminded in benefitting the environment and constituency, such as Lauren Bush Lauren’s FEED Foundation and the FEED Cafe in Brooklyn.