Lauren Lilling

Lauren Lilling: Move from NYC to Tenafly, NJ

Join us for an exclusive interview with Lauren Lilling, the founder of Keep It Sweet Desserts, as she shares her story of moving from NYC to New Jersey. In this interview, she discusses why she loves living in Tenafly, and how she juggles a home-based business as a mom of two.

You Moved from Manhattan to Weehawken to Tenafly. Tell me about your move to New Jersey. 

My husband and I moved from New York City to Weehawken a couple of years into our marriage when we were bursting out of our Manhattan apartment. 

Keep It Sweet Desserts Lauren Lilling

I was still working a finance job at the time but had a baking blog on the side. When our kitchen equipment started getting stored in the bedroom, we knew it was time to go somewhere we could have more space. Weehawken felt like a good transition since it was just a ferry ride away from the city!

What Made You Decide to Move to Tenafly?

A few years and one child later, we were ready for the “real suburbs”. We moved to Tenafly because we thought it was a town where our family could grow with ease. The excellent school district and proximity to NYC were our main draw at the time. Now, seven plus years later, we are happy to be living in Tenafly.

Lauren Lilling

What are the Pros and Cons of Living in Tenafly, NJ

Tenafly is a great town for raising a family. The ability to have a house and backyard is an obvious suburban pro. 

Additionally, there is a lot of diversity of people in Tenafly of different backgrounds and origins. Making friends and introducing our children to various cultures through that is a great positive. The high-ranked school district and short city commute are additional benefits to living in Tenafly.

What is the Difference Between Living in Weehawken versus Tenafly?

It’s very different living in Weehawken versus living in Tenafly. Weehawken felt very transient to us. There was not much community as most people felt like they were there temporarily. No one was putting down roots and forming friendships in ways you might want for long-term relationships. 

In Tenafly, however, people move here because they are looking for a “forever home”. As a result, Tenafly residents are much more invested in building relationships and friendships with one another.

How Would You Describe Tenafly Residents?

Tenafly is a diverse town with people of all backgrounds. It is a very supportive community.

Did you Know Anyone when you Moved to Tenafly, NJ? 

I did not know anyone at all when I moved to Tenafly. However, my family joined the JCC and by attending events, using the gym there, and participating in the pre-school community with my son, we met many people. It felt very natural to make friends that way.

Now we meet people through our children’s school, attending community events and participating in town activities such as little league and soccer.

How Old are Your Kids? What are Your Favorite Things to Do with Kids in Tenafly?

My children are five and nine years old (kindergarten and third grade. We’ve spent many hours at Griffin Park (and Froggy Park when the kids were younger)! 

Any Favorite Restaurants in Tenafly that You Can Recommend?

There are a few restaurants in Tenafly that we enjoy. For lunch/brunch, Brasserie and Café Angelique are always good. For an evening out without the kids, we enjoy going to Axia Taverna. And of course, Celebrity Bagels always has a line out the door for a reason.

What has Your Experience been with Schools in Tenafly?

We’ve only had a positive experience in the Tenafly Public School System. Both of my children have enjoyed all of their teachers.

Do You or Your Husband Commute to New York City? 

My husband commutes to the city a few days per week. He’s alternated between the ferry (from Weehawken), the bus and driving. Each has its plusses and minuses, but the commute is generally under one hour.

Driving from Tenafly to NYC is obviously the most convenient because it’s door-to-door and on your schedule. However, tolls and parking add up! Plus, you really have to strategize timing to work around traffic. At 5:30 in the morning, a drive into the city from Tenafly could be around thirty minutes. Try going at 8 am and that time probably doubles. 

Commuting into New York City by taking the ferry is an in-between option. It’s a combination of driving and then a boat ride across the Hudson. The traffic is less of a variable but ferry parking can be hard to get. 

The bus is probably the most common way to commute into New York City from Tenafly. Compared to the ferry or driving, it’s the least expensive option and operates on a very regular schedule. If your office is on the west side of Manhattan, near the Port Authority, taking the bus into Manhattan is a great option. On the flip side, there are more crowds and there is also a traffic effect. 

Tell Me More about Keep It Sweet Desserts.

Keep it Sweet Desserts is currently a pop-up and special events business. In my pre-child life, I operated the business on a larger scale with nationwide shipping.

Keep It Sweet Desserts Lauren Lilling

Now everything is locally focused. Seasonally, I offer special pop-ups where customers can place orders for a specific dessert for pick-up on a specific day. Exceptions are when I take Holiday Cookie Box orders throughout December.

Keep It Sweet Desserts Lauren Lilling

I also offer dessert platters for holidays and events like birthdays, Super Bowl, showers, and the like.

Keep It Sweet Desserts Lauren Lilling

You are a Working Mom with a Home-Based Business. Can you Share Tips on How You Do It All, Working from Home with Young Children?

Trying to balance it all is never easy! I don’t have any childcare so no matter what’s going on, I’m there at drop-off, pick-up, homework etc. It’s definitely a privilege to be able to do a job that I love while still being present for my children at this young age. 

Keep It Sweet Desserts Lauren Lilling

However, when I’m working a lot, I have to cut corners elsewhere. That might be lots of semi-homemade dinners or just not looking like I have it all together.

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Instagram: @KeepItSweetDesserts

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