February is our month to pay homage to the arts. We admire, we learn, we listen, we engage and we enjoy. We love art and music because it gives us a glimpse of someone’s heart and soul; the part of them we don’t necessarily see on the surface. It resonates with us and therefore, through the arts, we learn about ourselves. As you read about our local artists in our community and their stories of passion and self-expression, we hope that you too are inspired to pursue what you love. After all, February is the month of love and yes, in 2020, we have one more day of love to enjoy. In every one of our feature articles, we explore the passions of artistry. The Ridgewood Art Institute focuses on traditional American classical realism and offers classes in oils, watercolors and drawing for people of all ages and abilities. Matthew James, a 2019 graduate of Northern Highlands and founder of James Productions recently produced and directed a show where the audience sat within the performance by using platforms located around the venue. At Northwest Bergen County’s preeminent specialty foods shop, Olive R Twist Olive Oil Company, owners Marianne Krantz and Andrea Volter procure olive oils from around the world and balsamics from Modena, Italy. Turn to our article titled “A Dinner that Says “Olive You” and prepare a special Valentine’s Day romantic homemade dinner by trying some of their special recipes. After Christmas Day, the most popular day to get engaged is Valentine’s Day. One of the first things brides dream about after the engagement is their wedding day, and specifically, their wedding dress. Aida Mejia, owner of Rosi’s Bridal in Ho-Ho-Kus offers exceptional dress collections as well as customized in-house designs. It’s not only for the bride, but it’s for the mother of the bride as well. At the end of the day, it’s all about the experience and that’s what makes the real difference at Rosi’s. So Northwest Bergen Lifestyle readers, while you fill your home with chocolate truffles and roses this February, remember to fill your heart too. Find what makes you feel alive and don’t forget to share it with us. According to independentwestand.org, did you know that for every $100.00 you spend at a locally owned business, $68.00 will stay in our community. When you shop online or at a national chain, only $43.00 will stay in our community. Now that’s a good reason to support our local businesses. Let’s keep it local by shopping local; it’s to our benefit! Marc Schwartz, Publisher