Name: Karen Schloss Diaz

Where do you live? I always say downtown Montclair, by the library

When did you move there? Around 25 years ago

Where did you grow up?  Philadelphia suburbs

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion? I’m the owner of diaz * schloss communications, a PR, marketing + social media firm specializing in the hospitality space: restaurants, cookbooks; wine, spirits + spice shops, food products, stemware. In Montclair alone, past + current clients include Samba, Amanti Vino, Vanillamore, De Novo, Miss Nicky’s Gourmet Toffee, Plum on Park, Blu, Montclair Bread Company, Fascino. We just finished a 7-month launch campaign for Montclair Social Club. I’ve also been writing a restaurant + food trends column for, “Choice Cuts,” for 12 years.

Coffee, tea or … ? PUH-LEEZ. Coffee! I schedule coffee meetings twice a week. Shout outs to The Corner, Bluestone, Marcel, Raymond’s, Gina’s … just a few of my go-to’s (and not one is a client). It’s important to me to support small businesses.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? Saturdays are my healing and chillax days. 11am Slow Flow/Yin class with Carol Porter at Namaxe in Bloomfield, followed by a quick stop at Piccolo Cucina 98 on Walnut St. for one of their fantastic salads, whether it’s chicken + grapes, farro + cranberry or roasted cauliflower + quinoa. My Saturday treat there is a chocolate chip + walnut cookie that’s to die for. Then it’s Meditation in a Jewish Context from 4-5pm at B’nai Keshet. I’m one of 5 “leaders” – we meet every Saturday – everyone is welcome – and it’s free. I’ve been meditating for 5 or 6 years now; it keeps me sane and hopeful.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? How can I possibly answer that?! North Jersey is chock full of superb restaurants. I love WabiSabi in Bloomfield, Le Salbuen and Mish Mish here in town … but I’m always happy to venture to other ‘hoods. Restaurant Serenade in Chatham is a longtime client and I love dining at their bar; it’s such a sexy, delicious scene. Just went to Sofia in Englewood – Wowza. Brilliant cocktails and dynamite food.

What’s on your nightstand?  My next book for book group (Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie), my LAST book group book which I STILL haven’t finished (Less by Andrew Sean Greer), Pema Chodron’s Living Beautifully w/Uncertainty + Change, Ramananda, John Welshon’s One Soul, One Love, One Heart, and a love note from my daughter from when she was, like, 6. Now she’s 15!

What are you listening to? Every day with no exception: SiriusXM Progress Channel 127 9am-noon, The Stephanie Miller Show. Every week, she has on Malcolm Nance, Montclair’s insightful Eric Boehlert, Esquire’s Charlie Pierce, Ted Lieu, Adam Schiff, Michael Steele, The Rude Pundit and a gang of brilliantly  funny comics. It’s how I get politics plus a lot of laughs – something I need in these challenging times. I haven’t had a television in the house for years.

What are your current indulgences? The truth is, my colleagues and I eat at client restos (and competitors) frequently – we do a lot of press and influencer tastings – so I eat well all the time. More importantly – I’m grateful to all the superb chefs, GM’s, sommeliers and mixologists who are at the top of their game here in EnJay.

What talent you would most like to have? The ability to knit. My friend, Kathleen Vandervoort Winstead, owns Yarnia and has tried to teach me … but I’m a miserable failure.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? What a marvelous community this is. Giving, sharing, roll-up-their-sleeves, laughing, working to make the world – and our little inch of it – a better place. Camaraderie and compassion in action. But my favorite statement about Montclair is: We’re a town of 35,000 people with 40,000 opinions!

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? Man, she was great at bringing people together. She was a loving + loyal friend, a generous mentor, and a really good mom, daughter + sister … and eventually she learned to apologize with grace and ease when she realized she’d gone too far.