Baristanet Profile: Helaina Altabef

Name: Helaina Altabef

Where do you live? I live in the Brookdale neighborhood of Bloomfield.

When did you move there? I moved here with my husband Morry in 2012. At that time we had a 1-year old, Leela, and since then we’ve had another daughter, Sophie.

Where did you grow up? West Nyack, NY in the lower Hudson Valley

How do you make a living? OR What is your everyday passion?

 I’m an educator and a creative person. I used to make my living teaching. When I got pregnant, I wrote a program called Pique Learning that incorporated reading, writing, executive functioning, and critical thinking. It gave me more flexibility, and I did that for 6 years. It also helped me understand the challenges that today’s parents face. It laid the groundwork for my latest business, Tame the Teen, which is parent coaching and parent education.

 Coffee, tea or…?  Both! I love coffee in the morning, green tea in the afternoon and spicy chai whenever

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day? 
Hike, lunch and a stroll in a cute town with my family, nighttime date with my husband to see live music.

What’s your favorite local restaurant? Mishmish with the family, Satis Bistro for dates.

What’s on your nightstand? 
My Kindle—I just finished Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman, and I can’t stop thinking about it. Also a white noise machine, an eye mask, and a mug of tea.

 What are you listening to? When I work, I listen to lo-fi hip-hop on Youtube. It’s relaxing and good for focusing. To get inspired, I like two podcasts right now: Super Soul Sunday and You Made It Weird. In the car with the kids, Why in the World podcast or a playlist of Beatles tunes. For fun, a Spotify mix of artists who are playing at Mountain Jam (a festival we are going to in June!).

What are your current indulgences? 
I recently joined a gym for the first time in years—it borders between necessity and indulgence. I also made my home office a lovely place where I really enjoy spending time.

 What talent you would most like to have? A big, soulful singing voice. Like Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes meets Nina Simone.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about the area?

Bloomfield is an incredible, diverse community of people who are civically minded. There is a lot of Bloomfield pride and interest in strengthening the community. It’s almost like a throwback town–people play in their front yards, walk their kids to school and participate in local government. It’s a great place to have young kids. And of course–Brookdale Park, but the secret is out on that one!

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? That I was a lover of life and humans, that I pushed myself to grow wildly, that I contributed to improving people’s lives.

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