Baristanet Profile: Iris Lewis

Name: Iris Lewis

Where do you live? Montclair, close to the Y, walkable to all the action

When did you move there? About six years ago, I have a second grader and we absolutely live here for the amazing educational opportunities.

Where did you grow up? I grew up in “the sticks!” The New Jersey Pine Barrens in a tiny town called Browns Mills. We didn’t have sidewalks and there was no walking to school. You played outside with the neighborhood kids all day and you had to drive to get everywhere. My South Jersey family thinks I live “in the city” and my son won’t walk on grass barefoot, it’s weird.

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

I wear many hats, including Mama! By day I am an itinerant teacher of the Deaf; I travel around Bergen County serving students with hearing loss. I teach them about hearing loss and teach their teachers about their devices and best practices. I also teach American Sign Language at two local colleges. I love working with higher education students, they inspire me to believe in a brighter future. My passion is lactation consulting; I help mamas and babies along their breastfeeding journeys. I really enjoy home visits and meeting moms and nurslings of all ages. My eventual goal is to transition to lactation full-time, that is a work in progress. My ultimate sweet spot would be tapping into helping Deaf women with breastfeeding.

Coffee, tea or … ? Tazo Passion tea with lots of honey, that is, when I’m not making a STRONG cup of coffee in my French press, I’m trying to give up coffee but I still indulge.

What’s your idea of a perfect weekend day?

If my son is home for the weekend we will wake up and make homemade pancakes, then hang around reading Harry Potter. I’ll convince him to let me take a little nap. Later, we’ll meet up with some friends for a laid-back playdate, or have friends over. Then, either bake something or make dinner together. Lastly, we will watch a movie or one of our fave shows, like Queer Eye or Nailed It. You can follow our adventures @montclairnjmama

What’s your favorite local restaurant? Kim’s Sushi in West Orange! I love the French Kiss and Elizabeth Roll, and it’s BYOB! I also love that people leave messages on post it notes, I love finding my old post-its when I return.

What’s on your nightstand? The earrings I forgot to take off, water, lavender oil and a gratitude journal

What are you listening to? Everywhere: India Arie, always. She is my happy place, she keeps me grounded. In the car: The Moth Podcast. In the morning when I need some pep in my step: LIZZO!

What are your current indulgences? Turkey Hill Choco Mint Chip, Disney+, making Alexa tell my kid to brush his teeth

What talent you would most like to have? I would love to learn how to play the guitar. I have a gorgeous electric acoustic guitar and used to take lessons years ago (in Montclair at RockTec before I lived here) but I was terrible about practicing and eventually stopped.

What’s the worst-kept (or best-kept!) secret about Montclair? Best-kept: Where I park my car, but I can’t say where it is, it’s a {FREE} secret!

What do you hope they say about you at your funeral? I hope they play this OneRepublic Song “I LIVED.” You can watch it interpreted into sign language by Bee Adams, here.

“I owned every second that this world could give

I saw so many places, the things that I did.

Yeah with every broken bone, I swear I lived!”

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  1. Beautiful person. Beautiful stories she keeps to tell. Beautiful video. Happy faces teaching us to hear what is being told. Thank you, Ms. Lewis.

    “I Live” now on my playlist for coffee in the morning with Mr. Astor.

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