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North Fork business owners and their teams are spending this holiday toasting to the customers and guests who have helped them weather the storm since 2020. And the families that also made that possible.

I’m sure I’m not the only person who’s ready to say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021.

With 2021 comes the promise of new beginnings, hope, and, of course, New Year’s resolutions.

With that, we asked some local experts for their advice on achieving some of the most common resolutions.

Here’s what they had to say.  

Amanda Falcone, left, and husband Kyle Romeo at Barrow Food House. (Credit: David Benthal)

If your resolution is to eat healthier…

Amanda Falcone, Barrow Food House

“The most important thing to eating healthy is to make it easy for yourself.  Always have hard boiled eggs in the fridge to eat on the go, or to add to a salad for some protein.  Spend some time chopping and roasting vegetables, and maybe cook a grain, and you have the makings for a cold salad, a warm sauté, or even a quick soup if you have quarts of chicken stock frozen.  Basically, have the building blocks ready to go. Remember the mantra from Michael Pollan: Eat food, not too much, mostly plants. Luckily, there’s no shortage of plants to eat on the North Fork. You don’t even have to think that hard about what to buy. Find a favorite farm stand and eat with the seasons. It doesn’t get any better than that.”

Burton’s Books in Greenport. (Credit: Vera Chinese)

If your resolution is to read more books…

Scott Raulsome, Burton’s Books

“Start small: people who don’t read a lot often say they don’t have the time to read. I would suggest putting aside 10-15 minutes twice a day to read at first and then grow from there. Read about what you like: I often ask people who want to read more, “If you could read a book about anything, what would it be?” There is a book about pretty much everything, so stick with your interests at first and branch out from there.

Read a physical book: you will connect more with an actual book than an e-book. Enjoy the process of reading – that new book smell, cracking the spine, the dings and dents that occur to a book over time – it’s all part of the ceremony! Stop by your local bookstore and ask for help – any bookseller is more than happy to help you find a great read!

Remember, it’s not a race: even if you only read a couple of books a year, that’s great! You are a reader! There should be no stress from reading. And if you don’t like the book, start another: I usually give a book about a hundred pages and if it’s just not clicking with me, I will move on to something new. Then don’t be afraid to give the book another chance down the road.  Where you are in life influences your enjoyment of books.”

Donated groceries from CAST. (File photo)

If your resolution is to get more involved in the community…

Cathy Demeroto, CAST

“Consider what’s important to you – food security/hunger, the environment, animals, healthcare or education. There are so many ways to give back. You can make a financial or stock donation, consider planned giving, provide needed items or give the gift of your time and talent as a volunteer. Contact a local organization and discuss how you can fill a need and have the greatest impact. You will feel good by serving the greater good. We can all use some more good in 2021!”

Craft Hair on Front Street in Greenport. (Credit: Craft Hair/Facebook)

If your resolution is to fix your quarantine hair…

Lori Panarello, Craft Hair

“The best thing you can do for your hair is to see a professional. In terms of color, I strongly advise against the use of box color as it makes it difficult, and in most cases impossible, to remove or correct, leaving the hair dry and damaged. If a client is uncomfortable visiting a salon, I would suggest asking the salon for an at home color kit- they are very easy to use. We offered them from the onset of COVID and clients have had great success with them. These kits are made in our salon with professional hair color, and we give the clients a set of instructions on how to apply it.

Haircuts are a bit harder. Clients that are still uneasy in a salon, I say, let it grow! There is something very freeing about letting your hair go natural, wavy, curly, or long. We have seen many clients attempt to cut their own hair and, well, let’s just say wait for your stylist. In the meantime, use a great shampoo and conditioner and some great leave-in products- they will help your hair feel terrific! We recommend R+Co shampoos, conditioners and styling products. They are 100% vegan and all natural, and they work better than any other product line I’ve ever used.”

Jill Schroeder leading a class at JABS. (File photo)

If your resolution is to work out more…

Jill Schroeder, JABS

“Create weekly or monthly challenges to keep you motivated. These small, attainable goals will lead to increased confidence, which will lead to long-term success. Have support from family, peers, or professionals like a personal trainer. Going at it alone makes you less accountable and more likely to fall back onto old habits. During quarantine, continue to schedule your workouts ahead of time. Consider virtual personal training sessions or classes to build and maintain a fitness routine. When you find yourself reaching for that bag of chips or second helping, drink a glass of water first. This will help deflect the urge to eat more.

And enjoy the journey! A healthy lifestyle is not a finish line so choose to do activities you enjoy. Everyone’s fitness journey is different and understanding yours will be the key to your success!”