Primark Opens in Danbury

 

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Primark may not be as familiar to area residents as Zara, H&M, or Forever 21, but it will be very soon. The Dublin-based fast-fashion retailer is rapidly expanding in the U.S. and just opened its third stateside location in Danbury. The 5,000+ square-foot store in the former Sears space in the Danbury Fair Mall boasts affordable on-trend apparel, accessories, and shoes for the entire family – plus, beauty and a small selection of items for the home. The quality is better than H&M or Forever 21, with a notable difference in finishing and tailoring. Below, you’ll find a small sample of what you’ll find in store!

Chanel-inspired jacket, skinny trousers, and strappy sandals are the perfect Friday desk-to-dinner outfit.

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Get the weekend started right with a workout! JoyRide anyone?

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Running errands requires cute, yet casual. Blouse, denim cutoffs, sandals…check.

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Beautiful detailing at the neck of this gauzy dress and over the top sexy heels make this outfit worthy of date night!

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Sweet sleepwear in a feminine floral print.

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Can you say Brunch?

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or beach?

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Everything here can be found at Primark at the Danbury Fair Mall! They also have mens, kids, beauty, and home! Happy shopping!

CT Open House Day Invites Residents to Explore All The State Has to Offer

UnknownResidents are invited to explore all the state has to offer at its 12th annual Connecticut Open House Day on June 11! More than 170 attractions across our cosmopolitan cities and charming towns are participating in the event with free admission and special events at select historic and cultural sites, so there’s sure to be something for everyone. Locally, the 1750 Ogden House and Bellarmine Museum of Art in Fairfield, Art at Ives in Danbury, New England Ballet Company in Bridgeport, and the Westport Historical Society are participating.

For a full list of events, click here: CT OPEN HOUSE EVENTS!

Connecticut Staycation Guide!

UnknownSticking around for spring break? The Connecticut Office of Tourism unveiled its new 2016 Official Spring/Summer Connecticut Visitors Guide, an inspirational travel storytelling magazine for planning vacations, getaways and outings in Connecticut.

The new, re-envisioned guides offer seasonal-specific travel experiences designed to inspire visitors to travel to Connecticut multiple times year-round. Each features current travel stories, experiences, events, attractions and destinations. The 2016 Spring/Summer printed guide is available now for free at Welcome Centers throughout Connecticut, by calling 1-888-CTvisit, and through www.CTvisit.com, where consumers can also view the digital edition.

“With this type of experiential storytelling, the new Connecticut visitors guide is revolutionary in state destination marketing,” said Randy Fiveash, director of Connecticut Office of Tourism. “Through these stories, Connecticut destinations come alive and allow prospective travelers to immerse themselves in the place and experience. The reimagined guide better reflects how today’s travelers look for ideas and inspiration.”

The 72-page seasonal guide is ideal for families, couples, groups and individuals interested in discovering or rediscovering Connecticut. Reinforcing Connecticut’s still revolutionary branding, it is filled with colorful images, travel stories, experiences, ideas and information and includes a state map. For additional travel ideas and information, clickable graphics are interspersed throughout the guide so consumers can click to www.CTvisit.com, Connecticut’s official tourism website.

The inspirational guide is organized by features such as “Six Summer Escapes,” “Lobster 24/7” and “If Walls Could Talk”; by departments including “Live from CT,” “Make a Splash” and “License to Thrill”; and by Connecticut’s five tourism regions.

Sizzling Hot Lingerie for Valentine’s Day

Ok, I get it. It’s minus 20 degrees and all you want to do is wear flannel pajamas and wrap yourself in a Snuggie.  I won’t fault you, but, hey, it’s almost Valentine’s Day…time to sex it up a little. Here are four super hot local finds guaranteed to ignite an old flame.

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available at Anthropologie stores in Greenwich and Westport and Anthropologie.com

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Available at Victoria’s Secret stores in Stamford, Fairfield, Trumbull and Danbury and VictoriasSecret.com

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Cosabella is vailable at Soleil Toile in Westport and NewCanaan and Lace Affair in Wilton

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Available at Urban Outfitters in Greenwich, Westport and online at UrbanOutFitters.com

Little Black Dresses for Last Minute Events

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The holiday season is filled with impromptu invitations to can’t-miss events…followed by a panicked “what am I going to wear” frenzy.

Unless your closet is stocked with party perfect dresses, you’re going to scramble to find a fete-worthy frock.  When the pressure is on, shopping for a dress can feel like an epic task – so we took the liberty of doing the work for you!  We curated the top looks from local shops with an eye for the hottest evening wear trends – feathery trim, sparkling sequins, and sexy lace details – so you’ll shine all night long.

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Feather hem dress from Ann Taylor / Sequin dress H&M

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Lace overlay dress Zara / Beaded drop waist dress Forever 21

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Metallic dot dress JCrew / Tuxedo inspired dress Anthropologie

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Lace sleeve dress Loft / Halter dress Banana Republic

 

HGTV Brings Digital Santa Experience to Danbury

Get ready for a one-of-a-kind experience featuring everybody’s favorite Christmas visitor.  At the Danbury Fair Mall, Santa’s wonderland has been transformed into a digital experience featuring ElfSelfies and an interactive light show!  WIN a complimentary photo package (value of $46.99) – LEAVE US A COMMENT BELOW!

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You could call it House Hunters International on steroids! HGTV brings Santa’s North Pole experience to the Danbury Fair Mall with a new interactive journey to Santa’s HQ.  Through Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, visitors can take an ELFIE selfie and star in their own holiday video, explore Santa’s Observatory using ELF-RAY Vision, test out the ‘Naughty O’ Nice Meter,’ and enjoy a memorable photo with Santa.

“Santa HQ provides a unique twist on holiday festivities, while offering fans a chance to touch and feel the HGTV brand in a whimsical way,” said Shannon Driver, senior vice president, media strategies and partnerships. “We’ve enhanced the holiday experience at these top malls by creating a state-of-the-art venue for visitors to explore.”

Upon entering the magical structure, families can enjoy the wonder of Santa’s Workshop and Observatory by using innovative technology to customize their individual experience. Visitors can download the ELF-RAY Vision app or use a provided tablet to immerse themselves in the enchanting world of Santa HQ to see the night sky, the secret inner-workings of clocks and gears and to meet a playful pair of elves. By using their handheld device as a “portal,” visitors can see and interact with stunning digital scenes surrounding them inside Santa’s Observatory. Visitors can continue the adventure with a custom photo opportunity, followed by the ultimate moment with Santa inside his modernized sleigh. Visitors can reserve their experience time in advance via the Santa HQ website.

“Santa HQ reinvents the Santa experience at the mall for a new generation of digitally savvy, always-connected kids and their families,” said Ken Volk, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Macerich Malls, which manages the Danbury Fair Mall. “With HGTV, we are bringing a dramatically new and engaging holiday attraction to shoppers.  We know that people come to the mall for one-of-a-kind, in-person experiences they can share in real time and through social media – and the exciting new Santa HQ delivers exactly what families want today.”

Santa HQ will also feature “Sleigh Ride” – a featured track on the recently-released Pentatonix holiday album, That’s Christmas To Me – as part of the experience’s light show, which will play daily across Macerich’s 10 properties.  That’s Christmas To Me is available in stores and online, and will be available to those visiting Santa across the Macerich portfolio throughout the holiday season.

Santa HQ was conceived in collaboration with HGTV, Macerich and Pop2Life, a New York-based experiential marketing agency.

Back To School Cool!

New York Mercedes Benz Fashion Week officially opens tomorrow and we’re kicking it off with sartorial selections for the littlest trendsetters.  This season, J. Crew’s Crewcuts mixes Connecticut prep with sleek minimalism in dresses, jackets, and trim sweats. Boys root for the home team in collegiate inspired shirts, jeans, and varsity jackets from the Gap.

 

The Girls!

 

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The Boys

 

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Sephora’s One Use Nail Polish Collection

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We know this has happened to you.  You’ve spent $25 on a bottle of nail polish to do an at-home mani that you’ve used exactly once.  In a stroke of brilliance, Sephora created an innovative solution for polish DIY’ers – Formula X Press Pods are a limited-edition collection of mini-nail polish bottles in a dazzling set of 24 best-selling shades that contain just enough lacquer for 10 finger or toe nails.

The set retails for $39. and includes 24 travel-friendly polish filled capsules in Sephora’s best selling hues, including classic shades, neutrals, and modern metallics.  Each capsule contains just enough paraben-free/sulfate-free/phthalate-free polish to paint all 10 nails with two generous coats of long wearing lacquer.

And with 12 weeks of summer, the kit provides just enough to keep your fingers and toes perfectly polished all season long.

Order online at Sephora.com or visit Sephora’s stores in Greenwich (Greenwich Avenue), Danbury (Danbury Fair Mall), or Trumbull (Westfair Trumbull Mall).

CTBites Team Launches Fairfield County Chefs Cookbook

ctbitesI am tremendously excited to announce the launch of a new cookbook penned by the duo behind the award-winning website CT Bites“Fairfield County Chef’s Table Extraordinary Recipes from Connecticut’s Gold Coast,” published by Lyons Press, will go on sale tomorrow at local booksellers and Amazon.com.  

A beautiful representation of the area’s culinary treasures, the cookbook features more than 50 mouth-watering recipes and gorgeous full-color photos from Fairfield County’s diverse swath of restaurants – everything from four-star dining to burgers to ethnic specialties. Imagine being able to prepare a salad from Stamford’s Napa & Co, alongside an entree from Bonda in Fairfield, and dessert courtesy of Chocopologie – all in your own kitchen…it’s akin to Christmas morning for the food obsessed.

I had a chance to catch up with the author, Amy Kundrat and photographer, Stephanie Webster, to discuss the cookbook, their fortuitous partnership, and what’s next for CT Bites!

Fairfieldista: How did the two of you meet and how did you decide to launch CT Bites?

Amy: I’ve always been obsessed with travel and food and I realized I knew more about great food in other cities than my own back yard. I came across CTbites shortly after Stephanie launched it, and latched on for dear life. In those early days because it was one of the few places you could go to find like-minded gourmands who were curious and thoughtful about food culture. Stephanie and I work so well together because we are definitely food sympatico. For us, it’s about seeking out the best and the unique, not just casting a wide net.

Stephanie: I have always been obsessed with food. When I moved to Westport, CT in 2007, I immediately set out to find the best of everything edible in the 20 mile radius. Finding few credible culinary online resources, I decided the only solution was to launch my own. The site evolved into a multi-voice platform quickly as I realized, there was only so much I could consume or document alone. Amy joined the team very shortly thereafter, and together we created the blueprint and vision for CTbites.

Fairfieldista: How did you transition from Fairfield County’s favorite food bloggers to cookbook authors?

Amy: We’ve built the CTbites platform with the help of many great writers. Our goal has always to provide insight beyond what you may be able to glean yourself by walking into a restaurant and glancing at the menu and to go behind the scenes, do the legwork, and get to the deeper story. A book seemed like a great way to represent the essence of what we’ve accomplished in Fairfield County.

Stephanie: So much of CTbites’ success is relationship based. Our goal has always been to support the culinary community by highlighting the very best of the CT food scene. This book is a natural extension of the sentiment.

Fairfieldista: How did you select the restaurants and the recipes in the book?

Amy: If I could, I would have included everyone over the years that I’ve written about. Unfortunately print is not as forgiving as pixels. Our goal from the publisher was about 50 restaurants that represented the entire county, representing a spectrum of cuisines, approaches, and price points. I’m already thinking of how to update, reorganize and include even more chefs this in the next release!

Fairfieldista: The photography is absolutely gorgeous…what’s the secret to taking beautiful food photographs?

Stephanie: If you are not walking around with bounce cards and pro equipment, here are a few basics. 1. Always scout out a location with nice flat light, preferably near a window, but avoid harsh direct mid day sunlight. 2. Bring the focal point to the front, meaning don’t worry about keeping the entire frame in focus. Food shots look better if the Aperture is set large for a shorter depth of field. 3. As in any photography, you have to have a feel for the subject. I tend to get very up close and personal. It may just be a donut or bowl of pasta but make it the hero. 4. When in doubt, shoot overhead.

Fairfieldista: Speaking of photography…how did you get some of the more elusive chefs to pose for photos?

Stephanie: Perseverance…and patience. Chefs are a busy lot. You need to be flexible and work around their schedules. However, this challenge was made easier due to the fact that we have worked so closely with the local chefs via CTbites. We were able to leverage the relationships we had built with many of the local chefs over the past 5 years.

Fairfieldista: What was the biggest challenge in creating the cookbook? What was the most fun?

Amy: Wrangling, er, organizing the chefs was the biggest challenge. Reaching out to over 50 chefs and trying to convince them to give you a recipe was a bit of a challenge. Many of them don’t write down their recipes, or even want to. As a result there are some chefs missing that I would have loved to include. The most fun? Seeing it come together and hopefully reading/hearing about people making the recipes.

Stephanie: Ditto

Fairfieldista: What do you love to cook at home?

Amy: This will come as no surprise to those that know me, but I love cooking pizza. I’m constantly experimenting with dough fermentation and toppings. And I am also master of what I call the MacGuyver, cleaning out the refrigerator or pantry to create something worth calling dinner.

Stephanie: I prefer not to cook at all to be honest. I enjoy my food much more when prepared by someone else.

Fairfieldista: What do you love about the food scene in Fairfield County?

Amy: The people. I do this to meet and tell the stories of the people behind the food.

Stephanie: I would have to agree. The creativity and passion that drives our chefs, local vendors, and restaurateurs is inspiring. I have enjoyed getting to know each and every person in the CT food scene.

Fairfieldista: I realize this is like asking which child is your favorite, but what are your favorite restaurants?

Amy: There is no one absolute, so I am going to dodge the question by saying there are favorite restaurants for moments, cravings, and occasions and they are all in the book. For brunch, I adore Sugar & Olives. If I am craving Italian, I head to La Zingara. My favorite neighborhood restaurants (which are not in my ‘hood) are Match and South End. When I have out of town guests, which feels like once a month, we head to Community Table. For coffee, it’s Espresso Neat, hands-down. For a weekend errand lunch, you can’t beat a 109 Cheese & Wine sandwich….I can tell you a favorite for each craving!

Stephanie: Hmm….That’s a tough one. I can tell you where I eat most frequently these days. You will most likely find me weekly at Bodega, Valencia Luncheria, The Whelk, Rainbow Thai in Westport, Fortina in Armonk, The Spread and Match.

Fairfieldista: What else can we expect from the CT Bites team? Is there another book on the horizon?

Amy + Stephanie: Expansion. We have two new markets we are expanding to in the coming months. Stay tuned!

Fairfieldista: Where can people buy the book locally?

Amy: Local bookstores, online on Amazon and B&N, as well as Barnes & Noble in Milford and Westport, where we will be hosting two book signings in the coming months.

April 27: Barnes & Noble, Milford

May 17: Barnes & Noble, Westport

May TBD: 109 Cheese & Wine, Ridgefield

[Other events, To be scheduled but we are looking at Stamford and Norwalk]

Malloy Declares March 4 “Moms for Moms Day” in CT!

momsformomsAs if being a mother isn’t hard enough – toddler tantrums, elementary school woes, and dealing with teenagers!  But then you have your mother-in-law, the snarky woman in the grocery store, and some anonymous person on an internet chat board judging your every move and telling you how you SHOULD be raising your kids.  One group of  local mommy-bloggers, CTWorkingMoms.com (CTWM), teamed up with parenting website, The Bump,  in a call for sisterhood among women and acceptance of all parenting choices and styles in a celebration called, “Moms for Moms Day.” In honor of the event, Connecticut Governor Dan Malloy has declaired March 4, “Moms for Moms Day” in Connecticut.

This day-long celebration will be mostly virtual, encouraging moms to snap photos of themselves holding signs with supportive statements for other moms, and uploading them on social media with the hashtag, #moms4moms. In addition, Michelle Noehren, founder of the CTWorkingMoms.com blog, will be participating on a panel at The Bump office in New York City to discuss the intent and world-wide response to the campaign.

“We are so excited to engage with our fellow Connecticut moms for Moms for Moms Day on March 4th. While the day will be celebrated across the world, it’s amazing to have the support of our home state Governor who has officially declared the day. We believe strongly in our message of loving more and judging less and are honored to have the ability to spread that message across Connecticut, and the country.”

The CTWM partnership with The Bump is an outcome of a June 2013 photo shoot which supported the site’s Campaign for Judgement Free Motherhood and quickly went viral, gaining national attention.  CTWM photos were featured in the Huffington Post, on the homepage of Yahoo.com, Shine.com, and on the U.K.’s Daily Mail.  Bloggers from several Connecticut towns participated in the photo shoot.  Their simple message, “Let’s Love More and Judge Less,” focused on the importance of unity and acceptance among moms.

Full details about Moms for Moms day can be found here: http://ctworkingmoms.com/moms-for-moms-day

Read the Official Proclamation from Governor Malloy OFFICIAL STATEMENT 

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Photo Credit: Jean Molodetz