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!

Interiors: Color Lifts Your Spirits

It’s been scientifically proven that color can rejuvenate your body and positively impact your mindset. Today, Denise Davies, founder of D2 Interieurs of Weston, and Kerri Rosenthal, D2’s creative director, show us how to reinvigorate your home for spring with their signature look – bold pops of color and clean, sophisticated modern design.

Denise_Kerri_Fireplace

Tip #1
Don’t be afraid…it’s only paint, right?!  A fresh coat of paint can be a real game changer!
unspecified-3
unspecified
Tip #2
Wow with wallpaper! Wallpaper can make a big impact. We like to use wallpaper even in small spaces such as powder rooms and laundry rooms. It’s an unexpected and fun surprise.
JOY_BATHROOM
unspecified-6
Tip #3
See the light. Bring in new lighting with modern and updated light fixtures – let the light shine in! Even replacing your lampshades can give a room a fast, easy and fresh look.
unspecified-4
Denise Kitchen Spring Tip Lighting Tip
Tip #4
Make your art work. Switching out artwork can give new life to your home. Don’t worry about matching the art…mix it up! Have fun! And most of all, buy art that makes you happy!
unspecified-2
Kerris Study Paintings orange
Need a refresh? Contact Denise at:
Denise Davies
D2 Interieurs
646.326.7048
denise@d2interieurs.com

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.

Montessori School Offers Infant Development Classes

unnamed-2

As every mom knows, babies and young children learn about the world by exploring it at their own pace. That’s one of the reasons that the teachings of Maria Montessori ring true for so many parents. Her method nurtures a child’s independence, allowing for freedom within limits.

The Montessori School in Wilton has been teaching children through this proven method since 1964, and now they are offering parents the opportunity to discover the Montessori Method through a new in-depth, interactive learning series in-depth, interactive 10-class series that addresses infant development and the infant-parent relationship. Classes begin in October and will be offered until spring 2016. Lisa Fay, early childhood and parent educator certified with the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) at the birth to three levels, leads classes inspired by the teachings of Dr. Maria Montessori, an innovator in the field of early childhood education.

Expectant parents, parents and babies alike will benefit from this series designed to follow children’s natural tendency to explore the well-prepared environment around them, and introduce parents to the benefits of observing their babies in an intentional way.

“Ground-breaking neuroscience shows us how powerful an influence the infant’s environment is to their rational, physical and even spiritual development, “ says Lisa. “My life’s work is to deepen my understanding of young children, educate parents about their babies’ capabilities and raise parents’ awareness of ways in which they can help their children realize their enormous potential. We observe together their babies’ exciting development unfold in a classroom perfectly set up for their physical and intellectual needs.”

Lisa explains that while books can offer some guidance for parents on how to meet the needs of their children, the work of development belongs to the child alone. These hands-on and interactive classes focus on the importance of movement, language, care of the self, and independence with sleeping and eating. Montessori’s idea was that a child possesses an “absorbent mind”, and begins – even before birth – to explore his environment with all of his senses. The class offers parents the opportunity to see in “real time” how the Montessori prepared environment is a dynamic classroom that fosters the young child’s curiosity and independence, and meets his cognitive and physical need for challenge at each stage of development. “Most people think elementary school is when children begin to learn tenacity, initiative, independence and a love of work. In fact, these are qualities learned and honed from birth, and parents can help foster them,” Fay added.

Infant-Parent Series Schedule
$275 for the series (includes orientation, one evening seminar and eight morning classes).

Session 1
Orientation – October 8, 7-8pm
Evening Seminar – November 5, 7-8pm

Tuesdays October 13, 20, 27
9-10am November 3, 10, 17, 24
December 1

Thursdays October 15, 22, 29
9-10am November 5, 12, 19
December 3, 10
Session 2
Orientation – January 7, 7-8pm
Evening Seminar – February 11, 7-8pm

Tuesdays January 12, 19, 26
9-10am February 2, 9, 16, 23
March 1

Thursdays January 14, 21, 28
9-10am February 4, 11, 18, 25
March 3
Session 3
Orientation – March 29, 7-8pm
Evening Seminar – May 4, 7-8pm

Tuesdays April 5, 12, 19, 26
9-10am May 3, 10, 17, 24

Thursdays April 7, 14, 21, 28
9-10am May 5, 12, 19, 26
To participate in the Infant-Parent Educational Series, please contact The Montessori School at 203.834.0440. All classes will be held at The Montessori School, 34 Whipple Road, Wilton, CT.
Registration for the series is required.

Fabulous Mother’s Day Gifts From Around Fairfield County for Every Type Of Mom

Mother’s Day always kind of sneaks up on me. Sandwiched between Easter baskets and Memorial Day party prep, I’m always a little surprised to look at the calendar and see it staring me in the face…which usually facilitates frantic calls to the local florist and a mad dash to the card store!  This year is different…thanks to Google and Apple. I set an alert on my iPhone a week in advance and scheduled some time for browsing to find the perfect gifts for all the moms in my life. Below find a few of my favorite finds from Fairfield County shops! Maybe you’ll find something to give (or receive!) from our list and avoid the last minute rush!

 

vivacity-crop-carbon6-1_005_1_

For the fitness fiend – workout pants with stylish sheer inserts from Yogasmoga in Greenwich.

1510048_928484353868603_2515357916737409976_n

For the mom who wants to make a red-carpet entrance, a maxi-dress from Bianca Boutique in Westport.

11139420_914165855310949_6581848181571986379_n

For the mom who wants to make a statement, boldly beaded necklaces from Walin & Wolff in New Canaan and Westport.

10986711_885246401532551_3590127148169975997_n

For the mom who knows that turquoise is trending, baubles from the Blue Star Bazaar in Wilton.

11069400_681885635250617_9021206618559292903_n

For the mom who’s always toting the mother load…the cutest bag ever – from SheLaLa in Westport and New Canaan.

 

11115771_10153172887602141_3937677701550753588_n

For the mom who likes to keep her littles close to her heart, a Monica Rich Kosann locket with sapphire accents. At Craig’s Fine Jewelry in Ridgefield.

11150303_1090009521015135_987318089151469132_n

For the mom who lives by Coco Chanel’s famous quote, “A girl should always be two things, classy and fabulous,” a jacket worthy of both. From Spree in Darien.

 

XO_nk_ss__65002.1409520674.485.485

For every mom who deserves a big hug and kiss…from Darien-based VisibleInterest.com (overnight shipping available!).

unnamedFor the earthy mom, a handmade pendant from The Funky Hippie artist collective in Stamford.

 

Fairfield County’s Most Romantic Restaurants

champagen

A dimly lit dining room staged with flickering candles and magnums of sparkling Champagne is fine for a run-of-the mill romantic evening, but on Valentine’s Day you want a restaurant that sets a more seductive scene.  Bring sexy back at one of Fairfield County’s restaurants where the ambiance is the aphrodisiac.

Below are our picks by town:

Greenwich

Thomas Henklemann – A classic.  Old-school elegance in Greenwich’s Homestead Inn, Henklemann has all the requisite romantic trappings (fireplace…check, intimate feeling…check, candlelight…check), but deep pockets are necessary and jackets required.  420 Field Point Rd Greenwich 203-869-7500

L’Escale (at the Delamar Hotel) – Romantic waterfront restaurant with spectacular views of the Long Island Sound.  Feel like you’ve been transported to the Ile de France with rustic-French decor and modern interpretations of classic cuisine.  500 Steamboat Rd., Greenwich,  203-661-4600

Stamford

Dolce Cubano – A sexy spot with a Latin vibe on the Stamford waterfront that evokes the glamour and sophistication of Havana in the 1950’s.  Kick back with a Cuba Libre and enjoy a thoroughly modern take on traditional Cuban cuisine.  78 Southfield Ave, Stamford, (203) 817-0700

The Fez –  A fun and cozy spot with spot-on Moroccan food, the occasional belly dancer, live music, and a wine list that includes selections from Lebanon and South Africa. 227 Summer St, Stamford, (203) 324-3391

New Canaan

South End – Chef/owner Nick Martschenko is a Culinary Institute of America trained veteran of New York City’s venerable Gramercy Tavern. The focus here is on the integrity of the ingredients and exquisite preparation. 36 Pine Street, New Canaan, 203.966.5200

Elm –  Award-winning cuisine in a sleek, elegant environment.  73 Elm Street, New Canaan (203)920.4994

Norwalk

Barcelona – The restaurant version of tall, dark, and handsome. Order small plates of tasty tapas that’s perfect for sharing.  Nights at Barcelona almost always end with dancing at the bar – ole! 63.65 N. Main St. South Norwalk, (203)899.0088

Match – SoHo meets SoNo.  A chic crowd and Chef Matt Storch’s constantly evolving New American menu have earned accolades from both local and national critics. 98 Washington Street, South Norwalk (203)852-1088

The Spread –  When industrial stainless-steel decor meets delicate, hand-pained floral china it evokes subtle shades of grey. Awarded best newcomer for their spot-on preparation, The Spread also deserves kudos for their tantalizing cocktail menu. 70 North Main Street, South Norwalk (203)939-1111

Westport

Vespa Restaurant – Enjoy waterfront views from an intimate banquette while sharing a selection of inventive small plates.  2A Post Road West Westport, 203.557.9057

Rive Bistro – Completely classic French fare along the banks of the Saugatuck.  The cozy dining room not only offers great views, but a flickering fireplace that sets a romantic mood. 299 Riverside Ave  Westport, (203) 557-8049

LeFarm –  Arguably one of Fairfield County’s best restaurants, its diminutive size requires getting cozy with your dining partner. Warm lighting, an expertly selected wine list, and friendly, knowledgeable servers complete the experience. 256 Post Road East, Westport (203)557.3701

The Whelk – Oysters…need I say more. 575 Riverside Avenue, Westport, 203.557.0902

Wilton

The Schoolhouse at Cannondale – The Schoolhouse earns high honors for their farm to fork cuisine – with straight A’s for food, service, and ambiance.  Their four-course Valentine’s Day prix fixe menu will run you $85. per person on 2/14, and $75 on 2/12 & 13.  34 Cannon Road, Wilton (203)834-9816

Fairfield

Paci – At the center of Paci’s dramatic interior is a projection of an enormous clock face; an apt reminder of Shakespeare’s famous quote,”But for those who love, time is eternal.”  Prepared with a balanced hand and a clean simplicity Paci is easily Fairfield County’s best upscale Italian restaurant. 96 Station St. Southport, (203)259-9600

Artisan –  A floral mural blooming along the far wall adds a touch of softness and romance to the dining room of this Southport gem.  Chef Frederic Kieffer re-interprets New England classics with exclusively regional ingredients (Vermont cheeses, shellfish freshly plucked from the Long Island Sound, pasture-raised meats).  275 Old Post Road, Southport, (203)307.4222

55 Wine Bar – A soaring space draped with swaths of fabric, 55 Wine Bar offers classic Italian fare – pasta, seafood, veal, and chicken. 55 Miller Street, Fairfield, (203) 256-0099

Ridgefield

Bailey’s Backyard – A cozy , rustic setting reminiscent of a picnic in the park, Bailey’s Backyard offers superbly crafted cocktails and a creative menu focused on regional and artisanal ingredients. 23 Bailey Avenue, Ridgefield, (203) 431-0796

Bernard’s – Amazing menu, beautiful setting, elegant ambiance – Bernard’s is, quite simply, perfection.  Hosts Sarah and Bernard Bouïssou personally ensure that their guests receive a warm welcome.  Valentine’s Day prix fixe is $75 for four delicious courses. 20 West Lane  (Route 35)  Ridgefield, (203 ) 438 . 8282  

In Your Own Home!

If you would prefer to beat the crowds send the kids to grandma’s house and have a romantic evening in your own home, Book-A-Cook can prepare a special dinner at home cooked and served by a top-notch chef.

 

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.

valentines1

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

valentines2

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

valentines3

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

valentines4

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

Top 5 Winter Skincare Tips from URA The Spa

WINTERSKIN

Cold, dry air and indoor heating often leads to dehydrated, flaky skin – and dry skin is uncomfortable skin!  Itchy, red, blotchy…not pretty.  We consulted with Dr. Alicia Zalka, a dermatologist who is on staff at URA The Spa in Wilton, to get her tips for keeping your skin beautiful and glowing during the winter months.

 TOP 5 WINTER SKIN CARE TIPS FROM URA THE SPA

1) Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate — Drink an ample amount of water and eat fruits and vegetables that contain a high water content. Cold temperatures and winter wind depletes our skin of its natural oils. On a similar note, stay away from overly processed foods that tax the digestive system, putting undue strain on the skin.

2) Moisturize often with products that do not contain fragrances or dyes, which can irritate already dry, winter skin.

3) Don’t take long, hot showers in the winter months, as they can also deplete skin of natural oils, which act as a moisturizer. Don cotton socks and gloves to help keep moisture intact in your hands and feet.

4) Use sunscreen during the winter — especially if you ski or spend time outdoors. The sun reflectd off the snow, and can result in a sunburn.

5) Exfoliate with a gentle agent and put skin toners on hold.

URA The SPA is located at 444 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT  203-762-6200

Additional skin care tips care be found at dermatologist, Dr. Alicia Zalka’s, website: surface-deep.com

Get The Hot Ticket! Chilifest!

chilifest

The “hot” gift of this holiday season might be tickets to Chilifest. Chilifest is a pre-Super Bowl event that takes place on Feb. 1, 2015 at Bedford Middle School in Westport CT from 11AM to 3PM. Just like its sister event, Chowdafest, veryone is given a spoon, ballot and pencil, then sample 18 different kinds Chilifest will feature three categories of chili’s: classic beef, creative chili (turkey, vegetarian, green etc.) and “Firehouse” chili. Twelve local restaurants will compete in the classic and creative categories while firefighters from the Fairfield, Norwalk, Trumbull, Weston, Westport and Wilton Fire Departments are slated to compete in a separate category for best firehouse chili.

“We’re excited to find out which restaurant people believe has the best chili and equally thrilled to be holding a separate competition to determine what firehouse makes the best chili too” said Jim Keenan, event director. “Fire departments are famous for their chili. Some of these fire fighters really know their way around the kitchen”. The category is sponsored by Local Kitchen & Beer Bar of Norwalk and Fairfield to remind people to support their LOCAL fire department.

Some of the restaurants competing in the 2015 competition include: Bobby Q’s (Westport), Cask Republic (New Haven, Stamford), Chef’s Table (Fairfield), Chilibomb (Fairfield), Liquid Lunch (Milford, Shelton), Local Kitchen & Beer Bar (Fairfield, Norwalk), Naked Greens (Norwalk, Wilton), Simply Delicious (Norwalk) and Southport Brewing Co. (Branford, Milford, Southport). The roster of competitors will be finalized

Tickets bought online are just $10 adults, $5 for kids ages 6-12. “At ten bucks, they make great stocking stuffers” said Keenan. Tickets at the door will be $15. Tickets can be purchased online at: www.Come2Chilifest.com

Chilifest benefits the Turtle Fund which seeks to promote the education of young people in art, music, theater, skilled craft and other creative pursuits. Chilifest is proudly sponsored by Aitoro Appliances, Stop & Shop, Volvo of Westport, Local Kitchen & Beer Bar and WEBE 108. For more information about Chilifest please visit www.Come2Chilifest.com!

Shop Local! Great Gifting from Greenwich to Fairfield

ShopLocalHoliday shopping – those words make me jittery…not jolly. Just the thought of heading out to the mall inspires PTSD-worthy bouts of anxiety. Sure, I could do all my holiday shopping from behind my computer screen, but shopping solo on the internet feels bland and impersonal. The solution – do your shopping the old fashioned way by visiting your local small businesses!  Each town has a handful of incredible boutiques offering everything from designer fashions to decorative objects for the home. Below are a few of my favorites from each town – please feel free to add your own favorite shops in the comments section!  Now if we could only find someone to do our wrapping…

Greenwich

Atelier360 – 73 Greenwich Avenue – Luxury fashion from designers specializing in sustainable practices.

Crave Boutique – 39 Lewis Street  -Trendy women’s fashions.

Betteridge Jewelers –  117 Greenwich Avenue – Highest quality jewelry.

Darien

Spree – 1076 Boston Post Road – Trendy tops, jeans, dresses, etc…

Darien Sport Shop – 1127 Boston Post Road – Better mens, womens, and childrens clothier.

Barrett Book Store – 314 Heights Road – Independent bookstore.

New Canaan

Design Solutions – 146 Elm Street – Home decor, children’s toys/books

Togs –  66 Elm street – Designer clothing and accessories for women

SheLaLa – 120 Main Street (Westport location too!) – Costume jewelry and fun gift items for women and

Norwalk

Connie B’s – 43 North Main Street (SoNo) – Women’s clothing, accessories, and vintage items

Chocopologie – 133 Washington Street – Gourmet chocolates

Lillian August – 32 Knight Street – Home decor and accessories

Wilton

Blue Star Bazaar 148 Danbury Road – Gift items and accessories for women and children

Frock & Frill – 237 Danbury Road – Designer apparel for women and teen girls

Open House Gift Shop  9 Center Street – Home decor and gift items

Ridgefield

Ally Bally Bee  45 Ethan Allen Highway – Apparel, art, and gifts crafted by local artisans

Craig’s Fine Jewelry – 394 Main Street – High quality jewelry

Bella Home – 90 Danbury Road – Decorative items for the home

Westport

Bianca Boutique – 420 Post Road West – Trendy designer clothing and accessories for women

Spruce Home & Garden 90 Post Road East –

Walin & Wolff – 30 Post Road East –  Designer shoes, handbags, and accessories for women

Fairfield

The Beehive – 1561 Post Road – Assorted items for men, women, children, and home

A Little Square 1981 Post Road – Toys, craft items, classes, and clothing and accessories for women and children

Hazel Daze Boutique  86 Post Road – Fun, funky decor and jewelry from fair trade and local artists