Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Shakespeare On The Sound Playing Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow

Playing every day (except Monday) between July 4th and July 12th, anyway. You can catch A Midsummer’s Night Dream at Baldwin Park in Greenwich (Arch Street, just off Exit 3). See the Shakespeare on the Sound website for details. Last week’s Rowayton version featured an innovative slender stage snaking through the crowd: a play on a runway. No idea if they’ll do the same in Greenwich, but I hope to find out.

(photo from autumn_leaf, flickr.com)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Network with a Perk

Do you have a stack of bid’ness cards burning a hole in your pocket? Do you like raising a glass on someone else’s dime? If you said yes to both, try to snag a spot at the free networking event at BUtterfield8 on Tuesday, June 30th from 7:00 – 8:00pm. RSVP by emailing elefebvre@metlife.com. The hostess is a dear friend, and good times are sure to be had.

Stamford Notes, Your Local Ultra Blog


The bouncer intimidizing outside the former Thirsty Turtle at Alive@5 told me that 84 Park, the new “ultra lounge,” will open on Wednesday, July 1st. The website says “be seen in the next generation of ultra lounge.” It’s totally embarrassing – I didn’t even know the first generation was expecting. What’s even more embarrassing is that I have no idea what differentiates a lounge from an ultra lounge. My best guesses so far are hair height or animal prints per square foot, but I can’t be sure. My hair pump is in the shop, so I imagine I’ll be sitting out opening night, but I’d love to hear reviews.

(photo from CynElena, flickr.com)

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Webcam Caravan

Too lazy to do things? How about watching other people do things. Alive@5 was the perfect reminder to stop and smell the tourists – ok, maybe not smell them, but observe your fellow man being silly, being gallant, being ridiculous and just being. Here are a few other places to take in this wide world without leaving your own corner:

- Check out the Virginia Aquarium’s sea turtle or shark tanks and folks coming to visit them

- See London’s hustle and bustle on Leicester Square

- New Orleans’ Bourbon Street is on display

- Duesseldorf Street Cam captures Sunday diners and Monday commuters

- Watch guys in Hawaiian shirts chase the illusive six-toed cat on Key West cams

- People are Praguing it up in City Center

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Nothing is certain but newsletters and taxes

The bad news: the property tax bill arrived yesterday. The good news: the tax man was nice enough to include some interesting tidbits along with the tab. For instance:

- Your tax dollars sent a group of Stamford police officers to Israel for counter-terrorism training. Take that, terrorists who missed the 295 exit.

- West Hill High School and West Beach got new fields made of fake grass. In the same newsletter, we learn that “Stamford has over thirteen acres of green roofs.” In other words, the city promotes hot fake plastic fields and cool natural green rooftops.

- About 90% of the government’s revenue comes from taxes and about 56% of that money goes to fund the board of education. I’m all for supporting education, but that number is ginormous. On behalf of the childless couples, I want a coffee mug or a bumper sticker that says “Tell your honor student ‘you’re welcome.’”

Friday, June 26, 2009

Eulogy for First Alive@5

I remember the First Alive@5 from her early hours. A personality so big, it took a parking lot of cop cars and an acre of crowd control mesh just to contain her. She was beloved by all, from the tubby type bragging about his bench press to the plus sized gal in the mini sized dress. She was a stickler for the rules with a one-drink-per-customer requirement and a lengthy line to buy tiny tickets. Still, we loved her sense of adventure, exploring Maui Wowi fruit drinks and new fangled “Yumnuts.” Rumor has it that her interests included treats like spanikopita and fried ravioli, but her many admirers kept her too busy to welcome all her line-averse fans. Such is the life of the popular girl. She was safety-minded, and with her, you were never far from the watchful eye of law enforcement. She was forgiving – she wasn’t offended or upset when her friends preferred her Rolling Rock to her Rock and Roll. Even when her acquaintances got irritated with her, they couldn’t help but rally around her energy and community spirit. Although her fresh faced cousin will take her place shortly, we will always remember First Alive@5 as a lively lady who made us glad to know her even when we had to hold her hair and call her a cab.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

First Hint of Mint


An astute reader on the nail salon entry asked if anyone had checked out Mint (2344 Summer Street). As part of my blog-ligations, I did just that to rip select portions of my eyebrows from my face (I don't care what anyone says - it hurts).

I parked in the rear, which was ill advised since the lot is graded like a skate park, and I tried entering through the back door. A large dining table and darkness suggested I better aim for the front entrance, and I had better luck from that direction. The people were welcoming and the space was crisp and colorful. Bright modern signs were illuminated over the doors. The spa rooms featured breezy white curtains and pale purple ceilings.

I have infinite sympathy for opening day, which was good because my de-browinator had to physically push a ladder and a day bed out of the way for me to get situated. Still, the work was good and the price was fair. I would go back, leaving my car elsewhere and hoping the ladders are back in storage.

(photo from cobalt123, flickr.com)

Know Thy First Alive@Five Act

1. Smash Mouth was formed in what year?
2. Smash Mouth hails from which city?
3. Which of the following is NOT a Smash Mouth song (or cover)? (a) All Star; (b) When It’s Over; (c) I’m a Believer; (d) Walkin’ on the Sun.
4. Which if the following IS a Smash Mouth album? (a) Astro Lounge; (b) Astro Lab; (c) Satellite Lounge; (d) Satellite Lab.
5. Smash Mouth drummer Mitch Marine formerly played with which band?

Answers:
1. 1994; 2. San Jose, CA; 3. (b) which is by Sugar Ray; 4. (a); 5. Tripping Daisy

Monday, June 22, 2009

Because Serv-ice is on My List


Are you in the service industry? If your answers is "what the hell is the service industry?," then we have a thing or two in common. BUtterfield8 tells me it includes teachers, doctors, nurses and plumbers...if you can make a good case for being a member of this special subset (with business cards, IDs, pay stubs), then you, my friend, may be eligible for 1/2 price drinks - including bottle service - from 9pm to close on Wednesday night beginning July 1st. So...if you have the nerve to serve, you might get a sweet deal on a discount beverage or six. I won't pretend to understand it, but I love it all the same.

(photo from ~BostonBill~, flickr.com)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Blame it on the Stain

I’m not particularly rough on my bid’ness casual, but I have been known to take risky bets on declining a dinner napkin. There are two things I need in a dry cleaner: (1) clean things in a dry-type fashion and (2) be open essentially all the time. The closest I’ve come to the second requirement is Fata Cleaners (389 W. Main Street). They also offer a 10% prepayment discount off their already pretty a-ok price tag plus the owner digs my car, and therefore, has awesome taste. Where else do people go for de-funkification?

(Alternate blog entry titles: "Spills to pay the bills" or the slightly less PC "Clothes before 'hos")

Friday, June 19, 2009

Nailed it!


Stamford is the city that waxes (and manicures, pedicures…). As someone with a proclivity towards polish, I’ve been taking notes on local resources. Although there are TONS I haven’t tried, I’ve been to enough to develop an opinion or two.

• You Got Nails: Beautiful space and quality service, but the gentleman providing (aka insisting upon) the while-you-dry massage is off-putting. Points for the location on Bedford – I’m all for keeping those store fronts filled.

• Nail Spa Paradise: Went there on a holiday when most places were closed, so high marks for revolving around me, but the technician spent most of the time chatting with her buddies. The work was ok, but the price tag was high.

• Zen Nails: There’s often a wait for walk-ins, but the space is bright and modern and the people are welcoming. The quality is high and on-site entertainment includes the owner’s adorable toy poodle (but comparing him to a Muppet didn’t go over well).

• NailTique: Located in the mall, NailTique does a solid job, but the acid green paint under neon lights makes the whole place feel dated.

• Coco Nail Spa: I’ve only been to the one in Riverside, but it’s a personal favorite because of the friendly staff, appealing environment and competent work.

For my money, Zen Nails on High Ridge and Coco Nail Spa in Riverside are the frontrunners.

(photo from photobunny, flickr.com)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New Local Magazine

ConnecticutPlus.com reports that Canaiden LLC is expecting a bouncing baby local publication by the name of Stamford Magazine. The article describes the new addition as the "littler sister publication of Stamford Plus magazine." Check it out in the very near future at www.thestamfordmagazine.com.

Duo Deals

I like Duo, and they should love me. Everyone I bring there becomes a regular. Keep up my streak and take advantage of their half off drink specials and live music tonight from 6-8pm.

Juliskia is a Jewel


A lovely friend invited me to a lovely luncheon today at Stamford’s Juliskia, and it’s entirely blog-worthy. Primarily a purveyor of china, glass and linens with the unassuming slogan, “possibly the most beautiful tableware in the world,” Juliska also hosts a ridiculously charming café, displaying pastries and Pellegrino.

Crisp pale dinnerware against a deep turquoise backdrop was eye popping. A wall of brightly colored candies inspired both sentimentality and drool – it was only with a profound display of willpower that I left without an oversized lollipop. Who would have guessed that this space hosted an impressive tile fountain with fish darting through porcelain? I’m here to tell you that, in fact, it does, and this alluring little enclave is worth your attention.

Juliska Flagship Store & J Cafe
465 Canal Street
Stamford, CT
203.316.9118

(photo from niznoz, flickr.com)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bend It Like Babe Ruth

Do you like kicking things? How about balls? If so, check out Big League Kickball in Stamford. Summer registration is underway now. The Saturday Division plays 12-3pm at Westover Elementary School; the Wednesday Division plays from 6-8pm at Stamford High School.

Monday, June 15, 2009

All My Single Locals


So I volunteer with a community organization, and we were brainstorming about who most deserves our charitable efforts. Some said the poor, some said the elderly, and one woman said - with a sigh - singles.

Although I've been happily off the market since John Kerry got trounced, I'm working my way towards a merit badge in love connections. To date, I can take credit for a marriage, two kids and what looks like another success story. That being said, I'm happy to use my new soap box to spread the word about a Stamford Speed Dating Event at g/r/a/n/d, 15 Bank Street downtown at 8pm this Thursday.

If you go, fall desperately in love and tie the knot, let me know so I can brag to strangers.

(photo from ~BostonBill~, flickr.com)

Musings from the week

- Whether dogs molt.
- Gummy worms, yea or nay?
- Whether underwire bras can cause breast cancer (Really?! Reason to freak out #5932).
- Speculation on the integrity of the Iranian election and the government's response to civil unrest.
- The relative merits of small town parades that, in this instance, feature a float of port-a-potties (pun intended).
- Older lady hairstyles. Ponytails after 50? Ill advised.
- Kathy Lee Gifford (Reason to freak out #5933).
- The much anticipated expiration date on the phrase "staycation."

Sunday, June 14, 2009

USA, USA, USA!

It's Flag Day today, patriots! Time to show your stars and stripes and whatever other patterns you got. That Betsy Ross, she's three colors of alright.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Mary Ann's


With two times at bat, I think I can say something useful about one of the newest additions to the Stamford restaurant scene - Mary Ann's. Those looking for standard fare goodness will not be disappointed, but you'll also find creative selections, such as quesadillas with mango BBQ pork or goat cheese with veggies. There are lots of vegetarian and healthy options as well. I made a serious dent in the Tampico Burrito featuring flavorful tomatillo and shredded chicken.

For drinks, our table was divided between beer and margaritas. I heard not one complaint about the pitchers. For margaritas, they did not skimp on the tequila, and I walked away a little wobbly. Still, the mix came up a bit short - not bad, just not fabulous. As far as the surroundings, I dig the indoor cacti, but I would love to see some brighter colors, more interior light. The quality of the food will keep me (and lots of others) coming back, but a few minor tweaks to the drinks and the decor will make Mary Ann's a true stunner on Summer.

(photo from Hipopótominha, flickr.com)

Ah, there's the rub

I have a friend who swears that the first time she got a massage, although she thought it was a little odd, she figured it was just "the way it was done" when they extended the manual attention to her special lady parts. For those of you who are a bit more spa-savvy, you won't need me to explain that nether region touching is generally off the menu. You probably also won't need me to tell you that my friend received her fancy handshake in NYC, but could the same have happened in our lil' ol' backyard?

The Advocate reports that five Stamford spas have appealed the health department's order closing them down last August for failure to operate with a license. No unlawful behavior has been observed, but the article quotes Health Director Johnnie Lee as saying "If there are lots of young Asian woman working in the establishment and they say they are not doing massage, it has not been made clear what they are doing." The article goes on to quote attorney Mark Katz as saying "The health department has drawn conclusions from furniture and other accoutrements in a quote-unquote 'massage establishment.'" Apart from the fact that you have to love an article that writes quote-unquote right before it puts a phrase in a quote and an unquote, I'm dying to get a look at the aforementioned furniture and accoutrements. Can you pick those up at Crate and Barrel? Pottery Barn?

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stupid Rain

Once upon a time there was this bright and warm stuff. I used to see it everywhere. It lit up the sky and it felt good on your face. I think it was called sunshine, but I forget. We're at day #11 into June, and so far, we've seen rain on 7 days!

It's given my house painter a lot of excuses and my psyche a swift kick to the teeth. If anybody has some sway with the weather powers that be, get on it.

(photo from incendiarymind, flickr.com)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mill River Playground Celebrates Three Years


If you thought Alive @ Five was a party, you have never thrown down with a balloon artist. Although Mill River Park is still a twinkle in our collective eye, Mill River Playground is headed for the big kids' table. Come pinch its cheek and admire how it has grown with your children at the birthday celebration on June 13th from 10:00am - 12:00pm at the corner of West Main and Tresser.

The birthday event is just the first in a summer of fun Saturday mornings for the kiddies. Click on the birthday party promotional flyer for details about their summer schedule.

(photo from D Sharon Pruitt, flickr.com)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lock, Stock and Two Government Center Doors

Shout out to JT for participating in the Connecticut Trail Days tour - note the general ridiculocity of the Government Center's neglecting to let people join the pedestrian-friendly smart growth tour by - for instance - walking through the front door. Unconfirmed reports suggest that the tour participants burst through the doors in matching Mini Coopers and Italian Job'd their way onto Mill River Park.

Drinks anyone?

For those of you looking to expand your social circle with a summer cocktail in hand, check out the Fairfield County Happy Hour Club. Hosting networking events since summmer '07, they've built a nifty not-so-little networking group worth a look.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

We're not so bad after all


For our little corner of the world, coming in 9th is not too shabby. That's our finishing place in the "safest city" rankings. Not having gotten my ass kicked too dramatically or my money stolen without my consent (damn you, QVC!), that sounds about right.

(photo from Marxchivist, flickr.com)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tutus in Twos


Arabesque, Demi-plié, Glissade - if these terms mean anything to you, you may be interested in two ballet performances this weekend at the Stamford Center for the Arts: (1) Saturday at 3:00pm: Dancing Eliza & L'Arlesienne; and (2) Sunday at 6:16pm: Allegra Dance Studio's annual recital. Catch 'em while you can, before they're preempted by Povich.

(photo from BocaBlaise, flickr.com)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Bride Pride


So imagine you've just said "I do," and you're riding back from your reception when you see smoke billowing out of your neighbor's house. Do you (a) call 911? (b) assume someone else will help out (you're busy watching the world revolve around you)? or (c) jump out of the car in the most expensive dress you'll ever wear and save the day? If you said (c), you are in good company with Georgette Clemons of Bridgeport, CT. None of the reports confirm it, but I suspect that her veil featured a giant red "S." On Sunday, leaving her own wedding reception, she saw smoke, asked the driver to pull over and yelled for the residents to leave the burning home. When someone inside did not oblige, she charged in to the rescue! All occupants - plus dogs and ferrets - escaped unscathed. Her dress was charred and her shoes were ruined, but she took it all in stride.

Of course, I can relate completely. On my wedding day, I had to use a substitute strand of pearls. Talk about heroism...

(photo from peagreengirl, flickr.com)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Stamford, June 2009

So here we are,
In Summer 09.
The economy sucks,
But the weather is fine.

Retailers are sick
Of save and of scrimp.
And Stamford made headlines
Over a freakin chimp.

We’re looking ahead
To Alive @ Five singers
And scratching our heads
Over Povich and Springer.

Nothing new with The Hole,
Still rat traps and stumps.
Sure hope people buy
At Highgrove and Trump.

A bit of new life,
The French Market should bring.
Let’s all cross our fingers:
Stamford’s on the upswing.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears and...Manatee

This year's summer sculpture series, Roam Around, makes its debut today. It's bulls, bunnies, buffalo and all their forest and/or jungle friends. Whether or not I truly like the artwork, I love seeing the new additions put in place - it's a harbinger of the season.

I've only seen a few members of the heard in their seasonal native habitat, but I definitely like a few of them. All the rust-colored abstract critters are a-ok with me. There's something fitting about the giraffe craning his long neck down Bedford Street from the Broad Street corner - like he's straining to see if they've filled up the empty storefronts yet. The promotional materials suggest a spindly wire horse, a buffalo paying tribute to the St. Louis Arch and a robot unicorn (which is now what I want for Christmas).

Stamford Plus
whispered in my ear that there would be a June 10th open reception at the Stamford Marriott for the metal menagerie. For more information about tickets or the outdoor exhibit itself, call 203-348-5285 or check out www.stamford-downtown.com.