Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Mill River

Got an email today from the Mill River Collaborative without tons of info in stone, but it had two useful tidbits worth passing along. It said that Phase 1 begins in 2011 with anticipated completion in 2012 which will allow "the area between Main and Broad Streets to open to the public soon after." Interesting. Wait, why would it not be open to the public when it's completed? Huh. Anyway, although there were no months associated with those years, but it was more than I knew before. The email then, of course, asked for money. Well, it can't all be sunshine and puppies.

Monday, December 27, 2010

@#$%^&* Snow!

Well, hello there citizens! Hope you are keeping warm and digging out. Apologies for the radio silence during the bLiZzArD - we were hiding from it down the road in DC. We managed to get back in one piece just this evening, but it was a little harrowing. Why can no one figure out how to clean the highway going through NYC?

They're saying we got 16 inches. How are you all finding the roads in your neighborhood? The CT highways were a-ok as far as I could see, but even the major city roadways were a little dicey.

City info is available on the city site. MTA is running Saturday services on Tuesday the 28th, so be sure to check the schedule if you need to get up and down the New Haven line.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Giving Back

I was feeling all warm and fuzzy listening to a radio show about the Carnegie Hero Fund. It's an honor and a cash award given to ordinary people who, of their own free will, put their lives in mortal danger to try to save someone else - someone they may not even know! It's an inspiration and reminded me that 'tis the season for thinking of others. If you're looking for local opportunities to be a hero to someone in need, consider these options.

- Stop by any location of the Stamford Fire & Rescue Department any day from 8am to 10pm and drop off a toy. They are collecting 1,000 of them to wrap and donate to the families who use the Community Action Agency, the Franklin Street Shelter and the Pediatrics Ward of the Stamford Hospital.

- Donate your time or money to the Food Bank of Lower Fairfield County. The website provides information on volunteering, collecting food and giving them a little chunk of change.

- Fill your spare time with education by helping your fellow citizens learn reading, writing and language skills through the Literacy Volunteers of Stamford/Greenwich.

If you have others you'd like to suggest, comment it up!

(photo from love♡janine, flickr.com)

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dump the Halls

Today, my neighbor asked me about getting rid of old furniture. It's a good question because if you're not from this area (with family to tell you how it all works) it's hard to know exactly what to do. Your grandparents are coming for the holidays, your house is a trashy dump and the regular pickup won't take it! What's a citizen to do? I did a little due diligence, so I figured I'd share the same info with my blog buddies.

If it's in good enough shape for someone else, you can take it to Goodwill. If it's beyond all hope, look to the local dump or recycling center. Stamford Talk did a great blog post on exactly that, and you can learn more on the city website.

If your dump-related needs are bigger than your car's capacity, you can have someone else do the heavy lifting for you. It will cost you a little more, but you can have a company like Independent Refuse come along to lend a hand. If it's acres o'stuff you need to eliminate, you might contact Junkluggers or 1-800-Got-Junk.

Happy Dumping!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Holiday Hair

Simona La Gatta at Pirri Hair Group in Greenwich (181 Greenwich Avenue) contacted me to ask if I’d be interested in sharing a few of her tips for what to do – and not to do – with your hair for the holidays. I’m always eager to learn about local businesses and they have a pretty groovy website, so it seemed like a fun idea to me. She suggests that you:


- Let your head go frosty because you live in fear of the dreaded hat hair. Avoiding hair static is easy - just leave in a little conditioner instead of rinsing it all out in the shower.

- Over wash your colortreated hair. Skip at least a day between washings; two is even better. Over washing strips out color and is hard even on hair that is not processed.

- Get swept up in seasonal trends that you’ll regret later. Red and green highlights are never cute on January 2!


- Consider trying some of the season's hottest hair colors -- warm tones, red tones, and natural-looking highlights that frame the face.

- Complement your skin color with natural looking highlights instead of brassy tones.

- Give your hair the holiday gift of an intensive conditioning treatment or glaze. It will repay you by being healthy and gorgeous.

Want more? There are some other good tips on the websites for Allure, Real Simple, Elle and More.

(photo from Foxtongue, flickr.com)

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Today, Fairway Market opened up its companion Wine and Spirits Store (as aptly reported by my buddies at CTbites). The store, located at 689 Canal Street, is being spearheaded by Jed Simon who was kind enough to answer a few questions about the new local offering. I was pretty impressed with his unequivocal answer to Question 2. Good to know!

1. How will the store set itself apart from competitors like Bev Max and Stew Leonard's equivalent?

We have a focus on small artisanal producers as opposed to being dominated by mainstream brands. There are so many people in the world who make excellent wine these days. Widespread use of technology has allowed for more wine to be made, at cheaper prices, than ever before. We are all about finding the best value products for our customers. There is also a strong customer service element about our store. People come in and get greeted immediately. We have some incredible people here with deep wine backgrounds that will talk to you for as long as needed, regardless of the product and price point you are looking for.

2. How will prices compare to competitors?

No one will ever sell a product cheaper than us.

3. What sort of special products will we find at the Fairway store that we won't find elsewhere?

We want to have the largest selection of Pinot Noir, Riesling, and Whiskey in the area. All three of these products have incredible diversity to them and can justify a large selection. Pinot Noir especially has incredible typicity to it. We have almost 300 Pinot Noirs, from a dozen price countries. I feel especially good about our Pinot Noir at the $10 price point. Other varietals can make nice products at this price point, but Pinot can get really bad. Ours are delicious!!

[For the record, I had to turn to Wikipedia to figure out what "typicity" is...but I'm sure that's meaningful for palettes more refined than mine.]

4. Are there any promotional events consumers would want to know about?

Staring the day of the grand opening (December 15th) we will have at least one in store tasting every day throughout the month.

5. Jed, what is your background in wine and spirits? Do you offer any specialized knowledge?

I have taken the majority of my course work through the American Sommelier Association. I really like the individual who runs it(Andrew Bell). He has a great way of giving young wine enthusiast the confidence they need to pursue a career. That and the course load was enormous. I was studying wine for his classes 20-30 hours a week for almost 2 years. I also worked for the Four Seasons Hotel Company for several years and it really instilled excellent customer service skills. Both myself and Andrew(the other manager) have strong restaurant backgrounds. I love to help people out with food pairings. I use that a gauge when I go into other stores to see how much they care about the customer. When I visited all of the big stores in the area I would tell them I need a wine for dinner, I had one place recommend a wine without even asking what I was eating. Enough said. People who want genuine advice can come here and have a real conversation with someone.

6. What will the store look like inside - any interesting design features you think shoppers will be excited about?

One of the many things that set us apart from other brands are our incredible painters and graphics department. When we get this place up and going full steam, I'm hoping to see people starring at signs reading about Pinot Noir, Riesling, and the Scotch, then making an informed decision for what they are drinking that day.

Thanks to Jed Simon for taking the time to fill us in on the details!

(photo from green umbrella, flickr.com)

Dental Spa?

Quickly driving by the space that used to be Pizza Bistro 122 (or perhaps right next door) I got a quick glimpse of what looked like a sign saying "Stamford Dental Spa." Did anyone else see that? What's a dental spa? Do they massage your gums? Very interesting...

Monday, December 13, 2010

Meat and Greet

A few weeks ago, I went to Fairway Market with a very expensive cut of meat on my grocery list. The butcher told me that if he cut just the right way on the cheaper option, I'd never know the difference. He was absolutely right, and it was a delicious dinner at about half the price.

You can learn those tricks of the trade and more on Wednesday, December 15th at 11am. Join Ray Venezia, Fairway's Master Butcher, at the Fairway Café in their Stamford location (699 Canal Street) to learn some tips and tricks for a fantabulous holiday meal. Ray has been featured in the New York Times and is a regular on The Rachel Ray Show. He will be demonstrating:

- Carving a Leg of Lamb
- Carving Boneless Ham
- Recipe and Discussion on Crown Roast
- Recipe and Discussion on Rib Roast

(photo from TheBusyBrain, flickr.com)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Give Local Culture for Christmas

For the downright affordable price of $45, you can give the gift of a memorable evening and support one of our best local resources: The Stamford Symphony.

That price includes processing fees and is available between now and December 15th. You can take advantage of the offer by visiting their Holiday Sale website and clicking on the performance of your choice:

- January 29 and 30, 2011, Romantic Souls
- March 12 and 13, 2011, The Four Seasons
- April 9 and 10, 2011, Titanic Expressions
- May 7, 2011, The 5 Browns

I can attest, it's a fabulous date night. Tell 'em I sent you!

(photo from Horia Varlan, flickr.com)

Friday, December 10, 2010


Deck your halls and do some good at the same time. The Exchange Club, a group devoted to promoting the interests of local youth, has its biggest fundraiser in the holiday season. They've joined forces with Westhill High School Marching Band, and the two groups are selling Christmas trees at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center a the Observatory Parking Lot (off Scofieldtown Road).

They offer all the greenery you need to spruce up your home: balsam trees, fir trees, wreaths, roping and stands. Stop by between now and December 22nd on:

- Sundays from 10am-7pm
- Mondays to Wednesdays from 3-7pm
- Thursdays from 3-9pm
- Fridays from noon-9pm
- Saturdays from 9-9pm

They are happy to trim, wrap and secure your tree for free!

(photo from SMN, flickr.com)

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Hola Lola!

An astute reader just left the following comment:

Lolas opened this evening and I went in for dinner and the place is amazing. Best Mexican in Fairfield County.

It looked pretty swish when I peeked into the window at 135 Bedford Street, and I'm excited to see what they offer. Their website is not yet super helpful, but I reserve the rights to be stoked about this first piece of feedback and hopeful for some new local fabulousness.

Anybody else go yet? If so, let us know!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Curiously Free

It was one year ago that the Fernando Luis Alvarez Gallery opened its doors on Bedford Street. They are celebrating their milestone and they want you to come. Join them on Friday, December 17th for a giant party throwdown from 5-9pm.

The party does double duty as an anniversary gala and the opening night of a show they are calling The Curiously Free. It features the work of new and old in-house artists who have taken control of the space to put their art in just the right light.

Local restaurants are providing food and drink and there will be an award given to two members of the community who have been Agents of Change in the Arts.

Come raise a glass to the gallery and take a peek at their newest creative endeavor.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Season of Red and Green (With an Extra Dose of Green)

If you're already burnt out on Christmas commercialism, you can get a healthy dose of environmentalism. On Wednesday, December 8th from 5:30-8:30pm, you can join up for Green Drinks Greenwich. It's a meet and greet networking event to discuss environmental issues.

You can meet folks in our area interested in green initiatives, including Denise Savageau, the Director of Conservation for the Town of Greenwich. You can also meet Jane Condon, a comedian who was featured on Last Comic Standing. I don't know what her position on the environment is, but what's better than middle aged white ladies rapping?

There will be wine and refreshments and the fabulous food of Le Pain Quotiedien (and if you haven't been, it's a great excuse to give this new addition a try). There is also a raffle keeping with the environmental theme. You could win a recycled sailcloth bag from a Greenwich Avenue boutique. Besides, you might just learn a thing or two!

The suggested donation is $10. For more information, contact Jessica Brockington at birdy06830@gmail.com or by calling 347-647-0782.

(photo from slideshow bob, flickr.com)

Monday, December 6, 2010

Discuss with Stamford Plus

Wanna know more about me? Stamford Plus was kind enough to write a little sumpin sumpin about moi. There is a Q&A and a few pictures. They did a nice job and were a pleasure to work with. You can't see it online (or at least I haven't figured out how!) so pick up the paper copy and check it out.

I showed the magazine to some of my friends today, and I love my friends - mostly for their honesty. Here's a sampling of the response:

- Whoa!
- What is wrong with you?
- Stamford Plus - is that like for fat people or something?
- Cute!
- Why are there four seasons of you?
- What's up with the polar bear? (yup - there's sort of a polar bear)
- You look sexy - you're going to get a stalker now (yikes)
- You look ridiculous
- Is your husband really tall or are you really short? (it's both)
- Your husband is adorable! (hands off, lady!)

Anyhoo...the whole thing made me smile. Thanks Stamford Plus (which, for the record, is for people of all sizes). Pick up a copy and feel free to leave your own two cents about it.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Hooray for Ballet

If you'd like to add some Demi Detourné to your December, you can see the Connecticut Ballet perform The Nutcracker at the Palace Theater. The show is on Saturday, December 11th at 2pm and again at 7pm as well as Sunday, December 12th at 1pm and again at 4pm.

The show hosts a dance cast of 70 professionals, adorable kids and two stars from the American Ballet Theatre: Julie Kent and Jose Manuel Carreno. Tickets prices are $25, $35 or $50 with an additional $7 fee, and you can purchase them here.

If you'd prefer to see your ballerinas a little batty, very soon you'll be able to see the newly released movie, Black Swan. It's opened to rave reviews and tells the story of the technically proficient New York City ballet dancer Nina (Natalie Portman) whose director is casting for the top spot in Swan Lake. The role requires both the sweetness and light of the White Swan and the dark sexy melodrama of the Black Swan. Although Nina has the White Swan role all sewn up, she faces a real threat from the duplicitous new dancer Lily (Mila Kunis) who is the perfect picture of the Black Swan. The two dancers become "frenemies" and Nina starts to go a little bonkers.

The director of the movie (Darren Aronofsky) left me mesmerized and reeling after his Requiem for a Dream, so I'm sure Black Swan will do the same. It just opened in major markets like NYC and will open in our area soon: enter your zip code into the Fox Searchlight site to find out more. You can see the trailer here.

(photo from jorgemejia, flickr.com)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


First of all, let me say that Quattro Pazzi is amazing. The food and the service are fantastic, and I have nothing bad to say about this new top drawer addition to our area.

However, be sure you don't sit next to the table I sat next to this evening. Here's a little sampling of our not-so-neighborly encounter:

Giant table of men: "Gafaw gafaw gafaw, that Leslie is alright. She sure makes a man feel good, if you know what I'm saying. Cackle cackle cackle"

Me and my friend: Polite pretend-we-can't-hear-you conversation.

Giant table of men: "Remember that time when I slept with my wife's sister. Oh man! Gafaw gafaw gafaw"

Me and my friend: Polite conversation interrupted by dramatic eye rolling

Giant table of men: "LOUD LOUD *sexual reference* LOUD LOUD LOUD"

Me: "I'm sorry, I can still hear myself think. Could you guys be a little louder?"

Giant table of men: "I think these girls need to be relocated. *sexual reference, sexual reference, fart joke, sexual reference*"

Me: "It's not my fault that your mother never taught you any manners" (ok, perhaps not all that mature, but still...)

Giant table of men: "Did you have to bring my mother into this?" *soft weeping*

Ok, maybe not soft weeping - but really? You can't let other people around you have a decent conversation? Is it too much to ask? These guys were well into their 40s. It's time to grow the %^&*! up, boys! How's about the locker room chat stay in the locker room. And if we're bringing it to the dinner table, let's have the decency to use our inside voices.

At the end of the evening, everyone made nice and said "Happy Holidays," but I sure would have appreciated a little apparently-not-as-common-as-it-should-be common courtesy.