Oscar’s Red Carpet Experience returns to Spotlight Movie Theaters this Sunday

Is anyone else binge watching all the Oscar nominated films they can find on demand?  Or is that just me on this rainy Friday?  The Oscars returns this Sunday and with it, the annual Red Carpet Experience fundraiser at Spotlight Movie Theaters!  Purchase your tickets here – but hurry, after today, you’ll have to buy them at the door the night of the event.

I’ve gone several years now (pictured below – 2015’s Oscars party) and this year’s outfit has been selected and I hope to see you there!  Come join hosts (and my good friends) Carolyn Paine and Alex Zarlengo, who will be busy keeping things in motion AND judging the looks on board.  Yes, there will be an award for best dressed.  Yes, dressing as your favorite character is totally acceptable.

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Hipster holiday happenings

You don’t have to go the traditional route for the holiday season (malls, mayhem, stuffy performances).  Opt instead for different, local, original fun which is neither overwhelming or boring.  I will be attending, as usual, my good friend Carolyn’s Nutcracker next weekend (December 15-17th) and she has teamed up this year with local Hartford eatery Place 2 Be to create Florette inspired “crazy” milkshakes that will get you in the holiday spirit via an intense sugar high, guaranteed.

florette

Obsessed by how cute this is.

In addition, there will be a Breakfast with Santa this Saturday, December 9th, benefiting A Christmas Wish CT (so bring a toy for a deserving kiddo) AND Camp Courant.  I’ll be there supporting two great causes and I hope to see you there too.

This weekend, I knocked down a decent, very decent, chunk of my Chanukah shopping (including a purchase for me “from” Scott – because he was never going to buy me ballet inspired barre leggings on his own TBH) at the Phoenicia Flea at the Williamsburg Hotel. Our family is from the Hudson River Valley, and it was awesome to be able to peruse many local vendors in the heart of the city.  We acquired cider, cider donuts, and some secret items to be revealed next week!  WAY less stressful and more sustainable then the mall, plus cocktails in the lobby after?  Done and done.  The flea is not a one time affair, so follow them on Instagram to check out their next event.  Pictures below!

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(the greatest wallpaper of all time, without a doubt folks)

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France to Spain via Vintage Car (almost as romantic as it sounds)

A tour in pictures is below of nine days and two countries with my one love.  He whisked me to Nice, Avignon, Saint Tropez, and Barcelona in quick succession.  Highlights – everything.  Lowlights – do not rent a car in Europe and expect to navigate with as bad of a sense of direction as I have without causing your partner to be frustrated (reasonably, totally reasonably, although I have a working theory they make the roads difficult on purpose to keep tourists out).  Anyhow, a vacation isn’t really a vacation without an epic shouting match in an Air Bnb right?  Right.

Road bumps – somewhat literal -aside being able to travel freely and hop from town to town led to country side views far off the beaten path of what we would have seen staying in one place.  The out of the way and unexpected is always the best part of any adventure, in other words.  We thoroughly enjoyed every 3 euro bottle of Rose (no bad Rose in France), a spectacular food market, multiple beach scenes… and I cannot thank Jacob at the Wise Old Dog enough for steering us to the Telegraph in Avignon to sample a magnificent Chateneuf du Pape – or two.  Barcelona is where I spent my study abroad following high school, so visiting again with older, wiser eyes to a city I loved so much as a teenager was a nostalgic, exhilarating experience.   Also – Casa Bonay – hip as hell little hotel with a perfect tiny bookstore in its lobby and a well appointed coffee shop to boot.

Not to mention – we happened to be passing back from a late night (necessary) paella session on the night before Catalan Independence Day, and happened to see the very heart felt and grass roots rally right before they voted for an independence referendum.  I’ve very rarely felt like such a witness to history as in that moment, in that square.  Barcelona is a city that comes alive and thrives at night, and it’s one of my favorite places on the planet.  I’m blessed to get to travel with someone I love, who also loves the same things I do, and I hope you, imagined reader, enjoy the visual tour of our adventures below.

 

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Guest post recap of NOLCHA by Style Diversion!

Hello friends!

We recently ventured to the French Riviera/Barcelona, and I will be sharing our glorious adventures in a three part series here shortly.

Here’s a small preview.  For now, suffice to say the week was filled with champagne, french fries, and gorgeous beaches and definitely did NOT suck.

Well… traveling in the first week of September tho?  And missing NOLCHA and NYFW?  Well, that kind of sucks.  Luckily, my gorgeous friend and fellow blogger Style Diversion attended and wrote a guest blog for me.  Here it is below:

This year I was lucky enough to attend Nolcha Shows during New York Fashion Week. Insert face of disbelief here: I never would have dreamt of being someone who attended NYFW, but thanks to my lovely friend Kat (of Champs et Frites), I happily skipped along to attend!

 

Nolcha Shows is a series of shows for independent designers to showcase their new season collections to press, retailers and industry influencers. Nolcha has gotten a reputation for discovering and promoting cutting edge designers through its runway shows, and celebrated 10 years this fashion week!

I attended two Nolcha shows located at Industria (a cool warehouse space in the West Village):
All Comes From Nothing & W.Reflex.

 

 

 

 

 

 

All Comes From Nothing is a women’s collection, all about timeless pieces with an artistic edge that is designed to fit into your everyday wardrobe. I LOVED this collection – it was all about trench coats, cropped trousers, muted colors & sleek silhouettes. Each piece was just that little bit unique – you could see yourself wearing each of the pieces in your daily world but it wouldn’t be the same thing seen everywhere. I need to get my hands on some of these pieces ASAP for the upcoming Fall/Winter season!

All Comes from Nothing
All Comes from Nothing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, I saw W.Reflex, a designer with a collection for both men & women. It was the brands worldwide debut, which is really cool to be there for! This collection was inspired by NYC loft culture, with modern silhouettes using raw materials such as leather, linen & cotton. The designer, Kris Wu, was also inspired by childhood, with ice-cream inspired colors & ribbons featuring heavily in his designs. What I loved most about this collection was the women’s collection was very gender-neutral – showing that traditionally menswear pieces can look great on women too! It gave me some great ideas on how to style some menswear pieces to my advantage!

It was an amazing day that left me with some serious inspiration for the upcoming Fall/Winter seasons, and it was great to discover some new designers & show support for indie fashion brands! Thank you Nolcha Shows for having an incredible lineup, and Kat for letting me fill in for you!

 

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Your weekend, sorted, in two easy steps at Bartaco

Weekending can be hard.  Sure, it seems fun at first – go out, drink with friends, have fun, blah blah blah… but the options can be overwhelming.  Expensive.  And not always, let’s face it, that great.  So let me offer a VERY simple, yet sophisticated, solution – to this conundrum.  Head to your nearest Bartaco.  There are plenty of locations to choose from, and you can click HERE to find one that suits your travel radius.  Once you’ve arrived, settle in on the patio.  Chances are, if you found one, you’re on the east coast, and we have been promised the sort of gorgeous sun drenched weather this weekend that practically makes it a crime NOT to sit outside to dine.  And drink.  And what do order?  Why, glad you asked.

The Bartaco taco-to-mouth delivery system is almost fiendishly simple.  Just take your handy write in menu, and your small golf pencil, and scribble in your choices.  You can start small, go big at all at once, grab a quick bite, or linger if you wish (we won’t go into details of how long our last experience lasted… just relax and settle in, no one is going to rush you if you’re not ready… um, we promise.  based on personal experience).  Once you’re comfy, we recommend the Smoked Marasca:

(sunglasses optional but if you’re settling in for some serious day drinking – a plus)

Have you successfully completed step one?  Is it smoky, yet fruity, mysterious, and delicious?  Congratulations!  Let’s proceed to step two:

Do you see the arrow in the right hand corner, pictured above, plus “bar taco secret” below?  That is crucial in the two step dining/drinking/sun worshipping Bartaco experience.  For this, my friends, is the Bartaco SECRET taco.  Not listed on their menu, not available without knowing to ask.  And right now, it happens to be a most magical combination of buttery fresh lobster, balanced with pozole (fresh Mexican corn kernels) and just a hint of fresh chopped parsley, which will leave you with the mouth feel of a lobster roll, but the pleasurable textures and flavors of a taco.  Just a couple bites and there you have it. Late summer is served.  So don’t miss out on our crucially short patio season, or this crucially limited taco.  Just go.  Use my two step method.  Repeat as necessary and let me know what you think.  And follow Bartaco on Instagram for sneak peaks of secret tacos yet to come.

 

Bartaco invited me in to review and try their secret taco, but all opinions are my own.

Thursday nights are better at La Foresta!

Wandering towards the shoreline of CT is a summer pastime not to be missed.  And one of my new favorite loops involves a glass of wine at the simply gorgeous Charmard Vineyard (more to follow on that shortly!) followed by a romantic dinner at La Foresta.

What do you need to know about La Foresta?  It’s off the beaten path but worth it.  Nestled in the countryside, a converted barn full of original art, rare wine, and superb Italian cuisine awaits you.  If you’d like to taste and preview a guided tour of their wine list, I recommend the three course dinner I recently enjoyed – which is available every Thursday after 2:30 pm.  View the menu here.  I actually dined solo, which is one of my favorite ways to really enjoy the flavors and pairings of food.  But by all means, bring a date, or a couple friends.  It’s a good vibe no matter what you choose.

With wine balanced perfectly to compliment the food (my favorite was the prosecco!) and perfectly executed versions of some of my favorite dishes… well… I really enjoyed myself.  Let’s leave it at that.  And I’ll be back soon, and you should too.  Say hi to owner Francesco if you see him, and congratulate him on three years in business, as well as a second year in a row winning the prestigious Wine Spectator award!

Burgers for a good cause at Plan B Springfield

Beer!  Burgers!!  Patio Season!! And it’s all for charity.  I was way blessed to receive an invite (and a dinner!) from my friends at Plan B Springfield this week and am honored to be their official brand ambassador for the Beer and Burger Community Combo-tition.  Basically – the b Restaurants going head to head, with burger + beer pairings designed by a local foodie celebrity (mine came courtesy of Nick O’Malley of I Ate It So You Don’t Have To… but yes, I ate it anyway, and yes, I’m not sorry)

I even took a VERY awkward selfie to commemorate the glorious occasion (The OMG Burger: Pimento Cheese Stuffed Beef Patty | Spicy Candied Bacon | pickled onion and pimento cheese honey aioli on a fresh pretzel roll)

How was the burger?  Well, I don’t eat pork so I ordered it without the bacon… but pimento cheese, pretzel roll, and the perfectly seasoned beef?  All in good company.  And well balanced by a New Belgium Fat Tire draft.

Plus, let’s not forget the sweet patio vibes, and my really darling dinner date, who said the french fries were, quote “the best ever.”  Future food critic in the making folks.

So please.  Stop by through Sunday at your local plan B and try the burger and beer special, and vote online for a charity here.  10% of all proceeds are going to the beer/burger/charity pairing with the most votes.