A weekend with Penelope and some pampering for Mommy at Skincare by Marcia!

Reminder: tonight is Yelp Helps at the Society Room!  So get out after work, enjoy some cocktail samples and nibbles, and get to know some of Hartford’s finest local charities, non-profits, and arts organizations.

Sometimes the weeks – and especially the weekends – get very busy with events.  It’s an occupational hazard of working int he media – and to be honest I love it – but it’s really nice to slow down at times and spend quality time with Penelope.

kat and p

We make for quite the dynamic duo

On Saturday, we headed into Hartford to walk the pink carpet, make arts and crafts for Daddy, and enjoy Open House Day.

happy fathers day

Hartford Prints hosted a great arts and craft’s event for kids.  This is Penelope’s cousin’s, Eva’s craft.  P’s was decidedly more abstract.

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My OOTD.  I was proud of the mommy look so I am sharing, even tho it’s a terrible selfie face.

Conveniently, The Society Room is located directly across the street from Hartford Prints.  And they had a nice pink carpet rolled out for the ‘fabulous little ladies’ attending this VAZ event (the sweet spot for this event was 6-12 years, but everyone from 14 month old P to older teenage girls seemed to have a really great time!)

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Fancy fancy

 VAZ is a local group dedicated to providing women with fun and meaningful ‘girls night out’ type experiences.  The event we attended was their annual junior VAZ – and it was, indeed fabulous.

aerial view vaz

Great turnout! 

Among the many vendors present, I spotted a couple familiar places who are clients of mine:

  Little Miss Bella Boutique in Farmington!  A great spot to pamper your little princess with a manicure or a tea party!

playhouse on park kids

Playhouse on Park! With a booth all decked out for the occasion in dress up finery

There were tons and tons of fine, girly merchandise for sales – from shoes to tutus.  Thankfully, Penelope has excellent taste and she chose the $5 teddy bear – proceeds from which benefited Grace Academy Hartford.

Penelope might have been a bit young to really get into the shopping (oh thank you God) but she was completely into the red carpet.  Little girls ages 6 and up were invited to strut down a runway MC’d by Cinderella

pink carpet

Work it, ladies

So naturally, Penelope had to test out the runway herself

yes i dance now

There was dancing and much excitement

cousins

With her lovely cousin Ava.  Still eyeing the stage however.  Can’t keep a diva off the stage.

After we left VAZ, slightly dazed, in a sugar coma, and covered in glitter, my Aunt Virginia suggested we walk down to the Wadsworth, which was offering free admission for Open House Day!

open house day

So cool

wadsworth

And there was a live DJ and chalk for the kiddos outside!

Inside, there were a myriad of arts and crafts activities, as well as the opportunity to dress up and be photographed in traditional African clothing garments as an interactive function of one of the Wadsworth’s new exhibits: Fresh Faces (a collection of varied portrayals of African Americans in American art).

wadsworth arts and crafts

It’s amazing how often you can go to the Wadsworth and end up leaving with something you created yourself!  Here, museum goers create collages with varied textured papers, as well as their own art pieces.

So, Saturday was a fine day out in Hartford.  Sunday was, of course, Father’s Day, and Mike took off for golf with his Dad for most of the day, leaving P and I to our own devices.  We stayed local in Granby, visiting two farms and a vineyard and hiking at Enders.

p with her scapes

Picking scapes at The Garlic Farm

p and mammy

Paddling in the waterfalls at Enders

waterfalls

So very gorgeous.  I recommend you go, and bring a towel

adirondack chair

Sitting in the Big Girl Chair at our favorite, Lost Acres Vineyard

rose glass

Whilst Mommy enjoyed a nice glass of rose

bag of swag

The results of our shopping: local honey, scapes galore, Sweet Pea feta, local pork, and a bottle of rose

In addition the weekend’s festivities, I’d like to include a mention of Marcia, who is an amazing aesthetician who recently moved to Stonington, CT, from California.  She brought with her Lira products – a brand which is quite popular on the West Coast and based out of London.  Like another one of my favorite UK based brands – Lush – Lira uses all natural stem cell plant ingredients to create highly precise skin care products with homeopathic basis such as alpine roses and oranges.  Right up my alley!  I am a bit leery of chemical facials, so I was very into the ingredients list in this line.

lira

Tada!  Lira!

Marcia is warm, friendly, and consultative in her skin care approach.  She invited me down for a free facial after I met her through a mutual friend at one of our Hartford Magazine launch parties.  I’ve waiting a couple weeks to post this as I wanted to see the difference in my skin.  Since the facial, my occasional acne has cleared up considerably (I’ve also been using a gentle Lira facial exfoliator recommended by Marcia) and my skin has better shine and tone, without a doubt.  It was amazing how much dead skin was on my face (ok, it was disgusting)… immediately after the facial, I had visible freckles which weren’t there an hour before!

marcia billburg better photo

Thanks so much Marcia!

Marcia can be found right on Stonington’s cozy main street, inside Elizabeth’s Hair Studio

view of the street

I have mad love for Stonington.  It’s just the quintessential Ct shoreline town, and the Main St is just quaint and perfect

If you do go see her, please mention this post for 10% off of a treatment of your choice!  And also,  like her page on Facebook for more info on what she does and the fabulous Lira product line.  You’re not likely to find it from another aesthetician on the East Coast, and the natural ingredients are worth a daytrip (not that we need an excuse with this gorgeous summery weather).  Plus, summer is a great time to protect your skin from the sun and the elements with a little pampering.  I’ll be back soon, without a doubt 🙂

 

 

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#TGIF with @FireboxCT and a groovy block party @TheWadsworth #HartfordHasIt

Ah, rhubarb everything.  Thanks, Ben, for demo-ing this awesome cocktail for me.  And man, it was delicious.  The trick appears to be creating a nice rhubarb base and then voila – a high quality, very seasonal cocktail guaranteed to impress your friends.

Ingredients:

Rhubarb puree, cooked down with sugar and not strained

1/2 oz Aviation Gin

1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/3 oz orchard apricot

Dash Bittermeins Amere Sauvage

Lemon twist

rhubarb cocktail

So delicious.  Can’t go wrong with Firebox.

In addition, I’d like to include a little write up of a great event I attended last night – First Thursday at the Wadsworth Atheneum.  The Wadsworth hosts First Thursday – on – you guessed it – the First Thursday of every month, with a different theme, movie, crafting activity, and other interactive events.  This groovy, 70s edition was a heck of a lot of fun.  I wasn’t planning on dressing up, but I happened to be at Venom Vintage today shopping looks for the Ct Music Awards on Tuesday (spoiler alert: I found an awesome 90s get up and I can’t wait to rock it).  Long story short, Dina found out where I was headed and proferred a pair of very groovy, very vintage pants.

selfie

Yaaaaaas

I attended the party with Amanda and Jade

with sarah jade and amanda

Pictured here with the one of the Wadsworth’s awesome marketing staff, Sarah (left to right: Jade, me, Sarah, Amanda)

This First Thursday was entirely out doors (continuing my resolution to do outdoor things this summer!  yay!)  And featured a very swaggy VIP patio, sponsored by Yelp Hartford:

Emily yelp booth

Pictured: Mz. Yelp herself, Emily Cahill.  Killing it in a crop top

yelp couch

Pictured: awesome photo opps on the weird yet amazing plastic Yelp couch. 

bubbles

Amanda also looked adorable blowing bubbles at the Yelp lounge.

In addition to Yelp, there was a wonderful clothing rack from the brand new add here.  I spazzed out on the clothes and didn’t take adequate pictures of their wares, but that’s ok, because I’ll be back soon to shop their new location.

meta nick

Not spazzing at all and taking all the adequate photos: Mr. Nick Caito.  Working it for Ctnow.com

Ted’s Montana Grill was also onsite, slinging delicious, free bison and beef slider burgers to the VIPs

master photobomb

And photobombing all the pictures.  Thanks Conor.  Bonus points because he looks like he might be growing out of Amanda’s shoulder due to the angle.

Due to Amanda and my’s Mommy Status, we didn’t get to stay as long as we would have liked.  Which means we only got to peep at the block party, which featured a fantastic, energetic crowd and line dancing

line dancing block party

Yes, line dancing!  So fun

But that was ok as we 1. had a terrific time and 2. left at just the right moment to see the sun setting on the large sculpture outside the Wadsworth.

red thingy

Gorgeous

Hurray for long summer night and parties in art museums.  All good things.

RIP Grandma Iacobucci

 

 

An al fresco runway show on Pratt St proves that #HartfordHasStyle

On wings of green brocade, the model descended onto the red carpet, which rolled out before her as she strutted with confidence between the historic buildings of Pratt St.

gossamer wings

Somewhat blurry action shot.  Note the Pratt St arch in the background!

In reality, there was plenty of hard work involved in bringing this first time, al fresco fashion show to Pratt St.  But the effect was an effortless fusion of provocative beauty and couture, courtesy of Naimah Spann and the team of Niro Design Center for the first “Hartford Has Style” fashion show on May 17th

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Thanks to Kerri Provost of Real Hartford for lending her photos (and she also attended and covered this event – you can read her write up here).  Above: Niros’ mission statement

Niro is a 100% locally owned and operated clothing boutique on Pratt St in Hartford – but it’s much more than just clothes.  Their mission statement is to create something completely fulfilling out of fashion – which at times may seem a bit superficial.  To this end, one of the keynote speakers at “Hartford Has Style” was Niro alumn Jamoy Thompson – the current Miss Black Connecticut Ambassador.  Also there to inspire and entertain the crowd – our very own Logan Byrnes – FOX CT TV Host, and MC extraordinaire.

logan byrnes

Not really hard to get the man on the red carpet.  I’m just saying.  Oh yes, and he killed it, in case you’re curious.

The opening, haute couture designer of the evening was the House of Ettienne.  His clothing was, thanks to the styling as well as construction, sexy and editorial whilst still incorporating ready to wear elements

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Heating it up.  Photo courtesy of Kerri Provost.

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Totally wearable, photo also thanks to Kerri

There was also menswear, thanks to the fabulous, local Hartford Denim Company.

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Because men can strut it too.  Thanks again Kerri!  Your action shots are much, much better than mine.

And to wrap up the evening: a swimsuit show from Carmen Veal Swimwear

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Such beauty.  Umm, thanks again Kerri.

Also noteworthy – much of the footwear in the runway show was from That Flavor Boutique, which partnered with Niro for the event and will be opening soon on Pratt St!  Awesome.  Finally a shoe store to tempt me when I’m downtown.  I perused the offerings during intermission, which range in price from $30 – $300, and spotted many a Betsey Johnson shoe.  Yes please – I’ll be back very soon!

Decidedly not noteworthy, but it’s my blog so I’m including it anyway – I happened to wear a top from Niro which also walked the runway!

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Photo on the left by Kerri: photo on the right courtesy of Alex Syphers for Ctnow.com – check out all his great shots here!

 

You can like the Hartford Has Style Facebook page for more information on the show and info on when the next one.  Congrats again to Naimah and her team for bringing such a unique and visually appealing runway show to the streets (quite literally) of Hartford.

From Happy Hour at Rizuttos to a Cinco de Mayo Art Party at @HartfordPrints – one heck of a weekend

May is a glorious month, is it not?  Especially for those of us who live far enough north to experience a true, biting winter, followed by a slow starting Spring (brrr).  But the warm weather is finally here, and all of the state seems to be in bloom with flowers, as well as cool events and happenings:

chef tony

Chef Tony of Rizutto’s in West Hartford

My good friend Carolyn Paine joined me for a free happy hour on Friday over at Rizutto’s.  Chef Tony Camilleri, pictured above, invited us in and graciously picked up the check (thanks so much!)

kat and carolyn

Cheers!

We both immediately bypassed wine in favor of cocktails, as there were so many good looking ones to choose from.  When we remembered we could have more than one (yay adults!) it made life a lot easier

grilled cheese and dippers and cocktails

Pictured: our first round.  From left to right: a “Cool as a Cucumber,” (Crop organic cucumber vodka, agave lemon soda, finger limes, and soda), Mini Grilled Cheese (manchengo, prosciutto, and acai berry mustard), Cherry Pepper Buffallo Chicken Skewers with gorgonzola dip, and “The Devil’s Honey,” (Old Overholt rye, muddled mint, house-made sriracha honey, and lemonade)

I thoroughly enjoyed the Devil’s Honey – which I ordered with extra sriracha for an extra spicy and sweet kick.  The skewers were also very spicy and tender, and who doesn’t like mini grilled cheese – even when ordered without prosciutto at Carolyn’s request?

carolyn instagramming

A photoshoot for the next cocktail: a Lavender Cosmo (vodka, white cranberry juice, triple sec, fresh lime juice, and house made lavender syrup).  Also, please note and admire Carolyn’s fetching business onesie

sniffing the cocktail in a business onesie

Here’s a better picture of the onesie.  It’s amazing.  Perfect for office meeting or cocktails with friends.

guava deliciousness

My own little beauty: the Guava Goddess (Ulimat vodka, fresh lime, Domain de Canton ginger liqueur, guava nectar).  Love the rosemary garnish!

We also sampled several other perfectly sized appetizers, which are all priced from $3 – $5.  The cocktails were not on the happy hour menu – although we could have chosen a wine or beer which was – and were all priced at a reasonable $10

little pizza

Margherita mini-pizza.  So cute!

crab dip

Cast Iron Crab Dip!  Carolyn declined so I had this all to myself.  I was ok with this

bruschetta

Luscious bruschetta.  According to Carolyn at least – I had enough carbs with the dip and the pizza!

At the end of the evening, curiosity got the better of us, and we ordered and sampled the ominously, and honestly titled, “fireball shot”

fireball shot

Oh my goodness.  Why.

The initial sip was heaven, but the flavor got cloying very quickly – it’s basically whiskey, infused with fireballs.  Yep.  I can see why they serve this with a beer chaser!

After happy hour, Carolyn and I strolled to Charming Charlies for some cocktail enhanced shopping for a birthday party we are attending next weekend – one of the best things about the Blueback Square!  Again, a big thanks to Tony for inviting us in, and I’ll most definitely be headed back ASAP to sample the cocktails we didn’t get to this time around.

Saturday, Penelope and I had a nice play date with some other babies at ReCreate CT, which takes place every year in Elizabeth Park

baby playdate

Attempting to push the stroller.  Kudos for trying, kid.

Naomi, who I met at the Best of Hartford party invited us to listen to Little Ugly during an al fresco, free concert.  It was great to see all the babies enjoying the music, and also – I lucked out and found the NoRa Cupcake Truck right before they sold out!

nora cupcake

Cinco de Mayo preview with a Margarita cupcake.  All the yaaaaaas.

We wanted to head to Firebox afterwards, but alas, when we arrived, all the low tables in the bar were full, and even the trendiest of babies doesn’t fare well with a high top (although if someone were to design an extra tall high chair for such occasions, that would be wicked cool).  So we headed home early, which was just fine as it was still a lovely day in the park, and the next day we had big plans to join Leeanne for a much anticipated brunch at Millwrights!

sweet cocktails

Hallo beauties.  All photos courtesy of LeeAnne Griffin

The brunch at Millwrights is quite unique as, according to Chef Tyler Anderson, he basically made a menu around what he would want for brunch – a mix of three courses (appetizer, main, and dessert) and family style sides for $30 a person.  Yes, it was decadent.  Yes, it was a ridiculous amount of food.  Yes, I have more pictures (naturally)

bruleed grapefruit yas

Beautiful grapefruit bruleé with tarragon syrup.  I’ve had something similar at Firebox before – and I’m a big fan.

asparagus

Thanks to Chef Tyler for treating us to the Asparagus, with house cured ham and sauce gribiche!  P loved the crunchy asparagus although she balked at the sauce (because baby).

bread basket

The lovely bread basket

steak and eggs

My main course: Steak and Eggs, with beef tenderloin, poached egg, greens, and bearnaise sauce

eggs benny

Leeanne’s very pretty main: Eggs Benedict with braised ham, wild ramps, and meyer lemon hollandaise

omg sausage

Oh nothing.  Just house cured bacon, and home made sausage, and succulent potatoes.  Just hanging out.

custard pie omg omg

Last but certainly not least – Buttermilk Pie with black current sorbet

leeanne and p

Penelope chilling with her Auntie Leeanne, reading the thrilling page turner: Where is Baby’s Belly Button

We left thoroughly stuffed (I mean, obviously) and I brought home the bacon, which went quite nicely with roasted asparagus for dinner that night.  In the afternoon, P and I enjoyed the garden because…

vogue

Yes, because Sunday Funday

mushroom

She is my very favorite mushroom

If anyone is wondering – Mike was away on business this weekend, which is why P and I got to enjoy so much quality time and play dates together!  And to top it all off, we attended a very fun, creative, engaging Cinco de Mayo party at Hartford Prints! on Monday night

arts

Pictured: sidewalk chalk and street graffiti.  I really hope it doesn’t rain tomorrow because I want to see the finished designs quite badly when I go downtown!

Rory sure does know how to throw a party in her letterpress studio, and there are plenty of cool new items in for spring if you haven’t been shopping there in a while.  In addition to live music from Oh Cassius! (which I’m sure was wonderful but was past Penelope’s bed time, so I didn’t get to find out first hand, alas) there were free tacos!  yeah!  free tacos.  And free margaritas!  yeah, free margaritas. Sorry about that sentence structure but I get quite excited about these things:

tacos

Thank you Whole Foods West Hartford!

ripe

Thank you Ripe!

Plenty of Hartford friends were out and about as well – who wouldn’t want to check out such a cool party?

p and kerry

Pictured: best friends with rad hairstyles

selfieeees

Pictured: ridiculous selfies with CT Ain’t So Bad.  Just because we can.

Nothing like Cinco de Mayo on a Monday to make it feel like a three day weekend, even if I worked a full day today!  Well, that about wraps it up.  But yeah, Hartford is kind of awesome, and if this is what the rest of the summer is going to be like, I can’t wait.

#TBT with @ConnHistSoc and “Katharine Hepburn: Dressed for Stage and Screen.”

montage

Photo courtesy of the CT Historical Society
Whilst I am normally a great believer in posting events quickly in order to maximize exposure time for those who might be interested in attending – the fates were on my side and my proclivity for procrastination paid off in spades with this particular entry. For one thing – I get a very meta throw back Thursday title – as I the opening reception for the Katharine Hepburn exhibit at the Connecticut Historical Society last Thursday: and it is, of course, a display of the gorgeous vintage fashion of screen siren and CT native, Katharine Hepburn. Also, this particular exhibit is on display until September, and the CT Historical Society is the only Connecticut venue to secure it.
Winner of twelve academy awards, Katharine had a killer combination of beauty, brains, grace, and personal charisma , making her quite the superstar (also, feminist, tomboy, athlete, style maven, etc). No wonder so many people love her and would be honored to take a #Hepburnselfie

hepburn selfie
(Ed provides me and the lovely Kerry Burrows of Hartford Magazine with a meta photo as well! Very similar to a photo featured in Vogue’s recent Kim and Kanye spread – he’s just trendy like that)
So, as you’ve guessed most likely from that somewhat rambling intro (sorry), last week I got to attend the opening reception for the museum exhibit as a media guest. One who did not, ahem formally RSVP – which I will not do again, as Ed gave me a much deserved dressing down for my non-compliance. Eek.
It was a lovely reception with all the wine and cheese and fruits and tiny brownie bites that one could hope for…

scotch

And also: scotch and soda! Because Kate wore pants and drank scotch and generally did whatever the heck she wanted from the sound of it. What’s not to love about that?
I may have indulged in a glass – or two – of excellent malbec during the cocktail hour and opening remarks, and I was excited, as fashion really gets my going… so I was not at all happy with the photos I took in the exhibit (a little on the spastic and blurry side, TBH). Gallantly, Ed provided me with high resolution ones from the exhibit which really do the outfits justice. Thanks to him and the CT Historical Society photographers for the images below:

trousers
Iconic, active, and playful trousers. Demonstrating their flexibility at the entrance to the exhibit

make up
Who doesn’t adore a vintage cosmetics display?

hepburn golf course
A candid of Hepburn on the golf course. Apparently, she shot in the low 80s, which is absolutely amazing.

dress
This dress, worn by Hepburn in The Stage Door, features grey marquisette petals finished by a surprisingly ethereal suede magenta belt. And a very, very, tiny waistline
The exhibit will be on display until September, so plenty of time to stop by and stroll through all the gorgeous looks. Also, mark your calendars for “Kate Couture: A Hepburn-Inspired Fashion Show” on Saturday, May 10th. More information on the exhibit and the fashion show can be found here

#BigRedArts @grhartfordarts with @achangeofeatery and all the wine

It’s easy to be pART of the ART in HARTford – to borrow a turn of phrase from the Greater Hartford Art’s Council.  Big Red for the Arts at the Society Room last night officially kicked off the 2014 United Arts Campaign – a yearly fundraising initiative that provides a backbone of support for individual artists, as well as arts groups, in the greater Hartford area.  As part of our partnership through CTNow, I was fortunate to attend the VIP reception along with: Governer Dan Malloy and his wife Cathy, who is CEO of the Arts Council, the legendary Jacques Pepin, legions of avid art supporters and foodies, and my very own awesome coworkers! Yay.

Big Red Arts Cover photo

photo courtesy of the Greater Hartford Arts Council Facebook page

I stepped out on the town, by happy accident, with Emily Cahill – who had plans with Nick, who had to work – on the same evening that my plus one, aka my husband, was stricken with the flu and unable to attend.  We kicked off the evening with a pre-wine cocktail (naturally) at Sorella.  It was Emily’s first trip to Sorella – marking this as the second time I’ve been fortunate enough to introduce a good friend to this amazing new eatery on Pratt St.

sorella bourbon cocktail

bourbon basil smash.  yes please.

 

Upon entering the Society Room, we were quickly and graciously ushered upstairs and kicked off the evening’s drink adventures with a glass of brute Korbel.  Hard to argue with that.

Cheers!

cheers!  not pictured: Emily’s fab red shoes

All the wine featured in the VIP Reception were CT grown and bottled, which was nice to see.  I sampled Emily’s favorite Westwind from Hopkins Vineyard and enjoyed a blend Chardonnay from Jonathan Edwards, which I have visited before and – it’s worth the drive to the shoreline.  I also tasted the Cabernet Franc from Sharpe Hill Vineyards – which I will be visiting this weekend – so it was nice to get a small preview of what I’ll be enjoying Saturday!

risotto ball

Sharpe Hill paired with the evening’s first bite – a luscious little risotto ball

At this point, even though we were hovering near Jacques Pepin – who stayed for the whole party and from what I could overhear is a very charming man (I was too shy to introduce myself) Emily and I both concluded that going downstairs in search of more substantial fare was in order, to balance out all the wine.  Plus, the smells of the food and the drifts of conversation were enticing us to join the main party.

kat kerry and emily

downstairs at last with Kerry Burrows of Hartford Magazine!

I lobbied – successfully – to start with a sample of the tequila cocktail, again, to balance out the wine (later, Emily had the equally difficult task of persuading me to try the 111 proof Onyx berry lemonade – oh wait – she didn’t have to try that hard).  The Hotel California tequila, pureed strawberry, and Minionetto Prosecco got me seriously excited for summer.  The tart berries and tequila – the hint of bubbly – it’s almost time to drink on the patio, and when it is, I’ll definitely try to make one of these at home.  A quick side note – every one of these wines and spirits is available for purchase at Maximum Beverage if you’re so inclined.

tequila amazing

Oh yes please, I’ll drink this every day in the summer.  Look at those berries!

We descended into a general melee of sampling, noshing, and socializing.  Plenty of Hartford friends were out and about – Tim Yergeau of the Greater Hartford Arts Council was spotted looking very sharp in a red sweater with a blazer on top and red laces in his shoes – such attention to detail!  I caught up with the always wonderful Whitney Gray of the CT Science Center.  And when we found Cathy Amarante working the Billings Forge table, the night basically couldn’t get any better.

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photo courtesy of Sara Grant, who also created a lovely montage video of people’s favorite art experiences which you can view here

My personal highlight for wine was a Portuguese Iberia wine – the Peccatore.  I’m a huge fan of ‘in your face’ reds, and this variety was full bodied yet dry, and paired awfully well with the filet mignon with lobster mac & cheese from Capital Grille.

Capital Grille

mac and cheese, steak, wine, and…happiness, basically

The same Portuguese group also poured robust Porto Parador 10 Year Port – which paired exceptionally well with a macaroon from Taste by Spellbound.  But I am getting ahead of myself.  Even better than a macaroon (which was excellent in its own right, to be fair) – better than all the other bites of the evening, for me at least, was the wondrous whipped ricotta bruschetta-EVO with honey, sea salt and herbs from the legendary Billy Grant of Bricco Trattoria.

bread and honey

bread with cheese, olive oil, salt and honey.  simple and classic.  oh yes.

Emily and I both fan-girled Billy a bit, as we’ve both interviewed him in the past for various projects (my interview is here), and he, in turn, turned a blind eye to our multiple raids on his bread table.  Seriously.  It was worth it.

Before winding down the evening, I packed myself a snack to go in the form of a shortbread cookie from Billings Forge.  I’m a bit obsessed with their seasonal shortbreads, which are autumnal leaves in the fall, lucky clovers at St Patricks Day, and now, strawberries for spring!  Look at how lovely this is.  It’s a little piece of art in its own right.

strawberry

then my husband stole it as soon as I entered the house.  guess I have an excuse to visit this week!

After my friends had finished rightfully mocking me for squirreling food into my tiny clutch, we reluctantly said our goodbyes and stepped out onto Pratt Street, to immediately encounter another example of how alive and well the arts are in Hartford, in the form of upcycled jellyfish on display at Hartford Prints!

trashion fashion storefront

look at those jellies.  they make me happy

With Trashion Fashion fast approaching, Amy and her crew have been hard at work creating these little beauties out of clear plastic bags.  The next opportunity to make them – if you’re so inclined – will be at Liquid Lounge on Friday, which will also feature a live recycled sculpture.  Seeing the jellies set against the turquoise background was a perfect ending to a wonderful evening.  Thanks to all the staff at the Greater Hartford Arts Council for hosting such an amazing event – can’t wait for next year.  #Hartfordhasit

22 Fun and Indie Things to Do in Hartford #hartfordhasit

Hello!  For my launch post, I felt it would be best to riff of a well known theme – the glorious to-do in list.  Kudos to my own beloved Hartford Advocate (the artist formally known as CTNow) for their 2012 list of 25 Things to Do in Hartford,as well as the lovely Emily Cahill, who last year compiled the ultimate to-do list challenge for her Yelping community with the Greater Hartford Bucket List Challenge.

Edit: this is now a list of 25, as I immediately thought of three more must-dos upon publishing.  Enjoy!

  1. Blog at Tisane – this one seems like an obvious place to start, seeing I’m currently sitting in Tisane, blogging.  Offering an amazing selection of tea and cocktails with quiet nooks for writing and spacious social spaces and a patio, Tisane is a beloved hipster hang out… for all the right reasons.
  2. Stroll the rose garden at Elizabeth Park, before or after brunch at the Pond House Cafe.  It’s hard to imagine right now when the world is a gritty wasteland of end-of-winter brown and white, but in a couple short weeks spring will bloom and we in the northeast will rejoice in the most perfect of seasons, which is our recompense for a long, cold winter.  Bring on the roses (and the mimosas).
  3. Catch a Creative Cocktail Hour at Real Art Ways. This happens on the third Thursday of every month and features an eclectic cross section of Hartford’s thriving art scene.  The upcoming CCH will feature arts and crafts, in the form of making jellyfish for Trashion Fashion and the opening of Nervatura by local artist and Artspace resident Michael Madore, as well as the opening of Amplified Stages by Allison Krause.
  4. Segwaying nicely from number 3- attend Trashion Fashion April 19th at City Hall.  The brainchild of Amy Merli, this one of a kind runway show features a showcase of gowns made of recycled materials donated by local businesses – for a frame of reference, think ‘unusual challenge’ on Project Runway.  Raise awareness for all things green and look fabulous doing it – tickets are on sale now.
  5. Happy hour at On20.  If LeeAnne says it’s good, then it’s good.  If Brent is mixing the cocktails and Jeff is designing the menu, then it’s quite possibly fabulous.  I was fortunate enough to attend a press party recently at On20 and more details will be upcoming about their revamped menu in my next post!  Stay tuned for delicious details
  6. Save the date – April 26th to be exact! – for Playing with Food by the Hartford Symphony Orchestra.  I attended last year’s debut performance and experienced the wonderfully creative integration of dishes from some of Hartford’s top chefs.  Each chef is given a piece of music and designs a dish around it – the results is an auditory and visual feast for the senses – one that can be tasted in person at the participating restaurant prior to or after the performance.
  7. Chase down the G Monkey and NoRa Cupcake food trucks at Billings Forge Farmer’s Market on ThursdayNoRa is a year round fixture at this year round farmers’ market –  G Monkey makes a welcome appearance at the summer market.  Both markets are part of the Billing’s Forge non-profit community, focusing on sustainable farm to table cuisine at Firebox and the Kitchen, affordable housing, community outreach, and making agriculture accessible in an urban setting.  NoRa provides the most delicious cupcakes in all the realm.  G Monkey focuses on sustainability and awesome Vegan cuisine, so their ‘grilled cheese’ sandwich is almost guilt free.
  8. Attend the Billing’s Forge Farmers’ MarketAhem, see post 7.  This is a must.
  9. Sign up for a Cooking Class at Billings Forge and learn all the secrets of their amazing team.  There is a new Facebook page you can tap for up to date info, and you can also check out my write up of their jam class here if you’re so inclined.
  10. Brunch at Firebox.  It’s really, really amazing – from the grapefruit mimosas to the eggs benedict with asparagus (or whatever is in season on the farm to table menu curated by the masterful Sean Farrell).  There is more – much more – to do at the Billings Forge community, but these are my personal favorites, so there you have it.
  11. Attend the Greater Hartford Art’s Council’s annual Go Red Fundraiser.  Lucky you – the first date was postponed due to snow, so the new date of March 26th is fast approaching and you should probably get your tickets now before it sells out.  This signature event features food and beverage pairings from the areas top restaurants, as well as a premiere wine tasting with Chef Jacques Pepin – I’m really stoked for Big Red, not going to lie.
  12. Attend First Thursday at the Wadsworth.  What can I say, I’m a sucker for anything involving art and cocktails, and Hartford has plenty of both!  As the name probably gives away, First Thursday takes place on the first Thursday of every month (think happy hour with a classy twist), and each event features an original theme based around their rotating Matrix exhibit or some other wonderful museum happening.
  13. Live music at Arch St Tavern – home to some of the most original acts in CT and an official site again this year for the CT Music Awards.
  14. Catch the CT Music Awards live at the Bushnell on June 10th.  How often do you have a chance to attend a live, Emmy style awards ceremony?  Oh all the time?  Excuse me, I don’t know your life.  For the rest of us, this is an amazing chance to get out there and support the local music community in CT.  From folk to metal, everyone is well represented at this event, and you can start voting for your favorites in April over at www.ctnow.com
  15. Hodgepodge Market oh – this one we have to wait for, as it’s only for six weeks out of the year and in the fall to boot!  But it’s well worth the wait to see Pratt St transformed into an open air market for some of the freshest, coolest, most original local vendors in the state.  You can catch Brazen Betties here perhaps, or the Vintanthromodern vintage truck.  One week I saw live alpacas.  Each week is quite different, so just go for yourself and you’ll be pleasantly surprised no doubt.
  16. Also calling Pratt St home is Hartford Prints! the letterpress studio that is run by three local Hartford sisters.  You can buy bespoke stationary, tiny terrariums, onesies – heck, there’s quite a variety of totally original and artsy items available for purchase here.  There are also frequent live events, such as:
  17. Syllable Series – the beloved writers’ group curated by the local wordsmith Julia Pistell took a brief hiatus after La Paloma Sabanera unfortunately closed its doors last year.  Anyone can submit to Syllable, and each reading has a theme… catch “Hidden” on April 9th – to either read your own works or enjoy those of others!
  18. Carolyn Paine makes this list because of course she does.  She’s a Hartford fixture in her own right (check out her funny and informative blog, Cheeze & Whine), but she is best known perhaps for the CONNetic Dance: a ballet studio with a deliciously modern edge.  Catch her interpretation of the Odyssey this year – and ‘like’ their Facebook page for up to date information on all performances.
  19. Write in Samuel Clemens’ library!  Oh boy, does this one have me nerding out.  Kudos – again – to Julia Pistell for opening up the historic Mark Twain House library on March 23rd for any local writers seeking a little peace and quite – and perhaps a little inspiration from one of the many spirits rumored to inhabit the mansion! Inspiration, ho!
  20. Venom Vintage recently opened its doors on Park Street and boasts a fine collection of the types of cool finery one looks for in a vintage shop.  As well as one of  kind dresses, shoes, sweaters, and jewelry galore, there are numerous live events to enjoy.  Check it out and get shopping.
  21. Let’s do lunch, darling.  And if I’m choosing, chances are excellent we are headed to Trumbull Kitchen.  There are many great lunch spots in Hartford, but this one wins for me, due to its eclectic mix of sushi, American fare, and fresh farm to table options, not to mention the unique cocktails and mixology the Max Restaurant Group is known for (ahem, not that I’m daydrinking… often)
  22. Head to Playhouse on Park for the world premiere of Higgins in Harlem!  Running through March 23rd, it’s an excellent adaptation of Pygmalion (which also inspired My Fair Lady).  Through my duties as one of the many bloggers for the Playhouse, I recently sat down with the cast and interviewed them, then stayed for a performance.  So look out for more info in an upcoming post!
  23. Enjoy a slice of tasty, thin crust pizza at Sorella on Pratt St.  A relative and welcome new comer to the Hartford dining scene, Sorrella’s big sister Dish is right across the street if you’re in the mood for American fare.  For Italian and wood fired pizzas, however, Sorella is the place to be.  They also boast an excellent antipasta menu featuring some truly magnificent fried brussel sprouts – which my good friend Cait and I obsessed over when we went to a late dinner together (her blog write up is here if you’re interested)
  24. Quaff a beer at City Steam – where fresh brews are the norm.  Due to its proximity to the Hartford Steam Company, City Steam is able to follow a steam brewery method which was developed in the 1800s.  The Naughty Nurse is my personal fav.
  25. Head to the CT Science Center for their next Liquid Lounge on April 4th!  Science Centers may be the realm young and eager to learn but the young-at-heart and eager to drink can delight in this 21 + event.  The upcoming LL will feature a ‘Party by the Pyramids,’ courtesy of the Science Center’s current exhibit.