@CampCourant Fundraiser @NIXSHartford and @Rooftop120 for Bubbles and Bites

Hello friends!  It’s a cloudy, dreary Friday morning, because apparently we can’t have nice things (like Spring).  Although we CAN have some nice things, such Savor at the Connecticut Convention Center tonight, and Penelope’s 2nd birthday this upcoming weekend at Nora Cupcake (tiaras and sugar, it’s really not a party for me I promise), this upcoming weekend!

And the last couple weeks haven’t been so bad either – at least for events.  Weather wise, *sigh.*  Enough on that – starting tomorrow it looks like we finally shall have Spring!.  So let’s focus on the positive shall we?

Such as:

nixs cocktail

A fundraiser for Camp Courant!

Nixs approached me with the generous idea of hosting a fundraiser by donating all their door proceeds from the night to Camp Courant – which sends Hartford kids who are in need to a free, fun, awesome camp every summer!  Every little bit helps, and it was also a fun night out with good friends.  And delicious Brockman’s Gin cocktails!

brockmans cocktail

Yummy yummy

I stayed up way past my bedtime… and enjoyed most of it.  But let’s face it, VIP nights and bottle service are nice and fancy, but I’m a little old for that lifestyle 😀

Also enjoyable last week – a Blogger’s Event at Rooftop 120,  hosted by the 203 Media Group

rooftop 4

Prosecco in the champagne lounge, followed by discussion of SEO tactics and best marketing practices.  Some of my very favorite things!

I’m a long time fan of Rooftop 120, having spent multiple happy hours at the gorgeous bar in the summer, as well as a very nice and special brunch with Penelope when she was a wee little baby:

rooftop 120 w p

Good times with Caitlin and Hannah!  and baby P!

Head bartender Tyler DeVecchis always kills it with the cocktails, but it was very nice to sample the new menu from Head Chef Dan Fortin.  He is new to Rooftop and brings a nice Caribbean vibe to the menu, which makes my Cuban self very happy:

rooftop 5

Aji rubbed chili steak, grilled zucchini, peppadew peppers.  LOVED the chimichurri sauce on this one

yummy seared tuna

Jerked spice tuna, tropical fruit salsa, and fried plantains.  My favorite of all the dishes we tried.  I love, tuna, I love plaintains, and I love the two together.  

rooftop 3

Soy ginger marinated avocado halves, tempura fried oyster, yuzu harissa aioli.  I was highly skeptical of this one – seemed like a LOT of avocado, however, it was very tasty!  The fatty, creamy texture of the avocado balanced against the marinated crispy shrimp.  I went back for seconds.

rooftop 1

Red beet and goat cheese bon bons, shaved fennel orange salad, medjool date reduction.  My least favorite of all the dishes we tried – I love goat cheese and I love beets, however the combination of the two together wasn’t quite light or fluffy enough for a goat cheese ball.  Overall a fantastic sampling however.

For more delicious food porn, follow Rooftop 120’s instagram here.  And don’t wait for the warm weather to go – although that is fast approaching by the looks of it!  It’s a great year round venue!

rooftop 7

One bonus picture courtesy of John Estrada of 203 media – that’s me in a hat taking a picture of the food.  Not at all ridiculous.  And LOVE the fisheye iPad accessory he used to get the bubble effect in this picture!  We learned a lot and had great food to boot – thanks again for having us.

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Let’s Play with our Food with @HSOTweets (plus – Big Red and Aids CT Oscars Night)

Hello friends!  Such a long hiatus from blogging for me.  A body at rest tends to stay at rest, a body in motion tends to stay in motion, and a body going through drastic changes tends to… not get much blogging accomplished.  So – finally – back at it with three fantastic events: two past and one upcoming this Saturday!

So let’s start with Playing with Food, one of my favorite yearly shows from the Hartford Symphony.  The brainchild of Head Conductor, Carolyn Kuan, this is the third inception of Playing with Food – this year featuring the handsome and charming Fabio Viviani of Top Chef fame onstage with Carolyn to discuss the dishes of the Vivo, M & M Bistro, and the CT Convention Center!

I was fortunate enough to attend the press preview for Vivo to witness Carolyn’s creative process in action:

playing with food snap chat

Somedays my job is cooler than other days (the Marriott where Vivo resides, as well as the Hartford Symphony, are both advertising clients of mine)

Carolyn Kuan uses the opportunity of tasting the dishes to begin building connections to musical notes.  A french bouillabaisse might call up a light French horn, for example, or bone marrow might be reminiscent of a “big fat tuba” (direct quote)

bone marrow snap chat

Also, delicious bone marrow.  Pictured: Chef Bill Reardon’s braised Veal Osso Bucco with chanterelles, Risotto Milanese, and Tomato Espuma.

After the tasting, Carolyn creates connections to classical pieces of music, and they are performed live at the concert, after a chat with the chefs, in order to complete the connection between the sight, smell, and taste of the food and the sound of the music!

The show will be this Saturday, March 21st, at 730 pm, at the Bushnell Mortenson Hall.  You can buy tickets here.

So, that will be pretty awesome.  Also noteworthy this past month: the Aids CT Oscars NightThis yearly event raises money for the Aids Foundation and is a great chance to get dolled up and experience some live red carpet action.  It’s nice to watch at home in your PJs sure, but who doesn’t like a little glamor in their life?

oscars night preview

All dolled up with some good friends

I wore an awesome, sequined criss cross dress from Venom Vintage, who can provide cutting edge period pieces for any red carpet event:

oscars night 2

The braids?  I’m not sure where the braids came from.  Lazy Girl hair day I guess

Spotlight Theaters on Front Street was the gracious host of the event for the second year in a row.  It works well as they have a full bar in the theater, plus all the movie seating to watch the Oscars live on a big screen!  Very fun idea.

Last, but certainly not least – Big Red celebrated its 10th anniversary in existence with the Greater Hartford Arts Council

Housed at the Society Room, Big Red features wine sampling and food pairings from local vinters and chefs, making for an excellent evening of food, wine, conversation, and most importantly – raising money to support arts and culture in Hartford!

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With our new Publisher, Rick Daniels, Mary Lou Stoneburner, our VP of Advertising and Michael Guinan, Ad Director for Hartford Magazine

One of the major, major highlights for the evening for me was the enormous paella brought by J Restaurant:

enormous paella

Wow.  I could curl up and take a nap in that paella pan – it’s that big

The paella paired nicely with a Sottobosco Rosso blend, a deep Italian red with just a hint of sweetness (I personally prefer pairing paella with red wine vs white – I feel it has enough meaty characteristics to go both ways)

Also on hand for drinks – a pleasing Ginger & Thyme Prosecco cocktail from Vito’s

prosecco cocktail

Executive Chef, Rob Maffucci, was also onsite serving his signature truffled chocolate pasta dish

Also noteworthy on the food scapes – Bear’s Smokehouse,

bears smokehouse bbq

Literal bears yaaas

Nora Cupcakes, naturally

nora cupcake w chandelier

The very best!

And a wonderful, local, Granby based ice cream store – Grass Roots Creamery

grass roots ice cream

I tried lemongrass, so good.  They have impressive, unique flavor combos inspired by Humphry Slocombe

Overall, a very good couple of weeks for food and culture in Hartford.  There’s definitely no shortage of cool things to choose from – so get out there and enjoy it!

A weekend of merry and bright

As some of you may know, it’s been a rough and bumpy road for me for the last couple of months.  I haven’t been ignoring Christmas, per se, but I certainly haven’t been plunging into it with the gusto and fervor that I normally do.  So I feel awfully lucky that last weekend, Christmas found me, in two nights and one day of gloriously fun festivities with some of my closest and dearest friends.  Oh so good.

It all started with dinner with Caitlin at the Capital Grille on Friday night:

yaaas best champagne shot

More to follow on this soon!  There was Moet & Chandon Imperial involved however.  Lots and lots of it

hallo hallo

Love you lady

We followed this up with more drinks and dancing – ok – watching other people dance really – at Nixs for the official Nutcracker after party for CONNetic Dance’s Nutcracker: Suite and Spicy!

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With our favorite, @Johnnie_Divine

And with Caitlin’s lovely sister, Hannah:

twinning

Twinning in our black dresses with sheer panels yaaas.  Mine is from Lux Boutique in West Hartford!

We enjoyed prosecco and, in my case, some reeeally good coquito featuring Tanduay rum (currently in a cocktail contest – vote for it here – I promise it’s worth it). And so the night passed in a blur of glitter and fun (where there are ballerinas, there will be glitter – it’s science)

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Photo of the very talented cast, courtesy of Alex Syphers for CTNow

Saturday was the much anticipated, never imitated annual Charcutapalooza and Nick and Emily‘s house.  We had charcuterie galore:

charcuterie yaaas

Oh hey there.  Check the chicken liver mousse on the far left.  At some point in the evening I was basically just speed dipping crackers straight into that pot.  No regrets.

Emily also demonstrated her amazing baking skills with perfect macaroons:

macaroons by emily

#Ican’teven

And Nick flexed his culinary muscles over some damn good Asian style buns, barbequed pork, and slaw

ban mi bun

Come on man

But the highlight of the party was, by far, the three smoked pig heads provided by Jamie of Bear’s Smokehouse.  I mean, come on.  Look at these things:

3 little pigs

Merry Lord of the Flies!  I mean, Christmas

I managed to procure a pigs head which I will be chopping up and cooking into Congri – that’s Cuban rice and bean for those who don’t know – throughout the winter.  So very good.  Nothing like a good pig head.  Oh, and here’s a bonus shot of Penelope enjoying the festivities on Saturday night, like a Big Girl:

p smiling w macaroon

That smile just melts my heart

P and I hit the town together on Sunday for the Nutcracker matinee and Ugly Sweater Party.  And yes, thanks to Venom Vintage, P had her own tiny ugly sweater to wear:

p in the snow wadsworth

Pictured here, post show, enjoying the show and dancing

I’ve not been in town for the Nutcracker before, and I thoroughly enjoyed Carolyn’s hip rendition of this holiday classic – and also enjoyed Penelope enjoying it too!  Plus – we met SANTA:

santa claus at the wadsworth

Hi Santa!  We would get a picture with Santa against a step and repeat.  Very typical.

The Wadsworth hosts Carolyn’s Suite and Spicy Nutcracker annually and was also home to the Festival of the Trees, featuring uniquely designed Christmas trees which are produced and sold for charity.  Simply gorgeous and quite perfect for persuading me to discard my inner grinch and enjoy the season.  I’m very fortunate to have such an amazing group of friends – thanks to you all for what you do, you know who you are and you are appreciated.

 

All of your Holiday Contests are in our base @Hartforddotcom

Hello Friends!  It’s the most wonderful, nutty, suite and spicy, bedazzled-with-reindeer-applique, time of the year!  So do yourself a solid and get out and enjoy some theater and cocktails and ugly sweater goodness.  And if you play your cards right – you can do so for FREE!

Hartford.com is hosting the annual (awesome) Ugly Sweater Christmas Stroll on December 13!  Enjoy Onyx cocktails at several Hartford hot spots, as well as a glorious Ugly Sweater.  Just post a picture of yourself in an ugly sweater on their Facebook or Twitter page to enter.  Here’s a glorious photoshop they did for me yesterday, as my sweater was too basic to really be considered ‘ugly’

yaaaas

THANKS LADIES

CONNetic Dance is bringing their Suite and Spicy, totally awesome, uber hipster, Nutcracker to the Wadsworth for the 5th year in a row.  And oh what fun – they are also giving a pair of tickets away!  Just post a picture of yourself with a Nutcracker to their Facebook page by the end of today (Thursday) with the hashtags: #spicynutcrackerselfie #conneticdance.  There will be a sweet (and spicy!  haha!  puns) afterparty on Friday night at Nixs also.  I’ll be attending… hope to see you all there!

nutcracker selfie contest

Good luck everyone!

Artini, Halloween, and Some Cool Cats @RealArtWays … Oh My

I love Halloween.  It’s my second favorite holiday (because Christmas – and even that I go back and forth about).  And I love that this year I had the perfect excuse to dress up in a classy, fabulous way the night before for ARTini – the Greater Hartford Arts Council‘s signature martini fundraiser.  Not that there’s anything wrong, whatsoever with going out the night of in a cute little costume (I guess??) but for me, Halloween is all about Penelope and her trick or treating (more to follow on that).  So it truly was the best of both worlds that Carolyn, Emily, and I (plus friends) all congregated to drink cocktails and support the arts:

snarknado gang

“The gang” aka #snarknado

Photo courtesy of Alex Syphers for CTnow

The Greater Hartford Arts Council’s choice of venue for this year’s event was impeccable: the Gershon Fox Ballroom at Marquee Events is very art deco:

art deco interior

So sparkly

Also adding to the theme: a curated art show and Trashion Fashion models

trashion model

So cool

But the main focus of the event was, of course, the martini samples. A full list is as follows:

Capital Grille – The Stoli Doli

Cheesecake Factory – Strawberry Martini

City Steam – Maple Mudslide

Hooker Brewery – Beer & Stout

Hotel California Tequila – Pancha’s Last Stand

Max Downtown – The Mayflower

Onyx Moonshine – Thanksgiving in a Cup

Vito’s by the Park – Kettle Corn Pear and Salted Caramel

I only captured a few pictures of the drinks – as I was busy drinking them:

cheers ladies

So thanks again to Alex Sypher for this amazing picture of the Stoli Dolis.  If you haven’t tried this frothy pineapple delicacy – which is simply vodka marinated with pineapples – then get to the Capital Grille STAT.  It’s their signature cocktail.

A couple more highlights:

maple mudslide

Maple Mudslides from City Steam.  Only one of my very favorite cocktails – plus maple flavor.  Oh goodness.  And I must get these candles from the Hodgepodge

Hands down, my favorite cocktail of the evening was served up by Max Downtown:

mayflower

The Mayflower, served up by their Master Mixologist, Brian Mitchell.  In impeccable bar attire, naturally

Any night that ends with eating delicious Whitney Ave pizza of couple of flappers is a good night in my book:

late night pizza with flappers

Such win

I stayed the night at Carolyn’s so that we could get up bright and early the next day to attend the Metro Hartford Alliance Rising Stars breakfast:

hartford stage

 

At the iconic Hartford Stage Company, no less

And then of course, after work, it was onto the evening’s festivities and I would imagine the reason most of you are reading this: Penelope’s Halloween festivities!

bee and pumpkin

Is bumblebee.  Bzzzz bzzz bzz

Our next door neighbor has a little boy just a couple months older from P, so naturally they went out together in a wagon:

wagon rides

And naturally he was a crocodile

walking to the door

Cuteness level: 1000%

After the tiny trick or treating, a couple friends came over for dinner:

amanda and matt

Hello lovely friends!

We enjoyed a really nice bottle of pinot noir, which was a gift from one of our partners at the Courant (to each employee!) in honor of our 250th:

sparrow hawk pinot noir

yum

As well as a pitcher of delicious Onyx Moonshine and honeycrisp apple cider:
onyx and vogue

Hands down, one of the best fall libations you can make, and so simple too!  I mean, two ingredients simple

We had a full spread of food:

plate of food

On owl plates, naturally.  See, some people have to bust things like this out just for Halloween, but I use owl plates year round.  Perhaps THAT’S why I enjoy the holiday so much

table decor halloween

I also pretended to be Martha Stewart.  Badly.  Those are “pumpkin bags.”  Crafting is not really my “thing.” Ah well.

The rest of the weekend was equally lovely, topped off with a visit to the first ever cat installation over at Real Art Ways:

art installation cats raw

“Cats in Residence”

Penelope is a crazy cat lady in training – girl loves her some kitty cat.

with kitty

And the kitties were all very nice and gentle with her

As well as ‘cat art’ on the walls, all the cats in the installation are from the local cat rescue shelter CT Cat Connection and available for adoption.  The installation is in place through December, so you have plenty of time to go to Real Art Ways and bond with the kitties – perhaps take one home to a forever home?

kitty t

I wore my Big Bang Theory t shirt and made an elegant speech on Penelope’s behalf to her father as to why we should adopt a kitty.  I was overruled, alas.  By Penelope’s father.  At least we can visit the kitties often at the exhibit and with our many friends who have cats!

I hope everyone’s Halloween weekend was equally fantastic.  Now on to Thanksgiving, Christmas and the rest of the Holiday Season!  Fun times ahead!

 

Happy Halloween! Let’s drink #REDRUM @NIXSHartford

Happy Halloween friends!  As a huge Halloween and horror story fan, I recommend Nixs Hartford this holiday for all your festivity related needs (as long as they are alchohol and party related – that’s what they do best after all).

Rich Clemens has been featured here before, and is an amazing mixologist, came up with a #redrum cocktail which is both delicious and an amazing reference to The Shining –

brady twins

Cue creepy Brady Twins, hello ladies

It’s a delicious libation, and it involves hand carbonation:

ze carbonation process

Hey, thanks Anthony!

And then it’s served in a VERY crowd friendly glass bottle, oh yaaas

red rum oh yeah

Soo into it

The ingredients are as follows:

hallo my beauty

Pyrat Rum, Sloe Gin, Coconut Water, Amaretto, lime juice, pineapple juice

Oh yeah, and it’s only $6.  So there’s that.  Nixs has a whole slew of Halloween activities planned – a Pyrat (rum) party tonight, with $500 in prizes (for sexiest costume and best pirate costume).  Tomorrow, there will be a “Dia de los Muertos” party with an additional $500 in prizes (wow yourself)

And last, but certainly not least, Sunday will bring a “Day of the Drag,” hosted by the one and only Amanda Lepore and Maritat Bonita, music by International DJ Producer, Scotty Thompson, and an additonal $500 in prizes!

 

Old School Glamour for the @HartfordCourant #250Gala and Old School Vintage for the Posh Sale @TheWadsworth

Sometimes, a night comes along which is 250 years in the making.  Starting in 1776 with the first printing of the Connecticut Courant – a paper which supercedes the United States in age, and which printed the Declaration of Independence.  Today, October 29th, is actually the official anniversary – so Happy Birthday to this publication!  A paper which boasted its first female Publisher withing three lifecycles of ownership and continues that tradition with Nancy Meyer to this day.  I’m talking of my place of work, the Hartford Courant, and the black tie gala at the equally magical Bushnell which took place last Friday eve.

bushnell stars in the sky

Shining stars and a red carpet.  Such dreamy things

The event was the official celebration of 250 years of continuous operation for the Hartford Courant, which is admittedly a pretty big deal.

There were publishers old and new present:
nancy in the media

Including the lovely Nancy Meyer.  Pictured with a gorgeous set of coworkers!

Ballerinas dressed by the ladies of Trashion Fashion in newspaper gowns:

trashion ballerina

Prepping with Amy in the dressing room!

bsllerinas dressing room

So pretty – and Nina Salazar’s tights are fab too

bustier selfie

And heck yeah, a newspaper bustier designed just for me!

Blo of West Hartford styled all the models’ hair – as well as my own:

blo poster

Just fab as always, thanks!

And the ladies were onsite to assist guests with newspaper accessories – also designed by the Trashion Team:

ballerina headband

Here is Penelope modeling her very own newspaper headband, because of course she needed one too

There was a cocktail hour featuring delicious Onyx Moonshine cocktails – a fitting libation for a historical event!

gorgeous onyx bar

Such a pretty bar set up!

onyx moments

Sharing #onyxmoments with the lovely Rachael Forker

Cartoonist Bob Englehart was on hand sketching caricatures of guests:

bob cartoonist

Cool guy

And at the seated dinner, some very fortunate guests dined on the stage

tables on the stage at the bushnell

Photo courtesy of Alex Syphers for CTNow

We ate in a nearby atrium, which features my favorite Chihuly glass sculpture:
chihully glass

Love it – the fact that it’s red and just fit in with the decor was a happy coincidence.  And I didn’t capture a picture (the horror!) but the feast provided by the Max Catering Group was simply delightful – Head Chef Scott Miller pulled off a spectacular spread, and on his birthday no less!  Thanks Scott.

After dinner, there were speeches galore:
dannel malloy

Including remarks from Dannel Malloy, fetchingly dressed in a Vineyard Vines tie specifically designed for the Courant!

your moments in history

So preppy and awesome

And at the end of the evening, a dance floor arose on the Bushnell stage – which was probably the coolest part of the entire evening:
stage

Wow yourself

Seeing Michael was out of town, I lucked out on a very special dance partner – Amanda Reese (married to Josh Reese, CEO of Camp Courant)

selfies with Amanda

Girl can twirl

Speaking of Camp Courant – the entire gala was a fundraiser for Camp Courant, and over $90,000 was raised for the charity. Hurrah!  Here’s to history.

Speaking of history… the next morning Penelope and I headed over to the Design Source of CT together for a very special preview of the Posh Sale.   I attended a posh sale several years back and wrote about it here (actually – I wrote about it for http://www.ct.com before it rebranded and I have no idea why the article is on the Sun Sentinel now except that it’s our sister company – huh).  I thoroughly enjoyed the first one I attended and I am really looking forward to this upcoming incarnation, November 7-9th.  It’s also a charity event, to benefit the Wadsworth Atheneum’s Textile Society, and that means, well, vintage clothes galore:

vintage cabbage patch doll

Also: vintage cabbage patch dolls

christmas ham

Posing in an oversized hat for the “papparazzi” aka fellow bloggers Carolyn and Kerri (left to right)

shoe heaven

Shoes of every style and stripe imaginable – male and female!

zalo shoes

More shoes

dobbs hat yah

Don Draper hats, very hot

vintage lilly

Vintage Lilly Pulitzer.  No one else is allowed to buy this

vintage baby coat and hat

Teeny vintage baby coats (too small for P, alas)

j crew rack

A whole rack of J Crew (glorious)

coat and blazer

Sturdy and classically tailored wool suits

argyle coat that Diane stole jk

Soft, buttery houndstooth coats

throwback jumpsuit

Cool throwback jumpsuits.  Not my size but if it was, I would definitely swap out the buttons and wear this. 

Truly something for every fashionista (or fashion guy) of any shape, size, or persuasion can be had at this sale.  Plus, you’re shopping for a good cause so it’s basically charity work.  Hurrah!  Mark your calendars – I hope to see you there xo