A recap of Hartford Fashion Week + a look forward to the #WehaWhiskey Festival!

It’s EVENTS SEASON.  All the things, all the time, all the food, all the sparkle, all the nights out, none of the chill.  Sometimes I have to take a step back and really appreciate the cool things I get to be involved in and collaborate with.  Tonight, for example, I was fortunate enough to attend the March of Dimes Signature Chef’s Auction at the gorgeous Riverview in Simsbury.  And in a couple short weeks, I’ll be back at the same location for Share Our Strength.  More to follow on both of those shortly.  But for now – let’s look forward to this Saturday and the upcoming Weha Whiskey Festival!

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Use promo code KAT for 15% off tickets at checkout!  Enjoy 200 whiskeys, courtesy of Maximum Beverage, food from the Highland Park Market, and the satisfaction of knowing you’re raising funds for Camp Courant and the Ct Children’s Medical Center

I stopped by Maximum Beverage today to sample some of the whiskeys they will be pouring at Saturday’s event, including one of my very favorites – Eagle Rare Bourbon

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Maximum has their own single barrel version.  If that doesn’t impress you, we may have nothing in common (sorry)

I hope all of my local whiskey and foodie friends will join me for this event – which I have never managed to attend before!  Very exciting and more, of course, to follow.

So, off of whiskey and on to Hartford Fashion Week.  Katrina did such a marvelous job, along with the rest of the committee (myself included) in bringing an a week’s worth of fashion and fashion related culture to Hartford.

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Here she is with the stylish and fabulous Debbie Alan Wright, owner of Project Closet, and the dashing and handsome Lorenzo Hall (of Fox CT).  A good looking crew!

For those who missed this year’s event, there were multiple nights of fashion themed fun leading up to the three runway shows at Union Station – from a cultural round table at the Hartford Public Library to a fashion themed First Thursday at the Wadsworth.  The star attraction, was, naturally, twelve local original and independent designers showcasing their very diverse looks – from streetwear to ballgowns – at Union Station.  I would strongly recommend visiting and liking the Hartford Fashion Week Facebook Page for some truly beautiful photo galleries and, of course, to stay on top of next year’s event.  But below are some of my favorite moments from the shows:

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Tribal elegance from the Hartford Denim Company

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Wearing an LBD from Therapy Boutique in New Haven and enjoying red carpet fun with my favorite, Jon Aidukonis…

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And my beautiful, tiny diva, Penelope (dressed to kill in a vintage from Venom Vintage)

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Who strutted the runway and, alas, became fashion roadkill at one point 

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Talented local artist Nina Salazar instructing the Femme God models backstage

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Another backstage moment with Saints by SJ

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De Muerte

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AER Collections

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Funkenomics (not pictured: breakdancing)

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Show finale: Saints by SJ

Plus!  Several cool afterparties.  Cuginos in Downtown Hartford provided a lovely buffet after Saturday’s show, and I failed miserably at photographing any of it because Fashion Week hanger is a real thing as either Katrina or Man Repeller will attest to.  However, Amanda, Kate and I had our own marvelous little afterparty at Treva:

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Two inky brunettes and one happy blondie

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And I enjoyed my very favorite local cocktail: the Giardino.  It’s a glorious aromatic gin libation, made special by the full rose ice cube which will slowly melt into your glass, releasing delicious botanicals.  Highly recommended!

However hectic and chaotic backstage may have been, however many flaws we may have noticed during the first go round, Hartford Fashion Week was a truly special event, and I am honored that I was able to participate in its inception – and of course, looking forward to contributing again next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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October Roundup – from Wagyu and Wine to Hartford Fashion Week

It’s time for Fall in New England, with all the traditional bells and whistles.  Apple picking, events, haunted hayrides – you name it, it’s happening this month.  Here’s a round up of a couple upcoming things I’m really looking forward to, in addition to two fall traditions I’ve already celebrated that will be available all month long:

Hartford Fashion Week kicks off tonight at Union Station in Hartford.  Friday and Saturday’s shows are SOLD OUT, but you can still buy tickets for Sunday (act fast!)  I attended a preview last night at the Wadsworth’s monthly First Thursday and was also interviewed for Telemundo as the only Spanish speaking committee member.  The interview was, hmmm, interesting, but the First Thursday collection was terrific.  I particularly enjoyed Redfield Design – the romantic steampunk collection jived very well in the Wadsworth’s space.

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With Hartford Fashion Week founder, Katrina, post interview.  This lady rocks!

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Redfield Designs models acting the part of living statues at the museum

For more info or to buy tickets for Sunday – visit here.  You can also purchase tickets at the door for $40 tonight or tomorrow, but those will most likely be standing room only and cannot be guaranteed for availability.

Signature Chef’s Auction for the March of Dimes The March of Dimes is committed to raising the standard of living for pregnant women and their babies, and they also are incredibly important in the care and wellbeing of preemie babies.  This signature fundraiser occurs annually in Hartford at the Riverview.  This year’s date will be October 15th, and you can purchase tickets here for the October 15th event. It’s for the babies.  And it’s also a terrific event with wonderful food sampling from some of the best chefs in the region.

Share Our Strength another collaboration from some of the finest and kindest Chefs in the Hartford area.  Share Our Strength benefits No Kid Hungry – a national charity which is committed to ending childhood hunger.  So again, it’s for the kids.  Chef Tyler Anderson of Millwrights is the chair of this year’s event.  The October 29th event will this year feature a full table seating by each participating restaurant, with a three course sit down meal: a truly great chance to enjoy an excellent meal with friends whilst giving back to the community.  Tickets are available here

Wagyu and Wine an annual offering from The Capital Grille – this special engagement will run through November 22nd, and allow you the opportunity to enjoy a delicious, fatty, crispy, flavorful waggly burger, paired with an excellent glass of red wine, for only $25.  I attended with my good friend Jon Aidukonis.  We took advantage of the free valet parking (so convenient, especially in Downtown Hartford!) and sat out on the lovely patio space on Front Street, as if was a beautiful evening to be outdoors

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Fancy

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I have tiny little T Rex arms coz I’m excited for burgers

I chose the Gorgonzola and Black Truffle Wagyu Burger and paired it with the recommended Justin Isosceles Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles, 2012)

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Glamour shot

I’m an enormous fan of the following flavor combinations: gorgonzola, red meat, and red wine.  So naturally, the marriage off all three in this meal was right up my ally.  I also enjoy the technique that the Capital Grille lends to the wagyu burger – it’s a high quality product for sure, but in the wrong hands you can end up with a soggy, fatty burger with an overly rich finish.  The Capital Grille executes the wagyu burger with finesse and expertise, yielding a product which has a textural outer layer with a nice hint of salt and a creamy, meaty, flavorful center (which they will happily leave medium rare upon request).  Paired with a chocolatey, Bourdeaux style cabernet with an excellent balance and a big, strong presence and you have a symphony of textures and flavors for your palate to enjoy.  John also kindly allowed me to sample his paired wine: the Landmark Overrlook Pinot Noir (California 2013).  The spicy, fruity Pinot is an excellent fall wine, and I would like to go back and enjoy a full glass with the second pairing: the Wagyu Cheeseburger with fried egg and crisp onions. And I probably will.  Because for $25, why the heck not?  Thanks to the Capital Grille for inviting us in to enjoy this pairing and providing us with a lovely meal.

Apple Picking I took the little Miss Penelope out to Clark Hill Farms at Bushy Hill and we both had such a great time.  We enjoyed apple cider donuts:

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So nice

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And ran through the fields and picked a whole bag of apples!  Like a big girl

It’s peak apple season and we New Englanders are very spoiled with our options statewide

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Gorgeous

But I would recommend Clark Hill Farms in particular for their ridiculously good farm to table breakfast.  I’ve been three times now, and I’ll be writing a post JUST about their food at some point in the near future.  Granby is only a 30 minute drive from Hartford, and if you go out there, I recommend checking out Lost Acres Vineyard too!

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Visits with horsies for baby

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And delicious, crisp, fresh apple wine for Mommy.  I’m not a cider person, but the Apple Wine at Lost Acres is clean, well executed, and delightful without any of the vinegar aspects (pleasant to some I know) which characterize cider.  Highly recommended!

What do you like to do for October in CT?  Leave me some recommendations to try if you please!

Brunch for Babies with the @MarchofDimesCT

June is a fabulous, busy, buzzy, wonderful month.  The weather is perfect – there are multiple events to attend, inside and out, really everything is quite exceptional.  Here’s a quick preview of some choice happenings I’m looking forward to in the upcoming weeks:

CT Music Awards (that was last night! the results are here!)

Hartford Magazine Best of Party (fancy fancy)

Farm to Street Dinner, (a giant potluck with some of Hartford’s finest, as well as Jeff Lizotte of On20 – who we will also be visiting for Happy Hour and I will be blogging about)

Talcott Mountain Music Festival (one of my favorite events of the year)

But first and foremost: a recap of the “Brunch for Babies,” hosted by the March of Dimes Connecticut at the Riverview in Simsbury!

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The March of Dimes mission: to improve the health and livelihood of babies everywhere!

Leigh-Anne Lefurge – the March of Dimes Communications Manager, was gracious enough to invite myself and my friend Amanda to attend this beautiful brunch:

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Thanks Leigh-Ann!  Awesome working with you as always

In keeping with their tradition, the “Brunch for Babies” featured famed New England author Elin Hildebrand, “the queen of the summer novel.”

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So talented yet also so stylish!

In addition to Elin signing books, the preview to the main event featured a pretty sweet silent auction:

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Mommy’s Time Out?  Yes, I’ll have some of that

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Plus these pretty rad bell bracelets.  Which I won!  And promptly wore to the Seacrest Beach Hotel (check name) with my friend Carolyn.  More to come on our adventures soon!

There were also plenty of food stations to browse and brunch through.  The March of Dimes does a great job with keeping their events light and fun with a variety of food options to circulate through, versus a sit down, formal brunch (the excellent Signature Chef’s Auction in the fall offers a similar feel and menu).

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Apple Mote Cristos and Watermelon Gazpacho – courtesy of the Riverview

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Always good to see the lovely Cheryl of Bear’s Smokehouse!  Carving up and serving some melt in your mouth smoked turkey

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And one of my absolute favorite “hidden gems,” the Grass Roots Creamery of Granby!  Serving “Humphry Slocombe” style gelato, they offer a variety of unique flavors.  My favorite (pictured) the Biscoff

The brunch was hosted by our very own Sarah Cody, host of FOX Connecticut’s travel series, in addition to the excellent “Mommy Minute” blog.

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She introduced the March of Dimes’ inspirational “Mom of the Year” Lisa Millerick: a mom of four NICU children, March of Dimes volunteer, and an affiliated children’s photographer for “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.”

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Pictured here accepting her very well deserved honor

We were also given the chance to donate directly to the March of Dimes cause, via table cards and hand knitted preemie hats which were then given to local intensive care units:

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So adorable

The March of Dimes is truly a worthy cause and, as a mother, so near and dear to my heart.  I was blessed to have carried Penelope healthy and to term, but many women aren’t so lucky – and there is always something that may be done to improve the health and well being of newborn babies and their mommas!  Please consider donating to this great cause, joining their March for Babies, or attending the Signature Chef Auction in the fall.  The babies thank you!

A Movement for Change with Kristin Taekman and Brunch for Babies with @MarchofDimesCT

Charity suffers long, and is kind (1st Corinthians 13:4)

In other words – “charity” is just another word for “love.”  People give because they love those who need help, they love to help others, or they love to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

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Take the March of Dimes CT “Mom of the Year,” Lisa Millerick for example.  She has four children, all of who were born prematurely, and is a NICU Nurse to boot.  If that wasn’t enough, she also specializing in children portraits for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep – which helps to give portraits of children who pass away too soon to their grieving families.

That’s a whole lotta love right there.

The March of Dimes CT will host its annual Brunch for Babies on June 6th, at the Riverview in Simsbury.  I’ll be honored to attend and meet Lisa, as well as acclaimed author Elin Hildebrand.  If you would like to join and support a great cause, you can purchase tickets here.

I was fortunate enough to attend another great charity event several weeks ago the DeFilippo “Movement for Change,” raising funds to help families of those impacted by spinal chord injuries and celebrating their many achievements.

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Lot of beautiful families and equally beautiful stories.  All photos by Elisa E- you can find her website and more of her work here

The event featured a great host – Kristin Taekman of the Real Housewives of New York.  I’ll proudly admit that I’m a RHONY fan (ok, maybe “proud” is not the best word)… and Kristin is my favorite on the show.  It’s always nice to discover that someone is as nice and down to earth in person as they appear on television.  Plus – she has a very chic blog – check it out here!

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With Kristin and Carolyn Paine on the red carpet.  Not pictured but also present – my friend Diane Taha of Style Context

Carolyn also choreographed and performed and original piece symbolizing the strength and fragility of those impacted by spinal chord injuries

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Simply gorgeous

Just as gorgeous – the four tiered fashion show featuring the work of designer Karo Swim Wear

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Sexy and fierce

A sweet collection of Spring pieces curated from the vintage collections of my good friend Laree Salmon of Vintage Chic by Design

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Polka dots for days

The ethereal work of well known local designer, Nigel Ramsay

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Stunning and flowing

And to finalize the show, a final collection of vibrant floral hues, “Always Bloomin” – to celebrate the energy and vibrancy of those who thrive in the face of adversary

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A pretty way to finish the show

I’m blessed to be involved with so many local causes for good.  Please consider researching them more and supporting all the amazing local artists who give their time and talents to help them raise the funds they need to do good work.

@marchofdimesct Signature Chefs Auction at the Riverview in Simsbury

Man oh man.  Black coffee and blogging at 6 am?  This is the LIFE.  In other news, I don’t recognize the productive morning person I am becoming.  But, faced with a super busy week (husband out of town traveling, our black tie 250th gala tonight, hair appointment at Blo for said gala during my lunch break) I am fitting things in where I can, as one does as a mommy, a blogger, and a working professional.  And that includes setting my alarm an hour and a half early in order to recap the amazing time Leeanne and I enjoyed at the Riverview in Simsbury last week, for the March of Dimes Signature Chefs Gala!  If you missed this one, there will be another in Fairfield on November 5th too – right around the corner.

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A recipe for healthy babies!  Awwww

Let’s back up for just a minute and look at what the March of Dimes accomplishes.  They are the premiere charity dedicated to eradicating, whenever possible, premature delivery (which leads, naturally to health complications for mamas and their babies) as well as for providing the best possible care for preemies?  What a good cause, is my point.  I was honored to get an email requesting I attend the event as a blogger, and I did receive a free ticket (plus a guest – ie/ the lovely Leeanne) from the charity.

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A rare Leeanne selfie.  I’d like to thank Suzie Hunter for making this possible

The Signature Chef’s Auction takes place annually, with a bunch of big hearted chefs joining forces to offer gourmet bites of food and small samples of cocktails, while guests mingle and enjoy a silent and live auction:

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I didn’t bid, but if I had, it would have definitely been on this Disney experience package.  So fun.  P is excited to meet Mickey Mouse.  Someday (soon) it’s going to happen.

In addition to the silent auction, guests enjoyed a live bidding, which Leeanne and I unfortunately missed as we were both tired and didn’t stay for more than an hour or two, although we thoroughly enjoyed circling the gorgeous Riverview space during the time that we were present, and saying hello to a bunch of our friends who were there working the event:

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Starting with Plan B burgers.  Quite simply the best.  I snatched a ‘to go’ second burger on the way out because I’m obsessed and they were quite kind about my greed, ha.  Also, mini is the perfect size/shape for a burger, in my opinion, and I love that Plan B will make any of their regular burgers with toppings into minis upon request in their restaurants!  OK, end burger rant.

Having started with beef, we moved onto seafood:

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Seared tuna FTW

The above delicate bite was from Bobby V’s, an upscale sports bar and lounge located in Windsor Locks:

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Kudos for the signature table settings too!  Very cool.

Next up, we sampled a delectable and complex serving of short rib stuffed in pepper from Barcelona:

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So very pretty

Side note: Leeanne seriously has a photographic memory when it comes to dishes/ingredients.  I was having difficulty taking notes and balancing the plates (plus I was distracted/excited by all the wonderful food and cute baby photos) and she repeated all the ingredients to me, which was seriously nice and also seriously impressive!

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And she took this nice picture of the back of my dress/necklace detail!  She is the best

In addition to the food stuffs, there were plenty of libations being poured.  Our friends at Onyx are always nice to see out and about:

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The lovely Linley pouring several options for the Onyx (my favorite was the cider/apple Onyx combo – so very good)

Another high note for drinks came form Rizutto’s, who were present with a lovely bite of braised lamb and parsnip/potato mash:
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Yum.

Paired with it was a really delightful cocktail called “The Orchard.”  I didn’t snap a picture of it and the event, but I may or may not have ordered a full sized version of the same drink at lunch today:

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The Orchard – house infused apple vodka, Lillet, sage garnish

So yes, very very nice.  We also enjoyed burnt ends sliders from Bear’s Smokehouse:

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Thanks Jamie – delicious as always

What goes well with BBQ?  Beer, naturally.  And Hooker Beer was conveniently located next to Bears (nice placement)

hooker beer selection

I sampled the Munich Style – even tho Watermelon Ale is my favorite – it just seemed like a better seasonal choice (it was the right call, especially to pair with the burnt ends)

There were many more plates to try, but I was filling up fast, so I went straight to dessert and enjoyed a really, really, really, really good cookiewich from Taste by Spellbound:

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Choose your cookie, choose your filling.  I did red velvet with maple frosting and regretted nothing

But let’s not lose sight of what the event was all about – a fundraiser to help babies!  There were plenty of adorable baby photos everywhere to make sure that was top of mind during the evening:

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Sooo cute

Thanks again to the March of Dimes for the invite.  I’ve been connecting more with the coordinators, and I’m looking forward to walking in their March for Babies Greater Hartford in 2015!