@SBShades #StevieBoi #NYFW2015 show plus @NolchaEvents told through a #Snapchat story

I have some really, really talented friends, whom I got to watch in action during New York Fashion Week.  Top of mind right now are two people:

nolcha blog glasses

Kelly Hart of “That Girl” – who was the lead make up artist for the Stevie Boi shades fashion show 

and:

nolcha blog in line

Carolyn Paine, seen practicing resting bitch face with me as we lined up for the show, and who is currently deep in Nutcracker planning mode

Kelly was in charge of make up and styling for this show, which focused on blinged out glasses and a constructuralist aesthetic.  The venue was very Chelsea chic – the No. 8 Lounge, with the show itself happening quite casually with models strolling and and out of the crowd.

nolcha blog stevie boi

Whatever this chandelier is – I’m into it

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After the show, we popped  upstairs to congratulate Kelly and meet the models
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Seen here being fierce

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Also extraordinarily fierce – Carolyn’s friend Andrae, modeling a pair of the Stevie Boi shades

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With some very fine Jeffrey Campbells

After the show, we headed over to the Vanity Fair after party, at the Empire Hotel Rooftop

therapy outfit empire hotel after party

My entire outfit is from Therapy (minus the Alexis Bittar pendant) – a lovely slouchy black tee and a black leather skirt – casual but dressy, perfect for venue hopping in the city.  I like Therapy so much that I wore a SECOND outfit for the store for my follow up trip to the city for Nolcha on Sunday:

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This is, quite possibly, my favorite little black dress.  The only reason I say ‘possibly’ is that I have an absurd amount of LBDs in my closet (but can you really ever have too many?  I think not)

Nolcha is a showcase of some independent and up and coming designers, with several high impact runway shows occurring back to back.  It takes place at Pier 59 Studios, another excellent venue with onsite valet parking and a really excellent lounge and rooftop space.

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I missed the 6 pm shows this year, but was delighted to attend the 9 pm ones to see Danny Nguyen, Acid NYC, and Intrepid by AO’C

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Selfies were taken with Danny

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As well as solo with a photobomb from one of the lovely gents from BE Magazine (hurrah new friends!)

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And last but not least, the lovely Paula Mele, who is also the current Mrs. Connecticut International

Alas and alack, last year my good friend Kat attended Nolcha with me and took some killer photos.  This year, my evil camera roll decided to become full within minutes of arriving at the venue and, of course, before the fashion shows commenced.  So I had to resort to good old fashioned Snap Chat to capture the runway shows.  You can find higher res images from the photographers at Nolcha at the following links:

For Danny Nguyen

For Acid NYC

For Intrepid by AOC

… of all the three shows, my favorite element were the textiles by Acid.  their use of colors, particularly on the swimwear, combined with trendy prints, was right in my wheelhouse, aesthetic wise.  Some of the highlights from my Snapchat “gallery” are below as well for your viewing pleasure – enjoy!

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Cheers to New York Fashion Week and all the creativity which goes into each and every designer’s collection!  It’s an honor to attend and experience the new apparels first hand

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Finishing with a glass of bubbly and a new glossy mag for reading at home

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Majorca, Taste of Hartford, the Ct Science Center and Mohegan #SunWineFest

Wooo!  A busy and foodie couple of weeks folks.  But first – two sneak preview of upcoming posts I’m very excited about…

coney island poster

Love Under the Boardwalk

In partnership with the Wadsworth’s new and very noteworthy Coney Island Exhibit, my good friend Carolyn Paine is producing an original choreographed production, produced by the Wadsworth Atheneum, in partnership with her company, CONNetic Dance.  Featuring classical ballet intermixed with circus theatricals, performances will be Saturday, February 7th, at 2 pm and 8 pm, and tickets are available at the Wadsworth’s website.

Also – Penelope had a Very Special Photoshoot and she was the littlest Princess Elsa of all at Sassy Mouth Photo!

baby elsa

I can’t even.  Bet you can’t either.  So cute.

So, more to come on both these things.  But first – a look back at some amazing and fun times over the past couple of weeks!

First, Hartford picked up a new Tapas restaurant: Majorca

majorca friends

With some good friends, old and new at the Grand Opening, which benefited Family Life Education

Majorca specializes in tapas, small plates, and is a very welcome continuation of the space once occupied by O’Porto in the West End.

calamari

Grilled calamari.  Charred to perfection and ever so preferable to the more prevalent, fried variety

oyster with vinagrette

Oysters with a classic vinaigrette.  REALLY big oysters.

prosciutto wrapped date

A true Spanish classic: dates stuffed with manchego and wrapped in prosciutto.

There were also four cocktail samples to try:

cocktail samples

Pictured left to right: Pineapple Mule (pineapple vodka, ginger beer, fresh pineapple), Ginger Plum Martini (plum vodka, ginger liqueur, sour mix), the “Majorca” (citrus vodka, Hypnotic, and white cranberry juice) and Red Sangria (simple syrup, triple sec, fruit juice, and Sycamore Lane Cabernet)

As well as a fancy, necessary cheese plate:

cheese w wine

Paired with a nice rioja – always good to find a rioja present on the wine list. 

I am quite, quite happy to have this new little gem among my dining choices in Hartford, and I’m excited to go back for a full meal – hopefully soon!

Speaking of meals – Taste of Hartford is currently entering its second week.

taste of hartford logo

 

P and I have gone out twice to enjoy it – and I’m looking forward to going to Agave (sans P, alas) later on this week.  This last week’s experiences took us to Ted’s Montana Grill and Carbone’s, respectively.  But before Teds – we hit up the CT Science Center

science center lines

Which had a packed house due to special pricing for MLK Day

This wasn’t our frist trip to the Science Center, but it definitely was the best so far – P really enjoyed herself and is finally old enough to fully enjoy the exhibits geared towards younger kids – of which there are several!  Our favorites:

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Kinetic water experiments on the first floor

fossil experiments

Digging for fossils on the third floor

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And a super fun ‘eco awareness’ playhouse (also on the 3rd floor)

We followed this awesome playtime by lunch at Ted’s

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Bison burger for me, cookie for P, happiness for all

And went out again a couple days later to Carbone’s with the lovely Cathy and Rachel!

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Ladies’ night

In addition to the Taste menu, there was a very, very excellent Arancini starter

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Yummm

Paired with a nice Aperol Sunset cocktail:

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Like a margarita, but with way more bite

Followed by a lovely salad

citrus salad

P ate all my pomegranate seeds for me

And a perfectly sized portion of lemony shrimp risotto:

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Which I paired with prosecco because of course I did.

For anyone who’s not familiar, Taste is a restaurant week – well weeks really – featuring prix fixe appetizer, entree, and dessert options for either $20.15 or $30.15.  It’s fun and affordable and I put quite a bit of time into organizing it, so I really appreciate that I can ‘eat’ it once it’s up and running -not all promotions offer such literal satisfaction.  In addition to several wonderful meals, I was thoroughly spoiled this weekend at Mohegan Sun and Wine Festival

I was able to stop by the Bourbon Tasting on Friday night, which was a new experience for me and also, a neat use of my 2014 resolution (which was to drink more bourbon).  I was extraordinarily negligent on the photos – however – I did enjoy several samplings: Maker’s 46 being my favorite.  It was elated to be able to drink it both neat and on the rocks and appreciate its nuances and woody palate – finally a bourbon girl!  Hurrah!  Also, who wouldn’t appreciate this dessert lineup:

bourbon tasting desserts

Wow yourself

And I did, at least, manage a bathroom selfie, because who doesn’t love one of those?

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In a new fav dress from Silkworm and absolutely zero chill.  Oh well.

Returning the next day for Sun Wine Fest, I managed to both: 1/ take many more pictures and 2/ really enjoy this event, which last year had been overwhelmed and under impressed.  It’s hard to do Wine Fest and not feel the immediate, pressing urge to sample all the wine.  Because there are so many to try, both high end and low, and going in with focus and direction helps:

mohegan wine map

And also a map

Amanda and I attended together and came up with a simple plan: stick to bubbles as much as possible:

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Moet bubbles with strawberry caviar

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Ok, cheating because not carbonated, but a really excellent French rose: Whispering Angel

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Three nice varietals from Sonoma, from the Gloria Ferrer.  Where I’ll be hopefully headed at Thanksgiving.  Oh yaaas.

I also bumped into some good friends:

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Yes, I consider Mumm Napa Rose to be a good friend.  We are on BFF terms actually

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Also, the gorgeous Betsy Foster and a ‘ghost Lisa’

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Our amazing and beautiful Social Media maven, Suzie Hunter, with her new friend Oliver English

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And last, but very certainly not least – the Cupcake Goddess herself, Carrie, of Nora Cupcake

To wrap up the afternoon, we headed upstairs to the beer tasting and I found a very nice new summer beverage which I’ll absolutely be stalking down locally, one way or another:
fishers island lemonade

It’s from the Long Island sound and it’s a glorious tart combination of whiskey, vodka, and lemonade.  I loved it.

So yes, quite a lovely afternoon, all in all!  Not to mention, a great couple of weeks.  Yay.

That time I went to Nolcha Fashion Week with a ballerina … and then we ate pizza in Times Square like a couple basic (tourist) b*tches

So, I have spent most of this weekend not hitting tennis balls as planned or attending tiara parties to snarkily mock a certain sartorial beauty pageant – which shall remain nameless – as similarly planned.  So good gracious, I had a sulky time of it (from the couch, with my cozy tea, my HP Lovecraft, and my adorable daughter quietly amusing herself with her wooden puzzles).  Waaah, whine.  Poor me, so busy I got sick from running around too much.  And yes, without a doubt, it was a week fueled with caffeine, carbs, zero workouts, and many mixed beverages, which is probably why I got sick.  But at the same time, should I be complaining about attending NY Fashion Week?  Should I whine if I put in a couple extra hours working on the Fall Arts Preview for an amazing client – The Greater Hartford Arts Council– because I was handed the amazing opportunity to select and edit the arts listings?  Heck no.  Nope.  So I’m settled in with The Wolf of Wall Street on the TV, a glass of 90 Plus Cellars Pinot Grigio – ice cold and delicious – and yes, it is later than I had planned to start working on this blog, and I do feel a bit under the weather still (shh, I know I should be drinking tea and not wine, but I just can’t do any more tea/water/I-want-wine-don’t-judge-me).

I will work on balance, I promise.  But for now, let’s focus on the awesome, sparkly, fun time that my good friend Carolyn and I enjoyed:

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At Nolcha Fashion Week!  Also, Carolyn blogged about our night for City Ella – check out her write up here!

Nolcha is the indie, emerging artists’ platform during Fashion Week.  Housed in the uber trendy Eyebeam Attelier in the lower west side of Manhattan, removed from the bustle of the Lincoln Center, and hosting some serious emerging talent in the Fashion Scene.  Like Kathy Xiomara, whose show we were fortunate enough to attend last Monday night (yes, I said Monday night.  Yes, I worked a full day Tuesday.  Yes, it was a late night, and heck yes! it was worth it).

But I’m jumping ahead of myself.  Before we left Connecticut, we were red carpet pampered by the lovely ladies of Blo West Hartford.  Thanks to my good friend and client, Stacey, for hooking us up with such amazing hair:

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We’re so spoiled.  Note my Channel bag in the foreground.  And my Marshall’s dress in the background!

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Not pictured: Carolyn’s Disney Princess coffee mug full of prosecco.  Because we also classy.

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Stacey described my hair as ‘skyscraper straight’ and I think that’s pretty accurate.  Side note: new favorite hair style

Suitably glammed up, we headed down to the City, and towards the Eyebeam Attelier.  On the walk there, we discovered Champagne Charlie’sHow can you possibly not stop for dinner at a place called that?

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I use ‘dinner’ in a very loose sense of the word.  We had champagne and french fries.  It was one of the best meals of my life.

Upon arriving at the Attelier, we immediately took a very necessary selfie:
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Such necessity, so importance

Dropped by the step and repeat:

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A very wise choice, as it was absolutely mobbed later in the evening

And enjoyed some delicious (free!) drinks from some very generous sponsors:

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Very delicious, Dasani, I’ll try these again.  They were good mixed with rum at the event AND also to go for the ride home!

My favorite, however, was the Bellaforma fruit wine:

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Specifically, the Sorell (floral) variety.  The lady was kind enough to be amused and not disparaging by my multiple trips back.  If anyone would like to try at a discount, use the code: NOLCHAFW14

As mentioned previously, the show we were there to see was by Portuguese designer, Kathy Xiomara.  She is known for her geometric patterns, evidenced in intricate peter pan collars and stunning cut out details, combining cutting edge trend with a vintage store feel:

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I could and would and should wear this eggplant midi creation

Kathy Xiomara also collaborated with Otterbox to design a dress featuring their new shatter proof protective phone case in a gown:

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Photo courtesy of the Nolcha Blog

The effect of the swinging phone cases on the runway was ethereal and effortless, appearing to be an avant garde take on the trend of high/low skirt transparencies which is so en vogue.  It was only after reading about the show after the event that I realized we had experienced, essentially, the “unconventional challenge” element from Project Runway.  Oh, and speaking of Project Runway?  Otterbox hooked up the show attendees with a brand new phone case, designed by none other than the legendary Nina Garcia:

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It looks really fab on my phone.  I love it.

As far as free swag goes, a brand new iPhone case is pretty far up the list of things that I’d ask for if I was inquired onto the subject.  But the point is, one should never look a free gift swag in the mouth anyway.  Although, some parties based solely around swag – and featuring $14 glasses of prosecco, may be best to avoided.  We may or may not have attending one which was somewhat questionable for a grand twenty minutes, which could have been unfortunate as it was all the way uptown in Times Square.  But if you look hard enough, there is a delicate silver lining to every cloud, and ours happened to be truly awful, greasy, tourist trap pizza at… wait for it… Sbarros

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I would feel shame, but it would be unAmerican to do so.

Dashing back to the safety of trendy Nolcha, we caught the standing room only end of an ethereal showing of evening gowns

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Side note: Carolyn has found her future wedding dress

And we also met the sparkling and talented Paula Mele founder of the New York Fashion Meets Fitness Runway Show

carolyn and paula

Thanks so much for arranging our passes, Paula!  Also, you ladies sure do know how to pose.

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.  But man, for a first trip to Fashion Week, I don’t think I could have asked for anything better.  And hopefully I can go back next year!

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Yaaas to the beautiful people and the beautiful threads.

 

 

A Taste @RealArtWays #playnice with mixology @NIXSHartford and five awesome events in September

Greetings friends!  I am writing this on Labor Day from the wonderful Lost Acres Vineyard, which is way better, quite frankly, than Starbucks:

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Not pictured: my delicious pumpkin whoopie pie from Lost Acres Orchard, which is right up the road!  Time for fall, yes?

Speaking of autumn and local farms – I’ve rounded up some of my favorite, upcoming September events and they are listed below for your viewing pleasure.  But first, a recap of some of my favorite happenings from the last couple of weeks!  Not going to go into a crazy amount of detail, but I did have a lovely birthday (at Lost Acres, obviously), and my friend Emily hosted an equally lovely cocktail party called “Dazed and Infused” because she and her boyfriend Nick are really clever like that:

 

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Drawing at my party with her BFF Alex from next door, sporting a fetching Unicorn Horn courtesy of Auntie Cait

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Enjoying the balcony at Emily’s party

Penelope attended both parties of course, although she was regrettably absent from two fun events her Mama got to finally try out this week (alas, not everything is 18 month old approved – topping the list are probably French films on cooking and VIP cocktail mixers – which is what I did at Real Art Ways (for their Taste series) and at Nixs (for the cocktail party!)

Taryn invited me to the Taste featuring Chris Prosperi, and I rapturously accepted her invite as I’ve been following this event closely since it’s first season (details here if anyone’s interested!)

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Taryn and I.  Ain’t we cute?

Basically, the premise behind this concept is: a cozy, food themed movie in Real Art Way’s hipster cinema (wine encouraged!) followed by a q and a and “taste” of small plates with the chef in question.  Fabulous!  This Taste paired the work of Chris Prosperi – a gazpacho and panzanella to be exact – with movie from the Inventing Cuisine series featuring French Chef Michael Troisgros.   The whimsical film featured an in depth portrayal of the inner workings of one of the best kitchens in France (with some ‘heavily staged’ scenes according to Mr Prosperi) and elaborate, beautiful shots of some elevated haute cuisine.  Michael’s stage presence – he is a regular guest on WNPR’s Faith Middletown Show – was in full force post film:

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Preparing the panzanella!

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A group pairing of the gazpacho and panzanella, with a card from Chris’ home restaurant, Metro Bis in Simsbury

The next show is on September 29th will host Rachel Carr, of Six Main for a farm to chef, vegetarian/vegan/pescatarian evening.  Tickets are on sale here!  Highly recommended for the cerebral foodie who really appreciates the intellectual and visual aspects of cuisine.

Real Art Ways was one of the first Hartford venues I really experienced upon moving here through their Creative Cocktail Hour.  It was, therefore, from beloved old to shiny new to go in the course of a week from an event at RAW to a cocktail mixer at Hartford’s newest sexy newcomer – NIXs.  This Boston chain features a slick chandeliered, mirrored, pirated up interior (seriously, go check it out) creative, delicious mixology, and a nice offering of seafood entrees:

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Hello there, $1 happy hour raw bar!

I met my good friend, JC, at the bar, where she had discovered a $6 martini special which I promptly ordered too (in spite of the free cocktail samples circling the party – it was too good to pass up!)

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Clementine vodka, grapefruit juice, triple sec, prosecco.  Heaven.

Next up: circling the cocktail party, playing nice with good friends, and trying every cocktail in sight!  Rich Clemens is the head Bar Manager at Nixs.  JC and I both know him from Tisane, and we did nerdly bonding over his Dr Who inspired “Bad Wolf” cocktail
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Fresh lemon juice, orange juice, Redemption Rye Whiskey, and honey simple syrup.  Plus this awesome quote: “I wanted to make a cocktail that is extraordinarily sexy like Billy Piper but badass like a pissed off Tardis.”  I can’t even.

Another personal favorite of mine was the Tequila Mockingbird (more clever names, yaaas):

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“Alabama Slammer” style with silver tequila, slept gin, amaretto, lime juice, and orange juice

But the majority of people I talked to named the pretty Beach Please as their favorite:

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Pineapple vodka, cucumber juice, agave nectar, lime juice, and sparkling coconut water

I have pretty rampant ADHD and between the shiny chandeliers and the cocktails, I missed almost all of the food pairings

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It was delicious.  But lonely.

So I most definitely need to go back to NIXs pronto to try more food offerings.  Fortunately, the new Bear’s Smokehouse is right around the corner, so JC, Rachael, and I headed over there for delicious BBQ.

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Rachael demonstrating great street eating skills with her Mac Attack.

Truly, a week full of Hartfordy goodness.  And there’s so much more coming up in September!  Below are five events I’m really looking forward to:

Open Farm Day in Granby: This is the epitomy of a family friendly event.  Grab the kids (or the dogs, or both) and head out to the farms in Granby for a day of expos, samples, and general wholesome earthy goodness.  From the goat cheese at Sweet Pea, to the fresh organic garlic at the Garlic Farm, to the peach cobbler at Lost Acres Orchard, to a free sample of wine at Lost Acres, you’ll have a good time and support local agriculture.  And bring the reusable tote you usually cart to the farmers’ market, because there will be plenty of fresh produce and other goodies for sale.

Taste of the Suburbs – our restaurant week featuring prixe fix menus of awesome deliciousness.  I’m currently in the throes of agony trying to decide between 50 West and El Pulpo.  Heavy stuff man.  Other strong, noteworthy contenders and favorites: Esca, Max’s Oyster Bar, Millwrights and Vinted.  Pick one – or two! and go enjoy between September 8 -21st.  Reservations strongly recommended.

Urban Challenge – West Hartford! You probably need to burn some calories after all the delicious feasting at restaurant week.   Why not do it the FUN way on September 19th – working in teams of two to decipher clues about local West Hartford stores and dashing from place to place ahead of some fierce competition!  And I mean ‘fierce’ in the most fashiony way, as dressing up is encouraged and Carolyn and I will be participating and BRINGING IT.  Early registration is strongly encouraged as the event will sell out. 

Harvest Party Dinner at Lost Acres  We attended this dinner last year and it was a blast.  Penelope and I picked grapes in the morning (which is totally free and a thing you can also do the day of if so inclined) and then headed back for a farm to chef dinner with Mike that evening, complete with many samplings of Lost Acres blends.  This event is also anticipated to sell out, so pre-registration is a good idea.

The Colin McEnroe Show’s Fifth Year Anniversary!  Attention, WNPR nerds.  The Colin McEnroe Show is turning 5 and YOU are invited as a fellow fan to celebarte at Infinity Hall in Hartford.  For the low price of $5 a person, come enjoy your favorite radio personalities and hobnob with hipsters (let’s just be realistic about that being a thing that will happen) at the gorgeous new Infinity Music Hall and Bistro in Downtown Hartford.

So that’s what I’ll be up to in September, and I hope many of you will join me!  Any cool events I missed?  Leave them in the comments please xo

 

 

 

@HSOtweets Talcott Mountain Music Festival and a farm to chef BBQ

Summertime in Connecticut means that the Hartford Symphony Orchestra moves out doors to the Simsbury Meadows (double check info) for five fun and family friendly concerts, each featuring a different theme.  We attended last Friday and were blown away by the Orchestra’s collaboration with Morgan James, Capathia Jenkins, and Randall Craig Fleischer for Broadway Rocks!

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This is my favorite media partnership yaas

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A Hartford Magazine on each and every table!  Nice

We had a very nice group of ladies in attendance (plus one gentleman boyfriend who graciously offered to snap this picture)

ladies at talcott

Pictured left to right: Diane Taha of the Greater Hartford Arts Council, Carolyn Paine of Connetic DanceRachael Forker of Onyx Moonshine, Me! of CTNow/Hartford Courant, and Emily Cahill of Yelp, Hartford.  Quite the power group.

Speaking of Onyx, Rachael was kind enough to bring us Cranberry Onyx Margaritas.  I’m glad I haven’t had the chance to try the Cranberry Onyx before this… the margarita blend was such a nice blend of citrus and tart – it was the serendipitous introduction.

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Plus, the Onyx looked really nice in my new mason jar cocktail glasses.

In addition to friends actually in attendance, we had friends who were there in spirit:

caitlin and 90 plus cellars

Haha, hi Cait!  Flanked by two bottles of 90 Plus Cellars, quite appropriately.

Emily mixed her 90 Plus Prosecco with a home made blueberry and basil simple syrup, which will hopefully serve as a nice base for many a future summer cocktail meet up.  We also had some great offerings from our partners for Talcott:

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The always amazing Rosedale wines

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And finger foods from Fitzgeralds.  The fruit tarts are my actual favorites.  I crave them in the winter because I associate them with Talcott and summertime.

All the food, libations, and camaraderie were an excellent back drop to the main attraction: the music.  I’m a self professed classical music nerd, due to many, many hours on the piano in my formative years.  And who doesn’t like a good Broadway tune?  The beauty of Talcott is that it takes a higher brow concept, like the Symphony, and combines it with the mass appeal of pop music:

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Demonstrated with this crowd here.  The perfect weather probably didn’t hurt.

There was plenty of singing along to crowd favorites from Wicked, The Phantom of the Opera, and to round things off: a flash mob from The Age of Aquarius!

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Fun

Oh, also there were fireworks.  And a perfect, full Hunter’s Moon.

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So, basically, the best night out I can remember in quite some time!

Also fun and relaxing was hosting a farm to chef BBQ on Sunday.  Yes, I know that term gets bandied about quite a bit, but the lion’s share of the ingredients were sourced from farms within 5 miles of my house that very day, so I feel like it’s justified.

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Behold the tiny hunter gatherer

Penelope loves trips to the Garlic Farm, which is useful as I currently write their newsletter and we have a CSA starting up soon.  It seems like a great thing to do with a baby – tactile development, GMO and pesticide free vegetables, shapes, colors – plus, at the end, we have fresh delicious things to eat

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Hallo beauties

My friend Amanda and I headed up to Lost Acres for local wine whilst the men folk stayed at home with the kids.  Naturally, this led to a glass of wine on the patio, with jazz playing in the background

dry riesling

If you haven’t been to Lost Acres and you live close by, just go.  It’s so worth it

Once back home, I prepped a very simple bruschetta (recipe below) and cracked open another bottle – one I’ve been saving for some time, waiting for the right pairing:

ironside bruschetta

Tada!  Plus Ironside Cabernet – courtesy of Cait – from the same folks behind the 90 Plus Cellars Brand

The tomatoes from the Garlic Farm were beef tomatoes – rich and meaty, with a thick, juicy texture which I felt would pair better with red wine then a right.  The nicely balanced tannic quality of the Ironside blended nicely with the crunchy, balsamic  bruschetta.  Plus, I was pleasantly surprised at the thinnish mouthfeel of Ironside – it’s got a three dimensional, robust flavor palatte but a more maleable body then many cabernets, which also lends itself well to summer drinking!  Ok yes, I just learned “mouthfeel” and I’ve been dying to use it in a sentence.  True wine snobs feel free to attack me in the comments. 🙂

The Ironside also worked very well with Sweet Pea local burgers and watermelon feta arugula salad (stolen from the Capital Grille’s summer menu, thank you very much).  It’s the first wine created by the 90 Plus Cellars company, and the backstory is quite charming too!  Always nice to read about or drink a wine that you have a bit of a personal connection to, don’t you think?  (My connection, if it’s not obvious, is Cait, who now works for 90 Plus as a marketing lady extraordinairre).

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Also pictured: marinated shrimp.  And you can’t see it, but there is black pepper Sweet Pea chevre on top of the burger.

It’s definitely worth it to go local, fresh, and seasonal for a BBQ.  The bruschetta alone packed a much bigger flavor punch then many I’ve prepared in the past, due to the extremely fresh ingredients.  Plus, there’s the added satisfaction of sustainability and knowing you’re supporting local agriculture.  I’m thinking that when we go to the Florida Keys in August, I’ll try to make a Floridian version of farm to table (sea to table?) with fresh grouper and citruses.  Ah yes.  Let the good (summer) times roll!

Farm fresh bruschetta

Beef Tomatoes

Fresh garlic

Fresh basil

Balsamic vinagrette

Extra virgin olive oil

Rock salt and fresh cracked pepper

Fresh ciabatta bread

Cube tomatoes and combine with slivered garlic and torn up basil in a medium sized bowl.  Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic and season to taste.  Refrigerate for at least 1/2 an hour and up to four hours.  Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees, thin slice the ciabatta and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Lightly toast the ciabatta and then spoon the bruschetta on top and serve immediately.

 

Happy birthday #Penelope

We celebrated Penelope’s first birthday with a tea party – mostly because she loves to serve fake tea off of her cart (also because: excellent excuse for a tea party)

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Seen here graciously greeting the guests with a pot at the door, in her Lilly Pulitzer dress from Silkworm!

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Plus we had killer decorations from my very talented little sis!

I had tons of help with the baking swag, thanks to some killer local bakeries and good friends:

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Pictured: the collective efforts of Get Baked, NoRa Cupcakes, and family friends!

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Pictured: amazing P cookies!  Thanks Melissa!

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Pictured: a close up of the NoRa cupcake smash cake with Alice in Wonderland themed red roses

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Pictured: wrapping asparagus in pastry is as close to baking as I get, TBH

As well as the birthday girl and co-birthday girl – the notoriously camera shy Hailey – there were plenty of cute little folks out and about in their finery

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Look at this little gentleman!

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And this lovely young lady showing off her spring fashion and the baby sandals – I can’t TAKE IT

There were plenty of other Littles present, but most of them were running around in a pack serving each other fake tea, which is absolutely fine 🙂  The adults amused themselves with – what else? tea infused cocktails

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Thanks to Tanduay for the rum!  So good and now I have mojitos for days

And many delicious bubbles courtesy of Cait, who came down from Boston to play! And Rob – who I have a picture of, but I’m afraid he will never speak to me again if I use it in a blog, so it shall remain unposted (you’re welcome Rob – I’ll see you on LinkedIn)

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Look at this lovely lady and her 90 Plus Cellars prosecco – she’s not a bit camera shy 🙂

Exciting update!  I received special approval to feature this wonderful photo of Rob, demonstrating all his bartender flair:

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Holding a lovely bottle of rose which was gone in about 20 minutes, give or take

There were other photo opps in the kitchen, naturally:

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A trash bag domestic goddess.  Very Amy Sedaris.  Very wow

As well as outside in the backyard:

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Invite ballerinas anywhere and they will stage a photoshoot.  It’s science.  Also, I am in love with my skirt in this picture from Niro!

But the center of attention was naturally the birthday girl!

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Sampling a cupcake

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Best sugar face ever

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And opening presents with Daddy – oh boy!

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Oh boy!  And yes, that’s birthday girl number 2 on the far left – Happy Birthday Hailey!  I gave up getting a picture of her face on after about ten attempts – she’s a camera shy little cutie

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Speaking of camera shy, it’s amazing how often my husband manages to find something to hide around when a camera is out!

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But sometimes I get lucky and get him to pose with me!! xo

 

Thanks to all of our friends and family for coming out to Penelope’s special day.  We had a blast and hope you did too!