[oink] Brunch @CaseusBistro and Penelope’s big year in review

2015 has drawn to a close… but not before the recap of Penelope’s year!  This is the second installation because, well, she is two.  Read the first one here.

And do yourself a solid favor and check out [oink] – the new concept from Chef Craig Hutchinson in partnership with the ever so delicious (and cheesy!) Caseus Bistro of New Haven.  This is a month long event, kicking off with the first Sunday in 2016.  Menu is below and tickets are available for purchase here!

caseus brunch

This year, Penelope and Mommy enjoyed some excellent adventures.

We went brunching with dolly at the American Girl Store

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Pancakes, matching outfits, on pointe everything

As well as attending an American Girl Fashion Show in Stamford!

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In addition to micro-fashion, Penelope went with Mommy to Hartford Fashion Week and enjoyed the red carpet experience in vintage apparel from Venom Vintage

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We also had some cultural experiences at Playhouse On Park

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Enjoying the Three Little Pigs

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Watching Gwendolyn and the Graceful Pig with the Ballet Theater Company

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And more red carpet fun at the annual CONNetic Dance Nutcracker

We enjoyed a beach trip or two in the summer

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Becoming mermaid in Wells, Maine

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Playing with cousin Orlando on Singer Island

And we enjoyed some traditional New England activities in the fall, such as

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Pumpkin painting

and

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Apple picking!

We enjoyed many amazing mommy/daughter dates, including a tea party photoshoot

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Courtesy of Sassy Mouth Photo

and a Farm to Table brunch at Clark Hill Farms in Granbyphoto-38

We finished out the year with our first ever trip to Disney

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Mickey Mouse ice cream, Mickey wand, Elsa dress.  Peak toddler.

And celebrated Christmas Eve with a candlelight service at Grandpa’s church, Christ Fellowship

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Holding our candle like a big girl!

To finish, we would like to wish all our friends and family a very Happy New Year, with many more to follow!

 

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#SingerIslandScenes and Family Bonding in Florida

Wow.  It’s been a roller coaster couple of weeks.  First – a blissful week of relaxing, lovely vacation in Florida with my closest family and friends.  Then – home to the frozen north and a massive, cigar induced upper respiratory infection (more on the cigar to follow).  Play hard and pay for it?  Perhaps.  Worth it?  Oh very definitely.

heaven

Scene from outside of my Dad’s Singer Island condo. Singer Island is a lovely little strip of land close to Palm Beach Gardens, with a big state park right on the ocean and miles of wild and healthy beaches.  It’s pretty great.

It’s funny how after four years in Connecticut – Florida still feels like home.  Maybe it’s because my closest family (aka my parents and siblings) all live and/or congregate there for the holidays.  Maybe it’s because, well, Palm Beach Gardens is just awesome.  Endless warm weather, white sandy beaches, amazing foodie scene, and the best shopping center in the entire world: The Gardens Mall

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Lilly Pulitzer from the signature Gardens store and a Bellini at Brio.  Basically perfection.

Not to mention the world’s best supermarket:

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Publix – home to $40 Veuve Cliquot sales and Caitlin’s favorite cake

Oh yeah – Cait was in Florida too – in Palm Beach Gardens – where she is ever year for Christmas.  It’s amazing we met in Connecticut and not previously in Florida, all things considered.  Anyway, it makes the holidays that much better, and it’s always lovely to see Cait’s little sister Hannah too!

downtown at the gardens

Photo credit to Caitlin in this picture, which is why she’s not pictured.  I love 1/ the Florida Christmas trees and 2/ that I casually match the tree.  Also – @SingerIslandScenes Instagram reblogged this – I recommend following them to anyone who loves beautiful Floridian wildlife, as there’s plenty of that on their page.

This particular picture was taken during one of several excursions to Downtown at the Gardens.  I relived my college days with happy hour at Ra and the completely amazing crunchy spicy tuna roll:

spicy tuna roll

Whoa.  So good. 

We also ventured to a really cool cigar bar – Angry Moon Cigars

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Pros: excellent Instagram.  Cons: wicked bad chest infection which probably had something to do with cigar.  Oh well.  I’ll probably still try another at some point, as it was really good

And a huge trip highlight – a trip to The Cooper

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Dave doing his most excellent mixology thing

Yes – the Max Restaurant Group has a location in Palm Beach Gardens now, so naturally we’re obsessed with it.  It was lovely to drink a sophisticated take on rum punch in the December:

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The Walking Dead: House rum blend, velvet falernum, don’s mix, grenadine, angostura, absinthe

As well as a most excellent cheese plate:

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That’s my little sis in my crop top and my awesome cousin Geo in my vintage Lilly Pulitzer shirt.  I love it

And a small tuna plate:

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ALL MINE

One of my very best friends from college, Jenn, stopped by for drinks after dinner too, the same night!  So much fun catching up

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Love her

So yes – tons and tons of fun time with friends.  But of course – the time with Penelope was the most special and important of all!  And she had a blast – on the beach:

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Making her beautiful sand castle

Hanging with her Papi:

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Yep!  That’s my Daddy

Chilling with Mommy:

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Baby fedora, we brought congri, and then P took a nap on the beach.  Super Cuban.

Baking ninja gingerbread:

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Excellent ninjas or spastic gingerbread men or whatever.

Attending church on Christmas Eve at Christ Fellowship:

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There was a step and repeat (really – it’s the South) but unfortunately we were too distracted to get a picture (also I knew Helen would mock me for asking)

P also enjoyed playing her new American Girl dolly, courtesy of her Daddy’s parents… I mean Santa Claus:

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Such a beautiful dolly.  I’m already plotting our trip to NYC for tea with the dolly.  Obviously more for me than for P at this point, but I think she will enjoy it also

with her cousins Christmas day:

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Awwwww.  P and Logan!

Oh – also Christmas day?  This happened.  It’s a full on Cuban Christmas lunch:

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You know, the traditional stuff.  Tostones, black beans, yucca with mojo, brussel spouts, mac and cheese, glazed carrots, sous vide lamb, and sous vide pork. 

P and I wore matching Mommy and me Lilly Pulitzer from Silkworm in West Hartford:

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My precious baby!

So basically yes, not a traditional white Christmas with stockings by the fire and a roast turkey (or …something?  I think some people do these things, haha).  But a perfect Christmas for us in every way.  Can’t wait to go back soon – I hope everyone else was blessed with lovely family and friends and great family traditions also!