Oscar’s Red Carpet Experience returns to Spotlight Movie Theaters this Sunday

Is anyone else binge watching all the Oscar nominated films they can find on demand?  Or is that just me on this rainy Friday?  The Oscars returns this Sunday and with it, the annual Red Carpet Experience fundraiser at Spotlight Movie Theaters!  Purchase your tickets here – but hurry, after today, you’ll have to buy them at the door the night of the event.

I’ve gone several years now (pictured below – 2015’s Oscars party) and this year’s outfit has been selected and I hope to see you there!  Come join hosts (and my good friends) Carolyn Paine and Alex Zarlengo, who will be busy keeping things in motion AND judging the looks on board.  Yes, there will be an award for best dressed.  Yes, dressing as your favorite character is totally acceptable.

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Hipster holiday happenings

You don’t have to go the traditional route for the holiday season (malls, mayhem, stuffy performances).  Opt instead for different, local, original fun which is neither overwhelming or boring.  I will be attending, as usual, my good friend Carolyn’s Nutcracker next weekend (December 15-17th) and she has teamed up this year with local Hartford eatery Place 2 Be to create Florette inspired “crazy” milkshakes that will get you in the holiday spirit via an intense sugar high, guaranteed.


Obsessed by how cute this is.

In addition, there will be a Breakfast with Santa this Saturday, December 9th, benefiting A Christmas Wish CT (so bring a toy for a deserving kiddo) AND Camp Courant.  I’ll be there supporting two great causes and I hope to see you there too.

This weekend, I knocked down a decent, very decent, chunk of my Chanukah shopping (including a purchase for me “from” Scott – because he was never going to buy me ballet inspired barre leggings on his own TBH) at the Phoenicia Flea at the Williamsburg Hotel. Our family is from the Hudson River Valley, and it was awesome to be able to peruse many local vendors in the heart of the city.  We acquired cider, cider donuts, and some secret items to be revealed next week!  WAY less stressful and more sustainable then the mall, plus cocktails in the lobby after?  Done and done.  The flea is not a one time affair, so follow them on Instagram to check out their next event.  Pictures below!

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(the greatest wallpaper of all time, without a doubt folks)


Your weekend, sorted, in two easy steps at Bartaco

Weekending can be hard.  Sure, it seems fun at first – go out, drink with friends, have fun, blah blah blah… but the options can be overwhelming.  Expensive.  And not always, let’s face it, that great.  So let me offer a VERY simple, yet sophisticated, solution – to this conundrum.  Head to your nearest Bartaco.  There are plenty of locations to choose from, and you can click HERE to find one that suits your travel radius.  Once you’ve arrived, settle in on the patio.  Chances are, if you found one, you’re on the east coast, and we have been promised the sort of gorgeous sun drenched weather this weekend that practically makes it a crime NOT to sit outside to dine.  And drink.  And what do order?  Why, glad you asked.

The Bartaco taco-to-mouth delivery system is almost fiendishly simple.  Just take your handy write in menu, and your small golf pencil, and scribble in your choices.  You can start small, go big at all at once, grab a quick bite, or linger if you wish (we won’t go into details of how long our last experience lasted… just relax and settle in, no one is going to rush you if you’re not ready… um, we promise.  based on personal experience).  Once you’re comfy, we recommend the Smoked Marasca:

(sunglasses optional but if you’re settling in for some serious day drinking – a plus)

Have you successfully completed step one?  Is it smoky, yet fruity, mysterious, and delicious?  Congratulations!  Let’s proceed to step two:

Do you see the arrow in the right hand corner, pictured above, plus “bar taco secret” below?  That is crucial in the two step dining/drinking/sun worshipping Bartaco experience.  For this, my friends, is the Bartaco SECRET taco.  Not listed on their menu, not available without knowing to ask.  And right now, it happens to be a most magical combination of buttery fresh lobster, balanced with pozole (fresh Mexican corn kernels) and just a hint of fresh chopped parsley, which will leave you with the mouth feel of a lobster roll, but the pleasurable textures and flavors of a taco.  Just a couple bites and there you have it. Late summer is served.  So don’t miss out on our crucially short patio season, or this crucially limited taco.  Just go.  Use my two step method.  Repeat as necessary and let me know what you think.  And follow Bartaco on Instagram for sneak peaks of secret tacos yet to come.


Bartaco invited me in to review and try their secret taco, but all opinions are my own.

Three hotels, two glasses of rose, and one marvelous cocktail in Newport

Welcome back to hotel cocktails – Newport edition (the first and most certainly not the last – as this is one of our favorite places to be and it’s an easy drive, especially on a bright sunny spring day).

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(he’s the most fun and basically the best)

Historic and storied Newport is home to the Newport Wine Festival – of course – which we attended and I wrote about here – but there’s really no bad time to visit.  A day in April is especially fine, as it wasn’t nearly as crowded as it would be in the height of season.  We began with rose at the Castle Hill Inn.

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and watched the sunset, and culminated the evening with another seafront location – The Chanler

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Billecart-Salmon – creamy, dry, and almost more of a champagne than a rose.  We drank it outside by a fire pit overlooking the beginning of the Newport Cliff Walk, with the surf crashing below.  Absolute perfection.

chandler bathroom

Also, quality bathroom for a quality instagram story is always a huge plus.

Although we hotel hopped along the sea, we stayed at our usual spot: the Hotel Viking.  It’s historic

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and centrally located: gets top marks for hospitality and service.  I took advantage of Scott’s obsession with all things auto related, and off he went to peruse the Audrain Automobile Museum while I and enjoyed a cocktail on the patio:


Newport Lemonade | Thomas Tew Rum | House Strawberry Basil Simple Syrup | Dell’s

We will be back to the Viking and Newport as often as possible this summer – certainly at least once for the summer and of course, for the 2017 Newport Wine Fest (dates and info on that here).  

ALL about Cocktails – Hotel Libations with Hoi Polloi + Bloody Marys for a cause with Max Restaurant Group

WELCOME to another installment of Hotel Cocktails – in the Shoreditch district of London.  Before we venture across the pond, let’s looks at something a BIT closer to home (well… I guess it depends on where you’re reading this from, but for the purposes of this narrative, let’s assume you’re in Connecticut, or at very least, somewhere on the east coast of the USA.  OK?  OK).

Max Restaurant Group is well known for its charitable endeavors, and as soon as I finish typing this, I’ll be headed to Max Oyster to sample their new Bloody Mary Bar (clearly the best part of any Sunday): drinking for a cause as they raise funds all day for Autism Speaks.  Join them at any of their CT or MA locations, OR at the lovely Cooper in Palm Beach Gardens, FL.

max restaurant group autism speaks

All good things.

And now, back to our review.  Scott and I were in London in February for a couple days, and being aficionados of the Ace Hotel in NYC, we naturally ventured to its London counterpart, and the very chic and on trend Hoi Polloi (an extra cheeky name if you consider the working class roots of the East End), which you, naturally, enter through a flower shop if you haven’t crossed in via the hotel lobby


Few things better than a big city eatery which knows you’ll find it.  No need for a sign.  Signs are for Applebee’s.  The cocktail list was, naturally, intriguing as hell.  After much deliberation, I selected a Zhoosy Sour:

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Woodford Reserve | Woodford Rye | Choya Yuzu umeshu | creme de banana | yuzu citrus | egg

A flip with whiskey?  I’ll take it.  Only (minor) complaint is that this is a missed opportunity to showcase a Japanese whiskey, given their immense caliber and all the other ingredients – but I’m going to stop insulting the mixologist now and assume that the Woodford was selected and blended in two varietals for its smoky sweetness to balance the other ingredients.  And balance it did.  Not a single one of the individual elements was identifiable in this cocktail.  Which is perhaps, one of the hallmarks of a well mixed libation.

Vibe of the Hoi Polloi?  Not surprisingly, intensely hip and open to whatever you want to make it.  Afternoon tea?  no problem.  DJ and dancing?  They have that too.  Want to work at the bar?  Wifi and lots of power outlets await you.  Full dinner service?  Well, naturally.  Would love to return for dinner the next time we are in London.  Cheers to a great experience with, naturally, the best company.

Best in Bridal this weekend with Lux Bond & Green

Love is in the air.  Spring is (attempting) to spring.  It takes a minute people.  We live in New England.  So, even if the snow falls today, hope springs eternal for warmer climes, and of course – wedding season.  Grab someone you know who is engaged, your bridal party (or, even better, grab your fiancé), and head to our friends at Lux Bond & Green today and tomorrow (3/31 and 4/1) for their Best in Bridal Wedding Band Extravaganza.  You can also shop online via the link above.

Why should you go?  Well first, because they are awesome people.  Locally owned and operated, customer service focused, and just SUPER nice to deal with.  Not to mention knowledgeable jewelers.  LBG has been in the game of pretty shiny things for many, many years.  And they will pass their buying expertise to you.  And the sales for this weekend can’t be beat.  And – did we mention shiny things?

There will be raffles and splendor and many, many diamonds.  Specifically: the largest regional selection of diamond, platinum, gold, and alternative metal wedding bands.  And during the extravaganza, enjoy an immediate 10% discount on wedding bands, free engraving, and 10% savings on most bridal gifts: plus an additional 5% coupon for your next purchase.  Plus champagne and beer.

Cheers to all the happy couples (and please note: LBG believes in love for ALL and is open to all relationships, and I think that’s pretty darn cool).  And enjoy these photos taken by yours truly – who enjoyed the opportunity to photograph flowers and diamonds together because that’s just awesome.

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Appetizing with Russ and Daughters Cafe

A Sunday well spent brings a week’s of content, as the saying goes.  What could be better than a sunny 60 degree day in February on the Upper East Side with someone you love?  Throw in a bagel and cream cheese you say, with some of the best cured fish in the city?  Well, ok.

Russ and Daughters is a New York institution, with a gritty and wonderful flagship location on the Lower East Side.  Want a fine, comprehensive, and dazzling array of cured fish?  Caviar?  Babka?  Well, head down, grab a ticket, and wait in line (and DO NOT lose that ticket, my friend).  Looking for a slightly more polished and artsy experience?  Well, do what we did yesterday and head all the way uptown to the Russ and Daughters Cafe, nestled in the basement of the Jewish Museum.  Sit down, have an egg cream, and an appetizing platter that will knock your socks off.  Nosh away, friends.  Nosh away.