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!

weha whiskey festival

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!

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.

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

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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.