Welcome to Robin’s Resources
I’m a Fairfield County mom who loves to shop and loves having fun. I also love giggles from my three darling children, but I’d trade in a few guffaws for a great deal on a designer cocktail dress and a decent margarita. I’m confident I’m not alone in this.
But free moments are few and not to be wasted—which is why we created RobinsResources.com. Our mission is to create the definitive resource for all things—well, the good things—style, fashion, and lifestyle in Fairfield County.
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Thursday, October 01, 2009 • Permalink
222 Summer Street, Stamford
20 Wilton Road, Westport
I’m reading Memoirs of a Sociopath and am convinced that everyone is a sociopath. At least the charming ones among you are sociopaths. So if you’re planning to manipulate me in cruel and sadistic ways, I have one thing to say to you: please don’t. I’m far too easy a target (to which my kids will happily attest.)
Who you should manipulate are the folks who decided we can no longer loiter with our margarita by the waterfront at Bar Taco in Westport. You see, our thrills are simple: we like to sip excellent cocktails while watching cars clear out of the parking lot across the river. So why destroy them? Either competing bars are envious of this recreation, or too many ducks are suffering blows to the head from falling glasses.
But aside from the occasional disgruntled duck, Bar Taco remains the suburbanite’s answer to nightlife. It’s crowded, scene-y, energetic, and kid-friendly. It’s also a restaurant, but most people don’t get too worked up about that. Me, I’m not crazy about most of the fare. But some people enjoy it. Take that however you’d like.
Robin’s note: During one of my many ventures to Bar Taco, the hostess spotted parents with a young girl waiting for a table. The little girl was dying of boredom and starvation, so the hostess ran over and gave her a coloring book, crayons, and chips. Nice touch, Bar Taco hostess.
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Bars + Baristas
Wednesday, September 17, 2014 • Permalink
163 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich
48 Post Road East, Westport
These stores are beautiful but, honestly, I’ve only ever seen one other person inside of them. When I walked in I half expected them to offer me a pineapple or beg for news from the outside world.
I’m not sure who is their target market, but Joie (“zhwah”) is a popular brand so someone must be buying their threads. Pretty much everything in the store is an article of clothing you already have in your closet, but made with more expensive fabric. So fabric-wise it’s fabulous, but the Guggenheim isn’t salivating for a retrospective.
The company started in 2001 in Southern California with a hip line of cargo pants in different fabrics. Super-skinny, but super cool. The cargos did well, so they began creating a “lifestyle brand” of everything BUT cargos. Hmm…
Regardless, it’s refreshing to know you don’t have to go far to buy a $249 silk tank top. It’s what separates Fairfield County from, like, almost every other county in the entire world. So let’s all take a moment to appreciate where we live.
Robin’s note: And speaking of emaciated, their skinny jeans should be sold with a free “Flopsy Ate My Dinner” t-shirt. An injudicious sales person informed a friend of mine that the jeans “wouldn’t fit her body shape,” which, while possibly true, still makes one’s trigger finger twitch. To be fair, the saleswoman (girl?) in Westport was kind and helpful when I was in the store, and courteously helped a borderline-sociopathic woman with the return of a sale item.
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Friday, August 29, 2014 • Permalink
The Gray Goose Cafe
246 Old Post Road, Southport
I was in France three weeks ago and noticed a number of women eating alone in cafes. Here, I see men eating alone at restaurant bars. Now, I don’t mention this to advertise I spent a week cavorting around Paris but to point out a potentially interesting socio-cultural phenomenon. And I write “potentially” because I don’t know if it’s interesting. I may never know. What I DO know is that it’s summer break, my brain is melting like a dropped popsicle on hot slate and I have renewed love and respect for teachers and compulsory education.
Anyway, I made this dubiously intriguing note on Tuesday night, when my girlfriends treated me to a birthday dinner at The Gray Goose Cafe. I darted from my home and screaming children the nanosecond my husband touched down on the driveway, allowing me a solid 20 minutes to observe the eating habits of lone males before my friends appeared.
One other observation: women order dessert. Men don’t.
As you may have now inferred, I needed a night out with my chicks. And Gray Goose, friends, does not disappoint. Granted, a Tuesday night doesn’t attract the most enticing of crowds (unless you’re over 60) but it hardly matters. If you’re not staring at the bartender with bright white hair (Let if flow, Elsa!) or musing over the eating habits of strange men, the fabulous cocktails and amazing menu will siphon any remaining thought power.
Not surprisingly, Gray Goose is brought to us by the same geniae behind Little Barn, Spotted Horse, and that ilk. Think cozy yet elegant barn-like atmosphere with hopping bar and minimal parking. The service is inconsistent - sometimes great, sometimes lousy, so manage your expectations.
Robin’s note: No appetizer or entree is over $25. And, yes, we had dessert (surprise birthday cake!)
Who you’ll see eating here: Older groups of men and women during the week. Couples and small groups of men and women age 35+ on Thursday-Sunday.
Their specialty: Lobster macaroni, Maine Lobster club, Ahi Tuna tacos.
What you should order: Lobster macaroni, Miso salmon with coconut rice
What you may not know but should:
- There’s a “no reservation” policy so your downtime options are limited: drink or step outside and watch traffic. Thus the bar tends to be crowded and loud on weekends.
- Thursday night is Ladies night! 1/2 price house wine and martinis, including those fruity little numbers we love
- Live music on the tiiiiiny patio ever Sunday at 5:30 and Friday from 10 PM - close
Bars + Baristas
Thursday, July 10, 2014 • Permalink
98 Washington Street
I don’t shower in the mornings. With 3 children awake and ready for action at 5:45 AM, I hit the ground running and, unless I’m going to be in close proximity to celebrities and movie producers, don’t shower until evening.
So it was last Saturday. The day was exhausting and moments before our sitter arrived I was weighing the pros and cons of bathing before date night. Bathing won, as looking like a slob does precious little for one’s sex appeal.
We decided to paint SoNo red and, after a watery cocktail at a hip bar, decided to cut our losses and eat at Match.
Ah, Match. The bartenders’ smiling faces, the exceptional (potent) cocktails, and the excellent New American cuisine. Every time we go there we wonder why we don’t go more often. Then we remember we have 3 kids who wake up before dawn. And we marvel at how we manage to get out at all.
Who you’ll see eating here: Couples mostly, ages 30-60 years old. Some groups of girlfriends ages 35-50.
Their specialty: Appetizers and anything wood-oven roasted.
What you should eat: “Carpgetbaggers” –fried Blue Point oysters and bunch of other stuff. Mmm…
What you may not know but should:
- They’ve won every award from every local and food magazine in the country, from “Best Appetizers” to “Best Overall Restaurant.”
- Maybe it’s the name, but Match tends to attract a lot of cougars and those who prey upon them.
Bars + Baristas
Tuesday, July 01, 2014 • Permalink
260 Compo Road South, Westport
This asian-fusion restaurant is Longshore’s crown jewel. It’s perfect for moms who’d rather drink chardonnay than sit on hot concrete while the 13-year old lifeguards lecture them (again) on the importance of keeping an eye on their wet, nomadic offspring.
Robin’s note: The best lunch spot in Westport if you’re not with your kids.
Who you’ll see eating here: Groups of moms talking loudly and 35-50 year old couples.
Their specialty: Raw bar.
What you should order: Calamari salad – big enough to share.
What you may not know but should:
1. They’ve won a bunch of awards.
2. Bottles of wine are 50% off every Friday night during the holidays and winter season. (October – April)
Monday, June 09, 2014 • Permalink
A Consignment Boutique
33 East Avenue, New Canaan
Eight years ago, in Palm Beach, I stumbled across a vintage clothing store on Worth Avenue. They had just received two vintage c. 1955 Lilly Pulitzer dresses. Now, said another way (for the sake of clarity), they had just received two used dresses. We’re not talking couture or seminal contemporary fashion. The price, upon inquiry: $450. Each.
Horrified, I raised my eyebrows and smiled as if to say, “Wow, what a deal!”, pretended my attention was diverted by a $3,000 secondhand Pucci, and quietly left the store.
Well, folks, I’m vindicated: DWR has two of the same style vintage Lilly dresses for $98 each. Plus, as with all of their apparel, the dresses are discounted every 30 day period they remain unsold. It may not be enough to cripple Worth Avenue, but when the indulgent clotheshorse who bought the dresses eight years ago finds out, she’ll feel pretty silly. Assuming she remembers.
DWR (Done With Retail) is a year-old consignment boutique begun by Denise and Nicole, two disenchanted retail excecutives in New Canaan, and their store reflects a typical resident’s closet: Lilly, Rebecca Taylor, Trina Turk and the like, alongside J.‘s McLaughlin and Crew, and a smattering of high-end designers. The prices are reasonable: most pieces are under $100 with Lilly dresses averaging $65.The occasional Chanel bag drifts through, as do Hermes scarves, Dolce & Gabana blouses, and everything else in which you’d expect the New Canaan housewife (or her daughter) to be cavorting about town.
Robin’s note: DWR consigns a small collection of Tiffany jewelry, including an Elsa Peretti 18K pendant on a silk cord for $345 (minus 20% for being in the store for over 30 days), currently retailing for $825. Black suede Manolo Blahniks sell for $100, and I bought a pair of Lilly pants for my daughter for $14.
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Tuesday, June 03, 2014 • Permalink
Little League Challenger
I was never very good at sports. I loved them, though, and signed up for every thing: basketball, softball, field hockey, lacrosse… back when we signed up for sports and were spared the disgrace of try outs. It was common knowledge I’d be useless with a ball but, shoot, I could yell and cheer louder than anyone else on the team. So I did, and instead of runs, baskets, goals, and things that actually won games, I made them very noisy. And I did get a few Spirit Awards…
When I read about the Challenger Division, a team of mentally and physically challenged children playing baseball with the help of volunteers, I was touched. Here is an opportunity, I thought, to reward spirit and teamwork as the end result of a game: a laudable, often overlooked goal, and I bet I’m not the first cheerleader to agree.
What they are: “…a program that enables mentally and physically-challenged youth to enjoy the full benefits of Little League participation in an athletic environment structured to their abilities.
“The philosophy is to give all children the chance to play baseball in a setting that is fun and supportive. A big part of this, for the players, is to experience the sense of belonging that comes with being a part of a team, as well as the spirit of friendly competition through games with other Challenger teams from neighboring towns. In Challenger baseball, scores don’t count - everybody is a winner. It’s all about acceptance, self-esteem, positive learning experiences and team spirit.”
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Wednesday, May 07, 2014 • Permalink
Java Coffee & Café
44 Church Lane, Westport
I have observed, with a certain dark interest, the rise and fall of several eateries on this random bit of real estate, tucked around the corner from the Y and a touch inconvenient for Main St. consumers. Then, like a knight in shining armor, Java struck its sword into this plot of commercial property and out popped a great cafe.
Java - based in Idaho - is hip, colorful, and boasts excellent coffee. The service is prompt and friendly and they even keep a large dispenser of ice water and lemons by the door so you don’t have to lighten your wallet for bottled water. Awwww.
Holy cow, it’s healthy. The salads are rife with kale, quinoa abounds, and fresh salad accompanies almost everything. For cross-fitters and über-moms, there’s Paleo banana bread. For the rest of us, there are organic sweets and baked snacks. Soon it’ll have a wine, beer & limited liquor license.
It has an outdoor patio for eating al fresco, overlooking the lovely grounds of Christ & Holy Trinity. So the health benefits of your meal won’t be offset by the inhalation of traffic toxins.
Robin’s note: During one of my three visits in four days, I sat on the patio with friends. We happily agreed that hanging out there felt “just like being on Friends!” Which both dates us and divulges our communal belief that sitcoms are real and present a life to which we all aspire. So… there’s that.
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Bars + Baristas
Friday, May 02, 2014 • Permalink
Cathy Peru, Laser Hair Removal
Kathy Peru (Click to enlarge)
Plastic Surgery of Southern Connecticut, L.L.C.
208 Post Road West, Westport
Shorn underarms became popular around 1915. A few years later hairless gams were all the rage. Then a circle of sisters parked themselves on 57th Street in NYC and introduced legions of hair-fearing women to depilated pudendums.
That means a typical non-European woman will spend months of her life painfully de-fuzzing limbs, armpits and, you know, other things. And now: men. Yep. Not sure who wrote the memo, but men in their ‘20s and ‘30s are mowing, or ripping out, their private little lawns.
I, however, will not. Because I met Cathy, RN and skin care specialist. You may think I’m histrionic when I say she’s my new best friend, but if you’ve experienced the myriad of “permanent” hair removal processes I’ve experienced, you’ll understand. However, for dignity’s sake, let’s not go there.
Important side note: hair removal hurts. No getting around it. So it gives me some satisfaction to know men are in on it now and can experience what females must endure. In fact, if the Crips and Bloods initiated their young members with hair removal instead of arbitrary manslaughter, my guess is that there would be far fewer gangs roaming the streets.
At any rate, Cathy has been a registered nurse for 25 years, many of which were spent in the maternity ward (so no need to be embarrassed about… yeah). To the delight of numerous well-groomed women, she’s focused on laser skin care and hair removal for the past 7 years in the office of top plastic surgeon, Dr. Joseph O’Connell (see write-up on this site).
She’s lovely, knowledgeable, and amazing at eradicating annoying and unwanted keratinized filaments. And if you’re one of the unlucky individuals whose hair is disinclined to leave its host, she’ll do whatever she can (short of blowtorching) to ensure you’re happy with the results.
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Friday, April 25, 2014 • Permalink