1365 Post Road East, Westport
480 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich
Typically, I’m not one to root for the national retail chain, but Anthropologie is an exception. The store is colorful and spacious with an eclectic mix of styles and fun-to-wear apparel.
Who you’ll see shopping here: Women from high school through menopause who want to be comfortable, eclectic, and sometimes a little sexy.
Their specialty: Anything corporate is pushing. Typically, separates with loads of pattern, color, texture, wraps, and ruffles—all at once.
What you should buy: Girly/sophisticated day dresses and whimsical loungewear. Great ruffled cardigans, too, if you’re not already sick of ruffled cardigans.
What you may not know but should:
1. Their nightgowns make cute sundresses.
2. I’m saddened to recently note, however, the cheesifcation of the quality of their apparel.
Wednesday, March 30, 2011 • Permalink
National Cristina Foundation
500 West Putnam Avenue, Greenwich
Robin’s note: In 1984, David Bruce McMahan donated a used Apple 2e computer to his daughter Cristina’s special-needs classroom. After seeing the enormous impact this “obsolete” hardware had on the social and educational development of the children, he partnered with Dr. Yvette Marrin and created this foundation to collect and distribute much-needed used technology. To date, computers donated through NCF have helped millions of people around the world.
Who they are: “The National Cristina Foundation provides computer technology and solutions to give people with disabilities, students at risk and economically disadvantaged persons the opportunity, through training, to lead more independent and productive lives.” (website)
What they provide: Donated computers and technology (from individuals and corporations) to charities, schools, and public agencies in the U.S. and other countries.
How to donate: The foundation accepts used laptops, desktop computers, software, peripherals, and other items. Log onto http://www.cristina.org for requirements and donation instructions.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011 • Permalink
Second Time Around
6 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich
135 Post Road East, Westport
This is a consignment store with a cushy downtown location. You don’t have to drive to a weird strip mall or exert any kind of shopping energy other than just, like, going there. Which gives ones shopping excursion a lovely continuity. But wait - there’s more. The Westport store has an events calendar so busy it’s amazing they have time to sell clothes. But they do. So many, in fact, most high-end designer pieces bypass the floor and go straight to “Wish List” customers. So you have to exert all your conserved energy putting your name on a Wish List. Don’t complain: it’s worth it.
Although STA is a chain, its inventory reflects the town in which it resides, with samplings of almost every designer from neighboring stores. The cache includes the girly triumvirate Milly, Nanette Lepore, and Cynthia Steffe (Lucy’s), Lilly Pulitzer (Splash of Pink), Theory (Mitchell’s), J. Crew, Talbot’s, BCBG.. you get the idea. The store is tightly managed, with tear-outs of outfit suggestions and “Selecting an Outfit to Flatter Your Skin Tone” articles in the dressing rooms.
Accessories include Prada and Gucci handbags, Manolos and Sigerson Morrison sandals. A small men’s section (from Robert’s) is in the waaayyy back, along with a clearance rack from which I purchased a Nieves Lavi dress for $43 (regularly $300-400.)
Special discounts are offered almost daily and painstakingly reported on Facebook and Twitter (making me realize the extent to which the rr.com Facebook page is lame.) The store regularly hosts charity functions and showcases rising clothing and jewelry designers, such as Renee du Mar and Polly Akers.
Robin’s note: Alex McCord of Housewives attended the Westport opening last year, which is so cringe-inducing it makes my feet sweat.
Click to read the rest ... "Second Time Around"
Monday, March 28, 2011 • Permalink
993 Post Road, Westport
Tidy and well-edited, this store isn’t fabulous yet, but seems promising.
Robin’s note: I’m a believer in consignment shops insofar as you can buy an aspiration piece you couldn’t otherwise afford (monetarily or psychologically.) But a used Liz Claiborne sweater? Pfft.
Who you’ll see shopping here: Women 35+ who don’t want to pay full price. Obviously.
Their specialty: Suits.
What you should buy: The lone Missoni, if you can make it fit.
What you may not know but should: It has a few well-priced high-end pieces, including the lone Missoni and an Emanuel Ungaro.
Monday, March 21, 2011 • Permalink
211 Liberty Square, Norwalk
You know an ethnic restaurant is authentic when they misspell English words on the menu (unless it’s a Chinese restaurant. Then it means a quick trip to the hospital for a stomach pump.) This amiable near-dive eatery bills itself as “Find Authentic Mexican Cuisine” and is as delicios as it is barata. They cater for special occations and is our pleasure to serve you.
Robin’s note: Their margaritas come from a bottle and taste like _______ (fill in the blank).
Who you’ll see eating here: Young Hispanic families, older couples.
Their specialty: Molcajete Mixto, mixed grill with onions, peppers, and cheese.
What you should order: Camarones a la Mexicana, shrimp with tomato, onion, and jalapeño.
What you may not know but should:
1. Their tortillas are homemade in-house.
2. Everyone receives a basket of chips and two types of salsa: spicy & sweet.
Friday, March 18, 2011 • Permalink
128 Washington Street, South Norwalk
I love temporary tattoos. I like the realistic ones (roses, skulls) that make it look like I hit the road with my sweet hog after pre-school drop off. The drawback is they’re an effective barometer of how often one bathes. Like when I arrived, bare-armed, to my exercise class with “Red Lulu” emblazoned across my bicep and received tentative inquiries as to how long I’ve had it.
As advertised on my limb, I dined out with friends at Red Lulu’s. A Thursday evening “Mom’s Night Out.” In a roomful of other groups of mom’s-night-outers. The ratio of moms-to-seats in the restaurant substantially diminished hope of receiving tasteful appraisal from handsome men, as there were scary few in eyeshot.
But that’s not the point of mom’s night out. The point of MNO is to drink, eat, and pretend you don’t have kids, which is easy to do in this hedonistic nosh-spot. It’s scarlet, dark, shiny, loud, and a strange horror-type movie plays on the wall: a unique ambience for FC, though it may not appeal to all types.
Our congenial and efficient waiter offered complimentary shots of tequila atop watermelon granita (in two communal dishes) and we split a bunch of appetizers and entrées. Some were good, many were creative. The pitchers of margaritas were tasty and fresh but lacked a little something special, namely alcohol. (Rumor has it the individual drinks contain more nectar of the agave).
Robin’s note: After dinner we received the tattoos with a wet towel for application and an enormous bouffant of pale green cotton candy sort of made up for their lack of tequila. And, yes, I bathed after exercise class.
Click to read the rest ... "Red Lulu"
Darien Sport Shop
1127 Post Road, Darien
Seemingly conservative yet surprisingly chic, the DSS carries a little something special for every one of its moneyed clientele: from toys to Tahari, nautical wear to “Not Your Daughters” jeans.
Robin’s note: I assumed this would be another sportswear wasteland; I was pleasantly surprised by the sophisticated selection.
Who you’ll see shopping here: Women 30-80 who are active, tasteful, and rich.
Their specialty: Ruffled cardigans from various labels, between $325-400.
What you should buy: A camel Susan Monaco dress – casual and elegant.
What you may not know but should: The jewelry is lovely—conservatively trendy—and well-priced, starting around $30. http://www.dariensport.com
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 • Permalink
Faye Kim Designs
190 Main Street, Westport
What initially attracted me to Faye Kim Designs was its proximity to my favorite coffee shop, Cocoa Michelle. The idea of sipping a cappuccino while perusing jewelry was too beautiful to resist. I discovered her jewelry is, as well, too beautiful to resist. I’ve rearranged my wish list several times, wavering between substantial link necklaces of varying lengths with bright turquoise pendants and white pearl pendants, gold hoop earrings, and thick chain bracelets.
Previously a fine jewelry buyer for Bergdorf Goodman, Faye’s aesthetic reflects that of esteemed sybaritic stalwart. Her gold pieces are primarily 22K, created using ancient and modern techniques, giving them a chic Romanesque feel.
Even though my wishes exceed my current jewelry budget, I’m always welcomed with a friendly smile and inquiry as to the well-being of my offspring instead of the “Oh, great, here’s the cheapskate who wastes our time” look of disdain (which I appreciate almost as much as the candy bowl.)
Robin’s note: Yes, there’s a candy bowl full of chocolate and dum-dums, making it easy to shop there with children in tow. I suspect if more jewelry stores had candy bowls, we’d all own more jewelry.
Click to read the rest ... "Faye Kim Designs"
606 Post Road East, Westport
350 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich
1101 Boston Post Road, Darien
WARNING: Sensory Overload. This store, packed with toys, clothes, candy and every cutesy gewgaw on the planet, left me with a hangover the next day. But as I waded through the morass, I found some great pieces.
Who you’ll see shopping here: Teenagers, women who want to dress like teenagers, and very patient shoppers.
Their specialty: Tight pants, loose tops, and stretchy fabric apparel.
What you should buy: Vince sweaters and white blouses, great affordable tunics and party dresses during in spring/summer.
What you may not know but should: The Greenwich store carries a special line of JL Rock designer jewelry, including gold-plated snake bracelets, chunky gold-plated rings, and signature white gold and diamond earrings. Word is, the Wish List owners and JL Rock are tight, so the prices are better than what you’d find at other stores.
Monday, March 14, 2011 • Permalink
98 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich
If you like lizards on your clothes, you’ll love this store.
Robin’s note: I suspect their fit model is a pre-pubescent teenager.
Who you’ll see shopping here: Teens to mid-40s looking for casual clothes.
Their specialty: Polo shirts.
What you should buy: Easy casual dresses.
What you may not know but should: Lacoste (named after tennis champion René Lacoste) is the first label to put the brand name—or, in this case, emblem—on the outside of their garments.
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