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JoyRide Indoor Cycling Studio

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Photo by Julianne Mulvey

25 Old Kings Highway North, Darien
1200 Post Road E, Westport
62 Danbury Road, Ridgefield

I love JoyRide.

Robin’s Note: Before JoyRide, I couldn’t stand indoor cycling. Spin classes at my cheap gym left me cold: humid concrete room, extended remix of “Rocking the Casbah,” and sweaty male bodies inches from my face. The instructor invites us to “crank up the resistance to 10 while you feel the stress of your day leave your body.” Sure enough, the stress of my day leaves my body and is replaced by the stress of sensory torment, sore muscles, and claustrophobia.

So on my list of “things I want to do,” JoyRide hovered between “cage-free swim with sharks” and “charity surrogate for sextuplets.”

In short, I wasn’t their target market.

But despite these obstacles, JoyRide has made a spinner of me! The spin room is spacious and blessedly well-ventilated, and the music selection is well-balanced, upbeat, and energetic. While each instructor has his/her own style, they all tease a hard-core work out of everyone by managing expectations, focusing on fun, and inspiring cyclists to, literally, burn their b*tts off.

Click to read the rest ... "JoyRide Indoor Cycling Studio"

Look Good     Feel Good     Darien     Westport    
Friday, February 28, 2014 • Permalink

Have Kids, Will Meet New Parents

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Children are a bonding force in our social relationships and we often meet our closest friends at school, PTA, or endless soccer games. From new parents with infants and toddlers to more seasoned parents of ‘tweens and teens, children are how we meet and what keeps us together throughout the years. It’s like a club, isn’t it? And, as in every club, there are a few simple guidelines:

  1. Yes, of course your toddler will grow up to be a lawyer! S/he has incredible powers of persuasion and constructs compelling, thoughtful arguments. Further, your child displays a trying tenacity when making unreasonable demands and a nascent propensity for courtroom drama. In fact, twenty years from now, all of our children will be lawyers. What a fun world!

  2. Is your child exceptional at sports? Performed brilliantly on his CMTs? You are the lucky parent of a fabulous child. But if you want to make friends, tell us how he picks his nose and wipes it on your upholstery. Has she ever sworn at a teacher? Destroyed your neighbor’s wallpaper? Friendships are forged on the basis of common experiences, humor, and a touch of schadenfreude. If all are present, we’ll become great friends. Then - and only then - will we appreciate your child’s achievements.

  3. Unless you meet specifically to talk about kids, don’t talk about kids. Unless you want to complain. (see #2)

  4. All of our kids say cute things. But it’s the inappropriate things that make us smile. You may think it’s wonderful how your child penned a love sonnet for you in 5 different languages. But it makes our skin crawl. My child talked constantly about trucks when he was young, but he pronounced “tr” as “f”. We got a lot of strange looks. Now, which story would you rather hear? If you chose the first one, we probably aren’t friends.

  5. If you are kind to our child you are our friend forever, regardless of how you feel about that.

  6. It’s wonderful that your child runs a lemonade stand and gives all of the proceeds to charity! Now try this fun exercise: let him earn $20 doing some sort of physical labor. Hand him the cash and bring him to a toy store. After he selects a toy, tell him he can A) put the toy back and purchase a cheaper toy after he’s donated a portion of his earnings to charity, B) buy the more expensive toy and not donate to charity. If he selects A, see #2.

  7. If we’re friends, brag all you want. Because I will.

Kids in Tow    
Sunday, February 23, 2014 • Permalink

Green Demolitions

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15 East Putnam Avenue, Greenwich
19 Willard Road, Norwalk

At first blush, it seems like a typical success story: suicidal drug addict recovers, makes a wad of cash, sells used kitchens. But wait – “used kitchens”?

Who they are: Founder and President Steve Feldman is a drug addict survivor. He began selling used, overstock, and showroom kitchens and appliances in 2005 to give back to All Addicts Anonymous (AAA), the program that saved his life, through Recovery Unlimited. To date, he owns 4 Green Demolition stores in 3 states and hires 37 people, 35% of who are recovered addicts or family members of recovering addicts.

What they do: In addition to kitchen cabinets and appliances, GD sells objects for the entire house: lamps, toilets, sinks, furniture, candlesticks, etc. Pretty much any decent donated item. But mostly kitchens and appliances.

How to donate: If you wish to donate, they’ll send over a truck to pack up your old kitchen, etc. and haul it to the nearest GD store. You don’t have to pay a dime in disposal or moving costs and you get a tax deduction and you get a warm fuzzy.

The good stuff they sell: They do a brisk business with Christian Clive cabinetry and Viking stoves. Their new “Luxury Room” and “Gold Mine” boasts pewter and silver plate accessories, Tibetan rugs, “finer” furniture and that ilk. And if you want a Viking stove, don’t buy it retail: GD gets a bunch of them. But it’s hit or miss, so be prepared to come back regularly to find what you want.

Click to read the rest ... "Green Demolitions"

Home + Garden     Give     Greenwich     Norwalk    
Thursday, February 13, 2014 • Permalink

Margarita Man

Margarita Man, Fairfield

Margarita Man
Mike Beetem, 860-790-1234

Every year my husband and I celebrate Mexican Independence Day with a large party. Being American, we change their day of freedom to whatever happens to work best for us, typically a Saturday night. So “Cinquo de Mayo” cheekily becomes “Secondo de Mayo” or “Octavo de Mayo” or whenever (and however we feel like translating it.) We think this is cool but it will probably be one of those dorky things that haunt our children far into their adult lives.

So when the stress of planning a party and knowing you’ll someday destroy your children’s social development starts becoming less fun than what you envisioned, it’s time to call… Margarita Man!

Margarita Man, aka Mike Beetem, saved my party and made me so happy I forgot about the other stuff that was bothering me. I simply told him when and where and he delivered a beautiful machine – all gussied up in a grass skirt and silk flowers – the afternoon of my party. He supplied the delicious mix, I supplied the tequila and the triple sec. After giving us a quick tutorial (1. Pour it in, 2. Flip the switch) he told us he’d pick up the machine the next day (which he did, precisely when he said he would).

And the party? WOW. Nothing says “Viva la Independence!” like one too many Margarita Man margaritas!

Click to read the rest ... "Margarita Man"

Bars + Baristas     Entertainment     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Monday, February 10, 2014 • Permalink

Have Kids, Will Grocery Shop

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I enjoy shopping with my kids. Well, “enjoy” is a strong term. It’s more that I loathe grocery shopping to the point I’d prefer the distraction of misbehavior to the tedium of an uninterrupted search for expiration dates.

For the first five minutes.

After that, things get dicey. So I select a store that’s small enough I can’t “lose” my kids for more than a few awkward minutes but large enough to diffuse their hysteria. Typically, I choose Trader Joe’s (TJ’s). They have plenty to keep my kids entertained (free samples, kiddie shopping baskets, find-the-dirty-monkey-and-get-a-lollipop) with the added bonus of stocking nothing the kids recognize from morning cartoon commercials.

Before my oldest could read, I could easily dissuade him from certain junk foods by claiming they contained peanuts, to which he’s allergic. Now he reads, so steering him away from the high-fat high-sugar treats around which his world revolves is challenging.

I don’t want to say, “It’s fattening” or “You don’t need the calories” because, should my kids wind up with body dysmorphia or worse, I don’t want them to be able to recall a specific moment as the snowflake that started the avalanche of their descent. Better to keep it vague so they can’t point fingers.

Click to read the rest ... "Have Kids, Will Grocery Shop"

Kids in Tow    
Friday, February 07, 2014 • Permalink

Brandy Melville

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375 Greenwich Avenue, Greenwich
142 Main Street, Westport
http://www.brandymelvilleusa.com

I tend to dismiss teen apparel shops for the cheesy, over-priced, slutty clothes. So I’m always flummoxed when I find myself in one of their fitting rooms trying to yank their leggings over my… well, you get the picture. And so it was with Italy-based Brandy Melville when they rolled into town.

Sure, they have the requisite barely-there tops and crotch-grazing skirts. But their sweatshirts and oversized-tops are super-comfy and flattering, their jewelry is cute and cheap, and their suede fringe backpack is pretty cool. Quality’s decent, too.

Robin’s note: Their “One Size Fits Most” policy is a tad distressing. I mean, with pants the girth of a garden hose, I assume “most” refers to the population of Somalia. Before blazing American frontier their policy was “One Size Fits All.” So when they get a toehold in the midwest it’ll probably be “One Size.”

Their specialty: Loose-fitting tops, angora sweaters, and tight bottoms.

What you should buy: Sweatshirts and over-sized tees, jewelry for teen gifts.

What you may not know but should:
  - All materials are eco-friendly.
  - Sororities are encouraged to schedule private shopping nights in any location.
  - Yes, everything is “One Size Fits Most” and has been for the past 30 years.

Fashion     Greenwich     Westport    
Tuesday, February 04, 2014 • Permalink