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Darien

Darien Sport Shop

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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

Fashion     Darien    
Tuesday, March 15, 2011 • Permalink

Wish List

Wish List, Darien

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.
http://www.shopwishlist.com

Fashion     Darien     New Canaan     Westport    
Monday, March 14, 2011 • Permalink

Espresso Neat

20 Grove Street, Darien

Tucked behind – WAY behind – the tiny shopping area that is downtown Darien exists a delightful coffee shop with some of the best coffee I’ve had since Switzerland.

Robin’s note: Try the dainty yet surprisingly tasty ham and swiss sandwich – rivaled only by Bouchon Bakery in NYC.

Who you’ll see eating here: The Beautiful People from Darien, including a very handsome man my mom spotted.

Their specialty: Personal gourmet roast slow-drip coffee.

What you should order: Personal gourmet roast slow-drip coffee with a mini cupcake. And the aforementioned sandwich.

What you probably don’t know but should: They’re not a chain, and you can order your holiday SoNo Bakery pies here!
http://www.espressoneat.com

Bars + Baristas     Darien    
Wednesday, March 09, 2011 • Permalink

Helen Ainson Shoppe

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1078 Boston Post Road, Darien

Miles of rhinestones, satin, jewel tones, and beading festoon the frocks in this small shop, blurring the fine but crucial line between “mother of the bride” and “evening wear”.

Robin’s note: The clothes aren’t my style, but the costume jewelry is fun and a few pieces –- well, one piece -– is great.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Mature women who attend charity balls for $150 a ticket.

Their specialty: Floor-length gowns in shiny materials. 

What you should buy: Fabulous leopard trench coat for $165 - good print, nice cut.

What you may not know but should: This boutique has won prestigious shopping awards, including “Best of the Gold Coast.” So, full disclosure: mine aren’t the reigning antipathies.
http://www.helenainson.com

Fashion     Darien    
Wednesday, March 02, 2011 • Permalink

Fairfield Community Foundation

FCF Logo

http://www.fccfoundation.org

As many of you know, at least those who scroll beyond “Bars” and “Look Good,” this site includes write-ups of local charities and foundations. Why? Three reasons: 1) it’s amazing how many wonderful opportunities exist for giving, 2) it’s alarming how few of the 2,243+ organizations we’re actually aware, and 3) researching them independently is as tedious as cleaning Vaseline off your carpet with toilet paper and baby shampoo.

The FCF understands this and was created to make giving a lot of easier.

What they do: The FCF helps you “select those [organizations] that match your charitable passions and provide well-run programs that achieve results…. [and] help local nonprofits operate at peak efficiency so they get the most good out of every dollar. You can also join other like-minded donors to engage in collective giving.”

Who they are: FCF’s leadership is composed of local community and business leaders.

Where your money goes: To ensure money is used most effectively, grants focus on 6 areas –
  - Education and Youth Development
  - Economic Opportunity (including affordable housing, workforce development, and immigrant success)
  - Health and Human Services
  - Arts and Culture/Arts Education
  - The Environment/Environmental Education
  - Nonprofit Capacity Building

Click to read the rest ... "Fairfield Community Foundation"

Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Thursday, February 17, 2011 • Permalink

Fund for Women and Girls

http://www.fccfoundation.org

Last August, Jennifer Aniston assured women everywhere that we don’t need men to have babies. Okay, aside from piffling matters like the biology of human reproduction and male role models, she kind of has a point. I mean, a women pulling in her kind of coin can replace a father with a fleet of nannies, a night nurse, a maid, a vegan chef, and todder wardrobe full of designer clothing.

But, sadly, the lights on Hollywood Boulevard seem to have blinded her from reality. First, she has no children and, therefore, no clue what she’s talking about. Second, most single moms do need help: that’s where a baby daddy comes in pretty handy. And if he isn’t around, and money is tight, then they need someone – and I’m not referring to a casting director or personal assistant.

That’s where the Fund for Women and Girls comes in handy.

Who they are: “Established in 1998 by women for women, the Fund for Women and Girls is a permanent Field of Interest fund of the Fairfield County Community Foundation… (and) has become the largest women’s fund in New England.”

What they do: “In 2007, the Fund published the first research study on the status of women and girls in Fairfield County… Our research confirmed what was expected… too many women are living at the poverty level because of limited education, low-paying jobs and the high cost of child care.

Since the Fund’s establishment, it has awarded $1.4 million in grants to Fairfield County nonprofits that address the unique needs of women and girls. Our investments and collaborations aim to

Click to read the rest ... "Fund for Women and Girls"

Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Wednesday, February 09, 2011 • Permalink

Swap Shop

Swap Shop, Darien

The Darien Dump, 126 Ledge Road, Darien

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, depending on how loosely you define the term. If you “treasure” TV sets that may or may not work, you’ll be as happy as an alley cat at Nobu. I did find a few things, such as a white wood crib, a child’s bicycle seat, a complete Encyclopedia set and “The Divorce Handbook.” All needed minor repairs and a hose-down but, shoot, they’re free. If you live in Darien.

Robin’s note: The term “swap” is loosely defined, as well. About a half dozen residents routinely troll the shop and sell the stuff at yard sales. Others show up with small stacks of VHS/Beta tapes and “swap” them for a dresser. One man took a set of silverware later valued at $1,000.

Their specialty: Books and televisions.

What you should take: Furniture for dorms or au pair rooms. Oh, and anything really valuable.

What you may not know but should:
  1. You can post “items wanted” on a bulletin board inside the shop.
  2. The Swap Shop does not “accept” anything broken, cracked, stained, or damaged… umm… yeah.
  3. We’re sorry, but the large, ugly collection of refrigerators and air conditioners isn’t for the taking.
  4. Swap Shoppers must be Darien residents and have a trash permit.

Consignment     Home + Garden     Darien    
Wednesday, February 02, 2011 • Permalink

Double Exposure Consignment Boutique

Double Exposure

1090 Boston Post Road, Darien

Haute mingles with humble on many levels in this unassuming shop. Chanel suits hang amid lesser label outcasts, and designer pieces in varying degrees of wear & tear are squeezed onto every rack.

Robin’s note: Don’t expect bargain basement prices on quality designer duds: you’re still in Darien. But you can get a worn Vince cardigan for $48.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women 18 to 80 who love the thrill of the hunt.

Their specialty: Fur coats and business casual separates.

What you should buy: Size 6 cream Chanel suit for $688.

What you may not know but should: They consign beautiful fur coats if you don’t mind last season’s cut. But stay away from the home décor crammed in the back of the store. http://www.doubleexposureboutique.com

Consignment     Fashion     Darien    
Tuesday, January 04, 2011 • Permalink

Children’s Toy Drives

Toy Drive

I threw out a pile of donation solicitations the other day. Depleted, I reasoned, were my charity and finances. Then I fired up the internet and bought myself a new pair of earrings. 

And so the cycle of guilt continues.

For the price of the pair of earrings I now plan to return, you can buy several lovely Christmas gifts for children in need. Below are many wonderful organizations eager to help out those less fortunate this holiday season:

Please hurry!

They all accept unwrapped toys or gift cards.

Holiday Toy Drive, Westport
Drop off new unwrapped toys and donations in the parking lot of Athletic Shoe Factory, 1560 Post Road East, Westport, on Dec. 18 & 19 between 9 AM and 3 PM. Toys are given to underprivileged children in Fairfield County. Or drop off toys any time at the Westport Police Department, 50 Jesup Road, until Dec. 19 at 3 PM. Toy Drive is sponsored by WPD Local Union #2080 and Police Benevolent Assoc.

The Child and Family Guidance Center*, Bridgeport
(203) 394-6529
http://www.cfguidance.org
Founded in 1925 to address the emotional and psychological wellbeing of children and their families, the Center offers a wide range of outpatient mental health and substance abuse counseling services for children under the age of 18 as well as a variety of in-home supportive services to their families.

Click to read the rest ... "Children’s Toy Drives"

Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Friday, December 17, 2010 • Permalink

Love146

Love146
http://www.love146.org

We’ve all read about child sex slavery and trafficking but we rarely see foundations set up to prevent it. Due to its stigma, it’s not a cause that has historically received attention from the glamorous charity ball set. However, it’s an extremely important cause that affects millions of innocent children worldwide including the United States and Fairfield County. Thankfully, Love146, based in New Haven, is dedicated to the abolition of child trafficking through prevention, research, and aftercare. Please be aware: the story I’ve included below is harrowing and may be difficult for some to read.

Who they are: In 2000, a group of 4 people—Rob Morris, Lamont Hiebert, Desirea Rodgers and Caroline Hahm—traveled to Southeast Asia to research child exploitation. The child sex slave industry they witnessed was so horrifying, they created Love146 with the goal of ending sex slavery and helping to physically and psychologically repair its young victims.

Their name: In early 2007, two of the four founders went undercover with Thailand police into a brothel. “We found ourselves standing shoulder to shoulder with predators in a small room, looking at little girls through a pane of glass. All of the girls wore red dresses with a number pinned to their dress for identification. They sat, blankly watching cartoons on TV. They were vacant, shells of what a child should be. There was no light in their eyes, no life left. … These children…raped each night… seven, ten, fifteen times every night. They were so young. Thirteen, eleven… it was hard to tell… Except one girl. One girl who wouldn’t watch the cartoons. Her number was 146. She was looking beyond the glass. She was staring out at us, with a piercing gaze. There was still fight left in her eyes. There was still life left in this girl…

Click to read the rest ... "Love146"

Give     Darien     Greenwich     New Canaan     Westport    
Wednesday, July 07, 2010 • Permalink

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