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Graze

Graze

http://www.grazedelivered.com

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Graze(Click to enlarge)

So this goat farmer walks into my house…

That could be the beginning of a great joke or a bad porn flick. But it’s neither. It’s actually true. He comes to my home on Monday mornings and delivers fresh milk, eggs, chef-prepared meals, and other organic treats directly from artisanal farms in Vermont. And the price? No more than what you’d pay at Whole Foods.

Graze, the brainchild of Christy Colasurdo, a Westport mom and former New York magazine editor along with husband, Doug, and Vermont friends Julianna and Steve (a former CFO of Heineken Americas. Yes, male readers: beer) allows Fairfield County-ers to enjoy delicious farm-to-table foods to which they would otherwise have little or no access (farmers aren’t necessarily great marketers and, to be fair, vice-versa).

Chef Neil whips up a weekly menu of prepared foods, including a soup, adult dinner, kids dinner, grain salad, vegetarian alternative, tea bread, cheese, and much more. His meals and soups are beautifully prepared from local ingredients (Misty Knoll chicken, grass-fed angus beef, freshly picked vegetables) and are surprisingly, and refreshingly, well-seasoned (whoever decided that organic meals must be low-sodium should be locked into a room of hungry pre-schoolers. And their moms.)

Christy tells me, “We have taken great pains to make sure every ingredient we use and every product we sell is not only delicious and nutritious and wholesome, but also sustainably and humanely produced. (We) work with small farmers who know and love their animals and treat them with respect.

Click to read the rest ... "Graze"

Dining     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport    
Wednesday, April 09, 2014 • Permalink

Las Vetas Lounge

Las Vetas, Fairfield

29 Unquowa Road, Fairfield

The hodge-podgiest coffee shop I’ve ever graced with my presence, this café boasts an enormous selection of teas and coffee drinks (Flava-Mave, Shizzler’s Toffee Chocolate Shake), retro candy (candy bracelets, Bit O’Honey), single-serve bowls of sugared cereals, wall o’ bagged chips, some baked goods, sandwiches, garage-sale seating …you get the idea. Coffee’s okay but – let’s be honest – completely beside the point.

Robin’s note: Good news is, the environment itself is so loud no one notices when your children act like non-domesticated wildebeest.

Who you’ll see eating here: Fairfield U students, moms with young kids, and a random sprinkling of 50 year-old men.

Their specialty: Coffee drinks.

What you should order: One of their crazy coffee drinks, bag of fritos, handful of mini chocolate bars, and some sort of hard taffy lollipop that’ll keep the kids busy while you enjoy your lunch.

What you may not know buy should: They don’t have a liquor license, but bring in a bottle of wine and they’ll serve it for a nominal corkage fee.
http://www.lasvetaslounge.com

Bars + Baristas     Fairfield    
Saturday, April 05, 2014 • Permalink

The Beehive

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1561 Post Road, Fairfield

The only problem with The Beehive is that it’s perfect. The store is airy and inviting, the gifts are lovely (and useful!) with a sense of humor, and the owners Sarah and Chris are manifestations of a J. Crew catalog. Even their rescue dog is purebred - not the wacky amalgams* most of us adopt.

None of this is a problem per se but, typically, gift stores carry a few items at which we can roll our eyes or buy as joke presents. That’s not happening here.

Tasteful items range from Allegra Hicks throw pillows to Jonathan Adler salt and pepper shakers, Loren Hope necklaces to charming stationary. The children’s gifts are deliciously whimsical, though geared more toward a hip mom than an actual toddler. But who cares. Better to keep the mom happy if she’s dealing with toddlers.

Robin’s note: Ironically, I’m not a huge fan of blogs. Especially those on store sites which I find to be a bit pandering. But their blog is (surprise!) really good. I found myself wanting most of their suggested gift items.

Price points are kept low for “guilt-free” shopping - for those of you who’ve ever felt guilty about it. And once you’ve purchased gifts for yourself and all the party-throwers in your life, you can wrap them in gorgeous paper and ribbons, also for sale. So your OCD friends will love it, too.

Click to read the rest ... "The Beehive"

Entertainment     Home + Garden     Fairfield    
Monday, March 24, 2014 • Permalink

Little Black Dog Rescue

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http://www.littleblackdogrescue.org

We adopted a dog last summer - Addison, rescued from Puerto Rico. He’s a hybrid of, oh, 5 or 6 indeterminate breeds and it’s no exaggeration to say he’s the most amazing dog in the entire history of the world. So I was researching Playa Lucia, aka Dead Dog Beach, from where he hails. And I feel like someone just punched me in the stomach. Warning - the next paragraph is graphic.

Dead Dog Beach is a dumping ground for satos, or stray dogs. Up to 300 dogs at a time “live” there, abused and neglected, foraging for food, starving to death, and much worse. Not infrequently, men with guns or cross-bows use these dogs for target practice or hack them up with machetes. Others are poisoned or run over for by ATVs “for fun.” Those that don’t die from torture, starvation, or sickness are euthanized and tossed into the trash with hundreds of other dead dogs and puppies.

While this depravity is most pronounced in Puerto Rico, dogs are horribly mistreated and abused all over the United States.

To think this easily could have been our Addison’s fate is hideous.

Anecdotally, black dogs have the most difficulty finding adoptive homes. Reasons for this are conjecture, but theorires for “Black Dog Syndrome” include the Hollywood typecasting of black dogs in “evil” dog roles and that they don’t photograph well for promotional materials.

Amy Scarella, founder of Little Black Dog Rescue, has devoted herself to finding homes for these dark and deserving pups. She works with shelters in Puerto Rico, Georgia, and South Carolina to bring dogs to her home and foster families in Connecticut before matching them with the right families. All dogs are spayed/neutered, vaccinated, and deemed healthy before they’re placed.

Robin’s Note: Adopt a dog this Sunday! On March 23, Doggone Smart, 15 Cross St, Norwalk, is hosting Little Black Dog Rescue and a posse of their cutest pooches, all eager for adoption. Please swing by between 12-3. http://www.doggonesmart.com


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Click to read the rest ... "Little Black Dog Rescue"

Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Friday, March 21, 2014 • Permalink

Project Return

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124 Compo Road North, Westport

Ah, springtime. The weather warms, the crocuses pop, and tin birds that seemed to have sprung from a Blue Meanies and Yo Gabba Gabba cross-mating experiment lurk on random roadways. Yes, they appear (most) every March to herald the Annual Project Return Birdhouse Auction. And the cause makes those freaky creatures worth tolerating.

Who they are: Since 1986, Project Return has housed troubled adolescent girls. “Girls who are victims of physical, sexual and emotional abuse as well as those who suffer from eating disorders, depression, homelessness and other traumas make Project Return their temporary home.”

What they do: “7 girls at a time live in this family-like atmosphere. In the process of mending broken spirits, our teens regain a sense of their own power to change their lives for the better.” (website) Girls receive the education and attention they need to empower themselves and mend their lives. They receive counseling, drug screening, educational and hospital services, DBT skills training, 12-step area meetings for addiction, special education if needed, cultural enrichment, and much more.

Click to read the rest ... "Project Return"

Give     Fairfield     Westport    
Wednesday, March 19, 2014 • Permalink

CSA - Community Supported Agriculture

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http://www.stoneledgefarmny.com/locations/

My husband and I decided to go organic when we started a family. Now that our kids are older, they really appreciate all the trouble and expense I go to to serve top-quality organic produce. They also fold their own laundry, balance my checkbook, and hold hands while singing “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” when guests visit.

If your kids aren’t perfect like mine, but you still want to go to the trouble and expense of serving them organic produce, I have good news: it’s no longer expensive.

Community Supported Agriculture, CSA, has opened a Southport branch. It’s a wonderful way to support local farms and literally reap their harvest of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.

Who they are: A core group of dedicated volunteers and certified organic local farmers.

What they do and how it works: “CSA is a means for consumers to buy a share in a farm’s seasonal production directly from the farmer. Consumers benefit from buying local, farm fresh, high quality produce at an attractive price and farmers benefit from pre-selling the harvest. CSA members pick up their weekly shares either at the farm or a location in their community.

Click to read the rest ... "CSA - Community Supported Agriculture"

Cooking     Give     Fairfield    
Monday, March 17, 2014 • Permalink

Fresh Air Fund

Fresh Air Fund

http://www.freshairfund.org

Last year my husband and I decided to host a 6 year old boy, Eddie*, from the Fresh Air Fund. For two weeks that summer I became the mother of 4 instead of 3. It was a living hell. Imagine a playdate that lasts 334 1/2 hours too long, riddled with late-night bouts of homesickness.

However, I liked Eddie. So, despite all reasons to the contrary, we invited him back this year. When my husband picked him up in New York, he exclaimed, “I can’t wait to see Miss Robin!” (Yes, I’m still waiting for my own kids to share such delight in seeing me.) He ran into my arms as though his whole year culminated in being with us once again. This time, we loved being together: the arguing mitigated dramatically, as did his homesickness. Eddie swam every day with us, went to the playground, went to parties, played baseball, and was genuinely and visibly thrilled with every thing we accepted as part of our normal summer routine. As difficult as the past visit had been, through it we had learned how to interact and succeed as a “family.”

Toward the end of his visit he popped his head out of the swimming pool and I saw he was drooling. He laughed and wiped his face and exclaimed, “I slobbered on the tire swing yesterday, too! I slobber when I’m having fun.” With that, he popped back into the water. I never thought I’d be so happy to see someone slobbering in my pool. That must be why God created chlorine.

The day before we drove him back to the city, he said, “Miss Robin, wouldn’t it be fun if I could stay here all summer?” Well, maybe. But I can’t wait to see him again next summer.

Click to read the rest ... "Fresh Air Fund"

Give     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Monday, March 10, 2014 • Permalink

Have Kids, Will Discipline

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I prefer the term “discipline” to “punish.” It seems more humane, as though my goal is to tease good behavior from my bunch of miscreants rather than to exact vengeance upon them. Semantics aside, once they hit the four-year mark the gloves come off.

Once (maybe twice) I swore at my collective of tiny people. I know parents shouldn’t swear at their kids but, in my defense, they totally deserved it. Unintended consequence: instead of improving their behavior they learned several new phrases to share with friends. So I kind of get how cursing is frowned upon.

Incentives like star charts don’t work for us. Last time I did it, two of my kids were too young to read well so they had no clue what I wrote. I drew pictures of “Make Your Bed” and “Brush Your Teeth,” etc. But that led to a lengthy and joyless critique of my skill as an artist.

Then they meandered upstairs and played with toys while I screamed at them to brush their teeth. Thirty minutes later they wandered downstairs and demanded a star. Instead of acting on my borderline-illegal impulse, I gritted my teeth and applied a star each to their empty boxes. I mean, why not? I knew, correctly, it’d be the last star they ever earned.

Why this fruitless exercise? I read that parents – especially mothers - should revel in their child’s achievements and tactfully admonish them for their misbehavior, i.e. “Sally, what a great job cutting with Mommy’s new kitchen scissors! Not sure how you got them, but next time let’s make sure Billy’s hand isn’t in the way. It’s not fun for Billy and blood is messy… it’s making mommy nauseous… a little faint. But YAY for such a clean incision!”

Obviously, the man who wrote this pearl of wisdom is too busy writing books and star charts to spend time at home raising kids. If he were, he’d know that any practice discouraged by Children’s Services is far more effective than the nebulous prospect of 15 shiny stars and a sugar-free lollipop.

And where, exactly, did moms get overlooked in all of this? We’re supposed to bury any negative feeling, any semblance of emotion other than delight, and keep looking to the rainbow while the hurricane annihilates our sanity? Nah. I try, but I lack the self-restraint. If a kid draws on my sofa with a Sharpie, my instinct isn’t to praise them for their creative use of mediums and replenish their stash of drawing paper. My gut tells me to yell and impose a lifetime ban on video games and dessert. Or worse. (Note to Children’s Services: I’m kidding. It never gets worse than that.)

Click to read the rest ... "Have Kids, Will Discipline"

Kids in Tow     Darien     Fairfield     Greenwich     New Canaan     Norwalk     Stamford     Weston     Westport     Wilton    
Monday, March 03, 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

Barbara Barbara

Barbara Barbara, Southport

351 Pequot Avenue, Southport

As its name suggests, the more the merrier. And oh, gentle reader, how to impress upon you the degree to which this store is merry. There’s so much stuff packed into shelves and piled on tables you need a field guide and a degree in archaeology to shovel your way through the morass. But get through it you must, as your reward is twofold: 1) you’ll find something fabulous, 2) you’ll have a wonderful feeling of accomplishment.

Robin’s note: She has Christmas ornaments – in May! But I bought one, so she who laughs last, etc. etc.

Who you’ll see shopping here: Women 30-65 without children.

Their specialty: Everything.

What you should buy: Unique light fixtures and vases, and my daughter loved the plastic bananas…

What you may not know but should: She has a small collection of John Derian decoupage, including a rare placemat made from antique hand-written letters.

Home + Garden     Fairfield    
Friday, November 11, 2011 • Permalink

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