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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

Catch a Healthy Habit

Catch a Healthy Habit, Fairfield

39 Unquowa Road, Fairfield

I figured I was one of, say, 5 people in Fairfield County who gets excited about a raw vegan cafe. No, I’m not a raw veganist (woah, that sounds vulgar), I just enjoy almost any food as long as it has plenty of salt. So I entered the bright, happy café on a beautiful afternoon and fully expected to be the only customer. But there were plenty of people waiting for fresh juices, smoothies, and lunch. These weren’t health food junkies, either: they were normal people enjoying a snack or meal that doesn’t come with a health warning or pangs of regret. And for raw vegan fare, it’s damn good.

Robin’s note: I ordered one of their specialties: Sesame Noodles made from kelp “noodles.” What, you may ask, is a kelp noodle? As Glen, co-owner, explained, “we strip the outside of the kelp—you know, seaweed—and we’re left with… gelatinous…” then he tapered off, possibly sensing how disturbing his explanation had become. But when my dish arrived, it was not the quivering mass of jelly-strands I envisioned. It looked like sesame noodles! And it was delicious, as was the rich, dense brownie I ordered in case the seaweed-fest didn’t work out. Afterwards I felt super-healthy and I look forward to returning for their Pasta Primavera.

Who you’ll see eating here: Women and men ages 30-50.

Their specialty: Sesame Noodles and BBQ Burger

What you should order: Spring Sushi, brownie

What you may not know but should:
  1. They sell bagged raw –food snacks, and granola and host a number of events, including superfood workshops and cleansing diet workshops.
  2. It’s the only raw foods cafe in the state and it’s not a franchise—so please support this wonderful eatery!
http://www.catchahealthyhabit.com

Dining     Fairfield    
Wednesday, February 16, 2011 • Permalink

Martel

Martel, Fairfield

2316 Post Road, Fairfield

Mmm…Martel. This charming, noisy bistro on a random stretch of Post Road is one of the best restaurants in Fairfield County. I’ve never had to wait long for a table despite the crowd, and it’s pretty much always crowded with hip folks and a smattering of the aged.

The food is wonderful and the wine list superb. It’s a favorite nosh spot of many residents and regulars, due to its moderate price point and excellent value. The wait staff never rushes your meal or reacts to your insightful and witty comments about the daily specials.

Robin’s note: Don’t eat in the bar area unless you want someone’s elbow in your appetizer. Space is limited, patrons are many, all are jovial, and everyone’s drinking.

Who you’ll see eating here: Elderly regulars and well-dressed couples ages 30-60, most in groups of four. Some children.

Their specialty: Braised short ribs, lobster risotto.

What you should eat: Seared scallops, truffled macaroni and cheese.

What you may not know but should: They don’t accept reservations, which is actually great for the socially disorganized.
http://www.martelrestaurant.com

Dining     Bars + Baristas     Fairfield    

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

Taco Loco

Taco Loco, Bridgeport

3170 Fairfield Avenue, Bridgeport

Yes, gentle readers, it’s named the “Crazy Taco” (or, according to Google Translate, “Crazy Plug”… yeah. Gross.) There’s very little “crazy” going on at this fabulous Mexican spot, where the food is fantastic but no one cares because the margaritas are AMAZING.

My faithful readers know of my undying quest for the best marg in FC and, ooh baby, it’s at this wacky, loony taco spot. They use Cuervo Silver tequila and Grand Marnier—no strange plastic-bottled tequila for these slushies!

The restaurant exterior blossoms with colorful flowers and the décor evokes an authentic Mexican cantina as envisioned by a Connecticut resident.

Robin’s note: They have a lovely wrap-around porch upon which we partook of our meal and marg(s), enjoying the waning summer evening sky while the hard iron chairs engraved a cross-hatch pattern onto my numbed butt.

Their specialty: While the staff has difficulty committing to one specialty, we were able to drag out of them that their fajitas are quite popular.

What you should order: Fajitas. Oh, and margaritas.

What you may not know but should: They’ve received a million awards for their food and drinks, so none of what you just read is news.
http://www.tacoloco.com

Dining     Fairfield    
Friday, January 28, 2011 • Permalink

Twice is Nice

Twice is Nice, Southport

3519 Post Road, Southport

This consignment store caught my eye the first time I blew by it in my minivan on Post Road. It’s situated on an odd corner and I typically drive by it too quickly to brake without causing a five car pile-up and, as you can see above, it falls short of warranting that kind of pain and suffering.

But the other day I found myself cruising along with a rare spare moment and unusually light traffic. So when I found myself careening past the store, I slammed on the brakes, hooked a U, and screamed into the parking lot with nary a police car in sight. (Note to law enforcement officials: It never happened. I have nothing but the utmost respect for traffic safety.)

Anyhoo, the tiny lot was packed and I practically had to grease the sides of my ride to squeeze into a parking spot. The store was packed, too, with gobs of gew-gaw and gaggles of gabbing women. Most were buying something, be it a $24 wood-framed mirror or an armload of Lilly Pulitzer sundresses at $16-22 a pop.

Robin’s note: In a fit of breathless hysteria, I snapped up a ~$450 Tracy Feith sundress for only $16. Then I got home and noticed the atom-sized lettering on the label “for Target.” Bluh.

Click to read the rest ... "Twice is Nice"

Consignment     Fashion     Fairfield    
Tuesday, January 18, 2011 • Permalink

Susan Mudd, MS CNS

61 Sherman Street, Fairfield
(301) 661-9222

I assume I’m healthy because I shop at Whole Foods. But a fistful of organic chocolate chip cookies doesn’t qualify as a “meal” even if it’s all-natural, free of preservatives, and the closest thing to a vegetable I’ve eaten in 4 days. Which kind of made me wonder if my eating habits (in addition to my weekly expenditure at Whole Foods) contribute to my persistent stress and fatigue.

So I met the nutritionist most recommended to me: Susan Mudd, MS CNS. She’s a board-certified, licensed nutrition expert who confesses, “I don’t have a turn off switch when it comes to pizza.” She had me at hello.

Her success stories are incredible, with clients overcoming fertility, krohn’s disease, even bi-polarism, in addition to the usual litany of complaints: fatigue, constipation, hair-loss, allergies, and much more.

Click to read the rest ... "Susan Mudd, MS CNS"

Look Good     Feel Good     Fairfield    
Monday, January 03, 2011 • Permalink

Firehouse Deli

Firehouse Deli, Fairfield

22 Reef Road, Fairfield

On Saturday mornings I force my beloveds to drag their collective derrieres out to breakfast for two reasons: 1. someone else does all the work, and 2. I can’t think of any other reason.

So imagine my astonishment when I entered Firehouse Deli and realized we had to order breakfast from the counter in the front room and carry it ourselves to the back room to eat it. We all stood at the entrance like a pack of deer in the headlights. After carefully adjusting our expectations and befuddling the poor cashier with our discombobulated order (our children busily shouted out preferences based upon whatever happened to be in their line of vision),  we carried our heap of muffins, omelets, coffees, milks, bagels, croissant egg sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, paper plates and plastic utensils to the well-lit back room.

The back room is cheery and cozy, with bright plastic tablecloths and rows of windows. Breakfast was delicious and our kids ate every bite without complaining too much. While the small paper plates did little more than provide a delicate, shifting barrier between our omelets and the tablecloth, their coffee is some of the best deli coffee around.

Robin’s note: There are several picnic tables in front of the deli for outdoor seating and for making the requisite joke about eating outside during sub-arctic temperatures.

Who you’ll see eating here: Firemen. HA HA HA!!! *phew*  Kidding. Local families.

Their specialty: Egg sandwiches.

What you should order: Croissant sandwiches, omelets, and coffee.

What you may not know but should: Steer clear of the yogurt parfait. Granola, good. Yogurt, good. Watermelon, strange. Lots of large grapes, odd. And it was more of a mix than a parfait. Salad bar looked amazing, though.

http://www.firehousedeli.com

Dining     Fairfield    
Monday, December 20, 2010 • 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

Lula belle

Lula belle

http://www.lula-belle.com

Question: What do I have in common with Elizabeth Taylor, Mr. T, and the weird guy at the dry cleaners?

We all like jewelry!

And I love the jewelry at Lula belle: the styles are fun, flattering, and just the right amount of flashy. Best of all, they’re so affordable you can “steal” Kim Zolciak’s* look of self-festoonery for about the cost of 50 cups of coffee (therapy costs extra).

Three lovely, hip Fairfield County sisters, born of a chic mom, founded Lula belle to create “awareness” jewelry and raise funds for causes.

After college, the sisters followed disparate career paths (reading specialist, retail management, and sales/marketing for IBM), then decided to start a business together when one of the sisters was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. Growing up, their mother instilled in them an appreciation of jewelry (go, mom, go!), so they began with baubles and later threw in some evening bags. Because the illness helped them understand “what it really mean(s) to be in need,” they’re using profits from jewelry sales to start “b-Cause”: a line of studded leather bracelets representing “widely known causes.” Proceeds from sales of b-Cause will benefit the cause it represents.

Robin’s note: Charity is great, etc., etc., but, holy cow, the compliments I receive on my Lula belle earrings! Walking from my car to the door of my daughter’s school, I was stopped 4 times by people asking me where I bought my earrings. And at only $22 a pop, I bought three pairs!

I officially have to stop buying earrings.

Who shops here: Women age 25-60 years old.

Their specialty: Bestsellers are listed on their website.

What you should buy: Well, I love the earrings, especially the gold brushed earrings ($22) and the gold Dangle earrings ($18).

What you may not know but should: Lula belle holds periodic trunk shows. Check their website for time and location.

*Atlanta Housewives. But you already knew that…

Fashion     Fairfield     Norwalk     Westport    
Thursday, December 16, 2010 • Permalink

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