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Give a gift with a message

Give a gift with a message

What female doesn’t like a piece of jewelry for Christmas? Not many. And jewelry with an inspirational message can be a special keepsake. Love Sees jewelry, created one year ago by Nancy Diehl, a Wilton resident and mom of two teenaged daughters, features sterling silver, delicate necklaces and bracelets engraved...
Mother Nature:  A Darien homeowner brings the outdoors in at Christmastime.

Mother Nature: A Darien homeowner brings the outdoors in at Christmastime.

During the months of November and December, Darien resident Cynthia Princi can be found in the produce section of the local grocery store at least once a week, and she’s not necessarily buying food for her family. Cindy relies on nature’s bounty when it comes to decorating her house for...
December 2014 Home Personality: "Homes for holiday entertaining"

December 2014 Home Personality: “Homes for holiday entertaining”

255 Brush Ridge Road, New Canaan, Conn. $2,995,000 Jane Campbell, Brotherhood & Higley Real Estate, 203-253-2820 Set on a high ridge with Long Island views, this landmark vintage 1903 colonial, with architectural detail, three fireplaces, many interesting windows, and beautiful views, comprises 6,700 square feet and combines yesterday’s charm with...
5 reasons to mom-and-pop holiday shop

5 reasons to mom-and-pop holiday shop

Quick: Picture the holiday shopping experience. An image of a crowded Black Friday at the mall or a big-box retailer may well come to mind. Yet, when the National Retail Foundation surveyed consumers in October about holiday purchasing this year, close to 30% planned on doing at least some shopping...
Celebrating the Festival of Lights

Celebrating the Festival of Lights

The Jewish celebration of Chanukah is often associated with the Christian holiday of Christmas, but that association has little to do with the significance of each holiday and more to do with the timing. Each is celebrated at the end of the year when the holiday season has hit full...
Capturing  the magic of Christmas’ past with historical holiday tours

Capturing the magic of Christmas’ past with historical holiday tours

Connecticut is brimming with holiday festivities, many of which date back decades or otherwise serve to bring on childhood nostalgia. A little harder to come by are events that truly take one back in time. “The draw to historic holiday celebrations is how they offer a peek at the past,”...
‘Festive Home’ turns 10 this holiday season

‘Festive Home’ turns 10 this holiday season

Ridgefield Guild of Artists’ 10th Annual Festive Home is a cheerful holiday marketplace fund-raiser event.  It is open for business through Tuesday, Dec. 23, with extended hours Tuesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The theme this year is “Be Brilliant!”  Eleven designers have been paired with member...
The Recipe Box: Holiday entertaining

The Recipe Box: Holiday entertaining

GINGERBREAD BUNDT CAKE WITH GINGER GLAZE Tami Ganeles-Weiser of TheWeiserKitchen.com Ingredients: Cake: 3¼ cups flour, sifted and divided, plus 2 tablespoons (419 grams) cake flour for dusting ½ cup (66 grams) currants 3 tablespoon cognac or brandy 2 teaspoons (11 grams) vanilla extract 2 teaspoons (18 grams) grated fresh ginger...
Moorefield Herb Farm: Bringing locally grown produce to local farmers’ markets

Moorefield Herb Farm: Bringing locally grown produce to local farmers’ markets

The popularity of farmers’ markets has been growing each year, along with their fresh, just harvested local produce. There are now more than 100 farmers’ markets in Connecticut, with new ones being added all over the state. Moorefield Herb Farm in Trumbull is in different farmers’ market towns almost every...
Building my Passive House — Part 9

Building my Passive House — Part 9

This is the ninth entry in a series of columns about the design and construction of my newly certified passive house. Passive House Institute US (PHIUS) offers certification programs for highly energy efficient homes, and the home design and building professionals seeking to build them (www.phaus.org). Because my heating requirements...
How to clean, stuff and eat an artichoke

How to clean, stuff and eat an artichoke

Am I right in thinking that the artichoke is a vegetable that many people love but have no idea what to do with? Sure we love them, but we buy them marinated in jars or pureed in dips but don’t have a clue about how to handle the real thing…big,...
The Recipe Box: "Flavors of Fall"

The Recipe Box: “Flavors of Fall”

PUMPKIN BISQUE WITH CURRY AND PEAR (Serves 4 – 6) Ronnie Fein, Ronnie Fein School of Creative Cooking, Stamford, Conn., 203-322-7114 Ingredients: 2 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil 1 medium onion, chopped 2 ripe pears, peeled, cored and cut into chunks 1 (15-ounce) can pumpkin puree 1-1/2 teaspoons curry powder...
Latest entries
Mark your calendars!

Mark your calendars!

Booksigning at Gilbertie’s On Saturday, December 20, Sal Gilbertie, local author and owner of Gilbertie’s Herb Garden, will be selling and signing his new book, Cooking with Microgreens, at Gilbertie’s Herb Garden, 7 Sylvan Lane, Westport. Sal Gilbertie is the third-generation proprietor of Gilbertie’s Herb Garden in Westport and Easton, and is the microgreen supplier...
Top new toys for boys: And hot updates to classics, too

Top new toys for boys: And hot updates to classics, too

Buying for boys this holiday season? There are two pieces of good news: 1) Industry experts have done the research on what’s hot for you, and 2) There is no single must-have-for-all hot toy. “It’s really what’s ‘hot’ for the child, about what the child is interested in,” said Adrienne Appell, a toy trends specialist...
Gift exchange dos and don’ts

Gift exchange dos and don’ts

Gift exchanges in the form of grab bags, auctions, swaps and other games make for fun additions to holiday festivities. They also can be a part of any family or friends gathering to add excitement and entertainment to the occasion. The following are a few do’s and don’ts to ensure participation in gift exchanges is...
Time to stuff  those stockings!

Time to stuff those stockings!

With one week left until Christmas, it is time to scurry, scurry, scurry and tick those gift items off your list and turn to the stockings hung by the chimney with care. While it’s easy to hit the local CVS, Walgreens or mom-and-pop pharmacy and buy some small toiletry items and toys, playing cards, or...
Plenty of gift ideas await at the Glass House Design Store

Plenty of gift ideas await at the Glass House Design Store

The Glass House Design Store in New Canaan offers myriad  just-in-the-nick-of-time gifts that you might not find anywhere else this holiday season. Located at 199 Elm St., store hours through Friday, Dec. 19, are 10 to 3, and on Saturday, Dec. 20, from 11 to 6.  For very last minute shopping it will be open...
Home sweet home: Scent your house with holiday cheer

Home sweet home: Scent your house with holiday cheer

There’s nothing better than walking into a home full of the smell of an evergreen Christmas tree and fresh flower arrangements of cut cedar, incense, pine, lilies, and roses. Eucalyptus, pinecones, candy canes, and bayberry in arrangements are nostalgic scents, according to Keith Barker, owner of The Gardener’s Center & Florist in Darien (gardenerscenter.com). “Earthy...
Shake it up! Elegant holiday cocktail parties made easy

Shake it up! Elegant holiday cocktail parties made easy

Sparkling lights, the happy sounds of holiday music … ’tis the season to celebrate with family and friends! Elegant, easy cocktail parties are a wonderful way to entertain a crowd, be it large or small, with none of the fussiness and labor of a more formal dinner party. Let’s get the party started! Ensure a...
Gallery Barn transforms into a Festive Home

Gallery Barn transforms into a Festive Home

Ridgefield Guild of Artists has had a makeover. The gallery on Halpin Lane in Ridgefield is now a holiday marketplace for its 10th annual Festive Home. This year’s theme, “Be Brilliant,” says it all. The usual white-walled gallery space has been transformed into vibrant holiday home vignettes showcasing a variety of gift-giving, decorating and entertaining...
Deck your halls with decorated houseplants

Deck your halls with decorated houseplants

Beautiful evergreen trees aren’t the only plants that enjoy getting “spruced” up for the holidays. Houseplants also show off their Christmas green when placed in the spotlight. Whether you like a subtle look or go all-out glitz when decorating your home for the holidays, don’t forget that indoor plants can add extra interest and sparkle...
Making cookie memories

Making cookie memories

The thing about an old cookie press is that it can make a lot more than just cookies. The cookie press I’m talking about is silver-colored, made of some kind of thin metal. The hollow cylinder is closed at each end with silvery pink caps, and a black handle at one end twists downward to...
A meeting of the minds: Interfaith couples share their blended holiday traditions

A meeting of the minds: Interfaith couples share their blended holiday traditions

In our increasingly global culture, it’s not only world travelers who embrace the thoughts and ideas of far-away lands. Those who stick close to home have also opened their minds and hearts to global influences around us, creating intoxicating blends of experiences, beliefs and lifestyles. This becomes especially evident during the holiday season (known only...

Junk drawer

“Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I don’t. Now and then, however, when the surfaces in the house become cluttered with pens and tools or cooking utensils, we go around and pick stuff up. Most frequently it ends up in one of the several junk drawers around the place. There’s one in the kitchen, one in...
Good gold, bad gold

Good gold, bad gold

I’m not sure how many times I’ve heard it said that Italian gold is better that the gold we have here, so it may be time to set the record straight — gold is gold. There is no good gold or bad gold. (There isn’t even any in-between gold.) This may be difficult to believe, but pure...
Creating sentimental holiday décor

Creating sentimental holiday décor

The holidays are – as they should be – a sentimental season. And holiday décor is an excellent way to help celebrate past traditions and start new ones. Big Lots has partnered with two leading home décor bloggers – Blulabel Bungalow’s Erika Ward and Tatertots and Jello’s Jennifer Hadfield – to share tips and tricks to...