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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...
2014 Rooms with a View celebrates 20 years

2014 Rooms with a View celebrates 20 years

  Interiors showcase Rooms with a View, which celebrated its 20th anniversary and whose honorary chairperson was national tastemaker Thom Filicia, recently hosted a weekend of design with the theme for 2014: “20/20 Visions.” The event, which was held Friday, November 14, through Sunday, November 16, at the Southport Congregational...
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...
Starting from scratch: Colonial bakers took a hands-on approach

Starting from scratch: Colonial bakers took a hands-on approach

The fire crackles and embers glow in the brick beehive oven adjacent to the hearth. The smell of rising cornmeal fills the tiny room. Pie crusts made of whole wheat and cornflour blended with lard are finished on the table as johnnycakes bake. A loaf of bread with a lovely...
November 2014 Home Personality: "Homes for the Next Great Baker"

November 2014 Home Personality: “Homes for the Next Great Baker”

320 Brookside Road, Darien, Conn. $6,250,000 Libby Matson, Berkshire Hathaway New England Properties, 203-820-5524 Our 7-bedroom, 9-bath, 11,000 sq. ft. “Home of the Month” features a light-drenched gourmet kitchen designed by award-winning architect, Jack Franzen, of J.P. Franzen Associates Architects, and home to a cook’s dream for the culinary arts....
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,...
Say it with flowers

Say it with flowers

Arranging flowers is such a delightfully creative art form, the perfect pursuit for those who wish to display expressions of beauty, elegance and grace throughout their home. From formal or extravagant, to sweet and simple, flower arrangements utilize the most beautiful material with a seemingly endless array of textures, shapes,...
Updating jewelry insurance appraisals

Updating jewelry insurance appraisals

With the current gold market above $1,200.00 per ounce, everyone who has their jewelry insured from an earlier time should be aware that those insurance levels are most likely no longer adequate, even if you have the type of policy that raises values automatically over a period of time. Ten...
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...
Keep growing with season-extending gardening tips for fall

Keep growing with season-extending gardening tips for fall

Warm weather, continued care and robust plants have yielded a bounty of beautiful, fresh vegetables – and personal satisfaction – from your garden this season. As the weather cools and fall approaches, it is not time to hang up your hat, gloves and trowel for the year. Autumn provides optimum...
Latest entries
Thomas Mann must not have had GPS

Thomas Mann must not have had GPS

In the early 70s, we still had relatives living at “Springdale,” the remains of the Ohio farm where my great grandfather raised seven children including my mother’s father and my name sake. There are a few fading family photos and deep in the ever-murky crevasses of my brain, a distant memory of a layover at...
The old switcheroo routine

The old switcheroo routine

Whenever I speak about the subject of trust in a jeweler, there is always one particular issue that inevitably manages to surface, and that is the tale of a jeweler “switching” a diamond on a customer who brings her engagement ring in for repair, sizing, or some other routine work that needs to be done....
Saturday cooking class at Cucina Casalinga

Saturday cooking class at Cucina Casalinga

On Saturday, November 15, from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Cucina Casalinga, Wilton, Conn., will be offering a special workshop: Lorenza dei Medici’s elegant and delicious Stuffed Turkey Roll from Tuscany
. Bruschetta al prosciutto, parmigiano e balsamico – toasted Italian bread with prosciutto, parmesan cheese and aged balsamic vinegar, 
Butternut squash soup garnished with mascarpone,...
Go on a wine adventure this holiday season


Go on a wine adventure this holiday season


There’s nothing wrong with liking what you like, but you can’t discover new favorites unless you try new things, says wine enthusiast Howard Kleinfeld. While recovering from throat cancer, Kleinfeld, an award-winning commercial music producer, lost his sense of taste for a few years. When it came back, he decided to embrace some of the finest...
The autumn garden: A work in progress

The autumn garden: A work in progress

As summer shifts into autumn, yard work for many means raking leaves and moving the outdoor furniture indoors or covering it to withstand winter. Whatever color is in the yard comes from Mother Nature’s annual fall spectacular as the deciduous leaves change from green to reds, golds and oranges, the conifers retaining their green. Goldenrod...
Dog-a-logue: Local pooches talk toys and treats

Dog-a-logue: Local pooches talk toys and treats

Author Laurel Braitman explains in her book Animal Madness (Simon & Schuster) that dogs can become depressed and suffer severe anxiety if they’re left alone at home too much, or if there’s no time for play; they’ll mope around, sleep too much and suffer quietly. So what’s the solution? We decided to ask a few...
October 2014 Home Personality: "Homes with Man Caves"

October 2014 Home Personality: “Homes with Man Caves”

38 Wee Burn Lane, Darien, Conn. $5,795,000 Doug Milne, 
Kelly Real Estate, 203-667-0344 Our feature “Home of the Month”: This classic stone and slate Colonial designed by architect Mac Patterson and situated on nearly five acres on a quiet Darien lane boasts not one but two “Man Caves.” First, the home’s billiards room is far...
Gadget gurus: What's in store for the home cook

Gadget gurus: What’s in store for the home cook

Do you have a Blossom uCap Sipping Cap? If you don’t, you may be missing out on one of today’s newest kitchen items. It’s a colorful, durable, silicone cap that transforms a mason jar into a beverage container with a watertight seal, explains Sanjay Dipchand, vice president of Cook’s Nook (mycooksnook.com), Norwalk. With numerous gadgets...
Building my Passive House - Part 8

Building my Passive House – Part 8

This is the eighth 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). In my previous columns, I’ve written about how foundation,...

Metal heads

The kitchen here is modest. The main feature is an old cast iron and porcelain sink resting on an old steel cabinet. The cabinet is covered with many layers of hastily applied paint. We decided to incorporate that theme into the rest of the kitchen and started knocking about flea markets with the intention of...
Fire prevention tips from The Family Handyman

Fire prevention tips from The Family Handyman

National Fire Safety Prevention Week (October 5-11) is upon us. Cut down deadly fire risks by exercising good safety habits and simple prevention measures. To help, The Family Handyman has rounded up the “Big 7” most common causes of preventable home fires and steps you can take to keep them from starting. Prevention costs little...
Making a house a home

Making a house a home

If you’ve ever watched an episode of virtually any renovation show on HGTV, it’s likely you’ve seen a family similar to the Edwardses. The couple, who have three kids and a dog, started out in a small New York City fourth floor walk-up with no elevator, and moved, after the birth of their first child,...
September 2014 Home Personality: "Homes for the Sports Enthusiast"

September 2014 Home Personality: “Homes for the Sports Enthusiast”

26 Covelee, Norwalk, Conn. $2,325,000 Fran Burger, Fran Burger Realty Group, William Raveis Real Estate, 203-682-0883 Our feature “Home of the Month”: Nestled in Covelee Association, this Aspen-style Barn, designed by noted architect Peter Cadoux, is the perfect haven — year-round or weekend retreat — for the sports enthusiast. Paddle-board, kayak or boat to Long...
September 2014 HomeBriefs

September 2014 HomeBriefs

‘lil Fairy Doors line debuts A line of decorative whimsical fairy doors, intended for both children and adults, has been launched; the doors, available in pink, purple, yellow, green, blue and red, come packaged with a bottle of ‘lil Fairy Dust, mounting supplies and a note to the fairies. The doors can be placed low...