Tag Archives: simsbury

Wordless WIAW: Millwright’s Goodbye Dinner

As I mentioned previously, my department took me out to dinner at my favorite Simsbury restaurant, Millwright’s, to bid me farewell during my last week at work.

You too can link up with Jenn‘s famous WIAW party!

This post is actually being published on my first day at my new job, so I’m writing it the day before and am also making it fairly wordless. I’ve got a TON to do to continue getting settled in Boston! So here’s my recap of our amazing meal, which was the perfect send-off and very appropriate for What I Ate Wednesday.

Work/dinner outfit…skirt purchased at Kohl’s on Black Friday. Not showing: the still-attached sensor. Ugh.

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March of Dimes CT Signature Chefs Auction

I attended this event free of charge as a media volunteer. All opinions of the evening are my own.

You’ve heard me talk about the 75th Anniversary March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction Gala a few times now. The event seemed so far away when I first connected with Leigh-Anne Lefurge, State Director of Communications for the Connecticut chapter. She, Marc Spencer (Senior Community Director), Kaitlin, and I worked together to spread the word via social media and get more restaurants involved. I could hardly believe it when I woke up this past Thursday morning knowing the event was already here!


Right before kicking things off.


Some of the evening’s chefs, assembled for a group shot.

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Fall Fun at The Iron Frog Tavern

I received the food and drinks detailed below free of charge. This is not a compensated post. My opinions are my own.

Though I work in Simsbury, I had never been to The Iron Frog Tavern (located in the same Connecticut town) aside from once when I first started my job…and that was for a glass of wine. My co-workers seem to have a love-hate relationship with the place…some are obsessed with certain menu items (I’m looking at you, fellow Sales Department employee with a mac-n-cheese obsession) and some are turned off by bad service they’ve received in the past. All were curious as to what my opinion would be after visiting this past Wednesday evening for dinner.

We were the only ones brave enough to sit on the patio on this humid Wednesday evening.

We were the only ones brave enough to sit on the patio on this humid Wednesday evening.

I won’t keep you in suspense – I had an awesome experience and would definitely return The Iron Frog. Kat and I (oh and of course Penelope) were invited by owner Pam Paydos to try out the new fall menu. The chef situation at this restaurant has recently changed and though I hadn’t tried the food under the previous chef’s “reign”, I know that what I tried on Wednesday was excellent. Tyler Anderson, owner and exec chef of Millwright’s, is even a fan!

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2013 A Taste in Simsbury

I received complimentary entry into this event to cover it for this blog. All opinions of my experience are my own!

I’d call this past Thursday’s A Taste in Simsbury the best value tasting event I have ever encountered! For just $50, attendees got to taste food, beer, wine, and cocktails from at least 25 restaurants and vendors. Sponsored by Simsbury Bank, the Simsbury Main Street Partnership fundraiser pulled in money to help them continue to support downtown Simsbury’s social environment.


I arrived right at 5:30PM, and already a line of people had formed.


I snagged a wine glass and embarked on a tasting adventure that would end up lasting almost three hours. Thankfully tables and high-tops were set up throughout The Riverview‘s ballroom so that attendees would have spots to stop, take a seat, and have a place to rest plates and glasses.

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TGIF in Simsbury

A single post would have to be way too long to recap all the fun I had this past weekend, so I thought I’d spread the love between two posts, beginning with today’s retelling of this past Friday night. I spent time with people I love, and also spent $0. Gotta love it when that happens. Before the day I drove into Simsbury to have the interview for the job I currently hold, I don’t think I’d ever stepped foot (or tire?) in the town. And while a lot of the time it is very quiet and…well…a bit boring…the town sure delivered on this particular evening.


Get your groove on!

Let me rewind back to the beginning. After a quick-and-dirty post-work gym trip (25 minutes on the StairMaster followed by upper body weights and abs) I met my parents at Millwright’s for a cocktail before the evening’s main plans. I debated whether or not I wanted to make this pre-event visit because I was nervous to order a cocktail before attending a shindig where I knew I’d be drinking wine. However, I really wanted to introduce my mom to my friends (my dad had recently done just that) at this very special restaurant…and Chris Parrot‘s cocktails are no ordinary cocktails. So I took a leap and brought my parents down to the Millwright’s Tavern!

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Talcott Mountain Music Festival Giveaway

The winner of the LaMaLu Boutique giveaway (for a $15 gift code) is my girl Kaitlin! Congrats love, and remember everyone else can get 10% off with discount code CAITPLUSATE10 now through 8/15/13.

Wow wow WOW. I cannot get over the support I received after publishing yesterday’s post. Thank you so much for your comments, tweets, emails, and Facebook messages. I was SO very nervous to hit publish, and almost didn’t. But I’m proud of deciding to do so and am also relieved that the reaction has been (so far) positive. I have the best readers in the world!

I have a special post today geared toward Connecticut residents. Last summer I hosted a giveaway for two lawn seats to the Talcott Mountain Music Festival in Simsbury, CT…and it’s back again! The difference is this year, to entice you to enter, I have my own positive experience from last year to share.


Just as many people were seated behind us as well!

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Millwright’s Tavern Tuesdays!

Thanks to the local foodies who entered my Taste of the Nation Hartford giveaway! Out of 44 entries, the winner is…


Kristen of Been There, Run That! Congrats and I will be contacting you about how you will receive your two free passes to the April 11 event.

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Millwright’s Tavern: Cozy, Cocktails, Comfort Food

Thanks so much to all who entered my Clever Girls Collective giveaway for a Country Crock Thanksgiving Kit! I received 225 entries – WOW – and loved hearing what your fave dishes are to eat at Thanksgiving. The lucky winner is…

…Laura! Thank you for entering and I will be contacting you for shipping info so that you can get your prize!

You may recall my restaurant review post on Millwright’s, Simsbury’s (and one of Connecticut’s) newest restaurant. During my first visit, the establishment’s lower-key portion, the Tavern, had not yet opened and was actually still under construction. When it opened earlier this fall, I kept trying to make time to visit, but never had time in my busy schedule to stop in and have the Millwright’s Tavern dining experience. Finally the time came this past Friday night, with my foodie friend Kat (she is the one I, and my readers, can thank for fun blog posts like local giveaways and my review of Blo) of the Hartford Advocate.

How cute is she in her hat?!

I fell in love the moment I descended the stairs into the Millwright’s Tavern, which consists of wooden tables, stone walls, a fireplace with adjacent seating, and a bar with a speakeasy-feel. I adore dining at restaurant bars so that I can watch cocktails being made and observe the staff at work; thankfully Kat had the same line of thinking and already had a seat staked out for us!

The Aviation and Carrot Terrine.

I went with the head bartender Chris’s favorite drink on the creative cocktail menu, the Aviation (gin, creme de violette, citrus, and a beloved brandied cherry). The head chef and restaurant founder, Tyler Anderson (he won Chopped!), also was kind enough to send out the above Carrot Terrine! It was incredibly interesting and delicious.

View while sitting at the bar – isn’t the stone so perfect for a cozy fall or winter night?

The Aviation was incredible, as I knew it would be. Chris really knows his drinks (I met him and tried his take on the Hemingway during my first visit) and I love the unique floral test of creme de violette. I also am such a sucker for a brandied cherry. Or two. Or fifty.


Millwright’s continued to spoil us and sent out a couple more complimentary tastes. I got my first taste of sweetbreads during my last visit and was more than happy to try the above lightly fried version – flash-fried in fact! What are sweetbreads you ask? That’s the culinary name for thymus or pancreas of, in this case, veal. The aroma of this dish practically had me salivating before my first bite – is there anything more drool-inducing than the smell of fried food?


If it weren’t for the Carrot Terrine, I’d definitely be calling the above Tuna Belly with Shisho and Asian Pear the most unique dish of the evening. I think pear goes so well with Asian seafood and wish that more restaurants served that pairing! The only bad thing about this dish was that it was so small and therefore gone in the blink of an eye, or the chew of a mouth.

Spinach/Kale/Chard Gruyere Dip topped with Garlic Crumbs, served with Country Bread.

Oh, obviously Kat and I ordered a bunch of small plates to make up our own mini Tavern menu tour. Would you expect anything else? It’s all about trying as many tastes as possible. Always. You folks were certainly freaking out when I Instagrammed the above above-average play on your average spinach & artichoke dip, but I cannot blame you. The country bread was so toasty it was like thick crackers and the garlic crumbs on top of that decadent cheese? HEAVEN. They didn’t skimp on the greens either!

Poutine a la Grecque

Many of Chef Tyler Anderson’s dishes have a Mediterannean influence, like the above Greek take on poutine with feta, olive crumbs, local tomatoes, and yogurt sauce! I’m a potato and Greek food freak so each bite of this dish had me moaning in a foodgasm. You know the feeling. I can’t recommend this dish enough to anyone who visits the Millwright’s Tavern.

Lamb Meatballs

We continued the Greek-style dining with the above lamb meatballs with polenta, tomato sauce, and fennel slaw. So amazing! I adore lamb more and more each time I eat it, which has been more and more often (makes sense). The red sauce was so very rich and flavorful. I wasn’t surprised that Millwright’s did a great job on this dish since the lamb I had last time I was there is still a dish I consider to be one of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

Duck Potato Skins. You heard me.

I was (obviously) menu stalking earlier in the day before I arrived at Millwright’s, and the moment I saw the above dish on the menu, I knew I HAD TO HAVE IT. Duck confit potato skins with sriracha creme and pickles…my only wish is that there had been less cheese so I could’ve tasted more of that fabulous fatty duck. Still, the potato addict in me was smiling.


We feasted, we Instagrammed, we laughed, and we most certainly did NOT cry. We also got to hang out with the wonderful maitre d’ and sommelier, Brent Bushong II, and the Director of Operations, AJ Aurrichio. Brent is incredible at what he does – he makes every Millwright’s patron feel special.

Millwright’s Old Fashioned – I knew I had to try this one.

I was unfortunately unable to finish my second cocktail, Millwright’s take on the Old Fashioned (bourbon, demerera, flamed orange peel). But the portion I did finish was so wonderful and smooth! In fact, next time I visit the Tavern (and there WILL be a next time), I plan to order it again so that I can enjoy a full glass. However, I think next time I may order it up – what do you guys think? I’m not an ice fan!


Kat and I saw the above cheese plate from the regular menu (also available in the Tavern) get served to a fellow bar-diner and we both stopped our conversation and literally watched it go by. Probably was a hilarious image. We vowed to order it as our dessert, and even though we were both very full after our small plates, we threw caution to the wind and ordered the glorious plate of local cheeses, apple compote, HOMEMADE rye crackers, bread, and candied almonds. I am a cheese plate fiend. This guy was fabulous! The apples were so very fresh – I don’t really like apples that much but when so high quality like this compote, I am all over it. The crackers? I cannot believe they make their own! I would buy boxes of them! Kat and I could not finish all of our food so she took the rest home to her lucky husband.

I’m already dying to bring my parents to the Tavern so that we can feast on both the Tavern and Dinner Menus. Oh, and cocktails for my dad and I! Thank you to Tyler, AJ, Brent, Chris, and everyone else who made our evening at Millwright’s Tavern the perfect Friday night kickoff to our weekend!

Which of the menu items that I sampled would you most like to have tried?

Have you ever been to a restaurant with a speakeasy-feel to it?

Millwright’s: At Your Service

I adore farm-to-table style cuisine, and was so very excited to hear that a new restaurant, Millwright’s, was opening in the same Connecticut town as my workplace. After I discovered the identity of the chef opening the establishment, I knew I had to try it out ASAP! Chef Tyler Anderson was a winner on Food Network’s “Chopped”, and I sampled his creative PB&J bites at the Taste of the Nation: New Haven. He cooked at the Copper Beech Inn restaurant Brasserie Pip, a spot too far from me to have allowed time for a visit yet (it’s on my ever-growing list of places to hit), but a glance at that menu and my too-brief experience in New Haven told me I was sure to be impressed by the creativity Tyler was bound to bring to the Millwright’s menu. He and the rest of the courteous staff were kind enough to host my friend Chris and I for a well-rounded tasting of that menu’s offerings – and more. 

Millwright’s is housed in Simsbury, CT’s Hop Brook Mill. Upon my arrival I spent a little bit of time “searching” the grounds for the old mill’s waterfall, but didn’t have any luck seeing it (I certainly could hear it!)

Where for art thou, waterfall?

Good thing I had no problem seeing the waterfall from my perfectly-located table. Chris and I also had another dining buddy – a beautiful heron that had been, according to our waitresses, hanging out by the waterfall all day!

Can you see him?


Millwright’s could easily coast along on its beautiful outdoor views, but that would be too easy. The rustic, charming interior matches the restaurant’s woodsy surroundings and barn-red exterior perfectly! I felt right at home the moment I walked through the door and saw the shelf stocked with mason jars of “preserves” and old cookbooks next to the hostess stand.

The dim lighting at the entrance builds the perfect amount of suspense, then brightens into a dining room filled with natural light coming from the floor-to-ceiling windows you see on the left in the photo below.

All open bottles that need to stay chilled are kept on this beautifully decorated table, which serves as a convenient central location for the servers.

Our table for two. I was so pleased to see it already set up the way I prefer to dine with just one other person – side by side instead of across from each other. Optimal for sharing sips and bites!

Chris and I were given cocktail/beer menus and the wine list, which is housed in a binder. Don’t be too intimidated though…not only does the menu contain notes from the sommelier and maitre d’  Brent Bushong, but wines by the glass are also conveniently arranged on one page and wines by the bottle are grouped by taste, not by region or type (something I always prefer, because patrons are going to TASTE the wine, yes?) The cocktails caught my eye immediately – I am a cocktail connoisseur (self-declared, so you just have my word to take on that one) and those with simple yet unique ingredient lists are the very types that Chris, the head bartender, is creating at Millwright’s daily.

Chris (my dining partner, not bartender…this could get confusing!) and I decided to let Chef Tyler and his maître d’, Brent, take the reins for the evening. Between the two of them, Chris and I were served a fantastic assortment of dishes with drink pairings. Before we received anything, we got the below assortment of glasses, an occurrence which clearly both excited and astounded me.

Flute…wine glass…BUBBLE glass?!

First up…no courses. Now we still got food, but these THREE dishes were palate cleansers, all paired with a French Pommerey Blanc de Blancs Champagne.

I’m not usually much for champagne, but both Chris and I enjoyed how mild this glass was in terms of fizziness. Also, we appreciated the fact that it wasn’t too sweet at all. The flavor complemented each palate cleanser, as opposed to taking away from it.

This probably goes without saying for anyone who just looked at the above photo, but the tomato gazpacho shooter with crème fraiche was made differently from any other gazpacho I’ve had thanks to the addition of a blackberry (meant to be flicked into the glass before “shooting”) and a flower!

Ready to flick it in!

An outstanding flavor combo! I never would have expected fruit (or a flower…) to go with gazpacho!

Chris post-gazpacho-shot.

Next up Chris and I classily cleansed our palates with two New England oysters from East Beach in MA (Millwright’s goes as local as possible on all ingredients) and rhubarb mignonette.

I am not the biggest oyster fan – for some reason, every shooter I’ve EVER tried tastes like all salty shell to me! However, I could tell from my oyster’s taste that it was of high quality; my best descriptive word I can come up with is “pure”. Definitely fresh, definitely local.

Not your normal shooter.

How wonderful is the presentation with the granite slab?!

The third and last palate cleanser was my favorite. Best for last…third time’s the charm…which cliché should I insert here? Doesn’t really matter, because I think a description of the dish will do it justice: foie gras torchon on Boston brown bread, paired with a stone fruit jam.

Again with the amazing presentation! I wish I’d had more “bites” of the foie gras and brown bread, and it was painful to eat both in one mouthful, but I had to do so because I knew they were meant to be paired! I also dipped the combo into the jam – so heavenly. I’m a sucker for any app involving a pate and fruity jam.

Time for course one! Fluke tartare with buttermilk, pickled blueberries, puffed wild rice, and shiso. Brent asked us to guess what the fruit was on this dish and I am bummed that I never gave him my  guess, because I totally suspected blueberries! Not sure if he would believe me now.

By this time, the sun had almost set and the waterfall outside the window had been illuminated.

The fluke was paired appropriately, though unexpectedly, with a chilled Japanese sake called Junmai Genshu. I am a huge advocate of sake drinking (though not as much when it is room temperature or warm) and can definitely see myself seeking out a bottle of this stuff and keeping it in the fridge at home to pair with an appropriate dinner. If you ever see that sake on the menu at any restaurant, I highly recommend ordering a glass – or you could just go to Millwright’s, since you know it’s there!

The cocktail pairing is in the shooter glass in the upper right.

I swear when the second course (pictured above) came out, I let out a “squeal” of delight. Ask Chris…he’d probably agree that that’s what I sounded like. All day leading up to my visit I had been hoping I’d be served a cut of fantastic fish, but also knew I wanted Millwright’s to choose the best of their best for my tasting, so I held back on asking for a grilled seafood dish. Brent and Tyler read my mind! The above pictured grilled swordfish melted in my mouth and the white bean puree to its left tasted like hummus on steroids. The cubanelle peppers and green olives on the puree were the perfect complements, and I crafted as many “complete” bites (with everything ingredient) as possible because all the flavors just tasted as if they were born to be experienced together.

Chris sandwich!

Thankfully Chris and I got to try one of bartender Chris’s amazing cocktails…and get a photo with the mixologist himself. His take on the Hemingway (white rum, cherry, and citrus) had me doubtful at first because I wondered if it’d taste too sweet…I shouldn’t have doubted him for a second and don’t think I ever will again! I enjoyed sipping on the classic beverage’s frothy top as well as the way the rum’s flavor still shone through, but was cut down the perfect amount by the cherry, whose sweetness was balanced nicely by the citrus. Sounds complicated, but with just a few simple ingredients combined using the ideal ratios, Chris created a cocktail that tasted timeless. I’m so very excited to order another when I go visit the Millwright’s Tavern in the building’s bottom floor (after it opens Monday, 9/4!)

Course three and me 😉

I’d never heard of or tasted a dish like course three’s before…that is what I love about innovative, creative eateries like Millwright’s! The white wine in my glass above is a French Domaine Desvignes Chablisa wonderful Chardonnay possessing the perfect level of dryness to balance the moist veal sweetbreads with zucchini-three-ways, absinthe froth, almonds, and mint (pictured below).

I pulled a faux paus and thought the almonds were peanuts – oops! Either way, I appreciated the creativity it took for Chef Tyler to add nuts to a veal dish. I’m also a HUGE zucchini fan, so the not one, not two, but THREE ways it was displayed (and tasted) certainly played up to the veggie lover in me. I can’t really describe the taste of the foam in a way that would do it justice, but suffice to say that taste as well as the texture played up next to the flavorful veal very nicely. Oh man…the veal. It melted in my mouth, it really did! It’s rich flavor reminded me of one of my favorite meats ever, duck.

Chris isn’t quite sure what to make of his “bubble glass”.

Our table’s third and final shape of wine glass was filled next with Vina Alarba Garnacha (one of my favorite red grapes) from Calatayud, Spain. I’m jokingly calling the shape a “bubble”…in reality, the large wine glass used to house our fourth course’s wine is of the Burgundy/Grand Cru/Pinot/Nebbiolo variety and is shaped in that way to give the “big, closed red wine…maximum exposure to air”. The website linked in the previous sentence also admits that the glasses are that big to give a “note of drama”…at least they’re being honest!

Course number four!

Would you believe me if I said the above pictured medium-rare lamb loin with roast eggplant yogurt, confit tomatoes, and grilled fennel was one of the best things I’ve ever eaten? No? Well then you must not know me very well, because I love meat that’s practically bleeding. I love anything Mediterannean-tasting, like yogurt sauce and eggplant. I love juicy, local tomatoes. And I love fennel. So really, Chef Tyler put together a dish that was the perfect storm of Caitlin, and created a total J’adore La Vie moment for me.

Fellow foodie and ideal dining partner, Chris!

Chris and I had just one request for Brent and Tyler – dessert. Consider it done. Not only did dessert, a honey semifredo chocolate sorbet with chantilly cream and toasted almonds, blow us away, but it was paired with one of my most favorite alcoholic libations ever…DESSERT WINE (the non-sparkling kind).

The Equifera Vidal Icewine from Niagara, NY was another beverage I’m so glad Brent picked out for us, because I can see myself buying it and keeping it on hand at home to have after dinner. The perfect almost-syrup consistency that went well with every single component of the dessert, including that HOMEMADE MARSHMALLOW perched at the top.

Bread after dessert #sorrynotsorry

I like to experience the bread of every restaurant I visit. We were not brought any in the beginning of the meal, so once we finished dessert, I (hesitantly) asked one of our waitresses to bring out a couple of rolls with butter for Chris and I to sample. To me, bread says a lot about a restaurant because it can cover a wide spectrum, from the very worst (stale, served with cold/hard-as-rock butter, falls apart when you try to spread that butter on that staleness) to some of the best I’ve ever had (like the wheat sourdough with soft pastrami butter at J. Gilbert’s). I’m pleased to report that Millwright’s is in that best-end of the spectrum! I was quite psyched when our waitress didn’t call it bread…she called it “biscuits”. They had a sweet edge to them and the butter (doesn’t it look like a candle in the photo above?!) contained HONEY and SEA SALT. Ahh contrasting flavors FTW!

My kind of palate cleanser.

There’s nothing like sandwiching biscuits between two courses involving chocolate, oui? The last dish we were served, homemade chocolates, was certainly my kind of palate cleanser.

Brent (in the fancy suit), Chef Tyler and his team, me, and Chris.

After our meal, Chris and I were lucky enough to get a tour of the kitchen, the work-in-progress Tavern, and the wine “cellar”. It meant a lot to me that I was able to personally thank Tyler and his team for providing such a fabulous experience for Chris and I. I had already profusely thanked Brent throughout the meal with each course. He is the best maitre d’ I have ever encountered – just constantly ready to cater to every Millwright’s guest and make sure he or she enjoys the experience as much as possible. He even made up a custom menu for me to take home so that I would not have to worry about writing down all I was eating. I was able to just concentrate on tasting – and be in the moment!

Check the upper right hand corner…I died.

Millwright’s uses an iPad to keep inventory in the room where they keep all their wine and spirits. I also spotted my faves, Onyx Moonshine!

The coffee (served in a French press!) Brent has selected for Millwright’s is roasted in RI and is only kept for use as coffee (the beverage) for a week. After that, the beans are still used, but in cooking. A restaurant that takes its caffeine seriously is one that I will, in turn, take seriously!

The members of the waitstaff at Millwright’s were just as hospitable as Brent. I truly felt comfortable making any (reasonable) request of them. They even had left us the sweetest card when I came back from our kitchen tour!

This hangs in my cubicle at work now. The cafe they mention, Peaberry’s, is the local cafe I frequent each morning before work.

The card…the customized menu…I can’t get over the personalized service Chris and I received at Millwright’s last Wednesday night. I could even tell that Brent had read my blog! That’s the reason behind my decision to title this post the way I did. Millwright’s has the ability to make every single customer feel special, which is what every single one of them deserves. If you are looking for a place to celebrate a special occasion, or treat yourself to a meal that can also be called an experience, I recommend you visit Millwright’s as soon as possible. Like their Facebook page too…I’ve seen them give out fan-only specials!

Aww..the boys!

Thank you so very much to Tyler and his kitchen team, Brent, Chris (the bartender), Mariah, Amandalee, Rachel, and everyone else who made the evening unforgettable for Chris and I. I cannot wait for the Tavern’s 9/4/12 opening, and will be back then and many times after!

Have you ever had a dining experience that made you feel truly special?

Which dish would you have wanted to try the most? Which drink?

Do you have any experience with pre- and/or post-meal palate cleansers? Tell me about them!

How to Save a Weekend + CT GIVEAWAY!

If you have a moment, head on over to the fashion company Free Endearment’s blog, which today is listing out bikini-ready tips for summer. The last one is from yours truly! And while you’re at it, check out my darling friend Jenny’s new blog, Tofu Swag. The fabulous title clues you in to what you can expect – vegan food porn and sassy commentary. Need I say more?

My weekend started out kind of crappy. I was feeling really, really down ever since Wednesday, and despite the fact that I had plenty of fun planned for Friday through Sunday, I was not feeling good. Blame my usual issues. However, I managed to slowly salvage the weekend – and my mood – thanks to family, friends, and the power of positive thinking.

Jenny, me, and Heather – three blonde triplets!

So without further ado, I give you – how to save a weekend:

1. Wear a new shirt that makes you feel fabulous. Express surprise when your best blend wears a brightly colored shirt with an interesting back as well. Proceed to bring sexy back.

2. Don’t be afraid to make a fool of yourself. Otherwise photographic gems like these wouldn’t exist.

Oh HEY cardboard fox!

3. Go with your gut. If your first instinct drink order is a cucumber martini and the ginormous Greek dip platter is calling your name…do it. If you’re dreaming of a Wildflour vegan scone…order it.

Greek dips and Effen Good cucumber martini at Bar Louie in Foxborough, MA.

Still dreaming of this mushroom and spinach scone.

4. Drink wine. Preferably with family friends, your parents, and your best friend by your side. And preferably local wine.

Lidia and I at the gorgeous Chamard Vineyards in Clinton, CT.


5. Don’t be afraid to ask your mom for a hug if you’re feeling down. Cry on her shoulder. It doesn’t help anyone to feel guilty for putting your worries on her or to hold your sadness inside. Just let it out so you can get to the smiling.

Height diff much?

6. Wear a flowy dress. Spin around. Jump. Channel your inner flower child.

7. Have the best dad in the world. Need I say more?

8. Drink tequila out of a wine glass at the vineyard. It looks like white wine – they’ll never know!

That is NOT Pinot Grigio.

Classy pairing.

9. Go to the beach. Yeah, that’s it. Just go.

I’ve fallen…and I can’t get up!

10. When selecting a restaurant for a Sunday dinner, look no further than the local spot where your sister is a waitress. She’ll pour you LOTS of red wine, give you slow service because she knows she can, and make sure you leave smiling (and not just due to the wine).

Sis and I at Giovanni’s, her place of work, in Glastonbury, CT.

This is NOT one glass.

I ended my weekend feeling WAY better than I had going in. I think I can give credit to every part of the ten steps above for how much better I felt, and am continuing to feel. Oh, and I don’t have work tomorrow. YAY.

And now it’s time for a giveaway for my Connecticut readers. The Hartford Symphony Orchestra is sponsoring an excellent outdoor summer concert series at the Performing Arts Center at Simsbury Meadows. This Friday, July 6, receive a free dance lesson at Dancing Under the Stars. Or next Friday, July 13, listen to Music of Elton John at Rocket Man. Finally, on Friday July 20, get your fill of Big Country. Lawn tickets are only $20 in advance, and table tickets are just $40 (both prices go up $5 if you purchase at the door). Child lawn tickets are always $5!

But you have the chance to go for free by entering a giveaway for two lawn tickets for one lucky winner! The tickets work for any of the 3 shows in July mentioned above. To enter, just comment telling me which show you’d most want to attend (mandatory). Entries close this Thursday 7/5 at 12PM EST!

For extra entries (leave a comment for each) you can:

  1. Follow me on Twitter
  2. Follow Hartford Symphony Orchestra on Twitter
  3. Follow me on Pinterest

Good luck to all who enter!