Friday, December 19, 2014

2015 Connecticut Flower and Garden Show in Hartford CT

Save the date!

“Spirit of Spring”

The 34th Annual 
“Connecticut Flower & Garden Show”
February 19-22, 2015 
 Connecticut Convention Center

“Spirit of Spring” is the theme of the “34th annual Connecticut Flower & Garden Show” to take place on Thursday, February 19 through Sunday, February 22, 2015 at the Connecticut Convention Center on 100 Columbus Blvd. in Hartford. One of the largest and most prestigious flower shows in New England, the show’s hours are: Thursday, February 19 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, February 20 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, February 21 from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Sunday, February 22 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The colorful, fragrant show covers almost three acres with the 2015 theme, “Spirit of Spring”, with fresh, creative and wonderful ideas for homeowners and apartment and condo dwellers alike. Highlights include:

  • Eighteen (18) gardens fill over an acre, created by professional landscape designers and nonprofit organizations, and include naturalistic, low maintenance, native and organic gardens.
  • Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut’s 2015 Advanced Standard Flower Show: more than 12,000-square feet of design and horticulture competition and more than 250 judged entries, all with a “Ports of Call” theme.
  • More than 300 booths with displays, activities, artisans and handcrafted gifts,  and aisles of fresh flowers, plants, garden ornaments, herbs, bulbs, seeds, fertilizers, soils, gardening books, patio furniture, ornaments and lawn equipment for purchase. Bring a 1/2 cup of soil to the UConn Co-op booth for free soil testing.
More than 80 hours of seminars by horticulturists and experts including::
  • Daily seminars by Mar Jennings of Greenwich, CT, Emmy-nominated TV host, best-selling author and America's top Lifestyle Expert: Creating Casual Luxury in Your Home & Garden;
  • Roger Swain, known as The Man in the Red Suspenders, former host of PBS’ The Victory Garden and HGTV’s People, Places & Plants: Vegetables That I Have Known & You Will Love;
  • Connecticut Florist of the Year 2010, floral design instructor, and Connecticut Florists Association Board member Bob Buettner: Floral Arranging;Award-winning photographer and author Ken Druse: Making More Plants – Propagation and Natural Companions;
  • Lifelong organic gardener, photographer and lecturer Karen Bussolini: 40 Great Plants for Connecticut Gardens and Gardens in Winter;
  • Plant Pathologist Dr. Wade Elmer of New Haven, CT: Fighting Fusarium in Flowers, Nutrition to Manage Disease;
  • Award-winning container garden designer and certified horticulturist & landscape professional Deborah Trickett: Celebrity Containers and Jaw Dropping, Get Your Neighbors Talking Containers;
  • Wildlife biologist Peter Picone: Create & Enhance Wildlife Habitats in Your Surroundings;
  • Baroness Maureen Haseley-Jones a.k.a. The English Lady of Old Lyme, CT: Mother Earth;
  • Jeffrey Eleveld, who provides therapeutic horticulture to older adults, including individuals with dementia: Tropical Plants – Clean Air;
  • Rich Howard, retired civil engineer and past president of the Connecticut Daylily Society: Daylilies;
  • Plant Pathologist Dr. Yonghao Li, who heads up the Plant Disease Information Office at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station: Disease Control in Home Vegetable Gardens;
  • Master Gardener Dawn Pettinelli of the University of Connecticut in Storrs: Soils for Gardeners;
  • Master Gardener and Landscaper Thomas Mickey: America's Romance with the English Garden
And there's more!!!!
  • Charlotte Albers, environmental educator and owner of Paintbox Garden landscape design in Shelburne, VT: Gardens of Paris;
  • Rob Townsend: Watergardening Basics and Pond Ecology;
  • Pamm Cooper of the UConn Home and Garden Education Center, and a former golf course superintendent who teaches the entomology and turf portions of the Connecticut Master Gardener Program AND Carol Quish Advanced Master Gardener, Master Composter, horticulturist and certified accredited nursery & landscape professional: Our Gardens, The Good, The Bad & The Ugly;
  • Soil scientist and wetlands Ecologist Kyle Turoczi, Co-Founder of Earth Tones Native Plant Nursery & Landscapes in Woodbury, CT: Working With Wetlands on Your Property;
  • Donna Katsuranis, an Advanced Master Gardener and interfaith minister from Brookfield, CT: Composting & Soil Health and Rain Gardens; and
  • Master Gardener author, photographer and designer Amy Ziffer of Sherman, CT: Shade Revealed.
  • Denise Ciastko of Pan Acres Nursery in Canterbury, CT: Creating Sustainable Habitat for Pollinators;
  • Allison Kaminski: Winter Interest in Your Garden;
  • Kasha Furman of Cricket Hill Garden in Thomaston: Peonies; and
  • Dan Furman of Cricket Hill Garden in Thomaston: Backyard Orchards.

Admission: $16 Adults; $14 Seniors Age 62 and Over on Thursday/Friday only; $4 Children 5-12; Free under age 5 – Cash Only. Group rates for 15 or more people: contact 860-844-8461 or

Advance tickets are discounted by $2 and can be purchased no later than February 17, 2015 at the following Connecticut locations: The Garden Barn in Vernon; Garden Specialties in Mystic; Moscarillo’s Garden Shoppe in West Hartford; Natureworks in Northford; Stonehedge Garden Center in Newington and Woodland Gardens in Manchester.

Show sponsors include B & P Turf Farm, Goodyear Farms, T.J. Bark Mulch, Bob Buettner Florist, WRCH Light 100.5, WFSB Channel 3, Bedard Enterprises and North East Expos, Inc.

To join the email list and get more information about the 2015 Connecticut Flower & Garden Show, seminars, and driving directions, visit or call North East Expos, Inc. at

See you at the Connecticut Convention Center on February 19th -22nd!

Connecticut Flower and Garden Show
Connecticut Convention Center
100 Columus Boulevard
Hartford, CT 06103

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

First Night Danbury - 25th Anniversary 12-31-14

Make New Friends - Keep The Old!


 Your favorite performers will be there on New Year's Eve


First Night Danbury marks its 25th milestone anniversary on New Year's Eve, Wednesday, December 31st, 5:00 - 9:00pm, by bringing back favorite past performers to ring in the New Year throughout CityCenter. The weather outside won't be frightful, according to the Old Farmer's Almanac, and you may still have no place to go, so wrap up the kids and grandparents, don your best holiday caps, and join in a Danbury Downtown year-end tradition.

First Night Danbury was founded in 1989 by volunteers. One of only three First Nights in Connecticut and about 40 throughout the US, the event prides itself on being family-friendly.  First Night was adopted by CityCenter Danbury seven years ago  in order to rebuild and recognize First Night’s potential for significant impact on the downtown arts and business community, as well as to provide an alcohol free alternative to ringing in the New Year.  First Night's theme this year is chosen appropriately: "Make New Friends, Keep the Old." The Auld Lang Syne maxim continues with "These are Silver, Those are Gold." Appropriately, First Night has invited the participation of favorite past First Night entertainments as it heralds in a new 25 years.

The Mad Hatters return!

They include the Mad Hatters Barbershop Chorus and the New Hope Mass Choir (both first performed at First Night in 1989); internationally acclaimed flautist Sherry Winston; children's entertainer John Fogarty; singer-songwriters Bob Stanhope and Lara Herscovitch; the comedy musical trio, The Coconuts; Boston's Funny Guy, Robert Clarke; Off Broadway's Monday Night magician Peter Samelson; the amazing ice sculptures of Ice Matters; and CityCenter's unofficial "ambassador" of goodwill, Magic Marty.

The Coconuts return!

In this year’s program, you’ll find tidbits of history, and we’re sure you’ll remember cherished moments from First Nights past. But there will also be the New. Light and LED, high atop the Patriot Garage, will close out the evening as we count down to the New Year. The spectacular finale, beginning at 8:30pm, will feature performances by Fractal Phenomenon and Boston-based Cirque de Light and, as tradition calls for, hot cider and cookies courtesy of The Danbury Parking Authority.

Cirque de Light

If you want to get an early start, First Night will hold a Special 25th Anniversary Ribbon Cutting Ceremony from 4:15 to 5:00pm at St. James Church. Mayor Mark Boughton will make a proclamation; The Silvertones, a group of 62 to 95-year-old “hipsters” will regale you; Mrs. Connecticut USA Universal 2015, Susan Bawlick Pagan, will add a touch of “glam;” and a Carillon Concert will kick off  First Night's 4 hours of diverse and celebratory entertainments. Host venues, all within walking distance,  include the Danbury Ice Arena, Danbury Public Library, Danbury Music Centre, Palace Danbury, St. James Church, Heirloom Arts Theatre, and the Danbury Innovation Center.

First Night Danbury is sponsored by Family & Children's Aid, All About Kids Pediatric Dentistry, Union Savings Bank, Ventura, Ribeiro & Smith, Danbury Parking Authority, Danbury Cultural Commission and the City of Danbury. Their contributions allow CityCenter to make First Night Danbury affordable and fun. Buttons, which get you into all entertainments, cost only $10! They can be purchased at CityCenter, 186 Main Street;  select branches of Union Savings Bank and the Savings Bank of Danbury; Danbury Public Library; the Patriot Garage; The Sweet Spot in New Milford; and Byrd’s Books in Bethel.

For more information, call CityCenter Danbury at (203) 792 1711 or visit


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Carvel Ice Cream Stores for Holiday Cakes

If you're looking for a fun dessert treat for upcoming holiday get togethers and parties, look no farther than your local Carvel Ice Cream Store!

It's that great time of year when Carvel outdoes themselves creating HOMEMADE on premise cakes and treats perfect for any holiday occasion.

I was recently invited to visit a Carvel to sample a holiday cake and went to the nearest one to me in Milforrd CT.

Some of my favorites are the delicious ice cream cakes they make for the holidays!

Let's start with the Christmas Tree Cake

The Christmas Tree Cake at Carvel features layers of freshly made vanilla and chocolate ice cream separated by a layer of chocolate crunchies, and covered in icing that recreates a lush green Christmas Tree.

The Snowman Cake is also adorable!

The Snowman Cake at Carvel is made with layers of fresh vanilla and chocolate ice cream separated by a layer of chocolate crunchies, and covered with white icing with blue, green and red icing on top.

Also available are a Santa Cake and a Hanukkah Cake, both made with layers of both vanilla and chocolate ice cream separated by layers of chocolate crunchies.

Also available are Lil’ Snowmen Novelty Treats (not pictured) – These take-home treats feature delicious freshly made soft serve ice cream and are decorated to look like adorable miniature snowmen.

I purchased the Christmas Tree cake and I know it will be the hit of  the Holiday Party!

Carvel Ice Cream stores are found nationwide

To find a Carvel Ice Cream Store near you click here ===>

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Disclaimer: I received a gift certificate to Carvel to facilitate this review.However, all opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Parallel Post Christmas & Holiday 2014 Celebrations in Trumbull CT

Following their celebratory second anniversary in late November, Parallel Post is continuing to spread the holiday cheer this month.  From festive gatherings and dedicated Christmas and New Year’s Eve menus to newly unveiled body-warming cocktail creations, Parallel Post is jumping full swing into the season.

Executive Chef Chris Molyneux will showcase his skills with two holiday-specific menus inspired by seasonal offerings.

Christmas Dinner

A four-course Christmas Day dinner ($45++/$60++ inclusive of wine/beer pairings) will be served from 12:00 p.m.- 10:00 p.m. on December 25th, 2014 with open seating.

Christmas Dinner at Parallel Post

The Christmas Dinner will feature items such as Fire Roasted Copps Island Oysters; Prime Rib Espresso Crusted Rib Roast, roasted sweet onion au gratin, greens and au jus; ending with Chocolate Panna Cotta, sea-salted caramel sauce and toasted hazelnuts.

New Year's Eve Dinner Celebration

Bringing the season to a close, the New Year’s Eve four-course menu ($45++/$60++inclusive of wine/beer pairings and a complimentary champagne toast) will be served from 5 p.m. - 11 p.m. on December 31st, 2014 with open seating.

New Year's Eve at Parallel Post

The celebration will highlight dishes such as Endive Salad, beets, pomegranate, goat cheese, figs, walnuts and Clementine vinaigrette; Grilled Rabbit Rack, sweet potato, Benton’s bacon, greens and roasted vegetables; and topped off with Espresso Chocolate Cake.

Holiday Specialty Cocktails

Parallel Post’s leading mixologist Gregory "Bootleg Greg" Genias has created a holiday cocktail menu filled with sweet citrus, creamy flavorings, rums, wines, and liqueurs guaranteed to satisfy the palate.  For those in need of a defrosting, wrap your hands around a hot mug of XMAS Tea ($10), infused with red wine, cardamom, cinnamon, orange, apples, dark berries, brandy and Drambuie; or toast your body with Natural is the Mystic ($12), mixed with JP Weiser vanilla spiced whiskey, homemade orange cello, hot water, fresh orange peels, and a tea ball steeped with cloves and Stevia leaves for sweetener. For patrons looking for an alternative to the traditional eggnog, savor the Dr. Phil’s 3-Cream Coquito ($12), blended with evaporated milk, condensed milk, fresh coconut cream, Bacardi white, Onyx 111 moonshine, cinnamon, nutmeg, and thyme.

Holiday Drinks at Parallel Post
(L) Natural is the Mystic, (Center) XMAS Tea, (R) Dr. Phil's Three-Cream-Coquito


Chef Dean James Max returns to his farm-raised roots in his latest venture, Parallel Post at the Trumbull Marriott Merritt Parkway. Offering a bold and flavorful menu featuring modern American cuisine with Northeastern regional flair, Parallel Post brings an unseen level of quality and creativity to the culinary landscape of Trumbull, Connecticut.  The intimate, yet casual eatery uses seasonal, local ingredients prepared with contemporary, healthy techniques.  The menu is comprised of a wide array of options from snacks to small plates, large entrée, and multi-course tasting menu.

Parallel Post serves breakfast Monday through Friday from 6:30 to 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.; lunch Monday through Friday from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.; and dinner daily from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m.

Parallel Post is located at 180 Hawley Lane, Trumbull, CT.
For more information, please visit or call 203.380.6380.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Chilifest 2015 in Westport CT - You Be The Judge!

Chilifest is the Hot Ticket for the Holidays  

Chilifest in Connecticut
Chilifest in CT

Looking for a great stocking stuffer for your favorite foodie????

The “hot” gift of this holiday season just might be tickets to Chilifest.

Chilifest is a pre-Super Bowl event that takes place on Feb. 1, 2015 at Bedford Middle School in Westport CT from 11AM to 3PM.   Just like its sister event, Chowdafest, everyone is given a spoon, ballot and pencil, and the opportunity to sample 18 different kinds of chili and to vote on their favorites.

Chilifest will feature THREE categories of chili:  classic beef, creative chili (turkey, vegetarian, green etc.) and “Firehouse” chili.

Twelve local restaurants will compete in the classic and creative categories while firefighters from the Fairfield, Norwalk, Trumbull, Weston, Westport and Wilton Fire Departments are slated to compete in a separate category for best firehouse chili.

Jim Keenen, event director for Chilifest says,

“We're excited to find out which restaurant people believe has the best chili - and equally thrilled to be holding a separate competition to determine what firehouse makes the best chili too. Fire departments are famous for their chili. Some of these fire fighters really know their way around the kitchen."

The Firehouse category is sponsored by Local Kitchen & Beer Bar of Norwalk and Fairfield to remind people to support their LOCAL fire department.

Some of the restaurants competing in the 2015 competition include:

The entire roster of competitors will be finalized soon (and this list will be updated at that time.

Tickets bought online are just $10 adults, $5 for kids ages 6-12.  “At ten bucks, they make great stocking stuffers” said Keenan.  Tickets at the door will be $15.  Tickets can be purchased online at:

Chilifest benefits the Turtle Fund which seeks to promote the education of young people in art, music, theater, skilled craft and other creative pursuits in order to create a rich cultural heritage for tomorrow.

Chilifest is proudly sponsored by Aitoro Appliances, Stop & Shop, Volvo of WestportLocal Kitchen & Beer Bar and WEBE 108.  For more information about Chilifest please visit,

Bedford Middle School
88 North Avenue
Westport CT 06880
Feb. 1, 2015
11:00am - 3:00pm 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bonefish Grill in Newington CT - #GoColossal

Last weekend we were invited to the Bonefish Grill to sample their Winter Colossal Menu!

This was our first time visiting the Bonefish Grill, who have two locations in Connecticut. One in Newington CT (where we visited) and the other in South Windor, CT

The Bonefish Grill
Newington CT

As soon as I posted my first picture on Instagram, friends and family starting texting me thinking I was down south where Bonefish Grill restaurants are more prevalent. I'm so excited to let everyone know that YES! They are here in CT and hopefully will be expanding more into New Haven and Fairfield counties!

For Winter 2014, the Bonefish Grill is featuring a Winter Colossal Menu (see menu HERE) that offers great values on favorites like Lobster Stuffed Shrimp with a creamy lobster and shrimp Imperial stuffing, succulent King Crab Legs, and Whole Grilled Mediterranean Branzino stuffed with citrus and served with a Mediterranean sofrito and arugula almond grains salad.

To embrace the season and all its wintry frostiness, sip one of Bonefish Grill’s Colossal Menu's specialty cocktails, like the Cold Snap Blackberry Frost served in a glass made entirely of ice (SAY WHAT???), mixed with freshly muddled blackberries, blood orange liqueur, vodka and fresh lemon juice.

Or you can be like me, and keep it classic, and order the Bonefish Grill's winter-time favorite Winter White Cosmo, mixed Reyka Vodka with St. Germain Elderflower liqueur, white cranberry juice and fresh lime. (Also on the Winter Colossal Menu)

Winter White Cosmopolitan

I loved the tasteful decor in the restaurant and the atmosphere. It's the perfect place for date night...or a fun night out with family or friends!

We started with the delicious baked bread and dipping infused olive oil. I could eat this bread all day - every day!

For our dinner entrees, I ordered off the Winter Colossal Menu, and went with our waitperson, Christine's, recommendation of the Sirloin and Shrimp Scampi, I have to tell you that the steak was cooked perfectly and the shrimp was beautifully prepared in a savory tomato based sauce with just the right amount of garlicky goodness.

Sirloin and Shrimp Scampi
Summer Squash - Mashed Potatoes

Yep. I was in Colossal Seafood Heaven!
Christine, if you're reading this, thank you, thank you, thank you! Great recommendation!

Look at that beautiful shrimp!


The cowboy was hankering for a great cut of beef - so he went with the 10oz USDA Prime Filet Mignon off the regular dinner menu. He has officially declared this filet one of the best he has ever had.

10oz Filet Mignon with Summer Squash and Potatoes Au Gratin

For dessert, we stayed with the Winter Colossal Menu and shared the Chocolate.Crème Brûlée, 

Oh my goodness, complete with whipped cream and chocolate shavings - this was a chocolate lover's dream! And more than enough for two people to share!

We had a great time at the Bonefish Grill. We even had the chance to talk with hospitality manager Nate who used to live right here in Branford just a few blocks away from us. It's a small, small world, isn't it.

Managing partner Liz Pachullo was overseeing the action in the kitchen, so unfortunately we weren't able to meet her and thank her for bringing Bonefish to Connecticut!!!

But the fun isn't over.... Here's where it gets really good for you too!

For a limited time the Fresh Fish Experts at Bonefish Grill are celebrating the holiday season in a big way by offering a $10 gift to Home Place readers now through December 30.

While you’re there, savor the same decadent dishes that we sampled on from the new Colossal Winter Menu - or order off the regular menu.  Either way, it's a win!

Note: This offer expires Dec. 30 2014
Some restrictions apply
See details

$10 gift for you and yours===>

The Bonefish Grill
2903 Berlin Turnpike,
Newington, CT 06111



Disclaimer: We were invited to the Bonefish Grill by their public relations firm and provided with a gift card that covered a portion of our meal  However, all opinions are our own.

2014 Toys for Tots Collection by Mike's Harley Davidson New London CT

Toys for Tots and the Marines team up with Santa and Mike's Famous Harley-Davidson at the former Coca-Cola® Factory to Bring Hope to the Community

Santa and Mrs. Clause will ride into the new Mike's Famous Harley-Davidson in New London this Saturday, December 13, from 12 - 3 p.m. to join United States Senator Richard Blumenthal and Congressman Joe Courtney in supporting the U.S. Reserve Marine Corps annual Toys for Tots campaign.

The free event will include photos with Santa and the whole family ... even pets are welcome. Santa will greet visitors in a Harley-Davidson® sidecar set in front of a traditional stone fireplace within the former Coca-Cola® factory. Local sports celebrities including Casey Cochran (UConn football player) and Roger LaFrancois (former Boston Red Sox player and St. Louis Cardinal's coach) will be on hand to sign autographs. The brand new showroom not only features motorcycles, ATVs and watercraft, but also boasts an extensive selection of riding gear, accessories, clothing, and toys; there's something fun for every member of the family at this exciting new venue. Each child will receive a free gift from Santa, and festive refreshments will be offered.

Mike's Famous Harley-Davidson is the New London County collection and staging headquarters for Toys for Tots, locally sponsored by the Thames River Detachment Marine Corps League.  For months, the community has been donating toys and the Marines have been collecting, sorting and staging the gifts inside of Mike's Famous®. The initiative will provide toys to children represented by dozens of charities and non-profit organizations this holiday season.  Additionally, non-perishable food items are being accepted for donation to the Gemma E. Moran United Way Food Center.

"We are thrilled beyond belief to be working with Mike's Famous Harley-Davidson this year on our annual toy drive," said Jim Reid, Junior Vice Commandant of the Thames River Detachment Marine Corps League.  "Mike has gone above and beyond the call of duty and has spent a lot of resources to accommodate our needs. In past years, we have worked in unheated warehouses and other tough conditions.  Our very comfortable headquarters at Mike's Famous is absolutely fantastic, and his staff has been great to work with. We are extremely grateful," Reid added.

Following the Bureau of Labor Statistic's positive November jobs report, the 2015 economy looks bright for the region. This bodes well for U.S. businesses like Mike's Famous Harley-Davidson, and its owner, Mike Schwartz, who invested in the City of New London this past year.  He purchased the former Coca-Cola® bottling plant on Bank Street in the late summer of 2013, and by soliciting suggestions from the community, transformed the crumbling building into a customer led showroom and retail destination, which opened in the spring of 2014.  This adaptive reuse project has created 40 full and part-time jobs in a fun, unique, authentic environment which merges two iconic brands, Coca-Cola® and Harley-Davidson®.

Coca-Cola's® 2014 holiday campaign, "Make Someone Happy," focuses on the spirit of generosity and togetherness, and encourages small acts of kindness.  Coke® is bringing back their original Santa, imagined over 80 years ago by artist Haddon Sundblom, to elicit a feeling of history and nostalgia. In keeping with this theme, elected officials, local celebrities, Boy Scouts, Young Marines, senior Marine officers and military personnel are donating their time on Saturday to participate in the Toys for Tots event at Mike's Famous Harley-Davidson, bringing the larger community together to help others.

About the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program:
The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation's most valuable resources - our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.

About Mike's Famous Harley-Davidson:
Mike's Famous Harley-Davidson is located at 951 Bank Street in New London, CT.   The new dealership opened in March of 2014 in 55,000 square feet within the former Coca-Cola® bottling plant.  It also represents the Can-Am® brands of ATVs, Side-by-Sides, Spyders® and Sea-Doo® Watercraft, and carries the full line of Polaris® recreational products.

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