Saturday, July 28, 2012

Rainy Day Shoe Shopping at DSW

Hello. My name is Bonnie and I have a shoe problem.   Yes. I am a shoe addict lover.
And, for the record...I never, ever, thought Imelda Marcos was a bad person for owning a gazillion shoes.

What can I say? I really like shoes!

Today I was in search of a pair of black comfortable pumps for work.  I did an internet search for the closest DSW and found one on Universal Drive in North Haven, CT (located in the shopping center next to the Target shopping Center).  Don't make the same mistake I made, you can't get from the Target center to the DSW shopping center.  They're not connected.

Well, of course I started off in the clearance section, where I located two pairs of shoes, both at 30% off.
 Oh, did you notice they're not black?  Well. They go with black outfits.  They're marked as "dark violet" but they are actually a light grey-ish toned periwinkle.  Made by Bandolino shoe style: BDDEMPSY 

Next from the clearance section I found these great sandals by Kenneth Cole in a black patent leather.  
Again, not a pump...but hey, 30% off!  Kenneth Cole Reaction BLACK/PAT PU

Okay.  Time to get serious.  I need black shoes for work. 
I was able to find two pairs that I liked...and that were C O M F O R T A B L E!

The first was a pair of black patent leather pumps by Ellen Tracy, shoe name: ET-CODY

Here's order information and a much better picture:  ELLEN TRACY CODY PUMP

I was also able to find a pair of Liz Claiborne Shoe name: Carmen in a flat black leather trimmed with patent leather.
Here's information and another better picture: LIZ CLAIBORNE CARMEN
I had been looking at these particular shoes I was happy to see they had them in stock in store.

I've purchased Bandolino and Liz Claiborne shoes before and have had great luck with them both.  I especially love Liz Claiborne as they are super comfortable and fit my foot well.  And although I'm not  a huge fan of patent leather, they do hold up well, and take a beating!

I need to note that the check out person was extremely helpful and looked up my DSW Rewards information and told me how this purchase qualified me for future savings.  He patiently explained how the reward system works and that if I was shopping for shoes in the near future, before I receive my reward discount in the mail/e-mail, to bring my receipt in and he would be able to apply the discount.

Don't you love patient sales assistants?  I know I do! Especially when they offer lots of helpful information!

Well, I won't admit to how much I spent (the cowboy does read the blog!) but I will tell you that with the 30% off of the clearance shoes I saved a respectable $41.96.
I also need to mention that other than the reward points I earned from this purchase I received no compensation for shopping at DSW and this successful shopping trip.

Visit DSW in North Haven 
(or any convenient location...they're even online)
410 Universal Drive
North Haven, CT 06473

and tell them Home Place sent you!

Do you have a favorite shoe store?  Please!  Tell me where it is and all about it!
...and here's a picture of my little scoundrel getting in on the shoe-act!
I think she's saying..."OMG - I love them"

If you found this blog helpful please share it with others using one of the resources below:

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Paella with Roger and Family

Today was Paella Day with Roger and Carol!  

Several times a year, usually when when he has family visiting, my friend Roger makes Paella.  If you're not familiar with this delicious offering, it is a hearty Spanish dish consisting primarily of rice, vegetables, and protein.  There are many variations of paella, most are regional in nature,  but the three most widely prepared are Valencian paella (Spanish: paella valenciana) made with chicken, pork, or rabbit; seafood paella (Spanish: paella de marisco); and mixed paella (Spanish: paella mixta) made with some combination of the two. 

Roger, who is of Spanish descent, traditionally prepares "mixed" paella and over the years he has adapted the recipe first taught to him by his grandfather and step-grandfather.   He has other family members that make paella  and each adjusts the "family" recipe to their own personal likes and dislikes.  In fact, Roger's cousin who was also there, explained that his son, (also there) is now the next generation to prepare their family's paella recipe.  Folks, this is a dish that is 'made with love' for 'those you love'. I was honored to be invited to Roger and Carol's and partake in this family style dish with along with other friends, family, and loved ones.  Roger was also kind enough to let me document the preparation of the dish.

Roger has a beautiful paella pan and a Garcima gas burner with stand to prepare the paella outdoors. 

 He starts by oiling the paella pan with virgin olive oil checking that the stand sits level.  He begins to heat the pan and then adds his first few pieces of chicken legs and thighs to begin seasoning the pan and preparing it for the rest of the ingredients to come.
As soon as the chicken pieces brown he adds cubed pieces of chicken and pork.
After the chicken and pork brown, add chunks of fresh tomato and coarsely chopped garlic, and continuously de-glaze the pan.
Roger then adds some of his secret brew, which consists of chicken and pork bullion, saffron, pepper and other spices, boiled with water well ahead of time.  He cautions against using salt, as the bullion has a high sodium content.
Now we start building some vegetables and rice.  Roger adds the green beans.
then the rice. (Roger uses white and says the Spanish style rice can get too starchy.
Then he adds lima beans, peas and flat green beans.
A little more secret brew.
Add some roasted artichokes
and some mini meatballs
Now it's time to build more flavor with the seafood additions: 
clams, mussels, and shrimp.

Finally, the last ingredient, some sweet red peppers.
Cover with foil and let steam for the final few minutes.
Oh...the wait... 
...and the aroma was heavenly!
Voila!  The finished dish - a beautiful paella!
Roger served Sangria along with some salad, 
and peasant bread with sweet creamy butter with our meal.
My plate runneth over!

Afterwards we all toasted Roger for a delicious meal with some 
Carlos I Solera Gran Reserva Brandy

And then we stuffed ourselves senseless with some decadent desserts!
 Say hi to Roger's mom Fran, 
enjoying some delicious fresh strawberries and pound cake.

We had such a nice afternoon spent with good friends and great company.  
Thank you Roger and Carol!

If you are interested in making paella there are lots of recipes on the internet, 
use Google searchword "Paella Recipe" 
And the secret to a good paella is a good paella pan.  
You can find pans on the 'net as well for as little as $35.00 and as much as $300.00 depending on the size, weight, and materials.  
Here's a sample of a mid-range pan by Wayfair 
but if you look at their website you can find more  in many styles and price ranges.

Do you have any family dishes that have been passed down "generation to generation"?
Don't you just love family traditions?
I know I do!
Here's a a little sunflower from Carol's garden to leave with you.
And some more pictures of the day with Roger and Carol:
click here: Link to Pictures

If you found this blog helpful please share it with others using one of the resources below:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Cash Mob, CT - Bethany Farmer's Market

With all that has been in the paper the last few days about U.S. Olympic Opening Ceremony Uniforms being made in China - it makes you reflect on your own buying habits.
     Do you purchase locally?
     Do you support your local town / state / region / country?
Well, if you live in one of the 15 cities or towns covered by REX Development you can support local Connecticut businesses and participate in Cash Mob CT.   All it takes is a twenty dollar bill and a desire to shop!
Since I had both (chuckle) - I decided to participate in the bonus July Cash Mob held at the Bethany Farmer's Market on Amity Road in Bethany.
For those of you not familiar with a Cash Mob - the premise is this:  a business is selected, and on a specific date and time frame, a large group of people will arrive and agree to spend $20.00 at that particular business.  It's loosely fashioned after the "Flash Mobs" where a large group of people would arrive at at a particular location and perform a choreographed dance, usually to bring attention to an event or cause.

The Cash Mob idea is similar, but in the Cash Mob's case, the choreography is by "Andrew Jackson" (the handsome gentlemen on the twenty-dollar bill) and the event or cause is that the nominated business receives a nice little boost to its bottom line.

Imagine if 100 people came out to support a single small business with $20.00 in a two-hour period.  The revenue from this little "shot in the arm" would be an economic welcome - and more importantly, it would STAY LOCAL!  Did you know that for every $20 that is spent at a local retailer, $13.60 will return to the community through taxes and payroll?  

Cash Mob's motto?  We each do a little - we all do a lot.
Note: The July Cash Mob was originally intended to support a Wallingford business but the winning company Sweet Cioccolata, asked if the Cash Mob could be held in August instead.  Date TBA.
So as not to let the cash "Mobbers" alternate location, the Bethany Farmer's Market, was chosen for a July 14th 9am-11am date and time.  
So Saturday morning, off the Cowboy and I went!  Here are some pictures of the vendors found at the farm market which is held at the former Bethany Airport every Saturday: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM from June 30 to October 6, 2012.  

We started off with some fresh squeezed lemon-n-lime-ade.  Yes, you heard right. Fresh squeezed and ice cold.  
Next we moved on to fresh produce

Then some all natural soaps, oils, and cosmetic products.

Some goat cheese produced from two local farms

There are also honey and maple syrup products

and some locally grown flowers and greens.  

Some locally baked breads

...and the Cowboy finally hit the mother lode!  First of the season garden tomatoes!  
Also represented were some members of a local farm animal rescue shelter who house sheep, horses, and alpaca.
 here's a sample of some wool from the sheep on their farm.
As a side note: Every Saturday at the Old Bethany Airport the Bethany Lion's Club Organization also sponsors a Flea Market.  (More on that in a future blogpost).  Here's a sample of some of the treasures to be found
But back to the Farm Market!

We arrived home, unpacked our bounty...
and prepared a delicious salad for dinner made mostly from our Cash Mob CT purchases!

Here's a list of some of the ingredients found in this delicious salad...
  • Grilled sour dough bread (bread bought at farm market)
  • Grilled green and orange zucchini (bought at farm market)
  • Grilled eggplant (bought at the farm market)
  • Sliced cucumbers (bought at farm market)
  • Quartered tomatoes (bought at farm market)
  • Swiss chard (bought at farm market)
  • Dill goat cheese (bought at the farm market)
  • Grilled Chicken (out of the freezer)
  • Honey-mustard balsamic vinegar and garlic dressing (garlic bought at the farm market other ingredients out of the pantry)

Visit the Bethany Farmer's Market and tell them Home Place sent you.

Bethany Farmer's Market
711 Amity Road
Bethany, CT
Saturday: 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM from June 30 to October 6, 2012.

Market Manager: Nelly Rabinowitz
(203) 393-9661

Oh, and support the next Cash Mob CT!!!

Do you want to nominate a small business for a Cash Mob?  Contact and follow them on Facebook.

For information on Cash Mob CT:
For information on the Bethany Farmer's Market:
For additional pictures taken at the Bethany Farmer's Market:

If you found this blog helpful please share it with others using one of the resources below:
Real Time Web Analytics