Sunday, February 24, 2013

Connecticut Flower and Garden Show 2013 at the CT Convention Center

In spite of still being somewhat buried under the remnants of snow...the Connecticut Convention Center was the first in Connecticut to welcome SPRING with the The 32nd Annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show!

The show opened on Thursday and the theme of this year's show was "Love in Bloom."  To help celebrate the romantic theme, the convention center was the venue for a local Glastonbury couple, married 50 years, to renew their wedding vows, immediately after the show's opening in the beautiful flower filled hall.

Together they joined the committee in officially opening the show with the ceremonial cutting of the garland.  
Source: CT Garden Clubs
Kristie Gonsalves
, President of North East Expos, Inc. – the show’s organizer;
Becky Paul, Chair of The Federated Garden Clubs of CT’s Advanced Standard Flower Show competition;
Ronnie Schoelzel, President of The Federated Garden Clubs of Connecticut

Flower garland of flowers and wedding flowers
created by Bob Kelly Florist of Hartford.
We made our way up early Sunday, while CT dodged another winter storm (hallelujah!) The Connecticut Flower and Garden Show was just what was needed to shake off the winter doldrums, and help us welcome spring!

Hello Spring!      Hello Flowers!     Hello Fresh Mulch!

Oh, how we've missed you!

It was wonderful to breathe in the earthy scent and enjoy the bright and vibrant colors!

There was so much to see in addition to flowers, although they were the highlights! Everything from birdhouses, to sculpture, to garden sheds and hot tubs. If you are looking for any product that has to do with landscaping, the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show is the place to go.
Grasshopper sculpture and landscape display
This beautifully set table was found under the flower and wire orbs and was designed by Creative Contours
Everything for the yard - from mulch to mowing to mod hot tubs
Beautiful Flower Arrangements
Amazing floral sculptures - These each stood approximately 4 ft tall.
Birdhouses, water features, and hanging pottery.
There were also household items available, for instance, this grater demonstration that I was drawn to because of the beautifully colored pottery.
Here's some of the other items that caught my eye. You'll see I seek out any tulips, Adirondack chairs, window boxes, or bunnies!

Bright and colorful garden tools! What's not to love?

so many amazing water features!

Every building looks better with a window box!

Someday I'll have a gazebo --- and I love this horse bench

My husband said to make sure I didn't come home with anything.
He didn't know there would be tomatoes there!!

Will someone come and do this landscaping in my yard for me? Please? 

 And for those planning weddings of their own...there were plenty of centerpieces and tablescapes for inspiration.

In addition there were over 80 hours of seminars by horticulturists and experts throughout the weekend, however, we were so caught up in the exhibits we were unable to attend any. Next year, though, we'll plan better.

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

Special thanks to North East Expos for hosting the event and to my great friends Carol and Gayle for taking the trip to the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show with me!

For additional pictures visit the Home Place facebook page HERE


Are you ready to get your "garden on" this year?

Do you have any landscape projects that you're planning?

I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Getting Ready for Prom Fashions 2013 #MacysProm

PSST: UPDATE! See my recap of this event HERE
It's no secret that my days of attending Proms are long gone.

But who DOESN'T love Prom Fashions?  
Source: Macy's

There's nothing quite like a formal affair, whether it's your first prom, or a special event like a wedding, or formal sweetheart dance.  I still love getting dressed up! Most of all, I love prom fashions!
Source: Macy's
And nobody does prom fashions better than Macy's - and they are sponsoring a PROM  FASHION SHOW 2013 in select Macy's stores across the country.

And luckily, one is coming to Macy's WestFarms Mall, in Farmington CT - just minutes from where I live. One is probably coming to a store near you, too!

And, even better! My niece and some of her friends will be attending, so I know I'll get to live vicariously through these young women as they try on some of these beautiful fashions and see what's in store for Prom 2013! FUN!

And it only gets better!

The Prom Fashion Show at the Macy's Westfarms Mall will be hosted by none other than Mandi Line, the costume designer and stylist for the hit show, Pretty Little Liars!
Source: Tumblr

 And afterwards there will be a live performance by the new band Action Item!
Source: Tumblr
Saturday, March 16th at 2pm
Macy's at Westfarms Mall
100 Westfarms Mall Farmington, CT 06032
*Special Guest Mandi Line
*Watch a live performance and then meet the hot new band, Action Item. 
Enjoy yummy sips and sweets.

What?  You don't live in Connecticut?  
Here's a list of the Macy's stores sponsoring Prom Fashions and the celebrity stylists that will be in attendance.

Saturday, March 9th at 1pm
Macy's Mall of America
60 East Broadway, Bloomington, MN 55425
*Special Guest Mandi Line
*After the fashion show, head into the Juniors Department in Macy's and enjoy our IMPULSE Cosmetics make up bar where you'll learn how to do the perfect smoky eye and red lip! We will also have a hair stylist on-site to help you plan your complete Prom look! Enjoy sweets and prizes from our partners, Pinkberry and Cupcake. Plus, you'll receive 25% off any regular price prom dress on March 9 only, and a fabulous swag bag full of goodies with your purchase of $75 or more!* Done with some of your gently worn dresses? We have a drop box where you can donate your dress to Operation Glass Slipper which provides prom and homecoming dresses to those in need! Each person to donate will receive a $10 Macy's gift card!*

Saturday, March 16th at 2pm
Macy's at Mall of Millenia
4200 Conroy Rd, Orlando, FL 32839
*Special Guest Mr. Kate
*Get your nails done at our Nail Bar and enjoy the music of our DJ.
*Tweet using #MacysProm and receive a free $10 gift card!

Saturday, March 23rd at 2pm
Macy's at Sun Valley Mall
1 Sun Valley Mall, Concord, CA 94520
*Special Guest Mr. Kate
*Complimentary manicure bar.

Saturday, March 23rd at 2pm
Macy's at Scottsdale Fashion Square
7014 E Camelback Rd #5000, Scottsdale, AZ 85251
*Special Guest Jamie Krell

Saturday, March 30th at 1pm
Macy's at Woodfield Mall
5 Woodfield Mall, Schaumburg, IL 60173
*Special Guest Mandi Line

Saturday, April 6th at 2pm
Macy's at Robinson Town Center
100 Robinson Centre Drive, Pittsburgh, PA 15205
*Special Guest Mandi Line

Saturday, April 13th at 2pm
Macy's at Valley Fair Mall
2801 Stevens Creek Blvd, Santa Clara, CA 95050
*Special Guest Mandi Line
*Complimentary manicure bar!

Saturday, April 20th at 2pm
Macy's at Bowie Towne Center
15300 Emerald Way, Bowie, MD 20716
*Special Guest Mandi Line

Saturday, April 27th at 2pm
Macy's at South Coast Plaza
3333 Bear Street, Costa Mesa, CA 92626
*Special Guest Mr. Kate
Tweet using #MacysProm and show us what you scored at our pre-prom event

Hope to see you there and check back here for my recap of the Westfarms Prom Fashion Show!

You can join Macy's for a star-studded afternoon of Prom fashion with celebrity stylists! Join Costume Designer for Pretty Little Liars, Mandi Line , online fashion guru Mr. Kate or E! correspondent, Jamie Krell!

Stylists will discuss the hottest trends for Prom while hosting the fashion show! Shop and mingle with featured guests immediately following the show!

*Enter for a chance to win a $100 Macy's gift card to shop with Mr. Kate or Mandi Line for your own perfect prom look at select locations.

Disclaimer: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere provided me with compensation for this post about the Macy's Prom event. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Aggie's Restaurant, Essex Books, & Gather in Ivoryton

Hooray! My missing notebook, misplaced at Leeza Gibbons' table, was found (!!!) by none other than Sue McCann, owner of Essex Books, and co-founder of the Big Book Club Getaway event at the Mohegan Sun.

Sue graciously offered to snail-mail it to me, but the Cowboy and I were in serious need of a road trip, so we decided to take the short trip to scenic Ivoryton CT to retrieve it. We thought we'd stop and have a little breakfast, and then meander around her little shop Essex Books and the store Gather which houses her little book nook.
Ivortyton is a little borough that is part of the town of Essex.  At one time this tiny village was known for piano manufacturing, hence the name "Ivoryton" based on the "ivory" keys used in making of pianos. Most Connecticut-ians are familiar with this charming little area because of the popularity of the Essex Steam Train and the Ivoryton Playhouse.

We headed out early so we could have breakfast and found a great little cafe called Aggie's Restaurant right across from the Ivoryton Playhouse. This is one of those cute places that is always popular with the locals! I wondered why her sign had an elephant with tusks as a logo! Now I know! Elephant = tusks = ivory = piano keys!
Was it good? - Oh yes, see how the cowboy eventually wiped his plate clean!
The nice folks at Aggie's then gave us directions to Essex Books at Gather. Literally steps away, so we left our car at the Ivoryton Playhouse and walked over.


As soon as I peeked in the door I looked at the cowboy and said...

              oh, you're in trouble honey - I'm going to have fun in this place! 

It's a virtual treasure trove of items, from antiques to jewelry to furniture to clothes and BOOKS!  Best of all, we were happily greeted at the door by two of the cutest little pups!  They were the wriggling, happy, tail-wagging kind, that wouldn't sit still and pose for pictures! Just look at the cowboy ambling away with that cute little yellow lab!

I know what you're thinking, and I agree. Two cute little book ends!
Gather is pet friendly for friendly pets!
And there tucked in the corner in the cutest little nook, was Sue and Essex Books!

This great little book nook is the kind of place I could get lost in for hours.  Packed in a cozy corner of the store are books, books, and more books!  For the little ones there is a cute little gingham covered table just waiting for a fun game of checkers and some colored markers and paper for letting your imagination run wild! The Cowboy was THRILLED that he found a great little book on golf and I was pleased to see the beautiful display of Leeza Gibbons' book, Take 2
There's a little sign as you cross Sue's threshold that says "enter as strangers - leave as friends".  That is oh so very true.  As we chatted for a few minutes I felt right at home and learned all about her love for books (a background in education) and why she relocated to Gather (a flooding problem at the original location in Essex).

Her story of purchasing Essex Books four years ago is a real heart-warmer!  It was a place that she frequented for years with her mom...and one day, while visiting with her own daughter, she saw it was for sale!  Well, her daughter didn't skip a beat, and said, mom, you've just got to buy this place!  

And the rest, my friends, is history!  Out of the mouths of babes and into the book business! Right time, right place! They are certainly "a small independent bookstore with a big-hearted approach." You simply must make it a point to stop by and visit!

Gather, the host home of Essex Books, is another gem! Deanna Pinette, owner of Gather, is wonderful, warm, and witty! And best of all, her store is just like her!

There are all sorts of wonderful treasures! A french country dining set, arched full size mirror, baubles and bangles, Marilyn-esque dress!
Antique sconces, desk clocks, furniture & clothes, and a silver coffee urn are just some of the items available.
We also learned the history of the location of Gather! It was once the village of Ivoryton's general store, Rose's General Store.
Deanna later found that the home where she lives, was the former home of the Rose's family back in the 1880s!

Serendipity?  - There are no coincidences!

We had such a wonderful time visiting Ivoryton and I'm so glad I have my notebook back!  We'll definitely return to all these places when the warm weather returns and we can walk around and visit a little bit more!

And did I return empty-handed with just my notebook?  OF COURSE NOT!  I discovered a beautiful vintage double-breasted cashmere Escada by Margaretha Ley never-worn-tags-still-on blazer for a mere $50.00!

I figure this beauty retailed originally for at least $600.00.  Ka-Ching!

You bet I'll be back!

A visit to Ivoryton Connecticut is definitely worth the trip!  Stop at some of the places we did - or find some more and tell us all about them!

Here's the addresses and numbers of the great places we visited today!

Aggie's Village Restaurant, 107 Main Street, Ivoryton, Connecticut (860) 581-4555
you can "like" them on facebook by clicking on their name

Essex Books at Gather, 104 Main Street, Ivoryton, Connecticut (914) 310-5824
you can "like" them on facebook by clicking on their name

Gather of Ivoryton, 104 Main Street, Ivoryton, Connecticut (860) 767-7816
you can "like" them on facebook by clicking on their name

For additional pictures of our visit click HERE and "like/fan" the Home Place facebook page


Have you ever been to Ivoryton?

Do you have any favorite shops you visit?

I'd love to hear about them in the comments below!

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Upcoming Connecticut Flower and Garden Show 2013

It's the first of the garden shows in CT! 

The 32nd Annual Connecticut Flower and Garden Show!

Source: CT Flower & Garden Show 

If you love gardens - this is the show for you!
February 21st - 24th 2013

***Update: Read my recap of the Flower Show HERE ***

The Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford once again hosts this beautiful garden show to help us get over the wrath of Nemo/Charlotte and begin planning and dreaming of the spring flowers that will soon be here!

Really. They will. I promise!
Source: Connecticut Flower and Garden Show

Over 300 vendors/booths/exhibitors will be available with fresh flowers, plants, herbs, bulbs and seeds. Spread over almost 3 acres, the exhibition includes floral and horticultural masterpieces and gardening products and services.  See a list of exhibitors HERE.

I can't wait to go to the Connecticut Flower and Garden Show and get some inspiration!

Source: CT Flower & Garden Show 

In addition, each day offers your choice of seminars on everything from successful gardening, to pond ecology, to landscape lighting. See HERE for a list of seminars and classes.

Date and Times:

              Thursday 2-21-13 through Sunday 2-24-13
  • Thursday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m.;
  • Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.;
  • Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
  • Adults, $16; 
  • children ages 5-12, $4

Tickets are available at the Connecticut Convention Center (cash only) or in advance (with a discount) at the following until February 19th.

  • Garden Barn, Vernon CT 
  • Garden Specialities, Mystic, CT
  • Hunter's Pool Center, Yalesville, CT
  • Lawncare, Etc. North Haven, CT
  • Mocarillo's Garden Shoppe, West Hartford, CT
  • Natureworks, Northford, CT
  • Revays, Road Brook, CT
  • Stonehedge, Newington, CT
  • Woodland Gardens, Manchester, CT

Parking is available at the Connecticut Convention Center Garage.

  • $3.00 first hour
  • $2.00 each additional hour
  • $19.00 daily maximum

Connecticut Convention Center
100 Columbus Blvd.
Hartford, CT
Follow them on Twitter: @CTFlowerGarden


Hope we see you there!

Are you looking forward to spring?
What's the first flower that appears in your garden?
I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Not So Secret Crush on Alex Rodriguez

There were about seven of us girls at a local restaurant to celebrate my birthday, when in walked Alex Rodriguez, otherwise known as A-Rod. 

Yes, THE A-ROD!  The New York Yankees third baseman!

He came over to the table and said he heard it was my birthday and was it okay if he joined us.  He proceeded to explain that my friends had arranged this wonderful birthday surprise for me as they heard he was in town and they knew I was a big fan.  

I was wide-eyed and tongue-tied but Alex was gracious, smiling, witty, and charming. It was my best birthday dinner EVER!
A really bad photoshop of my picture over his former wife's face.
Sad. I know.
But my sister-in-law thought it was real when she saw it on facebook.
Original Source: Newscom

And then I woke up. 

Seriously.  I woke up. I was DREAMING!

Ever since Alex Rodriguez joined the Yankees I have been a big fan.  Much to my real-life husband’s chagrin, I refer to Alex as my “make-believe husband”.  

And I have stuck with him through all the media hoopla. The Madonna kabbalah (who would have thought he’d go for the older ladies-and do I have a chance?) the Cameron Diaz popcorn time, and all the carrying on with the adorable Kate Hudson.  

But if he leaves the Yankees I just might drop him like a hot potato.

Baseball fans are fickle like that you know!


Dear Readers,
I am lucky to belong to an amazing Facebook group called Generation Fabulous, GenFab, or #GenFab, for short. And this week, I'm participating in this group's fourth blog hop on celebrity crushes. Please read some of the funny stories that they've shared!

And I'd love to hear about your celebrity crush in the comment section below!

Note: This GenFab bloghop was featured in the Huffington Post on 2-12-13. Click HERE to view their summary and slideshow. Yes. That's my Alex and a quote from yours truly on slide 14.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Ina Garten is Coming to Connecticut's Hartford Bushnell!

Oh, have I the best news for you all! And I'm so happy to share it!

Source: Hartford Bushnell
One of my favorite Food Network's stars, Ina Garten of The Barefoot Contessa, is coming to Connecticut!

To celebrate the release of her latest book, Foolproof Recipes You Can Trust, Ina Garten will be coming to the The Bushnell Performing Arts Center on March 28, 2013.

Ina will be appearing in an onstage interview with CT's own Prudence Sloan, of NPR and Better CT on CBS.
Source: Prudence Sloan Resume

Prudence Sloan will be moderating the event, which will also feature a question and answer segment that will be interactive with the audience members.

Source: The Bushnell

Tickets are on sale now at The Bushnell and come in three price ranges,  from $35.75 (rear balcony) - $45.75 (front mezzanine, r mezz and front balcony) and $55.75 (r orchestra)

Source: RJ Julia

  Ina's new book, Foolproof Recipes, is an amazing collection of recipes in true Ina style.

  Great recipes that make amateur chefs look like culinary geniuses!

  And the recipes are not complicated, in fact, they are very easy to follow.

  The best news? The book is full of traditional favorites with amplified flavor!

Try these pairings -  Lobster and Potato Salad, or Seared Scallops and Potato Celery Root Puree. 
I can't wait!   Hope I see you there!

166 Capitol Avenue
Hartford CT 06106 
Administration Offices 860-987-6000 - Toll-free 888-824-2874

Do you have a favorite Food Network star?  
Are you a fan of Ina Garten's?  
Have you purchased her new cookbook?
Have a favorite Barefoot Contessa recipe?

I'd love to hear about it in the comments below!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

ChowdaFest Bridgeport Connecticut 2013 Winners & Pictures

The ChowdaFest 2013 was such a fun event...did you go?
Home Place Blog

And ** DRUM ROLL PLEASE ** without further ado...
here's a list of the official ChowdaBest ChowdaFest 2013 Winners 
and some pictures of our time at the event!

Source: ChowdaFest Results
Home Place Blog
Each and every one deserved to be a ChowdaFest Winner! (well, almost everyone!)
Home Place Blog

We came. We tasted.

Home Place Blog

We complained because trash cans were placed out of the way in the center of the arena.

Home Place Blog

There was more than just chowder at this Chowder Fest!
It's a real ChowdaFeast!
We sampled some artisan breads.
Home Place Blog
We watched souper-bowl picks go in!  (LOL)
Home Place Blog

And met some great people serving wonderful soup for a terrific cause!
(Proceeds from ChowdaFest benefit the Connecticut Food Bank)
Home Place Blog
Everyone had fun!
Home Place Blog
The SHU band played!
Home Place Blog

We met Chef Quohog and watched the ChowdaKids have some fun!
Home Place Blog
Chowda Chowda and more Chowda!
Home Place Blog
ChowdaFest everywhere!
Home Place Blog
With a little Ben & Jerry's ice cream on the side.
We submitted out Chowda soaked ballots...and hoped our favorite Chowda would win!
Home Place Blog

Congratulations to the ChowdaFest 2013 Winners!

Missed it?  - There's always next year!

Did you go?  Did your favorite win?

For additional photos of this event click HERE 
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