Sunday, June 30, 2013


Nothing says summer like fireworks, burgers on the grill, and ice cold beer. Whether you are headed to the beach, a backyard BBQ, or a picnic in a field - show your patriotism by dressing the part. I always opt for RED, WHITE, and BLUE. Let freedom ring!

4th of July - For the BBQ

*This dress is a keeper. Fancy with wedges but also super cute with flats during the day. 

4th of July - For the Fireworks

*I never go anywhere without my camera. Night photos are some  of my favorites - especially with sparklers!

4th of July, For the Man

*The beer belt says, "I may be preppy but I can still drink you under the table." Don't underestimate my man.

4th of July, For the Minis

*Don't forget a sweater in case things get chilly after dark.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A Tireless Effort

Doesn't it feel good when someone thanks you. Looks you in the eye and really says "Thank you." I think there is great value in letting someone know they are appreciated. I know it makes me work even harder when I think gratitude might be lurking on the other side of my endeavor.

So here's the back story - last week was hot. Hit the pavement and your shoes melt, damp back of the neck, humid and muggy hot. That's when I got a flat tire after doing a 4-kid carpool to camp drop-off. Awesome. Thank goodness I live just one mile away from Mavis Tire Company on the Post Road in Riverside. I love Mavis Tire. Ed, who runs the joint is just a solid dude.

Here's the back BACK story - I have stopped in on many a cold winter days at Mavis when the warning sign on the dashboard said my tire pressure was low. Yes I know that cold weather messes with the pressure inside tires and that was what had most likely triggered the warning sign, but still one needs to check these things out with a professional. Especially when there are babes in the backseat. Each and every time I have gone to Mavis with a tire concern they have never asked if I bought my tires there but they've just signaled me in, checked my tire pressure, added a little air, and sent me on my way.

We have in fact bought tires from them and my hubby says the prices are competitive. (Extra bonus because you know I am cheap.) Two years ago, after we bought a set of tires I noticed that one had a nick in the side. Clearly this was caused by one of the two drivers in our household catching a curb as they pulled in to parallel park. Let's not start pointing fingers people. I am a good parker. I digress... So I headed over to Mavis and asked Ed what he thought. He said, "The nick is in a safe spot and most likely would never affect the tire or cause it to blow. But since you have kids in the car I just wouldn't want you to take that risk. We'll give you a new tire. That's what I would do if my grandkids were in the car." That answer made me almost cry - a little. I am an easy crier. He didn't have to change the tire for me and it did come out of his pocket since we had gotten insurance when we bought the tires. I got my free tire and left a loyal customer. Forever.

Back to the original back story - on that 92 degree day last week I trekked over to Mavis and they were backed up with cars. They diagnosed the flat when they saw a nail stuck into the back right tire but said they could easily patch it. I held my breath as I waited for them to tell me how long it would take. They saw the desperation on my face (remember I had just done the 3 kid drop off and still had one kid with me) and they could tell I had campers to pick up and errands to run and a car to pack for our weekend trip to VT. They said "We'll have it done in 2 hours." When does that usually happen? Never. They made what could have been a big old shitastrophe into a pretty uncomplicated situation. Thank goodness. Thank Mavis.

The Nail That Nailed My Tire

The guys who helped me that day could tell I had an odd overly-happy look on my face when I returned for the car and the tire that had been "patched". They were on to me and didn't even bat an eyelash when I asked to see the nail they had pulled out of my tire. They could tell I was into the whole tire thing. They proved that from the top down the guys who work there are great. So this is my way of saying THANK YOU. And keep up the good work. If you have tire issues head to Mavis Tire. They don't disappoint.

Da Tires at Mavis

* Sidebar - the tire was never actually flat. That floppy lumpy bumpy - skid off the road flat tire thing is usually reserved for the movies. This flat tire presented itself in the form of a warning sign on the dashboard that read "Check Tire Pressure".

** And no I am not being paid for any part of this message. I just wanted to give credit where credit was due and say thank you. Sincerely.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Get your green on!

If I close my eyes and think about a place I wish existed - a place created to satisfy my every health food craving - I would envision a place called "Green & Tonic". I would go there every day for fresh pressed juice. Lunch would be a green and gorgeous salad with nuts, quinoa, peppers, carrots, and avocado. Snacks would be almond-date chips and coconut rice pudding. Do I have your attention healthy food lovin' people? It's time to revive with real food. 

Don't we all crave real food? 

If you thought this post was just a pipe-dream about a place I wish existed - then you thought wrong. Green & Tonic - a fabulous chain of good food outposts - is alive and kicking! It's in downtown Greenwich. It's in Cos Cob. It's in Darien. And it may be coming to your town soon. It's vegan - but man does the food pack a punch! 

The space inside each location is calm, cool, and collected. You feel healthier when you walk in. 

The Precious Wall Decor

Words To Live By

And the products they carry are truly unique. They offer up options for those with almost any food parameters. 


Gluten Free




And the owners... Cai and Jeff Pandolfino are stellar. They have each been working in the food industry for years - but this seems to be their greatest passion project. They love what they do. It's hard work - but they love it. 

The Line Up

Fresh Pressed

Soups On!

Salads to Go

Cai and Jeff are that perfect balance of healthy, fun, laid back, and really well educated. If you want to understand why GMOs are bad - stop in at the Greenwich G&T, order up an Ultimate Warrior (apple cider, aloe vera juice, kale, bananas, chia seeds, spinach and camu camu) and ask Cai to start talking. She is a wealth of knowledge. I threw a couple questions her way and here's what she had to say.


Q&A with Cai Pandolfino of Green & Tonic

Why did you decide to open Green & Tonic? 

We found ourselves looking for quick, healthy eating alternatives in the neighborhood and kept coming up empty. We love drinking juice, but juicing at home is really labor intensive and messy!  There was a moment when we looked at each other, and said, why not? Maybe this is a perfect new collaboration for us! We'd been in the food business for ages but loved the new challenge of learning the principles of cooking seriously healthy food and developing recipes without the crutches of rich, fatty ingredients. We wanted to create crave-worthy foods that were vegetarian, dairy free, and (some) gluten free, while working with nutrient-dense "super foods" and organic/non-GMO ingredients. The world of healthy eating is a maze of evolving information and an often confusing convergence of food, marketing, science, and medicine. It was a steep learning curve and an awesome challenge to take on both as cooks and 'food entrepreneurs', but I think the result was exactly what we had been looking for as consumers. G&T is an accessible, approachable, "go-to" where someone else has done the thinking – and the work for you.  

The Ad-Ins

What can people expect to see/eat/drink when they come in?
We feature a a full line of cold pressed juices and smoothies, and a new line of hot and iced beverages. We offer a number of boosters and plant proteins for our beverages. 

Cold Pressed Convenience

To eat, we have a line of breakfast bars, oatmeal, and coconut yogurt. At lunch and dinner, lots of salads for grab and go, grain and bean-based side salads, and a variety of soups to eat hot or cold - or over grains for a heartier meal. We strive to keep it simple and delicious – with options to take home, eat in the store, or on the go. 

Chia Pudding - I love you

Grab-and-Go Salads

Tinctures and Tonics

Our menu is vegan. We offer many gluten free options. We are almost totally organic/non-GMO (always working towards 100%!). 

What are the benefits of doing a "cleanse"? 

I know it sounds crazy, but I'm not a huge proponent of the "cleanse" craze unless you already eat very clean and want to ease into a periodic juice cleanse (mainly greens!).  We recommend a "food & juice reset" which is basically a gentle transition into eating super clean. It incorporates both food drinks (juices and nut mylks) that include the essential vitamins, minerals, good fats, and (plant) proteins that enable you to ditch your sugar/carbohydrate/alcohol/processed foods/caffeine cravings. Its a great way to jumpstart a commitment to better eating, and people always remark on how easy it is and how great they feel afterwards. We all can (daresay should!) eat that way everyday.  Thrusting your poor unsuspecting digestive system into the shock of a super low calorie/low protein cleanse can be tough on your metabolism and blood sugar. 

Press Reset

In general, the world of eating super clean can be daunting for people. I don't think it benefits anyone to be truly miserable. That said, I don't consider really wanting a glass of chardonnay miserable! There are always a few concessions to make, but the benefits to owning your health is empowering, and many people get this really euphoric sense of well-being and accomplishment after proving to themselves that that CAN do without the junk- and actually do and feel remarkably better… (and by better, I don't mean just the way they look in a bathing suit!) 

Good For You

As for cleansing, I think a healthy, alkaline body does a remarkably good job of cleansing itself.  The challenge is getting our bodies to a consistent baseline of being well hydrated, well fed, well exercised, and well rested. A three day juice cleanse just doesn't fit the bill. That’s why we try to offer solutions to making healthy eating something our customers can do every day. 

What are the benefits of eating more fruits and veggies? More energy? Weight loss? 

We talk about "plant-based" eating, which basically means making vegetables and fruit the center of your meals. Meat and dairy (if necessary) should decorate the plate, not form the foundation of a meal. We chose to stick to a totally vegan menu in the store, but we live and eat plant-based.  I think this kind of eating works best for a young family. As for the benefits - fruit and vegetables provide us with all the nutrition that’s vital to our ongoing good health. When I eat this way, my weight is lower, my energy is higher (and more consistent),  I sleep better, and feel better waking up.  Other benefits include that we eat a more varied seasonal diet, and the cost is much lower when you consume fruits and vegetables. A plant based diet usually means many fewer runny noses and flu bugs – we stay remarkably more healthy in general! 

The Salad Bar

Quite Possibly the Cutest Thing in the Joint - It's a REAL Lemon People!


What's your favorite drink on the menu? Food? 

Oooh! Such a tough choice! My day starts with an Ultimate Warrior with a Power Shake (greens) boost. It keeps me full all morning – and it's perfect post workout. 

In the afternoon, I'm a sucker for the Matcha Fireball, which is a blend of our Fireball (spicy lemonade) and Matcha (green tea powder). I add a little Kamut (wheatgrass) to the blender (when in doubt, make it green!). Blended with ice, it makes a perfect summer drink with a little kick from the green tea. Way better than the standard iced coffee drink and keeps me rolling right through the late afternoon/dinner prep time that can be such a drag.

The Matcha Fireball

I love the Spice Market Salad (greens with sprouted almonds, scallions, curried quinoa, cilantro, peppers, cucumbers and our hemp-honey mustard dressing).

Spice Market Salad 
(the dressing is so good I drank the leftovers)

For a filling, healthy treat, the Cacao Chia Bars are a big favorite. 


(To contact G&T click here. And don't forget to like them on Facebook.)


Well Cai and Jeff - you had me at hello... You all know I am going to be a regular. And how cool is this? Green & Tonic will be hosting "Healthy Happy Hours" on a regular basis. Stop in to the Cos Cob location this Thursday (June 27th) at 5:30pm to hear a Certified Healthcare Counselor talk about foods that "feed and nourish" your body. Nice.

Monday, June 24, 2013

A special space...

Don't we all crave a special space? A place where you can unwind, decompress, and relax. A space where the view allows you to daydream about future plans and favorite moments from the past. A space where the things hanging on the wall feel in sync. A place where the bed is welcoming or the chair is cozy. A kitchen that asks you to cook in it. A lawn that begs you to lie on it. Below is some recent inspiration... I'm craving space.

House Beautiful

At Home

Rita Konig

Elle Decor



Sunday, June 23, 2013

Morning Muffins!

It's summertime! That means berry time! First up - a healthyish mixed berry muffin that is a great "grab and go" item for kids who are running late for camp drop off. First week of camp we had 3 of 5 breakfasts in the car as we cruised to two different drop-offs that both start at 9am. Yee-haw! At least with these muffins in-hand I knew they were getting a good combo of fruit, protein, and carbs. Thank goodness they think eating in the car is a treat!

1/2 cup butter
2/3 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups fresh berries
1/2 cup almond milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees F, line muffin cups
2. In a large bowl mix together butter, honey, and salt
3. Beat in eggs one at a time
4. In a separate bowl mix flour and baking powder
5. Spoon a tablespoon of the flour mixture over the berries and gently toss - this keeps berries from sinking to the bottom of muffins
6. Stir the remaining flour mixture into the bowl of wet ingredients, alternating with the almond milk and vanilla extract
7. Gently fold in berries
8. Spoon batter into muffin cups, filling to top
9. Bake for 25 minutes or until muffin tops are golden brown

*To make these muffins nut-free use regular milk or soy milk as a substitute for almond milk