Aububon CT Kicks Off Its Annual Benefit

Nearly one hundred nature-loving guests congregated on February 23rd at a private home for the Kick Off Party for the 2017 Audubon Connecticut Environmental Leadership Awards Benefit. The main event will be held at the Belle Haven Club on April 12th.

The launch party featured sustainable catering from Back 40 Table; Bill and Lesley King of Back 40 Farm Group are being honored this year, receiving the Audubon Connecticut Corporate Award. Entertainment for the evening was appropriately bird-focused—feathered friends from Audubon Sharon joined the festivities.

Other honorees at the April event will include environmental leader Gina McCarthy, who will be receiving the Audubon Connecticut Environmental Leadership and wildlife photographer Melissa Groo, who will be awarded the Kate O’Brien Lifetime Achievement Award.

Audubon Connecticut’s mission is to conserve and restore natural ecosystems, focusing on birds, other wildlife, and their habitats for the benefit of humanity and the earth’s biological diversity.

Purchase Tickets: Audubon Connecticut

Photographs by Cheryl Moss 

Crohn’s & Colitis: A Successful Evening of Fundraising

Over three hundred guests gathered on March 4 at the Hyatt Regency Greenwich for the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation’s annual gala. Over $46,000 was raised by a silent auction, while guests enjoyed a three-course seated dinner (including both salmon and chicken). Cocktail hour featured Asian and Mediterranean stations, and dessert included a to-go coffee and tea bar and a candy cart. Dave Price, NBC 4NY Weather Anchor had the crowd laughing as master of ceremonies and Bruce Murray of Sirius XM NFL Radio was the auctioneer. Westport resident Jeremy Schaap of ESPN was an honored guest and Greg Murray, a 16-year-old from Chappaqua, NY, received the Rising Star Award.  Nancy Pundyk of Rye, NY and Julie Brandes of Greenwich, CT co-chaired this year’s event, which in total raised almost $600,000 for CCF.

Photographs by David Steele

B*Cured Has a Field Day  

On March 4, B*Cured held their 5th Annual “Field Day at Night” at Chelsea Piers CT in Stamford to raise funds for research grants to end brain cancer.Three hundred guests competed in ping pong tournaments, practiced their swings at the batting cages and jumped on the trampoline. The casual evening of fun and games featured a silent auction with exclusive travel, fashion, food and sports prizes. Nikki Glekas Events catered the event, with their specialty chili station bar proving to be a huge hit. So far, B*Cured has funded 21 grants to promote brain cancer research.

Photographs by Kristen Tomkowid

theBalm Cosmetics Grand Opening

On February 25th, theBalm Cosmetics held their grand opening party for their new Stamford store.  The event, held at the new location on 180 Bedford Street in Stamford, CT, was catered by Aux Délices. Guests enjoyed cocktails and appetizers, while shopping for their favorite make-up products. Complimentary makeovers were offered, and ladies were treated to tips and tricks by the expert cosmetic staff.

Photographs by David Steele

Animal Adventure Trips Abound

From trekking to see the mountain gorillas in Uganda, to tagging endangered sea turtles in the Caribbean island of Nevis, there are plenty of fun vacations that involve animal interactions. Added bonus: Conservation is at the helm of these programs, so you’ll have an amazing vacation, plus aid in researching and protecting living things. Here, we picked our five favorite adventures.

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Sea Turtles in Nevis
For an amazing kid-friendly animal encounter, it’s hard to beat the beaches of Nevis, home to one of the most important sea turtle nesting sites in the Caribbean. From June to October each year, female sea turtles come back to the same place where they were born to carry on the circle of life by laying hundreds of eggs. The Four Seasons Resort Nevis and the Sea Turtle Conservancy partner up each year to create awareness about the protection of these endangered creatures.

There are three types of sea turtles that nest in Nevis: The Hawksbill, the Leatherback, and the Green turtle. They swim for hundreds of miles each nesting season. Only a small percentage of baby sea turtles survives to adulthood, so scientists are tracking and recording data to teach tourists and locals about conservation.

This year, Sea Turtle Weekend is set for July 14 to 17. Kids (and parents) along with scientists stay up late to comb the beach for female turtles making their way from the water to lay their eggs in the sand. Once a turtle is spotted (they weigh upwards of 300 pounds), everyone watches her dig a hole with her strong flippers and lay about 100 eggs (called a clutch). When she has thoroughly covered up her offspring, she’ll start to walk back to the water and that’s when the team of scientists moves in. They bring her back to the Four Season Resort Nevis for a night of luxury (she is bathed and has her barnacles removed). More importantly she is affixed with a GPS transmitter and released back into the water.
fourseasons.com/nevis.com and conserveturtles.org

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Horseback Riding in Colorado
Many people go horseback riding for an hour or so on vacation, but that’s nothing compared to spending a week atop these majestic steeds and really getting to know them. The setting is the heart of the Rocky Mountains in Grand County, CO, where four world-class dude ranches provide an all-inclusive, week-long experience. Each ranch has its own flavor and style.

Bar Lazy J Ranch, the oldest continuously operating guest ranch in Colorado, has a truly Western horseback riding experience as well as add-ons like trout fishing right on property. C Lazy U Ranch is known for its rustic elegance and 5-Spur Service, both in the cabins and in its luxury spa. Drowsy Water Ranch has an amazing kids program for the junior cowboys and Latigo Ranch is secluded and intimate with the maximum number of guests at 35.

Each day, families go out with experienced wranglers, starting with short practice rides and building up to full-day backcountry experiences. Plus, there’s plenty of activities in addition to horseback riding, including hiking, archery, rafting, lassoing, square dancing, hayrides, rodeos and rafting trips.

You’ll be surprised at how quickly your family bonds while traversing some of the 600 miles of trails and roasting s’mores under a giant star-filled-sky.
dude-ranch.com, visitgrandcounty.com

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Gorillas in Uganda
Uganda is one of only three countries in the world that has mountain gorillas. There are fewer than 900 in existence, making a sighting of these endangered species a bucket-list trip for many. There are two places within the country to trek to see them—Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Mgahinga Gorilla National Park. Mgahinga has the largest number of adult silverback males, plus it’s lesser known than Bwindi, so a visit here means you’ll feel like you are getting the park to yourself and you’ll have some amazing interactions.

Trekking can be anywhere from 30 minutes to two  hours or more. Trackers are sent out ahead of time, so your group is not aimlessly wandering the park. Once the gorillas are spotted, you have 60 minutes to observe them at close range. You’re not allowed to get closer than 25 feet, but the primates, of course, can do what they want. Often, the younger juveniles will come close to visitors, as they are curious and playful. You’ll be surprised at just how human-like the mountain gorillas are (they share 98% of our DNA!).

Between snapping pictures and watching the gorillas interact, your allotted time will feel like it’s up quickly, but the memory will last a lifetime.
visituganda.com

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Aquatic fun in Mystic
If you’re looking for something a little closer to home. Mystic Aquarium in Mystic, CT, has lots of aquatic animal encounters. If you love penguins and seals, you can sign up for their interactive programs in which you work alongside a trained guide and learn how to care for them.

For a truly unique experience, book the family for one of three Beluga interactions. Paint with these gentle giants (even animals need intellectual stimulation!), put on waterproof gear and discover what it’s like to be waste deep in water with them like a trainer, or stay dry through the Whales Up Close program and watch a feeding.

If sting rays are your thing, you can book a private feeding session with them (or you can paint with these guys, too!).

Lastly, if you want a full-on interaction with a variety of animals, book the Trainer for a Day program. You’ll work side-by-side with a trainer and interact with the African penguins, beluga whales, seals, sea lions and more.
mysticaquarium.org

Animal-Encounters-Dog-sledDog Sledding in Alaska
The famous Iditarod dog sled race takes place annually each March across 1,150 miles from Anchorage to Nome. Get a taste of this unique event by taking the kids dog sledding in our largest and least-populated state.

There are a number of different tour operators that offer this excursion. Salmon Berry Travel & Tours is a good one to experience since they have a partnership with Dallas Seavey and his kennel (he’s the 29-year-old musher and four-time winner of the Iditarod Race). The winter tour includes mushing at Dallas Seavey’s homestead and kennel, where you’ll see the official starting line of the Iditarod. You’ll ride in the sled with a professional guide, before spending time in the kennel, where you and your family can cuddle with the adorable puppies-in-training.

In the summer you have the option to mush on a glacier (including a helicopter ride up to the ice mountain) or ride with the dogs through the Chugach Mountains. Whatever option you choose, you’ll get to experience beautiful scenery alongside adorable four-legged canines.
salmonberrytours.com.

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Written by Judy Koutsky

Preseason Wine Tours

Wine-RoseWhen the weather warms, the wineries start their tours. Many Hamptons vineyards offer preseason tastings and cellar visits when you can get the jump on the summer crowds. Lieb Cellars in East Hampton has public and private tastings and parties as well as live music. Channing Daughters Winery in Bridgehampton is open daily. And at the Wolffer Estate in Sagaponack you can tour the barrel room and winemaking facilities. Wolffer winemaker Roman Roth suggests the vineyard’s Finca Wolffer rosé ($17) for year-round dinner pairings. “There is a lovely texture and a wonderful soft ‘salty’ aftertaste that makes this rosé classic and food friendly,” he says. Or he suggests their No. 139 dry rosé cider or dry white cider ($16, package of four) for springtime gatherings. “Both are fresh, bright and balanced and source the best local fruit,” he adds. “Plus, it’s portable and gluten-free.” liebcellars.com, channingdaughters.com, wolffer.com

Walk for a Good Cause

National Puppy Day is March 23rd! Head to the SPCA of Westchester County and adopt your new best friend. Also, don’t forget to put the SPCA’s May 6 Dog Walk and Pet Fair on your calendar—the fun family event raises money for shelter pets. spca914.org

Greenwich Wine + Food Tickets On Sale Today!

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The seventh annual GREENWICH WINE+FOOD FESTIVAL, presented by Serendipity magazine, will return to the Roger Sherman Baldwin Park in Greenwich, Connecticut with a Master Chef Wine Dinner on Friday, September 22nd, followed by a full day of food, drinks and more on Saturday, September 23rd.  Tickets for the Friday event are on sale today.

Celebrity chef Scott Conant will be Friday’s honoree; the Food Network star and famed restaurateur will talk about innovation in the restaurant industry and introduce the area’s top chefs who have been named Most Innovative and Ambassador chefs. Click here for more.

The 80s Style Trends Are Back

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80s_LeatherSkirtRebecca Taylor Vegan leather ruffle skirt, $350, rebeccataylor.com

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Adeam Combo print open shoulder dress, $1,300, modaoperandi.com

80s_EarringsMarimekko Mafalda earrings, $175, marimekko.com

80s_LeatherJacketAlyson Eastman Blue kyanite leather jacket, $1,195, alysoneastman.com

80s_LouboutinPumpChristian Louboutin Explotek pump, $1,195, New York, NY, christianlouboutin.com

80s_MTVSweatshirtMarc Jacobs Appliquéd jersey sweatshirt, $1,400, net-a-porter.com

80s_JimmyChooPurseJimmy Choo Lockett petite, oil patent in petrol, $1,450, jimmychoo.com

80s_RedLeatherJacketDior Red leather biker jacket, $4,500, New York, NY, dior.com

Text by Jessie Ajluni

The New Batch of Celeb Restaurants

It’s easier than ever to enjoy a meal cooked by a celeb chef, as new restaurants continue to pop up all over New York City. In Brooklyn, Andrew Carmellini—of Locanda Verde and The Dutch fame—has new restaurants Leuca (leuca.com) and Westlight (westlightnyc.com); and Carla Hall (carlahallsouthernkitchen.com) has Southern Kitchen. In Manhattan, Keith McNally opened Augustine at the new Beekman Hotel, where Tom Colicchio opened Fowler & Wells; Todd English helms The Stinger Cocktail Bar and Kitchen at the InterContinental New York Times Square Hotel; and April Bloomfield (of The Spotted Pig and John Dory Oyster Bar) opened White Gold, a restaurant and butcher shop on the Upper West Side.