Darien Community Association Book Launch Photos!

Wow! I had such a wonderful time chatting with the members and friends of the Darien Community Association at my Fairfield County Book Launch this past Friday! Thank you Amy Bell and Heather Pommernelle for arranging and promoting the event and to Barrett Bookstore for selling The Vintner’s Daughter! Also, special thanks to Autumn Howard for snapping these photos and Carolyn Eddie for baking her delicious (and my favorite) scones!

5 Holiday Faves Under $40

If you didn’t brave the throng of bright-eyed shopaholics on Black Friday, then I’m guessing you still may need a few gift ideas.  Here are a few of my favorites this season, with a little something for everyone.

Lodgesoxx™.  For the outdoorsy types, Lodgesoxx™ are must-haves for the ski season. If you are an avid skier or snowboarder, these lightweight, portable, knitted socks with a rubberized, waterproof sole will protect your bootless feet from the sandy, cold, damp floors of the ski lodge, making it easy to belly up to the bar or lounge around après-ski.

Here’s the best part: Lodgesoxx™ travel with you on the slopes.  Simply slide them off your ski socks, slip them back into their waterproof bag, clip the bag around the outside of your leg (or place them in your ski jacket or snow pants pocket) and you’re ready to hit the slopes again!  In 5 different sizes and 3 fun colors, there is a pair of patent-pending Lodgesoxx™ for everyone in the family.

Meredith Milliken and Andrea Goldman, founding partners of Lodgesoxx™, live in Weston, Connecticut and ski every season at their beloved Vermont mountain resort.  Wondering why there wasn’t a product that allowed her to take off her boots and roam around freely, Meredith developed the concept of Lodgesoxx™, which are now the world’s first portable intra- and après-ski footwear accessory product on the market.  These Soxx™ also serve as travel slippers, protecting your feet from dirty cabin carpets and scary restroom floors.  Machine washable, $35.99 with bag at www.lodgesoxx.com.  For my readers, a special discount of 10% now through December 31, 2012!  Enter the code: BLOG4SOXX at checkout.

The Brave Collection's Brass Bracelet in Red reads "Brave" in Cambodian

The Brave Collection’s Brass Bracelet.  “Courage is Contagious” is the catchy tagline for this social enterprise that supports the fight to end human trafficking.  These brass bracelets, hand cut and crafted by Cambodian artisans to read “brave” in the Cambodian language, are available in grey, red or black.  They’re the perfect gift for the teen or tween who wants to make a fashion and humanitarian statement.

On a visit to Cambodia, local Brave Collection founder Jessica Hendricks became fascinated by the dusty villages filled with kindhearted people.  She fell in love with the beauty of this small Buddhist country, but was deeply struck by the sight of young girls, lined up outside of bars, as items for sale.  This was her first glimpse into the dark world of human trafficking.

Brave Collection Founder Jessica Hendricks in Cambodia

Three years later, at the age of 23, Jessica was drawn back to the country.  In Cambodia again, Jessica met with survivors of sexual trafficking and listened to their heart-wrenching stories—they were the bravest and most beautiful women she had ever met. She discovered local artisans and schools that offered these exploited women new opportunities by teaching them sewing and metal smith techniques.  At last, she put together the perfect team to bring the voices of these incredible women back home to New York.

My daughter Ellen wears her Brave Collection brass bracelet every day!

The production of The Brave Collection bracelets provides jobs for local Cambodian artisans and, with each bracelet sold, a donation is made to the Somaly Mam Foundation, which fights human trafficking.  $38, at www.thebravecollection.com or at Peridot Fine Jewelry, 112 Mason Street in Greenwich.


Heart Ornament $15

Hand-beaded African Ornaments and Key Chains.  A perfect gift for your child’s teacher or your hostess, these hand-beaded ornaments and animal key chains are made by Thanda-Zulu artisans in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Sales support Thanda’s work to provide comprehensive care for orphans of HIV/AIDS as well as Unite The World With Africa’s work to advance health, education and micro finance programs across East Africa.  $15, to purchase, email Darienite Anne Wells, founder of Unite at anne@unitetnz.org or come shop for Global GOOD at the Milkshake Bazaar, December 5 @ 6pm or December 6 @ 4pm, 16 Rockwood Lane, Greenwich, CT.  Anne Wells and the entire new Ashe Collection will be there – featuring sail bags from the coast of Kenya.

1775.  For the history buff, the newly published 1775 by Kevin Phillips promises to be an enthralling read.  According to Publisher’s Weekly, 1775 is “Encyclopedic in exploring the political, economic, religious, ethnic, geographic, and military background of the Revolution,” and “is a richly satisfying, lucid history from the bestselling author.”  In his latest book 1775, historian Phillips argues that the year 1775 was a far more exciting and pivotal year than 1776.  He explores the momentum of the Patriots’ territory and government control during the revolution and offers original insights into the true origins of America.  $36 at Barrett Bookstore, or www.barrettbookstore.com.

St. Jude’s Gardening Kit for Kids.  Ideal for younger children, this gardening kit from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s online store is the perfect gift to remind them that spring is just around the corner. This kit includes a bright, cheery gardening apron with pockets, orange gardening gloves and two plastic duck-handled gardening tools.  Proceeds benefit childhood cancer research.  $30, www.stjude.org.


What are your favorite holiday finds this year?  Let me know!

Author’s note: In the spirit of full disclosure, Andrea Goldman, co-founder of Lodgesoxx™ is a work colleague of my husband.  When she gave me a pair of Soxx™ to try, I wore them all Thanksgiving weekend and loved them so much I had to blog about them!