Friday, December 14, 2012

Shelley's Garden Center in Branford CT for the 2012 Holiday Season

Tis' the season!

...and the holiday season would not be complete without a stop at Shelley's Garden Center in Branford to see owners John and Yvette Chambers, and pick up a little decorative greenery.

This season I'm on the hunt for pine boughs and evergreen branches to decorate my window boxes. I knew I could find them at Shelley's!  They have juniper, holly, pine, boxwood,...and so much more!

Each year I try to do a little something different when decorating my window boxes.  This year my inspiration comes from fellow CT blogger DaiseyJayne's post: "Think I Could Glitter That?"  that involved glittered pine cones and milkweed pods decorating a cinched burlap-covered wreath.  So, the rest of the weekend I will be scouting (aka wandering my neighbor's yards) on the lookout for [free] pine cones, and I'm hoping to find some wired burlap-like ribbon at a fabric store that I can weave through the greenery.

Because these will be outside in my window boxes, I'll likely lightly brush or spray the pine cones with shimmery gold paint instead of glitter.  I'll also include my standard dried hydrangea blooms that I use every year.  I love that they dry paper thin and are a gorgeous shade of sepia toned golden-brown.

But I digress....

Shelley's has more than just greenery!  They have loads of beautiful fresh trees, wreaths, swags, roping, and kissing balls! Here's some of my favorites on display!

Inside the store there are rows and rows of beautiful poinsettias!

  Aren't they beautiful?  All different shades - each one prettier than the next!

Visit Shelley's Garden Center if you're in the area!

Shelley's Garden Center
Shelley's is open 8:30 to 6:00 daily.
March to December.

217 Main Street 
 Branford, CT 06405
(203) 488-9479

How do you decorate for the holidays? 
I'd love to hear about your holiday decorating traditions in the comments below!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Macy's Celebrates Hanukkah in the Westfarms Mall CT

This year Macy's at the Westfarms Mall in CT teamed up with the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford to celebrate Hanukkah!

Macy's and Catherine, Risa, Alysa, and Anna from the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford were on hand and ready to welcome all attendees!

There was storytelling by the good folks at the Mandell JCC Family Room Library. Did you know about the PJ Library?  This program, free for the first year, offers families Jewish children's books and music. PJ Library reports that "this program is designed to give parents and children one of the most powerful and nurturing learning experiences - reading and listening to music together."

The children listened intently to the time honored tales that have been passed on from one generation to the next.

There was truly an afternoon of fun planned for everyone!


Fun balloon animals and designs

Sparkle and glitter arm art

Cookie decorating by Tallulah's Catering was also a big hit!

There were beautiful beaded bracelets to make
Brent of Macy's Entertainment Group Special Events leads the jewelry makers through the design steps

Christopher of Macy's helps with jewelry designing, too!

And the most beautiful candy station, also prepared by Tallulah's Catering 

The afternoon was music-filled and everyone who attended had such a wonderful time!  

A big thank you to Macy's and the  Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford for a fun day!

For additional pictures click Home Place's facebook page here

You can "like" the Jewish Federation of Greater Hartford facebook page here

Do you know that Macy's has events year round?
Click here to and enter your zip code to find an event near you!

Hope your holiday season is fun-filled, too!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

New Nikon 3200 from Milford Photo in Milford CT


Santa came a little early this year.

Nikon 3200 Camera and DSLR Starter Kit
The Cowboy finally tired of my hints...and surprised me this morning with a trip to Milford Photo in Milford CT.

Hello Nikon 3200! And hooray!
At Milford Camera (taken with my old Olympus by "can't hold a camera still" cowboy)

Luckily, I had been doing a little background research, and he had too, for we both spotted some of the sales flyers the camera shop had been distributing this season.  I was planning on going with the Nikon 3100 as it was about $120.00 less, but he insisted that we go with a little better model, so we agreed on the Nikon 3200 model that was selling for $599.00.

Our sales associate, Lachell Workman, was so patient with me and all my questions!  Frankly, I didn't even know how to turn the thing on! She let me walk around the store and practice with the floor model so I could see if the camera weight and grip were comfortable, and to explain the very basic questions I had.  Lachell also let me experiment with the telephoto lens to judge whether it was something I might want to include.  Although I did like it, I think I can put that purchase off for awhile.  (AKA - put it on my wish list for birthdays, anniversary, etc.)

We decided to go ahead and purchase the Digital SLR Starter Kit that included the following for an additional $119.00:

Gray Camera Bag, filled with:

  • Pro 52MM Multi Coated filter
  • Pro SDHC 16GB Memory card
  • Pro HB-45 Nikon Hood
  • Pro Opti Cleaning Cloth
  • Pro Opti Cleaner
  • Pro LCD Screen Protector
  • Nikon EH-EL Spare Battery
  • Nikon D-SLR DVD
  • Gift Certificate for a free 12 x 18 print

Me and Lachell going through the accessories
Another picture by the "can't hold a camera still" cowboy.
Gotta love him!

If you live in the greater New Haven area, the Milford Photo Store is a great place to go for information. Lachell was very knowledgeable and so patient with my questions!  She's been at Milford Photo for about a year and is also a professional photographer, check out her website here.

Milford Photo also has an online learning center with tutorials and helpful articles. What's more, they also offer loads of on-site classes for both beginners and advanced!  I've already signed up for their Introduction to DSLR Cameras in January 2013! The class is a very affordable $29.95

Wish me luck!  This type of stuff brings out the geek in me!  Time to put away the ole' point and shoot and join the digital age!

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post.  All opinions are my own.
All pictures in this post were taken by the "can't hold a camera still" Cowboy with my old Olympus camera.  

Can't wait to try the new Nikon 3200!  It's charging as I write this post!

What kind of camera do you use? 
Are you a point and shoot-er or a manual focus-er
Do you have any special lenses that you recommend?

I'd love to hear your suggestions and recommendations in the comment section below!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Macy's Santa National Tour 2012 in Providence RI

The Macy's in Providence Rhode Island certainly worked their "Macy's Magic" when Santa stopped at the store this week during his Whirlwind 2012 National Tour! What's more...Macy's is donating $1.00 for every letter received in Santa's special mailbox (up to $1,000,000) to the Make A Wish Foundation
Home Place Blog
Macy's Make-A-Wish Santa Mailbox
Santa arrived at 6:00 sharp in a fabulous parade led by a dixieland style jazz band! 

Home Place Blog
Dixieland Jazz Band Parade for Santa
As soon as he arrived Santa had a question and answer session with the children and explained Macy's partnership with the Make A Wish Foundation and how the money donated will help a child with a life threatening illness's wish come true.

He then introduced everyone to Virginia and explained how her letter to the editor in 1897 inspired everyone to "believe" in the spirit of Christmas. The "Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus" editorial is one of the most uplifting stories of the holiday season.
Meet Virginia!
Macy's  is very proud to be associated with the true spirit of the season and has included the "believe" logo as part of their holiday campaign.  There's even a "believe" meter!
Macy's Believe Meter
Christmas wouldn't be complete without a reminder to NOT be NAUGHTY and to ALWAYS be NICE.  Of course, Santa reminded EVERYONE  about the Elf on The Shelf that just might be watching...and who will report any bad behaviors back to Santa.

Santa then read the story of The Night Before Christmas with the help of his specials elves, Holly and Nutmeg.
Holly, Santa, and Nutmeg read The Night Before Christmas
Listening to the Night Before Christmas
Prior to Santa's arrival, the behind the scenes elves at Macy's entertained the waiting children with areas to write their letters to Santa, along with face painting, and balloon magicians, so they were all ready to line up and sit with Santa once he finished his story.

We Love Santa!
Home Place Blog
I believe!

They mailed their letters off to Santa...
Mailing a letter to Santa - and helping the Make A Wish Foundation!
 and got to meet the amazing Virginia!
I was also lucky enough to run into the incredibly funny Stephanie of the blog
MommaBeThyName and together we approached Santa and gave him our lists!

We even met Macy's Providence Place store manager Craig Robbins who was so happy to have his good friends Santa, Holly, and Nutmeg stop in for a visit!
Holly, Santa, Craig Robbins, and Nutmeg

You might remember I spoke about Craig when I last visited the Providence Place Mall to attend the Clinton Kelly Million Dollar Makeover Fashion Event.  Craig always displays the personal service that Macy's is known for.  It's a pleasure to visit his store!  (Read more about Craig and the Million Dollar Makeover event here.

The Macy's special event's crew, along with the on site staff, does a spectacular job at these events!

You can meet Santa and his friends too!  Here's a list of his upcoming stops this year!

You can see more pictures of Santa: Home Place-Santa's Whirlwind 2012 National Tour

Have you visited Santa this year?
Do you have any special wishes this holiday season?

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

Disclosure: I am a member of the Everywhere Society and Everywhere provided me with compensation for this post about Santa’s Whirlwind National Tour. However, all thoughts and opinions expressed herein are my own.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Trees of Hope at the Long Wharf Maritime Center in New Haven

The 2016 Trees of Hope to benefit the Ronald McDonald House 

The 27th Annual Trees of Hope at the Maritime Center in New Haven is back!

December 3rd - 11th, 2016

at the Maritime Center in New Haven

Long Wharf

from 10am to 5pm daily

For 27 years, the Ronald McDonald House of Connecticut and the greater New Haven community have partnered together to raise funds for the children and families staying at RMHCT through Trees of Hope. What began with a dozen trees at the Governor’s Mansion has flourished into a nine-day event displaying over 140 beautifully decorated trees, wreaths and holiday baskets decking the halls of the Maritime Center in New Haven. Trees of Hope is a dynamic and festive holiday spectacular – one that is enjoyed by more than 4,000 people each year!

The event, now in its 27th year, features:
  • Family-friendly event!
  • Free and open to the public 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. daily.  *Free parking on the weekends.
  • Raffle tickets are only $1.00/each and can be purchased on-site daily throughout the event.
  • Holiday Boutique open daily
  • Live musical performances and visits from Santa on the weekends.
  • Featuring over 145 holiday displays and gifts, generously donated by individuals, organizations and groups in the community, to be raffled off to lucky winners on the last day of the event!
Keeping families close thanks to the support of our current sponsors:
  • Presenting Sponsor: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield,
  • Bronze Sponsors: Yale New Haven Hospital, Apple Rehab Laurel Woods, and TD Bank
  • Star Sponsors: People’s United Bank, WEBE 108 and all other additional sponsors.
  • If you visit, hashtag your photos with #RMHCTTOH16

View picture of the 2016 Trees of Hope here ==>>

View pictures of the 2015 Trees of Hope here===>

View pictures of the 2014 Trees of Hope here===>

Every year I make sure to visit the Maritime Center  at Long Wharf in New Haven to view the Trees of Hope display. You should too! Below are pictures from the 2012 event!
Tree of Hope Ronald McDonald House New Haven Home Place Blog
Tree of Hope decorated with feathers, berries, leopard and plaid bows. 

All proceeds from this event benefit the Ronald McDonald House of Connecticut (RMHCT). Here you'll find row after row of beautifully decorated trees.  It's a true holiday-season-spirit-lifter!

Trees of Hope Long Wharf New Haven Home Place Blog
Trees of Hope at the Maritime Center Long Wharf New Haven
The display attracts nearly 3000 visitors each year.  Each tree is raffled off at the conclusion of the event - and raffle tickets are only $1.00!

And there are more than trees to win!  Many organizations donate baskets and and complete table settings.

YES!  That's right!  You can win a tree AND have your holiday table all set for you!

Each and every single item on display is raffled off to a lucky winner!  Oh!  And there's even a silent auction!

Here's just a glimpse of the many trees on display from 2012...

A "Yankee" Tree - winner gets four tickets to see the New York Yankees!

Crystal Fairy Revolving Sculpture

The Irish Tree

Lucky Lottery Tree
And there are even some unusual trees!
One made of stacked books....
 And a garden arbor draped with evergreen and twinkling lights.  Absolutely breathtaking!

Note: Speaking of gardens, my favorite gardener over at Idyll Haven tells me that the Wadsworth Museum has a similar Festival of Trees every year that benefits the museum's special events.  If you're not in the New Haven area...this is a great alternative! Read about her visit to the Wadsworth here.
I'm hoping one of these beautiful tablescapes will decorate my dining room table this season!

Saturday and Sunday visits by Santa and Rudolph!
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
...and in 2012 there was weekend Face Painting!!
Face Painting at Trees of Hope New Haven CT

Visit the Trees of Hope at the Maritime Center at Long Wharf New Haven!

The Maritime Center
555 Long Wharf Drive
New Haven, CT 06511

Free admission every day

Holiday Musical performances and visits from Ronald McDonald and Santa Claus on weekends!

Have you visited any tree or light displays this season? 

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