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Holiday Help

Tips from experts



Home Styling: Jill Gionfriddo, JG Home Interiors Fashion Styling: Mollie Milano, Style Spies Food & Wine: Kelsey Banfield, The Naptime Chef Hair & Make-up: Katie Knott Feeney, Flawless Faces

Photos by Adam Lerner

The task of creating your own holiday magic at home can be overwhelming. Instead of wishing your Pinterest boards would magically come to life, we’ve called on some of our favorite local experts to give you their best tips and inspiration for a stress-free holiday season. 

Holidays Begin at Home
No matter your style, decorating your home for the holidays doesn’t have to cause panic or break the bank. Jill Gionfriddo, of JG Home Interiors in Southport, loves a non-traditional color palette with pops of greenery. “Think beyond the usual red and green,” explains Gionfriddo. “A palette of soft blues and grays, shimmery accents, and live or preserved greenery work well in most homes. It’s unexpected and soothing.” (Photo at bottom.)

Gionfriddo focuses on creating vignettes with her favorite decorations rather than taking on the entire interior. Her screened-in porch is also a favorite location for entertaining. During colder months, furry blankets are laid out for family and friends, and her bar cart is always stocked and ready for spontaneous Moscow mules in copper mugs, with cranberries and rosemary for garnish (photo at bottom.)

(Photo: Jill Gionfriddo wears a sequined wrap skirt from J Crew, paired with a fitted sweater from Fred Boutique (Westport). Her vintage inspired cuff is by India Hicks)

Dressing the Part
While you may be tempted to run out and buy new outfits for each holiday party, Mollie Milano—a local wardrobe stylist and seasoned personal shopper—encourages clients to shop in their own closets, first. “Top a little black dress with a faux fur vest and add booties for an edgy look,” says Milano. “Or, spice up an old standby with some fresh baubles borrowed from a friend.” 

Milano also advises clients against a typical red and green palette in holiday fashion. According to Milano, layering textures like tweed, silk, velvet, sequins, and faux fur will give you a festive look without “screaming holiday.” 

“A black velvet blazer can take you anywhere,” adds Milano. “Work it back to denim for a casual get together or girls’ night out, or pair with a sequin skirt and simple silky chemise for a night in the city.” Milano also loves capes and vests. “A black or white cape or a fur-trimmed vest can be thrown over a causal top and elevate the whole outfit, adding drama.” Her best advice is to stay true to yourself. “If you’re comfortable, people will notice your confidence, and the compliments will be flowing,” says Milano. 

(Photo: Mollie Milano's holiday look mixes skinny jeans, a tailored blue button down and animal print sweater by J Crew––all topped with a hat from South Moon Under (Westport). Her new favorite black sweater cape is from Nordstrom and her bracelets are by Alison Daniel Designs (Westport).

Crowd-Pleasing Cuisine 
Kelsey Banfield, a local blogger and cookbook author, is known by many as “The Naptime Chef.” Her blog and recipes are about helping fellow moms cook for all ages. Now that Banfield has more time—her children are school age— she is expanding her knowledge and educating herself about wine and spirits. When cooking for a crowd, she suggests making different things in large portions instead of lots of small dishes. Some of Banfield’s easy-to-make crowd pleasers include her cheddar pecan biscuits, ricotta crostini with balsamic caramelized onions, honey, and sea salt, and baked cheese dip. 

(Photo: Kelsey Banfield puts the finishing touches on her ricotta crostini in a festive red dress and black fur vest from J McLaughlin (Southport). Her bracelet is by India Hicks and the bar design is Molly Patton Design. Magnolia leaves, pheasant feathers, and evergreen branches arrangement  by Jill Gionfriddo.)

Primp & Polish 
Local beauty expert Kate Knott Feeney of Flawless Faces, who crafted the looks for Holiday Help, has some easy beauty tips. “Brighten your smile for the holiday season,” says Feeney. “Try an over-the-counter teeth whitener—they really work!” Feeney isn’t shy about using drug store brands combined with higher end department store products. “The holidays are a great time for a smoky eye,” adds Feeney. “Make it festive with silver, bronze, or rose gold eye shadows, but be sure to keep the rest or your make-up fairly neutral so you don’t overdo the look.”

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January 2019

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Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
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Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
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Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
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Cost: $12 in advance online, $14 at the door, $10 Senior/Military one day pass

Where:
Expo Center at Mohegan Sun
1 Mohegan Sun Blvd
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Sponsor: Connecticut Marine Trades Association
Telephone: 860-767-2645
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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

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Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Telephone: 203-259-1598
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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

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Cost: Individual Member seats are $90 before 1/8, $110 for non-members

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Connecticut Convention Center
100 Columbus Blvd.
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Telephone: 860-604-1411
Contact Name: Rebecca Taylor
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Fairfield Museum and History Center
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Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
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Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

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Join us for the reception on the opening evening of the exhibition, Ghosts: French Holocaust Children, on Wednesday, January 23rd, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the Walsh Gallery at the Quick Center for...

Cost: 0

Where:
Walsh Gallery
200 Barlow Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

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Fairfield University Art Museum
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Cost: Free

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Fairfield University Art Museum
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
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Thursday, Jan. 24 Author Talk: Stephanie Land - Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay and a Mother's Will to Survive, 7 – 8:30 p.m. Maid is showing up on almost every best of, must read, don't miss list of...

Cost: free

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT  06897
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Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Contact Name: Wilton Library
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In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
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View map »


Website »

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Waveny Park
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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
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View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

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Cost: $15.00 - $20.00

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Wall Street Theater
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Sponsor: Jeanne Moore
Telephone: (203) 831-5004
Contact Name: Jeanne Moore
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Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
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The Bruce Museum is organizing an exhibition of small artworks created entirely by the public for the public. We invite art lovers of all ages, interests, and abilities to submit a depiction of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Bruce Museum
One Museum Drive
Greenwich, CT  06830
View map »


Sponsor: Bruce Museum
Telephone: 203-869-0376
Website »

More information

In this key moment in our national history and the struggle for women’s equality and freedom of expression, the Fairfield Museum’s exhibition “Flappers: Fashion and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Fairfield Museum and History Center
370 Beach Road
Fairfield, CT  06824
View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $5

Where:
Wilton Library
137 Old Ridgefield Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Wilton Library
Telephone: 203-762-3950
Contact Name: Wilton Library
Website »

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Canfin Gallery
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Sponsor: Canfin Gallery
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