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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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December 2017

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Telephone: 866-243-0770
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Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

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Telephone: 203-259-1598
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Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

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Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
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Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
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Cost: Free

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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203- 831-9063
Contact Name: maritime garage gallery
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Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

Where:
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Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

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Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
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Favorite memories, reminders and images of home are on display at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery. “Memories Of Our Town,” features art in a...

Cost: Free

Where:
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Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203- 831-9063
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Cost: Members; Free: Non-Members; $5 Adults, $3 Children, free for children 5 and unde

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370 Beach Road
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Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
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More information

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Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

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Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
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Cost: Free

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More information

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Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
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39 Fitzgerald Street
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View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

Favorite memories, reminders and images of home are on display at the City of Norwalk Parking Authority’s Maritime Garage Gallery. “Memories Of Our Town,” features art in a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203- 831-9063
Contact Name: maritime garage gallery
Website »

More information

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Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

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


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Featuring hundreds of pieces of functional pottery and ceramic sculpture by local and nationally recognized artists. It is an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind clay art for holiday gift-giving...

Cost: Free

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
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View map »


Website »

More information

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Cost: $20 in advance, $25 at the door; students free

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View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

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Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
Maritime Garage Gallery
11 North Water Street
Norwalk, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Norwalk Parking Authority
Telephone: 203- 831-9063
Contact Name: maritime garage gallery
Website »

More information

December 2 – January 7, 2018 A Fairfield Museum holiday tradition. Model trains wind around an enchanting display full of holiday spirit and elaborate scenery! This year features even more...

Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

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


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Make happy holiday memories without the hassles! Moms and Dads know it's often a scary experience for young children to sit on Santa's lap. Come to a place that is safe,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Website »

More information

Fridays, December 8, 15, 22 & 29, 4:30pm – 6pm. Free with admission. Join us on Friday evenings when the Train Show is open late! Make a snowman out of marshmallows, create an array of...

Cost: Members; Free: Non-Members; $5 Adults, $3 Children, free for children 5 and unde

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


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

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Cost: $50

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Come join The Vagabonds for this completely out of character production as we celebrate our return to Bridgeport's Hidden Gem with the story of George Bailey's glimpse into the "What...

Cost: $20 & Up

Where:
The Bijou Theatre
275 Fairfield Ave
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Sponsor: The Vagabond Theatre Company of Greater Bridgeport
Telephone: 203-520-8332
Contact Name: John R Smith Jnr
Website »

More information

Get ready to rock the holidays with the one and only Rob Mathes, now in his third decade of holiday performances at The Performing Arts Center. This annual celebration featuring the multi-talented...

Cost: $45 to $72.50

Where:
The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College
735 Anderson Hill Rd
Purchase, NY  10577
View map »


Sponsor: The Performing Arts Center
Telephone: 914-251-6200
Contact Name: Jenifer Howard
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this exhibition of vintage postcards, holiday literature and caroling music, dating from 1848-1996, you can experience the magical and memorable role holidays play in the lives of all readers,...

Cost: Free

Where:
Pequot Library
720 Pequot Avenue
Southport, CT  06890
View map »


Sponsor: Pequot Library
Telephone: 203-259-0346 ext.115
Contact Name: Front Desk
Website »

More information

Featuring hundreds of pieces of functional pottery and ceramic sculpture by local and nationally recognized artists. It is an opportunity to purchase one-of-a-kind clay art for holiday gift-giving...

Cost: Free

Where:
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, NY  10573
View map »


Website »

More information

Saturday-Sunday, December 2-3, 9-10, 16-17, 23-24, 2017 Tis the season to be jolly at LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester during Bricktacular. Join in on the festive...

Cost: Starting at $15.95; children under 2 are FREE.

Where:
LEGOLAND Discovery Center Westchester
39 Fitzgerald Street
Yonkers, NY  10710
View map »


Sponsor: LEGOLAND® Discovery Center Westchester
Telephone: 866-243-0770
Website »

More information

December 2 – January 7, 2018 A Fairfield Museum holiday tradition. Model trains wind around an enchanting display full of holiday spirit and elaborate scenery! This year features even more...

Cost: Members: Free; $5 Adults; $3 Kids; Free 5 & Under.

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


Sponsor: Fairfield Museum and History Center
Telephone: 203-259-1598
Contact Name: Visitor Services Manager
Website »

More information

Make happy holiday memories without the hassles! Moms and Dads know it's often a scary experience for young children to sit on Santa's lap. Come to a place that is safe,...

Cost: Free with admission

Where:
Stepping Stones Museum for Children
303 West Avenue
Norwalk, CT  06850
View map »


Website »

More information

Come join The Vagabonds for this completely out of character production as we celebrate our return to Bridgeport's Hidden Gem with the story of George Bailey's glimpse into the "What...

Cost: $20 & Up

Where:
The Bijou Theatre
275 Fairfield Ave
Bridgeport, CT  06604
View map »


Sponsor: The Vagabond Theatre Company of Greater Bridgeport
Telephone: 203-520-8332
Contact Name: John R Smith Jnr
Website »

More information

Get ready to rock the holidays with the one and only Rob Mathes, now in his third decade of holiday performances at The Performing Arts Center. This annual celebration featuring the multi-talented...

Cost: $45 to $72.50

Where:
The Performing Arts Center, Purchase College
735 Anderson Hill Rd
Purchase, NY  10577
View map »


Sponsor: The Performing Arts Center
Telephone: 914-251-6200
Contact Name: Jenifer Howard
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...
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