Stamford - Sept/Oct 2022

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Where’s Stamford headed? Here, the next generation of locals shows us how far talent, determination and heart can take us.


Our city, a mix of tradition and evolution, keeps its charm. Both long-time residents and newcomers share their thoughts.

by tom connor

DRINK 2 STAMFORD MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022, VOL. 13, NO. 5 // STAMFORD MAGAZINE (ISSN 2153-2680) is published bimonthly by Moffly Media, Inc., 205 Main St., Westport, CT 06880. POSTMASTER: Send address changes (Form 3579) to STAMFORD MAGAZINE, P.O. BOX 9309, Big Sandy, TX 75755-9607 vol. 13 | no. 5


Stamford school programs; Locals on what they love here; East Side Coffee; Abilis playgroups; Lindsay Wyman of SPEF

Stamford’s Best Bartender Contest! Party photos and a word from the judge and the winners. donna moffly

top: Tory Burch’s take on black for fall fashion below: Stamford’s Best Bartender event, held at Harbor Point NORTONKYLEBYCONTESTBARTENDERBURCH;TORYBYCONTRIBUTEDFASHION,on the cover : stamford’s best bartender • photography: kyle norton


A-LISTathome’sFINALISTSREVEALED Yourblackbookforhomedesignpros pg.88

DO Scribble Dabble Creative Studio; book picks for late summer into fall; local event picks






by diane talbot sembrot

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by scott thomas

by diane sembrot

The spa treatments that men are trying these days, from simple treatments to invasive procedures.


Fall in love with the season’s bold new looks! The latest finds and style tips—plus, Q&A with Sarah Easley, founder of MaisonMarché.

contents SEPT/OCT 2022 2022




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I hope you enjoy the issue. Give yourself a moment to simply read through it—perhaps with a relaxing cup of tea or a background of loud streaming YouTube videos. Either way, our differences are beautiful.


am! Boom! Boom! Boom! “Where’s the milk? We’re out of it again!”

editor’s letter

Then, squeak goes a floor board in the far reaches of the back hallway. A water faucet on, then quickly off. Pure silence until the aroma of coffee wafts through the doorway of my home office and tickles my nose. Then, a nearsoundless click as a door shuts. My daughter’s quiet-as-a-mouse daily routine.

Rustling of wrappers and cartons in the fridge. Cabinet doors opening and slamming shut. Bursts of laughter, nervejangling music, and “No ways!” explode in a carousel of YouTube videos played at top volume from a cellphone. So begins a day for my son, the ultimate extrovert who doesn’t realize he’s loud—though he’s happy enough to challenge randomly, “Fight me!” Despite the Irish twinkle in his eye, I’m not always sure it sounds like he’s kidding.

I do sometimes find myself wondering how other people raise their children. This seems

to happen when I work on this magazine’s annual Teens to Watch feature, this year titled “Shine Bright.” I am always mesmerized by the towering accomplishments of these local young people. How much is credited to their parents? How much to their nurturing schools? How much to the magic and science of innate talents?

Take a look at the students we chose this year. They’re an impressive group and, equally important, inspiring. As different as I am from them (I don’t actually want to do medical research or play in a soccer match), I find each of their stories uplifting, personally, and hopeful, for our community. I genuinely look forward to what they will accomplish as they move

Sometimes, I wonder if the only thing these two have in common is red hair and that they are nearly grown and flown. Personality-wise, they meet me from opposite sides of the spectrum. Funny how that is in families. Same parents—same upbringing, nearly same age and yet his maximum is to her minimum.

Further,forward.ifseeing what others do leads to stress and not inspiration, let’s practice a bit of self-care. For example, check out our story on spa treatments. Many women know all about the tranquility they offer, so I assigned this story to get a man’s perspective. I learned that, indeed, more men are interested in not only massage and pedicures, but also surgical treatments for better skin and body perfection. Here’s our report on what men might be trying on their next “day for him.”

I gave up long ago worrying about nature versus nurture. Instead, my husband and I have done the best we can to encourage our children to understand who they are, for their own sake, and to put opportunities in front of them to consider.





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musical. Past performances include Matilda the Musical, The Little Mer maid and The Addams Family. This unique program highlights the im portance of the performing arts in fostering mentorship, creativity and a sense of community and belonging.

While the time commitment is great, the rewards are even greater— students learn all aspects of putting on a show and get the opportunity to form friendships with students from other grades and schools, forming lifelong friendships and connections along the way; younger students learn from the older students who become mentors and role mod els to their younger counterparts. Performances are cherished by the students, their families/friends and community at-large who get to experience a touch of Broad way in their own backyards.

For the showstoppers

Celebrating its fifteenth year, The Stamford All-School Musical ( ) brings together the city’s public, private and parochial students passionate about musical theater. Sponsored by the public schools, the after-school program (traditionally held in the fall) allows students ages twelve through twelfth grade to par ticipate as performers or crew mem bers on a full-scale, professional-level


t’s a really special thing to see children form their passions. Whether it was a night at the theater to jumpstart their budding Broadway aspirations or a natural gift come to life through a mentor on the field, all students deserve a place to nurture those interests, form lifelong bonds and carry those skills with them into the next chapter of their life. Stamford is chock-full of diverse programming and unique offerings for whatever those passions may be. These new, noteworthy and long-time favorite programs highlight the heterogeneity of Stamford’s student bodies, and all the potential there is out there to succeed.

The world is ushering in a new age of tech, and Stamford’s youth is re sponding to it. Synchrony Skills Academy (, whose headquarters lies in Stamford, hosts over two dozen students from area schools who are eager to learn and apply digital-based skills into their college and career potential in an after-school setting. Students learn about web development, UX design, virtual reality, coding and other tech nical skills that build confidence and create a pathway toward a future in the digital workforce.


Our future depends on our abil ity to train and upskill our workforce, staying ahead of skills that will be re quired by businesses. This includes ensuring the next generation has opportunities to learn and build the digital skills needed to succeed. The Synchrony Skills Academy is one way we can lift up and empower our com munity and create a more equitable future right here in Connecticut.


above: High-schoolers at the Synchrony Skills Academy learn coding by programming Sphero mini robot balls and giving instructions, including direction, timing and speed.

above: Center stage with The Stamford All-School Musical program

above: Hands-on learning at the Whittingham Discovery Center


For the eco-friendly With the new Whittingham Dis covery Center serving as the cornerstone for its environmental achievement, Mill River Park (mill and the Collaborative continue to expand on its educational programming geared toward raising student awareness and apprecia tion for the natural world. Offerings range from elementary-age nature scavenger hunts and nature walks, paid stewards and environmental lit eracy internships for high-schoolers and other exciting programs aligned with Connecticut’s Next Generation Science Standards—held right in the heart of Stamford’s backyard.

Margaret Keane, executive chair of Synchrony’s Board of Directors and cochair of Advance CT

For the computer savvy


Nancy Freedman, producer, The Stamford All-School Musical



For the SoundWatersmarine-minded (, a Stamford nonprofit committed to protecting Long Island Sound through education and preserva tion for over twenty-five years, of fers after-school and summer youth programs for students interested in sailing, STEM and stewardship of our local waters. SoundWaters Research Intensive (SRI) for high-schoolers fo cuses on marine and climate science and offers students the opportunity to engage in field study, research and analysis of the Sound for those inter ested in pursuing a college major/ career in the SoundWaterssciences.believes that our community is stronger when we are connected to and learning from Long Island Sound. Students attending SoundWaters after-school programs enjoy opportunities they might not otherwise have—learning to sail, dis covering Long Island Sound and en riching their science studies, all while working side-by-side with peers who become friends. Students tell us that their after-school time with us on the

Kristia Janowski, director of en vironmental education and sustain ability, Mill River Park Collaborative

It’s vitally important for us to share our therapeutic resources with the community in this special way. We are profoundly thankful to our grantors, the Dorr Foundation, New Canaan Community Founda tion and Generation Impact, for enabling us to make these experi ences free of charge for families who benefit so greatly from the nurturing environment at Heckscher Farm.

Did you hear?


Bob Mazzone, VP of Development, SoundWaters

“Animals for All,” a curated program offered at the Stamford Museum and Nature Center ( stamford, provides neurodiverse children and children with disabilities an opportunity to enjoy all there is to offer. The program has two free-ofcharge programs: Heckscher Farm Open Evenings for all ages and Car ing for Critters for ages five and up, that goes well into fall, spring and summer months. Students and their families can enjoy sensory play with the farm animals, a relaxed, open atmosphere to enjoy activities at their own pace and a day well-spent in the fresh air.

For the whole family 14

The Mill River Stewards Internship is a wonderful paid opportunity for high school students to get hands-on experience outdoors alongside park staff, learning conservation, restora tion and environmental stewardship skills. Students also participate in professional and academic develop ment workshops that help prepare them for college and careers.


water is the highlight of their day. They meet new friends, learn new skills and have fun in the outdoors.

The C. J. Starr Barn and Carriage House built in 1860 on Strawberry Hill had a $2.68 million restoration and will now serve a multipurpose use for Strawberry Hill School.


Melissa H. Mulrooney, chief execu tive officer, Stamford Museum and Nature Center tooffersSoundWaters:programsintroduceLongIslandSoundtoyoungpeople. : forhasNatureMuseumStamfordandCenteraprogramneurodiversechildren.



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Favorite Town Tradition

“Dr. Seuss said, ‘When something bad happens you have three choices. You can either let it define you, let is destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.’ I chose strength. That’s why I created soulXstation .com. We invite people to explore our resources and laugh along the way with us. We’re a cool wellness brand.”


Best View in Town

Years Living in Stamford

“Hands down it’s Turning Point Roasters. I love their intimate atmosphere, with baristas who know my name and remember that I appreciate a swirl of lavender syrup in my almond milk latte.”

Favorite Town Tradition


What Makes Stamford Great “The diversity alongside the opportunities can be a tough pairing to find, but Stamford achieves this beautifully.”

“Any angle from the walk alongside Cove Island Park. I’m filled with gratitude each time I’m there.”

“I moved to Stamford in 2015 with my young family. Settling here was an intentional choice as it was immediately clear that this city could provide us with everything we wanted, needed and more.“


Favorite Long-time Business

Founder and executive director of The Alliance Center

“I don’t know where I originally saw the quote but it says, ‘If you want to know the health of a society then examine how they treat their mothers.’ While this often has a negative connotation in this day and age, we’re turning that on its head with the launch of The Alliance Center, a holistic maternal mental health space, the first of its kind in Connecticut.”


Favorite New Business

Favorite Long-time Business “The Palace Theatre. Over the years we’ve enjoyed many concerts, comedy shows and performances. There’s something for the whole family.”

above: DairyQueen is a popular spot in Stamford 16

Favorite Place for Coffee

Years Living in Stamford

“I’m an avid gardener, so the annual Shippan Garden Club plant sale over Mother’s Day weekend has become a favorite tradition of mine. I love being surrounded by other enthusiastic gardeners and native plants lovingly curated from the area.”

“DairyQueen! I have been going there for as long as I can remember, and I am a sucker for sweets, especially ice cream.”

Engagement coordinator at True Search; founder and CEO of

above: Turning Point Coffee Roasters

“Haute Healing Oasis and Chelsea Piers. I’m all about wellness and healing from the inside out!”

“The St. Leo’s Fair has always been my favorite, but now with all the amazing new traditions we have brought to Stamford over the past few years, I would have to say the HeyStamford! Food Festival is a tie.”

“Fairway Avenue in Shippan. On a clear day you can see New York City from this hidden gem, and it’s always a good sunset spot.“

Favorite New Business “The Alliance Center! I’m so excited to finally have a space in our community to honor and support the well-being of mothers.”

Favorite Restaurant “Cafe Silvium. Try the Rigatoni Gnact Gnact. Also, Brasitas’ arepas con pollo is a close second.”

“Thirty-four, born and raised!”

“I am a huge coffee fan. I love Donut Delight for a quick coffee/drive-through trip, and Humbled Coffee House is my favorite coffee spot when it comes to atmosphere and fancy coffee.”

What Makes Stamford Great “Diversity, variety and options. Whatever mood you are in, Stamford has plenty of options to fulfill it. It is quite amazing how you can go from a hike in Mianus to West Beach for a swim, to Scena for a quaint dinner experience, to dancing on the rooftop of Fortina. I rarely run out of ideas.”

Favorite Place for Coffee

Q & A


Stamford-loving residents share their local favorites by joey macari

Favorite Restaurant “Brasitas. It was the first place we visited when we moved here, and it’s still a favorite.”

Best View in Town

Nothing brings people together like great food.

Connecticut 203.353.8000 | | New York 212.921.4100



coffee that just didn’t taste fresh to me. The problem is, most coffee roasters roast in large batches, therefore, by the time the consumer gets to drink it, it’s stale. So, I decided to take it into my own hands. After months of honing in on the craft of roasting, I decided that my product was too good to keep for myself.” 18


“My roasting journey began as a hobby,” Totino shares. “I was frustrated with getting

above: Cold brew to go and bags of freshly ground coffee from East Side Coffee Roasting Co.

“I’d say that most people assume that a light roast means ‘weak.’ This is not the case and is, actually, the complete opposite. Light roasts usually contain more caffeine content compared with a dark roast. This is because the bean was roasted less, thus not ‘burning off’ the caffeine. Sure, darker roasts may taste bolder, but this doesn’t equate to caffeine strength. Light roasts have been taking off in recent years because most of the time you can taste more of the great flavoring notes compared with something that was taken too dark.”


ommunity care goes deeper than how you treat your neighbors. Discovering what it cares about is the stuff upon which businesses thrive. When Steve Totino, owner of East Side Coffee Roasting Co. (, sought to expand the city’s east side coffee culture, he inadvertently made his new roasting venture the talk of the town.

East Side Roasting Co. prides itself on smallbatch, roasted-to-order coffee, with each bag telling its own unique story. Instead of names,



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: Abilis launches a new baby playgroup

each fresh batch is given a number—each number is then attached to a person who made an impact on Totino’s life and a little story that explains why. These personal touches, both in how each bag is created for peak freshness, as well as the individualized way Stamford locals are celebrated, is emblematic of Totino’s homegrown branding.


M.S., OTR/L, a pediatric occupational therapist with more than fifteen years of experience, leads the program. Karen Feder is director of the center, which provides programs for ages birth up to three years and focuses on developmental and healthrelated needs. Children are paired with teachers and therapists to work on specific therapies. Also, the organization is one of eleven birth-to-three service providers in the state with autism designations, which allows Abilis to provide diagnostic and intensive-services. To register for the new program ($250), call 203-324-1880, ext. 315.

“I knew when starting East Side, I didn’t want the roasts just to say, ‘Ethiopia Light Roast,’ or something similar,” he explains. “Giving it a number instead of a name makes people wonder, ‘Why 1928? Why 7160?’ For example, one of my best sellers, 7160, is named after my dad. These are the last four digits of his phone number that he’s had for years.” The flavor notes of the roast, then reflects the person who graces the niche packaging of every bag Totino sells. “The notes in 7160, for example, are woody and remind me of him coming home after a day’s work with his construction company.”

or more than seventy years, Abilis (abilis. us) has supported individuals with special needs throughout their lives. The nonprofit creates personalized plans with therapies and lifeskill services and currently supports more than 800 individuals with disabilities and their families in Fairfield County, including Stamford. Now Abilis is launching Baby & Me Playgroups.


Participants are in two groups: newborns to six months (Mondays at 10 a.m.) and seven months to one year (Mondays at 11 a.m.). The rolling eightweek programs use music, mindfulness, infant massage and play time to encourage bonding, reach sensory-processing developmental milestones. Classes will be held at The Therapy Center at Abilis in LizStamford.Fornari,

Because social media drives his business, Totino shares that the effects on his business are immediately gratifying, as is the nature of customer satisfaction in the twenty-first century. “Oftentimes after making a delivery, I’ll get a notification on my phone,” he says. “I go to check it and it’ll be that same customer that tags me in their photo, showing off that they just brewed a cup made with East Side Coffee. I think people are really happy to be a part of the brand, and I love seeing it.”

above: Owner Steve Totino and new East Side coffee packaging

Totino also hosts a “Help Desk” video series on his social media pages, showing his budding “brew base” tricks of the trade and other roasting factors to consider before their next purchase. He also encourages his customers to break out of their comfort zones when it comes to their sacred caffeine preferences. “I’ve had many people say they only drink a dark roast,” he says. “I encourage those people to try out something light like my ‘5’ roast. Some of those people have completely flipped and now only order the light roasts I carry.”

Abilis Launches BABY & ME PLAYGROUPS

by diane sembrot

“Part of the skill of coffee roasting is knowing what roast level to bring a particular bean to. For example, you’d want to keep an Ethiopian Natural Process bean light to preserve the great fruity level.”theoriginnameeveryroastthedecisioncustomersit.theyofthoseliketheyaskedroastbringwherethethoseyouAnythingcharacteristics.pastthatandmightloseoutonnotes.Thereisalsocompleteopposite,you’dwanttoabeantoadarkertogetthosegreatwhatkindofcoffeelike,I’dget,‘Ionlydarkroast.’I’dgivesamepeopleonemylightroastsandareblownawaybyIt’smoreimportantfortobasetheironthenotesofcoffeeratherthanthelevel.That’swhyonbagitshowstheoftheroast,theandthenotesofcoffee,butnoroast


Go ahead, try it out. Point your phone’s camera at the Flowcode to scan.

indsay Wyman believes all children deserve a quality education—and she puts her beliefs into action. After serving as director of programming at the Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF; spefct. org) for three-and-a-half years, she became CEO this past January. “I have had a front seat to all the incredible work that SPEF does for our community,” she says, now pivoting the team’s future with a new three-year strategic


Also, Summer Start is a free, five-week program to help children transition into kindergarten; this fall they are partnering with the police department to reopen the Chester Addison Community Center to provide mentoring and tutoring.

above: Lindsay Wyman, the new CEO of the Stamford Public Education Foundation

SPEF was founded in 1996 to provide community resources to public schools; in 2010 it began offering services directly. The first program, middle-school mentoring, served just forty-six students. Today, SPEF “has grown to serving thousands of students and families with more than thirty dedicated staff in the areas of mentoring, tutoring, kindergarten readiness and parent leadership training programming,” saysSheWyman.alsomentions growing the Here-to-Help network, which helps families access “food resources, rent assistance, bilingual (Spanish/ English) support with school communication, outreach to families experiencing chronic absenteeism and much more.” 22

Back to School

Explaining the focus on equitable quality public education, Wyman says, “Systems that were built on systemic racism and socioeconomic privilege, as well as the challenges that the pandemic has exacerbated, make it an environment that is more challenging than any of us adults knew when we were in school.”




While the goals are ambitious, she’s prepared. Wyman began her career as a special-education teacher and literacy specialist, then moved into education administration, and is a literacy consultant on the school and district level for public, private and charter schools across the county. In 2018 she joined SPEF, the nonprofit side of education. Now CEO she says, “There is so much important work to be done.”

, has plans

success by enabling all families in Stamford to have access to the quality public education that the Stamford Public Schools provide. With SPEF’s support, students and families have more equitable opportunities to access their education while addressing fundamental family, social/emotional and academic needs.”

CURTAIN CALL’S 32nd SEASON a t Sterling Far ms in Stamfor d. Sept. 2022 - June 2023 AREA PREMIERE! www.curtaincallinc.com203-461-6358 A thriller that will kill you with laughs!

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Stamford’s longest running and only year ‘round, nonprofit producing theatre company. WINNER: BEST LOCAL THEATRE 10 YEARS IN A ROW GOVERNOR’S AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE ACE AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE IN ARTS & CULTURE Year ‘round educational workshops for all ages. PLUS... COMEDY MURDERCONCERTSNIGHTSMYSTERIES and many other special events!!! February 2 18 October 27 November 13 March 31—April 22 November 18 December 17 January 12 29 September 15 October 2 AREAMarchPREMIERE 2 19

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FRAME Cropped Shearling Moto Jacket, $2,595, Greenwich; CROPPED VINCE Combo Collar Leather Jacket, $1,395, Greenwich, Westport; 1 2 3 4 5 doorLeavethistopperrightbyyourfrontsoyouaremostlikelyto“grabandgo”withit!Don’tkeepyourclothesasspecial—wearthem!! STYLIST TIP DESIGNERS/BRANDSOFCOURTESYIMAGESALL

Interesting links are taking over your loungewear this season!


Designers play with raw edges, cut patchwork that are comfortable yet intriguing to the eye!

outs and


shop SEA NY Agnes Sweater; $525. ZADIG VOLTAIREAND Allany Wews Coat, Greenwich;$1,398, voltaire.comus.zadig-etGABRIELLA HEARST CLERGERIE Hester Rafia Platform Sandals, $1,490; Greenwich; STELLASTELLAMCCARTNEYBYSTELLA 3D Sweater,Stripes$1,395; LALIGNE Patchwork Cable Sweater,Greenwich;$395,. lalignenyc.comMOLLY GODDARD STELLA MCCARTNEY STELLA BY STELLA 3D Stripes Wool Midi Skirt, $1,095; whenTheseknitsgetanextraliftpairedwithunexpectedbottoms,likeleatherortulle! STYLIST TIP 1 2 3 4 5 6DESIGNERS/BRANDSOFCOURTESYIMAGESALLOTHERMONAHAN;SEANPHOTOGRAPHERNY**SEA

Four-time Olympic medalist, world champion high jumper and breast cancer survivor Fashion Show


Innovative research Surgical fellowships Community outreachYEARS BOLD A



11AM — 2PM



Erica Blob, Meagan Davis, Erica Juneja and Julie Stein


Ann Caruso


Silent & Live Auction * Raffle Models of Inspiration

Celebrity fashion stylist, tastemaker and two-time breast cancer survivor and Chaunte Lowe

For tickets, tables, sponsorships and full event details visit:

Carolina Herrera Spring 2023 Fashion Show with guest appearance by Creative Designer, Wes Gordon with DJ April Larken Event Co-Chairs



CHRISTIAN SIRIANO Matrix Blue Shimmer Blazer, $1,695, and Wide Leg Trouser, $895, The Collective, Westport;


FRAME Di Cord Jacket, $698, and Pintuck Cord Trouser, $378. Greenwich;

NILI LOTAN Carey Sweater in Chestnut, $750.

GOLDEN GOOSE Grey/Black Prince of Wales Blazer; $760 and Jogger; $465 Greenwich Richards, Westport Mitchells.

Stretch Crepe Blazer, $2,000, and Pant, $1,000;

Tonal dressing made easy. Suits are back and a great way to transition from your summer dress rotation. Look for styles with textures and colors that fit your personal style and consider a three-piece variation!

The true power of a suit comes in breaking it apart to multitask the items as separates.—the blazer as a fall layer, the pants with your favorite sweater. Soon you will see how the investment pays off and answers the dreaded wardrobe question: What do I wear today?



VERONICA BEARD Destry Dickie Jacket, $748, Bennet Vest, $448, and Montlake Pant, $428. Greenwich

2 3 4 5 6 1

You host shopping events in clients’ homes. How do you find this approach different for customers?

Make shopping fun: A beautiful tablescape at a MaisonMarché fête • Host Katie Denton, Kristin Schockley and Sarah Easley • Sarah (r.) with friends at a Darien event

SARAH EASLEY, founder and CEO of MaisonMarché, and Janel Alexander, our style editor, got together to discuss their favorite topic: Fashion!

MaisonMarché Style

Richmond, Virginia, with ten of my friends, and we all played bingo and had tea while a beautiful model walked around wearing the clothes. I inspired from a young age! MaisonMarché is an old-fashioned idea updated to a more modern way of shopping. Our guests can attend an event and leave with both unique items—from not just one brand, but many—and new fashion styling tricks. That, to me, feels like a luxury.

A: Being surrounded by your friends is just what we all want when we are shopping. To be able to get feedback from your most trusted group is a big part of what we are cultivating. Another part of the MaisonMarché concept is to not sell ten identical dresses within one community. This is actually built in because I feature small-batch, sustainable brands. So for those special pieces? You will not see others wearing them on Main Street.

A: MaisonMarché creates shopping events for our hosts, who invite select groups of their friends to their homes. Everyone assembles at a familiar place, which I believe creates confidence and comfort that the clothes are relevant. I partner with more than seventy female-founded sustainable brands. Many are regional exclusives, so you won’t find these items in local stores or worn by your neighbors. The format of a curated experience for the host and her friends sets our shopping parties apart from walking into a department store, which can be overwhelming and less personal. We piloted the first shopping events at my house in New Canaan, but we have since branched to locations all over the country: Miami, Southern California, the Hamptons, Chicago, Richmond, Atlanta and Aspen.

Q: I love the intimate experience you provide. It makes the whole thing feel like the best-kept secret that your friend let you in on.

Q : How do you think shopping and retail has changed since Covid?


A: A big change is the availability of inventory at brick-and-mortar stores. The shelves are literally bare due to supply-chain challenges. Alternately, web shopping gives us too many choices. Unless you are a professional stylist or shopper, it’s hard to discern what products are right for you. So, the choices are minimal in one avenue and overwhelming in another.


Early on I learned to invest in the building blocks that you will keep in your closet for the long term and to know your body type and what suits you. One example: a perfect Rick Owens distressed leather jacket from his first collection in 1999. It never gets old. In fact, it only gets better, and it reflects my personal style.

Q: That sounds like it is a perfect reflection of you and your style.

Q: Certainly the volume options for online shopping have really confused matters. There are too many choices out there, and it makes it confusing for individuals to shop from a personal point of view.

• Sarah Easley and fashion designer Sandra Weil

• Sarah styling a guest

Q: Agreed 100 percent! I think many people think they can shop only when they have something big coming up, like a conference, a wedding or a big event. It’s better to have options already on hand that are versatile and can be leveraged for many events.

Tell me about your most prized possession

A: What you get out of your closet, as you know, is also what you put into it. Remove the obstacles that get in the way of good style. So when you find those superior items, make sure to get rid of the things that are crowding them out. I have a lot of clothes—but I repeat and repeat certain items, and then let them go dormant—sort of uniform dressing. It’s another reason why I don’t subscribe to the highest luxury price points for everyday life. I don’t want people to baby their clothes. We end our transactions asking the guests, “What will be you wearing tomorrow?”

to see more: Explore more at the MaisonMarché website:


A: Such a good point. Through what you do as a stylist and what I do at events, we are both looking to help people create their own signature style. A huge part of defining your style is trying a bunch of things on. Being in a comfortable home environment allows guests to try things that they might not have otherwise thought were for them. And a stylist can walk them through options that feel more personal to their body types and styles. Once clients feel good about what they purchased at one of our events, we gain their trust. I never tell people to buy something new for special occasions—wear something tried and true that you know works.

Try it on Reviewing: options at a shopping event

above: Accessories and a selection of colorful garments at a host’s shopping event

A: Yes, it speaks to who I am and my love of other creative outlets like music. Joan Jett is one of my style icons. Catherine Deneuve is another—I also have a perfect Parisian trench coat she inspired.

allows guests to try things that they might not have otherwise thought were for them. And a stylist can walk them through options.”

Passionate about sharing art and creativity in a way that is approachable and fun for all, she deeply believes in the benefits of art for kids—and adults. Her goal with Scribble Dabble is to offer art in a way that is “engaging and approachable in an environment where there are no right or wrong ways to create; where everyone is welcome and celebrated equally for their ideas— and maybe we even learn something unexpected in the process,” she says. “I truly believe that all kids can enjoy and benefit from art-making but often get discouraged if they feel they’ re not ‘good’ at something. I really try to eliminate that notion of being good or bad at art, because truthfully, it’ s impossible to be either with something that is completely subjective.”

L ittle ones are natural artists. They are unencumbered by thoughts of how things should be or what someone might say about their work. They simply and honestly create and express themselves and their world through art. Enter Scribble Dabble Creative Studio. Stamford resident Allie Espinal founded the business, which blends story time, games, music, sensory play and traditional art materials to help kids tap into their innate creativity. “In 2020 I had a nice little freelance marketing and ENCOURAGING YOUNG ARTISTS AT SCRIBBLE DABBLE CREATIVE STUDIO by diane sembrot do

Imagine That

Espinal holds a BFA from Syracuse University and continued her education at Miami Ad School, San Francisco, as well as worked in advertising, marketing, brand strategy and graphic design and illustration. “I’ve always maintained a creative venture on the side for myself,” she says.

What’s a class like? Take the Littles Creative Club, which ran on Thursdays

design gig that allowed me to juggle both part-time work and full-time mom duties with my then two-year-old. However, when Covid happened and the world shut down, that freelance work went away. The slate being wiped clean for me—albeit painful at the time—was a blessing because suddenly I had the time and space to dedicate my creativity elsewhere and consider what I truly wanted to do moving forward,” she says. “The past two years have been incredibly hard in so many ways, but I discovered just how much

Scribble Dabble was born out of the realization that the kinds of activities and teaching that Espinal had been doing with her own young son was worth sharing with other families.


above: Allie Espinal founded her art business for children to share her love of creativity.

I love sharing art and creativity with kids through teaching my son. Scribble Dabble is really the combination of all I’ve learned as a creative and a lifelong art student myself, plus what I’ve learned on the job as a mom trying to teach and engage my own young kids.” 36 CONTRIBUTEDPHOTOGRAPHS:

above: A fun class at Scribble Dabble Studio for parents and young children

twenty-four months, ages two to four, and ages five to seven. Some take place in the outdoor studio (253 Sun Dance Rd.;, while others take place at Honey Joe’s Coffeehouse and other pop-up art and creative play places across Fairfield County. “I’m very excited to be adding new pop-up locations this fall, both in Stamford and surrounding towns,” she says. “I love partnering with other female-owned businesses, and so far I’ve been really lucky to align with some wonderful women who’ve built businesses that also cater to moms and young families. It feels good to support each other and we’re all trying to build a sense of community in our own ways.”

–Allie Espinal

(for forty-five each class) in July. The children used various art materials to experiment with, while also getting to know their fellow classmates. “Creative Clubs are my most popular programs,” she says. “I currently offer a Littles Creative Club (ages two to four) and a Junior Creative Club (ages five to seven). These programs are small groups that meet weekly and feel like a little family by the end. Depending on the age, I incorporate stories, games, music, sensory play, traditional and nontraditional art materials with creative challenges that exercise imagination and creative thinking.”


Espinal offers class sessions for different age groups, including ten to

Nurturing Your Child’s Creativity at Home

above: Allie Espinal nurturing creative pursuits

Don't overthink it. You don't need tons of supplies or fancy kits. In fact, the less prescriptive the better. If you have young kids at home, lean into process—art versus projects where there is an expectation of the outcome. Lay out a few different art materials (e.g., a large white sheet of paper, some colored construction paper cut into shapes, glue, markers) and offer a prompt like, ‘I wonder what you could build by putting these shapes together?’ or let your child’s current interest be the guide. If your child is currently gaga over dinosaurs, offer a dino-themed prompt like, ‘Can you build a dinosaur out of these materials? What shapes will you need? What kind of dinosaur is it? What does it look like where your dinosaur lives?’ You ask the questions, but let your child find the answers—there are no wrong ones. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is for them once we take a step back.

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JOIN US ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 28 Networking Reception and Raffle 11am Lunch and Awards Celebration 12pm RECIPIENTSAWARDIMPACTWBDC th YEAR!

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In this powerful debut— narrated through alternating perspectives of husband and wife—Kiester investigates the complexities of a modern-day marriage. When June, a new mother, disappears one morning, her husband, Ben, is forced to retrace the recent events of her past in a desperate attempt to bring her home. But the question remains, what caused June to vanish in the first place? Perhaps if she hadn’t relinquished the lead role in a famous ballet in order to have a child things would be different. Maybe it was the mysterious petition her friends all seem to know about or June’s falling-out with another mom. The more Ben exposes about June— including her bizarre fixation on a Greek myth—the more he realizes how little he really understands her.



Based on the true story of Nellie Bly—the world’s first female journalist—thisinvestigativecompellingworkofhistoricalfictionpaintsaspellbindingportraitofawomanaheadofhertimeandherworld-alteringquestforthetruth.Thebook,setin1887,shadowsNellie’spursuittobecomeaseriousreporterinNewYork.Withlittlemoneyinherpocket,sheconcoctsaperilousschemetofakeinsanitysoshe’llbecommittedtotheasylumonBlackwell'sIsland,inordertorevealitswretchedconditions.Butgoingundercoverinanasylumisfarmoretraumaticthansheexpected.Isolatedandstarving,Nelliequestionswhyshesubjectedherselftosuchcrueltyofherownfreewill—andifshe’lleverescapetheterrorsurroundingher.



by emily liebert


In this Pride & Prejudice retelling, it’s universally acknowledged that protagonist expelledDarcy should haveGeorgianabeenafter“theincident”withWickhamFosterthepreviousyear.Well,atleastthat’swhatherPemberleyAcademyclassmatesbelieve.And,whileshedidmanagetoskirtexpulsionasaresultofherfamilyname,shecan’tavoidthedisappointmentofherolderbrotherFitz,thecontemptofthewholeschool,orWickham’sinfluence.Now,returningforherjunioryear,it’sGeorgiana’smissiontopolishhertarnishedreputationbymakingamendswiththemembersofthemarchingband,byignoringWickhamandhisdamaginglies,andbydivertingherhelicopteringbrotherwithloveinterest,LizzieBennet.Herplantobethe“PerfectDarcy”maybeconvoluted,butshe’scommittedtoseeingitthrough…untileverythingcomescrashingdown.

Set along the glistening shores of Lake Michigan, this thought-provoking novel follows Sutton Douglas, a woman shattered by the untimely death of her mother, Miss Mabel, who was a deeply private Southern seamstress with a furtive past. In Sutton’s pursuit to find answers about her family history and her own place in the world, she purchases a collection of buttons at an estate sale from Bonnie Lyons, who could very well be the grandmother she never knew. As Bonnie takes Sutton into her confidence, secrets are unearthed and Sutton comes to realize that she may have inadvertently played a role.





From the creator and host of the award-winning podcast Moms Don’t Have Time to Read Books™, comes this intensely personal memoir about a woman’s journey to find her voice through the rewriting of her storied past. If you’re in the publishing industry or even tangentially connected to it, you know Zibby Owens as the smart, ambitious, authentic champion of authors across all categories and well-respected author in her own right. Her passion for the written word began in childhood, as she was exposed to the influence that books and libraries had on her own family. But after enduring the loss of her closest friend on 9/11 and the subsequent stress of motherhood, Zibby nearly forgot what the literary world meant to her. Just as her life seemed exceptionally austere, Zibby revisited her affinity for all things books and writing and fell head over heels for her now husband—a tennis pro turned movie producer. He led her along the path to a meaningful career, true love and finally finding her voice, currently heeded by millions of listeners. If you’re in search of a heartrending story about relationships, affection, food issues and finding one’s true calling, this is the book for you.

Two extraordinary women from two different eras come together to share their unique gift of finding soulmates in the most unforeseen places. Even as a young girl in 1910, Sara Glikman knows her knack for making matches. Still, amidst the bustling streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, Sara’s ability is viewed by devout older men as a threat to their traditions and livelihood. With a decade of covert matchmaking to her name, Sara is determined to assume her rightful place among her peers and be acknowledged for the talent that has benefited so many. Fast forward two generations to Sara’s granddaughter, Abby, a forever.whichquestions,theygrandmother’sjournalsherpassesaffluentrepresentingManhattanprosperousdivorceattorney,thecity’smostclients.WhenSaraaway,Abbyinheritscollectionofhandwrittenwiththedetailsofhermatches…andraisealotofinterestingtheanswerstomaychangeAbby’slife

What’s not to love about a love story? Especially one written by three New York Times bestselling authors. Add in a little Halloween magic to revive the town of Moon Ridge and you have a potion for everlasting romance. That is, according to the founder’s fable. And best friends Onny, Ash, and True—otherwise known as “The Coven”— aren’t going against that. After brewing their theoretical love tonic from Onny’s grandmother’s recipe, they all attempt to lure the objects of their affection. Of course, the best laid plans never turn out exactly as one expects. Regardless of the outcome, this book will keep you under its spell and engaged well past the witching hour.


Two great shows are coming to CURTAIN CALL. Lighten up between Sept. 15-Oct. 2 with Neil Simon’s Laughter on the 23rd Floor about behind the scenes at a 1950s hit TV show. Return between Sept. 30-Oct. 22, when a long-time favorite, Cabaret, takes the stage. Get ticket information and more at

left: Curtain Call's show take place at Kweskin Theatre (above) and Dressing Room Theatre in Stamford right: Towards the Horizon by Susan Williams

Enjoy uplifting events—a fundraiser, music, live theater and art—across Stamford in September and October 40



Eighties curious? On Sept. 23 head back to the decade of big hair, bright clothes and totally awesome music. Pour Some 80's on Me performs feel-good hits from a decade of fun. The drive-in concerts takes place 8 to 11 p.m. at STAMFORD MUSEUM & NATURE CENTER . Preorder tickets and refreshments at

Show runs through Fri., Nov. 4, with artist and gallery talks. Visit for details. 357 Old Long Ridge Road in historic Long Ridge Village in North Stamford.



LUCKY PAW LOOZA takes place on Oct. 15 at Mill River Park. Head over between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. to celebrate all things canine in support of Lucky Dog Refuge. Enjoy live music, a beer garden, adoptable dogs, food trucks, competitions, plenty of auction items and more. See more at



by diane sembrot

Water: Works by Frances Ashforth and Susan Williams will open at THE BARN @ DOWNING YUDAIN GALLERY on Thurs., Sept. 22, 6 to 8 p.m.— open to the public; send reservation requests to info@ or 917-544-6417

CONTEST BEST BARTENDER MAGAZINEby 10 TH ANNUAL Presented Communityby:Partners: Supporter:Jeffrey Selden, Mixologist Judge Media Partner: Thank You to Our Partners Participating Restaurants & Bars:

“Summery cocktail recipes that included a lot of infusions,herbaland the introduction of Italicus—an Italian liquor being made since the fifteenth century with rose petals and bergamot. It has a citrus, lightly green and herbaceous-nessgrassy to it that is aromatic and delicious.”

n the spirit of, well, spirits, Stamford sure knows how to make summer cocktails the star of a night well spent. At this year’s Stamford’s Best Bartender Contest

“A Banana Colada! Banana juice (1 qt), vodka (does not have to be RumMalibupremium),Coconut(1cup)and 1.5 ounces of unflavored gelatin. Beware… these small treasures can pack quite a punch.”

“Cugine in Stamford, Kawa Ni in Westport and South End in New Canaan.”

8 // What would you serve as a dessert drink?

1 // Why is this event so special?

No formalities, no speeches and just a great big party that showcases the best in bartenders!”Stamford

7 // What do you consider the most essential tools for a bartender?


“I voted for this drink as I loved the flavor profile that included Pisco as the main ingredient. The cocktail had a beautifully lime,flavorscombinationbalancedofwiththefreshpineappleand

4 // Where do you go for a good cocktail?

“Some fun modern versions of Jell-O shots that have been recreated with clean cocktails unflavoredandgelatin to create any cocktail in a solid form and perfect for any party.”

2 // What trends did you observe from the drinks this year?

6 // What kind of Jell-O shot would you create?

5 // What is the most interesting drink you’ve ever crafted?

the topping of a cinnamon foam that added a unique taste and presentation to the overall drink. I was interesting that they chose Pisco

by joey macari

as the liquor, too, as it was a bit adventurous.”more

“I am on the Espresso Martini trend right now and really enjoying those made with Patron XO Café liquor.”

“Carter’s Strawberry Patch,” a winning drink by The Wheel

3 // What was it about Siena’s drink that got your vote?


STAMFORD magazine’s tenth annual BEST BARTENDER CONTEST shakes up the local cocktail competition, with Mixologist Judge Jeffrey Selden calling the shots

9 // Do you have any bartenderspecialskills?

“A muddler, great shaker set and a zester.”

10 // ingredientWhatdid you recently discover— and fall in love with?

“My latest trip to Italy had me loving Amaro again. The bittersweet taste is something that I just enjoy as the perfect end to any dinner.”

“Yeah—tasting as I go!”



JEFFREY SELDEN , managing partner at Marcia Selden Catering & Event Planning, returned as the event’s guest judge—casting his eye on crafty cocktails and deciding who is worthy of the top-shelf prize, Judge’s Pick. Ultimately, it was Siena’s Antonio Assante drink, Passionate Affair, that made him swoon. Also, the crowd chose newcomer The Wheel’s drink, Carter’s Strawberry Patch, for People’s Choice, and all the entries that evening left quite the impression. We followed up with Selden, who shared his thoughts on the event, its winners and a surprising-yet-inviting take on a party-favorite, Jell-O shots!

“This is an event that brings the community together to relax, enjoy new cocktails, have fun and just let your hair down!


above: Jeffrey Selden

Mone Stringfellow and Oscar Munoz’s cocktailfor The Wheel won People’s Choice.

What better way to win over the people than incorporating one of the top fruits of the summer: strawberries.

STAMFORD magazine’s BEST BARTENDER CONTEST poured on the competition—bringing exciting flavors to the forefront and happy party people to Harbor Point’s waterfront

Winner // Prime Stamford Bartenders // Charles Stedman and Diego Ramirez Drink // “Youth Serum” Ingredients // 2 oz. Kettle One Vodka, 1.5 oz. basilinfused cucumber juice, 1 oz. lemon juice and 1 oz. simple syrup


Siena mysummer.DihometownduringpairinginspiredAssante,was“Passionatelibation,behindTheAwardcovetedtakingJudgetheambiance,perfectTuscanknownRistorante,foritsauthentic,cuisineanddate-nightwonoverheartofMixologistJeffreySelden—hometheJudge’sPickthatnight.creativemindthelovableaptlynamedAffair,”bartenderAntoniowhowasbyauniquehesavoredatriptohisofMonteProcida,Italy,last“Whileontrip,Ienjoyeda

vodka-based cocktail with fresh passion fruit and immediately fell in love with the idea of incorporating fresh passion fruit into a cocktail,” he says. “I decided to shake it up a bit and introduce Barsol Pisco as the base spirit complimented by notes of fresh passion fruit. As my first time competing in a bartending competition, I was blown away by how well organized the event was and how much fun everyone had. I’d like to thank Stamford magazine for putting together such a wonderful event.”

Winner // The Wheel at The Village Bartenders // Oscar Munoz and Mone Stringfellow Drink // “Carter’s Strawberry Patch” Ingredients // Jalapeño-infused Don Julio Blanco tequila, strawberry purée and fresh lime juice

“Our team at The Wheel is committed to delivering exceptional service and works hard to continually innovate to bring guests the best experience. Being able to showcase our bartending talent at an tospecial.restaurateurs,andalongsideeventinteractivelikethisone,localfriendsothersuccessfulwasreallyWearegrateful Stamford magazine for organizing a great evening and thankful to all who came out to support!”

Winner // Siena Ristorante Bartender // Antonio Assante Drink // “Passionate Affair” Ingredients // BarSol Pisco, fresh passion fruit, freshly squeezed pineapple, lime juice, light/silky cinnamon foam



“The Best nextbrainstorminghavePrimegeneralsaysrepresentingofChef(seniorcocktail),JesusDiegoproudPrimequalityfantasticCompetitionBartenderdoesajobshowcasinganddiversity.isextremelyofthejob(barmanager),(creatoroftheMaudebartender)andJulio(creatorthesmallbite)didPrime,”CharlesStedman,managerofStamford.“Wealreadystartedideasforyear!”

Oscar Munoz and Mone beenand“Westrawberryjalapeñocombinationsweet-and-spicyimpressionmadeStrawberrytheirtimerestaurant.theChoicesnaggedStringfellowthePeople’sAwardfornewSouthEndAsfirst-competitors,drink,“Carter’sPatch,”quitethewithitsoftequilaandpurée.arehonoredhumbledtohaveawardedthis

prestigious accolade,” says Michael Marsilio, general manager.

Siena Ristorante receiving the award for Judge’s Pick Prime’s cocktail won People’s Choice Runner-up.



1 Guests enjoyed bites 2 Lifted Spirits, Community Partner Sponsor 3 Diageo/Don Julio, Community Partner Sponsor 4 Guests were able to sample drinks from any of the twelve restaurants in the competition 5 Jeffrey Selden, Mixologist Judge and Event MC, and Managing Partner and cocktail creative behind Marcia Selden Catering’s Liquid Kitchen 6 Russ Hollander and publisher Karen Kelly-Micka 7 Cisco Brewers, a Community Partner Sponsor 8 Harbor Point, a presenting sponsor 9 Table 104 10 A perfect evening to gather 11 Divina 12 Fortina

2 3 9 10 12 11 8 7 1 5 4 NORTONKYLEBYPHOTOGRAPHS


tamford magazine’s BEST BARTENDER CONTEST returned this year, and everything was perfect! Twelve local restaurants competed for top honors from an adoring crowd at Harbor Point. The sold-out event took place on ideal summer evening. Here are a few memories of the party; see more on Instagram @stamfordmag and online at Farewell, summer—you were delicious!


Please Join Us October 27, 2022 11:30AM 2:30PM Stamford Hilton First Stamford Place, Stamford Dust off your ballgowns and boots and join us for a western inspired evening celebrating the power of a wish! presents November 12, 2022 6:00 PM - 11:00 PM Greenwich Country

Featured Guest Lidia Bastianich 46



AMERICARES / An Evening for Ukraine


U.S.A. to Ukraine

» by diane sembrot SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2022 STAMFORD 47 321 54

tamford-based Americares has been busy supporting the people of Ukraine. One night, the nonprofit raised more than $115,000. During the event, An Evening for Ukraine (this page), hosted by the Gary Wendt Foundation, guests enjoyed a performance of French and American songs by Greenwich resident Valerie Ahneman and her band, Bon Chic Bon Genre, and the Ukrainian National Anthem by Iryna Lonchnya of Ukraine. On another summer evening, the organization hosted a volunteer event at its distribution center in Stamford (next page). Teams assembled and packed personal-care items for refugees. Americares supports more than fifty partner organizations across Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine; coordinating large-scale shipments of medicine and relief supplies, it has shipped or delivered more than 158 tons so far. As for funding, it has awarded more than $1.2 million in emergency grants. Americares shared that by late June, the World Health Organization had verified over 350 attacks on health-care facilities and personnel in the country. Americares provides programs, supplies and aid to people affected by poverty or disaster in nearly eighty-five countries, including the United States. It is among the leading nonprofit providers of donated medicine and medical supplies in the world. See more at

1 Sarah Wendt, Americares Senior Vice President and Chief Development Officer Jenny Goldstein, Valerie Ahneman, Iryna Lonchnya and Jeff DeMoss 2 Ukrainian singer Iryna Lonchnya performs the Ukrainian National Anthem 3 Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling and wife, Lucia 4 Greenwich resident Valerie Ahneman performed at An Evening for Ukraine 5 Jenny Goldstein addresses the audience at the Wall Street Theater in Norwalk.

people 48 AMERICARES / Volunteer Event 1 Actor Ward Horton with his wife, Alexa, assemble boxes 2 Heather Comfort 3 Jay Sandak and Mary Sommer 4 Katy Baez, Jessica Saturne and Americares Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Jed Selkowitz 5 Adam Knox at the volunteer event 6 Jamie, Mary and Carolyn Jeffrey were among the volunteers 431 6 2 5 DEMASMIKEBYPHOTOGRAPHS YOURCELEBRATEWEDDING We welcome wedding announcements together with candid photographs. Weddings should have a current Stamford family connection and must be submitted within three months of the wedding day. Regretfully, we are unable to run every wedding submitted. Send Information to: Stamford Magazine 205 Main Street Westport, CT 06880 STOCK.ADOBE.COM

SILVERSOURCE / Inspiring Lives Luncheon

people 50 SMITHLESLYEBYPHOTOGRAPHS 1 1 Tami Raymer, Sandy Goldstein, Bob Goldstein, Louise Berkman 2 Matt Blumenthal, Paul Tusch, Michael Moran 3 Harry Day, Jeyan Stout, Rick Silver 4 Guest speaker Ashton Applewhite 5 Len Schwartz, Peggy Kalter 6 Mike and Maureen Cacace

Helping Seniors


t felt great to gather together as a community to raise much-needed funds for older adults in Stamford,” said SilverSource CEO Kathleen Bordelon, “as well as celebrate Maureen and Mike Cacace and their longstanding leadership.” Bordelon addressed the attendees—more than 250 community and business leaders who recently gathered for the 2022 SilverSource Inspiring Lives Luncheon at the Italian Center in Stamford. The fundraiser supports the 114-year-old organization SilverSource, which helps financially struggling older adults retain their homes and utilities, assists with food and healthcare costs and provides free transportation to and from medical appointments. Maureen and Mike Cacace accepted the Adele Gordon Inspiring Lives Award at the event. Ashton Applewhite, author of This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism, served as keynote speaker. Its next event is a golf outing on September 15. See more about the agency at

» 6 4 2 3 5

Don’t miss the 15th anniversary of New York City’s premiere wine and food festival. Must be 21 or older with valid ID to consume alcohol. The Festival promotes responsible drinking. Photos: Courtesy of Getty Images | Sponsors confirmed as of 6.24.2022 Get Tickets: NYCWFF.ORG PLATINUM MOBILITYOFFICIALPARTNER PREMIEROFFICIAL AIRLINE BEER AND DISTRIBUTORWATER ® OFFICIALPARTNERRADIO HEADQUARTERHOTEL tickets on SALE ! For more information, please call 800.764.8773 PRESENTING AND OFFICIAL CREDIT CARD AND BANKSPIRITSWINEPROVIDEREXCLUSIVEOFANDHOSTED BY TITLE GOLD DIAMOND OFFICIAL DRY DRINKS & MIXOLOGY RETAILER


6 43 5 2

he Stamford Public Education Foundation (SPEF) was founded in 1996 to provide educational programs to promote equitable access to quality public education in Stamford. This summer they celebrated—hosting their fifteenth annual Excellence in Education Awards, and its first in-person event since 2019. With broad views from the rooftop terrace above NatWest, presenting sponsor, the more than 250 guests enjoyed champagne, music by Project Music, a silent auction and culinary stations with wine from Domaine Bousquet and beer from Two Roads Brewing. Stamford High School’s Choral and Orchestral Director Erin Ring-Howell performed the National Anthem a capella. SPEF CEO Lindsay Wyman and Stamford High School senior Selma Fuseni served as MCs. Jonathan Ringel won Stamford Public School’s Teacher of the Year Award. Deloitte received the Community Giving Award. Jennifer Argenio from Rogers International School accepted the Educator Award. See more at



1 Stamford High Deanna Lasalla, Amanda Braatz, Katie Olson, Joanne Carde, Jonny Oritiz 2 Jennifer Argenio, Gabriella Argenio 3 SPEF Academic Support Coach Julie Armstrong, and Stamford High School student Bria Clark addressed the crowd 4 Mayor Caroline Simmons presented the Leadership Award for Senator Patricia Billie Miller 5 Karen Weinstein and Lindsay Wyman 6 Jonathan Ringel

Back to School

1 62

bilis’ third annual Golf Scramble was held this summer at the E. Gaynor Brennan Golf Course in Stamford. The nonprofit provides services and support for more than 800 individuals with special needs and their families in Fairfield County. The event— which included breakfast, a round of golf, a BBQ lunch and a raffle at Zody’s 19th Hole restaurant—does a lot of good. “Funds raised from this fun event will go toward supporting new initiatives at Abilis that will improve the quality of life for our Abilis community members throughout their lifespan,” noted Amy Montimurro, CEO and president. Founded in 1951, Abilis is a leader in serving the special-needs community in the area. The upcoming Dancing Stars of Greenwich, on September 17 at the Tamarack Country Club, will benefit Abilis. More at S

Fore Others

ABILIS / Golf Scramble



1 Avi Siwlal, Nick McKay, Nick Purdy and Paul Ciabatti 2 Pio Bruzzese with his daughter, Margaux, and his son, Vincent 3 John D’Elia, Christine Colasurdo, Katie Douglass and Tony Lupinacci 4 Hank Falcone, John Sandonetti, Darlene Dwyer and John Dwyer 5 Matt Karlin, Anthony Abdy, Roger Dean and Tom McKeon 6 Lunch at Zody’s 19th Hole at the E. Gaynor Brennan Golf Course, where the Abilis Golf Scramble was held


W 54

“Withyear.any investment goal or asset allocation, typically you’re getting more conservative as you’re getting closer to when you need the money. We’re in a time when bonds and stocks are getting clobbered; bonds are down doubledigits, and stocks are down. With anything in planning you want to have a mix of options, and money in different tax-treated buckets. Each one has its benefits.”


One way to wrangle the different buckets is in a custodial account, which is opened by an adult at a bank, brokerage, credit union, etc., for the benefit of a minor. Costa suggests an UTMA (Uniform Transfers to Minors Act). “That’s the most flexible. You have 100% control” over

hen it comes to paying for college, the days of set it and forget it are over. For years, the 529 college savings plan was the darling of parents and financial planners. Parents stashed cash away each month in a stock-heavy portfolio and watched their balance grow, grow, grow as the stock market soared.And then came COVID. And then, inflation. And suddenly, the tuition bill. In the meantime, many 529s didn’t grow, but shrunk, just when Muffy needed them most.


With 529 plans, there is little room for indecision—per IRS rules, account holders can change investment options only twice a


where to place the assets. The minor is technically the account holder, but needs permission from the custodian (in this case, the parent) to do anything with the money. “You can be a bit more tactical, rather than just being stuck,” Costa says. When college time comes, you spend the money where you see the need. That could also be a negative, however. In Connecticut, an UTMA is transferred to the child at age twenty-one. If Buddy would rather have a BMW than a bachelor’s degree, it’s his choice. The other piece of the puzzle is financial aid. “Assets in a 529 plan versus an UTMA versus a brokerage account, all get treated differently. Certain items get counted much higher,” Costa says. On the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), an UTMA is considered a child’s asset and can reduce financial aid by 20 percent of the account’s value. A 529 is a parent’s asset and can reduce aid by 5.6 percent. A 529 in a grandparent’s name wouldn’t count at all toward a family’s expected contribution.

In 2021 Fidelity took over management of the Connecticut Higher Education Trust (CHET), increasing the number and quality of investment options, Costa said.

“The Connecticut plan is really as competitive as any now. It’s a good place to have some money, but I don’t think it’s the place for all the money. It’s a piece of the pie, but I don’t think it should be the whole pie.”Nearly all CHET portfolios took a hit in 2022. The 2022 target date fund—among the more conservative of the equity



MAKE A PLAN Time your money moves

“I personally don’t love the options in a 529,” says Jeffrey Costa, CFP, a portfolio manager and financial planner for Scholtz & Company in Stamford, and a parent of two little ones. “They’re

money matters

Jeffrey Costa, CFP

pretty limiting.”

“People often default to their state plan because they get the tax deduction,” Costa said, “but what you might get in a one-time tax deduction, you might lose out in performance or mutual fund fees.”

offerings—lost more than 8 percent in the first half of this year. Some growth options plunged 20 percent or more—a staggering amount for a student already in college or about to start. Account holders didn’t know whether to stay the course or jump ship altogether.

A 529 plan enables people saving for college to invest after-tax money into a special account where it grows tax-free. When the money is withdrawn to pay for qualified college expenses, such as tuition, books and housing, there aren’t any taxes on the gains. Connecticut residents may deduct 529 contributions from state income taxes, up to $10,000 annually for a couple.

“It really depends on the overall picture, and understanding how that’s derived.”

most everything else in personal finance, where to put money for college depends on timeline, cash flow and diversification. Lately, Costa has had clients ask about Series I Savings Bonds. The reason: I bonds purchased through October pay 9.26 percent interest, an astounding amount compared to other relatively safe options. While I bonds can be a great addition to a portfolio, there are caveats worth considering. Purchases are limited to $10,000 per year, the bonds can’t be cashed until they are a year old, and if they’re cashed within five years of purchase, you forfeit the last three months of interest.



by scott thomas

Stamford welcomes new residents as they discover what locals have long loved about OUR CITY


top left: buildingsapartmentLuxuryhavesprungupinHarborPoint.

top right: Diners at Harbor Point bottom left: Mill River Park is home to outdoor concerts,Alive@5including

bottom right: One Stamford Forum, right off I-95



“I think some people coming to Stamford think it’s this little town that doesn’t have much to offer,’’ Kennedy says. “For someone coming from New York, they quickly find we have good pizza, corned beef sandwiches and twenty-four-hour diners. There is much to do here; the nightlife is unsurpassed. If they’re thinking they’re coming to a sleepy little New England town that is a bedroom community for New York City, they quickly find that’s not the case.”

ore than 74,000 people— less than half the population of New Haven— called Stamford home in 1950. The city’s population surged past the 100,000 mark for the first time in the 1970 census but still stood fifth among state cities.

In the past few years, however, the city’s population has increased dramatically. Stamford jumped into second among state cities in 2021, overtaking New Haven, Hartford and Waterbury. Bridgeport, with just over 145,00 residents, leads Stamford by about 10,000.


The influx of new residents cuts across differ ent ages, ethnicities, professions and any de mographic imaginable. Empty-nesters Brenda and Shaun McKenna downsized from their twenty-five-year home in New Canaan to a two-bedroom apartment on Morgan Street, in the heart of downtown. “It gave us a chance to live in a city and have everything within walk ing distance,’’ Shaun says. “It’s like we were able to reinvent ourselves.”

Ryan Salvatore and his wife, Mary, moved with their two children after living in New York City. A Stamford native, Salvatore moved away after college, and the couple worked as archi tects in New York. He spent about twenty years living outside of Stamford. Covid, however, forced his family’s hand. “We always knew it would happen,’’ Salvatore says. “Covid just ac celeratedKathrynit.”Tracy moved clear across the world. She lived in Zurich for more than three years before accepting a job in Wilton. A native of Pelham, she was “only vaguely” familiar with Stamford. “I was researching online on where I wanted to settle down,’’ she says. “It was geo graphically close to my job, and it seemed like a good location. I also figured I had good access, to New York City and my family, on the train line.”The newbies have discovered what Kennedy learned a long time ago. She raised four chil dren and became ingrained in the community through her employment, church, sports and long-time relationships. She retains friends from her kindergarten class at Stark Elemen tary and still works in the district at Newfield Elementary. From the outset, Kennedy felt wel come. Perhaps more than any other feature in the city, the community as a whole embraces all those who choose to call it home.

“It feels like a big city with a small-town feel,’’ Kennedy says. “It has always felt that way. Now there’s such great nightlife, schools, parks, sports, whatever you want. There is so much going on here.”



So why the surge? There are multiple reasons. The consensus, however, is that people are finding what long-time residents have known all along. Stamford is a welcoming, inclusive, vibrant community with nightlife, recreation, cultural outlets, some of the state’s best restaurants, professional opportunities and easy access to The Big Apple. Bartan Kennedy, for example, moved with her family from Milford more than seventy years ago. She never left.

The McKennas traded in their home for an apartment that includes a loft, two baths and awesome downtown views. “Owning a home is a huge expense,’’ Brenda says. “We’ve been able to reduce our expenses dramatically. We sold our house after our youngest child graduated from college. We fulfilled our deal, which was to educate the kids. They are both employed and pretty much on their own at this point. We asked them what they thought, and they said, 'Absolutely, this is your turn.' ”

the bigger, the better Stamford is the state’s largest city by area. It has a population of 135,470 in 52 square miles. That number includes 14.42 square miles of water. didknow?you

“When I first graduated from college, I want ed to work in New York City,’’ says Brenda, who was raised in Stamford before moving away. “I feel like I’ve been given that opportunity. When I lived here as a young girl, Stamford felt like it was a town. Now it's a real city. I’m back to be ing able to get what I wasn’t able to get earlier, and that’s city living.”

A reporter from the AdvocateStamford , dolananthony , won a Pulitzer Prize in 1978 for his reporting RonaldforspeechtoHethecorruptionmunicipalonincity.wentonbecomeawriterPresidentReagan.

Shaun also embraced the diverse cultures in Stamford. “We lived in a town where everybody looked like us,’’ he says. “In Stamford, you see what’s out there in terms of reality. It makes you a lot more aware than being in the bubble. You are aware of your surroundings. There are mul tiple ethnicities. It’s not everybody who looks likeTheme.”McKennas sold their New Canaan home in a “nanosecond” according to Brenda after it went on the market. With a thriving indepen dent business and established relationships with friends in the region, they needed to move quickly. “It’s a more contemporary style, which is kind of fun,’’ Brenda says. “It’s a bit of a cul tural change as well. It was an easy transition. We feel a little bit like we’ve been reborn.”




With both children out of college, the McKennas felt the time was right to leave the suburban lifestyle for a different experience. It’s unclear if the move is the last stop on the residential train, but the couple found out quickly that Stamford has a unique appeal.

His return to the city with his family was seamless. “It was the people that helped bring me back,’’ he says. “Stamford has a variety of in stitutions, but they are not cold institutions. For instance, if I go into Grade A market, I know I’ll see a lot of people. Many people who have made Stamford their home have these same affinities.”WifeMary’s embrace of the city helped the transition. A native of Massachusetts, she did not have the same experiences as her husband. It did not take her long to adjust to the Stamford vibe. “I think she has probably exceeded what my expectations were for her and her engage ment with the city,’’ Ryan says. “She has grown to enjoy what Stamford has to offer. We’ve met so many of our neighbors, she said there’s no way I could pull her out of Shippan now.”


Salvatore still loves New York City. He finds Stamford has many of the same benefits but without the added lifestyle stresses. “For the people who moved out of New York, Stamford has that cosmopolitan feel,’’ he says. “It’s not like going to a desert of opportunity. I don’t have any regrets for our family or us. It was a huge change in a positive direction.”

“The people at Curtain Call were really excit ed,’’ Tracy says. “They were giving me all kinds of advice and were enthusiastic about getting to know them. It was important for me. I’m sur rounded by scientists at work, but I needed to round that out. It’s important to have a commu nity and feel connected to something. I found that at Curtain Call.”

StageCenterTakingtheLeavingCity demographics

Like Brenda McKenna, Ryan Salvatore grew up in Stamford, left for college and stayed away. With strong family connections in the city, however, he never strayed too far. “The umbili cal cord only stretches so far,’’ Ryan says. “I was rooted here, so many of my friends and family still live here.”

Kathryn Tracy had no particular pull to Stam ford. She could have chosen Norwalk, Danbury or White Plains in Westchester County. Once she selected Stamford, she immediately found its “Iappeal.found there were a lot of restaurants that I really wanted to try,’’ she says. “I have heard from people that it’s similar to White Plains, but it doesn’t seem White Plains has as much to of fer as far as interesting individual restaurants. Stamford has more character. It has a lot more to do than Wilton, but it’s not too big of a city.”


Total 74,293population:

Lou Ursone, the long-time executive direc tor of Curtain Call, has seen an uptick in the number of people in their late 20s and early 30s

The U.S. Census onpopulationStamford's White 94.6% White 48.7% source: census/gov/quickfacts/stamfordcityconnecticut orHispanicLatino 27.1% Black 5.2% Black 13.9% thenandnow Asian 8.7%andAmericanNativeAlaska 0.4% HispanicWhiteHispanicorigin&notN/A BURKEGARVINBYGRAPHSCENSUS 60


Within a week of arriving, Tracy discovered part of what makes the city so distinctive. She previously served with theater organizations and has performed on and off throughout her life. “I performed with the theater organization in Zurich that I was part of, as well as during grad school in Colorado, in the UK when I studied abroad in undergrad, and during high school, middle school and earlier in Pelham,’’ Tracy said. “I’ve always enjoyed it.” She found Curtain Call and became a volunteer. She auditioned for a show and landed a role for a summer show and was adopted into the theater community

2021 UnitedCensusStates Total136,309population:

Stamford has changed markedly since Salva tore left. Besides the increased population, many amenities have been upgraded. “The Stamford Museum and Nature Center is unbelievable,’’ Salvatore says. “It’s an amazing resource for the community. Mill River Park, Cove Island, Cum mings and the beaches, in general, are wonder ful resources. I’m at a point in my life where I appreciate the resources that are here. It’s so dif ferent from when I was a kid. There is a strong community here that appreciates the resources we have and are committed to them.”

“I astoWhitePlains,heardhavefrompeoplethatit’ssimilartoWhitebutitdoesn’tseemPlainshasasmuchofferasfarinterestingindividualrestaurants.Stamfordhasmorecharacter.”





McKennaShaun Empty-nesterfromNewCanaan


“It feels like a big city with a smalltown feel. It has always felt that way. Now parks,suchthere’sgreatnightlife,schools,sports,whateveryouwant.Thereissomuchgoingonhere.”


Lou Ursone CurtaindirectorExecutiveofCall

we love stamford

“I’m at a point in my life where theappreciateIresourcesthatarehere.It’ssodifferentfromwhenIwasakid.”

FelensteinTammy forSalesGrowthStrategicandManagerWilliamRaveisRealEstate

Ryan Salvatore Moved back from New York City to live Stamfordin

What residents, new and old, have to say about the city the record

1 2 3 4 5 6


“We really do have this little pocket that momentpeoplemakesfeelwelcomefromthetheygethere.”



Part of the reason for Stamford’s appeal is the new acceptance of remote work. Employees who formerly were required to work in New At Home


The branch moved to the Bloomingdale’sformerstore in downtown Stamford.

The University of Connecticut opened a Stamford branch in a high school for returning veterans. It moved to a thirtyseven-acre location on Scofieldtown Road in North Stamford.

York City are now doing so from home offices.

“I think it has been a confluence of events,’’ Bartan says of Stamford’s population rise. “I think people coming from New York City are pleasantly surprised. Culturally, I think we’re on par with New York. I don’t think anyone who moves here can be disappointed. It's a vi brant, exciting place to live.”

above: The old Bloomingdale's location, where UConn Stamford now stands : UConn at Washington Blvd. and Broad St., in downton Stamford


She also believes millennials are now fully committed to real estate purchasing, and many people are finding real estate as a safe haven for their financial portfolios. “With prices and in terest rates on the rise, Stamford, in particular, represents a better value than our surrounding towns,’’ she says.

looking to get involved in community theater. “We have lots of people who have been with us for years,’’ he says. “But we’re seeing a lot of new people looking to get involved. We put Kathryn right to  Curtainwork.”Call, Stamford’s longest-running and only non-profit producing theater compa ny, has seen its share of hardships in the wake of the pandemic. Volunteers, such as Tracy, have helped the theater navigate the difficult finan cial Yetconsequences. itishardly surprising for Ursone, a “Stamford lifer” who experiences on a daily basis how the city is willing to welcome new residents. “I live in this neighborhood where we see people coming and going all the time,’’ he says. “We have neighborhood block parties and we’re all there. You see someone come in with a moving truck, and the next day you’ll invite them over for a cookout. It’s crazy. We really do have this little pocket that makes people feel welcome from the moment they get here.”

“It’s very clear that the remote or hybrid schedule is our new normal,’’ notes Tammy Fel enstein, Strategic Growth and Sales Manager for William Raveis Real Estate. “The focus on the home is more important than ever.”

branchinguconn out

Real estate investing figures in the surge in Stamford’s popularity, but the primary draw is the city itself. Whatever a person wants, they can find it in Stamford. All of the communities have their idiosyncrasies, but each is welcom ing of new residents. Whether it’s Glenbrook, Belltown, Shippan, Springdale, North Stam ford, Harbor Point, the West Side, the South End, The Cove, Newfield or Midtown, there is something for everyone packed within the city’s fifty-two square miles.

Different locations around Stamford


A. FBI Director and Mayor of Stamford

C. Jackie Robinson Tom Seaver Which of these businesses does not have any association with Stamford, past or present?

3 // Which sports legend once called Stamford his hometown?

A. Waldenbooks B. Pitney Bowes

B. Belltown D. The Hollow

2 // J. Walter Kennedy was born and raised in Stamford. He held two prominent positions. They were:

1 Which neighborhood is not a section of Stamford?


D. Notre Dame President and Stamford Financial Director

B. Calvin Murphy

andmore!many gilda christopherdelanywildergeneradner&chrisnothdanalloyd ABOUNDSTARS didknow?you test your knowledge Answers:1.


A. Springdale C. Shippan

A. Ivan Lendl

Stamford has been home to a few people,famousincludingactors… D,2.B,3.C,4.C,5.A

C. North Stamford D. Springdale

B. NBA Commissioner and Mayor of Stamford

C. CBS President and City Planning Director


C. Garmin D. Clairol

A. Shippan B. Downtown


5 The Rusty Scupper, a former landmark restaurant, was located in?




by diane sembrot


LOCAL TEENS who spot opportunities, discover their own talents and make the most of every single day

eens in our area have plenty of opportunities to learn a wide variety of subjects. Some not only do that, and do that to an exceptional level, but also take on additional responsibilities—athletics, performing arts, volunteering and more. How they squeeze so much out of a day, week after week, month after month, year after year, is a mystery. They simply do more. Read on to meet a few local teens who are blazing a path forward while scooping up knowledge and experience and putting it to good use. What lies ahead is as bright as it is uplifting.

I have always been curious about how life works. When I was younger, I would ask basic questions about biological processes, trying to understand how we function and how we evolved. In ninth grade, I embarked on my PLTW Biomedical Science journey at my school, a four-year program that has allowed me to explore numerous aspects of the health sciences and biology.

My personality: innovative!inquisitive,Conscientious,

Want to meet: Taylor Swift


I am currently in the midst of the college-application process. I would like to study public health in college, so I anticipate getting involved with research and my community. The biomedical sciences program in my school has had a major influence on my interests, as well as my other science classes—particularly A.P. environmental science. We often conduct labs and activities, which have exposed me to complex and important topics. I've learned that science is a fascinating and practical field, which has fueled my desire to pursue it. I am not certain of what my specific career will be in the future. However, I know that I am passionate about health and environmental sciences and I will incorporate those interests into my career.

When did you know you liked biology?

How did Covid impact your high school experience?

Academy of Information Technology and Engineering (AITE)

A recent success that stands out to you?

Dream destination: Cloud Forest, Costa Rica. Dream come true! Currently just studied abroad in a Women in STEM program.


I enjoy that my high school places an emphasis on STEM studies, since these fields are extremely interesting to me. In addition, students at my school are typically motivated and passionate; it is enriching and empowering to have this learning environment. My school building and facilities are something that cannot be taken for granted as well. My favorite room is the media center because it is a relaxing place to get work done.

Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), which my cousin is battling. My partner, Ava Lesser, and I started Team EntrepreCURErs as part of the Students of the Year fundraising campaign. We heard of the opportunity through our school guidance office, and, immediately, we knew that this was an outstanding way to make a difference in our community and beyond. We also knew that it would take hours upon hours of hard work and dedication to be successful. We spent our weekends planning for the campaign, assembling a team of over forty people to support us and reaching out to local businesses for sponsorships and charity events. When the seven-week campaign started in January, we were ready to go. We wrote letters and e-mails, sold raffle tickets, advertised our events and raised awareness by posting flyers throughout the community and utilizing social media. By the last day in early March, we had reached our goal—a remarkably rewarding and meaningful accomplishment.

My motto: Progress perfection.over 2022 (so far) in five words or less: enjoyable,alarming,Exhilarating,amusing,fulfilling

What do you like about AITE?

She’s in her final year of high school, which means she’ll be submitting her applications to colleges soon—and what a story she’ll be able to tell them. She has earned Honors with Distinction throughout high school; is a member of the National Honor Society and vice president of the Science National Honor Society; and is an A.P. Scholar with Distinction. Also, she finds time to compete in varsity tennis, earned All-FCIAC Honorable Mention and the Spring Scholar Athlete Award in 2022, and will be captain in 2023. That’s just the start. She also volunteers at LiveGirl, studied abroad in Costa Rica, serves as copresident of AITE’s Operation Smile Club, volunteers at the Friendship Circle, served as a teacher’s assistant with Temple Sinai’s religious school and participated in SoundWaters Summer Research Intensive. For all she does, she does it well. 66

Do you have a favorite subject?

Covid drastically changed my high school experience. Adjusting to a new school environment was difficult enough for me but having a worldwide pandemic in the midst of that was extremely challenging. For months, I lost touch with my classmates and friends. My extracurriculars were limited, and I was forced to find alternative ways to keep busy. I took long walks daily, played the piano and delved into numerous books. It didn’t feel like the high school experience I was expecting, but I was managing. Academically, I once considered distance learning to leave a gap in my skills and education. However, coming out of the experience, I learned that I was still able to gain invaluable time-management and independent-work skills. I joined new virtual opportunities, allowing me to meet teens from all over the country and the world. I picked up new study habits, utilizing online resources.

Any thoughts about college yet?

Science, specifically biology, has always been my favorite subject. I am fascinated in how organisms function, and how all biological processes are interconnected. There is so much to learn in biology, from studying it on a molecular and cellular level, to observing an entire population or ecosystem at large. I am especially interested in studying human health and behavior from a biological standpoint. Biology not only explains basic life processes, but also our habits and instincts. The biological perspective can be extremely insightful when applied to societal questions.

I co-led a fundraising team for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society that raised over $54,000 dedicated to research for

Who motivates you?

Andrea works toward her ambitious goals relentlessly, but with the spirit of an old soul and kind heart. Since the beginning of high school, she visited the Pound Ridge Town Senior Living Center to help residents; volunteered at the Stamford Inner City Food Pantry; and volunteered at Girls Peer Mentoring/Tutoring and at Encode Justice (which fights discrimination/false convictions using AI). Plus, she played four years on her school’s varsity squash team.

So, you’re headed to Johns Hopkins?

I would love to pursue a career in computer science. In the modern world, computers have become extremely powerful and important. I have seen that computers can do a wide range of tasks, from computational biology to population modeling. I think that it is a really diverse and large career field, providing a lot of opportunities to explore.


efore graduating from Rye Country Day last spring, Stamford’s Andrea Chang earned top grades (4.68 GPA) in the school’s most rigorous courses and completed a two-month internship at National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Andrea’s extraordinary academic work led to her becoming a candidate in the 2022 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program and AP Scholar with Distinction as well as earning a bronze medal in Le Grand Concours, a national French contest. She was in the Math Club (all four years) and the Asian-American Club (all four years). As one of 400 students from the tristate metropolitan area, she was selected to participate in the Columbia University Science Honors Program, in which she took courses in algorithms, quantum physics and more every Saturday. Further, she was chosen for Algorithmic and Combinatorial Thinking, a college-level program at Princeton. She also completed the Computational Linguistics Summer Program at Stony Brook University’s Institute of Advanced Computational Science.

I loved all my teachers throughout my high school years— they were all very thoughtful, understanding and great at fostering my intellectual curiosity. My high school taught me to be organized and diligent in my work, making me the person I am today. One of my proudest accomplishments is honestly just getting through high school. It was difficult with the pandemic, but, with hard work and discipline, I managed to get through it, and I’m really proud of that!

Who helped you appreciate math?

Both of my parents work in fields related to mathematics— my mom works in computer science and my dad works in finance. This showed me how math can be used in so many ways and manifest into different career fields.


Andrea Chang’s signature in life is to do more, more, more. She’s eyeing a future in applied science research in computational science, nanotechnology or bioengineering, but, first, fall at Johns Hopkins University.

Advice to freshmen: Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and discover what you are passionate about.

Succeeding in high school: Stay on top of important dates and be careful not to fall behind.

Any thoughts on your future career?

Rye Country Day School to Johns Hopkins University


One of my favorite teachers, my tenth-grade chemistry teacher, brought out my curiosity and allowed me to explore concepts I was really fascinated by. I got to do a final research project on how a battery functions. It was the first time I got to do in-depth research about something I was passionate about and that got me interested in pursuing science research in my later high school years.

I’ve always been motivated by my mom—she inspired me to become a woman in the STEM field. She has always been very responsible and hard-working, and I like to think that I learned some of these qualities from her.

Do you have a favorite subject?

I’ve always loved math class the most. I feel like it provides a solid foundation for all the other subjects I enjoy exploring, such as computer science, statistics and physics. I like problem solving and looking for creative solutions. I also love how straightforward math tends to be. It’s a lot easier to check my work and make sure I’m being thorough with my approach.

What did you like about your high school?

A favorite teacher?

Superpower pick: Invisibility!

Favorite club: I really enjoyed being a part of my school’s Asian American club. Having identitieswithsolidaritybackgrounds.whotosometimesparents,immigrantitisdifficultrelatetothosehavedifferentIfoundinthisclubthoseofsimilartome.

I will be attending Johns Hopkins University in the fall—it was my early decision choice! I’m really excited to attend, as it is a STEM-focused school with many students with similar interests to me. Visiting the campus this summer, I felt like I could see myself there and I felt like I belonged. I hope my college experience will foster my personal growth, both academically and socially. I would love to develop my interest in computer science and mathematics as well as make meaningful connections with my peers!

One thing I want to do better: Become a better artist.

of the idea of living abroad as well. In addition to this, I am very interested in the economic policies nations employ to facilitate their development, and as such I would like to work in fields in which I engage with such topics frequently—even implement development strategies. 68

What do you like about King School?

My personality: I enjoy joking around with my friends and family.

Advice to freshmen: Do not be intimidated by the amount of work you may have to do. As you enter and progress through high school, your teacher and assignments will prepare you.

One of my main sources of motivation is my wish to one day run for political office. Given the requirements of such a role, it has not only encouraged me to press on with my academic work, but also contributed to my interest in learning about different languages, cultures and countries. As such, I have been improving my leadership abilities and exploring my interests through coleading the Japanese Exchange Club and taking active roles within the Model United Nations Club.

I really enjoyed A.P. Comparative Government and Politics Class, given its study of nations throughout the world and their respective history and political and economic systems. I remember being very excited when I heard about what we would be going over in the fourth unit of the class, in which we would learning about different theories of economic development such as Modernization Theory and Dependency Theory. I have been interested in the various ways through which nations develop their economies, and learning about such concepts in class fostered my interest in the material even more.

So an international career eventually?

I am interested in a number of universities—such as Notre Dame, Emory and UPenn. However, as of now, my number one choice for college is Georgetown University in Washington D.C., mainly due to the expansive amount of courses and opportunities which are available in the study of international economics—my primary area of interest. Aside from majoring in international economics, I would like to take advantage of the extensive resources many universities present regarding international study. For instance, I have a lot of interest in pursuing study abroad programs— particularly in China, Japan or Ghana—alongside studying Mandarin Chinese and Japanese as well.

I would like to work for a multinational organization that specializes in financial and/or economic operations, such as the World Bank or the IMF, as well as potentially getting involved in politics. I enjoy traveling a lot and am very fond

What motivates you?

One thing I like is how supportive and kind everyone is. Teachers are very available in regard to getting assistance for assignments, and the student body is incredibly friendly, with everyone helping you in your aspirations and efforts. In addition, the school offers an immense number of opportunities to pursue one’s interests—such as an extensive Global Studies Distinction Program, in which you are encouraged to take classes (such as global studies and foreign languages courses) and even are able to go on a trip abroad to attend a Global Leadership Summit.

Would like to meet: Lee Kuan Yew, the first president of Singapore Dream destination: Hokkaido, Japan


What is one of your proudest accomplishments?

Do you have a favorite subject now?

Recently, I was selected to serve as the cochair of the Model United Nations Club at my school. I was incredibly pleased to be chosen to be in such a position. I credit my interest in global affairs and subsequent engagement—which resulted from such enjoyment during simulations—and an overall desire to perform well during conferences.


ii Adom Laryea-Adjei is globally minded. Since the ninth grade, he has been an active member of the King School Model United Nations Club, attending conferences hosted by other schools. This year he accepted an award for his representation of Norway in the Security Council at the Brown University Conference. He is coleader of the Japanese Exchange Club, which provides intercultural enrichment with its sister school in Fukuoka, Japan. Plus, he studies Spanish at school and has started to learn Mandarin and Japanese in independent study. Moreover, he aspires to learn Twi and Ga, which are native languages of Ghana.

Adom also helps children learn English. Until recently, he volunteered at the Boys & Girls Club to help children with their homework, and tutored English at the Building One Community Center. This past summer, he also taught a class on International Studies at a school in Kathmandu, Nepal.Given all of this, it’s little wonder that in college he hopes to major in international economics and study foreign languages, and then work abroad, potentially for a multinational organization. With his high honors at King School, the world should be opening its arms to him.

Do you have a top college pick?

His parents are from Ghana, so for his capstone project, he has begun collaborating with the Model United Nations Club at King to build a partnership with the United Nations Student Association at Mfantsipim Secondary School in Cape Coast, Ghana. He has even lived in South Africa.

To add on to that, the Brunswick environment has a healthy competitiveness for each student who is willing to embrace it. When everyone around you excels at academics, athletics, arts, etc., it only pushes you to do better for yourself. Finally, as for relationships and connections after high school, Brunswick makes sure to keep all of their boys together for years after they’ve walked across the stage by hosting alumni events and keeping the alumni in the loop with everything that goes on in the community. This school may have one of the best alumni networks in the world, which adds on to what makes this school so successful.

What did your teachers bring out in you?

My favorite subject is definitely math. The reason that I enjoy math so much is that there are always new things to learn in the subject, so it is not as repetitive as some other subjects may seem. Also, I think that your teacher plays a big part in that. My teacher this year was phenomenal with his teaching methods and made topics very clear and easy to understand. Math has always been my favorite subject because since a young age I always seemed to pick up the concepts easily.


Who motivates you to work so hard?

One of my most recent successes that I am very proud of was maintaining an A average throughout the year. The reason I think of this as such a big accomplishment is because it is not easy to have three huge varsity sports commitments, plus outside-of-school extracurriculars, including more sports teams, while still keeping up with the challenging workload. Anyone at Brunswick will tell you that the work is not easy, so this is something that made me feel accomplished.

If you attend Brunswick before high school, this is where the tight bonds between each and every boy begins, and where your brothers are found. As you move up the system, and get to high school with the Greenwich Academy girls, nothing changes because you are all part of one big family.

Which recent success stands out for you?

Advice to freshmen: Don’t be afraid to use older resources for help, they have all been through what you are about to go through, and that can only lead to your own success.

Superpower pick: doing.timewouldonfromaboutneverbecauseTeleportationIwouldhavetoworryleavingearlysomethingtobetimeforanother.IalsohavemorewithwhatI’m

MALIK SAMMS Brunswick School

Some of my favorite teachers, coaches and mentors left me with a similar way to attack life and that is by working hard and remaining humble. Without hard work, you will not reach anywhere in life. I put my best effort in anything that I do in order to make the most of my time and to take advantage of the opportunities given to me with humility.

There’s more, of course. Malik even finds time to play the sax and drums as well as volunteer his time with Big Brothers at the Lower School and at Waterside School in Stamford.“He’sreally well respected at a school that has a lot of high-achieving kids,” noted Robert Taylor, his adviser at Brunswick. “He’s up there with the best of them. He’s the real deal. Great character and work ethic. He’s also really humble. Ask him, and he’ll tell you. But he won’t boast.” He won’t boast, despite having every reason to? That just makes him even more admirable.

Succeeding in high school: Work hard day in and day out and make the most of your opportunities.

You're good at a lot of subjects. Is one your favorite?

All this and he still manages to be a tri-varsity athlete. He competes in soccer, basketball and track—and he’s captain of the soccer and basketball teams. He was awarded Honorable Mention status on the 2021 WNEPSSA team and was invited to play in the 2021 College Showcase.

Honestly, the thing I like most about Brunswick is the brotherhood. Although some on the outside may criticize the system, and talk about being all boys up until high school, and may throw stereotypes out about the school, the school is nothing short of exceptional. The togetherness, and the camaraderie of the students with one another, as well as with every one of the faculty members and staff, is what makes this school special.

enior year at Greenwich’s Brunswick School, and it’s going to be great for Stamford’s Malik Samms. He gets top grades despite a heavy workload. His courses last year included A.P. Environmental Science, Accelerated Precalculus, English XI, Honors Music Improv, Spanish IV Honors, Sports Psychology and Racial Struggle on Film.


I would definitely say that my parents are my biggest motivation. Just seeing how hard they work to give me a better opportunity in life that they did not have themselves coming from a different, and less wealthy, country is all the motivation I need. At the end of the day, I want to make them proud.

What do you like about Brunswick?

One of my most recent successes, and one of the things in my life that I am truly most proud of, is certainly a fundraising campaign I did a few months ago with a close friend of mine. In it, I gathered roughly forty family members and friends, guided them in creating virtual fundraising pages, and over the course of seven weeks guided them while also hosting events and engaging my community to raise funds. The events ranged from an ongoing raffle we sold tickets for—for the duration of the campaign, with all of the prizes being donated by local shops, stores and restaurants—to a virtual Zumba class to a day of fundraising within my school. All of the money made went directly into charity through the annual program that the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society runs called Students of the Year. All of the hard work really paid off and my team ended up raising upwards of $54,000. We were one of eight, of eighteen total, teams to break the $50,000 mark, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had the privilege of not only partaking in, but leading—and I was still able to have tremendous amounts of fun amidst the hustle.

Looking at all of your recent successes, which one comes to mind and what did you have to do to reach your goal?

Academy of Information Technology and Engineering (AITE)


I have been very fortunate to have many accomplishments I am proud of in my life. I have been a captain of my soccer and tennis teams, achieved academic honors and did the fundraising campaign I mentioned, but I think the thing I am most proud of happened very recently. I received the Yale Book Award at my school. It means I am one of the top students at my school and it made me feel that all of my years of hard work at school were being acknowledged. It was a culmination of my efforts with the help of my teachers, the collaboration with my classmates, all of the mentors I have ever had, and, most importantly, the support of my family. I would not have been able to do it without everyone who has helped me along the way. 70

I love my high school. One of my favorite things it has is a partnership with Project Lead the Way, a nonprofit that allows us to have an engineering and biomedical path of study. I have been taking the biomedical course, which has allowed me to experience college-level courses. I have also had the honor to take an engineering class this year about aerospace engineering, something I have had an amazing time taking. I love that, despite its size, there are amazing opportunities for all of us. It has been a great experience for me.

Any thoughts about college yet?

I am unsure exactly where I will be going or what I will be going to college for, but my plan is certainly to go to college. Nearly everyone that I have spoken to about college has told me that it was one of the greatest experiences of their life, and I am incredibly excited to go somewhere where I can find myself at the same time as meeting people and discovering things that lead me into the next stage of my life. I am incredibly excited for whatever is to come.

Ava is also cofounder, with Nora Amsellem, of Team EntrepreCURErs, a fundraising team for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Students of the Year campaign. It takes months of preparation, working with a multigenerational team of forty people, to support multiple fundraisers. They raised more than $54,000. Because of the success, they won a research grant and were recognized as one of the top eight teams in the Fairfield/Westchester County area. They did all this even during Covid restrictions, and their virtual fundraising model was presented to the organization’s national team to be considered for nationwide fundraising efforts.Further, as a member of LiveGirl—a women’s empowerment group focused on creating leaders—Ava volunteered as a summer counselor for Camp LiveGirl and participated in its initiatives the rest of the year. Ava is also a Girl Scout and always ready to help others.

Tip for succeeding in high school: Manage your time. It's much worse having to catch up on work than just suffering through it.

What else comes to mind about your success?

A senior in high school this year, she'll be finishing off a successful four years and ready for what comes next.

pick:Superpower telekinesis.Absolutely,


What about your high school stands out to you?

As throughout all of high school sounds impressive—because it is. Ava Lesser, a senior at AITE in Stamford, does a lot of things at the top level. She won the Yale Book Award (a recognition for outstanding academic achievement and only for the top 10 percent of the junior class), and she is captain of the high school varsity tennis team and the travel soccer team. Further, she is a member of PLTW Medical Science Program and recently produced a showcase for the school’s NEASC (New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Inc.) panel, for which she presented on Newborn Genetic Screening.

↗ ↗ 203-863-5610 ↗ ↗401 Old Church Road (Grades N-8) ↗257 Stanwich Road (Grades 9-12) Greenwich CT 06830 @gcdstigers DISCOVER GreenwichDayCountrySchool Preparing young people to learn, lead, and thrive in a world of rapid change. GCDS is the only co-ed, collegeNurseryindependent–Grade12preparatorydayschoolinGreenwich,CTgraduatingethical,confidentlearnersandleaderswithastrongsenseofpurpose—readytoembraceopportunitiesandchallengesinaworldofrapidchange.


What do you like about your high school?

Greenwich Academy to Harvard College

Fun fact about me: My interest in young adult romantic comedies began when I read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice freshman year.

a project that I had given myself five months to do into weeks of intense work. My mentors at the Krause Lab at the Yale School of Medicine and Dr. Ortiz, my mentor at school, were invaluable for their encouragement and hours of work editing and guiding me during the process. This one month was stressful and definitely overwhelming when I look back, but when I scrolled through the paper before I submitted it to the science fair, I was reminded of the hours of work my mentors and I had infused into the pages. First, I was glad that I didn’t have to do it all over again; and, second, I was proud of myself for working through multiple roadblocks without giving up, even when the task seemed impossible. Redirection can really mean growth, as redirecting my project to answer a different research question still created a project that was meaningful and interesting.

Of your many accomplishments, which one stands out? My proudest accomplishment is completing my research independent study this past fall, which I then submitted to the Regeneron Science Talent Search—a national science fair for high school seniors. I’m proud of the work and paper that I produced, but I’m most proud of the work I put in over the fall to create the final product. Because of some delays with the generation of the data for my project and changing the direction of the project soon before it was due, I condensed

How did Covid impact your high school experience?

Drink a cup of lavender tea and take a deep breath. 72

My robotics teacher since third grade, Mr. Rendell, has been a driving force behind my passion and love for competition robotics since the beginning. My sophomore and senior years, my high school robotics team ran a weekly afterschool program for third and fourth grade girls at Greenwich Academy. Mr. Rendell, who used to run the program and passed it along to us, encouraged us to take on the project and supported us while we began teaching the girls who were in the spots we were in nine years earlier. I saw how his passion for teaching robotics and helping the kids work through problems with their robots without providing direct answers could and should translate to my interactions with the kids in our program. Watching him appreciate the intellectual spark that robotics could produce in the kids fostered my own appreciation for the look of excitement on the kids’ faces when their robot’s small rubber wheels buzzed and spun in slow circles and the robot creaked across the stone floor.

I love the supportive academic environment at Greenwich Academy, which is in part because of the students, but mainly credited to the teachers. I’ve encountered so many genuinely motivated and excited teachers whose enthusiasm for their subjects is infectious. My math teacher for the past two years in Calculus BC and Multivariable Calculus, Mrs. Cozza, always walks into the classroom excited to teach us math and pass along her passion for the subject and the beauty of mathematics. On a less serious note, I love the couches in the Senior Room that I can nap on during my free periods.

Dealing pressure:with

What did your favorite teacher bring out in you?

ast spring, Sachi Laumas graduated as valedictorian of Greenwich Academy. She put in the work for this impressive distinction. Consider, for example, that in the summer before her senior year, she worked in Professor Diane Krause’s lab at the Yale Stem Cell Center at the Yale School of Medicine. The Krause Lab studies how stem cells in bone marrow mature into either red blood cells or platelets; Sachi’s research focused on the role of a specific protein that determines which type. That work earned her recognition as one of 300 Regeneron STS Scholars as part of the Regeneron Science Talent Search (the nation’s oldest science competition for high school seniors). She’s incredibly talented. Additionally, Sachi was also on the Robotics team all four years (including head of programming for three of them); served as editor-in-chief and website editor of Daedalus all four years; was in the Fairfield County Math League all four years and captain for her last two years; and somehow she even did Taekwondo for thirteen years, volunteered by leading workshops on robotics at the library and engineered a sensory-training jacket for the famous deaf and blind dog Piglet; and was a member of the Science Olympiad Team—among other things. In short, she’s got it all figured it out. Literally. She has a trajectory for the brightest future possible.


Favorite local place: The movie theater on Summer Street. Watching new movies and discussing them on the drive home is one of my favorite ways to spend time with my family.

I found myself reading more than ever before, and though the number of books I read per week waned when I went back to school, I still kept up the habit of reading a book or two a week. I mainly read fiction and romantic comedies, but recently I’ve started reading more memoirs. My current favorite authors include Brit Bennett and Emily Henry, and one of my recent favorites is Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus.

If I could do one thing better: Watching TV shows in order.


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life.” -Jill

to ‘hide.’ Over

is a St.

The Blomberg family: Jeffrey, Sophie ‘22, Jill, and Zachary Luke’s, Sophie was academically challenged. The small classes and individual attention from teachers helped push her outside her comfort zone made it hard time, she gained confidence in herself her ability to navigate through Blomberg, of Sophie Sophie Luke’s Hamilton College.

STEM Scholar and attends

“At St.


Any thoughts on your future career?

This year, my proudest accomplishment is writing an eighty-page script for a movie. Even though this is more of a personal accomplishment, it means a lot to me because it is a piece of original writing that I actually completed. I always have ideas for new stories that pop in and out of my head. Every once in a while, I get a burst of inspiration, but I usually only get a few pages in before I inevitably stop. With this script, I set myself the challenge of actually completing an entire work before graduating high school, and even though my script is very, very far from being a good film yet, I am extremely proud that I accomplished a major goal relating to one of my creative passions.

Even though I don’t plan on being a math major, my favorite class I took at Stamford High was calculus. I liked that the class was a challenge (made extra-difficult by the fact that I spent half the class learning online). I pushed myself to understand the concepts and once I did, I enjoyed the class and learning new ways to apply math that I hadn’t thought possible before.

During my senior year of high school, I became the president of the National English Honors Society chapter at Stamford High. This club was formed during the pandemic, so when I became president, there was no outline for how the club was supposed to run. Without any preset plans, my vice president and I were able to create club activities from scratch. We organized a virtual reading program in the fall where NEHS members read to kindergarten classes at Stamford elementary schools. This spring, we created a schoolwide writing contest where students from all grades responded to college supplement style prompts to win various prizes. In order to bring my ideas to life, I had to come up with

Other big accomplishments that come to mind?

Looking forward, why did you pick Emory?

extracurricular:Favorite Soccer, because I made my best friends through the team and I love the game.

Sit down a moment. Take this in. Madeline Shapiro has an unweighted 4.0 GPA; weighted, she has a 4.915 GPA. The Stamford High School student was president of the Knight Writers Creative Writing Club and her school’s National English Honors Society and is a National Merit Scholarship Finalist. Plus, she has played varsity soccer for three years and is a features editor of the school newspaper, SHS Round Table. She packs each day full. In fact, her motto, she says, is, “Be a little bit better than the person you were yesterday.” And with that thought in mind, she has accomplished a lot in her high school years. You just wouldn’t know it to look at her relaxed demeanor.

One of the main reasons I was initially interested in Emory was because of the strong creative writing program. Emory offers a major in English and creative writing which would allow me to concentrate on writing and literature at the same time. I was also drawn to the liberal arts focus at Emory because I am genuinely interested in a variety of topics, such as history, environmental science, language and more. By the time I graduate, I want to be a more knowledgeable and independent person. I want to have unique learning experiences, including studying abroad, whether it be living in a francophone country to continue my French studies or studying literature in England.


I truly treasured the strong community feeling developed at the school. I think both sports and clubs develop communities. Especially when Stamford High has over 2,000 students, these communities helped me get to know people better and feel part of something bigger at the school.


Stamford High School to Emory University

As of today, I tell people that I want to be a writer, whether that be an author, screenwriter or a writer in some other form. I think my passion for writing comes from my passion for reading. When I was younger, I was especially fascinated when an author had the ability to move me to tears with their words and the stories they created. Reading from an early age kicked off my imagination and has inspired me to one day create a story profound enough to make people think and touch their emotions.

Advice to freshmen: Talk to the people sitting next to you in class the first few days, they may turn out to be your best friends.

What do you like about your high school?

What defines your generation?

Tell me more about the Honors Society.

organized plans and communicate them to my peers in NEHS. It was very satisfying to see ideas transform into reality because of our hard work. I pushed myself to grow as a leader in order to achieve success, and now I hope I have left a blueprint of the club for future classes to follow.

Most people will be quick to define my generation by our technology and social media use, but I think more importantly we should be defined by our flexibility. We had to be flexible through an unprecedented global pandemic and adapt to online school. From my observation, I would also say that we are flexible when it comes to accepting people for who they are and wanting to get to know people despite our differences

Do you have a favorite subject?

Dream destination: Women’s or men’s World Cup match.

Favorite local place: CFCF Coffee, especially the chai lattes. 74

We always know where

We challenge and support them to achieve their personal best and take charge of their learning. Come see for yourself.


are academically and

At Whitby, we know your child. they socially.

Fall Admissions

Events Early Childhood Exploration October 6 @ 9:30 AM All School Open House October 23 @ 1:00 PM All School Open House November 16 @ 9:30 AM International Baccalaureate Lower School Grades 1-4 Middle School Grades 5-8 Co-ed Independent School | Greenwich,

coursework as he plans to pursue a career in finance in the venture capital field.

I think my proudest accomplishment is my GPA, because it is a reflection of the hard work I put into my classes. Having a daily routine really helped with getting my work done. This school year, I wouldn’t get home until 9 p.m. some days, but with planning, I was able to complete my work during my free periods, at night or on the bus to and from school. I also received a Department Distinction award for math. This award is given to students who perform well in their math class. My year taking Calculus BC had ups and downs, so I had to focus on staying motivated to improve in order to win the award.

My top choice for college would be the University of Pennsylvania. I recently toured the campus, and it was beautiful. I loved how the campus is in an urban environment in West Philadelphia. I want to pursue a career in finance, and the school provides a great finance program with Wharton.

I really like the flexibility that my school offers. Most students have a free period where they can get work done or take it easy and relax. Personally, I use that time to get some of my homework done. I believe that free periods teach students how to be responsible with their time, and the school’s flexibility has made me more independent and focused.

My motto: Be optimal.

Dream destination: Tokyo, Japan


Superpower pick: Telekinesis

In the Senior Scholars program, a prestigious, year-long, self-study with coursework and seminars that culminate in a public presentation in the spring, he will pursue rigorous

My favorite subject is definitely math because there is usually a correct answer with many ways of getting such answer. So as long as I got the question right, I am happy. As a weird fifth grader, I liked multiplying large numbers on small erasable whiteboards. I did this out of boredom, but the satisfaction of getting an answer right was always great. From then on, I’ve always enjoyed the subject.

My father motivates me. Seeing what he has been able to accomplish through hard work in this country makes me think about self-improvement. I find myself trying to improve in all aspects of life. But specifically in school, I focus on improving as a student inside and outside the classroom. Thinking about what my future could be if I work hard motivates me.

Do you have a favorite subject? 76

My chemistry teacher showed me what it feels like to fail. It was by far the hardest course I have taken, so he would create very difficult quizzes. However, I really appreciated the fact that I did poorly on some. It brought out some motivation to focus and try different strategies when studying. Also, the difficulty of the course taught me how to think. As cliché as that might sound, I found myself focusing every minute in that class, otherwise I would be completely lost.

What is your proudest accomplishment?

How did a favorite teacher help you?

tamford’s Sebastian Ortiz is entering his senior year at St. Luke’s School in New Canaan as an A student with numerous honors courses and English and Spanish awards. He is also a standout soccer player who has been an active player on multiple soccer teams: goalie on the Stamford FC (Futbol Club), Beachside Soccer Club, Stamford Chelsea Piers Winter Teams (four years), JA Elite Soccer (six years), and St. Luke’s JV and varsity teams.

Who keeps you going?

Top pick for college?


Lifting is my isprogressandwaybecauseextracurricularfavoriteitisagreattorelievestress,seeingyourovertimeverysatisfying.

“Sebastian has been committed to the St Luke’s soccer program since his arrival at the school and has shown great commitment.,” noted his St. Luke’s varsity coach. “His technical skill set makes him one of the strongest goalkeepers I’ve worked with here—and he’s also a well-liked member of the squad.” He’s known for his phenomenal work ethic.

Sebastian is also focusing on social justice, having founded St. Luke’s Hispanic/Latinx Affinity and Allies Group (HLAAG). He is the group’s president. He is also a facilitator for Community Goals for Learning (CGL), which explores hot-button issues, such as racism and politics. He also helped facilitate his school’s spring 2022 Equity Leadership Conference and the Social Justice Leadership Summit and attended the national Student Diversity Leadership Conference. Additionally, he’s vice president of the Investment Club and a member of the Jazz Band. Sebastian volunteers at the Stamford-based Church of the Holy Spirit; Horizons, an organization that provides academic services to underserved students; and at school as an Admissions Ambassador.


What do you like about St. Luke’s?

Favorite places in Stamford: West Beach on the weekends.


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sleep schedule, the trek taught me to be more flexible.

Being an astronaut inspires me because of my love for problem-solving. As an astronaut, you are pushing through the boundaries of past human experience, and you need to be prepared to encounter unanticipated challenges in a high-pressure environment, meaning that you need not only knowledge, but the ability to think quickly and critically and find solutions and approaches to problems you’ve never faced before on the fly.

2022 in five words: Better understanding those around me.

Most like to meet: The person who inspired me to start climbing: a man I met on a cruise ship who climbed for the special forces of the US Army.

I found my love for math as an elementary schooler. My mom was a math tutor at the time, and sometimes, when she couldn’t find anyone to watch me, she’d bring me with her to her students’ houses to sit on the side while she taught. Listening in on her teaching different concepts, from simple algebra to trigonometry or even calculus, I was always fascinated by the way math often made situations that seemed incredibly complicated much simpler. It was then that I began to appreciate the beauty in math; the elegance in finding symmetry and simplicity in the messiest of equations.

How do you keep pushing?


I’m motivated by the feeling of fulfillment I get when I dive into a new subject or experience. I love the feeling of being immersed in a project so deeply that I don’t notice the time passing by.

My favorite teacher brought out my thoughtfulness and empathy by looking at every situation from a perspective of seeking understanding rather than seeking to make judgments. Whenever I went to her for advice, she would always find insights into the situation that I had missed and leave me with a new perspective on things. By following her example, I learned to better find these insights on my own, and that’s been very valuable to me in navigating a world that seems to expand each day as I grow and learn.

What makes you want to be an astronaut? 78


I attribute my success to my willingness to put a lot of effort into things, even when my goals seem too ambitious at first. My biggest challenge is keeping up with my ever-changing expectations for myself. Even when I meet my goals, I convince myself that I haven’t gotten anywhere by setting them even higher, and although that mindset helps me accomplish a lot, it can become frustrating and exhausting. I overcome this by working on making my self-talk more positive and by reminding myself often to look back at where I started and see what progress I’ve already made.

Climbing, because it is a combinationgreat of mental and physical challenge.

Did a particular teacher make a difference?

Local place: BETA Climbing and Fitness

How do you think about challenges?

Top pick for college?

You also play piano. A recent breakthrough? My biggest accomplishment is learning to play the three Gershwin Preludes. Before starting to work on those pieces, my teacher warned me that they were way above my ability level and that I likely wouldn’t get anywhere, but I was still eager to give them a try, and, sure enough, within a few months, I learned to play all three well.

When did you realize you liked it?

Dream destination: The Himalayas

Advice to freshmen: Form relationshipsgood with your teachers.

How was your recent trip to the Pacific Northwest?

Do you have a favorite subject?

eady for a little adventure? Try to keep up with Liora Wilkins, a senior at J. M. Wright Technical School. She not only scrambled ahead of the typical academic program by skipping two grades—and being a straight-A student, of course—but also stays ahead by being a competitive boulderer. If there’s a challenge, Liora is the first in line to go and the first one to make it to the top. She is self-motivated and loves getting utterly wrapped up in her interests. Her future success won’t come easy, but she wants it that way. It’s as if she wants to go on a quest that is just a bit out of reach. Long wanting to be an astronaut, she is literally reaching as high as the stars.

It was a month-long backpacking trip. Although the hiking was difficult, for me the challenges of living in a large group were harder yet. From rationing out food to adjusting to a sporadic

It’s hard for me to choose a particular subject as my favorite; there are things about almost every subject that I love and find fascinating. If I had to pick one, though, I would probably go with math.

My top choice school right now is CU Boulder because of their strong aerospace engineering program and their proximity to the Rocky Mountains. Since I was a small kid, I dreamed of being an astronaut, and since that’s an extremely competitive career, I want to get my degree in something I’d love to do as a career even if I don’t succeed in getting hired as an astronaut, which is what draws me to aerospace engineering. What draws me to CU Boulder in particular is my love for climbing and mountaineering that I found during my time in high school which made me want to go to college somewhere mountainous.

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Fairfield College Preparatory School to University of Wisconsin-Madison

Who motivates you?


I plan to study aerospace engineering and eventually want to work on rockets, as that has always interested me. However, along the way I am considering joining ROTC and becoming a pilot in the Navy or Air Force.

Do you have any tips for finding success at your high school—some advice for incoming freshmen? Pay attention and make good friends.

What do you like about Fairfield Prep?

Do you have a favorite subject?

Any thoughts on your future career?

Favorite local place: Brickhouse Bar & Grill (great darts)

Physics has been my favorite subject since I took it in my sophomore year, when assessing what I might want to do in the future. I really enjoyed learning about and interacting with the properties of the world in a mathematical way.

You're headed to University of Wisconsin. Why there?

Obtaining of my Private Pilot’s license was a major accomplishment for me, involving more than fifty flight hours and lots of studying. It's one of my proudest accomplishments. I mostly attribute my success to my parents, who were supportive, helpful and interested in what I was doing.

My parents, not that they put any pressure on me, but rather encourage me to be my best.

Crew was my favorite extracurricular because it instilled a great work ethic.

Dream destination: International Space Station

What is one of your recent success that makes you feel especially proud?

You rowed while at Prep. That's a sport that takes up a lot of time and demands dedication. What made you stick with it? 80

It is a small, very close-knit community.


How did Covid impact your high school experience? Covid, which began in the middle of my sophomore year, prevented me from learning and participating in things I looked forward to.

If I could meet anyone: The Wright Brothers

tamford’s Preston Smith made good moves during his run at Fairfield Prep—not only magna cum laude honors and National Honor Society and Peer Tutor good moves, but also Fairfield Prep Crew. Preston rowed both fall and spring season throughout his high school years. He developed other interests, too, including the Environmental Awareness Club. Outside of Prep, he worked as a vendor at West Beach in Stamford and he took flight lessons at Sikorsky Memorial Airport. He even earned his pilot’s license in his senior year. Preston has volunteered at the St. Leo parish in Stamford while supporting Fairfield Prep’s Campus Ministry program and Peer Tutor program. There are many facets to this talented and self-aware young man, who has found his passion in physics and his future field of study in aeronautical engineering. He is a problem solver and a strong collaborator in his science classes, where he excelled both in the book work and in the handson labs. Preston took both A.P. Physics 2 and A.P. Calculus BC senior year and went above and beyond as he pursued his pilot’s license, a mission he started early in his Prep years. In short, Preston is all in for academic and personal growth. He sets lofty goals and achieves them with strong and consistent effort. Now at the University of Wisconsin, he will continue to explore the fields of science and mathematics as he works toward a career in engineering. That he can be a high-achieving and widely liked student, who is thoroughly involved in the time-demanding sport of crew, and can put in the work over years to earn his pilot’s license shows that he sets big goals and then puts in the effort to succeed.

I am attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison because of their great engineering program and atmosphere. Also, while rowing for my high school I made some great friends, one of whom is very much like myself, and goes to Wisconsin now and loves it. While there, I want to be able to explore life on my own and better myself.

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Coming off-screen and back to in-person meetings and dating, guys want to look and feel not like their old selves, but like their new, post-pandemic selves—youthful, healthy and ready to re-engage with the world. by tom connor

Women, of course, have long known both the benefits and the sublime pleasures of spa treatments. And for almost as

A little He Time

But the intersection of Covid-19, prolonged screen time and men’s growing concern for their health and wellness has given rise not only to new aesthetic centers, but also to the opening of half a dozen or more medical spas across Fairfield County in the past two years alone.

e had been looking at ourselves on-screen for more than two-anda-half years, and it wasn’t pretty. The pandemic left many men with more wrinkles and weight, less hair and energy, and a general disapproval of the way we look.

above: Massage is just one of the options men are trying these days.


So what? We’re guys—who cares how we look? Well, it’s finally time to admit the obvious: We do!


Now, as guys are back to inperson meetings and dates in real time, we’re having to do so without Zoom’s “Touch up my appearance” feature or the filter that smooths wrinkled skin. In fact, we’re steadily leaving virtual rooms and showing up in lightfilled, calm and soothing spas in record numbers. According to the International SPA Association, men’s presence in spas has shot up from 31 percent ten years ago to 47 percent today.

long, they’ve been trying to get the men in their lives—husbands, boyfriends, fathers, brothers and sons—to experience them, too.

“Studies show that the increase of webinars and virtual meetings have led to an increase in facial dissatisfaction overall,” notes Kim Nichols, M.D., the celebrity dermatologist and owner of NicholsMD of Greenwich.


In the past, guys had to travel to the grand spas of Europe for aesthetic treatments or to only a handful of iconic American spas— The Golden Door in Southern California during Men’s Week, for example, or the Homestead in Hot Springs, Virginia (full, obnoxious disclosure: I’ve been to both).

NICHOLSMD OF FAIRFIELD , the third office of Nichols,dermatologistcelebrityKimM.D.,who,

above: Men can work on skin perfection with deep-cleansing facials.

Alyson, a youthful-looking registered nurse, has me lie back on a comfortable white lounge chair. After she washes my face—something I clearly should be able to do myself—she uses a laser device with HydroPeel Tips and Vortex-Fusion technology on the skin. The device, I learn, creates a vortex-like effect to vacuum up dead skin and extract “debris,” as she calls it, from the pores.

above: Making changes to one's face takes time—and a strategy.

(A superficial detail that, nonetheless, preoccupies me: The “debris” from the vacuumed pores gets captured and collected in a trap. Trust me, you really don’t want to know anything more about this.)


above: Kim Nichols, M.D.


Bags under the eyes and flabby skin on the neck—these, she and others say—are the result both of the stress from pandemic isolation and from the virus itself.

Given prominencethe of the face, an ideal starting point for post-Zoom care is a thirtyminute Hydrafacial, a isspaneck.hydratescleans,spadeep-cleansingtreatmentthatextractsandtheskinandAndanidealforthetreatment

with perfect skin, has appeared on The Today Show and The Dr. Oz Show. The office opened in May of this year in the Brick Walk near Fairfield’s downtown.


The final step in the treatment has her infusing the pores with nourishing serums and fabulous.andwithsaturatingmoisturizersintenseandthesurfaceantioxidantspeptides.Ileavelooking


Launched in 2013, Zoom reported 200 million free and paying daily meeting participants in March 2020, the first official month of the Covid pandemic. According to Business Insider, by the following month another 100 million users were participating in daily Zoom meetings. (But enough about them! Seeing myself on Zoom one night earlier this year, I realized I looked like Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber, the day the FBI pulled him from his remote cabin in rural Montana after more than two decades of living in isolation. I felt like turning myself in.)

above: Treatment options include injectables

Faces are multifaceted, so medical spas like NicholsMD divide treatment sessions into facial units that require different solutions and that offset the potential danger of too much treatment in one area. The problem with these treatments, however, is similar to that of painting one wall of a room: By comparison, the other walls immediately cry out for repainting. I make an appointment to see Merry Thornton at Element Medical Aesthetics.Locatedin a good“ame.proteinandfrequency—topenetrateneedling—forty-nineadministeringsuggestseasierlookingmyme.mildlyprocedureandtipthing,towashesmedicaluncluttered.is2,000-square-footsecond-floor,space,Elementsuper-clean,white,brightandAfterreviewingmyhistoryandconcerns,Merryandappliesnumbingcreammyfaceandneck.It'sagoodtoo,becauseshenowrunstheofanUltralasergunup,downacrossthesurfaceofmyskin,athatfeelslikearegimentofagitatedyellowjacketsstingingNomatter;thetreatmentleavesfacefeelingwarmandtinglyandslightlysunburned,andfartofacemyselfonscreen.Formoreseriousskinissues,MerrytheGenius,asystemforradio-frequencymicro-tinyneedlesthattheskinandemitradiogetridofdeadskinencouragecollagen,astructuralthattightensit.“It’sabituncomfortable,”shetellsActually,theUltratreatmentwasbituncomfortable,”soIthinkI’mfornow,Itellher.

“The Zoom Effect is a real phenomenon,” says Merry Thornton, who opened ELEMENT MEDICAL AESTHETICS on Main Street in New Canaan in March of this year. “The pandemic has increased sensitivity to looking old and tired.”

above: The calming minimalism of Element Medical Aesthetics

above: Not all massages are just about relaxation, some work on athletic recovery.

Stephanie Torres? She’s so in demand that she’s booked out a month and evenStandingmore. appointments for weekly or monthly massages is the norm among male clients at ARTISTEX SALON & SPA in Westport, which merged with Born of Earth Spa earlier this year. “A massage helps male clients de-stress,” says Anna, a masseuse at the spa for the past nine years. “Sitting in a chair all day hunched over a laptop can cause a lot of stress on the neck muscles and back muscles, even leg muscles. But beyond physical stress, there is mental and emotional stress, and I think men see the spa as somewhere they can get away from theJustworld.”offthe busy Post Road near downtown, stepping into one of the massage rooms at Artistex feels like a full retreat from life outside. The room is narrow, the dark walls a relief from the stark white of medical spa treatment rooms. I strip to shorts and lie under warm sheets on the massage table.


The massage lasts an hour, though time is blurred by the background listeningtable,dointhinkwomen:treatmentstheworkersantlers.inHimalayanplayed,flutes,andmusic—wind,ambientstormswavesmixedwithstringsandhornsitseemstome,byspiritsherpasyurtsblowingintoyakOrsomething.There’satermspausetodescribeeffectofmultipleonmenand“Spabrain.”IitmaybekickingbecauseallIwanttoislieonthismassagetalkingtoAnnaandtothismusic.

Even before the pandemic, Stephanie Torres, the manager of the DELMAR GREENWICH HARBOR SPA , saw a significant number of men making appointments for a range of spa treatments but especially massages— Swedish, Sports, Deep Tissue. “The kind of massage,” she says, “depends on whether clients want to relax or work on specific muscles and areas of the body that need to be stretched and massaged.”Whatmay be helpful for some guys to know is that spa treatments aren’t only for the highpowered Greenwich male. For years, one of Torres’s male clients let the gift certificates from his wife pile up before manning up and giving it a try. “He finally came in and he was blown away,” she says. “Now he’s booking appointments every two weeks.” The gentleman’s occupation? Greenwich police officer, which makes a lot of sense: Standing in the middle of Greenwich Avenue directing Range Rovers and appointmentwithreducingenoughpedestrianswell-heeledisreasonforregular,stress-massages.Theproblemschedulinganwith

above: While many men want hair added to thinning areas, others are interested in removing it from unwanted places.

One new treatment expected to be rolled out this summer at DREAM SPA & SALON has owner Lori Dodd mincing words. “I don’t know if you’re ready for this,” she tells me, “but we’ll soon be offering manscaping in the form of manzillians”—in other words, Brazilians for men. (Note: I should have stopped Lori at “I don’t know that you’re ready for this.” I wasn’t.)

Unless we’ve been wearing baseball caps in Zoom meetings, another noticeable fallout from the pandemic has been the fallout of our hair. Spa owners report an uptick in male clients inquiring about medical treatments to encourage hair growth in bald or thinning areas of the scalp.

One of the more popular treatments for hair restoration is PRP (platelet rich plasma). For the procedure, a patient’s blood is drawn, spun in a centrifuge, then injected into the scalp with microneedling—forty-nine tiny needles that open channels in the follicles to encourage hair growth. (Think of this as a bag of liquid Scott’s Turf Builder dumped onto the bald areas of scalp then worked in with a sharpened spade.)

A faster and far less expensive method of hair deforestation is traditional waxing. Here, strips of cloth dipped in hot wax are laid on a victim’s skin, then ripped off one strip at a time. (On second thought, I’ll take the snapped rubber bands!)


For unwanted body hair, medical spa personnel suggest laser treatments, in which the emission of light and heat damages hair follicles. The drawbacks are that it’s uncomfortable (some have likened it to a rubber band snapping against the skin), and it can be expensive (as many as six treatments may be required, to the tune of roughly $250 each treatment, and then permanent removal isn’t guaranteed).

Anna, who is Polish and has large, strong hands, attended university to become a teacher but found her calling in this


country when her son was diagnosed at age four with rheumatoid arthritis. “I always hid my big hands,” she says, “until I realized why I was given them.” After seven years of massaging her son’s limbs and joints to relieve his pain, she accepted her calling to become a massageEmployingtherapist.amix of soft Swedish massage and harder deep-tissue massage, she uses long sweeping strokes to massage the back and leg muscles and her fingers find and relieve tension knots in the shoulders and neck. “When we are stressed, we lower our heads and raise our shoulders,” she says.

Jeannie recommends that men come back for a pedicure every four to six weeks, which is when toenails have grown long enough to be in need of clipping. I leave feeling not only grounded, but being able to see my reflection in my polished toenails.

A room for I.V. forcustomwhichtreatments,aremixedeachclient


above: Athletically minded men are trying I.V. vitamin and hydration drip treatments at Elivate Med Spa.

above: Pedicures for men at Dream Spa & Salon include foot baths with essential oils and nail shaping.

Fortunately, spas are as much centers of health information as they are palaces of

above: Options at Dream Spa include massages, which complete a fully relaxing visit.

Younger males are skipping hair treatments and for good reason: All their hair is on their heads! Instead, they’re making appointments for I.V. vitamin and hydration drip bags at sites such as ELIVATE MED SPA in Old Greenwich.

The pedicure room at Dream is a small, clean, warm room set off from the rest of the spa so that men don’t feel self-conscious in a sea of chattering women, says Jeannie. She is Greek and has a natural Mediterranean warmth that itself is soothing.

The procedure begins with slipping the bare feet in a warm, shallow bath of powdered milk water mixed with lemon-grass essential


As with other spa treatments, gift certificates for pedicures are what usually drag men in the door for the first time. “They’ll come in for a pedicure because they have a gift certificate from a wife or daughter or girlfriend,” Jeannie says. “A lot of the guys will say that when they cut their own toenails, they usually end up bleeding.”Ichange my socks and go see her.


With the ordeal of medical spa treatments behind us, it’s time for treatments that both feel good and are good for us. One of the first steps for guys seeking a new lease on life is a pedicure. That’s right: A pedicure!

oil. After drying them on a towel on her lap, Jeannie clips the nails without blood or digit loss, then applies cuticle eliminator ointment to soften the dead skin on the nails that is pushed back and scraped off. Next, she files the calluses with soft and gritty sandpaper-like files, and finally washes and massages the feet and calves with a washcloth and vanilla-orange and brown sugar scrub, the sugar giving a mild grit to the wash. I feel special.

Clients at Elivate lounge in comfortable leather recliners in one of two I.V. rooms and watch movies on a large flatscreen TVs as the vitamins—zinc, vitamin C, vitamin D, vitamin B-12 and immune booster cocktails—course through their veins.

“I.V. therapy was a hit, especially in the beginning of the pandemic, because everyone wanted to be as strong as possible in case they did get sick from Covid,” says Melissa PulciniButtine, the founder of Elivate, which opened just before the start of the pandemic, closed for several months and reopened in June 2020. Now, they’re coming in to renew energy, as are older male clients, and to boost athletic performance.

This is because men have slowly been discovering the benefits of well-tended feet that have spent most of their lives imprisoned in boots or shoes, where some of the nastiest conditions on Earth prevail.

pleasure, and a little information can go a long way to getting men in the door for this muchneeded treatment. As I learn from Jeannie, who has been rejuvenating feet at Dream Spa & Salon in Westport for sixteen years, the feet contain more sensory nerve endings per square centimeter than any other part of the body, continually supplying information about the surfaces we’re trodding for better balance, stability and shock absorption. With more than 250,000 sweat glands there, each foot can produce four to six or more ounces of perspiration a day. Enough said.

The vitamins are custom mixed based on a consultation with Pulcini-Buttine or on blood work done in the on-site lab. Treatments, which take about an hour, provide multiple benefits—improved mood, energy, weight loss, immune system strengthening, enhanced athletic performance— with the intravenous vitamins absorbed far faster and more effectively than if taken orally.

As at other spas across the county, men are coming in on their own these days as opposed to being dragged in by the women in their lives.

cause chronic pain and limited mobility. Some issues involve ingrained habits of sitting, walking and breathing that inhibit daily functioning. Other issues are emotional.


“What we do is purely discretionary, so men have to be able to afford it,” says Dream Spa & Salon’s Lori Dodd.

Spa treatments can also be addictive. The Greenwich police officer who disregarded gift certificates from his wife the way scofflaws disregard parking tickets, now schedules monthly appointments at the Delmar Greenwich Harbor Spa for stresseliminating massages.


The Ultra laser treatment Merry Thornton administered at Element, for example, normally runs $850. The Hydrafacial at NicholsMD in Fairfield, $225. Basic pedicures at Dream, $55. At Artistex, the sixty-minute massage I received, $130. And an hourand-a-half session with Jane Kohler costs $180 and is worth every dollar. As with most treatments, packages of three to six lower the cost per treatment considerably. (A second, more obnoxious disclosure: All of the above services were free for me. As with difficult tasks in life, someone had to do them!)

Kohler uses a mix of slow, deep, haveIknots,appliesmassagesrealignschange.ofcanbeenand/oremotions,fascial.pressuremovementsstretchingandappliedtobalancetheThereleaseofmemoriestraumasthathavestoredinthetissuemakeclientsawaretheopportunityforShestretchesthelimbs,theframe,gentlysorespotsandpressuretotensiononeareaatatime.leavefeelingbetterthanIinyears.


of spa treatments, both medical and aesthetic, might be with a visit to JANE KOHLER , a Westport-based structural integration therapist and masseuse, who is much sought after for her holistic approach to bodywork. In addition to feeling really good after one of her long sessions, clients receive an education across a wide, free-ranging spectrum of maintainoptimizeusesChineseQigong,Rolfing,yogainformation—fromandmeditationtoreflexologyandatraditionalmedicinethatmovementtoenergyandhealthymind,


body and sun-dappledstudioKohler’sspirit.Westportisaspacious,spacein an old house furnished with antique Oriental carpets and a simple, cushioned massage table. “Before clients get on the table, I look at their structure —how they’re standing, how they’re breathing and how they’re moving,” she says. “If the ankles and shoulders and ears aren’t aligned, there are issues that will continue until they’reKohlerresolved.”focuses on the fascia—the connective tissue of the body—to realign posture and to open tissue that’s tightened due to stress, injury or other factors that

Finally, treatments are not recommended for men scheduled to give presentations, say, the same day of a spa visit or at the first signs of spa-brain. Then again, who cares? Just explain that you’ve just come from a pedicure and aren’t wearing shoes so that you can look at yourself in your polished toenails. Spa men will understand.

One warning, of sorts: Spa services for men aren’t for the faint of wallet. Aside from prescriptions, which PAs can write, most spa treatments are for those with disposable dead skin, tension and income.


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Teens deal with bullies—eventually. My brother Mike was only about five-five in high school. Wearing a necktie borrowed from Dad, he went to a party where a guy asked: “Do you like your tie?”  “Yah,” answered Mike. “Well, have two of them,” said the bully, taking out a pair of scissors, cutting it in half and stuffing the loose end in Mike’s breast pocket.


Driving home from a party in Philadelphia, an underaged Jack Moffly and friends were stopped by the Springfield Township police. Beer cans rolled out of the car, and the boys spent the night in the slammer. When his father came to claim him the next morning, the judge asked his name. “John Wesley Moffly III,” came the reply. “Perfect,” said the judge. “We’ve been looking for you. You owe us for a whole bunch of parking tickets!” Jack’s father didn’t speak to him for days.

John Sinclair and Craig Fanning drove the family car from the Riverside Yacht Club parking lot backward all the way across the Post Road to Scott Dykema’s house near North Mianus School.

On stage at Hathaway Brown School, I was singing “Tahitian Love Song” complete with hula to a packed audience when my sarong came unpinned. As I grappled with it and sped to the wings, the University School boys in the front rows peppered me with loose change.

Teens are creative. The Sinclair gang also made a very realistic dummy and strung it up the flagpole at the yacht club. When the groundskeeper came to raise the flags in the morning, he was stricken to find a body hanging from the yardarm. The boys were reprimanded but later would hoist some beach furniture up there, too.

’ll admit it. September is my favorite issue, because we get to highlight some remarkable “teens to watch”—talented, civic minded, living proof that you can put an old head on young shoulders. We need that reassurance, especially as I recall the pain (and fun) of those growing-up years in my distant past.

Oh, to be young again. Well, come to think of it, maybe it’s better this way. 104


Teens are daring. They think they’re invincible. Jonathan Moffly and Jimmy Sheehan scaled up the underside of the I-95 bridge over the Mianus River to catch pigeons and were spotted by the cops. “We had to come down,” says Jonathan, my son, “because they had our bikes.”


Teens are prone to automotive mishaps. The minute I got my license, I drove four girls over to University School to check the scene. But when I waved out the window to a young man I knew, my other hand turned the wheel to the right, we jumped the curb and ran into a large Maple tree. Nobody would ride with me for a very long time.


Teens are easily embarrassed. When my brother Lee took a date necking for the first time, he pulled into a secluded country lane. But before they got in their first smooch, a policeman shined a flashlight in his face, announced they were trespassing on private property, then turned the light on the girl and said: “Oh, no, not you again!”

“Beer cans rolled out of the car, and the boys spent the night in the slammer.”

Fifty years later and now six-foot-five, Mike finally had his revenge. When he and his wife, Sue, walked into the country club, there across the room was the same guy who, by the way, hadn’t grown an inch. Mike whipped into the club office for some scissors, then went over to him and said: “Hey, I like your tie!” “Thanks,” replied the gent. “I do, too.” “Well, have two of them,” said Mike, taking out the scissors and returning the favor. “Oh, my Gawd,” said the man, pointing up at Mike.  “You were that kid!” “Yup,” said Mike, putting his arm around his shoulder. “I’ll buy you a beer.”

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