<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]> Copyright 2016 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:06:46 -0500 Thu, 11 Feb 2016 10:06:46 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[How to Save Money on Valentine’s Day Flowers]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 15:16:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-128086166.jpg

Valentine's Day may be one of the few times per year that you go out and buy fresh flowers, but that is no excuse for rookie mistakes. The gift of flowers is a reminder that you are thinking of someone and Feb. 14 is an excellent opportunity to send this message. Make that gesture count with these budget-friendly tips for delivering quality flowers that won't disappoint.

Opt out of the Valentine's Day up-sell - Almost all floral retailers will create Valentine's Day-specific offers to catch your eye. Those bouquets come with a hefty price tag, and often lack on the stem count you are looking for. Avoid the holiday-specific bundles.

If in season, head to your Farmer's Market - Get to know a Farmer's Market in your neighborhood before Valentine's Day. Pay attention to bouquet costs when it's not a floral holiday so that you have a baseline before prices increase. Ask a vendor to pre-order for Valentine's Day and lock in a price before the holiday surge. You can feel accomplished come February 14 knowing you already have your fresh flowers and that you have supported local growers.

Don't Procrastinate - Many companies offer incentives to place your Valentine's Day order in advance, so that they can get a sense of how much inventory to allocate for the major holiday. Take advantage of those offers and you can save quite a bit - you can also sit back and relax while everyone else is scrambling to find the last red and pink flowers!

Learn how to pick fresh flowers - Chances are that if you are looking at a bouquet and all of the flowers are already open, those flowers were not picked yesterday. We all get stuck on how the blooms look right when we buy them. A real flower pro, though, will know to look for bouquets or bunches where the flowers are still closed. Those blooms are the most fresh, and will continue to bloom for days to come.

Do some recon - Sending flowers online? Do all that you can to make sure those blooms are fresh and look good. Check to see where your retailer ships from, and opt for a business that sources flowers from U.S. farms. Floral retailer Bloom2Bloom founder Laurenne Resnik advises, "Whether you're buying online or in store, check for companies with the 'American Grown' or 'California Grown' labels. Farm-direct flowers really do last longer." Unlike most outlets, Bloom2Bloom doesn't change its products just for Valentine's Day.

Think outside the vase - Don't fall for the clichés this Valentine's Day. Skip the vase and look for companies that keep costs down for consumers by wrapping bouquets in Kraft paper for that farm-fresh look. Remember, just because everyone is advertising red roses this Valentine's Day, doesn't mean you have to buy them. Rananculus and Tulips offer a new twist on an old classic. Not to mention, they are in season in California right now!

More content from moneytips.com:

Keeping Up with the Kardashians and Their Net Worth

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Preparing For Your Annual Tax Meeting



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[No Child Left Inside Winter Festival]]> Sat, 06 Feb 2016 14:01:48 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ice+fishing+generic1.jpg

If you're looking for some outdoor winter fun for your family Saturday, the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection is hosting a winter festival in Torrington.

The free No Child Left Inside Winter Festival started at 10 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. at Burr Pond State Park. Activities include fishing, a fish fry, a Torrington Fire Department rescue demonstration, a search and rescue demonstration, a bonfire-side marshmallow roast, wildlife activities and hiking. 

The state park is located at 384 Burr Mountain Road. 

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<![CDATA[McDonald's Salad Fat vs. Big Mac]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 13:40:34 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/McDonalds2.png

McDonald’s has put a lot of marketing dollars behind revamping their image to become a “healthy” fast food option, but one of their newest “simple” and “fresh” options for clean-eaters will do more caloric damage than a Big Mac, according to the chain's nutrition information.

The fast-food giant recently unveiled a new line of salad bowls that contain kale, a leafy “superfood” that has become a sensation for its nutritional value and being packed-full of vitamins.

“A salad so delicious, it might be hard to stay calm,” McDonald’s website reads of the new menu item, the “Keep Calm, Caesar On” salad. But dieters might have a hard time keeping calm after finding their bowl of greens has more fat, calories, cholesterol and sodium than most of the other items on the entire menu.

McDonald’s promotes the salad with crispy chicken as “a nutrient-rich lettuce blend with baby kale, delicately topped with delicious crispy bacon, real parmesan petals and roasted garlic focaccia croutons.”

Although McDonald’s leaves out the dressing the salad comes with in its initial calculation of nutritional information listed online, all-in-all this is the how the new “Keep Calm, Caesar On” salad with crispy chicken stacks up against other popular meals:

Kale Caesar Salad Crispy Chicken
730 calories (with dressing)
10g saturated fat
100mg cholesterol
1140 mg sodium

Bacon McDouble Sandwich
420 calories
9g saturated fat
70mg cholesterol
1050mg sodium

Big Mac
520 calories
10g saturated fat
70mg cholesterol
950mg sodium

10-Piece Chicken Nugget
460 calories
5g saturated fat
70mg cholesterol
820mg sodium

Large French Fries
560 calories
3.5g saturated fat
0mg cholesterol
420mg sodium

Regular Oreo McFlurry
560 calories
12g saturated fat
45mg cholesterol
390mg sodium

Swapping out the “crispy” chicken for grilled is an option, but will only save you 160 calories. The American Heart Association recommends eating just 2,000 milligrams of sodium and 1,200 to 1,500 calories per day.

McDonald's does offer other salad options that are not as hard-hitting to the waistline. McDonald's Southwest Salad only contains 280 calories and 490 milligrams of sodium, CNBC points out, which includes a creamy southwest dressing. A side salad without dressing is only 15 calories and 10 milligrams of sodium.

A spokesperson for McDonald’s did not immediately respond Friday to a request for comment.



Photo Credit: McDonald's Corp.]]>
<![CDATA[Snoop Dogg, Super Bowl Reporter]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 12:13:15 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/snoop5.jpg

Rapper Snoop Dogg turned into a Super Bowl 50 “reporter” during the Broncos and Panthers press conference in Santa Clara Thursday, chatting up Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning and telling Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis to “go to work” with a broken arm.

"That's your spirit. Go to work. And when you get a sack, dab with your broken one, for me," he told Davis, referring to the "dab" dance move newly popular with football players and other athletes.

The rapper tweeted a photo of him shaking hands with Manning: “Legend. #TurfdUp,” he wrote, referring in the hashtag to his YouTube sports show. His next tweet was a selfie, followed by a photo of himself acting as a reporter for DirectTV's "The Rich Eisen Show."

Snoop also sent out a couple of tweets promoting Merry Jane, his Marijuana lifestyle platform he hopes will act as an icebreaker for people who take pride in their love for marijuana.

One said: “ganja proving 2 help athletes with sports related injuries,” with a photo of a rolled up ball of weed.

The tweets were removed from his timeline after some time. It wasn’t immediately clear why the rapper took the tweets down.

The NFL has a strict drug policy, but many question whether it is out of date. According to media reports, marijuana is coveted by NFL players as an invaluable painkiller, and for younger players, smoking weed is normal.

"There are so many people in the closet, and we are giving them an opportunity to come out of the closet and just admit they like to smoke," Snoop said at the Merry Jane launch at TechCrunch Disrupt in September. "I’m a smoker, my name is Snoop Dogg, and I’m a stoner."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Subway's $5 Footlong Now Costs $6]]> Fri, 05 Feb 2016 07:12:36 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-493636850.jpg

So long to the catchy “$5 footlong” jingle, because Subway's iconic deal just got a dollar more expensive.

Customers will now have to shell out $6 for "ALL of your favorite classic footlongs," the restaurant chain announced on Twitter Tuesday.

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Not surprisingly, fans of the sandwich chain were not happy. The news prompted an immediate outcry on social media. Subway responded to displeased customers in another tweet, defending the increase on rising food costs.

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The new price takes effect on Thursday in Subway restaurants nationwide.

Subway has been reeling from bad PR after its former spokesman, Jared Fogle, was sentenced to nearly 16 years in prison for child pornography and sex charges. Fogle helped fuel sales for nearly 15 years after shedding 200 pounds on a diet of Subway sandwichs.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Throwback: Board Game Cafe Coming to New Haven]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 18:27:29 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/elm-city-logo-working-file-300x300.jpg

Gamers in New Haven are in for a throwback surprise this month: a board game cafe.

Elm City Games, set to open Feb. 20, allow patrons to eat, drink and choose from 500 to 600 different board games to play.

"The basic idea with the game café is to create a space where people can get together and play games in a cool and welcoming environment," Elm City Games owner Matt Loter said.

Wednesday nights, for example, is the perfect time to meet up with friends for the New Haven County Board Game Meetup from 6:30 to close.

Whether someone is an experienced or inexperienced gamer, Elm City Games employees will help them find a game best suited for their needs from the gaming library.

"We are organized around having a lot of events to get people together, a huge game library, and staff to help teach games or make suggestions on what to try," Loter said.

Loter said the library consists of hundreds of games and it will continue to grow. He even said certain board games will be available for purchase.

"On the retail side, we'll have a smaller but highly curated set of games, some of which will always be in stock and others which will be rotated in and out," added Loter.

All-day passes at the cafe are $5 per person and memberships will be available after opening day. 

As stated in their page, the price for how much game time in the café will cost is no more than $5 per person for an all-day pass, and prices for memberships are still in the works.

Membership will have quick access to vault games and a quick library checkout, according to cafe's website.

The café has partnered with the Happiness Lab to bring coffee, drinks, and sandwiches from Meat & Co. to the gamers. Patrons are allowed to bring their own alcohol.

Elm City Games is located in 756 Chapel Street in New Haven and is set to be open Monday-Thursday 12 to 10 p.m., Friday 12 to 12 p.m., Saturday 10 to 12 p.m., and Sunday 10 to 8 p.m.

For more information on the grand opening, go here.



Photo Credit: Elm City Games]]>
<![CDATA[Cat Gets Head Stuck in Vase, Becomes Internet Sensation]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 17:53:39 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/93528537.jpg

A Reddit user this week posted a photo of a cat looking like an Egyptian goddess, but the shiny collar in the photo was not supposed to be around the cat's neck.

The cat, which is doing fine, got the accessory the hard way - by sticking its head in a vase, according to TODAY.

The cat is doing fine, and its misadventure sparked some pun-filled fun on the Internet.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[12 Adoptable CT Pups Promote Puppy Bowl]]> Wed, 03 Feb 2016 10:02:15 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Puppy+Bowl+Tour+1+1200.jpg

Before you watch the Broncos and the Panthers duke it out in Super Bowl 50 on Sunday, how about a round of "a-paws" for Connecticut puppies helping promote another dogged football game, the doggone cute Puppy Bowl XII.

Twelve puppies available for adoption through the Connecticut Humane Society have been touring to promote the 12th annual Puppy Bowl on Animal Planet.

Addison, Blossom, Charlotte, Little Foot, Miller, Pete, Petrie, Ruby, Spike, Violet, Cera and Mo appeared on ESPN and SportsCenter last Thursday and the TODAY show on Monday. You can also see them on E!News.com at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 4 and Weekend Today from 7 to 9 a.m.

The humane society staff members said they "can't wait to join the fun again" after having such success participating last year, which generated a lot of "calls, emails and social media buzz around the country with people from as far away as Louisiana and Illinois calling the Connecticut Humane Society to adopt puppies.

The humane society expressed gratitude to Animal Planet for including them in the promotion and said "animal welfare groups around the country are very grateful for the emphasis put on pet adoptions through Puppy Bowl."

The "Puppy Bowl" airs on Animal Planet at 3 p.m. EST/2 p.m. CST on Sunday, Feb. 7 before the big game.

The Connecticut puppies are available for adoption the week following "Puppy Bowl." You can visit www.cthumane.org/adopt for more information and to check on the puppies' statuses.

Peruse the Puppy Bowl pups up for adoption at the humane society's Newington and Westport locations this year and see if one of them catches your eye! 

EDITOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this article reported that the Connecticut puppies are appearing in "Puppy Bowl," when they're actually just touring to help promote the event on various television shows and on media websites. 



Photo Credit: Connecticut Humane Society]]>
<![CDATA[250 Boats Docked at Convention Center for Hartford Boat Show]]> Sat, 30 Jan 2016 18:30:47 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/hartford+boat+show+1200.jpg

From paddle boats to pontoons, the Hartford Boat Show gives guests the chance to compare the newest inventory side-by-side and the organizers say there is something for every one.

This year, there are 30 new exhibitors and 250 boats docked at the Convention Center. Many exhibitors return year after year.

“Introducing ourselves to a large group of people where at our showroom we don’t get the opportunity to see as big of an audience at one time,” Chris Perry, of Candlewood East Marina in Brookfield, said.

Whether you want to sail the shoreline or drop a line in a lake, boats big and small fill two levels of the convention center this year.

“It’s fun. You get to see all the boats that come out, check ‘em out,” said Carol Hall, who visited from Vernon.

Lori Schwager, of Manchester, said the boat show is an annual tradition for her and her friends.

“We always come with friends. We’re all boaters. We all have boats. We just come to see what’s new and exciting,” Schwager said.

Boating is big business in the state.

“It’s a $1.3 billion industry here in Connecticut,” Hartford Boat Show Executive Director Kathleen Burns said.

When the economy took a dive, so did recreational sports, like boating. However, Burns said it’s growing again.

“The economy’s improving, there’s a little more optimism, fuel prices are lower, and so I think people are more comfortable now returning to a recreation they love,” said Burns.

This year’s boat show is the biggest in a decade. Visitors now navigate two floors of boats, parts, seminars and exhibits.

One of the new interactive exhibits at the Hartford Boat Show is a virtual fishing tournament. Guests actually compete with each other. The top prize is a fishing trip.

Then there’s the famous fish fighting chair, which has been entertaining pint-sized anglers at the boat show for decades. You can find it under the large shark that hangs from the ceiling upstairs. The “bait” is tied to the end of a fishing pole and tries to run to away before the adult on the other end of the pole reels them in.

“I just fought like a fish all the way to the sticker to Blackhawks and I got a free fishing trip,” Nicco Frogameni, of Niantic, said. “I thought I was never gonna make it.”

Kyleigh Lapsis, of Mansfield, said "it was hard."

Organizers know not everyone will walk out of the Convention Center with a boat. The show also gives visitors the chance to step aboard a boat they may only dream of owning, or start a new sport like kayak or paddle boarding.

The show runs through Sunday in downtown Hartford. Tickets are $12. You can get $2 off when you show you have the NBC Connecticut app at the door.

The boat show is open until 9 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. More information is available at hartfordboatshow.com.



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Trade Old Baby Items for Discounts at Toys 'R' Us]]> Thu, 28 Jan 2016 09:13:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/062411+toys+r+us+generic+store.jpg

Anyone looking for an excuse to rid their home of old and unsafe baby items could stand to benefit from Toys "R" Us's annual Great Trade-In event.

Since 2009 the children's toy company has provided shoppers with the opportunity to discard old and unsafe baby gear — such as cribs, car seats, strollers and more — in exchange for a 25 percent discount on a purchase of select new items. The year shoppers can drop off gear from Feb.1 through Feb. 29 and those with "R" Us credit cards also receive an additional five percent off. The event applies at both Toys "R" Us and Babies "R" Us.

"As we strive to help parents make the best possible choices as they care for their babies, we look forward to once again hosting this program at our stores nationwide. We strongly encourage parents to use this time to check their baby gear and trade in old items for new ones that meet or exceed current safety standards," said Reg McLay, Senior Vice President of Babies "R" Us, in a statement.

The benefits aren't reserved for just those who bring in old items as even shoppers without an item to trade in can take advantage of a 15 percent discount in-store and online with a coupon at Babiesrus.com/GreatTradeIn.

Over 1.1 millions items have been turned in since the inception of the Great Trade-In. Several brands including Graco, Sorelle, Baby Trend and more have signed on to support the cause and help decrease unsafe childcare items from circulation. Items can include bassinets, infant swings, bouncers, travel systems, walkers, entertainers, play yard, and toddler beds.

Organizations and child care centers can exchange items in bulk but should contact their local Toys "R" Us store. There is no trade-in limit for the the number of items a customer can bring.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Teens Too Tall for Costumes?]]> Thu, 28 Jan 2016 10:00:05 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Too-Tall-for-Costumes-Disney.jpg

Two San Diego County teens were left disappointed after being turned away from a "Frozen" Disney on Ice show at Valley View Casino for an unlikely and seemingly bizarre reason: they were too tall to be wearing costumes.

Say what?

The girls said security staff told them they could be confused with the performers.

"Honestly, more than anything, it was just disappointing," Jessica Mcroskey said.

The two friends who attend Francis Parker High School, Mcroskey and Jennifer Wineholt, were decked out in "Frozen" attire for the event last Friday – only to be turned away because they were too tall, they told NBC 7. After the girls showed their IDs, proving they weren’t adults, they were given this reason:

“They came back later and said that 'Yes, you’re under 18, but you’re too tall ... people would actually think that you’re one of the characters,' and I guess there’s an issue with them taking pictures with us or something,” McRoskey said.

The teens said they looked again at the fine print on their tickets: Nowhere did it say on the tickets nor the event's website that costumes weren't allowed.

When reached for comment, a spokesman for Feld Entertainment, the promoter of the event, told NBC 7 the company doesn’t have a policy against costumes. He said there appeared to be a miscommunication with security guards.

The company has offered the girls tickets to a later event.

The two best friends are heading to college on opposite coasts next year.

"We just want to have as much fun together as we can before we leave, and that was a night we'd been looking forward to for awhile," Wineholt said. "It's definitely a night we won't be able to get back."

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<![CDATA[DMB to Play in CT Concert Before 2017 Tour Hiatus]]> Mon, 25 Jan 2016 14:15:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/181*120/Dave+Matthews+Band+Sleep+Train+9.5.14+%2839%29.jpg

Dave Matthews Band concerts have become a tradition come summertime in Connecticut and LiveNation has announced the singer's next performance in the state before the band goes on hiatus from touring next year. 

In honor of the band's 25th anniversary, it has announced a 46-date North American 2016 summer tour before taking next year off from touring. The band has sold 20 million tickets and 38 million CDs and DVDs since it formed and is the first musical group to ever have six consecutive studio albums debut on top of the Billboard 200 charts, according to LiveNation.

The band will pay Hartford a visit yet again in a concert at Xfinity Theatre on Savitt Way on Saturday, June 11 at 7 p.m. 

Every night of the tour, the Dave Matthews Band will play two full sets. The tour launches May 11 at INTRUST Bank Arena in Wichita, Kansas and includes two nights in Camden, New Jersey, Elkhorn, Wisconsin, Gilford New Hampshire, Saratoga Springs, New York, Noblesvile, Indiana, West Palm Beach, Florida and Berkeley, California. The tour ends at The Gorge Amphitheatre in George, Washington, a locations where the band has headlined over 50 shows. 

Other artists will play in a concert on Labor Day weekend Sept. 2 to 4. 

Tickets go on sale at livenation.com starting Friday, Feb. 19 at noon. Lawn prices start at $40.50, reserved pavilion tickets go for $75 to $85 and general admission pit tickets cost $85, plus any additional ticket purchase fees that apply. Online presale for the Warehouse Fan Association starts Jan. 26.  People who use Citi credit cards, the official card of the tour, can buy tickets a few days early on Feb. 16 through Citi's Private Pass Program at www.citiprivatepass.com

You can also call 800-745-3000 to buy tickets. 

See the full concert schedule on the Dave Matthews Band website at davematthewsband.com

The band's first concert of the year is on Feb. 4 at San-Francisco's Pier 70 at a sold-out Super Thursday Night event, which is the first of three concerts DIRECTV and Pepsi is hosting ahead of Super Bowl 50. 

Dave Matthews Band 2016 Summer Tour Schedule
May 11: Wichita, KS INTRUST Bank Arena
May 13: The Woodlands, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
May 14: Dallas, TX Gexa Energy Pavilion
May 17: Oklahoma City, OK Chesapeake Energy Arena
May 18: North Little Rock, AR Verizon Arena
May 20: Cincinnati, OH Riverbend Music Center
May 21: Cuyahoga Falls, OH Blossom Music Center
May 24:  Pelham, AL Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
May 27:  Charlotte, NC PNC Music Pavilion
May 28: Atlanta, GA Lakewood Amphitheatre
May 29: Maryland Heights, MO Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
June 7: Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center
June 8: Bangor, ME Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion
June 10: Mansfield, MA Xfinity Center
June 11: Hartford, CT XFINITY Theatre
June 17: Virginia Beach, VA Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
June 18: Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live
June 21: Wantagh, NY Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
June 22: Syracuse, NY Lakeview Amphitheater
June 24: Camden, NJ BB&T Pavilion
June 25: Camden, NJ BB&T Pavilion
June 28L Moline, IL iWireless Center
June 29: Bonner Springs, KS Cricket Wireless Amphitheater
July 1: Elkhorn, WI Alpine Valley Music Theatre
July 2: Elkhorn, WI Alpine Valley Music Theatre
July 8: Columbus, OH Nationwide Arena
June 9: Burgettstown, PA First Niagara Pavilion
July 12: Gilford, NH Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
July 13: Gilford, NH Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion
July 15: Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center
July 16: Saratoga Springs, NY Saratoga Performing Arts Center
July 19: Toronto, ON Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
July 20: Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre
July 22: Noblesville, IN Klipsch Music Center
July 23:  Noblesville, IN Klipsch Music Center
July 26:  North Charleston, SC North Charleston Coliseum



Photo Credit: Alex Matthews]]>
<![CDATA[Bar Louie to Open in Blue Back Square ]]> Thu, 21 Jan 2016 12:52:55 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/072215+bar+louie.jpg

Connecticut residents will soon be able to enjoy the signature drinks and extensive menu that Bar Louie, a restaurant founded in Chicago, has become known for nationwide. 

Bar Louie will be opening a location in Blue Back Square this spring and it’s the first one in Connecticut.

The Bar Louis menu includes a wide array of appetizers, from nachos and wings to lettuce wraps to mussels. They also serve flatbreads; salads; burgers; sandwiches; and several entrees, including voodoo chicken and sesame encrusted tuna.

The martini menu includes a drink called the “Diva,” along with a S’mores martini and one made with Effen vodka, called “Effen Good.”

There is also a margarita and mojito menu as well as one with non-alcoholic cocktails.



Photo Credit: NBC6.com]]>
<![CDATA[Pearl Jam Coming to Fenway Park This Summer]]> Tue, 19 Jan 2016 15:50:22 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/181*120/GettyImages-490198048.jpg

It's time to get your grunge on.

Pearl Jam will play at Fenway Park this summer, the band announced on Tuesday. The two shows will take place on Aug. 5 and 7.

A special ticket pre-sale drawing for all dates, except the festival and stadium dates, has begun for current Ten Club members, according to the band's website.

Ticket information regarding Pearl Jam's shows at Fenway Park and Wrigley Field will be announced over the coming weeks. 

For a complete list of Pearl Jam 2016 tour dates and locations, click here.

Pearl Jam was formed in Seattle in 1990. Eddie Vedder is the lead singer. The band's debut album features hits "Alive," "Even Flow," and "Jeremy." 



Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images
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<![CDATA[BuzzFeed Features Colchester Pub As Best Irish Bar in Connecticut]]> Tue, 19 Jan 2016 14:04:15 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/stpaddiesdaygensd.jpg

BuzzFeed has dubbed a Colchester Irish Pub top o' the state and one of the best Irish pubs in the country. 

For a recent article, one of the site's writers asked Yelp to feed her the top-rated Irish pubs in every state. For Connecticut, the website lists Inishmor Pub in Colchester as the top-rated Irish bar in the state as identified by Yelp. 

"Being a guy whose surname begins with Mc, I felt right at home — really enjoyed this place. It’s a great little Irish pub. It deserves five stars for the beer selection alone," BuzzFeed quotes one patron saying.

The site quoted another restaurant-goer saying, "“I live down the road, and have been a regular ever since they opened; my boyfriend and I come here every time I don’t feel like cooking. Draft and whiskey list is stellar, too. Keep up the momentum, guys … taking over the town of Colchester in year number one.”

Read BuzzFeed's full list here or read more reviews of Inishmor Pub on Yelp



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Red Sox Coming to Foxwoods for Winter Weekend ]]> Tue, 19 Jan 2016 12:47:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/TLMD-Boston-xander-bogaerts-red-sox-medias-rojas-de-boston.jpg

The Red Sox are coming to Connecticut this weekend for Winter Weekend at Foxwoods.

Twenty three current members of the Red Sox, including Mookie Betts, Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and former UConn star Matt Barns will be there, along with 13 former players, including Wade Boggs, Roger Clemens, Dwight Evans, Pedro Martinez, Jim Rice, Luis Tiant and Jason Varitek.

See the full list here.

Fan activities include autographs from player, photos with players, panel discussions and more. One of the highlights should be a kids press conference, where children will be able to ask their questions to players.

Tickets for the weekend pass are $60 for adults and $20 for children.

One-day passes are available for $30 for adults and $10 for children, but that does not include autographs.

Winter Weekend starts on Friday and ends on Sunday with a Wally-themed breakfast. Tickets for the breakfast will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.



Photo Credit: MLB.com]]>
<![CDATA['Pita Rats' Battle for Flatbread in NYC Subway]]> Sat, 16 Jan 2016 19:57:43 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-97348933-subway-rat-generic.jpg

First New York's "pizza rat" had to compete for the internet's attention with a 'za-loving raccoon. Then, a bagel-wearing pigeon challenged the rodent for viral views.

But now, pizza rat is being challenged by two of its own species with a penchant for Mediterranean food.

CNN reports that a pair of "pita rats" were spotted trying to drag a flatbread up the stairs at the Herald Square station earlier this week.

The two appear to be competing to take the whole pita home, with the victor eventually dragging the bread up the platform stairs.

Last year, social media users were fascinated by the now-famous pizza rat, which was caught on camera dragging a slice of pizza down a set of subway stairs. Video of the rat garnered more than 8 million views on YouTube.



Photo Credit: File -- NY Daily News via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Devon Still Got His Strength From Leah in Cancer Fight]]> Fri, 15 Jan 2016 18:58:03 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/487634272.jpg

Devon Still happily announced earlier this week that his daughter Leah was done with her final cancer treatment, but it was a day he initially feared might never come.

"When we first started off, it seemed so far away,'' Still told TODAY.com. "When she received her first treatment and it didn't work, that was the scariest moment. I thought I would end up losing my daughter."

Leah, 5, has been an inspiration in the fight against pediatric cancer since she was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma in June 2014 and given a 50-50 chance to survive by doctors. Devon, a defensive lineman with the Houston Texans, documented her battle on Instagram, which gave him a chance to reflect this week on how far she has come since that scary time 18 months ago.

"I looked through all the different pictures from when we started until the end, and I feel very blessed that we were able to make it through this,'' he said. "Social media really helped a lot during the dark times."



Photo Credit: File -- FilmMagic]]>
<![CDATA[Janet Jackson Reschedules Hartford Concert Date]]> Fri, 15 Jan 2016 13:34:20 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_643464151739.jpg

The new dates for Janet Jackson's postponed Unbreakable World Tour are out and she will be in Hartford at the XL Center on Aug. 21. 

Jackson posted on her Facebook page on Christmas Eve that she'd have to postpone her world tour until the spring because her doctors are having her undergo surgery. 

On Thursday, she shared the news on Facebook that the tour has been rescheduled.

"Hey you guys, I'm happy to let you know all the shows have been rescheduled. I can't wait to see you! Xoxo," she posted.

Jackson was scheduled to perform in Hartford on Feb. 27, but the show will now be at 8 p.m. on Aug. 21 and the doors open at 7 p.m. 

See the full list here.



Photo Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Cinderella Brings Its Magic to The Bushnell]]> Wed, 13 Jan 2016 15:25:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/CINDERELLA_Kaitlyn_Davidson_and_Andy_Huntington_Jones_from_the_RodgersHammersteins_CINDERELLA_tour_Photo_by_Carol_Rosegg+1200.jpg Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Cinderella" runs at the Bushnell through Jan. 17.

Photo Credit: Carol Roseg]]>
<![CDATA[McDonald's Unveils New, Sleek Packaging]]> Thu, 07 Jan 2016 13:08:14 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/McDonald%27s+All.png

McDonald’s just got a major makeover.

To start off the New Year on a fresh foot the fast-food giant took on a resolution of its own: to completely overhaul the look and feel of their packaging, opting to go with colors outside of their traditional red and yellow staples for the first time in more than six decades.

This month McDonald’s restaurants across the U.S. will begin handing customers brand new carry-out bags, fountain cups and sandwich boxes that they hope reflect the “simple” and “fresh” food the company says they aim to carry. The transition to the new packaging will expand to all 36,000 restaurants worldwide throughout 2016, according the company announcement.

Each day 69 million customers visit McDonald’s, and the company says they wanted to give their customers a noticeable change from the mainstay McDonald's look. They believe the upgraded bright and clean take-out designs are more inline with the company’s vision to be a “modern and progressive” burger company.

“McDonald’s is a fun and modern brand and this was a progressive way to turn our packaging into art and support a community where fashion is an expression,” said Matt Biespiel, McDonald’s senior director of global marketing. “It was fun to join these ideas together and create playful pieces that connect our customers to the brand.”

The company also announced they plan to source all of their fiber-based packaging from recycled or certified sources by 2020.

“We’re proud of the progress we’ve made and initiatives like this are important to our customers who care about the planet,” continued Biespiel in the company’s statement.



Photo Credit: McDonald's
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<![CDATA[Brooklyn Restaurant Sells Gold-Flaked $100 Doughnut]]> Thu, 07 Jan 2016 11:43:41 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-72742667Sufganiyot112515.jpg

In 2016, the cronut is passé. New Yorkers now have another exuberant pastry to sink their teeth into: Manila Social Club’s so-called “Golden Doughnut.”

Since Bjorn DelaCruz, the founder of the recently-opened Filipino restaurant, posted an image of the $100 doughnut to Instagram last week, there’s been buzz about the dish.

DelaCruz spoke to the website First We Feast about the doughnut, which is filled with ube mousse, covered with champagne frosting and topped with 24-karat gold.

“The Golden Cristal Ube Donut came along because there is a brewery in Bushwick called Braven Brewery, and we know the owners…We had a doughnut event where I unveiled a doughnut with icing made with Braven White IPA, dusted with gold. That was the beginning of the golden doughnut [idea].”

DelaCruz went on to tell the website that the ingredients were hand-picked to craft a delicious dish.

“I take pride in this, and to me it’s a piece of art,” he told First We Feast.

“I cook with [those ingredients] because I think they taste good,” he said.

Manila Social Club is located in Williamsburg at 2 Hope Street. It is open Tuesday to Saturday for dinner; Saturday and Sunday for brunch; Monday through Friday for coffee service in the morning.

[[364270141, C]]



Photo Credit: File -- Getty Images
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<![CDATA[What to Do With Your Tickets to Postponed Janet Jackson Concert]]> Mon, 04 Jan 2016 11:57:50 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_643464151739.jpg

If you bought tickets for Janet Jackson's postponed Unbreakable World Tour in Hartford at the XL Center, you'll still be able to use them when the tour is rescheduled. 

Janet Jackson posted on her Facebook page on Christmas Eve that she'll have to postpone her world tour until the spring because her doctors are having her undergo surgery. 

"Hey you guys… Happy Holidays to each and every one of you. I need you to know, I learned today, from my doctors that I must have surgery soon," Jackson posted on her Facebook page Dec. 24. "It breaks my heart to tell you that I am forced to postpone the Unbreakable Tour until the spring. Every date will be rescheduled. Please hold on to your tickets. They will be honored in a special way when the new schedule is announced. Please pray for me, my family and our entire company during this difficult time. There will be no further comment. I love you all so much and am ever grateful for your understanding and your love. Gon' b alright."

Jackson had been scheduled to perform in Hartford on Feb. 27. The XL Center posted that her tour "has been postponed until further notice."

"Tickets that have already been purchased will still be valid for the TBD postponed date," the XL Center posted on its website.

The entertainment venue encourages ticket holders to hold on to your tickets until a new date for the concert has been confirmed, however "refunds can be made at the point of purchase."

Anyone who paid online or over the phone using a credit card can receive a refund by calling 877-522-8499. Customers who bought their tickets in cash at the XL Center box office can return their tickets there to obtain a refund. The XL Center's box office is open Mondays to Fridays from noon to 5 p.m.



Photo Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[2016 Sun WineFest Starts Jan. 29]]> Fri, 01 Jan 2016 15:24:02 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/white-wine-generic-186205780.jpg

Mohegan Sun is a destination for wine lovers every January during the annual Sun WineFest and this year, the event runs from Jan. 29 to Jan. 31.

Guests at this 13th annual Sun Winefest will have an opportunity to try more than 1,000 varieties of wine and beer.

Several celebrity chefs will be at Mohegan Sun for the celebration of food and drinks, including Rocco DiSpirito.

The event begins on Friday evening with a bourbon tasting, which will also include hors d'oeuvres and cigar sampling.

A wine tasting with the owner of Wither's Winery, which is located in California, as well as one with the owner of another California winery, Donelan Wines, will also be held on Friday night.

More wine and food tastings are planned for Saturday, with a grand tasting beginning at noon.

Later In the afternoon, guests can taste some of the best vintages in the world at the Elite Cru Tasting.

On Saturday night, watch celebrity chefs prepare the dishes they are famous for, along with wine and beer tastings to go along with each dish.

Another grand tasting gets underway on Sunday afternoon.

Get ticket information for the event, as well as the individual tastings, on the Sunfest website.



Photo Credit: ASAblanca via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[25 Things to Do on New Year’s Eve in Connecticut]]> Thu, 31 Dec 2015 08:11:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/fireworkssdsan.jpg

Whether your New Year’s Eve calls for a night on the town or a family affair, Connecticut offers something for everyone.

Here are 25 New Year’s Eve parties around the state. Comment below with any other suggestions you’d like to share.

Mohegan Sun Arena (Mohegan Sun, Uncasville)
7:30 p.m.: Little Big Town with special guest Holly Williams.

Comix at Mohegan Sun
9:30 p.m.: 2016 Comix Countdown with Godfrey and Pianos

Wolf Den (Mohegan Sun, Uncasville)
8 p.m.: New Year’s Eve with Boogie Wonder Band

Roaring New Year's Eve Part at Mohegan Sun
9 p.m. Enjoy live music, a DJ, cocktails and more at Sticks & Stones! Tickets are $125 per person.

Party Into the New Year at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center And Uncas Ballroom
10:30 p.m.: Enjoy an open bar, champagne toast at midnight and a breakfast buffet as we ring in 2016. Tickets are $150 at the door.

Imagine Dragons at Foxwoods
Rock out with Imagine Dragons and MS MR. The show starts at 10 p.m. 

Shrine (Foxwoods, Mashantucket)
 9 p.m. Resident DJ JD will be with us to celebrate for the ultimate NYE party! Tickets are $60

Scorpion Bar (Foxwoods, Mashantucket)
Toast to 2016 at Scorpion Bar’s rockin’ New Year’s Eve party with DJ Jay Spring. 

Hard Rock Café (Foxwoods, Mashantucket)
Door opens at 10 p.m. for the Rockin' New Year's Eve Party and the party goes until 2:30 a.m.
$25 advance, $30 at the door

New Year’s Eve 2016 High Rollers (Foxwoods, Mashantucket)
Your ultimate New Year’s Eve party awaits you at High Rollers. Kick off 2016 with the full experience featuring music by DJ John Cardona, bowling, lounge tables and more.

New Year's Eve Comedy and Dance Party in Naugatuck
H
ead to Comedy Club in Naugatuck for the New Year's Eve Comedy and Dance Party. It starts at 7 p.m. with a martini madness party. Enjoy the hors dourves and appetizer bar buffet from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., followed by a comedy show. Dance at the DJ dance party and enjoy a champagne toast at midnight. Tickets are $75 per person.

One Ticket – Two Bars (Stamford)
You can buy one ticket and attend both Bar-BQ and McFadden’s.
Ticket includes entrance, a four-hour open bar 8 p.m.-12 a.m., a full dinner buffet from 8 p.m. - 10 p.m., party favors and a champagne toast at midnight

New Year’s Eve Gala – The Country House (East Haven)
The evening includes entertainment by Local Motion Entertainment, an open bar, a champagne toast at midnight, and the meal selections below. This event is held from 7:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. and is priced at $200.00 per couple. Tax and gratuity included.

Shakedown New Year's Eve Extravaganza at Toad’s Place
New Year’s Eve Extravaganza stars at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.

First Night Hartford
Families and friends of all ages can attend this alcohol-free celebration. The day is full of countless performances at multiple downtown arts and culture venues and churches. There will be two fireworks shows. One is at 6 p.m.. and the other will be at midnight. Get updates on the event's Facebook page. 

First Night Westport/Weston
You can walk to all the venues in Downtown Westport and take a free bus to Saugatuck Elementary School. Venues for children of all ages.Events get underway at 3 p.m. and go until 10 p.m. There is a Pyrotechnic Display at 7:30 p.m. 

Countdown to Noon (Niantic)
10 a. m. to 2 p.m.
Explore the constellations with StarLab. Build, create, imagine with "Lets Get Building." "Crazy Science" and activities galore! Balloons drop at noon and activities continue until 2!
Day of event: $7 for members or $9 for nonmembers.

New Year’s Eve Comedy Extravaganza (Waterbury)
Seven Angels Theater
Rob Bartlett from the Imus in the morning program and the Bartlettes. There will be two shows. The first is at 6:30 p.m. The second is at 9:30 p.m. and will include appetizers and a champagne toast at midnight.

Galaxy Roller Rink (Groton)
The Early Party
Noon to 5 p.m., $8 admission at the door. Free party hats and noise makers, The countdown to 2016 with the Giant Balloon and stuffed animal drop at “Early-Midnight” (4 p.m.) The Late Party 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., $15 admission at the door or pre-sale tickets Available for $13 below. Free party hats and noise makers The countdown to 2016 with the Giant Balloon and stuffed animal drop at midnight

New Year’s Eve Contra Dance Party (West Hartford)
West Hartford Town Hall
6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Pot Luck Dinner
8 p.m. to 12:20 a.m. Dance

Dancing New Year’s Eve CT (Stamford)
Sheraton Stamford Hotel: Dine, Dance & Party. A combination of a full dinner and open bar. Party to Hustle, Salsa, West Coast Swing, today’s hot Dance tracks + more with Midnight champagne toast.
Music provided by DJ’s Nino Torre & Wes Carrajat.

Amarante’s Sea Cliff (New Haven)
7 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Eat well, drink well and have a night of celebration at Amarante’s Sea Cliff!Premium open bar. Music for dancing. Champagne toast. Hats and noise makers.

Black Bear Saloon (Hartford)
$90 ticket includes a dinner buffet from 8-9:30 p.m., top shelf open bar from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., cover charge, party favors, and free champagne toast at midnight!

Billy Tee’s Exclusive 2015 (Cromwell)
6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Introductory ticket price: $35/person
Evening includes: Array of hot and cold appetizers, gourmet food stations, desserts, live band; neighborhood watch playing inside the Hideaway along w/ DJ Pons inside the Main restaurant. NYE party favors & midnight champagne toast.

New Year’s Eve with Shiny Lapel Trio (Madison)
Madison Beach Hotel
Option 1: Wine & Dine Package – This New Year’s Eve package includes a 4-course prix fixe dinner for two in The Wharf restaurant. $130 per couple
Dance the Night Away Package – This New Year’s Eve package includes a midnight champagne toast, open bar and entertainment by Shiny Lapel Trio. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. and the band will be on stage from 9 p.m. to midnight. $189 per couple
Wine, Dine & Dance Package – This New Year’s Eve package includes a 4-course prix fixe dinner in The Wharf and entertainment by Shiny Lapel Trio. $309 per couple for the party package
Wine, Dine, Dance, Bed & Breakfast – This New Year’s Eve package includes options 1 and 2 and overnight accommodations, with a continental breakfast the next morning. Starting at $569 per couple.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Michelle Obama Joins NORAD's Santa Tracking Effort]]> Fri, 25 Dec 2015 14:26:59 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/michelle-obama-santa-tracker-norad.jpg

Santa Claus made his way around the world and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) tracked his entire movement. He continued his ride well into Christmas Day, dropping presents off in Hawaii before heading back to the North Pole.

The jolly man in red visited children in countries across the world, including Australia, New Zealand, Japan, China, Kyrgyzstan, India, Afghanistan and Yemen, delivering more than six billion gifts. Santa's last destination was Hawaii after visiting mainland United States. He delivered a total of 7,281,439,471 gifts, NORAD said.

First Lady Michelle Obama volunteered with the tracking effort Thursday night, calling children across the country to see if they wanted to know how far along Santa was and asking if they were excited to see what presents he'd bring them.

"I’m probably going to ask my mom if I can take a pill that will help me sleep, because otherwise I’m going to stay up all night," said a boy named Peyton when Obama asked if he would stay up late, according to a White House press release.

But not every child she talked to was keeping up with the sleigh. Obama spoke with a boy named Anthony who told her he was watching television.

"You’re just watching TV?  But it’s Christmas Eve!" Obama said. "Aren’t you excited that Santa is going to be coming in the morning?"

Anthony replied: "Yeah, but I just -- I get to watch TV."

This Christmas Eve was the 60th year that NORAD, which monitors the skies and seas for threats to the U.S., tracked Santa Claus’ journey. The tradition started in 1955 when Colonel Harry Shoup received a phone call from a child expecting to reach Santa Claus.

The misdirected call was the result of the child reversing two numbers of a Santa Line phone number printed in a Sears advertisement, according to the National Archives.

Sixty years later, there are now 1,250 volunteers manning phone lines to answer questions about the trip. NORAD also has a website where people were able to track the trek. The volunteers are a mix of Canadian and American military personnel and Department of Defense civilians.

The Santa Tracker hotline could be reached at 877-446-6723 starting at 5 a.m. EST on December 24th and continuing through 5 a.m. ET on December 25th.

Official NORAD Tracks Santa apps are available in the Windows, Apple and Google Play stores. Tracking opportunities are also offered on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Google+. Santa followers just need to type “@noradsanta” into each search engine to get started.

Google joined in on the trailing fun with its own tracker

NBC's Asher Klein contributed to this report. 



Photo Credit: White House
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<![CDATA[Jetpacks, Virtual Reality: Tech to Watch for in 2016]]> Thu, 17 Dec 2015 15:37:03 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Martin-Jetpack-GettyImages-500287988.jpg

The world of technology is rife with opportunity, but which good ideas will become great devices in 2016? Here’s a look at the gadgets that could shape our lives in the months ahead.

JETPACKS

You may have seen footage recently of a man with a jetpack soaring around the Statue of Liberty. And although you can't get one — yet — that could change in the coming year, thanks to rival companies that hope to put personal jetpacks on the market.

Martin Jetpack, born in 1998 from the dream of a New Zealand college student, plans to make jetpacks available to first responders in 2016. Funded mostly by private investors, the company developed a prototype cleared for manned test flights in 2013 by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority.

Describing its brainchild as "the world's first practical jetpack," Martin Jetpack envisions "potential usage spanning search and rescue, military, recreation and commercial applications, both manned and unmanned," according to its website.

The company's customizable First Responder Jetpack will be available in the second half of 2016 for $200,000. According to Martin Jetpack, the device is meant to help with firefighting, rescue missions, border patrol, disaster relief, pipeline inspections and other emergency services.

Martin Jetpack agreed in November to provide Dubai Civil Defense with 20 jetpacks and two simulators.

Also debuting in 2016 is the Martin Jetpack Experience, a simulation conducted in a "closely controlled flight environment" with help from an instructor on the ground. The simulator is meant to mimic the experience of flying a jetpack and is intended for the "hospitality and tourism sector," according to the company's website.

Personal jetpacks won't be far behind. Martin Jetpack plans to roll out a recreational device by 2017 but emphasizes that "the aircraft will only be produced when internal and external safety and reliability standards are met."

Safety features will include a ballistic parachute system, along with a pilot module and landing gear to protect the operator. The device, made mostly of carbon fiber, epoxy, foam and aluminum, has a specially designed aircraft engine and two duct fans that provide lift. It can cover about 30 miles and sustain a flight time of 30 minutes, according to the company. Maximum speed is roughly 45 mph, with a cruising speed of 35 mph and a recommended altitude of 500 feet.

The jetpack's "target price" will be under $150,000 and requires a $5,000 deposit, which puts interested buyers on a waiting list.

Martin Jetpack's device is rivaled by that of California-based Jetpack Aviation, the company behind the Statue of Liberty flight that garnered national attention in November.

The model being tested, the JB-9, "is small enough to sit in the back seat of a car but powerful enough to fly thousands of feet high," according to the company, which boasts "the world's only true jetpack" powered by twin jet engines.

Although it's unclear when a model could be commercially available, Jetpack Aviation says on its website "the whole team is dedicated to bringing a real JetPack to market." The company aims to showcase the JB-9 at flight shows internationally and is developing a next-generation model designed to climb 10,000 feet and travel 100 mph. Flight time will be limited to about 10 minutes, according the company's website.

Jetpack Aviation says it's also "in discussions with several parties about developing a JetPack racing series" — think NASCAR for jetpacks.

VIRTUAL REALITY

As virtual reality comes to the forefront, technology expert Lon Seidman wonders, "What’s the experience going to be like?"

Industry frontrunner Oculus VR — bought by Facebook this year for $2 billion — plans to launch its Windows-compatible virtual reality system in the first quarter of 2016, the company has announced. When hooked up to a Windows 10 PC, Oculus Rift will allow users to stream Xbox One games in virtual reality, according to CNET. An Xbox controller and camera will track body movements, and users will don a headset that could cost $1,500.

While Oculus may have the name recognition, Seidman said industry experts are more impressed with competitor HTC, which will launch its Vive headset in 2016. The technology, designed for computer games, will give users a 360-degree virtual experience. Sensors tracking head rotation and body location will allow gamers to walk around inside their virtual worlds, according to HTC.

Also in the mix is PlayStation VR, developed by Sony and formerly known as Project Morpheus. The virtual reality headset will work in conjunction with PlayStation 4 and is set to launch in the first half of 2016. According to PlayStation, head movements and controller location will be "reflected in the game's images in real time." It will retail for about $500 and is expected to sell two million units in its first year, Fortune reports.

Technology research group TrendForce predicts 14 million virtual reality devices will be sold in 2016. While virtual reality will find a niche in the gaming industry, it could ultimately become a "legitimate entertainment option" stretching to the silver screen, according to CNET.

DRONES

Drones have dropped bombs, scouted fires and rescued puppies. They've also become wildly popular among hobbyists, topping gift lists during the 2015 holiday season. Officials with the Federal Aviation Administration said they expect "hundreds of thousands" of drones will be gifted this month.

Also known as unmanned aerial vehicles, drones are operated by remote control or onboard computers and often equipped with cameras, making them appealing to filmmakers, realtors and journalists seeking aerial footage. The NFL is also experimenting with drones and obtained permission from the FAA in September to film practices.

Seidman said he expects drones to continue gaining traction in 2016.

"I think we are going to see a lot of consumer and industrial applications, more autonomy and falling prices," Seidman said. "It's amazing how far they've come in a short period of time."

As drone popularity surges, new regulations are in place. The FAA announced Dec. 14 that all recreational drones weighing between 0.55 and 55 pounds must be registered for a $5 fee, to be waived through Jan. 20, 2016.

Hobbyists who acquire drones before Dec. 21 will need to register them by Feb. 19, 2016. Drones obtained after Dec. 21 must be registered before flying outdoors for the first time, according to the new FAA guidelines. Registration is valid for three years and applies to all drones in a hobbyist’s fleet.

Dozens of consumer models are on the market already, including several by industry leader DJI. GoPro will enter the market in 2016 with the launch of its highly anticipated Karma drone. Although 3D Robotics' Solo drone features wireless GoPro streaming, Karma will be the first UAV produced directly by GoPro. The company says it will give away 100 drones at launch.

Online drone delivery options are also in the works. Google hopes to debut its Project Wing service in 2017, and Amazon has explored the idea of 30-minute drone deliveries for Prime subscribers. Wal-Mart, too, has expressed interest in using drones to deliver orders and asked U.S. regulators in October for permission to begin testing the technology.

HOVERBOARDS

Otherwise known as self-balancing electric scooters, the device made famous by "Back to the Future" went from concept to reality in 2015.

While self propelled, hoverboards aren't actually airborne. They balance on two wheels and respond to foot pressure, changing speed as you lean back and forth. Hoverboards range in price from $300 to $1,500, and in this case, you might get what you pay for.

While sought-after, the devices have been cause for concern amid reports of self-combustion.

Federal authorities are investigating a string of recent hoverboard fires — about a dozen in as many states. Most ignited while the devices were plugged in and charging, likely the result of overheated lithium-ion batteries.

"They are very power dense and thus can be dangerous if the electronics and engineering controlling charging are not well implemented," Seidman explained. "As these cheap knockoffs are cutting corners to hit a price point, this is what can happen."

A class-action lawsuit filed days before Christmas singles out popular hoverboard brand Swagway, which did not immediately comment but said previously it met all the safety criteria of Amazon, which yanked several brands — including Swagway — from its online marketplace.

Overstock.com halted the sale of hoverboards entirely and offered refunds to customers who purchased them. Major airlines have prohibited hoverboards, and some 15,000 devices have been seized at the U.K. border.

Amid the fallout, the Consumer Technology Association announced a ban on hoverboards at the January 2016 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, the largest event of its kind in the U.S., CNBC reports.

Seidman called the self-combusting hoverboards "a great example of the commoditized nature of tech these days" and said it could be a challenge to regulate the burgeoning market.

"There are so many knock-offs that were rushed to market with cheap components that cause the issues we're seeing out there," he explained. "With Amazon, eBay, AliExpress, etc. all making it very easy for Chinese electronics factories to sell goods direct to U.S. consumers for low prices, I think we'll see a lot more of this kind of thing in the future, unfortunately."

While Fortune predicted in November hoverboards would "go mainstream" in 2016, Seidman said safety concerns could deal a blow to the industry.

"I am sure this will impact sales," he said the day the lawsuit was filed, "especially for the legit brands that are now paying the price for their cheap competitors who knocked off their designs."

APPLE PRODUCTS

A dominant force in the industry, Apple continues to push the creative envelope.

The company's quest to build a slimmer iPhone could soon make your earbuds obsolete. According to a report cited by USA Today, the iPhone 7 could be too thin to support a traditional headphone jack, requiring users to enlist the help of Bluetooth or buy a Lightning port adapter.

Eliminating the jack — and the motherboard components that go along with it — would cut costs and allow for a bigger battery, according to Seidman, who said he "wouldn’t be surprised if they did that" in 2016.

That aside, Seidman said he doesn't expect any major iPhone upgrades in 2016, since even a trailblazer like Apple is "limited by the technology" that's available. Because the company has been releasing phones on an annual basis, Seidman said to expect the iPhone 7 in September.

The technology to watch, he said, is Apple TV and competitors such as Amazon Prime Video, which allow subscribers to stream movies and TV shows from the Internet.

"You might see them pushing the cable industry harder," he explained. "I think you’re going to see companies like Apple act more like cable companies, where you can a-la-carte choose which channels you want to watch."

A spokesperson for Apple declined to comment on what's in the works.

SELF-DRIVING CARS

Driverless technology is ever-developing. Seidman said Tesla, which has less to lose than higher-profile manufacturers, will likely "push the hardest" in terms of putting that technology into practice.

Tesla’s autopilot feature allows cars to park, steer, change lanes and avoid collisions on their own. According to the Chicago Tribune, the technology works in concert with advanced cruise control, which allows cars to maintain a certain distance from other vehicles by automatically speeding up and slowing down in traffic.

Google has also been an industry leader, with its self-driving model in the works since 2009. The prototype is equipped with a series of sensors that can detect surrounding objects — from cars and pedestrians to road debris and animals — at a distance of up to two football fields.

Google’s modified Lexus SUVs and specially designed self-driving models are being tested in California and Texas, where they’ve already clocked more than a million miles. Google hopes to expand to other areas of the country and run pilot programs to see how ordinary people would take advantage of driverless cars.

Another tech company, Comet Robotics, aims to bring self-driving cars to 30 U.S. cities by the end of 2016, according to a report published by the New York Observer. Based in Michigan, the company envisions driverless buses that can carry up to 70 people. Public transit trials are planned at the University of Southern Florida in Tampa, as well as two other Florida cities, Seattle, and Greenville, South Carolina.

Comet Robotics is also working with the U.S. Army on a pilot program to bring "ground mobile robots" to military bases, according the company's website. The U.S. Military Academy at West Point may be among the first to test the technology.

Commercially, however, Seidman said most automakers are likely to pace themselves in the coming year.

"You might see updates to the software to give (cars) more functionality," Seidman said. "If they have the ability to do it, they’ll slowly upgrade the cars to do more."

He said most vehicles "can do a lot more" than what's on the market, but legal and ethical questions have slowed the application of driverless features. A self-driving car might, for instance, have to choose between protecting a passenger and avoiding a pedestrian.

"If a baby carriage is in front of the car, do you take out the baby carriage or do you drive off a cliff?" he wondered. "Those are real questions and we have to answer those."

There's also concern over whether automated features will actually work the way they're supposed to. California has drafted rules requiring drivers to stay behind the wheel until testing confirms driverless vehicles are safe and reliable.

AFFORDABLE DEVICES

Less discussed but perhaps wider reaching is the rapid declining cost of technology, according to Seidman, who said you can now purchase a "workable PC" for $99 or a Google Chromebook for $150. Chromebooks listed in Google's online store range from $149 to upwards of $999, with most models priced between $249 and $300.

"Families that couldn’t afford any computer at all can now get one for $99 that’s something usable," Seidman explained. "You’ve got something very interesting, especially for families that are trying to reduce the digital divide in their own homes."

He said lower prices are putting better technology in the hands of more people, including students, who often have to shell out hundreds of dollars for a single textbook.

Seidman said the challenge will be "convincing people that $99 computers really are useful" when they’re accustomed to spending hundreds, if not thousands, for a quality machine.

"The cost is going to go across every sector — education, consumers, business — that, I think, is the biggest thing that no one’s really talking about," he said. 



Photo Credit: ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Holiday Music Events Benefit Community Soup Kitchen]]> Wed, 16 Dec 2015 16:06:49 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/interiorPicture.jpg

The New Haven Symphony Orchestra will hold a dinner and special performance to benefit the Community Soup kitchen in the city. 

The fourth oldest orchestra in the country will have a dinner prior to a concert Thursday from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Tickets for the general public will be a $40 donation. Beef stew, emerald chicken, vegetable curry, salad and brown bread will be served at Anna Liffey's at 17 Whitney Avenue in downtown New Haven. 

After the feast, NHSO's Holiday Extravaganza will be held at Woolsey Hall to "will warm hearts and enchant listeners with music."

Kids will be admitted for free with the purchase of an adult ticket. 

All of the proceeds will benefit Community Soup Kitchen.

To make a reservation please call (203) 865-0831 ext. 13 or email Development@NewHavenSymphony.org.



Photo Credit: New Haven Symphony Orchestra]]>
<![CDATA[Full Moon to Light Santa's Way Christmas Day]]> Tue, 15 Dec 2015 07:05:47 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-520845169.jpg

It's going to be a white Christmas this year – not necessarily with snow, but with bright moonlight.

Christmas morning coincides with a full moon this year, NASA says. And according to The Weather Channel, it's the first time a full moon will rise on Christmas Day since 1977.

It's rare for Christmas to line up with the full moon. It won't happen again for another 19 years, until 2034, according to The Weather Channel, which spoke to a NASA moon expert.

The timing means that Christmas Eve will be the brightest night of the holiday season in the U.S. (As long as there's no cloud cover.)

No word from NORAD, the U.S. military agency that tracks Santa's flight around the globe every year, on how moonlight affects his travel plans.



Photo Credit: File -- UIG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Real-Life Gingerbread House]]> Mon, 14 Dec 2015 19:00:28 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/200*120/christinegingerbread23456.jpg

Many children join their parents in the building of a gingerbread house as Christmas draws near. The gumdrops have to be placed along the cookie roof, the icing has to mimic snow along the front path, and the little picket fence, the one made out of wee candy canes, has to surround the whole edible enterprise.

Fewer children, however, create a gingerbread house out of their parents' real, physical, live-in home, no baking or flour required. Artist Christine H. McConnell recently did, and the results are straight out of a brightly illustrated storybook.

"I knew I wanted to do something really fun for Christmas," says Ms. McConnell, who turned to the candy-packed, bread-crumb-y tale of "Hansel & Gretel" for inspiration. This isn't the first time the popular photographer has employed her parents' historic Highland house as a very large canvas; she gave the front entry some impressive teeth during the recent Halloween season.

Calling the tale of two adventuresome kids and one very eatable abode "a lifelong favorite," Ms. McConnell spent "seven full 15 hour days working in total" on the toothsome transformation. As for the final photo? That's the artist at the center, and her nieces, too.

Let us also note, with admiration, that Grimm-tastic garb seen on the models was also handmade by Ms. McConnell.

Stripey front pillars and frolicsome gingerbread people and a trim that looks like it came straight from a tube of thick white frosting give the home, which the artist calls "versatile," its fanciful fairy tale wear.

Best not to walk up to the house, though, and try to sneak a lick or bite in -- that's paint and Insulfoam you're looking at, and not chocolate or peppermint.

What will Ms. McConnell see next in the front of her mom and dad's place? Her Instagram followers, who number into the two hundred thousands, know she has a stylish penchant for arch symbolism and surreal details and retro chic and cheeky satire. 

Could the Easter Bunny's whimsical warren be next for a certain Southern California home? Stay tuned, lovers of domestic daft-a-tude and seasonal flights of fancy. 



Photo Credit: Christine H. McConnell]]>
<![CDATA[American Idol Winner, Trinity Grad to Perform in All-Star Christmas Show]]> Sat, 12 Dec 2015 16:55:10 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Nick+Fradiani+DD+6+1200.jpg

Two performers with Connecticut ties who have grown in popularity and reputation in the music industry over the past year are returning to the Nutmeg state to ring in the holidays with other all-star musicians.

American Idol winner Nick Fradiani, a Guilford native, is back home to open the All-Star Christmas concert hosted by 96.5 TIC at the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford. He'll go on at 6:30 p.m., followed by Charlie Puth at 7:05 p.m. and Nate Ruess at 7:50 p.m.

"Back in CT! Just a few hours till the 96.5 TIC All-Star Christmas at the Oakdale Theatre! Playing a bunch of songs off the upcoming album," Fradiani posted on his Facebook page.

Then, Trinity College graduate Rachel Platten, most known for her song, "Fight Song," will take to the stage at 8:40 p.m., followed by The Band Perry at 9:30 p.m. Platten has a new album called "Wildfire" that's available for pre-order.

"Two shows tonight. One in Poughkeepsie and one in CT. WOOHOO. I have a holiday sweater on and I'm ready to rock," Platten tweeted, including festive holiday emojis.

Rob Thomas closes the show at 10:30 p.m.

Doors open for the concert at 5:30 p.m.



Photo Credit: Jessie Sawyer/NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Reindeer Sprinkles on Live TV]]> Fri, 11 Dec 2015 16:39:15 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/reindeer-pees-on-live-tv-blurb2.jpg

Oh, deer.

When a reindeer visited NBC 7 News Midday Friday, he surprised the station's anchors on live television as only an animal can.

As soon as Megan Tevrizian and Jason Austell introduced Rudy and his animal ambassador Jen Miller, Rudy decided it was time to relieve himself in the San Diego studio.

Miller didn't miss a beat saying, "Right on cue. All this wonderful food that he's eating."

She then moved the conversation along to talk about SeaWorld's Christmas celebration being open until Jan. 3. 

As for Rudy, he didn't seem fazed at all.

See the video embedded with this article. Mobile users can click here.

]]>
<![CDATA[WATCH: Magic Trick Makes Orangutan Crack Up]]> Fri, 11 Dec 2015 10:02:01 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-73348506.jpg

Turns out it doesn't take much to monkey around with an orangutan.

That much is clear in a YouTube video posted Monday that's already been seen by over 500,000 people, according to TODAY. In it, an orangutan from the Barcelona Zoo cracks up over a simple magic trick.

In user Dan Zaleski's video, the orangutan watches with interest as a man places a nut in an empty cup. When he sneakily slips the object out of the cup and shows the monkey there's nothing inside again, the monkey rolls over laughing, like the zoo resident were at a taping of "Saturday Night Live."

Watch the full video on TODAY.com.



Photo Credit: File -- AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Hanukkah Doughnuts: All About Sufganiyot]]> Wed, 09 Dec 2015 07:12:53 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-72742667Sufganiyot112515.jpg

The eight days of Hanukkah are marked by song, prayer and of course, food — especially of the fried variety.

The Jewish holiday, which this year begins at sunset on Dec. 6 and ends at nightfall Dec. 14, commemorates the rededication of the second Holy Temple in ancient Jerusalem following a revolt against the Syrian-Greeks.

The holiday, also known as the Festival of Lights, celebrates that there was only enough oil for one day to keep lit a light that was supposed to always remain aglow. But that oil lasted for eight days, long enough for more oil to arrive after the temple had been ransacked.

To this day, Jews around the world remember the miracle by consuming foods fried in oil. Potato latkes are one of the most popular foods consumed during the holiday, but the fried feasting continues into dessert, too, with the sweet treat known as sufganiyot. The word comes from the Hebrew root for "sponge," where the doughnut soaks up the oil.

Sufganiyot (pronounced Soof-GAH-NEE-yote; the singular spelling is sufganiyah) are deep-fried, jelly or custard filled doughnuts, typically topped with powdered sugar. The food originates from Israel, although it’s part of a wider tradition than just Jewish cuisine, according to Poopa Dweck, author of "Aromas of Aleppo: The Legendary Cuisine of Syrian Jews."

"Throughout the Middle East, (sufganiyot) are sold as street food," Dweck said. "It's not just a Jewish food. It's an Arab food that the Arab Jews enjoy throughout the Middle East. It's not an exclusively Jewish food; it's an Arabic food. It's part of shared heritage."

Making sufganiyot can be tricky because it requires patience, as well as extra cookware, as Sheri Silver can attest. Silver, who runs Donuts, Dresses and Dirt, a food and gardening blog, advised buying a cheap clip-on thermometer to make sure that the oil is set to the correct temperature, 350 degrees.

"You don't want to burn the dough," Silver said, "but you also don't want it to sit in oil that's not hot enough, because you'll get leaden dough."

Another mistake to avoid is crowding the pot with dough balls, Silver said, because the dough needs room, so stick to two or three per pot.

"The more pots you have, the better," she said. “I’ll work with three frying pans at a time."

Silver said she prefers more tried-and-true sufganiyot recipes, even though food blogging has encouraged people to experiment with traditional foods.

"There’s pumpkin-spice everything and Nutella everything," Silver said. "I think when it comes to a fried doughnut, I like to keep it on the more traditional side."

Dweck, whose family hails from Aleppo, Syria, makes a Syrian variant dish known as zalabieh, fried pastry balls with a sugar syrup glaze, which are served alongside ataiyef, or ricotta-stuffed pancakes. This year, she is preparing her recipe with low-gluten spelt flour and sweetening it with agave syrup and clover honey, instead of pure sugar.

Using the agave and honey is "traditional, not trendy, because it’s like the molasses of old-fashioned ways," Dweck said.

Dweck said that what’s most important about Hanukkah is family gathering together around the menorah and remembering the miracle of the eight days of oil.

"This year, Hanukkah has so much meaning," she said. "Today, it’s so meaningful to know that miracles do happen. The food is a vehicle to get the message out."

Recipes courtesy of Poopa Dweck:

 



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[24 Things to do on New Year’s Eve in Connecticut]]> Wed, 30 Dec 2015 12:32:00 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/fireworkssdsan.jpg

Whether your New Year’s Eve calls for a night on the town or a family affair, Connecticut offers something for everyone.

Here are 24 New Year’s Eve parties around the state. Comment below with any other suggestions you’d like to share.

Mohegan Sun Arena (Mohegan Sun, Uncasville)
7:30 p.m.: Little Big Town with special guest Holly Williams.

Comix at Mohegan Sun
9:30 p.m.: 2016 Comix Countdown with Godfrey and Pianos

Wolf Den (Mohegan Sun, Uncasville)
8 p.m.: New Year’s Eve with Boogie Wonder Band

Roaring New Year's Eve Part at Mohegan Sun
9 p.m. Enjoy live music, a DJ, cocktails and more at Sticks & Stones! Tickets are $125 per person.

Party Into the New Year at the Mohegan Sun Convention Center And Uncas Ballroom
10:30 p.m.: Enjoy an open bar, champagne toast at midnight and a breakfast buffet as we ring in 2016. Tickets are $150 at the door.

Imagine Dragons at Foxwoods
Rock out with Imagine Dragons and MS MR. The show starts at 10 p.m. 

Shrine (Foxwoods, Mashantucket)
 9 p.m. Resident DJ JD will be with us to celebrate for the ultimate NYE party! Tickets are $60

Scorpion Bar (Foxwoods, Mashantucket)
Toast to 2016 at Scorpion Bar’s rockin’ New Year’s Eve party with DJ Jay Spring. 

Hard Rock Café (Foxwoods, Mashantucket)
Door opens at 10 p.m. for the Rockin' New Year's Eve Party and the party goes until 2:30 a.m.
$25 advance, $30 at the door

New Year’s Eve 2016 High Rollers (Foxwoods, Mashantucket)
Your ultimate New Year’s Eve party awaits you at High Rollers. Kick off 2016 with the full experience featuring music by DJ John Cardona, bowling, lounge tables and more.

One Ticket – Two Bars (Stamford)
You can buy one ticket and attend both Bar-BQ and McFadden’s.
Ticket includes entrance, a four-hour open bar 8 p.m.-12 a.m., a full dinner buffet from 8 p.m. - 10 p.m., party favors and a champagne toast at midnight

New Year’s Eve Gala – The Country House (East Haven)
The evening includes entertainment by Local Motion Entertainment, an open bar, a champagne toast at midnight, and the meal selections below. This event is held from 7:00 p.m. until 1:00 a.m. and is priced at $200.00 per couple. Tax and gratuity included.

Shakedown New Year's Eve Extravaganza at Toad’s Place
New Year’s Eve Extravaganza stars at 8 p.m. Tickets are $12.

First Night Hartford
Families and friends of all ages can attend this alcohol-free celebration. The day is full of countless performances at multiple downtown arts and culture venues and churches. Get updates on the event's Facebook page. 

First Night Westport/Weston
You can walk to all the venues in Downtown Westport and take a free bus to Saugatuck Elementary School. Venues for children of all ages.Events get underway at 3 p.m. and go until 10 p.m. There is a Pyrotechnic Display at 7:30 p.m. 

Countdown to Noon (Niantic)
10 a. m. to 2 p.m.
Explore the constellations with StarLab. Build, create, imagine with "Lets Get Building." "Crazy Science" and activities galore! Balloons drop at noon and activities continue until 2!
Day of event: $7 for members or $9 for nonmembers.

New Year’s Eve Comedy Extravaganza (Waterbury)
Seven Angels Theater
Rob Bartlett from the Imus in the morning program and the Bartlettes. There will be two shows. The first is at 6:30 p.m. The second is at 9:30 p.m. and will include appetizers and a champagne toast at midnight.

Galaxy Roller Rink (Groton)
The Early Party
Noon to 5 p.m., $8 admission at the door. Free party hats and noise makers, The countdown to 2016 with the Giant Balloon and stuffed animal drop at “Early-Midnight” (4 p.m.) The Late Party 8 p.m. to 1 a.m., $15 admission at the door or pre-sale tickets Available for $13 below. Free party hats and noise makers The countdown to 2016 with the Giant Balloon and stuffed animal drop at midnight

New Year’s Eve Contra Dance Party (West Hartford)
West Hartford Town Hall
6:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m. Pot Luck Dinner
8 p.m. to 12:20 a.m. Dance

Dancing New Year’s Eve CT (Stamford)
Sheraton Stamford Hotel: Dine, Dance & Party. A combination of a full dinner and open bar. Party to Hustle, Salsa, West Coast Swing, today’s hot Dance tracks + more with Midnight champagne toast.
Music provided by DJ’s Nino Torre & Wes Carrajat.

Amarante’s Sea Cliff (New Haven)
7 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Eat well, drink well and have a night of celebration at Amarante’s Sea Cliff!Premium open bar. Music for dancing. Champagne toast. Hats and noise makers.

Black Bear Saloon (Hartford)
$90 ticket includes a dinner buffet from 8-9:30 p.m., top shelf open bar from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m., cover charge, party favors, and free champagne toast at midnight!

Billy Tee’s Exclusive 2015 (Cromwell)
6:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Introductory ticket price: $35/person
Evening includes: Array of hot and cold appetizers, gourmet food stations, desserts, live band; neighborhood watch playing inside the Hideaway along w/ DJ Pons inside the Main restaurant. NYE party favors & midnight champagne toast.

New Year’s Eve with Shiny Lapel Trio (Madison)
Madison Beach Hotel
Option 1: Wine & Dine Package – This New Year’s Eve package includes a 4-course prix fixe dinner for two in The Wharf restaurant. $130 per couple
Dance the Night Away Package – This New Year’s Eve package includes a midnight champagne toast, open bar and entertainment by Shiny Lapel Trio. Doors open at 8:30 p.m. and the band will be on stage from 9 p.m. to midnight. $189 per couple
Wine, Dine & Dance Package – This New Year’s Eve package includes a 4-course prix fixe dinner in The Wharf and entertainment by Shiny Lapel Trio. $309 per couple for the party package
Wine, Dine, Dance, Bed & Breakfast – This New Year’s Eve package includes options 1 and 2 and overnight accommodations, with a continental breakfast the next morning. Starting at $569 per couple.
 



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Death Stars' Destruction and Star Wars Financial Woes]]> Wed, 02 Dec 2015 11:20:13 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/AP_382669718194.jpg

Destroying two Death Stars is bad business.

When the Rebel Alliance destroyed two Death Stars in the original "Star Wars" trilogy, the galactic economy would have taken such a hard hit that it would make apocalypse America's recent Great Recession, according to an academic paper published on Tuesday and reported by NBC News. 

Zachary Feinstein's paper,"It's a Trap: Emperor Palpatine's Poison Pill," concludes that the money needed to build two planet-sized weapons of mass destruction would require the galactic government to borrow large amounts of money from the bank. And they wouldn't have time to pay it all back since they soon lose to the Rebel Alliance, Feinstein concludes. 

This would leave the banks with a shortfall of more than $500 quintillion.

The Rebel Alliance would have to bail out the Imperial banking sector to prevent a devastating economic collapse. But the victors wouldn't have enough money to float such a bill, leaving the galaxy's economy in complete disarray. But hey, maybe Luke Skywalker can take a mortgage out on his light-saber.



Photo Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Shipping Tips for the Holiday Season]]> Wed, 02 Dec 2015 07:20:46 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/cyber-monday-packages.jpg

The holiday shopping season is underway so expect package predators and shipping slowdowns.

Postal inspectors make nearly 10,000 arrests each year, many for mail theft, according to the U.S. Postal Service website. The Postal Service also responds to more than 27,000 consumer fraud complaints, including reports of identity theft. About 800 police officers with the service respond to such complaints.

While online shopping may have added a great deal of convenience to many Americans' shopping experience, it has also brought about a phenomenon known as "porch pirating," and according to a new study by insuranceQuotes.com, 23 million Americans have had packages stolen from their doorsteps.

But there are steps you can take to make sure your purchase arrives where intended and in one piece. 

FedEx suggests requesting a signature for your package or shipping to an alternate destination where you know someone will be available to pick it up. Or, have the parcel kept on hold for up to five days at a FedEx office location.

UPS recommends wapping up fragile packages, whether toys, electronics, or appliances. The service also promotes a package timing calculator to ensure packages get to their destinations before Santa does.

Another tip: Place an extra address label with the delivery and return address inside the package. This could help return the package should its outside label become damaged or fall off.

USPS has similar suggestions for keeping your packages secure in transit, including making sure to wrap each item separately when packing multiple items and shaking a package to ensure items are snug. 

The U.S. Postal Service alone plans to deliver 19 billion cards, letters and packages by Christmas. Here are timetables that USPS, FedEx and UPS recommend for when packages should be sent out to make it under the tree by the holiday. And post offices nationwide will be open Christmas Eve but many will be closed by noon. Regular hours will be restored on New Year's Eve. Mailing delivery will be unaffected throughout the season. 

but many will shorten retail lobby hours and close at noon. Post Offices will be open regular hours on New Year's Eve. Mail delivery will be unaffected.

If you live in New York City, Chicago or San Francisco, there's an app, Doorman, that is designed to prevent unattended packages from being stolen. It gives users the address of a warehouse to use as the shipping address during online checkout. Once the package arrives at the warehouse, customers are notified and can arrange for a delivery driver to drop it off when convenient.

If all these tips prove to be unsuccessful and your package is stolen or destroyed, you can file a claim online with USPS, FedEx and UPS.



Photo Credit: Getty]]>
<![CDATA[Lyme Teen Singer Competes in Top 10 on 'The Voice' ]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 01:04:58 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/braiden+sunshine.JPG

A teenager from Lyme continues to shine in "The Voice" competition and sang again Monday night in the Top 10.

Braiden Sunshine, a sophomore at Lyme-Old Lyme High School, sang "Radioactive by Imagine Dragons for Team Gwen.

Last Tuesday, we learned that America's votes kept him in the running once again, propelling him to the Top 10 live round. Sunshine's father paid him a visit in his voice sessions with vocal coach Gwen Stefani, of No Doubt, ahead of Thanksgiving last week.

Sunshine made it through the voice battle and knockout rounds on Team Gwen to advance to the live shows. Sunshine is only 15 years old, one of the youngest contestants on the show, and that has stood to impress the judges throughout the season.

In addition to gaining vocal experience on the show, "The Voice" team has also been developing new looks for the teenager with the baby face. For several weeks, the show stylists had been slicking down his naturally curly hair and straightening it and he's been performing without his glasses. On Monday, he appeared with a new hair cut that was short on the side and heightened with curls on the top.

Braiden has been singing since he was 5 years old and performing in bands since he was 9. He says he wouldn’t be on "The Voice" if it wasn’t for his mom, Elizabeth Sunshine. She was the one who pushed him to audition in New Jersey.

You'll be able to cast your vote for him through noon on Tuesday by going to nbc.com/thevoice or voting through "The Voice" app at www.nbc.com/the-voice/app.

You can also vote for him by downloading his songs in the competition from iTunes.



Photo Credit: BraidenSunshine.com]]>
<![CDATA[New Haven Holiday Tree Lighting and Home for the Holidays Special]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 23:03:24 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/237*120/NH-HolidayTreeLighting-outlines.png

Come join us on the New Haven Green from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday for the New Haven Holiday Tree Lighting and our Home for the Holidays special.

The tree lighting is one of our biggest holiday events on the shoreline and it kicks off the holiday season.

Join us for the free event and visit Santa’s house, meet the NBC Connecticut team and enjoy live music, as well as carousel rides, a Ferris wheel, holiday crafts, horse-drawn carriage rides and much more. 

Frozen fans will enjoy special performances from Olaf and Elsa.

NBC Connecticut will also present our Home for the Holiday special at the New Haven tree lighting! If you cannot join us in person, tune in at 7 p.m. and watch it on NBC Connecticut.

]]>
<![CDATA[Holiday 2015: Gifts That Give Back]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 06:47:47 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/thumb-gifts-.gif This holiday season buy your loved ones gifts made with charity in mind. ]]> <![CDATA[Governor's Mansion to Open for Holiday Tours]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 17:51:51 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Connecticut+governors+mansion.jpg

Connecticut residents will have an opportunity to tour the Governor's Residence in Hartford.

This year's holiday open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Dec. 4 and Dec. 5, and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Dec. 6.

Admission is free and tickets are not needed. Donations will be accepted for Operation ELF, an annual effort by the Connecticut Military Department to help families of soldiers and airmen deployed during the holiday season.

About 30 volunteers will be on hand to provide tours of the residence, which will be decorated with six Christmas trees and other holiday adornments. The trees, wreaths and seasonal plants have been donated by Connecticut growers.

The residence is located at 990 Prospect Ave.



Photo Credit: State of Connecticut]]>