<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Dining, shopping and nightlife]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/entertainment/the-scene http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.comen-usSat, 28 May 2016 21:55:55 -0400Sat, 28 May 2016 21:55:55 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Nathan's Famous Celebrates 100 Years in Coney Island]]> Mon, 23 May 2016 14:51:16 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/187*120/526115294.jpg The Original Nathan's hot dog stand was opened in 1916. 100 years later the famous hot dog establishment lives and thrives!

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA['Chewbacca Mom' Breaks Facebook Live Record]]> Sat, 21 May 2016 10:55:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/chewbacca-mom.jpg

Candace Payne donned a Chewbacca mask in her car while the Internet gaped.

Within hours, it rose to become the most viewed Facebook Live video of all time, with more than 105 million views as of Saturday morning.

The Texas mother's random purchase at her local Kohl's was not expected. In the video, recorded at the store's parking lot, Payne says she was returning some items when she found the mask.

In an phone interview with 'Today,' Payne said: "I feel like I really helped people, and that's all that matters. People reach out to me, and they say, you know, 'I battle depression,' or, 'I haven't laughed out loud since such-and-such event.' And that's been so great. I've only been seeing positive feedback."



Photo Credit: Candace Payne
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<![CDATA[Ben & Jerry's Debuts Empower Mint]]> Wed, 18 May 2016 11:50:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/238*120/BenJerrysMint1.gif

Ben & Jerry's wants you to know that democracy is in your hands and the Vermont-based company has launched a new flavor of creamy, chunky goodness churned for the cause.

Empower Mint was introduced in North Carolina Tuesday in conjunction with the launch of the "Democracy Is in Your Hands" campaign to support the NAACP’s get out the vote efforts, protest voter suppression laws, and draw attention to dark money in politics.

Ben & Jerry's co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield attended the event in Raleigh along with Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, president of the North Carolina NAACP.

Cohen and Greenfield said in a press release it chose North Carolina to launch the new flavor — mint ice cream with brownie chunks and a fudge swirl— because the state is at the epicenter of the fight for voting rights in the U.S.

"Almost immediately following the 2013 Supreme Court decision invalidating a critical section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, North Carolina passed a package restrictive voting policies that disproportionately impact black, Hispanic, and younger voters," the founders wrote.

The limited edition ice cream is going to be part of the company’s year-long effort to register at least 30,000 voters. Participating Ben & Jerry's scoop shops across the country will install kiosks to register voters.

It is also urging customers to demand that Congress reauthorize the landmark civil rights legislation, the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Trucks offering free scoops of Ben & Jerry's will tour North Carolina this summer with information about the campaign and voter registration.

Click here to read more about the campaign.

Click here to find out where you can buy Empower Mint.



Photo Credit: Ben and Jerry's ]]>
<![CDATA[CeeLo Green, Third Eye Blind, Easton Corbin to Perform at Alive@Five ]]> Tue, 17 May 2016 10:09:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/453575360.jpg

The lineup for the Alive@Five outdoor concert series in Stamford has been released and the artists include O.A.R., CeeLo Green, Hanson, Third Eye Blind, Eric Hutchinson and Easton Corbin.

The series if for people 21 years old and older this year.

The concerts begin at 5 p.m. at Columbus Park The entrance fee for the festival is $10 before 6:30 p.m., or $15 thereafter.

Editor’s Note: NBC Universal, the parent company of NBC Connecticut, is one of the sponsors of the event.



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Live Nation Kicks Off Summer With $20 Tickets]]> Wed, 11 May 2016 12:21:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/458480734.jpg

Twenty dollars will get you tickets to some summer concerts, but you have to act quickly. 

Live Nation’s Kickoff to Summer deals are for a limited time only, from Friday through May 20, while supplies last.

For $20, you can get lawn seats to the following shows at Xfinity Theater in Hartford:

  • Blink 182
  • Brad Paisley
  • Brantley Gilbert
  • Darius Rucker
  • Dierks Bentley
  • Disturbed / Breaking Benjamin
  • Dixie Chicks
  • G-EAZY / Logic
  • KORN / Rob Zombie
  • Miranda Lambert
  • Rascal Flatts
  • Slipknot / Marilyn Manson
  • Snoop Dogg / Wiz Khalifa
  • Toby Keith
  • Zac Brown Band
  • ZZ Top / Greg Allman

 

You can get select seats to the following shows at the Oakdale in Wallingford:

 

  • AWOLNATION
  • Barenaked Ladies
  • Dashboard Confessional / Taking Back Sunday
  • Flogging Molly
  • Kidz Bop Kids
  • The Rockstar Taste Of Chaos Tour
  • Blues Traveler & The Wallflowers w G. Love & Special Sauce and Howie Day
  • Yes



Photo Credit: WireImage]]>
<![CDATA[Romantics and The Smithereens to Play Free Concert in Hamden]]> Tue, 10 May 2016 12:12:06 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/175*120/Smithereens.jpg

The lineup for the Hamden free summer concerts series is out and the Romantics and The Smithereens are two of the acts expected.

The summer concert series takes place at Town Center Park, at 2761 Dixwell Ave.

The series kicks off on Friday, July 1 with Hamden’s Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks Display. The Hamden Symphony Orchestra will play from 7:15 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. and D.J. Bry will entertain before and after concert. Fireworks are at 9:30 p.m. The rain date is July 2.

On Friday, July 8, enjoy Temptations Review, featuring Dennis Edwards, who became a member of The Temptations in 1968, This group will perform “My Girl,” “Get Ready,” “Ain't Too Proud to Beg,” “Since I Lost My Baby” and “The Way You Do the Things You Do.”

On Friday, July 15, Eric Burdon and the Animals perform. He will perform “House of the Rising Sun,” “Sky Pilot,” “We Gotta Get Out of this Place,

“Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood” and “Bring It on Home to Me.”

On Friday, July 22, head back in time and enjoy rock of the 80s with The Romantics & The Smithereens. The Smithereens, will bring “Only a Memory,” “A Girl Like You,” “Blood and Roses,” “Blues Before and After” and “Top of the Pops.” The Romantics will perform hits including “What I Like About You,” “Talking in Your Sleep,” ”When I look in Your Eyes and Rock You Up.”

On Friday, July 29, the Marshall Tucker Band will perform. Their hits include “Can't You See,” “Heard It in a Love Song,” “Fire on the Mountain” and “Take the Highway. “

On Friday, Aug. 5, Tramps Like Us, a Springsteen tribute band, will perform.

Food is available site. Opening acts often start at 7:30 p.m. and headliners play at 8:15 p.m., except on August 5.

 

Get more details on the Hamden Arts Commission Facebook page or website.

www.hamdenartscommission.org or call 203-287-2546.



Photo Credit: The Smithereens]]>
<![CDATA[Budget-Friendly Gifts for Mom]]> Fri, 06 May 2016 17:23:00 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-520997194.jpg Buying a Mother's Day gift doesn't have to be stressful or expensive. This year, show mom you care with these fun and affordable gifts.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[New Lake Compounce Roller Coaster Opens Saturday]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 13:17:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/LAKE-2015-Phobia-Phear-Coaster-KEY-ART_LRZ.jpg

A new roller coaster will open at Lake Compounce in Bristol on Saturday and 12 people have been chosen to be the first to ride it.

The Phobia Phear Coaster opens at 11 a.m. on May 7 and the first 12 people to get onboard shared their deepest, darkest phobias for the chance to take the inaugual ride. 

Lake Compounce said the rollercoaster, which goes 150 foot into the air, is one of the highest in existence and the tallest in the Northeast.



Photo Credit: Lake Compounce]]>
<![CDATA[6 Best Buys for Mother's Day]]> Sun, 08 May 2016 08:27:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-129308937.jpg

It's time to honor that special woman in your life. Mother's Day is approaching, and whether you are buying for your mother, your wife, or both, consider some inexpensive alternatives or ways to save money on classic Mother's Day gifts.

Flowers – Flowers are a popular Mother's Day present, but you don’t necessarily have to pay flower shop prices. Instead of paying for a vase and the extra arrangement costs, find your own simple vase and make your own arrangement. You can find inexpensive yet beautiful flower bundles at most supermarkets that you can turn into a lovely bouquet on your own. Take the time to find out what types of flowers she prefers and which property is the most important to her (color, appearance, fragrance, etc.) 

Plants/Landscaping – Mother's Day is the perfect time of year to put out most new plants. Farmer's markets and local gardening society meetings/sales can be great places to pick up plants without paying holiday markup at home improvement stores or nurseries. 

Handmade Gifts – A well-thought out handmade gift can be worth far more to your mother than the money you spent. For example, customize a picture frame with sentimental mementoes and insert her favorite family picture. If you are a knitter, make her an afghan or a scarf. An Internet search of "Mother's Day DIY gifts" should spur your imagination and help you find a project that your mother will love within your price range and skill set.

Refurbishing Projects – Does she have a favorite piece of furniture that is in need of repair or refinishing? If it's in your skill set to do so, consider tackling this project. It might be difficult, or unwise, to do this as a surprise, so you may want to make the offer first. 

Hobby Accessories – Does your mother have a favorite hobby such as knitting or gardening — or perhaps she likes to golf or rebuild vintage Chevys? Regardless of her hobby, find subtle ways to find out what accessories she needs. Take an interest in her hobby and you are likely to find a suitable choice. Shop well in advance so you can take advantage of any coupons or sales related to her hobby if you can. 

Gift Cards – Got a hard-to-please mom? Consider gift cards so she can redeem them whenever she wants for whatever she wants.

Mother's Day is chock full of sales, rebates, and coupon opportunities. Make sure you check your local stores, newspapers, and websites/social media for deals related to your choice. 

Whatever you decide to shop for or make, start early. You will generally have the best selection and avoid pre-holiday markups. If you are making a Mother's Day present, starting early gives you a little extra cushion in case you have a mishap. Mom probably won't mind if her homemade gift is a bit late, but why take the chance? 

The most important thing of all is to know your mother's likes and dislikes. It's a good idea to notice potential gift ideas throughout the year and stash them away for future reference. You are more likely to come through with a pleasant surprise that way (but make sure she hasn't already bought the item for herself). 

With a little time and effort, you can make Mother's Day even more special. However, don’t forget to give your mom the most important gift of all — your time and attention. Let her know that you love her and would do anything for her, not just on Mother's Day but throughout the year as well.

This story first appeared on Moneytips.com.

More from Moneytips:
Chance of an IRS Audit Small and Shrinking
Taxpayer Bill of Rights
Financial Recordkeeping 101



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Tetra images RF]]>
<![CDATA[Barbie Unveils Misty Copeland Doll]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 17:41:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/MistyCopelandBarbie_3_361778.jpg

Misty Copeland, the first black female principal dancer for the American Ballet Theatre, now has her very own Barbie doll.

The doll is a part of the Barbie "Sheroes" program, which creates dolls in the likeness of women "who inspire girls by breaking boundaries and expanding possibilities for women everywhere," according to Barbie manufacturer Mattel.

Copeland, who joined ABT in 2001 and was promoted to principal dancer in 2015, was intimately involved with the design of the doll.

"I always dreamed of becoming an ABT ballerina and through Barbie I was able to play out those dreams early on," Copeland said in a statement. "It's an honor to be able to inspire the next generation of kids with my very own Barbie doll."

The fashions for the doll were inspired by Copeland's Firebird costume from her first ABT principal role. She will be reprising that role on May 18 and 19 as part of the company's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House.

"Misty Copeland is at the center of a cultural conversation around how women continue to break boundaries," said Lisa McKnight, general manager and senior vice president at Barbie. "As a brand, we want to honor women, like Misty, who are inspiring women to live out their dreams."

Copeland joins other Barbie "Sheroes" like Ava DuVernay, Emmy Rossum, Eva Chen, and Trisha Yearwood, among others.

"The Accidental Feminist" author M.G. Lord has said the Barbie doll was "the most potent icon of American popular culture in the late twentieth century."

The dolls have gone through constant adjustments and iterations to keep up with contemporary views.

The Copeland doll will join an expanded Barbie offering that now includes tall, curvy and petite body types, 22 different eye colors and seven different skin tones. There are also versions of Barbie as an entrepreneur, reflecting the growing number of women in that role.

Mattel said the Copeland Barbie will retail for $29.95 and is available for purchase now.



Photo Credit: Diane Bondareff
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<![CDATA[How to Throw a Kentucky Derby Party]]> Wed, 04 May 2016 10:22:08 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-471857186.jpg

Year after year, there is a flurry of excitement leading up to the Kentucky Derby, with an endless series of parties and celebrations. It is the one American race that inspires the spectacle and pageantry of a bygone era.

Derby Fashion 

In 1875, Colonel Meriwether Lewis Clark Jr. fashioned the Derby after glamorous European horse races. These races required full morning dress for all who attended. The high society women of the day came to the Derby to debut new spring fashions – especially hats. These women were invited to the race as part of Clark’s strategy to brand the Derby as an upscale event. In the 1960’s television gave women a reason to go all out with their hats, which deepened the “see and be seen” culture.

Unlike the Royal Ascot races, which restrict the size and type of hat for adult women (fascinators are not allowed!), there are no hat restrictions for the Derby. Hats bring good luck to the race, so let your imagination run wild when choosing or creating your hat.

Men also put on their Sunday best for race day, wearing bright, sunny colors, and donning a bow tie and fedora, bowler, or a natty straw Homburg or boater.

Hosting a Kentucky Derby Party 

Invitations reveal the color scheme for your Derby Party, as well as what kind of party it is – a brunch, backyard get-together or formal event. Send your invitations well in advance to give you and your guests plenty of time to plan for race day.

Atmosphere lies at the heart of the Kentucky Derby. In 1904, the red rose became the Derby’s official flower. Any red rose will work, but for authenticity, use red Freedom Roses, known for their rich, bright color in your décor. If you need inspiration for your party’s color scheme, look to colorful jockey silks.

  • Freeze rosebuds inside ice cubes, and use them to fill the champagne bucket. When the Derby winner is announced, pop open the bottle to celebrate!
  • Decorate the bases of wine glasses with miniature hats for the ladies and bow ties for the gents.
  • Fold napkins in the shape of a bow tie, using bright colors that coordinate with your party scheme.
  • Dress up your drink stirrers with miniature hats and bows of ribbon.
  • Use a lavishly decked-out hat as a table centerpiece.

Activities:

Photos — Rent a photo booth for your party, or create a picture perfect backdrop with playful props. Take photos of guests in their race day finery, adding trophies, riding crops, fascinators and clip-on bowties as photo booth accessories. Get some giggles out of your guests with a life-size horse and jockey cut-out for their faces. Make your party’s hashtag part of the display.

Crafts — Little Derby party guests and adults will have fun crafting hats out of paper plates, ribbons and flowers.

Games:

  • Corn Hole is an all-American way to bring guests outside for some competition. Customize your Corn Hole board for the Derby.
  • Put a twist on Pin the Tail on the Donkey with fun alternatives, like “Pin the Jockey on the Horse” or “Pin the Garland on the Horse.”
  • Play some rounds of Horseshoes to get in the Derby spirit!
  • Play some Derby trivia. 

Prizes — Trivia winners of all ages can receive a virgin “Mint Julep” – pour Junior Mints in a traditional silver mint julep cup, and top it with a sprig of mint.

Tradition  As the horses parade to the gate, sing along to “My Old Kentucky Home” with the band and audience on Television.

Lyrics below:

The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,

Tis summer, the people are gay;

The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom

While the birds make music all the day. The young folks roll on the little cabin floor

All merry, all happy and bright;

By'n by hard times comes a knocking at the door

Then my old Kentucky home, Good-night! Weep no more my lady.

Oh! Weep no more today!

We will sing one song for my old Kentucky home

For the old Kentucky home, far away.



Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Cracker Jack Replacing Toy Prize With Digital Codes for Mobile Games]]> Fri, 22 Apr 2016 15:02:24 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Cracker+Jacks+Prize.jpg

It's the end of era.

The iconic prize found in a bag of Cracker Jacks will be replaced with stickers containing digital codes for mobile games, the company announced Thursday.

Cracker Jack, which is owned by the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo, said the company is taking a new approach to their prizes with "baseball-inspired mobile digital experiences directly from the sticker inside."

"The new Prize Inside allows families to enjoy their favorite baseball moments through a new one-of-a-kind mobile experience, leveraging digital technology to bring the iconic Prize Inside to life," Cracker Jack said in a statement.

The new prizes will require fans of the caramel-coated popcorn and peanuts snack to down the Blippar app, available for iOS and Android, and will come in four themes: Dot Dash, Dance Cam, Get Carded and Baseball Star. Cracker Jack will also debut restyled logo and packaging.

The announcement comes as baseball season gets into full swing.



Photo Credit: Cracker Jack]]>
<![CDATA[Optical Illusion Puzzles Thousands on Social Media]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 19:07:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/187265573-facebook-generic.jpg

A new optical illusion has set social media ablaze and it has nothing to do with the color of a dress.

A photo posted to Facebook last week has puzzled thousands after a Missouri woman asked her followers if they could see what was in the image.

“I stared at this picture for an hour trying to figure out what it was,” Savannah Root wrote. “Once you figure it out comment below, please don’t ruin it for anyone.” 

The post has since garnered more than 11,000 comments and more than 5,100 shares as confused users post their guesses and others claim victory.

One user wrote she could only see “a penguin fishing,” while some said they saw what was in the image right away.

Others offered advice like “look at it..turn away.. then look back and its [sic] there.”

It’s not the first time social media has debated an optical illusion.

Many might remember the “dress controversy” last year that sent the Internet into a raging debate. A photo had thousands questioning the color of a dress after some thought it was black and blue while others saw white and gold. 

Late last year, a comic artist also had thousands furiously searching through a “Where’s Waldo?”-style photo trying to find a panda in a sea of snowmen.

What do you see in the latest viral image?

Share your guesses in the comment section and scroll down to find out the answer.

 

 

 

Answer: A cowboy.



Photo Credit: File – Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Lake Compounce Giving Away Free Tickets ]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 08:04:58 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/lake+compounce+1.jpg

If you’re in need of a morning coffee, you could also wind up with some free Lake Compounce tickets.

Lake Compounce Tweeted that they are giving away free tickets this morning at the Dunkin’ Donuts at 2368 Berlin Turnpike in Newington.

[[376046091,C]]



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com
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<![CDATA[New Haven to Hold Dragon Boat Regatta, Food Truck Festival]]> Mon, 11 Apr 2016 14:07:23 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Dragon+Boat+1+Edited.jpg

The New Haven Food Truck Festival was a success last year and the city is expanding the event this summer with the addition of the inaugural Dragon Boat Regatta. 

Mayor Toni Harp, Small Business Service Center Director Jackie James and John Pescatore made the announcement on Monday. 

More than 20,000 people attended the food truck festival last year and the event raised $50,000. This year’s event will include more than 30 food trucks and it be held at the Long Wharf Waterfront on Saturday, June 4 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday, June 5, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

The Dragon Boat Regatta will be on Saturday, June 4, from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Long Wharf Pier and teams will compete in a series of races in 41-foot Dragon Boats. 

The entrance fee will be $5, but admission is free for children 12 and under. The event also includes live performances, children’s activities, artists and craft vendors. 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Manhattan, Chicago Are Priciest Places to Wed: Survey]]> Thu, 07 Apr 2016 07:10:36 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/wedding-dress.jpg

Manhattan and Chicago are the two most expensive places to get married in the United States, but the affair will likely cost a pretty penny no matter the location, according to a new survey. 

Couples preparing to say "I do" are spending an average of $32,641, according to wedding blog The Knot, which surveyed nearly 18,000 American brides and grooms in 2015 for its ninth annual report.

The average cost of a wedding is up by more than $5,500 in the past five years, though the overall price swings based on where couples wed, reported the Knot. The Knot surveyed members of TheKnot.com, which claims to represent nearly 80 percent of American brides, and used data exclusively from those who said they wed in 2015.

Four of the five most expensive areas to get married were in the New York Tri-State area, with the average price of a Manhattan wedding costing $82,299. Chicago was the No. 2 priciest at $61,265, followed by New York's Westchester and Hudson Valley region, Long Island and north and central New Jersey.

The most affordable places to get married were: Alaska ($17,361), South Dakota ($18,890) and West Texas ($19,261). 

Still, wedding spending has reached an all-time high, the survey found. Elements that increased the most in the past five years include the reception venue, location of the ceremony and reception band.

While the price of the affair may be on the uptick, couples are finding ways to express their individuality. Twenty-two percent of couples choose a theme for their wedding. Nineteen-percent
of couples also opted to include ethnic and religious rituals.

Couples seem to be spending more on their guests' experience, though the number of guests has shrunk. The average number of guests in 2015 was down 10 to 139, but the cost per guest increased from $194 to $237, as compared to 2009.

One category that has more than tripled is guest entertainment as couples have added unique events, like cigar rolling stations or wine and liquor tastings, to their nuptials.

Though costs and extravagance may be on the uptick, couples seeking a simpler affair may be the true winners. A study from Emory University found evidence that "marriage duration is inversely associated with spending on the engagement ring and wedding ceremony."

University researchers surveyed more than 3,000 individuals in the United States in 2014 who married the opposite sex and are not widowed.

Their conclusions revealed that both men and women associate less spending on the wedding with a longer marriage. Instead, the report suggests high wedding attendance and having a honeymoon, regardless of cost, are more promising indicators of a lasting marriage.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Shelton Family Wins HGTV Dream Home]]> Thu, 31 Mar 2016 14:00:12 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Rennie+family+hgtv+home+1200.jpg

The chances of winning the HGTV dream home are one in 127 million, but that was enough for a Shelton family.

HGTV recently surprised David Rennie and his wife Margaret at their church and revealed they won the house in Merrit Island, Florida, along with $250,000, a boat and a 2016 GMC Acadia Denali.

David Rennie, a father of two, was diagnosed with End Stage Renal Disease and told HGTV he thought he won the lottery when he received a new kidney, according to HGTV.

“I thought I won the lottery with the kidney. That was life changing, but so is this. We just never thought it could get any better,” he said, according to the HGTV Web site.

After watching the show and seeing it built, the family is now looking forward to seeing it in person.

See photos of the family being surprised.

Take a virtual tour of the house here.



Photo Credit: HGTV]]>
<![CDATA[Burger King Releases 'Angriest Whopper' Yet]]> Fri, 01 Apr 2016 21:44:15 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Angriest+Whopper.jpg

How much heat can you handle?

Burger King diners can now test their limits with the launch of the company's Angriest Whopper, which sandwiches the brand’s flame-broiled beef patty in a red-colored bun with baked-in spicy sauce.

The fast-food chain's newest burger is a sequel to its Angry Whopper, which "was a hit with guests," according to Burger King's Global Chief Marketing Officer Axel Schwan. Its success led the company to expand upon the spicy creation with the Angriest Whopper.

The burger contains flame-grilled beef, thick-cut bacon, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, tomatoes, crispy onion petals, jalapeños, creamy mayonnaise and "spicy angry sauce" between a fiery, red bun.

"This alarmingly delicious burger is sure to disprove the commonly held belief that a sequel is never as good as the original," the company said in a statement.

This isn't the first time that Burger King has released a burger with a colored bun. In the fall of 2015 the burger company sold the A.1. Halloween Whopper, which featured a black bun and was met with mixed reviews. Axel acknowledged that “The black bun of our A.1. Halloween Whopper created a lot of conversation“ after consumers took to Twitter to express their opinion.

Burger King's Angriest Whopper will be available for a limited time in participating restaurants at the suggested price of $5.49 or $7.49 as part of a combo meal.



Photo Credit: Burger King]]>
<![CDATA['Married on the Move': Couple Weds on NBC's 'Today']]> Thu, 24 Mar 2016 12:21:47 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Screen-Shot-2016-03-24-at-11.56.30-AM1.jpg

One lucky couple got "married on the move" in front of NBC's "Today" show's audience Thursday morning. The "big fat" wedding celebration was in honor of the March release of Universal Picture's "My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2" movie.

The viewers didn't only watch the wedding -- they planned it. The show held a contest over the past several weeks to pick the lucky couple and all of their wedding details.

Kaitlin Roseman and John West, form suburban Chicago, were selected to celebrate their nuptials in New York City during a live television taping that took them from the "Today" show studio to Rockefeller Center's Rainbow Room.

The viewers chose everything from the bride's mermaid gown to the wedding rings. 

Where will they be going for their honeymoon? Greece, of course!


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<![CDATA[The Best Easter Chocolate, as Decided by a Toddler]]> Wed, 23 Mar 2016 08:30:41 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/nbc-news-easter-candy-taste-test.jpg

What's the best Easter chocolate? NBC News asked a 3-year-old who hasn't been allowed to eat that much candy.

For their test, consumer reporter Ben Popken and his son Milo came up with an exacting scientific metric – they would show how much they liked the candy by the width of their hands, and then tabulate the results.

The test soon broke down as Milo spread out his arms their fullest, "this much!" width for every brand they tried.

But they carried on, eventually putting together a taste test score sheet that includes the arm-width metric and factors in giggles.



Photo Credit: NBC News
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<![CDATA[WATCH: Chicago River Dyed Green]]> Thu, 17 Mar 2016 13:45:33 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ezgif-1083319463.gif

For more than 40 years, the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers have dyed the Chicago River green to kick off the city's St. Patrick’s Day Parade celebration.

The union began dumping dye into the river at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The environmentally friendly dye, an orange powder, turns the water bright green, and the formula is a secret, according to the Chicago Tribune. Forty pounds of powder were used this year.

The river's vibrant color is brief: It typically lasts about five hours before darkening and fading away.

YouTube user PrimoMedia shared a timelapse video of the tradition as seen from the Sheraton Grand Chicago.

Other social media users, including Lou Hayes Jr., shared footage of their own.


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<![CDATA[St. Patrick's Day Recipes to Add Irish Flavor]]> Thu, 17 Mar 2016 07:40:04 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/stpattysfoodtoday-food-al-roker-150313-04.jpg

Celebrating St. Patrick's Day is the perfect excuse to throw an Irish-themed party full of traditional foods and drinks. 

Simple and authentic flavors are the way to go, experts say, but adding some modern spin will keep your guests asking for more. Take a look at these food and drink recipes that will help you add flavor to your St. Patrick's Day festivities:

Chef Matt Murphy shows "Today" show's Al Roker how to whip up an easy meal of corned beef and cabbage. He also suggests serving a classic Irish dessert, Gur cake, which is a tasty, fig-based pastry. 

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A hearty stew is another great choice for a dinner party. Chef Conrad Gallagher shows Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager how to prepare a lamb variation that combines authentic taste with modern flavors, like butternut squash and pearl onions. Gallagher says it goes perfectly with a flavorful Irish stout bread.

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Martha Stewart suggests switching out the typical celebratory green beer or Guinness for this scotch and whiskey-based Irish cocktail. Combining the liquors with lemon and bitters, Stewart gives you a simple Celtic mix cocktail that's full of flavors. 

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The more dessert the better! Stewart shows how to make a simple yet authentic recipe for buttery Irish Oatmeal cookies. 

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On celebrity chef Jamie Oliver's YouTube channel DrinksTube, you can can find the perfect recipe to wind down your party. Coffee expert Mike Cooper shows how to make a warm cup of traditional Irish coffee. 

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Photo Credit: Samantha Okazaki/TODAY
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<![CDATA[Ice Cream is the Latest Free Spring Treat]]> Tue, 12 Apr 2016 13:54:37 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/469718494-ben-jerrys-free-cone-day.jpg

What better way to celebrate the start of spring than with a sweet treat?

Ben & Jerry's is the latest company to offer up some free goodies with its annual Free Cone Day, set for Tuesday.

The unofficial holiday started in 1979, and the chain gave away more than 1 million scoops last year, according to Ben & Jerry's' Free Cone Day website. A vote on the site put Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough as the most anticipated flavor, ahead of Cherry Garcia and Chocolate Fudge Brownie.

Dairy Queen, Rita's Italian Ice and 7-Eleven have all ushered in the warmer weather with free or discounted goodies.

7-Eleven honored the Slurpee's 50th birthday by filling customers' cups for just $1.50 on March 18 and 19. 

Rita's Italian Ice marked the start of spring March 20 with its annual Italian ice giveaway, a company tradition for 24 years.  

Dairy Queen dished out free cones for its annual #FreeConeDay, offering free vanilla soft-serve cone. The ice cream chain was accepting donations for kids at children's hospitals in lieu of payment.



Photo Credit: File – Denver Post via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[No Booze Allowed on Metro-North on St. Patrick’s Day]]> Thu, 17 Mar 2016 07:19:30 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/metro_north_still_011315.jpg

Metro-North is warning anyone who will be taking the trains on Saint Patrick’s Day to leave the booze at home or MTA police might confiscate it.

Metro-North will not allow alcoholic beverages on trains, platforms or at stations and said it is to maintain orderly travel for customers.

The ban is in effect through 5 a.m. on Friday.

Anyone traveling to the New York City Saint Patrick's Day Parade should buy round-trip tickets in advance.

See full details on train service online here.


 



Photo Credit: NBCConnecticut.com]]>
<![CDATA[Shamrock's Good Luck: St. Patrick's Day Quiz]]> Mon, 14 Mar 2016 14:44:56 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP_835044505278-st-patricks-day-lede.gif

March 17 is St. Patrick's Day and each year millions celebrate by dressing in green, hanging shamrock decorations and downing a few pints of beer at a local Irish pub. 

More than a cause for good cheer, St. Patrick's Day is in honor of Ireland's patron saint who has inspired parades and festivals across the globe.

This holiday, quiz yourself and your friends on the history behind St. Paddy's Day. 



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[St. Patrick's Day by the Numbers]]> Thu, 17 Mar 2016 07:35:28 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/stp-GettyImages-163880461.jpg

On March 17, millions of people across the United States, Irish or not, will revel in the celebration of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland. Here are some numbers that look at the history, the money, and the fun that make up St. Paddy’s. Slainte! 

THE HISTORY:
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  • 255: The number of years the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade has been held.
  • Over 40 years: The length of time that the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers have turned the Chicago River emerald green for the St. Patrick's Day celebration.
  • 21: The number of years Ireland itself has held a St. Patrick’s Day Festival.

 THE PEOPLE:
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  • 125 million: Estimated number of Americans who plan to celebrate St. Patrick's Day in 2016, according to the National Retail Federation (NRF).
  • 35 million: The number of Americans who claim Irish descent.
  • 103 million: Estimated number of people who plan to wear green to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, according to NRF.
  • 150: The number of bands that will perform in the annual New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade
  • 70 percent: Percent of 18- to 24-year-olds who plan on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in 2016, according to NRF.
  • 35 percent: Percent of people 65 or older who plan on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in 2016, according to NRF.  

THE MONEY:
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  • Nearly $500,000: The amount of donations the annual NYC’s St. Patrick's Day Parade has received from donors like Ford Motor Co., Tourism Ireland, Guinness, and more in 2016 as of March 7.
  • $4.44 billion: The amount Americans are expected to collectively spend on St. Patrick's Day in 2016, according to NRF.
  • $39.35: The amount an average American is projected to spend on St. Patrick’s Day-related goods and services, according to NRF.

 THE FUN:
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  • 56.5 percent: Percentage of Americans who plan to purchase food and beverages to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, about double that of the next closest item: clothing. 
  • 111,060: The Guinness Book of World record for the largest collection of four leaf clovers. It belongs to Edward Martin Sr. from Cooper Landing, Alaska.
  • 1970: The year Ireland changed St. Patrick’s Day from a religious to a national holiday, allowing alcohol to be served on March 17th.

Patrick Smith and Daniel Sircar contributed to this report. 



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images
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<![CDATA[St. Patrick's Day Through the Years]]> Mon, 14 Mar 2016 10:03:34 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/StPatricksDayDenver1-GettyImages-515121422.jpg Each year, millions of emerald-clad revelers across the U.S. take to the streets to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Whether it's attending New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade on March 17-- the oldest and the largest in the U.S.-- or the dyeing of the Chicago River, Americans love to celebrate Irish heritage with lots of green. Take a look at the festivities from past years.

Photo Credit: Denver Post via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Hartford Saint Patrick’s Day Set for Saturday]]> Fri, 11 Mar 2016 15:44:59 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/pardestill031016.jpg

The St. Patrick's Day in Hartford is this Saturday, but it's much more than a parade.

When it ends at the Soldiers and Sailors Arch some people go home, while other people stay around for what one woman calls the aftermath.

"It's a little messy for sure, people out in the parking lots, just hanging out," Carla Piel said.

Hartford police said public drinking is prohibited.

"We know people are going to be drinking. What we want to encourage everyone to do is to be responsible with any drinking that they do," Lt. Brandon O'Brien said.

The parade starts at 11 a.m. on Capitol Avenue then loops through downtown and street closings begin at 9:30 a.m.

Jacqueline Farmer, of New Britain, hopes to be there.

"It's just a celebration of people that are happy to celebrate whether it be their culture, where they were born, race so it's a fun event," she said.

The Thai restaurant, Siam Hartford, expects action.

"We're even trying to do a little bit of the Irish specials - no corned beef - but green beers and all that type of stuff," Nathan Senzo said.

A wholesaler was carrying six foot-long green bottle signs on Pratt Street beneath the Irish flag. Drinking, if not spirits, are part of going to the parade, veterans say.

"But it's kid friendly too," said Danielle St Amand, "so it's a good time.”

With temperatures of 65 degrees and no snow on the ground, extra people are expected.

New Haven's parade is Sunday afternoon beginning at 1:30 p.m.

See a list of more Saint Patrick's Day events here. 

]]>
<![CDATA[Saint Patrick’s Day Events Across Connecticut]]> Thu, 10 Mar 2016 16:22:19 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/St-Patricks-Day-Generic1.jpg

If you’re looking to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Connecticut, here are some of the best places where you can go green and drink green beers on this special day.

Hartford: Hartford will hold its 45th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday, March 12 at 11 a.m. The parade will step off at Capitol Avenue by the State Capitol, take a left on Main Street, a left on Asylum Street, a left on Ford Street, and ends by the Memorial Arch. Parking will available in various lots and garages near the XL Center area and Convention Center.

New Haven: Often regarded as one of the oldest and most popular parade in New England, the St. Patrick’s Day parade of Greater New Haven is not to be missed. The parade allows everyone in the diverse community to feel Irish for a day in honor of the holiday. The event starts off Chapel Street at Sherman Avenue, and ends on Grove Street at Orange Street on Sunday, March 13 starting at 1:30 p.m.

Celebrate the luck of the Irish at Mohegan Sun in Uncasville with shopping discounts, dinning specials, and live entertainment.

On Thursday, March 17, visit the Lansdowne Irish Pub & Music House for all-day festivities, including traditional Irish music from Clan O’Cleary, an engraved commemorative Lansdowne Pub glass to the first 100 guest to walk in, drink specials, and more.

St. Patrick’s meals at Seasons Buffet include Shepard’s pie, Irish soda bread, corned beef and more. At Jersey Mike’s, enjoy grilled pastrami reuben with Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and thousand island dressing. The Old Farmer’s Almanac & General Store will offer a 50% discount on all their St. Patrick’s Day merchandise.

Learn more here.

Hartford: McKinnon’s Irish Pub in Downtown Hartford will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day starting at 9 a.m. with live music with Steve McCarthy & the Black Dogs and pour your own pint of Guinness.

Mystic: On Sunday, March 20 at 1 p.m., the 13th annual Irish parade will be begin at Mystic Seaport located on Greenmanville Road/Route 27, over to the Mystic Arts Center. The kids will love watching the marching bands, floats, national acts during this free event!

West Hartford: McLadden’s will be opening at 9 a.m. on St. Patrick’s Day. Kegs & Eggs will be served for breakfast followed by live music and drink specials throughout the day and night.

Bridgeport:

Bridgeport will celebrate its 34th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade at noon on Thursday, March 17. Grand Marshal, Alanna Kabel, of Bridgeport, will lead the parade, which starts off at Harbor Yard up Broad Street to Fairfield Avenue and return to Harbor Yard via Main Street.



Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ben & Jerry's New Ice Cream Flavors]]> Fri, 11 Mar 2016 08:07:35 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/ben-jerrys-new-trio-of-cores-1.jpg

Can you say new flavor party?

Ben & Jerry's took to its Snapchat account to announce the addition of three new flavors to its popular "Core" series.

Brownie Batter Core, Cookies & Cream Cheesecake Core, and Coconuts for Caramel Core are the newest trio of flavors.

Each flavor has a core center with jam-packed goodies inside the ice cream.

The Burlington, Vermont-based company says all three new flavors will be available in the upcoming weeks and called the new flavors a "twist on some classic baked goods" with "decadent chunks and swirls."

Click here for pictures and to read more about the new cores.

What's your favorite?



Photo Credit: Ben & Jerry's]]>
<![CDATA[IHOP Celebrates National Pancake Day Tues.]]> Tue, 08 Mar 2016 20:00:39 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_298947245.jpg

Grab your fork and knife!

Tuesday is National Pancake Day at IHOP. Diners can enjoy a free short stack of buttermilk pancakes from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m.. In exchange, customers will be asked to consider making a donation to the Children's Miracle Network.

Since starting National Pancake Day 11 years ago, IHOP has raised nearly $20 million for community charities. This year's goal is to raise $3.5 million, according to the IHOP website.

Check here to look up the closest IHOP.



Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Chick-fil-A Creates 'Cell Phone Coop Challenge']]> Thu, 03 Mar 2016 05:57:32 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/030216+nbc+blue+background+ChickFilA.jpg

Many of us are guilty of paying more attention to our screens than each other at the dinner table, but one fast-food chain is trying to discourage distraction and encourage interaction with a new challenge.

Chick-fil-A locations across the country have started doing the "Cell Phone Coop Challenge" to get customers to put down their phones and spend more time with their family and friends while they eat their chicken sandwiches and waffle fries.

To participate, customers silence their phones and put them in a small, square box called the "coop." If everyone at the table finishes their meal without taking the phones out of the coop, they receive a small Icedream cone.

The challenge has quickly caught on at more than 150 locations around the U.S. after Brad Williams, a Chick-fil-A operator in Suwanee, Ga., started the concept, the company says.

“We have families who aren’t successful the first time and come back to try again. We even have people asking to take the boxes home with them! Our whole community is talking about it,” Williams said.

News4 in Washington reached out to a few Chick-fil-A locations in the DMV to see if there are any that have started the challenge.  

"We've seen that the cell phone coop has gone viral and we're trying to think of something ourselves," said Paul Novak, the director of operations at the DC USA Chick-fil-A.

Other area Chick-fil-A restaurants said they might start the challenge in the near future.



Photo Credit: Chick-fil-A]]>
<![CDATA[Church Where 'Still of the Night' Was Recorded Celebrates Anniversary ]]> Thu, 25 Feb 2016 15:49:55 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Catholic-Church-generic-win.jpg

The Five Satins recorded the iconic blues ballad “In the Still of the Night” 60 years ago this month in the basement of St. Bernadette Church in New Haven, and the lead singer is returning to the church for a special anniversary celebration of the doo-wop song.

The Hartford Courant reports that four of the five African-American singers of the group at the time were looking for a place to record the record and Father Charles Hewitt suggested the group use the church’s basement to record.

On Feb. 19, 1956, they made history and recorded the popular song.

“Truly, all the elements [of a timeless hit] were in there,” Fred Parris, the lead singer, told the Catholic Transcript, “but the fact that it was recorded in St. Bernadette’s added an extra blessing to it.”

Parris, who lives in Hamden, will return to St. Bernadette Church on Monday morning and 125 students from St. Bernadette School will sing “In the Still of the Night” to the 80-year-old singer songwriter, according to the Catholic Transcript.

Vinny Mazzetta, who played saxophone on the recording and was a parishioner at the church, will also attend the anniversary celebration.

Father Francis Carter will host the public event at the church located at 385 Townsend Ave. in New Haven this Monday at 10 a.m.

For more information on the event, please contact the Director of Communications, Maria Zone, at 860-541-6491 or St. Bernadette Church at 203-467-1007.

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<![CDATA[Celebrate National Drink Wine Day in Connecticut]]> Thu, 18 Feb 2016 16:16:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/white-wine-generic-186205780.jpg

Today is national drink wine day and there are plenty of wineries in in Connecticut to enjoy.

There are 25 vineyards and wineries across the state that create chardonnays, cabernet sauvignon, syrah, Chardonel, hard cider, merlot, Connecticut Gewurztraminer, pinot grigio. 

The Wood N Tap is offering deals at all its locations. You can enjoy a glass of house red or white for $4. 

1249 Wine Bar in Waterbury is celebrating National Wine Day by offering house wines for $5 a glass all day. 



Photo Credit: ASAblanca via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Panhandling for Dates on Subway]]> Wed, 17 Feb 2016 10:53:27 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/subway+car+doors+feet.JPG

New York City straphangers may be accustomed to panhandlers on the subway -- and probably ignore most of them -- but one woman recently managed to get riders' attention when she begged for something unusual: a date. 

Public school teacher and comedian Jana Schmieding told Cosmopolitan that she came up with the idea last year while working on a comedy sketch. 

Then she and a friend decided to see what it would actually be like to panhandle for dates.

In a video posted to YouTube last week, Schmieding hops on a few different subway lines and makes her announcement with the familiar opening lines: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen." 

But she continues, "I'm not homeless or out of work. I'm not asking for money tonight. I am on this train searching for the man of my dreams."

Riders perk up, appearing puzzled or amused. 

"I am single, and unfortunately it's gotten to the point where I need to rely on the help of strangers," Schmieding says. "I am not asking for change today. In fact, if someone were to take me out, I'd prefer to split the bill." 

The subway riders laugh and begin offering advice, sympathetic words of comfort and even a few business cards of friends and roommates (and in one case, a Twitter handle). 

"I didn't meet anyone till I was 32," one woman says.

"You still have time," another offers. 

"I'm getting divorced, you can have my husband," yet another deadpans. 

Schmieding told Cosmopolitan that she was encouraged by the kindness of subway riders, normally so stoic and unmoved. 

"Every single panhandle I took on had a group of people that would cheer and engage with me," she said.



Photo Credit: NBC 4 New York
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Millennials Drink Half Wine Bought in America]]> Sat, 13 Feb 2016 15:43:01 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Wine-GettyImages-495793758.jpg

American millennials are buying more wine, which is helping to spur the wine industry, NBC News reported.

The group, between the ages of 21 to 38, consumed almost 160 million cases, or 42 percent, of all wine drunk in the U.S. last year, according to a survey by the Wine Market Council. The survey also showed 17 percent of millennials were spending more on wine than baby boomers.

"It's not an exaggeration to say the millennial American consumer has the most varied set of tastes of any wine drinker in history," wrote Wine Spectator.

As for their tastes, millennials are generally favoring new-world producers such as Chile, Argentina and New Zealand.  



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Valentine's Day And Your Wallet]]> Fri, 12 Feb 2016 08:11:52 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/219*120/Generic-Flowers-2.jpg

Valentine's Day isn't just for lovers as 50 percent of singles report being proud of their relationship status. But whether you're in a relationship or not, Americans have no problem spending big for the holiday for their loved ones and even themselves.

$19.7 billion is projected to be spent in the United States for the holiday this year, with the average person spending nearly $150. Some of that money will go towards furry friends as one in five people will buy their pet a gift in the name of Cupid and 24 percent of singles will gift themselves a treat as well, according to WalletHub.

For the couples across America, 90.8 percent plan to give their significant other a gift which is a good idea considering 53 percent of women say they would break up with their significant other if they didn't receive one for Valentine's Day.

The day of love can also prove life changing for some couples as 14 million marriage proposals are slated to happen this holiday.



Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Not Just Chocolates and Roses: Unique V-Day Gifts ]]> Thu, 11 Feb 2016 13:09:14 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/v-day-gifts-th.jpg Forget the overpriced floral bouquets and cheap drugstore chocolates and give your loved one a unique gift that will make them swoon on Valentine's Day. From the posh to the practical, here are some gift ideas that are sure to make this Valentine's Day one to remember.]]> <![CDATA[How to Save Money on Valentine’s Day Flowers]]> Wed, 10 Feb 2016 16:16:42 -0400 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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

States With Highest Property Taxes

Preparing For Your Annual Tax Meeting



Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Retailers Leap on 'Leap Day' to Offer Deals]]> Mon, 29 Feb 2016 08:23:18 -0400 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/margGetty-481602157.jpg

When you are born on Feb. 29, you are a "leapling," and you only get to celebrate your birthday every four years. So when your day does finally roll around, you probably want to celebrate. A lot.  

This year, many companies are going out of their way to help with the celebration. And, in some cases, you don't even have to be a leapling to get a treat.

But first, why do we have leap year? Mostly to stay in line with the Earth's movement around the sun, according to history.com, and that requires the addition of 24 hours to the Julian Calendar every four years.

But don't worry about history. Go ahead and enjoy a dessert and a margarita. Here are some of the deals to look for on Monday. 
 

  • Great American Cookies giving one free Individually Yours Cookie Cake to people with a Feb. 29 birthday.
  • Hat retailer Lids will give free shipping on orders of $50 or more on Feb. 29.
  • Athletic clothier Foot Locker is offering 15 percent off purchases of $70 or more on Leap Day
  • For those out West, Dog Haus is offering a free upgrade from a single to a double burger 
  • Travelocity will give discounts of up to 30% on hotels until Feb. 29. Save 29% when you book select hotels worldwide through the Expedia mobile app on Feb. 29.
  • Leap into savings with a sale on hair products at Folica.com. Through 11:59 p.m. Pacific time on Feb. 29, use code LEAPYEAR16 to get 25% off Solia, Theorie, Nth Degree and AbsoluteHeat products or 30% off Sedu products.
  • Pizza Hut is giving a free personal pizza to Leap Day babies on Monday.
  • Get a dozen original glazed doughnuts from Krispy Kreme for $2.29 with the purchase of any dozen regularly priced doughnuts at participating locations.
  • On Feb. 29, save 29% when you book select hotels worldwide through the Expedia mobile app.



Photo Credit: UIG via Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[No Child Left Inside Winter Festival]]> Sat, 06 Feb 2016 15:01:48 -0400 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 14:40:34 -0400 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.]]>