PLAYING DRESS-UP: The preppy duo behind Dakota Martin changed our halter-skeptical minds and brought us the perfect - and packable - silk scarf halter that we all know and love. But for those who can't get enough, they've transformed their best-seller into the Laurie dress, a tea-length version tailored for class or cocktails. A cinched back and waist gives you a sophisticated hour-glass fit, while the chunky beaded halter gives you a substantial excuse not to fuss with excess baubles. Find them in a variety of seasonally perfected colors at Suzie Creamcheese in Westport, or order online for $189USD.
THIS OLD HOUSE: Another great Connecticut find... spoiled by the Times! (Or maybe we're just upset that they blogged about it before we did...) Michael Trapp, who no doubt is being bombarded by those city dwellers seeking to re-do their renovated Park Slope lofts as we speak, has experience dressing homes in Westport and New Canaan, Italian villas, and the TriBeCa hotel in New York, all while keeping up the most amazing and eclectic store in West Cornwall. While T Magazine's Sandra Ballentine pined for a $27K whale skeleton, we are much more attracted to his wide selection of teak chairs and benches, weathered and worn into that much-desired rustic appeal. Visit Michael Trapp at 7 River Road on weekends only, 11AM-5PM, or by appointment (860-672-6098).
SAVE THE DATE: For those of you that aren't turned on by the thought of freshly sharpened No. 2 pencils and crisp college-ruled notebooks, maybe you can at least get excited about Year Made For Me's custom wall planners to aid you on your back-to-school journey. Fully-customizable - colors, layout, and text - and deliciously over-sized (39" x 19") these are the perfect gift for your campus darling. Year Made For Me even offers "Special Event" printing right into your calendar, meaning your organized beau will have no excuses for forgetting your anniversary, birthday, or Valentine's Day this year. Order online for $27USD plus shipping.