How many kids do you have and what are their ages?
I have two amazing kids, Jason is 12 and he is in seventh grade. Hayden is 8, she’s in third grade.
What do you love about living in Stamford?
My husband and I both grew up in Westchester NY. When we were buying our first home we landed on Stamford for many reasons. I was working in Norwalk, CT and he in Rye, NY. It was still close to our NY families, but the taxes are significantly lower. Stamford offers everything a family needs; great schools, a thriving downtown, amazing restaurants, quiet neighborhoods, wonderful parks, art and theatre, diversity, I could go on and on. I tell my kids all the time how lucky we are to live where we do.
What’s your favorite restaurant and place to shop in Stamford?
My favorite place to shop for clothes has always been Foxes on High Ridge Road. Designer names, great prices, unique finds. Every time one of my three sisters asks me where I got an outfit, the answer is always Foxes! As for restaurants, it is difficult to choose just one. Some of my go-to favorites are Madonia, Table 104, Zaza, Fortina, Cilantro, and Stamford Pizza Restaurant.
What’s your favorite thing to do when you need some “me time”?
When I need a little escape, I get my dog Ruby and we go on a long walk or hike in North Stamford. She and I both love the nature, exercise and alone time.
Tell us about Slim Pickings Grazing Trays. How did you get started?
Slim Pickings came to life this past year and it’s been an amazing journey so far. I’ve always been interested in food and I love to cook and entertain. I’ve done various food ventures in the past, such as being the Fairfield County ambassador for Dishcrawl (think bar crawl, but with restaurants).
On Sundays, while my husband and son watch football, I put out “trays” for them to snack on. Typically, it would be what I had in the fridge or pantry, some cheese, pretzels, salami, veggies, dip, nuts… whatever was on hand. Wasted food is a pet peeve of mine.
Slowly, my trays started getting more and more elaborate. I posted a few pics of the prettier looking ones and people started asking if I sell them. So of course, I said YES, and he we are. Slim Pickings was actually a name I had in mind for my dream of having a food truck one day. I think it works well for this purpose too.
What is the secret to a great grazing tray?
The great thing about grazing trays is that there is no right or wrong. Anything goes, from fancy charcuterie, to kid friendly boards. You do want to choose quality foods; meats, cheeses, fruits, etc. The perfect board, in my opinion, has a savory, sweet, smooth, and crunchy element. Trader Joes is great for ingredient shopping and they carry some of my favorite items that you will see repeated in many of my trays (dried oranges, blueberry vanilla chevre, spanish deli meats, candied pecans, cheddar twists).
Where do you get your inspiration for your grazing trays?
Instagram has some stunning photos. I began following @the_blonde_kitchen and other cheeseboard related accounts and hashtags. There is a whole community of us out there! Check out @plattermeupcolorado and @ainttooproudtomeg. Incredible work. Of course you can follow me as well @slimpickingsgrazingtrays.
How do you juggle your business with mommyhood?
I also work full time as an HR Manager, so I must admit, it can be a real struggle some days. We order take out more than I like to admit. My yard can be a mess. I wish I was able to attend more of the school activities that happen while I’m at work. But we prioritize and do the best we can.
Fortunately, my family has been very supportive of my new business. They even get in on the action. Hayden will help me prep and assemble trays. Jason, like every middle schooler, is a social media guru and helps me with captions, tags and stories. And my husband Joe has graciously volunteered to be my delivery driver. He was even offered a tip by a customer! (He turned it down).
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve gotten from another mom?
If it won’t matter in five years, don’t worry about it for more than five minutes. As moms, we can get so caught up in our worries about everything; kids, marriage, work, religion, finances, friendships… it can become massively overwhelming. What really matters is that we are all feel safe and loved and are healthy and happy.