Welcome to Fairfield County Lifestyle!

Helping Fairfield County residents discover the best of wellness and lifestyle. We feature local female entrepreneurs to inspire you!


  • Sherri Bartley Rivera

Meet Fairfield County art director, marketing consultant, food stylist, celebration creator, AND jewelry designer Paula Winicur – founder of Summer Street Studio @ilovesummerstreet (and single mom to a precocious and entrepreneurial 11-year-old daughter @sweetdreamsbytj).

With Summer Street Studio, Paula designs beautiful, inspiring, one-of-a-kind jewelry, combining her experience and vision to carefully curate quality materials inspired by nature and the sea, creating moments of peace within life’s storms.

Paula began making jewelry many years ago, when her mother had a very special family event. She had been ill for many years, which made finding an outfit she loved difficult. Together they found the perfect ensemble, but her mother felt it was missing something, and since jewelry always fits, Paula suggested they make a necklace to complement it. Her mother was so delighted with the custom necklace Paula designed for her, that after she wore it, she hung it inside a frame on her wall to display it as art, and to remind her of a moment that made her feel truly special.

Realizing the power of helping women feel their beauty, Paula started making jewelry as gifts, and the more people asked her to create custom pieces for them, organically Summer Street Studio was born. Sadly Paula lost her mom to the illness, and that loss taught Paula the importance of concentrating on what became her tagline: Find the Beauty in Every Day.

“There is abundant beauty in the world around us, and my mission is to find beauty in every day – it’s not always obvious, but it’s there, sometimes you just have to look hard to find it – and elevate it so that others can appreciate it too.”

Paula loves to help women connect to the inspiration that drives them, and the vision of who they can become. “Meaningful everyday connections inspire me and keep me going.” She creates pieces full of inspired moments and beautiful possibilities, jewelry designed to inspire.

You can purchase Summer Street Studio jewelry through instagram (@ilovesummerstreet) or on Paula’s (ilovesummerstreet.com).

Photos by@melanilustphototgraphy

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  • Sherri Bartley Rivera

Meet Janice McGuire, owner of Painting with a Twist, located in Westport, CT. This charming, inviting studio is the perfect destination for an artist or aspiring artist to come and paint and be taken away for a few hours!

Janice studied art in college and crafted stained glass windows in Vermont after graduation. She then moved to New York and worked at Citicorp for several years where she met her husband. She then moved to Westport to raise her family. When her kids were grown she became a mortgage broker and then came the real estate crash. Janice returned to her art roots and Painting with a Twist was born!

Janice told us, “it’s a really gratifying business because our goal is to make people happy in a beautiful, upbeat, colorful environment. We do get people who know how to paint, but the vast majority haven’t painted since grade school and come out just to try it out or to have fun doing something different. It’s a popular Girls’ Night Out, date night or family activity. We’ve shared important moments in people’s lives – birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, bridal and baby showers, and we’ve had 6 marriage proposals!”

I attended a class at Painting with a Twist this past weekend with family and friends and had a great time! The night started with 80’s dance music playing, and an impromptu get up and dance for a minute to rid any inhibitions before we picked up our brush. Agata, our art instructor, provided clear instructions of what brush to use and step-by-step directions on how to paint. We all left with masterpieces!

Painting with a Twist

1460 Post Rd E

Westport, CT 06880










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  • Sherri Bartley Rivera

Meet Merrilee Ganim DeFarias, owner of Ganim’s Garden Center and Florist, LLC, a staple to Fairfield and mom to amazing daughters. Ganim’s opened as a simple fruit stand called Ganim’s Outdoor Market in 1938 by Merrilee’s grandfather, John Ganim. The Route 8/25 highway connector system forced John to leave his North Avenue location. In 1969 the business moved to its present location at 320 Kings High Cut-Off. John and his son Lee worked side-by-side to expand the business to becoming the premier garden center in the area.

Merrilee and her brother Austin joined their father at Ganim’s after they both graduated from college. Merrilee is the Floral Department manager and designer and Austin is the owner of Austin Ganim Landscape Design, LLC and Lawn Care of Fairfield LLC.

During COVID shutdown Merrilee navigated the task of getting product to her customers while limiting her and her employees’ contact. She stated “we created home projects: kids seed starting kits, succulent kits and more to help keep gardening alive during this wild virus. We offered free local home deliveries as well as limited contact curbside pickup daily. Employees that typically worked outdoors were now working indoors to answer phones and take orders – we worked overtime to get orders ready the next day. We created a Mother’s Day quarantine basket and tried our best to help local businesses – we survived and are thankful for our employees – without them we wouldn’t have made it happen! We still offer curbside pickup for those unsure of coming in and for parents who don’t want to take their kids out of the car!”

If you haven’t taken a holiday class at Ganim’s be sure to mark your calendar for a wreath making class this December! Classes are COVID friendly as the classes are outside! Ganim’s hosts several wreath and boxwood decorating classes. I’ve taken both classes numerous times. Lee and Merrilee are the kindest and most patient instructors to take a class with. Not only do you decorate a gorgeous wreath but you get to adorn your wreath with a stunning bow of your choosing! I’ve gone back Ganim’s to purchase extra ribbon and pre-made bows for decorating my home!

Fun Fact: Merrilee played rugby in college and is a huge animal lover – she’s someday would lobe to work or run an animal sanctuary – we’re thinking she’ll be expanding Ganim’s!

Download their app, Ganim’s Garden Center & Florist and earn $10 off your purchase of $50 or more and $10 off your purchase on your birthday!

Ganim’s Garden Center & Florist

320 King’s Highway Cutoff

Fairfield, CT 06824











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