Dynamic Duos

Above: Stephanie Zaccario & Ana-Maria Leeming

Stephanie Zaccario & Ana-Maria Leeming

WHO: When ANA-MARIA LEEMING, a former clothing brand owner from Chicago, met STEPHANIE ZACCARIO, founder of luxury food import business Artisanal Pantry, at a social event in Katonah, NY, they knew they would become fast friends. The women, both living in New Canaan and moms to two girls, share the same appreciation for family and building a happy home. They also love shopping local, lunching and indulging in the finer things in life. Leeming (nicknamed Squirrel) and Zaccario (Foxy) do it with an edge and infectious sense of humor — all packaged into SPRUCEDANDSTYLE.COM, a lifestyle blog highlighting all their antics in a quirky, but stylish way.

WHAT: Spruced & Styled showcases everything from home décor and travel tips to tutorials on how to style a black dress. There are recipes for fab cocktails (anyone for a Bloody Mary?) and a guide on how to set a festive table. There are also links to fun beauty videos and flower arranging demos. Every post is useful, but it’s all done with humor — as seen in their hilarious bloopers video. “Think of us as a social media espresso break; injecting a quick shot of lighthearted fun into your workaday life,” Leeming says.

NEXT UP: If you follow this duo on Instagram you’ll see their daily jaunts locally, whether they’re attending a fashion show, pointing out all the best accessories at She La La or carving pumpkins with a power drill. There’s going to be so much more of that, they say, as well as more vlogging. “Our three foundational objectives are simple: escape your day and have a laugh, discover approachable luxury and explore the rich culture of Fairfield County,” Zaccario says.

3 things to try now
1. LED facial by Daga at Lanphier Day Spa in Darien
2. Fun gifts and décor at Wave in New Canaan
3. “Rosie’s Meatballs”, at Paci in Southport

Lauryn Soden & Zoe Hamann


Lauryn Soden & Zoe Hamann

WHO: LAURYN SODEN and ZOE HAMANN have literally known each other forever. The two grew up in Rowayton and while they knew each other, they didn’t become close friends until they both moved back to their small town from New York City as adults. Hamann worked in advertising for ten years and Soden in digital marketing, but the two decided to switch gears once they reconnected here. “We shared the same passion for design and love of flowers,” Soden explained.

WHAT: In May 2016, the two started arranging beautifully designed bouquets and they created scented candles and sold them on Fridays at the Rowayton farmers market. Their designs were an instant hit, selling out every week. When the market came to a close for the season in November 2016, Soden and Hamann opened their own shop, STEMS + CO., in downtown Rowayton. “It was a great little spot that allowed us to have our design studio space in the back, so we could work and sell right there,” Hamann said.

NEXT UP: In November 2018, the duo decided to close their shop in order to focus in on doing what they love — designing. “We had the shop for two years and it went very well,” Soden said. “But we are both new parents and we needed to take a look at our business and focus in on what what’s most successful.” Soden said that the creative part of the business is what they both love the most. So, they are refocusing Stems + Co. for the new year and offering event services (like weddings, bar mitzvahs and even smaller dinner parties) and workshops (flower arranging and wreath making). “We didn’t want to become known as a florist,” Hamann said. In addition to the custom floral business, the two are working on expanding their candle line — even wholesaling it to local shops like Browne & Co. in Darien and The Fred Shop in Westport and Greenwich. They offer eight scents now and hope to soon begin selling them in shops outside Fairfield County.

Barb Hazelton & Jo Briggs


Barb Hazelton & Jo Briggs

WHO: After 20 years of marriage, Darien resident BARB HAZELTON knew it was time for her marriage to end. “I don’t believe in divorce, but I don’t believe in a bad marriage either,” she says. With four kids and a busy career in real estate, she admittedly made a series of mistakes going through the process of divorce. And so, she teamed with her twice-divorced New Canaan friend JO BRIGGS, a former corporate lawyer-turned-fitness business owner to start THESINGLEPROCESS.COM, a video resource guide that covers everything you need to know about “going from a we to a me.” Their mission is to make the process of divorce easier.

WHAT: Thesingleprocess.com contains more than 50 info-loaded episodes ranging from topics like how to know your marriage is over, infidelity, talking with your kids, dating and how to pick a lawyer. Episodes are set up like interviews led by Hazelton and Briggs who meet with experts like family lawyer Carole Orland, who goes deep into splitting financials; marriage counselor Lisa Ryan, who speaks about what kills a marriage and a conversation with private investigator Rob Artus, among others. The mission, they say, is to offer something for everyone, since no two divorces are alike.

NEXT UP: Hazelton and Briggs have turned all of their videos into podcasts which are easily downloadable from SimpleCast. They’ve also added an informative blog to their site and a Divorce In A Box service, which connects people with Hazelton and Briggs in a more personalized setting. For $500, you can meet with them and they will offer solid advice, resources, a shoulder to cry on and help you to navigate a good path for you and your soon-to-be-ex. They also plan to offer new videos on issues like communication, bereavement and to focus more on dads. “The process can and should be more positive and empowering and we hope to be able to offer that,” Briggs expressed.

1. You will learn who your real friends are.
2. Your kids will be okay, if you are okay.
3. Solutions exist, even if you can’t see them right now.
4. You will need time to take care of yourself.
5. You cannot predict the future.

Sara Pollan DiMedio & Kelli Bussan


Sara Pollan DiMedio & Kelli Bussan

WHO: Brooklynite SARA POLLAN DIMEDIO is quite busy working as a stylist for the consultancy she founded, Sur De Soi. Calling Bloomberg her number one client, the new mom and her team work daily to outfit 45 (or more) journalists across the globe. Her life’s work, she says, is getting “the right piece on the right person.” So, it seems fitting for her to partner with her New Canaan-based friend KELLI BUSSAN, the lifestyle blogger behind thekellichronicles.com, to launch ÉTOILE VIERGE, a custom jacket collection designed by the customer entirely with high-end fabrics.

WHAT: Étoile Vierge offers a series of styles, from a leather moto jacket with removeable extension to make it longer or shorter to a full-length shearling coat. Order a plaid-print wool blazer with removeable fur collar, blinged-out with a huge range of applique options or go simple with a classic waterproof leather trench (you pick the colors and buttons). The duo uses Italian-made leathers and New Zealand-raised eco-friendly furs for trims. From her work as a stylist, Pollan DiMedio has connections with high-end makers and tailors who are able to produce a jacket in as little as a few weeks. And, since they’re selling direct-to-consumer, they’re able to keep prices somewhat reasonable — blazers start at $595, leathers at $745 and shearlings at $1,750. Prices go up according to which attachments and appliques you choose. “It’s outerwear,” Bussan says. “It’s the piece everyone sees, so it should be special and unique to you.”

NEXT UP: Currently, you can purchase a jacket on etoilevierge.com or through a trunk show. Pollan DiMedio and Bussan are working on securing a showroom in New York City where they can meet with clients by appointment. Soon, the product will be shoppable through their Instagram and they’re planning to connect with artists to develop new applique designs. “We hope to follow the Warby Parker model,” Pollan DiMedio says. “We could send someone two different samples and they can choose the size that works for them.”

All photographs by Kyle Norton.

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