Tag Archives: Soleil Toile

Roundup: Real Estate, Eggs, Floods, More


Just how hot was last year’s real estate market?

  • 2020 sales were up 76%, compared to 2019.
  • Average sales price versus list price is up 10%.
  • Average days on market is down 30%.
  • And the January 2021 inventory is down 45%, compared to January 2020.

That’s as crazy as GameStop. (Hat tip: Judy Michaelis)


Ally Lipton McArthur grew up here. For the past 15 years she has owned and operated Herb-n-Peach, a catering/event planning company in New York.

She and her husband moved back to the area in June. She’s expanding her business locally.

Ally’s mother (Marilynn Blotner) and sister (Stacey Lipton Schumer) own Soleil Toile, the popular lingerie/swimwear stores in Westport and New Canaan.

All 3 have pivoted their businesses during COVID. While brainstorming ways to incorporate something delicious (“the best chocolate chip cookies ever”) and wearable (lingerie), they hit upon a Valentine’s Day idea.

“Treat yourself — and share with a loved one!” they say.

Their “Valentines Share the Love Box” of sweets, love and undies includes 2 Hanky Panky (regular rise) one-sized thongs in curated Valentine colors, plus 6 scrumptious herb-n-peach chocolate chip cookies (milk chocolate, white chocolate and semi-sweet chocolate chip).

Click here to order online ($55) by Wednesday, February 10. Boxes will be available for pickup at Soleil Toile’s 2 locations. They can also be shipped ($12). For free local delivery, email ally@herbnpeach.com.

You can also buy at Soleil Toile on the weekend of February 13-14 (until the treats run out).

As for “sharing the love”: 10% of all sales go to Pink Aid.


For decades, the Belta family has taken care of Westporters. Their Bayberry Lane farm is a treasured, wonderful (and under-rated) source for fresh produce.

The Beltas take care of more than just humans. Yesterday — when the temperature barely nudged 20 — John Karrel saw this sign:

(Photo/John Karrel)


Saugatuck Island is a glorious place to live.

But nowhere is perfect. Residents put up with regular flooding.

The canal overflows when it rains. Occasionally it takes only a sprinkle.

Sometimes — as islanders saw yesterday, when the weather was perfectly fine all over town — all it takes is a full moon and high tide.

(Photo/Les Dinkin)


And finally … on this day in 1865, Congress passed the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery. It was ratified less than a year later, on December 6.

Best Of The Rest

Last week, “06880” lamented the lack of respect for Westport restaurants in Fairfield County Weekly’s annual readers’ poll.

The 2nd part of the survey is out — covering stores, banks, even doctors — and we’ve fared a bit better.

Winners include:

The incomparable Sally White.

Sally’s Place for “Best Independent CD/Vinyl Store.”  Such shops are fading faster than Donald Trump’s presidential hopes, but as the Weekly notes, owner Sally White is “one of a kind…. Die-hard music fans love Sally’s, and because White’s operation is so nimble, she can accommodate the special orders bigger stores can’t.”  The Weekly‘s readers nailed this one — as Sally’s fan Keith Richards also attests.

Plumed Serpent wins “Best Bridal Salon.”  I know as much about this category as Pakistan claims to have known about bin Laden, but here goes:  “Plumed Serpent, a multiple-year winner, is renowned for its selection of tasteful, stylish, higher-end dresses and excellent customer service.”  That’s almost enough to make me want to walk down the aisle, in a gown.

But a guy’s gotta look good too.  Fortunately, Men’s Wearhouse (4 locations, including Westport) wins for “Best Place for Tuxedos.”  The Weekly cites the chain’s “broad selection of styles and prices and oodles of shops.”  Sweet.

Bonnie and Rick, the great team at Great Cakes.

Speaking of sweet — and weddings — the “Best Place to Buy Your Wedding Cake” is Great Cakes.  I’m more into the  early-morning coffee — and the chance to see everyone from builder Bill Kashetta to surgeon Alan Meinke — but the crew in the back turn out awesome wedding cakes, all from scratch.  Owner Rick Dickinson is often told that his creations taste as good as they look — and how often do you say that about a wedding cake?

Another entry in the okay-I-believe-you department is Soleil Toile (“Best Lingerie Store [Non-Chain]”).  The Weekly praises the store’s attention to proper fit, and “very broad array of sizes and body types.”  O-kay…

Moving quickly along, the “Best Bank” is People’s United.  Ours shares the honor with other locations in the county, but New England’s largest bank earns props for their many locations, community service, and “expert bankers who can do loans and investments.”  (Um, isn’t that what bankers are supposed to do?)

Westport’s final winner is Dr. Mark Oestreicher.  He’s Fairfield County’s “Best Dermatologist.”  Once again, the Weekly voters have made a thoughtful, inspired decision.  Nothing rash about this one at all.

Bedroom Matters

Shaw’s closed; Fresh Market opened.  Sweet.

Depot Liquors is gone; another package store will take its place.  No big deal.

But Bedroom Matters is shutting its doors tomorrow.  That is very bad news for thousands of Westport women — plus their partners. 

Bedroom Matters is a boutique across from the railroad station — a few doors down from Depot Liquors, in fact.  It sells the usual:  lingerie, massage candles, rhinestone pasties, Kama Sutra honey dust, vibrators, Bad Girl cuffs.

Margaret Wagner

In 2 years, it’s developed a loyal following.  “Our customers are amazing,” says founder Margaret Wagner.

But rents are high.  So tomorrow (Friday) is her last day as a brick-and-mortar retailer.  All merchandise is 50 percent off.  A final event tomorrow night will clear everything off the shelves.

Customers — many of whom thank Wagner for spicing up their sex lives and/or saving their marriages — need not despair.  She will continue to sell her products — including bedding, intimate objects, and educational and erotic books — online

Her classes (intimacy, lap-dancing — “anything fun and sexy,” Wagner says) and her Sensual Circles women’s groups will be held in several area locations. 

“We have 2,500 women on our mailing list,” Wagner says.  Places like Arogya and Soleil Toile are very interested in having our events at their place.”

Kama Sutra massage oil is $19.99 on the Bedroom Matters website.

Wagner says she is “passionate about one thing:  living a sensual life.” 

But sex, she says, “has become an action, a verb. Its soul is lost as it gets tracked through the mud of everything from pornography to Cougar Town.”

 She founded Bedroom Matters to “reintroduce sex and intimacy as a core of our being.  (I wanted) to build a platform for sensuality and sexuality that is beautiful, respectful, fun and intimate.”

She calls her store “an expensive tool to help women — and couples — with relationships and intimacy.”  It’s time now, she says, to move more toward the educational side of the business.  And to sell products in an environment with no overhead.

As Shoeless Joe Jackson says in “Field of Dreams”:  “If you build it, they will come.”

(Wagner also blogs.  Click here to read “Margaret’s Bedroom.”)

This book includes a box to check after completing each of the 101 places.