Where are you from originally?
Edison, New Jersey
What made you choose Darien over other towns in the area? How long have you lived in Darien?
Having completed my undergrad at Fairfield University, I always knew I wanted to come back to Fairfield County when it was time to raise kids. I really do think that we get the best of all worlds here. I love living by the water in the summer and taking advantage of all that coastal CT offers, but also having these beautiful New England winters. We looked at lots of different towns, and there were great things about each, but Darien just felt like home to us. We’ve been here nearly 5 years and we love it.
How many kids do you have and what are their age(s)?
Maddie is 8 and Josh is 6. We also have an almost 2 year old English bulldog named Mabel – she’s like a third child.
What are your favorite events or favorite season in Darien and why?
One thing I love about living here is that there’s something to look forward to every season. We love our summers at Roton Point in Rowayton, taking advantage of the beach, pool and waterfront. We also love Christmas time in Darien with the tree lighting and all the festivities. However, I guess if I had to choose, I would probably say the fall because it’s a beautiful time of year in Darien – the trees changing, soccer games, the Tokeneke Pumpkin Carnival, fire pit parties and we also have a great neighborhood for trick or treating. Plus I like sweater, jeans and boots weather!
Three things in New Canaan or Darien that you can’t live without:
- My Almond Buzz Shake from Embody Darien
- Sushi from Fjord Fish Market
- Summer nights at Roton Point
What is one piece of advice you would pass along to other moms? What was the best advice your mom gave you?
It may sound cliché, but focus your energy on what matters most to you. Surround yourself with work, projects, and even people, that energize you, not drain you. It’s also okay to say no to things. I think we as moms want to do it all, but we spread ourselves too thin. Sometimes it’s okay to kindly and graciously say no.
My mom died when I was very young, but that’s where a lot of my thinking comes from. Life’s too short to spend too much time or energy on things that suck the life out of you.
What was your career before having children?
I’ve spent the last 20 years in retail strategy, consumer insights and consulting for retailers and brands. Much of my focus has been in working with retail executives to develop futures strategies.
Are you involved in a business venture, a local organization, a creative endeavor, or in the corporate world? Please share!
Yes! I recently started a business named Scouted, a website and app launching this year to help consumers discover the best products on grocery store shelves, recommended by people they know and trust. It also allows us to see what others with similar dietary needs have in their refrigerators and pantries. For now, we are starting the conversation on social media and there’s been a great response from local moms! For all the local moms out there, follow @scoutedfood on Instagram and Scouted Food on Facebook, to stay in the know about when we launch and to see what products other moms are recommending.
Is Scouted a health food site?
No. Scouted is not a health food site or a recipe site. It’s focused on product discovery — making grocery shopping easier and more curated by allowing us to see what our friends or people with similar dietary needs are loving. While there will be a bias towards cleaner and better-for-you alternatives, not all of the product is healthy. We all need indulgent foods here and there!
The emphasis is on sharing products that we love and that are tasty and practical for our busy days. We all want to cook from scratch from fresh ingredients, but with today’s increasingly hectic, on-the-go lifestyle, it just isn’t practical for most of us –certainly not daily. This will hopefully give moms some good ideas for just everyday eating. Living in this area, there’s lots of local moms already engaged, so I think local moms will love it!
Where did this idea come from?
Our food landscape has changed significantly and grocery shopping has become daunting to many. We’re shopping more places in a week than ever before – even locally, the average shopper is shopping five to six food stores weekly! What we buy has also become more complicated because, as a society, we’ve become more aware of what we should and shouldn’t be eating. Today there are so many products in our grocery stores catering to different dietary restrictions and preferences, that it can be overwhelming and easy to default to what we know and always buy.
Add to that, whenever I listen to local moms, everyone’s having the same conversation –
–what do you pack your child for snack, what do you give for lunch that’s peanut-safe, what do you do for dinner before practice? You can literally sit at Cherry Lawn and hear different groups of people having the same conversation! It was so clear that we are all in the same boat – big families, small families, singles, we’re all looking for food products to make life easier. This was a no-brainer. I knew I had to do this.
How has this community been instrumental in getting you to where you are now?
More ways than I can count. I’m grateful to this community – Hindley, my kids’ teachers, Methodist Preschool, all the coaches and instructors from their various activities – it really does take a village.
Also, in starting my business, local friends have been an amazing support. I’ve also had the opportunity to meet so many new women in Darien. Whether they work or stay at home, it’s like this huge community of power moms here in town. It has been an awesome experience.
One thing people would be surprised to know about you…
Everyone thinks that because I know so much about grocery products and trends that I love to cook and that I eat super healthy. It’s not true at all. I am the queen of eating out and take-out! Also, I’m just like most people – just trying to get my family to eat a little better where I can, without making each meal a battle. In fact, one of the reasons this concept resonates so much for me is that I love getting product recommendations and ideas for easy weeknight meals from other scouts as much as everyone else!
One of my biggest pet peeves is disorganization. I am organized to a fault. I remember being as young as 4 and constantly organizing my books in alphabetical order and toys by color. I’m the same way today.
What are your favorite places to shop in Darien (for things other than food!)?
Too many to name and I love shopping locally! I love Spree for clothing. I also love the Darien Toy Box – I’m always in there buying presents for kids’ parties. And of course, I’m in the Darien Sports Shop weekly for just about everything. My other favorite is Leary’s Liquor Cabinet – I love my wine 🙂
Click image below to see Shilpa’s first contribution to New Canaan & Darien Moms, “5 Spring Trends From Our Grocery Stores”…more to come!