Litchfield County Drums Up an Autumn to Remember.

Autumn is perhaps one of the most popular seasons on the calendar here in New England. After the warm summer breezes comes the crisp air and color explosion of leaves across the region. 

One area of our region in particular that has always been a personal favorite, is none other than my home base of Litchfield County, Connecticut. Nestled in the northwest corner of the state, this gem of a county is away from the hustle and bustle and is a land steeped back in time with rich history. It is also a place where Autumn just seems a little bit more bright and beautiful. Perhaps it is the rolling hills with a mascarade of colors exploding this time of year that makes it all seem just ever so perfect.

Maybe it’s the quaint New England charm that is offered in its small towns that is even more attractive this time of year. It’s as quintessential of a place as moms warm homemade apple pie sitting atop the oven just waiting to be scooped up for desert with a scoop of ice cream on top. 

Okay, so maybe it’s not as delicious as I made the apple pie sound, but it’s pretty darn close.

Litchfield County is a land that time has forgotten, and it’s just waiting to be explored. With its high peaks in  the far northern part of the county with views of the Berkshires to the north, the Taconics to the west, and the rolling hills and river valleys of Connecticut to the east to the depths of the most serene lakes the state has to offer, you’ll find it challenging to question why there’s just no other place quite as special and unique as Litchfield County, Connecticut.

Need some wine in your life? Wine not! There is an array of winery options laid out just for you. What better way to take in Connecticut’s most scenic foliage than with a glass of wine, or perhaps some mulled wine, from one of the many local vineyards that are filled with New England hospitality at its best.

Whatever brings you to Litchfield County, don’t forget to leave your troubles at its borders while you’re taking the roads less traveled. There’s much to explore, and you better be as carefree and charismatic as the land you’re about to embark on, because in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut, unwinding just comes naturally.

Let’s Talk.

There was a debate recently, and in case you haven’t heard, there’s a presidential election coming up in a few short weeks. What are we doing to ensure our future is secure?

I hope something.

Isis. Global warming. Race. Economy.

If you think for a second that your vote does not matter, perhaps you should think back to what happened to George Bush in Florida when he was running for president and won by a small margin.

If you think what you have to say does not matter, maybe you should tell that to the same people who show up at town hall meetings to plead their case to town officials and end up being heard as towns want to do right by its citizens.

Am I sounding any alarms?

Concerned about your children or grandchildren growing up in a better economy than where we are today?

Are you watching the events of Charlotte, Tulsa, and Chicago unfold? Want to change it?


Don’t think about it. Don’t say your voice will not matter simply because you are just one person. The reality here is that it will matter, and if you are not registered to vote I strongly urge you to do that right now. If you have learned anything as an adult, it should be that whatever you do today will impact the future, and voting for your next president is included in that duty.

If you sat and watched the debate on Monday night and laughed because it seemed like a circus act, perhaps you should weigh out the differences between the two candidates and choose the best one that is positioned to lead this country. Don’t just vote on someone because the vast majority of your friends are encouraging you to vote a particular candidate. This is not a popularity contest. This is your finances, health care, jobs, infrastructure, and your future. The list goes on.

If you don’t get out and vote, well, perhaps you don’t have room to complain. You can’t change direction without first helping to change direction. You cannot simply sit back and watch other people do the work, while you’re not actually assisting in doing it yourself. If you want change, be the change.

I urge you to pay close attention to each candidate over the next few weeks and make an informed decision. Do your homework and on Election Day take your test at the polls and bring your best possible answer. The rest of society, including the ones who are still growing up, well, they are all relying on you.

-Mike Valletta


Banking Made Simple, by Simple! Get to Love Your Bank.

Don’t you wish everything in the world was simple?

Well, thanks to Simple Bank, it can be! Okay, almost. At least the banking portion of your life can be simplified.

Recently, I decided to switch banks. When I did, I decided to stay clear of those large banks! Haven’t you heard the word on the street about Wells Fargo? I thought honesty was always the best policy? Someone should tell the CEO that one. While they are at it, they should communicate to the big banks that we no longer want to help contribute to their wealth by being just another number.

Eight accounts per household? Serriously, Wells Fargo? Tell my grandparents about that one. You would have been lucky enough to get what they were hiding in their beds for just one account.

Big banks make me mad. Can you tell?

With Simple, I am free and clear to manage my own money how I want, and without any strings attatched and, oh my goodness, no fees!

You see, Simple works like this; you have money in the account and then you start creating these little things called goals. Now, goals could be monthly bills, paying down debt, or helping to finance an Italian wedding in the heart of the Italian wine country!

Oh. Wait. That’s my dream. Sorry.

Carrying on.

Simple works by budgeting for what you need. You set the goals up, and Simple does the calculations for you. Let’s say, you need to save $40 and you need it in 20 days. Well, Simple will begin deducting about $2 a day from your account and place it into that goal for you. On the 20th day, you can now deduct what was saved up for you.

Simple, isn’t it? You saved without even knowing you saved. Nice!

Don’t worry. If you are in a pinch though and you need that money that you saved back, you can deduct the money from your goal and it will be instantly available. Honestly though, why would you do that? Just live within your means and enjoy life without spending blindly.

At least, I hope you haven’t been spending blindly. I’m watching you.

So, there you have it. It’s Simple, well simply put. The best little bank that I’m happy to call my new friend, and speaking of, you’ll really love their customer service. You could instant message your new banking friends and get a quick response.

Finally, gone are those dreaded calls to the bank asking me to press “1” for English.

To learn more, or to join, visit:

New England Has Heart All Autumn Long.

With visions of Autumn just around the bend, I’d like to introduce a few of my favorite autumn locations across New England.

New England is home to the four seasons of true beauty, and no season is brighter or more festive than fall. Color explosions splash a long hillsides and rocky shorelines. Pumpkin spice is all the rage, but don’t forget about grandmas homemade pumpkin pies that are sold at a nearby general store. You also can’t forget about all of the country fairs that help introduce this great season to us as we stroll along drinking mulled apple cider from local orchards.

Autumn in New England. There’s really nothing else quite like it.

Kent, Connecticut

Kent is a charming place. Tucked in the midst of Connecticut’s Litchfield Hills region lies this quiet gem of a countryside town just waiting to be explored. While you’re out taking in the views from Kent Falls State Park, why not take a drive down to Kent’s downtown that is a mecca for mom and pop shops, including some honest to goodness cafes to fuel your appetite after a long day of hiking the town.

Killington, Vermont

My personal favorite. My second home. Killington is known for its fantastic skiing during the winter, but did you know it’s just as splendid during the fall? Hit some balls on the golf course while taking in the natural beauty of the Green Mountain National Forest that surrounds you. Killington knows how to put on a good show, and autumn is a great time to get out and explore the scenery.

The Berkshires


Americas cultural resort. It’s no wonder Norman Rockwell loved this place so much. Nestled in western Massachusetts, the Berkshires is a land that time may have forgotten about. Still holding on to small town life are the quaint towns that dot the landscape. Backcountry roads leave you breathless after every turn. Autumn is no exception with the rolling hills taking center stage.

There you have it. My top three Autumn destinations for 2016. There’s something to be said about the land we live in. It’s our home, and we have to continue to explore it in order to remember why we love living here in the first place. There’s no such thing as seeing the same scenery twice in New England.

Where will your travels take you this fall?

Stop Copying Everyone! Discover Your Happy in Life One Memory at a Time.

What in our lives makes us all tick?

That was a question positioned to me recently. I didn’t exactly know how to explain it. Would you?

Let me first begin by saying, there is something in each of us that gets us up and out of bed in the morning. No, it’s not your boss yelling at you to get to work.

Okay, maybe right now it is. You shouldn’t ignore them.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could become your own boss? You could yell at yourself for waking up too damn early!

I’ve recently been working on a number of things to help me realize just what I’m passionate about. What drives me? Surprisingly, it’s not just my car on that commute to work in the morning. The people behind me that honk and flip me off occasionally certain don’t drive me to do anything I’d like to do.


I’ve outlined my happiest of moments in life. A lot of them were outdoor based. Skiing in the snow covered mountains, hiking for hours just hoping to get somewhat lost but not lost enough so I couldn’t eat a pasta and some cannolis for dinner, and most importantly, writing to tell all about my journeys in hopes that someone would read it.

Judging by my following and statistics, I’m pretty sure you’re all reading them. Thank goodness I’m not boring.

I’ve been revising my five year plan in my portfolio to keep up with my passions. Your five year plan, your goals and dreams in life, should not be what makes society happy. It should be what makes you happy, deep down inside.

The things that make you tick. Discover them now before you get caught in the trap that I like to call; The Fishbowl of Life. Where everyone watches what everyone else is doing just so they can keep up with one another.

Don’t be part of the the school of fish. Go discover your own path.

Adulting Done Right, Once You Figure Out How to Get Out of Bed.

Ah, mornings.

You either love them, or you hate them. As you become a little older, you realize that, well, you just have to love them. You’re not in high school or college anymore and it’s time to adapt to a routine to wake up and get your ass to work so you could afford to have that next martini at happy hour.

As I’ve turned thirty, I have begun to realize those facts. However, I still hate mornings, and you still can’t talk to me before my first sip of espresso. (Why does coffee cost so much money? Oh my goodness, yet another reason I have to love mornings so I could go collect a pay check!)

Lately, I’ve been putting together a plan of attack to love mornings. In bed by ten each night, up by seven in the morning. Grab a coffee, hit the walking trail to get that heart beat going for the day, and back to my bungalow to unwind for a bit before getting ready for the day.

Sounds like a nice plan, right?

Then you factor in the additional fifteen minutes of anti-aging treatments, cooking a beneficial meal to start the day which is something that does not taste like a pop-tart, and to top it off some meditation before you head out the door to work with the public.

Boy, mornings sound exhausting, don’t they? Can’t I just work from my bed with a mimosa?

Oh yeah, that’s right. A mimosa cost money to make. Never mind.

I’m slowly getting into this new routine of mine. It’s been a process, but something you didn’t read in there was screen time. Less than a year ago, I would have said my routine involved coffee and Facebook. Now, I’ve killed screen time in the morning.

Why? Well, I have come to realize in my path to less technology use that making time for yourself is important, and the mornings are especially a good time to be with just yourself. There’s so much crazy in the world, it can wait until I’m done with my bacon, eggs, and yoga.

Not necessarily in that order. Ever.

Sometimes, All You Need is a Good Vacation.

There’s something to be said about a vacation that helps put your life in perspective.

As I stated in my last column, I took a week off from social media during my week long hiatus to the mountains of New England. It just felt different. I wasn’t reaching for my phone urging to post every second of the day, instead I insisted on capturing the moments through photography and living in the moment.

It just felt right.

Back in the days before social media, we actually lived. We talked face to face. We took in the moments of life, and relished in them. These days, we are so caught up in who’s going to like what on our pages, that we just let life fly by without giving much thought about the impact it has on our everyday lives.

While away, I embraced every moment offline. I lived to hike new terrain and shared laughter with friends on the trails. I sat and enjoyed dinner while watching breathtaking mountain sunsets unfold before my very eyes. I embarked on mountain expeditions on a train and made it to New England’s highest peak without hashtagging the heck out of an Instagram photo and not living in the moment.

The small town charm of mountain towns, the raging waterfalls of mountain gorges, the calm of mountain lakes, to the wait staff at a small town restaurant that remembered my name. You can’t find this life on a screen. You have to explore your world.

This vacation has taught me a lot, and it taught me how to be more in tune with the world around me. Technology is great, but only when you need it, and we don’t need it every minute of the day. In fact, I was much more satisfied being offline.

Imagine the things I’d miss?

The views, the laughters, the tears, and the moments that really get you unwound. That’s the kind of world we should all be living in. Not one that is surrounded by screen life. We need to interact with each other again, and discover our passions. Life just doesn’t have time to sit and wait for us to figure it out.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll share more on how I’m overcoming my own screen addiction and what I’m doing to ignite the fire toward reaching successes with my own passions. And don’t worry, you’ll also get more of a glimpse of some of the amazing trips I took along the way in New Hampshire.

In a life of constant connectivity, we need to unplug and recharge our batteries, for time just isn’t going to stand still.