The Sol Compass

by Caitlin Hummer


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Apple Watch Review

One of the questions my friends in real life and on the internet have in common, is “How do you like your Apple Watch?!”  The truth is, long before Apple even announced a watch, I was searching for a watch with standalone GPS function.  I never found one that seemed worth the purchase though, so I postponed the purchase.  When Apple launched the Series Two, B got himself one, and I waited with baited breath to hear his full review.  As the technology world tends to do, the whispers around the Series 3 kept me waiting around for that launch, and in September I decided the new Apple Watch finally had everything I was looking for.  My family actually bought me one for my birthday, and I have gleefully worn it every day since then.  Every week or so, someone has asked me for my review and recommendation.

My number one interest in the Apple Watch was its health features.  As mentioned, I have long searched for wearable technology that allows me to track my runs (and walks) without carrying my phone around.  Some of my other favorite features include the activity rings, the “stand” alerts, and the workout app, which allows you to track cycling, elliptical, and stair master workouts, amongst others.  It’s also really nice to not need my phone strapped onto my arm at the gym, I just use my watch and Bose Earphones.

The unsung hero of the Apple Watch, in my option, is its integration with Maps.  No more forgetting to take a turn, the watch will gently, but repeatedly, tap you when you have a turn coming up.

My friend Brad told me I would never notice how many notifications I got in a day until I got an Apple Watch, and he was 100% right.  I had to turn off everything except calls and texts after just one day!  I do love that I can check my texts even when I don’t have my phone nearby, and the Siri is very useful in its own right.

A slightly annoying, but fixable, side effect was that after a couple months of wearing the Watch all day long (besides sleeping), I began to notice some small red bumps on my wrist.  I assumed it was because of my dry winter skin, and I had never worn a watch all day, through workouts and all, before.  So I asked my mom (an avid watch wearer), and she said some hydrocortisone would fix it!  (She was right, as always).

My only real complaint about the Apple Watch is the lack of Spotify integration.  It works great with Apple Music, but I’m very loyal to Spotify for a plethora of reasons, which can make leaving behind your phone very frustrating.  I’m not sure the future the Watch and Spotify have together, but in my book it’s the only real area for improvement.

Do any of you have the Apple Watch?  What are your thoughts on it?

xo, C


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Beauty Spotlight: Mario Badescu

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Welcome back everyone!  Mac first introduced me to Mario Badescu by way of this drying lotion, and I’m so happy she did.  For a pretty reasonable price, you get really great quality products.  While I have by no means tried their whole product lineup, I’ve loved every one that I purchased so far.

Drying Lotion.  Acne spots are not my biggest skincare problem, but they are unbelievably frustrating whenever they do pop up.  This stuff goes on at night, and by the next morning the problem areas are visibly reduced.  If that isn’t pure magic, I don’t know what is.

Vitamin C Serum.  The other product that Mac encouraged me to try was this serum to reduce signs of aging (which is hilarious, because she doesn’t age AT ALL).  Vitamin C was one of the ingredients I was aggressively searching for in skincare last year.  Bright, smooth skin?  Twist my arm.

Botanical Exfoliating Scrub.  There are few things I love the same way as I love a good exfoliator.  The challenge can sometimes lie in finding one that effectively scrubs off the dead skin cells without seriously irritating my dry skin.  The day after I used this for the first time, I already could tell that my face was looking smoother and more radiant.  At only $26, this one is perfect for using once or twice a week without breaking the bank.

Neck Cream.  I mentioned in my last skincare post that I had my eye open for a new neck cream.  At that point I had actually forgotten that I had ordered this one from Ulta, so I’ve been trying this one out for a little over one week.  I haven’t noticed significant changes in my neck lines yet, but it is really great for moisturizing, and my décolletage seems to be getting firmer already.

Chamomile Night Cream.  A silly thing that I wish I was better at is drinking tea at night.  It seems like such a great idea to calm myself down before bed, but I honestly just never think about it.  Luckily, skincare is something I do think about every night.  The calming smell of the chamomile is a really great relaxer for me, and I love using this after the exfoliating scrub, and any time my skin is red and blotchy I reach for it as well.  (Mario Badescu does make a few different types of night creams though, depending on what your skin type and interests are!)

Do any of you use Mario Badescu already?  Let me know your experience with the brand in the comment section!  Hope you have a great weekend!

xo, C


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5 Ways to Beat the Winter Blues

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Hi everyone – welcome back!  I was looking for something in my OneNote app last week, and I found this post that I wrote last year and never published!  I actually really like the way it came out so while it’s not completely relevant (I’m not doing Whole30 this year, and our trip to Florida was over a year ago), I decided not to change it and just leave the text as it was.  It’s a good little reminder for myself too, since we’re right in the thick of those tired winter blues right now!

Today I want to share with you a few things that have helped me the past month combat those winter blues.

Take advantage of the slow season to focus on your health.  While I was in Florida, I was really starting to feel the effects of eating out for every meal and snacking unhealthily throughout the day.  There was no way I was going to pass up a beignet or a churro or a Mickey bar… I have never dieted a day in my life, but I was starting to feel the effects of all the bread products and sugar I had been having.  Towards the end of the trip I started thinking about going on Whole30.  Then I got a stomach bug and pretty much didn’t leave my bed for three days.  After sleeping more than I usually do in a month and always being tired, I finalized my decision to start Whole30.  My goal wasn’t to lose any weight or have a miraculous appearance change, but rather to force myself to make healthier habits.  They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, and my hope was that at the end of Whole30 I would reach for healthier breakfasts (over my usual bagel) and have a better knowledge of what foods would help me feel better and give me the energy to keep going throughout my very long days (I usually wake up before six and frequently come home after 11).  Researching a lot about food, what I could have, and experimenting with recipes also got me into a pretty good habit of meal prep and actually taking time to make my own breakfast, which was my ultimate goal.  During the first week I missed carbs so much.  Mentally I kept thinking I was hungry or needed a more “filling” part of a meal as I stared at chicken and vegetables on repeat.  I can definitely say that my Whole30 journey was a success in steering me away from the empty carbs and towards food with a nutritional value, and having a slower social season to focus on it was really helpful as well.

Drink more water.  This is one of those things that everyone sort of knows we should do but hardly anyone actually believes they do enough.  I always thought S’well bottles were the best way to help these.  Every morning I try to make myself drink a full bottle of water before I got up from my desk for the first time.  Unfortunately I tend to get up a lot, so sometimes it’s a challenge but it is pretty good motivation.  Especially while I’m downing that morning coffee it is extremely good to mix some water in.  Then wanting to get up to fill my water throughout the day is another decent excuse to keep drinking (and stretching the legs).

Read more.  While I was sick, I got that judgy message from Netflix asking if I was still binge watching New Girl.  I usually only watch one episode of anything at a time, so seeing that really struck a nerve with me.  I actually deleted my Netflix app on my iPad the next day because seeing that message just made me feel awful.  I started to keep two stacks of books on one of my nightstands.  One with nonfiction books on my list, and the other with fiction.  I’ve been trying to get in the habit of reading more at night because reading really does bring me so much joy (my mom used to joke that she would punish my sister and I with “no reading for fun”).  Unfortunately, it’s one of the first things I put to the back burner when my life gets busy and I always feel the empty hole it leaves when I stop.  Whatever genre you choose to indulge in, reading is amazing for your creativity and critical thinking.

Self care.  Face masks are one of those things that feel so indulgent and not a single bit guilty.  You get to relax and give yourself a quiet night in, and your face gets treated to some much needed care?  Win win.  Same with going to the gym.  When did you ever feel bad after going to the gym?  Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it sucks, but in the end it’s over and you get to eat pizza for dinner.

Schedule downtime.  I am always out and about on any given night of the week.  December was particularly busy, and between Christmas gatherings, movie releases, store opening parties, Taco Tuesdays, and my friends coming back to Massachusetts for the holidays, I felt like the only down time I had was spent on writing five blog posts per week!  Socializing is something that can seem so urgent and important, but I have always known that I need some time to myself.  As I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that scheduling my nights alone is something I need to be better at.  My problem was always that I didn’t know in advance that I would have time alone, and so I would wind up wasting an entire evening.  Planning my time alone ahead of time (planning a meal or a book even) and not just allowing myself to waste the night away busying myself has been really important to my ‘me time’.  Michaela and I will very easily pop on a movie with our laptops or tablets in front of us, and then all of a sudden I’m answering emails and working on finding links for next week’s post.  One of the greatest things about blogging is I can do it any time, any place.  But it also makes it that much harder to turn it off and take myself off the clock.

What are your favorite ways to beat the winter blues?

xo, C


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My New Favorite Dress Line

Happy Monday my loves!  Back in the fall, B and I had a vow renewal ceremony to go to, and I really struggled with finding the right dress to wear.  I happened upon one at Target (seen in this post) and it was absolutely perfect.  Five months later, it’s still one of my favorite dresses.  So when I had a work trip come up that took me to Southern California in January, I knew just where to go.

The Who What Wear line is filled with fun patterns and rich colors in event appropriate hemlines.  I love the materials they use, and the silhouettes are super flattering (but prepare to size down a size or two!)  Best of all: at these prices, you can fill your closet up with new dresses and not feel guilty about it one bit.

Outfit Details – Dress: Who What Wear | Jacket: Topshop | Heels: Vince Camuto | Tote: Tory Burch | Necklace: Elizabeth and James | Earrings: Coach | Watch: Apple

Thanks so much for stopping by – hope you have a great week!

xo, C


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My Old Skincare Routine

 

Hi everyone, welcome back!  For the better part of 2017, I really dedicated myself to trying different skincare products and finding the ones that have that “wow” factor.  I’m currently working on a post about my new skincare routines and other products and brands I’ve really fallen in love with, but if you read about my old one skincare post back in the day, you may be wondering why I’m changing it up.  I absolutely loved bareMinerals’ Exfoliating Cleanser, and I used it for probably four years.  However they discontinued that product, and the ones that replaced it were never quite as good without that gentle exfoliating factor.  It made me realize that I’m just looking for a little more out of my skincare.

If you’re looking for a basic cleanser that does a good job and a buttery soft moisturizer, these are really quite good.  My skin is dry and can be sensitive at times, but bareMinerals products (both skincare and makeup) have never given me a reaction.  The main reason I have changed up my skincare regimen, is that I realized that I really want daily skincare that is exfoliating, or brightened and hydrated my skin with an extra bang.

One of the bareMinerals products that I absolutely will keep on rotation is the Brilliant Future Age Defense & Renew Serum.  As advertised, it does a great job reducing wrinkles and fine lines, but the big surprise to me was that it’s actually super hydrating as well.  I love using this as an anti-aging component of my routine all year, but it’s especially nice during the winter when my skin is really dry.  Over the last week, every square inch of my skin has been dry, except my face, and I swear this is a big part of the reason why.

L’Oreal Advanced RevitaLift Face & Neck Day Cream.  To be honest, I’m continuing on with this one for now, but I am going to keep looking for neck treatments.  I definitely have seen good results with this one, I’m just not blown away by them.  So if you have a holy grail neck oil, cream, etc. let me know about it for sure!

 

Thanks for stopping by!  I’d love to hear your story of skincare evolution if you have one, so definitely leave me a comment or send an email to TheSolCompass@gmail.com!  I could talk about skincare for hours, and I love hearing about other people’s experiences as well!

xo, C


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Glam Winter Denim

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Welcome back everyone!  You may remember seeing this Teddy coat paired with an LBD for a similar glam-ed up winter look, but for those days that it’s just too cold to wear anything but jeans, it’s perfect to add a little bit of fabulous into your daily wardrobe.

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Coat: H&M (sold out, similar here, here, and here) | Jeans: Lucky Brand | Booties: Banana Republic | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban | Bag: Sole Society (old, similar here)

Thank you so much for reading!

xo, C


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Primary Colors With A Twist

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Happy Monday everyone!  I had some fun mixing primary colors together in the spring in this post, and I thought it would be fun to mix red, yellow, and blue again; but in some less conventional shades.  I love the way sky blue and burgundy play off of each other, and the mustard really adds in another fun dimension.

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Outfit Details – Blouse: White House Black Market | Jacket: Ann Taylor | Jeans: Lucky Brand | Boots: Marc Fisher | Purse: A New Day | Sunglasses: Ray-Ban

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Hope you have a great week!

xo, C