The Sol Compass

by Caitlin Hummer


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Bridge of Flowers

 

Hello everyone, welcome back!  Today’s bonus post is all about the Bridge of Flowers.  B had been talking about taking me on a surprise excursion out to Western Mass for almost a year now, and a couple weeks ago we both had a free Sunday and decided to go for it!  He could have taken me to have a picnic in a parking lot and I would have been excited that I didn’t have to plan anything on such a beautiful sunny day, but the surprise was better than anything I could have imagined.

Eleven and a half miles from the Vermont border, Shelburne Falls is a quaint village full to the brim with all the charm you would expect out in Western Mass.  It’s filled with charming stores and cafes, and is located right on the Deerfield River and the Mohawk Trail.  But our main attraction was the Bridge of Flowers.


An old Trolley Bridge, the first flowers were planted in 1929 by the Shelburne Falls Women’s Group who were tired of looking at the empty bridge growing weeds.  Today, almost 90 years later, it is brimming with dozens of plant varieties, from bulbs to shrubs.  Knowing how much I love flowers, B was 100% right knowing this was the perfect getaway for me.


For lunch we stopped at Baked, an adorable cafe inside an old garage, for coffee and sandwiches.  Then we headed over to see the Glacial Potholes!

 

Thanks so much for stopping by, have a great day!


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Road Trip Ready

 

Welcome back everyone!  This year I’ve gone on four summer road trips in varying lengths.  B and I kicked off Memorial Day Weekend in Portland, Maine, Michaela and I took our annual sister trip to NYC, my mom and I drove to Ottawa on ten hours notice, and B and I went down to the Cape with my best friend and her boyfriend.  With my love for summer adventures, I consider myself somewhat of an expert on making your road trip enjoyable, whether it’s two hours or two days.  Today I’m sharing my go-to travel outfit formula and the five apps I never road trip without!

Spotify.  Mac and I never even go to Target without our downloaded Spotify playlists.  We are regular listeners of “New Music Friday” (M) and “Indie Pop” (me) and love our Spotify family membership!

Waze.  Michaela has a long commute, so she is always the first to suggest checking Waze on a regular basis for traffic and travel updates.  I, on the other hand, am not as good about remembering to check until after we’re sitting in bumper to bumper….

Along The Way.  Along The Way is exactly what it sounds like.  It finds coffee, food, attractions, and more on the route you’re taking to your end destination.  If you’re trying to expand on your road trip and stop to find hidden gems along the way, you definitely should check out this app!

GasBuddy.  On our regular route to NYC, we know exactly which BJ’s Gas Station we can stop at off the highway (it’s in Wallingford, right off the Merritt).  On other road trips (such as last year’s excursion to Saratoga Springs), we have to get a bit more creative to make sure we aren’t paying 60% more for gas.  This is where GasBuddy becomes your absolute savior!  Not only does it find you a gas station, but it finds you the cheapest gas station!

Sit or Squat.  This app always makes me chuckle a little bit, but it is extremely useful if you’re in an area you’re not familiar with.  It’s an app by Charmin, and it finds public bathrooms near you!  The best part about it is it rates them based on cleanliness, so if there are multiple options nearby you can choose the cleaner option!

 

My road trip uniform is based in a maxi or t-shirt dress.  They are so comfortable, you have no harsh waist band rubbing against you for multiple hours, and you still look cute when you arrive at your destination.  I love the classic summer stripes combined with an easy olive jacket and comfortable Chuck Taylors like I wore here, or a maxi paired with gladiators and a cozy sweater (which is exactly what Jenn wore driving down to the cape!)

Outfit Details – Dress: Milly (old, similar here, here, and here) | Jacket: GAP (old, similar here, here, and here) | Sunglasses: Coach | Bag: Sole Society | Sneakers: Converse

Thank you so much for stopping by!  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.  Follow along with our adventures on the ‘gram!

xo, C


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Mystic, CT

Hello everyone, welcome back!  Last weekend B and I found ourselves in the charming seaport town of Mystic, Connecticut and had a great time eating and exploring our way through it.  From Massachusetts it makes a great weekend getaway or even just a day trip!

Things To Do.

Mystic Aquarium.  This is perhaps the most obvious answer, but the Mystic Aquarium really knocks it out of the park.  Whether you have kids or are just a big kid at heart, I think everyone can enjoy a few hours here.  They have a pair of beluga whales, a penguin colony, and a sea lion show; amongst much more.  It can be a bit pricey, but if you live in New England you can try to find discounted tickets through your library or AAA office!


Mystic Seaport.  The seaport is a reimagined 19th century village complete with a settlement and historic ships!  It has an amazing location and you could easily spend hours here.

Olde Mistick Village.  Essentially a large shopping center, Olde Mistick Village has tons of great options for food and shopping.

Mystic Museum of Art.  The location of this museum cannot be beat.  It’s right on the water near historic downtown Mystic.  The coolest thing in my opinion is how many local artists it features.  I love getting to see how natives view a place!


Charles W. Morgan.  This amazing creation is the last wooden whaling ship left in the world… Need I say more?

Argia Mystic Cruises.  We didn’t do one this past weekends, but from past experience I can say that the sunset sails cannot be beat. The boat is a perfect size to bring a small group and still not feel like you’re taking up the entire boat.  And the views are exquisite.

Historic Downtown Mystic.  The downtown area is filled with shops and great places to eat.  It seems to be quite congested at times, but the waterfront boardwalk and unique drawbridge certainly make up for it.

Places To Eat.

Vault Coffee Roasters.  Conveniently located next to the Mystic Aquarium, Vault has a cute little setting and a strong community vibe.

drwb @ 24.  In the shadow she f the drawbridge lies this little gem of a bistro that B and I stopped in for brunch.  It’s so affordable we almost went back for a second round!


Engine Room.  If you’re looking for a burger or a cool spot with exposed brick walls, this is definitely your spot.

Sea Swirl.  This little unassuming clam shack serves everything from jalapeño poppers and clams to ice cream and fish tacos.  Grab something to go or pull up a picnic table to enjoy!

S&P Oyster Company.  You definitely pay for the river view and the romantic, cafe-light induced ambiance… But boy is it worth it.


Thanks so much for stopping by! Do you have any favorite places in Mystic?

xo, C

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Nashville

 

Welcome back friends, happy Friday!  Today’s post is a full recap of my trip to Nashville, This post will be broken up by neighborhood, including what we did and ate in each area.  As usual, I won’t include any of the things or places I didn’t enjoy on this review and will only talk about the places I would recommend to everyone!   Michaela has celiac and eating out on vacation can be frustrating for her, so I included her reviews in italics!

Downtown.

Play: Broadway’s “claim to fame” is a string of honky-tonk’s playing live music at all hours of the day.  It’s really strange for a couple of Bostonians to see people drinking in a dark bar with live music at 11AM, but alas, ’tis the Broadway way.

Downtown Nashville is rapidly expanding, a fact you can see for yourself from the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge.  It’s a beautiful view of the skyline and gives you a great idea of how quickly the city is expanding based on just how many buildings are under construction at one time!

A lot of the mainstream attractions are also located in this area, which makes this Music City Total Access Pass worth the price.  We used it to visit the Johnny Cash Museum, Country Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Sports Museum, and Frist Center for the Visual Arts all in Downtown (plus Belle Meade and the Parthenon) for $75.  It’s a great value if you plan on going to six of the attractions (with the added benefit of not having to worry about purchasing the tickets at each entrance), and there are even more attractions Downtown if you don’t want to leave the area.

The Tennessee Sports Museum, inside the Bridgestone Arena, might be something you wouldn’t think twice about if admission wasn’t included in your ticket price!  If you’re a college sports fan I would especially recommend it, as Tennessee has a remarkably deep history of college sports.  I would say it’s worth the price of admission just to see the Pat Summit exhibit – even as a UConn fan I am continuously blown away by her greatness on and off the basketball court.

The Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum was actually much larger and in depth than I anticipated it being.  It often is mentioned as a “can’t miss”, and I probably enjoyed the Bob Dylan x Johnny Cash exhibit the most, though we definitely didn’t read everything in there.


As a big Johnny Cash fan, I really enjoyed that museum.  It covered so much more than just his musical success, going into his personal relationships and humanitarian efforts as well.


The last museum we visited was the Frist Center.  Located in the beautiful old post office building, the architecture and design of the Frist is a work of art itself.  The gentleman who greeted us was so helpful and knowledgable, that we got off to a really great start.  They had three galleries, all of which were comprehensive collections centered around one ideal.  The first, Buddhist Art, was of great interest to me and they had the most beautiful Mandala on display, complete with a video of the Monks creating it at the museum!  The Irving Penn gallery was of obvious interest to a fashion blogger, and the Claire Morgan exhibit was unbelievably powerful.  All three exhibits we saw are ending at some point in May, so it’s really great to know you never see the same museum twice!


Eat.  As possibly the least likely person on the planet to walk into a Honky-Tonk, Michaela and I discovered (sought out) the two most amazing restaurants on Broadway.  The first, Merchants, had a great covered patio for lunch where we enjoyed some people watching, salads, and sandwiches.  The interior is really amazing though, and they have more casual bistro dining on the first floor and an elegant dining room up on the second.

M: The black and white downstairs bistro was bustling with waiters, waitresses and bartenders in white button ups and black bow ties. The place was packed with locals and tourists alike searching for a delicious meal in the chic digs. We sat outside under some cafe lights, hearing the live music coming from the surrounding Broadway bars. They brought us a small tin of seasoned popcorn to snack on; a great placeholder until my chicken Caesar salad came. Pretty good for a salad, but overall, the experience of the restaurant was what made it onto the list.

Acme Feed & Seed is another multi level restaurants with specifically themed floors.  It has a gorgeous rooftop with views of the river and down Broadway.  The only food we got was chips and salsa trio, but I’ve read online that the meals are really good too!  Michaela was able to eat the chips, which is always a huge plus.  We went for Happy Hour (on a Monday) and it was like the Hunger Games trying to get a table on the rooftop!


The Gulch.  The Gulch is the current trendiest spot in Nashville, and for good reason.  It’s the location of the famous Nashville murals (including What Lifts You) and some amazing food and nightlife spots.


Eat.

Burger Republic.   Burger Republic is sort of an upscale burger joint, but it is totally worth it.  If you’re looking for a comfort meal while traveling with a bit of the local scene, I would highly recommend trying it out.  We sat out on the patio (if only we could have as long a patio season as Nashville does!) and met up with a friend who lives down in Tennessee, who vouched for Burger Republic and pointed us in the direction of 12South (she obviously has great taste).

M: I don’t think I need to say anything other than burgers, kettle chips, and shakes here. But in case you need more convincing, they have gluten free buns and a ton of burger options!  


Biscuit Love.  Michaela kindly put up with me as we waited in line for Biscuit Love.  They have some gluten free options if you choose to eat there, but no biscuits.  Southern Biscuits were high on my list of things to try while down in Tennessee, so I went in for the bonuts (biscuit donut hybrids!) and got them to go (their staff is incredibly helpful and accommodating!)  They were so amazingly delicious I only wish I had someone to share them with!  (Sorry M).

Barista Parlor.  I wish this place was in Massachusetts because they take coffee to a whole new level.  If you have any interest in brewed coffee as an art form, this is definitely a place to go.  They had about six different roasts, available hot or iced, and cold brewed or pour over.  As a coffee aficionado, this was like heaven.  I went with a daredevil and it was gone far too soon.  The location is equally amazing, in an open and airy garage, filled with long tables and natural light.  I also love the coffee bar in the center of the room, and the lack of big tacky menu boards.  10/10 would recommend.


Thompson Hotel.  If you’re going to Nashville, stay at the Thompson Hotel.  That’s it.  Walking up to the hotel, we instantly wish we had stayed here.  The Gulch is a great neighborhood to be in, it’s an easy walk to Downtown, the staff is all BEYOND incredible, and they have the most amazing spot…

LA Jackson.  This breathtaking rooftop bar is located at the Thompson Hotel.  It has a beautiful view of the city, a solid drink selection, celeb sightings, and thoughtful interior decor. The service of every person at the hotel from the doormen to the bartenders is so thoughtful and touching, it made our trip so delightful.  Such a small thing, but it really impressed us. 11/10 would recommend.

Saint Anejo.  M: I’m a big fan of Mexican food. Always have been, always will be. In fact, I’m genuinely worried that I will never find someone who makes me as happy as tacos do. I love them that much. So trust me when I say that the chicken tacos from Saint Anejo are better than any boy I’ve ever met. We split the tray of 5 tacos and devoured an entire basket of  chips and salsa.  The food is tremendously flavorful, and the décor is chic and moody, with wooden tables, red accents, and cafe lights strung across the entire open air restaurant.  Also, everything was gluten free here and they were very helpful and willing to accommodate allergies!


Juice Bar.  M: Delicious smoothies. Quick and easy and a good option for when you’ve eaten so much all week and you don’t want to stuff breakfast down your throat. 


12South.  Possibly one of the hottest spots in Nashville right now, 12South is home to chic restaurants, local boutiques, and some more fun murals!


Eat.

The Frothy Monkey has several locations throughout Tennessee, including one in Downtown Nashville, but I chose to talk about the 12South location because it’s the original.  Each location has its own vibe and charm – I wish there was one near me because I would be there working on my laptop and sipping on cold brew for days.

M: Personally, I was looking for some comfort food. I got a grilled cheese on gluten free bread (actually good bread-not cardboard gf bread) and it was served with some corn chips and salsa. It was delicious and just what I needed. We also went back the next morning for their gfree chocolate chip muffins which were surprisingly delicious and airy.


Jeni’s Ice Cream.  High quality ingredients, unique flavors, in an artisan ice cream shop makes Jeni’s a win for me on all fronts.  A small cone comes with two flavors, so I tried the Brambleberry Crisp and the Osmanthus & Blackberry Crackle – they were so good!  I also really wanted to try the churro and black cat espresso flavors!


bartaco. M: A perfect gluten-free find in 12South, bartaco is a beachy and open air haven.  I couldn’t have been happier.  The relaxed atmosphere is filled with a happy and helpful staff who spend the day bustling around cranking out delicious food.  We got the lunch trays; three tacos and a chopped salad or soup for only $10. We also got a large order of guac to start and it was delicious.  Possibly my favorite meal of the trip!



Play.

Draper James. Reese Witherspoon’s store is nothing short of darling (what else would you expect). In addition to beautiful clothes and accessories, they have helpful employees who offer you a sweet tea when you enter. Score!

Past Draper James are even more amazing shops, from Imogene + Willie to Emerson Grace, all filled with expertly curated styles.

Midtown.  Surrounding Vanderbilt is the Midtown area, including the beautiful Centennial Park.  They have lots of chains in one strip, including a Moe’s and a Starbucks, but also a lot of Southern restaurants and a few local dive bars that we didn’t get to try.

Play: The Parthenon. The story behind the Parthenon is really cool, and the Centennial Park surrounding it is absolutely beautiful.  It’s included in the Music City Access Pass, but even if you decide not to purchase the pass, admission is only $6.  Michaela and I rented bikes from the B-Cycle station outside our hotel (I talked more about it in this post) and rode down to the park, where we dropped them off at one of the stations there!


Also inside Centennial Park, besides beautiful landscaping work and some peaceful benches, is a Women’s Suffrage monument, which is an amazing bonus to learn about how Tennessee became the “Perfect 36”, the final state needed to ratify the 19th Amendment.

Eat: One of my favorite chain restaurants in the world is J.Alexander’s.  The first time I ever tried one was actually this location between Vanderbilt and Centennial Park when I was visiting Nashville with my mom in high school (we also visited two in Florida on subsequent family vacations).  My personal strategy is to get the drool worthy Spinach Con Queso for the table, and then follow up with an equally amazing salad.  Balance in all things, my friends.

You can view more in detail about our trips to the Parthenon here and Belle Meade here.

Hope you all enjoyed hearing about our trip to Nashville!  It’s amazing how fast the city is growing and expanding, but it makes a perfect short trip from New England!

xo, C


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Love At First Stripe

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Happy Hump Day!  Today is the second outfit post of my sister trip to Nashville.  While I was on the Abercrombie & Fitch website searching for this dress, I found this striped shirt and instantly fell in love with it.

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Nashville has these B-cycle stations all over town.  They are a great and affordable way to get out and explore more of the city than you may have been able to on foot!  The best part is you can just drop them off at whichever station you end up at, which is super easy since they seem to be everywhere!

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The Parthenon is possibly best known amongst those my age and under from its cameo appearance in Percy Jackson, but it is an incredibly impressive full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens.  It’s situated right in the middle of the beautiful Centennial Park, a place I could spend days in with ease.

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Outfit Details – Top: Abercrombie & Fitch | Jeans: LOFT | Flats: Payless | Necklace: Elizabeth and James | Earrings: Banana Republic (old, similar here) | Bracelet: LC Lauren Conrad | Ring: Bauble Bar | Watch: Fossil | Lipstick: Urban Decay ‘Rush’ | Lipgloss: Nars ‘Belize’ | Nails: OPI Fiji Collection ‘Getting Nadi On My Honeymoon’ | Nails (toes): OPI Fiji Collection ‘Living On The Bula-Vard!’

Thanks for stopping by!  Enjoy the rest of your week!

xo, C


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Belle Meade

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Good morning everyone, happy Monday!  I hope you all had a great weekend!  Today kicks off my mini series of posts from our Tennessee trip!  We had beautiful weather while we were there, and spent one gorgeous afternoon at the Belle Meade plantation.  The day started off with a tour of the mansion, including some background history of Bonnie Scottland (ancestor of 104 Kentucky Derby winners!) and the Harding-Jackson family influence throughout the Civil War era.  The tour ended with a wine tasting in the Winery, a small shop filled with wines and gifts alike!

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I could not be more excited to have a chance to wear this pink lace midi dress.  It was perfect paired with a little denim jacket, and comes in tall and petite sizes, so you can definitely find you find your perfect length!

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After the tour and wine tasting, we easily could have spent hours exploring the beautifully landscaped grounds around the plantation and learning more about Uncle Bob Green and the horses!

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Outfit Details – Dress: Abercrombie & Fitch (shorter version here) | Jacket: Lucky Brand (similar here) | Sunglasses: Perverse (similar here, here, here, and here at different price points!) | Necklace: Elizabeth and James | Earrings: Banana Republic (old, similar here) | Bracelet: LC Lauren Conrad | Ring: Bauble Bar | Watch: Fossil | Lipstick: Urban Decay ‘Rush’ | Lipgloss: Nars ‘Belize’ | Nails: OPI Fiji Collection ‘Getting Nadi On My Honeymoon’ | Nails (toes): OPI Fiji Collection ‘Living On The Bula-Vard!’

Thank you so much for stopping by.  I hope you all have a wonderful week!  Remember to stop back in for more Tennessee outfits and itineraries!

xo, C


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Packing Tips

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Step One: Cosmetics

The reason toiletries are up first is because they are all packed so early I don’t even have to think about them.  If you’re a long time reader you may remember in my last packing post I mentioned that I have a travel sized toiletry bag (or two) ready to go at all times.  I know the small sized products are more expensive, but the peace of mind having them packed and ready to go is 100% worth it to me, instead of having to try to pour my products into these tubes.  Michaela and I left at 6:45am yesterday morning and it was nice not to have to remember to pack everything after I went through my morning routine.  Just throw the bags into the bags the night before and we are on our way!

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My biggest setbacks when traveling are I am a huge germaphobe with a tendency to get dry skin/eyes/etc when 30,000 feet in the air.  Michaela bought these Truffle pouches for Christmas and let me tell you they are the real deal.  The small size is TSA Approved and perfect for your carry on.  I use mine for the inflight essentials (eye drops, lotion, hand sanitizer, facial water, mouthwash, face wipesdry shampoo, deodorant wipes, all the things a germaphobe may need).  These are my all-time favorite phone wipes, and I love that they come in this cute pouch to help organize my face wipes, antibacterial wipes, phone wipes, and deodorant wipes in my Sole Society backpack (similar here)!  This gives me the opportunity to store the larger size in my suitcase with my skin and hair products that I won’t urgently need.

IMG_0891I buy the small gift sets of skin/hair products when they come out around the holidays.  I can put them in my trusty travel bag and know that I’m set for most of the year.  I have this FAB one, this Clinique one, and a VERB one (which is no longer available, but you can buy travel sizes of the shampoo and conditioner, or try this onethis one, or this one).  Other products I keep in my suitcase include my toothbrush, toothpaste, razor, shaving cream, a mini micellar water, and a small amount of cotton rounds. It saves me so much time packing knowing that I don’t have to round up my grooming products every time I travel (or even spend a long weekend with friends or family!)

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Step Two: Clothing

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Think about the number of outfits you need and subtract one. You still won’t wear everything you pack.

Stick with a color palette.  It gives you multiple outfits while simultaneously giving you flexible to adjust your outfits based on the weather or your mood while you’re traveling. My Tennessee palette is anchored heavily in blush and denim, with olive and navy strewn throughout.

I never bring heels while traveling for leisure unless I have a very specific occasion planned.  I hardly ever need them, especially when there are so many beautiful flat sandal options these days that work for both day and evening purposes.  Plus walking around all day hardly ever leads me to say ‘yes, give me a pair of stiletto heels’.

Merino wool can be worn forever and is the absolute best and most versatile travel material.

 

Do you have any must have packing tips?? Share them in the comments below!

xo, C