The Sol Compass

by Caitlin Hummer


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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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My Boston

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my relationship with Boston.  I can say with a great deal of certainty that the Boston I know is not the Boston that tourists may find in the average guidebook.

Newbury Street, Boston Common, Prudential Center… These are all places that people recognize, and maybe even identify, as Boston.  They are indisputably amazing parts of what makes this city unique.  I was brought up with a parent (hi Dad!) who traveled frequently and was absolutely set on finding his spots in different cities.  Anywhere from New York City, where my parents met 30 years ago, to small towns in Switzerland, he can give a rundown of his favorite spots.  Seeing this adventure he was constantly on, falling in love with food and culture alike, I subsequently set out to on my own adventure.  This search led me outside of past the top ten attractions, into hole-in-the-wall jazz clubs, new restaurant openings, and neighborhoods not on the Freedom Trail that have equally amazing things to offer.

My parents may have met in New York City 30 years ago, but I was born and bred in Boston.  This has led to some comical differences between generations, but I think everyone born in Massachusetts can relate when I say “As first thanks… Boston for raising me.”  I am and always will be proud to be from this free and fiercely independent birthplace of America.  Boston has always been a revolutionary town steeped in deep history that is impossible to escape, and I find the soul of the city echoing through my actions every day.

Today I want to kick off a fun new series with you, sharing My Boston and how I learned to fall in love with different neighborhoods in my city.

As I try out new places, experience new things, and buy from new retailers; I will be sharing my experiences with you in a “By Neighborhood” post series.

Kicking off this series I’m sharing 5 Things I Love About Boston.

  • It is incredibly healthy.  I love seeing bikers, runners, and even the occasional roller blader getting their exercise in on the esplanade every morning, and I love the accessibility I have to fresh and healthy food here.  Plus, being around such healthy humans makes me a lot less likely to fall off the wagon ;).
  • It’s America’s Walking City.  It’s pretty remarkable that I can walk from my favorite restaurant in Southie to my favorite cannoli in the North End in 45 minutes.  This makes Boston an excellent travel destination because you don’t need to worry about a rental car.
  • Spring, summer, and fall are absolutely radiant.  (Sorry, I cannot say the same about Boston winters).
  • History is inescapable.  The Old City Hall and State House are tucked in between skyscrapers; and Revolutionary heroes Paul Revere and Samuel Adams are buried right downtown on the city’s built in map-The Freedom Trail.
  • Variety.  You can watch the world class Boston Pops one night and then head to Fenway to catch a Sox game the next.  Boston is full of unexpected things and unless you want to party until 4am… I promise we can find something for you here.

Thank you all for following along on my adventure of falling in love with my own city.  I can’t wait to share all the things I love about it with you.

xo, C

Get a kick start on planning your trip on MassVacation.com!

 


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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


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Apps I Love


Welcome back friends!  Today I’m talking about apps.  Obviously, like most of you, my five most used apps are Spotify, Instagram, VSCO, Snapchat, and Messages.   These are all fantastic apps that I use every day, but they aren’t necessary apps that make my life easier or more well rounded.  Think about all the functional holes still left in your digital life.

 

OneNote.  OneNote is probably my favorite app of all time.  The best way to describe it is as a digital notebook.  Or notebooks, plural.  As someone who really loves traditional notebooks, I honestly did not expect to love OneNote as much as I do.  I have it downloaded on my phone, iPad, laptop, and desktop computer, because it syncs across all my devices.  No more lugging four different notebooks from your home, to car, to office, to car, to home…. Everything you need is updated and present whenever you need to access it.  The is amazing to say the least.  For very little effort, you can have your notes organized however you like best, right down to tags and color coded details.  For example, I have a blog notebook filled with ideas I’m currently working on, spreadsheets, and forms; and a personal notebook with travel itineraries, job applications, and Whole30 ideas.  It’s compatible will all MicrosoftOffice suites and continually finds new ways to surprise and delight me.

 

Slice.  As an avid online shopper, I love that Slice tracks all my packages and let’s me know when they are expected to arrive and even sends me a notification when they are delivered.  It syncs with your email, so you don’t have to do anything to update your current shipments!

 

Venmo.  I’m actually pretty surprised at how many people I know that don’t use Venmo.  Squaring up with people financially can be such a struggle these days, especially since I have cash on me approximately 1 out of 67 days.  The only thing I hate more than having to bug someone about money is owing someone money.  Luckily, Venmo makes paying your friends back so easy.  You can pay or charge someone instantly, and not have to worry about forgetting, having a check on you, etc.

 

Ted.  I absolutely love watching Ted talks.  Any time I have 20 minutes to spare, I usually watch the most recent one, or delve into the archives to find something cool.  Trying and learning new things is incredibly important to me, and Ted talks are a really easy way of exposing myself to something different.  This app is sleek and easy to navigate, which is all it really needs to be while delivering the talks to my iPad.

 

Google Trips.  As a lover of Google Flights, you can imagine how excited I was when I discovered Google Trips.  Google’s attempt at creating a one stop shop for travel planning scans your inbox to save all your reservations, and uses Google’s unlimited knowledge to help you plan your itineraries.  Best of all, you can use it without internet.  Hello, traveling abroad like you’ve never seen it before.

 

Do you guys have any ride or die apps I should try out?  Leave them in the comment section!

Have a great day!

xo, C

 


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2017 Travel Bucket List

(photo by me, first published in this post)
2016 was a pretty solid travel year for me. The year was filled with weekends in my favorite New England cities, visiting my family in New York City and going back again for my beloved New Yorker festival; but it also contained a lot of new experiences.

My first new trip of the year was to our nation’s capital in March to see the cherry blossoms. I had only spent one day in Washington D.C. before, so I loved the opportunity to embrace the food, architecture, and history of the city at such a beautiful time of year. My sister and I took a summer road trip to Saratoga Springs and spent some time at The Great Sacandaga Lake. I went to Texas for the first time with my best friend as we spent five days in Austin, then my mom and I went down to Philly to see my favorite songwriter (and also the Liberty Bell). At last I ended the year in front of Cinderella’s Castle in Walt Disney World with my four best friends in the entire world.

I feel so lucky to have been able to travel to all the places I have been. When I was younger, my dad was always traveling for work and coming back from around the globe with the most amazing stories. A postcard from Neuschwanstein, a Turkish eye, and Swiss chocolate stand out in my memory as triggers of places I wanted to see, cultures I was craving experience in, and food around the world I had to try. My parents blessed us with many vacations throughout our lifetime as well, taking us from the beaches of Hawaii to the museums of London, making sure we paid attention to the history lessons and absorbed the culture existing around us.

My early 20s were something of a mess as I stumbled my way through mistakes and learning what I wanted and what I needed to do. What I’m most grateful for during this time was the travel experiences I was fortunate enough to have. The time I spent in Europe, California, and Bermuda sticks out to me as places where I was staggeringly aware of myself and what I wanted, and that self-awareness gave me a lot of the confident direction I have today.

I know that in 2017, traveling will continue to be important to me. While I never know how many opportunities I will have, these are some of the feasible places I hope I’ll be able to make it to!

Pacific North West

Seattle and Portland have been very high on my list for quite a while now. If I have the opportunity to travel to a west coast place of my choice this year, I highly suspect it will be here. Everything from the cities to the mountains I am dying to explore.

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Big Sur

A road trip up (or down) Big Sur is one of those things I just know I have to do.  Whenever the opportunity arises, I will definitely say yes to it.

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Toronto

It’s been several years since I made it over the border and into Canada, but I have never made it to Toronto. Last year my mom was in Toronto with a group of friends and she told me I would absolutely love it. Sounds like a good enough reason to me!

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Havana

Now that JetBlue is flying to Cuba and US Cuban relations are better than ever, Havana has been promptly bumped to the top of my travel list. This year would be ideal, before the flocks of tourists force the country to adapt and change some of its culture and purity to appease the masses. I would love to go experience the arts and culture of a place that has for so long been untrodden by tourism. And also the cars. Definitely the cars.

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My ultimate travel bucket list has a lot more far fetched locations on it, but at this time in my life I know that shorter trips to more accessible locations is much more feasible and will also bring a maximum amount of joy into my life.
Do you have any travel plans or wishes for the new year? Sound off in the comments below!
xo, C


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Vacation Nightlife

Hey guys!  Part two of my vacation round up here.  Today I’m talking about my favorite ways to spend evenings on vacation.  As someone who isn’t really about the nightlife scene and would rather find a killer restaurant than a hot new club, I feel the pain and pressure of finding things to do at night during vacation and that self-inflicted disappointment that maybe you’re going back to your hotel too early or you haven’t done enough yet.

As my best friend and number one travel companion, Jenn and I have a pretty good idea of what we want to spend our evenings doing.  When we’re in Boston, you can usually find us at a concert or sporting event, finding a place with deliciously close proximity to eat at beforehand (or find cheesecake at after, whatever).  So whatever corner of the country we’re zigzagging off to, we tend to follow similar patterns on vacation.

I think experiencing the sports culture of other areas in an underrated aspect of traveling.  In LA I was mesmerized by the Staples Center and how theatrical the whole experience was (how apropos, Hollywood) and equally shocked that it was still half empty at tipoff-something that would never happen in Boston!  In Texas, we ended up at the San Antonio Spurs game and had a blast exploring their new stadium and witnessing the way fans enjoy a game down south.


As the live music capital of the world, I knew I definitely wanted to see a concert while we were there.  Going back and forth between small venues and mainstream acts, it became clear to me that I definitely wanted to see something at the Moody Theater.  Seeing such a culturally significant theater such as the one ACL Live is filmed at seemed like a good way to spend an evening in Austin, but I couldn’t have imagined how much I would love it!  I have a tendency to geek out over the strangest and weirdest things, like being outside, but the Moody Theater really hit the nail on the head with me.  The sound quality is superb and from what I could tell every single seat in the house had fantastic sight lines to the stage.  The open air foyer was perfect for a beautiful Austin evening, and the outdoor stairs provided fantastic views down 2nd Street.  To call this “Music’s Best Address” is the best, most accurate statement of my concert attending days.


Since we live in the Information Age, there are a ton of online resources available that I’ve found helpful when planning trips, or even when I’m at home looking for something to do.  I frequently use the Boston.com events calendar at home, and I get the BosTen Newsletter delivered to my inbox every Thursday with ten things going on in the city that weekend.  When I was trying to find concerts in Austin I used Austin360, which is how I found out my Uncle Greg had a concert scheduled for one of the days I was in Austin (crazy).  It’s also how I found out about The Lantern Fest, which was an incredible real life Tangled moment.  If you have the opportunity to go to one next year I highly recommend it.

Our first day in Texas, we wanted to make sure we had something to do so we didn’t let jet lag tempt us into staying at the hotel all night.  The Alamo Drafthouse Cinema kept coming up while doing research, so we decided to give the Texas chain a try.  Luckily the Ritz location was having a Rocky Horror Picture Show party (the same night as the TV special), and as an avid Rocky Horror fan I knew that would be a good option.  This movie theatre absolutely blew me away.  I wish there was one closer than New York City to me, because I would be there all.the.time.  Serving everything from pizza and beer to big bowls of popcorn to warm chocolate chip cookies, this really takes movie going to a whole new level.  10/10 would recommend.   As an added bonus, this particular location is right on Sixth Street.  At midnight when the movie got out we walked out to a bustling street of nightlife.  In lieu of cars, it was filled with people walking down the middle street going in and out of the seemingly endless bars.  Walking back to the car we were offered free shots at least twice I believe from different venues (Thirsty Thursday is alive and well in Austin).  Knowing that we would never have gone in search of the traditional nightlife scene, it was fun to get to experience it as a happy accident post movie!

Make sure you stop by tomorrow for a recap of San Antonio!  See you then!

xo, C