New England is deeply rooted in history and cultural heritage, which has made capturing it on the TCC all that more fun. I mean, from the pilgrims that came ashore in Massachusetts to the summer homes of America’s infamous business moguls and heirs of the Gilded Age in Newport; New England is bursting at the seams with untold stories and colonial homes to be explored. The historical towns of New England, with each passing photoshoot, have proven to be deeply rooted in the start of our nation and the hopes of a new life.
To be honest, I always use to take these old colonial homes for granted but now I see them as a way to bring a little piece of historical insight, and perspective, into what living a rural New England lifestyle meant for colonial Americans. Between cooking on a hearth and tiny stairways, I can’t even imagine the number of daily struggles, these New Englanders had to endure. Anyway, I’m lucky enough to live close to several historic districts with homesteads to tour and fires to be stoked.
One of my favorite colonial homesteads to visit is that of an American hero, Nathan Hale’s. The Nathan Hale Homestead in Coventry, Connecticut was home to one of the most renowned patriots of his time. Nathan Hale was an American soldier and spy for the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War, both a Yale graduate and a colonial elite, his homestead allows you an insight like no other. Tragically he was hung before the British in 1776 at the age of 21, for his work as a Continental Army spy, and is famously known for saying “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”.
I’ve always admired how New Englanders go the extra length to preserve the history and cultural heritage of such homes. A ton of care goes into maintaining historic properties and still to this day The Nathan Hale Homestead is open to the public for tours and hearth cooking sessions, giving visitors a glimpse into New England’s history. So I often find myself in the car with my youngest sister and TCC photographer, Tessa, driving to the town greens of the oldest New England towns.
From Old Wethersfield’s quaint town green, established in 1634, to Litchfield’s busy town green, established in 1720; there is no short of inspiration and architectural ingenuity on the town greens of small Connecticut towns. I often stroll down these greens to take images for our Instagram and get inspired by the untold stories and successes of our founding colonial families.
To this day, I’ll always be inspired by the history and cultural heritage of New England. It’s something that really adds perspective to my life and it’s the main reason why I love New England so much. I’ve been lucky enough to have visited most of Connecticut’s historical homesteads and town greens but I’d love to hear from you all. Are there any town greens we need to explore or colonial homes in your town that are just too good to pass-up?
I love hearing what parts of New England inspire you, so leave a comment below with a place our Crew needs to head next. We love bringing you all along for the journey and we can’t wait to capture even more of New England as Matt and I gear up for our move back to New England hopefully this year. As always we’ll keep you posted, but until then have a great weekend.
I mean if this last week wasn’t a closet wakeup call, I don’t know what is. Over the past few weeks, New England has embraced the harshest of winter weather, from icy mornings, casual blizzards on the weekend and a full week of temperatures in the negatives; I felt it was time to share the five jackets you need to survive winter in New England.
Now that we are in the midst of winter, now is a great time to snag a high-quality jacket for a January sale price (usually 40%-60% off!). Retailers are typically trying to clear out winter styles in order to bring out vacation wear in February, so I pulled a few of my favorite sale jackets to help you get through the rest of winter. I think we all learned that New England weather can be a tad unpredictable, so I’ve shared a range of different styles, weights, and colors to round out your jacket collection below.
5 Jackets You Need To Survive Winter in New England:
This Wool Blend Wrap Jacketusually retails for $360.00 but is currently on sale for $179.00! Made by one of my favorite designers, Ralph Lauren, this jacket exudes timeless elegance and is crafted from a blend of cashmere and wool, for warmth and comfort. To be honest this jacket reminded me of the white wrap coat Meghan Markle wore in her engagement photos.
This menswear-inspired jacket has been my everyday jacket leading into 2018. With a sophisticated double-faced wool blend, this jacket can be easily dressed up for an event, as seen here, or down for everyday activities as seen here. By far my favorite feature of this jacket is its balance between being both lightweight and warm, as some wool jackets can weigh you down like a pile of bricks. This jacket is easy to throw-on and has been by far my most-worn piece this winter; it currently retails for $223.50
This Sherpa topcoat is currently not on sale, however, it has been involved in many online flash sales (I’ve seen it up to 30% off). This polyester oversized fit duster is made for on the go street style. To me, this jacket just screams cabin in Vermont, I almost bought it before the holiday season but I knew more sales would come post-holidays madness, so it’s currently on my wish list and now I’m just waiting for them to restock, fingers crossed. This jacket usually retails for $265.00 but you can find a similar version here for $129.00.
This trench coat is my go-to winter to spring transitional piece, usually, it retails for $388.00 but it’s currently on sale for just $179.97! I mean that is a deal ladies and gentleman. I get a lot of questions about transitional wear and my response is always, purchase a trench coat. Whether you are transitioning from winter to spring or fall to winter, a trench coat is easy to layer and a year-round staple. In fact, I wore this trench coat so much, I purchased a similar one in navy a few weeks ago, last seen here in Friday’s blog post. All and all nothing says Parisian elegance like a trench and turtleneck combo.
All and all, winter style can sometimes feel overwhelming and pointless but don’t give up hope. Spend some time this week cleansing your closet of the old and taking inventory of styles of jackets and staples, you might need. I always recommend investing in good winter jackets before any other staple as you won’t get very far without one. Anyway stay warm and if you have time I’d love to hear what your favorite winter jacket is below.
It’s that time of year guys…snow day time! I’m still not sure if there is anything more exciting than waking up to a snow day, and finding out school has been canceled. I can remember, and I’m going to date myself here, AIMing all my schoolmates, to anxiously see if snow had covered their whimsical roads and wood shingled roofs yet. I bet a few of you did the same, because honestly it only takes a few inches in one town, to set off a chain of delays, early dismissals and days off.
My sister Tessa, and I’m sure most of New England, experienced the rare enjoyment of a snow day this past week, leaving us with an extra day to film and a great backdrop to work with. We ended up using the entire day as an opportunity to share our favorite ways to spend a New England snow day with you all. I’m not too key on driving in the snow, that’s more Matt’s forte, so all of these activities are right at your backdoor. Honestly, it was a really good day and I’m so excited to share the best ways to spend a New England Snow Day with you all.
+ Go Sledding: I don’t care how old you are, you’re never too old to go sledding. I actually prefer tubbing down snowy hills. I feel like it adds a buffer in case I hit a tree or fence, but I decided to rough it with this classic sled. That morning my sister Sarah and I got dressed up to the nines and headed down to our friend’s house in hopes of sledding down any hill we could find. I admit we had to walk quite a while to find a hill worthy but the gorgeous snow-covered trails made the walk worth it.
+ Make Hot Cocoa: I mean, this is kind of obvious, but I’ll throw it in there. Matt and I make hot cocoa every night but the trick is having the perfect amount of whipped cream and marshmallows on hand. Actually, Matt’s consumption of hot cocoa constantly reminds me of the fake Santa, from the Santa Clause 2 movie, comment down below if you know what the heck I’m talking about.
+ Light a Fire: I truly think the only way to warm up your bones on a snow day is by lighting a fire. Not only is it romantic but it also keeps you warm and really sets the ambiance on a snowy day. I could light a fire and edit images all day, while being completely and utterly content.
+ Play a Board Game: Matt’s family loves playing games, and it truly is a great way to bring everyone together and somewhat involved and moving. I asked Matt to list off some of his favorite snow day games, which you can purchase here, here and here; but by far my favorite snow day game has to be chess. I’m really not that good at it but, I like how thought-provoking it can be.
+ Fill The Bird Feeders: This tip comes from my Dad, he is very keen on making sure the birds, squirrels, and automobiles are fully fed and somewhat warm on snow days. So the night before the storm, he’ll usually go out and fill up each feeder, it sounds kind of mundane, but I promise you it can be fun watching all the different types of birds that come to visit during the snowy day.
+ Do You Want To Build A Snow Man: I mean, one of my favorite things to do after a snow day is to take a drive down Main Street and see all the decked out Snow Men and Snow Women bopping around people’s front yards. It really brings me great joy, to be honest, so I try to pay it forward by building at least one snowman around this time of year.
+ Edit Pictures: I love editing images on snowy days. Don’t ask me why, but curling up to my computer with a cup of hot cocoa sounds just perfect in every which way. So I always try to optimize my time by getting some work done. You can read more about how I physically edit my images in this blog post here.
+ Quality Time: Most importantly being snowed in gives you plenty of opportunities to spend quality time with your family. It sounds cheesy but snow days are still to this day, some of my favorite childhood memories I have with my siblings. From watching my dad cut down twiggy trees to allow us to sled on the hill in our backyard, to my mom helping us take off our snow boots, because we couldn’t bend over in our snow gear, are some of the fondest and funniest memories I have. So enjoy the day and your time snowed in with your loved ones.
Overall, I hope this post inspires you to look at a snowy day with a glass half full mentality, while nobody necessary enjoys being snowed in at least you have a chance to make the most out of it. So stay warm, bundle up and leave your favorite snow day activity in the comment section below!
For the longest time I use to hate the winter months, in fact, that was a big part of why I decided to go to college in California, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found a real admiration and beauty in this frostbitten dozy of a season. I use to view winter as an inconvenience, I honestly felt like I had too much on my mind to worry about delays, snowy roads and staying put. I just saw the whole season as a major inconvenience to my life, but as photography has become a bigger part of my life, so has the winter season.
I mean, these pictures basically sum it up. Winter is by far one of New England’s prettiest times of the year, I hate even admitting this but I would go as far to say that it’s now my second favorite season, just under autumn, to capture and share with you all. There is something so raw, exciting and exhilarating about shooting photos in this extreme weather. First off everything is beautifully white and glistening, secondary everything just looks that much cozier and finally I get to bundle up in some pretty cute sweaters with some pretty warm hot cocoa. All and all, our TCC Crew knew we had to start off 2018, our year of travel, with Vermont.
Last weekend our Tessa, our TCC photographer, my Dad, my brother and I headed up to Manchester, Vermont, for a spontaneous ski trip. The moment I opened the door to the fresh Vermont air, I knew I was in the right place. The freshly powdered sidewalks crunched underneath the weight of my snow boots as Tessa and I walked hand in hand through the streets of Manchester. We were able to capture some pretty humongous icicles and some of our favorite New England homes, all before noon. Oh, do make sure to follow us over on Instagram, as we’ll be sharing home images from Manchester all this week.
Anway, we grabbed some coffee and continued on to Stratton for some skiing. Tessa and I aren’t too avid about skiing so instead, we opted to take the gondola up to the top of Stratton to capture some scenic views. We were quite lucky to have a gondola all to ourselves, but we weren’t so lucky with the temperature we were greeted with at the top of the mountain. The temperature read -11 degrees, which was far too cold if you ask me, so we worked very quickly to capture the snowy trails and flocked trees.
I mean when all was said and done, Tessa and I needed a solid hour, and a few hand warmers, to defrost our fingers and toes before heading back out, but after looking at the images… I just fell head over heels for Weekends in Vermont. Living in Connecticut provides us with the luxury of jumping in the car and arriving in Vermont, in just a tad over two-hour, which I always took for granted. I guess I was always intimidated by the idea of having to drive and maneuver photoshoot with snow, but after scrolling through the images we’ve taken, I just have such a new appreciation and wonder for this time of year.
I hope to spend many more weekends up in Vermont, during these upcoming weeks, and hopefully, we’ve inspired you to do the same.
The weather outside around this time of year can physically leave me shaking in my tightly tied duck boots. I mean, you guys, it’s really cold out there. Over this past weekend, New England and a large part of the country experienced record chilling temperatures, in fact, Connecticut was in the single-digits, all week long, which is truly unusual. Now while I’m all for hunkering down and curling up for a few days, I knew I wouldn’t last a full week of staying put, so I really put my warm wardrobe items to the test.
Basically, I ripped all my nicely hung clothes off their wooden hangers and got to work. The only way you have a shot at staying warm during this type of weather is by layering your outfit with different fabrics and textures. I use to be horrid at this, I would walk outside with just a wool sweater tied together with a ski jacket and hope for the best, which never ended well. So pull up a chair because I’m breaking down how to properly layer for New England’s Cold Weather this winter.
I use to be a summer girl through and through, but after personally experiencing two boiling Texas summers, I’ve really come to admire and find a new layer of inspiration, in the blistering winds and snow flurries January and February have to offer. You’ll just need a few items to fully tackle this cold weather and enjoy the winter wonderland at your backdoor.
Layer #1 / The Turtleneck: 2017 could easily be defined as the year I fell back in love with turtlenecks, specifically this one and this one. Whether you’re wearing it alone or as a layer, a turtleneck is your foundation for layering this winter.
Layer #2 / Warm Sweater: Now for the layering, once you have your go-to turtleneck on, pair it with any crewneck sweater. This combo ensures you’ll be warm and really completes that warm and cozy look. You have to remember that sweaters often come in different knits, either loose or tight, so having the extra layer from the turtleneck will help protect you from any windchill coming through your sweater’s knitting.
Layer #3 / The High Waisted Pant: When the colder weather rolls in I automatically lean towards layering high waisted pants. First off, they are super easy to tuck your turtleneck into and secondly, the extra height adds an additional layer of warmth for your belly.
Layer #4 / Campfire Socks: One of the first places you’ll really feel that cold weather is in your toes. Having the proper foot gear is essential, and I highly recommend on stocking up on a few of these campfire socks. Not only do they keep your toes toasty, they also look stylish when layered over black jeans and worn with duck boots.
Layer #6 / Gloves: I honestly do not care how silly you might think you seem, wearing mittens around town, you really need to. You guys, when it’s this cold outside you NEED to keep those fingers warm! I love this pair of classic, warm leather mittens but if a classic mitten isn’t your style…we can meet in the middle with a leather glove. Leather gloves, for me personally, aren’t always as warm as mittens but no-matter your style your hands need to be warm and layered.
I hope this post inspired you to dress your best this cold winter season. Remeber that staying warm during this jarring weather is your number one priority and that with a few simple layers you can tackle just about any temperature. I’d love to hear what the temperatures are like by you right now, let me know below.
Tis the weekend before Christmas and all through the house, not a dress remained hanging not even a blouse. Okay, I know that’s not how the poem goes, but it sure feels that way today! It’s the weekend before Christmas which means it’s time for full thrown holiday party madness. Between last moment trips to the mall, for holiday shoes, to borrowing red lipstick from a sister or two; these next few days are going to be a whirlwind of holiday cheers and I’m here to help you, find the perfect holiday party attire.
These week has been filled to the brim with holiday festivities. From traveling by train into NYC on Sunday to watching your entries, for our massive holiday giveaway, roll in; I knew I wouldn’t have time this year to run out for last moment party styles. I personally decided early on in December that I wanted to spend as much time this holiday season enjoying the company of others and less time stuck in mall parking lots. So about two weeks ago, I ordered this holiday dress online, purchased these metallic silver shoes in store and decided this dress would be my official Holiday Party Attire.
I’m actually giddy right now, as I’m planning on attending two-holiday parties this weekend and will be rocking around the Christmas tree, in this festive flutter sleeve dress, at both. Last year, I was overly ambitious and went out to purchase unique holiday party dresses for each event, I was planning on attending. It was a good idea, and reasonable as I’d be able to share the styles with you all here on this platform, but it ended up costing me a lot of valuable time with family and friends. Because come December there is no such thing as a quick trip to the mall, am I right?!
This year I said enough is enough and wanted to select just one-holiday party attire for this upcoming weekend. Overall, I wanted to find something that would work for both family and work functions, and it had to be plaid. I feel like 2017 is the year of the plaid, and I’m 100% onboard. Anyway, once I unboxed this Vineyard Vines plaid dress, I knew I had made the right decision. I was so happy I splurged on one staple holiday piece instead of purchasing different numbers for each event. Over time I’ve learned classic well-made pieces never go out of style, and are worth the investment in the long-run, as they can be worn year after year.
Now I feel like a weight is lifted off my shoulder and I want to help you to find the perfect last moment holiday party attire. Below I’ve linked a few of my favorite holiday plaid styles that are still available along with a few tricks for shopping last moment and they are:
+ Skip the mall and head to freestanding stores: A lot of the time you can find stores like Vineyard Vines, Madewell, J.Crew and J.McLaughlin in outside shopping plazas instead of within malls. This will help you cut down time in walking distance and avoid the full-on mall crowds.
+ Curbside Pickup: Some stores do curbside pickup, where you can order the item online and within an hour have someone run it out to you in your car. I know Nordstrom has this feature, and it’s a great way to grab a pair of shoes or accessories without having to park the car.
+ Call ahead: I’ve worked retail long enough to know that we’ll usually hold an item if you call ahead. So don’t be afraid to call to check if the item is available before you venture out and waste any time.
+ Have a goal in mind: Before you even step foot inside of a mall, have an item in mind or a goal budget. The mall is filled to the brim with sales and it’s easy to walk in looking for a dress and walk out with everything but a dress, so stay focused and have an item in mind before you start your venture.
+ Enjoy the Christmas Music and BE KIND: Remember that this is a hectic time for retailers, so always try to give them the benefit of the doubt. If you find yourself getting irritated or waiting for what seems like forever to check out, take a deep breath. listen to the Christmas music and Be KIND.
In honor of Christmas being just around the corner and the season of giving being in full swing, our TCC Crew has decided to give away a $400 J.Crew Gift Card, to one of our lucky readers. Simple because…you guys deserve it!
2017, has been a wonderful year for our crew, not only have we tackled new mediums like Youtube and Instagram stories but we grew physically, as we added two new members: Cecilia our TCC Content Coordinator and Tessie our TCC Videographer. So during this season of giving, we wanted to whip something special up to say THANK YOU, to all the TCC readers that allow our crew to get up every day and capture the best of New England living. None of this would be possible without your support and inspiration.
Now, we tried to keep entering requirements to the bare minimum so scroll down to the end of this post to enter! I promise it is super simple. But before entering, I wanted to get you all excited for the upcoming holiday festivities and looks you can style from J.Crew with or without the winning gift card.
This holiday season, my siblings and I were in dire need of a holiday outfit for our Christmas card. We only had a few days left to shoot the pictures before we all headed back to college campuses and full-time jobs, but I was having the hardest time finding an item that would have that Christmas sparkle and fit all of our styles until I saw this skirt. From tulle skirts to iconic trench coats, J.Crew is always my go-to for party pieces and New England staple pieces, and really who can turn down wearing a tulle skirt.
Anyway, I hope this giveaway motivates you to stock up on some wool sweaters for the winter we have ahead, and stay connected with us throughout 2018. Truly some of my fondest memories from 2017 have come from reading your friendly messages and running into a few of you on the streets of New England. I honestly can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store for all of us, and I want to wish you all a wonderful holiday season ahead filled with gingerbread men and good times with friends and family. xx Aubrey
$400 J.Crew Gift Card Giveaway:
The giveaway ends Friday night (12/29 at 11:59 PM EST). Here’s what you need to do:
I think we can all agree that traditions are the backbone and the truly magical element that brings this season to life. Each of us, finds ourselves doing out of the ordinary things in public and instead of feeling odd, we feel a sense of comradery from other festive souls. For instance, my siblings and I, year after year, go to the mall dressed in matching outfits to see Santa, for my family’s holiday Christmas card. Now while going to the mall is completely normal, going in matching tulle skirts at the age of 23; might seem a tad odd, but to see other adults in ugly sweaters doing the same brings a little joy to my heart.
To get to my point, traditions are the cornerstone of Christmas cheer, however, they aren’t always easy to come by. Family traditions are usually steadfast in your history but creating new holiday traditions for you and your fella, friends or even roommates, can be tricky to think of, at least that is how Matt and I felt. So we put our head to the grindstone to share 7-holiday traditions we partake in, in hopes to inspire you to start some of your own.
Now while Matt and I will be home in Connecticut and together for the holidays this year, a lot of December we actually spend working in Dallas. Between a new city and constantly being bogged down with work, tis the busiest time of year, Matt and I try to break up holiday festivities by celebrating some together in Dallas and some annual ones in New England. All and all this is our second Christmas spent together in our cozy apartment and it’s finally starting to feel like we have our traditions in place.
Okay so let’s jump into the Seven Holiday Traditions:
1) Festive Holiday Photo Shoot – Year after year, since starting this blog way back in 2013, Matt and I have done a Holiday Photo Shoot together. It’s by far one of the posts I revisit most often, and you guys can check out last year’s holiday photo shoot post here. Each year we try to step up our game but one thing stays the same, our Brooks Brothers get up. We both wear head to toe Brooks Brothers because no other brand understands traditions better than this historic fashion house. Last year Matt and I went with wool themed outfits, but this year we couldn’t resist the Red Fleece tartan items. We love how affordable the brand has made these timeless and traditional holiday staple pieces, and we encourage you guys to make time to add this tradition to your list.
2) Annual Movie Marathon – I usually spend Thanksgiving with my family in Connecticut while Matt spends his Thanksgiving in Dallas, but each year we plan our annual Christmas movie marathon for the day of my return. From the airport, we usually pick up boxes of Twizzlers, cookie dough, popcorn and Coca-Cola, before heading home to our couch to squeeze in our favorite holiday classics: White Christmas, Christmas in Connecticut and Home Alone.
3) Plan a Holiday-Hookie Day– I mean how could you not. Once a year in December, usually right before we head home to Connecticut, Matt and I plan a Holiday-Hookie Day. I’m guilty to admit that we do this, but it’s by far my FAVORITE tradition. We both call out of work and spend the morning exchanging our holiday gifts, followed by a trip to the mall (mid-day, so parking isn’t a hassle) and finish off the day by exploring Dallas along with purchasing a dessert or two. For me, this tradition is essential due to how hectic and stressful my schedule gets during this time of year, it’s an earnest reminder to stop and enjoy the season before it just passes us by.
4) Yearly Ornament Exchange– I’m big on putting up a Christmas tree, and last year Matt and I went headfirst into picking out the perfect tree. We went to a Christmas tree farm, picked out the most elegant tree, hauled it up to our apartment, put it up, decked it out with lights to find out we actually had no ornaments, oops. So we decided each year to exchange ornaments on the day we put up our tree, as a funny reminder of our first Christmas together. Come December, we each go out in secret to find the perfect ornament and exchange ornaments right after we light the tree. It’s actually a really fun and inexpensive way to kick off the gift-giving season. You can view my ornament haul video here.
5) Taking the Train into NYC before Christmas– Okay, this is by no means a new holiday tradition, Matt and I actually started this tradition way back when we first started dating in 2009. Each year we take the train to NYC to see the holiday lights, ice skate at Rockefeller, visit Eloise at The Plaza and head to Max Brenner Chocolate Restaurant for dessert and hot cocoa. This year we plan on stopping first at Brooks Brothers’ Red Fleece Cafe for some coffee and warmth before hitting the town. I’d love to hear what city you guys like to visit for Christmas below!
6) Piling into the car, in our Christmas jammies, to check out the local neighborhood lights – Matt and I actually did this just the other day! We piled into the car and headed to Wethersfield to see the festive home with the synchronized holiday lights to Christmas music. Now, if you are from Hartford County, I’m sure you’ve seen this home for yourself. Getting in the car and taking in your neighborhood’s holiday lights is by far one of my favorite ways to embrace community during the holiday season. I personally feel like I really get to know my neighbors and their traditions from the little lights and inflatable Santas they place delicately amongst and on top of their homes.
7) Drive until you find snow– Well this year we didn’t have to drive far at all because two weeks ago Connecticut had their first snowfall! Sadly, Matt and I missed it because we were wrapping up work in Dallas, so my family and I have made plans to drive up the New England coast until we find snow today! Whether that means driving a tad north or as far as Vermont is the greatest excuse to dust off our skis, take in scenic New England routes and explore the winter wonderland that is our home. I know a few of my friends in California have the same traditions and will be packing the cars up and onward to Lake Tahoe or Big Bear.
All and all, recreating annual traditions is by far my favorite way to feel connected, inspired and enthusiastic about the season and my current situation. It’s the perfect way to add perspective and acknowledge who and what really matters in the big picture, also it’s the perfect excuse to dress up or dress way down (Christmas jammies) all December long. Okay, now I’d love to hear from you all, what are some holiday traditions you revisit year after year? Let us know below. xx Aubrey
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Thank you to Brooks Brothers for kindly sending Matt & I the above clothing items. All opinions are completely my own.
Matt and I are officially heading home to Connecticut for the holidays this week, and we have a long list of things we plan to do in Connecticut to get in our holiday cheer. We’ve been looking forward to this trip since October, Matt actually hasn’t been back to Connecticut since August due to work; soooo he’s planning on crunching a lot of activities in for the week he’s home.
Now, while Matt hasn’t seen Connecticut in a while, I was just there last week and I know for a fact that it is decked out to the T, in holiday decor and festivities. Matt was ecstatic to see our town all decked out via my Instagram stories; so we decided to really take time out of our day to plan out exactly what we want to see and do in Connecticut this holiday season. Whether you are a college student heading back to Connecticut for holiday break or visiting New England for Christmas, Matt and I are here and are going to help you plan the best holiday season yet.
I decided to break our Holiday to-do list down to yearly traditions along with day and evening events; to help prioritize our holiday festivities. I hope this list inspires you to take in as much holiday cheer as possible.
This is where my family and I head each holiday season to take in the lights. We usually go to First and Last Tavern in Hartford for dinner first and make our way to Holiday Light Fantasia after. It’s beautiful, over a million glittering lights transform Goodwin Park into a drive-through winter wonderland. We always have a bet that the first person to spot a Rudolph has to buy the Dunkin Donuts.
This is a go-to for Matt and I, year after year. Not only is it a tradition for us but it’s actually a Harford tradition in and of itself. I already stopped by The Bushnell Park Ice Rink early this month, see my visit in this Instagram post, but I can’t help but make another trip down to the rink with Matt. I’m going to try and visit closer to dusk so we can watch the holiday lights of the city, glow.
Each year my family and I pile into the car and head out to watch The Christmas Carole at The Harford Stage. Now, while I’m not a huge fan of the play, this is 100% something you should see this holiday season in CT, and it’s an excuse to dress up and head downtown.
This event has been on my bucket list all season long. I’m planning on heading down to The Shops at Yale on Saturday, December 9th from 12:00 PM – 7:00 PM, to watch professional ice carvers transform 900lbs of ice into magical sculptures. Oh, and while you are down there make sure to get some holiday shopping in, they have the coolest stores.
Sleigh rides are actually my favorite New England holiday tradition, especially when jingle bells and snow is involved. So when the snow is just right, snuggle under a blanket in a horse-drawn sleigh and glide through the local hills of Lyme Connecticut with your mistletoe ready. If Matt and I go this year, we’ll probably leave the mistletoe at home and trade it in for our videographer, Tessie.
From now until December 24th, Mystic Seaport invites you to their holiday-themed Lantern Light Tours. Stop by for “The Spirit of the Holiday: A Christmas Ghost Story” tour, and be transported into a historical Christmas land, filled with characters and scenes that will fill your lungs with laughter and Christmas cheer. This event is a 70-minute tour includes a ride on a horse-drawn-carriage and moments of pure New England seasonal delight.
From December 16th to the 17th, make sure to grab tickets to Connecticut Ballet’s annual holiday Nutcracker performance in downtown Stamford! Fun fact about me, I was actually in this performance way back in 2004, as a mini baker. I always say it was a peak holiday moment for me but Matt and my siblings will never let me live it down.
Every night the Essex Steam Train becomes a stage filled with holiday cheer and Christmas delight. Walk through the different coaches to find live musical performances of The Night Before Christmas, sing-a-longs, hot chocolate, sugar cookies and even a chance to chat with Santa and Mrs. Claus. This event captures the quintessential elements of Christmas as you embark on your magical nighttime journey to the North Pole.
Okay, that wraps up my Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season list. I made sure to list events and activities I go to and adore, however, I’d love to update the post and include some of your holiday festivities. So leave a comment below of a festive tradition and I’ll make sure to add it to the list. xx Aubrey
This post has been long overdue, for one reason in particular, and that reason being I was having the hardest time finding that perfect leopard coat. I really didn’t want to pull the plug on this timeless piece until I knew it was a cut I would return to year after year, so when I walked by the leopard number above hanging in the window, of my local J.McLaughlin store, I walked right in and knew I needed it.
Leopard prints are a fun and stylish way to add texture, color and a pop to any outfit. I only own two pieces of leopard print so far, these shoes (currently on sale, and last seen here) and this coat above, because for the longest time I was afraid to add leopard to my closet. Over time, actually, this year to be exact, I learned that leopard is a closet essential and is actually quite easy to style when paired with your everyday neutral pieces, it adds the perfect pop of color, especially during the holiday season.
The other day, my Mom and I were driving around one of my favorite Connecticut towns to shoot some images of houses, when I spotted this red colonial home. It had the coziest of decorations, with an ambiance of chestnuts roasting over an open fire warmth, so I had my Mom pull over so I could jump out and snap a picture of the home. While I was taking pictures of the house my mom suggested I grab the leopard coat I had just picked up from J.McLaughlin to throw over my white turtleneck and black denim to snap a few outfit photos.
When I saw how charming the coat looked against the house, I said let’s just go with it and we took enough for an entire blog post. I was by no means planning on shooting an outfit photo, my hair was nothing special and my makeup was basically non-existent but something about this leopard coat against this cozy colonial home was picturesque. Basically, just one piece in my closet took a basic look and turned it into a festive statement.
Okay, this all brings me to my main point, why every closet needs a leopard coat! You guys need to invest in a leopard coat because it’s the piece you pull out when you say, I have nothing to wear. Just throw it on top of any neutral pieces you might own, and if you are like me, you own a lot of neutral turtlenecks, and turn that basic piece into a ho-ho-ho statement!
All you have to do now is wait for the perfect leopard coat to appear. I splurged on this J.Mclaughlin coat because I loved the collarless look and snap button closure on top. These features make throwing on the coat easy and the lightweight style functional to travel with. Overall don’t be afraid to invest in a leopard piece, I was for the longest time, but this holiday season alone I’ve gotten more use and compliments out of my jacket than I ever anticipated.
Okay, that about concludes my case. I hope you all have some festive activities planned for the weekend. Matt and I are headed out to see Coco and hopefully a Christmas light show or two. I’d love to hear from you all, do you own a leopard coat or is it a hard pass? Leave your thoughts below, xx Aubrey.