Category Archives: New England Travel

5 Pizza Places to Visit in Connecticut

April 20th, 2018

5 Pizza Places to Visit in CT Aubrey Yandow The Coastal Confidence Pizza in Connecticut
5 Pizza Places to Visit in CT Aubrey Yandow The Coastal Confidence Pizza in Connecticut

I was inspired to create this post, last week when Matt and I were in Dallas. We were chatting with some friends and they wanted to know, besides seafood, what was the best dish to order in New England. Valid question right and  I quickly realized no one does pizza like New England, well besides Chicago, so I told her to give me a week and I’d report back with a whole list. 

Once I finalized my list, I decided I might as well share it with all of you and all I can say is, I miss New England pizza. Breakfast, lunch or dinner; pizza is always a valid food option for me and I hope this inspires you all to test out a few new places. Anyway, I’m just going to jump right into it!

I ranked the following 5 pizza places to visit in CT in order of how I’d visit them. I rated them based on 1) pizza crust thickness, 2) topping options, 3) ambiance & 4) quantity of parking/seating. 

Okay here we go:  

Frank Pepe Pizzeria Napoletana // New Haven, CT

During the summer of 2015, Matt was living and working in New York City, while I was living and working in Eastern Connecticut, which meant we got to see each other on weekends and holidays. So come Friday, we’d often meet to hang out at a halfway point, New Haven. Before that summer I never really spent much time in New Haven but grew to look forward to my Friday night drive to New Haven and the delicious Italian food that awaited me. Whenever I picked up Matt from the train station he was always beyond famished so we usually headed straight to Frank Pepe Pizzeria. This historic pizza place first opened it’s doors in 1925 and has been a New England staple ever since. 

  • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – Thin crust baked to a slight crunch sliced up into thin servings, providing you with the perfect excuse to order more than one pizza pie per visit. 
  • 2) Topping Options – Pepe’s has every topping you’d ever hope for but if you want to try an innovative pizza, order the White Clam. The White Clam Pizza is just crust, olive oil, oregano, grated cheese, chopped garlic, and fresh littleneck clams basically a seafood lovers dream. 
  • 3) Ambiance With several locations scattered around Connecticut, and now Boston, I still always make the hour drive down to the original pizzeria in New Haven. Having first opened in 1925, there is something special about eating the pizza at this quaint location while squeezing into the modest wooden booths. 
  • 4) Parking/Seating – Limited parking & seating. Street parking is available as well. 

Pizzeria Sassano // Glastonbury, CT

Oh, gosh, I’m ready for the raft that will be my Mom when she finds out I let this top secret pizzeria go live. This is her FAVORITE spot to grab pizza, and I’d even go as far as to say it’s the best representation of what Italian pizza actually tastes, looks and smells like. It’s on the more expensive side of pizzerias BUT this is the REAL DEAL. Bon Appétit

  • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – This pizza is as fresh as it can get. From the doughy and deliciously chewy crust to the hand peeled tomato-based sauce, this pizza takes the cake for having the freshest ingredients. 
  • 2) Topping Options –  Rich Italian toppings are available for your pizza order. We strongly suggest taste testing either the sausage or meatball pie, both are seasoned to perfection and capture the essence of Italian meat. 
  • 3) Ambiance  – To be honest, I usually call in an order and take it to go, since I pass the restaurant quite often on my way to Route 2. However, if you preferring dining in, the ambiance is quaint and BYOB! 
  • 4) Parking/Seating – TONS of parking & limited seating, however, I’ve never had to wait. 

Hope Pizza Restaurant // Stamford, CT 

I’m a sucker for Greek style pizza, to be honest, it’s actually my favorite food to order out on the weekends. Close your eyes and imagine doughy thick crust, garlic infused tomato sauce, with the heaviest serving of golden and crispy cheese that brings the whole pizza together, on top. I mean pair it with a Coca-Cola and I’m in heaven, but Greek pizza isn’t for everyone as it’s the heaviest of pizza options and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Anyway, if you love Greek pizza check out this place: 

  • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – Thick, borderline deep dish, with generous square, cut slices.
  • 2) Topping Options – Whenever I eat Greek style pizza I can’t help put to order a vegetable pizza. There is something so delicious about a heavy dosing of cheesy bread and grilled vegetables. And for Matt, we always order the classy gooey cheese pizza.
  • 3) Ambiance  – Very casual ambiance, I often like to order take out from Hope Pizza Restaurant. I think Greek pizza is best enjoyed at home, outside, with a Coca-Cola in hand amongst friends. 
  • 4) Parking/Seating – TONS of parking & seating, which is key.


First & Last Tavern // Hartford & Middletown Locations Are My Favorite

First and Last will always have a special place in my heart because it is where Matt and I use to go on double dates in high school. To be exact we would always meet other couples at First and Last for a pizza and movie Friday Night Combo. So many good memories, at the Middletown location. But before Matt and I, my Dad use to take my siblings and I to the first in last location in Hartford on the weekends. We’d go visit my cousins in Wethersfield, pile in the car and head to get pizza. I use to love that you could watch the chef’s cook the pizza from start to finish at this location, and I still love to visit it with my dad and family today. 

  • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – Thin crust with widely cut slices, makes this pizzeria the best place to visit with a large group of people. The pizzas are big and meant to be enjoyed with family and friends, so order a few pies, sit back and enjoy your night. 
  • 2) Topping Options – By far some of the best toppings around! I usually pile it high with sausage, mushrooms, and spinach. Oh and sometimes I ask for extra cheese, don’t tell Matt. 
  • 3) Ambiance  – Matt and I always go to First & Last Tavern for date night so I’d say the ambiance is cozy, but still high end. Basically come as you are, whether you are all decked out for a show at The Bushnell or just stopping in for a pizza while running errands, First & Last Tavern is fit for every occasion. 
  • 4) Parking/Seating – Limited parking & seating, expect a wait but it will be well worth it. 

Alforno // Old Saybrook, CT

    • 1) Pizza Crust Thickness – The pizza crusts, while on the thinner side are equally chewy and crispy from having baked in the 600-plus temperature of the custom-built brick oven, Alforno is known for crispy crust with a delicious taste. 
    • 2) Topping Options – Alforno does have amazing pizza topping options, but I was equally impressed with the amount of non-pizza menu options to choose from. From high-end meat dishes to stocks, sauces and fresh pasta, including ravioli, being made in-house; Alforno is a restaurant for lovers of all Italian food, not just pizza. 
    • 3) Ambiance  – With a relaxed and casual ambiance this restaurant would be perfect for a date night or a quick catch up with old friends. Just make sure to bring your appetite with you. 
    • 4) Parking/Seating – TONS of parking & seating, which is key.

Okay & that’s all I got for you guys. 

 Let me know your thoughts and I’d love to hear which pizza places in CT is your favorite. xx Aubrey

Shop This Post:

 

 

History & Cultural Heritage of New England

January 19th, 2018

History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow

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. 

History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow

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. 

History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow
History and High Culture of New England | The Coastal Confidence Aubrey Yandow

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. 

Shop This Post: 

Best Pond Skating Spots in New England

January 12th, 2018

Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence

I always find it odd that some of my first memories include winter activities, that to be honest, I’m really not that fond of. In fact, one of my very first memories is bundling up and walking with my dad and brother, to our local town pond to ice skate. To this day, I’m really not one to step onto a pond, lake or any body of water frozen solid; if I have to ice skate I much prefer a freshly zambonied rink, is that too much to ask for? 

Now while I’m not a fan, Matt and many others count down the days till the ice is thick enough to drop a puck and start the pond hockey tournaments, and I must admit I do love watching New Englanders embrace the harsh temperatures with excitement and well-organized hockey games and ice fishing tournaments. Overall, I know the weather’s been crummy so I figured I’d share some winter inspiration with a list of the best pond skating spots in New England, to get you all excited for the weekend ahead of us. 

Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence

Best Pond Skating Spots in New England:

(Before heading out or stepping on the ice, please call ahead to check that ice conditions are safe at these skating spots) 

Boston Common Frog Pond- Boston, MA: Get the quintessential experience of pond skating in the heart of one of New England’s busiest cities. Take time out of your day and walk through Boston Common to see the ice skaters twirling around whilst enjoying the city view. Oh and if you forgot your skate, no worries, they have skates for rent at the ticket office!

 

Eastbury Pond- Glastonbury, CT: This pond is an old favorite of mine, just bring your skates and your mates for a spin around Eastbury Pond in central Connecticut. This pond was known for its spontaneous hockey throw downs and small hometown feel. 

 

Puddle Duck Pond at Strawbery Bank- Portsmouth, NH: I reached out to you all on Instagram Stories, if you don’t already follow us on Instagram make sure to here, anyway when I asked you guys which ponds I should include in this list over three people referenced Puddle Duck Pond; which makes me think Matt and I are due for a trip to Portsmouth. 

 

Lee Twombly Pond- Falmouth, ME: This lovely pond was actually ranked as one of the best places to ice skate outside and I can see why! The pond is in a picturesque location and offers both ice skating for just $5 and, Matt’s favorite adult pickup hockey each and every Saturday night. 

 

Frog’s Pond- Trumbull, CT: This spot was recommended by TCC Reader, Patrick Donegan, who said this community pond is the town’s hotspot when freezing temperatures roll in. Patrick said that the local neighbors even provide fire pits and hot chocolate on busy days, to give ice skaters the needed break and warmth to skate the night away. 

Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence
Best Pond Skating Spots in New England | The Coastal Confidence

I must say, it did take some guts getting dressed up and heading to our local pond spot with these record low temperatures, but in the end, I was so happy I did. All and all you must say it’s pretty amazing how a local pond can turn into such a local watering hole for children, teens, and adults. This time of year truly brings New Englanders together, and nothing makes me happier. 

On that note, I am so fortunate to have readers like yourselves who engage and reach out to share with us their local treasures. I was over the moon with the amount of TCC readers who reached out to share their local pond skating spots and traditions with our crew; as always, connecting with you all is by far our favorite part of The Coastal Confidence. If we somehow missed a pond spot that you feel needs to be on this list, please leave a comment below with any additional pond skating spots we should add. Thank you and have a great rest of your week. 

Shop This Post: 

Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day

January 10th, 2018

Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence

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. 

 

Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence
Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence
Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence
Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence
Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence

+ 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.

Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence
Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence
Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence
Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence
Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence

+ 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. 

Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence
Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence
Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence
Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence
Best Ways To Spend a New England Snow Day | The Coastal Confidence

+ 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!

Shop This Post: 

Weekends in Vermont

January 7th, 2018

Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

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.

Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey YandowWeekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

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.

Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

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.

Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Weekends in Vermont | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

Shop This Post: 

 

5 Reasons Why You Should Use All Your Vacation Days in 2018

January 5th, 2018

5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

I will always be a high-strong and slightly over ambitious person when it comes to running The Coastal Confidence. I honestly think the fact that I can admit that is a huge step in the right direction. Naturally, I’ve been known for not delegating enough out to crew members, while double-booking myself, as I desperately try to cram in as many photoshoot sessions as possible, while in New England. I often feel like I don’t want to burden others, so I just shove more and more onto my plate until my plate shatters, and boy did it fall apart over the holiday break.  

I was in New England from December 15th – January 2nd and my over-ambitious personality thought I’d be able to fit in eight video shoots and twenty-four outfit shoots within that time period. Honestly, I was just straight-up delusional. The holiday season should be a time spent with family, friends, and community; instead, I spent my holiday season jamming in photoshoots between holiday parties, NYC adventures and Vermont ski slope runs. 

I was waking up at 6:00 AM for photoshoots with my sister Tessa and editing photos until 1:00 AM; I was quite literally running myself into the ground. I over-extended myself and it left me with not only a 72-hour stomach bug (on Christmas Eve) but also a nasty cold. Overall, my ambitious habits left me sick for basically my entire trip home and I’m actually still sick writing this post now. My crammed in schedule resulting in my trip home, being the definition of a let-down. Our crew ended up only filming four videos and twelve outfit photos, which was pretty disastrous for my ego. 

5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
 Ending 2017 on that note was not ideal but 2018, brings a fresh start to the table and most importantly new perspective. Not being in New England 100% of the time has made my job increasingly hard, but this year instead of cramming in as much as possible, while in New England; Matt and I are going to use each and every one of our vacation days and bring you along for…let’s call it the year of travel.  

We’re going to actually use our air miles to bring you guys along to our favorite cities! Travel has always brought a cloud of anxiety for me, in terms of creating blog content, so while the written content will be true to New England, the pictures might be a little more travel-focused or out-of-the-box; and I hope you guys enjoy it. Anyway, to get to my point, if you’re a workaholic, a type A boss, or just a destructively overambitious person like me…listen up because here are 5 Reasons Why You Should Use All Your Vacation Days in 2018: 

5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

 # 1 Recharge – I know from firsthand experience that when you overwork yourself, you often end up causing yourself the unnecessary mental stress and often become even less productive and in my case sick. Ideally you would think that working non-stop makes you a go-getter but actually, it can reduce both your productivity and quality of work; so give yourself a break and come back to work refreshed and recharged. 

# 2 Perspective – I mean this point is reason enough to use all your vacation days. Having perspective is really important especially in the blogging industry. It is so easy to get caught up in what others are doing, why a certain image didn’t get that many likes or why you didn’t nail down a specific partnership; all of these things are completely situational but when you live, eat and breath your job; situational things can start to feel personal. So giving yourself a break can really help you see the BIG PICTURE, and focus more on the purpose of your job instead of the nitty gritty of it.  

# 3 Inspiration – Take your vacation days and go see something, someone or somewhere that will fuel your inner fire. Whether that’s visiting a new city, a friend in a foreign place or a country you’ve been dying to attend; get out there and live life. Whenever I feel like my content has gotten stagnant, I try to book a quick flight to the cheapest city nearby. Traveling really adds a breath of fresh air into my soul and my brand. 

5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
5 Reasons Why You Should Use Your Vacation Days | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

# 4 Mental Health – Recently I’ve gotten into the app Headspace[headspace.com], if you haven’t heard of headspace before, basically it’s an app that provides guided meditation sessions and mindfulness training to you daily. I started the app back in December and I’ve really gotten into the idea of giving your mind down time and space. In fact, after using the app for just two weeks I noticed a difference in my overall attitude and stress levels, making me realize that vacation days shouldn’t be used to just sleep and recharge your body, but also to give the mind a break. Let your mind wander, read a book, do a puzzle, see a movie; giving your brain a vacation day is key to boosting creativity and new ideas.  

# 5 Reflection – The start of a new year can be exciting and inspiring but taking your Vacation Day can be too. Use your time off to reflect on your goals, where you are in life and where you want to be. Connect with yourself and put systems in place to achieve those goals that you’ve temporarily placed on the back burner, then head back to work with a new game plan for your career and life. 

I hope this post inspired you to put ‘the grind’ in perspective. Sometimes all you need is to take a break and get outside of yourself, in order to really have a breakthrough. 

Shop This Post: 

 

How To Properly Layer for New England’s Cold Weather

January 3rd, 2018
How To Properly Layer for New England's Cold Weather | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
How To Properly Layer for New England's Cold Weather | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
 
 
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. 
 
How To Properly Layer for New England's Cold Weather  | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
How To Properly Layer for New England's Cold Weather  | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
How To Properly Layer for New England's Cold Weather  | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
How To Properly Layer for New England's Cold Weather  | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
 
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. 
How To Properly Layer for New England's Cold Weather  | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
How To Properly Layer for New England's Cold Weather  | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
 
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 #5 / Waterproof Boots: Having a pair of waterproof boots is essential for keeping your toes dry, warm and frostbite free during this time of year. I actually have two pairs of boots I cycle between, depending on the temperature and conditions. For snowy and damp conditions I wear these fleece-lined durable snow boots and for rainy days I wear these classic duck boots, pictured above.  
 
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. 
 
Layer #7 / Accessories: It’s cold out there, which can sometimes feel bleak, don’t be afraid to add warmth or color to your layered style with accessories. Whether that means a pair of colorful earmuffs, a boldly structured purse or a colorful pair of shades; remember the little details can really tie together an outfit.
 
 
 
How To Properly Layer for New England's Cold Weather  | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
How To Properly Layer for New England's Cold Weather  | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
 
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. 
 
Shop This Post: 

Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season

December 11th, 2017

Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

J.McLaughlin Shirt  c/o || Skirt || Tights || Shoes || Lipstick || Earrings 

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.new england holiday bucket list | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

Yearly Traditions: 


 

Holiday Light Fantasia / Hartford, CT

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.

Winterfest Hartford / Hartford, CT

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.

A Christmas Carole Play / The Hartford Stage, CT

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. 

 

Day Time Festivities:


 

Holiday Ice Carving Competition / The Shops At Yale, CT

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 Ride at Foxglove Farm / Lyme, CT

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. Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

THINGS TO DO IN CONNECTICUT THIS HOLIDAY SEASON | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Boxwood Garland and Holiday Decor | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

Night Time Festivities:


 

+ Lantern Light Tours / Mystic, CT

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. 

The Nutcracker at the Palace Theater / Stamford, CT

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. 

+Essex Steam Train and Riverboat – Santa Special  / Essex, CT

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.

Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

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 

Frosted Window Panes and Leopard Coats | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow
Things To Do in Connecticut This Holiday Season | The Coastal Confidence by Aubrey Yandow

Shop This Post: 

Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting

November 13th, 2017

Vineyard Vines Dress Vineyard Vines Dress c/o || Leopard Flats || 

After visiting Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates my Mom and I drove over to Sunset Meadow Vineyards in Goshen, CT to see what it was all about. Since we had already fit in two hours of blog shooting prior, we spent our time at the vineyard relaxing before venturing inside for some wine tasting. 

When we arrived at the tasting room, we were overwhelmed with a large group of people and some very expensive camera equipment. At first, my Mom and I thought nothing of it. Personally, I figured that the winery must be shooting some promotional videos and just had a large budget to shoot with. Since we were taking pictures at the location too, I had to ask what was going on. Partially because I figured maybe it was a New England based magazine that I could introduce myself too, but mostly because I’m just darn nosey. 

So I walked up to the bartender and asked, ‘what are you guys shooting here’? Low and behold, and you guys might not believe me, it was actually the NETFLIX TEAM. I died right then and there.

Apparently, Netflix was shooting a crime movie for an upcoming Netflix original, just up the road! The bartender went on to tell me that Sunset Meadow Vineyards was a location the Netflix team just happened to stumble upon and wanted to capture a couple of scenes. 

Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6461
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6318
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6498
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6528
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6670

I failed as Sherlock Homes and left with basically no details about the exact movie Netflix was filming and I have yet to come across any news of the movie on the world wide web. So comment below if you know something I don’t! 

To be honest, I was shocked at the way the Netflix team was producing and creating the film. The team seemed low maintenance, spontaneous and kind of running with the punches. Basically, I always pictured Netflix crews as a huge production but this team was using the natural light, a few cameras and way less equipment than I had pictured in my head. 

Anyway, we had unusually warm weather that day so I was able to get away with wearing this Vineyard Vines Diamond Dress along with my Leopard Flats, no tights needed. My mom and I were plenty warm, relaxing on the wooden rocking chairs on the harvest decorated porch. The porch was the perfect place to sit down, catch up and watch the Netflix team’s every move. 

Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6684
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6866
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6674
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6732
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6359

 Overall we spent about an hour rocking in our chairs on the porch and trying to enjoy the last warm moments of fall. Sunset Meadow Vineyards in Goshen, CT is really a winery you should all visit. We loved that it was located in the country giving both the wine tasters on the porch and patio scenic views of brilliant and lush fall foliage. There were plenty of tables and chairs for everyone both indoor and out, making the wine tasting experience enjoyable for all. 

Once we were done shooting some pictures and tasting wine, my mom and I piled back into the car and drove a few minutes down the road to downtown Litchfield. The windy New England roads were stunning and the homes garnishing Main Street were just starting to prepare for the holidays with decorations. 

I can’t wait to travel back up to Litchfield County sooner than later and hopefully bring Matt along for the ride, too. Oh and I’d love to hear of any good wineries you all love, leave a comment below with all the details. xx AubreySunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6559

Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6511
Sunset Meadow Vineyards Wine Tasting-6662
 

Shop This Post:  

Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates

November 7th, 2017

Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-6053

OUTFIT DETAILS

Sweater Suede SkirtMules

Last week, I woke up to an unusually warm November day and called up my Mom to see if she wanted to hit the road to explore. She agreed and we took about an hour ride up to Goshen, CT. In the past, I had heard wonderful things about the little town of Goshen, but most importantly, I heard word of a farm and chocolate factory that I had to see with my own two eyes. 

So yes, I drove an hour for artistry chocolate and yes it was worth every drop of gas. At first, I was expecting a leaf peeping tourist trip. I assumed it would be a huge farm and factory, fully equipped with parking lots and gift shops to boot, but I was pleasantly surprised to find this farm was quaint and literally off a beaten path. The wooden barn and baby cows chopping on hay brought the idea of a quintessential New England country lifestyle to life. 

Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5962
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5831
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5471
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5591
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5754

Once we pulled up, I jumped out and instantly started capturing pictures of the wooden barn. I must say it was a tad windy, so I was happy to have on my cropped mock neck sweater. I’ve been searching high and low for a more fitted cropped sweaters to pair with skirts, and I was over the moon when I saw this cozy number in Vineyard Vine’s new arrivals. I wore this faux suede skirt with the sweater to complete the look and add a feminine touch. 

Once we walked into the barn we were greeted by Clint and Kimberly, who own and operate the farm. Boy, are these two a power couple if I ever did meet one. Clint seemed to be in charge of the farm side of things, he warmly introduced us to each cow. He then explained how the individual cows produce different tasting milk, which corresponds to the chocolate being handcrafted by his wife Kimberly. 

Clint showed my Mom and I, around the farm including meeting the cutest of farm guests a baby cow. Sadly the baby cow was camera shy otherwise I would’ve taken a whole camera roll of cute pictures. After seeing the baby, Clint introduced us to his longhorn population. 

Who would have thought that Connecticut was a place to breed longhorns, not me. I was pleasantly surprised to see these amazing creatures roaming the fields. They were truly beautiful and I had to snap a few pictures for all you Longhorn fans, or as Matt would say ‘Hook Em’

Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5851
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5499
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-6162
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5467
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5646

After chatting with the Longhorns, my Mom and I made our final stop into the milk house for chocolates. We were warmly greeted by Kimberly the chocolate shop owner, creator, and as I said earlier Clint’s wife. We were instantly overwhelmed with a number of chocolate choices, from classic flavors like raspberry truffles to seasonal flavors like pumpkin; this tiny shop was overflowing with chocolate creativity. 

We had a hard time deciding what to pick, so Kimberly urgently requested us to taste test the sea salt caramels which after taking one bite, I’d confidently say, was the best sea salt caramel I’ve ever eaten. She went on to explain that basically no sugar is added to these rich caramels, but rather the sweetness is completely driven from the cows’ milk. 

After tasting the caramel we had to try some of this sweetened milk. I grabbed a bottle of vanilla bean milk, which included only the cow’s pasteurized milk and vanilla bean. After taking my first sip I was shocked how sweet the milk was and even purchased a few bottles to take home and use as a substitute for coffee creamer. Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5692

Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5927
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-6140
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-6188
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-6207
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5724
Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates-5706

Overall we ended up staying a whopping two hours on the farm, chit-chatting with Kimberly and learning her chocolate story. It was truly a wonderful experience and I’d highly recommend visiting and taking extra time out of your stay to learn about their amazing chocolate making process. 

We left with a full box of chocolates and a belly full of caramel. While at Thorncrest Farm & Milk House Chocolates, I tried to capture some video for you all, but sadly my vlogging camera died halfway through. After looking at the footage I was able to pull together a mini vlog! I hope you enjoy the video and make sure to subscribe to our Youtube Channel Here

I hope this inspires you to get in the car and explore the amazing New England towns awaiting you! Oh, and don’t forget to subscribe to our weekly New England travel newsletter! This week we are sharing the ins & outs of Goshen, so don’t forget to sign up here. xx Aubrey 

Shop The Post: