Road Trip to Mystic Aquarium

by agirlandhermutt on July 28, 2015

YES! I have officially marked off #16 from my 35 While 35 list. Visit Mystic Aquarium! This little line item has been on the list for about 5 years. Every single time I try to visit, something comes up. One year we were in the area for a wine expo event and had plans to visit the aquarium the next day. Random snow storm. Another year there was a hurricane. This year we had plans to visit for my birthday, but that whole hospitalization thing happened.

In the middle of last week it randomly occurred to us that we had a free Saturday and maybe we could just pop down to Connecticut for a quick visit to the aquarium. This was perfect for the whole explore New England thing we have been doing this summer. I was like a kid on Christmas morning!

And we finally made it!

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Yes, that is a picture of nothing. I got excited to show my parents I had made it and didn’t realize I wasn’t actually taking a photo of anything. Oops.

Mystic has a few really great outdoor areas for the beluga whales, sea lions and African penguins. Untitled
This is Astro. He is a 9 year old sea lion that weighs about 800+ pounds. Apparently he kept stranding himself on land, would get rehabilitated and then do it all over again. After the 3rd or 4th time they realized that he wouldn’t survive in the wild so they brought him to Mystic.

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One of the Beluga Whales, which always get the Baby Beluga song stuck in my head for days.

My favorite exhibits at aquariums are always the jellyfish. I avoid those suckers like the plague in the water, but in an aquarium I just can’t get enough of them. Mystic’s had a really nice collection that were fascinating to watch.
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We spent about 3 hours walking around the aquarium, exploring all the exhibits and even touching a few rays.
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They had a separate exhibit called Exploration: Wild that had little scenes from the Arctic, Rain Forest, etc. There was even a an exhibit for the Titanic which was random, but really interesting. They had a great picture representation of how many were saved and died from each class on the ship. The crew had the most men perish in the accident, but they also managed to have the most saved. The exhibit did a great job highlighting the division of class without overdoing it.

There weren’t really any animals, but they did have a few fun photo ops set up.

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Not the Titanic.

Throughout the aquarium there are pieces of art from an organization calledWashed Ashore. The organization is a non-profit that cleans up debris from beaches and then makes artwork out of it in order to teach about the environment, plastic pollution and cleaning up the oceans.

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These pieces of artwork are incredible. Not only are they huge, but they are just really cool looking. You almost forget that these are made from TRASH that is found on our beautiful beaches.

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After the aquarium, and being around tons of childrens ;), I needed some food and a beer. We headed over to S&P Oyster Company to grab a bite to eat.
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The restaurant was busy, but really nice. Good food, great service and a nice view of the water.

We can’t ever seem to make a trip without a stop at a brewery and this time was no different. We stopped at Beer’d. We had heard good things about this brewery, but I just really liked their logo. :) Beards are the best! Untitled

This nano brewery is located in a space called the American Velvet Mill. Once the mill closed, artists started to move into the mill and created studios and gallery space. It is a unique space that was fun to navigate around. Untitled
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The brewery offers free tastings of whatever they have on tap and then you can also get pints and growlers filled. Beer’d seems to specialize in DIPAs, which just so happen to my specialty too.
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The last stop on our road trip was to The Malted Barley for a quick snack before hitting the road. Untitled
Chipotle pepper and gouda stuffed soft pretzel. Seriously. With apricot butter. Just kill me now. Untitled

With a full belly and a bucket list item completed, we headed back to Boston!

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I got a few recommendations on places to visit the next time I am in Mystic so I will definitely be heading back down again. The city is really cute and it was an easy drive on a Saturday morning.

So where to next?! I’m ready for another adventure!

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Favorite Summer Essentials

by agirlandhermutt on July 24, 2015

Oh boy. So glad Friday is here! The blog has had a rough go of it this past week or so. About a month ago I discovered that my blog had been hacked and was dealing with url injection issues. Just think a bunch of porn links from my site. Nice. I figured it out and moved along. Then last week I got word from my site host that I had been hacked again. Ugh. That brings us to here. All cleaned up. Security holes all patched up. Back up and running!

Now that my site is back up it is time to get back to blogging! Summer isn’t my favorite time of the year because of the heat, but I do enjoy quite a few summer activities. Going to the beach, road trips, and pool days!

Here are a few of my must-have essentials to not only survive the heat, but make the best of the summer!

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Favorite Summer Essentials

1. SUNSCREEN! This is my most important summer essential. I’ve dealt with skin cancer in the past and I don’t want to deal with it in the future. I’m also a fan of looking like I’m 35 while I’m 35 instead of 45 while I’m 35.

I’ve tried sprays, but while they are super convenient, it doesn’t work the best for me all of the time. I tend to miss important spots. The folks at Block Island Organics sent me a bottle of their natural mineral SPF 30 sunscreen to try out and I’m digging it. It is a little thick when you first start to put it on, but it doesn’t leave a really greasy or sticky feeling on the skin. Do you remember putting lotion on as a kid and then walking around like you were covered in goo with your arms not touching you?! You don’t have to worry about that with this lotion. And the most important piece…I didn’t get a sunburn! All my bits and pieces stayed safe and sound.

BONUS: Use code “AGAHM” to get 15% off over at Block Island Organics Suncare!

 

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I’m a little sensative as to what I put on my face so on the days when I’m not necessarily at the beach or pool, but still out in the sun, I use this Neutrogena Clear Face SPF 30 sunscreen. It goes on really lightly, blends in well and doesn’t feel all nasty as it soaks in.

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2. Water Bottles. I drink a ton of water throughout the year, but I’m much more aware staying hydrated when it is hot as crap outside. I’m a HUGE fan of Klean Kanteen, but they aren’t the best at keeping things super cold all day long.

In comes the Hydroflask. This bottle is stainless steel double wall vacuum insulation and is supposed to keep things cold for up to 24 hours. I haven’t had 24 hours success, but I have had it stay cold while I am out all day running errands or riding my bike. Oh, and they have a top that includes a straw. Love that top!

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Klean Kanteen also has an insulated version that I use occasionally, but I prefer the top on the Hydroflask to the Klean Kanteen version. Why can’t Klean Kanteen get on the straw bandwagon?! KleanKanteen

3. Facial Wipes. I can’t stop myself from sweating, but I can stop myself from feeling nasty after sweating all day. I don’t wear makeup every day during the summer so when I start to feel gross I use facial wipes to just freshen up really quick. I’m in love with these Pacifica Purify Coconut Water Cleansing Wipes. The wipes aren’t super wet so you don’t feel the need to rinse off after you use them. They also smell super coconutty which I’m obsessed with. I also have a pretty sensative face to products and these don’t bother my skin at all.

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4. The Body Shop Coconut Body Mist. I use the body mists year round, but during the summer my favorite is absolutely the Coconut version. It is beachy, delicious smelling and not overwhelming at all.

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5. John Masters Organics Sea Salt Spray. I have thick, straight, long hair. It doesn’t do that super cool beachy waves thing that some other people get after a day at the beach. I can wash my hair, braid it and sleep on it and it just looks like I slept on wet hair the next morning. It isn’t a good look.

This sea salt spray gives my hair a little bit of grit and texture to make it LOOK like I have been at the beach all day. I use this in place of hair spray after I curl my hair with a curling wand.

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6. Vera Bradley Ditty Bag. I use this little lined bag for ANYTHING wet. My bathing suit, my nasty gym clothes after I work out and my pool towel. I wish it zipped up instead of just a drawstring, but it does have a flat bottom so it stays upright. You can throw it in the wash really easily too.

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7. Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment. I love this Fresh lip balm year round, but particularly during the summer. It has SPF 15 and I can get it in a tinted color, which is perfect for those non-makeup days. This summer I’m rocking the Cherry color, but enjoy the Coral too.

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8. Summer Beer! There is no better experience than sitting out on my porch while enjoying the sun and a nice icy cold beer.

I rarely drink at home since I prefer draft beer, but there is something to be said for super cold canned beer. Breweries have come so far with their canning over the past few years! My ultimate summer beer this year is the White Birch Blueberry Berliner Weisse. I’m not a huge blueberry beer fan, but I love the hint of blueberry followed by the sour and tartness of lemon at the end for this beer. Plus, it has a touch of saltiness. It is light, refreshing, crisp and PERFECT. MMm….

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I hope you guys are all enjoying your summer! I’m trying to get out as often as I can to enjoy being outside and explore the parts of New England I have neglected all these years. Honestly, I’m just thankful for no snow! Winking smile

See you soon! Follow me over on Instagram to see what I’m up to this weekend.

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Sun & Fun Weekend

July 14, 2015

Hello there!! This past weekend was just…fantastic. Hot. But really really lovely. For the past few months my friend,Karen, has been getting ready for her wedding and I have been serving as her “fashion consultant”. Ha. Don’t get it twisted. I know I am no fashion expert, but I do know what looks good and […]

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