Meteor Shower Viewing Tips

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Image via Jordan Lacsina
It is no secret that I love meteor showers. I always find it surprising when someone has never seen a shooting star, as I've been known to see over 100 in one night during certain showers. My favorite are the Orionids which take place this month and peak on October 20-21. This also runs into the Taurids which peak in early November. As an avid shower watcher and stargazer I compiled a few tips to help all of you enjoy the experience even more.

Plan ahead. // There are several different meteor showers throughout the year with varying frequency and ability to see based on the moon phase at the time and of course the weather. I usually look up the dates for all the meteor showers throughout the year and pencil them in my calendar so I know when they are. Here is a calendar you can follow. You don't have to stick to only the peak dates either, these are just when you are more likely to see more.

Head somewhere dark. // You're going to want to get as far away from light pollution as you can. When you get away from the city, you will be surprised by how many stars you can see. The darker the sky, the more meteors you will see. Just make sure that it is okay for you to be in the location you're planning on viewing the shower at and you aren't trespassing. You can use a light pollution map like this one to help you find a good spot.

Understand the radiant point. // Each meteor shower has a different radiant point, which is just the point in the sky that the meteors appear to radiate from. It isn't necessary to know the radiant and wait for it to be up in the sky, but it can be useful. You will still see meteors even before the radiant has risen into the sky, but once it has you will see a lot more of them. When it is the highest overhead, you will see the most.

Pack for the occasion. // No matter what time of year you are planning to view a meteor shower there are certain things you should always bring. Make sure you have something warm with you, even in the summer because nights can get damp and chilly. If it is colder you will want to also bring some warmer clothing like gloves, a hat, etc. In the warmer months make sure you have bug spray so you don't get eaten alive. If you are planning on staying out for an extended period of time consider bringing along snacks and beverages. Depending on where you are planning to view the shower, you'll also want to bring blankets and/or lawn chairs so you can comfortably recline and watch the sky. Binoculars are an optional item, I usually tend to see more meteors without them because I can watch the entire sky and not just one small part of it, but it can be fun to take a few minutes and look through them. One more optional item I recommend bringing is a flashlight. If you can, bring a red flashlight in order to preserve your night vision.

Put the phone away. // Similar to a normal flashlight, the light that your devices emit will impact your vision at night. Every time you glance down at your phone and then back up you are going to have to wait for your eyes to readjust. When your eyes are adjusted to the dark you will see more stars and meteors. Use this time to unplug from your devices, connect with nature, and recharge.

Let me know if you watch meteor showers and have any additional tips or questions down in the comments! Happy stargazing!

Winvian Farm: An Extraordinary Connecticut Getaway

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Winvian Farm was originally built as a home for Dr. Seth Bird and his family in the Litchfield Hills of Connecticut in 1775. This quiet getaway is set on 113 acres, and boarders extensive woods and lakes. The house has had many families living within its walls over the years, but in 1948 the Smith family bought the home and renamed it Win-Vian, the combination of the first names of Winthrop and his wife Vivian. To this day, the grand house is still in the Smith family. 

The property encompasses 18 individual cottages (designed by 15 architects) and one suite.  They are all entirely different. You can spend the night in a treehouse, a greenhouse, or a barn equipped with a fully restored 1968 helicopter that weighs 17,000 pounds. There are also cottages inspired by Connecticut's lighthouses, music, a log cabin, golf, camping, and more. They all range from classic to whimsical in style. You can learn more about all of the cottages here

There is also a spa on the property that stands where pigpens used to be. This luxury spa is 5,000 square feet of pure relaxation. Services range from private yoga and fitness, massage, hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, and skincare. The lounge is spilling over with natural light and is the perfect place to relax with a glass of champagne or tea.

Winvian organically cultivates a hotel garden taking farm-to-table to new heights. They use the freshest, natural non-GMO and seasonal ingredients. Almost everything served in the restaurant (80%) is grown on the private estate in the 3 greenhouses and 3 acres of gardens. They have their own apiary for honey, a henhouse, root cellar, and fruit trees. Even the bouquets in the dining room come from their own flower and herb beds. They also have an extensive wine cellar that is curated with 500 labels from 37 regions and 13 countries. The restaurant offers a multi-course fine dining menu that changes almost daily. Though I didn't get a chance to taste anything, the pictures of the food look absolutely divine. 

There is plenty to do at and around Winvian Farm. They offer something for everyone including: canoeing an kayaking, bonfire and s'mores roasts, cooking classes, biking, hiking, horseback riding, hot air balloon rides, tea tasting, fishing trips, sporting clays, golfing, pottery painting, water skiing, river tubing, paddle boarding, historic house tours, and more. 

In addition to being a breathtaking vacation getaway, Winvian is the perfect venue for celebrations such as weddings, anniversaries, showers, reunions, birthdays, and anything else you can dream up. For business, the property is the ideal setting for board or partner's meetings, executive retreats, team building, employee incentive programs, and special VIP events. They offer a unique experience unlike anything else and complete privacy. 

I'm hoping to head back stay overnight and have something to eat soon!

Winvain Farm | 155 Alain White Road | Morris, CT |

Weekend Adventures

Sunday, October 9, 2016

I hope everybody is having a wonderful long weekend! The leaves are starting to peak around here so I decided to head out to a nearby lake with the dogs yesterday for a nice walk. Despite being cloudy the weather was reasonably nice. On the way home, I stopped at this little country store that I love. They have the best coffee and baked goods. It was a nice mini-trip and the dogs were really tired afterwards. I spent the rest of the evening reading and headed to bed early.

Sometimes I struggle with what to write in these types of posts. It's easy for me to share beautiful places, and things I'm loving with you guys. But, when it comes to getting a little more personal, I have trouble. I'm a really private person so I have a hard time sharing certain parts of myself, even though I know it would help me connect with you better. I just want you to know that this is something I'm working on. I want to find a better balance and let you all into my life a little bit more. Anyways, let me know what you are up to this weekend down in the comments!

A Quick Stop At Jerram Winery

Thursday, October 6, 2016

A couple of weeks ago I headed out to historic New Hartford, Connecticut to check out Jerram Winery. Founded in 1998, the elevation at this 10 acre location offers a longer growing season than a lot of other New England wineries. This enables the vines to grow well matured grapes that result in high quality wine. They currently offer 11 wines, ranging from white to red, dry to sweet, and pure varietals to blends. They opened a new tasting room in 2004 in a restored Arts & Crafts Creamery, that was originally built in 1903 for making butter.

A tasting will cost you $7 and includes 6 wines, 3 white and 3 red. You can choose between a stemmed or stemless wine glass that you get to take home with you. The White Frost was the first one I tried and probably my favorite of the 6. It's a light and delicate Chardonnay with the slight taste of oak. The Gentle Shepard is a blend of Aurora (a French hybrid), Chardonnay, and Cayuga (an American hybrid). This one is smooth, fruity, and moderately sweet. Next, I tried the Aurora which is another white blend of Villard Blanc and Aurore. Moving on to the reds, I started with the Highland Reserve. This one was medium bodied and dry but still smooth. My favorite red was the Marechal Foch. This is a dry wine with good color and cherry undertones. It is made from a French hybrid that is grown on the property. The last wine on the tasting menu was the Nor-Easter. This one is a proprietary blend of different red varietals. It is semi-sweet and has a hint of raspberry. If you are a sweet wine lover, you'll probably love this wine. You can find more information on their wines here

In addition to wine tastings, the winery invites you to bring a picnic and purchase a bottle or glass of wine to enjoy on the property. All in all, it's worth the stop if you're in the area. 

Jerram Winery | 535 Town Hill Rd | New Hartford, CT |

Paying Tribute to Caregivers with Caribou Coffee

Monday, October 3, 2016

As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. For the last 21 years Caribou Coffee has supported Breast Cancer Awareness in support of their original Roastmaster, Amy Erikson, who lost her battle with cancer in 1995. This year, Caribou Coffee has teamed up with Tribute in an amazing community video project recognizing caregivers. For each and every video submitted on the #CaribouTribute page throughout the month of October, Caribou Coffee is donating $5 to CancerCare. They are also donating 10% of the proceeds of all Amy's Blend coffee and merchandise sales through the end of the month. 

You can see my Tribute video here. I would love it if you guys took the time to upload one as well. It takes less than 60 seconds. If you do decide to upload one, I will be giving away one free Tribute voucher, valued at $25, so you can compile your own Tribute video online and share a montage with your loved ones. All you have to do is email a link of your #CaribouTribute to and you will be entered in a drawing. I can't wait to see your videos! 

Disclaimer: This was a sponsored post, however all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Petite in Pearls. 

An Easy Transitional Look

Sunday, September 18, 2016

The transitional period between summer and fall is one of the most difficult to dress for here in New England. Autumn officially kicks off this Thursday, but we are still having temperatures in the mid-eighties. The mornings are chilly, but by the afternoon you are sweating. This dress is the perfect compromise. The long sleeves give you a little more coverage but the fabric is still light and breathable. There's a few solid versions of this dress (I'm also in love with this black one), as well as some with short sleeves, but I couldn't resist the combination of stripes and ruffles. It's also worth mentioning that these flats come in a whole bunch of colors. The bow lets you to adjust the fit and the leather is super soft. This allows the shoes to perfectly mold to your foot, and ultimately you end up with an extremely comfortable pair of flats. I hope you all have a wonderful week! 

What I'm Wearing: 

Dress: Clu | Flats: Corso Como c/o | Clutch: Pomegranate c/o (On sale!) | Sunglasses: Loft (old) | Bracelets: Allison Cole Jewelry c/o + Loren Hope

Summer Beauty Favorites

Monday, September 12, 2016

Since I missed July and August, I'm rounding up what my favorite products have been all summer. These are the products that I've been testing out and reaching the most within the last 3 months. Let me know what your favorite products this summer were or if you have tried any of these down in the comments!

Au Naturale Organic Creme Foundation c/o
This is the first foundation stick that I've tried. It offers more coverage than I'm used to, but that's not a bad thing. I'd say it's medium-full coverage, so if you're looking for light coverage this isn't the product for you (unless you want to use it as a concealer which I sometimes do). Although it offers fuller coverage, it doesn't look or feel heavy when it's on. You don't have to worry about getting that cakey look that frequently comes along with other creme foundations. It has really good lasting power and will stay put all day even if you don't set it. Au Naturale has a decent shade range, and offers samples for purchase so you can test it out and find your color before fully committing to a full size. This foundation is 100% natural and free of gluten, parabens, fillers, animal by-products, synthetic preservatives, or toxins.

Evelyn Iona Natural & Organic Gel Eyeliner c/o
Gel eyeliner is my favorite. I find it applies a lot easier than liquid eyeliner and lasts a lot longer than both liquid and pencil formulas. However, finding one with natural and clean ingredients was a challenge. The formula is 70% organic, 95% natural, and performs just as well as conventional brands. Even on a 93 degree day where I was in the sun all day for a concert this stuff didn't budge. When I got home at three in the morning it looked the same as when I left the house. I don't wear eyeliner everyday, but when I do this is how I want it to perform.

Au Naturale Creme Blush in Andrenaline c/o
At first glance the color of this blush might scare you, but if you apply it correctly it looks gorgeous on! It's very pigmented so you only need a tiny bit. I've been blending it out with a dense bristled brush and the end result is a natural look. Blush is one of the things that I seem to always have to reapply throughout the day. It doesn't seem to last, even when I set it. But this stuff sure does! Like the foundation from Au Naturale this is 100% natural, vegan, and free of any chemicals and toxins. They offer a lot of totally different shades so there's something for every skin tone and taste preference.

jane iredale Retracrable Brow Pencil c/o
My brows are one of the things I do even on my lightest makeup days. I always want to go for a natural look, I don't want them to look like they're filled in. This pencil gives you medium coverage so it's easy to keep the natural look that I want. It has a tiny tip, making it easy to get hairlike strokes that don't look overdone. I also love that it has a spoolie on the other end, so I don't have to grab a separate one and comb through my brows. It has nice staying power, and lasts all day without smudging or sweating off. Finally, I love that I don't have to pull out a sharpener and sharpen this everyday. It's retractable so all you have to do is twist and you are ready to go. This comes in 3 shades, I've been using the "Dark Brunette" color which is the darkest one they offer.

Au Naturale Organic Creme Bronzer c/o
I've been using this bronzer as a contour or to add a little bit of color to my face when I didn't feel like putting on blush. I have it in the shade Latte, which is a gorgeous matte brown with golden undertones. Similar to the blush, this bronzer is really pigmented, so a little goes a long way. You can blend it out really well for a more natural look, or less for a sharper contour if you like. Just like all the products from Au Naturale, this is 100% natural so you can feel good about using it without compromising on the quality.

One Love Organics Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo c/o
I'm not one of those girls who uses dry shampoo seven days in a row because I'm too lazy to wash my hair, but I like to keep it on hand for emergency situations and traveling. When I had my surgery and had a hard time showering, this stuff was a lifesaver. This dry shampoo is all natural, so it doesn't contain any of the yucky ingredients found in the conventional products. It is scented, but contains no artificial fragrance. I like that it's non-aerosol and you apply it with your hands. It gives you more control over where you want the product. It absorbs oil well and gives your roots pretty decent lift. I find it tends to work better if I put it in at night, let it work in as I sleep, and brush it through in the morning.

Goddess Garden Face the Day Sunscreen and Firming Primer c/o
I've been using this as a base under my makeup every day and sometimes just on its own for the sun protection. It has super clean ingredients and uses a mineral sunscreen to provide SPF 30; no hormone disrupters here! It's really hard to find a natural sunscreen that isn't heavy, hot, and sticky and this one nails it. It's rich in antioxidants and helps with the long-term reduction in the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and dark spots. It's also a great base for makeup. My makeup stays on a lot longer when I use this, especially on those hot and humid days. This is a new holy grail product, for sure!

Acure Coconut Dry Oil Spray
I love a good multi-use product. This can be used as a body oil, aftershave spray, and even in your hair. It has olive oil, coconut oil, argan oil, sea buckthorn oil, marula oil, and vitamin e. It's naturally scented with organic coconut flavor oil, and contains no artificial fragrance. It's really fast absorbing and leaves your skin with a healthy glow, but not oily. I generally spray it in my hands and then apply it because if I spray it directly on it gets on the tile floor, which then becomes really slippery. I also like using it in my hair as a treatment on my ends overnight or if I'm just having a frizzy hair day. They offer other scents, but I'm a huge coconut fan so I think I'll stick with this one.

Disclaimer: Some of the products in this post were gifted in exchange for review consideration, however all opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Petite in Pearls.