Jul 24, 2018

Wondrous Wanderer: Stunning Summer Style for Outdoor Adventures

Ah, summer! For most of us, summer is a time to stretch our legs, see new places, and gain new experiences—and the long days and warm weather mean that it’s a particularly wondrous time to make new memories in the great outdoors. This can mean watching the sunrise, hiking new trails, swimming in new oceans and lakes, or letting yourself get lost in the winding streets of a foreign city. To get the most out of your travels, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the right apparel and gear—ideally pieces that offer a mix of function and style. Here’s our roundup of favorite summer items to keep you looking cool, feeling comfortable, and ready to tackle whatever comes your way.




Breathable Basics
Stay comfortable on your next adventure with breathable activewear. Say goodbye to clothes that hold you back: today’s activewear is flattering, fun to wear, and helps you walk, run, climb, and jump with ease. Activewear is finally getting the attention it deserves in terms of style and construction. Trends to watch out for range from brightly colored and intricately patterned leggings to strappy sports bras and tops that create a slightly more streamlined, elegant look.


A Stylish Swimsuit
There’s no better feeling than cooling off with a refreshing dip in an ocean, lake, or pool, so be prepared for your next swim with a chic, easy-to-wear swimsuit. We love how one pieces are back in a big way, with many of them featuring cool cutouts and bright, geometric patterns. If you’re more of a two-piece gal, consider the latest on-trend bikinis, like off-the-shoulder tops and high-waisted bottoms with lace-up sides. After all, the right swimwear style for your body and your needs will leave you ready to take the plunge and immerse yourself in a fun, energizing swim while looking and feeling confident.


Versatile Layers
While most summer afternoons will keep you sweating—make sure to hydrate and prepare for your trip!—weather can vary a lot over the course of a summer’s day. If you’re in for an all-day adventure, you’ll want to pack a few layers that will keep you warm on cooler mornings and chilly evenings. On very high hikes, you will often find that the weather on top of a mountain is very different than at the base—brisk, windy, and cloudy. Light layers, like a cardigan or kimono, are easy to pack, look cute, and will keep you protected from the elements. And, if you plan to hit up a restaurant or cafe after your adventure is over, you’ll instantly look dinner-ready with one of these sweet layering options.


Functional and Fun Accessories

Keeping active in summer requires a few extra accessories that will boost your style and keep you safe from the elements. A cool water bottle will help you stay hydrated during long days outdoors and new technology means that there are more ways to keep your water cold for hours on end. Another must-have is a pair of versatile and stylish sunglasses that help protect your eyes from harmful UV rays—and help pull together your summer look along the way! And it also can’t hurt to have a watch, particularly a waterproof watch that you can swim with, to help you keep track of your progress and time your adventure, particularly if you want to make sure you are on course during a long hike. There are waterproof watches that range from sporty to sleek, depending on your preference.


With these essentials, you’re guaranteed to feel strong, prepared, and on-point during your next adventure, so you can focus on taking in all of the sights and sounds around you. We hope you’re inspired to tackle your next outing, whether it’s a day of exploring in the woods, an outdoor workout class or a challenging hike on a new trail. And don’t forget to read up on some of our favorite hiking and workout suggestions and tips to make your experience even more unforgettable.


Author Bio: Constante Quirino is a freelance writer and content strategist who has worked with a number of up-and-coming designers, emerging and established companies, including SwimSpot. A passionate yogi for several years, he is an advocate for healthy, balanced lifestyles.


Images Used:


May 16, 2017

Top Historical Places to see in Portland, ME

First settled in 1632, Portland, Maine has a wealth of history to charm any visitor or resident. From the cobblestoned elegance of its famed Old Port to graceful brick houses that preserve 19th-century architecture, Portland is full of old-world allure. Here are the top historical places to see in this serene, relaxing and charismatic seaside city:

1. Victoria Mansion


This lavish, multi-story house, also known as the Morse-Libby House for its former inhabitants, is famous for its beautiful architecture and rich, detailed interiors. Its exterior was influenced by Italian villas, and today it is one of the country’s best original examples of this style in brick and brownstone.


If its grandeur calls to mind the elegance of 19th-century hotels, that’s because it was originally built for hotelier Ruggles Sylvester Morse and his wife Olive. Constructed between 1858 and 1860, it was designed by Connecticut-based architect Henry Austen for the Morses as their summer home, and was one of the most modern homes of the time, with hot and cold running water as well as flush toilets and central heating.


Morse brought his eye for luxurious opulence to the home, and one of the house’s most standout features is a 25-foot long stained glass skylight. He also hired one of the most influential cabinetmakers and interior designers of the time, Gustaver Herter, to decorate the mansion in gilded surfaces, plasterwork and oversized mirrors that seem more appropriate for a palace than a home. To complete the look, he hired Italian artist Giuseppe Giudicini to create original trompe l’oeil paintings and frescoes for the walls.


After Morse died, his wife sold the house to the dry goods merchant J.R. Libby, whose family lived there until the end of the 1920s. Thanks to their efforts in preservation, around 97% of the house’s contents are original.


2. Portland Observatory
America’s oldest maritime signal tower, the Portland Observatory was built in 1807 and is the last of its kind in the country today. During Portland’s prime maritime period, it was built to let merchants working at the port know which ships were entering, and even featured a telescope so watchers could identify ships as far out as 30 miles away.


Situated on Munjoy Hill, it can be seen from both the open ocean and the wharfs. It was constructed in lighthouse-style architecture with an octagonal design that lets it withstand wind pressure, even with the absence of a basement. It stayed in use until 1923, when it was decided that thanks to technological advancements and improvements in radio communication, it was no longer needed.


Today, you can visit the building between Memorial Day and Columbus Day, when volunteers give guided tours on its history. On clear days its view extends to Mount Washington in New Hampshire. It was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 2006.


3. Wadsworth-Longfellow House
The childhood home of beloved poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, this stately brick home also has the distinction of being the oldest standing structure on the Portland peninsula, and of being the first building constructed entirely in brick in the city.


It was built by the poet’s grandfather, Peleg Wadsworth, as a two-story Federal architecture-style home from 1785-1786, with a third story added later by Wadsworth Longfellow’s parents. Growing up in the house from the age of eight months till when he was 35, the house today stands a monument to the poet and his family, including his sister Anne, who preserved the house and donated it to the Maine Historical Society in her death in 1901.


Today you can go on guided visits that explore the house and show how people lived in the 19th century, thanks to an array of original artifacts and furnishings in the parlor, sitting room and front hall. Next to the house, on what used to be family farmland, the Longfellow Garden Club designed a Colonial Revival-style garden that only adds to Portland’s tranquility.  




4. The Shanghai Tunnels
For history of a more bootleg type, don’t miss Portland’s Shanghai Tunnels. Part legend, part reality, the Shanghai Tunnels were constructed in the 1850s, reputedly as a maze of interconnected basements, rooms and tunnels that led from Old Town Chinatown to the sea.


The tunnels were reportedly used for a number of different purposes, from shifting illegal goods between the town and the boats, to housing underground opium dens and gambling houses, or even as temporary prisons for people who had been kidnapped to be sold as slaves in a practice known as “shanghaiing” or “crimping”.  


While it’s uncertain how much of this is true, you can still take tours led by local groups and historians that will take you both above and below ground, into musty basements and passageways that, though blocked, will spark your imagination about the city’s wilder history.


Image: Bex Walton via Flickr


5. Abyssinian Mansion


Maine’s oldest African-American church building cuts a humble, low-key figure on Newbury Street in the Munjoy Hill neighborhood of the city.


Built between 1828 and 1831 with a brick body, simple windows and an arched fan that decorates the outer fa├žade, The Abyssinian Mansion was an important cultural center for local African-Americans. People would gather here for meetings, classes, worship, speakers, and concerts. At one point it was even a schoolhouse for children in the local area.


Since then, it’s been used as tenement apartments, an antique store, and even a stable. An archeological dig in 2008 helped to discover more original details, and today is run by the Committee to Restore the Abyssinian, a historic prevention group.




One of America’s oldest cities, Portland is full of historical gems to discover and explore, and there’s definitely something for every type of explorer within the family.


Author Bio:


Chestnut Portland is a quiet community of one, two and three bedroom townhomes in Portland and Scarborough, Maine that is perfect for anyone looking for easy access to day-to-day life, but also a little fresh air and breathing room.


Going Green: How To Use Eco-Friendly Cleaners To Get Ready For An Event

party-1206687_640.jpg
Photo via Pixabay by TheUjulala

These days it can be difficult to know how to do the right thing where the environment is concerned, but when it comes to finding eco-friendly ways to clean your home, it’s important not only for the Earth but for your family’s health as well. If you’re going to have a party or big event soon, it’s a good idea to find the most Earth-conscious ways to prepare so that your guests will be safe and comfortable.

One of the best perks that come with going green is that it can also help lower your utility bills and can make your home run more smoothly and effectively during winter and summer months. Here are some of the best ways you can use eco-friendly methods to clean your home and prepare for a big event...and clean up after.

Kitchen

Most parties include quite a bit of food and drink, so you’ll want to make sure your kitchen is in good shape. Even if none of your guests will be filtering through this room, it’s important to make sure all surfaces are clean and bacteria-free, including countertops, the stove, the sink, and cutting boards or other prep areas. For this, you can use a mixture of one part distilled white vinegar to four parts warm water, which will cut through grease and grime on stovetops. Baking soda will remove stubborn stains without leaving a harsh chemical smell behind.

Bathroom

The bathroom is an important room to get right because most of your guests will come through here sooner or later. You can actually use the same cleansers from the kitchen in this room, as well, just in a different mixture. Throw one cup of baking soda, one cup of white vinegar, and several drops of scented essential oil into a large bowl and mix well. This makes a wonderful toilet cleaner that won’t leave the room smelling like a cleaner.

Plain vinegar is great for mold or mildew in bathtubs or around the bottom of the toilet, as well.

Glass

For windows and glass surfaces, use ¼ cup of white vinegar in about a quart of warm water. Mix in a spray bottle and wipe away those fingerprints and smudges. This is a handy mixture to use after the party, as well!

Floors

Mix four cups of white vinegar with about a gallon of hot water. Add several drops of lemon oil so that after you mop the scent of vinegar will dissipate, leaving behind a pleasant citrus scent. This can be used on a variety of floor types and in various rooms.

Wood

Banisters, wood tables, staircases, and cabinets will gleam after you use a mixture of equal parts lemon juice and olive oil. Use a thick rag to apply the mixture in long, even strokes to any wood surface, including doors and countertops.

Add some plants

One of the easiest and most eco-friendly ways to clean the air in your home is to place several plants in each room, and they add some color to the area as well. Try spider plants, English ivy, rubber plants, and peace lilies. Space them out in each room and give them plenty of sun and water to keep your home full of clean, breathable air.

Finding eco-friendly ways to clean your home doesn’t have to be difficult; in fact, most green cleaners are made from items you might already have in your home. Make a plan for each room, start in one area and work your way out from there to avoid becoming overwhelmed.