#CELEBRATE 2019

We made it to 2019! Can you believe it? In a world full of up’s and down’s, making it to a new year truly does feel like an accomplishment! Especially when you dedicate a year to your own self-discovery.

It feels like just yesterday I started my 2018 new year’s vulnerability journey. *Footnote: If you haven’t read that post, you can here.

During 2018, I worked hard to be my most vulnerable self. Vulnerability is always something I have struggled with, and I was tired to living my life through the windowpane of anxiety. So to combat my tendencies (and it will always be something I have to work on) I started living my life truly as myself.

I met my travel goals by going to Belize and lived my dream of travelling to Iceland solo! I promised to be open to new things and experiences, and (what feels like the most simple, but one of the most difficult goals), to be honest with myself. It was a good year, and I wanted to continue on that journey, but with a slight twist.

It was my golden birthday this year. I turned 27 on the 27th of November, and I could feel the energy shift around me. My dearest friend, Emma, went above and beyond to make my birthday special and got me a frame with the saying:

“You know all those things you’ve always wanted to do? You should go DO THEM.”

After reading those words and looking at them everyday since, I could feel the energy shift around me. Whether or not you believe in vibes, energy, divine intervention, or if it’s all in my head is frankly, subjective. But I will tell you what I am going to do: CELEBRATE THEM.

And that my friends is with this year is all about.

Celebrating everything that comes your way.

Celebrating the good and the bad.

Celebrating wants, dreams, and desires.

Celebrating who you are, ardently and unapologetically.

#CELEBRATE.

So what am I celebrating about myself? I’m celebrating my passion, joy, giggles, goofiness, fire, and that little bit of ‘extraness.’ How could I possible find a way to celebrate all of those adjectives? I’ll tell you how….with sequins, fur, balloons, and a fabulous photo shoot with Johnson Photography.

This is something I’ve always wanted to do, and why not?! Cayla from Johnson Photography did an amazing job of capturing the 2019 CELEBRATION, don’t you think?!

Nothing says celebrate like a 1970’s inspired rose gold jumpsuit. It’s one of those special outfits that when you wear it, you become who you always wanted to be. I highly recommend for anyone who wants to glow from within and without. 


Sequin Jumpsuit | Fur Vest | Heels 


I truly believe that 2019 is going to be the best year. This is the time to be your best self, to be your most glowing self, and to celebrate what you love about you.

So those things you’ve always wanted to do?….go celebrate and do them. 

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All Birds

Comfort doesn’t have to mean you have to sacrifice style. You can still be your comfiest self, but look put together and on trend.

Don’t believe me?

All Birds

Take this basic black t-shirt dress. Top knot- Check. Necklace- Check. Large Reusable Starbucks Bottle- Check. But something’s missing, something that makes it all work.

Never fear. All Birds are here.

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These shoes are the cat’s pajamas and I will tell you why.

  • They are amazingly soft and comfortable. So soft and comfortable in fact, they can be worn sockless.
  • They are made from Merino Wool. I know it sounds odd, but it’s what makes them so amazing. They are moisture wicking, cool in the hear/warm in the cold, and they minimize odor.
  • My favorite feature is they have a low-carbon footprint. In New Zealand, sheep outnumber humans about six to one. Thanks to their wool, their process uses 60% less energy than materials used in typical synthetic shoes. Also the sheep live good lives (YAY). The laces are made from recycled bottles, Castor bean oil is used for the insoles, and 90% of their packaging is made from recycled cardboard.

They come in all different styles and colors too! I went with the Natural Heather Grey, but you can choose whatever you like.

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So, do you believe me now?

Style & comfort truly go hand in hand….errrr foot on foot?

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True Blue

When it comes to friends, I am truly lucky to say I have won the blue ribbon. I love my ladies, and am so honored to be able to share in their life’s adventures.

On this occasion, the lovely girls and I got together to celebrate our dear friend Kelsey’s bridal shower.

I pulled out my new ‘forever’ favorite dress. It’s clean, sophisticated, and frankly it looks freaking good on everyone. “But what you don’t know is that is not just blue, it’s not turquoise. It’s not lapis. It’s actually cerulean.”

Well, the wall at least.

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Gal Meets Glam, you clever girl. This is a dress that I could literally see myself as a 60-year-old woman, enjoying a sunset, while sipping champagne on a Greek Island. I mean how many dresses do you own, where you can say that?

Well, the Annie Scruba Dress is that dress.

Ready for this?

IT. DOESN’T. WRINKLE.

It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3.

Pack it up. Throw it on. Look fabulous.

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Add a wide belt & a pop of color for an upscale retro look.


Gal Meets Glam ‘Annie’ Dress | Peep Toe Pumps (Similar, and Oooh might have dot snatch these up) | Wide Belt (Similar) | Pink Bag (Similar)


Of course, specialist occasions call for specialist photo shoots.

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We had so much fun celebrating our beautiful bride to be. Some absolute blue ribbon girls right here.

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Adventure is Out There

Is there anything better than adventure? The answer is always no. Adventure is always around us, we just have to be open and ready to see it.

I am definitely ready for my next expedition in this fabulous romper.

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Paired with mules, classic aviators, and this fantastically unique camel clutch, I’m ready to brunch or walk through the Sahara.

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There is an ease about this romper. Not only in the quality, but in its universal structure. Utilitarian. Chic. Timeless.  Qualities I find as I get older,  I value more than a trend.


Safari Romper (I got mine on sale for $35, watch it as it is sure to be marked down again!) | Mules | Aviators | Beaded Camel Clutch


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I’m ready for my next destination. Are you?

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Build Me Up Buttercup

“WHY DO YOU BUILD ME UP? BUTTERCUP BABY!”

That Julia Engel has done it again. Her Gal Meets Glam Dress collection has been getting me in a lot of trouble, and when I saw this soft yellow, linen dress my heart skipped a beat.

The perfect yellow is not an easy feat, especially for a very fair lady like myself. But the yellow seems to glow, adding a fabulous radiance that would look fabulous on everyone.

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When it comes to simple silhouettes it’s all about the details. The tailoring is sublime, the buttons elevate the dress, the pockets make it modern, and the sash adds a sassy detail that screams summer.


Gal Meets Glam Vanessa Dress | Wedges | Woven Purse 


The fabric is light, so in the heat of summer you will not overheat. One dislike is that it is not lined, but easily fixed by adding a slip.

Paired with some fun wedges and a cute woven cross body, I am ready for any summer adventure.

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How would you style this dress? Let me know in the comments below!

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Iceland- What to Do Around Reykjavik

Ah Reykjavik!

It’s a beautiful city on the coast of Iceland. There are only about 200,000 people living in the greater Reykjavik area. The city is safe (in fact it felt safer than Lansing!), it’s clean, and extremely manageable in terms of navigation. And coming from me, a girl whose own parents call her directionally challenged, I never felt lost.

For my day in the city, I went where the wind took me. Of course, I had ideas of what I wanted to see/do, but I wanted to feel relaxed and on my own time. It was a fantastic way to spend the day, and I suggest you do the same thing!

I woke up, had breakfast and headed out into the city along the Sea Walkway.

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The Sun Voyager.

Of course, I had to visit Hallgrimskirkja church, an icon. Iceland is a Lutheran nation, and this parish is the largest church in Iceland & one of the biggest structures in Iceland.

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The statue of Leif Erikson in front of Hallgrimskirkja.

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You can go inside the church for free! *Note- If it’s a Sunday (like it was when I visited), the church will be closed for a few hours for service. It will open again around noon.

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Inside the parish.

While walking inside is free, if you want to go to the top of the church tower, you will need to pay about $10 USD for a ticket. You purchase this in the gift shop at the front of the church. There is a line, as only 6 people can ride up in the elevator at a time. But patience is a virtue and the view really is worth the wait.

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The colors of Reykjavik.

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As a walked around, I stumbled upon Iceland’s Independence Day Celebration! There was a lovely ceremony in front of the House of Parliament, and then a parade. What fun!

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I enjoyed the colors of the city and the Independence day fun, but I worked up quite an appetite. Iceland is famous for their hotdogs, and I was determined to try one. I was really nervous, and frankly waited until I was ravenous. This is the ‘Famous’ hotdog stand, Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur. It’s located in front of the Radison Blue in downtown Reykjavik. I ordered ‘one with everything’ for about $5 USD, and of course took an obligatory photo.

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The verdict… I really liked it! Was it because I was starving? Or was it because it was delicious? All I know is I ate it and enjoyed it in that moment. Tummy full, I was ready to dive into their museums.

I visited four, all of which I recommend:

  • The National Museum of Iceland– I spent two hours here and enjoyed every minute. You learn all about the history & settlement of Iceland from 800 AD to present day. This is a must when in Reykjavik! If you go on June 17, it’s free because of their Independence Day.

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  • The Settlement Exhibition– This Exhibition is built around the ruins of a viking longhouse. The hall was inhabited from 930- 1000. This museum is very interactive! There is motion activated sensors that play little movies on what life was like in the longhouse. I had a blast, and I think kids would enjoy too (if you’re traveling with family). This museum is about $16 USD.
  • The Reykjavik City Museum– When you purchase your ticket to the Settlement Exhibition, you get a free ticket to the Reykjavik City Museum which is about three buildings down. This is a small museum in the oldest building in Reykjavik.
  • The Icelandic Phallological Museum– If you know anything about Reykjavik, you had to know this was coming. The infamous penis museum. Wow, this was a lot. There was many different types of penis’ everywhere (including a human penis), as well as penis artwork, sculptures, and a phallic shaped buildings. I won’t spoil it too much for you, but don’t think to long and hard about visiting *eyebrow wiggle.* Entrance fee is about $15 USD.

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Exhausted, I enjoyed my walk back to my Airbnb along the Sea Walk.

Fun Fact- The photos below were taken at 9 p.m. Iceland in the summer has almost 24 hour daylight! It is extremely disorienting and actually does mess with your body clock. Be prepared for it, and bring an eye mask for sleeping.

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Reykjavik at 9 p.m.

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Beautiful Eventing in Reykjavik. 

The final verdict, Reykjavik is the perfect city for the solo traveler! Safe, fun, and historical. Enjoy your time there and soak in the culture.

 


 Icelandic Horse Back Riding

The next morning I was picked up by Ishestar Riding Center, just outside of Reykjavik for my horse back riding tour. If you didn’t know, Icelandic horses are a unique and adorable breed. Take a look for yourself:

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I liked to imagine this is what the Vikings saw. 

While I am not an experienced rider at all, I still had fun. The guides were sassy a few times, which was not appreciated. This is 100% touristy, but if you are an inexperienced rider, and want to get up close to these animals this is a nice way to do so. *Bonus points: the guides did offer to take your pictures on the horses, which I really liked!

  • You can book this tour here.
  • Or here is another tour: it’s a bit more expensive, but the reviews are good and it’s for all experience levels!

The Blue Lagoon

On my last day in Iceland, I stopped at the Blue Lagoon before flying back home. Now, I knew this was going to be 200% touristy, but all the pictures and recommendations say you should go.

Blue Lagoon

Here are the facts:

  • It’s expensive. For the basic package it’s about $65 USD.
  • It’s not a natural hot spring. It’s man-made.
  • It’s extremely busy.
  • You can bring your luggage, but if it’s a big suitcase you have a check outside the lagoon and it’s about $7 USD/bag. I only travelled with my backpack & weekender tote, so I didn’t need to check my bags.

When you get there, you check in with the front desk (there is a queue). They give you a towel, a smart wristband (which you can use to buy things in the lagoon, and to lock your lockers). These wrist bands are your life, so DON’T lose them or they will charge you. Also, they are really finicky and want to fall off (hmmm…) so take this blogger’s advice and keep it really tight.

Once through check in, men & women are directed into their locker rooms. You can leave your shoes at the door, but you have to be barefoot or have shower shoes on in the locker room. No outside shoes allowed. I took mine in my locker so as not to chance them getting stolen. Just like any other hot spring you need to shower naked and wash your hair throughly before entering the lagoon. They do provide soap, and conditioner (which they recommend leaving in your hair when you enter the lagoon).

*SIDE STORY: Ladies & Gentlemen. I have read horror stories about the hair damage the Blue Lagoon causes. I DID NOT dip my hair in the Blue Lagoon or Secret Lagoon, so I never had an issue. While you have to wash your hair before you get in, please leave it at that!*

After washing you head outside to blue waters of the lagoon.

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It is very photogenic, I am not going to lie. However, this was my least favorite thing I did in Iceland. I expected the water to be just as warm as the Secret Lagoon, but it wasn’t. There were some areas that were actually a little cold!

Also for you sensitive skin folks out there, this probably is not for you. At the Secret Lagoon, I had no reactions whatsoever. In fact, my skin felt soft and rejuvenated after that soak. At the Blue Lagoon, after about 40 minutes in the water I started to feel itchy & have some red blotches appear around my chest. Of course this freaked me out, and I immediately went back upstairs and showered for a good 30 minutes. Because I had all my travel luggage with me I used my own lufa, soap, and shampoo/conditioner so as not to further any reaction I may be having.

After my shower, my skin felt much better, but I wish I would have known that some have reactions to the silica in the water.

So would I recommend this? No. No I would not. You can and should skip this if you ever head to Iceland.


Iceland in Review

Iceland

As I was flying home, I reflected on how amazing this journey has been. Iceland is one of the best trips I have taken. As my first solo experience, I could not have wished for better. I highly recommend to start with Iceland if you want to try solo travel. The city is easy to navigate, the day tours are a fun way to see the country and to make new friends.

Do yourself a favor, and if you are even thinking about it a little bit, just book it! What do you have to lose?

Cheers Wanderers & on to the next destination,

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Iceland- Snaefellsnes Peninsula

I’ve been doing a lot of talking about Iceland. I can’t help it, it’s just so beautiful! I could explore the country for another week, but since I only had a few days left I booked a last-minute tour to the Snaefellsnes Peninsula.

Snaefellsnes is famous for its dramatic landscape of volcanic peaks, sea cliffs, golden beaches and sparkling fjords. Because of its variety in such a compact region, Jules Verne immortalized it in his book “Journey to the Center of the Earth.”

During the day we:

  • Visited the fishing villages of Grundarfjordur, Arnarstapi and Hellnar.
  • Saw the mountains and volcanic craters of Kirkjufell and Ljósufjöll.
  • Walked along the black sand beach at Djúpalónssandur
  • Saw the Snæfellsjökull Glacier
  • Ended the day at the seal colony in Ytri Tunga

I could write, or I could show you. Enjoy the sites.

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Waterfall at Kirkjufell.

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Kirkjufell, the most photographed mountain in Iceland.

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Djupalonssandur black sand beach with debris from the WWII posts stationed in Iceland.

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Snaefellsjokull Glacier.

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Troll statue is Amarstapi.

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Do you see the Seal?

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Sleepy Seal at Ytri Tunga.

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Ytri Tunga Beach.

My final opinion

I booked this day tour through Get Your Guide. It’s a great website to book all sorts of activities in places all around the globe. The tour company this was through Bus Travel Iceland. The guide was better than the Golden Circle guide, but he was still very quiet and did not offer much in terms of storytelling. Would I still recommend though? Absolutely! I can’t stress enough how vast the Icelandic landscape is. I was constantly in awe that I was in the same country, and this tour really lets you see its vastness.

  • You can book the Snaefellsnes Peninsula Full- Day Tour here.

 

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