What to Pack for Iceland (in Summer)

One of the biggest challenges when traveling to Iceland is knowing what to pack. I mean, let’s be honest…when you think of Iceland you think freezing / snow / cold / ice. Am I right?! Well, interestingly enough, it can also be warm / sun / green / heat. If I can give you one piece of advice when packing for Iceland, it is pack all of the layers. This is the one thing I kept reading and let me tell you, this is the best packing advice one can give for Iceland. Thank goodness we listened!

— WHAT I PACKED —

For excursions: Various tops (sleeveless, short sleeved, long sleeved), base layers (tops & bottoms – similar to the ones we take skiing), rain shell, down jacket, puffy vest, beanies, scarves, boots & lots of socks (more than you think you’ll need!)

For the Blue Lagoon: bathing suit, flip flops, cover up.

Extras: Small backpack (to pack on excursions), sunglasses, hats, eye mask (to sleep as there is sun 24 hours), camera, go pro, chargers, refillable water bottles, protein bars, beef jerky, nuts & chocolate. (<–spoiler alert: we went through all of the snacks!)

— WHAT I ACTUALLY WORE —

Day 1: The Golden Circle

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50’s and sunny (and dry) felt g-o-o-d for Iceland!

Weather: 50s, mostly sunny, occasional drizzle in the am.

Outfit: Zella black leggings, black tank, gray LS longer shirt, black Patagonia down jacket, hiking socks, short hunter boots.

Packed: Arcteryx rain coat (only used once), gloves & extra socks

Should have packed: scarf (it was pretty windy)

Had to buy: nothing

…because there was minimal precipitation this day, I was dry & warm. I had an extra jacket that rarely got used but it was worth having. Read about our day here & here.

Day 2: Southern Iceland

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I’m smiling but really I was miserable

Weather: 40s, heavy rain off & on

Outfit: old navy black leggings, base layer Patagonia half zip, Burberry scarf, puffy vest, arcteryx rain coat, beanie, hiking socks, short hunter boots.

Packed: gloves, extra socks (used both pairs!)

Should have packed: waterproof rain pants, another pair of socks.

Had to buy: poncho because I was soaked

…even though we packed many layers and backup gear, we both got soaked. I really should have packed water-resistant pants (or ski pants) because once my base layer pants got wet, it was game over. Lesson learned! Read about our day here.

Day 3: Reykjavik

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No joke, this is the ONLY picture I have from this day!

Weather: 50s, sunny with clouds, no precipitation

Outfit: black jeans, long sleeved shirt, arcteryx rain jacket, thick-ish socks, short hunter boots, crossbody purse

Packed: a beanie & scarf in my purse

Had to buy: nothing

…while walking around Reykjavik the main thing is to have comfy shoes and a raincoat (it can seriously start/stop raining at any moment). Also be sure to bring your camera as the city is very picturesque! Read about our day here.

Bottom Line: you literally need it all. One minute it’s raining, the next it’s not! As you can see, I pretty much lived in black leggings, long sleeved tops with sweaters layered over, a shell (either wet or dry, depending on the weather) and thick socks with boots. Aside from the hellish rainy day, I was comfy, warm & dry!

 

Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women

Happy Monday y’all! I have some exciting news to share…

 I am thrilled to announce that I’ll be running in the upcoming Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women (#THP10K) on Monday, October 9th! (Columbus Day).  It’s a day of encouragement and empowerment! While I’ve never run this race before, I’ve heard a TON of positive things about it. Tufts really has turned this day into a full celebration of health & fitness, and it’s very family friendly. There’s a 1K walk for kids, pre-race aerobic, post-race stretch and more! Last year they had over 7,000 runners, so our goal is to spread the word and have even more this year!

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Fun Fact: There are at least 18 women who have run the race every year since its inception in 1977.

For more details you can view the course HERE, event details HERE & general info HERE. Below is the 2017 course we’ll be running. I hear that once you turn onto the Mass Ave bridge heading toward Cambridge, the view is just beautiful!

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As the daughter of a runner (I’m talking 15+ marathons & Boston three times, under 3:30:00 people!), the wife of a personal trainer/fitness guru and a life-long sports athlete myself, this was a natural fit. Add in the fact that it’s a women’s race in a city I’ve grown to love (and never run a road race in), I am honored & excited to be a part of it.

Given that I do crossfit 4-5 times/week and I typically run a couple of miles here & there, I’d say I’m in pretty good shape; however, “running shape” is a different ballgame. This race is a 10K which means 6.2 miles. Needless to say, it’s something I’m going to have to train for. You can find my training plan here. My goal is to run the race in under 50 minutes. I realize that may be an easy task for many of you, but it’s going to be a challenge for me. It will be 6 consecutive miles at an 8:00 mile. (I foolishly thought I could do sub 45 but that’s just too fast for me!)

Training started last week…

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So…why am I telling y’all all this? Well, I would absolutely LOVE to share this opportunity with you! You can sign up HERE and receive an extra 10% off (my code will be calculated at checkout). Whether you’re a casual worker-outer, a D1 athlete or just a woman who wants to run for other women, I hope you’ll consider joining me. All are welcome!

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Who’s with me?!

Thank you to the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women for sponsoring this post.

Life Lately, Vol. 12

Happy Friday y’all! My weekend was supposed to consist of packing & prepping for a 3-day work trip next week but since it unexpectedly got cancelled, I have a wide open weekend (yay!). I’ll be finishing those wedding thank you notes, blogging a LOT (y’all I have so much going on – I cannot wait to share) and hopefully hitting the pool or beach if that pesky rain holds off.

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a calm Friday morning view

Cooking: Ok so I am not a huge fan of salmon; however, I know it’s really good for us…blah blah blah. SO, I am trying my best to find non-fishy tasting recipes that we can enjoy for dinner. So far I’ve pinned these salmon cakes, this bourbon + brown sugar recipe & this ginger-honey glazed salmon.

Swooning: Over this Virginia farmhouse tour! This home is set on a gorgeous, private property in Fishing Bay, VA. It’s got a laid back feel, but decorated perfectly. Those views don’t hurt either! See a picture below.

Shopping: In major need of some key Africa items – specifically khaki/green pants with pockets (for the safaris), some hiking shoes (we’re hiking twice), a modest, sporty bathing suit (for shark diving!) and a couple of maxi dresses (for cute dinners out). Does anyone have any “must pack” safari items?

Saving: Speaking of shopping, I’m a firm believer that in order to go shopping, I’ve got to make room in my current closet. I spent a couple of hours going through my closet this week and I’ve got two big bags of items that I haven’t worn in months or items that don’t fit anymore (why does everything shrink in length?!) While I’ll be taking a big chunk to Buffalo Exchange or Goodwill, I’ve got some higher end items that I’d like to make some money on. You can shop my Poshmark closet HERE (adding more this weekend!)

ICYMI:

Life Lately, Vol. 11

An Adult Living Space under $4K

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The beautiful sunroom – imagine having coffee every morning here!

Enjoy your weekend 🙂

An “Adult” Living Space Under $4,000

When I moved in with my fiancee husband (<– still SO weird to say!), we went through the typical “combining of pieces”. This meant his frat-house looking dark green sofa would be adjacent to my cute, tufted cream colored sofa. The dart board got the boot, but the surfing picture stayed. Compromises were made, but now that we’ve been in the space for well over 12 months, I am o-v-e-r it. As in, every time I walk into the living room & see that damn green sofa I get a serious case of the skeevies. Old stained sofa be gone!

So, we are currently plotting how to redecorate our space while (a) keeping it gender neutral (b) purchasing spaces that we can repurpose in the future and (c) stay within budget. Here’s what I’m thinking:

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Put together by these pieces…

 

Of course, we’ll keep a few art pieces we have (especially this one and these frames with our black & white Paris pictures) as well as my favorite candle, ginger jar & pillow. Add in a few good coffee table books (this, this & this) and we’re done!

{rug | sofa | chairs | lamp | coffee table | mirror | vases}

What are your tips for redecorating a space while staying within budget & gender neutral?! Any amazing pieces out there right now for the living room?!

Life Lately, Vol. 11

Happy Friday Y’all!

I’m actually heading out of town for the weekend due to a lot fun events, including a dear friend’s baby shower, a site visit for a new renovation starting in September (!!!) and some house hunting of my own. This is a big, big weekend y’all! Wish me luck on all fronts xo.

living room

Loving: Our new living room setup! After 3 years I finally convinced my now husband (then boyfriend) to toss that hideous old, green frat house looking sofa. We got two new chairs and a new area rug and it feels like a Whole. New. Room. I mean, it looks like we painted, refinished the floors & replaced everything. We LOVE it!!! (see some of my sample e-designs here)

Updating: My new design portfolio tab is up and running! Since most of my work has been via e-design with results undocumented (sorry but I just can’t bring myself to post the pictures unless they’re professionally taken!). Nonetheless, I’ve put a lot of work into this and it’s the fastest growing area of my blog, so I’m excited to share it. You can check it out HERE. 

Researching: South Africa wine country! We’re less than a month out and we have our wine country hotels finalized, along with a couple of dinner options. What we’re looking into now is which wineries to go to. Anyone have recommendations? We’ll be taking the Wine Tram in Franschhoek and the VineHopper in Stellenbosch so we get to pick which routes to go. Any and all tips, suggestions, recommendations are welcome!

ICYMI:

Travel Guide: Reykjavik

Blue Dining Room

Wedding Planning Highs & Lows

The Power of Built-Ins

Have a wonderful weekend!

Travel Guide: Reykjavik

I think it’s fair to say that most people go to Iceland to experience the outdoor adventures, the incredible excursions and the scenic views. While Reykjavik isn’t a major destination, it is where you’ll likely stay so I think it’s important to know what to expect and how to properly navigate the city.

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Where to Stay

There are countless hotels here, most on or around Lavagulaur Street. After much consideration, we opted to stay at the CenterHotel Midguardar which is one of the many hotels by the CenterHotel group. The hotel was affordable, centrally located & came recommended. It was the perfect choice for us, as it has 24-hour service, easy check-in and breakfast included (which was actually good – it was a typical American meets European spread with eggs, bacon & sausage, Skyr yogurt with fruit, breads with jam and various meats & cheeses).

We also had some friends stay at the Raddison Blue 1919, which was conveniently located in the downtown area (on the other side of Lavagulaur Street). The lobby was beautiful & it is near a lot of the top notch restaurants, so this is another solid choice.

There are also an abundance of “guest houses” where all of the tours will pick up from, so really the options are endless. You can find these on AirBnB or via many third party website (ex. Priceline, Expedia).

As you can see, there are a plethora of choices for accommodations in Reykjavik. It just depends how much you want to spend and what location you want to be in!

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The hotel lobby of the CenterHotel Midguardar

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Typical Icelandic breakfast, served in our hotel’s restaurant

Where to Eat:

The Fish Market: We tried to walk in but that was obviously a rooky mistake. Apparently, Fish Market books up weeks ahead of time due to their fresh food and popular tasting menu. We heard rave reviews all week so be sure to make a reservation if you’re planning a trip to Reykjavik anytime soon.

Grill Market: Another highly recommended gourmet spot in town. Our friend ate here and raved about the food, drink & ambiance. They didn’t have room to squeeze us in either, but it’s on our list for next time.

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur: Now I know y’all have heard of this place. It’s the world famou hot dog stand in downtown Reykjavik and hands down the cheapest meal you can find in Iceland. I don’t eat hot dogs but everyone who had them said they’re the best. Terry loved his so much that he went back for a second. A must try!

Nonnabiti: If you’re headed on a full day excursion (like Southern Iceland or The Golden Circle) this is an ideal spot for you to stop before you board. They’ve got great sandwiches to go. It’s basically a sub shop but the bread is soft & its all very fresh. I had a turkey sandwich with all of the veggie toppings and it hit the spot.

Noodle Station: This place was located practically next door to our hotel and full all the time, all day long. Unfortunately, we didn’t have a chance to try it but I’ve heard rave reviews. Given that it’s cold & dreary in Iceland, I can see why noodle bowls are popular!

Glo: Another restaurant that was one my list but we didn’t make it to. Known for their organic, vegetarian style food, it’s one of the healthier spots in town. And their presentation is practically made for Instagram.

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World Famous Hot Dog Stand!

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Pizza was all that was open when we landed at 1am

What To Do:

I’m guessing you’ve likely seen a picture similar to this before:

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Well, it’s taken at the Hallgrímskirkja church in downtown Reykjavik where you u take elevator to top of church tower. It’s a beautiful 360-degree view of the city, the mountains & the sea. A must-see if you’re in the city.

Truth be told, we spent most of our time outside Reykjavik, apart from dinner & drinks at night. The town itself if very cute, charming & walkable. The buildings are colorful and there is art everywhere. It’s definitely worth wandering around.

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Some other activities that we didn’t have time to do, but were on our list were horseback riding, whale watching, and exploring the local markets.

 

What’s in my Carry On Bag

One of the questions I get asked ALL of the time is “what do you pack in your carry on bag”? Now, truth be told, I almost always try to carry on both pieces of luggage – my 20″ spinner bag and my trusted Longchamp (my favorite carry-on because it’s liquid proof, has a zipper, an internal pocket & seriously holds a ton!). Today I’m sharing what’s in my personal bag – you know, the one that goes at your feet (unless you’re like me and stick it up in the overhead bin to have more footspace…#sorrynotsorry).

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Ok, so now let me break it down for you. Given that I travel a TON and I pretty much have packing down to an art, I have a solid list of items I take on almost every trip. This list is tried & true and will be sure to help you get you through any flight:

Headphones…and not just earbuds- those kill my ears after a while & don’t drown out the background noise well enough. I recently was gifted these headphones and let me tell you – they’re great! They’re very affordable, stylish & lightweight. If you don’t want to spend the money on Beats or Bose (the crème de la crème), I definitely recommend them.

Bonus: they’ve also been great to run with.

So if you’re flying business or 1st they’ll give you an amenities kit; otherwise I always pack one myself with some face wipes, toothpaste/toothbrush and a few mini toiletries. When flying overnight or more than 3 hours, a little freshening up works wonders.

A couple of key items that are easy to forget, but critical for flying are an eye mask to help sleep and a pen for crosswords, Sudoku or customs forms. They’re so small and take up no space in your bag, but make a huge impact on your trip. Trust me.

iPads, books and magazines are a must to keep entertained, especially on a long flight. I usually read the magazine during takeoff and then try to watch a pre-purchased movie on my ipad while in flight. Thank goodness for in-flight internet!

Tip: if you’re not flying a carrier with free tv (such as Jet Blue or Virgin), head to the GoGo website to pre-purchase internet for a lower price than you’d pay once on board the plane.

I never leave for the airport without a water bottle – it’s cheaper than buying airport bottled water and it’s more eco-friendly. Plus, we all know that staying hydrated while flying is key. This is my #1 item that I must have while flying (or road tripping!).

Two critical pieces of clothing I always bring with me on flights are extra socks (the more plush, the better) and either an oversized scarf or an open front cardigan. Planes are notorious for being chilly & layering is key! I never, ever wear jeans – usually a maxi dress or these leggings with a long v-neck top. Comfort, while remaining presentable, is key my friends. Let’s not forget we’re in public.

So there you have it, 9 critical pieces that must go with you on your next flight. Use this list as a base and you’ll be sure to be comfy, cozy & have what you need to get through the most painful of flights (I’m looking at you, United).

What’s your “must have” item in your carry on?!