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 🙂

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.

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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.

 

The Power of Built Ins

One of my favorite design elements in any home is built-ins. They are one of the most effective, biggest bang-for-your-buck, practical (and functional) things you can do in your home. They’re so versatile & work in a home office, living space, hallway, bedroom or mudroom. Can you tell I’m a huge built-in fan? I’ve pulled together some inspirational pictures & areas in your home that built-ins can make a huge impact.

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Living Room

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Hallway

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Bedroom

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Mudroom

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Who has built-ins? They really are worth the investment, y’all!

Life Lately, Vol. 10

One week today we will be in Saratoga at the race track with all of our family & friends. It’s crazy to think how quickly our 8 month engagement has flown by. Needless to say, the past week has been a total blur – between working in the field (aka outside sales/my day job), crossfit daily, my dress fitting, cooking every night, finalizing numbers with vendors & dealing with last minute details, I can’t believe it’s over. I really need this weekend to slow down because I’ve got a lot to do…

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Reading: I’ve got a LOT of flying coming up in August/September (currently 10 flights, more to come) so snagging up a few good books is a must. I came across this list on Goop, which is pretty good. On my list: Rich & Pretty and Under the Harrow.

Cooking: Super light & veggie heavy! I made this zoodle recipe (sans cheese) for dinner this week & it was delicious. We also made this salmon recipe & I was going to make this arugula recipe but I found a LIVE bug in my Trade Joe’s organic arugula bag & now I’m scared of arugula. It was really gross, y’all. How is a bug still alive & flying around inside a produce bag? Someone help me here…

Shopping: I’m sure you’ve seen every.single.fashion.blogger and their #nsale list….yes, it’s super cliche and while I’m no fashion blogger, this sale is undoubtedly the best of the year. It’s a great time to stock up on some key investment pieces for fall/winter months. In my shopping cart is this pair of workout capris, these leather leggings, this killer black jumpsuit, these perfect fall booties and this jacket (technically not part of the sale but I’ve been eyeing it for years and it’s so necessary in New England!). What’s on your #nsale list?

Coveting: All of the home accessories from McGee & Co! Ugh, I cannot wait to buy a house & decorate the sh*t out of it! Haha, seriously. I’ve been put on a home decor spending freeze for over 6 months now and I’m trying real hard to not purchase anything until we have a more permanent home. We’ve been looking to move for months now so once we finally decide when & where, I’ll be back to shopping. But for now I’m window shopping: this driftwood & these sea glass beads would look perfect on a coffee table, pretty much every single pillow is stunning, would snag this door mat and this rug for my home office.

Obsessing: Over this ADORABLE baby frenchie that my friends at the gym just got! Have you ever seen a cuter puppy? His name is Bron and I am in love. He’s basically Mela in puppy formation. I mean, look at these sweet eyes. Talk about having puppy fever now…

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ICYMI – This Week on SouthEndStyle:

Our Love Story + Wedding Bands

Iceland Part 3: The Blue Lagoon

HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEKEND!

Iceland Part 3: The Blue Lagoon

We arrived back in Rekjavik around 6pm (read about our day 1 excursion here), grabbed a quick bite at happy hour & then quickly changed into our bathing suits for our 8:00 pm pickup. I wondered if we were too rushed and packed too much into one day, but let me tell you…Blue Lagoon at night is the way to go!

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We booked this transfer via FlyBus which was super easy. They picked us up at 8:30 pm and we arrived at the Blue Lagoon exactly 45 minutes later. As you pull up, the building is very sleek and feels very “of the element”- it’s all built with wood, stone, and moss.

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So, here’s how the Blue Lagoon works:

Step 1: You must buy your tickets ahead of time. This is critical. We bought ours about a week ahead and almost every time slot was sold out.

Hint: Buy the basic entry package. We brought a towel from our hotel & they had free silica face masks everywhere. There’s really no need to buy a more expensive package.

Step 2: They give you a wristband to control your provided locker and for any purchases. I threw my clothes in the locker, rinsed off, grabbed my towel & walked right in.

Hint: Bring either a waterproof phone case or a Go Pro – you’ll want to take pics!

Step 3: Grab a drink, put on a mask and enjoy all that the lagoon has to offer! I must say, the lagoon is much bigger than I was imagining, with rocks, bridges & coves all around. It’s this milky, creamy hot tub feel, sans bubbles. They’ve got a swim up bar, various grottos and coves. It’s super chill and relaxing, though I imagine it may not feel this way if it were crowded. We didn’t partake in the spa or restaurant; however, I heard they’re both very nice.

Hint: Plan to spend at least 2 hours at the lagoon. We could easily have spent another hour or two wandering around and enjoying the amenities.

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We packed up around 11:00 pm and headed out to catch the bus back. We caught the most incredible pink sunset and were back in our beds by 1am. We were so relaxed from the evening that we passed out right away & slept like babies. One last thing to mention (especially you ladies!), your hair is going to be a frazzled mess the next day. I used a lot of their provided conditioner but still had a slimy, dry feeling to it.

Overall the Blue Lagoon is incredible and so worth it! I’ve heard many people say it’s “too touristy” or “overcrowded” but I think that if you go at the right time of you, you’ll be able to enjoy the area as much as we did.

Related Posts:

Iceland Part 1: Golden Circle Tour

Iceland Part 2: Southern Iceland Tour

Below are some unedited pictures from our Go Pro to give you an idea of the size/space:

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Entrance to the huge lagoon

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enjoying a cold brew in the hot lagoon

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silica face masks

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pure relaxation

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heaven 🙂

Our Love Story + Wedding Bands

Today, I’m partnering up with my friends at E.B. Horn to share a bit more about my engagement story, my search for the perfect wedding band & my #1 tip for all you fellas our there when picking the perfect engagement ring.

It’s crazy to think that two weeks from today I’ll be married. A wife, a Mrs, and officially, a Kozmor. It was a short 7 months ago when we got engaged and my how the time has flown by. Many of you already read the details of how the engagement happened, but as we all know, there’s so much more to every love story! You see, there’s this little thing called fate…and let me tell you, I believe in it…

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I moved to Boston in February 2013…smack dab in the middle of winter…with a college friend of mine. We are both born & raised Georgia natives who needed a change of scenery. We were bored with Atlanta, searching for new jobs and ready to see what the world had to offer. When all of the stars aligned in Fall 2012, we found ourselves signing a lease to an apartment (sight unseen) and planning our big move up the East Coast.

I had been dating a guy here in Boston and while he wasn’t the sole reason for my move, he had somewhat of an influence. As most “I’m not moving for you, I swear” relationships go, we quickly crashed & burned within about 12 months of me moving here.

Fast forward six months through your typical break up phases and there I was: 31, single, living on my own for the first time and feeling pretty damn good about life. I had hired a trainer at my local gym and we were kicking butt & taking names. Once day he said to me “you know that guy Terry? He thinks you’re cute and wants me to bring you with me to his housewarming party next weekend”. I think my exact response was “that guy? (pointing at the blonde hair, blue eyed guy across the room) Nah, he’s not my type”. Ha! Well little did I know how my world was about to change. Spoiler alert: I ended up going to the housewarming party with my trainer, Terry & I hit it off, developed a friendship which turned into a first date, and as they say, the rest is history! It’s truly crazy to think of all the little pieces that fell into place that led us to this place. Fate, right?

About 18 months later,  we were living together and talking marriage. Call me crazy, but it’s always been a big fear of mine to be head over heels for someone and have them propose with a ring I hate. I mean, what’s a girl to do?! You can’t say “yes but no to that ring” or “I don’t like that piece of jewelry that you just spent months saving for”. We’ve all seen that SATC where Carrie accidentally finds the hideous ring Aiden’s going to propose with (#yikes).

So, while I am lucky that my now-fiancee has incredible taste, I am even luckier and more grateful that he asked what kind of ring I liked! Guys, I am telling you…my #1 piece of advice, without a doubt, is ask! Ask your girlfriend, ask her sister, ask her best friend, ask her secret Pinterest wedding board (hey, we’ve all been there!). It doesn’t matter who you ask, just ask someone. When you’re spending this kind of money and making this kind of a lifelong commitment, don’t you want to know that she will love the ring?

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Moments after he was down on one knee…admiring my round solitaire with 6 prong basket setting. PERFECTION!

Last week I went down to E.B. Horn in Downtown Crossing and tried on a ton of wedding bands. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to pick the perfect match for my engagement ring! I wanted something contrasting, yet complimentary. Since we travel abroad at least 3-4 times per year (and 10+ times per year domestic), it’s important to me to have a band that I love. When we travel, I’ll be leaving my engagement ring in the safe deposit box and wearing only my band.  I went back & forth with various styles. Here are a few of my favorites:

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Which is your favorite?!

I ended up picking one very similar to the top one on my middle finger. It’s a vintage looking band made up of round diamonds in a milgrain setting. It’s just perfect. Picking my wedding band was a surprisingly emotional experience. It not only symbolizes our eternal love for each other, but also is a ring that I will wear until the day I die that will always remind me of this incredibly special time in our lives. When I think back on the past four years, my mind is just blown. Fate led from me Atlanta to Boston, where I met the love of my life and where, in just two short weeks, we will begin the rest of our lives together. I have never been more ready for anything.

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What’s your #1 piece of ring advice to guys? Who else believes in fate?

A huge thanks to my friends at E.B. Horn. While I received compensation for this post, opinions are my own. They have been an absolute joy to work with and I cannot recommend the company & their jewelery enough.