My 7 Holy Grail Beauty Products that will Up Your Skincare Game

If you’re as beauty obsessed as I am, you’ve probably heard the term “holy grail” on more than one occasion. The “HG” in skincare is given to a beauty product when it lives up to the buzz-worthy hype that’s bestowed upon it by the all-powerful internet. In other words, really good sh**. What I think is probably the most fascinating thing to me about skincare is that it’s actually a science, chemistry to be more specific. Every individual’s skin has a different chemical reaction to a product based on their genetic makeup. Basically, every skin reacts differently to different products and what works for me may not work for you. Skincare is all about experimentation, however, with that being said, I’ve found myself picking up these products time and time again for the simple reason that, for me, they work! Here are my go-to skincare products…


Grapeseed Oil

If you’ve been reading my articles, you have noticed by now that I’m OBSESSED with grapeseed oil. It can literally do no wrong in my eyes. So, I jokingly say that I put coconut oil on the market after learning about it on my first trip to Thailand back in 2013. My only issue with coconut oil is that it’s not made for all skin types. Coconut oil has a high comedogenic level, which is a fancy technical term for saying it makes some people break out. It’s a thick oil and if you have sensitive skin it can clog your pores. For me, love it in the winter and HATE it in the summer. Grapeseed oil has a lower comedogenic level meaning it’s great for sensitive skin and good for all year round. I’m not kidding when I say I use it as a moisturizer, I use it as hair oil, I use it to cleanse my face, in my lotion, etc. At $10 a bottle, this will be the best investment you make this year! You can find the bottle I use, here.


The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + EGCG

Works so well for de-puffing under eye bags. Although the effect takes a few minutes to work, it does the job well. After I double cleanse my face, I apply a face oil all over and then squeeze a drop of the solution under each eye. Then, I follow up with a  dermaroller with my fresh out of the freezer Refa. The cold + the caffeine does wonder for my tired eyes so I look refreshed and ready to take on the day. In the past, I would typically opt for creamier textured eye creams but would go through them like water and as you know, they’re not cheap. I use this in the morning and splurge for the creamier eye cream at night which not only saves me a product but it also saves me money. This is a great bang for your buck by a great company that provides simple ingredients at affordable prices! You can find the product on the ordinary website, here.


Dermask Micro Jet Clearing Solution Mask by Dr. Jart

In my honest opinion, this mask not only works for all skin types but it also does exactly what it says. Noticed a significant improvement in my Acne after using this mask after only one use. It was recommended to me originally from the store owner of Mask Bar in the West Village but has since then been recommended by skin care gurus everywhere. The brightening mask is also a fan favorite! You can buy it at Sephora, here, but if you live in NYC hit up a beauty market in Korea town and get 5 for the price of 4.


Aztec Secret – Indian Healing Clay

I’ve posted about this mask before but it is seriously magic! After a quick mix with apple cider vinegar, this clay mask pulsates as it pulls out all the dirt and toxins from my pores. It’s been recommended by every beauty blogger alive and why? Because it works. I’ve been using this for years now and have yet to find a better substitution. You can read my full article The Easiest 2 Ingredient Face Mask Beauty Bloggers Swear By, and buy it, here


Glow Recipe Watermelon Glow Sleeping Mask

This is a new product that I tried this year and absolutely loved! It’s seriously brought my skin to the next level. I look forward to my nighttime skincare routine just so I can put this on before bed. Make sure to shake up the bottle before you apply to make the consistency more liquid than lather, sleep and wake up with baby soft skin. I just read that they came out with a new avocado formula that I’m dying to try too! They have a moisturizer that I also like as well, plus, both these products smell so so so so good! Seriously, it’s intoxicating. I bought mine at Sephora, which you can find, here.


Sugar Lip Polish Exfoliator + Balm

Had to mention these products because I’ve been using them since the 8th grade! No seriously, they’re that good! The balm’s texture on your lips feels like straight up butter. So hydrating and glossy. I have a tinted one that I use for going out but the Lip Polish Exfoliator is actually what I can not live without. This scrub is the KEY to smooth and soft lips. Did you know when your lips are dry they actually become lighter in color? Well, I didn’t until I tried the scrub and had a whole new hue of lip! I looked it up it’s legit. This is a must for Winter and the product has lasted me years. Use a small pea size amount on lips and a slightly damp washcloth to rub it in. Then, rinse with water, dry lips, and apply balm for your softest lips ever. You won’t regret it. You can find it at Sephora, here.


Laneige Lip Sleeping Mask

Speaking of lips, this lip mask is seriously next level. I like to put this on at night and sleep with it on but you can wear it in the daytime as well. It goes on thick but I promise it’s so moisturizing! After a bad sinus infection, my lips were the driest they’ve ever been. I needed a rescue ASAP! By day three my lips were back to normal. This mask is definitely deserving of the title holy grail. You can find it at Sephora, here.




Get glowing,



Everything you need for New Years Eve

From throwing the best soireé to decluttering your life away, these articles will help you get ready for your best year yet! I’ve been decluttering and re-organizing like a psycho in my apartment and I can’t even begin to tell you how good it feels. I bought new shelves less than a year ago and am just putting them up. I’ve never felt so much joy from such a mundane task. Of course, for me, this means more space for my ever-growing collection of skincare products. Speaking of skincare, this year for my New Year’s article I’m doing a spotlight on skincare, featuring my all-time favorite products of the year. I get to try so many amazing products and procedures in my line of work but to be honest I always find myself going back to the same staples.


With that being said, this cleaning spree reminded me that I have so many products I’ve never used/opened, so many clothes I don’t wear anymore, and so much junk collecting in my closets that was taking up vital space. I plan on taking some time in the New Year to donate everything and I strongly encourage you to do so too! Women’s shelters will take makeup and feminine products, Goodwill and the Salvation Army take clothes as well as home goods and offer you a tax write-off (I think is the technical term) for doing so. It’s great to set goals for 2019 but it’s also great to look back on how much you’ve grown in the last year and how much you have to be grateful for. Remember to pay it forward!


The Skincare article will be out tomorrow but you can find my previous articles below. Let me know if you have anything to add or any questions! Happy holidays everyone!


Decluttering Tips for a New Year, New You


New Years Eve Party DIY Guide


New Year’s Eve Fashion Guide


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Happy New Year,


Easy Christmas Recipe Ideas

It’s almost time for Christmas! If you waited to do everything last minute, like I did, you’ll love this easy recipe article I did for CBS two years ago! I make all of these dishes often, even when it’s not Xmas, and always get great reviews from the toughest critics I know….my family. The appetizer I mentioned in this article, the salami Caprese skewers, are especially a crowd favorite and take minutes to assemble with no cooking needed! I’ll even bring a baguette and use the extra oil, where the cheese was marinating in, as a dipping sauce. I’m mostly Italian and as you can see this menu has a lot of heavy Mediterranean influences. I grew up with all these dishes and personally make everything that I write about. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! As always, feel free to ask me anything or let me know if you’ve tried and tested this. You can read the full article on CBS Local NY, here.

5 Course Christmas Dinner Recipes For Your Big Get Together




Happy Holidays,


New York City’s Best Hotels for the Holidays

This holiday season I got so many questions about what hotels are great to stay in during the month of December in New York City. There’s so many to choose from in Manhattan, however, my favorites vary based upon the type of experience your craving this Winter. If you’re a foodie, check out the Innside by Mélia, if you have kids, stay at the Peninsula, and so on and so forth. Of course, most hotels will have decorations but if you’re gonna do it once, do it right and choose a hotel that caters to your style. I tried to include suggestions that had a little something for everyone but of course if you have any other recommendations or thought I missed something, let me know! You can read the full article at CBS Local NY, here.

New York City’s Best Hotels For The Holidays


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Wishing you a happy holiday!



Simple Thanksgiving Recipe Ideas

Thanksgiving is almost here! Are you stressing about what dish you’re going to bring to your relatives? Or how about mulling over what you’re going to serve your gluten intolerant guests? If you’ve been reading my blog for a while now, you know I’ve written many articles about Thanksgiving. Letting my foodie monster roam free to cook for nothing but two days straight is something I look forward to every year. It’s more than just the creative aspect of it though, to me, food is what brings people together. Because I’m constantly traveling, it’s hard for me to make it home all the time so I’m so looking forward to spending some quality family time.


Here’s a round-up of my favorite Thanksgiving articles. I made every side dish in my, Show-Stopping Thanksgiving Side Dishes, article last year. My younger cousin, Brianna, uses this article to make my kale salad all the time she says. Everything I write about is personally tried and tested, so I hope you enjoy these recipes and let me know what you think! These recipes also work great for any time of the year but are particularly great dishes for Fall/Winter.


Show-Stopping Thanksgiving Side Dishes


8 Gluten-Free Recipes for Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving Dinner Alternatives to Turkey


For more Thanksgiving, check out these articles too:

How to Turn Your Thanksgiving Gathering Into a Party


8 Dishes to Enjoy While Watching Football


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Happy Thanksgiving!


Love your favorite city girl,





The Best Italian Restaurants in New York City

This past month, October 17th, marked the official National Pasta Day. Of course, October also happens to be dubbed Italian heritage month here in NYC. Kicking off the biggest Italian celebration in NYC is the famous San Gennaro feast, one of the cities longest running street fairs on Mulberry St. As an Italian-American myself, I go there for the best sausage and pepper sandwiches and zeppoles. Although I grew up on fried dough and chicken parmigiana, I’ve been lucky enough to make it to Italy several times. Not to mention, it’s my favorite cuisine to whip up on a Sunday night. I can’t say I make it to Italy as often as I’d like for authentic Italian cuisine, however, New York City is home to some of the best Italian restaurants in the nation. If you’re in town, I’d highly recommend checking out a few of my favorites…



228 W 10th St
West Village


This West Village restaurant is a favorite for pasta lovers. Although it’s hard to come by reservations on a weekend, you can always hang around for seating at the bar. When at the bar, I’d recommend ordering a starter followed by two pastas to share and an olive oil cake to finish. The staff is also extremely knowledgeable on wine pairings so I’d say ask away when it comes to recommendations. Regardless, one night at this sleek West Village stop and you will see why everyone’s saying A’more.


Bella Gioia

209 4th Ave
Park Slope, Brooklyn

Probabl the only restaurant I’d travel for! Italian-American chef Nico uses his Sicilian background and old school family recipes to bring new life to Sicilian classics. Bella Gioia had the best calamari I’ve ever had in awhile. I went for an Italian-American heritage night, which was just as delightful but on a typical night you can find dishes like, deep-fried burrata, charcuterie, pappardelle pasta, truffle fries, and Sicilian style pizza, to name a few. Not to mention the incredible wine pairings and charming decor that make you feel like you’re in a cozy alleyway in Sicily amongst friends. When I was there they had live music featuring a vocalist and guitarist playing a mix of classic beatles as well as classic Italian numbers. I was a BIG fan! The live music was such a great touch and would be a great choice for a first date or family outing.


I Sodi

105 Christopher St
West Village


I stumbled upon I Sodi as most do, through a recommendation through a friend of a friend. Italian food is my favorite cuisine and I always like to ask foodies where they go for their favorites. I Sodi was one that kept coming up time and time again. I couldn’t figure out what was so special? Simple Italian dishes with few ingredients and very straightforward menu items like fresh bread, fried artichokes, and lasagna. After a visit to see for myself, it was clear why New Yorker’s kept raving about this place. Here you won’t find over played flavors all competing to be something revolutionary. What you will find are delightful combinations of fresh ingredients, classic to the point menu items, and an explosion of flavors. Even the decor is to the point and crisp lending a pleasant atmosphere to the restaurants biggest star, the food.


Spaghetti Incident

231 Eldridge St
Lower East Side


To be honest, I haven’t had a chance to sit down and have a meal at Spaghetti Incident. I have, however, gone to experience what they’re Insta-famous for…the take out spaghetti! It’s served up nice and hot in a big cone. GENIUS! The pastas, are rich, creamy, and the flavors are delicious. Simple pasta comfort dishes like pesto, pomodoro, and carbonara. It’s cash only but these prices are worth trading paper for. Perfect for grabbing and walking around the streets or to the park. Talk about ambiance!



28 Cornelia St
West Village


Another West Village gem, this little Italian restaurant is what Instagram dreams are made of! After walking through the entryway, which I would describe as a picturesque rustic italian kitchen, past the bar you’ll enter a beautiful courtyard. With gorgeous tiles, plenty of greenery, flowers, and a retractable rooftop this place is like an escape. So you already know summers at Palma are a warm weather must! And the food? Delicious Italian classic just the way grandma used to make it. I’d recommend the Ravioli’s with a side of broccoli rabe. Caio Bella!




Happy Italian Heritage Month,





The October Issue

Happy October everyone! I don’t know about you guys but I’m so excited for fall.  From pumpkin flavored everything to cooler weather to my favorite holiday, Halloween! My costume in particular, has me counting down the days till Halloween, however, I love  looking back on some of my older October articles as they’re some of my favorites. I recently finished the new Netflix docuseries called, “Dark Tourist.” The show features some of the scariest and most extreme tourist destinations around the globe. In one of the episodes the host visits Mckamey Manor, which is featured in my, “Scariest haunted houses in America,” article. Probably the only time I’ve written about a destination that I have not personally experienced myself. But kidnapping, flogging, eating BUGS!? NOOOOOOOOPE! I was luckily enough to make it through the trailers. I’ve linked below my favorite October articles. Let me know if you have any questions or feedback!


5 Scariest Haunted Houses in America

Step by Step Halloween Makeup Guide

5 Spookiest Halloween Travel Destinations

How To Turn Your Home Into A Haunted House

5 Pumpkin Spice Recipes You’ll Love




Happy Halloween,


The Easiest DIY Hair Oil for Long and Shiny Hair

As I sit in my NYC apartment, soaking wet from the rain, scolding myself for not buying a replacement umbrella for the one I lost weeks ago, I can’t help but stop and laugh as I pass the mirror and see the giant fluffy, pom-pom, cotton ball that my hair has morphed into. At the faintest sight of moisture, my hair expands to volumes no self-proclaimed beauty blogger should ever have to endure. In fact, I’m sure many of my thick haired ladies out there know the struggle I’m referring to. Even women with thin hair, know what it’s like to leave the house after meticulously blowing out their hair to find that moments later it’s demolished as soon as “moisture hits the fan.”

So the big question is, can weather really effect our hair that much? The short answer is, YES. In summer months, humidity will attract water molecules from the air causing your hair to expand or become too heavy. In the winter months, the scalp is more prone to dehydration causing dry and brittle hair. Not to mention, the excess heat you apply during these months from excessive blow drying. As we approach winter here in New York, I’ve slowly started to switch all my beauty products over to my winter routine. My hair oil, however, is a staple that works for me year round.

Did I mention its only one ingredient? Grapeseed oil! I originally bought this oil for my skin many years ago. It’s lightweight and good for sensitive/oily skin types. Once I read it was good for hair, I had to try it for myself. My hair has never been the same from there on out. The oil leaves my hair feeling shiny, smooth, and knot free. That’s because this oil is full of nutrients like vitamin E, C, and D. It protects against heat, sneaky weather conditions, breakage, and it detangles. Plus, the fact that my hair has reached incredible new lengths is something to write about. I mentioned this hair oil in a previous article, “three tips for longer healthier and hair,” and I’ve finally had a chance to sit down and blog about it. So I give you the easiest hair oil recipe that actually works…

DIY Hair Oil


  • 7 parts Water
  • 1 part Grapeseed Oil (10 drops for fine hair, 20-30 drops for thick hair)


  1. Using a spray bottle combine the two ingredients.
  2. Feel free to add other hair friendly essential oils for added benefits or fragrance, such as rosemary, chamomile, grapefruit, or lavender.
  3. Shake, spray, and brush!

Side note: If you spray too much and find that your hair is too oily brush a little baby powder or dry shampoo over it. This will absorb the excess oil. 

Have you tried hair oil before? Have any questions or love this post? Let me know in the comments below!

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Till next time,


3 Beauty Tools for Better Skin

For years, the beauty industry has been dominated by makeup brands all promising to help you achieve better looking skin. In recent months, I’m happy to report that skin care has slowly started to steal the show as women are starting to realize that the secret to a radiant complexion has little to nothing to do with makeup. Showing your skin some extra TLC means you’ll need less makeup or even better, your skin will be so flawless, you’ll have the confidence to walk around makeup free! In addition to sunscreen, moisturizer, and a good serum, I lend my skin a helping hand with a few “go to” beauty tools. A smooth canvas is the key to glowing skin and I’m here to share some of my favorites that I’ve been coveting and testing for the last few years. Let’s start with my morning routine, one of the first things I grab in the AM after I wash my face is a…


Facial Roller




How I’ve made it this far without a facial roller is beyond me! For those of you who aren’t familiar with this tool, a roller is a device that is designed to message the face, decrease puffiness, and minimize the look of fine lines. Essentially the tool replicates an in person facial massage which encourages the natural drainage of the lymph nodes, which carry waste products away from the facial tissue. As someone who suffers from bad allergies, this really helps with getting rid of inflammation and fluids that like to linger in my sinus cavities.


This also really helped with my under eye bags. I use The Ordinary Caffeine Solution with the roller and my under eye bags immediately disappear. Plus, I’ve noticed I don’t have as much puffiness in the morning after a month or two of using this! What I find to be the most effective is: putting this roller in the freezer. I learned from women in Scandinavian countries that the key to having virtually no pores is to wash your face with cold water. This shrinks the appearance of pores, helps with redness, and reduces inflammation. I’m obsessed with my roller from ReFa Carat Face Roller! I started with an ice roller, then tried the jade roller (which is also a great budget friendly option), but nothing beats the Refa!





So I know this is an awkward topic BUT…I shave my face! Hear me out, it’s rumored that one of the reasons why men look younger as they age is due to the fact that they are constantly exfoliating their face, removing dead skin cells, and in effect, causing rapid cell turnover for younger looking skin from shaving. I know multiple beauty bloggers and skin care guru’s who swear by this! So naturally I had to test it out and I am now a coveted believer! After the razor removes the dead skin cells, I’m left with a silky smooth canvas. Meaning my makeup glides on easily, the finished product looks more natural, and skin care products absorb more easily into my skin.


For me, In the summer when I get tan, the blonde hair becomes more visible and after a little shave I’m fuzz free! If you have hyperpigmentation on your upper lip this product is for you! One of the best ways to shave your face is by dermaplaning. Once every two to three weeks an aesthetician takes a scalpel and gently shaves your face. I don’t always have time to get dermaplaning done, unfortunately, so I use a “Tinkle Razor.” Pull the skin-tight and in gentle sweeping motions, working from the outside in towards the chin, follow the natural contours of your face until all the hair is removed. Just be careful around your eyebrow area as you don’t want to accidentally remove those guys.  This is a great budget friendly option and I got mine from Amazon, here.


Face Cloth




I know this doesn’t fit the standard beauty tool “status quo” but everyone should have one in their skin care routine! The reason is simple, when taking off your makeup, it’s important to use a face cloth to remove all the buildup. Your fingers simply won’t do the trick this time. In the past I used to use makeup wipes. If you’re using a makeup wipe, STOP! Wipes can be harsh, pulling the skin and most products contain chemicals that are not great for your skin or even worse, make your break out! Plus throwing away all those wipes isn’t the best for the environment.


My recommendation would be the face halo round washcloth pads! The pads are so soft, they don’t pull on your skin, and you can SEE the makeup residue on the cloth. Trust me, you won’t be able to go back. My favorite thing about them is you don’t have to wash them every day either. You can use soap and water to clean then. I wash mine, in the wash machine, once every three weeks. I personally like to double cleanse, which I’ll do a separate post for, but using an oil based cleanser or makeup remover I use the halo round to remove makeup and then follow-up with benzoyl peroxide face wash for my acne prone skin. My face has never felt cleaner and my skin couldn’t be happier.



Photo credit: Chris Loupos





Disclaimer: I was provided with a free service in return for my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own. I only support companies I would actually use in real life and like. 

Iceland on a Budget

The One with Fire and Ice




…and they are not joking about that tag line. I rented a car on the last leg of my Iceland trip and on our drive from Vik to Reykjavik we experienced sun, hail, partly cloudy, rain, wind, everything within an hour! Which made driving through one car bridges, over mountains, through big snow storms quite challenging. I’m happy to report this was the only “hiccup” on this trip and for that I’m grateful.


On my first visit to Iceland, I went right after I moved back to NYC from Germany. Apparently, I couldn’t stay away from Europe for very long. I once bought a coffee table book called “Make the most of your time on earth,” which I highly recommend. In this book, one of the things they recommended was snorkeling with wild Orca whales in Norway. If you’ve been following along on my journey you know how much I love the ocean! If I wasn’t a writer, I would have went to school for marine biology.  So naturally, I put this as a top priority on my bucket list. I’ll do a separate post on Norway but when I knew I was traveling to Scandinavia again, first time was Sweden, I immediately thought of Iceland. It’s been a dream destination of mine for quite some time.


I remember hearing through the grapevine that Iceland Air was offering free layover stops, in Iceland, if you were flying to a neighboring European country. I believe they still have this deal so if you’re interested definitely check it. Of course, you know I am the cheap flight guru and I found a great deal through Wow air, $250 round trip from NYC. However, I decided to keep my plan the way it was for the best deal so I spent two days in Iceland, then flew to Norway for three days, then came back to Iceland for another 3 days. It wouldn’t be a vacation for me unless I took an obscene amount of flights to a remote, hard to reach destination halfway across the world.


If you’re thinking of planning a trip, you’ve probably heard by now that Iceland isn’t the cheapest place to travel to. The US dollar doesn’t stretch as far with the Icelandic króna. Of course, it’s still possible to visit this beautiful country on a budget. Here are some of my tips and recommendations. In addition, to everything you may need to know about beautiful Iceland.

When to Go




The most popular times to visit Iceland are during the summer months from May to September. The sunlight is almost 24/7 as Iceland experiences it’s summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. I went in January during the Winter months, from November to April, where I experienced significantly less sunlight. It was snowy and much colder in the winter months but I personally don’t mind the cold. When packing, definitely bring snow appropriate attire. The summer month’s are warmer ranging around mid 50’s so layers and rain gear are a MUST.


If you’re trying to catch the Northern Lights, the best time to go is during the Winter months, however, you need complete visibility to see them aka no clouds. So it’s best to leave yourself at least two weeks to see them. Most people would recommend going to see them in September or March/April. Gray Line bus offers Northern Light tours that allow you the opportunity to re-book if you don’t see them the night of your scheduled tour so it’s a great question to ask before you commit.


Lastly, bringing important camera gear is crucial for capturing the Northern Lights. You won’t be able to capture a good picture on an iPhone so a DSLR camera is recommended. My best advice would be to get as far away from the city as you can. You need complete darkness with minimal light pollution. I’d also recommend bringing a tripod, although some tours provide them, and, most importantly, a shutter release for steady pictures. To capture the lights you’ll need to adjust your camera settings manually. Your ISO should be set to 800+ and your aperture should be set to the widest setting, between f/2.8 anf f/5.6 with a shutter speed between 15-30 seconds.

Getting There and Getting Around




As a small island in the middle of the Atlantic ocean, your only option to getting to Iceland is to fly. As I mentioned before, Icelandic Air runs a deal that allows you to book a long layover in Iceland at no additional cost. This a great option to explore the main city of Reykjavik and get a quick feel of this beautiful country. Although I’d highly recommend staying for a while and checking out the rest of the country. I ended up flying with Wow Air who offers great deals to Iceland.


From the airport we used the Gray Line bus from the airport to our hotel. We then booked our tour for the next two days through Gray Line buses. The first day we did the Golden Circle Express tour and the following day we took their bus to the Blue Lagoon. Tours are a great way to get around if you don’t want to drive yourself.  You can even find tours that schedule everything for you and include your own private driver.


Of course, if you’re looking to stretch your dollar, you could always rent a car. We did this on our second time back to Iceland. I booked through enterprise care rentals. Our car was fine and we drove during winter and although we had some crazy weather, we had no problems. I choose Enterprise because you don’t have to put a deposit down, which is not the norm for renting cars in foreign countries. We used to kayak to book, very simple. At the end of the day my best advice would be to choose the cheapest options with the best reviews.






Wether traveling alone or just looking for a great budget option? Try staying at a hostel! Hostels are my go-to when visiting expensive cities. I stayed at the Reykjavik City HI Hostel just a few minutes away from the downtown area. I stayed in a four person mixed dorm, which I thought was perfect. The hostel was conveniently located in front of a public bus stop that you could take to get downtown, which was fairly easy to navigate. The staff was helpful, the rooms were clean, and the common room and breakfast was lovely. So I’d highly recommend this location. They even have a campsite in the back if you really want to rough it.


For my second portion of the trip, we rented a car from Reykjavik and drove down to Vik to see the black sand beaches. It’s a great hop off point on the southern coast to go see the glacier, the lagoon, and the beach. Of course, you could always do a day tour from Reykjavik as it’s only a few hours away. Vik is a popular destination and can get pricey during peak times. Even in Winter, a lot of accommodations were booked up and we ended up staying at the Puffin Hotel. Basic accommodations, great service, and great breakfast. We stayed in a two person private room which was lovely.


What to See

Iceland is a beautiful country with vast landscapes tha offer everything from stunning waterfalls to glaciers to volcanoes. Hence the popular coined term, “Land of fire and ice.” As I mentioned, I started my trip in Reykjavik. On our first day, we took the Golden Circle Gray Lines Express Tour. You can always rent a car and drive this yourself as well.


The Golden Circle


The Golden circle tour we did consisted of three attractions: Thingvellir National Park, The Geysir, and the Gullfoss waterfall. The Thingvellir National Park sits in a rift valley caused by the separation of 2 tectonic plates, with rocky cliffs and fissures like the huge Almannagjá fault. The landscapes are absolutely stunning! If you’re really brave you can even snorkel the Silfa, between the two tectonic plates. Dry suit anyone?

The Blue Lagoon

The next day we took another bus over to the infamous Blue Lagoon. The day we went to the Lagoon, it had been raining on and off, however, we didn’t mind since we were already in the water. The Blue Lagoon is a bit on the pricey side. There are tons of other spa’s and hot springs in the area if you’re looking for a more budget friendly option. To justify the bigger price tag, I decided to spend the entire day there to really get my moneys worth. This would be a great option in combination with the golden circle for a quick day or layover in Iceland. My number one tip would be to buy tickets in advance to get your desired entry time before it’s all booked up.


Vik, Reynisfjara Beach

Formed from volcanic rock, the black sand beach offers miles of dramatic coastlines as far as the eye can see. From staggering columns to volcanic sea caves, this beach is an adventurer travelers dream. In the summertime, you may even be able to spot a puffin or two. I went during the winter, so no puffins and definitely no sun. It actually snowed. First time I can say I’ve been to the beach while it’s snowing. Something to keep in mind, the water at this beach can be deceiving and quite rough. In the week I was in Iceland, someone had passed away because they got too close to water and unfortunately couldn’t recover. Look for signs regarding safety and always be respectful of mother nature.


Jökulsárlón  & Diamond Beach


Also known as the Glacier Lagoon, Jökulsárlón is probably one of the prettiest places I’ve ever seen. I could have sat there for hours listening to the sounds of glass breaking as one glacier collides with another. On the other side of the bridge, after the melting icebergs exit into the ocean, you’ll find remnants of shattered ice scattered all over this shoreline at diamond beach. Another notable mention, which comes highly recommended from friends, is the boat ride onto the lagoon. There you can get a up close and personal view of the lagoon and, if you’re lucky, you may even be able to spot a seal or two.


Vatnajökull Glacier


Although home to several glaciers, the Vatnajökull glacier is not only the biggest glacier in Iceland, it’s the biggest in the world. From ice caves to ice hikes, this glacier offers everything. I did a tour with Glacier Guides  and had the best time! I did the half day glacier hike combined with an ice cave tour. You must go with a guide to hike the glacier as it’s extremely dangerous to go on your own.  You can even do a full seven hour extreme ice climb. I didn’t do this here but I did in Alaska and it’s a lot of fun. In the summertime, I’d also recommend a stop to the Fjaorargljufur Canyons for a great “non-ice” hike and stunning dramatic landscapes.



Some of the best I’ve ever seen, Iceland is brimming with waterfalls as far as the eye can see. As I mentioned earlier, in the golden circle you can find the Gullfoss waterfall. The most famous one, would be the Skógafoss waterfall. In the summer, when the light reflects onto the fall it creates rainbows. You can even walk behind the waterfall and climb up to the top. Other notable waterfalls would include the Seljalandsfoss, Svartifoss, and Goðafoss.


Where to Eat

Although Iceland is not the cheapest country in the world it’s not difficult to find a decently priced meal. One of my favorite budget bites is the Icelandic hot dog, at the famous chain Baejarins Beztu Pylsur. Doesn’t taste quite the same as the American hotdog, I actually think it’s better, and you can customize and choose your toppings. My second favorite meal was a Nordic classic, Icelandic Fish and Chips. Freshly caught fish with a flakey buttery crust and deep friend potatoes, yummy! Of course, if you do plan on indulging a bit, definitely check out the Grillmarket, try the trio of Reindeer. I had my first taste of Reindeer in Sweden and it’s delicious. It tastes like a cross between venison and veal, in my opinion. Highly recommend!


Any other suggestions or questions? Drop a comment below! Hope you enjoy as Iceland as much as I did!


Happy traveling,