What You Need for your Iceland Trip, Part Two

What You Need for your Iceland Trip, Part Two

What You Need for your Iceland Trip, is a guide to help you prepare for your trip to Iceland which is made up of mostly green moss, and NOT ice. Now that your wardrobe is sorted out thanks to my first guide. And if you listened and rented a car, well then you will be beyond lucky at all the wonderful things that await you on your adventure.

Don’t be afraid to stop and take pictures.

Don’t be afraid to stop.  There will be so many breathtaking landscapes, adorable little churches, and cute little horses.  Please stop, but just don’t stop in the middle of the road.  There are tons of pull off spots for pictures.  Take advantage of those spots.  On our second day in Iceland, we did tons of driving, all along the southern sections, and had lots of spots to visit.  Whether it was the Icelandic horses who look like ponies all warm in their fleece like fur, or if it was to actually take a picture with ICE- It was a rare spotting, so it drew a crowd, there is so much to capture.  So much of Iceland looks like a movie set or a backdrop.  Just know that no picture is going to due Iceland any real justice in a photo.  A hard but true reality. But somethings are better in memory anyway!

Eat ALL the chocolates!

Iceland is known for their chocolates.  I thought that was cool, but I was not jumping at trying it because I am picky.  But I was DEAD wrong.  We discovered in Selfoss, a great restaurant that had the BEST hot chocolates I have EVER had.  (All capitals are a must to truly emphasize just how good these were.)   We stopped at Cafe Mika in Selfoss just after we got settled into our country house.  Not being a coffee drinker myself, I was channeling my inner 12 year old self and ordered a hot chocolate. Once I ordered it, the idea spread in my group and once a few of us were served, everyone had ordered one.  Some added to their coffee just to get a Mocha feel.  The homemade whipped cream was perfection on top what I believe to be a slice of heaven.  I will forever dream of this hot chocolate.  So leave the diet at home folks, because all Icelandic chocolates need to be tried.  Oh and throw in some Digestives for fun.

Elves, Trolls, Humor, and Chill

The Icelandic people are very funny.  They have a dry sense of humor and like to poke fun.  But something they don’t joke about is their very serious belief in elves and trolls.  No, you didn’t read that wrong.  The supernatural is believed here, and many say it is because Iceland has been so secluded from other civilizations that the belief is deep rooted.  But I don’t blame them, for the magic of Iceland is in the beauty.  How can so much beauty and amazing things be in one spot and how does one explain it? If it is the Northern Lights, or the rainbow forming over the waterfalls, or the cotton candy skies at sunset over the black sand in Vik.  The other thing is mention is the speed of which Icelandic people move.  Coming from the Northeast, where if we are not in a hurry, then we are sleeping.  Things move slowly there.  There is no rush to do much of anything.  So try to be patient, and enjoy the slow life.  You’re on vacation, what’s the hurry?

The Blue Lagoon is man made, but go anyway!

We came to the Blue Lagoon on our last night, just at dusk.  It was such a surreal experience. The Blue Lagoon only take reservations, so make sure you do that before coming.  And you are supposed to shower without a bathing suit to clean your self before going in (we just washed off in bathing suits) and make sure you put your hair up and slather tons and tons of supplied conditioner on your hair to protect it from the waters.  It is great for your skin, the lagoon waters, but not so much your hair.  The Blue Lagoon is powered by geo thermal heat and is filtered completely every 40 hours. We did the mud masks, as well as the algae masks.  A bar is in the blue lagoon so enjoy your spirits, and going at night was super cool.  Looking up at the beautiful night skies in the warm blue lagoon was a favorite memory of mine.

 

Experiencing Meraki in our Iceland trip with such a wonderful bunch of ladies was such a gift. We were all meant to be in each other’s lives to experience this trip. We went from not knowing each other, to leaving lasting footprints on our hearts and forever friendships with each other.  I am forever impressed with their God given skills, weather it be their photography, kindness, fun, authenticity, or teaching skills.   So much fun!!!

 

Iceland photographyWanderlust in IcelandBlue LagoonMeraki Icelandlandscape Icelandadventure seekergreen landscapesblack sand beachSunset in IcelandReynisdrangar IcelandSelfoss IcelandIceland sunsetsIceland photosIcelandic horseswaterfalls of Icelandrainbows of Icelandcountry homerock formationgeologyPingvellir National ParkIceland selfieswanderlust sistersice in Iceland

 

Go check out these amazing photographers who I shared this amazing experience with…

Christina Zen Photography, Spanki Mills Photography, Josephiny Photography, Seneca Ryan Photography, Patty Schmidt Photography PLUS Aaryn and Melissa!!

 

 

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What You Need to Travel to Iceland

What You Need to Travel to Iceland, Part One

Everything you might need to travel to Iceland…Let’s start off by saying, you will need a passport. You are going to another country. But don’t stress, the Icelandic people are super friendly and everyone speaks English and all signs are also labeled in English.

The different seasons

What you are bringing depends on when you are traveling to Iceland.  I went in early March so it was still winter, but close to the end so the wind was not as extreme, so they said.  The temperatures and wind chill can be unpredictable, but in the winter, the temperatures stay around the low 30s (Fahrenheit) and in the summer months, they climb to the 50s.  If they get a 70 degree day, they say people will be in bathing suits. My best advice is LAYERS.  In March, I brought several fleece leggings that went under weather/waterproof pants for exploring waterfalls, geysers, etc. Jeans for exploring Reykjavik.  And for tops, I wore a thermal undershirt as well as a top layer or sweater.  Plus a heavy parka or down jacket plus hats, scarves, and warm gloves.  Also, my smart wool socks plus my Sorel hiking boots were worn everyday.  If you are around Reykjavik first, they have lots of shopping for Iceland’s famous wool sweaters, hats, and gloves. If you are doing waterfalls, a thing to pack is spikes to add to your boots while you are walking around the ice.

 

Food can be expensive

When you convert your money to Icelandic Krona, you think it seems like a lot because the prices are labeled differently. (1000K). But food at restaurants is splurge worthy.  A typical meal can be about $35-50 U.S. dollars. While I did see a fast food place in a few towns, it was not cheap either. We did AirBnB and the best prices were in the food stores.  Making breakfast helps avoid one meal out, and renting a car allows you to do all your transportation. A GPS works there as long as you have a portable hot spot of internet or pay for international coverage.  But there are not many roads in Iceland so getting around is not complicated.  If you are a person who was interested in Iceland, you already are adventurous so embrace that spirit and rent a car! While enjoying Reykjavik allows for walkability, most of the other amazing things you will want to see are at least an hour (or more) drive.  But the journey is amazing and the views are just breath taking!

 

Essentials

A travel adapter for your plug ins, aka, your phone charger! Iceland uses the Europe two prong plug.  You might need a nose plug. Kidding, not kidding.  Iceland produces most of their hot water from geothermal energy, and while it is a great low cost and natural form of energy, it smells.  Like sulfur, or rotten eggs. It is great for your skin, but tastes yucky.

On the other hand, the cold water is fresh from the springs and one of the cleanest in the world. So bring your refillable water tins as water is LITERALLY offered for free anywhere– Airport, shopping at the food store, and no, I am not kidding!  They offer lemon, cucumber and plain water so lots of choices.

 

Enjoy the photos from our first day of Iceland around Reykjavik….I traveled with some of the best girls and photographers out there! Head over to my next post on my Iceland trip here.

Trip to IcelandIcelandic CathedralIconic Icelandsun flare in IcelandReykjavik home

cathedral watchtower

Iceland streetsReykjavik landmarkReykjavik viewsa walk in Reykjavik

 

Thanks to Spanki Mills Photography, Patty Schmidt Photography for the shots of me!

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5 Of My Favorite Things In Paris

5 Things you Must Do in Paris

5 Of My Favorite Things In Paris 

Paris, the city of light, is an absolute treasure. I experienced Paris for the very first time as a teenager. It was the spring of 1994, and I was a naive and under appreciative 16 year old. Arriving in April, where the Paris climate is known for being wet, damp, and dreary, I was not wowed by the city. The French people lived up to my bias of being condescending.  Of course it had nothing to do with my American expectation that everyone should know English, right?? It sure did. I left the city with conflicted feelings. I loved the vibe and edge that the city made me feel, but being an immature teenager, I could not appreciate all of the history, romanticism, and aesthetic awe that is truly the city of Paris.

Fast forward to 2017, a 40th birthday trip years in the planning for my husband and myself where the city of light was everything I had hoped I missed the first time there.  Europe is steeped in history and everywhere you turn, you are laden with centuries long narratives and tales. I wanted to share with you my top 5 favorite things in Paris that any trip would not be the same without.

  1. The Eiffel Tower

From the very first glance, beauty and chills thrill you when you come across it. And it is something that catches your breath away when you are not expecting to see it.  On the metro or walking up the street, and it will become visible. It is something that NEVER EVER gets old.  You absolutely need to go to up, and even if you have a fear of heights like myself, it is not to bad.  The views of the city of Paris are unbelievable just up on the first tier.  If you want to be brave and wait for the single car to go up to the top, berets off to you!!

Eiffel Tower, a view from below

Eiffel Tower from the Trocaderowalking up to the Eiffel Tower

2. Crepes

This sweet treat is a staple of Parisian desserts, and it can be found in little carts and just about every block throughout the city.  Adding Nutella, or just leaving with sugar, there is no wrong way to enjoy the deliciousness that is a crepe.

Parisian crepeCrepes are a Paris staple.

3. The Seine River

Walking along the Seine is one of the most essential and romantic things you can do as a tourist or resident in Paris, France. Riding on a Bateaux Mouche, or walking along the paths, it is a breathtaking sight and cherished memory.  Tango lessons (FREE!) are held along the Seine and it runs throughout the city which allows lots of maritime choices.

A view of the Seine River

4. the Metro (aka Subway)

The ease of the Paris Metro can not be overstated.  It is such an efficient and great way to get all over the city.  It is VERY VERY clean.  I am not sure how they keep it so clean.  The lines are spread all over the city, and are very clear in their communication with timings of trains, when the next train will be available.  My husband and I used the Metro from the very first day and I loved how friendly the French people were, and so much is in ENGLISH now so it was such a wonderful option.

Paris Metro map

 

 

5. Montmartre

One of the most adorable parts of Paris is the heavenly Montmarte.  It is everything you believe to be true Paris.  Cafes with ivy all over, cobble and brick lined streets, picturesque streets that screams the picture of a Parisian postcard.  Go there, get lost walking the streets, stop by a cafe and just sit outside and soak it all up.  It is why you came.

A Montmartre vineyarda ivy Montmartre streetLe Consult, a Montmartre icon

 

Until next time Paris, until next time….

 

 

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Congress Hall | A Yearly Vacation Tradition in Cape May

Family of four look classic in navy and mint.

Brother and sister smile and laugh on vacation. Family vacation traditions at Congress HallCape May beach vacationFamily Love in Cape May

 

A yearly vacation tradition for this family is a week at the Congress Hall in Cape May, NJ. Congress Hall has been a staple of Cape May for two centuries and is steeped in presidential history in which several presidents were previous guest including Ulysses S. Grant, and James Buchanan. President Benjamin Harrison made Congress Hall his “summer White House”.  It is obvious why guests have long ventured to Victorian Cape May, and especially Congress Hall. Relaxing in a private beach tent, lounging by the pool, or sitting on the Grand Lawn in a rocking chair is sure to provide relaxation and family bonding.

Capturing family memories on the Grand Lawn are a MUST if you are staying at Congress Hall. We walked a short distance to the beach to capture some ocean landscape. This family was brimming with joy and fun. Their vacation was filled with memories, and I feel so very fortunate to be able to capture those experiences.

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Stone Harbor Mermaid Minisession

Stone Harbor Mermaids

Cute mermaid pose ideasCute mermaid costume- South Jersey beach Mermaid photo sessions and ideasStone Harbor Mermaid Photo SessionsStone Harbor Mermaid Sessions

The warm and sunny days of the summer brings Mermaid Photo Sessions to the Jersey Shore. Mermaid photography sessions are a themed portrait session that allows little girls to become a mermaid in their own mermaid tail.  Options for tails include crochet or swimmable tails.

Stone Harbor is ideal beach location because it offers a long rock jetty as a setting as well as a sparse beach to be a wonderful shooting location.

These lucky girls were fortunate bunch since we sold out our spots so quickly!

I am looking forward to trying some new spots along the Jersey Shore.

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