Day 2 in Iceland

Day 2 in Iceland was jam packed. I’ve hardly had the chance to sit down and write about this trip because we’ve done so much each day and I come back to the hotel totally wiped out. I’ll try to keep this short.

After breakfast on day 2 we immediately hopped in the car and headed out. We came across an area that had incredible, flowing turquoise water. All I could think was that it would make for the most perfect lazy river to tube down if only it were warm. Alas, I found it was not when I stepped in a marsh of it hidden by grass and soaked my foot. Womp womp.

DSC_1309.JPG

DSC_1311.JPG

Our next stop was a huge waterfall called Gullfoss. The weather kept changing and I was grateful I brought and additional layer because it was cold there, especially with the water spraying everywhere. It’s a big tourist attraction so it was busy to the point where you most likely will have to crop people out of your pictures but the site was beautiful nonetheless.

DSC_1358.JPG

DSC_1386.JPG

DSC_1362.JPG

Pro tip – the majority of sites we have been to have required some level of steep climbing and a high chance of getting hurt if you slip and fall. This isn’t to freak anyone out, but flats or booties are definitely out of the question (I say this as someone who has seen others wearing those.) I’ve been alright in my running shoes because they have decent grip/traction but a solid pair of hiking boots wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Gullfoss had an awesome little gift shop and cafe area that had some good hearty sandwiches if you wanted to grab lunch there. There were also bathroom facilities, which cost 200 kr (2ish dollars) took cash or card, and were clean.

From Gullfoss we headed to the geyser right near by. I didn’t get any great pictures of it because it was huge and I’ve been keeping my zoom lens on however, it was really cool, really busy with tourists, and a quick easy stop because the geyser shoots up every 6 minutes or so.

When we left the geyser we were pretty hungry so we stopped by an N1 to get gas and pick up lunch supplies. We got some snacks and sandwich stuff and stopped off in a little trail area to eat. It came to around $51.00 for 4 of us, including a can of beer and a few candy bars in addition to the sandwich supplies.

IMG_0637
Trying the candy here has been fun.

While we were driving we saw a sign for an attraction and decided to check it out. It ended up being an amazingly beautiful crater in the earth with the most unreal lake/pond at the bottom. The sun was shining bright in this area of the island and it really made the colors stand out.

DSC_1518.JPG

DSC_1489.JPG

DSC_1529

While we were on the top of the crater we noticed a crazy colored mountain in the distance. We had nothing really pressing on the agenda so we decided to drive around and try to get up to it afterwards.

It took some sleuthing and admittedly, the site had a sign saying it was “under surveillance” but the view was incredible. A few other cars had the same idea as us and we all sort of stood in awe for a few minutes. Thinking back to it, it’s still one of my favorite things I’ve seen. It reminded me of the desert in Disney’s Aladdin.

DSC_1559.JPG

DSC_1553.JPG

We headed back to the hotel to rest before dinner at Minilik, a nearby Ethiopian restaurant. I’d been dying to try Ethiopian food and it did not disappoint. The restaurant was super low key and had great vegetarian options. My only note would be that the portions are a bit small. I’d recommend an appetizer in addition to the entree.

After wine and great food, I was ready for a good nights sleep. Stay tuned for my day 3 recap!

chelsea

Day 1 in Iceland

After an extremely long day of traveling, I am finally well rested, showered, and about to have breakfast at the hotel.

Chris and I took off from Boston on Saturday around 9pm. There was a slight delay because of some thunderstorms in the area but once we took off the flight was smooth and felt relatively short.

Due to the time difference we were expecting to land in Iceland around 6am the next day. I promise you, I did my very best to sleep on the flight. I woke up early that day. I drank a lot of red wine. I got a work out in. But alas, I was extremely uncomfortable and MAYBE got a max of 90 minutes of sleep. I think it was closer to 45 minutes, honestly.

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 6.44.41 PM.png
*The higher the pinkies the fancier*

One thing that I’m glad I caught during the flight was flying over Greenland. The clouds cleared a few times so I could see the terrain and it occurred to me that I would most likely never have seen Greenland in my life otherwise.

IMG_0606.JPG
It said on the flight info screen that the air temp at our altitude was -58 degrees Fahrenheit.

We landed in Reykjavik on time and met up with Chris’s parents, who flew from New York and arrived shortly after us. From what I experienced, the airport was very clean and modern. It also had some of the coolest bathrooms I’ve ever been in, just sayin’.

We picked up our car rental and headed out. I’ve never seen such a diverse terrain as I did in our first day driving around. I’ve actually never seen anything like this country ever. Iceland is a volcanic island and as a result there’s a lot of really cool rock formations and unusual lava fields. Suffice to say, it wasn’t long before we pulled the car over to take photos.

DSC_1301.JPG

DSC_1310.JPG

We stopped quickly for breakfast at a little cafe and went to Kronan, a local grocery store chain to pick up snacks for the road. I love going to grocery stores in foreign places. It’s interesting to see how people eat and shop.

IMG_0610-1.JPG

After that, it was time to hit the road. Our hotel was in Reykholt, a little over an hour’s drive from the airport. Check-in wasn’t until 4pm so we decided to drive around a bit and sightsee. So worth it. We found a road on a map that drove through a valley and it was by far the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen.

I don’t even know where to start in explaining it. I read somewhere that when you visit Iceland you want to take pictures of every single thing you see. It’s true. The photos come nowhere close to how genuinely magnificent and vast the landscape is. It was mind blowing. There were miles and miles of land, broken up only by enormous, towering cliffs. Every body of water we encountered was perfectly crystal clear.

 

DSC_1332.JPG
You can’t tell from the photo but those are giant mountains!

DSC_1340.JPG

The drive on this remote, single road was roughly 3 hours (we had to go slow for a long portion of it because it was unpaved) and we saw no more than 5 other cars throughout it. The landscape was not only vast but varied as well. Some stretches were lush and green and with one turn we would be surrounded by nothing but what seemed like rocky desert.

 

DSC_1365DSC_1388

When we finally made it out of the valley we stopped for a quick bite to eat at gas station/rest stop. The restaurants in Iceland are expensive but the gas stations often have reasonably priced groceries available. We went to the bistro and split a plate of nachos for about $28.00 before heading on our way.

While we were on the road we noticed a lot of cars stopped in one area so we decided to check it out. We couldn’t tell what the attraction was from the parking lot but when we got closer we found that it was an incredible waterfall/stream.

DSC_1413.JPG

DSC_1419.JPG

DSC_1398.JPG

DSC_1420

It’s so difficult to relay the true scale of these sites because they’re so massive and look so underwhelming in photos. A good opportunity to just be present and enjoy the matter at hand, I guess.

When we finally got to the hotel after a bit of confusion and a 2 hour detour, I thought I’d be ready for bed. However, after napping intermittently in the car I still had energy to walk around and explore the grounds and I figured if I could stay up later it would help with the jet lag. We settled into our rooms and washed before heading to dinner at Restaurant Mika, where I got the Cheese Dream Pizza. I’ve never had cheese pizza with raspberry chili sauce but it ended up being delicious. The restaurant has been recommended online and I can say after visiting that the service and food were both excellent.

Finally, after we finished dinner around 9pm (still bright as day outside btw,) we were ready for bed. I crawled under the covers and slept like a rock until our alarm went off the next morning for breakfast. All things considered, it was not a bad first day at all.

Stay tuned for my day 2 recap!

chelsea

Snow Day in Portland

Recently Chris and I decided we’d take a day trip up to Portland, ME. It’s about a 2 hour drive from where we are and Chris just got a new car so he’d been dying to drive it around a bit.

IMG_9165.PNG.jpg

Not including a slight detour for some lunch, it took us about 2.5 hours to get there because what we thought was a snow sprinkle turned out to be windy, freezing rain for most of the day. But that didn’t deter us!

The way I like to experience a new place is to plan a few things ahead of time, but leave lots of flex room for walking around and changing my mind.

Chris and I were both a bit sleepy after lunch (thanks, pasta) so our first stop in Portland was Bard Coffee.

I got a standard coffee and Chris got a fancier one that they gave to him on a tray. The interior had a sort of minimalist vibe with high ceilings and simple furniture, which was balanced out by a really cool wallpaper print.

img_9166-png

They also had non-dairy milk available for no extra charge, which is always a plus in my book. The weather outside was more severe than it was in Boston so a hot coffee was just what we needed.

Word for the wise: don’t wear heeled booties to Portland in the winter. I didn’t even think twice about it when I left the house because there wasn’t a speck of snow on the ground in Boston but Portland had whole streets shut down because of the snow and ice.

After finding to our dismay that we would not be doing a walking tour of Portland, we got in the car and headed over to a place called The Holy Donut, which we were told by friends we couldn’t miss out on. Luckily, by the time we got there there were still some donuts left.

The donuts, which are made with potatoes, were unlike any I had tried before. It was somewhat later in the afternoon so the donuts had been sitting out for a number of hours and I didn’t want to set my expectations too high.  They were still amazing. I expected them to be hard and stale but they were a magnificent combination of fluffy and crispy.

IMG_9167.PNG.jpg

There were also some interesting flavors that I had never tried on a donut before. We got one of everything they had left: Churro, Maple, Lemon, Pomegranate, Chocolate, and Wild Berry. My favorite was the lemon. It didn’t have that super sweet lemon-like flavor, but more of a mouth puckering meringue taste.

The shop’s interior was very much no-frills with old coolers and furniture but it almost gave it an authentic old school feeling.

IMG_9102.JPG
Note my poor shoe choice

Our next stop was slightly outside Portland but was one Chris had been excited about all day: The Maine Beer Company. We were worried the tasting room would be closed because of the storm, like so many other places but we called ahead to make sure.

Maine Beer Co.’s Peeper Ale is a beer that I’ve only noticed in the Boston area in the last 8 months or so but it, along with other MBC beers have really become popular. Aside from having good, sustainable beer, Maine Beer Co. also donates a portion of its profits to environmental and animal charities, hence its slogan: “Do What’s Right”. A beer after my own heart, I tell ya.

IMG_9168.PNG.jpg

Chris and I wanted to try all of the beers so we decided to split their $18.00 variety flight. They had a few board games available to guests so Chris taught me Texas Hold Em while we sampled and read about the beer. Side note: You’ll never find me at a table in Vegas.

IMG_9169.PNG.jpg

We started to get hungry so we finished up and made a quick stop before heading to dinner at the LL Bean Store. I always knew LL Bean was from Maine so I was expecting a pretty big store. I was wrong. It was an entire LL Bean campus. There was every LL Bean product you could think of. Fortunately for my wallet, neither of us felt much like shopping so Chris snagged a quick picture with the boot and we headed out.

IMG_9103.JPG

Our last stop of the day was a highly recommended spot called Duckfat. It was a cozy little restaurant with craft sodas and awesome food. Chris and I shared an order of poutine (the small was big enough for 2 to share) and a cup of their lentil soup for starters.

For an entree I got a roasted delicato squash panini with pickled cauliflower, turnip & leak slaw, boursin, and brown butter-sage mayo. It was refreshing to see a more interesting vegetarian option than the standard veggie burger or caprese sandwich that you usually find in restaurants. Chris got the house smoked turkey panini wit buttermilk fried shallots, swiss, frisee, and herb mayo. His was good but we both like the squash sandwich best.

Satisfied and full, we wrapped up our left overs and headed home. For a cold, wet day it was still a pretty successful trip. I’d love to see the city again in the summer.

 

Vacation Recap Pt. 2

The day following our visit to Tarpon Springs, my grandmother wanted to go to Disney. Although it’s obviously for kids, it’s become a bit of a tradition to go when we visit.

FullSizeRender-2.jpg

I think I’ve written about Disney before so I won’t go into too much detail but we visited Animal Kingdom (my personal favorite) and Hollywood Studios before calling it an early day.

IMG_6571-1
My family’s nick name for me is Tashy so we had to take a picure when we found this sign.

When I got home I banged out a brief run and some light strength training. On one hand, I could definitely feel the regression in cardiovascular capabilities but on the other hand, it felt good to easily get back into conditioning after having skipped a few work outs.

Run: 15 minutes
Strength:
30 sit ups
2×30 leg lifts

30 reverse crunches
30 squats
30 leg lowers
30 bridges
30 sit ups w/ a twist

I ended with some light stretching and a dip in the pool.

IMG_6578.JPG

The next day, the weather was expected to be in the mid 80s so we made our way to the Gulf again, this time to Clearwater Beach.

I was really excited because I’ve been wanting to visit Clearwater for a while. It was voted the number one beach in the U.S., which is a pretty hefty title when you consider all the beaches there are in America

IMG_6583.

DSC_0758.JPG

DSC_0744.JPG

It certainly was a beautiful beach. The sand was white and the softest I had ever felt in my life. It was so fine that it was hard to wipe off my clothes.

DSC_0732

DSC_0731

DSC_0747.JPG

We laid on the beach for a while before my grandmother and I went to walk around a bit and do some shopping. The main road was lined with adorable little surf shops and restaurants, plus tons of attractions like parasailing and booze cruise tours.

DSC_0737.JPG

This blow up obstacle course looked so fun!

DSC_0736.JPG

DSC_0735

DSC_0734

In one of the shops I found a man doing henna so I got some done.

IMG_6591.JPG
Still drying in this picture.

Shortly afterwards we had a late lunch at a place called Crabby Bill’s. They had the best Bloody Marys that I’ve ever tried. The salt and pepper rim was amazing.

IMG_6589.JPG

Full of food and all sunned out, we headed home. Our day in Clearwater was my favorite of the trip.

chelsea

 

Vacation Recap Pt 1.

Sometime in January when I was feeling particularly stir crazy, I decided to get myself some vitamin D and book a short trip to Florida. My plans this summer don’t really allow for anything crazy this spring but I thought I’d treat myself to some sunshine after a stressful and busy holiday season. Here’s a recap of my trip last week.

I have family in Florida so luckily I didn’t have to worry about lodging. At a “cool” temp of 70 degrees, everyone was in pants and sweaters but I was loving it.

DSC_0682DSC_0692DSC_0684

My first night, we went to dinner at a place called “Manny’s Steakhouse” which, all dreams of veganism aside, has the best steak I’ve ever had in my life. There’s always a crazy wait to get a table but once you do, it’s totally worth it. I got the filet mignon with (endless) salad and a loaded baked potato. Plus all their drinks were 2 for 1. We are definitely not in Massachusetts anymore.

The next day we visited a little town on the Gulf Coast called Tarpon Springs. In Florida it has a reputation of being a “Little Greece” because there’s a huge sponging industry there, which apparently is big in Greece?

The town was adorable and the streets were lined with cute little gift shops and Greek restaurants.

DSC_0703.JPG

DSC_0714

DSC_0716.JPG

Our first stop was a brief lunch of olives, feta, pepperoncini, fresh bread, and saganaki. (And 2 for 1 Bloodies, obv.)

DSC_0695.JPG

12788575_957862614296266_1305589442_o

Afterwards, we walked around and shopped for a bit. My grandmother insisted I get a sponge (I felt weird because they’re more of an animal than a plant) and I picked up some hand crafted olive oil soaps – sandalwood, lavender, eucalyptus.

One of my favorite parts of Tarpon Springs was the decorated bicycles found along the main road.

DSC_0727.JPG

DSC_0728.JPG

DSC_0702.JPG

That last one is covered in sponges- go figure.

I have a rule that I can’t buy unnecessary clothes out of season but I had to make an exception when I found this adorable jumper. When in Rome, right?

FullSizeRender.jpg

By the end of the afternoon we were ready for dinner so we grabbed a table at a place called Hellas.

We started with saganaki again & paired it with a traditional Greek salad. For entrees, I got the mousaka (kind of like a Greek lasagna) and my grandparents split the catch of the day. I’ve never been a seafood fan but this fish smelled amazing and it was filleted and seasoned at the table.

DSC_0720

DSC_0721

And of course, for dessert – baklava.

DSC_0722.JPG

After dinner home we headed home, well-fed and content.

DSC_0726

chelsea

Holiday via iPhone

As I’m sure most of you are, I’ve been running around this week for the holidays so I haven’t had much time to write but I did want to do a quick post and share some pictures from the past few days.

Don’t worry–I had my camera with me too, but I’m going to wait for some more detailed posts when I’m back home. Hope you enjoy! x

Chris and I FINALLY got a cat! Everyone, meet Miso! Miso is a rescue from the New York Animal Care Center in Brooklyn. We had a really tough time choosing a cat because all the animals in the shelter were so sweet and deserving of homes but we decided on Miso, and he is the most lovable, quirky little kitty.

blog

  1. Sneak shot of me enjoying some wine on Christmas Eve
  2. Buccatini Pesto Pasta from Gather
  3. The Chicken & Waffle Bites and Napa Cabbage Pierogies, also from Gather
  4. Sunrise I caught after an early morning gym sesh before jumping on the road

IMG_5829.JPG

The craziest light display we stumbled upon in Queens, on our way out of the city.

IMG_5810.JPG

More proof of my Primark obsession. Loving this reversible cape & oversized tunnel neck sweater.

IMG_5828

Ending our rainy shopping day in Midtown. Can we talk about how it was 75 in Manhattan on Christmas Eve? Insane. I wasn’t quite dreaming of a wet Christmas…although I do love New York in the rain.

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday! Merry Christmas!

Feeling social? Follow me!

Weekend Recap

Welp, I finally got to a doctor after injuring my foot about two weeks ago. It’s been painful to walk on and I was going off the idea that it was plantar fasciitis but the pain hasn’t gotten any better with massage or rolling it out so it’s looking more like a stress fracture. The doc put me in a boot for the weekend and I’ve got an appointment with a specialist tomorrow. Wish me luck.

After the advice of many, I finally bid adieu to my beloved minimalist New Balances and picked up some Brooks at Marathon Sports. I haven’t been able to run in them yet but so far they’ve been comfortable to walk in. I’m hoping this is the last complication I have.

DSC_0481

DSC_0482

Being in the boot did have its advantages–it gave me an excuse to sit in Copley Square and pick up some rice and refried beans from the Baja Taco truck.

DSC_0467

DSC_0471

DSC_0461

DSC_0480

That night Chris and I packed up and drove to New York. It’s hard to coordinate plans because our work schedules are so different but it feels good to get out of the neighborhood sometimes.

We headed out to Long Island, where his family is from, and spent the next day at the beach. First trip of the year! I’ve got to say, it felt really liberating to strip down to a bathing suit and feel comfortable in my own skin.

DSC_0483

DSC_0484

DSC_0486

Afterwards, we went to a family cook out. It’s difficult and feels rude to be picky on holidays or at family events when it comes to food. I used to by bothered by these situations but sometimes I see it as an opportunity to, as Chris likes to call it, “junk out.” Hotdogs, hamburgers, and sangria aren’t ideal for the waistline but it can be valuable to indulge once in a while without worrying about how it fits in to your diet. If it becomes a habit then begin to reconsider things –but after a day spent eating junk I usually am craving healthy food. It’s about getting to know what’s right for you. Indulging every once in a while doesn’t mean you’re weak or you’re “cheating.” If anything, being able to eat a little unhealthy sometimes without falling off track is a sign of strength because it shows self-control and the choice to return to healthy habits. All or nothing mentalities can be harmful to weight loss efforts and your self esteem. Guilt will keep you from growth and at the end of the day, none of us are perfect. It’s okay to embrace that now and then.