Iceland has been the ultimate hot spot the last few years with tourism up by 40% from 2015 to 2016. I’ve dreamt about visiting a destination where I might have the opportunity of catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights for as long as I can remember. Literally on a whim, I found myself booking a trip to Reykjavik for the beginning of February 2017. What lead me to taking the plunge was finding a really awesome deal with WOW Airlines. Here’s a glimpse at where we stayed, what we did and some of my recommendations for while visiting.

While I love hotels because of the amenities, there’s nothing like a rental property when away – especially now that I travel with my toddler. I found the perfect rental in Reykjavik via VRBO.com and booked instantly. This apt had 3 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, 2 separate living room areas, washer/dryer, full kitchen + dining room and had enough space for us (a group of 5 adults/1 child) and for Victor to run around after a long day out in the city. The location was also perfect and that is KEY!

Click HERE to view our rental.

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Since we were visiting in the heart of the winter season, I decided to book tours vs. rent a car and go on our own. While I have heard great things about exploring on your own, I was little nervous about Iceland’s frequently changing weather while traveling with a 17 month old. We booked all of our tours and transfers through BusTravel Iceland. Click HERE to check out some of their top tours! They were so helpful in assisting me book everything as well as super accommodating that we were traveling with a child and even offered a car seat for each tour.

Day 1:

Blue Lagoon + Northern Lights Tour 

A lot of people will go on and on about how the Blue Lagoon is “touristy” and you know what – it is, but in the BEST way possible. While there are a ton of natural lagoons all over Iceland, the Blue Lagoon is a must when visiting. I could have spent hours here! It was so beautiful, relaxing and exactly what we needed after that overnight flight and time change.

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Chasing the Northern Lights will always be a hit or miss but I was still super excited to do so. I’m so happy to say that we totally lucked out and were able to see them during our tour even though the activity wasn’t super strong.

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Day 2:

Golden Circle 

For Day 2, we went with the Afternoon Golden Circle Tour. This worked out perfectly because it allowed us to get a good nights rest since we weren’t picked up until about 10am. With this tour we were able to visit and explore the Geysir geothermal area, Gullfoss waterfall, Þingvellir National Park and Kerið volcanic crater. All of these locations were simply breathtaking! It started to snow these huge flakes while we were at Kerið for about 5 minutes and then a beautiful rainbow came out and it was sunny. This was the perfect example of the Icelandic saying “If you don’t like the weather, just wait 5 minutes.”

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Day 3:

Southern Iceland

This was our last full day in Iceland and we spent it exploring Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Skógafoss Waterfall, Sólheimajökull Glacier and Black Sand Beach. The Southern part of Iceland was amazing and I feel like it is a must see when visiting. I look forward to spending more time there when I return.

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Our flight home the following day wasn’t until the late afternoon so we spent the morning walking around Reykjavik and checking out a few landmarks. We came across some really awesome shops, cafes, street art and hot dog carts (which are super popular in Iceland!)

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A few tips I would give anyone planning a visit to Iceland would be the following:

Book early! Because of the booming tourism, hotels + apartment rentals sell out quickly.

Plan ahead! Regardless if you plan to explore on your own or book tours, there’s nothing like being prepared before arriving and having a list of what you want to do and see. This is key if you have a short visit.

It’s all about the layers! Seriously, I was so surprised how not cold Iceland was. OK… I take that back. The night we chased the Northern Lights it was FREEZING but during the day, I was actually hot in my down coat. The weather is unpredictable so make sure to check the weather forecast before heading out there and remember to pack layers (long sleeves, leggings, snow pants etc.) These items will be easy to put on + take off  depending on how the weather turns out.

Budget wisely! I always try to save a little more than what I originally budget for spending money while away  because… well, you just never know. Iceland is expensive!! I’m talking like $20 for a burger and $15 for a mixed drink expensive. And gas…. it’s $7.50 a gallon!

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To say that I am in love with Iceland would be an understatement. Visually – it is one of the most beautiful countries I have ever been to. The people were so friendly and helpful and I felt safe the entire time. Waterfalls are everywhere and the scenery will leave you breathless. I plan to visit again…. and hopefully soon.

If you have any questions about Iceland – don’t hesitate to reach out!

I’m no Fashionista, but I love Fashion…. and more than that, I love Paris. Before my first trip back in 2015 I was so worried when packing for my visit. I didn’t want to look like a typical tourist but I wanted to stay true to my sense of style. Luckily for me – Parisian style isn’t much different than my own. Here are a few style tips to keep in mind for your trip to the City of Light + Love.

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PC: @pearls_and_paris

  1. Keep it simple – simplicity, versatility and practicality are key to true Parisian style. Do not over accessorize.
  2. Flats are KEY – I think movies have jaded us to think that all Parisian women walk around in 5 inch stilettos everywhere and that is so far from the truth. Flats are key… especially for tourists. Paris has a lot of cobblestone and on top of that, most people walk A LOT during the day. Can you imagine doing that in heels? My last 2 trips I easily walked at least 10 miles EACH day.
  3. Blazers are a girls best friend – Putting on a blazer can instantly add a chic touch to any outfit. Everyone should have at least one classic blazer in their wardrobe and they are absolutely a staple for Parisian style. Throw on a pair of oxfords with it and you might pass off as a local 😉
  4. Relaxed Silhouettes – I noticed in my area (at least in NJ + NYC) form fitting clothes are what most women gravitate towards. Parisian style is slightly different. They appreciate flowy dresses and relaxed fit as well as tailored pieces vs. body con + overly baggy.
  5. All Black Everything! – Ok, maybe not everything lol Black + white hues are always trendy. I’m all about a pop of color from either your shoes or bag. Also think scarves! They are huge in Parisian style and can instantly add a pop of color and glam to your outfit.

Parisian style ultimately is about not being over or under dressed.

They are simply casual but at the same time elegant and carry a stylish confidence that is contagious. At the end of the day, staying true to your style is what is most important. If the tips above are ones you personally don’t prefer, go with your gut and wear what makes you feel beautiful and confident.

Beaucoup d’amour! xo  

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  1. Sky Organics || Castor Oil $19 – Castor Oil has so many uses and this one has hands down become my favorite! It is known to grow thick and shiny hair, lush eyelashes, prevent hair loss and repair split ends. It helps balance your skin as well as help to fade scars and will also repair dry and sun-burned skin. I was only introduced to the Sky Organics brand a few months ago, but I am so impressed with the quality of their products.
  2. Urban Decay || Quick Fix Prep Spray $31 – I am obsessed with this product! This hydrating + soothing prep priming spray is suppose to visibly reduce the appearance of pores, brighten and smoothe skin, and replace lost moisture. I use this before applying my makeup and I feel like it wakes me up but also keeps my skin hydrated. I love the scent and it’s super lightweight.
  3. PUR Cosmetics || Velvet Matte Lipstick (Obsessed) + Chrome Glaze Lip Goss (DIY) $18 – This color combo has been on repeat for the last month. PUR makes one of the best matte lippies I’ve tried. It glides on like butter and doesn’t dry the lips out like so many others do. Their lipgloss has great pigmentation and the perfect shine.
  4. Fresh || Sugar Lip Polish $24 – Sugar Lip Polish gently exfoliates and conditions, leaving lips incredibly soft and smooth. I massage it onto my lips a few times a week and not only does it smell nice but it does a great job of keep my lips moist during the colder months.
  5. Narciso Rodriguez || Narciso Poudree perfume $97 -This has been my go to perfume for the last month. It’s a blend of sensual woods, Bulgarian rose and white jasmine surround a heart of musk. It’s a very sexy scent and it’s long lasting.
  6. Shea Moisture || Extra Dry Skin Body Lotion $12 – My skin the last few months has been insanely dry. This body lotion has really helped me keep moisturized. It also has a very light and fresh scent to it.

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Did you guys know that Whole Foods launched a Beauty Bag on Friday?! It’s filled with a ton of all natural beauty products and is only $19. (total retail value of $90) The products come in a super cute organic cotton bag that I will get absolutely getting a lot of use out of.

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Andalou Natural Apricot Probiotic Cleansing Milk | 1.7 oz

The gentle formula removes makeup while fruit stem cells and probiotics work toward brightening the complexion’s appearance.

Weleda Soothing Facial Lotion | .23 oz

Restore moisture balance after cleansing with a lightweight, sweet almond oil-based lotion.

Juice Beauty Green Apple Peel Sensitive | .26 oz

Organic green apple juice provides alpha-hydroxy acids to exfoliate and even skin tone and texture while vitamin E and organic aloe provide nourishment and hydration.

Dr. Hauschka Facial Toner | 1 oz

A balancing and hydrating formula to support skin’s natural processes and leave skin looking toned and radiant.

Acure Pore Clarifying Red Clay Facial Mask | 1.7 oz

Moroccan red clay and argan stem cells combine to draw out impurities, hydrate and tone for a glowing complexion.

evanhealy Wild Carrot Nourishing Eye Balm | .5 oz

Smooth and protect delicate skin around the eyes with organic cocoa butter and organic sunflower, avocado, rosehip and coconut oils.

Trilogy CoQ10 Booster Oil | .17 oz

A potent and moisturizing blend of plant oils and antioxidants nourish, recharge and revitalize skin.

Whole Foods Market Dry Skin Hand Cream Peony, Mint & Blackberry | 1 oz

Nourishing, super-moisturizing hand cream featuring argan oil and made with 20% shea butter to soothe dry, cracked hands.

Mineral Fusion Volumizing Mascara Jet | .57 oz

Gentle mineral-color formula applies easily and defines each lash without clumps, flakes or smudges.

DERMA E Hydrating Night Cream | .5 oz

Deeply penetrating, rich and ultra-hydrating moisture with antioxidants, vitamins C and E, plus hyaluronic acid to improve skin’s appearance.

Pacifica Devocean Lipstick Tenderness | .07 ozPiece & Co. Organic Cotton Bag

Creamy, hydrating formula for moisturized lips in Tenderness, a semi-matte, highly pigmented rosy taupe.

Piece & Co. Organic Cotton Bag

Piece & Co. empowers skilled artisans to create traditional textiles of exceptional quality and beauty — providing employment for thousands of women and positively impacting communities and children worldwide, piece by piece. This beauty bag was handcrafted by talented artisans in India using organic cotton and traditional techniques of dabu indigo mud-printing, power loom weaving and hand-tasseling.

Bags are only available while supplies last. Make sure to call ahead to your local store to confirm that they have the bags.

I’m in a few awesome female travel groups on Facebook. Everyday I see posts that start off something like this “I want to travel full time, what job should I apply for?” In theory, how amazing does that sound? There’s a ton of ways to become a digital nomad but unfortunately, that doesn’t work for all of us. The average American has a full time, 9-5’ish, job/career that gives them 10 vacation days a year. YUP, that’s it.

I get asked pretty frequently how do I travel so much and that I must get a lot of vacation days at my job. WRONG! I too only have 10 vacation days a year. The difference is how I use them to my advantage to maximize my time away.

To all my NON digital nomads, here’s a few tips to help you make the most of your vacation days this year.

1. Go on short & extended weekend trips. – Yes, a 2 week vacation sounds luxurious but when you have ONLY 10 days per year, do you really want to use them all at once? Look into destinations that are only a few hours away, either by car or plane. You can leave Thursday night which will guarantee 2 full days at the destination of your choice before heading back home on Sunday. Planning this way will allow you to go away 10 times throughout the year, only taking 1 vacation day each trip. If you need a little more time, leave Wednesday night and that will give you 3 full days at the destination of your choice and a total of 5 trips for the year. If you live on the East Coast like me, that can mean a trip to Europe!

2. Plan around a holiday. – This goes hand in hand with the advice above. Planning a trip around a holiday weekend will help you extend that 2 or 3 day trip by a full day but without using a vacation day. For example, Memorial Day always falls on a Monday. Head out of town Wednesday evening and return Monday and you’ll have a nice little 4 night trip.

3. Take advantage of 2 weekends for a longer trip. – Some people just don’t like short trips and that is understandable. A good tip to have a longer vacation, while only using 5 of your vacation days, would be to plan a trip between two weekends. Catch a flight after work on Friday and return the following weekend on a Sunday. That sounds like a perfect 8 day / 7 night getaway to me! Plan this around a holiday weekend and you will only use 4 of your vacation days.

4. Ask for unpaid time off – Ok, so technically asking for this won’t literally maximize your accrued vacation days but rather extend whatever trip you want to take that you might not have enough vacation days for. I know for me this year, all of my vacation time will be used up by the first week of September and a little winter get away will absolutely be on my mind before Christmas time. What I can do is just get approval from my boss to take 2 days off, unpaid, and make a short weekend trip to the islands.

I think the main thing to remember is that if you genuinely love to travel, going somewhere for a few days is better than never getting to experience that place at all. So many of us tend to make bucket lists of things we want to do and see but then never execute those plans because we are so tied up with work. Last year a study came out that said over 50% of Americans don’t use all of their paid vacation time. The main reasons being fear of losing their job, falling behind while away or simply thinking that by not missing a day of work – it would lead to a promotion. I want to tell all of those people to RETHINK their lack of vacation. Taking time off can help your mental health, stress and overall productivity. 

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