May 29, 2015

Capturing the Little Moments - Spring 2015

This year I promised myself that I would be better at capturing the silly little moments so we've been taking short video clips and then putting them together at the end of each season. Since in Steph world, Summer begins right after my birthday - I figured I could put together our Spring stuff.

Note: There are no Iceland vids because there were too many, so there will be a separate one for that.

2nd note: I doubt anyone was really going to be concerned, except maybe my parents. Hi Mom & Dad!

Please enjoy a little collection of videos that include dogs, baseball, sunshine and flowers. 


I also have a few photos that make me smile when I look back. They probably haven't been shared anywhere before but I love them so on my blog they will appear.


One of the first nights where the spring weather was showing up so we wandered around Manhattan and got excited about longer days and warmer wind.


We don't usually remember to have someone take nice pictures of us when we are all dressed up, but we get pictures like these instead and I love them.


And ridiculous photo ops like this are so much better than boring photos.


I have more dog photos than I can even handle, but they are so damn cute ALL THE TIME.


Date nights with Justin have been more frequent this year and I love it. There is a little BYOB pizza place across the street from us and we love it. They have the best desserts ever.


On the topic of pizza, Benny Tudino's in Hoboken really is the largest slice of pizza ever created and I eat the whole thing every time.

If you missed the winter editions, you can find the video here and the pictures here. Do you have pictures that never make it anywhere? Do you take videos ever? 

May 27, 2015

The Golden Circle: Our Self Drive Tour

Most-Popular-Sites-in-Iceland

Our first morning in Iceland, we got up early in Reykjavik and had an amazing breakfast at our hotel. We fueled up and hit the road. Our plan was to travel the Golden Circle before heading towards the South Coast.

This drive takes you past a few of Iceland's most popular sites. There is a complete circle, but we weren't heading back to the capitol so our route was a little different. More on the South Coast later.

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The first stop was ├×ingvellir National Park. It is located on the largest lake in Iceland and the scenery is absolutely breathtaking. The park has lots of interesting history. It is the site of the first assembly in Iceland back in 930 AD. There are tons of hiking trails and beautiful views of the lake and mountains surrounding it. You can even scuba dive in between the tectonic plates - I think that's on Justin's list for the next time we visit.

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We left the park after wandering around for a while and headed towards Geysir. This was a very busy site. Back in the 1950's, some tourists threw rocks into the big Geysir to try and set it off, so that one doesn't shoot into the air anymore. There is a consistent show at nearby Strokkur that goes off every 10 minutes or so and it is still very impressive. There are lots of people that gather round, but there isn't a bad view of this natural phenomenon.

The park surrounding it has lots of steam and hot spots. There is also a very large gift shop and cafe there as well. We had coffee and pastries and enjoyed the people watching. It's definitely worth wandering around to check out the beautiful colors of the blue water, the green moss and the red mud.

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In the last picture, you can see a person to the right of the water so it gives you an idea of how high it shoots up. Be aware that you might jump a little when it goes off - it's pretty sudden, but awesome.

Our last stop on the Golden Circle was Gullfoss. It is a 70 meter high waterfall that plunges into a canyon. It's gorgeous. The wind was crazy there and it was hard to stay outside and explore for long, but we walked to a few different levels to take it in. Pictures just do not do it justice.

Many websites will tell you that Gullfoss is the most popular or famous waterfall in Iceland, but we heard that about everyone we visited, so I'll try and refrain from using those descriptions. There was a point in history where investors wanted to take control on the land and the landowner's daughter threatened to throw herself into the waterfall if the government allowed this to happen. She is known as one of the world's first extreme environmentalists. Luckily now, people appreciate the natural beauty of Gullfoss and it is safe for generations to come.

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There are about 1000 different tours and websites dedicated to the Golden Circle, but I'll share my thoughts.

Things I Loved:
  • The Scenery. There's a reason these places are so popular.
  • The proximity to Reykjavik. It is an easy day trip if you are in Iceland for a few days.
  • Free admission. I am not used to being able to explore places for free. We were able to park and check everything out and there was no parking attendant charging you $15 for entry.
  • Clearly marked hiking trails. It's so easy to explore. You just need a camera and some comfortable shoes and you can get all over the place to explore the land.
  • Variety of ways to explore. You can snowmobile, hike, scuba dive or just drive. It's got a method for everyone.
Things I Didn't Love:
  • Many, many people. Even though we went during "shoulder" season, there were lots of people everywhere we went in the Golden Circle.
  • Tour buses on the road everywhere.
  • That's really it, but I feel like I should say that I'm comparing it to the other places we explored in Iceland where there were way fewer people - so probably not fair.
I wouldn't want to explore this area via bus tour. Self drive is the way to go in my opinion. I'm not sure how the roads are in the winter, but we had no issues in May. We were able to stop as often as we wanted.

I wish I would have explored a few more places that were more off the beaten path. If you are planning a trip, make sure to read Unlocking Kiki to see all of the beautiful places she has explored in the area.

Make sure to fill up on gas and treats before you hit the road. And don't rush through everything. You have time - especially in the summer where it is light for at least 18 hours a day.


Don't mind me, I'll be dreaming about waterfalls the rest of my day today.

Do you have any questions? Which of the three is the most enticing for you?

May 26, 2015

A Weekend of Desserts


It was quite the birthday weekend. My mom was in town with her friend and her 2 kids who share their birthday weekend with Justin & me. It was fun getting to see NYC from a kid's point of view. We saw all the major sites, ate all the sugar we could find and had the most perfect weather.

We had birthday brunch complete with Sunday Funday drinks. We made the trek to Red Hook for Steve's Key Lime Pies which did not disappoint. We went to Tiny's for a birthday beer. We had dessert for breakfast at Chelsea Market - crepes with Nutella and Strawberries. We had drinks at the Frying Pan along with some awesome snacks - all overpriced but exactly what we wanted. And the kids picked out a giant Ice Cream cake to enjoy in their rented Hoboken apartment.







Not pictured: shots at a rooftop bar in Midtown with some friends visiting from FL, cupcakes from Carlos Bakery in Hoboken (the cake boss), pizza from Benny Tudino's, tacos and Sno Cones in Central Park.

In the non food & drink category, we rode on the Beast and saw the Statue of Liberty up close and finally found the Belvedere Castle in Central Park.



It was a great weekend and it will be a great short week of work before 2 of my best friends arrive for another weekend of eating and drinking and good weather.  Thanks for all the birthday wishes.

May 22, 2015

Countdown to Memorial Day

It's Friday and we made it through the week and there's a long weekend ahead. This makes me so happy. Also, it's birthday weekend and there are a few different people in town. I have tons of drafts about Iceland and baseball and all kinds of other stuff, but I want to keep it easy today so we'll stick with a countdown.

5 Things Happening this Weekend:

1. I turn 30 years old on Sunday. I love birthday weekend.

2. My Mom is in town with her friend, Rachel, and her kids who are celebrating their birthday. This means I get to hang with my mom and do some fun kid stuff around NYC.

3. Celebrate Justin's birthday on Memorial Day, although I let him open his present already.

4. Drinks with our Florida friends who are visiting the city for the weekend.

5. Eat dessert daily for the next 4 days - I love birthday weekend.

4 Things I Want:



1. Another Minnesota t-shirt
2. Something bright & shiny to hang on the wall
3. A fun polaroid camera - plus it's under $100
4. These RayBan sunglasses

3 Pictures I took this week:





2 Things I Liked on the Internet:

16 truths for Pizza Lovers Everywhere - so true.

Also, this Jimmy Fallon clip - what a class act.


1 song I'm listening to:



Have a very happy weekend!

May 20, 2015

Oh Canada: Our Day Trip to Montreal

People might think we are a little nuts that we returned from Iceland only to turn around and head to Canada, but I think the best way to beat vacation is over sadness is to take a little weekend getaway. Plus, this girl has little time left before I turn 30 and there were some things that still needed to be checked off the list. Bring Justin to Canada was one thing that I was super excited about.

We rented a cabin in Keeseville, NY near Lake Champlain as our homebase for the weekend. The cabin was perfect and we spent Friday night reading, eating, drinking and sitting in the hot tub (we might have been pretending that it was a geothermal pool in Iceland but at least there were stars.)




The dogs were loving the grass, the chipmunks and the fresh air. On Saturday, we woke up and headed to the border. I might have been a little over-served Friday evening, but I was determined to have a good day.

Montreal is a great city and I definitely want to go back and stay for a weekend. We had beautiful weather so we just strolled around the city. We made it up to Mont Royal and took in the views.



After our stair climbing, we had worked up an appetite so we found a cafe with outdoor seating in Old Montreal and enjoyed Sangria, Crepes and Omelettes. We walked some more and found a pub to watch the last period of the Ranger game. 


We left town shortly after and got stuck in traffic for over an hour due to a bridge being closed... that's the bummer of being a city on an island. We got back to the cabin and lounged while watching What About Bob?  I love that movie.

Sunday morning, we took the kayaks out on the lake, enjoyed coffee with a view and then slowly packed up to head home.




We took the long way home - no highways, just 2 lane roads. The sun was out and we drove with our windows down and the music blaring. So many drive-ins, ice cream shops, farm stands and beautiful scenery.


As crazy as it was to turn around and leave home again, it was such a good weekend with the pups away from the city. We made it to Canada and loved Montreal. We felt recharged again and ready to kick ass at work this week. 

Have you been to Canada? Where's your favorite weekend getaway?