September 29, 2015

Akureyri and Husavik: North Iceland Pt 2

The Northern part of Iceland is almost in the Arctic Circle, but don't let that scare you. I recommend a visit to the north for anyone going to Iceland. If you missed my recap of the first half, check that out and then come back.

Husavik is the place to go if you want to go Whale Watching. We visited for a morning walk and spent some time in the harbor, but the time of year wasn't the best for whale watching, so we skipped it this time. We enjoyed coffee and gift shop wandering. We also spent some time at the Whale Museum in town learning more about those gentle giants. The town is little, but it's definitely worth a stop.

Our base while in the north was Akureyri. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out if I was saying it correctly. It is the second largest town in Iceland and a great place to stay while exploring. The town is very colorful, much like Reykjavik, and very walkable. We strolled through downtown and enjoyed the beautiful art on the walls. There are lots of restaurants to chose from and beautiful views of the surrounding hills. We were near the ski hill, but there wasn't enough snow left from the winter to test out the Icelandic slopes.

While staying in Akureyri, we were able to find a guesthouse called Skjaldarvik that offered horseback rides with beautiful views of the water and surrounding landscapes. We spent a few hours with our guide and a few other girls visiting from Spain. It was the best and I would definitely recommend it. The horses were incredible and we formed instant attachments.

After the ride, we were invited into the guesthouse for beer and coffee cake and hot chocolate. The staff at the guesthouse is from all different countries, so the conversation was fantastic. Hearing the different reasons people were drawn to Iceland made me even more grateful to be there.

I am getting to the end of our Iceland pictures and will be sharing the rest of them next week. Are you convinced yet that this needs to be on your travel bucket list?

September 24, 2015

Our First Date Recreated

Last night, Justin and I did something really special. We recreated our first date that happened more than 10 years ago.

In May 2005, we went to a Twins Game at the Metrodome and walked by the Mississippi River after the game laughing and talking. We didn't call it a date, but it was a perfect introduction to the greatest partnership. You can read more about that night by reading this post about a bet Justin made with me that night.

Sitting in Citi Field last night, it was crazy thinking about how life has changed over the last 10 years.  We aren't in Minnesota anymore. Instead of a walk by the Mississippi, we took our dogs on a late night walk along the Hudson River. We ate veggie dogs instead of regular hot dogs (thank you Citi Field for having some veggie options.) We drank beer. We could see the Long Island Medium sitting in the next section over (you're welcome for the photo mom.) We could afford seats that weren't on the very top level.

Even with all the differences, there are similarities too. We are still Twins fans above all other team, but the Mets are our #2. We are still on a mission to see all the ball parks in this country. We are still competing in our sports knowledge - and happen to play each other this week in fantasy. Things still feel new and exciting, although so comfortable at the same time. We still have a damn good time, even if our team loses.

We didn't really celebrate our anniversary this year because we were so busy in Minnesota. But I realized sitting next to my husband at the baseball game last night, that every time we recreate our first date, we are celebrating. And lucky for us, we get to do that multiple times each year.  It's crazy that a night at a baseball game can give me such a unique overview of the last 10 years... and give me an excuse to be so cheesy. Now, let's see if we can get some playoff action in this year.

What's your simple celebration? What helps you bring back memories?

September 23, 2015

Collection of Summer Moments

Summer is now over. I always make it the longest season because in my world, it starts on Memorial Day weekend but doesn't end on Labor Day. Another season change, another post with my favorite snaps of summer and a little video collection.

A spontaneous post birthday celebration with two of my favorites kicked off the Summer right. We ate and drank our way through the city. 

Work trips to new cities in the Midwest and it wasn't all bad. When you get to travel with your husband, it definitely makes things more fun.

The Amazing Mets with Justin's parents. Baseball in the Summer is always a good idea.

Patio drinks with friends in the city on warm weekends. Friends in a new city - it's a bigger deal than you think if you've never moved somewhere new.

Our trip to the Montana Manor. Summertime in the mountains might be my new favorite. Hiking, fly fishing and so much laughing with friends. Plus those views... For more Montana snaps, check out this video of our adventures.

Beach days with sunrises, waves crashing and sand under my feet. We finally got to enjoy the shore this summer and it was fantastic. Read this love letter to New Jersey for more beach pictures.

Outdoor concerts were one of my favorite parts of the summer. Dawes, First Aid Kit, Citizen Cope and Counting Crows were all enjoyed outside in NYC with cold drinks, sunshine and people we love.

My little brother got married to the best girl. We celebrated for an entire weekend (and will continue celebrating with them forever.) The weekend had amazing weather and amazing people. We were so happy that we got to be a part of the festivities. I have never danced so much at a wedding in my life.

The Minnesota State Fair in all of its glory - we ate and ate and ate and it was incredible. We went twice while home with friends and family and it was amazing.

Ending the Summer in Minnesota with pool days and time with the nieces and nephew. Cannon balls, ice cream cake and lots of dance parties.

And then our little video of a bunch of snapshots of the summer. If you miss the dogs, this is a great way to see what they've been up to.

In case you missed previous recaps, check them out on the Insert Classy Here YouTube channel or click here and here. Happy Autumnal Equinox.

September 21, 2015

Things I Love About Autumn

Each time the seasons change, I see a whole bunch of social media messages saying that someone's FAVORITE season has arrived. I think I've been guilty of it a time or two. I've realized though that each season is amazing for different reasons. I made a summertime to-do list and I failed miserably, but I had a great summer.

Here is a list of the things I love about this season and things I want to check off my list:

Planning to climb Bear Mountain and celebrate the accomplishment with a visit to their Oktoberfest.

Leaves changing colors. I have a whole new appreciation of the changing of the leaves after our leaf peeping trip last fall. I want to get upstate or to the Berkshires for a weekend if possible in October. I'm sad we don't have a week long trip this fall again to spend exploring.

Less weekend plans which means more time to hang with our friends around here. Summer is busy for everyone and we barely get to see our friends here.

FOOTBALL. My fantasy team in one league got 134 points, so that's awesome. Also, our team is so engaged and hilarious this year. There are so many dubsmashes created each week and video recaps. Plus, the Vikings just beat the Lions and that makes me super happy. #teddyforpresident

Hocus Pocus, Addam's Family, Nightmare Before Christmas and Corpse Bride. Those are my kind of Halloween movies.

Crockpot meals. It's harder when you don't eat meat to use this magical invention, but it's definitely possible. I'll share some of my favorite recipes one of these days. I just love getting things prepped in the morning and the apartment smelling amazing all day long. Please share if you have any favorites.

Sweater weather. The candle and the temperature itself. I love scarves and sweaters. I love windows open. No more air conditioning. Back to the candles, B&BW has amazing candles for this season. Can't stop.

Caramel everything. Screw pumpkin. This is the season for caramel in all things all the time. I do like a few pumpkin beers and pumpkin donuts and carving pumpkins, but I'm not a fan of pumpkin spice. I feel like just saying that is going to get me in trouble with the world.

Flannel, plaid and fall colors. I am in love with this purse and I want it in my closet. Pretty please?

Lastly, I love the fact that this season has two names. Autumn sounds prettier than fall, but there are two which makes this season something special.

What's your favorite thing about fall? What am I missing?

September 16, 2015

Myvatn and Godafoss: North Iceland Pt 1

Just looking through our Iceland pictures makes me so excited to plan our next international adventure. The pictures I'm sharing today are from Northern Iceland. Once we got through the snowy and windy highlands, we reached the beautiful landscapes near Lake Myvatn. This is a great pitstop. We visited Myvatn Nature Baths (which is way less touristy than the Blue Lagoon and cheaper also), we enjoyed the best meal of our entire trip here and we spent an hour just taking in the beauty of Godafoss.

The Myvatn Nature Baths are located right off the Ring Road just east of the lake. The changing rooms are smaller, but have everything you need. It is crazy how close you are to the Arctic Circle and here you are in your bathing suit outside. After a few hours of driving, this was a great pitstop for us. It was only about 40 degrees Fahrenheit outside when we arrived, but the trip from the showers to the water outside isn't far and the steam rooms are on the way.

We definitely enjoyed the peace & quiet here. There was one tour bus of seniors that were leaving when we arrived, so we had the place to ourselves for the most part.

After soaking, we were super hungry. Our Lonely Planet travel guide sent us to a place near the lake called Vogafjos Cafe. This was the best meal we had in Iceland. It was a tiny restaurant with beautiful views of the surrounding landscapes. The Geysir bread was on our list of things to try - they actually cook the bread in the ground using the heat. We had smoked arctic char, cheese from their cows and Skyr for dessert. I can't recommend this stop enough. They also have a guesthouse here that I would love to stay at during a future trip.

After an amazing lunch, we explored the south part of the lake and did a little hiking. We also discovered a really fun game of rolling snowballs down a hill. I would love to see this area in the middle of summer, but even with the snow, it was breathtaking. I can definitely say that the pictures don't do this area justice.

Our last stop before heading towards Akureyri was the magnificent waterfall, Godafoss (Waterfall of the Gods.) This was so different from the tall, skinny falls of the Southern Coast. We sat here for about an hour just listening to the incredible power of this natural feature. The water was such a beautiful color. 

I'll be back with part 2 soon sharing pictures of Akureyri and Husavik - two towns in North Iceland that we absolutely adored. Until then, I'll just be day dreaming of this magical place.

September 14, 2015

Lights, Brunch, Action

A weekend back on the East Coast after many weekends away was just what the doctor ordered.

Friday night, we had dinner with a friend and then walked through Liberty State Park in Jersey City to see the 9/11 Memorial lights close up. It really is a breathtaking sight to see from all over the NYC area.

Saturday morning, Justin hit the waves early, so I did some reading and video editing. We finally got to check out Queens Comfort for brunch with some friends.. If you live anywhere in the NYC area, you must check out Queens Comfort. I indulged in a fried green tomato benedict and also helped myself to a little of BOTH appetizers - the Atomic mac & cheese balls and the french toast balls. It was amazing.

I was also helping with a scavenger hunt back in Minneapolis for a good friend on Saturday afternoon. I created all the missions for them and helped grade their trivia answers. It was fun to participate, even though we couldn't be there in person. (This is why you saw a few ridiculous yoga pictures - you had to do a yoga pose in front of the object it is named after.) We sat outside in Astoria and followed again with their progress via the hashtag #abearturns29 and we laughed and cheered.

A photo posted by stephgregerson (@stephgregerson) on
Sunday, we decided to have a phones free day and get back to the Sunday Stroll. We ended up walking from 93rd Street on the Upper West Side to 10th Street down in the village. We zigged and zagged and wandered through the streets enjoying the perfect weather. We caught the train back to our car and then headed back towards home to grab lunch and watch some football.

Phone free time + very few plans + 9:30 PM bedtimes + the return of football + good food + lots of laughs = a Happy Monday AM (don't worry there were bagels and coffee this morning too)

How was your weekend?

September 7, 2015


Currently I'm...

Fighting fall. I'm determined to enjoy the last few weeks of summer before I jump into all things fall. It was 93 degrees out today. Shorts, flip flops and maybe one more trip to the beach.

Thankful that we had a safe trip home. We made the decision to power through and drive ALL THE WAY from Minnesota to Jersey in one day. Our dogs were rockstars and we made it - this allowed us to have a day to unpack and unwind before work starts again.

Unpacking our suitcases. Thank goodness we did some laundry at my in-law's last week and had a full suitcase of clean clothes. Makes our return a little easier.

Watching The Human Experiment on Netflix and getting really angry at how difficult it is for our country to get rid of toxic chemicals in our products. It's making me look around my house again to find out what could be harmful to us in our own home. Just trying to not harm myself is exhausting.

Planning our next vacation. It will be a quick weekend somewhere close to home, but we can't stand to not have something in the future to look forward to.

Drinking some Riesling. Summer is going to start winding down which means I'll be done with the sweet wines for a while. I must get my fill.

Sad because Hoboken lost a very important person this past week. Benny Tudino has passed away. His pizza is the best in all of Jersey. We walked by today and there were so many flowers and memorials outside. I'm determined to get myself some pizza this week and pay my respects.

Loving all of our polaroid pictures from the past two weeks. Justin bought this camera for my birthday and we love it. It gives us photos that are real. We try and give people fun little souvenirs from fun moments. It gives us a chance to take a picture without instantly putting it on Facebook or Instagram.

Wanting all of the fall clothes from Old Navy. They are dirt cheap and super cute. But, since I'm still in summer mode - I need to just wait. (Maybe I already purchased a few things)

Do you have any favorite destinations in the northeast for a fall weekend getaway? What are you up to?