If you missed it last week, I started my Travel Tuesday series with a recap of my trip to Reykjavik, Iceland! Visiting The Blue Lagoon is def at the top of most people’s lists when visiting Reykjavik, so I wanted to have a little post for it on its own, especially since I talk about the face masks I used while at the lagoon!!
Use Reykjavik Excursions as your transportation, as mentioned above, it takes about an hour. & treat yourself by upgrading your admission to the Premium Package. There are four options for admission into the Blue Lagoon, I think the premium package is the best option, it’s about $100 USD. The difference between this package and the less expensive packages is this one includes an extra face mask, use of robe & slippers, and a guaranteed reservation at their restaurant, Lava, with a glass of sparkling wine. I took advantage of securing the reservation at Lava, and had a light lunch there, which you can read about in my food post, here!
All transactions that take place while your visiting scan onto a bracelet (just like in Disney World), and then you pay for it all at the end. They make it super easy fro you, which was great!
In terms of time, I spent about 5 hours total at the Blue Lagoon. I had the earliest entry time, 7:30am, and loved being there so early, it wasn’t too crowed. They have lockers available in the lounge/ shower area, there was such a long line for lockers by the time I left at 12:30pm. I noticed some people just leaving their things unattended instead of waiting, something I’d never do, but as I said, there was a long line. The locker room area had decent showers, plenty of changing room, hair dryers, and some amenities to use once you’re ready to leave.
|PS: You can only buy 3 alcoholic drinks!!|
I was so shocked when I realized I had spent 3 straight hours in the lagoon, the weather was beautiful, it was slightly chilly but the water was so warm and soothing. I had been having back issues before my trip, and sitting in the lagoon was the perfect remedy. I brought a book, and was able to sit in the water, which was awesome.
Through the 3 hours I did 2 face masks and a scrub, all of which were incredible! I started with the Lava Scrub, to exfoliate and prep my skin for the masks. This scrub is made from lava that surrounds the Blue Lagoon- it was quite grainy and gave a great exfoliation. Even if you have sensitive skin, I think you can still use this, you just might not want to scrub as hard. After my scrub I let my skin rest a bit before applying The Blue Lagoon’s signature Silica Mask, which is the typical mask you see people applying at the lagoon. This is a mud mask that aims to deeply cleanse, perfect after exfoliating with the lava scrub, strengthen & illuminate skin, & tighten pores.
The last mask I applied was the Algae Mask, this is a part of the Premium Package I bought. The Algae Mask is geared toward preventing fine lines and wrinkles with The Blue Lagoon’s patented algae. I found this mask to be super refreshing, and it’s strong, so you don’t need to leave it on for too long, just about 5-7 minutes.
These masks are def not cheap…I can’t say I would ever buy them solo, I think my favorite The Body Shop and other masks might be better. At the end of the day, it’s about the experience with the masks, and the experience was top notch!! I’m looking forward to visiting the Blue Lagoon again some time, it’s an experience not to be missed!
Back in July I went on a two week European adventure through six countries, only one of which I had been to before. Aside from the perfect summer vacay, the main purpose of my trip was to attend the wedding of one of my best friends, Sabah, in Bulgaria. I was more than honored to be her Maid of Honor, if you didn’t see my post on 5 Tips on Throwing an Unforgettable Bachelorette Party, you can check it out here!
Seeing that I’m a teacher, & having the summer off to recuperate from the school year, I wanted to take full advantage of being able to travel through Europe. I did just that, and planned quite the trip over the course of two days. I had been watching flight prices for months…yes, literally months, and I had finally found prices I was thrilled with, so I bought one, then just kept going!
I’ll be featuring a new country per post, for the next few Tuesdays. I’m a huge planner, whether it’s in the travel, teaching, or party realm. If you’re looking for additional tips on how to up your planning skills, in any area, feel free to email me & we can chat! I can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org!
The first leg of my European adventure landed me in Reykjavik, Iceland, a nice little departure from the hot humid weather in Washington D.C. The first question everyone asked me was, oh that’s so cool and all but, why Iceland?!. Well, as I mentioned in my Reykjavik food post, which you can read here, Iceland is def having a moment! I’ve seen countless bloggers visiting Reykjavik, the country has seriously upped their tourism reach out, and since it also has a connection with Game of Thrones, I feel like people are just flocking to visit the unique Nordic country. Aside from the fact that so many people are visiting Iceland, I could not beat the one-way ticket I found, departing from Newark Liberty International in Jersey. I was able to snag an evening flight, that landed me in Reyjavik at 5am, for $250.
|View from the tower in Hallegrimskirkja. The hotel I stayed in, Hotel Leifur Eiriksson, is the large white building in the front of the picture!|
PS: Yes, I live in the D.C. are but I was going home to visit my family first, so it made perfect sense to leave from NJ!
Hotel Choice: Hotel Leifur Eiriksson
I wanted to balance having a great vacation with, ya know, not going broke. So, I traded out my usual higher end hotel choices for a middle of the road, family run hotel, right in downtown Reykjavik called Hotel Leifur Eiriksson. I was in Iceland for two days, and I knew I would be out of the room for the majority of the time, so I wasn’t really bothered by the hotel not having much amenities. I had a single room, and the room was very small, one towel, one pillow- which is really no big deal to me, but I know can be a big deal to others. It was a no frills environment, but it was clean, which is always my first concern. Iceland is expensive, so the rate for this hotel did seem a little too much given that it was mid-range, but it was the least expensive mid-range I found. & I quickly realized that with the location, the price was well worth it.
The staff did provide breakfast each morning, & it’s included with the room rate…it was a decent spread, with assorted hot items, waffles, cereal, meats & cheeses. The owner is such a nice man, and let me know that if I had an early morning excursion before breakfast officially started, they would make me a breakfast to take with me. The check-in, check-out process was easy, which is always helpful, and there were no hidden fees or anything like that when I arrived.
Overall, if you’re okay with a middle of the road hotel that’s not too updated, I highly advise Hotel Leifur Eiriksson. As I mention below, the location is amazing, and since Iceland is already expensive in every way possible, if you can help the budget by staying at a 3-star hotel, do it, the customer service at Leifur Eiriksson makes up for it not being a Ritz!
What To Do in Reykjavik, Iceland
Use Reykjavik Excursions for Transportation
I used the company, Reykjavik Excursions for my transport to and from the airport, and to and from the Blue Lagoon. I had the best experience with them, and highly, highly, recommend this company over others in Iceland. It was so easy to book the reservations online, I was able to leave within 10m of exiting the terminal at the airport, which was awesome. Also, all buses have Wi-fi which is great. The bus trip to and from Blue Lagoon was also perfect, and I could choose whenever I wanted to leave, there was a bus every 30 minutes. They had great customer service, and the buses were all super super clean and well maintained.
Visit the Tower of Hallgrimskirkja Church
The location of Hotel Leifur Eiriksson cannot be beat, it is walking distance to everything, and is right in front of the Hallgrimskirkja, an Icelandic church and national sanctuary.
I highly advise buying a ticket to go up to the top of Hallgrimskirkja, the view, as seen below, is so gorgeous. It’s a $9 donation to visit the top of the tower, and I suggest getting there nice and early in the AM when nobody is there. I was able to go right when it opened, seeing that I was staying across the street…when I walked back to my hotel later in the afternoon it was packed, and the line for the tower was out the door.
Walk Down Skolavoerdustigur Street & Laugavegur Street
My hotel was on Skolavoerdustigur Street so on my first day I walked all the way down stopping at all different types of shops, it’s a busy street with tourists, but not too crazy. The very end of it is Laugavegur Street where you can walk toward the main square area where there are tons of restaurants, and of course many more shops.
Check out my Reykjavik, Iceland Nomz post for all food related pics and info, especially the amazing restaurant I had dinner at, Sjavargrillid Seafood Grill, which is located on Skolavoerdustigur.
Stroll Through & Have a Drink in Ingolfur Square
Perfect for people watching, a glass of wine and/or a hot dog, and live music. I noticed a lot of the super touristy restaurants are around here, so you might want to go into a more quiet area for dinner instead, but there are so many bars for nightlife or just happy hour that seemed awesome. I had drinks and an appetizer at Uno Bistro while they live streamed the Iceland Women’s EURO game on a big screen TV. It was an awesome mix of locals and tourists.
Walk Around the Harbor Area
Great restaurants and some museums too! Some of the old boats were fun to look at as well!
What I Wish I Could Have Done
I only had two days in Reykjavik, so I couldn’t do all that I wanted to do. If I had had more time I def would’ve used Reykjavik Excursions for a full day Golden Circle Tour & Lava Tunnel in southern Iceland. This tour takes you to Iceland’s beautiful hot springs and national park. There’s also Fontana Wellness Geothermal Baths, which would be an interesting option too if you had more than just a few days in Iceland.
I also highly suggest going whale & puffin watching if you have the time, I really regret not carving out time to do this, but I guess it gives me a reason to go back!
Feel free to tweet or email me any questions you have about traveling Iceland, it was an awesome experience! & remember to come back next week for my tips on the Blue Lagoon!
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|Side note, loving how the Iceland versions of creme brûlée look so much different than ours!|
|BTW this translates to “best hot dogs in town”.|
Today, I’m focusing on another mask from this collection, the Chinese Ginseng & Rice Clarifying Polishing Mask. This is a great exfoliating mask that doesn’t actually feel like it’s exfoliating, which is perfect for those that have more sensitive skin. The key aspects of this mask aim to reduce pore size and smooth the skin. I was beyond impressed with the sight of my pores after using the Charcoal Purifying Glow mask, and since the Chinese Ginseng & Rice mask is more of an exfoliant, I noticed it def did its job of smoothing my skin and minimizing larger pores around my nose.
As far as ingredients go, The Body Shop is known, and praised for, for it’s use of fair trade ingredients. The ginseng and rice extract comes from China, and the sesame seed oil from Nicaragua. You get a great sense of the ingredients from the texture, and I apply it to my face after makeup removal, and drying. I once applied it when my face was a bit damp and it didn’t set as well as it had when my face was dry.
I’ve left it on for about 15 minutes each time, and right before taking it off, I massage the mask into my skin, and focus most on trouble areas where I have slight scarring. The ingredients don’t scratch your skin, which I’ve experienced before and, obviously, is no good for sensitive skin. It really does just feel like a deep cleanse thats getting rid of any dead skin cells or leftover makeup/ dirt.
Since the mask is a skin smoother, I think it’s a great option for lightening acne scars or dark spots one might have, a mask in addition to other skincare products can do wonders for getting rid of these annoying little things!! I might try to use this mask once a week so I can really track how well it lightens, but since my skin looks incredible after each use, I think it does have somewhat of an immediate effect.
My next few Face Mask Monday’s will continue to feature The Body Shop face mask line, so stay tuned for the next edition!
|Photo: Catherine Ker
This outrageously gorgeous cake was created by Pastry Chef Cassie Holcomb from Pearl Dive DC (@pearldivedc)
|Breakfast at home is much better than spending $$ to go out!|
As I’ve mentioned quite a few times in this post, we know shelling out $$ for a Bachelorette weekend, or night, can be a lot. One aspect that can be easily overlooked is getting the bride to be some sort of gift to open up with her friends. A night or weekend like this will, hopefully, never happen again for the BTB, so it’s important her girls pull out all the stops. A big go to gift is always lingerie, but you don’t need to buy lingerie, or even something more than $20. It’s the thought that counts, and even if you’re traveling far to the event, a chic lipstick that the BTB can wear for her man is something nice and thoughtful to open up. & after you open up some gifts, play a game or two, it’s fun, and if you’ve been drinking it’s hilarious and allows for some true girl time.
I was so nervous about having Sabah’s Bachelorette Weekend be absolutely perfect. She’s my first bestie getting married, I’m the Maid of Honor, & there were a lot of factors in play that made me want to make this the best weekend for her ever.
Well, I guess second best, after her soon to be wedding weekend in Bulgaria of course.
Everything went off without a hitch because a lot of planning was put into it, but also because we just chilled out and let it all flow…and it came together perfectly. Worrying about when someone drops out of the weekend or if you’ll have enough money to get one more thing, is pointless. The main point is being with your girls and celebrating a friend who is about to embark on a crazy journey of marriage.
Sabah’s Bachelorette Weekend landed a bunch of us with new piercings and tattoos, that definitely was not on the schedule, and it totally pushed back the nice at home sit down dinner I had planned in the agenda…but who cares…it was so worth it. At the end of the day, it’s all about the ladies you’re with, and for this weekend it was a group of spectacular young women. & the most important part…Sabah was as happy as baby goat the whole time. Which for her, equates to being happy as a clam.
I’ll break up these Behind the Scenes posts into different categories, as you’ll see below! Feel free to Tweet or Snap me your thoughts…@elizabethmayce for both!
I seriously can’t believe it’s about to be the second week of July…where has all the time gone?! This is the first summer as a teacher where I’m not working some additional job. I get paid through the summer so it doesn’t really matter, but it’s always nice to have a little extra moolah for brunch…or, as the adult me should say, credit card bills. Le sigh.
What I’m Doing…
This first picture is a throwback from the last day of school last month where we left as quickly as possible to go to a bar. Any teachers reading this totally understand where I’m coming from, and if you know me, and the year I had, you’re probably surprised I even made it to this day…& so am I. We ended up having a great staff party, organized by yours truly, and brought in the summer exactly how it should be brought in…lots of drinks and great food.
I’ve also been up in Jersey quite a bit, I think more than I have been since in a summer graduating college, which I’ve been loving. I spent some time at my Aunt’s beach house in Bradley Beach, she recently redid her patio and I’m obsessed. It’s the perfect little outdoor oasis where you can enjoy your morning coffee in peace and quite, or grill and have happy hour!
Of course I have to share Leo pictures, he’s my pride and joy and has recently been living the life of a human. In addition to visiting Bradley Beach this summer, Leo also took a spur of the moment trip to Atlantic City over July 4th weekend! Since we booked so last minute, his day care couldn’t take him, so Rob & I looked up pet friendly hotels in A.C. Showboat, which closed in 2014, reopened last year as a non-gaming hotel, pet-friendly, so we stayed there. I loved Showboat when it was a casino, I actually had my 21st birthday party there, and we stayed in the House of Blues suite…all 20 something of us. Showboat has so many memories, and memories I wish I could remember, so seeing so much of it blocked off and unused made me sad. The entire gaming floor is empty and is covered by a huge curtain basically, it was kinda creepy, but all of the rooms are the same and are really nice. I hope A.C. can be reborn again soon!!
PS: I have a huge trip to Europe coming up July 23, I’m looking forward to sharing tons of travel tips and pictures with all of you!
Where I’m Eating…
On the beach…of course. Bradley Beach held it’s annual Lobsterfest so my family and I went. So. Much. Food. It was heaven. There are tons of vendors, great options to shop, and eat local, which is important for our Jersey beach towns! PS: That’s a lobster grilled cheese, and yes, it was to die for.
While walking along the A.C. boardwalk Rob & I decided to treat ourselves to a nice Italian dinner. We chose Capriccio, in the Resorts hotel, and it was incredible. This award winning restaurant did not disappoint, we laughed because we literally felt like back in the day this was probably the ultimate mobster restaurant for fancy dinners…maybe it still is? I ordered the shrimp and crab salad, with a side of broccoli rabe, and it was so good. Rob ordered chicken parm, and since there was nothing left on the plate at the end, I’m assuming it was pretty yummy. We shared blackberry cobbler for dessert, it was delish. If you’re in Atlantic City looking to treat yourself to a great restaurant, I highly, highly, recommend Capriccio.
This week I had a lovely girls dinner at Rose’s Luxury, in D.C. If you know about the D.C. restaurant scene, you know Rose’s doesn’t take reservations, so you need to get there early and wait in line…which we did. This was my second time visiting Rose’s Luxury, but since the menu is constantly changing, it felt like a completely new experience. The attention to detail in the service, and the menu, is why this is has been a top rated restaurant in D.C. since it opened. My suggestion: arrive around 4:30pm to make sure you’re seated as soon as it opens at 5.
What I’m Loving…
Every month I change my desktop calendar, and I’ve been using Designer Blogs calendar template to do so. It’s free, and Designer Blogs emails you the new template each month, so it’s super easy to download and change. They also have the themed template for your tablet and phone, so if you love consistency, here ya have it. & for other bloggers out there, Designer Blogs has quite a few freebies, such as tips and tutorials, and great blog templates if you’re looking for something new! Maybe I’m biased because it’s my birthday month, but so far the July template has been my favorite this year!
Where I’m Shopping…
Macy’s: Their having another One Day Sale, which I feel like they have every day…but whatever the prices are incredible. You can save 50% off a large selection of kitchen items, with code FIFTY, and there are tons of clothing items on sale for 20% off or more…bathing suits are 40% off!
LOFT: 50% off sale styles, and an automatic 40% off certain full price items…not bad at all.
Gap: 40% off with code DEAL, I love Gap for summer dresses & jeans!
Bath & Body Works: Aka, the only place I buy candles from. $1 shipping with orders over $30, code SUNTAN. However, I always prefer to shop in store, today candles are $10 off!
I hope you all have a great weekend! & I promise to start taking way more, and way better, pictures for this series, but hey, I gotta start somewhere!!