#ACtakesIceland

It’s been over a week since I returned from my Paris & Iceland trip with Amy. 

Iceland

It goes without saying: Iceland is a beautiful country. As a native New Yorker, it also encapsulated the opposite of what I’ve known my entire life. I grew up surrounded by rows of houses and buildings, and few animals (dogs and pigeons as exceptions). On the contrary, Iceland was home to all kinds of nature. Waterfalls. Mountains. Lots and lots of flat green land. And most importantly, there were horses and sheep everywhere. 

On our first day, we drove the Golden Circle, which included the Thingvellir National Park, Geysers at Haukadalur, the Gulfoss Waterfalls, and the Kerio Crater Lake. Unfortunately, this was also the rainiest and windiest day of our entire Iceland trip.

On this day, the Gulfoss Waterfalls is one of the most memorable stops. Here we had to choose between staying warm and semi-dry, or maximizing the time we had by hiking further and closer to the falls. In our moment of weakness, we almost turned around. But something came over us, and we decided to brave the weather and go forth! By the time we reached the end, we were drenched from head to toe. I was numb from the cold; could barely feel my fingers. However, I felt exhilarated. I felt strangely alive and carefree. (I wondered if that was what a runner’s high felt like.) And my favorite quote from Amy after our dubbed test-of-strength: “Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not a badass!”

My second favorite memory was our short stay in Vik, a small village in South Iceland. We stayed at a guesthouse with a friendly host and his even friendlier Siberian Husky. The long winding road to get here was the most scenic drive I’ve ever experienced. It was just an absolute dream.

That night we saw the Northern Lights. Seeing the night sky dance before my eyes gave me an unexpected feeling of giddiness. I felt like a small being in a big universe. I also felt extremely close to the sky…as if I could almost touch it. It has been a long time since I experienced such childlike wonder.

This concludes the highlights! The other half of the fun included the abrupt stops during our drive for photo ops, a spontaneous day hike to Thorsmork, and a relaxing last day at the Blue Lagoon. 


Till next time!


C


California Lovin'

In March, I had the pleasure of visiting San Francisco for the very first time! It was a lovely city with wonderful people and a sunny vibe. Of the many places I ventured to - one of the best parts about the trip was how accessible nature was! Unlike New York City, a quick car/bus ride can make you feel as if you left the city entirely. This post is dedicated to my absolute favorite spot, Land's End. 

Land's End is this breathtaking area that takes you on a trail of ruined bath house, beaches, greeneries, and a wonderful view of the Golden Gate Bridge. 

In my week-long trip, I actually went to Land's End twice. Once with my family, and then again with Troy. The second time I wanted to find this hidden spot called the Labyrinth. It was originally created by a man named Eduardo Aguilera in 2004, and consist of stones that make up a circle maze of sorts. 

Finally stumbled upon it. I was happily surprised when we hiked up a cliff, and found it under us!

The weather was beautiful, and the breeze felt amazing. I definitely want to come back one day. Until next time!

Homemade Apple Pie

Devouring donuts and hot cider, apple picking, digging my boots out of the closet, and walking on the streets with a crisp breeze...Fall is definitely here. Last weekend, I had a quintessential Fall moment by visiting an orchard over an hour away from the city. Unfortunately, it was only half awesome because there were barely any apples to pick. So instead, I got this photo of some (shy) sunflowers. 

Nonetheless, I still managed to bake an apple pie yesterday using some of the apples I got! I used to love baking, but haven't committed any time to it in the past couple years. I actually forgot how therapeutic it is to dedicate a couple hours out of your day to make something really delicious for other people to enjoy. Check out that lattice top crust. 

How else are you celebrating this season? Share with me! 

Brooklyn & Manhattan Adventures

The weather was so beautiful this past weekend - almost felt like Summer never left. Just when I thought I was ready to embrace the brisk cool air, I'm now wishing these 70F type days would stay a little longer. 

Thankfully, I took full advantage by making my way around New York City this past Saturday with Troy. It was an eventful day that ended with a nice view of the city. Keep reading for the details!

We started the day with some mental exercise with Mission Escape Games. Basically, a group of 10 people are stuck in a room where you need to solve puzzles, look for clues/keys to get out in under one hour. Super fun and challenging! Our group escaped with 12 minutes to spare - not too shabby. 

Since it was located in Chinatown, we head over to one of my favorite ramen places, Bassanova Ramen. I discovered it a while back when I used to work nearby, and I have been a fan since. The broth is a sure winner - it's really flavorful and rich. Yum! 

After lunch, we made our way to DUMBO for the Dumbo Arts Festival, a celebration of the art born out of the neighborhood. We saw a bunch of cool projects, but my favorite is the below: Degrees of Freedom. And then, some more notable pieces that caught my fancy! 

As I mentioned, the weather was gorgeous. We walked to Dumbo park and found this little sanctuary, that made me feel as if I had left the city. It was really peaceful to sit on the rocks and people watch. We watched a couple of kids throw rocks into the water, it was very precious and a total throw back moment.

Ended the night by watching the sunset on a rooftop in Manhattan. Seeing all the skyscrapers light up reminded me how small I am compared to the grand scheme of life, the city, the universe.

And this reminder made me feel both relieved and humbled. Relieved to know that the world goes on amidst our mistake, and everyday is another opportunity do better. (The world will not crash and burn without us!) And all while humbled because despite how grand this world is, I get to be a part of it all. 

Mini Adventure at the Maker Faire

Happy Sunday! 

I felt inspired to put more love into this blog. And so, as a trial run I put together a little snippet around my Saturday afternoon. Troy and I visited the Maker Faire in Queens, and the Bev Lab section was totally Instagram-worthy. 

Basically, we were encouraged to customize our own beverages by mixing juices and flavors. It's meant to push the experiences we have with our taste buds. I didn't get too crazy, and stayed mostly within the juice territory. I ended up making a concoction of peach & ginger, all sorts of fruits (grapes, pineapple, grapefruit), and...chili powder.  

Then, we were able to experience our concoction not only by drinking it, but eating it as well! We froze our beverage with liquid nitrogen. Fun stuff - get a taste with my photos. 


Time Away From Home: Mexico

Can you believe it? It's almost the end of 2013! It's honestly been a great year - full of small changes, and big life milestones. In 2014, I'm going to try to write more because it will help me be more honest with my feelings and thoughts. It has fallen at the wayside a bit..but I'm going to make more of a conscious effort to blog. 

For me, it's very easy to get caught up in a routine. It's comfortable, and also easy to go through motions without really putting effort to think about

why

we do what we do. So I had the chance to take a mini vacation, and it really helped me to step back from the day to day. The time away from home allowed me to get in touch with nature but also gave me the opportunity to think and reflect. 

Anyways, a photo is worth a thousand words...so I'll let them do the talking here. Here are some photos from Mexico, taken courtesy of my lovely iPhone. 

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En route to Mexico and away from New York City. 

Arrived at our hotel and loving this design.  

My favorite part of the trip: dipping my toes into this refreshing + crisp water.

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Sunset on the beach. If passion had a face, it would look a lot like this.

A visit to a Mayan Ruin. It felt like I entered a time from the past. 

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"If I could wake up in a different place, at a different time, could I wake up as a different person?"

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I tried to imagine what it could be like to live 300 BC. How different life would be back then. 

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I'm actually quite afraid of swimming in water. But I felt such a fascination for it on this trip. Can you feel fear and fascination at the very same time? 

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"There is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it's sent away." - Sarah Kay