Filed In: Life with a dash of sugar
My family and I (and my brothers BFF Maggie) spent a week in Iceland and it was INSANE!
My brother had just finished his grad program and we knew we wanted to take a big family trip, as it may be the last time everyone can get off work for a while. My mom and I voted Europe, while my brother and dad voted Alaska. Somehow we figured Iceland would be a good place to meet in the middle, city life for my mom and I and adventures for the boys.
Here’s a FULL recap, day by day, of what we did. Everyone in the group agreed they would do this exact same trip over again… it was that good!
**Nothing in this post was sponsored, these are all my real opinions and experiences.**
We flew through JFK on a Delta red-eye. We arrived really early in the morning, but luckily most of us got sleep on the plane.
TIP- alcohol: Buy your alcohol in the airport at the duty free store!!! The alcohol in Iceland is super expensive and for us we had a full kitchen most days so it made more sense for us to stock-up.
TIP- rental car: Renting a car is a must! You’ll do so much driving and being at your own leisure will make all the difference. Also, rent a car with lots of room. We squeezed into our car with all of our baggage, food and us… it was comical. We looked like a clown car, but it made for really funny car rides.
We headed straight from the airport into downtown Reykjavik to check-in to our Airbnb for two nights.
Here’s the Airbnb we stayed at night 1 and 2 **Can sleep 8 people
LOVED the location of this one. We were right in the center of town and walked everywhere. The nightlife is crazy so if you stay here on a weekend night bring earplugs to sleep with. We stayed on Monday- Wednesday so we didn’t have any noise issues.
We used this first day to explore all of the shops and coffee joints around town.
Go to the top of this church, so worth it. The view is incredible, you’ll be able to see all of the city.
Make sure to get lunch at Sandholt, the interior is adorable and the food is perfect for chilly days.
We were exhausted this night so we sent the boys out to grab hamburgers at Block Burger and ate in our cozy living room while playing cards.
We woke up early and headed out for a full day tour around the Golden Circle. I highly recommend going through the company we did, the tour guide Logi knew everything and made sure to show us a few hidden spots along the way! All of the pictures below are from our day tour.
The one thing I really loved about this tour was the way Logi worked it so we avoided all the crowds and tour buses. Each site we went to, other than the first two stops, was so quiet and we really had space to explore.
Waiting to watch the Strokkur Geyser explode…. it goes off about every 5 minutes.
Logi took us up to a crater, it was pretty surreal.
We spent the morning sitting outside of a coffee shop before checking out of our Airbnb. The next place we were heading was in the middle of nowhere so first we stopped at Costco, new to Iceland, and loaded up on groceries. The best thing we picked up was fresh salmon… unreal… SO fresh! We ate salmon two nights because it was that good. Costco doesn’t sell wine, beer or liquor unless you have a liquor license, so don’t go there for that.
Our next location was by far the best part of the entire trip!
Brekka Cottage, booked through TripAdvisor **Can sleep 6-8 people
Brekka Cottage is a 30-45 minute drive from downtown and the whole drive is scenic, so it goes by quick. Pictures can’t even do this place justice. We spent the majority of our third day drinking wine in the hot tub out back and grilled salmon on the patio for dinner.
ATV!!!!! Ok none of us were prepared for how intense this tour was going to be. It’s definitely not for anyone afraid of heights, speed or ATVs in general. Our whole group was terrified the entire 2 hour trip, but (big BUT) the things we saw were worth it.
After our scary afternoon riding ATVs through valleys and volcanoes we headed into downtown for the best fish & chips from Reykjavik Fish Restaurant (right on the harbor).
I tried to plan the trip so that we had activities every other day. The owner of Brekka Cottage gives you a link to his website once you book, an added perk, so we went on his site and saw there was a cool hike, Glymur waterfall, 15 minutes (driving) from the cottage. We had a slow morning drinking coffee on the porch and then headed out to explore and hike. I’m NOT a hiker normally, but when in Iceland…
This was a hidden spot we found on the drive to the hike.
View from the top of the hike. There are two options for this hike, 1 hour or 3 hours, we obviously chose the 1 hour…. like I said… I’m not a hiker. This one was perfect for me, really challenging and amazing views.
This was the funniest part of the hike. You had to cross this hanging log and I was hugging the wire for dear life the entire way across.
On our drive back to Brekka Cottage we stopped at a farm. The best thing about Iceland is pulling over on the side of the road and wandering!
This night we cooked in again, played Cards Against Humanity and sipped wine while taking in the view from our porch. The cottage was seriously so amazing that we never wanted to leave. Don’t plan too many activities for the days you stay here, if you do stay.
We were all sad to go, but we packed up our things and drove to our final location, the Silica Hotel- right next to The Blue Lagoon.
This is the only way to go when experiencing The Blue Lagoon. When you book here you get 2 premium passes to The Blue Lagoon and 2 free drinks at the lagoon with each room. Most importantly, Silica Hotel has its own hot lagoon, which is WAY less crowded. We spent the entire afternoon in the hotel lagoon and there was maybe 1 or 2 other people there.
Silica Hotel’s private lagoon.
Walking to The Blue Lagoon for dinner, this is a view of the Silica Hotel from the walking trail.
We had dinner at LAVA, right on The Blue Lagoon, to celebrate our last night. MAKE A RESERVATION if you plan on eating here! Because we stayed at Silica Hotel we all got a free glass of prosecco when seated. After dinner we changed and went into The Blue Lagoon. The lagoon was cool, but honestly it’s incredibly packed with people and after being at our hotels lagoon all day we weren’t used to bumping elbows with people everywhere we turned.
I would do this entire trip over again without a question! Everyone in my group usually has different things they enjoy on vacation, but everyone agreed this was the perfect trip.
The only things I’d change next time would be renting a bigger car and loading up on wine at the duty free store. Can’t stress enough how expensive alcohol is in Iceland. Also, we didn’t get a chance to go to Fridheimar for lunch, so next time I’d love to add that to our agenda.
**My dad had a headache one day and getting our hands on Advil was incredibly hard. Bring all necessary medicines!
Comment below if you have any other questions! XO.
As I sit here writing this, I think there’s a piece of me that’s still in shock.
I’m in shock that someone I thought I knew and loved was/is capable of lying and cheating to the degree he did.
I’m in shock that the person I thought I was is now gone. The naive, trusting and comfortable Madi is dead (as T Swift would say).
I’m in shock.
If you’re not in my innermost circle you may have no idea what I’m talking about, or better yet, you may have no idea to whom I’m even referring. You won’t find his pictures on my social media, because on top of everything else he logged into my private accounts and deleted pictures, people and personal memories.
This post wasn’t written with the intent to blast anyone or air my dirty laundry. If you want the full effect, feel free to play Taylor Swift’s new song while reading along.
Long story short, I chose to end our relationship right before my trip to Iceland due to being on different pages. I then woke up a week later to find my boyfriend of almost 3 years had been living a double life for the past year (possibly longer?). He had me in Orlando and another girl in his hometown. Although we had already ended things, this information still hit me equally as hard. Having one girlfriend is a LOT of work, so I’m not sure how he had the energy to have two, gotta give him props on that one. When you’re the one who’s been deceived it’s natural to stop and think, “what did I do wrong?” or “why did this happen to me?” I’ll be honest, those thoughts went through my head for one whole minute before I stopped and realized, I didn’t do anything wrong here. He didn’t do this because I wasn’t enough, he did this because he has issues. So many girls blame themselves when they go through similar situations and that’s why I’m writing this post, to help any girls asking themselves those questions or feeling lost and unsure of where to go next.
What I did next:
Family. I’m lucky enough to have a mom that doubles as my BFF and have parents that love me, but most importantly understand me more than anyone else. They’ve been my rocks.
Friends. I immediately picked up my phone and started calling my people. Seriously, there’s something to be said about having friends who would kill for you. I was surrounded by girls who were just as angry, if not more, than I was. My friends sent flowers, came over with wine and continued to show me their love and support in more ways than I could’ve ever imagined. I told my mom last night over a glass of wine, one of the most positive takeaways from this experience is seeing how loved I am by SO many people!
GET AWAY. I found out on a Monday. By Wednesday afternoon I was booked on a flight to California to stay with my extended family and one of my oldest friends. I wasn’t running away, but I was clearing my head. Sometimes a change of scenery can let you step back and see things from a different perspective. Also, my family lives on the beach and nothing is more therapeutic than having morning coffee while overlooking the ocean.
Make a game plan. I knew if I sat around and wallowed I’d wake up in two weeks in the same exact spot. Orlando is wonderful and it’ll always be my home, but I want/NEED to experience new people and places, that’s why I’ve chosen to pack up and move to Washington, D.C. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect for this new adventure. My little brother had just accepted a job there and originally planned to live with another guy, but things fell through and he ended up needing a new roommate. Sometimes life has a funny way of laying things out for you. This Sunday I’m booked on a one-way ticket to the city where I’ll live in the cutest two bedroom apartment with my brother.
Exercise. I’ve always loved my daily workouts, but now more than ever they are my saving grace. If I’m feeling anxious I hop on the treadmill and run until I’ve sweat out all my worries.
It’s been a week and a half since everything changed, but I’m seeing things more clearly now and I truly believe everything has changed for the better. I learned a life lesson the hard way, but I learned it. Going into my next relationship I can bring this with me, not as baggage, but as a bonus. Before this week I never had honesty as a top 5 on my checklist. It wasn’t that I didn’t want someone honest, I just assumed most people were. The next person I date will be seen through my new eyes and I know that I will find someone who allows me to be trusting again.
Cheers to new adventures and being a stronger Madi.
When life hands you lemons, slice them up and add them to your sweet tea…. or champagne 😉
So if you follow me on Instagram stories you saw this whole debacle unfold about 3 weeks ago. Here’s the story (nightmare) of my most recent trip to the hair salon.
The day I was flying out to California for a little family reunion I headed into the hair salon to get a quick root touch-up. For as long as I can remember I have always gotten partial highlights and a trim. This time my stylist wanted to add in a little color to the ends of the bottom half of my hair to blend everything together. She also toned me with an ashy color. I don’t realllly know these hair terms, but this is what we discussed. My natural color is a dirty/ashy blonde so that was the reasoning behind an ashy toner. Prior to this stylist I rarely got my hair toned. I love the whole golden and brassy blonde look— and after this I’ll be extremely careful when it comes to letting anyone tone my hair.
I don’t want to get into bashing my salon or hair stylist, so I’m leaving names out of this. I’m not sure what went wrong but I didn’t notice anything until I got into the car, probably because I was rushing out of there to head straight to the airport. I was at a stoplight when I looked down and saw this strip of hair that was stark white. Minor heart attack… Then I got to a mirror and realized my hair was overly bleached and then at closer glance everything looked totally grey and purple. It was bad!!!! You know it’s bad when your dad notices it. This picture is from the airport and you can’t really tell, but this is the only evidence I have from the debacle.
Notice the hat….ha ha. I was not about to show this hair to anyone!
My main concern, above and beyond the color issue, was the fact that my hair looked so fried and felt like straw. My hair is my baby and I was so disappointed that my hard work caring for it had all gone to shit. I cried from the car all the way onto the plane…. my parents wanted to kill me. I called my aunt from the plane, who lives in California, and asked her if she could get me in with someone first thing the next morning to try and fix my hair before the weekend full of events and pictures. I was not about to go the whole weekend with grey hair. Nope.
The next morning I got into an AMAZING hair salon in Manhattan Beach, Hush Hush Hair Salon, and here’s what the stylist did to help fix my hair. Hopefully these tips can help someone in the future if something similar happens to them.
The stylist first put a gloss on my hair (not sure what that means) but he said he really didn’t want to add more color because of the damage my hair had already gone through. Then he washed that out and put a Shu Uemura conditioner that brings out golds in blondes, kind of like the opposite of purple conditioner. He left the conditioner on for about 5 minutes. Those two things crazy helped my hair color, so I left the salon looking a little better than before. From then on I’ve been sleeping in hair masks, continuing use of the gold Shu conditioner (2 times a week) and I stopped using heat products as much as I can!
Let me end this by saying, I completely understand that this is not a really tragic event and much worse things are happening on every corner, every day. I can already picture people messaging me telling me I’m being overly dramatic, so I want you to know I’m fully aware that I probably didn’t need to cry for two hours straight… but hey, that’s me! I’ve always been a crier and it’s not going to end anytime soon.
Ahhh! This is a completely new area for me and it’s definitely going to be a learning process. I need to figure out lighting (my natural lighting changed throughout the video thanks to those random Florida thunder storms), stop saying “ummm” and I need to stop squinting my eyes. Now you guys are only going to concentrate on those things… ha ha. I’m honest with myself and know this will take time to master, but I’m excited to continue putting out YouTube videos and get better with each one.
Have a fun idea for my next YouTube video? Comment below, email or comment on the video. I’d love for you all to subscribe 🙂
Without further adieu, the 5 minute summer glow make-up routine:
If you haven’t been to Orlando yet, my hometown, you’re seriously missing out. I may be a little biased considering I’m a born and raised Orlando native, but there’s so much to do outside of the typical tourist attractions that most people aren’t aware of. Orlando has an amazing food and resort scene, and the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes is one the top Orlando spots you need to try.
The food was incredible all weekend, from our lunch by the pool to our dinner at Primo (pictured below).
Every walk way made for the perfect photo opp.
These mini cabanas by the spa pool though!! I laid here, with a drink in hand, and read my book for a few hours. So cute and cozy!
I had serious decor envy with the patio area at Whisper Creek Farm: The Kitchen. It had just rained when I took this picture so everything was a little soggy.
I took my mom to the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes for Mother’s Day weekend and we seriously had the absolute best girls weekend! I loved that we were able to drive to this resort, yet the moment we got there we felt like we had traveled somewhere hours and miles away. Our room had the coolest view over the pool area and golf course, which is where we spent our mornings sipping coffee and planning our days.
Here’s what my mom and I did during our stay:
Starbucks!!! There was a Starbucks right downstairs so I’d head down every morning to get my iced coffee, then I’d bring it up to my room and sip it while sitting on the balcony.
The day we arrived my mom and I headed straight to the spa where we had massages and tea. The spa area was so nice we ended up hanging around there the rest of the day. The spa is a MUST, you guys!! If you head to the JW Marriott Orlando you have to try and rent a cabana at the spa pool. We had a cabana for the second day of our trip and at the end of the day the staff literally had to pry us from our chairs. The food by the spa pool was top notch. I had sangria all day, which they make with ginger ale- super interesting, but great! For lunch we had the tuna salad, lettuce wraps and french fries (of course).
Lazy river!! The pool situation is every kids dream, and probably some adults too. For me, the spa pool was perfect because it was kid free, but if you’re traveling with the family the main pool is the way to go.
Each night we had dinner right in the hotel, which is a huge perk for us because we love our wine and this way we could enjoy our nights without having to pick who had to drive home.
The first night we headed to Primo, which serves Mediterranean cuisine from local, organic ingredients. We started off with the seasonal arancini (pictured above) and then I had the Primo meatballs while my mom had their pasta of the day. The food was beyond fresh and veryyyy filling. We definitely had to waddle back to our room that night.
Ok, this is a restaurant I will be coming back to again and again! This place features farm-inspired comfort food and craft beers. I have a ton of amazing restaurants right around where I live, but this one really set the bar higher. I loved the cozy seating they had, especially since my mom and I had been in the sun all day, we were really craving a comfy spot to drink and eat that night. Everything we ate and drank here was AMAZING.
We started with the lump crab salad (my moms favorite)
I had the eggplant flatbread for dinner and my mom had the barley bowl. Both of these were winners!
The cucumber cooler drink (craft cocktail) is worth driving back to this place in itself.
The service at this hotel was 5 star and we really didn’t want to leave. I would recommend the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes to anyone traveling, whether you’re a couple or family. There really is stuff to do for everyone.
Huge thank you to the JW Marriott Orlando, Grande Lakes for having me and sponsoring this post.
Two weeks ago a few bloggers and I headed down to Palm Beach, Florida to check out the Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa. Palm Beach has always been one of my favorite beach destinations, between the shopping and architecture, there’s so much to do and see. If you haven’t experience shopping on Worth Ave (just a few miles from the resort), you are seriously missing out. It’s kind of like the Rodeo Drive of the south. The entire resort was actual decor goals, from the stunning lobby to the light and airy rooms designed by Jonathan Adler (yes… like full rooms of Jonathan Adler decor)! Next time I travel to Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa I’m going to book myself on the club level, because after seeing how charming it was, and how much food it had, I was super envious of the guests who had access to it.
One thing I LOVED about Eau Palm Beach Resort and Spa was the tranquil adult pool. Nothing against all the kiddies out there, but I really love when a resort has an option for those traveling without kids. This pool looked right out onto the ocean and I felt super luxe lounging there.
Outdoor showers…. major bonus points! The resort offers an array of water sports, tennis, a gorgeous fitness center and amazing on-site food options. The lunch we had out by the pool on our last day was so yummy. I had a lobster roll that put Maine’s rolls to the test.
Gotta love an Instagrammable resort… or is that just a blogger thing? So these hanging chairs were on the balconies of floor rooms and I seriously could’ve posted up here with my book for the entire day. I’m not going to lie, I went home and priced out these hanging chairs for my house. Like I said, decor goals.
If you make your way to the resort make sure to book a day at their award winning spa. My massage there was one of the best I’ve had and in between services you can hang out in their mini oasis, which has even more hanging chairs, and eat cupcakes! I am finally settling back into reality after traveling for the past two weeks and I was wondering why my jeans were tight…. might have been the cupcakes I couldn’t stop eating at Eau.
Cheers, Eau! Hope to see you again real soon.
This is one of those posts that makes me nervous… I have always wanted my blog to truly represent me and with that comes criticism. I was inspired to share this after Chrissy Teigen came out saying that the only thing real about her is her cheeks. This was just so refreshing for me!! Love ya, Chrissy. Also, thanks to Aesthetic Lane for taking great care of me during my recent visit.
People always say they want honesty, but when they’re let in they have a million things to say, which makes me want turn back and post only perfect parts of my life. Let’s be honest though, not many things in life are perfect. I’m like anyone else, in the sense that I have things I wish I could change about myself, my life, my personality, you name it. That’s natural.
I look around and there are SO many teenage girls struggling to achieve things they see on social media. It’s sad to me that these young girls are growing up with so much pressure and while you may think me sharing a beauty regimen like botox is going against everything I’ve just said, I’m putting this out there for those girls to understand that what they see is no where near anything honest or real. First off, come see me at 9 am on a Monday and I can assure you I look nothingggg like my last picture on Instagram. I wake up with teased hair, dark circles and probably a blemish or two.
By me letting you guys in, I’m stepping out from that Instagram curtain and showing you the real me. The me who hated my forehead creases. I love myself, but I also think it’s perfectly ok to do something extra if it means making me feel just a little better. I don’t do this for boys, my followers or the girl sitting across from me at the pool. I do this for me.
How many times have I had botox done?
3 times over the course of 2 years.
I go in every 6-9 months for a touch-up.
When did I start?
24 years old
But you’re so young…. Why now?
PREVENTATIVE! My forehead drove me nuts, but were the lines super deep? No. Would they probably get really deep in the next few years? Yes. When I go into the office most people in the waiting room are younger.
Where do they inject?
I only get injections on my forehead and between by eyebrows. Like I said, I do this because I kept getting terrible creases in my forehead, due to my crazy expressions, so that’s the only area I fix.
How many units do I get?
Does it hurt?
I’m a baby when it comes to pain and I’ve never found this to be a painful experience. Is it a little uncomfortable? Maybe, but I’d much rather get botox than go to the dentist. Supposedly, the filler is what hurts, but I’ve never done that so I can’t really speak to it.
What’s the downtime post botox?
You are good to go right after! I tend to get red and have a little swelling at injection site, but it all subsides after and hour or so.
Get the important stuff, the money!
Every place varies in pricing. You pay per unit, so it also depends on how many units they inject. I think most people have this huge number in their head and I think they’d be surprised by the cost (in a good way).
This week I headed down to a STUNNING resort in Palm Beach, FL for a blogger girls getaway, full resort review coming soon, and it was such a fun time. You can’t really go wrong when a resort welcomes you with a full glass of champs. I love how blogging has given me the opportunity to connect with so many amazing women and stay in amazing places like this!
I have 2 more resort trips and Derby all in the next 3 weeks, which means a lot of time in the sun. When I was in high school I didn’t give two cares about my skin and I definitely tanned wayyyy more than I should have. Ugh, looking back on it makes me so annoyed. If only I knew then what I know now I would’ve loaded up on hats and used a good sunscreen (or sunscreen at all in some cases). With that all being said, I’m a HUGE sunscreen addict now, like I wear moisturizer with SPF in it every single day… no matter what I’m doing or where I’m going.
I really love this Hawaiian Tropic® Silk Hydration™ Weightless Face Lotion because it gives me that coverage I need without the greasy feeling sunscreen can tend to have. Also, it doesn’t hurt that this in indulgent Hawaiian Tropic sunscreen lotion smells like the islands. For me, smell is such a huge thing. I hate when I use a makeup or lotion product that makes my face smell weird. Anyone else with me on that?
I’ll stop rambling now, but seriously you guys, this stuff is amazing!
I’m sharing Hawaiian Tropic in my life as part of a sponsored series for Socialstars™” #AlohaTherapy
Good morning!! I figured I would update you all on my BBG progress in 4 week chunks. So here’s my first check-up.
What is BBG?
BBG stands for Bikini Body Guide, a 12 week workout program created by Kayla Itsines. The program is know for it’s 7 minute circuits. Each circuit day you are supposed to complete two circuits, each 7 minutes long, and then repeat for a total of 28 minutes. Much harder than you’d think!
What made me want to start?
Kayla might just have the cutest athletic body I’ve ever seen, so that alone was motivation to do her program. I also saw one of my favorite bloggers, Amber Fillerup Clark- The Barefoot Blonde, started and her body has transformed in the most amazing way in just a few weeks.
Before the program-
I’ve always worked out since my Junior year of college. My weekly workouts usually consisted of running 2.5 miles 3-5 times a week and doing a few weights/ab exercises on top of that. I found my legs and butt were the hardest things to tone. You can do squats till you’re blue in the face, but those are only targeting one small part of your body. Prior to the program I was at my goal weight but felt like I needed to be more toned. The one thing I love about Kayla’s program is the emphasis on how your body looks, not your weight. Sometimes muscle will up your weight but your body can look skinnier.
Did I follow the eating portion of the program?
No. I plan to have this program become a part of my life and I knew if I made it all encompassing I’d have a really tough time sticking with it. Kayla doesn’t drink alcohol and feels her BBGers shouldn’t either. I for one, LOVE wine so me giving that up wasn’t an option. Overall, I’m a pretty healthy eater. If I eat bad foods I tend to balance that by eating small portions of it and drinking LOTS of water. I do have a major sweet tooth and I tend to eat a few pieces of candy every day, but when you’re working out this much it’s ok.
Did I do the app or the PDF?
The program can be purchased in two forms. You can either buy her app through the app store on your phone or you can buy the PDF booklet from her website. I did the PDF booklet for this first round because it’s cheaper and I wanted to make sure I’d like it before spending the extra mula on the app. Honestly, most days I pull up the PDF on my computer and then write down the circuits on a piece of paper to bring with me to the gym.
How am I feeling on week 4?
Week 1 was reallllly tough and I know that this is where most people run into a problem. I think the intensity level in week 1 tends to scare people away, but I assure you that it gets SO much easier. The first 2 weeks I would usually end my workout with a nauseated feeling and either my legs or arms would be shaking uncontrollably. There was a point where I didn’t think I’d ever be able to complete a circuit without taking a breath, but that’s not true. This is the first week where I feel so much stronger and can tell a huge difference in my endurance level. I did arm and ab circuits yesterday and my pushups have already improved a crazy amount.
Has my body changed?
I haven’t seen a change in my weight or any crazy changes in my abs, but I have seen a huge difference in my legs and butt. My legs haven’t been muscular since my days of all-star cheerleading, but for the first time in 6 years I’m seeing muscles again. I still have 8 weeks left and I expect by week 6/7 I’ll see bigger changes in the rest of my body.
What’s my favorite thing about the program?
The one thing I really love about BBG is the fact that all of my workouts are written out for me. I would almost compare this to having a personal trainer. I have a plan for every day on the work week and at this point I would feel so guilty if I skipped a day after making it this far. You do have to be somewhat self motivated to do this program, but if you can just get started you will have an easier time continuing.
Until next time, Xo!