Exploring Iceland!

I am so excited to finally be writing this post
and am so happy to finally share it with all of you.
It’s actually an interesting story how this trip even came about
so I’ll give you the back story first.
There is a website called Pomelo Travel that sends out emails about cheap flights around the world and it is completely FREE! Because Paige and I have been itching to travel again, we decided to keep our eye on the emails starting November 1st and book the first ticket that was $250 or less, no matter where it was to. So, after a few days, I got an email at work for a ticket to Reykjavik, Iceland for $225.
We booked it on the spot and didn’t look back.
Fast forward to January and we had purchased the snow boots, jackets and other essentials for surviving in the cold and snow. We Bakersfield girls knew we were going to be in for a surprise if we didn’t prepare. However, we insisted on making it there with only a backpack. There were plenty of people who said we were crazy for trying to spend ¬†a week in Iceland with only the things we could fit in our backpacks (you know who you are) but we did it! We had just enough to get us through the week and were incredibly efficient. If you would like to see what our packing list looked like, just let me know.
I’d be happy to share.
Day 1:
We left LAX at 11am on a Tuesday and landed at 4am in Iceland on Wednesday. The time zone change severely messed with our bodies but I’ll get into that later.
When we finally landed, we knew nothing would be open in the city so we spent some time in the airport charging our phones, exchanging currencies and booking shuttle tickets to our hotel. It was a tension-filled day because we were both exhausted and didn’t expect to be allowed to check into our hotel until 3pm so we knew it would be a bit of a waiting game. Our shuttle took us to a bus station downtown around 7:30am and we took a taxi from there to our hotel. I say hotel when in reality, we were staying in a quaint apartment building that was absolutely adorable. Unfortunately, the front office didn’t open until 9am so we were sat in the lobby waiting for about an hour. The biggest of shoutouts to the woman working that day; she let us check-in to our room 5-6 hours earlier than we technically should have been allowed to and we were beyond grateful. Needless to say, we both took a shower and PASSED OUT.
So thank you, Icelandic Apartments. You got our trip to Iceland started on the best foot.
We didn’t wake up until about 8pm and, since the sun is only up from 10am to about 4:30pm during the winter, most of the food options around our apartment were already closed. With another stroke of luck, we found a little shop open across the street with FANTASTIC hot dogs. Come to find out, Iceland is known for their hot dogs and I completely agree with the hype they receive.
We revisited that restaurant multiple times before we left.
Day 2:
Our goal for this day was to go grocery shopping so that we could save some money and cook in our apartment. If there’s one thing you should note about Iceland, it is VERY expensive. So make sure you go in with that mindset, otherwise you will be in for a rude awakening. Lucky for us, there was a kitchen in our apartment and a grocery store across the street so we got our boots on and made a little trek over. Me being, well, me…I decided it would be hilarious to throw a giant snowball at Paige. My karma came rather instantly because as I ran to catch up to her after launching the snowball, I slipped on black ice and fell onto my back. In an attempt at preventing injury, I stuck my arm out to brace myself but that split-second plan ended up backfiring when I landed on my elbow. I haven’t experienced pain like that in a while and was thoroughly convinced that I had broken it and would be making a trip to the hospital. We finished up with the grocery shopping and went back to the apartment. I was still in a ton of pain so Paige, being the lovely little sister she is, went to the drug store and found me some ibuprofen. She also grabbed a ziploc bag and filled it up with snow as a makeshift ice pack. Innovation at its finest, ladies and gents. We ended up spending the rest of the day at home in the hopes that icing my elbow enough would make it completely better by the next day.
Day 3:
Thankfully, we woke up this morning and my elbow was just a little sore so we were ready to go exploring! Our apartment had the most beautiful view of a neighborhood and lake which we KNEW we had to go explore. On our walk there, we had a blast playing in the snow. Paige and I have never had the chance to play in the snow so we were like two little kids on Christmas morning. Paige made a snow angel, we built a tiny snowman and threw a lot of snow at each other. We eventually crossed a cute little river and made our way to the lake; it was incredible. I wish that pictures were able to do it all justice because the view was breathtaking; I could’ve stayed there forever and can only imagine how lovely it must be to own a house right next to that lake and wake up to that view every day. Maybe I’ll buy a vacation home there some day? Who knows ūüėČ

 

 

 

Day 4-5:
These days were also spent exploring and were kind of a blur. Remember when I said that the time zone change really messed us up? Just imagine this: we were awake at 4am and I was running around the apartment in my underwear, a t-shirt and some socks pretending to be Tom Cruise in “Risky Business.” Our sleep schedule was so out of whack and trying to adjust was nearly impossible. It came down to us having to completely exhaust ourselves throughout the day to finally force our bodies to fall asleep when everyone in Iceland was sleeping. Of course, because it’s just the way the universe works sometimes, our sleep schedule didn’t get on track until day 6. Perfect timing, right?
Day 6:
Today was probably our favorite day of the entire trip. We went into downtown Reykjavik and spent hours walking around. Our goal was simply to see as much as we possibly could and get a really good feel for the city. Naturally, our first stop was the Icelandic Phallological Museum. Yes, that is exactly what you think it is: an entire museum dedicated to mammals’ penises. We were the most immature people there by far but had an absolute blast (and the souvenirs are HYSTERICAL). There was a ramen place across the street from the museum that I had read about before we left on our trip so I was so happy to kill two birds with one stone. Paige isn’t a fan of ramen so I got to enjoy Noodle Station all by myself. I loved it. Next, we happened upon the largest church in Iceland! One of the happiest accidents of our entire trip. It is a lutheran church called¬†Hallgr√≠mskirkja and is one of the tallest buildings in Iceland. Another one of those places I think pictures won’t ever do justice; it was simply beautiful and gave us a lot of wonderful opportunities for photos. As we walked along a path that took us right next to the Atlantic Ocean, we came across this beautiful sculpture made to resemble a viking ship. It is called the Sun Voyager and was created by J√≥n Gunnar √Ārnason. It is said that¬†√Ārnason “intended it to convey the promise of undiscovered territory, a dream of hope, progress and freedom,” an idea that I absolutely loved. Life, in general, is undiscovered territory and full of hope. Everywhere you look, you can find something new and another reason to hope for a bright and beautiful future. This day in particular reminded me about my love for the world around me and just how spectacular it can be if you open your eyes and take a good look around you.

 

 

 

(Yes, that is a whale’s penis. Enjoy.)
Day 7:
This day was a long struggle with a fantastic reward at the end. We started out the day with some of the best pizza I have ever had (Iceland, you are doing it right) and headed to the location where we were SUPPOSED to meet the shuttle that would be taking us to the Blue Lagoon. We were a bit lost, a bit confused and ended up on the wrong bus. It, unfortunately, took us to a location we were not supposed to be at and the company responsible for the bus we rode refused to let us ride it back to where we were picked up so we had to walk all the way back. While many people would be angry in a situation like this, I laughed the whole walk back. Mishaps and incidents like that make for some of the best memories when you are traveling and the best thing you can do during those moments is laugh because at the end of the day, there isn’t a single thing that being upset will do for you. We finally made it back to our spot, got on the CORRECT shuttle and arrived at the infamous Blue Lagoon. Paige and I were SO excited and it was everything you see in pictures and more. By the time we arrived, the sun had already set so it was pitch black outside which, in my opinion, only added to our experience. Some of the couples there would most certainly agree with me. *shudder* We were exhausted by the end of our time there but still mustered up the energy to grab a bite to eat at a nice restaurant downtown before taking the bus back to our apartment.
Obviously, we passed out as soon as we walked through the door.
Day 8:
We were not ready to leave this beautiful country but know we will be back (hopefully in the summer next time). After our backpacks were packed, we headed to a bakery across the street for breakfast and took one more walk over to our beautiful lake lookout. Our shuttle picked us up from the apartment building,
dropped us off at the airport
and we hopped onto our plane back to the states.
I am already dreaming of my next trip to Iceland because there are so many things I wanted to do while we were there that would have been much more enjoyable in warmer weather and with a bit more daylight to work with. For our next trip, I hope to take a day tour of the Golden Circle, snorkel the continental divide and maybe, if we have the time, rent a car to drive around the entire country. There is a road that encompasses the entire country and seems like the perfect adventure. Anyone want to join me?
All in all, it was the trip of a lifetime and something I will never forget.
We are so fortunate to be able to travel and experience different cultures
and I will never take that for granted.
I cannot wait for our next trip.
Until then, friends.
xoxo,
Hayley

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Carnival Cruise to Mexico!

I HAVE to start this post by giving my best friend
a HUGE shout out.
Halie took me on a cruise for my birthday/graduation and
it was a BLAST.
So.. THANKS, FENSKE. ILY.
Because it was so much fun,
I just had to tell you all about it incase you are
looking for an inexpensive vacation
that is SO much fun.
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DAY 1:
Yikes.
Day one was a mess.
We were stuck in traffic and BARELY made it onto the boat.
Buuut,
we ran through the doors with just three minutes
to spare and they let us on!
The employees were SO kind and helpful.
Carnival, thank you.
You guys are great.
So once we were on the boat,
we got settled,
ate dinner,
explored the boat..
and crashed.
DAY 2:
We made it to Ensenada
and decided to take a topless bus tour.
SO MUCH FUN.
We got to see all over the city,
hopped off and had AMAZING tacos,
and even got to go to the infamous
Papas and Beer.
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After we got back on the boat,
we ate.. a lot.
Napped.
Went to a comedy show or two.
Went to the night club and danced ALL night.
It was an absolute blast.
DAY 3:
Today was spent at sea,
so we spent our day at the pool laying out.
We ate some more,
went to an “Epic Rock Show”
(think Rock of Ages)
and went to a Piano Bar
where we sat around a piano and sang classics all night.
Probably my favorite night.
DAY 4:
We were back in Long Beach
which meant it was time to get off the boat.
It was such a smooth process,
Carnival really has the whole process nailed.
I am SO glad we got to go on this trip.
Definitely wish we had more time in Mexico
but I guess that just means we will have to go back!
If you guys have any questions about the cruise
or Ensenada,
comment on this post or email me!
I’d be happy to help!
See you in the next post!
xoxo,
Hayley
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Costa Rica: Adventures Galore!

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Week 3 was a blur!
We were doing so many amazing activities, I lost track of the days!
Curious about what we were up to?
Keep reading!
 Day 19: Canyoning!
We got to spend all morning/afternoon rappelling down a total of 6 waterfalls!
The tallest waterfall was about 40 meters (about 131 feet)!
We got a little banged up and bruised but it was AMAZING.
Only thing I wish I had?
A Go Pro.
The photos/videos from canyoning would’ve been amazing.
That may be a future investment.
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Day 20: Unknown location…
Our family surprised us with a trip (at 6am!)
but I am not exactly sure where we ended up!
All I know is,
I don’t think we will ever be going back!
It was hot springs next to a volcano…
but the smell (be it the volcano or something else) was horrendous.
Nothing like the sweet smell of rotten eggs while trying to enjoy a mud bath!
Nonetheless, we loved getting to spend time with our host family.
They are simply the best!
Day 21: Zip-lining!
We got to superman zip-line down the longest zip-line in Latin America!
It was absolutely incredible…
and breath-takingly beautiful.
(Check out the footage in my next YouTube video!)
At the end of the zip-lining tour, you also had the option to complete the Tarzan swing…
Essentially, jump off a 150 ft platform and pray to God that the rope catches you.
Good news: Paige and I both lived.
Did I think I was going to die?
Sure.
But I didn’t so that’s all that matters!
It was one heck of an adrenaline rush but I loved it.
You can also catch Paige doing that in our next vlog!
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Day 22: Panaderia Jimenez

Finally got to show Paige my favorite little bakery in Monteverde.
They have the BEST sandwiches…ever.
Fresh bread, veggies that taste like they were picked out of the backyard that morning and chicken made in an amazing sauce…
Clearly, I’m a foodie.
Those sandwiches are a solid 10/10.
And that’s a wrap for this week!
Stay tuned for week four which will detail our trip to Jaco Beach!
Thanks for traveling along with us!
Talk to you all soon!
xoxo,
Hayley

Costa Rica: Arenal Volcano & CPI

Week two in Costa Rica has been an absolute blast!

Our weekend at Arenal was AMAZING and we did SO many activities!

After our weekend,
we went back to Monteverde to finish up our last week of Spanish classes!
CPI is the Spanish immersion school in Monteverde that we have been taking classes at to better our Spanish!
Here are all of the details:
Day 10-11: Arenal Volcano (hot springs, massages, swimming.. Oh my!)
For our first night in Arenal, we stayed at the Arenal Manoa & Hot Springs resort.
It was fantastic! The room was good sized, the customer service was GREAT (late at night, we discovered a gigantic grasshopper in our room and called someone to come catch it.. the gentleman was more than happy to help out our panicking selves), and the spa was incredible. Paige and I had a couple’s massage (AWK!) and it just so happened to be raining/thundering at the time.. which made the experience even better. It was amazing being able to relax and enjoy the sounds of nature during our Swedish massage, coconut body exfoliation and mini facials.
Would DEFINITELY recommend!
(See more details in our vlog; just click HERE!)
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Relaxing in our first hotel after a 5 hour drive.

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Clearly happy to be in a bug-free room.

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Room service to end our night!

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Low quality Snapchat photo to document the spa ūüėČ

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Visited Christian’s parents and swam in the river by their house!

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Meet Benji!

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And Oso (Bear in Spanish) who had to get a bath…

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…so cute.

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More Snapchat photos because I was so happy about my fresh coconut water!

Our second night was spent at Arenal Paraiso Resort and Spa!

It was absolutely adorable.
The bungalow was perfect for our short stay; good size room, nice bathroom, and privacy! It was nice not being up against every other room
(seeing as their was a basketball team staying just around the corner!)
The hot springs at this resort were AMAZING, not to mention the swim up bar!
There were SEVERAL hot springs and all were slightly secluded so guests were able to have one to themselves during the day (if they were lucky).
It was also nice getting back from a long day of activities and being able to order food and a drink at the swim up bar without having to even leave the pool!
Yet another recommendation I’d happily give!
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Our bungalow for night two!

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A sloth chilling in a tree on the way to our ATV tour!

Before heading back to Monteverde, we HAD to do this ATV tour!

It was so much fun and definitely worth the money!
We drove up to the top of a small cliff next to the volcano and had a GORGEOUS view.
Then we drove all the way up to a river where we were able to get out and swim
or just relax and rinse off the dirt!
You can see a bit of the action in our vlog!
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Paige took AWESOME videos the entire ride…

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…while I drove…

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…you can see the videos in my second video from Costa Rica on YouTube!

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Couldn’t forget about my Pura Vida¬†and Glittered Fig bracelets!
Shop them and don’t forget to use:
“HayleyMarta20” to save 20% on Pura Vida bracelets
“TallAndTrendyTales” to save 10% on The Glittered Fig Boutique
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Made it to a river to swim/rinse off before riding back!

Day 12: The Annexation of Guanacaste (a province in Costa Rica) which means it was a national holiday! We relaxed all day at home, did laundry and went going to bed early so that we could finish our last week of school strong!

Day 13-16: Finished up our last week at school!

The school that we went to is called CPI
(Centro Panamericano Idiomas)
This is the same school that I attended last year and I HIGHLY recommend it.
The staff is absolutely incredible; my Spanish improves so much with each passing day.
I have no doubt that if I had the time and money to spend at the school,
I could easily walk away fluent.
The teachers speak little to no English
so you are essentially forced to practice your Spanish.
The lessons focus on oral communication which makes real-life application SO easy.
Don’t worry, the ladies in the office speak English so if you have any questions/concerns,
they are always right there to help!
Long story short, if you are looking to travel and improve your Spanish at the same time,
CPI is for you.
Classes are 8am to 12pm every day so you have PLENTY of time for your activities.
You stay with a host family so you are immersed in the culture.
Weekends are off so you can plan weekend trips around the country!
By the end of this, you’re probably thinking I’m being paid to say all of this..
But I’m not!
I truly loved both of my experiences at CPI and will be doing my best to return again.
*Day 15: We got to go see Jackie (our Hermana Tica) in her musical at school which was SO much fun. Les Miserables in Spanish is not the easiest to understand, but fortunately for me, I’ve seen the movie so I could follow along!
You can see a little snippet in our week three vlog coming soon!
Day 17-18: We spent the weekend around the house because I was having severe stomach pain (I have stomach problems so this really came as no surprise to me but it did put a damper on some of our plans). However, we did get to go to the farmer’s market on Friday which was SO much fun!
I love getting to practice my Spanish with the locals and get a glimpse into their culture!
Besides, we scored BIG.. 12 bananas for $1?!
It’s amazing how much you can save when the bananas come from just a few miles away!
That’s a wrap for this week, guys!
I’ll be updating you on our week three adventures in just a couple days,
as well as wrapping up our week three vlog so you can see some of the action!
Talk to you all soon!
xoxo,
Hayley
Follow me on Snapchat to catch all of the action: haymart111

Costa Rica: Intro to Monteverde

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I am SO happy to be back in Costa Rica again!
I had so much fun last year and loved my host family so much
that I KNEW I had to come back!
Only difference?
This year I am dragging Paige along with me!
This is my first post completely unrelated to fashion but I figured:
What better place to add in a “lifestyle” element to my blog than in Costa Rica!?
So here it is!
I will be giving you all of the details:
where we have stayed, what we’re doing, the best places to eat and how to save money!
Let’s get started!
Day 1: Plane flight + car ride up the mountain
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First plane flight for Paige…

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…she was freaking out.

We flew Delta and everything went smoothly! No lost luggage, the flight was on time..

You could say I was one happy traveler!

Day 2: Hiking Curi Cancha with Christian!

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The view from the top!

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Paige pretending like she liked the bugs…

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…but we both loved the fresh blackberries.

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Going inside the hollow trees!

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Accidental glamour shot by Paige.

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Owl through a telescope!

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Laughs…

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…and more laughs.

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We LOVED that day.

Day 3: Fiesta for Paula’s abuela who turned 76!

(not many photos, but you’ll catch a snippet of it in my YouTube video!)

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Cute cousin!

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More glamour shots…

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…thanks, Paige.

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My face when I remember we still have 2.5 weeks left.

Day 4: Soccer game for Jackie! Costa Ricans REALLY get into their soccer!

Day 5-9: School at CPI to practice our Spanish. So happy to be back.
(you can see what our walk to school is like in our Intro to Monteverde YouTube video!)

Don’t forget to check out our adventures on YouTube and I will write again soon!

xoxo,

Hayley

Check out our blog from week one by clicking HERE!

And week two by clicking HERE!