Read Before Desert: Coachella Packing Guide

I can’t believe Coachella is almost here! I’m so excited for some time with my boyfriend and to see all my LA friends in what I consider three of the most fun days of the year! I’m not even sure if I’m more excited for the festival or the parties! I keep seeing all of these ‘what to wear’ and ‘festival makeup’ tutorials but not so much the nitty gritty essentials that have made the experience so much better. So here it is, my compilation of must haves that will make your life so much easier:


 
SPF! And a minimum of an SPF30 at that! I have my sunblock in everything from my primer, makeup to my self tanner! With the amount of sunburns I’ve seen and the amount of fun you can expect in the sun, don’t skip on sun protection! Pick your favorite but some new ones I’ve been obsessed with is Paula’s Choice RESIST Smoothing Primer Serum SPF 30, which has skin benefits, and acts like a primer with spf so your makeup goes on smoother. Murad City Age Defense SPF 50 is a current favorite as well, it’s probably the smoothest and most lightweight SPF I own, and super purse friendly. Lastly my assistant turned me onto Almay Healthy Glow Makeup + Self Tan SPF 20, which after a long winter and white legs instantly makes me look tan. It also makes my legs look ten years younger and covers all my spider veins and even some burn marks I have from some mishap clothing steamer experiences. Just a disclaimer though, don’t wear under white or pants, it does run (or at least it does for me even though I wait hours before putting anything over). It’s just my go to before going out and then I like to wash it off at night.

Moisturize – it gets dry in the desert! You want a good moisturizer to start and end your day and put back the hydration. The reformulated Olay Total Effects is a 7 in 1 moisturizer that does it all from replenishing moisture, evening skintone and smoothing out fine lines and wrinkles. The biggest note though for Coachella is in the updated forumla they added 50% more Vitamin E and twice the amount of Green Tea Extract which are two powerful antioxidants that protect skin cells against free radical damage (aka damage from sun exposure). I talk more about this product HERE.

Portable Steamer – those cute clothes mean nothing if they are all wrinkled from traveling. Personally I love Conair Turbo ExtremeSteam Handheld Fabric Steamer, granted it’s a little bulkier than some of the others on the market, it’s by far the best portable steamer I’ve ever used and works as well as my heavy duty one at home.

Face Wipes – First off wearing sandals at Coachella is a death wish, you walk about a half a mile in sand to get to the festival and there is dust everywhere on that trek. I like to bring a family size pack, like Olay’s Gentle Clean Cleansing Clothes, AND individually wrapped ones for my purse, like the Ursa Major Essential Face Wipes. Both are fragrance free which is what you want in a face wipe, especially when you’re in the desert since they’re more gentle on skin.

Quality Razor – I’m really over cheap travel razors, they don’t last as long and can lead to razor burn, which is not cute at the pool parties. When I heard the Schick Hydro Silk Razor had serum infused in it I kind of thought it was a gimmick until I used it and my legs were so smooth and the shave lasted days longer without any irritation. And not for nothing but I don’t even use shaving cream, just body wash and I noticed an incredible difference between this razor.

Tired Eyes – get ready for minimal sleep, because you’re not going to want to miss a second of the fun! And it’s all fun and games until you wake up with puffy, tired eyes. I’m a huge fan of the new-ish Olay Eye collection that launched last year, and specifically the Depuffing Eye Roller for Coachella. I store mine in the fridge and it instantly brightens and calms the under eye while hydrating it. If I’m extremely puffy I’ll apply a generous amount and let it sit for 5 minutes and pat in. I also like the Olay Eyes Ultimate Eye Cream, which is more of a multi-tasking 3 in 1 eye cream that fights dark circles, wrinkles and puffy eyes. I packed both. Speaking of eyes the NUDESTIX Clean-Up Pencil is amazing for touching up any makeup. It’s makeup-remover (think cleansing oil in a stick) that’s really convenient for touch ups. Especially since my eye makeup is always running in strange weather.

Dry Shampoo – Showering everyday is a pain, I always bring a travel dry shampoo with me. There are a number of good ones on the market, I brought Ouai’s which also had a really cute Styel Edit Set for $25 which has a travel size of their Wave Spray, Texturizing Hair Spray and Finishing Creme that’s really convenient.

Hot tools – Braids are the de-frizz way to go at Coachella, but I also like to have a straightening iron and curling iron on hand. I’m pretty obsessed with T3’s curling iron at the moment. You an interchange the head to different barrel sizes and it works so well! I just got the flat iron but haven’t played with it as much but will report back on it and some other of their hot tools I got before my trip.

Compeed Blister Cushions – Add these to your list! Within 2 days of being in flip flops I’m blister city. You can use these preventative-ly like a band-aid in any areas that is blister prone (back of feet, sides or toe area) or after you get a blister and they serve as a second skin so you don’t even feel the blister anymore. Foot pain is never fun when you’re on your feet all day. I feel like I’ve saved lives with this tip, it will change your life.

Snack bars – I’m partial to Luna, Clif and Kind bars, I find having one in your bag or car or just around in general helps to keep your energy up and something in your stomach. There’s a lot going on and it’s easy to forget to eat — more so at the parties though since the festival does have tons of food options. With all the partying and drinking though I find I’m always handing them out. Also stay hydrated!!!!

Nail it – I can’t deal with my nails while at Coachella or chipping manicures which is why I always get gel polish (and usually a fun design from either Paintbox or Valley). I also brought the new China Glaze Chrome Press On Nail for variety! They have an amazing silver, gold and holographic press on that’s so fun and will probably pop those on for some variety during the week.

Travel Size: Some other quick notes, travel size everything is better! I love this travel VIOLIFE electric sonic toothbrush with cover for travel, also Olay Ultra Moisture with Shea Butter to hydrate and wash the desert off (bring a hefty body wash). Also it took me a while to find the perfect Dopp Kit bag to hold all my toiletries and this one from Henri Bendel has been all over the world with me and keeps me so organized.

The post Read Before Desert: Coachella Packing Guide appeared first on Pretty Connected.

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Made in LA

It’s so great to be back in LA! I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I’ve been back. Usually, I say in Santa Monica but I’ve had a blast exploring some of the other parts of LA with my amazing tour guide and host, Kristi from Currently Crushing. Her partner is an incredible photographer and I’ve had a blast shooting around the city from scenic hike areas to the classic “Made in LA” mural I’ve seen all over Instagram.

Outfit details: Jessture NY white button down dress (similar) Forever21 Belt (on sale!), MCM vintage bag (similar), Brian Atwood Platform Wedges, Sunday Somewhere sunglasses.

 

I’m pointing at Charlie in those photos since unlike me, he was made in LA. Although I like how we cropped out he “Made” so it just reads “In LA” in the above photo. Speaking of Charlie, this month marks the one year anniversary from when I rescued him. We’re actually headed to Palm Springs to the Westin in Mission Hills tomorrow, which is where we rescued him from. I’m so excited for the staff there to see him and just how much he has blossomed since we took him in (you can read more about his sad turned happy rescues story HERE, and how this incredible hotel brought him into my life).

I’m pretty obsessed with this white button down dress, it looks great belted or on it’s own. It’s from a newer designer I just discovered, Jessture NY. I’ve been belting it with this Forever21 BTB Two-Buckle Belt, which I have been living in this whole trip. I was looking for a vintage (or new) variation of this belt forever, go figure it would be at Forever 21 and on mega sale!

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DIY Pedi Perfection Right in Time for Spring

You’ve heard sun’s out bun’s out but for most people it’s sun’s out toes out.  I admit it’s not as sexy or as catchy but who says it has to be? Here’s what I do to get Pedi Perfection Right in Time for Spring! Rather than doing just a foot soak,

The post, DIY Pedi Perfection Right in Time for Spring was written by Christene Carr and appeared first on ThisThatBeauty.

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So I made perfumes (to benefit one of my favorite charities)! …

So I made perfumes (to benefit one of my favorite charities)!  They’re limited to 12 of each fragrance and there are a few of most of them left so I wanted to share them with you all. Each is a study of an aspect of the area where I live … tide, sun, farm and field. I wanted to limit the edition because scent is so connected to memory … example: I recently smelled Issey Miyake for Him in an airport store and was instantly in an old boyfriend’s apartment (eerie and actually sort of invasive). What if a scent could mark a time in your life, never to be revisited again? 

These were created for the Essex Artist’s Collective’s WILD show, so they’re called wild/fawn, wild/blaze, wild/moonlight and wild/zephyr.

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Here’s a bit about them … They’re 8 mL perfume oil rollerballs in a base of organic coconut oil. Vegan, not tested on animals and proceeds benefit Abby’s House, one of the oldest women’s shelters in the U.S. (this is also where we gift our extra blog samples!). They have some natural separation because I didn’t go crazy with the solvents which are in many perfume blends – so just shake them if you need to.

wild / fawn is a jasmine oakmoss scent, a floral musk with topnotes of bitter orange and a rich, sensual drydown. It’s a study of some of the animalic aspects of jasmine and includes a drop of hand-distilled hydrosol made from clean hay from the barn where I ride. There are 3 left.

wild / blaze is neroli almond … warm, yummy like a day in the sun at the dunes where we spend lazy summer days. It has a white musk warm skin accord and a rich tonka bean and vanilla drydown, plus a slight sexy touch of hand-distilled smoked tobacco. It’s sold out though!

wild / moonlight is the greenest rose otto. It’s actually about the tidal estuary where our little boat lives, and the idea of femininity’s connection to the moon and constant change. It opens with sweet basil, with a heart of organic rose otto and a bite of cassis berry. There are 2 left.

wild / zephyr is a very fresh grassy oceanic scent about the wind coming across the fields where I live and a little bit about walking out to get the paper in the morning (simple things!). It’s almost genderless, opening with a linen accord, then a fresh grass heart … and it dries with an almost metallic, after-the-sea skin feel. It has a drop of hydrosol from wind-felled pine from a branch that nearly landed on my car … There is 1 left.


Does This: Perfume oils to benefit charity  
Is This: 8 mL perfume oil in coconut oil base
Get This: HERE
Price: $22.00

Special thanks to my friends/employers at Tru Fragrance for helping support this project through materials (rollerballs and labels and years of education). I hand-made them myself though! Not quitting my day job … the education continues (forever) regarding the amazing art of perfume.

original article here

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Ouai Style Bar opens at Bendel’s, Caudalie Moves, Malin+Goetz new store, Knockout launches at Bloomingdale’s and more!

Hair cut by Juan Carlos Maciques

It’s been an eventful few weeks of new beauty shops popping up around the city. Here’s a rundown of the events and new openings and products we’re excited about! Also I finally got a must needed chop (ugh the dry ends are no joke when you have this much bleach in your hair!) from celebrity hairstylist Juan Carlos Maciques, who cuts out of Rita Hazan, I even trusted him to do light layers. It’s been so much more curly and bouncy since the cut that I haven’t been straightening it as much and loving my natural wave! On to the good stuff… beauty lovers of NYC, here’s what’s now in your backyard:

Ouai x Dyson Styling Bar opens at Henri Bendel

Jen Atkin, celebrity hair stylist and creator of the hair care line Ouai launched an exclusive dry style bar pop up in collaboration with Dyson at Henri Bendel through April 30th. The featured menu offers four hair styles complete with Ouai products and the Dyson Supersonic hair dryer. Styling services will be available Tuesday – Saturday 11am – 6pm. All I know is that I’m literally foaming at the mouth to get my hands on that Ouai Foam Conditioner! Location: Henri Bendel, 712 5th Avenue, NYC, 2nd floor. Bookings and details HERE.

Madison Reed Color Bar featuring T3

We stopped in to the new-ish Madison Reed Color Bar for a root touchup and styling. Some of you may be familiar with their online service, providing customizable hair color based off of a short yet informative questionnaire. The perfect shade is sent right to your door for comfortable at-home hair coloring. Now you can experience their products along side their expert colorists at the Madison Reed Color Bar, where you can order your shade online and bring it with you or be color matched in person and they’ll do your hair for you. It’s the best of both worlds, affordable home color price tags with expert hair stylists to do your hair. They also use T3 Micro Tools, which we got a demo of these incredible hair styling tools as part of our color service at the event. Literally the T3 Volumizing Hot Rollers and hair dryer have changed my life — the hot rollers came as a shocker to me! And the Twirl Convertible Curler which lets you change the barrel size is next level genius! Stay tuned for more info on their hot tools, and demo but it’s so exciting they use these at the salon!

The Madison Reed Color bar is located at 7 West 19th street at 5th.

Malin+Goetz opens in Nolita

With Mathew Malin and Andrew Goetz  and Mr. Greenberg! at the Nolita store opening

One of our favorite apothecaries skincare shops, Malin + Goetz recently celebrated the opening of their newest store in Nolita at 235 Elizabeth Street. Along with the new location, they also launched some incredible new products that I’m already obsessed with.

Revitalizing Eye Cream: A multi-benefit treatment formulated with an advanced blend of firming peptides and Marine Algae extract that will address all your major eye concerns: puffiness, fine lines, wrinkles, you name it. Not to mention this cream is so hydrating and lightweight and absorbs beautifully! I’ve been using it for about 3 weeks now and the results are both longterm and instant — as in I wake up with tired bags since I’ve been traveling so much and have been mega-sleep deprived and it instantly brightens and nourishes.

Recovery Treatment Oil: This oil launched late last year and has been a great transitional oil for winter to spring since it’s ultra nourishing but not heavy in the way some of my winter oils can be. Formulated with evening primrose, Argan and jojoba oils, it’s a dry oil that helps to protect skin from free radical damage to  boost hydration, reinforce skin’s moisture barrier, and soften the appearance of lines and wrinkles. And the smell is so relaxing! I use it at night under or mixed in with a moisturizer. It can also be worn alone.

Dark Rum EDP Fragrance: My boyfriend’s favorite candle featuring their cult favorite scent, Dark Rum has been reinvented with bergamot and plum as well as hints of leather and amber for their new unisex scent, Dark Rum EDP Fragrance. They also launched a lightweight Rum Body Lotion which is on my list!

Sage Candle: For anyone that has ever loved the smell of burned sage *hand raised*, rejoice! I for one burn sage every month or so in my apartment to clear the bad juju and negative energy out of my space and have always loved the smell. You can now get that scent mixed with some notes of eucalyptus, sage, lavender, cedarwood, moss and leather — like literally I smell all of these notes in the magic that is this candle.

 

The new Caudalie spa!

Last month I joined Caudalie for the opening of their new signature Caudalie Spa at 819 Madison Avenue on 68th street. The new location is super homey and makes you feel like you’re relaxing in the comfort of someone’s luxurious living room. This location will take over for their spa at the Plaza which will eventually be closing. The brand also introduced their new Vine[Activ] skincare collection which includes the Vine[Activ]  Glow Activating Anti-Wrinkle Serum, Vine[Activ] Energizing and Smoothing Eye Cream, Vine[Activ] 3-in-1 Moisturizer, and Vine[Activ] Overnight Detox Oil which I can’t wait to try after my current routine.

Sephora 2.0! The new 34th Street and 5th Ave locations are next level!

Attention all Sephora lovers: The biggest Sephora in the U.S just opened up on 34th Street and it’s the most exciting launch of it’s kind. Featuring over 13,300 products and more brands than any other Sephora store to date, this gigantic store is also packed with exciting new technological features. And the designer section of makeup looks amazing and so much more organized and fancy! The hallmark of the new superstore is the Sephora TIP Program (teach, inspire, play) which uses a variety of engaging  technologies to allow people to come together and take group beauty classes with Sephora’s best makeup artists. There’s also the brand-new Beauty Board, a shoppable gallery of user-generated content (aka: your Instagrams and FB photos). Another unique feature that is exclusive to the 34th street store is the launch of Jo Malone products which online and exclusively in-store at this location starting mid-April.

The Sephora 34th Street is located at 112 West 34th Street, NYC.

The newly relocated 5th Avenue Flagship Store features the same elevated feel and extensive assortment of brands. The launch party was hosted by Gotham Magazine and Moroccan Oil and of course Charlie (okay and me) made Gotham’s website!

Sephora 5th Avenue Flagship is located at 580 5th Avenue, NYC.

Knockout Beauty at Bloomingdale’s Soho

Knockout Beauty launch party at Bloomingdale’s with the stores founder, Cayli Reck

Beauty insider and founder of Knockout Beauty, Cayli Reck, brought a curated collection of clean beauty products and solutions to Bloomingdale’s Soho. The shop is home to over 40 different vendors and offers an impressive assortment of conscious skin care and makeup brands. Some of my new favorite natural products and indie brands that are now on my radar from the Knockout event are listed below:

Sprayology Hair + Nail Tonic: This homeopathic oral spray promises to restore your hair and nails to perfect health with all natural ingredients. The brand offers a number of homeopathic sprays that I need in my life.

Glow Inner Beauty Powder: External beauty starts from the inside with this bio-fermented super-food blend containing essential antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and probiotics designed to improve gut health and enhance the skin from the inside out. As Cayli put it, it makes you super regular in 3 days, and she was not kidding!

Colorescience has been on my radar for a while now thanks to Instagram, but I finally got my hands on their Mineral Corrector Palette and Brush-On Sunscreen! Colorescience is changing the SPF game with their skin conscious beauty products, including their nifty on-the-go skin enhancing brush-on sunscreen which offers SPF 50 and a finishing powder as an all in one. They also have a Mineral Corrector Palette that conceals, brightens and protects skin with an SPF 20, I’m so excited to try!

Sjal Co-founder, Kristin Petrovich new book, Elemental Energy

Space N.K. hosted the book launch for Sjal co-founder, Kristin Petrovich’s Elemental Energy book, which guides readers through harnessing the energetic powers of crystals and gemstones to achieve optimal beauty and wellness, both physical and emotional. I’ve been interested in this realm of wellness through crystals and stones for awhile now, so I really look forward to diving into this topic and learning more about the power of energy from these gems. Sjal also offers a unique skin care line that combines ancient eastern medicine with western biotechnology. Their products are infused with precious minerals and gemstones discussed in their book. For more info about Sjal, check out their website.

Lipstick Queen Mornin’ Sunshine Exclusive to SpaceNK

Speaking of Space N.K… Frog Prince fans can rejoice, Lipstick Queen’s newest color-changing lipstick, Mornin’ Sunshine is now available at the speciality retailer. While it looks yellow, this lipstick adjusts to your lips PH to transform your lips into a custom peachy coral. It’s very subtle and mostly looks like a really pretty, peachy lip balm (don’t expect anything dramatic), then again I have really dark lips so it would probably show up better on lighter skintones.

CEW product demo and 2017 Beauty Insider Award Finalists Announced!

We always look forward to new product innovations at the yearly CEW Beauty Inside Awards Kick off and Product Demo. Our friends at Beauty Fashion Fragrance have the full scoop on what’s new and the products you need to know about. And CEW just announced the 2017 CEW Beauty Insider Award finalists (see the whole list HERE). The winners will be announced May 12th so stay tuned!

The post Ouai Style Bar opens at Bendel’s, Caudalie Moves, Malin+Goetz new store, Knockout launches at Bloomingdale’s and more! appeared first on Pretty Connected.

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My Olay Journey is Live!

Results Matter – My 28-Day Journey with Olay

If you caught me in last month’s issue of Health magazine, you may have seen my partnership with Olay and interview where I shared my results of the 28-day clinical trial for the re-launch of their award-winning Total Effects Anti-Aging Moisturizer. You can read the whole article HERE. Formulated to nourish skin and reduce the 7 signs of aging, Olay re-engineered the original formula to now include 50% more Vitamin E and double the amount of Green Tea Extract to provide full protection against free radical damage.

Why does this matter? Natural antioxidants in our skin gets depleted in our skin over time due to sun exposure (wear that SPF!). Vitamin E and Green Tea Extract which are present in Total Effects, help to boost antioxidant levels while delivering powerful anti-aging benefits that improve the appearance of sun-damaged skin. Olay also reformulated other core products this year to enable women today to achieve the best results for their skin.

I am thrilled to unveil how I was able to test the performance of these new formulas in a most exciting way *drum roll please*….through a split face blind test with my mom! Want to find out if Olay’s reformulations really deliver results at any age? Watch our video here:

What we didn’t know when we were going for weekly monitoring of our skin and tests is that we were using different Olay products!

We were given an unmarked bottle of moisturizer and instructed to use it exclusively on one-half of our face, twice a day along with the designated face wash, which could be used all over. And then come in for weekly testing to measure our skin for improvements. Let me just add some !!!! to what I just said. For a month, my mom and I used only a face wash on our entire face and then on only 50% off it used an unmarked moisturizer. For anyone that follows me on social you know how major that is since I love my essences, exfoliators, serums, masks… so to only be able to wash my face and partially moisturize was a trip!

original article here

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Vist Iceland: What to Do, Where to Go and How to Plan

For the past few years I’ve seen non-stop incredible photos of Iceland 0n my Instagram feed — images of the Northern Lights, Blue Lagoon, the Icelandic horses, and so many natural wonders that I knew I had to go. I felt overwhelmed though trying to figuring out what to book. With just a plane ticket (booking was the first step!), I started reading articles, reviews and asking advice of friends so here is the quick and easy guide to what I did, and what’s on my radar for next time.

WHERE TO STAY: Downtown Reykjavik, Room with a View

There are loads of hotels all over Iceland but if you’re limited on time, downtown Reykjavik is ideal. All of the tours pick up from there and it’s a really cute scene, filled boutiques, restaurants, popular attractions and life. We stayed at Room with View Luxury Apartments, which was the most ideal location. In fact if you’re looking at other hotels see how close it is to this one since it doesn’t get anymore prime and right. Although dubbed an apartment, it’s more of an upscale hotel suite complete with a kitchen, doorman and helpful staff to accommodate any bookings. There’s also a steam room and Jacuzzi on the property! We were a party of 4 people and one thing I learned is two double beds in a hotel basically doesn’t exist. This was the only hotel I found that could accommodate us in one room. I highly recommend emailing them in advance your needs. We ended up with 3 single beds and one double bed in our huge, beautiful, dream apartment with 2 bathrooms suite that was cheaper then booking two rooms somewhere else.

How to Get Around:

Your options are basically, taxi, car rental, bus, ferry or tour buses (more info HERE). I highly recommend renting a car, we used Lagoon Car Rental which was wonderful. They picked us up from the airport and drove us 5 minutes away to the car location and made it all super quick and easy! And also through a wi-fi router we had internet in the car the whole time. Renting a car made the most sense for us since we were a party of 4 and getting to/from the airport to Reykjavik is about a 45 minute drive and pricey, so is the Blue Lagoon (we were quoted $40 each way from Reykjavik, although they have ticket options that include a shuttle). Reykjavik is a very walkable city so we basically used the car for day trips and otherwise found easy street parking and did tours. The tours pickup from hotels in Reykjavik so that part was easy.

We rented a Renault Talisman which had plenty of space in the trunk for all of our stuff. Some people prefer a 4×4 SUV but I found the roads really well paved and since we were doing tours (all listed below) for more of our nature excursions, and the weather was mild, we were more than fine in a regular car. If you are doing more off roading and driving yourself around the country (especially in harsh weather) you may want to consider a 4×4.

WHAT TO DO IN ICELAND:

Blue Lagoon and Thermal Baths

I could not leave Iceland without visiting the Blue Lagoon Geothermal Bath. It’s one of the 25 Wonders of the World and with good reason, it’s incredible! Most people visit on their way to the airport or leaving it since it’s on the route from Keflavik Airport to Reykjavik. Pre-booking is required and they also offer massages in the water which is apparently incredible! They have different ticket rates, all of which get you the same access to the Blue Lagoon and access to the mask bar for the Silica Mud Mask — everything but the Standard Ticket also gets you the Algae Mud Mask (you can learn more about the ticket options HERE). Both of these skincare products are two of Blue Lagoons top selling skincare products, and they have a store on site (as well as at the airport and downtown Reykjavik) where you can purchase the whole line. I highly recommend the masks as well as their lip balm — pretty much all of it is incredible and makes for a great gift! There are two restaurants, a cafe and more formal dining option on the property. There is also a bar in the water to purchase drinks.

I recommend getting a Lifeproof Waterproof Phone Case so you can take pictures. They do sell phone bags for around $30 at the pool, but the case is great for all weather, this article is awesome article I read about someone who traveled to Iceland and tested it out: expertvagabond.com/ring-road-trip-iceland

Blue Lagoon is very touristy since I do feel like you can’t leave Iceland without going but there are several local thermal baths in Reykjavik that are more low key that the locals frequent which includes, Vesturbaer (a local favorite), Laugardalur and Reykjavik Indoor Thermal Pool.

TIP: Your hair will turn into a brillo pad if you get it wet so if you plan to make sure to wet your hair before going in (which is required) and then dousing it in conditioner, which they provide. And put a lot! Even when you think you’re done, add more, In my case I had my leave in conditioner and Moroccanoil as well. And used them after the bath to moisturize my hair. I didn’t fully go under but it did get wet from swimming and it saved my hair.

Explore Reykjavik

Downtown Reykjavik is totally happening with cute restaurants, bars and shops lining the streets. Aside from the local baths, there are many more attractions starting with the Hallgrimskirkja Church which is free to enter and for around $9 you can go to the roof for the best view of all of Reykjavik. Another must is a walk through the park to see City Hall and the Parliament Building. Other attractions include Harpa Concert Hall which you can go inside, Kolaportid flea market (which is only open on weekends that I heard mixed things about). There are also loads of museums including the National Museum and Perlan Science Museum, which came highly recommended. Most tourist centers and hotel have a map of Reykavik with all the major attractions on it.

South Coast Classic Day Trip

This was probably the most exciting tour I’ve been on and an absolute must for nature lovers! They pick up from Reykjavik and it includes:

  • Walk behind the mighty Seljalandsfoss waterfall
  • Stroll along the black sand beach of Reynisfjara to see basalt formations
  • Go to Cape Dyrhólaey or Reynisfjara beach to see puffins in season (May to August)
  • Visit Skógafoss Waterfall, considered one of Iceland’s most beautiful
  • Touch the ancient ice of Sólheimajökull glacier
  • Drive through the volcanic area of Eyjafjallajökull
  • See the feared active volcanoes of Hekla and Katla
  • Get spectacular views of glaciers framed by mountains on clear days

The Golden Circle Tour

See Icelands most popular sites on this tour, which includes 3 stops (plus a break for lunch): The UNESCO World Heritage Site of Þingvellir (Thingvellir), the spectacular Gullfoss waterfall, and a stop at two geothermal geysers, Geysir and Strokkur. There’s a Classic version, $110 (8 hours) and Express, $80 (6 hours) which make virtually the same stops, you just get more time at each with the Classic. There’s also this version that includes Snowmobiling ($224).

Northern Lights tour

This is of course very seasonal and depends on how active the aurora is and how clear the weather forecast is. On the bright side the tours usually don’t go out unless there’s a good chance you’ll see the Northern Lights, which they don’t know until the afternoon (usually tours start around 8pm or later and last for 2-4 hours). There are several options, hire a guide, do a driving tour or do a boat cruise. The boat cruise is more limited in terms of wear to see them so a good option if it’s going to be an excellent viewing night. You can book the tours in advance or have your hotel do it. It’s all priced around the same so whatever your hotel suggests or you booth through one of the main sites should be fine.

Visit the Icelandic Horses

They look like ponies, but don’t tell them that, since they are a unique and beautiful breed of horses — and so friendly! You’ll see them all over as you drive out to the country. Personally, all I wanted to do was pull over and hug them all — which I basically did every chance I got. A more official location to do that, as well as ride them is Ishestar, where you can visit them, ride them and even do a lava tour. It’s about a 15 minutes drive from Reykavik, making it really convenient to go visit by car.

Other Attractions:

Sólheimajökull glacier

Glacier hikes. While we got to the base of some glacier’s and saw them, we didn’t actually climb in them which I hear is incredible! My next trip I’d love to do that as well as this 2 hour Icelandic Horse Lava Riding Tour, Snowmobiling, and Cave Tours. Whale watching is also a big attraction.

Airline Tips: PAY ATTENTION IF YOU’RE TAKING A NIGHT FLIGHT

We flew WOW Air, which for a budget airline was really clean and nothing like the budget airlines in the US. The BEST tip I was given was if you’re flying at night from the US to Iceland to sit on the left side and get a window seat for a chance to see the Northern Lights. AND I DID! I saw them in the clouds and it was incredible. If you’re doing a night flight leaving Iceland for the US sit on the right side, window seat.

The other tip I got was to download the Netflix app and download movies to stream on the flight (no internet required to watch, just to download). WOW Air doesn’t have TV’s on the plane (and food and drink are only available for purchase, no complimentary in flight service otherwise), so this was a total game changer. Plus the flight is under 6 hours so it’s like 2-3 movies and you’re there!

What to Pack:

Obviously check the weather but what came in handy for me was: Waterproof phone case (I got the Lifeproof Waterproof Phone Case),  portable charger (I like the MyCharge Hub series since they plug right into the wall to recharge), converter, Uniqlo HeatTech Collection (I loaded up on leggings and long sleeves for my under layers), layers in general worked well, snow or duck boots, headphones (some of the tours have audio tablets to tell you about the destinations), sunglasses (it’s so bright there!), bathing suit (for the thermal baths, also some hotels have steam rooms/hot tubs), hand/foot warmers. It’s really dry so pack a good moisturizer (like Olay Total Effects), Don’t forget an SPF! If you’re going to the thermal baths make sure to pack a deep conditioner (and I also packed a hair oil). Face wipes — I love these individually wrapped ones from Ursa Major, also always come in handy. I also stocked up on Kind Bars since food is really expensive in Iceland and it made for an easy snack.

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