Read This: Big Little Lies

I chose this book, mainly because it was set in Australia, but also because I was in Australia at the time lounging by the pool with nothing to do. And maybe because it's a mini series on HBO and won  some awards. But, mostly because my friend Sara (who undeniably has the best taste in most things) recommended it to me.

At first glance it's a momdram (re: mom drama). Total yawn, but I was quickly surprised as I read further into the 400 pages (lord have mercy). And hey, it caught my attention, with its quick wit and serious topic discussion, I couldn't put it down. It also does a good job at bouncing through an array of emotions because I found myself obsessed in the downward spiral of each character. Janet Maslin of The New York Times summed it up pretty well: "[It's] a seemingly fluffy book [which] suddenly touches base with a vicious reality.”

Secondly, I liked it because it dove right into, as Madeline puts, “[the] many levels of evil in the world.” There's something to be said for an author who can put pen to paper about things many of us internalize, but never speak of. There's the good things, virtuousness or righteousness, versus the evil things, viciousness or unrighteousness.  Two diametrically opposed terms or things, used for morally judging an action committed by some intelligently and willfully operating agent, a.k.a. human beings. To say a thing is good is to voice approval and encouragement of that act, whereas to say that some thing is evil, voices disapproval and condemnation. But what if nothings said about that thing? The implications of Madeline's statement are seen all over the novel’s different storylines and characters. You, as the reader have the choice to read into these tiny things or let them float onward on the fluffy cotton candy cloud over your head. You become the voice, what is good thing, what is evil thing, and the novel enlists this responsibility onto you, as the reader. It's funny to think a book can be so adjacent to the lives we live everyday. It's haunting to compare your neighbours and friends to the characters in the book and wonder what their secrets are. What are their big little lies? I mean, we all wonder, right.

So What's it All About?

Well, Madeline is one hell of a force to be reckoned with. Celeste is just drop dead gorgeous. And then there’s Jane, who’d would rather sink into life’s dark shadows. But, despite their differences, these three women’s lives have intertwined into a twisted tale of friendship. Who thought this would end in a murder? Ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.

So You've Read Big Little Lies:

What are your thoughts?

How Not to Get Lost on Your Way to the Sólheimasandur Plane Wreck Iceland

Life Lessons: 1. The road less travelled is not always the road you should take. 2. If you plan on climbing a plane crash, bring gloves.
Yes. Those are the 2 major lessons we learned while trying to find a plane crash on a beach. I mean pffft, how hard could it be? We did our research. But, no blog, no person, not even Google Maps or Alexa was able to lay it out straight for us. So we got out of our car at the 'said-to-be-parking-lot' and hopped the 'said-to-be-locked-fence' and giggled off into the abyss. Two hours later, it's pelting rain-hail. We're climbing sand dunes. We're crossing a freezing cold river in our bare feet. My feet look like blueberry muffins.
Where the F is this ginormous plane? 
That whole experience was just a huge L O L because when we finally did find it, there was a really nice path with beautiful yellow reflectors that leads you right back to the beautiful carpark.

Now, a brief history (because A. history is cool) of how it all went down. Literally. Sorry, not funny. On Saturday Nov 24, 1973, the United States Navy Douglas Super DC-3 airplane was forced to land on Sólheimasandur’s black sand beach due to ... well no one really has an exact answer. Some say the plane simply ran out of fuel after the pilot switched to the wrong fuel tank and others say it had to land because of a nasty ice storm it was flying through. Whatever the reason, the crew survived the impact, but the plane was abandoned rather than recovered. And there it lies still.

So, How Do You Get There? 

It's extremely simple nowadays. After becoming a dream location for photographers and visitors world wide, Iceland has taken to it to make sure you can find your way. No problem. Easy peasy. Just make sure you're prepared to walk about an hour to the plane, and an hour back. Lace up those Asics people.

The Sólheimasandur wreckage is located on the south coast between Skógafoss and Vík. When going East on Route 1 of the Ring Road from Reykjavik, you'll cross a bridge and see the turnoff for Sólheimajökull on your left. About 2km further, there will be a turnoff with a gate on your right. This is the parking lot and you'll be able to tell. There're signs and garbage cans now so you shouldn't miss it, but just in case here are the coordinates: 63.4912391,-19.3632810

Now, get ready to walk. In the wind. On a sandy beach. For an hour. The path you're going to take has nice yellow reflectors to keep you on track so you don't get lost. Cause you might. It's about 4km to the plane, with never ending views of the black sand beach. So enjoy it, becasue you won’t spot the wreckage until the last minute because it’s hidden behind a sand dune near the edge of the ocean.

Get there early and beat the crowds, that's my advice! And if you want to climb to the top of the plane, bring some gloves. There are holes at the back left of the plane that someone must have carved out so you can stick your foot in there and hoist yourself up!

Definitely take some time to soak up all the black sand beaches, especially in Vik. We loved them, they're so unique and mysteriously beautiful.

Let me know how your experience here went!

This is the Best Place to Stay in Iceland: The Garage

This country is perfect in every way. From the rolling hills off the set of Teletubbies to the small towns settled on the tips of the Fjords, Iceland and their glorious hotdog stands should be at the top of everyone's bucket list.
But, if I had to look back on my trip and choose the one memory that stands out most ... well to be honest, I just can't. It is, however, those moments when you get to "live like a local" that stick with you. And when people ask "How was Iceland?" it's the first story I tell them.
So, here is one of my favourites. It's called The Garage.
Located in Varmahlíð, which is about 24 miles from  Vík, The Garage is magically tucked under the hills of Southern Iceland overlooking the loomy sea. It was Sam's (my sister) birthday and I thought we'd splurge (just a little bit) from hostels and cheap hotels for the night, so she could turn 23 in a comfortable bed. So, I booked the little secret guesthouse for us #greatsister
Rolling up to the The Garage I couldn't bare the cuteness of it all. Siggi had let us in, showed us around and left us to warm our toes. We stayed in 'Axel's Room' and read how The Garage had been in their family for years and years. You can really feel the history seeping out of this place. And just as we were about to take our fist sip of hot chocolate, we heard a knock at the door.

Siggi was back! And he was loaded with questions. What are you up to tonight night? Have you been to the plane wreck? Do you want to go fishing with my wife Anna? Uhm yes I want to go fishing with Anna, where is she? Lead me to her! I want a real Icelandic experience. Well, I want a real Icelandic experience that's not going to be the death of me. So, thank god for only having one extra pair of waders because Sam went off into the abyss, while I took snapchats.

And, well, Sam came back with loads of fish and hardly any sensation in her fingers. I want to be an Icelandic woman when I grow up, they're badass.
After the days events came to a close, Anna ripped us around in her truck fish flying around in the back and all. She dropped us off back at The Garage and asked us to come for dinner. A home made meal, you got to be kidding me! 
Now, I'm not just saying this but, it was truly the most scrumptious meal I have ever sank my canines into. Sorry mom. We chatted over the fish we caught (correction: they caught), laughed over large glasses of wine and gobbled up the cream eggs Anna and Siggi spread out for dessert. 
We really didn't want to leave the next morning. And we were wishing we didn't have to stick to such a tight schedule, but all good things must come to an end. Well, until the next time.
I will say that I've never felt so welcome somewhere so strange in all my life. Two of the most genuine people I have ever met showed me parts of them and parts of their everyday lives, for free. No catch. And they were excited about it. That's one of the reasons I love travelling. Not only do you meet amazing people, but you see people being excited about life and being excited about having you learn from them. I think that's pretty cool.
So, I think yes, The Garage, was my favourite memory from Iceland.

How to Get to Iceland's Oldest Pool Seljavallalaug

How the hell do you get there? And yeah it's not on the map. We were definitely not in Kansas anymore, definitely not close to any signal and definitely lost. 
With a lot of guessing and wandering we finally made it to the oldest (still standing) pool in Iceland! Seljavallalaug  is one of Iceland’s best kept secrets, built in 1923. It's filled with hot spring water that trickles down from Eyjafjallajökull so you can take a dip all year round! 
Fast forward to dinner that night with our Icelandic family, who told us that back in their hayday they'd head down to Seljavallalaug to crack a few beers and flirt with the boys. Highschool hangouts in Iceland sound like fun, I used to go to the mall's foodcourt if I wanted to flirt with a boy.

Guide to Driving Iceland's Golden Circle

If you're visiting Reykjavik, you're going to want to set aside a day to scoot around the Golden Circle! It's the perfect option for visitors on a tighter schedule, who want to see a lot in a short period of time. Think of the Golden Circle as the Mini-Me to the Ring Road (which circles the entire country). With that being said, even if you have ample amount of time and plan to drive the whole country, don't take a pass on the Golden Circle. I mean Dr. Evil is nothing without Mini-Me, right?

How to Get There:

The Golden Circle is a 300km loop that lands you back in the heart of the city. Just in time for dinner! I'd recommend renting a car for the day (4x4 unnecessary for this route), rather than joining in on an organized tour. I just find that your own car allows you stop for photos whenever AND wherever you want, which means no rush, which means hours of petting Icelandic horses.  

What You're About to See:

The Golden Circle consists of three stunning locations: the Þingvellir National Park, the Geysers at Haukadalur, and Gullfoss Waterfall. These are your 3 main attractions, but of course there are side stops you'll want to be taking. Especially, the Crater Kerid.

1st Stop: Pingvellir National Park

Long story short, Þingvellir is the National Park where parliament was established in 930 and continued to meet until 1798. Ancient times dude. But, now it's the place that best represents Iceland, where the history of the nation truly began and where almost all its major historical turns were made. On top of that, the National Park itself is sprawling and gorgeous and let's you walk along the juncture of the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates. So regardless of why you're there, you'll find something that tickles your fancy!

2nd Stop: Geysers at Haukadalur

So, this area features many spectacular hot springs, like the powerful Strokkur, which erupts a huge amount of water about every 10 minutes, so bring your raincoat and waterproof case. I'm talking 15-20 meters of water exploding from the ground into the air. Like whattttt?

3rd Stop: Gullfoss Waterfall

Gullfoss, which In Icelandic means "Golden Waterfall" because on a sunny day, the water takes on a golden-brown colour, is one of the most iconic waterfalls in Iceland. It offers up a spectacular view of the forces and beauty of untouched nature. And FYI Gullfoss is the largest volume falls in Europe!

Feeling More Adventurous?

Kerio Crater Lake:

It was once your typical cone-shaped volcano, but now that the top has collapsed it is an empty magma chamber that is home to a small lake. You can take a walk along the rim or take the stairs down to the lake.


Looking to warm your belly on your day trip around Golden Circle? Don't miss the Friðheimar Greenhouse that grows its own tomatoes and cucumbers while serving up all you can eat tomato soup with an assortment of homemade bread! Mmmmm. Be sure to call or book ahead online! This place is bumping! 

Gamla Laugin: 

Natural geothermal pools in the raw Icelandic nature? Then look no further then the Gamla Laugin! Especially if you need a little relaxation mid day!

Pull Over: 

Just pull over, there's tons of little dirt road driveways that allow you to just stop whenever you feel like it. So take advantage of those and pet some horses for me!

If you have any questions let me know I'd love to help you plan your trip! Also, you can check out my full Iceland travel vlog here!

Rad Resorts: Memories Holguin Beach Resort

This seems to be an ongoing trend. I mean my mom went to Cuba 6 times in 2017. Ridiculous. I know, but that woman will do anything for a slice of paradise. Don't get me started on my ongoing battle to  convince her into a timeshare.
Moving on. This time we headed to the Memories Holguin Beach Resort, 4 star all-inclusive. Bare in mind that we went in the middle of July meaning there was next to no one there, which probably made it that much more enjoyable!

The Beach...

Perfect. Crystal clear blue water all sand and no rocks. The beach bar is right on the beach so you can get your hair of the dog as you pass by in the morning. There are also tons of umbrellas so you don't toast your hiney. Regular guests get plastics loungers and premium guests get those nice blue comfy loungers (only downfall). There's also catamarans, games and foam parties!

The Pools...

The best part of this resort are the pools. If you like pools, well, your about to be in cascading pool paradise. There are 5 pools in total with lots of seating around each one, giving you a different aquatic option for every day of the week. And don't worry there is a swim up bar.

The Resort...

One of the best hotel layouts I've seen in Cuba. The resort itself is built on the mountain surrounding the bay so you can just imagine the views from the lobby and buffet. The palm trees and greenery are well kept and really make the grounds gorgeous. Although gorgeous, it does have about 76 stairs to go from the beach level to the main buffet. A little workout that will help you burn an extra cake at the buffet, but may not be recommended to people with health problems (although you can call the front desk to send a golf cart to pick you up and bring you up to the top).
Rooms: Bright, spacious, clean with large balconies. Bathrooms a bit dated, but very clean.

The Food...

Average. The buffet was good on some nights and not so much on others (little variety but that being said I never went hungry). The snack bar was our lunch go-to for made to order pizzas, hotdogs, hamburgers and club sandwiches. As for the A La Cartes both the Romantic and Cuban restaurant served up pretty good food and we ended up booking either of those most nights.

The Nightlife...

Unfortunately, for us the disco was closed due to technical issues that they were resolving. Fortunately, the resort being huge has a great lobby and outside terrace area to drink up the night!

Any questions let me know! I'm always happy to answer and help out!