Blue Lagoon

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Sometimes in life (or on a really good vacation), you have a moment that is so incredible, you wish that it would never end. My trip to the Blue Lagoon in Grindavik, Iceland was one of those moments. On the last day of the trip, we stopped by these natural hot springs on the way to the airport. Our bus took a winding road through desolate, thousand-year old lava fields before approaching the milky blue waters. You could see the thick white steam swirling from the boiling waters all the way out into the parking lot. We stepped into the chic changing rooms and threw on our swimsuits before battling the 20 degree temps to get into the Lagoon.

On that day, the sun was shining so bright and the clouds were unlike anything I had ever seen before. Our first stop was the swim-up bar for 11am cocktails. We covered ourselves with the white silica mud that filled the bottom of the Lagoon. My skin had never felt so soft. We soaked until our hands were pruney and reluctantly forced ourselves out of the water. Although a hot shower after a long day is pretty great, it will never compare to the heavenly day we spent at the Blue Lagoon.

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Image^^View of the entire Lagoon from the rooftop.

Image^^The clouds looked so magical and almost dreamlike.

Image^^Nothing like strawberry champagne while soaking away in the steamy bath.

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Double Dose of Art

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As a kid, my mom would have to drag me to museums and bribe me with ice cream just so I would sit still. Fast forward a few years and now I am completely infatuated with museums. There’s something so calming about the beautiful portraits hanging from the walls and the stillness of the room. I spent so many Saturday afternoons at The Met when I lived in NYC. I found it to be the perfect escape from bustling city life.

I finally stopped by the Chihuly Collection in downtown St. Pete and was completely blown away by the exquisite blown glass pieces. If you’ve ever been to the Bellagio in Vegas, you’ve seen Chihuly’s colorful glass ceilings inside the lobby of the hotel. The St. Pete exhibit houses the same floral ceiling as well as many other truly stunning pieces.

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Image^^The floral ceilings at the St. Pete collection; identical to the Bellagio hotel exhibit.

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Image^^My favorite part of the exhibit…the ‘blue room.’

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I also stopped by the Warhol “Art. Fame. Mortality” exhibit at The Dali. The traditional Campbell’s Soup prints were on display and black & white Warhol movies were projected onto the white walls. We also got a chance to do a 3-minute screen test captured by a 1960’s camera.

Image^^View from the top of the Dali Museum, overlooking the marina.

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Image^^My favorite downtown spot.

Image^^Even the staircase inside The Dali is a piece of art.

Image^^My Warhol screen test. Sitting still for 3 minutes is next to impossible.

Image^^My favorite shots from the screen test.

Image^^Greetings from Sunny Florida!

The Land of Fire and Ice {Part 2}

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I remember learning in middle school geography that Greenland was the blustery, frigid country while Iceland was the greener, warmer spot. Whoever decided to confuse the middle schoolers of the world is in real trouble. Although Iceland is considered to be the “warmer” of the two countries, we still saw our fair share of snow and ice.

On our second day in the country, we drove out into the Icelandic countryside and watched the sunrise over the glaciers. We stopped by Gullfoss as part of the Golden Circle Tour. Standing at the top of the frozen falls was easily one of the coldest moments of my life. We watched Geysir erupt every five minutes and spew white steam into the air. The sun was so beautifully reflected on the solid ice surrounding the pit of boiling water. We soaked in a thermal bath overlooking the snow capped mountains. We ended the day at Café Paris for the most decadent hot chocolate. And I can’t forget about our favorite meal of the trip…tacos and beer. Sorry Iceland, but nobody wants your whale burgers or steamed puffin.

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Image^^The most perfect sunrise from the window of the bus.

Image^^Standing at the peak of Iceland’s most famous waterfall, Gullfoss.

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Image^^The bubbling waters of the 10,000 year old Geysir.

Image^^View from the thermal bath. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon…

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Image^^The most heavenly hot chocolate, European magazines, and baby Milka chocolate bars at Café Paris.

 

Beach Chic

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The first question I usually get living in Florida is “do you go to the beach all the time?” The next question is “why are you so pale?” Hah, but seriously, I get that a lot. Honestly, I’ve never been a big beach person. I’m not a huge fan of baking under the sweltering sun, burning to a crisp, and tracking mass amounts of sand into my car. I spent the day at Postcard Inn on St. Pete Beach for my birthday last month and I could really get used to this type of “beach day.” This old time motel was built in 1957 and later turned into a swanky vacation spot complete with beachfront hammocks, colorful books lining the lobby shelves, fish netting dangling from the ceiling, and sunset murals adorning the walls. Talk about the perfect place for a little rest and relaxation.

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Paris is Always a Good Idea

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Paris is one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever had the chance to visit. The decadent pastries, the charming cafes, the twinkling lights of the Eiffel Tower, the high fashion pieces adorning the windows of the Champs-Élysées…so many of my favorite things in one place. While I was in NYC last month, I stopped by the new Ladurée tea house in Soho modeled after the Paris location. Rose petal tea, French Toast, and macarons while dining under a crystal chandelier is my idea of the perfect breakfast.

Then it was out for a quick stroll around snowy Central Park, Fifth Avenue shopping, and a stop by the always stunning Bergdorf window displays. I suppose NYC is a pretty good substitute for Paris but there sure is nothing like the City of Lights.

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The Land of Fire and Ice

We landed at Keflavik airport at 6am. It was pitch black. The sun didn’t rise until almost 10am and it still felt as if it was the middle of the night to us Americans. We stayed at an ultra modern hotel right off the city center. We spent out first day wandering the streets of Reykjavik, Iceland exploring all that the city had to offer. Our first stop was the Hallgrimskirkja church (don’t ask me to pronounce that) and we were in complete awe of the architecture. It was so intricately designed…nothing like I had ever seen before. We took an elevator to the top of the tower and had a spectacular view of Reykjavik. The sky was so blue and there was not a cloud in sight. Only snowy mountaintops and colorful rooftops.

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We popped into different shops. There were stuffed puffins in every store window. Only in Iceland is the national bird revered by locals and also served as a main course at dinnertime. We stopped into a quaint cafe for lunch and ended up with hot chocolate and homemade apple crumble. We ventured to an Icelandic mall, which made American malls look sad and boring. We attempted to take a bus back to the hotel, got lost, wandered across a highway, couldn’t understand the language and eventually got someone to call us a cab. The food was incredibly overpriced and actually pretty terrible so we stuck to ordering alcohol and dessert for most of our meals (along with the mass amount of granola bars that we packed). But day number one came to an end and I was completely in love with this new city that I called home for the next 4 days.

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Pink Palms

As residents of the Sunshine State, we are so lucky to have January days that look like this. Although we have our chilly nights, most days are full of blue skies and palm trees swaying in the wind. I spent last weekend exploring the historic Vinoy in downtown St. Petersburg. The hotel was unveiled back in the Jazz Age, almost 90 years ago. Something about the mix of modern design and old world charm make the Vinoy quite a site to see.

^^The stunning yellow chandeliers inside the hotel’s lobby.

^^This took my love of lighting fixtures to a whole new level. A one-of-a-kind Chihuly blown glass piece.

^^I loved the delicate detailing on the exterior of the hotel.

^^Sunny day essentials at The Birchwood’s rooftop lounge.

^^Nothing beats a pretty petite pastry from Cassis American Brasserie.

A Day in the Life

1. The bookstore inside Oxford Exchange is so romantic, I could spend all afternoon in there. // 2. I Love the ‘Burg‘s downtown St. Pete ‘Bougie Brunch’ at Everything Dolce. A Sunday full of champagne + cannolis. // 3. Oversized chandeliers at the new Charming Charlie store, my jewelry mecca. // 4. Beautiful makeup courtesy of MAC Cosmetics. Sporting my new favorite lip color Candy Yum Yum. // 5. Champagne in front of the fireplace on the rooftop of The Birchwood. // 6. The most amazing Christmas present I could have ever hoped for- a pink KitchenAid Pro 600 Stand Mixer. A baker’s dream come true! // 7. Tater tots + lemon basil crème fraîche at Anise Global Gastrobar in downtown Tampa. One of the coolest spots I’ve found. // 8. It was a very Kate Spade New Year’s Eve – Pop Fizz Clink! // 9. My LC Lauren Conrad baker’s necklace. I even got a tweet from Lauren Conrad herself after posting this photo!

New York Girl

I’m not really sure how Christmas has already come and gone…the holidays always seem to disappear in the blink of an eye. Back in November I made a weekend trip up to my old stomping grounds to visit friends, eat at some of New York’s finest establishments, and of course…take in the autumn leaves! It’s nice to look back at the golden colors since the leaves are now long gone and snow is the only thing New Yorkers will be staring at for the next few months.

^^Pink gem-faced mannequins inside Topshop.

^^NYC always looks better in lights.

^^Having a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” moment on the stoop from the 1961 movie.

^^The best tacos in the city at Tacombi in Nolita. Carne Asada tacos, fresh watermelon juice, and grilled corn in a cup.

^^Central Park was covered in golden LEAVES!

^^So many popsicles to choose from at Popbar.

^^The colors inside the park were just breathtaking.

^^Massive fortune cookie dessert at TAO.

^^Lady Gaga’s bone dress at her ARTPOP pop-up installation in the Meatpacking District.

^^DVF has always been one of my favorite buildings, just love those hot pink lips!

^^The famous Jeff Koons ‘Balloon Dog‘ worth $58.4 million! Should have stuck it in my purse…hah!

Fruit Tart

Ever since visiting Paris when I was 18, I have always been fascinated by miniature French pastries. The little fruit tarts always appealed to me the most…something about the dainty fruit underneath the shiny glaze made them almost too pretty to eat. I was hosting my now sister-in-law’s bachelorette party and decided to make this full size Fruit Tart. I mean, what screams “bachelorette” more than this classy dessert? Hah, kidding of course….but it sure went well with our neverending glasses of wine and the girls seemed to gobble it up!