travel diary -- iceland

Howdy jannadoan.com followers!

First off, my name is Yen (@cremebroolay), Janna’s sister.

I’ve recently returned from a trip to Europe and Janna asked if I could write a short blurb about it on her blog. I said I would love to, since everyone needs to know about the beauty of a place called ICELAND!

Hello Reykjavik, Iceland!

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In its spring and summer, Iceland is a beautiful country with an abundance of green pastures and picturesque mountains. It is not a frozen arctic tundra -- which would be Greenland. I know. Confusing. The Vikings are so smart.  

Viking ship model

When visiting Iceland, the Blue Lagoon needs to be on the list of things to do/visit.

Yes, it's a touristy place, but I mean, just look and imagine... the water is a warm 98*F. The crisp spring air blows your baby hairs into your face. Your husband drops his GoPro into the murky water that is visually impenetrable 3 inches below its surface...

And there are so many waterfalls to chase. Totally my kind of thing.

Skogafoss

Seljalandsfoss
You can go behind this waterfall to take pictures, but it is SPLASH ZONE city. My clothes & phone were soaking wet.

Gulfoss

þingvellir 

geothermal pool at Geysir

Notes on Iceland:

  • English is widely spoken within Reykjavik. The farther you are away from the city's center, the more difficult it may be to communicate -- unless you're at a tourist attraction.
  • Warm-ish to hot water smells like sulfurrr. Even in the shower. Even at blue lagoon. Frigid, cold, water does not and is perfectly safe to drink. Icelanders know this and don't buy bottled water, but they sell it for wary tourists.
  • Lamb is supposedly the best in Iceland because of how they are raised and what they feed on, but I don't eat lamb and can't attest to that.

Now, SKYR, I ate a ton of. It's a skim-milk cheese that's high in protein but has the texture of yogurt. Think: really smooth and good tasting Greek yogurt. (Siggi's, sold here in the states, is not the same)

drykkur = drink

If you've ever considered travelling to Iceland, I urge you to go. Icelandair even as a deal where you can stopover in Iceland for up to 7 days, before making your way to a number of other European destinations, at no additional cost!

Iceland is a gorgeous country that's fun to explore and a great place to unplug. Seriously, my cell reception was spotty at best. 

Signing off,
YD @cremebroolay

the perfect travel bag & essentials

i decided to do a post on the perfect travel bag and essentials that i took with me on my last trip to NYC

bag 

when i travel, i never carry anything designer (i.e., CHANEL, Celine...) mainly because i do not want to worry about the bag getting scratched, rained on, stolen? to me, the ideal travel bag must be a few things: 1) crossbody = hands free, 2) durable, 3) lightweight, 4) fit the essentials, 5)  zip closure, 6) have compartments. the Tory Burch robinson mini dome satchel in dust storm (taupe grey-ish color) fit the bill on all counts. it measures 9"L x 3.7"W x 7"H; 23" crossbody strap. in addition, the strap is also removable in case i needed to go to an event or anything. i LOVE this bag (and all mini bags in general! they are adorable!). this one in particular has a side zipper and two pockets for your phone or keys on the inside. the top handles also fold down which i really like. lastly, the entire Tory Burch robinson line is made from saffiano leather; which is scratch resistant. this is an older model but i have linked a few similar ones below. 

  • Tory Burch robinson small multi satchel -- $495 USD. comes in black, tiger's eye (cognac), french grey, and jitney green (which is a BEAUTIFUL fall color). 11"L x 5.25"W x 8"H; 4.5" handle drop, 22". three compartments, two are zip closures and the bag itself is a snap closure (a little downside). saffiano leather, detachable straps, and the handles fold down. sign up for Bloomingdales emails and receive 10% off. 
  • Michael Kors medium cindy saffiano dome satchel* -- $258 USD. comes in blush, cornflower, black, and navy (my pick!.. if i needed one...) this is the closest dupe to the Tory Burch dome satchel in the picture above, but a little larger at 12"L x 4.5"W x 8.5"H; 6" handle drop, 17" to 19" strap drop. zip closure, saffiano leather, detachable straps, and the the handles fold down. 
  • Coach nolita satchel in crossgrain leather* in beige/light gold -- on sale for $206.50 USD; regular price $295 USD. this looks like saffiano leather and i really like the shape/design, the finish of the leather on the sides is very streamlined. this color is very close to the TB dust storm. it measures about 11"L x 7"H x 5"W; 22" strap drop. zip closure, detachable straps, and the handles fold down. Coach has definitely stepped up their game in the recent years.

*this is apart of the Bloomingdales friends & family sale so get 25% off by using code "FRIENDS" at checkout. also, shipping to TX is TAX-FREE! details on this sale here.

electronics

  • mophie powerstation (mini) -- i've mentioned this before in one of my current lemmings, and purchased one for myself (again, i take my recommendations very seriously!) i can't tell you how much i love my mophie! i've used it on a normal day-to-day basis, but it really comes in handy when you travel and outlets are limited (i.e., your traveling groupie be using all of them!). the only thing you have to do is remember to charge it. AND... did i mention that this is a great gift idea!? the mini is good for two FULL charges on my iPhone 5s, and also works on Android.
  • Symphonized premium in-ear noise cancelling earphones -- i purchased these for the NYC trip, and the moment i put them in my ears for the flight, i vowed to never go back to the CRAPPY Apple earphones. it's one of those things you discover where you ask yourself, "how have i lived so long without this?!" while my sister was listening to her music at the highest volume, i was listening to mine at one or two notches. i had to put a stop to the feeling of deaf-ness/ears ringing when getting off the plane from listening to high volume audio. these peaked my interest due to price (only $25!, regular price $99) and rave reviews (4.5 stars, 6,500 reviews). the cords are also nylon so they are not easily tangled. i mean, untangling Apple earphones?! ain't nobody got time for that! it also comes in different colored headphones/cords and three different silicone ear tips for a custom fit. I CAN'T RAVE ABOUT THIS MORE. JUST GET IT. 
  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF2 -- this was borrowed from my SS (thanks soul sista!). it's a pretty cool camera that has a touchscreen and you can take pictures with different filters like instagram. the downside = no zoom. i will be investing in my own travel camera soon! #moretravelingplease!  
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health & beauty

  • Jack Black intensive therapy lip balm SPF 25 -- my friend introduced me to this and i've come to REALLY LOVE it more than my Kiehl's lip balm (gasp!)! it is much longer lasting and it has SPF 25 (high). like skin, lips are also prone to get freckles too, i know i see one on my lip right now. so SPF is a must for lip balms during the day. purchase a pack of four (one for each purse!?!) and save $5. 
  • Dior Addict lip glow in sheer pink coral SPF 10 -- this is a great alternative to lip balm for those who want a little tint. this is supposed to, "enhance your natural lip color while moisturizing and protecting the skin." looks extremely natural. 
  • Emergen-C in pink lemonade flavor (my fave flavor!) -- i'm a germaphobe so i usually take a packet the day before i leave and when i arrive at my destination. i always bring extra packets and for some reason... i come home with none! it's because i'm giving them away to my traveling groupie so they don't get me sick. LOL. 
  • Eucerin skin calming daily moisturizing creme -- you can get a 1 oz. tube in the travel section at Target (just try to only pick up one item in that section! i dare you!), its small enough to fit in your bag and what's great about this is that you can use it on your hands AND your face (in case it gets super dry or irritated from being in different environments)! it is also unscented and great for sensitive skin! 
  • Kleenex, Advil, Band-Aids -- these are great items to have for headaches, random cuts/bumps/scratches, blisters? 

needless to say, i'm someone you want to travel with! i'm usually prepared for anything/everything. 

life is short. travel (and smile) more,
JD

travel diary -- nyc eats

when in NYC, you snacky snack all day, everrrr-day. 

its been almost eight years since my last visit to NYC, so this trip was long overdue. this time it was all about FOOD. besides fashion being my hobby, i am also a huge foodie. my definition of foodie is someone who lives to eat, can talk about food 24/7, dreams about food, looks forward to the next eatery, has long lists on their phone of all the places they want to eat at (this includes multiple cities).

so here's my travel diary, perhaps it should be re-titled as my eating/nomnomnom-ing diary?! i have never eaten so much in just three days y'all!!!! but it was all sooo worth it and such #goodtimes with my groupie. hope it is a good read!!!

PS (disclaimer): these are not the best pictures because when you travel with other foodies it is impossible to get the best angle, lighting etc... before everyone gives you HANGRY faces. lol.

PaTea Bubble Tea

135 Mott St.  NYC, 10013 | cash only | pateabubbletea.com
my name is janna. i love bubble tea. i could drink it everyday. it makes me happy.
this place was super cute and super small! but their bubble tea was AMAZING! i had the 'Black & Yellow' which is a brown sugar milk with grass jelly, flan pudding, and boba. it was out of this world. we went back again and i also got the 'Brown Sugar Oolong Milk Tea.' they make their bubble tea in shakers however they also have a machine that does all the shaking! you also get to pick your level of sweetness and level of ice!! pretty cool. i seriously think austin needs to up its bubble tea game. as i write this i honestly wish i had one in hand. 

Joe's Ginger

25 Pell St. NYC, 10013 | cash only | joesginger.com
so originally the itinerary planned for the infamous soup dumplings at Joe's Shanghai, but the wait was 40 minutes. after waking up at 4AM to catch a flight at 6AM and then walking to chinatown... a 40 minute wait was not looking good. so my brother-in-law suggested Joe's Ginger which is a few doors down, and NO WAIT. apparently it's the same owner as Joe's Shanghai. the soup dumplings were great! we also had CRAB soup dumplings, scallion beef roll, cucumber salad, shredded turnip shortcake, and green onion pie. all were great, however i did prefer the regular soup dumplings over the crab soup dumplings. skip the line and eat at Joe's Ginger. 

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Wafles & Dinges

209 E 2nd St. NYC, 10009 (food truck also) | waflesanddinges.com 
on our way to the comedy show (below) we stopped by this place for a quick snack. i ordered "de throwdown wafel" which was a waffle with their own 'spekuloos' (cookie butter, aka like the best invention ever, but i'm gonna have to say Trader Joe's speculoos cookie butter is better) and whipped cream. it's called throwdown because it was featured on Bobby Flay's Throwdown series! my sister ordered "da bomb" with strawberries, whip cream and chocolate drizzle. nothing too notable here, the waffles were a little too chewy in my opinion. and honestly, my sister makes the best leige waffles (the ONE time she made them!). her homemade waffles ARE DA BOMB.

Upright Citizens Brigade (Eastside) 

153 E 3rd St. NYC, 10009 (multiple locations) | ucbtheatre.com
i'm actually not much of a comedy-show person. however, this was my first improv show and man it was pretty hilarious! i highly recommend this place and will def go back on my next NYC visit! shows range from $5-10, this place was so awesome and had me rolling plenty. i will have to go again on my next visit and glad my sister booked tickets without asking for anyone's thoughts. (ahem ahem).

Bon Chon

even though it was so dark and you can't see what you are eating, this is still fried spicy goodness. 

325 5th Ave. NYC, 10016 (multiple locations) | 32ndstreetny.bonchon.com
my BFF urged me to try my this place after i had crossed it off the list. wow, i'm so glad i did. the wait for dinner at Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong (korean BBQ, below) was almost an hour and right around the corner was a Bon Chon. it was meant to be. we had a little snacky snack before dinner and ordered both the mixed wing and drum combo and split the order in half to try both sauces -- spicy and soy garlic. i highly recommend the SPICY sauce. spicy with a heck of a kick. the wings were fried to PERFECTION. the only drawback was the drumsticks were actually drumsticks (go figure, but i guess small drumsticks are technically called drumettes at wing places) and once you get toward the bone, it was kinda bland. if they were drumettes, that would've been better. (not that i'm a chef of anything...) literally drooling right now. 

Kang Ho Dong Baekjeong

prime boneless short rib GOODNESS. 

thinly sliced brisket. L: steamed egg, R: cheesy corn

1 E 32nd St. NYC, 10016 | baekjeongnyc.com
i love korean BBQ. my foodie friend @vietdinhvo recommended this place and said it was his favorite korean BBQ place he's ever eaten at. when a foodie makes a statement like that, you have to go try it. i have to say, this is one of the best korean BBQ places i've had. when you arrive at your table, it is already set in terms of dipping sauces, greens, and a few korean side dishes. we ordered the 'Small Beef Combo' which consists of thinly sliced brisket, seasoned prime short rib, and prime boneless short rib. the small combo is only supposed to feed two people, but it was plenty of food for us considering everything else we ate. the meat was so fresh, and each combo also comes with a beef brisket soybean paste stew or kimchi stew, steamed egg, cheesy corn (interesting), mushroom, sweet potato, and kimchi. PS -- Channing Tatum has eaten here. so..... yea.. !

Dominique Ansel Bakery

earl grey flavored cronut

frozen s'more!!!! Dominique Ansel does not joke around when it comes to a dessert on a stick.

189 Spring St. NYC, 10012 | limit two cronuts per person, only one flavor each month, pre-order available | dominiqueansel.com
my sister and i woke up at 7AM (while everyone else was still in food comas) to wait in line at 8AM, for the bakery to open at 9AM! we waited a total one hour and thirty minutes to try the original cronut. a cronut is a hybrid of a croissant and a donut. and i honestly do not know how we have ever lived so long without this invention. the bakery only makes ONE flavor of cronuts each month and for September 2015, it is earl grey. (i've been told they do not make the same flavor twice.) in addition to the cronuts, we also bought a frozen s'more which is a custard ice cream center that is covered in a thin layer of crispy chocolate wafer crisps and embedded in a marshmallow mixture on a stick that is torched to order.... YOU NEED THIS. i am so sad we only got ONE... it was devoured by the time we walked one block away from the bakery. we also purchased a few DKA's (Dominique Kougin Amann) which is a croissant like pastry with a caramelized crust. YOU NEED THIS TOO. ok, i'm gonna go out on a limb and just say i was impressed with these more than the cronut itself. 

Laduree

macarons are the most girlie, colorful, prettiest dessert!

398 W Broadway NYC, 10012 | laduree.com
with a Dominique Ansel yellow bag in hand, we stop by Laduree. i mean why not? it's a block away. (but so was Chobani... but we didn't make it there). here we order an assortment of macarons. they never disappoint. 

ViVi Bubble Tea

japanese matcha milk tea + lychee jelly and yellow moo milk (milk tea + grass jelly + egg pudding)

cute tops!

205 Allen St. NYC, 10002 (multiple locations) | vivibubbletea.com
after we scarfed down some cronuts and napped, we headed to get bubble tea because that's how we roll in NYC. my sister and i ordered the matcha milk tea and the yellow moo milk. nothing extremely notable as PaTea, but they do have a tiramisu milk tea, and an ice jelly tea series which i did not try and should have. #regrets

Luke's Lobster

L: lobster roll, R: crab roll + new england clam chowdahhh combo 

93 E 7th St. NYC, 10009 (multiple locations) | lukeslobster.com
bubble tea in hand, we walk to get a lobster roll. Luke's is almost standing room only and their lobster roll was pretty dang good. but keep in mind i've never been to Maine and i'm pretty sure they have the best lobster rolls on the planet.

Artichoke Pizza

artichoke pizza @ artichoke pizza

328 E 14th St. NYC, 10003 (multiple locations) | artichokepizza.com
so after lobster rolls, we walk to Chelsea Market (more food of course) and on the way we stop by Artichoke Pizza. here we ordered the artichoke and a margarita by the slice. the artichoke pizza was VERY cheesy with a super thick, dense crust with artichoke hearts, spinach, cream sauce, mozz, and pecorino romano cheese. it was much better than the margarita in my opinion.

Chelsea Market

the DOUGHNUTTERY -- L: caocao boy, R: urban monkey

75 Ninth Ave. NYC 10011 | chelseamarket.com
by the time we walked from the lower east side to Chelsea Market, and despite all the food we ate along the way... we go into Chelsea Market and look at... you guessed it! MORE FOOD! Chelsea Market reminds me of the Ferry Building in San Fran, it was amazing. here we walked around and there was SO MUCH food -- fresh seafood, homemade pastas, tacos, mini donuts! (btw, i have major major weakness for mini donuts..) the doughnuttery was super cute with so many flavors to choose from. i tried the caocao boy which was cacao nibs, chocolate cookies, mesquite, and the urban monkey which was coffee, banana, coconut and that flavor was GOOD. the groupie stuffed themselves with sandwiches, tacos, and pasta. we all had a bite of everything. 

Spot Dessert Bar

top L: lychee panna cotta, top R: golden toast, bottom: green tea lava cake

13 St Marks Pl. NYC, 10003 | spotdessertbar.com
my foodie friend also recommend this place. i love dessert. every time i go out to eat my eyes always wander to the dessert menu first because life is short, eat dessert first. after Chelsea Market we took an uber (first time for me!) to Spot Dessert Bar where we ordered the following dessert tapas: chocolate green tea lava cake (warm chocolate cake, green tea ganache, green tea ice cream, and walnut "soil"), golden toast (honey butter toast, condensed milk, strawberries, ice cream) and the lychee panna cotta (seasonal; lychee panna cotta, raspberry sorbet, and raspberry caviar). i liked the lychee panna cotta the most, it was very light and refreshing. everything was amazing and carefully crafted to perfection. 

Mamoun's

22 St. Marks Pl. NYC, 10003 | cash only | mamouns.com
we didn't eat dinner until 10PM that night because... we were all feeling so sick and full. but what do you do when you only have three days?!?! you take pepto and move on. Mamoun's is dark and dingy, is cash only, and is known for their falafel's. they are literally frying them fresh for you right there. it was pretty good, i have tried falafel's before but nothing was good as this place. and $3.50 for a falfael sandwich, you can't really beat that. 

Russ & Daughters

179 E Houston St. NYC, 10002 (multiple locations) | russanddaughters.com
on the last day, we woke up and walked to get breakfast at Russ & Daughters. here, you can pick your own bagel, cream cheese, and your own smoked salmon -- there are a ton to choose from! this place was extremely crowded and there is no where to eat inside. the only place to actually sit down was outside on the two benches the flank the storefront. ok, this was the BEST BAGEL and lox i've ever had. it would've been better if the person who took my order tell me that tomatoes and red onions were extra. so despite those two things, i was still pretty happy with my everything bagel, chive cream cheese and irish smoked salmon. 

Play J Ice Cream Truck

brother-in-law modeling the chocolate and vanilla J cone!

food truck life | playjsicecream instagram
one last stroll in SoHo had my brother-in-law and i curious about these "J" shaped things people were eating, so we found the truck and tried one. it's a puffed corn cone in the shape of a "J" filled with vanilla and/or chocolate soft serve!! it's like a cheeto minus the cheese? we pondered and talked about this after each bite... i don't know, but it was good little treat! 

Vanessa's Dumpling House

spicy wontons.

118 Eldridge St., NYC, 10002 | vanessas.com
this was our last meal in the big city. so it ended with a bang. the dumplings from Vanessa's were LEGIT. you can see them making the dumplings! everything is served in styro/paper plates. considering what we ate earlier in the day, and the fact that we were down to a crew of three, we ate all 32 dumplings and took some pancake sandwiches to go. we ordered four different types of dumplings: beef, shrimp, chicken and basil dumplings, spicy wontons, sesame pancakes with beef and pork. i think my brother-in-law and i can eat dumplings everrr-day. 

cheers to #nomnomnom,
JD