Post 72…

Located near the Old Harbor district in Reykjavik Iceland, the quaint space of Three Sisters Guesthouse offers a homely accommodation for any weary traveler. As I made my way to the city center from the airport, still flooded with adrenaline after arriving in 33mph winds, I am anxious to meet my host and see where my journey abroad will begin. My connection with Three Sisters came on a whim, but I was eager to know more about the guesthouse as the opportunity grew closer.

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My husband, just over 2,000 miles away, is in Helsinki, and I am on my own traveling solo for the first time since we got married in 2015. My emotional levels ranging from a sense of vulnerability to a peaking awareness of independence. After getting from the plane to the bus, to the van, to the front door of Three Sisters Guesthouse, I am greeted by the kindest face a tired traveler can see! Thor, the owner of the facility, greeted me as family and escorted me to my room on the third floor. Although I have never been there before, somehow space felt familiar. As if walking into your Grandparents home only to sleep in what once in time was your own parents’ bedroom.

 

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In the entryway was the coat rack and bathroom and just passed that in the corner was a kitchen and opposite to that was a small coffee bar. Past the bed, on the opposite side of the room, two wing back chairs framed the coziest view of the neighboring corner store. Thor sat down with me on the wingback chairs and we talked about my travels, his company, and our spouses. As if visiting a relative I havent seen in a long time, it was comforting and easy to talk.

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Then all at once, I was alone, abroad, and amazed at the situation I found myself in. Gazing out the window of the overcast neighborhood, I wondered what the week ahead would have in store. First and foremost a meal was in my near future, since I was traveling on a budget groceries were needed. The following few days would be filled with window gazing and neighborhood wandering.

What started out as a spontaneous journey to the island of Iceland, turned into a surpriginly comfortable journey to a place of framiliarity. Three Sisters Guesthouse made traveling easy when every nightless night I could sit in the window ledge watching the moon and occasional pedestrian pass in the dusk light. Waiting for the streetlights to come on became an evening ritual as it would be well after midnight before the flicker of electricity would grow into a luminous light. Just enough to glow into the shadows in the sidewalk.

For anyone looking to have a cozy home away from home expereince, please consider this darling space. It truly is pleasure to stay here, and easy when all that you need is easily available in the various studio apartments to chose from at Three Sisters Guesthouse. Best of all, Thor will be your first friend in Iceland.

This post has been in collaboration with Three Sisters Guesthouse.

 

Post 71…

This week I am abroad on a solo journey around Reykjavík Iceland. So while I will share more detail about the city and my journey later with you on here, for now, I want to focus on my packing essentials. This trip is a seven-day expedition and without getting too cocky I feel this is my best packing job to date! When I arrived on Tuesday, the winds and rain were unlike anything I have ever experienced whilst living in the Nordic region. Much to my astonishment, I planned perfectly with exactly the right apparel to defend myself against the climate.


Some of my favorites with me on this trip include my Rains jacket for protection against wind and water. I also have my Lululemon jacket and merino wool sweater. These two together make just about any cold to freezing temperature a pleasurable experience. Also, in the essence of keeping things light, I only brought two journals and book for some paperback entertainment.


I am halfway through my trip and I could not be more pleased with how well things are going. As far as preparation is concerned, I did very little just to be sure spontaneity could be an option along the way. My best tip to share with you would be one, check the weather and prepare! And two, be honest with yourself. I am not the type to do a massive amount of wardrobe changes. So I know that I am going to wear a variation of the same outfit every day to keep mornings easy, packing light, and personal management simple. So if you’re traveling soon or planning to come to the great country of Iceland, I hope this has helped.
-xx

Post 70…

Like walking on a cloud, summer air brings a sense of ease to the everyday life. When one can enjoy the simple things, sun-kissed skin, taking a nap in the grass and loving each day a little longer than the last

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Weather is a common subject on the blog, and this week is no exception. A heat wave has arrived in Helsinki, my first ever to witness, and the change it has made is astounding. When I step outside, the air smells different, the vibe feels foreign, like I have traveled to a new country, right in my own backyard.

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The feeling of the Twilight Zone in full effect, the characters in this series changed overnight from coldly detached pedestrians to sunbathing babes in barely cover anything bikinis. For the first time in a year and a half, I bought a new bottle of SPF, simply because I barely used half a bottle all of last year. I was joking with someone that if Finland were like this more often, it would be more bearable to live here. This is true, simply because to me, this weather changes the city entirely. Like Anne Hathaway in the Princess Diaries, the before and after of Helsinki is transformational. It was as if spring sprung in a matter of hours.

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Best of all I had the spark of inspiration and motivation to go out and take pictures. The lush spring blooms have transformed corners of the city and I am thrilled to capture the moment.

-xx

Post 68…

I asked my husband to conduct an interview with me, these are the questions he thought to ask…

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Q: How did you get into photography?

A: My first memories of photography started when I was a child and my dad would take pictures of the family, flowers, landscapes, and vacations. So in that time, I remember the process of developing film and the mechanics of the camera. Later I got a digital camera in high school and around that time I started to use photography as a way to document moments during my travels. Nowadays, I am trying to advance my skills and overall be better at photography. It is difficult sometimes with the internet because it feels very competitive. I definitely think that little girl is still inspired by me, just trying to carry a camera around and document memories.

Q: Did the idea to start a blog come naturally to you?

A: Starting a blog was terrifying. It took me a long time and it kind of turned into one of those thoughts “I could easily do that but everyone else is doing it”, but I was still excluding myself so I don’t know, then it turned into the whole, “you can’t knock it ’til you try it”.

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Q: What is the next trip you want to do?

A:  So the next trip I want to go on, other than the one I have planned this May, is the Faroe Islands. It is a big bucket list one for me. For now, I am in the mood to travel more of the Nordic countries and see more of Scandinavia. I want to soak up this corner of the world while I am here.

Q: What city has a special place in your heart? Why?

A: Amsterdam is forever my soul mate city. It is hard to describe, I didn’t know the culture would compliment my personality so well, but it does. The architecture in the Netherlands is something that inspires me and gives me butterflies at the same time. Every day waking up there is very magical. It reminds me of a part of my life that took a lot of bravery where I cried, I laughed, I loved, and all the things that change you and make you who you are as a person. That all happened in Amsterdam.

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Q: You live in Helsinki now. What makes Helsinki weird? 

A: I think the fashion. It is not weird, because it is normal for the culture. But compared to Stockholm, Copenhagen, or other Scandinavian cultures, the fashion here is very unique. In Helsinki, it is such an underrated artsy city, you get a lot of that local design, self-expression, like the high cropped pants or the very short bob hairstyle. I tend to follow a more Scandi style, more clean street style. In our neighborhood, I have definitely seen some more funky looks. It is also warmly welcomed here. There is also no judgment about the way people carry themselves so those people could be fathers or business owners, but their self-expression is welcomed here so they can be free with their lifestyle choices. Even though Finns think they are confirmative culture, and a humble people, their self-expression can be very loud at times. That is what makes Helsinki weird and entertaining on a day to day basis.

 

Post 67…

This week I received a long-awaited investment. The Sustain Yearly magazine created by a few lovely ladies in Denmark finally arrived and I am beyond thrilled to own this beautiful piece of literature.

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After learning about the Sustain Daily movement a couple months ago, it did not take long before I was completely and utterly enthralled by everything their Danish team is doing. This magazine encompasses a kind and honest approach to real-world problems being tackled by beauty and elegance. Just like the title describes, each page goes through articles, recipes, and interviews to get you through a full calendar year of sustainable and ethical choices.

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SaveTHe This the first publication made available in English to an international audience. Originally the concept evolved in Danish but quickly grew in popularity and has now officially launched their first annual edition.

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I have taken the time to savor each page, article, and image. Unlike most things in 2018 that are consumed at rapid rates and praised for binging, this little beauty is my new coffee table book for the next year. The edition going through all four seasons with guides to sustainable living, recipes, and Nordic lifestyle.

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The opportunity is still available for you to get your magazine here. Unfortunately, the content is predominately in Danish, but with a little help from technology, it is simple to keep up with all the latest news.

-xx

Post 66…

It is a gloomy morning outside my windows. The clouds are thick letting only a dim light filter through the moody early hours of the day. Looking at pictures from last week in Stockholm, I am reminded of Spring’s arrival. The warm sunshine left my cheeks sunkissed after a full day of wandering Swedish streets. Although my time there was too short to bare, it was just enough to taste a different world and leave the everyday scene.

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My husband talks about how each city has its own smell. An individual fragrance to each part of the world. It is a sense I have tried to refine in recent years while traveling. Opening up to experience the world around me and be a witness with more than my eyes. My natural instinct is to listen to the sound of a city. The new noises and notes played by the people and nature combined. Stockholm sounds like cobblestone roads combined with the sing-song language that is the rhythm of the Swedish tongue.

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Another conversation I have when traveling is whether or not I feel “abroad”. As an immigrant for nearly three years, I suppose I live in a constant state of abroad. So when traveling around Europe the sensation of distant lands versus comfortable places varies on a scale. Stockholm falling somewhere on the scale of a large overwhelming populous to settling in a comfortable neighborhood corner.

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-xx

 

Post 60…

It is -19c outside with the wind chill so today I am getting cozy in my closet. I wanted to share some of my thoughts on shopping, style, and wardrobe investments. As someone who pushes to live more consciously, step one is all about what is in the closet!

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I have had a “basic wardrobe dream” since I was 17 years old. A collection of perfect timeless essentials that would get me through all of life’s events. It is hard to determine where this interest started, maybe it was watching my older sister grapple with what to wear, maybe it was my father bragging about having the same windbreaker for a decade. No matter the origin of my interest, the seed grew as I got older to be a full passion. Now, with Capsule Wardrobes, #30wear, and buying fairtrade it is easy to live and dress consciously.

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I do not identify my current closet as a capsule wardrobe, but by all definitions, I think it fits. Two factors helped me attain such a minimal closet. The first was moving abroad in 2015. This transition forced me to pack all my things into one suitcase, and everything else was donated. The second factor is my mentality. I have always been attracted to this minimal style. I believe less is more. My closet is living with me, so once a month or more I clean it out. Also, when you live with less, sometimes it is worth your while to pay more. Investing in quality over quantity will last years instead of buying for a single season is a huge game changer.

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In the future, I would like to deconstruct my closet and share everything with Y’all. For now, I will keep things light and avoid any ominous threats about fast fashion or maximalism. With the temperature steadily under -10c for the foreseeable forecast, my ensemble will strictly be layers, sweaters, and thermals!

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-xx