Low Carb Chocolate Chip Cookies?!

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Yeah. You read right.

I never though I’d ever use the words “low carb” and “chocolate chip cookies”  in one sentence until now. I’m in the process of legitimately trying to  shed off a few pounds without having to give up my one true love- cookies. I mean, I’m no chocolate chip cookie connoisseur (but really though I am) and this recipe blew my mind. That said, let me bless you with this gift of knowledge:

INGREDIENTS

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  • 2.5 cups almond flour
  • 6 tablespoons coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg, room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons of butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sweetener
  • 1 cup sugar free chocolate chips or high % cacao chocolate

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Pre-Heat oven to 350° and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

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2. Sift almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, and salt all together in one large bowl.

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3. In another large bowl, mix butter, sweetener, eggs and vanilla extract.

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4. Combine the dry and wet ingredients together and mix thoroughly until smooth.

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5. Add the best ingredient (chocolate chips, duh) into the bowl and stir until chips are evenly distributed (do this to the best of your abilities. No pressure.)

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Voilà! There you have it. I GIGANTOR mutha effing cookie.

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6. Just Kidding.  Ball the cookie doughs into 24 mounds and space them evenly on the baking sheets.

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7. Unlike regular cookies, these babies need to be flattened out a just a little bit.

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8. I know I said this a low carb dessert, but for those who want to make it just a little more sinful, chop up dark chocolate and add it to the flattened cookies.

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9. Sprinkle some sea salt in there to be fancy-fance

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10. Then, bake for 12-15 minutes (depending on your oven)

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11. Let the cookies sit and cool for about 2-3 minutes Processed with VSCO with f2 preset

And, there you have it folks! A semi guiltless pleasure that you can semi-indulge in.

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You’re welcome.

 

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Here’s [Unsolicited] Advice to Make Flying Less Stressful

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Let’s be honest, long flights can be gruesome . Like many others out there, I heavily anticipate the day  humans discover a way break the space-time continuum to allow earthly bodies to teleport from one place to another. But alas, until the math makes sense and while the probability of building such kind of machine is still close to null, this list might help your anxious nerves relax – just a little bit – while traveling.

Everything in this list have been personally tried and tested.

  1. Download Netflix shows/movies in advance                                                                           I want to personally thank the geniuses at Netflix for this wonderful gift. Yes, you no longer need to suffer a first world problem of enduring in-flight “entertainment”.  
  2. Also, make sure to download a number of awesome songs on your Spotify playlist. This pretty much ensures that you have music to listen to 24/7. *Note that this feature is limited to Spotify Premium accounts only.img_0830
  3. If you’re thinking of flying with something “questionable”, tweet TSA. I swear they reply. screen-shot-2017-02-01-at-9-22-31-pm follow them at @AskTSA- and while you’re at it— Follow us as well at @nonikswrite (see what I did there?). For general (kinda dumb) inquiries- review https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-screening/prohibited-items.
  4. Wear versatile, comfortable and easy to slip on shoes  while travellingcanvas-shoes-1839795_1280
  5. Pack large electronics on top layer of carry-on for screening accessibility.StockSnap_TM8ZAYA2ZI.jpg
  6. General rule: Arrive 1.5 hours before a Domestic Flight and 3 hours before an International one. I low-key made that up, just cause I’m a time nut. I mean… you really gotta give yourself enough time to arrive before your flight. #thanksTSA giphy-2
  7. Truth be told, any eye mask serves a purpose. What I can’t stand though is that tiny ray of light that seems to always seep in the creek somehow.  I say invest in an eye mask that doesn’t leave a nose gap AND stays in place. A contoured eye mask will do the trick.        giphy-5                                               buy it here
  8. While on the topic of a good night’s rest, may I suggest bringing a Travel Neck Pillow to cradle your restless neck. I have tried at least – AT LEAST- five versions of  a “travel neck pillow” and none have even come close to this wonder. I survived a 19-hour flight – slept a full eight hours with these bad boys. No kidding.giphy.gif
  9. Stay hydrated. Bring a water bottle that’s easy to manage. Sure, a Klean Kanteen works but a collapsable water bottle is a way better idea. Store it effortlessly inside your bag while going through screening, and  easily fill it up in fountains around the airport.
  10. how to hang your phone on a flight life hack The 55 Most Useful Life Hacks Ever
  11.  Keep essentials in your carry-on / personal bag.                                                 ✓Toothbrush/ Toothpaste & Floss                                                                                               ✓Lip balm/ Moisturizer & Face Spray (optional)                                                                         ✓Change of clothes and a second pair of underwear                                                         ✓Feminine wipes and panty liners                                                                                           ✓Cologne/ roll on perfume and/or deodorant  The WORST thing that could ever happen to you in an airplane (okay,  maybe second worst) is to sit next to someone with poor hygiene. Don’t be that person.
  12. Keep in Mind: Liquids, gels and aerosols packed in carry-on must follow the 3-1-1 liquids rule:
    • 3.4 ounces or less per container
    • 1 quart size, clear, plastic, zip top bag (all liquids must fit in bag)
    • 1 bag per passenger
  13.   Do not forget to bring general medications for general complaints that generally happen when you travel .   
  14. Noise canceling head phones can be a tad bit pricey, but it falls nothing short of an investment.  A quality one can drastically reduces unwanted environmental sounds such as jet engines and inconsiderate passengers that talk loudly during “lights off” hours. If you don’t already have a good set of headphones, I strongly suggest you try the Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Headphones. Heaven sent, I tell ya!
  15. Apart from being considerate, helpful and most importantly  hygienic (refer to #11) do yourself and your airport buddies a favor and pack a Travel Adapter & Surge Protection Power Converter Strip. It does two things- 1) Allows you to skip the outlet scavenger hunt and 2) Your gain everyone’s gratitude and affection. Be the hero here.
  16. Always bring a hand sanitizer and lysol wipes– why? Because everything is gross.giphy-4.gif
  17. Minimize the probability of dropping/ leaving/ losing important travel documents while on the go and get yourself a travel organizer. I can confidently say that this is the one case wherein putting your eggs in one basket is actually a good idea
  18. Is your roaming data killing you? is your wireless provider robbing you blind with overhead charges? Fear no more, my friend. I present to you (just presenting I obv. didn’t invent it) -a Portable Wi-FiThis awesome piece of technology allows you to travel with a mobile WiFi hotspot. You get fast (not always reliable- but reliable enough), secure mobile data  in top destinations in Europe, North and South America, Asia, Africa and Australia. Pretty. Freaking. Awesome. 
  19. Pack Snacks because.. duh.food-fruits-cereals-breakfast
  20. Lastly, Digitalize EVERYTHING.giphy-3

Travel: New Orleans: Taking Us Back in Time

Day 1

 

Day 2

Day 3

 

Air Bnb on point. I mean…C’mon now. 

(Click to Watch):

DIY: Building Your Home Bar : What You Need and Why You Need It

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If there’s anything I love more than sipping a delicious cocktail, it’s making one.

It took me a year to finally invest on my own equipment to slowly start building my home bar. As an ex-bartender and cocktail enthusiast, I find absolute pleasure in concocting classic and original cocktails and serving it to family and friends. Building a home bar may sound a little intimidating but like all other things, the fun and excitement is not in the final project but the journey towards it.

There’s a lot of misconception about cocktails. A proper cocktail is not a result of juices and alcohol being thrown in and mixed together. A fine cocktail is built with elegance and grace. Okay, that sounded a bit too pretentious- But really, once you know what a cocktail should taste like, you’ll understand exactly what I mean by that. Ok- Jibber jabber aside, here are the basics you’ll need to start building your very own home bar:

Tools

Muddler: A muddler is used to mash or muddle fruits to extract natural juices and oils from the fruits’ meat and skin. A quality muddler costs about 11 USD. Despite the popular choice, I strongly suggest getting a muddler NOT made from wood, as wood in time will absorb too much of the acid, sugar and oil or the fruits causing it to eventually corrode. I prefer using rubber or steel muddlers because not only do they last longer, they’re also easier to maintain.

Tin Shaker is a tin glass- shaped tool. It usually comes with a cap and strainer by itself but it’s popularity partnered with the mixing glass to shake cocktail ingredients together, with ice.

Mixing Glass is a thicker version of a pint glass used to vessel the cocktails ingredients.

Bar Spoon is a long handled spoon used for mixing (and layering) both alcoholic and non-alcoholic mixed drinks. Its length ensures that it can reach the bottom of any pitcher or to mix ingredients directly in the glass.

Strainer is used to cleanly separate the solids and ice, when pouring the cocktail to the glass.

Jigger is a tool used measure out a “jigger” or 1.5 US ounces. Contrary to it’s name, a jigger can come in different measuring sizes.

Spirits

Alcohol can be a little bit over-whelming (and expensive) for your home bar. Never fret! A trick I learned in bartending school is that to build your bar, you can start with six essential spirits.

Remember: Very Good Rice Takes Time Willy 

Your well bottles will consist of

V- Vodka

G- Gin

R- Rum (dark or light)

T- Tequila

T- Tripple Sec (Although I prefer Cointreau or any other Orange liqueur)

W- Whiskey

With these spirits you can make almost all classic cocktails like the Margarita, Extra Dry Martini, Mojito, Whiskey Sour, Tom Collins, Lemon Drop and the like.

Other Essentials include:

Fruits and Veggies 

Basic musts are Lemon, Lime, Oranges, Olives, Cherries, Cucumber and Mints

Sodas, Ice and Water

and

Simple Syrup/ Fine Sugar

Tip: make your own simple syrup by mixing 50% white sugar and 50% (almost) boiling water. Mix well, sit to cool and refrigerate.

That being said, combining all of these tools and ingredients with bartending Youtube videos and practice, you’re well on your way to becoming  the most popular person in the next office party. Good Luck! 🙂

Travel: Seven Days in Iceland (In the Fall)

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No one has ever thought of coming to Iceland until the recent tourism boom (Thanks viral Northern Lights videos). Now, plenty have flocked to this beautiful country to witness, experience and marvel at the rawness and solitude of the land. I, like many other travel-hungry monkeys hopped on board the Iceland madness and boy do I tell ya, it’s well worth every cent.

Before our trip, I really made a point to do my due diligence and research as much as I can. Unfortunately, since Iceland is a fairly new place to visit, there was not much material to work with. That being said, I wanted to put this piece together to serve as a travel and itinerary guide for those planning to visit the land of Ice and Fire.

Let’s start with the pre-planning-A couple of things you guys should know before packing:

  • Icelandic weather is unpredictable and quite fickle. Once minute it’s sunny, cool and perfect then the next it’s windy and storming. Locals say that if you don’t like the weather in Iceland- just wait 5 minutes!
  • Daylight is limited in the Fall and Winter. You’ll only be getting about 4.5-6 hours of daylight compared to 11-21 hours in the Spring and Summer.
  • The land is rugged and rough and there are so little trees. Expect the terrain outside the city to be icy, rocky, mossy and/or wet and the winds cold, crisp and strong.
  • Everything in Iceland is pretty expensive – especially the food– so if you’re on a budget I suggest you buy food in the grocery (Bónus is probably the best known budget store in Iceland and it’s usually considered the cheapest.) and book an Airbnb that allows you to cook your own food and brew your own coffee. If not, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.
  • Bring a water bottle to lug around everywhere. DO NOT BUY WATER IN ICELAND as you’re in a country where water comes straight from thousand-year old glaciers. Honestly, you can drink unfiltered water from the faucet, or a running stream and it will be the BEST water you’ll drink in your life.
  • Side note: shower water smells like rotten eggs — This is because the hot and cold water come from two different sources. The “rotten eggs” smell is due to the geothermal origins of the hot water, making it really good for bathing, but not drinking.
  • There will be a lot of driving so polarized glasses can come a long way.
  • Reykjavik is full of stylish locals BUT I HIGHLY recommend you choose comfort over style.

What to Wear:

  • Jackets: At first I thought I could get away with a water resistant jacket as opposed to a water proof one– FALSE. Pack a water proof jacket. You will need something to keep you both warm and dry- remember fickle weather! I personally recommend (I’m not being paid to endorse this) the North Face TriClimate Jacket or any fleece/down-waterproof shell-dual/triple-purpose- jacket.
  • Shoes: Comfortable waterproof hiking boots is a MUST. I brought the KEEN Delta Brown Leather Waterproof Winter Hiking Boot it both kept my feet and toes warm and squishy-free!
  • Under garments: 3-4 Thermal Underwear-  went the extra mile and bought the Uniqlo ULTRA WARM HEATTECH thermals and it did not disappoint.
  • Socks: Wool/Thermal Socks (5-7 pairs) is another MUST! Let me tell you- Wool Thermal socks really helped keep my toes from freezing off my feet. Also, I advice to bring more socks than you think you need- especially if you’ll be doing hikes and swims.
  • Bottoms: Ski Pants: For Caving and Glacier Hikes or any activity of that sort. You’ll thank me later. There were 3 girls in our Glacier hike tour that wore jeans and leggings- and boy were they soaked (and freezing). Thermal Leggings (3 Pairs) for Hop on Hop off tours like the Golden Circle. You’ll be inside a bus/ van pretty much the whole time going out for 45 minutes to 1 hour each stop, thermal leggings are okay for that. Lastly,  Jeans (1 pair) for going around the city and dining in nicer restaurants.
  • Tops: Long Sleeved Shirts –  I suggest bring 8 shirts for a 7 day trip so that you have an extra shirt to change to if (and when) it gets wet in one of your activities.
  • Bathing Suit/ Swim Trunks: Despite the cold weather, you will soon learn that hot springs and baths are crucial to the Icelandic culture. You’ll want to bring appropriate swimwear for the Blue Lagoon or (if you’re brave enough) maybe a dip in the Ice cold beach water.
  • Shades: For snow and road glare.
  • Wool Beanie: I swear by wool and I swear by quality beanies. Mine kept my head and ears warm during 0 degree weather.
  • Water/Windproof Gloves: Another must in my opinion. If you’re doing outdoorsy activities, I highly recommend that you pack yourself water proof gloves with fleece linings. If you have the extra bucks to spare, it would be helpful to get a pair the allows you to operate a touch screen phone while keeping your hands warm.

What to Bring:

  • Go Pro: With fast paced activities you very rarely have time to stop and take pictures. A brilliant plan we had, was to continuously take videos with our GoPro, then took screen shots of the stills and saved as JPEGS. Not only was it convenient in documenting our fast (and slow) paced activities, the shots look like stills from movies! Lastly, it’s water proof so you need not worry about it while swimming or walking in the rain/snow.
  • Laptop or Multiple SD cards for GoPro: The downside of bringing a GoPro is having to bring an external outlet to store your thousand pictures per day.
  • Portable Gadget Chargers/ Extra Gadget batteries: cause…duh.
  • Waterproof case for your phone- side story: I had a Lifeproof case for my phone and swam with it in the Blue Lagoon. I wish this story had a good ending but the hot water opened my Lifeproof phone and let sulfuric water seep into my case, and killed my phone completely. haha So… users beware. I’m not saying it wont serve a purpose but probably best to leave in the locker while swimming in hot water.
  • Jerky & Protein Bars: Whether you’re on a tour or driving, You’ll find yourself on the road a lot, driving kilometer after kilometer. Protein bars and Jerkey helps in suppressing h-ANGER before you reach the next gas station.

Car & Lodging :

Car: If you decide to rent a car, please make sure you invest on a 4WD. The roads are slippery and sometimes icy or muddy and you’d really hate to get stuck in the middle of no where. City Car Rental  has superb customer service and are fairly flexible. I recommend renting a car from these guys as the prices are cheap and the agents are pretty easy to coordinate with.

Lodging: I highly suggest you opt for an AirBnb in downtown Reykjavik so as you can walk to the nearest hotel for tour pick ups and drop offs. Also, almost all restaurants, coffee shop, and bars are located in downtown- staying in the area gives you access to walk everywhere and not have to pay extra for bus fares and parking (for people driving). When deciding what area to stay in, I used “Hallgrimskirkja” as a landmark.

Now, for the itinerary and list of activities–

Day 1: Arrival/ Blue Lagoon/ Exploring Reykjavik

From LAX to KEF via WOW Air: We landed about 4:00 AM and City Car Rental shuttle was not going to pick us up till 5:00 AM. We used that hour window to check Duty Free (tax-free shopping!) out, Buy an Icelandic sim card and withdraw Icelandic Króna (note: 1 Icelandic Króna is 0.0090 USD)

After we picked the rental car up, we had about 2+ hours to kill before we could head over to The Blue Lagoon – honestly there isn’t anything open at this time of the day as Keflavik is a pretty small town. That being said, my husband and I hung out and slept in our car (in the cold) outside a gas station. haha

The Blue Lagoon is about 15 minutes from the airport and 45 minutes from Reykjavik so some people choose to go in the morning after a long flight into Iceland, or some choose to go before their flight out. We chose the former. There are a few reasons why The Blue Lagoon is better in the morning; two of which being- A) the spa had just opened so there aren’t a lot of people yet so it’s less crowded. B) Seeing the morning approach from the lagoon is a pretty dope experience 🙂 At the Blue Lagoon we opted for the Blue Lagoon Comfort Package That included:

  • Entrance to Blue Lagoon
  • Silica Mud Mask
  • Use of Towel
  • 1st drink of your choice
  • Algae Mask

What you’ll essentially be missing are:

  • Use of Bathrobe
  • Slippers
  • Table reservation at LAVA Restaurant
  • Sparkling wine at LAVA Restaurant
  • Entrance to the Exclusive Lounge
  • Spa Journey Product Set

After the Blue Lagoon, we explored nearby sites like the ReykjanesViti – a cliff the overlooks the beautiful Atlantic Ocean and Krýsuvík– an area that features geothermal fields, hot springs & yellow, green & red soil.

After that, we made our way to the capital and did more exploring there. Hallgrimskirkja is one among the many sites to see in Reykjavik.

Day 2: Golden Circle/Night Adventure in Reykjavik

Golden Circle Express is an awesome tour that features the top 3 most popular sites in Iceland: Gullfoss, Þingvellir National Park and Strokkur (Since its big brother, Geysir is now dormant). I personally think that these sites aren’t the most glorious and beautiful tourist attractions, but definitely worth see it while you’re in the country. While booking, you’ll come across two very popular Golden Circle Tour options: The Golden Circle Classic and The Golden Circle Express. The main differences between the two are the following: A)The Express is 2 hours shorter than the Classic and B) The Express does not include a stop at the Kerið crater- which honestly, was not a deal breaker for us. We much rather wanted to spend the extra 2 hours of daylight in the city.

  • Duration: 6 hours (approx.)

Day 3: Cave Exploring and Snorkling in Silfra

On day three, we spent the whole day caving and swimming in 2 degree glacier water. We explored the Leiðarendi cave- a very good example of an Icelandic lava tube. Honestly, when booking this activity, I thought it was going to be a light sight-seeing/ picture-taking activity- BUT NOoooooo! This one was a full on workout that felt pretty much like training for the end of days. Several times during the tour we were in all fours, crawling, bending and dodging sharp rocks . This activity was plenty of fun but it’s not for those who are claustrophobic or want a more relaxed activity.

On another note, if there’s one excursion I insist you experience while in Iceland, it’s definitely snorkeling in the Siflra fissure. The Silfra is a rift formed in the divergent tectonic boundary between the North American and Eurasian plates located in the Þingvellir National Park. The tour provides everything for you. You do not need to wear a bathing suit under your clothes because the dry suit (yes, not wet suit) will keep you warm and your clothes dry (correct, you’ll be wearing your clothes under the dry suit). Also, find comfort in knowing, as the dry suit is very buoyant, so you’ll be floating all throughout the activity and will barely even need to use your legs to kick. But! prepare for your lips to go numb and for some water to seep in. It’s a tiring and very cold experience but honestly, snorkeling in between two tectonic plates , in crystal clear glacier water- that you can literally drink while swimming– is totally an experience of a lifetime. There’s literally nothing like it!

  • Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

Day 4: Glacier Hiking and Ice Climbing

If you’re up for a day of serious adventure, you might want to book a Glacier Hiking and Ice Climbing tour. The surreal landscape of Iceland’s Sólheimajökull Glacier is breathtaking! Although no previous glacier hiking and ice climbing experience is necessary, please know that ice climbing is really difficult… (and optional).haha The Glacier hike is moderately easy but is tiring enough to be considered another day’s workout. 😉  Most companies provide you with all the safety gears including the crampons. All you have to bring is water, an extra shirt, socks and maybe even pants because you’ll (more likely) be soaking wet after this activity.

  • Duration: 11 hours (approx.)

Day 5: Game of Thrones Tour

I personally am a HUGE fan of the show, and geeked out the whole time- but not all who join this tour are Game of Thrones fans.  Regardless, I think it’s a really good tour because you get to drive around and sight-see hidden Icelandic countryside gems like Nesjavellir- the largest geothermal power station in the country, Lake Thingvallavatn and Thjorsárdalur valley. Also, in this tour you’ll learn more about the Viking culture, and that by itself is always interesting 🙂

  • Duration: 8 hours (approx.)

Day 6: Drive to Vik from Reykjavik

Vik is a village in the south of Iceland and is a little short of a 2.5 hour drive from Reykjavik. Though there are tours that offer a south-coast tour of the country, my husband and I opted to drive it ourselves as we wanted more control over our time (and needed to complete a very important errand). The road is long and the drive, fairly easy. There are pretty wonderful stops along the way. You’ll want to stop almost every where as the scenery is just to damn beautiful. That being said, here’s a list of “must-see” places:

Seljalandsfoss– A waterfall that people can actually walk behind and view from inside out. It’s powerful and majestic beyond words. Caution: you WILL get wet so bring/ pack/ wear everything waterproof. Needless to say, despite the slight discomfort of getting wet, it’s a really cool experience.

Dyrholaey – The arch with a hole. Although there is limited access to the cliff (Tour busses cannot get up there), it’s definitely worth driving to as it homes a number of different birds (including the famous puffins) and also, you’ll get to take stellar pictures of not only the lighthouse but the marvelous horizon as well.

Reynisfjara– Popularly know as the Black Sand/Pebble Beach, here you can stand in awe watching the big and strong Atlantic waves crash into shore while the basalt cliffs act as a backdrop. Please know that the waves are really powerful and unpredictable and a number of fatal accidents have occurred here. That being said, please do not be wreck less trying to take pictures and stay away from the shore. Other than that, this place is wonderful and a MUST see for anyone driving to/through along the south-coast.

Day 7: Drive to Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon from Vik

Drive another 2 hours and 20 minutes east from Vik and you’ll hit Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon, a must must must visit while you’re in Iceland. Jökulsárlón Glacier lagoon is right next to Vatnajökull glacier, Europe’s largest glacier.  It’s a photographers playground as it’s filled with large and small chunks of ice that pretty much resemble diamonds (hence the nickname “Diamond Beach”). There are a number of tours offered for that area, none of which we chose to do. Merely observing the glaciers from where we were was breathtaking enough.

Day 8: Vik to Keflavik

On our last day in Iceland, we drove from Vik to Keflavik. The drive is approximately 3 hours but unlike other city/country in the world, there is little to no traffic in Iceland. In fact, there were barely any stop lights. We left roughly around 10 am, dropped our car off back to the rental car office and took the shuttle to the airport to catch our 4 PM flight.

 

To conclude this entry, here’s a Budget Summary sans our meals, souvenirs, drinks and groceries:

  • Flight from LAX to KEF

WOW Air : $1550 for 2 ($775 / person)

  • City Car Rental (1 day)

24,600 ISK or $215.60 USD

  • Air BnB (Reykjavik)

$441 for 5 nights

EUR 120 or $128 for 2 ($64 USD per person)

$152.78 for 2 ($76.39 per person)

$431.72 for 2 ($215.86 per person)

$426.44 for 2  ($213.22 per person)

$154.98 for 2 ($77.49 per person)

  • City Car Rental (2 days)

35,000 ISK or 314.01 USD

  • Air BnB (Vik)

$217 for 2 nights

Although food and drinks were not the highlight for us (though while on that topic- DO try the Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur– BEST HOTDOGS EVER), every experience we had in this island kept us full and satisfied. Some come to Iceland as a stopover, I highly suggest you make this beautiful country a destination by itself. Trust me, you won’t regret it.

 

 

 

Talks in a Cafè

One night in a café, my friends and I were discussing a few subset issues on life regarding love. As we questioned many things about the said topic, we then began to theorize why things were such. It’s almost uncanny to not want to understand how these relationships work. We therefore, wanted answers.

Eight years ago when I was sixteen, weeks before prom night, my parents hosted a dinner for my prom date (and my current boyfriend) and I. There, my father first spoke of the Private Ryan Principle. For those who don’t know the movie Saving Private Ryan, it’s about four soldiers who risked their lives for a private, a soldier of the lowest rank, who they did not even know. With that, private Ryan went on with his life, trying to “prove his worth”; redressing something that had been given to him, before he even earned it. The principle is similar, my dad said. He was entrusting me a boy he hardly knew, even before he proved to deserve that trust.

With that, my friends and I began formulating our own principles and theories about life and love.

I shared another one, again from my father- about great love. He called it The Jurassic Park Principle; he explained that there are things that appear to be extinctLove that appears to have been long forgotten. But in some alternate universe, it’s still apparent, waiting to be rediscovered. Great love is never lost. It just likes to wander. When relived, it most certainly shall be magnificent. My friend Matty was intrigued. He then created a principle for himself. He named it: The Lector Principle- as in Hannibal Lector. It suggests that no matter how much one gives, how much one tries- he will eventually get his heart, plucked out from his chest, stomped to the floor, picked up, mended, and left out in the open to eventually rot. In short, you will get screwed over no matter how hard you try. Although it was quite a negative approach to viewing things, Matty made point.

Why couldn’t I have thought of my own principle? I consequently, took it as a challenge. I wasn’t going to give Matt the benefit of having the last word. Therefore, I came up with my own theory. I called it The Gump Theory. Mine pre-proposes my father’s Jurassic Park Principle suggesting that there is a certain kind of magnetism to those who know of great love. Like Forrest and Jenny in the movie, there will come a time where in love will be proven metaphysical- and it’s when time and space play a minimal role to you being together- there is just that certain attraction- a certain gravitational pull, that despite hardships and trials, the cosmos conspire for you guys to be together.

All throughout this conversation, another friend of ours, AA sat in his place quietly, listening to us explain and defend the theories and philosophies we were so proud to have come up with. As we talked further about the countess probabilities to answer our questions, AA suddenly spoke. He says: “I have a Theory”. We looked at him blankly. He continued, saying he didn’t know what to call his theory yet, although it’s very simple. AA says men always tries to pin point, or to answer, theorize, philosophize many questions about life and love… though in the end… it really boils down to just one thing…

“I just want to hold your hand.”

I think “The Lennon Principle” will be a much fitting name. Don’t you?

A Five-Course Meal for the Heartbroken

About 2 years ago, my friend Jen and I were going through a really tough time with our respective relationships. I especially was going through something very, very, very difficult and I couldn’t feel more alone. I was in a foreign country, with foreign people and new friends who did not understand what I was going through. I hated–nay, loathed the situation I was in and what sucked was that I really could not do anything about it. I can’t emphasize how terrible those times were for me. To be honest, It’s probably the most painful time in my life, to-date.

During those times, Jen helped me through a lot. We gave each other a lot of “pep talks” and “motivational speeches” to boost our wounded spirits.

 

What stood out the most was a quote she included in a letter she wrote me the day I left to go back home:

The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.“— Elisabeth Kübler-Rossthat

To everyone who’s going through a tough time,

To those hearts that are broken to a million pieces,

&

To those who’s worlds are shattered: This post is for you 🙂

To Jen: thank you, my dear dear friend for everything  🙂

A Five-Course Meal for the Heartbroken:

Appetizer:

For starters, remember that the human connection is something special and so unique that relationships can’t be based off anything superficial. It’s okay that he’s gone, because what he’s giving up is a spot for someone so mind-blowingly astounding.

Soup:

When you’re scared to try something new because you’re traumatized and you’re drowning and things are left cold, know that life usually never ends up how you expect it to. Stay positive, live healthy and lively. Count your blessings and cherish your time with those who matter. It’ll make you happier. Plus, others have it far worse. What’s a little heartbreak?

Salad:

Life is short; there is no point in dwelling on someone whom you can’t see a future with. Or for those who did, there’s no point in fighting for someone who’s already given up. In any relationship, it always takes two to tango. A salad’s not a salad without dressing. Wait for someone who makes you feel remarkable, beautiful… irreplaceable.

Main Course:

Remember two things: never regret, and bitter is never an appetizing taste. At one point in time, you wanted what was happening. Think of it as an experience- and be thankful for what you’ve learned. Do keep in mind:Moments. It’s not about the grand things but the little things all rubber banned together that encompass the bigger picture. Cherish was you learned and appreciate the little details…because you’ll soon realize that that’s what life is… attention to details.

Dessert:

View the world as a non-zero-sum competition. No one needs to lose for you to win. Think of it this way, you are amazing. And you don’t need anyone to affirm that. Own it. Being single, you now get to share your awesome-ness to other people. It doesn’t have to always be romantic. Be an inspiration, converse, touch lives, and make both minute and crucial impact on people. Plus, with your time now, do things you weren’t able to being committed.

Lastly, My friend mentions this book called Five Wishes by Gay Hendricks. The author talks of a man on his deathbed as names five things that he wished that he could have done/could do to live a fulfilling and happy life. Here were his five:

  1. I wish I’d enjoyed a long and happy marriage with a woman I adored and who adored me.
  2. I wish I’d said all the things I never got around to saying to my friends and extended family. I wish I’d confessed the secrets I was holding. I wish I’d told some people how much I loved and appreciated them.
  3. I wish I’d generated a complete written record of everything of significance I learned during my time on earth.
  4. I wish I had developed an understanding of God and divinity.
  5. I wish I didn’t rush through life and savored every moment, good and bad.

Therefore, for the remainder of his time on earth, all he had to do was make them come true.  Thought: Why wait to turn your life around?  start today. Smile. Change the world.

Now, with all that being said: here’s the coffee to end a gratifying meal…

what’s your five?

HAPPINESS

Image

Sunsets
Long, quiet, TRAFFIC-LESS  drives
big leafy trees
Silhouettes of trees
Trapped cold under a pillow
Warming up in a blanket
Beautiful, inspiring photographs

Taking beautiful, and inspiring photographs

A good movie
Notebooks and pens
Glow in the dark things
Pretty gypsy rings
Star or cloud gazing
Picnics
Old couples holding hands,
Holding your hand
Texts or calls from somebody I’ve been thinking about
Spontaneous road trips
Surprises you really had no idea about
Random treasures found in the beach, or somewhere unexpected- like…a market…an antique shop or underwater?
Hearing an old song you used to love, on the radio
Lingering looks from a cute stranger
Finishing a write-up
Conquering a fear
The smell and the feeling of opening a brand new book
Finishing a beautiful book
walking in cold weather, with burning hot chocolate in hand

Walking in hot weather with my favorite Italian soda.

lighthouses

Vintage shops
Sunlight seeping in, in a dark room
Peaceful walks or bike rides
waking up next to you
Seeing something new or different
Traveling Alone

Traveling with someone I love

Looking out onto a beautiful horizon

Waking up to a good dream
Free Wi-Fi
A full moon
Snorkeling
The adrenaline of swimming in open water
Remembering a fond memory
The smell of bacon and fried rice in the morning

Fresh orange juice with bacon and fried rice in the morning

Coffee and good music on a cloudy, windy day…

Or a sunny windy day.

Alone time by the ocean

Good conversations

Quiet hugs from behind.

 

Kisses from my dog

laughter