If my family was dessert: My mom


(These cupcakes are the peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes from Sally’s Baking Addiction.)

Chocolate muffins

I will never forget that I was the first Grdina in my family to get a C on her report card.

I was finishing my math homework (for the class I might as well have been failing by my family‚Äôs standards) while waiting for a Jonathan Safran Foer reading at a Borders in downtown Chicago when my mom snapped, “The reason you got that C is because I wasn’t home when you were younger.”

My mom returned to teaching full-time a few years after I was born. Her going back to school meant many things for our family. But for me, it meant more time with my dad helping him around the house and running errands around town just he and I.

I remember our days full of activities: running errands around town but always making time for the candy store, handing my dad paint brushes while he was on the ladder, and making chocolate chip cookies together while anxiously waiting for my sisters to return from school and rejoin our fun.

Iced peanut butter cupcakes from the side

While my mom might chock up my first C to her not being home to encourage studying, what I hope she has now come to realize – after a very full, very fun sixty years on earth – is that by returning to work  and later pursuing her Master’s all while raising the three of us, my mom modeled for all of us exactly the kind of woman we hope we will become.

It is because of her that my sisters and I  stumbled through dance classes, played volleyball and soccer, tried out for nearly every school play, participated in Speech and Debate, wrote for the college paper, studied abroad and more. She is the one to thank (or blame? ūüėČ ) for our stubborn personalities and thinking we can conquer anything, obstacles and the patriarchy be damned!

She and my dad both encouraged us to try everything and to never stop learning. To always carry a book on your person and to be kind to everyone because you never know what someone else is going through.

Open cupcake

By going after her own dreams both big and small, my mom showed us how to do everything with big love – to embrace the lows for we will overcome them stronger in the end and to cherish the highs for you never know how long they will last.

Anyone who has spent just five minutes with her has seen this for themselves and can attest to how fun she is. I was scolded at a Jonathan Safran Foer lecture, for heaven’s sake! 

At the last wedding we attended, the table mates we hardly knew at the evening‚Äôs beginning told me as they left that she made the whole party more fun! And they said this despite the fact we toasted our deceased aunt not once but three times, which is most definitely a blog post for another time.

Iced peanut butter cupcakes

Many years before D.C. and I.U. and Munster High School but always sitting at our big round kitchen table, I remember answering a worksheet which asked many things, one of which was, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”

When I asked my mom (see, I remember you helping me with homework!) she replied, “A strong, independent woman who contributes to society.”

I panicked after seeing there wasn’t nearly enough room for such a long-winded answer (which comes as no surprise to anyone who has seen firsthand how chatty our family is). I suspected everyone else would write something tangible like “teacher” or “artist.” And yet I squeezed “a strong, independent woman who contributes to society” in between the lines and placed my worksheet in my folder for the next day.

Sliced hi hat cupcake

To the most fearless and fun woman I know whose mottos include, “Glitterize it” and “What’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine,” you are, without a doubt, peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes: chocolate cupcakes with peanut butter frosting dipped in chocolate. Chocolate cupcakes are the great equalizer. They’re fitting for every event and always the life of the party. 

And if the whipped peanut butter frosting wasn’t enough, these cupcakes have a hard chocolate shell on top. Which sums up my mom’s third life motto: “More is more.”

My only regret is that I didn’t order edible glitter. Alas, there’s always your sixty-first.

Sixtieth cake topper on a cupcake

I have no idea what happened to that worksheet or how my classmates responded, but the lesson has stuck with me: I can go after anything I want no matter where it will take me.

By simply being, my mother encourages me everyday to cultivate my relationship with myself, to never underestimate the healing power of a good manicure, and that I can do more than I believe is possible.

This post is late by logistical birthday standards, but its publishing the last day of birthday month is a fitting end to an amazing start to her sixtieth year! Birthdays always last the full month, anyways. For these lessons and a million more, we will never come close to repaying you, Mom. You’re the best in the world. Happy belated birthday!

(These cupcakes are the peanut butter hi-hat cupcakes from Sally’s Baking Addiction.)


If my family was dessert: my sister Genevieve


Champagne cake

My oldest sister is five years older than me to the day. Happy birthday, Genevieve!

I put off Part Two of the series If My Family was Dessert for a long time. What dessert could possibly represent the beautiful, smart young woman who has blown out more than twenty years worth of birthday candles with me?

What flavors capture crying at every Christmas movie we watch no matter how many times we’ve seen it? Is Promptly Replies to Emails No Matter How Bizarre My Request Is a boxed cake mix? And in what aisle can I find the seasoning that personifies the sister who would wake us up for school by saying Mac and cheese was on the breakfast menu?

Berry cake with mumm napa champagne

To the sister who is equal parts kindness, humility and fun, you are without a doubt champagne cake! This golden butter cake with champagne ganache nestled between each layer and topped with a chocolate glaze is the definition of sophistication with a side of whimsy. As are many older sisters, the directions are somehow both sensitive and demanding in a way that makes complete sense by the end.

The ganache combines champagne, vanilla and brandy with melted bittersweet and semi-sweet chocolate chips. After spreading the layers and sides with ganache, a chocolate glaze coats the top and sides. You can see your face in the glaze’s reflection! (Certainly there’s a metaphor here.)

By time I got to try this rich layer cake (three days after I started making it), I realized the directions were right all along and as is almost always the case with Big Sister Advice, I’m glad I listened to the directions yadda yadda you were right all along there I said it.

Chocolate layer cake pre-glazePost-double glaze

Genevieve is the rare kind of person who brings out the best in people simply by being in the room. She never settles for less than the best and she challenges those around her to do the same with grace and compassion.

I admire her ability to navigate change and look to her when I need anything from words of encouragement to a make-up recommendation, because chances are, she’s been there before or already bought that lipstick and is about to save me some moolah.

Layer of vanilla cake with chocolate ganache

When I was younger and less gracious than I’d like to admit I am now, I didn’t like sharing a birthday. As the youngest sister, I often feel like I’m playing catch up to my older two sisters. When I finally reached teenagehood at 13, my sister became an adult. (It doesn’t help that my sisters always move up the qualifying age for being an “official teenager.” Now that I’ve reached twenty-six, I think you’re not truly a teenager until you’re twenty-seven.) When I turned sweet 16, my sister turned 21, so on and so forth.

But now that I’m nearly a real teenager, I no longer look at the five years between us as space to catch-up. Having sisters is all sorts of wonderful, and I’m incredibly fortunate to have two of the best to look up to as incredible models who have navigated several paces ahead of me and regularly reassure me everything will turn out fine.

Top of the sliced open cake

There are many joys of sharing a birthday, but the number one by far is that we never celebrate alone. Happy birthday, birthday buddy! I’m raising a glass of champagne to you from D.C. and toasting to everything the upcoming year has in store for us – champagne cakes included!

(I used the champagne cake recipe from the cookbook Sweet by Valerie Gordon. Champagne ganache is found here. Milk chocolate glaze here.)


Fourth of July flag cake (and that time I dropped a four layer cake)


Flag cake on a cake stand.jpg

Have you ever started a project with a bad feeling? I know it sounds so corny, but from the moment I started this cake on Friday night, I had a bad feeling about it. I can’t describe it exactly, but I just knew things were not going to end well.

I usually get nervous at some point during the baking process (Will it rise ok? Did I mix it too much? Is this thing even going to taste good?), so I chocked up my nerves to a weird week and tried to move on.

When I set out to make this flag cake, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but I didn’t think I’d go so far as accidentally dropping it.

Destroyed flag cake next to a slice.jpg

Let me set the scene for you: I made the layers Friday night, so I woke up early Saturday to ice the cake and shoot photos so I’d have time to enjoy the weekend (aka I was rushing. Which I should know by now never ends well).

In order to get my favorite light, I shoot photos on a very small end table near our windows which you can see in these pictures. I’m able to move the table around and take pictures around it without there ever being an issue.

USA mug cutting a circle in a blue layer.jpg


As I was assembling this bad boy, it was as easy as I remembered it being when I made this cake last year. The flag makes it look 10x more difficult than it is, I swear. The design is made by cutting out the middle of the blue layer(s) and doing the same to the red and white, but keeping the middles and discarding the edges as shown above. I used a spaceship mug because why buy a circular cookie cutter when drinking glasses work so well? ūüėČ Then the red and white replace the inside blue layers. Like Russian nesting dolls! That’s it. Easy peasy.

So here I was cutting the pieces, sneaking bites of frosting and icing, when after I finished icing and cut a slice, the sun shifted and cast a nasty shadow. I set the slice aside (but not the cake what was I thinking?!) and moved the cake and end table to the other side of the living room to check out the lighting there. It was even worse. And this! This, my friends, is when things got ugly. I decided to move the cake back. Should’ve been easy enough right?

Red, white and blue cake layers.jpg

I lifted the tiny end table with the cake on top when halfway through carrying it back to its original spot (mind you, our apartment is small so this is not the hoof it might sound like it is. Although I would like to lie and tell you I had to jump through fiery hoops down the hallway and a flight of moving stairs to make this whole thing sound more impressive.) when the end table leg caught on our leather loveseat. The cake stand nudged a little toward the edge. It sounded like the world’s most ominous game piece moving across a game board and in that moment I knew.

I knew I could not salvage what had already begun. Instead, I remember my gasps growing increasingly louder and faster as my mind raced and I tried to back out of the situation. Do I keep moving forward? Put the thing down? Scoot to the side? All logical ideas! Yet all I did was tilt the table further. And thud.

Destroyed flag cake in a heap.jpg

Have you ever heard a cake drop? I can’t think of a single time before now where I witnessed an entire cake fall to the floor. (Is it too late to add this to my bucket list just so I can cross it off?) The best analogy I can think of is that a cake falling straight onto carpet (carpet. Ugh, kill me now.) sounds a lot like the thump of a human body meeting a hotel bed.

For a hot second, you expect yourself to bounce back. Surely this can’t be that anti-climactic, I always think to myself when I throw myself on top of the sheets. But then you realize you’re face down on a hotel bed going nowhere. Much like a dropped cake.

Side view of a flag cake.jpg

The whole premise of my original blog post was going to be, “See! This cake’s presentation looks intimidating, but it’s so easy to make!” Now, the whole premise is, “If you make this cake, don’t drop it and you’ll already one up me!”

Betty Crocker icing.jpg

I was also planning on outing myself that this particular Fourth of July-themed cake is from a box mix and pre-made frosting! When the first step of a recipe is, “Make six layers” I’m all for allowing ourselves some leeway and doing what we can to skip a few steps.

Fool me once, Betty Crocker! Although as much as I’d like to blame this tumble on the cake’s sticky consistency or the thin frosting which is less than ideal for decorating, I’ve got nothing to blame but myself. This might be the first time I dropped a cake, but I’m certain it won’t be my last.

Inside of the fourth of july flag cake.jpg

I hope my Great Cake Fall of 2017 hasn’t scared you away from trying this cake at home. The time spent decorating and assembling are so worth it to see everyone’s face when you cut into it!

As for me, I’m planning on serving¬†these cake balls this holiday weekend instead.

Flag cake next to a pile of cake on a cake stand.jpg

p.s. Follow the directions on the box, and you’ll be just fine! For each of the six cakes, I used 3/4 cup of mix and added food coloring until I reached the desired colors. The grocery store only had gel food dye, so don’t fret if you can’t find liquid: the gel works just fine.¬†

Here are the cake pans I used and highly recommend.

And one last thing: I recommend mixing the dye into the cake mix in a glass mixing cup. That way you can more easily make sure your color is consistently mixed. Good luck!

Have you ever dropped food or a dessert you were cooking all day? I would love to know I’m not alone, so tell me more in the comments!


Brie, bacon and fig jam panini


Brie, bacon and fig jam sandwiches stacked.jpg

One of my favorite parts about the summer is long picnics in the park. We’re fortunate to live only a block away from one of the best parks in the city, and every year I look forward to reading a book and eating dinner on a blanket.

Plus people watching while eating dinner feels like dinner and a show. What’s not to love? Not to mention nothing takes your mind off the heat (and feeling like you’re melting) quite like other city dwellers sweating through their clothes alongside you.

Open-faced brie panini.jpg

It’s hard to say whether the snacks or the people watching is my favorite part of picnicking.

People watching pro:¬†You learn so much about your city neighbors! If you’re lucky, you’ll overhear some gossip.

People watching con: If you’re not so lucky, you make awkward eye contact with the people on whom you’re eavesdropping and then you feel like a creep. (The more you’re sweating, the more your creepiness increases. I don’t make the rules. I just follow em.)

Snack pro: On the best days, you attract all the neighborhood dogs to your picnic and then feel like a happy dog owner if only for a moment! Plus, you get snacks. Win win!

Snack con: Is there one? Maybe it’s that you make everyone jealous?

Stacked brie panini.jpg

This crunchy baguette sammich is exactly the kind of thing you want to lug to the park to enjoy outside. Jealous side eye be damned! It’s like packing cheese and crackers and leaving the knife at home. (This goes unsaid, but a knife would most certainly increase your creepiness.)

Since we’re all friends here, I have no shame admitting I hardly noticed when fig jam fell out the side and onto my shirt. Like a beautiful love stamp. Proof that this sandwich is so good not even the mess it makes will bother you. But if you can shake the crumbs and jam off a blanket at the end of a meal instead of your shirt, then you’re doing something right! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Full view stacked panini.jpg

Brie, bacon and fig jam panini – Serves 2, 20 minutes total


4 strips of bacon

6 3-in long slices of brie

4 tablespoons of fig jam

1/4 of a baguette cut in half and split open


  1. Cook the bacon in a skillet. Flip frequently. When crispy, set aside on a paper towel on a plate.
  2. Cut a standard baguette into quarters. Cut one of the quarters in half so you have two small subs. Put the flat part of the baguette on the cutting board so that you can slice it open. Repeat with the other portion.
  3. Spread fig jam on both sides of each baguette.
  4. Layer 3 slices of brie on top of the fig jam. Add the bacon and top with the other piece of baguette.
  5. Put in the George Foreman or cook on the stovetop for 8-10 minutes.

(I ate both sandwiches pictured, but it was a bit much for one person. Hence I highly recommend splitting it with a pal.)


The restaurants we loved the most in London



I’m going to come right out and say it: I’m a really embarrassing dinner date when¬†traveling. When we visit new restaurants in DC, I’m not usually compelled to take pictures of the food. When traveling, however, I’m maybe¬†a little too comfortable with the notion that I’ll never see 99.99% of the people at a¬†restaurant ever again so I have no shame whipping out my phone and snapping pictures during¬†meals.

As a result, you’ll find most of these pictures are grainy at best with a few hidden details that really make me smile – like the woman on the brochure in the picture below or the gentleman looking into the camera who I cropped out of the photo from Aphrodite. In short, I might be¬†shameless about whipping out my phone but not so much so that I have a small photoshoot before diving into a meal.

The following restaurants are the meals we loved the most, the ones I couldn’t bother with a taking more than a picture or¬†two during, quality be damned, because the food looked too good to wait any longer! I hope you have the chance to visit some of these spots¬†should you find yourself in London. I can say without a doubt we will revisit¬†more than one next time we’re in town.

Honest Burger.jpgHonest Burger – We stumbled into Honest Burger after my cookie class¬†on our¬†first full day in London and didn’t wait more than five minutes before nabbing a table at the Portobello Road location. Overhearing all the different languages around us was a complete thrill, and I’d be lying if I said we weren’t both surprised when fries showed up¬†on the plate instead of potato chips.

Dishoom.jpgDishoom¬†– This was our favorite meal of the whole trip! Get the black daal and chai tea and make sure you check out the kitchen in the lower level¬†where you can see all of the naan lined up like soldiers waiting to go in the oven.¬†Funnily enough, Kevin and I got lost on the way there, and thanks to reading Google Maps wrong, I lead us¬†into a closed strip club. Thankfully¬†we didn’t just hang our heads and turn back. I would have loved to eat here more than once¬†if only we hadn’t visited on our last day in town.

Harrods.jpgHarrod’s Food Halls¬†– Kevin said¬†that because of the sheer opulence in every corner and the absence of windows disorienting you at every turn, Harrod’s feels like a casino. To which I have to say it was the most luxurious¬†casino I’ve ever seen!

We visited for¬†the sole purpose of visiting the Food Halls and could have spent hours¬†exploring the meals in each themed room. Pictured above is the produce¬†room (couldn’t you tell from the grapes in the chandelier? ūüėČ ), but we also explored the dessert room, the meat room, the chocolate room (I repeat: the chocolate room), the seafood room, and a whole list of places¬†we didn’t even see, like the ice cream parlour!

We made the mistake of buying some pies¬†before realizing there is no place to eat them, and some stands won’t heat up the food. So if you drop by, grab a snack on the go or take¬†a sandwich to the park! I highly recommend¬†the chocolate dipped candied oranges from the chocolate room.

Aphrodite.jpgAphrodite –¬†Recommended by our Airbnb host as her favorite local spot, Aphrodite’s¬†friendly staff, dim lighting, and tables so close you might elbow your neighbor¬†all make you feel like you’re dining with friends. We ordered the meat mezze, per our host’s recommendation, and there were eleven plates on our table at one point. Eleven! I’ve never felt more like a gluttonous American than during that meal.

One of the waiters even warned us to lay off the (five) dips so we’d have room for all four courses. If it sounds decadent, it’s because it was. The first course was cold appetizers (hummus, baba ganoush, labneh, etc.) followed by warm appetizers (portobello mushrooms and grilled haloumi atop tomatoes). As if that wasn’t enough, we then tried at least five different kinds of meats and fish and ended the meal with a salad. Everything we tried left me at a loss for words because it was so delicious, but I especially liked the part about the salad last!

Duck and Waffle.jpgDuck and Waffle –¬†Duck and Waffle¬†is the highest restaurant in the city on the fortieth floor. I’m having a hard time finding a more perfect phrase to describe it other than “gastro-club.” We rode a glass elevator straight to the top and some seriously strong beats welcomed us when the doors opened. Stylish youths sat all around the high tops and poufs, and very few of them¬†were taking pictures of the city around us. One can only assume that dining decadently at the top of the city is a regular occurrence for them.

We both ordered the duck and waffle – crispy fried duck breast on¬†a fluffy belgian waffle topped with a fried egg, although I think the bacon wrapped dates were the real star of the show!¬†Don’t let the 40-stories up (I’m afraid of elevators, but the trip seemed to last¬†less than a minute)¬†or the warnings on their site about certain outfits required scare you away. The food was fun to try once while taking in the view, but I think next time we’ll¬†end the day there with just a cocktail.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing more from our trip! We had so much fun exploring new places, meeting new people, and trying new foods.¬†I’m already looking forward to the next adventure, if nothing else so I can justify another four course meal ūüėČ

More from the trip: 

Biscuit icing class at Biscuiteers

Everything we loved in Iceland

Sights you should see in London


Sights you should see in London


Notting Hill neighborhood.jpgAfter visiting Iceland, we spent about six days in London, and the city exceeded our expectations in every way! We stayed in an Airbnb on the edge of Notting Hill, although we loved every hood we visited. We relied on the Tube for our main transportation, and aside from getting separated one time, we had no trouble at all.

Below are some of the places we loved visiting¬†grouped by proximity. Full disclosure: This was our¬†first time visiting London, so we spent most¬†of our time visiting obvious spots, all¬†of which were¬†fun to visit at least once, but I’m really looking forward to seeing even more hopefully soon!

The London Eye.jpgWestminster Abbey.jpgThe London Eye РWe booked tickets ahead of time, and the birds eye view was the perfect welcome to the city! The trip around the wheel took about thirty minutes, and while it did feel like the British equivalent of visiting Times Square with all the tourists everywhere, we still had a lot of fun!

Westminster Abbey РI had high hopes of waking up early and beating the lines outside of Westminster Abbey, but the morning we went, we overslept! So we waited for about an hour in the drizzling rain, but it was so worth it. Within the first five minutes of the audio tour, they point out the grave of Sir Isaac Newton, and the tour ends with a corner dedicated to Shakespeare and other famous writers. Nuff said.

Victoria and Albert Museum.jpgBuckingham Palace.jpgThe Victoria and Albert Museum¬†– When your friend tells you, “This is my favorite museum in the whole world,” walk, don’t run there. Every inch of the Victoria and Albert Museum is covered in art. From the room of plaster casts of famous sculptures to the design exhibit surrounded by¬†a library pictured above, there was something exquisite to take in around every corner. Just look at the cafeteria’s ceiling¬†of all places!

Buckingham Palace – How could we visit and not drop by? Also, as if I wasn’t cliche enough, I read The Royal We¬†while we were abroad. It’s about a young woman who falls in love with the heir to the Crown. Aka the perfect vacation read right up my alley.

Windsor CastleWindsor streetsWindsor¬†Castle¬†–¬†We didn’t buy many advance tickets, but we did buy tickets for Windsor ahead of time. It was a quick train ride from the city, and a great day trip! We saw¬†the former moat filled with a lush garden and the¬†dining hall where they organize the dishware with a ruler. Like in Downton Abbey! Even the hanging lights have crowns on top of them.

The town next to the Queen’s weekend castle (casual.) had plenty to explore too! Had we known, we would have spent more time hanging out, but instead we caught the train back¬†to see Dreamgirls at The Savoy. And no surprise here, we loved that too.

Diagon Alley.jpgThe Dursleys House.jpgHarry Potter Studio Tour РWhen we booked tickets for the Harry Potter Studio Tour I first thought every time slot was booked, and I nearly cried. Thankfully I quickly realizing there was one open timeframe left. Hallelujah! I took nearly as many photos during the Harry Potter Studio Tour as I did during our three days in Iceland which says it all.

We saw The Great Hall! And Diagon Alley! And Privet Drive, Dumbledore’s Office, costumes and wigs from every character, and countless other¬†amazing sets and props¬†from the movie. They recommend spending four hours on site, and if it weren’t for our needing to catch the last shuttle, I have no doubt we would have poked around¬†for longer than the almost three hours we took everything in. It was truly a magical experience, and you should absolutely go if you’re a Harry Potter fan!

I hope you enjoyed seeing some what¬†we loved during our first trip to London. Tomorrow I’m sharing all of the restaurants we visited because¬†if anything deserves its own post, it’s the food!

More from the trip: 

Biscuit icing class at Biscuiteers

Everything we loved in Iceland

The restaurants we loved the most in London


Everything we loved in Iceland


Village near the National Park.jpg

I hope you’re recovering from a fun and restful Memorial Day Weekend!¬†Since Kevin and I returned from Iceland and London, I’ve been coding my new online portfolio (and a new home for this blog, hooray!). While I focus on learning¬†Github and figuring out¬†what the heck I’m doing, I hope you’ll¬†enjoy seeing some pictures from our trip!

We did way too much to cram into one post. So this week, I’m sharing three things: Everything we loved¬†in Iceland, Sights¬†we recommend seeing¬†in London, and Everywhere¬†we ate¬†in London. It was without a doubt¬†the best vacation ever.

Lake from the road.jpg

First up: Iceland! Iceland was unlike any place I’ve ever traveled. From¬†all of the pictures we saw beforehand, I thought for sure we’d land on a stretch of green grass surrounded by bright blue waters with whales swimming¬†in the background. But from the plane we saw nothing but brown grass. The initial view¬†was not what I had¬†expected, but the sights¬†the next few days more than made up for it.

We rented a car so that we could move at our own pace and adventure outside of our Airbnb in Reykjavik. The drives were the best part! The views were take your breath away stunning. One minute we were on winding roads surrounded by black rocks and gray sky and the next there was a huge lake in front of our eyes and snow was coming down. The largest lake in Iceland is pictured above. I took that picture from the side of the two-lane highway. Can you imagine if that was your backyard?

Waterfall in the National Park.jpgPingvellier_view.jpg

On our first day, we grabbed sandwiches at the airport and drove to Pingvellir National Park. The walk along the path was mostly flat with the exception of some rocky places at the end in which you can see in the second picture. Although there were warnings posted all along the winding path noting to watch out for falling rocks which was quite the welcome.

This might sound funny considering it’s called Iceland, but I couldn’t¬†get over how cold it was, especially on our first day. Maybe it was some combination of jet lag, but the weather really is no joke.¬†It was really¬†windy, and by the time we left the park, piercing rain was falling, and then it started snowing as we got halfway home. Reminded me a little bit of this tweet about one week of weather¬†in Indiana, except Iceland crams all of it into one day!


On our second day we drove to¬†Geysir¬†and Gulfoss Waterfall. The geyser¬†erupts into the sky every few minutes and everyone stands around with their cameras poised and ready. Because of¬†the wind, anyone standing to the right in the image got drenched. Waiting around with people from all over the world speaking different languages was¬†as fun as hearing everyone’s delight as the geyser exploded each time.


We checked out the nearby hot springs before stopping at the cafe inside for some snacks and shopping.


The wind at Pingvellir the day before was nothing like the wind at Gulfoss Waterfall. We couldn’t have stayed more than thirty minutes because from the moment we opened our car door, I was convinced¬†someone would get¬†blown off the edge and into the water. I distinctly remember thinking, “This is it. This is the moment someone gets swept off the edge by Mother Nature like some horrific movie scene.”

The top picture was taken from a small bridge which overlooks the waterfall. I lasted less than a minute on that thing before nearly crawly further from the edge.¬†Thankfully my fears never came true, and everyone was fine.¬†The windy dirt path was under construction, otherwise I’m sure someone would have been crazy enough to venture down there. Can you see the tiny specks of people in the top right of the second photo? Everywhere we went, I felt very small in the best way possible.

View to Gulfoss.jpg

Our drive home after Gulfoss didn’t take nearly as long as the way there because we were no longer pulling off the side of the road for views like this one. #worthit And just as we got back to town, it started snowing!


One of my favorite things about Reykjavik was all of the street art. There was something fun around every corner. It made exploring on a snowy night even better!

While we were visiting, the sun rose around¬†5a.m. and set about¬†10p.m. each night. We did technically enjoy more daylight than usual, but Iceland was gray unlike any gray day I’ve ever experienced in America. Within our first few hours of driving, Kevin and I kept comparing Iceland to what we imagine Mars must look like. There were multiple¬†layers of gray clouds in the sky and the dark rock everywhere gave off a dystopian movie vibe.


You won’t find much¬†about the food we ate in Iceland with the exception of the bakery Sandholt.¬†Their long marble countertops had two (!) dessert cases¬†full of croissants, danish, cinnamon rolls as big as your head, and so many other delicious treats.¬†It was only two blocks from our Airbnb and I have no shame admitting we ate breakfast here twice.

Otherwise, most of our meals were sandwiches grabbed on our way out of town. Before visiting we read the food is more expensive that it’s worth, so we decided to save our pennies for London. Thanks for sticking around til the end of this post. I hope you’ll drop by tomorrow to see Sights¬†we recommend seeing¬†in London!

More from the trip: 

Biscuit icing class at Biscuiteers

Sights you should see in London

The restaurants we loved the most in London