Stand Under a Waterfall

Chasing waterfalls.

There are some incredible sites in Iceland, and this was one of my favorites. This waterfall is called Seljalandsfoss. What makes this fall so special, is that you can walk around and under it. Being able to get up close and personal with rushing glacial water is such an amazing experience. Mother nature is fierce.

If you can ever make it to Iceland, this should be number 1 on your list. We lucked out with some amazing weather which added some beautiful sparkling rainbows around the fall. Remember to wear some gore-tex or water resistant clothing, you will get wet. You’re getting up close and personal to a huge waterfall. Seriously, Iceland is magic. Don’t delay your trip here.

30 Before 30: 9 down, 21 to go!

Swim in a Hot Spring

Not one, but two.

Again, Iceland is MAGIC.  Not only did I swim in one geothermal hot spring, I got to swim in Iceland’s secret pool. I would highly recommend both because while the experiences were drastically different, they were incredible.

The Blue Lagoon is the first stop we had in Iceland right off the plane and it was amazing. The Blue Lagoon is a man made Geothermal Spa. file-7It is shaped by lava but the water is from the geothermal power plant next door. It is filled with natural minerals including silica and half fresh, half salt water. The lagoon is known to treat eczema and psoriasis because of the silica. And let me tell you, my skin felt incredible. Hair, not so much. Definitely tie your hair up and don’t get it wet – I had straw hair for a week. Some parts of the lagoon are hotter than others but there’s plenty to do. You will absolutely be occupied enough for however long you choose to spend here. I would recommend a half day, which is what we did. We had time for the saunas, steam rooms, the waterfall back massage, all the little coves, the face mask, and some drinks. We floated, met some awesome people, and relaxed. If you decide to do the Blue Lagoon in your trip, I absolutely recommend doing it how we did, straight from the airport. It was so nice to relax after an overnight flight.

The second lagoon/hot spring we went to was Seljavallalaug. It is a “secret” swimming pool in Iceland. This was built in 1923 to teach Icelandic people to swim. It is nestled in file1-7between two mountains and it’s a quick little hike out to the pool. This pool is filled with hot water that comes down from Eyjafjallajökull, which is a volcano covered by an ice cap.

(Quick tip, Jokull means glacier in Icelandic. Their words is a name first, descriptor second. Fjara – Beach, Fjall – Mountain).

This pool was not very crowded because we went early in the day and it was very cool. It was warm from the waters trickling down and the views were absolutely stunning. Again, I recommend this but go early. Earlier in the season the cleaner, earlier in the day the less crowded. The hike isn’t difficult and it’s maybe 20 minutes, if that. Definitely worth it!

Drop a comment below for any other amazing Icelandic hot springs! I’m dying to go back.

30 Before 30: 8 down, 22 to go!

See the Northern Lights

Iceland is Magic.

Seeing the Northern Lights has always been my DREAM. I live in Michigan and I have been trying to stalk them as long as I can remember. Summers on Harsen’s Island spent staring at the night sky, driving an hour north in the hopes the light pollution is low enough, sitting around bonfires in Traverse City checking the Aurora app… It’s been a real obsession of mine.

One of the reasons I wanted to go to Iceland in September is the increased percentage of the aurora borealis having a high KPI index. The week we went, my friend even planned it so we would have a few days with no moon, giving us even more of a chance to see the magnetic ribbons. Another plus for us, not for the environment, was the solar activity. A few large flares occurred which made the magnetic fields even stronger. The first glimpse I had at the most magical site was on the plane to Iceland. While flying over Greenland we got to witness a few minutes of the dancing lights. It was bright and beautiful and filled me with excitement.

I was obviously hoping to see more throughout my trip  but was so seriously stunned, I would have been so happy even if that was it. Somehow, I racked up enough good karma to see them two more times. The third time was in a campground parking lot. It was cloudy, dark, rainy, cold… But we looked up and saw them dancing again for a few more minutes and again, it was pure magic.

The second time was the most incredible. They were so bright I even got some photos of them with the sunset on my iPhone – which getting a northern lights photo on a phone is nearly impossible. Anyway, after driving all day we decided to take the 2 mile hike out to the Sólheimasandur plane crash. Quick history lesson, this is a US Navy DC-3 airplane that was forced to land on the black sand beach after running out of fuel. It crashed and thankfully everyone survived. This happened in 1973 and it was difficult to get to in the past, therefore it remains in place. This spot has become famous to photographers from around the globe because of its unique characteristics and story. This is why my friend wanted to make the trek. I was very interested to see the scene so I excitedly agreed to tag along. We hiked out at sunset, took probably 40 minutes, and in the best stroke of luck, we ended up being joined by only one other couple, meaning all shots with no people. (Helllllls yeah).

file-2 (1)
Me at the Sólheimasandur crash

After getting in some amazing light painting, we started to see the streaks. They came up so quick, just as we were saying “I hope we see the lights”. The appeared strong and moving rapidly. Everyone started shooting away and we were so excited when they decided to stay out and play for a while longer. My friend got his shot of the northern lights behind the plane, I got my shot of the lights and the mountains and the beach and the sunset and the plane and myself. You should absolutely check out Taylor’s work also. We were able to take in their beauty for hours uninterrupted and it’s the most beautiful vision I will ever see. The photos will never do it justice but I hope it inspires you to chase these lights.

30 Before 30: 7 down, 23 to go!

Moving Out

Here’s to Fresh Starts.

Guys – the day has come. I have moved out and I have cut my commute by an hour. There isn’t a ton to say except I love my roommates, I love living in Royal Oak, and I love having a shorter commute.

moving

Bruno and I are excited to have our own place and meet some new people.

30 Before 30: 6 down, 24 to go!

Do an Ancestry/DNA Test

Who am I?

I want to start this out by saying I am pretty sure I know what my ancestry is. At least, I know what my family has been telling me for years. What I have come to believe is that I’m German, Polish, Scottish, Irish, and Cherokee Indian.

My Grandma is from Germany and became a US Citizen back in 2000 or 2001 – so I at least know that. Also I am white, so assuming I’m mostly European is kind of obvious. I want to learn more about my cultural makeup so I can can study these ancestries.

I decided to put “Take an Ancestry/DNA Test” on my 30 Before 30 bucket list to dig deep and find my roots. I chose the company 23 and Me because 1. they were having a sale, and 2. they can trace your maternal and paternal lines back to one ancestor. That’s hella cool.

Spitting A LOT OF LIQUID into this little tube took like 10 minutes but it was worth it and I was so excited to get my results.

After 4 months of waiting, I did this two times, and they still couldn’t get my DNA. I got a full refund but I am obviously bummed. I am going to maybe try the ancestry one, one day? But I think it’s been more interesting to talk to my family about their relatives that they know.

I have a great Grandma that was 100% Cherokee, a Grandma that is 100% German, and a Grandma that is VERY Irish. Honestly, speaking to them has been more fulfilling than even doing this test. So I am going to call this one check mark done!

30 Before 30: 5 down, 25 to go!

15 New States

Newest States I Have Been To

Massachusetts – June 2018
*Boston

 

California – May 2018
*Malibu, Santa Monica, Venice, Melrose, DTLA, Long Beach, WeHo, Mulholland, Hermosa Beach, Beverly Hills, Manhattan Beach

 

Colorado – December 2017/January 2018
*Denver

 

Virginia/D.C. – July 2017
*Fairfax, McLean, Tysons Corner, Arlington, Falls Church, D.C.

 

Tennessee – March 2016
*Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Nashville, Memphis

 

Traveled To Already

Ohio
*Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, Cleveland

 

Illinois
*Naperville, Schaumburg, Chicago

 

Indiana
*Indianapolis

 

Georgia
*Atlanta

 

North Carolina

 

South Carolina
*Charleston, Myrtle Beach

 

Florida
*Miami, South Beach, Daytona, Fort Lauderdale

 

Kentucky
*Covington, Louisville

 

Attending a Music Festival

Faster Horses.

While I think all music festivals are probably amazing in their own way, I’m glad my first camp out music experience was at MIS in Michigan.
This long weekend was SO much fun. Walking around in the sun in flip flops, drinking margaritas and beer while playing flip cup with your best friends, listening to live music around the clock, napping in a tent or by a bonfire… I had the most amazing time.
I’m glad I only went to Faster Horses on time because I don’t want anything to take away from the amazing weekend I had there. My cousins attended and were at a different campsite but hungout with us non-stop, which was incredible. They got along with my friends so well that my heart was huge. Nothing better than family and friends all bonding.

 

We ate walking tacos, fresh donuts, and sandwiches for almost every meal while just hanging out. I washed my hair and body in a faucet outside and brushed my teeth with bottled water. Whether it was the 120 person flip cup game, the endless bonfires and random/hilarious drunk people, and meeting new friends… It was the best.

While my ex and I are no longer together, I’m glad I got to experience this with him. He made it fun and easy. Not to mention, encouraged me to buy a pouch couch — the best item money can buy. There were ferris wheels — um ew no and food trucks frick yeah. One day I only “lightly” drank, ate bbq from a food truck, and played with a life size brite lite.

We did leave before the last set of the weekend and got home around midnight. I had to work on that Monday so it was best to leave Sunday. I’m glad we did because it stormed like crazy. Plus I wanted to shower and sleep in a bed. Soooo long story short, it was a great experience. I’m excited for Lollapalooza in August even more now.

30 Before 30: 4 down, 26 to go!

Getting a Job

Becoming a Golden Grizzly.

I graduated from college in May of 2015. While I did learn a lot while there, I focused the most on my passion and what I loved to do. At the end of four years I completed a Bachelor of Applied Arts degree with a major in Broadcasting and Cinematic Arts with two minors; Media Design, Production, and Technology and Advertising.

When I graduated, I moved home until I found a job I loved. I looked for jobs all over but then made the compromise to stay in Michigan for a while longer, specifically, the Detroit area. I love Detroit, don’t get me wrong, but I wanted to explore a bit more.

While searching endlessly for jobs, I worked as a waitress for a few months then took a full time position at an insurance company working in the call center. I hated it. Now to be fair… It was a job and it paid (some) of the bills and for that I’m grateful. But do you know how hard it is to stay in a dead end job, paying $1,000 a month towards loans that didn’t even benefit you? I was going crazy. And still applying for jobs in mostly one city – my issue. *eye roll here*

I expanded my city search in Michigan and ventured out of state. I had a few tempting offers out of state but were making less money than I needed to move and still weren’t in my field of study.

Then, my beautiful cousin got married in Rochester, MI and I thought, hey, I’m sure there is something out here. I found a job that sounded interesting at Oakland University, applied, then forgot about it.

A few weeks later I was at a bar with some friends and an email popped up asking me to schedule an interview time, I emailed back with a day I hoped would work (it was my only weekday available for months), and miraculously, it did. About a week later I arrived at my interview an hour early. I sat in the parking lot nervous. I met with the

man interviewing me and then FIVE other people in one room. I brought up my dog and traveling and somehow that worked. I got the job and they offered me more money than was advertised on the job posting.

I accepted and immediately put in my two weeks with the insurance company. (Even though I wasn’t starting my new jobs for like three weeks).

I have been at my job now for almost three months and plan to move out to this area soon. Working here as a Marketing Research Analyst has taught me so much and helped me rediscover my passion for education, specifically higher ed. I hope to remain in the University setting for a while longer and attain my masters here.

While in the end I do see myself out of state, I know Oakland University will remain my home until then.

I am extremely proud of myself for where I am at in life.

So I leave you with this… #FireUpChips and #WearTheBear!

30 Before 30: 3 down, 27 to go!

Baseball Game Out of State

Wrigley Field.

In July of 2016 I attended a Cubs game at Wrigley Field and it was incredible! We watched the game from the Budweiser Bleachers, drank beer, ate ball field food, and got sunburned.

Obviously this was during a Chicago trip and it was a perfect day outside. I have only been to Tigers games in Detroit so definitely wasn’t expecting that kind of atmosphere. I would highly recommend everyone attend a game at Wrigley.

 

30 Before 30: 2 Down, 28 to go!

Traveling Alone

Taking on DC by Myself.

Something I have always wanted to do, is travel alone. As you can gather from the title — it was DC. It was so incredible and I recommend traveling alone to everyone.
I only took one photo of myself, one horrible photo. I will never forget all of these experiences though.

 

My first day there I got in around 10am ish and then checked into my hotel and went hiking at Great Falls Park in VA and um, incredible. I explored amazing ruins, waterfalls, cliffs, you name it. I went back to my hotel after a few hours absolutely exhausted. That night I met up with a friend at the Dacha Beer Garden in DC and drank cheap beer, talked about life, my recent relationship status (single), and jobs. I decided moving out of state is where I’m going to end up.

 

The next day I went to Arlington then walked across the bridge to see the National Mall. I’m glad I went alone because I was able to look for family friends who unfortunately are buried in Arlington, I witnessed two funerals, and got to spend more time at memorials that meant more to me. After seeing every monument at the mall and then some, I walked over to The White House (front and back). I drank some gatorade in the shade and ate some fruit and honestly had the best time exploring alone.

 

The armed guards and fences around The White House surprised me the most to be honest.
That night I went to the mall in Tysons Corner and bought some bath bombs, face masks, wine, and then saw a movie by myself — Dunkirk, frick yeah! After the movie I went “home” and drank some wine with a face mask on and watched bad hotel TV.

The next day was supposed to be kind of crappy and rainy so I decided to hit the Smithsonians. When it rains, no one wants to wait in line to get in so I never had to! I saw the zoo, (mostly for the ellies), the Natural History Museum, and the American History Museum. I love seeing the collections for Women’s Suffrage, the First Ladies, African American History, and basically everything at the Natural History Museum but especially the TRICERATOPS.

I bought myself an elephant ring and pin to remember this amazing trip. The last day I had in Virginia I went to the Mosaic District in Fairfax. They had this amazing and huge farmers market where I bought coffee and spices to take home to the family. I saw another movie at the Angelika Film Center and had brunch alone with mimosas and macaroons.

So… Why DC? It was actually a trip on a whim. I was recently dating someone for a long time, 5 years. We broke up on or around the 11th.

We were supposed to go to the country music concert Faster Horses together the weekend of July 21 – 23. While the friends we booked it with were mutual, they were his friends first so I sold my ticket to someone for the amount I paid and I bought a plane ticket to the cheapest place I could fly to out of Lansing. I found a cheap hotel in a neighboring town, booked that, and decided this would be enough to keep me distracted so I wasn’t so heartbroken during that time.

Traveling alone teaches you so much about yourself. It shows your strengths, weaknesses, resourcefulness.. I recommend this to every single person if possible. Take some time for yourself, explore somewhere new, and spend time learning to love the person you are today.

30 Before 30: 1 down, 29 to go!