Iceland: My Dream Vacation

You know how sometimes you'll sit and daydream about the things you'd love to do one day?  I find myself often thinking about traveling - packing my little guys up and seeing the world.  We take little road trips, and I teach them how to be a respectful tourist, but to leave the country and really travel? That would be amazing.  One of these days, I would love to bring them to Iceland.

Why Iceland?  It is a beautiful country that boasts breathtaking landscapes, amazing adventures, and so much more.  I would seriously take the trip just to see the Northern Lights in person.  An Iceland holiday would be one to write about in the Christmas card, that's for sure.

My Iceland Bucket List

Iceland has one main road, Route 1 (or the Ring Road), that goes all around the island and can bring you to some of the most famous attractions.  Take for instance, Seljalandsfoss - a gorgeous waterfall that is one of the highest in the world at 63 meters.  You can actually walk behind this waterfall!  Can you imagine the beautiful pictures?

Another thing I would love to see would be the Mývatn Nature Baths: a natural lagoon where guests can bathe.  The water supplies for the lagoon run straight from the National Power Company´s bore hole in Bjarnarflag. The water has a temperature of about 130°C (255 F) when it arrives to the huge basin beside the lagoon itself forming an impressive, man-made hot spring. Altogether, the lagoon and the basin contain around 3.5 million liters of water with a temperature of 36 – 40°C (97-104 F).

And Puffins!  Iceland is rich with bird and marine wildlife, and popular with ornithologists who visit during the nesting seasons to catch a glimpse of dozens of bird species, including the Atlantic Puffin. There's special tour packages that allow tourists to travel by boat to smaller islands where they can get a close up look at one of the cutest seabirds out there (ok, so I'm biased, I love puffins!)

If nature isn't really selling you on how awesome it would be to visit Iceland, they also have a rich city life as well.  Reykjavík is the capital city of Iceland, and is known for being a family friendly place with high chairs in every restaurant and strollers lining the sidewalks.  A safe and clean city, Reykjavík has a compact center that makes it easy to navigate by foot - perfect for sightseeing and showing your family all the sights.  At night, a vivid nightlife takes over with nightclubs and "jammith" as the locals call it - it's definitely one of the hottest party scenes to check out.

To end the day, staying in one of the beautiful Iceland hotels would top it off perfect.  While some may prefer the authentic camping or hostel stay while visiting Iceland, I dream about staying in one of the luxury hotels like the Frost and Fire (Frost og Funi in Icelandic) nestled in the hot springs area. Hótel Rangá would also be one of my top choices, a volcano base hotel where you can see the Northern Lights.

(photo credit for all photos goes to
Where would you go if you could travel anywhere in the world?

Pearls: a Luminous Choice for Your Personal Style

Pearl jewelry is enjoying a heyday and for good reason. The classic choice comes in a range of colors, shapes, and price points, making pearls accessible to just about everyone. Celebrities are often seen wearing them at red-carpet events, and pearls can lend an elegant touch to many occasions. Let’s get acquainted with the ins and outs of pearls and learn the best ways to wear them.

Types of Pearls

Natural pearls, which are extremely rare, are made when a speck of sand or soil gets stuck inside an oyster or other mollusk. The mollusk reacts to the irritant by coating the speck over and over with layers of proteins and minerals called nacre, eventually creating a luminous pearl. Nearly all of the pearls on the market today are cultured, meaning a starter bead is intentionally placed inside the mollusk to start the process, then the pearl is harvested after a period of time ranging from one to eight years.

The most common types of pearls are Akoya, Tahitian, South Sea, and freshwater. Akoya pearls can be pink or gold, while Tahitian pearls are a luminous black. South Sea pearls are usually white, and freshwater peals come in a wider variety of shapes and pastel colors.

Pearl Jewelry

Pearls are used in all sorts of settings and types of jewelry. Rings, necklaces, and earrings are popular choices, but bracelets and watches can also include pearls. Some people enjoy the look of irregularly shaped freshwater pearls for their jewelry collection, but others prefer the more uniform roundness found in akoya, South Sea or Tahitian pearls. Settings that hold the pearl firmly in place are best when it comes to preventing damage.

How to Wear Pearls

Once delegated to the Sunday-best wardrobe or wedding attire, women are now wearing pearls on a daily basis. Even when paired with jeans, they add a touch of elegance. One of the most popular ways to wear pearls is on a necklace, like this pendant from Milano. A necklace can be worn in a variety of lengths, from very short to long enough to double up.

Many women like to wear pearl necklaces in layers so that the different lengths and pearl diameters offer a textured look. In fact, with all sorts of pearl jewelry, “more is more” seems to be the common theme. Earrings are often large, dangly and chandelier-like. Rings will commonly feature multiple pearls sometimes paired with diamonds. The romance of pearls lends itself well to the current chunky bracelet trend, too. Multiple rows of pearls paired with gold chains or bangles create a weighty yet elegant look to wintertime ensembles.

Caring for Your Pearls

If you would like to stock up on pearl jewelry, you have a couple different directions you could go. However, if you choose to invest in cultured pearls or if you are lucky enough to inherit a set of natural pearls, you’ll want to treat them very carefully.

Pearls can be damaged or scratched easily, so take them off as soon as you get home. If they need to be cleaned, use a gentle cleanser and light touch to scrub them before letting them air dry. If you notice they are starting to lose their luster, this might be because they’ve come into contact with perfume or chemicals. Be sure to steer clear of both, even hairspray, when you are wearing pearls.

Store your jewelry in a dark, cool place when it’s not being worn. Also, consider getting your necklaces restrung every few years to protect the longevity of your valuable pearls.

Pearl jewelry will never go out of style. You can make sure your jewelry sets last well into the future by choosing quality pieces and taking good care of them.