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5 Things You Need To Do In Iceland

Traveling is one of my biggest passions. There is nothing more exciting to me than going to a new country and experiencing a different culture for the first time. While I’ve always sort of been the black-sheep of my family in terms of vacation preferences by choosing exotic over comfort, I fit right in with DC’s family who have been almost everywhere. Iceland, however, had yet to be crossed off anyone’s list so it was a natural choice for the next Cohen family trip.

Iceland has become an increasingly popular tourist destination so when I let you all know that I was traveling there, I wasn’t too surprised to hear that a few of you also have plans to visit soon. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you the top 5 things to do in Iceland.

Before I do that, I have to give a major shout out to KEEN who hooked all the girls up on this trip with their incredible Terradora hiking boots. I had the pleasure of trying out the Terradoras earlier this year at a tree-top trekking course and knew right away that I would be taking them with me to Iceland. Almost every activity listed below required some sort of hike and lots of wet and cold conditions. Made especially for women, the KEEN Terradoras not only kept our feet warm but they were waterproof too. The boots are lightweight, easy to pack and took us from glaciers and waterfalls to restaurants on the streets of Reykjavik. Thank you KEEN for being the perfect travel accessory! 

Now without further adieu, here are my top 5 favourite activities that we did in Iceland:  

1. Swim in the Blue Lagoon

The Blue Lagoon is a natural geothermal spa and is probably the most quintessential Icelandic experience. Surrounded by black sand and lava rock, we happily drank our cold beers in the warm water and it was the perfect way to get into vacation mode. While you may rub shoulders with clay-mask-wearing international tourists during high season, there is no denying the beautiful colour of the water and snow-capped surroundings.

2. Snowmobile to the end of a glacier

Despite a minor accident (don’t worry, no one was seriously injured), snowmobiling was a definite highlight. It may come as a surprise to you that, given I’m Canadian, this was my first time on a snowmobile. I have to say driving in the snow and riding on the back was an even more incredible than the main attraction of the day, which was inside a man-made ice cave. I loved the thrill of speeding along the ice even when there were white-outs and we couldn’t see 3 feet in front of us. If you are unable to snowmobile, it is still worth taking the tour inside the glacier, but I highly recommend doing both if you can.

3. Horseback ride in the Snaefellsness Peninsula

This activity was truly one of those “pinch me” travel moments where you need to remind yourself that it’s actually real. I was a little nervous before we started since I can’t remember the last time I was on a horse and really didn’t know what to expect. When we arrived at the stables we were all pretty relieved to see they were smaller horses…not ponies, as all tourists are often reminded…so it was less intimidating. But it wasn’t one of those lame tourist traps where you’re riding a tired, old glorified donkey on a rope going in circles. These horses were absolutely beautiful and they moved pretty quickly. In fact we even trotted a little bit which took a bit getting used to. And the scenery. Wow, it was breathtaking. I had to keep reminding myself to take it all in, as horseback riding amongst waterfalls, lupines and beaches was certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity.  

4. ATV on black sand beaches

Once again, despite a bigger accident this time, ATVing was a unanimous highlight for everyone in the family. We hit a few major tourist attractions on our route, including massive rock remnants from the famous volcano Katla and the abandoned plane made quite famous thanks to Justin Bieber’s music video. But by far the coolest (no pun intended) stop on the tour was around these small waterfalls and rivers from a glacier. We stopped to take a drink straight from the river and it was the best water we’ve ever tasted. If you are looking into ATVing, make sure to find a tour that makes lots of stops and does not only go to the plane or beach.

5. Walk behind the Seljalandsfoss  waterfall

When you think of Iceland you may just picture in your head giant ice-filled landscapes or snow-capped mountains. But what you should actually picture is tons and tons of waterfalls. We saw our fair share of stunning waterfalls every day but the Seljalandsfoss was the highlight of them all since you are actually able to walk behind it. Talk about a view. Be prepared to hike up and down and be really wet and cold  but suck it up and do it. When else can you say you’ve gotten that close to, let alone walked behind an almost 200 foot waterfall. 

So those were of course only based on my experience and I know there are so many other amazing things to do in this incredible country! If you have other suggestions for everyone else, leave a comment below. And thank you again to KEEN for making each of these activities that much more comfortable and enjoyable! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NYC Insta-Fit Recap

Prior to 2017, I had really only been to New York a handful of times. Despite it’s close proximity to Toronto and the fact that almost all of my best friends had lived there for an extended period of time at some point, it never seemed to be my go-to destination. In fact, after a quick weekend trip with my girlfriends this past October, I boldly decided that I officially don’t like New York! That’s right. I came home hating the rudeness of the people, the snobby attitudes and the fact that when the weather sucks, it really sucks. My mind was made up.

Yet, a mere 2 months after I vowed I would not be returning to the Big Apple anytime soon, I got the call from Old Navy that they wanted to take me down there to help launch the new active-wear line. And after a literal 24-hour trip, I did a complete 180 and decided I love NYC.

Maybe it was the exciting opportunity of traveling for the blog, or going with complete strangers who turned into friends, or doing something other than just shopping and eating while I was there. Whatever the reason, I finally understood what everyone meant when they spoke about the exciting energy of this crazy city and I was hooked.

Since that trip in January, I’ve been back 3 times, including another exciting opportunity for the blog with Samsung Canada. And I know a lot of this back and forth also has to do with my new bestie, Bianca. Bianca and I met “virtually” while we were both at the same nutrition school program online and became fast friends. She lives in New York and we make time to see each other every time I’m in town, even if it’s just for a quick Pressed Freeze date. So after a successful Insta-Fit retreat in Miami, and Jordana‘s summer move to New York, it only made sense that our next Wellness Week would be in NYC. 

I planned to come down and visit the girls for 3 nights and I was pumped to be able to spend more than 48 hours in the city. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been down for longer. But alas, I caught the flu right before I was scheduled to leave and once again it turned into a quick trip, in and out. 

Despite our limited time and my severe post-flu nausea we still managed to get in a couple workouts and hit up some of the hottest healthy food spots.

Our first workout was at Physique 57 which is one of my favourite barre classes. The talented Julie Cobble lead us through an intense butt and ab workout that left me sore for multiple days. As you probably already know, no workout for us is complete without a little photo-shoot and we had a ball (pun intended) taking pics in our matching Terez pants. 

It was then time to eat and we chose The Butcher’s Daughter to refuel our hungry bodies. I ordered the squash and quinoa bowl with an egg on top, which was filling and delicious. The rest of the day was spent “modelling” our new Beyond Yoga looks around the city. And just so you know, modelling for us means trying to be serious but laughing hysterically at how awkward we are and how we are just so not models. But we have fun pretending.

I was feeling a little better on day 2 with more of an appetite so we celebrated this by heading to Bluestone Lane for brunch thanks to lots of recommendations from Instagram. We ordered the cashew butter toast, avocado toast and banana bread. All I have to say is HOLY $H*t!!!! Their toasts are insanely delicious! Highly highly highly recommend to anyone going to New York anytime soon. Even if you have to wait 2 hours in line. 

With big smiles and full bellies, we walked (read waddled) our way to Bandier, the mecca of activewear stores to check out some of their latest gear and then take a class at their upstairs gym, Studio B. We tried out the Bootcamp class which is pretty much what it sounds like. Think hundreds of burpees, a little getting yelled at and a lot of sweat. I was slightly miserable at the time but of course, felt amazing after. 

It was almost time for me to head home but we had to make a quick pit stop at Dr. Smood, a new coffee shop/juice bar dedicated to gut-healing foods and an incredible selection of healthy take-out and cold pressed juices. I picked up some raw cinnamon buns and a rose-infused beauty water for the plane. 

Of course, no trip to NYC for me is complete without grabbing a giant salad at Sweet Green before the airport.  I always go for: half kale, half quinoa, carrots, sweet potato, beets, cucumber, feta, chicken and mix the yogurt tahini sauce with the balsamic vinaigrette. It’s pretty much the only thing that keeps me sane in Laguardia as I watch my flight get and more and more delayed, every. single. time.

So with my salad and a suitcase full of yoga pants, I said bye to my girls and, as with the last several trips of 2017, got on the plane with that NYC buzz, craving my next trip.