48 Hours in Reykjavic - Day 1

Iceland is trending hard, and that's for good reason. The tiny country is an example of nature at its finest. Its capital city boasts half of the entire nation's population, but it doesn't feel like a metropolis. Reykjavic's citizens are warm (even when it's freezing), its restaurants offer world cuisine as well as local delicacies like fermented shark, and the museums range from silly to stunning. 

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Folks have called The Blue Lagoon a tourist trap, but lemme tell you that it's a heaven-sent oasis after a trans-Atlantic flight. Y'all know I flew coach, so I felt less than rested and WAY less than clean. I made the mistake of taking a sleeping pill for a five hour flight and arrived loopy and exhausted. Once we got our rental car, it was straight to the Lagoon. It's located conveniently between the airport and Reykjavic's city center, so it's the perfect place to stop before you check into your hotel or AirBNB. The staff are friendly and were able to check us in quickly. With robes and sandals in tow, we split off to our separate changing rooms. The rooms are clean and well-appointed with helpful staff. Folks are encouraged to stay off their phones in order to keep everything moving smoothly. After a quick shower (required), we waded into the warm, milky water. It was instant relief from our day of travel. We tried out two different face masks, chatted with other visitors, and sipped on a free cocktail (included with our ticket). I don't recommend having more than one drink because one could get a little too relaxed in the water or overheat in the sauna. Overall, we loved the experience and found it a peaceful way to wash off the air travel and perk up. 

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After checking into the hotel, The Radisson Blu 1919, we went exploring. One of our favorite ways to learn about a new city is to aimlessly walk with a few landmarks in mind. The first stop was the Opera House, which boasts a lovely geometric facade, perfect for photos. 

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Next was the shipyard, where we wandered among the huge dry-docked boats. At Saemunder, a gastropub, we ate langostines doused in lemon butter and enjoyed a cocktail. The drinks (some boasted 10 ingredients) were intimidating, but the servers weren't. It was cozy and just the heat and sustenance we needed.

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Afterwards, we happened upon Shalimar, a Pakistani restaurant, for dinner. It was some of the best butter chicken I've ever had. I didn't know what to expect food-wise in Iceland, but found that, like most metropolitan areas, there's many styles of food to be had. Shalimar was bright, warm, and light reflected off the glinting, gold decor. 

Next stop was Apotek, a pharmacy-themed gastropub. Drinks are categorized as stimulants, tranquilizers, or painkillers. I'm sure I asked if I could get a combo of all three. That sounds like me. We didn't have my juice left in us, so we retired to the hotel (meaning I begged to go back to the hotel) to watch The Beach on an iPad and sip some crowberry aquavit. We made it through 20 minutes of the movie before some coma-like sleep. 

 

 

The Glow Up: My Morning Skincare

Turns out, I'm not invincible, and everything you've heard about tanning beds is true. After too many times anxiously waiting biopsy results, I finally began to think about the damage I'd caused. Turning 30 seemed like the perfect time (i.e. third life crisis) to start taking care of my skin. I had no problem spending time and money on makeup, but didn't think too much about what was under it. I found products I love and learned how to combine them for noticeable results. (And also no tanning. Because cancer.)

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While researching skin improvement for women my age, I constantly saw posts on the 10-step Korean skincare regimen. Upon reading about it, I had a lot of questions. For example:

What's an ampoule?  (Still not sure)

Is 'essence' just fancy water? (Yes)

Who has time for this? (People who have time to obsessively research skincare routines and you)

I know, I know. It sounds like a lot. But not every step should be done each day, and some of them are really simple, like "Apply sunscreen." Don't be intimidated. I've broken down my morning routine into seven steps with the quickest ways to use my tried and true products. I've managed to undo sun damage, improve my skin's texture and tone, and virtually avoid acne. I've been perfecting my steps for months, and have switched out products to cook up the best cocktail for my unique needs. However, a few folks have taken my advice and now swear by it. Maybe you should too! 

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Step 1: Oil Cleanse

Oil cleansing gently cleans and softens the skin without stripping away its natural goodness. The Pure One Step Camellia Oil Cleanser from Tatcha smells like a dang garden and has a silky texture. I'm in love! Put a quarter sized amount in your palms, rub together to warm the oil, then apply in circular motions until it's time to rinse. 

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Step 2: Foam Cleanse

This tackles all the nasty nast on your face that the oil cleanse didn't get rid of. You'll notice a difference the first time you double cleanse. Truth. Use a dollop (actual unit of measurement) and massage it onto your skin using circular motions. Rinse. (I shouldn't have to tell you that part.) I'm obsessed with Too Cool for School's Egg Mousse Soap. It's super creamy and pretty affordable, too! 

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Step 3: Tone

Tighten your pores and prep the skin for what's to come with a toner. It's easy peasy. Just swipe it over your face and neck using a cotton pad. I love Pixi's Glow Tonic. It's refreshing, and the little kick of glycolic acid adds gentle exfoliation. Plus it's $15 at Target! 

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Step 4: Essence

Step 4: Essence

This is when it gets a little strange. You're going to hesitate, but I need you to just get on board with this and not ask questions. Which, however, is not a healthy way to live your life or form opinions but I digress. Essence is fancy face water. It brightens, softens, and just generally makes you prettier. It preps the skin to fully absorb the products you'll use next. This shit is bananas, and you just need to trust me on that. 

I use Tatcha's The Essence Plumping Skin Softener, and it's a costly miracle.Shake a little into your hands, rub them together then use your whole hand to press it gently into your face. The heat helps it absorb, and with that price tag, you won't want to waste a drop. Luckily, other brands carry similar products that are well-reviewed and much less pricey. 

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Step 5: Serum

Serums are magical multi-taskers. My favorite is C-Firma Day Serum by Drunk Elephant. There's a lot to love here. The packaging hides the product from light which keeps the active ingredients stable. It firms, brightens, and evens while absorbing quickly. This stuff will make you GLOW.

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Step 6: Hydrate

Whether you use a cream, gel, or a hybrid, you gotta quench that skin. Because my skin is oily, I use this Drunk Elephant B-Hydra Intensive Hydration Gel. It's light but packs a punch. My skin feels plump and never dry. You can even mix a pump into your serum and apply them both together! 

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Step 7: SPF

This is one of those "It doesn't matter which church you go to as long as you go to church" situations. For the record, my church is sheet masking with my BFF while watching reruns of SNL, but you do you. It's easier to protect your skin than to reverse the damage so don't skip this one! I also apply it to the backs of my hands, my neck, and decolletage. So far, I love Algenist's Sublime Defense Ultra Lightweight UV Dense Formula. It smells amazing, absorbs quickly, and doesn't interfere with my makeup! 

Each time you do these steps, it becomes faster. I could do it with my eyes closed (and often do)! The results are worth it. Promise. 

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She's Our Friend & She's Crazy

I'm only one episode into Season 2, but felt inspired by Eleven and her heroic geek squad to put together a look straight from Hawkins.

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This hat immediately reminded me of Hopper, and though I usually wear them further back on my head, the defined structure called for a State Trooper-esque placement. I contemplated it over coffee.

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Y'all know the denim jacket is an homage to Billy, everyone's favorite "if Rob Lowe and George Michael had a lovechild" heartthrob. I've had this thing for 5 years, and it's never let me down. Thrown over a tee or a dress, it makes a look more complete. Pair it with jeans and you're all dressed for Canadian prom.

 

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As a 90s kid obsessed with pop culture, I coveted the original "Free Winona" shirt. It was the ultimate cool girl tee, but this was 2001, and before we could get anything delivered with a couple of clicks. Luckily, the shirt has reappeared and is more timely than ever. Shout out to Joyce, #1 Mom.

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Outfit Details

Hat & Tee: Bobby K Boutique 

Jacket: Violet & Claire

Velvet Leggings: Spanx

Shoes: K-Swiss 

Photography: Kelly Martucci

What's In A Name?

A blog by any other name would smell just as sweet, but this one's sweet because it combines some things that bring me great joy: style, beauty, and travel. 

I'm a thirtysomething PhD and professor of English who dabbles in fashion, and I want to share that with y'all. I'll be posting outfits, my favorite beauty products, and the travel wisdom I've gained with each passport stamp.

Wondering about the blog's name? It's a mashup of two of my great loves, literature and hip-hop. In Shakespeare's Hamlet, Polonius muses "This above all: to thine own self be true" 

"Trill" on the other hand, is a slang term born from the Houston rap scene, and made famous by the duo UGK. It combines the words "true" and "real." It's authenticity, which I strive for. 

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