Adventures in Iceland: A Detailed Itinerary

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When we were picking out our honeymoon location in late March 2015, we immediately looked into Iceland. It was at the top of our travel list after seeing the incredible Bon Iver video. But the idea of a romantic getaway after an exhausting wedding weekend sounded more like fancy drink umbrellas and guacamole by the beach. Plus, Iceland in late March is FREEZING! And us Floridian natives don't really comprehend 20 Fahrenheit.

So we said Iceland would be our "second honeymoon," and shook it out of our minds for the time being. By late July, we were both feeling the travel bug bite, so we revisited the Iceland conversation. It took a little research about different flight options and a lot of back and forth about bigger life decisions, but one late July morning we sat down with peach toast and black coffee and suddenly we were on our laptop buying flights!

With me hitting the reset button after leaving my job, and Justin winding down his first peach season, it was the perfect excuse (and time of year) to road trip around Iceland. Our trip finally came together in waves, and somehow ended up being the perfect combination of adventure and serenity. But planning for this trip had its set of challenges, and since we're always getting questions about our time in Iceland, we wanted to sit down and share with the masses.

Below we outline a basic FAQ and then provide our itinerary.


Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Did you do the IcelandAir stopover?

Answer: No. We wanted to combine it with a European destination, but we also wanted to stay in Iceland for more than 7 days. We went with Delta for our roundtrip flights to Iceland, and later decided to pair it with a roundtrip flight to Amsterdam via WOW Airlines. This saved us a couple hundred bucks and allowed us to spend a few more days in Reykjavik on the back end of our trip before heading back to the states. Our advice in hindsight? If you skip the West Fjords (more for the intensely outdoorsy traveler), you can do Iceland in 7 days and pair it with a stopover via IcelandAir.

Question: Which way did you travel around the Ring Road?

Answer: We went counter-clockwise, because why not! There is no right answer to the direction you travel.

Question: We've heard Iceland is expensive!

Answer: That's not a question, but more of an intensely accurate statement. We love travel hacks and did a lot of research on how to save money where we could, but by no means is our trip a good model for those that want to travel cheaply. We are of the mindset that travel is for the experience, so we didn't shy away from spending money if it genuinely felt worth it.

Question: Ok, but what were your travel hacks?

Answer: We found four money-saving hacks that we recommend for Icelandic travel:

  1. We brought snacks and made sandwiches - think energy bars, Justin's almond butter, oatmeal and trail mix - so that we didn't always have to stop for lunch. 
  2. We bought groceries at the Bonus (local grocery store): think eggs, bread, cheese, skyr, veggies and fruit.
  3. We didn't pay for a single tour; we decided to research & explore on our own (the Lonely Planet Iceland Guide is amazing!).
  4. We didn't do this, but we recommend traveling in groups of four. We decided this was the ideal way to keep car rental & Airbnb costs down.

To sum it up: We ate out - on average - once a day, but we also grocery shopped and cooked at the house when we had kitchen access.

Question: How did you decide where to stay?

Answer: After a little research and deciding to travel counter-clockwise around the Ring Road, we booked our stays based on how far we wanted to drive each day (no more than 3-5 hours) and how many scenic stops we wanted to hit (all of them!). We used a combination of Airbnb & Booking.com to stay in a range of places: houses, hotels and guest houses (shared common area/bathroom, private room). We highly recommend this for a mix of quiet time with your travel partner(s) & the opportunity to meet new people!

Question: Is renting a 4-wheel drive vehicle necessary?

Answer: YES. Most of the roads are paved, but you're going to hit a few unpaved roads if you travel off the main road (a requirement to get to some great sites!). When we say unpaved, we don't mean cobblestone. We mean intensely rocky. Get the 4-wheel drive if for nothing else than the peace of mind that you won't miss out on something awesome because your car is stuck. (Note: We had 4-wheel drive and still got our car stuck in the black sand beach. See below for those fun details!)


ITINERARY

DAY ONE | Keflavik to Vik

We started off by arriving early morning at KEF, and headed directly to Reykjavik to pick up our MiFi (personal hotspot) and have the most incredible breakfast at Reykjavik Roasters. After cappuccinos, cinnamon scones, cheese, butter and jam, we found the closest Bonus to grab some mostly non-perishable basics: bread, cheese, apples, bananas and Smjor (it's like butter, but made from angel tears). Fortunately it's always cold outside, so what dairy/fruit we didn't eat, we kept in the car overnight like a personal refrigerator.

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We hopped on the road and headed towards Vik. On the way, we stopped and worked on our understanding of the N1 gas stations.

Here's the deal: You put money on a gas card. We highly recommend you do this so that if there is a gas station without an attendant, you can still fill up! We tried not to let our gas tank get below half full, because Iceland is extremely remote.

SITES WE SAW

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall. While this wasn't our favorite, it was our first waterfall, so we were really impressed and in awe of the scenery. You get to walk behind the waterfall, which is slippery but so refreshing and wakening. The grass was so green, the earth was cold and dark, and the sky was misty and grey. Just as one would picture Iceland to look like in early September.

Skogafoss Waterfall. Insanely massive waterfall that you can walk directly up to if you want. We walked pretty close, and even got to watch a bride and groom take wedding photos. We also hiked to the top, but the real photo op is at the base of the waterfall. We watched little rainbows scatter across the base as we took in the cool, foggy air.

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Sólheimasandur Plane Crash (DC3 Plane Wreck). This was definitely the most adventurously spirited part of our day. The DC3 was a US Navy plane that wrecked near Vik due to severe icing; all crew members survived, but the plane was abandoned and remains untouched. It is one of the most eerie, and yet magical place we've ever visited. But it's not visible from the road, so you have to find it via geo-coordinates. There is a very tiny sign just off the road by the entrance to the fence (that you can't see until you find it), but other than that, there's no sign of this crash. It's just past a river called Jökulsá, and the coordinates are: (63 27.546-19 21.887). If you have MiFi, you can match your map to the one below. Also, when we went you could drive up to the location, but we have heard from friends that it's now a 4k trek.

WHERE WE STAYED

Farmhouse Lodge found via Bookings.com.


DAY TWO | Vik to Hofn

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We started off pretty slowly after adjusting to the overnight air travel. The lodge offered complementary breakfast, which was more of that delicious cheese, hard boiled eggs, yogurt, fresh tomatoes, coffee and homemade breads & jams. We packed up our car again and got back on the road.

SITES WE SAW

Mossy Lava Rocks: Along the way from Vik to Hofn, you'll see a lot of these moss covered rocks. Fields of them, in fact. They're not a landmark, per se, but they are SO COOL. We pulled off the road and jumped around on them for about half an hour, taking pictures and imagining what it's like to walk on the moon.

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Fjaðrárgljúfur Canyon: Seriously, this place was incredible. We've never felt more small in this world. You hike alongside the top edge of the canyon. About two thirds of the way up, there is this crazy looking peak jutting along the very edge of the cliff. You can walk out to the edge for a picture, but be CAREFUL. There are zero ropes or caution signs. We watched a guy backing up trying to take video of his girlfriend and nearly falling off the edge to his death.

Skaftafell/Vatnajokull National Park: The hiking here is insanely gorgeous. We ate our lunch near the base of our hike at some great picnic tables and then took off. It's a hilly hike, as is most of Iceland's terrain. Make sure you hike all the way to Svartifoss! This waterfall is stunning, and you can walk around the base of it, much like Skogafoss. The cool lava columns make this waterfall a unique site.

Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon: We drove by this in complete awe, but we spent too much time exploring other sites. Fortunately with our loose plans (no planned tours), we were able to backtrack on Day 3 so we could truly enjoy this magic.

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WHERE WE STAYED
Airbnb Álaleira Álaleira 14, Höfn í Hornafirði, East, Iceland

We had tea at our guest house (Alaliera) with a couple from Slovenia, the wife was a test engineer and the husband was in the music industry. Such a fun, older couple, who was actually taking a public bus across the island to avoid driving and the insane costs of a rental car. Once we got warm, we headed out to grab a bite at a restaurant by the water. Here we discovered that Iceland can really rock a gin & tonic. We also learned that "salad" in Iceland means root vegetables. No leafy greens were found anywhere on this island.


DAY THREE | Hofn to Egilsstaðir/Seydisfjordur

We left Hofn pretty early so that we could get on the road, since we decided to backtrack to Jokulsarlon. So we ate our little homemade breakfast (oatmeal with almond butter) and got to driving.

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Jokulsarlon Glacier Lagoon: Holy crap. This place is incredible! Whether the sun is shining or the clouds are rolling in, the lagoon is a magical blue color and you can see seals swimming around the floating sheets of blue ice from the receding glacier above. This is one site you cannot miss. We walked around and then enjoyed this view by snuggling up to each other with a cup of hot chocolate from the visitor's center. We met some folks who took a tour and they loved it, if you're looking for a way to see more.

As we traveled back past Hofn, we found a cool, black sand beach. Since both of us grew up near the coast, we wanted to drive on it! With fresh tire marks in site, we figured our 4-wheel drive could handle a little black sand. It could. Handle a little. But suddenly we were door-deep in black sand beach.

PSA: 4-wheel drive does not prevent you from getting stuck in the sand.

It didn't take long with us walking around blindly and trying to reach our car rental company before we looked lost to any passersby. After only seeing two cars on the road in roughly an hour, we started to lose hope. And then suddenly, an Icelander came to our rescue. Erik the Icelandic God, as he shall be named -- since we never exchanged names! He helped dig us out and pulled us back to safety. We are forever grateful to you, Erik the Icelandic God!

Once we got back on solid ground, we stopped at a lookout point and hugged and laughed our way back to reality. We also thanked each other for staying cool during one of the most terrifying moments in our travels.

Next we stopped at an N1 gas station and tried out the hotdogs. Word on the street was that they were actually pretty delicious. The streets didn't lie! Maybe it was the near-death experience or the incredible view from the gas station, but we scarfed them down while standing outside looking into the abyss.

WHERE WE STAYED

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Airbnb (School House Cottage) in Seydisfjordur

We got in pretty late, so we stopped at the Bonus in Egilsstadur on our way and made dinner at home and relaxed in our adorable cottage, just steps away from the fjord.


DAY FOUR | Seydisfjordur

We woke up slowly, made a huge Icelandic breakfast and ate outside while enjoying the expansive beauty of our surroundings. Then we drove a little further down the fjord and hiked a couple miles to enjoy the coastline.

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After that we made our way into Seydisfjordur to spend the rest of the day. We sipped beer on picnic benches, enjoying the mountains behind us and the water before us. We even took a little time to FaceTime with family. The rest of the afternoon was spent walking around the marina, buying local jam and eating soft serve ice cream cones.

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After walking around all day, we stopped into a local bar to enjoy another beer and happened upon an Iceland National Team viewing party (futbol!). We enjoyed beers, warm soup with freshly made bread, locally caught salmon and roasted potatoes. Best bar food we've ever had!

A perfect, relaxing day in the East Fjords. This, by far, ended up being our favorite city in Iceland.


DAY FIVE | Egilsstaðir to Lake Myvatn

As fate would have it, just a couple weeks prior to our trip, we found out some friends from Boston had a trip planned around Iceland at the same time! They decided to travel clockwise, so we chose to meet in Lake Myvatn and again back in Reykjavik for a couple days. On our way to meet our friends we had a few must-see spots.

WHAT WE SAW

Dettifoss Waterfall, a breathtaking site. It's incredibly powerful, with the loud rush of water and intense mist keeping all of our senses in awe. Definitely a hidden gem along the way to Myvatn. 

Krafla Power Station, I don't know if this is considered a "site-seeing" spot, but we certainly thought it was! It was incredibly windy (and stinky), as it's a geothermal power plant, but it honestly looks like something you would see in a sci-fi movie. We couldn't resist stopping here and getting a few futuristic photos of ourselves.

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Viti Crater, a spot that absolutely no photo we could ever take would do it justice. It's one of two well-known craters in Iceland and it's completely worth the trip and short walk to see it.

Namafjall Hverir Geothermal Area, hands down the most surreal landscape in Iceland. We kept feeling like we were on Mars, with blueish, silvery liquid bubbling out of clay earth. Highly recommend spending time here, and also recommend not taking out any snacks within a five mile radius of this place, as it is definitely the stinkiest spot in all of Iceland.

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We met our friends at a cafe in Lake Myvatn and spent the first hour catching each other up on our lives and offering each other advice for the trip ahead. After that, we toured around a few fun spots before heading to dinner and staying up late to try and see the northern lights.*

Grjotagja, a small lava cave that you climb down into and explore. We spent about 30 minutes here, staying warm in the midst of the geothermal spring (too hot and crowded to get into the water itself).

Hverfell Cone, a tuff ring volcano near Lake Myvatn. We enjoyed getting warm as we hiked to the top of the steep peak of the cone, but didn't make it all the way around so that we could go see some cool lava fields before it got dark outside.

Dimmuborgir, the cool lava fields! We followed a few trails and explored the castle-like structures and vast landscape at the higher points of the trails. A must see if you're in Myvatn!

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WHERE WE ATE

Vogafjós Cowshed Cafe, an awesome restaurant on a farm. We all got burgers and wine and talked until we closed the place down. You can walk into the shed and visit with the milking cows next door. How's that for "farm to table"?

WHERE WE STAYED

Hótel Laxá through Bookings.com. A modern hotel with stunning views of Lake Myvatn.

*NOTE: Turns out we did get to witness the northern lights! While you can try to plan to go when the northern lights are the most likely, it's hard to plan. We felt lucky that one of the few nights we were awake late enough, we got to witness them. Our bartender at the hotel even turned off the lights so we could get a better view.

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DAY SIX | Lake Myvatn to Skagaströnd

Day six we decided to sleep in a bit, since we only had one stop planned for the day.  

WHAT WE SAW

Godafoss, no matter how many waterfalls you see, they are all so unique and beautiful. We just so happened to stop by on an extremely windy day. In fact it was so windy that it almost took our car door off (this is a serious concern that rental companies will warn you about happening). 

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WHERE WE STAYED

We stayed at a cabin that we booked on Airbnb. In hindsight, we never would've booked it, but our options in the area were limited as it was incredibly remote! We won't share the link with you because the place was awful, but with our good luck so far we figured we were due for a travel snafu.


DAY SEVEN + EIGHT | Skagaströnd to West Fjords

The West Fjords is a hiker's/backpacker's paradise, with plenty of remote hiking and places you can't get to by car. We did none of that and had an amazing time! What we did instead is both hilarious and magical.

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WHAT WE SAW

Ísafjörður, a cute town with an incredible bakery, amazing coffee shop and the best soup we've ever had (at a cafe called Húsið).

Holmavik Museum of Witchcraft and Wizardry, yes, really. It was weird and informative at the same time, and we highly recommend it if you end up in the West Fjords! 

WHERE WE STAYED

Country Hotel in Heydalur through Bookings.com. This was another favorite spot of ours! They have a PET ARCTIC FOX. Yes, you're reading this right! He even went on a hike with us around the grounds to the river. We enjoyed the delicious dinner and breakfast provided by the hotel.

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DAY NINE | West Fjords (Heydalur) to Snæfellsnes Peninsula (Grundarfjörður)

We chose not to drive the significant distance from the West Fjords to the Snæfellsnes Peninsula because we needed a break from driving/navigating. Instead we took the Ferry Baldur and brought our car aboard. But before heading to the dock, we had some time to explore the West Fjords a bit more.

WHAT WE SAW

Dynjandi, one of the impressive and majestic waterfalls in Iceland, and definitely the least visited due to how far it is from the path most traveled. If you go to the West Fjords, DO NOT miss this one!

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Blueberry picking, there is nowhere and everywhere to do this! We found a hike off the beaten path and noticed what we thought were blueberries and bilberries along the way. We grabbed heaps of them and stored them in our hats until we could verify they were edible! Once we verified, we snacked on them and gave ourselves a pat on the back for our foraging skills.

WHERE WE STAYED

A guesthouse we found on Bookings.com


DAY TEN | Snæfellsnes Peninsula

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We woke up pretty early and set out to grab coffee and snacks for the day. This was definitely our fullest day, as the peninsula is densely dotted with beautiful sites!

Kirkjufell, a 10-minute drive from where we stayed and made famous from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Justin even skateboarded down the road to pay proper homage to the movie! Thank you to Salemtown Board Co. for the rental!

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Snaefellsjoekull National Park, full of so many places to stop and see. We visited cliffs where you could see puffins, saw the Snaefellsjoekull glacier, walked along Djúpalónssandur beach, practiced yoga (self-led) at a bright orange lighthouse and climbed black lava rocks on golden beaches.  

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WHERE WE STAYED

Hotel Hellnar, a beautiful hotel on the water that had a dock and a cute restaurant nearby that had a really long wait while we were there. We ended up eating dinner and breakfast at the hotel - both spectacular.


DAY ELEVEN | Back to Reykjavik

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After a trip around the island, we were tired and finally ready to make it back to meet our friends in Reykjavik.

WHAT WE SAW

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Wild horses, if you travel around the island, take your time to stop and see some of these beauties! They are pretty friendly. We tried to feed them carrots, but being wild, they very obviously didn't care about our domestic snacks. It was incredibly disappointing.

Bæjarins Beztu Pylsur, because hot dogs. If you decide to go experience the magic, snag a corner of a nearby picnic table and enjoy!

Harpa, the gorgeous concert hall in Reykjavik. Definitely worth the walk around and see the impressive architecture. 

Hallgrímskirkja, the gorgeously famous Lutheran church, also in Reykjavik. An absolute architectural beauty.

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Bakari Sandholt, a savory and sweet bakery full of every kind of pastry you could ever imagine or want. It was around the corner from our Airbnb so we went multiple times.

Lebowski Bar, DUDE. If you're a fan, it's worth the stop to grab a drink (some version of a White Russian, obviously), and check out the kitschy vibe.

Valdis, we drove a bit off the beaten path to get gelato, because why not! We enjoyed them outside and it was worth every shivering moment.

WHERE WE STAYED

Airbnb right in the heart of the city (downstairs from Bakari Sandholt)


DAY TWELVE, THIRTEEN + FOURTEEN | Nearby Reykjavik

We spent about 10 days in Europe traveling before spending another three days in Iceland prior to coming home, so most of Day 12 was spent traveling. With the remaining time in Iceland, we covered the most visited tourist destinations and sprinkled in a few quirky, less known places.

WHAT WE DID

Reykjavik Roasters, we visited here every day because those cappuccinos and scones were out of this world! 10/10 would visit daily.

The Golden Circle, which includes several incredible sites along the way. The Geysir, Gullfoss, and Thingvellir National Park. All worth the trip, but definitely packed with tour buses and droves of people.

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The Blue Lagoon, our favorite tourist destination by far. Maybe anywhere, ever. Enjoy the silica face masks, grab a drink, stay as long as your heart desires. We did NOT want to leave, but we closed the place down and still had to get back to the city! PRO TIP: Hit up the Blue Lagoon either on your way into or out of Iceland, as it's very close to the airport. 

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The ION Hotel, a modern, architectural beauty in the middle of nowhere. We had a great time exploring this place - inside and out. Highly recommend staying out here if you want a bit more of a remote experience or to really try to see northern lights in all their glory.

WHERE WE STAYED

Airbnb right in the heart of the city.


in summary

We realize this is an incredibly extensive blog post, but we wanted to share our experience since Iceland requires a bit more research than most travel destinations. It's taken us just over two years to finally put this all together, but we think it's worth the wait.

Góða ferð!

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Annual Retreat: One Word, Year Two

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Last year's annual retreat was to the most beautiful, dreamy cabin in the woods. This year, we've been traveling so much that we decided to hold our annual retreat at the one place that we knew we'd focus, be comfortable and open to discussing our deepest and most personal selves. At home, with our pup at our feet and plenty of hot coffee warming our bellies and keeping us alert.

We started off by making breakfast, coffee (duh) and watching the TED Talk "Adam Grant: The surprising habits of original thinkers." We talked about the idea of procrastination (Lyndi does, Justin doesn't!), the appeal of not reinventing the wheel and how terrified we both are of not trying to make something extraordinary of our lives together. Maybe we are Originals and maybe we aren't, but the idea that we could strive to be or think like one put us on the right track.

Next we reviewed our goals from last year and discovered that we each only accomplished about half of what we set out to do in 2016. Ever feel like your lofty choices in January don't hold up after a few months? Us too. We discussed why these goals weren't met, we realized three common threads weaved through each goal:

  1. We didn't check on our goals. Not once. We even had to search for the notebooks where we wrote them down! This made it impossible to be held accountable.
  2. We didn't clarify our goals. We wrote everything down and didn't discuss why we chose them, how we planned to achieve them or what they really meant to us.
  3. We didn't set the right goals. We accomplished so much in 2016, but we didn't seem to have them written down in January! Our goals were too focused on the present, fleeting moment and not on the many facets of our lives.

We're not kicking ourselves over this, because like we said, we accomplished a ton in 2016! It doesn't have to be written down in early January for us to feel great about that. But we're also realistic in that if we don't make a concerted effort to discuss some of our biggest ambitions and put them into manageable chunks, they may never happen. Sometimes it's as simple as a goal to be in the right mindset to create, maintain resilience and reach for those stars.

So this year we are ditching the term GOALS. The concept of timelines and checking things off of a list seems unrealistic to human nature. After all, we are human and that means we are constantly growing and changing, and our lives and decided achievements are growing and changing as well. Instead of goals, we are focusing on INTENTIONS for 2017.

We've decided what we want out of our year, and while some of our intentions are extremely specific, others are qualitative and ambiguous, and we are okay with that. To help guide us in reaching our intentions, we expanded them to include all facets of our lives and for each of them to embody our WORD for the year, both collectively and separately.

Based on this article from the guys over at Live Better, we chose to set intentions under five categories: Relationships, Personal, Business, Physical and Nutritional. We also made sure we each had a way to check back in with ourselves weekly and with each other quarterly.

But before we did this, we had to choose our WORD for the year first, which meant plenty of wordsmith-ing, thesaurus-searching and honesty with ourselves and each other. We are excited to finally share our WORD for each other and for us as a couple!

JUSTIN: BALANCE

When I chose DEPTH as my word for 2016, I was scared. I was scared that sharing aspects of my life with friends and family was going to make me vulnerable. And it sure as hell did. But, once I ripped off the bandaid, it felt amazing. I was longing for deeper relationships and realized sharing is a two way street. People were never going to open up to me if I didn't open up to them.

When thinking about words for 2017, I wanted something powerful but not aggressive. Something that could be considered daily and in the grand scheme of things. That's why I chose BALANCE as my word for 2017. I believe that life can be so much more gratifying when you are balanced. For me, balance is all-encompassing. It includes my physical, mental, and emotional well-being, as well as my daily routine and lifestyle.

In the past I have noticed how easy it is to neglect certain aspects of my life and have it completely throw off everything else. So, this year is all about making space for everything that's important to me. Just because I'm traveling doesn't mean I have to eat like crap. Just because I'm busy woking at a desk doesn't mean I don't have time to work out or stretch. And just because I'm living a healthy lifestyle, does not mean I'm not going to indulge in a chocolate chip cookie and cocktail when the mood strikes.

Here's to a year of balanced nutrition, relationships, fitness, work habits and all around lifestyle!

LYNDI: BRAVE

Last year I chose CONFIDENCE as my word, because I knew I needed to learn the balance between arrogance and confidence. Being proud of yourself and shining bright doesn't mean you aren't capable of humility and gratitude. It was a beautiful lesson in practicing that balance rather than believing it in theory, and the more confident I feel, the more I've been able to express my gratitude towards those around me.

This year, I chose BRAVE because I tend to hold back when I begin something new. Ever make your to do list for the day and then instantly find a way to procrastinate? Yeah? Me too. In fact, that's my M.O. for most daunting tasks. Eventually everything gets accomplished, but not without a healthy sense of fear of the unknown.

I realized that in order to accomplish some of my bigger intentions for the year and continue to dream big, I need to push past that fear. Paraphrasing from Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, I have to let that fear sit in the backseat and not in the driver's seat. I know it's there, and it's ok to coexist with fear. But no, it cannot even choose the music on my journey because 2017 is going to be a big year for me, and I refuse to listen to Metallica. For obvious reasons...

Unlike last year's proverbial caution tape that I initially wrapped around my word, this year I feel more excited than ever to see where this word takes me! Let's do this!

THE REARDENSTEINS: PAUSE

We chose this word with reckless abandon and an intense longing. We don't think the word even fell from our lips before we both said "YES!" With 2016 being our biggest travel year yet, we felt exhausted and exhilarated at the idea of slowing down. Last year sent us across 7 countries, 25 cities, and approximately 36,829 miles. Did you know it's "only" 24,900 miles around the earths circumference? While we loved every minute of it, plain and simple: it wore us down. The idea of PAUSING was sounding pretty great to us come January.

The word PAUSE isn't really about less travel, although that seemed to be at the forefront of our minds at the moment. The more we discussed this word, the deeper it expanded into our vocabulary and the more meaning it began to hold. PAUSE is about smarter and more intentional choices. To us, it's more about holding on to a feeling in the moment, taking time to be kind to each other and the people around us, and making more of an effort to say "yes" to the right things and "no" to the wrong ones.

One of our most substantive intentions around this word is the idea of being present, with each other and with those we love. This means putting phones away during meals and in bed, and more focused time with friends (think: one on one, in places where real conversation can happen). Another essential intention is holding ourselves more accountable for what we purchase and constantly asking if it adds value. We defined value as bringing joy, beauty or utility to our lives. We hope this year's word teaches us more about PAUSING so we can more intimately focus on the people, places and things that mean the most to us.

Did you set a word for the year? Set your sites on something you're excited to accomplish this year? Share below, we'd love to hear it!

Whole30, Whole New Year

This year we decided to start off 2017 by getting back to our routine. We've been working hard and traveling a ton, and sometimes that means eating out more often, occasionally enjoying a cheese plate instead of a real meal and drinking wine instead of water. And while that's totally fine in moderation, it doesn't always feel great when it becomes a regular occurrance.

We believe in a balanced lifestyle, and while wine and cheese is delicious, so is a kale salad topped with grilled salmon and a coconut La Croix.

For us, Whole30 is about the opposite of dieting, eliminating and depriving. We remind ourselves to nourish instead of fill up. To eat based on desire rather than boredom. To prepare and be intentional about our food choices, and to enjoy each bite of delicious, healthful food.

We decided it would be fun to share our weekly meal prep and all of the links to our go-to Whole30 approved recipes! Below is our grocery list, what we prepped ahead of time and what our week in meals looks like.

A few notes before we get on with the good stuff:

  1. We have done Whole30 before and loved it. This time around, we are doing things a bit differently. We've recently chosen to also take on a pescatarian lifestyle after reading How Not To Die, by Michael Greger and Gene Stone, so you won't see any chicken, pork or meat options in our preferred menu. Any of our fish options can be substituted with your preferred protein source!
  2. The grocery list, prep and weekly meals below are all pretty standard, go-to flavors. These are our tried and true, quick or on-the-go options that we turn to when we know we have a busy week ahead or just don't feel like cooking. That said, a few nights a week, we love to try out new recipes from our favorite food blogs or create our own. If you'd like to try out some more creative options, we have a few of our favorite Whole30 recipes listed at the very bottom.
  3. Whole30 is supposed to be a learning process, and it takes time to find what works for you. You may not love what you see below, and that's totally OK! Keep trying out new foods and new ways to cook them. We're happy to answer any questions or make more meal suggestions if you need it.
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WEEKLY GROCERY LIST

FRUITS

  • Satsuma tangerines
  • Blueberries
  • Avocados
  • Apples
  • Grapefruit
  • Meyer lemons
  • Bananas
  • Pomegranate
  • Dried dates (no sugar added) 
  • Oranges 

VEGGIES

  • Lacinato kale
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Purple cauliflower
  • Asparagus
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Delicata squash
  • Cabbage head
  • Sweet Peppers
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes (canned if not in season)

DRINKS

  • Coffee
  • La Croix
  • Califia Unsweetened Vanilla Almond milk
  • Califia Betterhalf creamer (unsweetened)
  • Coconut water (Whole Foods 365 is the cheapest) 
  • Hot teas (usually Celestial Seasonings)
  • Apple cider vinegar (unfiltered, with mother)
  • GT's Trilogy Kombucha 

PROTEIN/FATS

  • Wild caught tuna fillet
  • Wild caught cod fillet
  • Wild caught salmon fillet
  • Tuna fish (white meat canned in water)
  • Eggs
  • Almond butter
  • Ghee
  • Olive oil
  • Tree nuts (pistachios, cashews, pecans and walnuts)
  • RX Bars

FIRST WEEK PURCHASES

  • Nutritional yeast
  • Chia seeds
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Coriander
  • Cinnamon
  • Dill
  • Frank's hot sauce 
  • Rosemary
  • Sir Kensington's dijon mustard
  • Coconut milk (canned, full fat)
  • Ginger root
  • Vegetable broth 

 

 

SUNDAY PREP

  • Rice cauliflower head in food processor, heat for 7 minutes in a pan with 2 Tbsp ghee, salt, rosemary and turmeric. Cool and store in tupperware in fridge.
  • Peel and cut carrots into sticks (cross sectionally, then into 5" spears) and put into tupperware or single-serving plastic bags
  • Cut peppers into strips and put into a tupperware
  • Devein kale, put into gallon bags for storage
  • Rinse fruit
  • Dice half of the sweet potatoes, season with olive oil, salt and pepper, bake at 400F for 30-40 minutes. Let cool and store in tupperware in the fridge.
  • Hard-boil 6-12 eggs.
  • Prep quick breakfast option: we love this sweet potato crusted quiche, sans cheese and miso. We tend to modify this recipe to taste (or to clean our fridge of veggies that are about to go bad)!
  • Prep avocado dressing. Combine following ingredients in food processor until creamy: 1 avocado, 0.5 cups coconut milk, 3 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp lime juice, salt & pepper to taste. Store in mason jar in fridge. 
  • Prep carrot & butternut squash soup. We love this soup recipe, but use 0.5 lbs. of carrots and 0.5 lbs. butternut squash.   

WEEKLY MEALs

SUNDAY

  • DINNER :: Riced cauliflower with toasted pecans and garlic, cod fillet seasoned w. salt, pepper and coriander.
  • DESSERT :: Satsuma tangerine, vanilla cinnamon hot tea

MONDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Two - three eggs, half an apple w. 2 Tbsp almond butter, black coffee
  • LUNCH :: Kale salad w. blueberries, almonds, avocado, sweet potatoes, topped w. lemon juice, olive oil, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast
  • SNACK :: Banana, pistachios, coconut water
  • DINNER :: Tuna fillet (seasoned with dijon mustard, lemon juice and garlic), roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus

TUESDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Two - three eggs, a grapefruit, sautéed kale, coffee w. Califia creamer
  • LUNCH :: Egg salad (three hardboiled eggs mixed with dijon mustard, avocado, salt and pepper), carrot sticks
  • SNACK :: Half an apple w. almond butter topped with chia and ground flax
  • DINNER :: Veggie bowl (riced cauliflower topped w. roasted asparagus, broccoli, carrots, two poached eggs on top, and (you guessed it) nutritional yeast

WEDNESDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Pre-made quiche and black coffee
  • LUNCH :: Leftover tuna filet sandwich w. massaged kale and avocado dressing, using two toasted sweet potatoes as bun
  • DINNER :: Pre-made carrot & butternut squash soup with sliced avocado and wilted kale

THURSDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Sweet potato toast, mashed avocado, two - three eggs, black coffee
  • LUNCH :: We love this green smoothie recipe; we have had success with spinach or kale 
  • SNACK :: A satsuma tangerine, coconut water
  • DINNER :: Baked salmon, roasted delicata squash w. pomegranate seeds, roasted broccoli

FRIDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Pre-made quiche and black coffee
  • LUNCH :: Cabbage wraps filled w. tuna salad (mashed w. avocado, dijon mustard, lime, salt, turmeric) and chopped carrot sticks
  • SNACK :: RX Bar, hot tea
  • DINNER :: Tomato soup, kale salad w. seared salmon, blueberries, toasted pecans, sweet potatoes, topped w. olive oil, salt, pepper, nutritional yeast
  • DESSERT :: Turmeric milk, modified as necessary to fit your preferences 

SATURDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Sweet potato hash, two eggs, sauteed kale (w. lemon, olive oil, salt) and black coffee
  • LUNCH :: Egg salad (three hardboiled eggs mixed with dijon mustard, avocado, salt and pepper), carrot sticks
  • DINNER :: Cod fillet seasoned with lemon, garlic and dill, pre-made carrot & butternut squash soup with sliced avocado and wilted kale
  • DESSERT :: Blueberries, turmeric milk

SUNDAY

  • BREAKFAST :: Sweet potato hash waffle topped with fried eggs (instead of sour cream suggested in recipe), coffee 
  • LUNCH :: Whole Foods salad bar, since you will already be there doing your weekly shopping! Read ingredients carefully!

OTHER RECIPES YOU SHOULD TRY

Shakshuka by Stupid Easy Paleo

Veggie Sushi Rolls by Nutrition Stripped

Spicy Tuna Cakes by Nom Nom Paleo

Almond Ricotta by Heather Christo

Butternut Squash Chicken Mash by The Healthy Foodie