Tag Archives: travel

#HipNJ Does Iceland

When my parents revealed that we were going to Iceland for our summer vacation, my siblings and I were surprised, to say the least. Our vacations typically consisted of traveling in the States, and this sounded like an interesting change of pace.

As we inched closer and closer to departure, curiosity (and worry) started to fill my thoughts. Were we about to spend the next ten days in the frozen tundra, with little excitement and culture to fill our days? Happily, the answer was no! After spending ten days exploring this beautiful land, I acquired an amazing knowledge of the outstanding geography and wide range of activities that Iceland has to offer.

If you’re planning on traveling to Iceland, or are just eager to learn more about this unique country, here are five places that made my trip unforgettable.

Exploring a Black Sand Beach:
This stunning location at Reynisfjara is a world-famous black sand beach found on the Southern coast of Iceland. This destination is not your average beach. It is surrounded by basalt rocks, breathtaking columns and one-of-a-kind cave structures. Make sure you watch out for the “sneaker waves” or powerful waves that come up when you least expect it!

Taking on the Nightlife in Reykjavik:
Iceland’s largest city is full of opportunities to explore during the day as well as at night. Aside from the endless shopping and restaurants that are sure to take up your afternoon, Reykjavik’s nightlife is extremely diverse. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing happy hour or a place to bust a move, the city is full of countless bars for all of your nightlife pursuits. Here are three bars that I highly recommend checking out:

Húrra– Looking to spice up your Monday? Húrra nightclub has free jazz every Monday starting at 9 pm! On every other day, the bar is lit up with electronic music, making it a perfect spot to get your groove on.

Lebowski– Both a restaurant and a bar, the Lebowski is constantly packed and playing everyone’s favorite throwback music! If you want to grab a bite to eat, listen to some 90’s music or both, this bar is the place for you.

KaffiBarinn– A café during the day and a bar at night, KaffiBarinn is constantly having local bands perform. If you’re planning on stopping in early, KaffiBarinn has happy hour specials every day of the week. You can also make your Sundays a little more bearable by stopping in to get a free waffle!

Snowmobiling On the Glacier:
If you’re on the more adventurous side, you cannot pass up the opportunity to go snowmobiling on the largest glacier in Europe, Vatnajökull. This experience comes with a combination of thrills, breathtaking views, and a trained guide who is full of intriguing facts about the glacier and the country itself. Here, you can see the true beauty of the nature of Iceland. The magnificent view from the top of the glacier is an experience I will never forget.

Touring an Ice Cave:
On the second largest glacier in Iceland, Langjökull holds a man-made ice tunnel. The only way to access this incredible ice formation is on a guided tour where you will be given a helmet light and crampons to help you successfully navigate through the cave! This is an opportunity like never before, where you not only get to see the beauties of the glacier, but you get to see it from the inside. Make sure to dress warm!

White Water Rafting:
If you’re an adrenaline junkie, this next activity is not to be missed. Rafting on the East Glacier River featured three hours of beautiful scenery along with roaring rapids that reached a class 4 and 5 on the rafting scale. Towards the end of your rafting journey, your guide will offer you a chance to jump off a 30-foot-high cliff into the raging river, before heading back to the base camp for a cup of Icelandic lamb soup, to help you warm back up.

I highly recommend visiting this amazing land of fire and ice. Don’t forget to stop at all the great waterfalls!

Blush Brides

Alaina Antonicello on Blush Brides

Alaina Antonicello, founder of Blush Brides, joined Lisa Marie Latino in the #HipNJ studio to discuss the traveling hair and makeup agency.

Blush Brides travels anywhere in New York, New Jersey or Pennsylvania. They come to you and get you ready for any event, ranging from date night to your wedding day.

“I started going to beauty school when I was 15,” Antonicello says. She then started working for salons, and had a baby girl.

“When you have a child, it’s so hard to balance being a mother and going to work,” she states. “So, I tried to find a way to do both.” She then started doing hair and makeup for weddings, and things quickly picked up.

As for 2018 trends, Antonicello says that more dramatic makeup looks are in right now. This is a contrast from a few years back when a simple and natural look was the hottest request.

To learn more, click here.

seattle

#HipNJ Takes on Seattle

by Alyssa Villasenor

Happy #TravelTuesday #HipNJ! This weekend my cousins and I took on Seattle, a city of rain and endless Starbucks.

We left early on Friday morning from the Newark Liberty International Airport. Our 6am flight was on time–but we were not. We rushed through security just to make our flight. We moved so fast my cousin actually lost his hat. The staff was patient with us the whole time, thankfully, and didn’t mention how none of us were wearing our shoes, only socks.

We stayed at the lovely Hyatt Place Seattle/Downtown Hotel, which was close to the iconic Space Needle. We had a great view of the Space Needle and got to see it light up at night from our window.

Our first meal was at The 5 Point Cafe. It was decorated in stickers and neon signs, one of which brightly announced “We Cheat Tourists-N-Drunks Since 1929.” The food was delicious and I had the “No Huevos” Rancheros, one of their many vegan options.

We spent our trip exploring downtown Seattle and Pike Place Market. The atmosphere was quite different from New York’s. First, the buildings were a lot shorter, and I was surprised every time I looked up and saw more sky than towers. The mood of the city was calmer than that of New York’s, in a way that was almost confusing as shops were closing up around 8pm. And of course, the air was cold, wet, and rainy, but the city still looked beautiful.

We visited the Gum Wall and were slightly grossed out, but enjoyed reading the little notes people stuck on the wall.

We enjoyed a S’more Sundae at Shug’s Soda Fountain & Ice Cream, a cute ice cream parlor that I already want to go back to.

We even saw diving Santa at the Seattle Aquarium!

Overall, Seattle was a wonderful city to spend the weekend in, but it felt nice to return to the slightly-warmer, less-rainy New Jersey!