Iceland Summer Vacation Guide: Where to go and what to wear in the land of Bjork

I can't stress enough the importance of girls' trips. Every woman needs to prioritize making time for herself and her lady friends to run away from jobs, significant others, kids, etc. and relive her 20s. Mentally, emotionally, spiritually - bonding with great friends on an adventure trip is like hitting the reset button on your attitude and outlook. There are many wonderful places to take such a trip and the further away the better. One of my favorites is Iceland. Let your phone die and bring that awesome digital camera you paid too much for and never use. 

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My favorite ski looks for on and off the slopes

I just got back from an amazing ski trip at Beaver Creek, Colorado and packing for this trip was actually fun (okay it was more fun shopping for this trip!)  I recently got new skis and boots at Ski Barn in New Jersey and was surprised to see a really nice collection of designer ski clothes perfect for the après ski scene in Colorado but also totally functional enough for low temps and serious runs. Here are a few stand outs:

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My top 4 yogalicious classes in NYC

Not all yoga studios are created equal. In fact, event within the same studio, the yoga experience can vary widely based on the instructor. And when you're devoting over an hour to a workout, it's pretty disappointing when you leave feeling you haven't enjoyed yourself, or challenged yourself in terms of your practice. So here are a few foolproof classes in Manhattan where you're sure to get the most out of yoga day.

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Health Detox: Day 7

Although it's day 2 of my period, miraculously I haven't broken out in zits. I can only attribute my clear skin to the diet. And on this last day of the detox, I have lost 2 lbs since yesterday (home cooked meals are the way to go!). I'm still 2.5 lbs away from my pre-binge weight, but very pleased with the results. I consider extending this detox, with the exception of allowing myself a glass of red wine each night, which is supposed to be good for you anyway. I can go without bread and pasta, but no wine or cocktails is simply not an option for me. 

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Health Detox: Day 6

I wake up and immediately weigh myself, knowing this would be ugly after my night out with the ladies. Yup, I went back up a pound. I could have rescheduled the dinner but I didn't want the detox to completely take control of my life. One of my dinner companions explained that I shouldn't be weighing myself every day, that I should wait until the end of the 7 days. And eating out means a ton of sodium which makes you retain water. Oh well, live and learn. Another friend doesn't weigh herself at all and doesn't own a scale, she simply gauges her size by how her clothes fit. I like this idea and consider tossing my scale. At least this is almost over, one day at a time. 

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Health Detox: Day 5

I awake to two 2 gifts: my monthly one and the little guy has wet his bed.  I weigh myself and I'm half a pound less, yay! But my belly is bloated thanks to the first gift. I haven't been keeping track but of course it comes during the week I decide to diet. Now to address my urine soaked son.  I take him out of bed and say we need to get him in the bath but he's upset and refuses. I try to explain to him he's dirty and reeks of urine, that he can't go to school like that. He still refuses. I explain I'm just going to wash him from the waist down, not his hair, not a "real" bath, but he just screams and rolls around on the floor. Another early morning battle of wills. I'm getting too old for this shit. It's 7:05am and this is how I have to start my day?

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Health Detox: Day 4

I start to make their lunches when I realize I have no bread for their sandwiches. I figure I can run to the market on the corner in time to make the sandwiches and not be late for school if I can get the kids to cooperate and hustle. Fat chance. The little one won't put his pants on because they're not lined with the soft fleece of 1000 sheep. He asks for sweatpants but as a rule I won't let them wear sweatpants to school – I know I will lose this battle soon, they’re starting to want to choose their own clothes, even mentioning specific brands. Apparently 3rd grade boys have already determined what clothing is “cool” and what isn’t – skinny jeans and Jacadi polos don't make the cut. Head to toe Under Armour and Nike reign supreme.

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Health Detox: Day 3

I sleep in since the kids aren't here to wake me at the break of dawn, and hubby slips out to work. I look at the clock, it's 8:15am, and I realize I signed up for a 9am Y7 yoga class where you have to be there 15 minutes early. I jump out of bed and weigh myself - I lost half a pound, not much, but better than no change. I quickly wash face, brush teeth, grab water bottle with Nuun tablet and run out the door. I grab coffee on the way and speedwalk trying not to spill coffee all over myself. 

If SoulCycle and Yoga had a baby, that's Y7. 

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Health Detox: Day 2

Day 2:

I wake with a child's foot in my neck. I ended up giving into the mommy guilt and caved to my son's request to sleep in his bed. I'm not gonna lie, I had a crap sleep but it was so delicious cuddling with that sweaty little guy. It's a well-known fact children are most adorable when they're asleep.  But despite a sore back I am content that I survived the first day, it's supposed to be the hardest right?

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Health Detox: Day 1

How did this happen? I found myself in the midst of a mini-depression/possible mid-life crisis brought on by who knows what. Yes, my kids were behaving particularly badly recently, and those poor children in Syria, and was it really possible the Donald could be my next president?? It was all too much and I found myself drinking copious amounts of wine every evening, stuffing every carb in sight down my pie hole and staying up way too late watching bad TV (I really don't think it was big deal that Megan didn't visit Vicky in the hospital, calm down ladies.)

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Greek Treat: Fasolakia, Hard to Say, Easy to Make

The Mediterranean diet has been extolled for its health benefits and the fact that it's also delicious. When visiting the Greek and Italian coasts, we gorge on fresh vegetables and fish caught that morning. Closer to home, there are some solid Greek restaurants like Yefsi on the Upper East Side and Ethos in Midtown East. Often the side dishes are just as good if not better than the main dish. One of my favorites is Fasolakia, a dish of sauteed green beans in tomato and garlic. 

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Spotlight on Spain: 5 Reasons to Visit Barcelona This Summer

You can't go wrong with España. This country has a huge variety of beautiful cities, coastal towns, beaches and mountains. The food is delicious, the vino flowing, the sun shining and the people full of life. Barcelona is one city that can’t be missed. Here is my list of 5 must-do things is Barcelona to ensure an amazing visit.

1.    STAY at the Hotel Arts Barcelona. This beautiful Ritz-Carlton property is right on the Mediterranean Sea offering amazing views. It has clean, modern rooms and all the amenities of a top hotel. Most importantly, the staff are super friendly and helpful and the service is amazing. This property also has an outdoor pool facing the sea with food and bar service. Splurge on the Club Lounge, it’s always stocked with delicious bites and drinks, and the concierges are a great resource for restaurant recommendation and excursions around town. 

Photo Credit: Hotel Arts

2.    VISIT La Sagrada Familia. This masterpiece basilica designed by Antoni Gaudí is famously unfinished and construction continues today. Buy tickets online in advance to avoid waiting in long lines. Definitely opt for the guided tour, it is so much more enjoyable to learn about the history of Gaudí and the process of building the basilica from an expert who can also answer your questions.  

3.    EAT at Bodega 1900. Finding an authentic, delicious restaurant in Barcelona can be difficult as many places cater to tourists and dumb down the food. We were disappointed with many of the so-called “recommended” places (skip Tapas 24) but were ecstatic when we found Bodega 1900. This is the real thing. Chef Albert Adrià has done it again and you won’t be disappointed. It’s a small place so make sure to reserve in advance.

4.    TAKE IN the magnificent art of Barcelona native Joan Miró at the Fundació Joan Miró. It houses his private collection of paintings and sculptures, and sits on a picturesque hill above the city. Be sure to use the audio guide which is also a touchscreen video supplement to learn about the life of the artist and what motivated him and his art. There is also a decent outdoor snack and bar area where you can grab an Estrella Damm and chill for a bit.

5.    STROLL along the tiny zigzag streets of the Barrio Gótico. Forget about the sensory overload of La Rambla and get blissfully lost in the maze of small side streets in Barcelona’s Gothic neighborhood. You’ll stumble upon beautiful churches, small shops selling espadrilles, outdoor markets with fresh cheeses and olive oils, bakeries and plenty of cafes to grab a café or cerveza.

Of course there is so much more to do, and I recommend a minimum of 4 days in Barcelona, 5 days if you want to go at a leisurely pace. Need more ideas? Try these: drinks at the rooftop bar at the W hotel, running on the boardwalk along the sea, stopping for lunch and a beer at Cerveceria Catalana, tapas at El Nacional, Park Guell, La Pedrera, the Picasso Museum, dinner at Llamber in the Born District... I could go on and on!!!


You Want to be a Member of this Club

I have the best friends in the world. They know me so well and when my birthday rolls around they always give the best gifts. Case in point, my BFF recently gifted me a very thoughtful 1-month unlimited Class Pass membership. I am a die-hard SoulCycle devotee (have been spinning since there was only 1 studio in a grimy West Side basement), my building has a gym, and I pay for yoga classes a la carte, so I never felt the need to join a fitness club or pay for ClassPass. But she has been singing the praises of the buffet of boutique fitness classes and wanted me to join her, hence the gift. 

ClassPass is amazing. I have tried so many awesome and different studios and classes over the past month (HIIT, Barre, Yoga, Climbing, etc – will review them all) but the one place I keep going back to is the P.E. Club. In an intimate studio on the Upper East Side, it offers small group classes and one-on-one private training. 

Classes focus on different goals (core, total body strengthening, long & lean, etc) and use body weight, TRX bands, weights, kettlebells, gliding discs and more. I always leave sweaty and super sore but I see results, the instructors are friendly and helpful, and classes are small so you feel like you're getting personal attention.  It's the perfect complement to running, yoga or spinning. Two thumbs up! (with a kettlebell in between).



Summer Staple: The Little White Dress

Summer in NYC is in full swing and its damn hot out there! Stay cool with the LWD (Little White Dress), a summer wardrobe staple. Here are 3 options I adore, and 2 are available on sale right now for amazing prices, so hop to it! 


This white lace dress was my favorite spring purchase and I've been rockin' it all summer. The drape and the angles are super flattering and it's not too tight, so you can eat in it! The racerback and ruffle details make this dress, and definitely wear your hair up to show the gorgeous back. 

The dress falls away from the body so it doesn't stick to you on super hot summer days.

The dress falls away from the body so it doesn't stick to you on super hot summer days.

The back of the dress is the best part. Look amazing while fixing your ponytail :) 

The back of the dress is the best part. Look amazing while fixing your ponytail :) 


The Katherina dress is super versatile, I dress it up by wearing gold or nude stilettos and dress it down with wedges or flat sandals and a jean jacket.

Last but not least (I think I own 10 LWDs!) this Gap dress has served me well from the office to brunch to rooftop drinks. I actually almost never shop at the Gap but once in a while you can find hidden gems for a great price so it's worth it to browse at the start of each season. I actually bought it in black too, that's how much I love it.  


Let's not forget the shoes, these Stuart Weitzman Hoopla woven wedges are another summer staple. Perfect for lawn parties where you don't want to sink into the grass, they go with any LWD and so much more, plus they're currently on sale so what are you waiting for??!!

Photography by Vanessa Varela