Guide to the Golden Circle, Deluxe Edition

What is the Golden Circle?

If you Google “Things to do in Iceland,” the Golden Circle will likely be one of your top hits. The Golden Circle is a trio of sites that can be seen in one day as you drive around in a circle. The three attractions along the Golden Circle are Thingvellir National Park, the Geysir Geothermal Area, and the Gullfoss Waterfalls. The drive takes about 3 hours from Reykjavik!

Our Route

When we sat down to plan our trip around the Golden Circle, we decided to include a few more stops, that tend to be lesser known. Our route included a stop at the Kerid Crater, Faxi Falls and Friðheimar, which is a tomato greenhouse that also has a restaurant inside! If we were going to drive all day, we wanted to get the most bang for our buck! We also had Bruarfoss Waterfalls on our agenda, but the entrance was closed when we got there. Our total driving time was 3 hours and 23 minutes!

Map of Golden Circle route

Kerid Crater

The Kerid Crater was our first stop and probably the most aesthetically pleasing. The red rock contrasted with the turquoise water in an unreal way! The crater was formed from a volcanic eruption 3000 years ago. The water in the lake is pretty shallow, ranging from 7 to 14 meters! At the crater, you can take a walk around the top, then hike down to the bottom! There is an entrance fee of $3.

Kerid Crater
Bottom of Kerid Crater

Faxi Falls

We still had a bit of time before our lunch reservations so we drove over to Faxi Falls. These falls are lesser known, as evidenced by being the only car in the parking lot. There was a $5 entrance, but they do take credit card. The fall is connected to Tungufljót river and is about 80 meters wide and 7 meters tall. If you have the time, I would check it out!

Faxi Falls

Friðheimar

Finally, lunch time! I had been to Friðheimar during my last visit to Iceland with my family and remembered it being delicious. It did not disappoint! Friðheimar is a tomato greenhouse where can you also eat. Greenhouses are common in Iceland, as their weather isn’t very conducive to farming. Here, you can eat their famous tomato soup with fresh baked bread. They also offer tomato adult drinks and desserts, if you dare! The tomato soup buffet was about $20, and included unlimited tomato soup, bread and garnishes (sour cream, fresh basil you clip at the table, cucumber salsa and butter). If you don’t want to spend that much or if you know you only want one bowl, you can also order a single bowl for about $10. After lunch, you can take a stroll around and see the tomato plants they grow!

Sign at Friðheimar farms
Meal at Friðheimar
Tomatos at Friðheimar

Geysir

Next stop is the Geysers! The area has quite a few geysers! Many are dormant but one does go off every 5-10 minutes! In all honesty, this was one of the least exciting stops of the day but it’s still worth a visit! There is a large cafe and gift shop as well if you need a refreshment!

Geysir
Geysir

Gullfoss

Next stop – Gullfoss! Gullfoss means “Golden Falls” and is one of the most iconic waterfalls in Iceland. The water from the falls comes from the glacier Langjökull. There are several viewing points at this stop. You can take the stairs up and see the view from above or you can walk along the path towards the fall! Be prepared to get pretty wet!

Gullfoss Falls
Gullfoss Falls
Gullfoss Falls

Tungufljót

This wasn’t an attraction per se but as we were driving, we saw some cars parked along the side of the road and curiosity made us pull over to see what was happening! Turns out we were driving over the Tungufljót river! This river is full of salmon and trout, and very important to Icelanders for that reason.

Tunguflot

All over Iceland are these beautiful purple flowers. At the river, they were abundant as well! These are actually Alaskan lupine and were brought over to Iceland in 1945 to add nitrogen to the soil!

Alaskan lupine

Thingavellir

Our last stop of the day was Thingavellir Park. To be honest, we were pretty drained by then and didn’t want to continue to walk around so we stopped for a minute to see what it was about and got back in the car to head home. Here is the one photo of the park I got!

Thingavellir Park is a UNESCO site for it’s nature and because it is the site of the oldest parliament in the world! Iceland’s parliament existed here from the 10th to the 18th century!

Thingavellir

Tips

Overall, we had an amazing day. It’s bonkers to think that in just a few hours, you can see so many gorgeous sites! After exploring for the day, here are a few tips I would share:

  • Call ahead and make reservations for Friðheimar! I was lucky enough to be able to make reservations the night before but I know they can get packed!
  • Start early – you’ll want to take advantage of as many sites as you can! Keep in mind that some places have opening hours and some don’t so plan accordingly.
  • Be prepared for a foggy drive! If you need to, slow down while driving. The fog was unlike anything I had ever seen.
  • Use the restroom when you can! Gullfoss and Faxi did not have restrooms available.
  • Bring waterproof shoes to Gullfoss – you don’t want to have to sit in wet shoes for hours after!

Biggest tip though, is to go do the Golden Circle! It will not disappoint!

Categories
Five Thangs Friday Life Lately

Five Thangs Friday

Wowwee! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve posted on this corner of the internet, but I’ve been itching to write/create/speak so cheers to me bringing PseudoMidlifeCrisis back! The last year I’ve learned so much and one of the biggest lessons I’ve learned is how therapeutic words can be. SO even if no one reads this, I know I’m healing myself a lil with each post.

Enough of that. I want to start light so here are five things this week that humored/amused me.

#1 This Kid

Real talk – she will probably always and forever be my #1 for any list, even 5 thangs Friday. But let me explain this picture. This here is my daughter, the thief. You see that chocolate on her face? She stole that out of my purse. This was her face when she got caught. Cutest thief ever.

#2 Goghing on a Date Night

Pun TOTALLY intended. My husband and I finally got out of the house after what felt like five million years to go on a date. We had tickets to see the immersive Van Gogh exhibit. Overall, it was super fun! The music and the animation of the paintings were beautifully done. Of course, the creme de la creme was the abundance of “Gogh” puns scattered throughout.

#3 A Potential New Hobby

School is officially out for the summer so that means I have more time for hobbies, like crafting. A girl I know posted an instagram photo of yarn art and I was immediately enthralled. *cue trip to Michaels* I tried my hand at it the other day, but it didn’t come out to my liking. I’ll be playing around with it more and hopefully, by next Friday, I have results to share.

#4 Good Ole Thrift Shopping

Nothing puts me in a better mood than a good deal! Today, I found I had some spare time so I hit up a Salvation Army. I recently got rid of the majority of my clothes because they didn’t bring me joy (or more likely they didn’t fit as I would have liked) so I have space in my closet that obviously must be filled. I found a few super cute pieces today! Score of the day was deffo the brand new Lululemon windbreaker that I scored for $4.

#5 My New Job!

Last but not least, I found out I secured my dream teaching job this week. Starting in August, I’ll be starting a new cluster program for students with moderate disabilities. It is my dream to start from scratch and to have complete autonomy over the program and I AM FLIPPING JAZZED!

So that rounds out my five thangs for Friday. After writing it all out, I have to say I had a pretty great week. On the downside, I am on my final taper of Lexapro so my brain feels like mush and my face is number, but things could be worse! I’m excited to be back in this space and hopefully you cannot wait for more word vomit from yours truly. XOXO.

Categories
Thoughts

On Judaism/Religion/Happiness

I saw this at a bookstore in Auckland and it made me stop. It also made me giggle a little. Was the store implying that religion and happiness are one and the same? Were they just short on shelf space and had to consolidate?

Religion is an interesting thing to me. Personally, I was raised Jewish… and Catholic, simultaneously. Think Star of David atop your Christmas tree and that was essentially my upbringing.

For me, it was hard to believe that either religion was “right” when I was raised as both. If Judaism was the word, why did we also practice Catholicism, and vice versa? Today, I’m a 25-year-old who identifies as Jewish, but only culturally. I feel a little gross writing that out to be honest.

When I see people going to church, or talking about their religion, I almost feel a twinge of jealousy. How nice it must be to truly believe that there is a power above you, guiding your life. How peaceful it must be to know that there’s more to life, after life!

I don’t have that. I have a lot of confusion about religion. In my head, Judaism and Catholicism swirls into a gross cone of chocolate and vanilla ice cream, that was left in the sun for a bit. Who was Moses again? Why is 12 a good coming of year age for a girl?

My brother and I in Israel

When I was 20, I went on my Birthright. Birthright is a trip sponsored by insanely rich Jewish homies (as well as the government) that brings Jewish kiddos from around the world to Israel for 10 day. To prove your Jewish roots, all you have to do is write a little blurb about it. My grandmother was active in the Jewish community and a big supporter of Magen David Adom. My family has a decent number of rabbis. My last name was Feldman. I was Jewish enough to pass.

To be Jewish goes beyond a religion. It’s an ethnicity too, which makes it quite interesting in terms of religions.

Going there, part of me expected to be thrown into the Jewish religion, but instead, I came home with a newfound appreciation for my Jewish culture. I could be Jewish without synagogue. I am Jewish every damn day because of my ancestors. I am Jewish in the same way that someone could be Swedish. That trip helped me settle into myself and my identity a bit.

The Israeli flag

Since that trip, I have been back to Israel twice more. Each time, I feel a bit more connected. I’ve found best friends who are Jewish who help me to understand my roots. I’ve developed an understanding for the intricacies of Israeli culture. Every time I go, I come home with a better understanding of myself and my ancestors.

All the hummus

I think there is a beauty in the Jewish culture that I hope to pass on to my children one day. The family time, the holidays, the time for thought. I love it. Parts of me wish that I was raised “more” Jewish so I could appreciate these more. From what I understand, pillars like these are in most religions, and it makes sense why people follow them.

Humans want to belong. Religion is a group that gives them that, and promises that life will go the way it is meant to go. It gives people hope and grounding. I understand that desire.

Am I religious? No. So I need to find my hope and grounding elsewhere. Do I think that religion means happiness? No. I think that if one relies solely on religion, they’re living quite a naive life. Do I understand and respect why people turn to religion? Yes, I do.

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Uncategorized

A Casual Day at the DMZ/North Korea

We have a scratch off map at home with all the countries we’ve been to, and I’m having a serious moral dilemma. Can I scratch off North Korea now that we’ve been to the DMZ?!

When we were in Korea a few weeks ago, we booked a tour to go to the DMZ – the area between North and South Korea that serves as a buffer zone. The tour included stops at the Doransan Station, 3rd Infiltration Tunnel, the Dora Observatory, Imjingak Park. The tour itself was $40 – so quite a good bang for your buck, in my opinion. Now let’s break it all down.

Dora Observatory

The Dora Observatory is an observatory (duh) that you can see North Korea from. Well, usually. The day we went was extremely hazy so this was the best that we could do.

View of Dora Observatory

According to our tour guide, on a clear day, you can actually see a North Korean town (although she claims it’s a facade and not an actual town). From the viewing deck, you can also hear North Korean propaganda music!

South Korean Artwork

Downstairs, they had videos playing about North Korea, as well as artwork made by South Koreans. All of the art centered around how it felt to lose family in the separation. The picture above was one of my favorite pieces. (For anyone looking for a latte – this is the one of two stops on the tour where you can get one. You’re welcome, in advance).

Imjingak Park

I will preface this by saying this is the second stop on the tour where you can get your coffee fix. Aside from that, this park is located in Paju, South Korea and is known for the Freedom Bridge there.

Train shot by North Korean military
A train that was shot by North Korean military that sits within the park
Train sign to North Korea
Prayer ribbons
Prayer ribbons put up by vistors
Prayer ribbons
South Korean army man
Obligatory South Korean cheerful army man near the entrance to the bridge

While Imjinak Park is an important landmark, as an outsider it was just an okay stop along the way. I think my favorite part would probably have to be seeing all those prayer ribbons, because it made the war and the separations that followed feel real to me. It made me understand that there are people, to this day, that are hurting because of it.

Dorasan Station

The next stop was a train station. Random, right? It’s actually the last train station in South Korea, and if trains were allowed, it would continue on to North Korea. Not so random after all, my friends!

Dorasan Station map

At the station, we learned that South Korea refers to itself as an island. If you look at the map above, if it weren’t for the inability to go through North Korea, you could hypothetically travel Europe via train from Seoul!

Dorasan station and tickets

At the station you can purchase a “ticket” to get inside the station. I guess it was cool to see where we would hypothetically catch a train to North Korea.

Ticket to Pyeongyang
The ticket – pretty official ya’ll

3rd Infiltration Tunnel

After the Armistace Agreement, South Korea found a series of tunnels that the North Koreans dug into South Korea. Most of them routed themselves to Seoul, making the South Korean believe that they were planning a massive attack on their largest city.

DMZ sign
Peep the soldier with the peace sign between the M

Interestingly enough, North Korea claimed they were mining for coal, and after getting caught, painted the interiors of the tunnel black to look like coal.

DMZ

We decided not to go down into the tunnel as it was incredibly crowded but did watch the video that South Korea made to discuss the tunnels. Holy propaganda guys! If you get the chance, go to the tunnels and watch the video. Bring some popcorn. It’s pretty damn amusing.

DMZ chocolate
Didn’t purchase this, but was mildly amused by it.

Also – pro tip, buy the hoodies at the gift shop there. They are the comfiest hoodies I’ve ever owned.

In Conclusion…

No travel post would be complete without a food pic, so here ya go! For lunch that day, we had a choice between bulgogi or bimbimbap. We both went for the bulgogi and it was surprisingly delicious. Lunch was served in what looked like an old government building and was buffet style. I would just like to point out that they had cherry tomatoes in the dessert section. I did not snap a pic because I was too infuriated by the fact that someone could call tomatoes a dessert.

Traditional Korean lunch

At one of the many gift shops, we picked up a bottle of North Korean liquor. It was fine. It tasted like plum wine and communism.

North Korean liquor

That’s all folks! I personally enjoyed the tour, although I don’t know how much of that is just because I can now (kind of) say I’ve been to North Korea. If anyone is looking to book it, book it far in advance as they do tend to sell out! We went through a tour group called Kooridoor, although there are numerous other tours that go out that way.

Categories
Sparking Joy

Dear Me, Love Me

Dear 5 year old Jeanette… It’s okay that you don’t look like everyone else in your classroom. One day, you’ll appreciate the intricacies of who you are and where your family comes from.

Dear 13 year old Jeanette… I know you feel like an outsider again, and maybe you are. It will pass and you will find your place, I promise. Be grateful that your family has given you the opportunity to get a better education than you would have at home. At the end of the day, no one can take your mind and your knowledge. Don’t be scared of the changes, flow with them instead.

Dear 16 year old Jeanette… Take care of yourself. It doesn’t matter what any boy thinks of you. How do you think of yourself? Are you as compassionate with yourself as you are with others? Oh and that scale? It can fuck off. It does not tell you your worth. Your life is worth living – every damn second of it.

Dear 18 year old Jeanette… Yet another season of change. Use this new beginning as a way to explore the world. Meet new people. Learn from the heartbreak. Don’t be afraid to say no to things that are just not for you. Oh, and stop playing that Words with Friends game during biology. You’ll do much better if you pay attention.

Dear 19 year old Jeanette… You’re off on a new adventure in a new country with new people. Please soak up this time of your life. Embrace the difficulties that come with learning a new culture, and use that to bring inspiration into your life at home. And don’t feel bad about eating the scones at Spar – you’ll never taste another like it.

Dear 20 year old Jeanette… You’ve decided to get married. Know that marriage is not easy, but it is worth it. I’m so elated that you’ve found someone who will make you think in new ways, and push you for growth. Love him, but do not forget to continue to love yourself as well.

Dear 21 year old Jeanette… You’re a big girl now, with a big girl job! Oh, how I wish I could hug you and tell you that it will all be okay. The tears and long hours will be worth it in the end. Every day of the next two years will make you a stronger human. Just know that you are making a difference, every damn day.

Dear 24 year old Jeanette… This is your year of saying no to things that do not add to your life. Your time is your time – use it however you please! Be grateful for who you have in your life, and don’t be afraid of letting people go. This year might get rough at some point, but you’ll get through it – you’re strong as shit. Don’t forget that.

Love always,

25 year old Jeanette

Categories
Travel

Discovering the Heart and S(e)oul of South Korea

After our brief visit to Singapore, we moseyed on over to Seoul, South Korea. Going into this trip, I had an idea of what most of the places would be like, but Korea was an unknown for me. If you asked me what I knew about Korea, the most I could give you would be a list of assorted food items that I’d seen at the Asian market growing up.

Our flight to Korea was about 6 hours long. We flew Singapore airlines, which I had heard rave reviews about. The airplane/airport geek in me was pumped! My short review? Good meals for economy. Decent leg room and seats that were as comfortable as an airplane can get. Great service. Insanely clean bathrooms.

Upon getting on the flight, we met our seat mate. His name is Jin, but he goes by Jimmy. Jimmy chatted with us throughout the flight, and essentially made us feel like unaccomplished humans. He had been in the Olympics as a judo fighter (I’m not 100% sure if it was judo or some other sport but I am 100% sure about the Olympic thing). He also had completed his mandatory 2-year service in the Korean army. What was Jimmy doing now? Training to be a commercial pilot. Jimmy gave us a little crash course into Korean life and described how insanely long days are for both children and adults. If anyone would like to follow our homie Jimmy on Instagram, click here. (You’re welcome Jimmy).

On to Korea.

Day One

We took a cab from the Incheon Airport into Seoul. Cabs are pretty affordable in South Korea and saved us the headache of trying to figure out the bus system. To be honest, we used cabs to get pretty much everywhere while we were in Seoul because #affordableluxury.

We stayed in an area called Myeong-dong, which is known for it’s shopping and K-beauty (neither of which interested me). For our first night, we wandered the streets near our AirBnB, and ate our little hearts out. The area was fun to wander through because of all the little side streets that kept leading you to more food! Scroll on for the grub from that night 😉

Buchimgae – Korean pancake
Kimchi
Banchan 4 life
Cute rice balls for the banchan
Hot pot

Day Two

The next day, we had meandering on our schedule, as well as a kimchi making class. Whilst we meandered, I made a few observations…

  • Public bathrooms were a bit hard to come by – as were garbage cans
  • Americanos were not very good at all!
  • Air was dirty. Dirty enough that I longed for that presh Chicago air. Yes, it was really that bad!
  • Everyone is incredibly nice. Reflecting back on it now, I can’t determine if it was genuine niceness or just a politeness that we don’t have at home.
Google Translate: if I buy you a bouquet, will you be mine?
#kawaii

Meandering was fun, but the streets were incredibly crowded and the air was not the best, so we were ready to go indoors for our kimchi class. Kimchi is something that we eat frequently – we’re all about those probiotics! During the class we learned so much about the history of kimchi and what it means in Korea. Essentially, kimchi is a staple in Korean daily life. Families even get together annually for an event called Kimjang, in which they make kimchi all day long. People even get the day off of work for this! We also learned about the million and one types of kimchi, as well as how kimchi ages (similarly to wine I suppose).

If you’re curious about the process and history of kimchi, take this class! It was taught by a husband and wife team, and not only did we make kimchi, but we also had a homemade meal together! I would recommend it 100%!

All the spices!
Smug mug
Dinner! Bossam (boiled pork), buchimgae (pancakes) and rice cakes!

Day Three

The last thing that we did in Seoul proper was a city walk. We booked a tour off of AirBnB and our host was great! We met at the Seoul Cinema, where he began by talking about the history of the Korean language. Fun fact alert: did you know that up until the 1980s, Mandarin Chinese was a common language for Koreans? I didn’t!

We continued on our tour by visiting what was the first shopping mall in Seoul. It has since been converted into electronic shops, as well as studios for young artists, who can receive funding from the country for an apartment and studio space! In front of the building was a statue of a robot, which symbolized the creation of new technology that occurred there.

We had to
There were public rooms where you could listen to a collection of records!
They had rooms throughout where people could meet and work!

As we delved deeper into the buildings, we came across stores that sold all types of obscure electronic pieces. The tour guide told us that the government paid for training so that these store owners could keep up to date with current technological needs!

The interior of the buildings
The view from the top floor, which had been renovated as a meeting space for locals

After exploring the buildings, our tour guide brought us to a fun little coffee shop in the design market. In Seoul, businesses that do similar jobs are located near one another. This coffee shop was in an area that had many businesses that did graphic design and packaging for goods. Clearly, the coffee shop had a great design team behind it.

The coffee shop!

We continued on with a walk through the Gwangjang market, where we saw stands selling custom made hanbok – traditional Korean dresses.

We ended our tour in the street food section of the market. Our tour guide got us bean sprout pancakes, as well as gimbap – Korean sushi rolls, and we went on our merry way to explore the market on our own! The tour itself was great, and I would highly recommend it! If you’re interested, this is the one we took.

Now here’s the exciting part! Guess who we met? GUESS? No, it was not the dude who sang Gangnam Style. It was mother fracking Yoosun Cho from Netflix’s Street Foods! Of course we stopped for a bite to eat and a selfie with the noodle queen!

Day Four

We ended our visit to South Korea with a day trip to the DMZ (which I’ll obviously need to dedicate an entire post to), and a day in Incheon where we ventured to a Korean spa. In all honesty, I don’t get the hype about the Korean spa. It had a bunch of different saunas at different temperatures and purifying elements (like a sauna full of charcoal and one full of amethyst). It was cool, but one sauna room would have done the trick as well.

Reflection

Overall, South Korea gave us some great times, some good laughs and tasty food. Coming from the U.S., it was hard to ignore the level of conformity that existed (a lot of websites were blocked – like Reddit) and the insane hours of work that people put in. At the end of a visit to a new country, I like to reflect and think about if the place I visited was a place I could imagine myself living. While Seoul was fun, it’s a hard no for me. The air quality was terrible (which is huge for us) and the idea of being a “company man” would never be appealing to me. Korea was fun to visit, but I’ll keep it at that!

Categories
Thoughts

Breathe, Loudly

Just don’t do it in someone’s ear. Don’t be that weirdo.

It’s been a long month. Things have happened that have made life difficult for me – emotionally, physically, and mentally. I took a break from writing, and quite frankly, a lot of other things as well (like kale and yoga).

One thing that has helped me out during this period of time is breathing. LOUDLY. Let me explain. When I’m frustrated, I sigh. You probably do too. It feels… good. It feels like relief. Now close your eyes and sigh, but don’t suppress the sound that comes with it. Doesn’t that just feel SO much better?

I think my point is to be verbal about your emotions. Don’t hide them, especially from yourself. If you’ve ever been to a Corepower class, they often talk about your “lion’s breath.” It’s that loud, throaty breath you take throughout class. You feel it not only in your mouth, but throughout your body. It’s as if your whole body sighed relief.

Use you lion’s breath. Be loud. Allow yourself to accept the frustration in life, and let go of it, loudly. Now apply that to all the other emotions you have in life. When you’re happy, embrace that shit and feel insanely happy. When you’re sad, accept it and figure out what you need to do in order to not feel so sad. Do not belittle your emotions people. Express them, loudly.

Categories
Sparking Joy

I’m Not “Just” a Teacher

It’s bizarre how much of our identity is tied to our profession. Maybe it isn’t so strange – we spend so much of our time at work, getting ready for work and unwinding from work. Work is where people tend to spend most of their days. It makes sense that our self worth is so deeply tied to our jobs.

When it comes to careers, how does one decide on one? What should I do? It’s a question I’ve asked myself often over the past few years. I began to teach right after college through Teach for America. The first two years were brutal. Every day on my drive into work, I would ponder how much time off I would get if I crashed my car. Not just a little crash either – I considered slamming into highway medians at 80 miles per hour. Those two years were rough.

Instead of quitting teaching altogether, I decided to give it a shot in a different building. I started working at a school that I absolutely adore this year. It’s been great – I have an amazing class of kids and far less anxiety than I had the first two years, but I was still asking myself what I should do next.

I’ve thought about it a lot and I realized that I kept saying that I was “just a teacher.” I saw peers leave teaching to become lawyers and doctors. Some went into tech. It made me question why I was still here, “just” teaching.

I’ve made the decision to continue teaching next year. Why? Because teaching is not “just teaching.” Teaching is something I am good at. Teaching allows me to give something to this world. Teaching is where I am meant to be right now.

Throwback to my first day teaching!

Teaching isn’t easy. It’s emotionally draining. The stories that my students bring to the table – often stories of struggle and hardship that no child should ever have to face – weighs on me daily. I worry about them, and for them. Teaching has opened up perspectives that I had never even considered before. Teaching has made me a better human being.

I’ve considered leaving to do something less draining, like work in an office. But the phrase that powered my through my illness during high school continues to come back to me. No rain, no flowers. I blossom where I have struggled, and I do that through teaching.

So this is me, saying that I am a teacher. Not just a teacher. And you know what – I’m pretty damn proud of it.

Categories
Chicago

A Lovely Weekend

I had a lovely weekend, and I really needed it. I’ve felt so tired lately. I think it has to do with the monotony of the day to day life. We’re 11 days away from Spring Break, and I am yearning for it and our trip. I’m so damn grateful that I have the opportunity to truly get away several times a year and reset. This weekend was full of friends, my love, nature and self care and it felt so damn good.

Hubby and I ventured out to the Morton Arboretum yesterday afternoon and it felt so good to be near trees. There was a study I heard of that said that the effect that being in nature has can last weeks, and I’m a believer in that!

It was chilly, which meant it was not crowded, which was exactly what I was hoping for. We took a nice two mile walk through the trees, stopping to admire the trolls along the way. The arboretum has an exhibit of 15 different trolls by the artist Thomas Dambo and it was quirky and fun to see the menacing things the trolls were up to. If you’re interested, I believe that they will be around until the summer!

This weekend I also finished up Under the Tuscan Sun, which was a beautifully written book but quite repetitive and slow for my taste. I also went to a CorePower class for the first time in a loooooong time, and damn, did it hurt so good! We went to a sculpt class – which felt more like an aerobics class than yoga, but I won’t complain. I think I would like to make yoga a more regular thing – maybe even my main exercise source!

Between the yoga, the time with hubby and friends, nature and good ole’ reading, I had a lovely weekend – just the kind of weekend I needed. Happy Monday ya’ll!

Categories
Reviews

GOAT Coffee Maker: Review

I have been on the lookout for a coffee maker without any plastic or aluminum parts. I’ve read too many articles on Wellness Mama about the harm that can be done with leaching, and decided I was done with it. If I get cancer one day, it won’t be because of my coffee brewing techniques. I have yet to find a “clean” pressure espresso maker (if you know of one, hollah at yo girl!), but I have been using this Ikea gem! I know I could also use a french press, but ya gurl is far too lazy to clean that sh*t out right. Ask my husband. I do a terrible job!

This all changed this week, when I came home to a package! Yo, nothing is more exciting than opening packages, especially when they’re presents! My husband had bought me the GOAT coffee maker (side note: Instagram ads DO work)! So, my friends, without further ado, is Psuedo Midlife Crisis’ first ever review!

So here she is – the Gina! There are two versions of this gal: the basic and the electronic one. The electronic version has a built in scale and an app that connects to your phone so that you can brew the perfect cup. While I think the scale is super nifty, I think the app is basically a timer.

The dopest thing is that this one piece can make coffee using three methods: pour over, immersion and cold brew! I’m not typically a cold brew fan, but I’ll give it a shot eventually! I was most excited about the immersion – which allows for a fuller body cup of joe.

Here she is, ready to go! The Gina is made out of ceramic, glass and steel – no bad boys here! First impression? Aesthetic AF!

The small glass container inside is for the cold brew to filter through. It came with 50 smaller filters for it.


It also has a knob, that can be closed for the immersion technique, or just to let the coffee bloom while making a pour over!

I used the Gina this morning for my cup of joe, and I must say that it gave me a very tasty cup of coffee! I used the pour over technique, but I am excited to try immersion to see what flavors will come out. Overall, I think it is a beautiful coffee maker. I do wish that the basic version had a scale built in, to really make it into the all in one tool for coffee junkies. It might be a tad bit pricey, but if you value a soid cup of coffee – try it out!