Iceland Trip 🏔🌋

Iceland Trip 🏔🌋

What better way to spend a 1:20 flight delay than to start this post! 😊

Vacationing in Iceland was definitely worth it! The views are spectacular and it really is a country full of geological wonders. We booked our flight + hotel package through Expedia.com and stayed at the Icelandlair Hotel Reykjavik Natura.

It is a pricey place to go (one of the top 5 expensive places in the world) so be prepared to spend money. We spent an average of 650 kr ($5.66) for a 8 oz latte; 2,100 kr ($18.27) for lunch; 4,900 kr for dinner ($42.63); and 1,750 kr ($15.23) for a 6 minute taxi cab ride.

A lot of my friends rented with SAD Cars, so we did as well. On the first day, we swapped a car due to the EPS service light (electric power steering) after driving 20 towards Blue Lagoon. The second night, after booking a tour and getting back to our hotel, we drove the exchanged car 10-15 minutes and it started to smoke up. There was still water fluid in the car so that was pretty crazy. We did not swap for a third car. Thank goodness for enterprise.

Here are the places we visited:

Reykjavik

Inside the Volcano

How cool is this!! The excursion is 42,000 kr (~$365) and 5-6 hours, book it here. The mini tourbus picked us up from the hotel and to the booking center. In 50 minutes, we reached the other camp site to gear up. They provide these long yellow rain jackets which were a must!!

iceland-inside-the-volcano-yellow-coat
the hottest Icelandic fashion

The walk to the base camp is about 45 minutes, so dress warm. So warm–like your snowboarding gear. We wish we brought ours. Even the goggles, because that can be helpful against hail (or even to trek closer to the waterfalls mentioned below for beautiful photos).

Once we arrived at the base camp, we were greeted by warm tea and coffee. After a brief safety message, the Group 1 geared up with helmets. The tour experience is only for 6 people at a time since the window washing transporter can only fit 6-7 people max. Patiently waiting for our turn, while supping tea, we mounted the GoPro to the helmet. Yay for the 2 helmets with the mount!!

Once it was our turn, it started to rain harder. But no worries, the experience was highly anticipated. We took off our helpful yellow rain coats and braced the cold. We went down the window washing transporter, which had wheels on one side to buffer against the uneven volcano opening (it actually got warmer as we were further from the opening). There was even a portion of the volcano wall that had metal reinforcement to ease the machine down. Safely stopped at the volcano bottom, we had about 20-30 minutes to explore the space.

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how to pick an IRA account?

how to pick an IRA account?

Long time no post!

winnie-retirement-goals
#goals: to be a rich little old lady that crochets cute amigurumi
I’ve been meaning to rollover my former employer’s 401(k) account for a while now… 1.5 years after I left the job. On Thursday, I went to an event at called “Investing Better” where I hoped to learn more about strategies and literally invest better (it didn’t happen) but it did spark me to take action to consolidate my multiple accounts.

For transparency, with my old employer I have both a traditional 401(k) and the Roth 401(k). I decided to contribute to both plans because I figured it doesn’t hurt to put more money into retirement. My thought process was that I was in my lowest tax bracket of my life, so I can do Roth. I put money into traditional since that was the default option :D. I also opened up a separate Roth IRA a few months later, because why not? I was 22 and with so many years to grow…

winnie-retirement-accounts
my little piggies are gonna grow to be big and strong *—–*

Which Broker to Use?

Thanks to Nerd Wallet, who put together a great summary table here. They compared the brokers, what it’s best for, cost of making trades, and current promotions.

I am looking for something that is low-cost, so I am deciding between Fidelity and Vanguard thanks to Nerd Wallet.

Fidelity has this amazing promotion going on to match 1-10% IRA contributions for current year + next 2 years depending on how much is deposited. To much sadness, I did not qualify since “direct rollovers from a 401(k) are not eligible.”

Vanguard was my next choice and the broker I had in mind already but needed some extra reassurance. It also helps that my current employer switched to Vanguard so I already have funds here.

Rollover or Convert?

The next hurdle is figuring out if I wanted to convert my Traditional 401(k) portion as well. Note that this is a very personal choice!

winnie-retirement-rollover-convert
go snowball go! up the hill

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skin care routine

skin care routine

Before I turned 25, my mom was like, “Winnie, everything is going to change. You better take care of your skin.” Since following Ceci’s blog about Korean products and going on a shopping trip with her… I have come to a skin care routine. Taking your skin is the best way to keep looking like a 12 year old 🙌 .

I slowly gone from a 2 step process (wash & tone) to a multi-step process. This are the current products I use and I’ll update this page as I change it up!

Night Routine

1. Makeup remover – Ponds Cold Cream Cleanser (green cap)

2. Face wash – Tony Moly Goat Cream Cleanser – this cleanser leaves my face feeling super moisturized and not dry. This is my first Korean cleanser product and I’m so happy to have made the switch! I always though cleansers dried your skin… and that was normal. Unfortunately, I gave this to my boyfriend so I switched to the Burt’s Bees. During my link searches for this blog post, I found this on Amazon for $9 (this is no longer on Amazon) and repurchased! What a steal considering the Tony Moly price is $19 (what I paid).

3. Toner – Innisfree Green Tea Balaning Skin. After finishing a bottle of Goodal toner, I ordered this from Amazon since I wasn’t sure when the next Korean beauty sale was going to be. I like that it’s thick and it feels very moisturizing on my skin after washing my face.

4. Essence – MISSHA Time Revolution The First Treatment Essence (150 mL for $23 on Amazon). This is an affordable mock of the SKII. It’s $49 on MISSHA.com


4.5 Sheet mask (once a week). I have a bag full of sheet masks of the Etude House I Need You Mask, Nature Republic Real Mask Sheet, and I’m eyeing these next once my stash runs out: Tony Moly I’m Real Skin Care Facial Mask.

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Barcelona: jamon & wine galore

Barcelona: jamon & wine galore

Earlier this month, I went to Barcelona, Spain for six days. In short, it was great eating tons of jamon and tapas, drinking sangria and wine , and exploring the city by foot. Six days was not long enough since I didn’t get a chance to explore the old Arenas, now shopping mall. While we caught a flamenco show, we did not attend a game. The night we flew in was a game that Barcelona won (the streets were probably so crazy, but would’ve been a great experience!) Bullfights were banned in 2012… so head over to Madrid.

My favorite things:

jamon
aged salted jamon and tomato on toasted bread, yum!
torres wine & cheese tasting
Torres – wine & cheese tasting
cherimoya! such a sweet fruit
cherimoya! such a sweet fruit

Things I Recommend:

  • Sagrada Familia [ticketed] – this is a beautifully church designed by Gaudi that is still in the process of being built by many different architects. We bought the basic ticket and realized when we were inside that the “Panoramic Views” ticket included the elevator ride to the top. An extra 14€… and we even considered rebuying a ticket XD
  • Casa Batllo [ticketed] – this house, designed by Gaudi, made me wonder how someone can live in something like this! It’s very artistic and can be a bit wonky. This attraction came with a free guided audio tour on an Android device… and headphones they do not clean after being returned
  • Park Guell – the mosaic portion is ticketed, however, the garden is free. It was a bit underwhelming once we got inside. There was a separate line (45 min wait) for the little exhibit. The park itself is very well maintained
  • Tapas24 [Yelp] – this was my favorite tapas experience in Barcelona. They had this amazing boneless kimchi chicken wings and the pork ribs…
  • Wine Tour – this 6-7 bus tour was fun! 45 minutes away and we stopped at Jean Leon winery. Then we went to Torres, the biggest vineyard in the area and had a wine and cheese tasting class. The last stop was Freixenet, which was by far, the best tour we’ve ever been on (beats Napa Valley). Although I am not a big fan of bubbly wine (and I was totally buzzed once we arrived), it was enjoyable
  • Boqueria Market – go buy some fresh produce, juices, and try the cherimoya fruit!

Quick Travel Guide:

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