Snorkeling in Iceland? Yup, you heard that right!

My second trip to Iceland was a quick 24 hour layover so I wanted to have a set plan of what to do with my time there. I already did the main touristy things on my first trip there like Black Sand Beach, exploring downtown Reykavik and the Golden Circle so I wanted to try so something new. This trip was also different in the sense that I was actually not traveling with my son, which is rare, so it allowed me to have more options on what we could do since there are certain things that are not toddler/kid friendly… like Snorkeling Silfra!

Silfra is one of the top dive sites in the world and situated in the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Thingvellir, only about 30 miles from Reykjavik. Silfra is a freshwater fissure about 200 feet deep, where you can almost see end to end as the water is so clear. It’s also one of the only places where you can dive or float between the North American and Eurasian tectonic plates, which are gradually drifting farther apart.

I booked my tour with Adventure Vikings online through the site GetLocal. When we landed in Iceland we drove straight to Thingvellir to meet our guides. We were exhausted! Iceland is only a 6 hour flight from NJ – add in barely sleeping on the plane and that 5 hour time change and we were sleep deprived but nothing that touching that cold ice water, 35°F year round to be exact, couldn’t help.

While you can free dive in a wet suit, we decided to go with the dry suit. Click HERE to read about the difference between the two. The dry suit allows you to float on the surface but best of all, it keeps you dry & warm.

Snorkeling in Iceland turned out to be one of the most incredible experiences I have had while traveling. You quickly forget how cold it is outside when you stick your face in the water and the visibility seems endless with bright hues of blue and green surrounding you. Even though I was one of the first in our group to enter the water, somehow I was the last to reach the end. I was just in awe of the experience that I lost track of time and floated most of the way taking everything in. The water of Silfra is not only the clearest but the purest and that is why you are encouraged to take a sip while snorkeling. I did and it was so refreshing!

Snorkeling in Iceland is quite a unique experience… one I highly recommend.

With Christmas only a week away, I wanted to share some of my favorite things that I think would be perfect for the special lady in your life!

1. What’s better than beautiful flowers? …beautiful flowers that last 1+ years! MILA Maison Des Rose creates gorgeous arrangements of all sizes and colors (& price points!) and these bloooms not only smell incredible but they last so long. Why spend $100+ on roses that will last a week when you can get a bouquet that will stay beautiful for at least a year. This is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving.

2. If you have been following me for a while, then you know my love for IT Cosmetics. This new limited edition bush set includes your 5 essential full-size, ultra-plush brushes for your face and eyes—plus a bonus travel case that carries them in style!

3. I’m a sucker for gorgeous lippie sets. This limited-edition wardrobe of five mini ModernMatte Powder Lipsticks, from Shiseido, comes housed in a deluxe container for the holidays. This creamy, non-drying formula transforms into a weightless powder that wraps lips in velvety, matte pigment. Perfect set for the beauty lover in your life.

4. Thoughtfully is one of my favorite sites to pick up gifts on! This gift set includes 7 deliciously sweet champagne toppers to add a fun twist to everyone’s favorite bubbly beverage. Sunday brunch, Saturday night, Wednesday afternoon? Any time is a great time to pop champagne!

5. I have featured a Peter Thomas Roth set on the last 3 years of gift guides – that’s because they make some of the best skincare products. Multi-mask on the go with the Insta-Mask Kit, featuring three travel sizes of your favorite Peter Thomas Roth masks!

6. For this festive season, Amo Ferragamo sparkles with a ‘shiny black&gold’ dress code inspired by the most glamorous outfit of the year, made of luxurious studs. Inside, the iconic floral oriental fragrance eau de parfum.

7. I love a classic but fun beauty set and Too Faced makes some of the best! While you can’t go wrong by gifting any of there products, this Tutti Frutti Christmas Fruit Cake Kit is a winner for me. The perfect Tutti Frutti Christmas collection of deluxe Juicy Fruits Lip Glaze, Fresh Squeezed Highlighting Drops, and Pineapple Paradise Strobing Bronzer Highlighting Duo all in an exclusive fruit cake makeup bag!

8. I’m a sucker for subscription boxes. What I love about Box of Style is that it truly is the one subscription box that WOWs every time. Coveted seasonal finds by Rachel Zoe, this is the the ultimate luxury fashion and beauty subscription delivered four times per year. A one time purchase or a year subscription – either will be a hit this holiday season. Click HERE to get more information on the subscription and use promo code: PEARLS15 for $15 off!

What do you get the guy in your life that has it all?

Here are a few items that are sure to be a hit this holiday season!

 

1. Do you have a Fisherman in your life? Lucky Tackle Box is the premier monthly subscription box in fishing. For one low monthly fee, Lucky Tackle Box will ship a box jam-packed full of the best new lures and baits every month! You can do a month subscription or pre-purchase a 3, 6 or 12 month package.

2. A pair of classic shades will always be a perfect gift in my opinion. The Ray-Ban Wayfarer is simply the most recognizable style in sunglasses. Always classic, always in style.

3. Some people might think socks are an odd gift, but I think they are actually a really great gift, especially when you can let the person you are gifting them to, show off their personality. This pre-assorted, 4-piece gift set, from FunSocks   makes the perfect present for the guy in your life that constantly lives in dress socks but wants to make his look a little more bold…. and bright!

4. Thoughtfully is one of my favorite sites for gift buying for every special occasion and holiday. This Branded & Grilled BBQ set is perfect for the BBQ King in your life. This gift set includes a stainless steel basting mug, silicone brush with wood handle, two delicious sauces, and a customizable branding iron to add the finishing touch to their perfectly charred creations.

5. Give the gift of scent this year dressed in a limited edition bottle. For this festive season, Uomo Salvatore Ferragamo seduces with a ‘shiny black&gold’ dress code inspired by the most magnetic outfit of the year, made of luxurious studs. Inside, the iconic oriental woody fragrance.

6. Do you have a GOT lover in the family? Diageo has officially unveiled the Game of Thrones Single Malt Scotch Whisky Collection. The collection is a set of eight whiskies intended to “honor the great houses and the Night’s Watch” with single malts from Cardhu, Clynelish, Dalwhinnie, Lagavulin, Oban, Royal Lochnagar, The Singleton, and Talisker. This would be a great gift for not only a Game of Thrones fan, but a Whisky lover.

If you didn’t know by now, Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world. When my mom retired, my sister and I figured it was the perfect time to have a girls trip to celebrate this milestone and we decided on Paris. This would be my moms 2nd trip there, my 3rd and my sisters very first time in this incredible city.

My first thought was how excited I was to be going on this adventure with them but my 2nd honestly was stressing out  a little about doing the same exact thing I had done in previous trips, over again.

Thankfully I came across this really unique tour of the city and knew I had to book it.

Cedric’s Paris offers many different tours around Paris while cruising in one of their old school CV2 cars OR a larger VW Kombi. While we would have fit very comfortably in a CV2 – I had my eye on the Volkswagen Kombi and decided to splurge and book that instead… after all, we were there to celebrate!

Cedric’s Paris offers many different types of tours but we went with the 2 hour Paris by Night Tour. There is something about Paris at night that is unforgettable and truly mesmerizing and by the end of the tour, I was so happy we decided on this one.

Chris was our driver and he picked us up promptly at 9:30pm. When you book a 2 hour tour, Cedric’s Paris will give you a complimentary additional 1/2 hour or a bottle of champagne. We decided to go with the extra time and brought along 2 bottles of our own champagne. He mapped out a personalized itinerary based on what we told him we wanted to see and it was perfect in every way. When you go to Paris you visually see these iconic monuments and grand buildings and while you are in awe – do you know the background history of what you are seeing? More than likely – No. Chris was full of knowledge and besides the incredible views, we learned so much about the city.


What I loved most about this tour was that it was perfect for someone who have never been to Paris AND the person who has been multiple times. All of the guides are born and raised Parisians and so they are very passionate at showing and teaching you all about their city. They know this city like the back of their hand and when you get dropped off at the end of the night – you will not be disappointed. This was the absolute BEST tour I have ever done in Paris and cannot recommend it enough.

Click HERE to check out all of the tours they offer and HERE to check out their cars.

If you book with them, let them know Shareen from Pearls & Paris sent you!

*Just a sidetone: This post isn’t sponsored nor do I or you get a discount if you book and say I sent you lol I just like companies to know when I post about my experience with them.

Mid August I had the pleasure of visiting Walt Disney World and staying at an incredible 2 bedroom cabin at the Cooper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge all thanks to Disney Vacation Club. Disney Vacation Club is a flexible vacation-ownership program that helps families enjoy the magic of Disney. Disney Vacation Club Members are able to choose from among a variety of exciting vacation destinations, including a stay at any 14 Disney Vacation Club Resorts or one of thousands of other vacation options in destinations around the world.

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I don’t think any amount of words or pictures can do justice for just how incredible these cabins are… but I’ll try. Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge, a Disney Vacation Club Resort, has 26 unique 2-Bedroom/2-bathroom waterfront Cascade Cabins. These private, luxurious quarters can sleep up to 8 guests. In addition to a washer and dryer and a fully equipped, open-style kitchen, each Cabin features a double-sided stone-hearth fireplace and screened-in wraparound porch with a built-in hot tub. Guys – I want to relocate and move into one permanently! They are so beautiful and literally have everything your family will need during your Disney vacation. One of my favorite amenities had to be the screened in wraparound porch. We were able to catch the fireworks display from Magic Kingdom while sitting out there with the accompanying music. The cabins are truly pure Disney Magic. Here’s a few pictures of the Cooper Creek Cabins:

Click HERE to check out my full Cabin Tour video!

Over the next few days we got to experience Disney as a Disney Vacation Club Member and it truly was such an incredible experience. I never realized all of the perks, offerings and events just for DVC members.

Day 1: We had a smooth & easy check in. I have never been to the Wilderness Lodge before and the main building is absolutely beautiful. We were able to settle in our room and relax before meeting for a group dinner at Whispering Canyon Cafe with the DVC team. The food was absolutely fantastic … we enjoyed it so much that my family decided to have dinner here again the last night! After dinner we headed back to our room for a good nights rest before the fun started for Day 2!

Day 2: We started our day with room service for breakfast and then the boys headed to Animal Kingdom. As for me – I made my way to Salon by the Springs where Maria, a fellow puertorriqueña, gave me the most incredible pedicure. This was not just any regular pedicure, it was truly an experience. I’m talking essential oils, a foot mask, heating powder, warm towel wrap and a wonderful massage. Guys – make an appointment your next time visiting Disney World and thank me later! Later in the afternoon we headed to the Reunion Station, which is a new space at Copper Creek Villas & Cabins at Disney’s Wilderness Lodge that was created especially for Disney Vacation Club Members and their special guests. You can head here to unwind, dine and participate in an array of activities. One of the activities offered, that we got to take part of, was New World Wine 101.  This class was fantastic and would add a little pixie dust to any DVC member vacation. We then got to tour the Treehouse Villas at Disney’s Saratoga Springs. The 3 bedroom Treehouse stand on stilts 10 feet off the ground and are surrounded by a wooded area – perfect for a large group vacation. That evening the group joined our families at my favorite park: EPCOT! for dinner in Japan. This wasn’t just any night in Epcot though. This was Moonlight Magic – an exciting after hours celebration complimentary for Disney Vacation Club members & their guests. Basically you get to stay at the park after it closes and there will be minimal wait times at attractions along with complimentary food and drinks and unique character meet-and-greet opportunities. Located in Epcot is also the Disney Vacation Club Member Lounge which is a complimentary space for members to enjoy while visiting.

Day 3: Victor woke up with a fever this day so while him & Ryan relaxed and rested in the cabin, I met up with the group to do Painting with a View and then tour some other really amazing DVC properties. I think the Painting with a View activity is a fantastic perk for members. Not only was it fun but the view at Top of the World Lounge, where the class is held, was unmatched! The Grand Villa at Bay Lake Tower has to be one of favorite properties we got to see. I love spaces where a big group can stay yet not feel crowded. It was very homey and had spectacular views. The bungalows at Disney’s Polynesian are what dreams are made of. I have a new bucket list of places to stay at during my next Disney World vacations. The one MUST on our list was to experience Toy Story Land. Victor had been talking about it since the commercials started and unfortunately it was a bust! I met my husband there but Victor’s fever came back and he was just out of it – mix that with the heat and there was just no way we could stay an explore. We ended up spending the rest of the afternoon and evening at the cabin. I did sneak out for a little around 8pm to meet the group for the Dessert Party at Tomorrowland Terrace at Magic Kingdom. Since I was solo, I took advantage and somehow worked my way through the crowd to be dead center for the Happily Ever After Show. I wasn’t able to catch this show when I was at Magic Kingdom a few months prior so this was a must for me and guys….. it was EVERYTHING!!!! I am a little embarrassed to admit this but I got emotional more than once while watching it – I mean full on tears! LOL It was just so magical and if you haven’t experienced it in person, make it a priority during your next visit.

We were so sad to leave the cabin and make our way to the airport. I cannot recommend Copper Creek Villas & Cabins enough. The cabin was the most amazing accommodation I’ve had while vacationing and am looking forward to booking a reservation at some of the other fantastic properties we had the chance to tour.

A huge thank you to DVC & Cooper Creek Villas & Cabins for such a wonderful opportunity.

This post is in collaboration with Disney Vacation Club. As always, all opinions are my own.