My husband and I randomly decided to go to Iceland because the fares were very cheap. A few of our friends had posted photos and it looked like one of the places where you probably wouldn’t go once you had a family, or got too old and arthritic (cold, y’know?).

So, when he caught a fare for $110 one way on WOW Airlines, we jumped on it. We also added a Stockholm leg to the trip (another post), and caught a fare of about $240 coming back home on Norwegian Airlines. Overall, with the flight between Iceland and Stockholm, and all the fees , including the additional luggage and train/bus fares, it came out to be about $750 per person round trip.

Before we jump in: I thought this trip was already going to be a disaster because I had such a crap start to everything.

First — work. Emergency popped up and I barely managed to drag my butt to SFO with 45 minutes to spare on an International flight. Right? Good thing I had no checked baggage. But I was already starting my vacation apoplectic.

Second, my shoe broke. Literally the entire bottom of my left boot came unglued. I was aghast. It was not a cheap boot and I had only worn it a couple of times before. I spent what little time I had at the AMEX Centurion Lounge trying to Gorilla Glue my shoe back together. I should have been stuffing my face with free food and drinks because…WOW Airlines.

Third. Yep, WOW Airlines. Let me just say: the seats are tiny. They recline by about a nano-millimeter. They’re not comfy, period. And there’s no food, no drinks (water in a glass maybe), no blanket, no nothing unless you pay an exorbitant amount. Before booking their relatively cheap fares, I encourage you to go on their website and read their rules and FAQ’s. You pay for everything including a hand-carry. (personal items are free.) I am She-Who-Can-Sleep-No-Matter-What-When-Or-Where…and I had a hard time sleeping (and the flight was at night).

Fourth, Chris fainted a dead faint on the flight. Like I literally saw him get up, walk, and face plant to the gasps of the rest of the passengers. You don’t know panic till you see something happen on a plane and the passengers all gasp simultaneously and people jump out of their seats dramatically…I mean, I, myself, have never bolted out of my plane seat so fast, no shoes, dropping my phone and all. Luckily, as much as I am ragging on WOW’s bare necessities policies, their flight attendants were on top of it, and Chris was back on his feet in….oh, ten minutes or so. They even dragged a poor doctor from her seat to see to him. (Don’t worry folks, it wasn’t anything serious, just a bad mix of drinks, getting overheated, not eating…etc…) They checked on him throughout the rest of the flight and got us free sodas and snacks. *wink. File under how to get free snacks on plane.

When we got to Reykjavik, we missed the bus that would take us to the rental car center. So we stood in the cold for about 10-15 minutes. When the bus came, it promptly dropped us off across the parking lot. We. Could. Have. Walked. There. *facepalm

Then, when we got our rental car from SIXT, I was told that it was going to be $2,000.00 as a deposit if I didn’t want to pay the exorbitant insurance fees. Apparently literal rocks can fly at you while driving in Iceland and destroy a car, I dunno. I even clarified, like, haha, you mean, $2,000 Icelandic Krona, right? (which conversion-wise, would have been a solid $20). Stone-faced and humorless, the answer was, “No, $2,000.00 U.S. American dollars”  — like by adding both U.S. and American together, I couldn’t mistake his meaning.

Fuming, we began our trip…

DAY 1 of misAdventure: Which really was a half-day after landing, gathering our luggage, going to the rental-car place and arguing with the clerk at the rental car place…*shrug

  • We drove to Reykjavik from the Keflavik International Airport. I personally underestimated how long this would take. I mean, YES, I read all the other blogs and info guides that say it’s an hour away. But I also read it was about 47 km, which is roughly 30 miles, which in the San Francisco Bay Area is about a 30-40 minute drive, less without traffic. BUT there is one main highway, and the speed limit is slow in Iceland, so there’s that. And the GPS we rented had some sort of speed radar that yelled at us every time we drove over the speed limit. I should have believed all the other travel bloggers…so for anyone reading this…believe me, it is about an hour away.
  • Reykjavik is an atypical urban city that suddenly turns into a quaint fishing town. One minute, you’re driving past nondescript buildings like you were in San Jose, California, and the next thing you know you see cute little cobblestone streets and colorful buildings.
  • Our hotel, Room with a View, was really quite nice. It’s an Apartment-Hotel, so came with a little kitchenette and fridge which came in handy later. It’s also located quite nicely along Laugevagur, in the heart of some shopping and restaurants.
  • Walking around Reykjavik can be a little confusing because some of the streets sound alike, and isn’t something you can just easily memorize. It’s more of a, “Our hotel is on the street that starts with the letter L that sounds kind of like that whiskey, and at the corner of that other street that sounds like xx. Oh, and it’s next to the Chuck Norris Grill. In short, use GPS.
  • We had a late lunch/snack at Loki Cafe, known for very Icelandic dishes. Think pickled herring, fermented shark, and the like. I really enjoyed my meal (seen below).

Loki Cafe: Icelandic Plate III: 2 slices of Icelandic Rye Bread – one with mashed fish, one with egg and herring, as well as a scoop of Loki’s unique Rye Bread Ice Cream

  • We got lost in Reykjavik and could barely find our way back to our hotel somewhere on the street that sounds like Lagavulin scotch (okay, it was Laugevagur).
  • Then we went to The Blue Lagoon. Yes, in retrospect we should have started with the Blue Lagoon given that it’s right by the airport…but I dunno. There I go again miscalculating how long 30 miles was really going to take.
  • Doing the Blue Lagoon at night does deprive you of the “blue” part of the Blue Lagoon. It is basically a giant hot tub you share with strangers. Until you get wrinkly. Cuz you paid money to be there. And it’s really f’ckn cold everywhere else but in it. Also, it is only recommended if you’re staying nearby. We were so tired and relaxed, it was hard to make the drive back to Reykjavik. Well, not for me. I napped in the car, while my strapping handsome husband drove. We may or may not have seen our first Northern Lights on this drive back. If we weren’t on a misadventure, I’d say we would do the Blue Lagoon in the daytime.
  • Finally, back in Reykjavik, I had the most infuriating meal ever. It was the meal that was a portent of all our other meals in Iceland: it was ridiculously expensive.
  • See all those yummy looking appetizers above? + 2 beers = $88.00 Yes, that one tiny ass slider, was $18.00.  And it said “to share” on the menu! We were still hungry after this meal, but unwilling to spend any more money on food. ON PRINCIPLE. So we went to bed hungry, with a plan to hit up a grocery store before going off on our Golden Circle Adventure!

Up Next, our GOLDEN CIRCLE jaunt.

I hope you enjoyed our day of misadventure in Iceland!




Here IT is again…

The Annual Resolution to WRITE MORE.

I do truly lament the dearth of any creative non-legal writing from me…

It’s just, after a day of staring at a computer screen, do I really want to stare at another one at home? After wracking my brain reading and writing legal briefs, I can’t bear to do anything else but, well…ugh…well, chores have to be done.

Adulting has hit hard.

But every year, I tell myself, “Isabelle, write…just write.”

Okay, little voice in my head, I’ll try.

Last December 2013, the San Francisco Bay Area and all of its San Francisco 49er fans said goodbye to Candlestick Park.

I’m not going to regale you about how much little I know of Candlestick. Truth be told, I’m a Raiders fan. (Yeah, yeah, boo hisssss, heard it alllll before.) I’ve been to the Oakland Coliseum 20 times more than I’ve been to Candlestick. But to be fair, I went to Candlestick before I ever stepped foot in the Coliseum — and that was for my first ever baseball game which was back in the 80’s when the SF Giants still played there, too.

But I digress.

The point is, the SF 49ers used to play there. They won a bunch of Super Bowls (that’s five) while they were playing there. Joe Montana, Jerry Rice, Steve Young, Jimmy Johnson…these are names that have worn the red and gold uniform — names even those people who aren’t into sports have at least heard of.  Thus, I felt kind of nostalgic about the decision to demolish Candlestick Park and move the 49ers to Santa Clara (oh, and the drive would be further to see a game.)

But while I was nostalgic, the boyfriend was downright…sentimental. Emotional. Heavy-breathing kind of stuff.

So, as one of his Christmas presents, I bought us tickets to the last game at the ‘Stick.

Yeah, it was freakishly expensive, thank god for end of year bonuses to allow for impulse “I-love-you-this-much” moments. But I’ve got to admit, there was some magic there, especially since the 49ers were down with only 1:31 left in the game with the ball in Matt Ryan’s hand — and it was only by that one heart-stopping moment with NaVorro Bowman making an impressive pick and returning it for 89-yards that made me believe in game time magic and had me cheering like a mad diggity crazy eyes fan.  It is now famously known as “The Pick at the ‘Stick”.

Here it is from 49ers.com in sexy slo-mo: CLICK HERE.

And in not-so-slow-but-still-heart-stopping-motion:

And yes, the boyfriend was happy.

(Except it took us nearly 2 hours to get home — Caltrans…why you close 3 lanes on the Bay Bridge?!)

IMG_1784 IMG_1783 IMG_1780


Look at the HAPPY Smile on his face. =)


Aw look, I even bought a 49er football-y beanie/scarf combo (because I forgot that Candlestick gets really cold).

On a funny note, there was this guy sitting a few seats away from us, and there was SO MUCH speculation that it was Jerry Rice…and it turned out to be MC Hammer. Haha! How terrible of us.

Jerry Rice MCHammer1

Which is who? Who is which?


 On June 2012, I flew to Cebu, Philippines for my best friend’s wedding.

Christine and I had been friends since Kindergarten. Best friends from the age of nine till I had to move to the United States at the age of 16.  My last memory prior to moving from Cebu City, Philippines to Union City, California was going to tennis camp during the summer with Christine and squealing over how hot Patrick Rafter was.

In the years that followed, I had seen her a few times as I visited the Philippines and she came to visit the United States.

However, despite the time and distance that had separated us, I was proud to stand as a bridesmaid at her wedding to Mr. Romeo. No, literally, his name is Romeo. But we all call him by his nickname…Junie.

Here are some photos from her wedding:


Marcus is sad that my mom is packing my suitcase. “Please don’t leave me…”



The bridesmaids get their make up and hair did…



I’ve never had so much make up on my face…guess it has to stand up to the weather and bright lights. I feel like a celebrity. Mwahaha!

IMG_0988 IMG_0990 IMG_0998 IMG_1001 IMG_1002 IMG_1005IMG_1059IMG_1056IMG_1020


At Sacred Heart Parish. Full Circle since they both went to Sacred Heart Schools (one for Boys and the other for Girls).




What a Rock n’ Rollin’ Entrance to their reception!


The Groom also served as the Entertainment that night! Lead singer status!


It was such a fun night. I always wondered who my friends would have been or what kind of person I would have grown up to be if I had stayed in the Philippines. If Cre and her friends are any indication, I think I would have been just fine…a little more metal in my music, maybe a little more in touch with creativity, too.

I know Cre and Junie will have an amazing marriage. They’ve already been through so much together, and have always supported each other. I believe in both of them, and they make me believe that there is a happily ever after.

Oh Herro Again…

Hello Again, Blog…

Let’s try this again…oh yeah, this means that I’m going through another change/chapter in my life — this is the first time I have ever gone ahead and quit a job without any back up plan…

I’m terrified and exhilarated at the same time.

Ask me again in a month if I’m still exhilarated, though.  My savings are finite and I can go stark crazy staying home all day.

Thus, I shall try my hand at writing and blogging again — just to keep myself busy and inspired.

Wish me luck.

Chantry Flats Hike





























I never knew there was such pretty hiking trails just outside of Los Angeles. Although, I had to wake up at the butt crack of 6 am, but it was completely worth it. I never really go hiking in the summer because my greatest enemy tends to come out during the summer times…the ever-so-awful evilus lizardus.

So misty mountains, cool earth, cold temperatures — those were perfect hike conditions for me.

I went with a group of my Kickball friends who are always a fun bunch.

The hike was long and surprisingly arduous (probably because half the trail was a bit slippery from the previous day’s rain). But that waterfall was a very welcome surprise and definitely worth the hike. I will be back…y’know, after summer and when all the evilus lizardus are hiding under the rocks where they belong.

DUI checkpoint


On Super Bowl weekend, the boyfriend and I headed to San Diego to celebrate his birthday. He flew out to SD to hang out with his friends, and I drove down after work. It is important to note that I had already gone to Palmdale to do a site inspection at a jail. So that day had already had me driving over hundreds of miles.

We went to Pacific Beach and had dinner. I had a Maker’s and Ginger.

Then, we went to the boyfriend’s old hangout bar, where I had a beer.

Then we drove to our hotel, the Keating Hotel, in downtown San Diego.  On our way there, he is directing me back onto the freeway…straight into the midst of a DUI checkpoint.  I could have told the Officer that I was not drunk. But my bloodshot eyes told a whole different story. So, he ordered me out of the car, ordered Chris out of the car. Had one of minions drive away with my car, while I followed him to some elementary school’s parking lot.

He asks a lot of questions: from basic facts about myself, to where I went to, when the last time I went to sleep was, whether I went to work, etc…It was odd. So this is what it feels like to be at the other end of a deposition.  I answered all the questions he posed at me.

Then came the physical tests.

I had heels on, and it was bloody cold. He asked me to do that heel-toe walking test. While counting up to 60. I wobbled a couple times. Oh, and did I mention that due to my sobriety, I was actually nervous?

Then came the leg raise. I had to raise my leg about 8 inches off the ground and count backwards from 75-55. Luckily, I have pretty decent balance and did not wobble.

Then he ordered that I close my eyes, and look up at the sky, hands to the side. Then count silently to “what I think is thirty seconds.”  Really??? This was possibly the hardest one. With my eyes closed, there was no visual anchor for balance. With my heart racing, I might possibly count too fast…to what I think is 30 seconds. Sigh…so I count up to 35. Not too far over thirty that it’s suspicious, but not exactly thirty either, in case I’ve been counting a little too fast.

Then there was the “follow-my-finger-and-say-the-alphabet-without-singing-it” test. I really hope I passed that. I still had bloodshot eyes. But I did my best. He asked if I wore contacts. And I said yes. He nodded and jotted some more things on that clipboard of his.

In the meantime, I’ve observed at least four people get cuffed and taken away. And several cars towed away. Did I mention I was nervous? I mean, I knew I wasn’t drunk. But man, they really made me second-guess myself.

The final test was the breathalyzer.

That was one awkward test. Wrap your lips around the stick tightly and blow. Hard. I didn’t realize I needed to blow that hard. Long deep breath in, strong breath out.  I had to try it three times, definitely nervous because I had just finished my last beer approximately 25 minutes before.  In the meantime, I see another person get cuffed and taken away. Geeeeez.

I could see the boyfriend pacing back and forth like a caged animal in the little cordoned area where all the passengers were corralled.  Did I mention I was cold. My heart was pounding so fast, but I was sweating. I was shivering — but I couldn’t tell you if it was from nerves or the cold.

Mr. San Diego PD writes my breathalyzer score on the clipboard and he walks over to someone. He gives me back my keys and walks me towards Chris. Then he gives me the patronizing speech about how I’m a girl, and I retain more water and that I was “already half way there.”

Yeah, right. I blew an 0.02.

With that, I drive away.  Me vs. the FST…I win. This time. Hopefully, there’s no next time.