Monday, December 22, 2014

2014 in Review {Part 3} + Giveaway!

**50% discount on all sponsorships until the New Year using: NYE2015**

Welcome to July-September of 2014 in Review! Major props to those of you that stuck with me through the year. In one of the most eventful three months of my life so far, I moved to Australia and began my first big girl job. Hello, life changes!

July

1// Canada's best kept secret. Niagara-on-the-lake as a graduation gift from my other half.

7// Jack Bear takes over the blog for the day.

7// Try this salty caramel iced coffee on for size.
9// Why I could never be a fashion blogger.
11// How to fuel through the work day like a total boss.
14// You'll want to devour at least three of these mini 7 layer dips.
15// Preparing myself for the culture shock once I'm on Australian soil.
17// Bon voyage to Sydney party.

 21// Stupid simple (and healthy) berry cobbler.

22// Step-by-step guide on hosting a kick-butt blogger meet-n-greet.

29// Reminiscing on my hometown before I head across the globe for a year (minimum).
30// Hopped on a plane to Australia!

August

1// Arrived in Sydney (16 hours in the future) to start my new life!

4// I blog on the side: It is possible! Part 1 & 2.  

7// Choosing the perfect lipstick shade.
20// Classic. Shit my boyfriend says. Still waiting on the rebuttal post he's so keen to air.

September

4// As if I wasn't already awkward enough on my own grounds, go ahead and throw me in a foreign country.

9// Lies bloggers tell themselves.

15// Blog sponsorships for dummies.

17// Harping on my flaws as I tend to do. Rebuttal post on my strengths coming soon!

23// Things I crave from America while in Australia.

25// Shit not to say to a blogger. You've been warned!

30// Making my way through my Australian bucket list
Check out my past year-end reviews: 2013 / 2012 / 2011
Remember, the more you participate (hint recap all four weeks) the more chances you will receive to be one of the lucky winners.  Even if you don't win it is so much fun looking back and remembering the year, meeting new bloggers and reading other bloggers recaps!
2014 Review Extravaganza

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Glimpse into Iceland + $300 in Giveaways!

Hi everyone! I am Kaelene from Unlocking Kiki where you will find me blogging about my life in Iceland and the adventures it throws my way. IcelandThats me, freezing my bum off while taking in the beautiful Icelandic scenery, typical day in Iceland. Iceland, random right? Let me explain. It all started with an internship in Australia. During my time in the land down under I met a boy. The boy ended up not being the Australian surfer I was sure I would meet but instead a handsome Viking from Iceland.

Fast forward four years later and I am now living with the Viking in his stunning homeland. I will admit, before meeting my Viking I knew next to nothing about Iceland so I don’t blame you if you're reading this right now thinking, "Iceland, I know nothing about Iceland." Have no fear, I am here to tell you 10 of the most important things (at least the things I think is the most important) that you need to know about Iceland. I will warn you, by the end of this post you will be booking the next flight to Iceland, it is that beautiful!

10 Important Facts About Iceland

1. Iceland kind of looks like the Moon Iceland Lava FieldsIceland Lava FieldsWhen you first leave the airport you will find yourself wondering if you arrived on the moon and not a country on Earth. Have no fear, you will soon see the civilization of Reykjavik in the near distance. Enjoy the lava fields and the feeling of being on another planet as you make your way from the airport.

2. Reykjavik is small but packs a quirky punch Reykjavik IcelandI dare you not to fall in love with Reykjavik! Something about this small city sucks you in and you will leave already planning your next trip back. Make sure to pack the most into your time in Reykjavik and use this handy little guide full of the best things to do in this quirky city I now call home.

3. The landscapes in Iceland will leave you speechless Iceland - http://unlockingkiki.comIceland LandscapeThat feeling of being on another planet will quickly set back in as you venture outside of Reykjavik and into the countryside. From mountains so pretty they look painted to waterfalls around every corner, the landscape in Iceland is one you will never forget.

4. There are beaches in Iceland, some with black sand! Vik, IcelandWhen you hear the name Iceland the last thing that comes to mind is a beach day. While you will most likely never find me laying out on a beach here in Iceland a walk along one of the many beaches in your winter gear is a must! My favorite beach, the black sand beach of Vik.

5. The Icelandic horses are ridiculously adorable Icelandic horsesIceland HorsesWhen you leave the city and start driving out in the countryside you are bound to see the unique Icelandic horses playing in the fields. These adorable horses are extremely friendly so pull over and give them a pat on the head while you take a selfie with them.

6. Hiking in Iceland needs to be on your bucket list Landmannalaugar, IcelandRemember all those waterfalls and beautiful mountains you oohed and awed over from inside your car. Get up and personal with those stunning things and put your hiking boots on. Not a fan of hiking? Trust me, you will want to suck it up for at least a few hours, the hiking trails in Iceland are worth the blisters.

7. Iceland may be cold but it is steaming with natural hot water Hot Springs in IcelandIceland may be cold but its ground is bubbling with hot water! Fun fact, about 85% of all homes are heated with geothermal energy, how awesome is that! Make sure you bring your bathing suit so you can soak in one of the hot springs you may find on your hike, or visit a local pool, you can find them in almost every town in Iceland and they are a true Icelandic treat.

8. Everyone rocks a Lopapeysa Icelandic LopapeysaLopapeysas are a traditional Icelandic sweater that I think should be made the national outfit since everyone has at least one in their closet! I even have one of my own that my Vikings mom knitted for me. These wool sweaters keep you incredibly warm so if you're in Iceland and feeling chilly head out and buy yourself a lopapeysa.

9. The sky likes to put on a show Midnight sun in IcelandVisit in the winter and have the chance to see the Northern Lights dancing above. Visit in the summer and experience the midnight sun. Whatever time of the year you visit the sky in Iceland holds a special treat.

10. The most beautiful spa you will ever visit is in Iceland Blue Lagoon, IcelandBlue Lagoon, IcelandThe Blue Lagoon is one of Iceland’s most famous sites and for good reason. Just look at that stunning blue water! Spending a day at this beautiful spa soaking in the perfectly warm water is a must do when in Iceland. I of course spend my days soaking in the Blue Lagoon, that is when I am not out frockling in the lava fields or hiking all over Iceland.

Want to learn more about this unique country I am living in? Check out my Iceland page and spark your desire to visit Iceland even more! I love visitors so head over to Unlocking Kiki and say hi!

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If Iceland is not in your near future have no fear I will send a piece of Iceland to you! Keep your hands nice and warm this winter with a pair of Icelandic gloves, not knitted by me so you can be assured they will be amazing. Enter below for your chance to win!
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Monday, December 15, 2014

#prayforsydney

It’s with a heavy heart I come to you today.

12/15/2014 It began as a typical day at the office until shrieking alarms tore us from our monotonous Monday morning routine. This was soon to be a day forever engrained in my heart.

I have lived in Sydney for five months now and always feel extremely safe here. The horrific events of terror that nearly shut down my city yesterday were a shock to us all. The siege at the Lindt Cafe brought fear to the streets of Sydney like no event since the terrorist bombing of the Hilton Hotel in February of 1978.
10:29am An armed gunman held up the Lindt Café in Martin Place (a quick five minute walk from my office where I often enjoy a morning mocha).  17 hostages can be seen standing in front of the windows with their arms in the air, forced to wave an Islamic State flag.
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10:48am All train lines are shut down to Sydney CBD, and police inform surrounding buildings (including my own) to keep their employees inside on lockdown.

10:56am Reports of a “suspicious package” at the Opera House terrify us all into thinking this may be more than an isolated event.
12:55pm Prime Minister, Tony Abbott: "Australia is a peaceful, open and generous society. Nothing should ever change that." Mr Abbott urges Sydney Siders to "go about their business as usual and to report anything suspicious to the national security hotline.”
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3:41pm Three people can be seen on footage running from the Cafe. "A peaceful resolution will be what we are working for," the police report.

4:00pm My office was sent home from work and I get back to twenty Facebook messages from worried friends and family catching the international coverage on the event.
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4:59pm Two more women escape from the café.
5:37pm Uber raises its fares up to $100 to get a lift out of central Sydney. After uproar on social media, the company attributes the spike to its "surge pricing" system, which increases fares when demand rises. Uber offers free rides following the criticism.

2:15am Multiple gun shots fired and police force entry to the building. 

2:30am Multiple hostages have emerged from the Lindt Chocolate Cafe in Martin Place.

2:45am: 16 hours later, the chaos finally ends.

6:00am Tuesday I wake up to the devastating news that the siege had ended, but sadly at the loss of two hostages and the gunman himself, with four critically injured.

Australia gave the world a lesson today. Political activists turn to terrorism to win attention, to cause fear, and to use that fear to produce an overreaction.

Anti-islamic sentiment flood social media with backlash against Australian Muslims and immigrants, but there is a campaign gathering steam that will restore your faith in humanity. 
The hashtag began from a Facebook post from Sydney-Sider Rachael Jacobs who was riding on a train in Sydney, and noticed a Muslim woman quietly take off her head covering . “I ran after her at the train station. I said ‘put it back on. I’ll walk with u’. She started to cry and hugged me for about a minute – then walked off alone.”

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#illridewithyou is a social movement where every day Australians are offering to ride on buses and trains with Muslims, or give them a lift to work tomorrow, in order to keep them safe and free of fear. This beautiful act of kindness gives me chills right up my spine.
I am so proud of my city for challenging the dangerous media portrayal of these tragic events. “Muslim” and “terrorist” are far from synonymous. Let not the acts of one troubled man overshadow this great nation. Sydney, in the wake of such traumatic events, together we stand strong together.

#prayforsydney