Lauren Lora

Lauren is a fashion, beauty and travel blogger based in New York City.





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Iceland Travel Tips that Your Guidebook Won’t Think to Tell You

My Top 5 Tips to Travelling in Iceland


Tourism to Iceland has skyrocketed in the last decade thanks to stopover deals offered by Icelandair and cheap flights on WOW airlines. But with the Northern Lights, Blue Lagoon (more about that one later) and many other natural beauties to see, it’s kind of surprising Iceland hasn’t been a trendy tourist destination from the get-go.


If Iceland has made it to your travel bucket list, keep on reading because I have some tips that I have yet to read in any travel guide:



1. Iceland is F*cking Expensive!


The exchange rate from USD to ISK isn’t terrible, but imagine New York City prices with an extra $10 tacked on top. An entreé for dinner at a sit-down restaurant can easily cost you about $30 per person. So unless you’re made of money or have intentions of balling out every night, here are a few of my favorite cheap eats:


2. Do Not Speed. I Repeat, Do NOT Speed


I got caught by a speed trap on my first full day in Reykjavík. We were driving the Golden Circle and I didn’t realize I was speeding. By the time I saw the speed limit sign it was too late. There was a bright flash and they got me – fingers crossed it was just a warning.



All throughout Iceland, I noticed that the speed limits will suddenly change from 90 kmph to 70 kmph to 50 kmph with a speed trap right behind the last sign. If you’re not actively pressing on your brakes, you’ll be sure to get a ticket.


3. The Northern Lights are Not a Guarantee


Some of the most iconic photos of Iceland feature the Northern Lights. It’s a beautiful sight to see, if you can catch it. Witnessing the Northern Lights strongly depends on the weather conditions and when it comes to Iceland, weather is unpredictable.


The best time of year to witness the Northern Lights is between September to April. There must be as little light pollution as possible, so you should either drive to or stay somewhere outside of Reykjavík. Finally, you should reference the aurora forecast and cloud cover forecast to make sure there’s enough solar activity and little to no cloud cover, respectively.


Photo by Jonatan Pie on Unsplash


4. Get a Raincoat. Your Umbrella is Useless


My friend told me that when he was in Iceland he saw someone’s umbrella get whisked away in an instant into the open water. The winds can be so strong that it’ll rip your car doors open. The wind also causes the rain to fall practically sideways, so an umbrella won’t do much in keeping you dry.


Aside from the strong winds, when you’re hiking around the waterfalls you’re better off having a raincoat. The mist they generate know no bounds and it can leave your clothes feeling damp. And if you’re in Iceland during prime Northern Lights time, the last thing you want is to be cold and damp. This raincoat from Uniqlo kept me dry and looking stylish while I was there.



5. There are alternatives to the Blue Lagoon


Blue Lagoon is the geothermal spa that all the influencers go to when they visit Iceland. It’s beautiful but incredibly expensive, especially if you don’t book in advance. I made the mistake of waiting until the last minute and they were charging 8100 ISK for entrance and a towel.


Instead of paying around 78 USD for close to bare minimum at Blue Lagoon, I decided to go to an alternate spa along the Golden Circle – Laugarvatn Fontana. It may not be as luxurious and picturesque as the Blue Lagoon but it was incredibly relaxing and half the price. If you’re traveling on a budget but you still want to experience the geothermal spas of Iceland, there are many other ones scattered around the country.



Hopefully these tips have left you more informed, but if you’re looking for inspiration feel free to watch my Iceland vlog below:



Will you be traveling to Iceland?




Makeup Favorites 2017: Fenty Beauty, Glossier & More!

All my favorite makeup products of 2017! What’re yours?



Products Mentioned:

LA Girl Color Corrector Set –

Fenty Beauty Pro Filt’r Soft Matte Longwear Foundation –

Maybelline Superstay Better Skin Powder –

Make Up For Ever Full Cover Concealer –

Tarte Shape Tape Concealer –

Bourjois Bronzing Powder –

Glossier Haloscope in Quartz –

Too Faced Shadow Insurance –

UD Naked 2 Basics –

Dolly Wink Liquid Eyeliner –

Anastasia Brow Powder Duo –

Glossier Boy Brow –

Bite Beauty Multistick –


xoxo, Lauren

My Top Tips for Planning a Greece Trip

5 Things You Should Know Before Going to Greece

It seems, these days, as if everyone and their mother has been taking a trip to Greece. And it’s to no one’s surprise once you see all the flight deals that Emirates and other airlines have been offering. If you’re one of the many people looking to capitalize on this cheap airfare, here are the 5 things you should know about Greece before you go:

1. You are at the Mercy of the Ferries

The main form of transportation between the Greek islands are the ferries. A novelty or a necessary evil, well, that’s up for debate. The ticket prices can be high, the ferries can be late and depending upon the weather or if they feel like striking that day, your ferry may not come at all – so plan accordingly.


I had no problems with ferries during my trip but my other friends were not so lucky. One of my friends almost missed his flight home because the ferries stopped running due to inclement weather. Hearing this and other stories, I decided our safest bet would be to end our trip in Athens. However, if you do find yourself in my friend’s position, there are flights between Athens and the main islands but they’re limited and can book up quickly. Try not to take a chance if you don’t have to.


Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

You should also note that ferry schedules change depending upon the season. During high season there are more times and routes whereas on the shoulder season there could be only one ferry going to your destination that day. A great resource to check the ferry schedules is Greek Ferries but I’d recommend booking directly on the company’s website such as Blue Star Ferries or Sea Jets just to be safe with your credit information.

2. The Islands are Expensive

Yes, the sunsets in Santorini are beautiful and the beach clubs in Mykonos are popping but there are downfalls that come with being on an island full of tourists. Fine dining establishments are pricey and if you happen to forget some necessities be prepared for some price gouging.


You are welcome to eat gyros for every meal but if you truly want to enjoy yourself you’ll have to eat at a fine dining establishment once in a while. A meal for two including appetizers, entrees and wine cost about $50-$60 per person. Coming from New York these prices are easier to swallow but I know not everyone in the world is accustomed to paying this premium.


And if you’re a bad packer, you will likely find yourself paying double the price on certain items such as sunscreen or toothpaste. A bottle of Neutrogena sunscreen at a market in Mykonos was on the shelf for almost $20! Make a list and check it twice.

3. Most of the Stores Sell the Same Things

It’s always nice to bring home souvenirs for friends and family but it never feels nice when you buy something and the store next door is selling it for half the price. Most of the stores sell the exact same things but at all different prices. I picked up an ashtray for my friend for $10 in Oia and after wandering around some more I found the same ashtray for $4.


This extends across the islands and even in Athens. If you’re looking at soap sets, magnets or Grecian style dresses, chances are they’ll have it at your next destination. Walk around, shop around and don’t be afraid to haggle.

4. Expect to Rent a Vehicle On the Islands

Public transportation on the islands is minimal; there’s usually a bus that the locals take and privately run taxis. From what I saw the buses were infrequent and I had the personal pleasure of waiting almost 2 hours for a taxi. As such, I’d recommend renting either an ATV or a scooter to get around.

Three Bells of Fira

Photo by Matt Artz on Unsplash

Be sure to research the vehicles, rental companies and rates beforehand since there seems to be no regulation and you’ll often get quoted a price depending on how the owner feels that day. If there’s two of you I’d recommend getting at minimum a 300cc ATV or scooter, anything less and you’ll have trouble climbing up hills.

5. Athens is Tiny!

Unless you’re a history buff, I’d recommend planning to spend at most one and a half days in Athens. There isn’t much to do aside from visiting the Acropolis and wandering around Plaka, Monastiraki Flea Market and Syntagma.


To put things in perspective, you can join the Athens Free Walking Tour and cover all the major sights in 2 and a half hours. You’d have to enter the Acropolis and the Acropolis museum on your own but the free walking tour is a great way to quickly see the city and learn a little bit about each place.


If you’re looking for more inspiration for your upcoming or dream trip to Greece, feel free to watch my vlog below and leave me any questions you may have in the comments.


So, who’s going to Greece?

xoxo, Lauren

Here’s Everything You Need to Know if You’re Traveling to Japan

My Top 5 Tips for People Looking to Visit Japan

Japan is a country that I think everyone should visit at least once in their lifetime. It’s brimming with culture, excitement and delicious food. However, planning an international trip can be confusing and oftentimes overwhelming. So, here are my top five tips for those of you who are looking to travel to Japan.

Tokyo Alley

Photo by Andre Benz on Unsplash

1. Japan is A Lot Larger Than You Think

If you look at any map, Japan seems tiny. But don’t be fooled, you could tour the country for a month and still have things you may have missed. Tokyo alone would take a week if you insisted on seeing everything. With that in mind, you should tailor your trip based on the length of your stay and which locations you’d like to visit.

There are four main cities that most people visit when in Japan: Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka and Hiroshima. Depending on how much time you have you likely will not be able to visit them all. Tokyo is definitely a no-brainer, but when it comes to the other three you should consider what kind of traveler you are and what experience you’re looking to have.

For example, are you interested in traditional Japanese architecture? Kyoto with its many shrines would be the place to go. Or maybe you’re a huge history buff? Then I’d recommend Hiroshima. But what if you’re a huge foodie? Osaka is street food and fine dining central. There are even more destinations beyond that, such as Nara for the bowing deers or Hakone for the onsens. Just be sure to do your research and choose the appropriate cities for you.

Kyoto Tori Gates

Photo by Lin Mei on Unsplash

2. Choose Your Home Base Wisely

Once you’ve figured out where you’re going to go, the logical next step would be to figure out where you’re going to stay. My advice would be to pick somewhere central, preferably near a large train station with multiple lines. It’ll not only make it easier to get around but it’ll also ensure that you have plenty of food options at all times.

I stayed in Shibuya while I was in Tokyo and getting around was a breeze. Shibuya station is one of the busiest stations in Japan containing lines from JR Rail, Keio, Tokyu and Tokyo Metro. This gave me multiple choices when it came to commuting but that also meant there were plenty of 24-hour food establishments in the area. And trust me, there is nothing more depressing than returning after a day of exploring with an empty stomach and having no food to eat.

How do I know this? Well, I didn’t stay in such a central area when I was in Kyoto. I stayed one stop away from Kyoto station and it made a world of difference. The train didn’t run as frequently and there was practically nothing to eat around our AirBnB. So take it from a person with experience and pick a convenient location to stay at.

3. Getting Around is Easier than it Looks

When I first heard that there were multiple lines in Japan that were owned and operated by different companies I was overwhelmed, and I’m a New Yorker. But fret not because Japan’s transportation is a lot simpler than it first appears. Although there are multiple lines to get to the same destination, as long as you stick with one you’ll be fine. There will be a few times where you need to hop onto a different line but that’s where a PASMO comes in handy.

A PASMO is a smart card that can be used in place of a train ticket or cash. It’s accepted by multiple railway companies and even at 7/11 and vending machines on the street! All you need to do is purchase a PASMO at any participating train station and load up the card with cash. Then you just tap it on the card reader at the subway gates to get in and then tap it again to get out, much like how an Oyster card works in London.

However, PASMO is not accepted on the Shinkansen, otherwise known as the bullet train. You’ll most likely be taking the bullet train to travel in between cities in Japan but this is where a JR Pass is key. The JR Pass is for tourists only and it is a discounted railway pass that is valid for travel on all national trains in Japan. Basically, you pay a flat fee for a 7-, 14- or 21-day pass and show it to the officers at each station to get in and out for free for however long your pass is valid. JR Rail also operates within cities so it might even be possible to get around on a JR pass alone.

4. Cash is King

If you’re an American like myself then you probably survive off of credit cards, but many places in Japan will only accept cash. Be sure to bring enough cash with you for the duration of your trip and check with your bank to see if you’ll be charged foreign transaction fees. If they do, I’d suggest trying to avoid withdrawing from an ATM while abroad since those foreign transaction fees can add up and end up costing as much as a nice dinner!

In case your bank does charge foreign transaction fees, my friends have often recommended opening an account with Charles Schwab Bank. They don’t charge a fee when you use a foreign ATM and don’t charge currency conversion fees for debit card transactions. However, depositing cash can be hard as there aren’t many branches so be sure to do your research before you apply.

5. Having an Itinerary Doesn’t Mean You Need to Stick With it

I’m the type of person who enjoys setting up itineraries for all my travels, but i don’t live and die by them. They’re more of a suggestion of what to do with my day, and I give myself the freedom to switch things up if I want.

If you need some itinerary inspiration, feel free to consult my Japan 2017 itinerary. But when you’re actually in Japan and exploring, if a certain location interests you a lot, feel free to spend more time there than you allotted. If you hold yourself too tightly to your itinerary you can end up feeling rushed and stressed out. Remember that you’re on vacation and this trip is for you to enjoy yourself.

Will you be planning a trip to Japan anytime soon?
xoxo, Lauren

Where Did Spring Go? (Feat. Tobi)

A Small Summer Lookbook Featuring Pieces from Tobi

I’ve lived in New York City my entire life, and I mean it. My parks were made of artificial turf and I know of a time when the MTA wasn’t in a state of emergency. So believe me when I tell you that New York City has lost Spring as a season.

For the past few years it’s gone directly from Winter to Summer with fleeting moments of Spring weather in between. I’ll admit that Summer had once again taken me by surprise  this year and left me with little to no clothing options. But like a fairy godmother, online fashion retailer Tobi reached out and gifted me with three clothing pieces that were perfect for this hotter weather. Check them out below:

Tobi Sara Striped Tiered Crop Top

This Sara Striped Tiered Crop Top from Tobi is perfect for a backyard BBQ or a trip to the beach. I kept it casual by pairing it with my denim high-rise shorties from AE and CDG converses. To complete the outfit I added a two-tiered necklace from Ettika and my long-time favorite Ray-Ban aviator sunglasses.

Tobi Don't Lie Off Shoulder Crop Top
The second piece I received was this on-trend Don’t Lie Off Shoulder Crop Top. I kept it simple once again with my American Eagle denim high-rise shorties and Hinge slides. To class it up a bit I brought out my Goyard tote and finished off the look with my Ray-Ban aviators.

Tobi Rebecca Front Tie Romper Dress
The last and my absolute favorite piece of the three is this Rebecca Front Tie Romper Dress. Isn’t it gorgeous? With it’s plunging neckline and flowing skirt, this dress is perfect for a summer soirée. I paired it with my gold high-heel sandals from Asos and a black choker necklace from Target.

Which piece was your favorite?


Photography by Matt Ng

xoxo, Lauren

A Quick Video of Everything I Bought at the Too Cool For School Store

Too Cool For School Haul

Too Cool For School contacted me a few months ago to participate in an Instagram competition. The winner was to receive a $200 shopping spree at their store in Soho. Even though I didn’t win they were kind enough to gift me with an Egg Mellow Cream and 20% off my entire in-store purchase. Naturally, I went a little overboard and bought a ton of products.

Products Mentioned:
Pumpkin Sleeping Pack –
McGirly Eye Activator
Coconut Rich Lip Care –
Egg Remedy Hair Pack –
Egg Cream Mask Firming –
Egg Cream Mask Pore Tightening –
Egg Cream Mask Hydration –
Smart Fit 3D Mask
Multi Vitamin Mask A
Multi Vitamin Mask B5
Multi Vitamin Mask C
Multi Vitamin Mask E
Coconut Oil Serum Mask –
Coconut Ceramide Mask
Pumpkin 24K Gold Mask –
Egg Mellow Cream –


Where To Go for an Affordable Kimono Rental in Japan

My Experience Renting a Kimono at Yumeyakata in Kyoto, Japan

A Dream Come True

I’ve long admired the beauty of traditional Japanese kimonos and it’d been a dream of mine since I was a child to dress up in one. So when Kristi and I made our Japan trip official, I immediately began researching different kimono rental stores.

Full back view of my kimono rental at Maruyama Park

After searching tons of websites and watching plenty of YouTube videos, I finally decided on Yumeyakata in Kyoto. They’re one of the most popular kimono rental stores with a large selection of patterns and accessories at an affordable price point. To make your experience even more seamless, they have associates who speak a wide range of languages such as English, Chinese, French and of course, Japanese. Be weary though, because of it’s popularity the store is packed!

Choosing Your Kimono (and the Cost!)

From the moment you enter Yumeyakata you can tell that they have the kimono rental system all figured out. Each floor is a different step in the rental process, starting with check-in on the ground level. From there they direct you to the second floor where you can choose you Kimono and Obi patterns, as well as any extra accessories, such as the faux fur stole I picked. Afterwards, you head on up to the third floor where an experienced associate will help you get dressed. You can also choose to have your hair and/or make-up done as well for an extra fee. Then you head to the fourth floor where you choose your rental bag, grab a complimentary stole and check-in your streetwear with them. Finally, you return to the ground level to choose your shoes.

Close-up front view of my kimono rental at Kiyomizu-dera

As you can see from the photos, I chose a simplistic yet beautiful cherry blossom pattern on a light yellow fabric. For the Obi tie, which is the band around my waist, I went for a brighter pink with light silver flecks for contrast. I also decided to pick out a cream colored faux fur stole for extra fabulousness. Since I can’t do more than a high pony-tail with my own hair, I paid the extra fee to have them do mine for me. Following with the cream and pink-colored theme of my kimono, I picked out a pretty pink flower for my hair accessory. The total rental cost me approximately ¥6,200 or $56 for an all-day kimono rental (not including tax).

Where to Take Photos

Now that you look absolutely gorgeous (or handsome), you obviously want to take a shit ton of photos. Yumeyakata is a short bus ride away from Kiyomizu-dera so I’d recommend starting there. Most of the photos in this post are from that location as it’s one of Kyoto’s most picturesque temples. From there we wandered down to Maruyama Park and across to Gion. Whilst in Gion we found a purikura shop at one end of Nishiki Market to take adorable, and equally ridiculous, photobooth pictures in.

Close-up shot of the hair accessory from my kimono rental

Turning Back into a Pumpkin

As per Yumeyakata’s rental agreement, we returned our Kimonos prior to 7:30pm. You head directly up to the fourth floor where they return your checked-in belongings and help you get undressed. I’ll admit I was a little heartbroken as they helped me out of my kimono and I changed back into my regular clothes.

Now if you find yourself at the end of this post and still debating whether or not you should rent a kimono while you’re in Japan, I have one thing to say to you: Just do it! When else and where else are you going to be able to play dress up and live out a fantasy without being judged? It’s definitely worth the extra bucks for the experience and memories. I can already guarantee that when I revisit Japan with my boyfriend, that I’ll be making him do the couple kimono rental experience with me!

Close-up view of the back of my kimono rental at Kiyomizu-dera

Photography by Kristi Truong

xoxo, Lauren

The New Cologne Sitting on My Boyfriend’s Shelf

A Review of the Ralph Lauren Polo Red Extreme Cologne

Influenster was kind enough to gift my boyfriend with a free bottle of the Ralph Lauren Polo Red Extreme cologne. He was pretty excited when he heard that he was getting something for a change.

The day we got it, I made him try it on immediately. The scent was a mix of fresh yet musky, which are two words you would most likely not hear together in a fragrance. I’m not sure how Ralph Lauren pulled this off but they created a cologne that makes my boyfriend smell clean but “manly” at the same time.

Ralph Lauren Polo Red Extreme bottle

The packaging is very minimalistic and unassuming. However, the strong red Polo logo against the matte black bottle gives it a bold yet dignified presence on my boyfriend’s shelf. It’s actually small enough for him to either keep in his pocket or keep in his car but he found that applying it once a day is all he needs.

My boyfriend applies a light amount in the morning and there’s still a faint scent lingering toward the end of the night. According to him, it’s a bold fragrance but not overwhelming to the point where he’d get sick of smelling it midday. I’d have to agree as I’m not a huge fan of fragrances, I hardly wear perfume myself, but I’ll admit that I do enjoy the scent on him.

Go pick up a bottle for your mans, ladies!

xoxo, Lauren

Disclaimer: We were given this product for free from Influenster to test but all opinions are our own.

I Think I’ve Found My New Favorite Fine Jewelry Line

My Thoughts on the Mejuri Grace Threader Earrings & Pearl Mini Studs

Wearing the Mejuri Grace Threader Earrings and Pearl Mini Studs
Fun fact: I’ve been wearing the same earrings since high school. My ears are incredibly sensitive to the point where even real gold can irritate them. So when Mejuri first popped up on my radar, I was hesitant.
I eventually got sick of wearing the same set of earrings and around the same time was Valentine’s Day. My boyfriend asked me what I wanted, and with Mejuri’s great return policy, I figured why not give it a shot. He got me the Grace Threader Earrings and Pearl Mini Studs.

About Mejuri

When it comes to jewelry we’re usually left with two options: expensive fine pieces or cheap costume ones. Mejuri sought to be the best of both worlds, combining hand-crafted fine pieces with affordable prices. How, you ask? They cut out the middle man and work directly with the manufacturers.
Mejuri’s pieces are made in collaboration with style icons and designers across the globe. They don’t release products seasonally but rather, they update their inventory with new collections each month. It’s $10 flat rate shipping within the U.S. and free if you spend over $100. And, as I mentioned earlier, their return policy is amazing. They accept returns for up to 30-days with return shipping on them.

Mejuri Grace Threader Earrings and Pearl Mini Studs

Grace Threader Earrings

I was most excited for the Grace Threader earrings; after all, I’d always wanted a dangly pair. The simplistic design is versatile and looks beautiful when worn. They hang at just the right height, so as not to look awkward or trashy.
However, the Grace Threader’s beautiful design is also its greatest flaw. In order to get it through your ear you have to pull the actual chain part through your earring hole. Recall how I have incredibly sensitive ears? You can imagine how irritating and uncomfortable putting them on must before for me.
I cringe a bit when I put them on and take them off. I also find it unfortunate that I can’t take advantage of the versatility of the design. However, these earrings are still gorgeous and I’m willing to overlook the flaws.

Mejuri Mini Pearl Studs

Pearl Mini Studs

Along with dangly earrings, I’ve also always wanted pearl studs. My aunt has a beautiful set that I’ve always envied so I figured it was about time to get my own.
Although the pearls are on the smaller size, I think that’s what keeps them looking youthful. If you get pearls that are too large, you run the risk of looking like you’re wearing your grandmother’s hand-me-downs. They’re the perfect size to either wear together with the Grace Threader earrings or on their own.
While I was more excited for the Grace Threaders, these Pearl Mini Earrings ended up being the ones I was the most satisfied with. I can see myself wearing them more often than the Grace Threader set. Not only are they easier on my sensitive ears, they’re slightly more casual looking meaning they’ll go with more outfits that I wear daily.


Despite being slightly disappointed by the Grace Threader earrings, my overall opinion of Mejuri remains positive. I’m not going to let the Grace Threader earrings cloud my view of the brand because not every girl has the same problem as me. It’s unfortunate that I have sensitive ears, but I should have considered that when ordering. I could always return them but as I said before, they’re pretty enough to the point where I’m willing to overlook the struggle of putting them on and taking them off.
So if you’re looking for an affordable line of fine jewelry, I’d highly recommend Mejuri. They have many other pairs that are just as gorgeous. I already have a few in mind for my next order: Lotus Earrings, Olive Leaf Ring & Choices Bar Bracelet.

Will you be checking out Mejuri?
xoxo, Lauren