Sweat Your A** Off This Weekend with Tone It Up and FitFest

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This Saturday Brings a Fitness Double-Header

This weekend, two of the season’s biggest fitness events are going head-to-head on opposite sides of the city. In one corner, San Francisco’s homegrown, inaugural FitFest is taking place at Crissy Field from 10am-4pm. In the other, founder Karena Dawn and Katrina Scott of Los Angeles’ fitness empire Tone It Up are taking over Civic Center Plaza for the SF stop of their national tour from 12pm - 5pm.

How do you choose?? I’ve been seriously considering carbing up Friday night in order to jet back and forth all day to lunge with K+K (as the Tone It Up community refers to founders Karena and Katrina) in SoMa then Sweat and Flow with Shauna Harrison in the Marina, then back to Civic Center for push-ups and HIIT with Jillian Michaels. But if you are trying to fit anything else into your day, like a meal or any other non-workout activity, you may need to narrow down Saturday’s ambitious plans. To help you in what is bound to be a choice harder than K+K’s abs, here are the breakdowns of what’s happening at each event.

Tone it Up Tour

On their inaugural cross-country tour, K+K and BFF Jillian Michaels are leading nearly two hours of HIIT-based strength workouts and a dash of yoga.

Doors to the SF tour at Civic Center Plaza open at 3:00pm, with a 30 minute Core Power yoga session kicking off the afternoon in a back-to-back series of three workouts. From there celeb trainer Jillian Michaels will lead a second 30-minute workout, and to wrap up the workout, K+K will lead a 45-minute session in the style of their famous Booty Calls posted daily on ToneitUp.com. After the workout, VIP ticket holders are welcome to meet and greet with the Tone it Up crew between 6:00-8:00pm in the Rose garden. Perks include free massages courtesy of Zeel and post-workout rose.


Founded by Bay Area local and super fit festival producer Nate Mezmer, FitFest is also in its inaugural year with a lineup of national and local fitness bosses leading classes on a main stage, as well as smaller sessions peppered throughout Crissy Field.

Gates open at 10am, and a 50 minute, deejay-accompanied Vinyasa session led by The Pad’s Nicole Cronin starts at 1030a on the main stage to get the morning going. Shauna Harrison’s Muscle and Flow and Janet Stone’s Beyonce yoga classes follow on the main stage for some serious hometown heat. Visiting instructors include Kerri Verna of @BeachYogaGirl and Kaisa Keranen of @KaisaFit, both teaching in the afternoon. All day long, SF’s fit crew like Nate Chambers of Roark Gyms and Kokoda Fitness will be teaching short sessions on strength and mobility. Mindfulness sessions will include a journaling session with Julie Aiello of Outdoor Yoga and a panel discussion on the mindful hustle for healthy entrepreneurs.

I’ll be doing my best cross-town shuffle to pack in as many sweat seshes as possible, before crossing the finish line with K+K and rewarding myself with rose and massages.  


Tone It Up Tour tickets are $110 per person, $220 for VIP with Jillian Michael, $260 for VIP with K+K, Civic Center Plaza. FitFest tickets are $80 per person, Crissy Field.


Where to Meditate Now in SF



Mindfulness is a buzzword that's been creeping into realms with previously no ties to zen living—while we can get down with meditating over our morning coffee, we're just not that into those conference room meditations startup HR managers keep pushing.

At this point, we should all be meditating—the practice has been clinically proven to help our brains with everything from basic function to anxiety disorders—but on the other hand, places like Spirit Rock and the San Francisco Zen Center aren't exactly welcoming for casual practitioners or beginners: Their days-long workshops and 90-minute classes, while amazing, are best suited to those who know what they're doing. We need a better point of entry. There are various meditation apps out there, and that two-minute meditation at your desk is better than nothing, but we want a place where we can focus for a short bit, and a real live person to guide us through.

The answer: San Francisco's new meditation pop-ups.

"Life in the Bay Area has become crazier and more hectic than it needs to be—everyone I know now wants to integrate meditation in their lives to offset stress," says Jing Lee, a former Athleta exec who recently founded Pacific Pause, which teaches beginner-friendly mindfulness meditation sessions that are short enough to work in between commuting and conference calls. Lee plans to open a modern, brick-and-mortar space soon, but until then she's popping up inside The Assembly, a new Mission coworking space that also offers fitness classes, on Thursday nights this fall. Lee's sessions last just 30 minutes, and there are three options on offer: Mindfulness 101, ideal for beginners; a body scan meditation to promote physical awareness; and a gratitude practice to help cultivate kindness. Lee says half an hour "is the sweet spot that makes it beginner-friendly but still enough time for someone who meditates on a regular basis."

If you keep hearing the word mindfulness, it's because many modern practitioners subscribe to the tradition, also known as Vipassana. The reason, Lee feels, is that "Mindfulness meets people where they are. It's an especially approachable type of meditation for the western world," she says, because it uses "non-esoteric, everyday language." It can be more accessible to beginners than some of the more traditional styles, such as Zen and Transcendental mediation, that require specific sitting postures or time- and cash-intensive trainings.

Opened in June of this year, Within is another pop-up offering half-hour mindfulness classes, located inside FiDi's chill second-floor yoga studio Moksha Life Center. Founded by Hannah Knapp and Megan Parker, a New York ex-pat accustomed to Manhattan's various drop-in meditation studios (that's right, SF has, oddly, been slow to adopt this trend), Within aims to capture worker bees before they start their day, offering just two classes with 8:15 and 9am starts, two days per week. Knapp says classes are intended for students to "exercise the muscle of attention in the present moment, and then use that muscle to set an intention for the day ahead. Getting still first thing in the morning," she continues, "really gives people the spaciousness to see what they want for that day." The founders, both refugees from the world of startups, plan to begin offering classes five days a week in September, and are thinking brick-and-mortar after that.

Pacific Pause and Within are currently the only two studios dedicated to super-accessible mindfulness meditation teachings in SF, but there are other opportunities to cultivate your mindfulness practice. The Pad(1694 Union St., Cow Hollow) offers a weekly, 45-minute Monday night "sit"; Against the Stream (rotating venues) offers longer sessions in a variety of styles in SF and the East Bay; and, for ambitious beginners and pros, veteran instructor Howard Cohn gives a 90-minute weekly meditation and talk through Mission Dharma (rotating venues).

This is a story I originally wrote for 7x7, posted on August 30. 

// Pacific Pause classes are $18 at The Assembly, 449 14th St. (Mission), theassemblysf.com; register at eventbrite.com. Within, classes are $18 at Moksha Life Center, 405 Sansome St. (FiDi), withinmeditation.com.

Healthy City Guide to Washington DC


We here on the easy breezy west coast often mistakenly associate DC more with House of Cards and heated CNN debates than yoga and highbrow vegan brunch. But the capital is a wellness hotbed that’s only growing hotter, and with its annual VegFest coming up on September 2, we realized our Google Doc of ‘DC must-visits’ needed some expert attention, stat.

We turned to Well + Away friend and founder of Grassfed Media in DC Sacha Cohen for her pro advice. As someone who exclusively represents conscious clients and supports organizations including the Animal Welfare League of Arlington and the Humane Rescue Alliance, Sacha has become our go-to for navigating where to sweat and what to eat in the capital city. Here are her favorite conscious spots around town to get fit, fed, zen-ed and sunned.


For a yogic experience that ranges from super chill to 90-minutes of sweaty inversion practice, I turn to Tranquil Space in Arlington or Dupont Circle for the 60-minute mindfulness meditation sessions or the 90-minute Flow and Fly class that focuses on training arm balances. For something a bit more scene-y, try Rocket Vinyasa with Jonathan Ewing or Jivamukti with Cory Bryant at Flow Yoga Studio in vibrant Logan Circle. When I need to mix up my practice with something different, I’ll pop into an aerial yoga class with Susan at Spark Yoga in Arlington and Fairfax, or wind down with candlelight yoga on Monday nights at the Arlington Spark Studio, taught by Lika Elwood.


Book ahead for a table at Equinox Restaurant, the city’s most delicious vegan brunch, helmed by husband-and-wife co-owners Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff. A signature brunch buffet serves up fresh seasonal dishes including a crispy cauliflower tempura, yellow tomato and pineapple gazpacho, as well as a made-to-order tofu scramble bar and vegan sweets like chocolate pot au creme. Mocktails and cocktails including an American Vegano and, naturally, a signature Equinox Bloody Mary are made from fresh juices and purees.

Get Out

Get outdoors to hike it off throughout 32 miles of trails in DC’s beautiful Rock Creek Park, sprawling across 1700 acres and bisecting DC’s northwest quadrant. If you’d rather try your SoulCycle skills in the great outdoors, all roads and paved trails in Rock Creek Park are open to bicyclists. A popular paved path begins just north of Peirce Mill and follows the creek all the way to the Lincoln Memorial.

Get Cultured

Many of DC’s art and culture institutions are free because they are part of the publicly and institutionally endowed Smithsonian Institution. A few of my favorites for contemporary and modern art include The Hirshhorn Museum, The East Building of the National Museum of Art, The Renwick Gallery and The Phillips Collection. If you want to museum hop, the epicenter for access to most of DC’s free museums is the National Mall. Each of these museums has renowned permanent collections as well as rotating exhibitions such as the recent much buzzed about Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirrors exhibit at the Hirrshhorn.


The adorable, always packed Baked and Wired is tucked into a pretty cobblestone street in Georgetown, one of DC’s most popular shopping areas for the well-heeled. B+W’s Soccer Mom bar with a graham cracker crust, chocolate and butterscotch chips, coconut and pecans is a decadent indulgence, or a Chocolate Oreo Cakecup is an ever-so-slightly lighter plant-based treat. Grab one of the bistro tables outside to watch the world go by or settle into the cozy back room with your sweet treat.


Nusta Spa is a relaxing oasis in the heart of bustling Farrugut North in downtown DC and the first LEED-certified spa in the world. Skincare and bodycare treatments include traditional massages, facials, scrubs, wraps, hydrotherapy and mani/pedis. A personal favorite is the matcha brightening decollete facial to soothe summer skin or a massage using  handcrafted essential oils by BodyBliss.


Opened in August, Take Care is the place to find small batch, synthetic-free and handmade apothecary goods from indie makers around the U.S. Some of my favorites include the cacao antioxidant face mask from Josh Rosebrook, “Ritual” from Smoke Perfume, and the goodness lipstick from vegan lipstick company Axiology. You’ll also find a beautiful collection of handmade lifestyle goods that focus on simple, natural designs and ingredients such as the pure essential oil and a soy cure-all candle from Essential Apothecary Alchemist. With a focus on self-care and taking time out for oneself, Take Care also offers a variety of workshops and events including an upcoming Superfood Latte Workshop.


I’m a little reluctant to mention Bar A Vin because it’s still somewhat under-the-radar. This sexy little spot will make you feel like you’ve just landed in Paris, complete with a stunning copper bar, 30-40 old world wines by the glass, and sophisticated bar bites including marinated olives, pickled vegetables and assorted dairy-free cheeses. On a promising date? Settle into the "living room" just off the main entrance and get better acquainted by the roaring fire.


It’s a bit of a trek from DC, but for amazing organic vegan fare Great Sage Vegan restaurant is  a must. This comfort food-inspired restaurant features plant based entrees ranging from light to lightly battered. The avocado kale hash and gobi Manchurian--battered cauliflower florets with chiles, cumin and ginger, served with stewed black lentils and green pea-coconut jasmine rice-- are perfect for cooler nights.



The Best in Digital LA City Guides

We've pushed out the timeline a bit on our LA VitalGuide, so in the interim, to get a fix of healthy LA - here are some of our favorite digital LA city guides.

Goop's LA Wellness Weekend Itinerary covers all of our favorites in a long weekend format. Clean vegan eats, massage, surf lessons, old school gym time and a healing tonic or two.

Skinny Confidential's LA Mini Delites is a mini guide focused on food that mentions the best after-dinner activity in LA, the Magic Castle.

And who better to recommend city-wide vegan eats than Chef Tal Ronnen of West Hollywood's Crossroads?

The Best Sound Baths in the Bay Area

The Bay Area's Best Sound Baths

Sound Healing has become the wellness modality de la mode, ever since Gwyneth put it on the wellness map in 2016. Part meditation and part other-worldly nap, ‘sound baths’ (claw-footed porcelain and water are not part of the equation) are sound meditation sessions during which students sit or lay (or sometimes move!) with eyes closed and bathe in healing sounds and vibrations produced by crystal bowls, tuning forks and and rainforest sticks. Devotees claim its benefits include easing everything from chronic pain and digestive issues to stress and depression. If aural healing sounds like just the ticket you need to quiet that monkey mind, we’ve rounded up the five best sound healing practitioners in the Bay Area, from Baker Beach to Emeryville.

Monthly Full Moon Ceremony with Abigail Tyler

Abigail Tyler throws a multi-sensory monthly celebration to welcome the new moon and set new intentions for the upcoming month. Evenings includes a discussion of the new moon and its astrological implications, breathwork, chanting and sound healing using chimes, rattles, a Chilean Cactus Rain Stick and a variety of singing bowls. A final call and response vocal release exercise takes sound healing to the next level to let go of any lingering anxiety or stress. // 548 Fillmore St. (San Francisco) thecentersf.com/

Square One - Third Friday Sound Bath

Missy Felsenstein is Square One’s resident sound healing expert who hosts a monthly sound experience at the El Cerrito location. Paiste gongs and quartz singing bowls are played throughout an hour-long ‘sound savasana’ meant to relieve tension in the body and promote deep rest. Missy also leads weekly combo yoga and sound bath classes around the East Bay, with themes ranging from restorative to mindful movement. // 9951 San Pablo Ave (El Cerrito)

Sound Meditation SF

A local sound healing outfit that follows the vibrational-healing philosophy of Nada Yoga, Sound Meditation SF hosts monthly sound bath at gorgeous Grace Cathedral and rotating experiences at venues like the Conservatory of Flowers using Tibetan. Students lay in Savasana pose while the instructor uses gongs, crystal singing bowls, shamanic drums and chimes to create healing vibrations. // Rotating (San Francisco) soundmeditationsf.com/

Outdoor Yoga SF

A meditative sound experience from those new to the practice or who looking for a little movement, Outdoor Yoga SF is a ‘silent disco yoga’ during which yogis listen to healing tunes via headphones throughout beautiful outdoor spaces around the Bay Area, including Baker Beach and Chrissy Field. // Rotating (San Francisco and East Bay) outdooryogasf.com/

Resonate- Sound Heals

If you’re looking to experience sound healing with a rotating roster of SF’s most experienced ‘sonic practitioners’, Halcyon’s new Thursday night sound experience might be your new happy hour. One-hour sessions range from pure sound baths to yoga and sound, depending on the specialty of the evening’s instructor. Classes are currently running through May, and possibly into summer. // 314 11th St. (San Francisco) halcyon-sf.com

This story originally ran in 7x7. Check out more of our local SF stories for 7x7 here!


Trying Cryotherapy for the First Time

Last week, we lost our Cryotherapy Vcard. At the only full-body cryochamber in North America (not even our eyeballs were spared). Here’s how it went:

As part of a BC adventure, I stayed at the spa-centric Sparkling Hill Resort. About 45 minutes north of Kelowna in Vernon, even the non-cryochamber temp at the resort is approximately one million times colder than the W+A HQ in San Francisco. The inside of the main cold chamber is actually the coldest place on earth, at -190 Fahrenheit. Of my 24 hours on-property, this was my favorite/strangest/most challenging wellness experience.

If you’ve never tried cryo, it’s cold. Colder than you think. If you are used to cold winters (in Antarctica), maybe it won’t be as much of a shock to the system, but for me it was such a swing from anything I’m used to that it was almost out of body. My limbs lost feeling in about 15 seconds, I became a little disoriented around the 1.5 minute mark, and was ready to jump out around 2 minutes. The whole process takes three minutes and the only reason I remained in for the final minute was because my cryo spirit guide and Sparkling Hill staffer Jeanette (who does the treatment twice a day with no headband or double bagged gloves - BALLER) was so nonplussed about the whole and I didn’t want her thinking this Californian wellness ‘expert’ couldn’t handle the chill.

After the three minutes were up and I thawed out, I felt amazing. Alive, vibrant, not cold, generally stoked. My defrosting high was real. The most interesting part of the process, for me, was what happened to a new and pesky lower back pain that I developed after a multi-week SoulCycle binge. Bike settings must not have been right. The day after cryo, it felt worse - magnified and tweaky at every twist and stair. The day after that, though, it disappeared. In every workout since then, from lifting to barre to dance cardio) I haven’t noticed it AT ALL. Weird, possibly coincidence, but also totally possibly due to cryotherapy.

How it all works:

According to Sparkling Hill, ‘the blood vessels build a protection zone to maintain core body temperature. The effect is that during and after the cold treatment the nervous and circulatory systems are given a boost. The chamber is dry cold which makes it less uncomfortable than the equivalent in Antarctica -  which never gets this cold. In the fully-monitored chamber wearing light clothing, socks and shoes, a protective head band, face mask and gloves, the skin temperature drops to 5°C.’ The first treatment is $45, and a 10-pack is $300 CAD.

Its benefits are not exactly proven but people from professional athletes to crossfitters and those looking to keep deeper wrinkles at bay espouse its benefits. All I know is that my back is feeling great and I normally start layering parkas at sub 50F, so it’s a big win for me!

Irish Road Tripping: Seaweed Baths, Rural Perfumeries and Plant-Based Castle Dinners

A drive across the Emerald Isle, shacking up at off-the-beaten-path castle resorts and dining at sweet vegan eateries in between spa appointments, is now one of our all-time favorite glam-casual adventures. Starting and ending in Dublin, with at least one pint of Guinness (it’s going vegan in 2017!) and a lot of drop-in yoga along the way, we winded through Sligo, Donegal and Galway on a wellness-themed trek.

Getting there

Ireland’s Aer Lingus started three new non-stop flights from the US in 2016: from Los Angeles, Hartford and Newark. It’s also launching a direct flight from Miami later in 2017. When returning home, a handy pre-clearance in Dublin and Shannon airports mean no customs lines at your home airport when you’re schlepping Duty Free goodies while sleepwalking.


Set up camp at historic, glamorous Shelbourne or boutique and charming Brooks Hotel for centrally located digs. The Shelbourne is steps from Stephen’s Green park and massive (pedestrian-only) shopping thoroughfare Grafton Street, as well as vegan-friendly wine bar Peploe’s. Brooks is located on indie shop-lined Drury Street, as well as a five minute walk from vegetarian Cornucopia restaurant and 15 minutes from the Guinness Storehouse.

And speaking of the Storehouse, The Guinness Storehouse tour may have been around for ages, but is still wildly popular with visitors and a fair amount of locals. A post-tour pint at the top of the Gravity Bar with 360 degree views of the city below is the ultimate touristy indulgence.

Vegan dining in Dublin is easy peasy: Cornucopia is cute for casual lunch for dine-in or to go before hitting the road. If a slightly dressier three-course dinner is more your speed, Fallon & Byrne grocery has an upstairs bistro that serves a vegan menu (in addition to non-veg version) with items including a celeriac and apple salad and roasted cauliflower. After dinner, a night with the famed Literary Bar Crawl is a necessity. Over the course of three hours (and up to four Guinnesses if you have on at each stop) you can get what feels like an entire semester’s worth of Dublin history performed, often in first-person and from the perspective of historic figures like Oscar Wilde, by two locals who live and breathe Irish history.


After a day or two of city living, hit the road three hours north to country castle Lough Eske (pronounced Lock Esk) for grounds and interiors so stunning you best swap out your American athleisure for something more befitting a 17th century castle. Lough Eske does a pan-European tasting menu with risotto, falafel and seasonal salads in their Cedar’s Grill restaurant, but the real star are the forest estate’s 43 acres of manicured gardens, walking paths and fireside nooks.


A visit to Voya’s seaside spa for seaweed-based treatments is a necessary Irish wellness experience. The location alone, on the Atlantic coast and just over an hour from Lough Eske, is ridiculously romantic - stunning on a sunny day and so brooding and lush on a more likely rainy day.

Voya uses a number of different seaweeds, all hand-harvested, throughout their various spa treatments. The signature is their seaweed bath, during which you hop into a steamy claw-footed tub filled with local seaweeds that fill the bath with the weeds’ gel-like goo. Amazing for the skin, detoxifying and so relaxing, the seaweed baths leave you feeling as jelly-like the goo itself. More relaxed than is probably safe, stumble about 200 yards to the Drafthouse Gastro Pub, where they offer a number of vegan options for dinner and dessert that change each evening. On the way out of town, hitting the health-focused vegan and gluten-free eatery Sweet Beat Cafe in the center of Sligo town makes for a quick, nutrient-rich breakfast. This eatery has won national awards for its raw and cooked cuisine, so be sure to stock up a vegan version of the Full Irish (a traditional breakfast often featuring bacon, eggs, and sausage), bean and avocado spelt toasts.


Two hours south of Sligo, Galway is one of Ireland’s older cities and a key stop for some of the country’s coziest pubs. The best meal of our trip was here, at the non-vegan Kai restaurant. Don’t let the regular menu fool you - the vegan tasting menu is out.of.this.world. Just give them a 24 hour heads up to have it ready. It is way too much food, and yet we finished every bite. Everything is local and perfectly prepared and so creative.

Dromoland Castle

Dromoland is about an hour’s drive south, with a very (very) worthy pitstop being the Burren perfumery and tea shop. The Burren is a crazy section of Ireland that we can’t even begin to describe other than that it feels like you’re on the moon and we hope you’ve gotten used to driving on the other side of the road, because the unpaved ones leading here are not for novices.

Once you arrive, Dromoland Castle is even Castle-ier than Lough Eske. If Lough Eske is your Irish country castle escape for hiking, dressing up and late night drinks by the fire, Dromoland is your ‘which century am I in and I can’t believe this is a real place’ labyrinthine castle for old-school styled fine dining, great spa treatments and a maybe some late night ‘The Crown’ binge-watching with Guinness delivered in-room. Rooms vary greatly, and the corner suites that look out to the grounds on two sides are the ones to nab.


50 Shades of Self-Care this February


Show yourself for the rest of this month. 

February is the month of #selfcare. And while we may have been thinking about our S.O. and the perfect VDay gift at the beginning of this month, now is the time to invest a bit more time in ourselves.

Turning attention inward and 'spending' time and energy on YOU rather than others can seem decadent and a little naughty (even thought it's absolutely necessary). That’s why we've created a ‘50 Shades’ themed list of indulgent self-love ideas for our friends at employee wellness perks company HealthKick, and are sharing with you here. So start reading and give yourself the love you deserve the rest of this month!

  1. Get your vitamin game in order - try Care/of’s personalized vitamin packs for chicly packaged and super clean vitamins and supplements

  2. Drink more water. Commit to drinking your weight in ounces of water each day.

  3. Get a massage. San Francisco's Remede Spa in the St Regis offers a deep tissue and hot stone therapy massage that will melt tight muscles. Or try an on-demand massage service like Zeel for a 60-minute Swedish session without stepping foot outside your home.

  4. Eat more greens. Have a big salad at least once per day, the rest of the month, and it will become a habit.

  5. Eat those greens even when you’re rushing around or on the road. ALOHA makes yummy individually packed greens powders that can be added to water no matter how far you are from the nearest salad bar.

  6. Turn up the heat on your yoga practice. Especially when it’s chilly outside, a hot yoga class can be a great way to dial up your cardio and flexibility. Try Core Power anywhere, Ritual in SF, Hot8 in LA for starters.

  7. Prepare a decadent dinner for one. Completely completely from vegetables. If you need a little inspiration (or fully prepared foods delivered to your door), check out Hungryroot’s carrot noodles with tangy sriracha peanut and almond chickpea cookie dough.

  8. Get yourself the gift of a morning workout. If you need suggestions, check out our city guides.

  9. That morning workout can even be a twenty minute walk to grab a morning tea or coffee and back. While you’re at it, tune into a Headspace guided meditation to get your zen on.  

  10. And don’t forget about a post-workout morning smoothie. Try out different smoothie combinations to discover new favorite flavors. For some expert help, try Greenblender’s smoothie subscription.

  11. Switch out your morning coffee for an antioxidant-packed matcha latte or an adaptogen-based latte like turmeric.

  12. Explore a new indoor workout, even if you normally swear by sweating in the great (urban) outdoors.

  13. Replace your nightly glass of wine for a glass of kombucha once or twice per week. We heart Health-Ade or Revive.

  14. Have a date night with coconut oil - cover your body, face and hair in the good stuff and then make a coconut-inspired dinner for one like a coconut curry with zoodles.

  15. Splurge on a trend-setting fitness classes you’ve been wanting to take.

  16. Treat your feet to a massage dedicated entirely to them, sometimes we forget how much work they do.

  17. But your hands could probably use some love, too, so take them out for a nice mani, too.

  18. Along with that mani, get a Friday morning blowout, without the stress of getting to the salon, by using an on-demand beauty booking app like PRIV or BeGlammed.

  19. Give your punam a facial’s facial with laser combo treatments and microcurrent therapy at spas like SkinSpa New York.

  20. If you’ve never tried it before, give wellness coaching a go to develop a positive personal narrative.

  21. Spice it up in the kitchen. Learn a new trick or two with the help of a gourmet meal kit service like Purple Carrot or Blue Apron.

  22. While you’re at it, clean up your spice drawer to make sure all is still fresh and that you have plenty of good-for-you herbs on hand.

  23. And give your fridge the same treatment - remove anything that won’t help on your wellness path and replace it with healthier versions that inspire you.

  24. Think about your beauty from the inside out by trying skin and hair supporting supplements, like those included in the new beauty pack by WellPath.

  25. Send yourself flowers. Or just grab a bouquet on the way into Trader Joe’s.

  26. Workout in your underwear, in the comfort of your own home, using a streaming fitness service like Cody App, Fit Plan or Grokker.com. Bye, inhibitions.

  27. Pack yourself healthy lunches using your favorites healthy flavors, or in a pinch order up from healthy lunch delivery services like Good Meal.

  28. Get a fitness form tune up from a personal trainer. Find one you love at your gym, or ditch the membership fees and connect with one who aligns with your goals at findyourtrainer.com.

  29. Organize your fitness apparel drawer, out with the old and everything else in its place.

  30. And treat yourself to a new piece of gear, you deserve it.

  31. Have a dance party for one in your living room.

  32. Think about your favorite cocktail, then Google how to make it lower in sugar and better for you.

  33. Make meditation a priority. The Path in New York and Unplug in Los Angeles offer great classes for beginners and those who want to deepen an existing practice.

  34. If you’re not in a meditation savvy city, explore the world of digital mindfulness via the many apps out there. Find one you love and commit to meditating each morning for at least five minutes for one week.

  35. Scrub that winter skin. DIY a sugar scrub at home, or take yourself out to a Korean spa for a thorough exfoliation.

  36. After, draw a bath and luxuriate in your favorite essential oils.

  37. Hit the stairs. They are awesome for your tush, cardio system and getting some fresh air. Bonus: they’re free.

  38. Clear your voicemail queue.

  39. If you’re already a spin pro, take your resistance to the next level with an added challenge like the new Pelo in SF or underwater cycling at Aqua in New York.

  40. Reinvigorate your oral hygiene routine. Companies like Tulip are revolutionizing oral health with cutting edge toothpastes and brushes.

  41. Unsubscribe from any email newsletters that no longer serve you.

  42. While you’re online, book yourself a health-focused getaway to somewhere you’ve never been. For trip planning ideas, check out Escape to Shape.

  43. Unplug once per week, for at least an hour. No phone, computer, television.

  44. Journal, just the good stuff. Write down achievements, however small, compliments you may have heard throughout the day and challenges you’ve overcome.

  45. Stretch! Develop a stretching practice at home, at your desk, at the gym. Cody App has a great stretching program with Ashley Galvin.

  46. Say ‘no’ to obligations that won’t inspire or help you on your journey. Your time is valuable.

  47. Same goes for social media accounts you currently follow. Remember, your time is valuable.

  48. Create a sanctuary at home for just you. You can use comfy pillows, artwork from a favorite trip, textures that calm.

  49. Develop a daily tea ritual - have an energizing cup to start the day or a soothing one made of herbs to wind down.

  50. Take yourself out to a movie. 50 Shades or other.

Last Minute, Vegan-Friendly Valentine's Day Tasting Menus!

Last Minute Valentine's Day Inspo, from Casual to All-out

It's not a birthday or anniversary, or one of those holidays we all get the day off for, so waiting until the last minute to book dinner for a semi-faux holiday happens. So pull it together, read on, then head over to Opentable.com and get ready pony up for the good bottle of bubbles and embrace the cheesiness of VDay tasting menus!

From low-mai to high, here are four slam dunk last minute VDay dinner destination ideas we shared with our friends at VegNews.com


Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit

This Valentine’s Day, Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit is offering a tasting menu inspired by meals Frida Kahlo prepared for her lover Diego Rivera. Dishes include a raw coconut ceviche, corn sopes with black beans, Mayan Pibil with marinated wild mushrooms, and a Colima lemon cheesecake with agave honey and freeze dried fruits. The tasting menu is included in the nightly rate, which start at $393 per person.

San Francisco

Tamarind Hall, Thai Street Food & Bar

Authentic Thai comfort food, inspired by street vendors in Thailand, are offered this V-day at this part cocktail bar, part Thai restaurant. For $25 per person, a tasting menu includes fresh rice paper rolls, a Curry-osity curry sampler, a basil eggplant stir fry, and a sticky rice with mango dessert.


The Acorn Restaurant

The award-winning, vegetable-forward Acorn restaurant is vegan and gluten-free. This Valentine’s Day, a three-course prix fixe is $50 per person, with optional wine pairing at an additional $25, and will include long-standing favorites like the kale salad with tempeh and creamy vegan Caesar. Check out the Acorn site for the final V-day menu.


Sushi Garage

Executive Chef Sunny Oh’s Sushi Garage restaurant in Sunset Harbour works just as well for a group of friends celebrating Galentines Day over shared vegan sushi, or romantic partners going big with bubbles and custom rolls. Valentine’s specials include a Chef’s Choice vegan sushi mix for $32, as well as pink drinks such as a bottle of Moet Chandon Imperial Rose for $120 or a Strawberry Crush cocktail for $12.

Tried + Tested: The Best Fitness Apps for Home + Travel

Credit: Cody App

Credit: Cody App

For the price of one boutique fitness class (often less), you can now get access to nearly a bazillion expert-led workouts via app and web.  I just recently became a believer after researching what felt like allll the fitness apps under the sun as a contributor to 7x7's 2017 Wellness Guide. Weeks after turning in my story, I found myself returning to a few app-based ways to sweat and realized they were really helping with a 2017 personal goal of workout consistency and creativity. 

As someone who is regularly trying new workouts in new places (and who generally just craves variety when it comes to fitness), finding consistency among the trend-chasing has been a challenge. The following five digital fitness platforms are my new at-home and on-the-road go-tos, helping me not only with consistency but also to push myself further on solo workouts. 


The only app with no visuals, Aaptiv also happens to be the most natural to use. Audio-based and covering three main categories: run (tread + outdoors), strength and yoga; Aaptiv covers the bases for a general workout regimen from beginner to pro. Propping up a phone or tablet at either a home or public gym can be awkward for me, and I've found that Aaptiv's audio instruction model played over a motivating background soundtrack is simpler and allows more focus for the workout at-hand. Class difficulty is color-coded, and the instructors vary in style from pretty chill to all-business. To download, use code WellandAway for a month free.


Handy at home for last minute workouts, Zenrez is an amazing tool for finding day-of boutique fitness and yoga, especially when traveling, and at a nice discount. When there’s not enough time pre-trip to research all of the local fitness studios, Zenrez is an easy way to browse and book into classes nearby. Starting at 9pm on workout-eve, the Zenrez system populates with available classes to book the next day at discounts of up to around 30%. It's also a fun way to explore new studios at home.


I am always curious to know more about the workout routines behind the physiques of Instagram's most followed fitness personalities. While I think we all know that genetics (and sometimes a medical tweak or two) can play a part as much as diet and exercise, it’s impossible not to wonder, for instance, ‘What would happen to my ass if I tried Jen Selter’s personal workout program for 30 days?' Fitplan provides the tools to find out just that with 30-90 day programs for Full Body Blast, Summer Shred and of course Jen Selter’s Lower Body and Booty Guide. Each plan is a subscription that you commit to for a specified duration, and daily workouts are broken down into reps and sets with a short demo video showing each move. Use code WELLANDAWAY30 for a month free.

Cody App

I have recently become addicted to Cody App. I started with Kino McGregor’s Ashtanga bundle, then moved into her handstand bundle, then into a little Acroyoga series binge one weekend when my fiancé obliged, and then into Ashley Galvin’s flexibility series - my new favorite. Cody has been around for four years, but somehow it’s new to me. And it's forever changed my at-home and hotel room workout routines. It’s great for traveling to places that don’t have the exact style of yoga or fitness classes you’re looking for, so instead of spending $20+ on a class, you can spend the same on a series of classes with people like Kino. Classes remain in your account forever, as Cody is not subscription-based and more of an iTunes model for purchasing individual classes (or a bundle of classes). New users can enter code WELLANDAWAY for 30% off of their first purchase.


The platform behind the majority of your boutique fitness (and yoga and wellness) class bookings, MindBody, has a surprisingly handy app for booking and discovering new classes. Notifications also share news of nearby studios that might be of interest. And unlike any other booking app, you can manage nearly all of your class reservations through their platform rather than toggling between a handful of studios


Have you tried any of these apps? What did you think?? Let us know in the comments below. 

VitalGuide mini: Los Angeles

Crossroads on Melrose

VitalGuide mini: Los Angeles

As we head into the final stages of production on the Los Angeles VitalGuide (pre-order live!), we thought now would be the perfect time to share our first VitalGuide mini edition. As often as we can, we will share the tip top of the iceberg of a favorite city. This handful of city stops are a small selection of our fave detour-worthy destinations.


A Votre Sante - 13016 San Vicente Blvd, Brentwood
Tucked away on the outer edge of the residential-feeling Brentwood Country Mart, A Votre Sante has been adored as the ultimate casual, healthy brekkie spot by celebs and civilians for years. Whatever you do, order at least one blue corn banana pancake.


Crossroads - 8284 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood
Tal Ronnen's power vegan spot is booked up nightly by healthy Hollywood and food bloggers. Lunch is a touch less busy, giving you a leg up on scoring a coveted booth for devouring the kale Caesar.


Gracias Madre - 8905 Melrose Ave, West Hollywood
Bring enough friends to try everything on the menu at this plant-based WeHo take on Mexican dining, and nab a table outdoors for the ultimate in casual glam ambiance.


Sweat Garage - 801 North Fairfax, Hollywood
The interval-heavy workout here varies each class, but the focus on hardcore strength and cardio are always at the heart of each session. Intervals are split between treadmill sprints, lifting/bodyweight work, and other drills to keep the cardio coming.


YogaWorks Venice - 2215 Main Street, Santa Monica
Yes, we know YogaWorks is a chain, but it all started in Santa Monica. And yogis Vinnie Marino and Christa Cahill are just two of superstar instructors who call this studio home. Packed classes are a touch cult-y in the most fabulous way.

++Airport tip: Plant-based Cobb salad at Larder at Tavern, Tom Bradley terminal; Starbucks new Evenings concept serving wine and craft beer also at Tom Bradley. And don’t forget your Moon Juice dusts on the way out of town!


Vegan Road Trip Must-Haves

As Californian cold-pressed juice fiends may already know, Juicero has changed the game for at-home juicing in our fine state. But could the Juicero Press go from well + home to well + away?  Last week on a NorCal road trip from SF to South Tahoe's new Coachman Hotel we put it to the test by packing a Juicero Press along with hiking gear and our favorite car-friendly snacks for a plant-powered road trip from San Francisco to Lake Tahoe.  

Here are our favorite road trip essentials, from hydration (hello, altitude change) to veggie-friendly protein bars (because you never know when you’ll see your next tempeh burger).

Pre-packed Veggies

Pre-packed veggies like organic baby carrots, broccoli florets or kale chips are hydrating, nutrient-rich and great for dipping into your road trip dip of choice. Trader Joe’s is a pre-road trip go-to to stock up on veggies that have all the crunch of a chip, without the preservatives or crumbs!

DIY Hummus

Prepping your own takes less than 10 minutes and the taste is beyond anything you can buy. When making your own, use your cold-pressed oil of choice, steering clear of the often over-processed canola oils used in supermarket brands. Just give the following ingredients a whirl in your blender and your fellow road-trippers will thank you: chickpeas, olive oil, tahini, garlic, lemon and a pinch of salt.

ZICO coconut water

Hydration is key at higher altitudes, especially when trekking between Tahoe's lakes and peaks. Keeping water bottles filled with H20 is the most important, but stashing some coconut water in the trunk keeps you hydrated and loaded up on potassium and electrolytes. It's also handy for mixing with juice and a splash of booze for a conscious happy hour. We're loving ZICO's new not-from-concentrate bottles, especially for this Indian summer.

Aloha protein bars

Aloha makes some of the cleanest bars around, clocking in at 18 grams of pumpkin seed and pea proteins. Sweetened with tapioca syrup and monk fruit extract and made creamy with cashew butter, they satisfy a sweet tooth as well as they fill you up. Our top pick is the Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip flavor.

Flourless, Thumbprint Breakfast Cookies

Packing hearty snacks to grab while sitting in traffic, running out the door or before hitting the trail can save a morning on the road. The night before leaving, prep Angela Liddon’s Thumbprint Breakfast Cookies, made from mainly oats, flax and banana, for the easiest carb-up ever. Top them with a dollop of jam or peanut butter to turn them into a sweet treat.

Philosophie Coconut Butter

Continental breakfasts can be tough for our plant-based friends when the only veg options are plain toast and dry cereal. This is why we always pack a jar of Philosophie Coconut Dream, preferably in Green Dream flavor. Made of coconut butter, maple syrup and Philosophie’s Green Dream superfood powder, we spread it all over our toast, mix it into our coffee for a twist on Bulletproof Coffee, or eat it by the spoonful on the road.

Juicero + Your Fave Produce Packs

Nothing is more luxurious than waking up surrounded by the great outdoors and getting to make your own cold-pressed juice while still half asleep. This was our first road trip with a Juicero in the trunk of our car, and it was SO worth the extra five minutes of packing and unpacking. The Coachman Inn had space and outlets aplenty to plug in our Juicero Press, so we made our own fresh-pressed juice in the morning, took some Beta Glow out for a hike in a mason jar, had a Sweet Greens happy hour and shared with some with new friends. Traveling with our Press is now a long weekend must!

This story originally appeared on the Juicero blog. Let us know about your favorite healthy road trip essentials in the comments below.


Seed + Salt's Mo Clancy on SF's Best Chocolate Chip Cookie and Living Her Cleanest Life

Seed + Salt is San Francisco's first healthy, plant-based dining destination. The restaurant has become a vibrant, healthy living staple in the city, both for the lucky local Marina neighbors and those who happily schlep across town in weekday morning traffic for an other-worldly frittata. Its eco-sexy interiors and selection of 'classic-with-a-twist' dishes from scones to cookies to cobb salads are the vision of clean-living advocate Mo Clancy. Mo's shared her top picks for where to get well in San Francisco's Marina neighborhood, her go-to weeknight meal and her favorite NorCal roadtrip destination. 

Seed + Salt was such a dining game changer when it opened, what inspired the concept?

Well, opening Seed + Salt was never really my plan. I discovered there was a need for it while I was spending a lot of time in LA and NY and experiencing all of these healthy food options that we didn’t have at home in San Francisco. I was standing at the salad bar at Whole Foods one day thinking ‘is this all I can get?’ I really just started traveling and researching with the idea in mind, finding a lot of innovating things but nothing was what i wanted.

There were three things that were really important to me that I couldn’t find: convenience so I could grab clean and plant-based food without having to sit down and order, dishes that tasted like real food and not overly healthy, and third I wanted familiar menu items that people could recognize. Like our amazing chocolate chip cookie that is so simple, delicious and clean. I put the intention out there and things picked up speed quickly. I met chefs who helped me develop a menu, found some great vendors, on from there and the next thing i knew I had a restaurant!

What’s next for you guys?

We’re expanding our baked good program, which is not only vegan but gluten free and refined sugar free as well. We just introduced a super chocolate-y cupcake with chocolate frosting that is truly amazing and sells out most days. On the savory side, we will have new bowls and savory oatmeals. We’re also going to be introducing packaged goods that people can grab and go with like our gluten-free chia bread and baked yam chips.

What are some of your favorite wellness destinations in the Marina neighborhood?

I love our that our restaurant is in the Marina. In terms of my favorite food and juice in the area outside of the restaurant, Happy Moose Juice is a must. It is some of the best juice out there and we sell a ton of it at Seed + Salt. The other go-to I have for dining when I’m away from work is delivery from Thistle. They deliver clean, organic and mostly vegan food all over SF.

As for spa, I love SenSpa in the Presidio, they have some of the best masseuses in the city. I recently started floating at Reboot, the float spa. In terms of beauty, I’ve been spending a lot of time at Credo which has been a great addition to the neighborhood! I’m really sensitive to toxic ingredients, but since I’ve started buying at Credo I’ve been able to buy all sorts of eyeliners and other makeup that isn’t too harsh on my skin. My friend Tata Harper, whose cheek tints I’m addicted, now sells her products there and has a spa within the shop.

Another maybe less expected wellness destination for me is the Green Cleaners on Fillmore. Dry cleaning can be so toxic and I look at using a green dry cleaner as another part of living a clean life.

What’s your favorite item on the menu right now? Who are some of your favorite vendors/producers you’re working with?

Picking a favorite menu item is like picking  a favorite child! Right now I could say some of my favorites are the new Greek Falafel Salad with lemon tahini dressing, baked quinoa falafel and so many veggies. The coconut ceviche is another great one made with tons of coconut meat, lime juice, big chunks of avocado and a side of our baked yam chips. We’ve just redone our breakfast sandwich and it’s now made with a wonderful walnut chorizo, thick slices of our chickpea frittata, sprouts and aioli. Our chocolate chip cookie will always be my favorite, and the neighborhood agrees as it’s consistently our top seller.

As far as some of our cool vendors, we work with coffee producer Proyecto Diaz who grow their coffee beans on their grandfather’s farm in Mexico and give back to the community. I love Ryan, who founded Happy Moose Juice and think their quality is so good. Rhizocali’s organic tempeh in Oakland makes our fabulous organic black bean tempeh and black eyed pea tempeh.

What’s your favorite meal to prepare at home, for yourself and your family?

I have a couple of standards that I make as part of a really clean, mostly plant-based diet. I typically prepare things earlier in the week that can be easily mixed together for a hearty bowl for the rest of the week. With a seven year old son and a business I just have to be able to throw dinner together but not eat the same thing each night. I also try to stay pretty seasonal and have a seasonal calendar in my kitchen that I try to stick to it.

On Sunday or Monday, I roast veggies like squash and broccoli, and and prepare a batch of brown rice. Then I’ll make some sauce options for the week like a chimichurri sauce similar to what we do at the restaurant. It’s a spanish pesto with red wine vinegar and spinach, with a little zing to it. I’ll also do a pimento aioli or a vinaigrette with olive oil, whole grain mustard, red wine vinegar and a touch of stevia or agave. I’ll throw any of these sauces onto vegetables with some salt and pepper, and cranberries for the vinaigrette for a hit of sweetness.

How does the Seed + Salt ethos extend into other areas - do you have favorite natural beauty destinations, or favorite vegan beauty products?

Really, I feel like our ethos is about living a clean lifestyle. Right now it’s a squishy term, but for me it means that food is sourced ethically and transparently. I search for things that are organic, non-toxic, non-GMO. I seek out the same things in life outside the restaurant that I do in our food products. When I’m looking at a beauty product, for instance, I check to see if it has parabens, where are ingredients sourced from, if it has synthetic fragrances, if it’s been tested on animals. It can apply to cleaning products, to paint on house, to fabrics that you wear.

Awareness is key. As an example, when you look at almond milk in the food industry, people don’t think twice about its contents and healthiness. Most almond milk producers though aren’t transparent about what's in their product. Only 2% of most of them is made of actual almonds, everything else is fillers. At Seed + Salt, we use only whole, pure almond milk. I would never feed our customers that kind of thing. We are very transparent and honest about what we use. That’s why people trust us.

Do you have a favorite detox program in SF or do you ever juice?

No matter how clean of a lifestyle you live, you’re still living in the real world and absorbing things that aren’t clean. Yes, I do detoxes, but I don’t really believe in juice cleanses and think they can be hard on the body. If I do a cleanse, I’ll drink juice and eat raw vegetables and fruits for a couple of days until I feel better. Or I’ll just do a full day of vegetable broth if I’m feeling sluggish. I’m a big believer in cleansing from the outside and do infrared saunas, epsom salt baths and clay baths regularly. As a personal philosophy, I feel that when you cleanse, you need to make sure you’re replenishing your body with minerals or whatever else it needs so you’re not subtracting from your body, you’re adding.

Where do you go when you can escape the city to recharge?

I love going to Point Reyes or Bolinas nearby. A little bit further out I love visiting Big Sur and staying at Deetjen’s Big Sur Inn. I’ll stay for a couple of days and go to Esalen. I used to go to Wilbur Hot Springs, it’s a natural hot springs and lodge that the miners used to go to from the 1800’s. I think they are currently repairing the property from a fire, so for now Deetjens Big Sur and Esalen have been my go-to special places.

What are some healthy restaurants that inspire you, outside of San Francisco?

There are so many. When I first started thinking of Seed + Salt I was looking at what Pure Food and Wine and Dirt Candy were doing in New York. More recently, I’ve been visiting LA and enjoying Matthew Kenney’s Plant Food and Wine, Crossroads for a regular dinner experience that just happens to be vegan food and I just visited Little Pine which was great.

How do you eat healthfully on the road? 

It gets hard but fortunately there are more and more options. I always take a bag of our granola. I’m not that much of a granola fan but our granola is a really good mix of savory and sweet. I’ll take that and our protein-rich oat tahini cookies because they are super satisfying. It’s like eating a delicious bowl of oatmeal in a cookie! And I also carry just a simple banana or an apple in place of a bar because I think those can be high in sugar or highly processed. That said, we are thinking of developing a low-sugar bar but we haven’t figure out what that is yet.


Dara Kennedy's Healthy SF Haunts and Travel Beauty Musts

Ayla is SF's personalized luxury beauty haven. Sourcing equally local products and those she has clocked serious mileage around the globe to find, Dara Kennedy is an industry vet who lives on the cutting edge of natural beauty. Meet Dara:

How did you come to open your luxe natural beauty shop Ayla?

I grew up in Hannover, New Hampshire, which is on the border of Vermont. It’s a beautiful, idyllic college town where I was surrounded by nature. The Appalachian Trail literally ran behind my house. When I was in college, I visited my brother who was in the Bay Area for grad school and I fell in love with the area.  I love that the city is surrounded by nature preserves, beaches, forests and mountains nearby.

I lived here first from 1999-2003 working as a buyer for Macy’s which was really how I discovered beauty retail. That said, I also learned that being a buyer wasn’t what I wanted to do yet. So I went to work for a dot com when they were first becoming a thing at the end of ‘99. It was really interesting to be a part of that world when people first started buying online. The company I was working for was a personalized gifting site, which gave me some inspiration for what would become Ayla. I then worked in advertising and ended up being hired by a beauty client and moving to NY to manage their global skincare business before going to business school. I was back east for seven years, but always knew that I would come back. My husband and I decided it was the right time to return to San Francisco when we were about to have a kid and couldn’t picture having one in New York. Everything really just came together at that time with his work and my work and the pregnancy.

Is there anything special or unique about how SF locals approach skincare/beauty?

It’s different in SF. What I love about the mindset here is that it’s very balanced. People take a broad range of approaches to beauty. Growing up in Hanover, if you were to go out in town wearing lipstick people would be like ‘what are you doing’? I've found that here it's so accepting and diverse when it comes to beauty. 

It's less trendy here than in New York, which suits me more. I also see in New York that there is a great movement toward using more natural products across the board, which is fantastic, but people can be a bit extreme about it. Here, women are interested in using more natural products but they are not driving themselves crazy with that effort. 

Who are the skincare experts in town you swear by?

I’ve been a client of Lori Anderson's since I first moved to San Francisco. I totally trust her with my skin and I’m really picky about facials. Kristina Holey is another expert I swear by and she opened less than a year ago. She has a really holistic, unique approach. Most facialists talk about what you’re putting on your skin and life stresses, but Kristina takes it to another level, inspiring people to really take better care of themselves. And she does these wonderful facial massages that are part of her philosophy.

What are your favorite local-made beauty lines/products?

Vintner’s Daughter is one of my all-time favorite products. April Gargiulo their founder lives between San Francisco and Napa. She only has one product, an all-in-one anti-aging serum called Active Botanical Serum. This type of product is great because it packs a lot of great ingredients into one step, and you can use it regardless of skin type.

The only really tough thing about moving back here was what the moisture and fog do to my hair. So I’ve discovered local hair care lines like EVOLVh. I specifically love their Ultra Shine shampoo and conditioner.  It performs and feels like a conventional shampoo and conditioner. Reverie is another local one that I like. It’s made in Sausalito, although the company is LA-based. I especially love their MILK, a leave-in conditioner. It’s been formulated by a skincare specialist, so it isn’t sticky, and you can apply to wet or dry hair. It’s so versatile.

Are you into detoxing at all via treatments, juices, etc? Who/which brands do you rely on for this?

Lately I’ve been into detoxing my brain. I’m running a business and have two small kids, so things are crazy. The way we live our lives now, with email and texts coming at us from the moment we wake up, puts a lot of pressure on our brain. I love how our Ayla neighbor Juniper Meditation Center teaches meditation. I’ve had a keen interest in it since discovering meditation in a yoga teacher training I took in New York. But for a long time, I thought that I wasn’t doing it right or well. At Juniper, there is something so approachable and accepting about the way they teach. Sometimes I only do it for 5-10 minutes a day, but it’s made such a difference in my stress levels and my responses to people in tough situations. When I don’t do it, my mind feels much more crowded.

I haven’t done a full-fledged detox in the classic sense in a long time. It’s tough to do with small kids, at least if you want to eat the same things they do. But once a year I’ll use the Organic Pharmacy Detox Kit. First I’ll clean up my diet a little bit, then I'll start the system which includes detox capsules that help get digestion running smoothly, drops that support the kidneys and liver and this wonderful detox cellulite body oil that I think is really helpful in detoxing from the outside in. It’s a relatively easy system and pretty much anyone can fit it into their life.

Do you have a favorite local workout?

I love Sarah Pascual’s one-hour vinyasa class at YogaWorks. It’s hard to fit anything longer than that into my day at the moment! She heats the room so it’s easy to get warmed up. She uses these peppermint essential oils, which is such a simple thing but make such a difference. And the way she sequences the class is really good. I also do a lot of walking in the Presidio, because I find that walking in nature really helps ground me. I read an article in WSJ a few years ago about how walking aids problem solving. I think it’s called involuntary attention. I love doing it and that it's a double benefit of body and mind fitness.

Where do you go to recharge?

My favorite place to recharge is the Presidio. The woods there remind me of home in New Hampshire, and I love that it’s so accessible.

Outside of the city, I love Paris. On my last trip, I found these really cute little places to eat that were fantastic. I was traveling solo and they were so easy to visit alone: Cafe Pinson and, on a recommendation from Kristina Holey, Au Passage, where I sat at the bar and had a glass of cold red wine and a bowl of sweet potato with feta, salsa verde, and these delicious crispy black rice things on top. The food was amazing and especially at Cafe Pinson it was so healthy. I would go there every day if it were in SF.

Closer to home, I love Big Sur. You can’t go wrong with any of the places there. Post Ranch Inn is one of the most beautiful places on earth.

What does an ideal weekend look like?

Since my husband and I have a two year old and a four year old, weekends are centered around them, and one of our favorite places has become the Bay Area Discovery Museum right across the bridge. It’s on the water and is a good combination of indoor and outdoor activities. They also have a great little healthy cafe.

I love going to the beach because my kids love it and there is something really calming about the water. That’s another thing about SF, there are so many great beaches and easy access to the water. The beach at Crissy Field is such an easy one to get to. Fitzgerald Marine Reserve is also great and has some really interesting wildlife. As a family, we also love going on little hikes in the Presidio together, too. It’s amazing that it’s right here in the middle of the city.

For food, whenever I can get away with taking everyone there together, I love the food at Seed + Salt. Their flatbreads are amazing and I’m kind of addicted to them. An ideal weekend would also include a yoga class - this hasn’t happened in a long time, but it would be ideal!

The kitchen is my happy place in our house, and I love the fact that my kids are getting into cooking as well. On the weekends, I love to cook with them. They stand together on a "learning tower" that we pull up to the kitchen island, and I can offload annoying kitchen tasks like pulling the leaves off parsley stems that, to them, seem fun and exciting. Sometimes we'll bake brownies or oatmeal shortbread, but usually it's just daily dinner prep.

When you're traveling, which products do you take in your carry-on?

I find that what my skin needs changes a lot. I don’t have a go-to set of skincare products that I have ready in a travel kit because what I need changes so much. On my most recent trip I had Vintner’s Daughter which works for a wide range of climates and always makes your skin look glowy and bright. We carry a great English all-purpose balm called Pommade Divine that I usually make myself a little pot of and bring. I nearly always have Luzern Lab’s Firming Collagen Booster. It layers really nicely, and it helps give your skin this plump and rested look. I always have my EVOLVh shampoo and conditioner and my MILK for my hair. Oh and another thing I always bring is my Ellis Brooklyn Fable scent. Those Ellis Brooklyn scents are great because they're phthalate-free and smell like fine fragrances, not like your typical essential oil blend. When I went to Italy for work the other week I packed a huge pack of detox bath called Voya Lazy Days. Everyone in my family had been fighting a cold, so on my first night in Florence I took a bath with this seaweed detox soak. Voya is headquartered on the north west coast of Ireland which is really pure and unpolluted. They have about 150 miles of coastline where they hand-harvest and process the seaweed really fast, within two hours, to preserve the minerals and activity within. The soak itself is just a bag of this seaweed with some salt. It makes me sweat more than I do at the gym. If you know you need to detox on the road, it’s not the most outlandish thing to bring.

Do you have an in-flight beauty routine when traveling longer distances?

I keep it pretty simple; I don’t wear any makeup. I try to use a good barrier-protecting cream, like M Picaut’s Calming Cocoon Cream, on top of a hyaluronic acid serum, like BioRecept’s Total Lift Eclat. That keeps my face really plump and hydrated. Ursa Major makes these wipes that we’re going to carry at Ayla soon; you can just run it across your face to refresh and I used it at the end of a flight to Frankfurt recently. It’s really refreshing and just takes that gross airplane film off of your skin.

What are your favorite wellness rituals while traveling?

I take these crazy three-day trips to Europe to scope out products, so I swear by a Bach Flower remedy I found in Paris for jet lag. I love it so much that we’re starting to carry it this summer. It’s called Voyages Elixir by Les Fleurs de Bach, and I will not do one of those crazy trips without it anymore. I didn’t take it on my most recent one, and I was a jet-lagged disaster! They also make one for stress and one for sleep. And they make one that is their version of Rescue Remedy, but it’s actually better. They're such a crazily passionate little company that makes Bach Flower, according to the original recipes using only organic extracts. A lot of other companies have started cutting corners, but this one really go to great lengths. 

Aside from products, I also try to walk as much as possible, and I meditate every night for 5 minutes. While traveling, actually, I can also meditate in the morning, which is a treat. At home, I’m usually woken up by a toddler and morning meditation just isn’t an option. But I can't wait to travel with them when they are a little older!


The BEST Spring Sunday with W+A and the COMPANY

Very Vital Sunday Invite.001.jpeg

Sleep in, brunch up and get yourself over to the Presidio on Sunday, April 24 for Very Vital Sunday! This daytime dance party slash wellness afternoon with Well + Away and new dance-cardio studio the COMPANY will be the most healthy fun you've had on a Sunday afternoon. Sunday's festivities will include a signature COMPANY class, VitalGuides for all, beverages from KeVita, protein bars by Perfect Bar, a trunk show by fashion-forward local activewear company Akrovita and a few healthy surprises. Tickets are $30.

7x7 agrees with us and shared Very Vital Sunday in their weekender roundup of best ways to get your sweat on. Come join us for an afternoon workout, light bites, kombucha and mingling with new healthy friends. 

Grab a gal pal and snag your spot now!

SoMa’s Mint Studios Founder Elaine Hayes on Athletic Pilates, Bay Area Wellness and Workout out While Traveling


A classically trained instructor with an eye for form and a knack for taking students to the edge of their edge, Elaine Hayes' light, bright SoMa studio is not the place you'd expect your core to be on fire so much you sweat through your Lulu. After a challenging Saturday morning reformer session that somehow flew by, Elaine shared the history of Mint, her SF wellness secrets and the only workout tool you need to bring on vaca.

The Mint Studios Pilates method is equal parts technique and athlete, how did you put it together?

It was my ballet teacher in high school who first introduced me to Pilates after I’d been dancing for 13 years to keep myself injury free and reinforce alignment. I was taking a mat class once a week, but even that helped my dancing form. Once I left for college at UC Berkeley I stopped dancing but I stayed with Pilates, taking classes at studios all over town, and discovering the reformer.

Even after I finished school, while working in finance and through law school I was still taking Pilates and ended up getting certified to teach. My cert is in a classical format, which I loved because I learned about biomechanics, anatomy and rehabilitation, but the stronger I got the more I wanted a more intense workout from my traditional classes. What I had been doing started feeling a bit slow so I started taking athletically geared classes, but I was getting injuries and my form was compromised.

This is where the seed for Mint was planted. I started incorporating athletic elements into my reformer classes to see how I could challenge my clients further. My classes became known for being extremely effective by focusing on proper form, fluid movement, and including athletically-geared moves to offer a full body, killer workout. These classes gained a popular following at my home studio, and I was having to turn away new clients for lack of space in my schedule. When that happened, I realized I needed to open a commercial space, which lead to Mint Studios opening in August of 2013.

What’s your history with the Bay Area?

I was born in the Bay Area but I grew up all over. Part of my childhood was spent on a tiny island in Brazil, then we moved to London and eventually my family came back to the Bay to Grass Valley which is about two hours outside of San Francisco. I went to college in Berkeley, came to SF after I graduated, and just last year my husband and I moved to Menlo Park for his work. I’m still in the city nearly every day to teach and meet with colleagues and friends.

You live in Menlo Park - where do you eat and work out in that part of town?

I’ve discovered Sprout Cafe on University Ave. They have these huge salads that you can throw protein on for the most reasonable price. I do that a lot. Lyfe Kitchen in Palo Alto is also great. I love going for lunch and ordering their Quinoa Crunch Bowl. Sometimes for a coffee I’ll go to Caffe Borrone in downtown Menlo Park. SoulCycle in Palo Alto is my favorite cardio class when I can get to it. I love the Pressed Juicery freezes that they serve at Pressed Juicery Palo Alto, they really taste just like ice cream!

Do you have any favorite wellness spots around the studio?

My favorite esthetician in SF is a woman named Marion Pernoux, who owns the nearby Ensoma spa. She gives the most incredible facials. She calls them cosmeceutical facials and you feel so well-rested afterward. She’s my go-to gal. For nails, I always go to Zaza because it’s near the studio and they’re so nice and friendly. For hair, and this is the thing people ask me about most, I go to Richard at Population for cut and color. He’s so talented and sweet, and a genius at what he does, and anyone I send there falls in love. I don’t think I should even share his name because I don’t want to risk not being able to get in for an appointment!

Where do you work out when you’re not in the studio?

Whenever I’m in Brazil, my aunt and I take Pilates together with her trainer. It’s all in Portuguese and aside from the language so different from how I teach my classes. When I’m home and not in the studio, I’ll do my own yoga/Pilates practice at home in my office slash yoga studio where I’ll also meditate. In the city, one of my favorite yoga teachers is Mark Morford who teaches at Yoga Tree and has been so inspiring with his contemporary approach to meditation. It’s not strict and regimented. He encourages you to let it be your own, even if it’s just for 2-3 minutes at your desk.

When I can get away for a weekend, I love going down to Esalen in Big Sur. It’s an amazing, magical place to reset and be in nature. Further south, I did my yoga teacher training at White Lotus in Santa Barbara with Ganga White and Tracey Rich. I like to revisit every couple of years. Before my teacher training I never thought I could meditate, but they encourage creativity and teach that it doesn’t have to be so traditional, like sitting in a totally blank room for two hours. It’s a beautiful place and the energy is so calming. The nature is stunning.

We hear you’re a runner. What running routes do you take around SF?

Sometimes in between classes I’ll run down Brannan to Embarcadero toward the Ferry building. I love running along the water and think it’s a great way to clear your head during the day. In Menlo Park I run outside. In class I’m always talking and instructing so it’s really nice for me to plug in my headphones and zone out for a little while. Sometimes I take my puggle Zoey with me when I run, too, which she loves.

What other Pilates studios anywhere inspire you?

There’s a studio in New York called New York Pilates that is so different from us in terms of esthetic, but they have a very cool New York vibe. Even outside of the studio I love what they do on social media! A former Mint instructor moved to New York and I encouraged her to check them out and now she teaches there! In LA, there’s a studio called The Studio (MDR). They have megaformer classes and a great community. It’s actually where one of my sisters-in-law goes and she raves about it.

What is your workout when you travel?

When we travel, I usually bring a resistance band in my bag. I always call in advance to see if the hotel we’re staying at has yoga mats. Some great hotel groups like Auberge Resorts provide them in-room. My usual philosophy is that if I can devote 30 minutes a day to just maintenance then I will feel good and won’t worry about it. I’ll usually get in 15 minutes of Pilates, 10 minutes of yoga and 10 minutes of stretching. Then I’ll get cardio in by running or swimming. I don’t really worry about it but I also don’t feel my best if I don’t get it in. My husband is the same way so we’ll normally workout together on vacation which we don’t normally get to do when we’re home. And I love kicking his butt with a tough Pilates workout!




Meet the Ladies Behind San Francisco's First (Best) Dance Cardio Studio

As part of SF VitalGuide launch season, we’ve been talking to San Francisco’s coolest wellness experts to learn where they eat, sweat, shop and escape. This week Lindsay Meyer and Kara Goldenberg of the COMPANY, SF’s newest workout and the city’s very first dance cardio studio. The ladies behind the COMPANY share where to get the ultimate post-workout shake, which athleisure items are worthy of stockpiling and where to get away.

What inspired the COMPANY?

L: I danced competitively growing up and through college, and even as a grownup in SF I was dancing in various forms. Before I found cardio dance I was more into formal dance and then I started teaching barre in Cow Hollow. A mutual friend in the NY dance cardio world introduced Kara and me, and Kara can tell you about her background, but it was such a complementary fit!

K: I moved here 9 months ago from New York and realized there was no dance cardio. I had been doing tons of it at Bari in Tribeca and I got here and there were no options like what I had experienced in New York where I swore by this kind of workout. The owner of my favorite barre studio in New York ended up introducing Lindsay and me and that’s how we started the class!

How did you find your gorgeous space in the presidio?

K: Through a lot of online hunting. We were looking for a studio that would rent us space by the hour and we found this beautiful studio in the Presidio that has these high ceilings with a lot of light. The location is easy to find and there is actually parking, such a rarity in this town.

L: We also felt like there was a dearth of dance studios in this part of town. In the Mission you have the great ODC and Lines. There are others in SoMa. In the Marina we just didn’t have fun dance options for adults!

The choreography seems very ballet inspired, is your workout wardrobe ballet-inspired?

K: We wear sneakers in class, and I take mine very seriously. Dance cardio can be hard on your feet! I like Brooks PureFlow and the Newton brand. They provide the right amount of support which is so important when you’re jumping and dancing. As I mentioned, I like sneakers but when it comes to leggings, I have a sickness. I love them all. I don’t stick to a specific brand but I love Bandier and Carbon 38. I find a lot of new brands on those sites or if I see someone in a class with leggings that I like I ask them where they got them and get a pair for myself.

L: I seriously don’t know anyone with more leggings than this girl! As for me, I prefer to stick with solid colors, so I own a ton of black leggings that I love and wear everywhere. I don’t have one favorite brand although I do have a lot of admiration for a brand called ADAY out of London and I have like four pieces from them. It was started by a friend of a friend and focuses on styles that you can wear to class and then  transition it to other parts of your day. They do a lot of with black and navy, which I gravitate to. I also like things that have just a little bit of sparkle.

What's your favorite pre and post-class bite in SF?

K: I think it’s important to have protein after a workout, and so I try to get in at least 20 grams after a session. The smoothies at Barry’s Bootcamp are great. I always get the Skinny Chocolate with PB. So good.

L: After a workout I like to make my own smoothie with greek yogurt, chia seeds, almond milk, almond butter and frozen strawberries.

What other workouts here in SF and elsewhere do you love?

K: I love Barry’s Bootcamp. I also recently started going to Core 40 which is such a serious core and ab workout. When I’m workout out on my own, I like to bounce on my trampoline at home.

L: I like to do a lot of Pilates, and would probably say my favorite Pilates in SF is Mighty Pilates in Presidio Heights. I used to teach barre and I still do a fair amount of barre when I can at studios like Pop Physique. As far as unique classes, I’ve been seeing rowing classes blow up in New York and there is a new rowing cardio class in San Francisco at a studio called Apex Wellness in FiDi. As far as cardio, I love Flywheel. My boyfriend and I have a lot of friends in the Mountain View area so we’ll stop in Sunnyvale for a class on the way down.

You’re teaching and workout out so much, who are your go-to wellness practitioners in SF when you need to recharge?

L: My boyfriend is a former professional triathlete. He used to get a ton of sports and recovery massages for so many years. So now I just make him give me massages! As far as other pampering, I love to get facials and can’t wait to try the spa at Credo Beauty on Fillmore. The one thing I never do is get manicures, it’s seriously been years. I have a strong belief about the toxicity of nail polish, so in that case I take care of myself by not having a nail routine.

K: I don’t do as much as I should. I’ve done one massage since I’ve moved here in the last 9 months! But I will when I can.

Where do you go to escape the city craziness?

L: When I really need to get away I go as far as I can. I love great hotels - Park Hyatt Dubai, One and Only Bahamas, I can go on. Closer to home, I love Kabuki Springs here in Japantown. For a weekend escape, I like Healdsburg, and we’re wine club members at Portalupi which I love visiting.

K: I’ve recently been making trips out to Marin. All of the Bay Area is so new to me, and we’re actually thinking of moving out there. Otherwise, I fly out to NY for more craziness!

The Bay Area has some great outdoor destinations - do you have any favorite outdoor activities, hikes, paddle board locations, etc?

K: I recently went out to Land’s End and hiked back into the Presidio, that was pretty awesome. I also frequent a lot of playgrounds with my son!

L: I go OnBoard SUP. It’s in Sausalito, off of Marinship way. They have paddleboard Pilates and paddleboard yoga. I enjoy going out to the 7am standup class before going to work. I feel like that is such a special Californian thing to do that you can’t have anywhere else.

How do you get your dance cardio fix when you're on the road?

K: If I have an open space, I will dance. That’s just me. If I’m traveling to NY I can take class there, easy.

L: I use ClassPass so I try to pop into more local and homegrown studios when I’m traveling outside of dance cardio hotspots like LA and New York. I’m from Minneapolis and when I go home I’ll go to a great HIIT studio called Alchemy. It’s not dance cardio, but it’s a great workout. In New York I really love Chaise fitness. It’s a combination of cardio barre and Pilates. You use bungees, a Pilates chair, it’s great and not as well known as it should be!

What are you looking forward to this season at the studio, in addition to the Very Vital Sunday event we’re doing together?

We are planning on adding a weekend class for Saturday early morning by summer. We’ve had so many requests for it. And of course the Very Vital Sunday class with Well + Away on April 24 is going to be a fabulous afternoon.

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For more information and to book the Very Vital Sunday Class on Sunday, April 24 from 1-3pm please visit the COMPANY.



The 11 Best Vegan and Vegan-friendly Restaurants in SF this Spring

San Francisco is home to some of the most influential vegan-tech businesses and many of the Bay Area's many organic farms are just a bridge away, yet healthy vegan fare is not nearly as easy to find as it should be. In researching the new SF VitalGuide, we've eaten through the city's best vegan sushi, egg-free frittatas and every plant-based bite in between. The following are our picks for must-eat vegan and gluten-free friendly breakfasts, lunches and dinners in San Francisco pulled right from the first edition of the new SF guide.

The Plant
3352 Steiner St; Pier 3 The Embarcadero #108, 101 California St
Try the basil pesto tofu scramble, Sambazon bowl (acai berries blended frozen mango and strawberries, topped with banana and granola), or any of their smoothies, juices and great coffees. The Embarcadero location is on the water with bay views. The Marina location is right off of Chestnut Street, the area's main shopping thoroughfare.

189 6th Ave
Bright, sweet and just off the beaten path enough to be truly locals-only, Nourish Café is a perfect healthy brunch hideaway. The coconut flour and quinoa waffles taste a million times more decadent than they are, and the banh mi salad will fill you up for a day’s worth of urban adventures.

Seed + Salt
2240 Chestnut St
Casual, order at the counter spot with delicious superfood smoothies, chickpea fritattas, colorful vegetable sides, and savory brunch items. The best $14 smoothie this side of the Golden Gate.

Out the Door
2232 Bush St
Chef Charles Phan's more relaxed spin on his popular restaurant Slanted Door's is in an off-the-beaten-path location in the Fillmore neighborhood. The menu offers plenty of yuba-filled noodle dishes and veggie sides. What OTD is missing in waterfront views it makes up for in its feel like a local vibe.

Bouli Bar
1 Ferry Building
No tofu or tempeh here, but the delicious seasonal vegetables and perfect Mediterranean platter make for a satisfying light lunch. Bouli's hidden location inside the Ferry Building, flattering lighting, and lovely wine list make it a go-todaytime date spot.

Fort Mason, A
For special occasion lunches with a view, book a table at this first wave vegan restaurant in Fort Mason. Dishes such as lentil, tamarind and coconut milk soup are infused with ethnic flavors. Greens has prime real estate for watching the sun set over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Café St Jorge
3438 Mission St
At the edge of the Mission and Bernal Heights, Cafe St Jorge is an adorable, Brooklyn-y hipster haunt for recharging over pastries, Stumptown coffee, and a perfectly sized quinoa salads. Plus, there's free wifi.

370 14th St
Just order all the rolls w(ith a side of their famous ramen). If you must choose, the spicy tofuna is a good, simple start to a meal at the Mission's prettiest izakaya spot.

Gracias Madre
2211 Mission
The original Gracias Madre has fewer whispy celebs and oversized shades than the LA location, but the lack of glitz is made up for with a prime Mission location. Don't miss the pumpkin and cashew cheese quesadillas and avocado ceviche.

Burma Love
211 Valencia St
The tea salad is the star at Burma Superstar, but a number of veg curry entrees are available at this local favorite, no-reservations Burmese eatery. Be prepared to wait outside, or check out sister restaurant Burma Love in the Mission for potentially less of a wait and newer digs.

Citizen Fox
2293 Mission

The Mission’s newest  pub is the spot for hearty kale salads and chicken fried tempeh. Add protein to any of the salads for a filling meal of greens, or dig into entrees like the chicken fried tempeh with horseradish mashed potatoes for a plant-based spin on traditional pub fare.

The Best of SF, according to the ladies of Nourish Cafe

Some of San Francisco's most charming indie destinations (The Tidy Shoppe,  Burma Superstar, Park Life, Green Apple Books) are cropping up in the Inner Richmond neighborhood. Seemingly a little further flung if you're used to getting your indie fix in the always buzzy Mission or grittier Tenderloin, it's really just four miles from the heart of the Mission. Not all that far outside of rush hour-hours!

Nourish Cafe is the Inner Richmond's cutest, most vibrant healthy destination for weekday lunch and weekend brunch. One of its two co-owners, Sarah Bacon, also operates the Inner Richmond neighborhood's go-to blog, Richmond District Blog

Sarah and co-owner/chef Brighton Miller shared their favorite activities in and around the Inner Richmond, greater SF and a few healthy tips for hitting the road.

How did Nourish come to be?

Brighton: I’d  done the Holistic Nutrition and Culinary Arts program at Bauman college in Berkeley and was traveling to LA and NY exploring all of the healthy, raw and vegan options out there. I realized we should have it here in SF! A lot of people think that SF is super hippy dippy and full of healthy options but there aren’t as many as you might think. In the Richmond area, before we opened Nourish, you really had to drive all the way into the Marina for a decent salad.  

Sarah: I agree. I’m also a native San Franciscan and operate a blog on the Richmond area. I was eager to open something in the neighborhood that is good for the community, so we kept our eyes open and we were lucky enough to find a space about six blocks from where we both live.

Who are your favorite local producers - juice, desserts, superfoods?

Brighton: We make a lot in-house, but I also love curating great products from local producers. For instance, we get our almond milk from a great local company called Three Trees. We currently make our own cashew cheese, but we are going to be switching to the wonderful Kite Hill. I try to find products that are clean and healthy, and that I eat myself.

We have a local sprout provider called Grateful Greens based in Los Gatos who provides all of our sprouts. We're also sourcing a sprouted drink from Living Apothecary, and we get our hummus from Love & Hummus. We source our bread and sauerkraut from a couple of Marin producers Josey Baker Bread and Wild West Ferments. We a great, simple coffee that we source from these women in Berkeley who operate a roastery called Ruby Roast. We wanted to find something so simple and amazing that we wouldn’t need to do any labor intensive coffee drinks or espressos.

You have the coolest set up in the Richmond. What are your favorite healthy haunts in the area?

S: The Richmond is an amazing neighborhood for recreation, you can walk a few blocks and find ‘real’ outdoors. I'm a block away from Presidio and four from Golden Gate Park. Both areas are great for urban hiking or working out. As far as healthy haunts go, we've only been open a year and so far it's still just us!

B: We definitely partake in some of the local foot massage places. I feel like our neighborhood from Geary from Clement street has lots of these. They’re especially great after working on our feet all day, every day. U2 Beauty Health Spa is the one we go to, you'll know it by the big foot sign outside! There are also a few Thai massage and Chinese medicine places on Clement that bring people from all over the city, like acupuncturist Johnson You. I highly recommend him. We are outdoors people, so while we do have the JCC gym, the neighborhood lends itself to running outdoors. Baker Beach and the sand ladder over there are both perfect for a sunny weekend.

S: Land's End is one of my favorite spots to run! Nourish is so close to the Presidio and De Young, it's really common for people to come and grab lunch and go on a hike or head to the museum.

Do you have any favorite fitness studios in your hood?

S: I actually put on a 5k run called Jog in the Fog, this year will be our fourth year. It starts in Mt. Lake Park and goes all the way out to Lands End. Other than that, I love Batteries to Bluffs, Baker Beach and the sand ladders there which are a great workout. Lands End is always challenging!

What are your favorite restaurants to visit when you're not at Nourish?

S: We do seek out other plant-based places like The Plant, and sometimes we cross the bridge to Marin to go to The Plant over there. I love salads at Blue Barn. Cha-Ya on Mission makes some great vegan sushi. We go to Angelina's in the neighborhood for breakfast when we can and check out new places as they open.

B: I love Cha-Ya, their food is so clean and beautiful. Gracias Madre is wonderful, too, we eat there regularly. Or we Postmates it if we can’t get to the Mission.

What's your favorite places for a healthy drink?

B: I'm addicted to our coffee, but when I can escape the city I like to go to Shed in Healdsburg for their fermentation bar. You can get kombuchas or shrub, and because you can’t get it in the city it’s such a treat.

What is your favorite food city? Favorite restaurant to visit anywhere?

B: I love Moon Juice, I think Amanda Bacon's products are amazing. When I'm in LA I go to Plant Food and Wine, Matthew Kenney's new place. Cafe Gratitude in Venice is wonderful. There is a vegan cheese shop called Vromage just off of Sunset, which has fabulous cheese. The Gracias Madre in Los Angeles is also really wonderful, and even this old school-seeming Italian restaurant called Craig’s has a vegan meat bolognese sauce. People are really into 'what’s next' in LA, which makes it really fun to eat down there.

What do you pack to eat when you're traveling?

B: I'm always looking for a clean acai bowl, something light that will give me energy but not weigh me down. As soon as I’m off the plane, I like to hydrate with a green juice. SFO is a great airport for healthy options!

Hotel dining, yes or no?

B: Where I stay in LA, every place has a house green juice. I was just at Four Seasons and they had a wonderful grain bowl and they offer almond milk as a substitute. In the past I would have said no, but I think that hotels are starting to cater to healthier people.

Any particular habits or tips for eating healthfully on the road?

B: I have the advantage of most people and I work at Nourish and I can grab one of our protein balls or granola bars and stick it in my purse. If I'm running across the city I'll grab a chia pudding or smoothie. We went to Mendocino last weekend and we grabbed a couple of chia puddings and granola bar so we didn't have to stop, other than at Shed of course! I like using ours because I'm a real freak about ingredients. At Nourish I know that everything I leave with is going to be clean.


Have you visited Nourish or disocovered any other healthy finds around the Inner Richmond? Share in the comments!

Juice Beauty's Founder is SF's Original Health Hacker

Juice Beauty has been popping up in the news a LOT recently due to the launch of its glorious new makeup line and new creative director, Gwyneth Paltrow. I first tried it after writing a story for Well + Good on celeb-backed wellness companies, and am now completely hooked. The colors are so rich, the textures luxurious and the ingredients are as clean as it gets. The brains behind the Bay Area-based operation is brilliant founder and CEO Karen Behnke.

Here is Karen's take on the best in the Bay and how she stays well when traveling:

How long have you been in the Bay Area?

I moved to Marin right after graduating from college in 1980 for about 5 years, then moved to San Francisco for about 15 years living on Telegraph Hill and then the Marina, then back to Marin for the last 16 years. I love the entire Bay Area but San Francisco and Marin County are my two favorite spots. When I arrived from the Midwest, I was astounded at how the Bay Area reinforced living a healthy lifestyle and loved the amazing micro-climates and that one could pick the temperature of where to live!! There are so many special things about the Bay Area including access to the city, the coast, the mountains, the wine country and Marin County hiking, biking and running in the hills.

I understand you're based in San Rafael. What are your favorite healthy haunts in the Marin area and in San Francisco?

Juice Beauty’s sustainable office is in San Rafael and my family lives in nearby San Anselmo. I am completely in love with the Marin hills and open space preserves that are adjacent to our house and go for hundreds of miles stretching to the coast. Waterfalls, Mt. Tamalpais, trails, lakes, the ocean, wildlife—it’s a fitness paradise for hiking, running, and mountain biking. You can usually find my husband and me on Bald Hill, Phoenix Lake trails or Yolanda trails in the open space preserve. The outdoor recreational areas are definitely my favorites spots In Marin.

For dining, we like to eat locally at San Anselmo’s Insalata’s and Phil Lesh from Grateful Dead's Terrapin Restaurant on the Canal in San Rafael. Of course most of the time you can find me at one of the multiple Marin or SF Whole Foods’ salad bars eating organic salads. I also love San Francisco’s The Market at 10th and Market Street which is a very hip place to eat and hang out at all the various purveyors of local food.

Any favorite spas in the area?

Ha—I will again, be patronizing spas someday but given running our high growth Juice Beauty business and that my husband and I have two very active teenagers at home, I don’t have much time; however, I receive regular facials from Juice Beauty’s amazing field team that service our Bay Area Retailers including amazing events at Credo Beauty on Fillmore Street and in our ULTA Beauty stores; and I visit Rancho La Puerta in Mexico as much as I can (a Juice Beauty retailer). My favorite home spa treatment is, of course, our Full Strength Green Apple Peel for a powerful facial exfoliation. Juice Beauty uses a massage service for our office who I also have at our house as often as I remember to book her.

Where do you take out of town guests?

We generally take guests on hikes on the open space trails next to our house. We then head up to Sonoma’s Ramsgate—a beautiful winery experience owned by one of Juice Beauty’s original investors where you can have a picnic prepared to relax and take time to breathe in the fresh air and beautiful vineyard views; then we head to Sonoma Square and visit another Juice Beauty investor’s winery, Three Sticks Adobe—a stunningly beautifully restored adobe original built in 1842. Both wineries have amazing wines to taste. Of course the Sonoma Square is fun to roam around.

Then back to Marin and the best way to get to the city is to hop on the ferry for a day in San Francisco to dine or exercise. My favorite fitness trek is to run from the Marina Green to the Golden Gate Bridge looping through the Presidio and back. If you don’t mind grabbing food in a sweaty state—it’s a short, but often foggy, walk to Chestnut Street for an organic tea latte at Peet’s where you can sit inside sipping organic tea next to the living green wall.

Where do you go to recharge? 

Anywhere in Italy and preferably Lake Como but most likely our house in Marin County. Our house is such a relaxing retreat with panoramic views of the Bay Area.

What does an ideal weekend look like?

Well, preferably I have somehow knocked off all my zillions of Juice Beauty emails then…the best case is that various teenage friends of our son or daughter are at our house Friday night. We’re fortunate that our kids have terrific and nice friends and we love it when our house is filled with activity and the need for lots of food.

Saturday morning is for cooking for our daughter's soccer team that may have slept over and then running in the hills with my husband ending with a dip in our salt water, solar powered lap pool and hot tub. Saturday nights are with friends cooking organic food or dining out and Sundays are generally filled with following one of our kids’ mountain biking competitions.

When you're traveling, what products do you take in your carry-on?

On the airplane I use Juice Beauty's Hydrating Mist constantly to keep refreshed on the plane, our Organic Lip Moisturizer for dry lips and our Green Apple Age Defy Hand Cream as I try to wash my hands every time I get up. The best way to get off the plane looking fabulous is after at least 10-20 minutes with our Stem Cellular Instant Algae Eye Lift treatment. You’ll get off the plane looking refreshed and lifted!!

Do you have an airport routine when you're traveling through SFO? 

Grabbing a protein/almond coconut smoothie from the Plant Café in Terminal 2 or often an organic tea latte from Peet’s. I don’t think I’ve ever had enough time to check out a lounge at SFO!!

When on the road, do you have any hotel room rituals to make it more relaxing or like home?

Well, I can’t make it through the day without getting up in the morning to workout. I only stay in hotels that have great workout centers, healthful food and windows that actually open so I can get real air circulation. When the kids were younger, my husband always set up Skype sessions (including special appearances by our Labradoodle) but I can’t say that as teenagers, we get them in front of the computer much. I think I better start Facetiming at this point because I like to see their faces!!

Any particular habits or tips for eating healthfully on the road?

Try to have an organic bag of nuts in your purse just in case hunger hits and it will help avoid gorging on sweets! Always, always start the day with your workout as you might never get to it later in the day, followed by a healthful breakfast and drink enough water that you feel like your eyeballs are floating so your skin stays hydrated!


Have you tried any of Karen's favorite Bay Area spots? Let's hear about it in the comments below!