Monday, May 30, 2016

My guide to good-for-you San Francisco

I've lived in San Francisco for about 9 months now and so far, I've discovered so many great restaurants, cafes, stores and places to visit and wanted to put all my experiences in one handy place instead of them being sprinkled around my Instagram feed. So here are some of my favorite places to eat, juice, do yoga, get my wellness on and hike.


Lovely and colorful vegan Mexican restaurant in the heart of Mission District. I've done both lunch and dinner here and love their pretty, yet delicious food. Get multiple dishes to share with your table. Happy Hour too!

Great for salads and green juices after a hike in the Presidio park. Very cool but small place and all the food is organic, ethically and locally sourced, free of gluten, dairy, refined sugars, trans fats and GMOs.

Friendly, inexpensive, all vegan spot to get your delicious balls of flavor (gluten-free friendly as well). I got their organic sesame falafel platter for lunch last time and even I ordered ahead of time online they waited for me to show up until they packed it so that my falafels were hot and pita bread nice and warm. Also got Cinnamon Baklava for dessert, just because.
These cool guys serve healthy juices, smoothies and Acai bowls straight from their truck. Green Goliath bowl: acai, spinach, hemp seeds, strawberry, banana, coconut water topped with blueberries and honey.
Set in the heart of downtown San Francisco, overlooking the park. Delicious small plates and so many teas to choose from. A bit on the pricey side but so worth the zen moment.
They have twelve different flavors of vegan gelato! Funky and cozy spot to get your sweet cravings crushed.

Papalote is in the Mission District near the Valencia Street intersection. Tons of vegan/vegetarian options on the menu, like the Soyrizo.
Great spot to hangout. They have the cutest garden area at the back of the cafe with heat lamps, owls and lush greenery. Mediterranean inspired menu with big salads, almond milk mochas and great tea selection.
Choose from a menu of over 30 ingredients (incl. non-dairy and vegan) and they will whip it together right in front of your drooling eyes. Loving Cup is located near Alamo Square (Painted Ladies) so walk your cup to the park and enjoy it while admiring the contrast of the skyscrapers of downtown San Francisco behind the historic Painted Ladies.
 Ferry Plaza hosts their famous farmer's market three times a week for freshest, local, seasonal produce and delicious foods. Saturdays is the biggest day.
ALSO LOVING: Very Vegan Sundays at SoMa StrEat Food Park, Cinnaholic (customizable vegan cinnamon rolls in Berkeley), Greens Restaurant (vegetarian farm to table experience), Rainbow Grocery (an organic, all-vegetarian co-op market since 1975) and Hella Vegan Eats in Oakland.

Held at the gorgeous Grace Cathedral Darren Main teaches yoga at this unconventional setting every Tuesday night. It is donation based, and you get to enjoy amazing live music,so get there early and bring your own mat.

I love this place! It's is where I took my first ever yoga class in California. The studio is located on the top floor of an old office building with no elevator, so you get a good warm-up before the class. The space is lofty and filled with natural light from the big windows that go around the room. Classes are Power Vinyasa Flow and donation-based ($10 is suggested).
While on my Groupon graze I bought a Hiking Yoga class when I had just arrived to SF. I thought it would be an excellent way to get to know the city, new people and get my exercise on. We started at the Ferry Building and moved swiftly through the steep hills, whole lot of stairs and stopped to do yoga in front of fountains, statues, gardens, parks and even on the foot of the Coit Tower. Lovely way to get moving!

Daily drop-in meditation classes, retreats, talks and lectures, including free 20-minute lunchtime guided meditation classes.

Dr. Marcus Coplin, ND
My go-to person in SF for B-12 shots. Give me that energy! Near Valencia St. shops, juice bars and Herbivore.

ALSO LOVING: Twisted Thistle Apothecary in Haight Ashbury and Scarlet Sage Herb Co. (Specializes in traditional Western Herbalism and natural medicine on Valencia St.).

What else would you include in this list? What are some of your favorites in San Francisco?

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Roadtrip Pt. 3 : Big Sur & Bixby Bridge

Our final destination on our trip was Big Sur. I had seen so many gorgeous pictures of the Bixby Bridge and Highway 1 that I just had to get there in person to witness it. It was a foggy day so the hills looked even more magical.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Women in Wellness : Nita Pettibone

Today I'm happy to introduce to you: Nita Pettibone. Nita is a certified health coach, wellness educator, author, and motivational speaker that teaches classes, groups and individuals how to feel their best by eating well, living happily, and finding balance in their lives. She has helped thousands of people achieve their own goals with food and lifestyle changes by guiding them with a mentality that feeling great doesn't have to be complicated. As a mom to one human, one canine, and a growing business, Nita understands the demands of every day life. That is why she is spreading the message that when you Fall in Happy with yourself, anything is possible. 

Your food philosophy: 

Eat what makes you feel good and avoid what doesn't. I like to call myself a FeelGOODitarian and teach others to do the same. 

Dream breakfast: 
Green Smoothies 

Daily breakfast: 
Always a Green Smoothie of some variety 

Morning ritual: 
I Set the alarm early so I can snooze, then use that as my quiet or reflection time before the busy day starts. As an example, the first snooze is used to share gratitude for a new day and all that I'm thankful for. Once I decide to get out of bed it is time for a full glass of water, sometimes with lemon, getting my smoothie and lunch ready. 

Your go-to juice or smoothie: 
My favorite go-to juice for inflammation is celery, apple and parsley. But I tend to make smoothies more! Currently I'm all about the chocolate, banana and kale. My base is either water, green tea, or coconut water. And then, I throw in a banana, frozen kale, a couple pieces of dark chocolate, a scoop of cacao powder, some seeds like hemp or chia, and then what ever else I have in the house; like Maca, chlorella, or wheatgrass powder. 

What supplements do you take: 
Actually, I don't take any supplements except for a once in a while Vitamin D capsule in the winter months when the sun is hiding. 

Your fave kitchen tool: 
Oh my Kale… Pretty sure I couldn't live without my Vitamix. I would take it with me everywhere if I could. 

5 pantry staples: 
Almond Butter, Chocolate, Nutritional Yeast, Apple Cider Vinegar, Coconut Oil 

Favorite thing to cook for friends: 
I love dehydrating kale when friends come to visit because it is the one thing they are always surprised that they like. As for a meal, I like to have taco/fajita nights so everyone can choose what they use. 

Favorite way to workout: 
Oooh CrossFit, is definitely my favorite! 

Strange wellness habit: 
When life gets hard, I'm having a challenging moment, or writers block; I journal my thoughts over and over on a piece of paper in fun designs. So I continuously write over the thoughts until they are completely ineligible but the design of scribble comes out pretty cool. It clears my head of anything negative going on and allows the positive or new ideas to flow back in. Kind of like doodling, but with words. 

Favorite thing to wear: 
Tank tops and Jean shorts. I'm a simple girl. 

Favorite place you've traveled to: 
I'd probably have to say the Isle of Palms in South Carolina. I was able to take a three day solo trip once and it was so rejuvenating. 

Where would you like to travel:
 I've really been wanting to go to Key West, Florida! 

Your favorite healthy place in your city?
Oh man, do I have to choose just one? I guess if I have to pick one, it would be the Juice bar near our house. But if I get to pick more than one, I would add a restaurant called Tomato Head where everything can be made with dietary preferences in mind, and of course CrossFit Knoxville where I learned so much about myself. 

One piece of health advice: 
Fall in Happy with yourself. When you begin to change your thoughts about yourself, everything else will begin to change. 

Healthy recipe to share: 
I love this old recipe from Happy Herbivore because it is so easy and quick. Happy Herbivore's Spicy Teriyaki Chickpeas. 

Ways to connect with Nita:

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Roadtrip Pt. 2 : Carmel-by-the-Sea and 17-Mile Scenic Drive

On our second day we got up early, got some tea and coconut milk mochas to go and headed down south towards Big Sur. We made it to Santa Cruz in little over 2 hours (thank goodness for carpool lanes!), but were there actually so early that the amusement park was not even open yet. We enjoyed breakfast on the boardwalk and got back on the road right after. It was going to take another 90 minutes to get on the Bixby Bridge in Big Sur. 
We also stopped at a gorgeous little village along the way called Carmel-by-the-Sea and had light lunch of veggie paninis at Carmel Coffee and Cocoa Bar located in the prettiest open-air shopping center I've ever been to, The Carmel Plaza. Carmel is filled with cute little storefronts, historic buildings and storybook cottages, and there's flowers and trees everywhere. Just adorable.
When leaving Carmel we took the famous 17-mile Scenic Drive (despite the $10 toll you need to pay to drive through it). But yeah, way better than being on the highway. Too bad we were on a pretty tight schedule to make it home before the dark, but we had some moments to stop by the beaches and admire the scenery.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Roadtrip Pt. 1 Napa Valley

My sister came to visit from Finland a couple of weeks ago and wanted to visit Napa, Santa Cruz and drive along the Highway 1. So we did all that in just two days. First stop was Napa Valley. We arrived pretty late and since most wineries close between 4-5pm we only got to visit two of them along the Silverado Trail: The Black Stallion and Mumm Napa. The original plan was to rent bicycles from our hotel and ride along the Silverado Trail which has multiple wineries, but we did not have the time. 
We stayed at the Silverado Resort which might be the closest hotel to the Silverado Trail. Husband and I have stayed here multiple times and it has become our favorite hotel in Napa. I mean look at this entrance. Gorgeous. 
After wine tasting we were quite hungry and had light dinner at our hotel restaurant. She had fish tacos, we shared truffle fries and Moscow Mules with beautiful views outside in the patio.
We'll be back Napa, we'll be back...