TRAVEL GUIDE: BARCELONA

Barcelona is a city close to my heart—I spent a magical year there when I was 19, roaming beaches on the Costa Brava, staying up all night (ooops) and eating tapas to no end. Recently, I went back for the first time in over a decade (gasp!) and while so much about the architecture, old barrios and even some of the restaurants were so familiar, I was absolutely enthralled by the city’s thriving wellness scene. Here are a few of my top spots:

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EAT

Flax & Kale: It sounds healthy, and it is. There are a couple of locations of this all-day café, and it’s just perfect when you need a big old salad or want a gluten free croissant. The paleo bread and all the desserts are f****** good. Carrer dels Tallers, 74b

The Green Spot: The sweet potato tagliatelle at this super chic vegetarian restaurant is next level. Literally insane. Carrer de la Reina Cristina, 12

Mont Bar: Perfect for date night. This sultry little corner churns out some excellent food, with local wines to boot. Carrer de la Diputació, 220

Bar Brutal: A local favorite. Literally, all the locals recommended this place. Natural wines, tasty food, no frills. Can’t beat it. Carrer de la Princesa, 14

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SLEEP

Soho House: This place is heaven! The design is eclectic, homey and original, and the service gets an A+. Awesome location near all the action of the El Borne and Barrio Gotico areas. Plaça del Duc de Medinaceli, 4

AirBnB: There are so many killer apartments to rent in Barcelona (like this one or this one). Fun way to get a taste of what it’s like to actually live there.

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SHOP

Mi Vintage: A gem of a vintage shop with some serious finds. El Borne, Carrer dels Canvis Nous, 2

Clay: Located in the trendy El Borne area, this lifestyle shop stocks Mens and Women’s clothing international brands like Ganni and You Must Create as well as a collection of killer ceramics that will make you want to get a freight to carry it all home. Banys Vells 11

Antique Boutique: The coolest homewares store in town! We scored two amazing ceramic lamps that by the grace of god made it back to New York unscathed. Carrer de Sèneca, 16

Wer-Haus: Rad concept store with matchas, art books and men’s clothing. Carrer d'Aragó, 287


CULTURE

Picasso Museum: Worth it! Buy your tickets in advance and go during siesta, since there is nothing else to do. Carrer Montcada, 15-23

La Boqueria: The holy grail of farmer’s market. If you’re lucky enough to be there in the fall, they have the most incredible selection of setas (wild mushrooms). La Rambla, 91

 

TRAVEL GUIDE: MEXICO CITY

Almost ubiquitously, the first thing I was told about Mexico City was that it was unsafe; I should be careful and not wear jewelry. I expected a busy, sprawling metropolis of Vespa smoke and cartel action, but I experienced none of that. Mexico City is green, lush and surprisingly quiet. The people are lovely and hospitable, and the food is some of the best I’ve had. Ever.

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STAY

Condesa DF: A trendy boutique hotel in a killer location. The rooms are just OK (in my opinion), but the area is awesome, and the rooftop bar is not to be missed. Av. Veracruz 102, Roma Norte

AirBnB: Live like a local in an charming apartment like this or this one. If you don't speak Spanish, you may want to stay in a hotel (unless you're up for a real adventure!).

Four Seasons: The hotel itself is a little bigger and more corporate than what I normally like, but the concierge is top notch and super helpful. The rooftop gym and pool is also a plus. Paseo de la Reforma 500, Cuauhtémoc


EAT

Páramo: If you like tacos, this is the spot for you! If you don’t like tacos, I’m really not sure why you’re reading this. Go with a group so you can try as many things as possible. The guacamole is by far the best I’ve had in my life. Nothing beats a ripe avocado. Treat yourself to a mezcal pepita, which is basically a refreshing cucumber margarita. You can ask for it sin azuca as well. Av. Yucatan 84, Roma Norte

Contramar: WORTH THE HYPE. This place is so darn fun and the tuna tostadas are next level! Make it a late lunch / early dinner and go around 4pm. Make a reservation or be prepared to wait. And don’t miss out on their famous two colored whole fish. Calle de Durango 200, Roma Norte

Rosetta: Italian with a Mexican twist. This place is soooo gorgeous. Soaring ceilings, lots of plants and incredible details. The food is just as wonderful as the setting . Perfect for date night. Colima 166, Col. Roma Norte

Lardo: The sister restaurant to Rosetta is slightly more casual but just as good (maybe even better). Excellent for lunch or dinner, this may be the spot to throw your gluten free ways out the window for a few hours. The house-made flat bread is out of this world. Agustín Melgar 6, Condesa

Huset: An incredible garden setting with an equally incredible menu of elevated Mexican favorites. The tuna tartar might sound basic, but it was anything but. Colima 256, Roma Norte

Pujol: This place is fancy pants, but a super fun experience if you want to try upscale Mexican food. Tennyson 133, Polanco, Polanco IV Secc

mexico city_food

SHOP

Void: Maybe the best vintage shop I’ve ever been to. Full stop. Situated in a charming house, the kitchen is decked with bootleg Gucci jumpers from the 80s and there is an entire Chanel room. Swoon! Calle Parral 5, Condesa

El Bazaar Sabado: Come for the art, stay for the food. The Saturday market is such a fun activity, filled with amazing and well-priced art that make the perfect souvenirs and gifts. Plaza San Jacinto 11, San Ángel TNT, San Ángel

Onora: Ceramic heaven! This place stocks a ton of traditional and chic home décor items from all over Mexico. Lope de Vega 330, Polanco, Polanco V Secc

mexico city

DO

Temples: Kind of a trek from town, but the temples are truly mind blowing. Don’t skimp and get the tour guide. Worth it.

Run, walk: I was surprised how lush and residential Mexico City is. The perfect city for a run outdoors or to walk around all day.

 

 

HEALTHY TRAVEL: AIRPLANE MUNCHIES

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I used to think of flying as an excuse to get junk food. I even had a rule that I could have anything I wanted in the airport, which normally meant popcorn, a glass (or two) of wine, Raisinets and an arsenal of gossip mags. True story.

While I’ve kept the gossip mags (you can’t part with everything), my junk filled journeys have been replaced by a healthier options that gets me to my destination feeling as fresh as possible and not completely jet lagged.

Airplane food sucks. Yes, we all know it tastes bad, but it’s also full of preservatives, salt and sugar. All of which will dehydrate you, deplete nutrients and make you feel worse when you land. If your flight is long enough to have a meal (4+ hours), pack a salad at home or grab something from your favorite café. Try to fill up on greens, healthy fats and some protein to mitigate the immune and energy suppressing effects of flying.

Fasting in-flight works for some people, but then there’s others (hi!) who like to watch movies and munch on something to pass the time. If you’re part of the latter group, here are six snack ideas to consider for your next flight:

1.     Healthy Fats

Try bringing an avocado or raw, unsalted nuts to keep from eating plane peanuts, which are full of processed oils and refined salts. Nut butter packets are also handy and easy to travel with.

2.     Fresh Vegetables

Carrots, celery, cucumbers, green beans, whatever you can pack. Eating veggies mid-flight is a great way to stay hydrated and have something to nibble on.

3.     Protein Bars

A protein bar is a great mid-flight meal replacement or snack. My favorite brands are Bullet Proof and Quest. They're also great to pack for your trip!

4.     Kale Chips

Because you can eat the entire bag, guilt free!   

5.     Dark Chocolate

A good bar of dark chocolate (like Eating Evolved) is a welcome in-flight treat that is full of antioxidants and healthy fats.

6.     Water Bottle

Okok. I know, it’s not a snack, but it’s really important to stay hydrated when you travel. The water cups given to you in-flight are too small, horrible for the environment and not topped up often enough. Bring an empty water bottle and ask the flight attendant to fill it up for you. Game changer.

 

Last piece of advice: don’t go overboard. Bring enough food to get you through the flight, but try not to load up on too many snacks before you take off. You will eat them all. Trust me, I’ve been there.

Xx Mia

 

How to Stay Healthy and Still have Fun on Vacation

Summer isn’t over yet! If you have one last vacation in you before the leaves start to fall, you’re going to want to make it count. But the only thing worse than the end of summer holidays, is feeling like you have to start all over with your wellness routine.

There is a healthy balance binge eating and binge health; you don’t want to go overboard eating and drinking everything in sight–that’s not going to feel good, but at the same time, you want enjoy and indulge a little. Here are a few tips to living it up on vacation without totally blowing your whole healthy vibe.

 

1.     Pack healthy snacks. Make sure you don’t find yourself in a situation where you’re starving and there’s no healthy food around. Bring easy to pack, high fat snacks that will keep you satiated and energized when traveling. Try homemade trail mix with raw nuts, seeds, coconut flakes and cacao nibs, or Vega One protein packets.

2.     Skip the breakfast buffet. Experiment with intermittent fasting, so you can indulge, while also giving your body time to rest, digest and reset.

3.     Stay active and plan workouts in advance.   Try to fit activities into your itinerary. If you’re going somewhere outdoorsy, try hiking, surfing, kayaking…whatever is available. Or, if you’re planning a city getaway, walk everywhere, rent bikes, try out a local yoga studio, make it a part of your trip. And if neither of these options work for you, get yourself some booty bands and a jump rope. They will fit in your bag and can guarantee a killer workout anytime, anywhere.

4.     Don’t use your holiday as an excuse to eat junk food.  Just because you’re going to loosen your “gluten free” belt for a few days, doesn’t mean you have to eat airplane peanuts and ketchup flavored chips. Make your cheats count and save your indulgences for really good food. Quality, not quantity!

5.     If you want to try something naughty, wait until your last day. That afternoon gelato run or morning chocolate croissant is a slippery slope; once you have the first one, you’re going to want it every day. Instead of denying yourself completely, just have it on the last day and you won’t have to worry about coming home with a waistline of souvenirs.

6.     Drink lots of water. Drink more water than you normally would. It’s summer, it’s hot, you’re moving around, trying new foods, help your body flush it out!

And what about when you get back? If you gained a few pounds, it’s probably a lot of water weight and your body should self-regulate, so just get back into your normal routine as soon as you can. If you want to kick things up a notch, try no sugar, fruit or grains for a few days or sign up for a RASA Challenge or RASA Lite.

Xx Mia

 

HOW TO BOUNCE BACK FROM A BOOZY WEEKEND

We all know that post-holiday weekend feeling. You let it rip on the Tostitos, pizza and rosé for a few days straight and then reality sets in; Puffy, tired, a little thirsty, you’re dreading going back to work and slightly panicked about putting your jeans on.  

A weekend of indulgence shouldn't completely derail your wellness regimen, but it can definitely make you feel that way. That “puffiness” is most likely a combination of inflammation and bloating, aka temporary weight gain (cue sighs of relief).

What you might not realize is that your body is still dealing with Friday night on Monday morning (which is why cheat days don’t work, but that’s another story), so give yourself a break and your body a chance to reset. Here are a few tips for bouncing back:

1.     HYDRATE.

Drink lots and lots of water to flush out whatever is in your system. Adding a squeeze of lemon will also help you detoxify and de-bloat.

2.     GO GRAIN FREE FOR A FEW DAYS.

Easing up on grains (not just gluten) will give your digestive system a little rest, because hey, it deserves a vacation too!

3.     REDUCE SUGAR, EVEN THE NATURAL KIND.

Sugar is inflammatory and breeds bad bacteria in your gut. Laying off sugars (refined, unrefined, even fruit!) will give your body an extra hand so it can heal and reestablish a heathy ratio of gut bacteria.

4.     SWEAT IT OUT.

Get back to the gym as soon as you can. And while you’re at it, spend some time in the steam room or an infrared sauna, if that’s available to you.

5.     SLEEP.

Go to bed early and try to get a solid 7-8 hours to allow your body to reset.

 
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Before you head out for the holiday weekend, pack some healthy snacks: protein packets, raw nuts, carrot sticks, maybe an avocado. And if you want to plan your post-fourth of July reset, check out our new 10-day Challenge: RASA Lite.

Have fun, friends! 

Xx Mia

 

TRAVEL GUIDE: PARIS

Planning your summer travel? A trip to the French capital is not exactly the first place people think of when they want a “healthy” vacation, but hey: sometimes a hearty dose of fun and a bit of je ne sais quoi is just what we need. It’s called balance.  Here’s where to eat, drink and live it up in the city of love and croissants. Oui oui, Paris!


EAT
Wild and The Moon
OD on pomme frites? Pas probleme. Balance it out with a magical bowl and a golden latte at this Instagram-friendly café in Le Marais. 
55 Rue Charlot, 75003

hôtel costes
For a fancy AF but heathy lunch, park yourself in the picturesque garden of this post hotel. Order the salmon and spinach for a healthy respite from rich sauces and baguettes of neighboring bistros.
239-241 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001

Le Mary Celeste
If you’re in the mood for causal small plates, tasty cocktails and epic people watching, look no further than this stylish little corner of Le Marias.
75003, 1 Rue Commines, 75003


INDULDGE
Believe it or not, but you can now get lust-worthy French baked goods gluten free, dairy and refined sugar free (swoon!). Don’t miss the decadent eclairs at Foucade on your way to the Lourve and Chambelland in the 11th arrondisment for crispy loaves good enough for your picnic in the park.
Foucade, 17 Rue Duphot, 75001
Chambelland, 14 Rue Ternaux, 75011

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SHOP
What fun would Paris be without some ridiculously indulgent souvenir? You didn’t really just fly all the way over there for a baguette and some cheese. C’mon. For that one-of-a-kind purchase, check one of the city’s expertly-curated concept stores like Colette on stylish rue Saint-Honoré or Merci in Le Marais. 
Colette, 213 Rue Saint Honoré, 75001 Paris
Merci, 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, 75003


CUT LOOSE
Time to bring those new shoes for a spin! Dance it off at the super hip Andy Wahloo or relax with a tequila cocktail (or two) at the über cool Candelaria
Andy Wahloo, 69 Rue des Gravilliers, 75003
Candelaria, 52 Rue de Saintonge, 75003


STAY
Traveling with friends? Live like a true Parisian and rent THIS killer apartment in Place des Voges. Yes, I’ve stayed here and the only thing chicer than the digs is the owner (and artist), Sandrine.


SWEAT
Get your derrière outside and burn off all those croissants! Lace up your running shoes and hit the Seine. You can run all the way to the Eifel Tower and check a couple other monuments off your list to leave more time for eating, drinking and shopping. 


 

TRAVEL GUIDE: CAPE TOWN


Listen up, friends! If there is one place to add to your wanderlust-wish list, make it Cape Town. Not only does the South African "Mother City" boast some serious eye candy (striking mountains, a gorgeous coastline, ridiculous sunsets), but there is so much to do, see, eat and drink. 

Cape Town feels just as familiar as it does exotic; killer farmers markets, awesome restaurants, vineyards (yeahhhh wine!), hiking, beaches and boutique-lined streets are juxtaposed with rich African culture, colorful art, music and dance. 

Fresh, healthy food is abundant and there are so many great hikes and other activities, so you won't skip a beat with your healthy routine. 

But unless you live in Botswana, Cape Town is a bit of a trek, so before you book your long haul here are a few tips:

 In my WeWe romper at Blue Views

In my WeWe romper at Blue Views

STAY

If you’re traveling with friends, Blue Views in Camps Bay has some incredible (and I mean INCREDIBLE) vacation rentals. Fitted out with a large deck and pool overlooking the ocean and mountains, an awesome sound system, a fully equipped kitchen and BBQ (or as they call it in Africaans, a braai), you won’t want to leave. If you do decide to venture out, the location is great—you’re just steps away from some of the city’s best hikes and only a 10-15-minute drive from the city center.

Thirty minutes outside of Cape Town in the wine region of Stellenbosch, there is a magical place called Babylonstoren. No joke. It’s literally magic. The perfectly-manicured, freaking gorgeous farm is home to more fruit, veg and succulents than you can name (I dare you). The best part: you can eat whatever you can pick. Accommodations are nothing short of dreamy (think plush four-poster bed and free standing bathtub are just the beginning). Common areas are great for lounging; read a book from the library, hit the pool, sauna, steam or salt room (yes, I said salt room-it's lined with 100% Himalaya salt and is great for your skin and respiratory system, lowers inflammation and can even improve your mood). Don’t leave without tasting their yummy AF rosé and snagging a bottle of their house olive oil. It’s worth checking a bag for.

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SWEAT

Hit the mountain! Lions Head and Table Mountain are the most renowned hikes in Cape Town and despite their popularity, are not for the faint of heart. Prepare to climb over some pretty legit rocks. Get up bright and early to beat the crowds and the heat. And if you’re really motivated, try to catch the sunrise from the top.

HANG

If you’re in Cape Town on a Saturday, you absolutely must check out Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock. Once a week, this little village turns into the most incredible marketplace. Delicious food stalls, artisanal products, locally-designed clothing, jewelry, bags and other awesome stuff are all for the taking. Sit in the sun, enjoy an acai bowl and chill.

SHOP

At Old Biscuit Mill, look out for WeWe—super cool African clothing designs ethically handcrafted by local women working from home.

And don’t leave the continent without a colorful painting. Talented local artists are abundant. I found a piece I loved at the V&A Waterfront, which will hang prominently in my home and bring back so many great memories.  

EAT

Cape Town is oozing with super cool restaurants and cafes. Chefs Warehouse on Bree Street offers a nightly tasting menu that highlights local produce and South African flavors, and Kloof Street House feels like dining in an old Victorian home and is a hangout for all cool kids of Cape Town.

For a healthy bite, Sexy Food on Bree Street is fermentation heaven. Their gut-friendly bun-less burgers and keffir'ade taste just as good as they are good for you. Scheckter’s Raw in Sea Point will satisfy all your plant-based desires. The raw snickers bar  is perhaps the most delicious bite of food I’ve ever had. Period.

Head over to Honest Chocolate for a treat and a few chocolate bars for the flight home. Don’t miss the secret Gin Bar in the back for a little aperitif.

xx

NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH: MELROSE PLACE

If the name of this little pocket of West Hollywood, California doesn’t elicit immediate pangs of 90s nostalgia, then you either are super young—no sweat, Google it—or perhaps fortunate enough to live in LA and have dissociated the street with the pop culture reference.

Kimberly and Amanda feuds aside, the 2016 IRL version of Melrose Place is a haven for chic, healthy living. Sparkling clean, green, with lots of succulents, shiny cars and dog-walking Angelinos—it’s the dream. If I could perma perch myself outside Alfred coffee decked in Zimmerman or perhaps live in the Isabel Marant store, I would be pretty stoked.

CRASH: CHATEAU MARMONT

A stone’s throw away—okay, a 25-minute walk or 4-minute drive—is my guiltiest of all guilty pleasures: The Chateau Marmont. I freaking love this place and their old-school rooms, the canopied courtyard and lush pool area. It’s like a secret castle in the middle of Sunset. 

8221 Sunset Blvd I chateaumarmont.com

 

 

EAT: CROFT ALLEY

Not to sound totally cliché, but this 10-seater back alley cafe seriously has the best kale salad. Like ever. They also have this beyond tasty brown rice risotto made with coconut milk, homemade yogurt and so much more deliciousness.

8428 Melrose Pl I croftalley.com

SWEAT: Y7

Just down the road on Melrose Ave, is LA’s first outpost of NYC’s favorite Hip Hop yoga: Y7. As if it weren’t hot enough outside, this “sweat drippin’”, “beat pumpin’” candlelit yoga is sure to connect you with your inner fire.

8270 Melrose Ave I y7studio.com

 

 

 

 

SHOP: SUNDAY FARMER’S MARKET

From fresh local fruits, vegetables and flowers, to artisanal products like bone broth and coconut yogurt, this is THE place for a Sunday stroll. Grab a Matcha Pearl from the newly opened Moon Juice and get yourself some peaches and sweet corn before they are out of season.

Melrose Place I facebook.com/MelrosePlaceFM/

 

 

INDULGE: COMPARTES CHOCOLATE

I’ve always been taught that wines with fancy labels are no good, but apparently this rule doesn't apply to chocolate. Delicious flavors are matched by the most creative, vibrant and fun packaging I've seen. My fav: the California Love—dark chocolate with salted pretzels. It doesn’t get much better than that, my friends!

 8428 Melrose Pl I compartes.com

 

xx Mia