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A Wellness Girl’s Guide to San Diego

We’re not as woo-woo as LA, but San Diego is a health and wellness mecca in its own right. There’s no shortage of fresh pressed juice, boutique fitness studios and holistic spas in this city. For those planning a weekend getaway with wellness top of mind, San Diego is one of the best places to go. Here are a few tried and true local restaurants and activities to make your trip a breeze, from one wellness girl to another. 

Eat & Drink

Donna Jean

The best things in life aren’t very complicated. Donna Jean has a simple menu that happens to be 100% vegan. Best known for their thin crust pizzas, Donna Jean also has handcrafted pastas, salads, and sweets on their seasonal menu. Their plant-covered front patio feels like a secret hideaway, a quiet reprieve from the nearby bustling city and Balboa Park. A glass of wine with crusty focaccia bread under twinkling string lights…it’s the perfect atmosphere for a casual, comfortable and cozy dinner. 

GOODONYA

Everything at the organic North County eatery GOODONYA will feel good in ya, thanks to high-quality ingredients. Stop in for breakfast, lunch or dinner: with a menu this nice you might want to drop by twice! Morning meals include eggs and scrambles, avocado toasts, a coconut yogurt parfait and more. Nosh on organic Mexican dishes, bone broth and soup made from scratch, giant colorful salads, wraps, and similar fare. Wash it all down with biodynamic wine, beer, kombucha, low sugar cocktails, or the restaurant’s own electrolyte and mineral hydration blend. They’ve also got a daily happy hour, as if there wasn’t enough to feel good about.  

Parakeet Cafe

If probiotics and adaptogens often make their way into your vocabulary, you’ve come to the right place. Parakeet Cafe has three locations in San Diego, all overwhelmingly pretty in pink. Start your morning with a specialty coffee, ranging from turmeric and beet lattes to mushroom elixir and cacao blends. Personalize your coffee with almond, coconut or oat milk, collagen, MCT oil, and more…all this all before the food menu! Breakfast is served all day, so you can enjoy matcha waffles or shakshuka anytime. Lunch includes salads, soups and bowls, all packed with organic greens, vegetables, and add-on sides to make your meal just the way you want it. 

JuneShine

Hard kombucha is taking over the city, and it all started with JuneShine. Their honest alcohol is made with honey, green tea, organic spices, and juice to make delicious flavors like blood orange mint, pomegranate basil, and chili mango. Grab a glass or try a flight at their beach-inspired tasting room near the city. Or drive twenty minutes North to JuneShine Ranch, featuring brewery tours and a full food menu created by certified nutritionists. 

You & Yours

Undoubtedly one of the most Instagrammable places in the city, You & Yours is the perfect mix of trendy and charming. This female-founded distillery makes gin and vodka onsite, which means a fresh-as-it-can-get cocktail for you. You won’t find artificial syrups or mix-ins here; the drink menu offers a unique mix of fruit and veggie inspired cocktails, complete with adorable names. Little Bunny Foo Foo (gin with carrot, turmeric, ginger, and lemon) and Rhubarbie’s Dream House (gin with rhubarb, raspberry, lemon, bitters, and pink peppercorn) are just a few options. 

Rest & Restore 

Encinitas Meditation Gardens

Unwind surrounded by lush greenery and a stunning ocean view at this self-realization fellowship in North County. Look for three large gold dome-topped towers on the Pacific Coast Highway. The nearby meditation gardens are open to the public, offering walking paths and several spots to sit and be still next to koi ponds, cactus, beautiful birds of paradise, and other colorful plants. 

Citrine Spa

Tucked away on an adorable block of Point Loma is Citrine Spa. The setting is sweet and inviting, and the clean beauty facials are just as soothing. The Citrine esthetician Dawn will curate natural products specific for your skin type. Enjoy a series of cleansers, masks, peels, and even gentle microdermabrasion with an essential oil shoulder and arm massage. After your serene facial, keep that refreshed feeling going by visiting the tea bar and plant shop across the street. 

Leo by Liv3

This picture-perfect salon will make sure your nails are ready for a close-up. Offering manicures, pedicures and massages, Leo sources non-toxic treatment products as much as possible. The team here is known for creating expert nail art, both minimalist chic and bright and bold. Following through with their mission statement ‘be good to yourself,’ Leo also offers free postcards: write down a reminder for some self care, mail them to home and smile when you get something other than a bill in your mailbox. 

ALCHEMĒ

A medical spa that offers beauty services for the inside and out, ALCHEMĒ utilizes treatments both cutting edge and ancient medicine. Aesthetic medicine services range from plasma therapies to photo facials and skin tightening technologies. For something a little less futuristic, opt for a Chinese medicine treatment like cupping or gua sha, or simply consult with a functional medicine practitioner. There’s no appointment necessary for a vitamin injection at the shot bar if you’re looking to get an extra boost of energy, ward off an oncoming cold, or even to help prevent a hangover. 

Saffron & Sage

This holistic health club has everything a wellness girl could ever want. Get pampered with acupuncture, cupping or a massage. Get moving with a yoga class, or mindful with a meditation therapy session. Get advice from a nutritionist, psychologist, or life coach. Saffron & Sage also sells clean beauty products, minerals, essential oil diffusers, and more goodies to take home as a reminder of your experience. Spend some time in a calming, multi-sensory space filled with like-minded locals who dive deep into health and wellness. 

Break a Sweat

Babes Who Sweat

This event series makes fitness fun, with indoor and outdoor workouts all over San Diego. Check their Facebook page for information on upcoming events; past sweat sessions include spin classes, bootcamps, yoga classes, and stand-up paddleboarding, and typically include a goodie bag from local wellness brands.  Meet fellow health and fitness lovers through this inclusive, friendly community. 

Convention Center Steps

Looking to really get your heart rate up? Walk or run up the open-air convention center steps downtown: there’s nearly 100 steps on the grand staircase. Your reward is an epic view of the Gaslamp District one direction, and the San Diego Bay on the other.  There are several shorter staircases around the convention center, perfect for working on sprints, lunges, or similar bodyweight exercises. 

Torrey Pines Hike

Get close to nature at Torrey Pines State Reserve, covering around 2,000 acres of coastal land. Open from 7:15 a.m. to sunset, the trails here are great for newbies or more experienced hikers. Bask in dramatic ocean views, scenic overlooks, coastal plants and the area’s eponymous pine trees. Check the Torrey Pines website for more information on parking and entrance fees. 

Stand-Up Paddle-boarding

There are plenty of places to get your paddle-board on. But the most quintessential San Diego spot may be taking to the water around Coronado Island. SUP Coronado offers rentals and group tours, leading around the Coronado Bay Bridge with views of the city skyline. Sit, stand, and hopefully catch a glimpse of sea life during your session. 

Advice Outdoors Travel Health & Wellness Travel Planning

9 Dreamy Destinations For Forest Bathing

Have you heard about forest bathing? The Japanese tradition of “shinrin-yoku” is a mindful practice of feeling a sense of peace while in nature. Forest bathing is a soothing practice to feel our connection to the earth and ourselves, simply from the act of a slow walk in the woods. 

Sound dreamy? This restorative, simple tradition for the soul has boasted many wellness benefits – from improving mood, energy, focus and immune functioning and reducing stress and blood pressure. 

As forest bathing grows in popularity, it’s important to remember that any green space is an excellent setting to practice this tradition. But, for the dreamers out there, we’ve curated a list of some of our favorite worldwide destinations we’d love to practice shinrin-yoku. Here are 9 dreamy destinations for forest bathing from around the globe.

Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, Japan

The western district of Kyoto’s dense bamboo forests house many zen Buddhist temples in their quarters. Sound like a dream? That’s because it pretty much is. The sunlight trickles through the long, stemmed bamboo trees and the sound of the clinking woods as the wind flows is otherworldly. Be sure to come early in the morning to find some peace and solitude. 

Black Forest, Germany

The mystery and intrigue of the Black Forest is reason enough to book a trip to Germany – but adding the element of forest bathing is a perfect excuse to wander through the beloved, baffling forest.

Humbolt Redwoods State Park, California

The great, giant Redwoods would make any person feel small – but there’s a real sense of peacefulness that comes from dwelling in their presence. Sometimes, all you need is some perspective to realize just how metaphorically and physically small your problems are. 

Olympic National Park, Washington

The tall fir trees that dot Olympic National Park tower over forest bathers basking in the dappled light from above. Washington’s only temperate rainforest is home to some incredible greenery – from ferns, moss, spruces, maples, and lots of moisture from its many inches of rain it collects. 

The Highlands, Scotland

The mountains and pine forests of Scotland’s wild Highlands are a mysterious landscape, perfect for mindful practice. 

Crooked Forest, Poland

Poland’s Krzywy Las forest is a mystery. No one really knows the real reason behind the curvy trunks of the trees. No matter what caused their strange growth patterns, the Crooked Forest is unlike any forest in the world. Find yourself exploring the strange phenomenon and be transformed by its oddity. 

Na Pali Coast State Park, Hawaii

The clifftop trails of Na Pali Coast State Park are the perfect place for island goers to escape to. 

Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee 

The 816 square miles of trees and rivers, rolling fields and dense forests that encompass the Great Smoky Mountains are a delight for hikers and forest bathers alike. A morning walk within the national park will reveal incredible wildlife and peace of mind.

Giant Forest Sequoia National Park, California

Named after John Muir, Giant Forest in California has the largest collection of enormous sequoia trees in the world. To walk through them is like a homage to the epic beauty of this world. Travelers who take part in forest bathing here should not miss the General Sherman, the largest living being on earth by volume. 


Where do you dream of taking part in forest bathing? What are some of the most beautiful forests you’ve walked through?

Advice Solo Travel Travel Health & Wellness

5 Ways To Get Over Your Fear Of Solo Travel

Have you ever lusted over photos of people traveling around the world? Have you noticed the huge boom of people (not just millennials) transitioning their jobs and lifestyles to lead a more remote life? It may seem impossible to do, but it’s not as intimidating as you may think.

I’ve known for the last 15+ years of my life that I wanted to see the world. But, let’s be realistic… does anyone in their late teens/early 20’s think to themselves; I’m going to go by myself across the world and just see what happens. Actually, I’m sure that a ton of people do. But they’re much braver than most people are, myself included.  

Being a solo female traveler specifically can seem a little daunting, especially if you’ve read some of the horrific stories spiraling around the web these days. But on the flip side, there are also SO many wonderful stories of solo travel, for both men and women.

It’s all about having some basic street smarts, and a whole lot of open mindedness.

Personally, I never thought I would enjoy traveling solo. When I was younger, I never enjoyed doing things by myself. I was always the person who was surrounded by friends and entertainment.

In addition to that, I was always more quiet around new people. I always listened much more than I spoke (which is still true for the most part) and was talked over by many people in my life.

I hated being alone for the majority of my pre-teens until I was about 22 years old. That’s a really longtime to not be able to enjoy your own company, let alone to not even truly know yourself.

I remember actually having to force myself to do things alone, and it felt a little unfamiliar.Eventually, I grew to love it. More than love, I grew to crave it. I feel drained when I socialize too much and don’t have enough time for myself.

I think of myself as being an extroverted introvert. I am fully capable of being extroverted and communicating with people and socializing, but I also crave the days where you wander aimlessly just to explore on your own with no one else but yourself experiencing the moment.

I quickly learned that meeting people is no problem at all, in fact, I actually had to purposefully set time aside for myself because I had met so many fun, interesting people that I barely had any time otherwise!

These are a few sure fire ways to meet people traveling solo just like yourself…

Join A Walking Tour

Not only is this a great (and often free) way to get your bearings in a new city, but the nature of walking tours lends to easy conversation. Stopping for a group meal or drink also presents a great opportunity to socialize. 

Sign Up For An Organized Group Travel Tour

From day trips to multi-day adventures, small-group tours offer travel experiences that you aren’t able to access as an independent traveler, as well as an opportunity to form friendships — that can be lifelong — with the people you share the journey with. There are lots of highly affordable options, where you can choose your age group to travel with, well as your own custom tour of where you want to go.

Participate In A Few Touristy/Group Activities – Bar Crawls, Surfing, Yoga, Etc.

You may be able to find some fun group activities through social media, but also checkout what your hostel is hosting. A lot of times hostels will have sort of a community board or a big schedule where they arrange a day of surfing for everyone at the hostel, or a bar crawl throughout the town. It’s a really fun way to meet people and feel comfortable knowing that everyone will end up back at the same place.

Connect Online

There are now loads of apps designed to help travelers connect on the road. Tripr and Meetup help you meet people ahead of time who will be traveling to the same destinations. The Meetup community has almost 30 million members in 184 countries, so there’s a decent chance there will be an event of interest during your visit. EatWith allows you to attend a dinner party hosted by a local chef and can help you find and connect with other travelers willing to share advice, meet up or host you.

Stay In A Hostel

Look for hostels that have a cool shared space, as these can be great places to meet other travelers over a beer, while cooking meals or simply hanging out. Using apps and websites are great ways to find cheap hostels with photos and reviews!

Remember…magic happens outside of your comfort zone.

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