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Food North America Travel Health & Wellness

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. 

Europe Food Insider Tips

A Weekend Guide To Nuremberg

Ahh, Bavaria. The southern region of Germany is very visually and culturally different than what you’ll find in Berlin. Bratwursts, old beer halls and streets lined with half-timbered houses abound. The region’s charm is unmatched — and Nuremberg is the perfect place to get a taste of it. Read on for Dame Traveler Contributor Meredith of The Glass Passage’s tips for the perfect long weekend in the city!

Market Square by night — home of the world famous Christmas Market every December!

WHERE TO STAY?

Located just inside the walls of the old city and a stone’s throw from the main train station, you’ll find historic Hotel Victoria. The boutique hotel has been privately owned since its opening in 1896 — so you could say they know a thing or two about how to create a lovely and inviting environment that keeps guests coming back time and again!

The rooms are comfortable and modern, yet the building itself is under monumental protection from the city, so it’s a wonderful blend of old and new. My favorite part, however, was every morning at the amazing breakfast buffet. It was definitely an ideal start for a long day of exploring!

WHERE TO EAT?

No visit to Nuremberg is complete without trying some traditional Franconian (which is the exact region where the city sits within Bavaria) food. Nuremberg is famous for it’s Bratwurst and let me tell you, it did not disappoint! The best place to try it (along with the BEST potato salad and sauerkraut I’ve ever had) is at Bratwursthäusle, which has been making its sausages in their in-house butcher’s shop in the back of the restaurant for ages. The restaurant sits right in front of St. Sebauldus church, just off the Main Market square and is so charming and authentically Franconian in its decor.

Bratwursthäusle & St. Sebauldus Church

We shared a table with a lovely German couple visiting their great uncle, who told us stories (in German, which the couple graciously translated to English) of his experiences before and during the war, all in between swigs of local beer and schnapps shots!

WHAT TO SEE?

Unlike other European destinations, Nuremberg’s high season comes in December with the arrival of the world famous Christkindlesmarkt (or Christmas Market). The Main Market Square is filled with stalls selling smoked meats, mulled wine and fresh gingerbread, all happening in front of the stunning Church of Our Lady. However, even in November it was still beautiful with a local market selling fresh gingerbread, flowers and other kinds of street food.

For some good cafes and coffee shops (AND photo ops 😉 ) head over to Weißgerbergasse (Tanner’s Lane) for the largest grouping of traditionally Bavarian half-timbered houses.

Walk up past the Old Town Hall and pop into St. Sebaldus Church (which is gorgeous and packed with so much free historical information!) on your way up to the Kaiserburg, or Imperial Castle. The Imperial Castle sits high overlooking the city and was one of the most important fortified imperial palaces of the Holy Roman Empire. It also has a museum inside the castle that is worth a visit.

The view from the Imperial Castle

Nearby, you can visit the house (and now museum) of famed German artist Albrecht Dürer which is still in tact from when it was constructed in 1420! Other sights for history buffs include the Nuremberg Trials Memorial and the Documentation Center for the Nazi Party Rally Grounds.

Exploring the Old Town area

 …when in Germany 😉

THE BEST DAY TRIP?

If you have more than 2 days in Nuremberg, I highly recommend taking a short 1 hr train and visiting Rothenburg ob der Tauber — one of the most well-preserved medieval villages and truly something straight out of a story book. Its small size allows for it to be easily explored in a day, and it is really, just, I mean, well…I’ll just let my photos do the talking here 😉

Climb one of the towers of the old city walls for an incredible view!

The city walls envelop the entire Old Town and it takes about an hour to walk around the entire perimeter.

There are tons of little shops with all kinds of German treats!

Plönlein (the little yellow house) — one of the most famous views of the town!

Shop Our Nuremberg Style

Food Hotels North America Reviews

Hotels We Love: Hotel Monteleone, New Orleans + Insider City Tips

From a rooftop pool with panoramic views of the city to a location in the heart of the French Quarter, the Hotel Monteleone is truly the best place to stay in New Orleans. It’s no wonder that the hotel is a member of Preferred Hotels, a group that represents some of the best independent hotels globally.



Rooms
This 4-star hotel is traditional and historic and is home to over 550 rooms, many of which have gorgeous views of the French Quarter or the Mississippi River. I stayed in room 1480, a Preferred King room that had so many windows and views, I didn’t know where to look first! My favorite part of the day was waking up for sunrise and watching it right from the desk of my room. Also, every room in the hotel features marble and granite baths, raised ceilings, and a mini-bar. What more could a girl want?



Dining
Criollo restaurant
We absolutely loved our lunch experience at the beautiful and modern, Criollo restaurant located right inside the hotel.  For authentic creole cuisine, look no further than Criollo. I ordered the Gulf Seafood Napoleon and it surely did not disappoint. You know you’re in the South when your lunch looks like this!


Carousel Bar
What could be more quintessentially NOLA than a revolving bar in a form of an authentic carousel? The hotel’s bar is not only a favorite of many guests’ and visitors but it just so happened to be a favorite hangout of Mr. Ernest Hemmingway himself.

Things to Do

Jackson Square
The St. Louis Cathedral is the heart of New Orleans and is located right in Jackson Square. The cathedral is also the oldest cathedral in the United States. You’ll also be entertained by horse drawn carriages, street performers, art vendors and more in this square.

Streetcars
Go for a ride on the city’s charming streetcar located on Canal St. The green street car takes you all the way to the Garden District where you’ll find tons of beautiful mansions to marvel at.  Cost: $1.75 one way, $3.00 for an all day pass.

Bourbon Street
We’ve all heard of the famous Mardis Gras’ event and Bourbon Street is truly where all of the fun happens. I had a blast walking up and down the street and watching the street performers.

Frenchmen Street
But if you want to hang out where the locals hang, then you go to Frenchmen street. I walked straight down Royal Street from Hotel Moteleone until I reached Frenchmen St. and discovered many charming homes to photograph along the way. While you’re in the area, make a stop at the famous French Market just around the corner.

If you’ve worked up an appetite after all that walking, stop by Dat Dog where you’ll find a long list of creative house made hot dogs with over 30+ topping to choose from.

Cafe Beignet
Beignets at Cafe Beignet make for a great way to start the day but beware as this place is just two blocks away from Hotel Monteleone which can be deliciously dangerous!

Café Dumonde
The cafe is known for their cafe’ au laits, so don’t forget to get your caffeine fix, located near the French Market.

Make reservations at one of the city’s many fine dining restaurants
Mr B’s Bistro

Brennan’s Restaurant


Discover hipster spots in the Central Business District
This is where you go to find those trendy spots that you see all over Instagram. A walk down Girod Street led me to Stumptown Coffee and Drip Affogato Bar, a cafe dedicated entirely to my favorite, affogatos! Head further down into the Garden District to find more of these gems.

Last but not least, the best way to see New Orleans is to get lost
The city center of New Orelans is incredibly walkable and you can get almost anywhere by foot. My favorite experience of my trip was getting lost in the streets and stumbling upon corners like this:

To see more of New Orleans, follow my hashtag: #nastasiainneworleans

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.I was invited as guest by Hotel Monteleone and Preferred Hotels. As always, all opinions are my own. #Sponsored

 

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Europe Food

A Beginner’s Guide To Eating In Greece

Hello! I’m Jessica from The Northern Nomads, writing to share my food guide for the current buzzy travel destination that is Greece. I’ve written my suggestions based on certain dishes that you will find at many restaurants – from casual to upscale. Here is a beginner’s guide to eating in Greece!

What I really loved about visiting Greece for the first time (outside of the pristine blue waters and white washed architecture) was the food. Fresh vegetables, grilled meats, delicious desserts. Every meal was memorable.

Starting my trip in Santorini, my hotel offered breakfast on my terrace every morning. Options were simple Greek yogurt with honey and walnuts, soft boiled eggs, croissants and fresh fruits. What did stand out to me was something called Bougatsa – a pastry stuffed with chicken. I’m usually not big on chicken when I wake up, but this was delicious!

For lunch, stick to a grab-and- go souvlaki place. A pita with grilled meats, vegetables and fries was only 7-8 euro! Other options include kabobs and platters. Delicious, fresh, and affordable.

A few of my favorite dinner dishes organized by course were –

Spreads/Dips

  • Fava: yellow, split pea dip
  • Tzatziki: a must have starter to eat with grilled bread, made from strained yogurt with cucumbers, garlic and olive oil
  • Melitzanosalata: roasted eggplant spread with garlic, oil, lemon juice – served chilled
  • Baked feta cheese: need I say more? Great with bread, great on salad, great with meat, great with
    everything.

Salads/Starters

  • Greek salad: I was surprised that this salad didn’t have any lettuce in it! Sliced peppers, cucumber,
    tomatoes and olives topped with a huge block of feta cheese. The best salads are topped with lots of
    cheese in my opinion.
  • Kolokithokeftedes: fried Greek zucchini fritters – these have onion, mint, and cheese and are delicious

Entrée*

  • Souvlaki: classic Greek favorite – kabobs with peppers and onions
  • Lamb Kleftiko: slow cooked lamb with vegetables and herbs, my personal favorite
  • Pan fried pork: simple and great with fresh lemon

*I should caveat that while I don’t eat seafood, fish is a must try. The Greeks have been fishing for 11,000 years. Everything is extremely fresh & from the sea you are looking over!

Dessert

  • Baklava: a classic Greek dessert choice – made with layers of filo and filled with nuts and honey
  • Greek yogurt: another popular dessert choice with honey
  • Gelato: essential for cooling off, I visited Red Parrot in Mykonos Town

Drink

  • Wine: the Island of Santorini is mostly famous for its white grape varieties – specifically Assyrtiko! The influence of the land’s volcanic soil makes it a popular grape and is a dry white wine (my favorite). There are several wineries you can visit on the island and try all sorts of varieties.
  • Raki: an anise flavored drink popular in several Mediterranean countries. Served with chilled water and/or ice cubes and turns a mily white color. Personally, not for me but a must try while visiting Greece.
  • Ouzo: very similar to Raki in flavor, as it is also anise-flavored. Both are highly rectified ethanol. Ouzo is more strongly tied to Greek origins.

Pro tip: avoid the touristy places and explore long standing restaurants with notable good service. A good meal with multiple courses and a bottle of wine never cost me more than 25-30 euro per person.

These suggestions were based on my time in Santorini and Mykonos. I am by no means an expert on Greek cuisine, but hope this guide will help you find some key dishes while visiting Greece! Options vary island to island – I can’t wait to go back!

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Airlines Hotels Luxury Reviews

Hotels We Love: Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore + Insider City Tips

The Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore is the first hotel in the Shangri-La hotels group and is a true oasis located in the heart of an urban jungle. The hotel recently revamped its Tower Wing with the help of Japanese interior studio, Bond Design and the results are simply breathtaking. Three wings offer a style for every type of traveler: the elegant and timeless Valley Wing, the lush Garden Wing and the modern Tower Wing, which is where we had the pleasure of staying.


Tower Wing
From the moment we walked into the lobby of the Tower Wing, we immediately felt the tranquil and serene atmosphere thanks to its nature inspired art. The design is modeled after five key elements: wind, which is found in the whimsical art installation hanging from the ceiling, water, inspired by the unique sculptures and infinity pool in the middle of the lobby, wood found on the accents of the furniture and walls and finally, stone on the lobby’s grand centerpiece facade located at the bar, measuring 9 x 6 meters and made out of 350kg of basalt stone flown in from Australia.


Room
We had the pleasure of staying in the brand new Horizon Grand Premier Room and it was an absolute dream. Expansive, sleek, modern, yet still comfortable, the room was larger than my NYC apartment! It also had stunning views from both the living room and the desk view which can also be admired from the bed. This particular room is great for a larger party or families as it has a small kitchenette and dining table.



Horizon Club
The newly renovated club lounge is such a convenient pleasure to have access to with complimentary breakfast, afternoon tea, cocktails & canapes, coffee, teas, juices and more served on a daily basis. It also offers stunning views overlooking the hotel’s grounds and the city of Singapore on both sides of the lounge. My favorite part of the day was heading up to the lounge before dinner to have wine, cheese and crackers as we watched the sun set over the city.



Grounds
The grounds are made up of 15 acres of lush gardens, exotic flowers, plants, herbs and ponds that house over 200 Japanese koi fish! The hotel even has its own orchid hybrid, the Dendrobium by Shangri-La, Singapore which can be found inside the newly built Orchid structure, a greenhouse that towers 22 feet above ground.




Dining

Shangri-La restaurants are known to be some of the best in the hotel scene and the dining at Shangri-La, Singapore is no exception.

The Lobby Lounge
Our lunch experience was one of my favorites as the restaurant offers authentic Singapore hawker style dishes inspired by the long time heritage street food dishes such as Bak Chor Mee (chef’s favorite), Hainanese Chicken Rice, Laksa and more.


The Line
The resort offers an all-day casual dining experience for guests, equipped with 16 kitchens offering a variety of cuisines for every taste.

The Waterfall Ristorante Italiano
Another favorite of mine was The Waterfall Italian restaurant led by Chef Marco from Napoli. Chef Marco’s passion for cooking shines through, so much so that he even makes his own pasta, available for purchase at the restaurant!



NAMI Restaurant & Bar
Overlooking the city from the 24th floor, NAMI, which means “wave” in Japanese, this fine art dining experience is a sushi lovers dream.

Shang Palace
The hotel’s Chinese fine dining experience offers authentic Cantonese cuisine and is one not to miss.


Spa
CHI provides a variety of services from Swedish and aromatherapy massages to specialized facials using local ingredients.

Activities
The hotel is located in the heart of the city and there is so much to do in the surrounding area but one of the highlights during our stay was the Bespoke Heartland tour conducted by the hotel‘s Chef Concierge, Rajkumar. The four hour tour gave us an in depth look into local life beyond the highlights that most tourists stick to. We learned so much during this tour and it left us appreciating the great country of Singapore even more than we did coming into it. Outlined below are some of the highlights we experienced during the tour:

Little India
We started the morning off by receiving blessings from Rajkumar’s family Hindu temple, Sri Veeramakaliamman as we learned about the HIndu faith.


Joo Chiat
We walked the colorful streets of Joo Chiat and had lunch with local Zizi at Kway Guan Huat. Zizi carries out her father’s 70 year long tradition of making the most authentic (and delicious) handmade popiahs in Singapore. The shop is located in a modest storefront where everything is made fresh. We learned how to stuff the popiahs and were taught how important it is to roll the skin with love and prayers during the process to pass on blessings to the person you make them for.



Chinatown
We made our way to the Chinese Heritage Centerin Chinatown where we learned about Singapore’s early pioneers and discovered the personal stories of people who made Chinatown their home.

Toa Payoh Estate
Rajkumar also took us to visit this diverse community living in harmony in a place where Singapore’s first MRT station, first bus terminal, first supermarket and police post are located. It’s also a place where citizens in Singapore go to plan their public housing plans and to establish their housing and development plans.


Visit our insider guide for more tips on what to do and see in Singapore.

All content provided on this blog is for informational purposes only. The owner of this blog makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site.I was invited as guest by the Shangri-La, Singapore and Singapore Air. As always, all opinions are my own. #Sponsored

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