Fancy Hotspots

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  • Austin, TX: My 3 Favorite Things

    Every year my husband and I go somewhere new for Christmas. Since we heard so many friends rave about Austin this year we thought that was the perfect place to go. They couldn’t have been more right. This city is filled with so much activity, lovely people and really good BBQ. Here is my top 3 in Austin:

    Jo’s Coffee

    I always search for the best coffee anywhere I go because I’m very particular about what I drink. Since I can only handle about one cup a day that cup needs to be something I savor with delight, not just gulp down. A Jo’s coffee stand was a block away from our hotel so I immediately tried that one first. Oh. My. Heavens. I understand why sometimes there can be a line around the block. They have their own Jo’s blend from Stumptown and thankfully it’s available for purchase by the bag. If you’re okay with gluten they also have some Tacodeli tacos available on flour tortillas.

    TacoDeli

    On our first morning there we grabbed breakfast tacos from Torchys and thought they were really good. When we got back to our hotel however our favorite front desk guy quickly advised us that we made a taco misstep and that TacoDeli was far and beyond what Torchy’s could come up with. So the following day while Willie waited in line for Franklin’s BBQ (so worth the 5 hour wait, yes 5 HOURS!) I grabbed us some TacoDeli tacos for the line wait. Brian was right. Torchy’s couldn’t light a torch (:)) to these breakfast tacos. I’m pretty sure I’m still dreaming about them.

    South Congress Hotel

    Honestly, I don’t know why you would ever want to stay anywhere else. This is one of my favorite hotels I’ve been to ever. It’s got a hip vibe to it all while being meticulously designed and boasting one of the friendliest and accommodating staffs. If you can spring for it (we were there during off season so it was very cheap) grab a pool suite. They have a great bath tub and living room area but the regular rooms are also wonderful. Each TV comes equipped with Apple TV so you can binge watch Netflix when you’re not out exploring. A few great shops and restaurants surround the hotel and Congress street is loaded with fun things to do. Be sure to go check out some live music at The Continental Club and if you happen to be there during Christmas like we were DO NOT miss Dale and his Lonestars singing Honky Tonk Christmas music. When in Texas…right?

    xo

  • Unplug Meditation

    We’ve all heard the hype of how great meditation is for your mind, your body and well, pretty much everything. One of the biggest factors that keeps people from doing this scientifically proven practice though is not knowing how. Thankfully places like Unplug Meditation in Los Angeles are popping up to take the guessing game out of it and leaving you with pure, blissful, scheduled relaxation.

    The Ambience

    The second I walked through the door I noticed I took a deep breath. The space has all clean white lines, minimalistic but inspiring decor and a little tea & snack bar offering up some healthy treats to ease you back into real life when you’re done. The staff even speaks in quiet and comforting tones to help set the mood. Once you walk into the main studio all meditators are instructed to leave those cell phones outside or turn them off completely. Vibrate is not an option here. Instead of yoga mats they use unique cushions that bend in half to keep your body upright or your knees bended if your choose or you can just lay them flat. The lighting immediately puts you in the zone with pink filters and candles lit up front where the teacher sits.

    The Practice

    I took a 45 min class (30min classes are also offered) with a pro named Heather Hayward. The music she used was intoxicating. Even the novice meditator would immediately be swept into a deep relaxation with this music. Her voice was so relaxing and soothing without trying too hard and I immediately knew I was in a safe place where I could let go. 45 min went by like a breeze and I came out of the studio feeling relaxed, inspired and ready to purchase some cool stuff.

    The Merchandise

    I’m a total sucker for anything inspiring & motivating and Unplug has a lot of it to offer. To the right of the front desk is a book shelf filled with New Age and Self-Help books that cover everything from healing your heart to cleaning your home. There was a little section of handmade jewelry made with gorgeous crystals and another shelf lining a wall filled with inspired tea cups, aromatherapy, and plenty other desired purchases. Somehow I only ended up leaving with a watch that appropriately says the word “now”. Since after all, meditation is all about the present moment.

  • Best Workouts In Los Angeles

    Working out is important but it can often feel like a chore. Here are some of my favorite fun yet effective workouts in Los Angeles because if you're going to workout - you better see results!

    1. Barrys Bootcamp:

    What it is: combination of 30 min sprinting on a treadmill with 30 min of strength training divided up however the trainer is feeling that day. A full hour of strength training is also always an option. Each day of the week is a new body part (hello Thursday abs!) with the weekend dedicated to Full Body

    Atmosphere: A very in shape nightclub. Lights are low, music is loud, fast and filled with remixes of your favorite songs. 

    Best Trainers: Astrid, Chris Tye Walker & Allie Cohen. They all work you hard while paying attention to any injuries and making sure the class is fun (even if they're yelling at you to go faster).

    2. Studio MDR

    What it is: Pilates class on a reformer. Sorry, a VERY HARD pilates class on a reformer. This class is designed to build long and lean muscle.

    Why this class: I've never taken a class this hard. Because it relies so much on your core and using your own body weight to build muscle you'll find yourself shaking and wanting to sit down more often than not. As unpleasant as that sounds you at least know it's a good thing for getting the body you want!

    3. Soul Cycle Beverly Hills

    Why: If you've been to a Soul Cycle you know that it's a fun and intense way to burn a maximum amount of calories but more importantly, the class is only 45min.

    Best Instructor: I've been to many Soul Cycles around America and the best instructor is Jenny C at the Beverly Hills studio. Although I love SC I've had many chiropractors tell me it's not so nice for your posture. All that jumping up and down and clapping may make the class interesting but it's doing a number on your spine. Jenny's class has enough of the tap backs and side to sides we all love in SC but she does it in a way that is natural with the beat and doesn't hurt your back. The playlist is always fun, she's always chipper and singing along (in a beautiful voice) and making sure you're inspired to pedal faster!

    4. Physique 57

    What it is: A barre workout that ups your heart rate and tones your body.

    Why this one: I've been to many barre classes but this is the first that had me really break a sweat all while targeting muscles I didn't know were there.

    5. Body By Simone

    What class: Trampoline class is where it's at. Jumping on a trampoline is great for your lymphatic system and is a wonderful cardio if your someone who generally gets injured from running or spinning.

    What it is: A full body workout that incorporates jumping, dancing and running on a trampoline as cardio and toning. It's very challenging but also a lot of fun.

    Other +'s: The beautiful studio offers showers so if you go on a Sunday you can rinse off and do your makeup in time to meet up with your friends for brunch in Weho. Priorities.

    Where are your favorite places to workout?

     

  • Boston

    I don't know how I made it growing up on the East Coast without several visits to this heart warming city. As a Mets fan I've always loved Bostonites too, we always got along through our shared hatred of the Yankees (Go Red Sox!). I recently took a trip there and though it was certainly chilly I couldn't have enjoyed myself more. I'd walk through the Boston Commons in the morning with my delicious coffee, enjoying the fall leaves and wondering "Why on earth have we not come here more?!". And because when I travel I'm very picky about keeping my conscious yet decadent lifestyle in tact in my 3 days there I found a few places you'll want to scope out if you find yourself in this wonderful town.

    1. Thinking cup. I think bad coffee is a waste of time so one of the first things I do when I travel is find the nearest and best coffee shop possible. Thinking cup has several locations around Boston, serves Stumptown and has a food menu equipped with gluten free grilled cheese. Need I say more?

    2. Myers & Chang.  A mixture of Chinese, Taiwanese, Thai and Vietnamese food, each dish here is better than the last. They have a gluten free menu and also cater to nut allergies (ugh, peanuts!). Don't miss out on the miso glazed carrots or the Nasi Goreng.

    3. Pastoral. Holy Moly. Best. GF. Pasta. Ever. So tender and soft and delicious and perfectly seasoned and meaty, oh and the environment and the service! Oh my I could go on and on!!! We ordered the GF pasta bolognese and the GF margarita pizza but I imagine anything on this menu would be a win. Not to mention among a stellar dessert menu is the GLUTEN FREE chocolate pizza. Wow. The brussel sprouts were good too.

    Where are your favorite places to go?

  • Tomoko Kurono of Tomoko Spa in Beverly Hills (Yahoo Beauty)

    Japanese massage and relaxation at Tomoko Spa in Beverly Hills. (Photo: Tomoko Spa)

    There’s a new spa in town and if you haven’t been it’s probably best to book your appointment now. Tomoko Spa in Beverly Hills is the dream and vision of Tomoko Kurono, a native of Osaka, Japan, who fell in love with massage at an early age at the hands of her mother, a local healer. From there she always had a passion for massage, traveling the world, until a momentous day when she received a Banyan Tree massage in Thailand that changed her life. From that moment forward, she knew her dream was to open a spa that could transport people to the same mindful place, opening her first spa in Israel 10 years ago.

    Tomoko Kurono, founder of Tomoko Spa in Beverly Hills. (Photo: Instagram)

    After a successful run, she knew it was time to bring her dream to its truest fruition by opening in Los Angeles. “People feel like they’ve gone to Japan for three hours,” says Tomoko of the little slice of heaven located just a few hundred yards from the luxe shops of Rodeo Drive.

    The experience to get is the eponymous Tomoko Massage, a combination of Swedish and Japanese massage traditions. “We begin with the Ashiyu soak to massage the feet and stimulate the body,” says Kurono. This is a key part of the treatment because once the feet are hot the body will relax faster. Next comes the full-body massage followed by a relaxing soak. “We don’t do basic massage — we do the treatment from the heart. It’s energy work. I think that’s most important,” she says of the massage. “After the treatment you can relax in Japanese bath called Ofuro that completely makes you feel like [you are] in Japan.”

    Click here to read the full article on Yahoo Beauty

  • Olive & June Pasadena -- Your Girls Day Extravaganza

    The newest salon from Olive & June creator Sarah Gibson Tuttle opened this week in Pasadena and if you’ve ever need a reason to head that way, this is it. The salon is identical to the OG one in Beverly Hills but a bit bigger and the surroundings a bit grander. As if getting your nails done at by far the best salon in all of Los Angeles wasn’t enough, the new shop shares a door with Dry Bar, across the way is Soul Cycle Pasadena, a Sugar fish is about to open and a Lemonade and a Veggie Grill are there already. This is your one stop shop Girl’s Day.

    Sample schedule:

    Saturday Day

    10:45am Soul Cycle Class

    11:30am Rinse off and change

    12pm Dry Bar. Get your hair looking fierce. Have a glass of bubbly while you’re at it.

    1pm mani/pedi at Olive & June Really want to treat yourself? Go for the Alice mani and pedi. This deluxe treatment will leave you feeling refreshed, revived and ready for the day.

    2pm Grab a healthy lunch at lemonade or cross the street to Veggie Grill for some healthy vegan food.

    3pm Head home, pick out the perfect outfit and make sure to have fabulous plans for the night!

    O&J Pasadena is now taking appointments. Book yours here.

  • Meet Olive & June Founder Sarah Gibson Tuttle

    Meet Olive & June Founder Sarah Gibson Tuttle
    Olive & June, the LA based nail salon, is not only a destination for the stars, but it’s also for women (and men) who care about beauty done right. Their dedication to proper practices, healthy products, and not only customer, but staff happiness is unlike any other nail salon you’ll visit. The salon is delightfully girly with an inviting hint of warmth, and a selection of 5-free polishes (that means they are free from these five toxic ingredients: formaldehyde, dibutyl phthalate, toluene, formaldehyde resin and camphor) that will make you wonder why you ever bothered with the other stuff. We caught up with the owner and vision behind the chic salon, Sarah Gibson Tuttle, on what it took to get where she is, baby prep (she just gave birth to a new baby girl a few weeks ago), and what the future of nail beauty holds. (Read the full interview on Yahoo Beauty)
  • Cedarhouse LA

    The Scoop: Infrared saunas boast a lot of benefits: better skin, relaxed muscles, faster healing, and if that isn’t enough, can even burn 600 calories in one session. So it’s no wonder that more of these saunas are starting to pop up across the country. In Los Angeles there is Cedarhouse, a holistic day spa dedicated to infrared saunas. Though they offer other treatments as well (vitamin shots, massage, and mesotherapy) this place is all about the heat.

    The Backdrop: You walk into what looks like a hip remodeling of one giant sauna. It’s all wood inside and a shelf lined with new age merchandise greets you up front. (Read The Full Review)

  • Rise Nation

    Many fitness classes boast that they are “the celebrity workout of the moment.” Though this might actually be true for some, I’ve never taken one that actually left me feeling like I could walk out with a celeb body — until I visited Rise Nation in Los Angeles. (Read the full review)

  • The Springs

    If you live in Los Angeles or have been here to visit, you know that it can take a lot to make you get in your car to drive to another part of town. Some things are worth the trek though and for this Westside girl, The Springs in Downtown LA is one of them. The Springs is a one stop shop for renewing, relaxing, and losing those few extra pounds. It’s a well-being playground housed in a giant warehouse that looks like it just stepped out of your last issue of Dwell magazine. Here’s what they have to offer: Keep reading