I have been in a total funk lately. Definitely not as motivated as my usual self and I have fallen back (putting it nicely) on my fitness goals. So my recent last-minute trip to California could not have come at a better time. Vacations are so important, they give us some time away from the pressures of everyday routines and allow us to appreciate and enjoy all that is good in our life without distractions of work.
Every time I visit the West Coast it is a breath of fresh air for my mind, body, and soul especially while staying in Santa Monica. Blue skies and temp of 75 degrees everyday, fresh produce, healthy food, and you don’t have to step foot in a gym for fitness inspiration, it’s all around you. It doesn’t get much more perfect than that. In a few days I had the chance to take in as much beauty and energy as I could of the LA area. In case you are interested in planning a trip, short and sweet here are a few places we visited and foods we ate.
Where we stayed
Loews Santa Monica couldn’t ask for a more perfect location and view to relax after a day of sightseeing. The hotel, staff, and accommodations were exceptional. We stayed in a Pool Side Cabana room that came with its own private patio and fire pit perfect to stay warm outside once the sun went down.
Where we ate.
We had breakfast at the hotel most days but one day we ventured out to The Firehouse, a landmark in Venice Beach located near the popular The Mecca Golds Gym Venice frequented by many bodybuilders and fit pros. Really though this place was so cute and it had a rocking healthy menu everything a diner has and more. I went with the Huevos Rancheros so delicious and spicy, beware California loves their hot sauce.
We had lunch one day at Blue Plate Taco Santa Monica at the Shore Hotel. I love Mexican food, but being from the east coast it’s hard to find fresh healthy Mexican food like this. Everything on the menu was so unique and amazing, it was hard to pick just one entrée. My favorite dish was the Farmers Market Nachos.
Another lunch favorite was takeout by the pool from my absolute favorite restaurant I discovered a few years ago, True Food Kitchen. I wish they would open one in NJ. What makes this restaurant so unique is that it was started by a physician. Dr Andrew Weil established True Food Kitchen chain on a set of simple and researched principles known as the Anti-Inflammatory diet which encourages simple changes in eating habits to avoid and counteract chronic inflammation which can lead to many health ailments. If you are into eating healthy and trying new foods this is yet another menu you will have a hard time deciding what to order, because everything sounds so amazing! I highly recommend the Seasonal Salad, Inside Out Quinoa Burger and Ancient Grain Bowl. And if this food sounds good to you and you don’t have a True Food Kitchen near you you can get some of there amazing recipes in their best seller cookbook; True Food, Seasonal, Sustainable, Simple, Pure. The second I got home I made the Inside Out Quinoa burgers, perfection!
We had 2 wonderful dinners during our stay. One night we ventured to Beverly Hills and ate at WolfGang Puck’s Spago. While we did not have any celebrity sightings,we did love dining in the picturesque courtyard. Definitely need to order a homemade pasta and they cater to gluten free. Another night we ate at Mastros Steakhouse in Malibu, hands down the best meal, and service I have had at a restaurant in a long time. They really go above and beyond in food preparation and making sure your dining experience is wonderful. And well that view of Malibu beach?
For a starter I ordered Alaskan King Crab legs and the most delicious cocktail habanera infused vodka and mango. Of course steak for my entree and sides of garlic mashed and snap peas perfectly prepared and in season. I wish I had meal pics but I was to busy taking it all in and living in the moment, so important to do while on vacation.
What We Saw
We visited Universal Studios Hollywood for a half day. If you plan on going definitely splurge for the front of the line pass if you can. You only get to use it once per ride but for us that was all we needed. It will save you so much time as ride wait times are anywhere from 30min till 90 min wait times without it. If you plan on going highly recommend starting at The Wizarding World of Harry Potter first as that is one of the most popular and most crowded attractions. Also not to be missed is the WaterWorld stunt show, so fun! After lunch we did the studio tour, they added some great new additions Fast and Furious Supercharged so cool! I am not a big ride person but if I had to pick my 2 favorites it would be Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey and Jurassic Park.
The day after Universal we spent the morning mostly just driving around Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Stopped by some landmarks Chinese Theatre, Hollywood Walk of Fame, and the Highland Center to view the Hollywood Sign. To end the afternoon we drove thru the hollywood hills full of glamour and charm.
My sightseeing would not be complete without a little shopping on the 3rd street promenade, picked up some cute Kylie and Kendall tops at Pac Sun and stopped for some ice cream at Creams & Dreams. They make custom made to order Liquid Nitrogen ice cream (very cool) which is very trendy right now. I sampled the avocado very good, but was craving something fruity that day.
I am so grateful for this trip. Now that I’m home weeks later I am still feeling the positive healthy energy. With my new lease on life I am reestablishing healthy habits through fitness and nutrition and taking time everyday to appreciate all the blessings in my life.
What are your favorite places to go on vacation to detox, decompress and get back on track? What helps you relax and reset when you are at home ? Would love to hear from you!