Sisterly California Adventures

Since 2011, my sister and I have taken a sister-trip or do a sister-activity at least once a year. Although I’ve been to California a handful of times, Sara has never been that far West. Besides hitting up all of the natural touristy spots for her, I also had to do a lot of research on where to eat because of my known food allergies/sensitivites. Not eating donuts (and fonuts), normal fish tacos, and items from food trucks will suck – especially watching Sara enjoy them, but I’d much rather not break out in hives or eczema. I will however go “off the AIP rails” and eat Paleo foods, as long as the items are 1. Organic and 2. Preservative/crap free.

Although I already covered major ground in SoCal to hit (see other articles 1 and 2), I wanted to highlight a bulk of the places in the neighborhood that we were staying in, Santa Monica. Here are some spots during our adventure that made our sisterly R&R so magical:

Olive and June

1426 Montana Avenue Santa Monica, CA

The first stop on our sister R&R trip was to a nail salon I’ve heard SO many great things about, Olive and June. Started by owner, Sarah Gibson Tuttle,  Olive & June was named after her great – grandma and grandma. Both ladies taught Sarah the importance of having high standards and a big heart – which has directly influenced O&J’s mission. Being known around the LA region as being a beacon for nail-inspo ( check out the handle @oliveandjune), O&J is also a celebrity hot-spot. Why? Besides having a super clean and feminine vibe, a priority of O&J is to be knowledgable and understanding of each person’s nail preferences. O&J even keeps your preferences on file for your next visit. Clearly our manis were awesome (below) and we look forward to stopping back in on our next trip.

Pono Burger

829 Broadway Santa Monica, CA 90401

In Hawaiian, “pono” means “to do things the right way.” For Chef Makani of Pono Burger, that translates to fresh, never frozen organic beef from pasture raised, grass-fed cows; organic ingredients from local farmer’s markets; and fresh cut organic French fries that are not only good for you, but are good for the planet. “I wouldn’t feed our guests anything I wouldn’t feed my family. So eat better, feel better and live better, because at Pono, we do it the right way!”

Our experience at PB was SO nice because I didn’t receive any eye-rolls, annoyed looks, or sighs from workers because of my food allergies. The staff was super helpful and willing to accommodate, no matter what. Because I trusted that Pono’s ingredients were fresh, I felt super comfortable splurging a little but. I went off the “deep end” and had 1/2 of a bun and a handful of the french fries (fried in organic California rice bran oil). My sister even got a normal-persons burger and shared the french fries.

Chomp Eatery & Juice Station

1612 Santa Monica Blvd Santa Monica, CA 90404

Holy Moly was Chomp a diamond in the rough. We actually stumbled upon Chomp while trying to look for a breakfast spot in the neighborhood. The concept was born from individuals who believe that taste should not be sacrificed because of dietary restrictions. Plus, eating delicious food shouldn’t result in a food coma either. Using a variety or organic, grass-fed, free range, raw, local, no trans fat, no preservative, and no msg, it was easy for me to fall in love with the menu. Although not AIP, I gobbled up the Paleo burger and finished it off with the Paleo Cacao Avocado smoothie. My sister got the normal-people-style (but still using clean ingredients) breakfast plate and the green dream smoothie.

She also stepped out of her comfort zone and tried a raw juice with me. To our surprise, Chomp served her juice in a giant glass lightbulb for her to take home {above}  (Jigga what?!). Total game changer.


FYI: When you visit Chomp, beware of the tempting donut shop nearby-they seem to have EVERY type of non-healthy but amazing looking flavor imaginable. Take a peek and then keep on walking to Chomp, your gut will thank you.


Flower Child

1332 2nd Street Santa Monica, CA 90401

Our friends at Chomp Eatery gave us a great recommendation of stopping into Flower Child before we left the beautiful neighborhood-and thank God we took their advice! Although I never identified myself as a “flower child,” as soon as I read the store’s motto of “serving healthy food for a happy world,” I knew I walked into my dream restaurant. Sourcing their proteins and ingredients locally and raised naturally (without additives), FC knows their farmers and their families to a tee. Although their menu looks simply perfect, our favorite meal was hands down the breakfast.



Because I felt comfortable enough with the ingredients and concept, I even ate some Paleo/Non-Paleo items, like the Morning Porridge and Avocado Toast (above). There are AIP options available, but I wanted to slightly treat myself this week.

FYI we liked our breakfast so much, we ate these two days in a row (which included the chocolate almond muffin)


Tikkun Spa

1460 4th Street Santa Monica, CA 90401

I’ve heard such great things about Tikkun Spa before, but have never had the chance to visit until now! Tikkun Holistic Spa is a wellness sanctuary designed to heal and rejuvenate your mind and body. Its’ special treatments are carefully created to restore health and well-being, to promote relax, and to replenish energy. Instead of being lathered and pampered with gross-ass spa chemicals, TS is all naturale’ – TOTALLY up my alleys.

We were greeted by friendly, good-vibing staff, and were given our “uniforms” for the spa, aka a tropical sheet to wear as a dress. Before our scheduled treatments, we lounged in the spa and took full advantage of spending time in the Clay Room, the Himilayan Salt Room, and the Ice Room. All of those rooms were designed to help detoxify the body and skin from the icky chemicals we are exposed to on a daily basis.


When it was time for our Traditional Korean Scrubs  we went into the private area of the water/sauna/steam section and entered relaxation mode. I know, you’re probably thinking how can you be relaxed when you’re 100% exposed and being rubbed with sandpaper-like gloves? Well, of course it is originally awkward and slightly painful–for a few minutes, but the real payoff is the end result=soft as a baby’s bottom skin.  I’ve used loofahs, shower stones, and other apparatus’s in the shower to get smooth skin, but getting this traditional scrub totally transformed my skin. It removed all of the excess natural buildup, exfoliated, and began my journey with healthier (and smoother) skin.


Unfortunately there are no spas in Chicago where Traditional Korean Scrubs are offered, but that just means that Sara and I will have to travel back to Tikkun to keep up our new #skingoals.

Burger Lounge – Beverly Hills

281 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90212 (also in Santa Monica & other neighborhoods)

While scouting another healthy place where I can eat, Burger Lounge appeared before our eyes. Burger Lounge is a modern counter-serve burger spot serving grass-fed, free range turkey, and quinoa varieties. Burger Lounge grew out of the idea that a hamburger should not only taste great, it should also utilize healthy ingredients produced in a sustainable environment. It provides a simple premium quality menu that appeals to health conscious diners, vegetarians, salad lovers and those simply ”hankering for a great hamburger”. What’s even great is that you can make an AIP, vegetarian, or Paleo dish knowing the ingredients are as fresh as in your kitchen.


Or if you’re not feeling healthy AF, try the Chicken Digglers – Sara said they were to die for!


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