Central California Coast Road Trip Guide
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At least twice a year we take a cruise from Los Angeles up to Carmel-By-The-Sea! The central coast is hands down my favorite place in the world and will always have a special place in my heart. Big Sur is where Nate and I went on our first trip together, it was both of our first times and I remember feeling absolutely blown away by all the beauty as we drove up the coast. I’d go so far as to say it’s where we fell in love. We like to take our time on the drive up and stop at all of the best restaurants and cafes along the way. There is no cell service on US-1 highway for almost the entire stretch of Big Sur, so it’s a great time to disconnect and enjoy nature. When we road trip up the coast we typically break it up into three parts (usually 3-4 days). Day 1 is spent driving from Los Angeles to Cambria, making many stops to sight see, grab coffee and visit our favorite restaurants along the way. Day 2 we drive through Big Sur, camp for a couple nights and really enjoy nature off the grid. Part 3 we drive up to Carmel and recover with a hot shower and a comfy bed at Hotel Carmel for a couple nights. Below you’ll find all of our favorite places to stop along the way! I find it really helpful to star everything on Google Maps to get an idea of where everything is.

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Ventura

Harvest Cafe

The perfect place to stop for lunch or a quick snack. Harvest Cafe is a farm to table restaurant serving organic, sustainable and local cuisine.

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Santa Barbara

Coronado Butterfly Preserve

Santa Barbara is usually the first longer stop on our road trip. It’s about 3 hours from Orange County, so by this time I’m usually antsy to get out of the car and stretch my legs. The Coronado Butterfly Preserve is the perfect place to take a walk! The ocean view is beautiful and during warmer months you are likely to see Monarch butterflies fluttering around.

The Honey B

Small cafe serving organic, plant-based dishes. They also have a few egg options!

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Oat Bakery

Oat Bakery is an absolute must when passing through Santa Barbara. They make the most delicious bread from local, seasonal and organic ingredients. They also have gluten free options. Try the GF seed bread with one of their house-made spreads! We like to pick up a couple loaves to snack on while we’re camping.

Solvang

Good Seed Coffee Roasters

Local coffee shop with tons of gluten free & vegan pastry options.

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Succulent Cafe

Go here for a glass of wine and a charcuterie board! Their boards come with the most delicious pickled veggies!

The Landsby

The Landsby is a beautiful Scandinavian inspired boutique hotel. We’ve never stayed here, but it would be my first choice if we ever decided to stay in Solvang for the night. Their restaurant has an incredible happy hour and great drinks.

San Luis Obispo & morro bay

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Scout Coffee

Hip coffee shop with delicious cappuccinos and an open and spacious interior.

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Nourish

Healthy, on-the-go meals. Nourish has pre-made toasts, salads and baked goods. They also make smoothies, grain bowls, sandwiches and more. A great place to stop for a quick lunch.

Garden Gallery

We love stopping at Garden Galley! They have a huge selection of succulents, house plants, flowers and home decor. We always end up buying a new plant each trip!

Shine Cafe

Shine Cafe is part of Sunshine Health foods located in Morro Bay. In the cafe you’ll find fresh and locally sourced vegan dishes.

Seeds

Smoothie bowls, parfaits, juices and gourmet avocado toast!

Cambria

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Cambria Beach Lodge

After a full day of driving and exploring, we usually end up making it to Cambria just in time for sunset. We always stay the night at Cambria Beach Lodge which is located right across the street from Moonstone Beach. It’s a small boutique hotel with the cutest ocean view lobby, cozy rooms, a roof deck and free bike rentals.

Soto’s True Earth Market

Local health food store in Cambria. We always stop here on our way out as it’s one of the last health food stores before you get into Big Sur. They carry all the best health food brands, homemade baked goods and fresh local produce.

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Big Sur

The Big Sur coast is truly one of the most magical places I’ve ever experienced, and a lot of that has to do with the fact that most of it is untouched by humans. Unfortunately, as the area gains more popularity with travelers, it’s fragile natural environment has been put in jeopardy. When visiting Big Sur it’s important to be very mindful of how our behavior might impact the environment and the community. Be sure to follow The 7 Leave No Trace Principles which can be found HERE.

Local volunteers have also launched “The Big Sur Pledge”, an effort to encourage tourists to appreciate the beauty of the region without harming its environment. Click HERE to take the pledge.

Big Sur Pledge

I pledge to:

  • Share our coastal roads in a safe manner.

  • Be mindful of the impact of my actions.

  • Protect and respect Big Sur’s natural resources, public and private property, residents, employees, and visitors.

  • Leave no trace; and not damage or take what is not mine.

  • Camp only where allowed.

  • Be vigilant and fire safe.

  • Be a steward of this precious resource for the enjoyment of all.

  • Honor the spirit of Big Sur as it honors me.

  • Put the pledge into action.

To learn more about conservation efforts in Big Sur and to donate to the cause, check out the non-profit group Ventana Wildlife Society.

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Ragged Point

Our first stop in Big Sur is always Ragged Point. There’s a beautiful coastal view, bathrooms, a restaurant, convenience store and one of the last places to get gas for a while. The gas is pricey, but I recommend that you have at least a half tank before you go any further.

Salmon Creek Falls

It’s an easy .3 mile hike to the 120-foot water fall and a good place to get out, stretch your legs and get your blood moving after sitting in the car for a couple hours.

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McWay Falls

Mcway Falls is one of those places that you just have to see for yourself. Pictures will never do it justice. The 80 foot-tall waterfall lands directly onto the sand. Mountains and trees surround it and the water is crystal clear. It’s truly one of the most magnificent things I’ve ever seen. It can get quite busy so go early if you can. As of recently the trail is closed for rehabilitation, but you can still get an incredible view from the street.

Ewoldsen Trail

If you’re looking for a moderate to challenging hike, Ewoldsen trail is a stunning 5.3 mile trek through the redwood forest, ending with a beautiful ocean overlook at the top. The trailhead is just a few steps away from the entrance to McWay Falls, which makes it a great two in one experience. I recommend doing the hike first and then rewarding yourself with the short walk to view McWay at the bottom.

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Nepenthe & Cafe Kevah

When driving through Big Sur you’ll notice that there aren’t many restaurant options, which is why we always come prepared with lots of snacks and food to prep meals if we’re camping. But, we ALWAYS stop at Cafe Kevah for breakfast (their bacon is incredible) and Nepenthe for a cheese board and the best bloody mary in town. Both restaurants (located right next to each other) are a little pricey and their menus are small, but the view and atmosphere is incredible!

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Garrapata State Park

Garrapata State Park is usually one of our last stops before we head to Carmel. In the spring you’ll see the area covered in wild flowers. There’s a number of different hiking/walking trails the will lead you to the beach or into the redwood groves. It’s really beautiful!

Camping In big sur

Kirk Creek Campground

This campground is the closest I’ve found to the water. The views are stunning! You’ll want to book a few months in advanced to secure a spot as they do tend to fill up very quickly.

Ventana Campground

Nate and I camped here on our first trip to Big Sur. We didn’t book anything in advance and arrived late. Luckily we were able to snag a spot at Ventana upon arrival. The campground has very nice bathrooms and is surrounded by redwood trees.

Hotels in big sur

I’ve personally never stayed at a hotel in Big Sur. There aren’t many options in the area so the rates are sky high. If you’re looking to stay at a hotel, be prepared to spend a pretty penny. We always opt to save money and camp, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t looked into every hotel option. After some research these are the best options I found.

Treebones

Ventana Resort

Glen oaks big sur

Post ranch inn

Helpful tips

  • Have a plan mapped out. Star all the places you want to go on google maps ahead of time so that you can get a better idea of where everything is. Download the map so that you can view offline.

  • In my experience, late April to early May is the best time to visit Big Sur. It’s just after the spring break crowd files out and before the summer rush comes in. The weather is mild, warm during the day and brisk at night. It’s also when the spring wild flowers are in full bloom!

  • Make sure you get gas before you get into Big Sur, otherwise you’re going to pay an arm and a leg (or run out all together).

  • Plan on not having service the entire time.

  • Bring a portable charger and a camera.

  • Come prepared with plenty of water and food, especially if you have dietary restrictions as there aren’t many options in Big Sur. I have a road trip eats blog post you can check out to get some ideas on whats good to bring camping.

  • Respect the land, stay on trails and leave no trace behind.

  • The roads are windy and narrow and the cliffs are steep. Use caution while driving through Big Sur and be mindful when pulling off the highway. There are many beautiful spots to stop along the way, just make sure you are careful when pulling off.

Carmel-By-The-Sea

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Hotel Carmel

Arriving to Hotel Carmel after a few days of off-the-grid camping is a rather magical feeling. We love staying here on the last leg of our road trip to recuperate, relax and enjoy Carmel-By-The-Sea. Hotel Carmel is a refurbished boutique hotel that features cottage-style architecture with a modern twist. It’s located in the heart of downtown Carmel and walking distance from the beach. Their lobby is what interior dreams are made of.

Brophy’s Tavern

Brophy’s is located inside Hotel Carmel and has a wide variety of salads and a delicious bloody mary.

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Stationaery

Stationaery was such a pleasant surprise on our last trip! Offering breakfast, lunch and specialty coffee, they source their ingredients from local farms and ranches. The food was out of this world, and the service was warm and friendly. You MUST go here if you ever find yourself in Carmel.

Happy Girl Kitchen Co.

Happy Girl Kitchen is a farm-to-table, organic vegetarian cafe a few minutes from downtown Carmel. Everything on their menu is delicious and they also sell house made jams, pickles and fermented goods!

courtnie hamel
Shredded Chicken Salad with California Walnuts and Cranberries
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Bringing you another easy lunch recipe this week in partnership with California Walnuts for their Choose Lunch campaign! This salad has been a favorite of mine for a long time now. I love how easy it is to whip up a batch of shredded chicken earlier in the week to throw into lunch bowls when I'm in a rush. The cranberries add a hint of sweetness while the walnuts add healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids to support brain health. This recipe makes two servings, but you can easily double it to prepare grab-and-go lunches for the week!

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Shredded Chicken Salad with California Walnuts and Cranberries

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup California Walnuts

  • 2 cups romaine lettuce

  • 1/4 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

  • 1/2 cup red onion, diced

  • 1 small Persian cucumber, thinly sliced

  • 1/2 cup cranberries

  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

  • 1 large chicken breast

  • 5 tablespoons avocado or olive oil

  • juice of 1/2 lemon

  • 1 tablespoons spicy dijon mustard

  • salt and pepper

Directions

1. Place chicken breast in a medium sized sauce pan and cover with water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat. Cook for 7-12 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. Allow chicken to cool for about 3 minutes, then using two forks shred the chicken apart and place in the refrigerator to cool.

2. In a small bowl add avocado or olive oil, lemon juice and dijon mustard. Whisk together and add salt and pepper to taste.

3. In two medium bowls add romaine lettuce, walnuts, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumbers, avocado slices, and cranberries.

4. Remove shredded chicken from the refrigerator, divide into two portions and add to the bowls.

5. Drizzle dijon dressed over the top of both bowls and top with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

courtnie hamel
Turkey Sandwich with walnut pesto
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I'm so excited to be teaming up with California Walnuts to encourage you all to think twice about skipping lunch! For me personally, lunch is the most important meal of the day hands down. Having a nutrient dense meal before I hit a midday slump is crucial for maintaining my energy levels, productivity and focus.

A survey conducted by California Walnuts showed that while most Americans are eating lunch, the majority are distracted by social media, working at their desks, or watching the news. Many people aren't prepared when lunch time comes around either. According to the survey, 53% of Americans don't think about what they're going to eat until they realize they're hungry. This makes it harder to choose healthy options. Meal planning is the key to making healthier choices at lunch time, and people who bring their own lunches are more likely to eat healthy.

I'm committed to continue choosing lunch! Not just by preparing healthy meals, but also taking time to fully enjoy a midday break. Today I'm sharing an easy turkey sandwich with walnut pesto recipe that is perfect fuel to get you through your day! The whole grain bread offers complex carbs, the turkey offers protein and the walnut pesto offershealthy fats and omega-3s (walnuts have 2.5 grams per 1 ounce serving).

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Walnut Pesto

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup California Walnuts

  • 3 cups basil

  • 1/2 cup spinach

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

Directions

In a food processor, combine walnuts, basil, spinach, lemon juice, garlic, sea salt and pepper and process until a smooth paste forms. Gradually pour in olive oil. Add more olive oil, salt or pepper to taste. Enjoy!

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Turkey Sandwich

Ingredients

  • Sliced turkey

  • Walnut Pesto

  • Tomatoes, sliced

  • Arugula

  • Avocado

  • Organic Whole Grain Bread

  • Pepper to taste.

Directions

Coat each slice of bread with walnut pesto. Layer turkey, tomatoes, avocado and arugula on top. Sprinkle with pepper and enjoy!

courtnie hamel
Honey Glazed Chicken Breast with Strawberry Mango Salsa
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I’ll choose a homemade salsa over a store bought one any day! Not only do they taste better because the ingredients are fresh, but they are also super easy to whip up! One of my favorite ingredients to add to salsa is fresh mango! Mango has an incredible way of blending perfectly with both sweet and savory dishes, plus you’ll get 100% of your daily Vitamin C from just one cup. Enjoy this Strawberry Mango Salsa with chips or paired with honey glazed chicken and jasmine rice! The perfect summer dish!

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Strawberry Mango Salsa

Ingredients

• 6 large strawberries

• 1/2 mango

• 1/2 small red onion

• 1/4 cup cilantro

• 1/2 lime

• Salt and pepper

Directions

1. Dice strawberries, mango, red onion and cilantro. To learn how to dice mango, check out this tutorial!

2. Add to a bowl, mix and squeeze lime juice over the top. Mix again and add salt and pepper to taste. Store in the refrigerator while chicken cooks.

Honey Glazed Chicken Breast

Ingredients

• 2 medium boneless skinless chicken breasts

• 3 tbsp avocado oil

• 2 tbsp lemon juice

• 1/4 cup honey

• 1/2 tsp salt

• 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions

1. In a medium sized skillet, add 1 tbsp of avocado oil over high heat. Add the chicken breasts to the skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.

2. In a small bowl whisk avocado oil, lemon juice, honey, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the chicken and cook until the sauce starts to reduce and thicken. Spoon extra sauce over the top of the chicken and remove from heat. Pair chicken with strawberry mango salsa and jasmine rice (optional).

courtnie hamel
California Avocolada
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Califonia avocolada

Ingredients

1/3 medium California Avocado

1 1/2 cups fresh pineapple juice

1 knob of fresh ginger (juiced)

1 lime (juiced)

1/2 can coconut milk

3 oz rum

Fresh mint leaves and sliced lime (optional for garnish)

Ice

Directions

In a blender combine avocado, pineapple juice, ginger juice, lime juice, coconut milk and rum. Blend on high until smooth. Pour over ice and garnish with fresh mint and sliced lime.

courtnie hamel
How I Healed My Gut

It wasn't until recently that I started to really understand how important it is to maintain a healthy gut microbiome. In the past I’ve struggled with poor digestion, bloating and abdominal discomfort. What I didn’t realize was that the health of our gut also affects things like mood, nutrient absorption and even the immune system! There’s a wide variety of things that can disrupt the gut microbiome. A diet full of refined carbohydrates, excess sugars and inflammatory seed oils is among the main offenders, but things like stress, not getting proper sleep, antibiotic use and even not being breastfed can contribute to poor gut health. It took a lot of patience and trial and error for me to figure out how to heal my gut and maintain its health on a daily basis. Over time I’ve been able to pinpoint what foods cause discomfort and what foods/supplements can aid in healing. As always, everyone is unique and what worked for me won’t work for everyone. Below I share a list of things that have helped me as an individual. I always want to encourage you to do your own research and consult your doctor. This post is in partnership with New Chapter.

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Diet & Food Journaling

A few years ago I started to pay very close attention to the way certain foods made me feel. I would write down each meal in my food journal and then write a short explanation of how I was feeling about an hour later. After about 2 months of doing this I was able to see that certain foods were upsetting my stomach time after time. For me those trigger foods are gluten, dairy, grains, excess sugar, bell peppers, brussels sprouts, and legumes. I was also noticing that if I ate meals too close together it would cause bloating and gas. I highly recommend starting a food journal if you’re experiencing gut issues. From my experience this is the most effective way to find out what foods are causing discomfort. It also helps you get more in-tune with your body. I feel best eating a whole food diet similar to the paleo diet. I always make sure to eat greens with each meal and have plenty of healthy fats.

Reduce Sugar Intake

Cutting back on sugar, especially in the morning, has been one of the most beneficial things I've done for my health thus far. Consuming excess sugar feeds bad bacteria in the gut, making you crave even more sugar. I try to start each day with a meal that is rich in vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber and healthy fats that will help stabilize my blood sugar, leading to less sugar cravings later in the day.

New Chapter Probiotic All-Flora

New Chapter’s Probiotic All-Flora supplement supports my complete gut health.* It helps to replenish healthy gut flora with a 3-in-1 blend of prebiotics, probiotics and postbiotics for advance digestion support.* It also includes Saccharomyces boulardii which helps reduce problematic yeast such as candida. Probiotic All-Flora boosts immune defenses and promotes digestive health including bowel regularity and reducing occasional gas, bloating and constipation. I take one capsule per day before my first meal.

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Fermented Foods

Fermented foods such as sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt and kombucha are rich in probiotics that help restore a healthy gut microbiota and intestinal barrier. I love adding fermented cabbage and carrots to meals or eating it by the spoonful as a snack. I also like to make probiotic coconut yogurt bowls with berries for dessert.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is rich in gelatin and amino acids that help soothe the gut and repair intestinal wall damage. It also contains glycine which stimulates the production of stomach acid. Drinking a glass of bone broth with a meal can aid in digestion. I like to sip on a glass with ginger and lemon before bed!

Intermittent fasting

I don’t follow a strict intermittent fasting routine, but I do try to go at least 5-6 hours in between each meal. Since I swapped out smaller more frequent meals for larger more spread out meals, I’ve found that I have a much easier time digesting food and my bowel movements have become more regular.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.



courtnie hamel
Wellness With Courtnie Goes To Austin
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Eat&drink

Austin has so many great restaurants! I barely scratched the surface during my 5 day trip. The places I did get to try certainly did not disappoint! I was blown away by all of the healthy options too! Below I list some of my favorites and a few that came highly recommend.

Picnik

Picnik is an absolute must when in Austin! Everything is gluten, soy and corn free and their menu is extensive. It’s hard to pick just one thing, which is why I ate there 3 different times during my trip. They also serve “healthier” cocktails which is such a treat! If I had to choose, I’d say the breakfast tacos were my favorite.

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Better Half Coffee & Cocktails

We came here for a quick breakfast before going on a hike. The service was super fast and they have a cute outdoor seating area. We ordered oat milk cappuccinos and the breakfast sandwich to share. Both were delicious.

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Juice Society

A great place to stop for smoothies, juices, bulletproof coffee and more! You can customize your own drink order and they have all the good add-ins like collagen, adaptogens and CBD.

NadaMoo Scoop Shop

Vegan coconut based ice cream! Such a treat!

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Fresa’s

If you love margaritas and Mexican food, then you’ll love Fresa’s! Especially because they use fresh ingredients and cater to all kinds of different diets (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, etc). I ate here twice and got the Power Bol both times. It reminded me of a meal I would make at home!

Curcuma

Plant-based food truck with delicious bowls.

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Cafe No Se

Located at the South Congress Hotel in the middle of all the action! The interior is super cute and the food is fresh and beautifully plated! We came here twice for brunch and it was delicious. Try the quinoa bowl for a light meal packed with veggies.

Greater Goods Coffee Roasting Co.

Greater Goods has delicious coffee and a bright interior, making it a nice place to work from your computer.

Hank’s

Hank’s serves tasty food and has a beautiful interior.

Sweet Ritual

Dairy free ice cream and gluten free cones!

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Jester King Brewing

I’m not a huge beer drinker myself, but Nate sure is! We visit a lot of breweries during our travels, but this one was extra special! The property is beautiful and very family friendly. They serve delicious food and the beer is really good (according to Nate).

Plant shops to check out

TILLERy Street plant co.

Wide variety of indoor/outdoor plants and garden supplies.

Frond plant shop

Plants and cute housewares.

Succulent native

Succulent and gift shop.

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Nature

Jacob’s well

Jacob’s Well is artesian spring with crystal clear blue-green water. You can swim (although the water is on the colder side) or jump off the rocks into the 100 foot deep opening in the creek bed. You can visit Jabob’s Well for free if you just want to take a look. If you plan to swim, there is a small fee and you will want to make a reservation as they only allow a certain amount of people to swim at a time.

Barton Springs

Located within Zilker Park, Barton Springs is a three acre natural spring pool with water temperatures averaging from 68-70 degrees. There is a small fee required to swim and the spring is closed on Thursdays for cleaning.

Hamilton Pool

I’m so sad we didn’t get to visit Hamilton Pool while we were in Austin! They were all booked up on the day we wanted to go, so be sure to reserve far in advance!







courtnie hamel
Mango Orange Spritz
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Summer is right around the corner which means it’s time for light, fresh and fruity summer drinks! Making cocktails healthier is one of my favorite things to do! Who needs sugary mixers when you can use fresh ingredients to add natural hints of sweetness? Mangos are an excellent choice, as they are sweet and juicy all on their own. For this Mango Orange Spritz recipe, I muddled fresh mango with mint and sparkling water to create a naturally sweet base. You can always forgo the alcohol to make a mocktail instead.

Not only is this drink the perfect refresher on a hot summer day, but one cup of mango is rich in Vitamin C, which is important for immune function and wound healing! Enjoy this recipe at your next brunch get-together!

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Mango Orange Spritz

Serves 2

Ingredients

-1/2 ripe mango

-1/2 cup of fresh orange juice

-1 cup of sparkling water or kombucha

-2 oz of vodka (optional)

-1 small handful of fresh mint leaves

-ice

Directions

In two separate glasses add mango, sparkling water (or kombucha) and mint leaves. Muddle until mango turns to a puree. Fill glasses with ice, vodka and orange juice. Stir well and garnish with mint leaves or fresh thyme. Enjoy!

courtnie hamel
May Morning Routine
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Since transitioning into van living 3 months ago, I’ve had a hard time establishing a well-rounded morning routine. Too often I find myself waking up and getting straight into work obligations. At first it was fine, but after a couple months I really started to feel this habit wear on me. I know how important it is to start each day on the right foot, so this month I’m dedicated to setting my alarm 30 minutes earlier to take time for myself. Not every month is going to look the same, especially since I’ll be traveling a lot in the near future. That’s why I decided to make this a monthly check-in. I’ll choose a few rituals to implement into my routine for each month and report back with updates on how I’m feeling.

This month’s post is in partnership with New Chapter.

Hydrate

The first step in my morning routine never changes. I keep a 32 oz mason jar filled with water right next to my bed. That way I can reach for it and hydrate first thing.

Sunshine

Since moving into our van I’ve found it a lot easier to get outside right when I wake up. Letting light into your eyes first thing is extremely beneficial for regulating your circadian rhythm. Meaning it sends a signal to your body that it’s day time. When I’m finished sipping my water I’ll pull a curtain open to let sunlight in. I almost instantly feel more awake afterwards.

Matcha

Since we don’t have our own kitchen set up in the van yet, I usually head into Nate’s moms house to make my matcha (that’s where we park most nights). This is one of my favorite parts of the day. I don’t know why but I just find it so soothing.

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Movement

When I’m done making my matcha I like to go for a slow, leisurely walk. It usually isn't long, maybe 10-15 minutes. I’ll sip my matcha, look up at the sky and admire the clouds. Then I’ll walk home and do a quick workout. It’s usually something simple like jump squats or burpees. Anything to get my heart rate up and my blood pumping.

Palo Santo

I love burning Palo Santo in the morning. Palo Santo can be used to clear negative energy, and for me the smell has a very calming effect. When I burn it I like to take 5 deep breaths and really let me body relax. It’s lovely! If you don’t enjoy the smell of Palo Santo you can use essential oils instead.

Supplements

In the past I’ve had a hard time sticking to a daily vitamin regimen, but I recently started taking New Chapter’s Every Woman’s One Daily Multivitamin and I’m determined to stick with it. What made this multivitamin stand out to me was that it’s fermented with probiotics and whole foods which unlocks each nutrient making it easier for your body to recognize & absorb, like food! It’s specially formulated for active women with targeted nutrients for immune, beauty and energy support.* I also love that you can take it on an empty stomach because I typically don't eat breakfast until later in the AM.

Breakfast

I usually don't get hungry for a few hours after I wake up. Some days it’s earlier and some days it’s later. I really just listen to my body and when I start to feel hungry I’ll make my breakfast. This veggie hash has been my go-to for the past few weeks! It’s super filling and keeps me energized for hours. I usually pair it with my New Chapter Every Women’s One Daily Multivitamin and I’m set up for success for the rest of the day!

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Roasted Veggie Hash

Ingredients

1/2 sweet potato

1/2 cup red bell pepper

1/2 cup zucchini

1/2 cup red onion

1/3 cup canned black lentils

1/2 small avocado

1 cup arugula

1 egg

2 tbsp avocado oil

juice of 1/4 lemon

salt & pepper

chili flakes

Directions

Pre heat oven to 425

Chop sweet potato, bell pepper, zucchini and red onion, then toss with 1 tbsp avocado oil, salt and pepper. Roast for about 20 minutes flipping half way or until golden on both sides (times may vary depending on your oven). Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Using a wooden spoon stir water until you create a vortex. Crack egg and drop it into the center of the pot. Cook for about 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon remove the egg. Add arugula to a large bowl and toss with remaining avocado oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Add roasted veggies, poached egg and sliced avocado to the bowl. Top with a pinch of sea salt and chili flakes. Enjoy!



*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.





courtnie hamel
Mango & Black Rice Salad with Chipotle Shrimp
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I love mango for it’s versatility. I often add mango to both sweet and savory dishes for an extra boost of flavor and nutrients. Mango is a low calorie fruit that is high in fiber, and is an excellent source of vitamins A and C. It also contains folate and B6. See below for a mango inspired recipe that makes for the perfect spring time salad!

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Mango & Black Rice Salad with chipotle shrimp

Ingredients

  • 1 mango diced

  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced

  • 1/2 orange bell pepper diced

  • 1/2 radish cubed

  • 1 cup of cooked black rice

  • 3 cups of butter lettuce

  • 1/2 pound of wild shrimp

  • 1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 3 tablespoons of avocado oil

  • salt and pepper

  • 1 avocado (optional for garnish)

Directions

Cook rice as directed on packaging. In a medium saucepan heat 2 tablespoons avocado oil. Sauté shrimp with chipotle chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper until fully cooked. Add butter lettuce, mango, bell peppers, radish, black rice, and cooked shrimp to a large bowl. Toss ingredients with remaining tablespoon of oil until combined. Top with sliced avocado. Enjoy.

courtnie hamel
Healthy ways to Beat Jet lag

When we traveled to Bali two years ago I was really concerned about the 15 hour time difference. I didn’t want to spend the first couple days tired and lethargic, so I did what I always do and went into some heavy research. I came up with a list of easy tips that can make transitioning into a new time zone a little easier. I’ve put these tips to the test on multiple trips and can confidently say they DO work! I’ve never experienced jet lag, even with huge time changes.

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3 days before flight

During the days leading up to your trip it’s important to take extra good care of your body. The healthier you are going into it, the more capable your body will be of handling the stress of long travel days.

Hydrate

This is probably most important! Flying is super dehydrating in general so it’s a good idea to go into it as hydrated as possible. I aim to double my water consumption before I fly.

Reduce caffeine intake

This helps a lot when dealing with major time changes. The week leading up to a flight, cut back to just one caffeinated drink per day. Then skip caffeine completely the day of flight. Waiting to have your first caffeinated drink in the morning at your destination will give you a nice boost of energy and kickstart your transition into the new time zone.

Daily exercise

Try to move your body in some way everyday leading up to your flight. Yoga, jogging and light strength training are all great options. Although, I do try to avoid anything too intense or rigorous as being sore on an airplane can be uncomfortable.

eliminate alcohol

Alcohol is known to be extremely dehydrating and can disturb your sleep. It’s best to hold off on alcohol until you reach your destination. This ensures you’ll feel your best upon arrival.

Jet lag rooster app

If you’re interested in shifting your body to your destination time zone ahead of time, you can download this app. It will show you exactly how to shift your schedule based on your bed time, waking hours and travel plans.

Day of flight

Meditation and stress relief

A big part of the discomfort of losing sleep comes from the STRESS of knowing that you’re going to lose sleep. Try to avoid dwelling on the fact that you have a long day ahead of you. Bring essential oils, listen to a mediation or calming music and just relax.

Limit the use of electronics

Avoid using electronics between 10pm and 6am (destination time). Cell phones, laptops and tablets emit blue light which can shut down the bodies production of melatonin, making it harder to transition into a new time zone.

Shift meals times

Meal times can affect your bodies internal clock just like light exposure does. Start to shift your meal times closer to your destinations meal times 24 hours before your flight.

During Flight

Eye mask

Wearing a blackout eye mask is a great way to simulate night time. So if it’s the middle of the night at your destination, it would be a good idea to wear an eye mask to start shifting your circadian rhythm to the time at your destination. Instead of watching movies or reading, I opt to keep my eyes closed to prevent them from feeling tired and strained. There’s nothing worse than having heavy, sleepy eyes. If you aren’t able to sleep, listen to music or a podcast. I always make sure to have a few podcasts pre downloaded before we take off.

Get up and walk around

I try to stand up at least once per hour on long flights. This helps with feelings of anxiousness and also gets your blood moving a bit. Sometimes I’ll even find a spot to do a really quick stretch if possible.

Fasting

Fasting while up in the air has been a game changer for me. Our bodies are under a huge amount of stress while flying, making it challenging to digest food. I used to get extremely bloated and have bad stomach issues after flying. I’ve been able to alleviate that completely by fasting. It can also help reset your body to a new timezone. Still drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.

self-care

There is something really nice about making the effort to do a little self-care on an airplane. It can be as simple as going to the bathroom to brush your teeth or wash your face. Little things like that can instantly make you feel more refreshed. I like to bring collagen eye pads, rose hip oil and my gua sha to give myself a mini facial. The gua sha can help ease inflammation too.

Magnesium

I always pack Natural Vitality CALM magnesium travel packets to drink on the plane. Magnesium naturally helps your muscles relax, making it easier to sit still for long periods of time. My legs get extremely restless on airplanes so this has been really helpful. It’s also good for digestion. Just ask your flight attendant for a glass of hot water, stir in your magnesium, relax and enjoy!

Lemon water

I always bring a small lemon and a wooden knife with me on the plane (you could also pack pre-sliced lemon wedges). I’ll ask the flight attendant to fill up my mason jar with room temp water and then I’ll squeeze a generous amount of lemon into it. This helps with bloating and digestion.

Compression socks

Compression socks help increase circulation in your legs which can reduce restlessness and swelling, making it easier to sit still.

on arrival

Cold shower

Cold showers decrease inflammation and cause your body to naturally release adrenalin, making you feel more alert. They’ve also be shown to reduce stress and have a calming affect.

Sunlight

One of the most effective things you can do to shift your circadian rhythm is to expose yourself to natural light first thing in the morning, especially in the first few days.

Earthing

Kick off your shoes and ground yourself on grass, sand, soil or any other earth matter. Going for a swim in the ocean is also a great option. Earthing has be shown to help reduce inflammation, improve sleep and normalize stress hormones. To learn more about earthing and why is works you can read this article from Dave Asprey.

Movement

Getting outside and moving first thing in the morning raises your body temperature, which signals to your body that it is day time. This can be very effective for resetting circadian rhythms.

Avoid napping if possible

As tired as you might be after a long travel day, do your best to stay awake when it’s day time. Taking naps will only prolong your bodies transition into a new time zone. Instead try to get outside in the sunshine and let light into your eyes. Go for a walk or get in a short workout. You will have much more luck falling asleep and staying asleep at night if you avoid napping during the day.

reduce blue light exposure at night

In an effort to regulate circadian rhythms, it’s a good idea to reduce exposure to anything that might signal your body into thinking it’s day time. This is especially important during the first few days of your trip. Try to limit exposure to bright lights and electronics at least 3 hours before the time you intend on going to bed. Reading or listening to a podcast are better options than scrolling on your phone or watching TV.

Legs up the wall

During long flights fluid collects in your legs causing inflammation and pressure. Legs up the wall helps decrease swelling and increase blood flow. I try to do it for at least 15 minutes upon arrival. Extra points if you do it at the airport or even on the airplane. Sometimes I’ll put my legs on the seat in front of me. It feels amazing, although there is a certain degree of flexibility required to get into this position on an airplane haha.

Support the adrenal glands

Long travel days can be taxing on our adrenal glads. To support them you can take Solaray Adrenal Success supplement or Ashwaganda. These supplements have been shown to ease stress, calm the nervous system and support quality sleep.

l-Tyrosine

L-Tyrosine is an amino acid that converts into adrenalin helping to increase mental focus and alertness. It also promotes a good mood!

courtnie hamel
The Importance Of Sustainable Seafood For Heart Health And The ocean
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I couldn’t be more excited to be teaming up with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) this February for National Heart Health Month! Seafood is a major part of my heart-healthy fitness and nutrition routine and is one of my favorite ways to re-fuel post workout. It’s become increasingly important for me to make sure that what I buy is not only healthy for my body, but also for the environment. That is where the Marine Stewardship Council comes in. You can make healthy choices for you and the ocean by selecting seafood products and supplements with the MSC blue fish label on it.

The Marine Stewardship Council is a global nonprofit organization established to protect our seafood supply. The MSC works with fisheries, grocery stores and other companies to make it easier for consumers to purchase sustainable seafood. MSC’s goal is to ensure that our oceans remain healthy and full of life for generations to come. Through the use of it’s blue label, the MSC has made it SUPER easy for me and everyone to identify sustainable, wild-caught seafood products. The MSC blue label can be found on almost every type of seafood product. Everything from fresh, frozen and canned seafood, all the way to supplements and even pet food! There are nearly 30,000 products that represent the MSC blue fish label.

The Marine Stewardship Council has worked with leading scientists to establish a seafood certification program that guarantees sustainability of fish populations, minimal ecosystem impact and effective management practices that are responsive to changes in the environment.

My Heart-healthy fitness/nutrition routine

No one day looks the same for me, but there are a few things that I always try to fit into my schedule no matter what. Moving my body daily is absolutely non-negotiable. Below I share 4 easy workouts that you can do when you’re short on time and can’t make it to the gym. No equipment required!

Fitness

  • Wall Sits. All you need for this one is a wall. Lean back into the wall as if you were going to sit down. Once your knees are in line with your hips hold there for 30 seconds. Repeat x3

  • Forearm Plank. From a pushup position lower down onto your forearms keeping your spine in one straight line. Hug your belly to your spine and breathe. Hold for 20 seconds and repeat x2

  • Jump Squats. From a squat position, jump as high as you can landing with bent knees. Repeat x25

  • Walking lunges. With control, lunge forward with your right leg lowering your hips until both knees are bent to a 90-degree angle. Press through your back foot and lunge forward with your left leg. x15 each side


    Nutrition

    After a workout I always like to refuel with a high-quality protein to help repair muscle. Protein gives our bodies the building blocks it needs to build new muscle tissue. A convenient, sustainable and tasty seafood protein option is Crown Prince Kipper Snacks! Kippers are made by soaking herring in brine and then smoking them. They come canned and are packed with flavor and nutrition. Herring are low in mercury and high in omega-3 fats making them a standout protein option for heart-health. They also contain high amounts of important minerals like phosphorus, potassium and selenium. You can eat them straight out of the can or use them in a recipe like the one I share below.

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Heart-healthy Kipper toast

Ingredients

1 can MSC certified Crown Prince Kipper Snacks

1 tbsp avocado mayonnaise

1/2 small avocado

1/4 cup cherry tomatoes cut in half

1 small cucumber

2 pieces sourdough bread

2 tbsp fresh dill

salt, pepper and chili flakes

Directions

In a small bowl, mix kippers, mayonnaise and tomatoes. Toast bread and top with kipper salad, sliced cucumbers, avocado, dill, salt, pepper and chili flakes. Enjoy!

courtnie hamel
3 Tips For Winding Down At Night

I wouldn’t say that I have a specific nighttime routine, but there are a few rituals I like to implement in the evening that really help me wind down and get ready for a good night’s sleep. Aside from getting in plenty of movement and light exposure during the day, these are my go-to tricks. In partnership with Natural Vitality. #ExperienceCALM

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  1. Natural Vitality CALM - I love to sip on a glass of CALM to wind down at night. CALM is an effervescent drink that helps promote healthy magnesium levels in the body. Magnesium is crucial for helping our muscles relax, and a lot of us are deficient in this important nutrient. I’ve been drinking CALM for years now and always turn to it when I feel anxious or restless at night. It has helped me tremendously.

  2. Legs up the wall - This is one of my favorite things to do. It just feels SO good. To get into this position, sit sideways next to a wall, pivot your hips and gently swing your legs onto the wall. Lay back, relax and enjoy! Sometimes I like to place a blanket or a towel at the base of my spine to elevate my hips a little further. In this position the legs are higher than the heart which can boost circulation and simulate the lymphatic system. Great after a long day of sitting at a desk or being on your feet.

  3. Keep the lights low - This one is really simple! Try to avoid bright light from things like cell phones, televisions, computers, etc at least an hour before bed. If you must be on your devices, turn the brightness down.

Click here to try to a free sample of Natural Vitality CALM!

courtnie hamel
Skin Boosting Self-Care Rituals
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I first started to learn about the link between skin health and the food we eat when I was 16. I had been struggling with acne for quite some time and I didn’t know how to fix it. I tried everything from facials to expensive skincare products and nothing seemed to do the trick. It wasn’t until I picked up a book called “Glow” at my local bookstore that I realized I could make a positive impact on my skin by cleaning up my diet. I consider a healthy diet, along with regular skincare to be a major part of my self care routine. I love using the Burt’s Bee’s Sensitive Skin line because it’s gentle, affordable and easy so use. Below I share some of my favorite skincare rituals that I try to incorporate into my daily routine. This post is in partnership with Burt’s Bee’s.

Skincare Rituals

  1. Never ever go to bed without taking off your makeup. I love to use Burt’s Bee’s Sensitive Skin Facial Cleansing Towelettes to remove any makeup or dirt that might have accumulated on my skin during the day.

  2. Drink your water! I aim for almost a gallon a day. I know it might sound like a lot, but as soon as I started to drink more water each day my skin became so much more clear and even toned.

  3. Facial massage! This is one of my favorite self-care practices. All you need is a light oil and your hands. Using my knuckles I massage my jawline in circular motions, using my fingers I massage my forehead and the space between my eyebrows in an upward motion.

  4. Weekly face masks. I try to carve out 20 minutes each week to give myself a mini facial. I start by cleansing my skin and then applying a clarifying mask like this one from Burt’s Bee’s. Once the mask is dry I will remove it with a warm wash cloth.

  5. Use an organic cotton cloth to remove facial cleanser to slough off dead skin cells.

  6. Start every morning with a 32 oz glass of water before anything else. I like the keep my water cup right next to my bed so that I can start hydrating as soon as I wake up.

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Some foods contain nutrients that protect our skin cells from harmful free radicals and the sun’s rays. These nutrients can also increase cell turnover and help build strong cell walls that keep our skin looking youthful. Below I share some of my favorite foods to keep my skin glowing.

Skin Boosting foods

Wild Salmon - Wild salmon is packed with omega-3 fatty acids which helps to reinforce yours skin’s barrier and keep moisture in. Its also has selenium, a mineral that protects the skin from sun exposure.

Walnuts - Walnuts are also rich in skin protecting omega-3 fatty acids.

Blueberries - Blueberries are full of protective antioxidants.

Olive Oil - Olive oil contains polyphenols that protect your skin against damaging free radicals.

Kale - Kale is rich in vitamin A, an antioxidant that promotes skin cell turnover.

Avocado - Avocados are abundant in healthy fats, vitamins A and E and glutathione, all of which help to develop and maintain healthy cells.

Tomatoes - Tomatoes are rich in lycopene, which is a phytochemical that protects the skin from sun damage by eliminating free radicals caused by ultraviolet rays.

Sweet Potatoes - Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C and beta-carotene, which your body converts into vitamin A and antioxidants.

Citrus - Lemons, limes, oranges and other citrus fruits contain antioxidants and vitamin C and E, which can help fight wrinkles.

courtnie hamel
Easy Pickled Onion Recipe

This 4 ingredient recipe is my go-to when I want to add extra flavor to a dish. Pickled onions are light, tangy and turn a vibrant neon pink color when they are ready to eat. My favorite things to add them to are breakfast bowls, sandwiches, toast and tacos. Preparing them only takes about 5 minutes!

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Easy Pickled Onions

Ingredients

- 1/2 large red onion

- 1/4 cup red wine vinegar

- juice of two limes

- 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions

Using a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer cut the onion into thin strips. Add vinegar, lime juice and salt to a mason jar and stir. Add sliced onions to the jar, cover tightly with a lid and shake until combined. The liquid should cover the onions completely, if not add a bit more red wine vinegar. Place the jar in the refrigerator and let the onions marinate for at least two hours. Once the onions start to turn a pinkish color you are good to go! Store in the refrigerator for up to a week.

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courtnie hamel
Eggs 5 Ways

Eggs are are one of the most versatile foods ever! Depending on how you cook them, they can take on many different textures and flavors. Today I’m sharing my favorite ways to prepare eggs using Chino Valley Ranchers Organic Free Range Eggs and Egg Whites.

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Soft Boiled

  1. Add a half inch of water to a medium pot (about enough to cover your finger nail)

  2. Bring water to a boil

  3. Lightly place the eggs into the pot (you’ll want to be extra careful with this step because the eggs can easily crack)

  4. Cover and reduce heat to maintain a low, slow boil.

  5. Boil for 7 minutes for a more runny yolk or 8 minutes for a jammy yolk

  6. Immediately remove from heat and run eggs under cold water.

  7. Add a few ice cubes to the pot. Swirl the eggs around in the ice bath. This step will stop the eggs from cooking.

  8. One by one, take eggs out of the pot and crack open the bottoms. Place back into the water and let cool for another few minutes while stirring occasionally. This will allow water to seep under the shell and membrane which will make peeling easier.

  9. Peel egg shells and enjoy with salt, pepper and chili flakes

Soft Scrambled

  1. Crack two eggs into a small bowl

  2. Add a pinch of salt and pepper to the bowl and whisk until eggs are light and foamy

  3. In a small skillet add 1 tbsp ghee or avocado oil and heat on low/medium

  4. Pour egg mixture into the skillet and let it sit for about 10 seconds or until the outer edges are cooked

  5. Using a spatula, drag the cooked outer edges to the center, allowing the un-cooked liquid to spill to the outside.

  6. Repeat step 5 until the eggs are fully cooked

  7. Using a large spatula, transfer scramble onto a plate

  8. Sprinkle a pinch of flaky sea salt and chives over the top and enjoy

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Poached

  1. Fill a medium sized pot with water and bring to a rolling boil

  2. Add 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar to the pot

  3. Using a large wooden spoon, stir the water in a consistent motion until a little vortex forms in the center

  4. Crack an egg into a 3/4 measuring cup

  5. Drop the egg into the vortex

  6. Cook for about 2 minutes

  7. Use a slotted spoon to remove egg from water

Fried

  1. In a medium skillet, heat ghee or avocado oil on medium/high heat until oil starts to sizzle (you want it pretty hot)

  2. Crack an egg into the skillet and let it sit until the whites are mostly cooked. The whites should start to bubble.

  3. Reduce heat and swirl the skillet so that the excess oil coats the egg white

  4. Once the white is fully cooked, transfer to a plate and enjoy

Egg White Omelette

  1. In a small bowl whisk 1/2 cup Chino Valley Ranchers Cage Free Egg Whites with salt and pepper

  2. Pour egg whites into a small skillet with avocado oil or ghee

  3. Add sliced tomatoes, onions and spinach into the pan

  4. Heat low until egg whites are fully cooked (flipping half way)

  5. Transfer omelette to a plate and top with sliced avocado, flaky sea salt and green onions

courtnie hamel
Wellness With Courtnie's Guide To Orange County
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This post is long overdue! Orange County has been my home for almost 7 years now so I’d like to think I know my way around. Whenever someone asks me for recommendations on where to go while visiting the area I always have a hard time answering because there is SO much here. I’ve divided all of my recommendations up by city so that you can get a good idea of where everything is. I’ve included some of my favorite places to eat, where I like to hike/workout and some miscellaneous things like where I get acupuncture & my eyebrows waxed. I hope you find it helpful!

Huntington Beach

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Food & Drink

Ola Mexican Kitchen - Our favorite place to get tacos and margaritas. Located in downtown HB at Pacific City. Great place to catch the sunset and enjoy some chips and salsa.

Mothers Market & Kitchen - Where I get almost all of my groceries! I go at least once a day. A lot of people don’t know this, but Mothers Market also has a small restaurant inside (depending on which location you go to). They serve breakfast all day and offer tons of vegan and vegetarian options. The prices aren’t bad either!

Bear Flag Fish Co - Delicious poke and other fresh fish. They make an amazing skinny margarita. Also located inside of Pacific City.

Secret Spot - Small cafe in North HB with tons of vegan options. Across from the beach.

Vegan Nirvana - Great for late night (open til midnight). Get the vegan fish tacos and the sweet potato fries.

Jan’s Health Bar - Local spot with the best sandwiches in town!

Philz Coffee - Really great coffee, tons of options! I like the mint mojito with no sugar.

Newport/Costa Mesa

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Food & Drink

True Food Kitchen - I get the inside-out quinoa burger every time! It’s so good and something I’m not really able to make at home so it’s a real treat. I also love their cocktails. Located in Fashion Island so it’s a great place to garb lunch and then go shopping.

Vibe - Delicious, organic & plant based dishes. All of their bowls are amazing, but I think the tacos are my favorite.

Outpost Kitchen - Organic, farm to table. Open for breakfast and lunch. Amazing daily specials.

Greenleaf Chop Shop - Wide variety of salads and other healthy dishes. Full bar. They have two locations, I prefer the one on 17th Street.

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Gratitude - Best vegan food in town! The Mucho Bowl and the Magical Burger are my favorites. They also have a pretty good iced matcha (I get it with no honey).

A Market - Upscale deli and market serving fresh and delicious salads and sandwiches. I get Patsy’s Salad.

Malibu Farm - Great for brunch. The restaurant is located in Lido Marina Village so it’s right in the center of some pretty great shopping!

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Playa Mesa - Hip Mexican restaurant with a super cute interior. Great for happy hour. I get the ceviche.

SOCIAL - On one side they have a really cool co-working space and on the other side they have a coffee bar & restaurant. The restaurant serves some really amazing craft cocktails.

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Zinque - Great place to enjoy a glass of wine. Their toast selection is out of this world.

Sejuiced - My favorite little juice shop! Everything is organic and made in house. They also sell raw vegan desserts that are a must try.

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KIT Coffee - Best matcha in all of Orange County (except for at my house of course). Super cute decor and right next to Ra Yoga and Cafe Gratitude.

The Fermentation Farm - Where I get all of my fermented foods! They also sell meat from Diamond Mountain Ranch (the only meat I buy) and have house made kombucha on tap + an amazing bone broth bar.

The Water Brewery - The best water in town! They also sell a wide variety supplements, superfood elixirs, tonics and local organic food.

Workout

Ra Yoga Studios - I might be biased because I teach at Ra, but I can say with all honesty that it’s a really special studio. From the day I took my first class I felt right at home. They offer a variety of different classes. Vinyasa, Strength (yoga with weights), Yogalates, Yin, Pre Natal and more. First week is free for Orange County residents.

Laguna Beach

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Food & Drink

Urth Cafe - Seasonal & locally sourced. Great for brunch. Urth is our go-to spot after a hike.

The Stand - Small roadside stand serving simple, plant based dishes.

Active Culture - Small vegan friendly cafe serving salads and açaí bowls.

The Roof Top Lounge - Great place to have drinks at sunset. The view is magnificent!

Nicks - Located in the heart of downtown Laguna. Great for dinner and drinks. I get the kale and quinoa salad.

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Hike

Valido Trail - Quick yet challenging. Steep incline and a beautiful view of the coast line waiting for you at the top. Parking is also free which is a major plus!

Thousand Steps - Not exactly a hike, but you’ll definitely work up a sweat walking up and down the stairs. At the bottom of the staircase you’ll find one of the most beautiful beaches in Orange County!

Crystal Cove - There are a few different trails connected to Crystal Cove. All with beautiful ocean views. Parking is $15 at the state park entrance.

Other

Magnolia Wellness Center - Where I go for acupuncture! They also offer a ton of amazing classes and workshops.

Perspire Sauna Studio - Where I go for sauna. You can book your own private one hour sauna session. They have 3 locations (I prefer the Costa Mesa location).

Irvine SPA - This place is so cool! It’s a Korean sauna and spa with a ton of different amenities like a salt room, fire room, ice room and more.

The Highbrow - Where I get my eyebrows waxed and tinted. Tinel does an amazing job.

Sugared And Bronzed - Where I go for all of my waxing and spray tan needs. They use all natural ingredients.

Roots Beauty - The spot for non-toxic skincare and makeup in downtown Laguna.

The Shop Laguna - Super cute clothing boutique. Also located in downtown Laguna.

The Chakra Shack - Crystal shop, spiritual books, aura photography and readings.

SEED Peoples Market - My favorite store to buy gifts! They have it all. Everything from active wear, adventure gear, super cute clothing, handmade jewelry, nontoxic candles and a huge home decor section with tons of unique vintage items.

Divine Foot Spa - Here you can get an hour long, full body reflexology massage for only $25! They do a really great job. You don’t get your own private room, but its dark and feels comfortable. I’ve been going for years and have never had a bad experience.




courtnie hamel
Immune Boosting tips

It’s that special time of year again when it seems that everyone around us is sick. I like to think that I have a pretty strong immune system, but some viruses are tough to beat. I’ve compiled a list of my top tips for keeping my immune system strong and ready to fight off anything!

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  1. Homemade wellness shot made from lemon juice, ginger juice, cayenne pepper and turmeric.

  2. Hot ginger tea (I like tulsi ginger tea) with lemon juice and grated ginger.

  3. Infrared sauna or a hot bath to sweat out toxins. If you are taking a bath it helps to drink hot ginger tea or add shredded ginger to the tub to help your body sweat more.

  4. Oregano oil. Add a few drops of oregano oil to a large bowl of hot water and breath in the steam to ease congestion. You can also take it orally for it’s antibacterial benefits.

  5. Tongue scraping to remove bacteria.

  6. Gua Sha. Great for draining the lymphatic system, which helps eliminate toxins.

  7. Elderberry syrup. Studies show that when elderberry syrup is used within the first 48 hours of onset symptoms, it can drastically decrease the duration of a cold/flu because of it’s immune boosting properties.

  8. Propolis spray. I really like this one from Beekeepers Naturals. It’s super soothing if you have a sore throat. It also has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.

  9. Immune bosting soup (recipe below).

  10. Garlic, add it to everything! Garlic is antiviral and antibacterial. You can swallow a clove whole or add it to meals.

  11. Source Naturals Wellness Formula. I start taking these tablets as soon as I start to feel sick.

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Immune Boosting Soup

You really can’t go wrong with a veggie soup! They’re super easy to make and you can add any veggies you want. I made the base of mine out of bone broth to add extra minerals, plus tons of immune boosting ginger, turmeric and garlic.

Ingredients

- 1 bag Bonafide Provisions bone broth (or vegetable broth)

- 6 cups water

- 4 celery stalks

- 3 carrots

- 1 zucchini

- 3 roma tomatoes

- 3 cups cauliflower

- 2 shallots

- 4 cloves garlic

- 1 knob ginger (peeled)

- 1 knob turmeric (peeled)

- 1/2 tsp oregano

- salt and pepper to taste

Directions

Chop all veggies into chunks. Add broth, water and oregano to a large pot and bring to a boil. Add veggies and simmer for about 30 minutes or until veggies are tender. Add salt and pepper and serve.

courtnie hamel
Wellness With Courtnie Goes To Oregon
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Wow, Oregon is a really amazing place. The food options, the nature, the people, everything was wonderful! We stayed a total of 4 days but I could have easily spent another week there. We tried to see as much as we possibly could. Not a single one of the places we visited disappointed us. Below you’ll find a list of everywhere we went.

Stay

We stayed one night in Portland, if we could do it again I would definitely want to stay at least two nights. There’s so much to do and see in the area. We tried to pack in as much as we could, but I feel like we didn’t even scratch the surface when it comes to trying all the healthy cafes and cute coffee shops. We chose to stay in an Airbnb and I’m so glad we did. The one we chose was cute, clean, cozy and in a great location. Check it out here if you are interested.

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Salishan Resort

Salishan is located right at the heart of the Oregon Coast, just off of the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway in Gleneden Beach. They offer a huge list of different activities you can experience during your stay including yoga classes, meditations, guided hikes, a wellness program, kayaking and so much more. I got an amazing facial at their spa during our stay. We also took advantage of the morning yoga classes and the hiking trails on the resort grounds. Salishan offers 3 on-site restaurants, we thoroughly enjoyed The Attic Bar & Lounge, the fish tacos were some of the best I've had and their craft cocktails were all super unique and tasty. All of the rooms at Salishan come with fire places making it super cozy in the colder months.

The view from our room at Salishan.

The view from our room at Salishan.

Hiking along the trails located at Salishan.

Hiking along the trails located at Salishan.

Eat & Drink

POA Cafe- Great for brunch! We came here twice because there were so many things we wanted to try. The first time I got the overnight oats and the second time Nate and I shared the gluten free waffle and a matcha. It was all delicious.

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Por Que No- The best tacos in town. They also serve margaritas made from fresh fruit juice. Right up my alley!

Milk Glass Mrkt- Super cute neighborhood restaurant serving food made from locally sourced ingredients.

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Pip’s Original- Delicious, made to order mini donuts, lattes, matcha and chai.

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Tusk- This was at the top of my list of places to try, and for good reason. Everything they serve is locally sourced and seasonal. The restaurant itself is beautiful and our whole experience was a 10/10.

The Hoxton- Super hip hotel with a large open lobby where cocktails and coffee are served all day. We stopped here for a drink one night before dinner.

Maurice- French inspired cuisine. We got the toast of the day and the most delicious quiche I’ve ever had.

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Coava Coffee Roasters- Best coffee we had during our trip. I got an almond milk latte

Presso Coffee Bar- Cute and trendy coffee bar.

Eb & Bean- Vegan soft serve with incredible topping options. The almond brittle was the best thing I’ve had in a long time.

Harlow- Best matcha I’ve ever had at a restaurant. For food I got the Betty Bowl which was a combo of steamed greens, roasted veggies, beans, brown rice, kimchi, sea vegetables and a poached egg. It was just what I needed after all the sweets I ate the day before.

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Sea Level Bakery + Coffee- We stopped here on our way to Cannon Beach. The peanut butter praline cookie was incredible! We enjoyed it with almond milk cappuccinos. SO good!

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Explore

Solabee Flowers & Botanicals- Cute little plant/flower shop. They had beautiful pottery for sale too. I wanted to buy everything.

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Portland Japanese Garden- A must see while in Portland. I think we got lucky coming here at the time we did because all of the trees were beautiful fall colors.

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Cannon Beach- No trip to the Oregon Coast is complete without a stop at the famous Cannon Beach.

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Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area- The most fun I had on our trip hands down was visiting Cape Kiwanda. I thought we would just go there, take a few pictures and leave but we ended up spending a few hours there. You can climb to the top of a huge sand dune to see a beautiful coastal view. The best part?! Running down the hill! I felt like I way flying. SO fun!!

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courtnie hamel
Sweet Potato Pumpkin Seed Dip
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Sweet potatoes have to be one of the most versatile foods. They taste delicious roasted or mashed, in sweet or savory dishes and also make an amazing base for dips! This sweet potato pumpkin seed dip is the perfect balance of sweet and savory. It requires only a few ingredients but is packed with flavor! It has a light and creamy texture and pairs perfectly with Simple Mills new hexagon-shaped Sprouted Seed Crackers. It’s a match made in heaven!

 
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Ingredients

- 1 medium sized sweet potato (roasted)

- 15oz can organic chickpeas (drained)

- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds

- 1/2 cup olive oil

- 2 cloves garlic

- juice of 1/2 lemon

- 1 tsp sea salt

- 1/2 tsp black pepper

Directions

In a blender add all ingredients except for olive oil. Blend on high until smooth (if the consistency is too thick add 1/4 cup water). Turn blender to a lower speed and slowly add in olive oil. Transfer dip to a medium sized bowl and enjoy with Simple Mills Sprouted Seed Crackers.

 
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courtnie hamel