Top 20 of 2017

In doing some reminiscing about my journey, I realized that I've been a part of the health and wellness universe in a professional fashion since 2005. 12 years of working as a personal trainer, physical therapist, running coach, and yoga instructor. In those 12 years I've been privileged to have been introduced to countless numbers of wellness brands, companies, individuals, and products. Some have been passing trends. Others don't quite live up to the hype. But a few are everything you want them to be, and much more. 

I want to use my platform to be able to share what I've found that I absolutely love. The brands, companies, products, and people that are doing something special, something different, and something extraordinary.

The Top 20 of 2017 was born from this desire. 

Between December 1st and December 20th I'll be profiling each brand, product, and the people behind it on Instagram. Sharing my story of how I came to find the brand and why I love them so much. Not all brands and companies are directly health related, but hey, happiness is part of health as well. Many of these companies have been incredibly generous to participate in giveaways with products and experiences so you can enjoy them too. And no, none of these companies has paid me to be on this list. I reached out to all of them to express my gratitude for what they do.

This blog serves as a round up. A place to find all of the information you could want in one spot. And a sneak peak into which brands you can be snagging sweet rewards from!



Wild Friends FoodsDo you love nut butters? Do you love stories of young people following their dreams and building successful businesses from their dorm rooms? If so, than you'll love Wild Friends Foods.

Nuun HydrationIf you're like me, you grew up drinking sugary sports drinks that shall not be named here. Why? Because that's all we knew/had. Well, there's something better. Plant based, all natural, much lower in sugar, and cleaner overall. That's nuun. And that's just a part of why I love it.

RXBARProtein bars that aren't filled with lab grown ingredients are incredibly hard to come by. So when RXBAR first showed up in my life, with it's ingredients clearly labeled on the wrapper, I was stoked - and skeptical. We know protein bars that taste good are even harder to find. Well, they nailed it on both fronts. 

Four Sigmatic - Everyone hears the ads on podcasts and most of the time we tune them out. When I heard about mysterious "mushroom coffee" on Tim Ferriss' podcast, I couldn't get it out of my head. I love coffee and I'm super into other mushroom based supplements...what happens if you put them together? Magic, it turns out. 

101 Cider House - If you're a local San Diegan you know we have a plethora of breweries, but finding good cider is a whole different story. Most cider is sugar laden and ultra sweet. Not 101 Cider House. With buzzword ingredients like activated charcoal and spirulina, this is a totally different experience. 

BoochcraftA local brand that figured out how to take kombucha and make it boozy? That is enough to get me interested. Add in amazing flavors and great people and I'm sold. 

Dark Horse Coffee Roasters - Coffee sure has come a long way. From the days of Dunkin Donuts and Starbucks to a micro roaster on every corner. DHCR is consistently the best - the secret? Great coffee AND even better employees (the vegan donuts don't hurt either). 

Chosen Foods - When a friend goes to work for a new company, ends up loving her job, AND the company makes the best avocado oil on the planet, you take note. 

Beaming Cafe - I'm a firm believer in routine. And part of my routine calls for Friday morning breakfast porridge bowls from Beaming and morning meditation at the beach. A routine that makes me feel so damn good. 

Muir Energy Gel - We've all taken a Gu on a race course. We've all experienced the gut rot that comes along with it. What if you could take a gel, made of real foods, that would give you the energy without the digestive issues? You can. And it's made right here in La Jolla. 


Schmidt's Naturals - It's no secret, I sweat. A lot. It's one of my favorite parts of working out. And I've heard over and over how dangerous traditional deodorant and antiperspirant can be for you, but can something natural actually work? Yes, turns out it can. 

Saje Wellness - Essential oils can get a bad rap. Many of them are sold through multilevel marketing businesses and use cheap source products, which makes them both shady and unappealing. Not Saje. This Canadian brand has been doing their natural wellness thing for more years than most, and it shows. 

Defense Soap - Wait? So a soap product made to keep wrestlers and martial arts guys from getting nasty things off of sweaty mats can actually be really great for your skin (and for clearing acne) too? This one is perhaps my favorite find. 


lululemon athletica - I won't bore you. I LOVE lululemon. The people, the philosophy, the collective, and yes, the clothes. My life would not be the same without them. And I don't mean that superficially. It's true. 

Knockaround - One can never have too many pairs of rad shades. And when those shades are made by equally rad dudes, locally, and for an affordable price, that's even better. 

Milestone Running - We might as well call this my second home. This local running store is so much more. It's home to a community of smart, connected, hilarious, friendly, and special people (and one special dog). Cheers to many more years creating with these crazy folks. 

Ciele Athletics - Introduced to me by some ultra running friends, this small hat startup has nailed the game. Incredible performance, even better looks, and (because they're made in Canada) the friendliest faces ever. 

Stance - When your socks are the coolest part of your outfit, you know the brand is doing something right. From partnering with huge names to collaborating with small groups, Stance has made their debut into the run world a stylish and successful one.


Spirit Yoga Studio - Fun fact: Spirit was the very first yoga studio that I regularly attended upon moving to San Diego. When they first opened their doors it was all donation based and it was evident that the community surrounding the space made it special. While lots has changed in the years since then, the community feeling has not. And that keeps bringing me back, as both a student and a teacher. 

F45 San Diego Downtown - What? Paid fitness has made the list? Yup. When the paid fitness studio elicits the results like this one has, it deserves a spot. I have F45 to thank for my muscles - and for giving me a space to exercise them once again.  

What I'm Into Wednesday - The Be Smart Edition

You've heard the phrase that doctors make the worst patients? Well, it's true. After almost 2 years of changing and seemingly neverending foot pain, I can tell you that we do indeed make terrible patients. It's taken me this long to truly commit to doing the right things to recover instead of just waiting to feel better.

So this edition of WIIW is dedicated to finally deciding to be smart. 


I'll spare you the photo and just link to the product instead. I have the worst bunions on both feet (thanks, genetics) and they are the culprit of my foot problems. They result in a serious lack of great toe extension, which is necessary for things like oh running. So instead I pronate, roll over the outside edge of my foot, and avoid hip extension and push off. This leaves me slower and more susceptible to injury. While I can help prevent them from worsening, only surgery will fix them and I'm not there yet. So I finally invested in toe separators. Yup, think pedicure foam but on steroids. They. Feel. Awesome. They create space between my toes, temporarily help align my big toe, and stretch all of the little intrinsic muscles in my foot. If you have foot problems or wear narrow shoes/heels, I recommend these big time!


Ahhhh the sweet sounds of....jackhammers? Vibrations? What? Yes, we're back to vibrating massage implements. A few weeks ago I wrote about the HyperIce HyperSphere and about how I was too cheap to buy it, so I tried a knock off I found on Amazon. Well, sadly the knock off didn't do the trick. But luckily (through the powers of incessant posting on Instagram) HyperIce reached out to me to help hook me up with a product. And because I love you I made them (ha) give me a discount code to pass along. I got myself a HyperSphere but I also love the Viper foam roller. Whatever you choose, order on their website and us the code LP30 for 30% off! And let the vibrating do it's magic!


A huge part of recovery is nutrition (see Monday's IG post for more on that) and one of the nutrition products I've been loving most lately is RXBAR. I have to admit, initially I wasn't a fan. But I do love a good bar in general (nothing is more convenient) and I'm a huge proponent of knowing what I'm eating. RXBARs tell you right on the package what is in there. And I've grown to truly love the taste and texture (except blueberry, I just can't get down for some reason). They're usually on sale at Sprouts for $2 and they've become a morning staple!


We all know the key to life is balance. And while it seems to be in direct contrast with this week's taste post, smell is all about the flipside of the nutrition coin. I think you have to indulge. Pick and choose what truly makes you happy and then enjoy it, guilt free. And what truly makes me happy is donuts. Stay tuned for more on this... but Angelo has started a little project called The Donut Objective. What is it? A neverending search for the most awesome donuts. A blog, a website, an IG may be in the works. But in the meantime I'll volunteer myself to be a donut tester with him. 


Lastly, a little self promotion! I write for an awesome website called Fitt. Fitt is like if your best friends compiled all of their food, bev, activity, and race suggestions all in one spot. Your one stop shop for all things fun and healthy in your city (or in cities that you may be visiting). I've written about everything from coffee shops to running routes and I've used Fitt to do research for travelling to places like Cleveland and Portland. Give it a looksie and see what you think!