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Salty Travels: Los Angeles

Erin Wilson

People tend to either love or hate LA.  We definitely fall in the love camp.  But we should take a step back and explain that we have a real thing for California in general. The feelings are legit and strong.  While we love our island of Nantucket we dream of a life split between the two.  Never stop dreaming people! 

We have been lucky to spend a lot of time on the left coast and we wanted to share some of our favorite spots in the LA area.  We can't wait for our next trip.  Enjoy!

Where to Stay: Not shocking, we prefer to stay by the beach typically in either Santa Monica or Venice.  Airbnb is always a great option and one of our friends just rented a cottage on the canals which sounds amazing! We also love The Viceroy in Santa Monica.  1819 Ocean Ave, Santa Monica 


Coffee Stop:  You must stop by Groundwork coffee and try their nitro iced coffee, still dreaming of this, it is that good!  They have multiple locations, we loved the one on Rose Ave in Venice.  671 Rose Ave, Venice 



Hiking:  We have always loved the hike at Runyon Canyon, but this last trip we finally went over to Topanga and talk about a gem of a find.  Runyon is great and you get awesome views of the Hollywood sign, but Topanga makes you feel like you are worlds away and offers 36 miles of hiking trails.  From Santa Monica, take the Pacific Coast Highway towards Malibu and soon after the Getty Villa, take a right at the Malibu Feed Bin.  Keep driving and eventually you will see signs for the park.  

Topanga is also a cool, artists community so be sure to check out the town and read up on what events are taking place. 

Biking:  Or shall we say cruising.  If you are by the beach, definitely go rent a beach cruiser and ride along the beach path scoping out the scenery.   Let the hair flow in the wind!  We rented from Perry's which was easy and inexpensive.    2400 & 2600 Ocean Front Walk, Santa Monica (there are many locations) 

Unique Dining:  A friend recently tipped us off to the Old Place Restaurant.  We get it, we are likely late to the game on this one but we love quirky spots and can't wait to go back.  They have been in business for over 45 years and the restaurant has transferred from father to son.  There is no freezer,  so the food is fresh!  Check out their hours as they aren't open 7-days a week and you don't want to miss this one.   If you need to wait for seats (very likely!), there is a winery next-door.   We had a glass of wine and they had a great musician playing acoustic guitar.  This was 100% worth the drive!   Hint hint: we desperately want one of their "gift certificates."


Healthy Cafe:  We stumbled upon Bondi Harvest when we were staying at a friends place around the corner.  It's the perfect spot to have a healthy breakfast and coffee while sitting in the alley catching up on work, a good book, etc.   Our absolutely favorite is their acai bowl.  It's a great laid back, local scene at this Australian cafe.     1814 Berkeley Street, Santa Monica, CA

Burger & Beer:  Father's Office is the spot to go.  Order at the bar, expect no frills but this is an awesome old school joint.   1018 Montana Avenue, Santa Monica

Classic Margarita:  If you are sensing a trend, you are right...we love old school spots. Casablanca Restaurant in Venice has been around for over 30 years and might have just one of the best margaritas we have ever had.  That and their delicious homemade tortillas.     220 Lincoln Boulevard, Venice

Venice Canals:  The canals are ever so charming and we are pretty sure, like us, you will want to buy a home there after strolling around.  

Farm to Table:   We used to stay around the corner from Eveleigh quite often for work.  This is a charming spot with beautiful, rustic decor and delicious food. You will feel at home here!     8752 West Sunset Boulevard, West Hollywood 

Photo credit:  Eveleigh 

Photo credit:  Eveleigh 

Brentwood Country Mart:  There isn't a ton of shopping in the Brentwood Country Mart, but we just love this place especially the charming post office.  If you need to mail something definitely mail it from Substation No. 1 - operating since 1948.  We love grabbing lunch at the Farmshop, you can sit down or grab something to go and sit at the picnic tables outsides.  Typically, you always spot someone in this place!

225 26th Street at the corner of San Vicente in Santa Monica.






The Impact of Plastic Straws - Q & A with Simply Straws

Erin Wilson


We all love the ocean but did you know the negative impact plastic straws have on it?  According to The Last Plastic Straw organization, Americans use and throw out 500 million plastic straws PER DAY. 

We connected with the team over at Simply Straws to learn more about this issue and how they are helping to address it.   The straws!  


We purchased one along with a case and are working on adjusting our habits and saying NO to plastic.  It is an investment but well worth it considering the impact your behavior will have on the environment.  It is easy to keep it in your bag or at your desk.  And let's not forget the variety of colors you have to choose from. 

Thank you Simply Straws for taking the time to answer our questions.  We know we can certainly do better!  

Q: Plastic Straws - we are not all aware of how awful they are for our beloved sea.  Can you tell us more about this problem and help us understand why we should be changing our behavior?

A: There is a big misconception that we can throw away plastic. Plastic straws, plastic bottles, plastic bags, snack wrappers, foam takeout containers, foam coffee cups, and packing materials: these common, everyday items make up 85% of our waste stream. These items aren’t biodegradable and our ability to recycle them is limited.

A single discarded piece of plastic breaks down into millions — and these bits are mistaken for food and ingested by even the smallest organisms on the oceanic food chain. Contaminated zooplankton feed on phytoplankton, which are fed on by small fish, who are fed on by squid — and so it goes on up to our dinner plates.

The longer-term solution is not just to recycle more: It is to use less! By reducing the amount of plastic we use, we make a more profound impact on the environment than by recycling.

Q: Tell us about starting Simply Straws & what the reaction has been so far?

A: Starting Simply Straws was a labor of love for our bodies and our planet.  As a family we wanted to offer a solution to the plastic straw that would be healthy and long lasting. After much research we found the only real solution was glass, it is BPA free, non-toxic, easy to clean and has no favor.

The moment we launched Simply Straws, we were happily surprised at the overwhelming response to our straws. We have been blessed to work with many Non-Profits helping to educate and activate others to refuse Plastic Straws.

Q: A lot of us are on the go all of the time grabbing a juice or iced coffee, which comes with a plastic straw.  How do you recommend we approach this lifestyle?

A: Just say “NO straws please.” The more you do it the easier is gets.  Plus, be sure to take along your Single Sleeve Set including a Sleeve to carry your straws, a Reusable Glass Straw & a Cleaning Brush. This helps you remember to say no and you will love having it available where ever you go. These durable straws can go into your backpack, purse, car pocket, wherever you go these can go with you.

In Addition, to keep you using your straws we offer a lifetime guarantee, however I don’t think you will ever need it but it is there to give you peace of mind.

Q: This might be a silly question but are there any issues with the glass straws clinking with our teeth?

A: Our straws were conceived by a dental hygienist to help her offer her patients a alternate to the plastic straw. It is made from Borosilicate Glass, like pyrex and is very durable but still feels smooth and gentle in your mouth. Think of it like using a drinking glass, under usual circumstance do we click our teeth on it?  

Q: How long does a glass straw last and how best to clean them?

A: Our reusable glass straws are meant to last a lifetime. If so how they become broken we do offer a lifetime guarantee.  Glass straws clean easily, we suggest if you are drinking something with milk or fruit pieces after you are done take a quick sip of water to clean out the straw. They are dishwasher safe and we do have cleaning brushes if you need that extra assurance.

Q: Lastly, a lot of us have plastic straws sitting around our house, any recommendations on how best to dispose of them before we make the big switch?

A: Over 80% of ocean plastic comes from land-based sources. Even if you live inland and take care to properly dispose of your trash, there is a good chance some of your plastic waste has found its way to the sea.

I wish I had an absolute answer to this problem. It is best to place them in your plastic recycled bin and say no to plastic straws when you go out.

Salty Soul Highlight: Anna & Jodie of To The Sea Retreat

Erin Wilson


Instagram is an amazing tool for discovery.  And this exactly how we came across To The Sea Retreat, founded by Anna Rijnders and Jodie Roberts.  We have been drooling over all of their photographs and cannot wait to attend one of their surf and yoga retreats in Portugal.

You might think these ladies are from Portugal, but no.  Anna grew up in Amsterdam and Jodie in Bristol, UK.   So what we wanted to know was how did this dreamy life come together?  

They both traveled a lot and eventually their paths crossed in Canggu, Bali where they lived in the same house. This was just the beginning of their Bali-inspried retreat in Portugal.   They were kind enough to answer some questions so we can all learn more about these two Salty Souls and their retreat. 

What were you doing during all of your amazing travels to earn a living? 

J: I’ve been a dive instructor for a lot of my time abroad (Thailand, Australia), also an English Teacher (Australia), Restaurant/ Manager (Australia), and content writer and social media manager for the dive industry in Indonesia (Bali).

A: As a digital marketer I was able to work from anywhere, and there are a lot of digital nomads in Bali.

What made you start To the Sea Retreat?  And what do you think makes it special?

We both love Bali - the ocean, the active lifestyle, the food, the villas, the magical combination of it all that makes us so happy to be alive! We adore how the ocean calms your mind and enlivens your senses, and for us the magic increases when we share these moments with others. As Europeans, we wanted to live closer to our families, and we missed the European architecture, and wine! 

We realized that by recreating the Bali magic for others and incorporating the best of both Bali and Europe, we can help more people experience their own magical moments in new surroundings. This is what makes us special, a genuine desire to make our guests their happiest in a relaxed and intimate setting, becoming part of a new family. Our guests feel like they’ve been with us for years by the end of the first day, and leave floating on cloud 9 with bookings for the next year already!

What language is typically spoken at your retreats?  Do you welcome guests from all over the world?  

English is spoken as it’s the easiest international language, but we speak Dutch, some German, a bit of French and of course Portuguese. We get inquiries from all over the world, but mainly Northern Europe and USA.

What's a typical day like at the retreat?


We start each day with an outdoor energizing yoga session, followed by a Bali-inspired deluxe breakfast, then it’s surf and beach fun for the rest of the day, broken up by a gorgeous, healthy, organic beach-side lunch. When we return to the villa around 5pm we unwind with a restorative yoga session designed to stretch out and relieve those paddling muscles. The evening is free to do what you like, you can join us for dinner, go out and explore the town - it’s your choice. 

What if you are new to yoga and want to try surfing for the first time, do you welcome all levels?

We welcome all levels as we love watching people get hooked for the first time, or finally progress on to the next level - wherever you’re at, we are here to support you and cheer you on.

Tell us about Algarve, it looks amazing! Will that continue to be the home-base for your company?

Algarve is amazing! The beaches are just stunning and the water is the most incredible shades of blues and greens. The contrast between the golden, dramatic cliffs and the turquoise water never gets old. The people are so friendly too, they really go out of their way to help you out and are so laid back you feel relaxed just looking at them. The food and drink are great too - all the colors and flavors you’d expect from a sunny, Mediterranean country. And we get an average of 300 sunny days a year which is just insane. The tiny villages with cobbled streets and old churches are a photographer’s dream too.

We follow the waves depending on the month, heading further West to the better waves as the year progresses. It keeps us feeling semi-nomadic, and we love to find hidden gems for our guests to explore in all the areas. Having the flexibility to hold retreats wherever we like means we can craft the perfect retreat for groups too, with no numbers or requests too big or too small.

Coolest hidden spot in Algarve?

There’s a great hidden beach that’s only accessible at low tide, with amazing rock formations and the most perfect water. It’s one of our happy places, for sure. We can’t tell you where, we’ll just have to show you!

Why do you love the water?  How does it make you feel?

J: The content, calm feeling you have when you’re by the ocean is nature’s wonder drug. You can watch the waves forever, totally mesmerized and mind gone blank. You feel this sense of awe at the expanse of it, and this helps you feel more connected to everything - the world is great, and we’re all in it. You feel happy and relaxed, how could you not love it?

A: Working out is good for the body, but exercising by water is amazing for your mind too. You feel tired but invigorated, with a healthy respect for nature and a connectedness with your body, your mind, and the waves. The moment you dive in and your body gets lighter in the water, so does your mind. I feel happy, healthy, and glad to be alive!


We are inspired and hope you are too!  To learn more about To The Sea Retreat, check out their website: and follow along on Instagram: @tothesearetreat

Photo credits:  To The Sea Retreat.