West Coast Wine + Cheese, Keeping it Local in San Francisco

West Coast Wine and Cheese is an adorable wine bar situated smack in the middle of the quaint and trendy Union St. in San Francisco. Their small venue allows for a curated, detailed oriented approach to food and wines sourced from exclusively from California, Oregon and Washington State. West Coast Wine and Cheese is a must-visit for wine-os in San Francisco, if you’re lucky enough to get a seat!

Continue reading

If you'd like to share, click here:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedIn

Health & Fitness Roundup: The Latest In Chest Wrinkles, Clean Food Delivery, Superfoods, Calorie Burning Saunas, All You Can Read Magazine Apps & More!

photo-nov-27-10-56-57-am

The holiday season is officially here, and so is that annual struggle to keep it tight. With an endless flow of stuffing, cocktails, and pumpkin everything, the struggle is definitely real. Thankfully, I’ve been sampling a few hot new items in the world of health and fitness this month and it’s helped to keep me out of trouble!

With the carefully portioned, month’s worth of clean food delivery from Fitzee Foods, and the super food snacks and baking ingredients from Navitas Naturals, there is no way I can justify a whole month of “dirty” eating. As icing on the cake, I had the chance to experience a “calorie burning” infrared sauna with SenSpa (too good to be true?), and the Zinio app is keeping me entertained through my boring elliptical sessions on low intensity training days.

Bonus: A wrinkle remover for the chest! Yes, that’s right, a between the boob de-creasifier (not a word). Read on!

Continue reading

If you'd like to share, click here:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedIn

Low FODMAP Protein Bars by Be Nice – Be Bloat Free


Low FODMAP Protein Bar Be Nice
Be Nice Low FODMAP protein bars are my new digestion friendly alternative to Quest bars, because the company recently started using a new formula that contains high FODMAP corn fiber.

As someone with a sensitive stomach and a history of IBS, I was excited to learn about FODMAPS and why certain foods can irritate my stomach or make me bloated. FODMAP is an acronym for several carbohydrates that are not digested well by some people and can cause swelling in the digestive tract (which equals bloating).

Continue reading

If you'd like to share, click here:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedIn

Best Diet and Fitness Advice For 2016: Reader Favorites

the_best_diet_and_fitness_advice_of_2016

The best diet and fitness advice for 2016 I can offer is based on a few of my top diet and fitness posts of 2015. As a fitness lover and girl with a taste for clean eating, I love to try out new fitness trends and stay on top of the latest diet and fitness research.

I’m a firm believer that basic healthy habits are the key to lifelong health and fitness, and that once those habits are in place it’s okay to try experimenting with new things. I also like to share my opinion on whether new fads are effective, and how I think they might work in my own daily life. This is in hopes that it might help you figure out what works best for you too!

Here is my best diet and fitness advice for 2016 based on my top diet and fitness posts:

Continue reading

If you'd like to share, click here:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedIn

Crunch the Numbers: Simply 100 Stairs Per Day

crunch the numbers simply 100 steps per day chobani

It’s well known nowadays that “sitting is the new smoking”. It makes me happy to see so many people I know taking this charming little piece of evidence seriously. From FitBits adorning the wrists of most of my friends to affordable, $25 standing desks on the market, people are factoring movement into their daily lives, just like they do lunch.

Since we’re all destined for a lifetime of intentional movement to stay healthy, it’s important to keep things fresh by incorporating new ways to sneak in extra calorie burn.  When Chobani asked us to crunch the numbers in honor of the launch of their Simply 100 Crunch Greek yogurt, I thought it would be a great opportunity to share how I plan add some “flavor” to my daily movement with fun little challenges.

Continue reading

If you'd like to share, click here:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedIn

The Most Effective Diet Trick for 2016: The Hunger Scale!

The holidays are a time of rich delicacies and having second helpings even though you’re full – not exactly a healthy diet. But not to fear! Bouncing back from a few weeks of over indulging (or months – no judgment) is easier than you think, with a few effective diet tricks.

I get asked a lot about my diet, and really comes down to this: I eat healthy food when I’m hungry and don’t follow diet fads. Conflicting advice can make this basic practice tough to follow, so I’ve broken it down into a couple of basic diet tricks that anyone can learn. The one I cover here can not only be used to get your diet back on track, but it can help you prevent damage prevent future diet damage. It’s a useful tool in our on-demand culture where we can get any foods at anytime.

lululemon-salute-the-sun-tank-grey-lulu

Turn your back on diets fads! (Wearing Lululemon Salute The Sun Tank)

Continue reading

If you'd like to share, click here:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedIn

Italy’s Finest: Talking Wine & Entrepreneurship With Top Chef Fabio Viviani

DSC_0520

fabio1

Fabio Viviani is a stunning example of someone who took the American dream and crushed it. So hard in fact, that he did it twice. After losing a substantial life savings shortly after arriving in America, he turned around and built $65 million dollar restaurant empire. Fabio’s perseverance and vivacious personality made him a sought after contestant for Top Chef, but he’s one reality show star that you won’t see fading into oblivion anytime soon!

Continue reading

If you'd like to share, click here:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedIn

The Ultimate Friendsgiving Guide (Previously Published on the Huffington Post Blog)

Thankgiving

c/o Wholefoods

This article was originally written for the Huffington Post Canada Blog for Canadian Thanksgiving, which takes place in October. After attending a Wholefoods Friendsgiving event this week, I was inspired to adapt it to U.S. Thanksgiving, and add in a few recipe tips. Read the original here.

For ex-pats or folks living the big city life far from home, it’s not always possible to trek back to our families for Thanksgiving. This usually results in a healthy dose of FOMO for the holiday festivities back home, but not to fear – friendsgiving is here! The best part about friendsgiving is that you can put in as little or as much effort as you want. Whether you go all out Martha Stewart style or throw something together last minute, read on for tips on how to have a fabulous and stress-free friendsgiving.

Continue reading

If you'd like to share, click here:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedIn

McBride Sisters: On Truvée Wine, Following Your Dreams, and Being an Oprah Favorite!

mcbride-sisters-truvee-eco-love-wine-makers-interview-where-to-buy

 

It’s an age old question some will never find the answer to: how do we do we get paid to do what we love? The McBride sisters have it figured out, and are conquering the wine industry by doing what they are passionate about: making delicious wine.

I sat down with this duo over a glass of Truvée Chardonnay to chat about being the first African-American sisters to found a wine company. Robin and Andréa McBride were insightful, honest, and a delight to chat with.

Destiny in the making

From the beginning, the Robin and Andréa McBride’s relationship was blessed with serendipity. Sharing a father yet completely unaware of each other’s existence, they came from coastal wine regions at opposite ends of the earth. Robin grew up in Monterey, California surrounded by the Central Coast vineyards and Andréa was raised near Marlborough, New Zealand where her family was involved in the grape growing industry. At their father’s wish, they were brought together after his passing by an aunt in 1999, at the ages of 16 and 25.

When they finally met, it was like looking in the mirror “We had this really intense bonding experience,” says Andréa.

With the seeds of destiny sown the pair took one of their first trips together driving along the coast near Andréa’s home town, and were drawn into the local wineries for tastings. This marked the beginnings of the McBride sisters as a brand and led to the eventual birth of Truvée, which is derived from the French word for “to find”.

The flavor vision: a taste of Truvée

In 2010, the sister’s started their adventure as vintners with their first wine company eco.love wines, from New Zealand. With the success of these wines, they were able to create the Truvée line, this time featuring grapes from the Central Coast region of California.

“We wanted our wine to taste delicious and accessible, without any polarizing flavors,” says Andréa. “We’re both big fans of tropical fruit notes, which we kept in mind while choosing grapes for our Truvée Chardonnay.”

This resonates with me, as someone who prefers to enjoy my wine from the first sip, rather than learning to enjoy overwhelming bitterness or acidity. This is typical of women I know; we’d rather sip something tasty and leave the mouth puckering reds to the seasoned pros.

mcbride-sisters-truvee-eco-love-wine-makers-interview-where-to-buy

Choosing the grapes: it starts with taste

The McBride sisters are Négociants, which means that they own vineyard and also purchase grapes from various growers, giving them freedom to choose grapes based on the flavor they desire for their wine. The soil, weather, and amount of sunlight all dictate the flavor of the grape and then they decide the amount of time they must age their wines in the barrel. These interconnected factors make winemaking a complex and constantly changing art.

As a white wine kind of girl, the crisp Truvee Chardonnay is my favorite. It’s lightly oaked, meaning a small portion of the overall wine spends time aging in an oak barrel, with the majority of the wine having no oak influence at all. This allows the fruity tones (think pineapple, peach, and citrus) to shine through, without being overwhelmed by a buttery, burnt toasty taste common to oaked chardonnay.

As true wine artists, the sisters are able to detect the tones that will flavor their wine by nibbling the grapes and sampling the must. This level of involvement and quality is uncommon for most wines at the Truvée price point, making the brand stand out.

mcbride-sisters-truvee-eco-love-wine-makers-interview-where-to-buy

 On finding your passion

Growing up surrounded by vineyards, growers, and wine, both sisters knew that being involved in the industry was their calling in life. Part of Truvée’s vision is to help people find what matters most to them, so I asked “How can people find their passion?”

“You have to take the time to experiment, and try new things until you discover what you truly love doing” says Robin, “Once you do, you can meet like-minded people and think of how you can turn your interests into a business.”

During our interview, the sense of pride and enjoyment the sisters get from Truvée was obvious. It convinced me that we should all take finding our passion in life seriously. “It doesn’t even have to become a business, it’s just important to find something you can lose yourself in,” adds Andréa.

Starting a business from scratch

After their initial trip together in New Zealand, Andréa studied international business in the U.S. and during her course work she thought about harnessing the potential of the grape growing region back home.

After graduation, she and Robin decided to dive in and start a small distribution business, purchasing several cases of New Zealand wine directly from local winemakers and selling it to high end restaurants in the U.S.  “The wine industry is a lot more complex than people realize,” notes Andréa. It’s dominated by a few major players, and there are some unwritten rules in the distribution game. By starting small, the sisters were able to educate themselves about the business, “Starting in distribution was a great way to learn a complicated system,” says Robin.

Taking the leap into wine making

There is a pivotal moment every entrepreneur faces, when it is time to put everything on the line and follow their dreams. The outcome is unknown and the risks are huge, but so are the rewards. I asked Robin and Andréa how they overcame any doubts as they moved from distribution to wine making (with their first line, eco.love):

“If it felt too comfortable, I would wonder if something was wrong. That element of the unknown is what makes starting a business so exciting, so we put our plans into place and went for it,” says Andréa.

“You’re never going to feel completely ready. If you wait for that, it may never happen,” adds Robin.

The pair also stresses the importance of finding the right cofounder, preferably someone who possesses skills you lack, a yin to your yang if you will.

“We complement each other’s capabilities and balance each other out,” says Andréa, “This is such an important consideration, and I wouldn’t recommend going into business with someone just because you’re friends”.

Growing the McBride Sisters brand

Perseverance, vision, and relentless energy led to the success of the McBride sister’s brands, Truvée and eco.love. In the beginning, Robin was still working full time at a corporate job, and both were overseeing every aspect of the business.

“It was great experience and a way for us to prove to investors that we could make things happen quickly, and without using a lot of outside help,” says Andréa.

By believing in themselves and producing a quality product that spoke for itself, they earned face time with some influential players in the industry who later became mentors.

I asked Robin when she felt the time was right to leave corporate America and focus full time on the business, “I just felt it was time. I knew I would have to make some sacrifices, but it was worth it. For the business to grow, I needed to invest more time.” It certainly has paid off!

Being a woman in business

It’s a shocking statistic, but only 10% of California’s wine makers are women, and fewer are women of color. The industry tends to be an old boys club and the sisters have had to work extremely hard. Now, they hope to serve as an example for women who dream of being in the wine business. It’s clear that they are pushing forward and clearing a path for other women.

“We love our wines and we’re confident in our brand, which was so helpful in the beginning when we were pitching our business.” This confidence and fearlessness helped the sisters knock down the barriers to getting both Truvée and eco.love onto shelves across America. “Believe in your product, and don’t let setbacks get you down. There were definitely times when things didn’t go so well, but that’s where your creative problem solving comes into play,” says Robin.

The best part about being an entrepreneur

I asked the sisters if they are experiencing what Forbes Magazine calls the “New Norm” or work-life integration, where the boundaries of life and career are blurred. “Absolutely!” says Robin, “You’re going to work a lot of hours when you run a business, but when it’s your passion project, it doesn’t feel like work.”

Meeting Oprah

The McBride sisters were recently featured in the June issue of Oprah Magazine (Oprah is taking a selfie on the front cover – amazing). I had to ask what it was like to meet Oprah, since just seeing her from across the street once had me totally star-struck. “I had a whole speech planned,” says Andréa, “But when we were introduced she said ‘The McBride sisters? I know all about you!’”

I’m not surprised; the McBride sisters have an incredible brand and a fantastic story to back it up. It was an honor to interview them, and spend time with such inspirational business women. Their advice was invaluable, and I’ve found my new favorite wine.

mcbride-sisters-truvee-eco-love-wine-makers-interview-where-to-buy

Where to get Truvée

The manufacturer’s suggested retail price for Truvée is $15.99 for a 750 ml bottle, and you can order it online here. Remember, you must be over 21 years of age. Both the Truvée Red Blend and Truvée Chardonnay are great options to have on hand, and make the perfect party/hostess gift.

eco.love wine will be back in stock later this fall – keep an eye on the website for announcements!

To find where Truvée is served at a restaurant near you, use the restaurant and bar option in the store locator here.

If you’re in San Francisco:

Stores:

Restaurants:

Next time you’re out, ask to try Truvée!

If you'd like to share, click here:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedIn

Healthy Dinner Hacks: Low Calorie Seaweed (Nori) Wraps

Let me start this by saying I am not a cook. “Making dinner” consists of preparing fast, clean meals that usually involve raw or precooked ingredients (I cook meat ahead on weekends) or things that cook in 10 minutes or less like eggs . So, whenever I discover something incredibly easy to make that’s also healthy and delicious, I’m all over it. Enter the seaweed (nori) wrap!

low-calorie-seaweed-nori-wraps-healthy-dinner-super-easy-meal-hack Continue reading

If you'd like to share, click here:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare on LinkedIn