Travel

Tokyo Travel Guide

It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to visit Japan – and particularly Tokyo.  For those of you who don’t know – I’m half Japanese!  I grew up in Arizona, but have always felt a super strong connection to my Japanese side and loved watching my grandmother make sushi and rice balls in her kitchen as a kid.  Being in Tokyo was almost an out of body experience – everything was so unique, different, eye catching…special.  I kept saying “wow wow wow” at every corner, at every meal, at every little detail. The one thing I will say before visiting is that, despite having Japanese heritage and having traveled quite a bit to foreign countries, I was actually intimidated to visit Japan!  I was worried because I didn’t speak the language and am directionally challenged so thought I’d get lost and feel a bit frazzled while I was there!  I was very pleasantly surprised that everything was a lot more peaceful and easy than I originally thought.  The Japanese are so polite, quiet, and friendly which makes you feel very calm walking around the city – there really isn’t a sense of “chaos” that I envisioned despite the millions of people living in Tokyo. The one thing I will say, is that just “popping into a restaurant” or stumbling upon on a cool park/museum/sight isn’t quite like it would be in cities such as NYC, Paris, or London…things are a bit more spread out in Tokyo and there are just SO many spots to see/try so you should absolutely have a general game plan/itinerary of places organized by neighborhood each day.  Here are the places we LOVED on our trip!  PS I’m almost done adding the TOKYO + KYOTO section to my Travel App which will have even more details!  Oh, and PPS if you missed my Japan Vlog you can watch it here! Tokyo Travel GuideAdd these to your Tokyo itinerary: Park Hyatt TokyoWe stayed at the beautiful Park Hyatt Tokyo located in the Shinjuku District.  This was where the movie Lost in Translation was filmed!  The service was impeccable, the breakfast every morning was delicious, and their iconic New York Bar and Grill restaurant is a MUST whether you’re staying there or not.  Listen to live music and sip champagne on the 52nd floor overlooking the city. Shinjuku-Gyoen GardenWe just barely missed cherry blossom season as it came so early this year – but this gorgeous garden had some of the last vibrant cherry blossom trees to admire.  It also had a beautiful lake and was just really peaceful to wander around. Shibuya CrossingYou can’t go to Tokyo without crossing the world’s largest intersection!  What an experience!!!!!  Apparently there are a ton of great bars and restaurants in Shibuya – but we opted to hang in Harajuku mostly which I’ll talk about next… Harajuku DistrictIf you head to the train station on a Sunday after lunch you may be lucky enough to spot the colorful Harajuku girls!  This area has fabulous shopping and loads of yummy restaurants!  We walked from Shibuya Crossing to Harajuku – so easy and pleasant. Ometasando HillsLocated right next to Harajuku – this was my favorite neighborhood.  It felt like Nolita or a little bit of Le Marais in Paris… such darling flower shops, boutiques, some of the best restaurants!  We had lunch at the yummiest place called SEIKOUAN. ShimokitazawaWander around this cool neighborhood for vintage stores, coffee shops, pubs and a more downtown/grunge feel.  It’s dubbed as the Williamsburg of Tokyo which is spot on. Yoyogi Park + Meiji ShrineWalk to the Yoyogi Park where you’ll find the stunning Meiji Shrine.  Write down 5 wishes or prayers and have them transcribed onto beautiful wooden plaques…you may have seen me do this in my Japan vlog.  Truly a special moment. Tsukiji Fish MarketWake up SUPER early to explore the iconic Tsukiji Fish Market (some recommend getting a guide!) and enjoy a traditional Japanese breakfast while you’re there. Ginza DistrictDo some damage shopping around the Ginza District. It’s home to all of the best designer shops and just a really chic neighborhood to stroll around!  Head to the top of Barney’s New York which has several amazing restaurants… we enjoyed a traditional teppanyaki meal at KAIKA which was expensive, but SO worth it for the private ambiance, presentation and food quality. Eat Ramen at Tokyo Station The train stations oddly have the best ramen!!!  That’s what everyone told us and it was true!  The train stations are very clean there and I highly recommend getting a J ticket and taking it to explore different neighborhoods.
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Japan Travel Vlog!

Happy Monday! I’m so excited to share my vlog from Japan! This was my very first travel vlog – and I have got to say it definitely won’t be my last – it is SO fun to make these!  I used a little Sony camera and edited it in iMovie.  I’d say the hardest part about vlogging is editing…it took me a while to get used to that ;)  I’ll be sharing my full Japan itinerary/guide on Wednesday so be on the look out.  I hope you enjoy! Let me know what you think about this Japan Travel Vlog in the comments below! For more travel, download my travel app.
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Best Coffee Shops in LA

Happy Monday!  I’m feeling more settled than ever here in LA.  It’s been over a year since I moved from NYC to LA!  My house is almost done being decorated, I’ve got my go-to restaurants, salons, and shops, and I’m a regular at a handful of local coffee shops.  I’ve done my fair share of exploring and been super impressed with the cafe/coffee shop scene here so I wanted to share my favorite coffee shops! Best Coffee Shops in LAGreat White VeniceThis Aussie cafe just opened a few months ago down the street from my house.  You can see the Venice sign perfectly from the cafe, and it’s one block from the beach!  The decor is dreamy – all white with rattan light fixtures, and the food is equally as dreamy with the best smoothie bowls, avocado toast, matchas and lattes in town.   The Butcher’s DaughterThis was one of my favorite spots in NYC and I am SO happy they have one a few blocks from my house in Venice.  This darling restaurant is situated right on Abbot Kinney and the decor is to die for.  They make a mean latte and one of the best avocado toasts and kale salads around. Menotti’sThis is another coffee shop in Venice that happens to be started by a super cool NYC Brooklyn guy.  It’s small and intimate – right off the boardwalk, with a super cool downtown vibe.  With a brick exterior and french cafe bistro tables inside, grab one of their yummy drinks and people watch your heart out! TomsNot many people know this, but if you head into the Tom’s shoe store on Abbot Kinney there’s a coffee shop inside!  They make the best coffee I’ve ever had in my entire life – no joke.  My boyfriend got me hooked and we go several mornings a week (and I used to not even drink coffee!!!)  The vanilla coriander latte has been written up in several magazines and it’s as good as it’s hyped up to be – and their chai is also insaneeeee. Alfred TeaYou can’t go to LA without getting a coffee or boba tea from Alfred off Melrose in West Hollywood!  Iconic and probably one of the most instagram worthy places in LA :) VerveThis West Hollywood spot is spacious and ideal for people watching.  It’s actually funny what a scene it turns into in the middle of the afternoon!  You’ll see actors and models pop in and out of here, or writers and directors holed up in the corner reading.  It’s right next to Gracias Madre and a ton of other great shops so it’s a perfect spot to hit up in the morning before you go out and explore. La ColombeThis spot is in Silver Lake (and is where these photos were shot.)  They have a location in NYC as well and make the best oat milk latte.  Yes oat milk!  It’s creamier than almond milk and I can’t resist getting one overtime I’m there. IntelligentsiaThere are 2 locations in LA; one in Venice right on Abbot Kinney and one in Silver Lake.  I prefer the Silver Lake location – it’s got a gorgeous outdoor seating area and equally gorgeous people always flock to it.  Seriously, you’ll walk by at any given time of the day and a group of dreamy men on motorcycles wearing leather jackets just happen to be hanging outside.  This is THE spot haha! Plant Food and WineThis is another inconspicuous coffee spot that’s actually an incredible vegan restaurant by my friend Matthew Kenney.  You’d never know it from the outside – but if you go in the back of the restaurant a spacious light filled garden awaits you.  Their coffee is so pure, so fresh, and 100% organic – my dad who is quite the coffee connoisseur was completely blown away. Bluestone LaneYAY!!!!  My favorite NYC Aussie coffee spot that I went to ALL the time in the West Village has finally opened several locations in LA.  I’ve only been to their Hollywood location on La Brea, but they also have one in Studio City and are opening ones in Santa Monica, Venice, and downtown very soon!  Order their green smoothie bowl, avocado toast, and a latte for breakfast! SaveSave SaveSave
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My 10 Favorite Spas Around the World

As winter (aka the cold!) is approaching – I always like to start planning my next trip or vacation.  Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of visiting a variety of unique hotels and spas. As a part of my Wellness Series I wanted to share my top 10 favorite spas around the world with you! I took a bit of a break from my regular weekly Wellness Posts because I had 3 huge public speaking engagements last month (I usually only do 3 a year!) and just launched my latest collection with Gigi New York.  I’m so excited to talk a little bit more about each of these spas.  Some of the spots I’ve included are big hotel spas and some are more boutique spas.  I personally love smaller spas because they feel more intimate and charming versus massive ones that can often feel sterile.  If you happen to visit any of these – please let me know!  And make sure to tag #WLFKtravelAPP if you do :)  Soho Farmhouse, EnglandThis spa is located in the most rustic, charming hotel set in the English Countryside.  Enter into a log cabin full of oriental rugs and organic beauty products.  Their hotel rooms each have a huge copper tub with about 30 different soaps for you to choose from.  Start a fire in the fireplace and cozy up for the weekend. The Greenwich Hotel Spa, NYCWhenever friends ask me where to stay in NYC I say either the Crosby Street Hotel or the Greenwich Hotel.  This is a celebrity hangout for a reason.  It’s located on the chicest street in TriBeCa and has a stunning, zen asian inspired spa downstairs.  Whether you’re visiting or you’re a local – it’s 100% worth holing up there for a day. The NOW, LAThis is one of the most instagrammed spas in LA for a reason.  Each one of their locations in the city is GORGEOUS, bohemian and ethereal.  I always like to pick up bath salts and crystals from their front shop and their prices are SO reasonable.   The Berkeley, LondonI visited this dreamy hotel in London 3 years ago for high tea (they have one of the best in London) and afterward made my way upstairs to their rooftop pool + spa for a heavenly massage.  It’s one of the few hotels in London with a rooftop and their grassy area with lounge chairs is the ultimate spot to relax and unwind. Rosewood Mayakoba, Playa del CarmenThis spa experience was life changing.  I was led through a greenhouse by a fourth generation, 80 year old Shaman who then took me into a temescal (sweat lodge) for an incredibly memorable ceremony.  Afterwards, I had a 2 hour long deep tissue massage using the rosemary that I picked from the garden.  This property was voted the best hotel by Travel + Leisure for a reason! Camelback Inn, ScottsdaleI was lucky enough to grow up in Scottsdale, Arizona which is full of world renowned spas.  Every year for Mothers Day, my sister and I would take my mom to the Camelback Inn spa for massages, lunch and lounging by the pool.  To this day, it’s still one of my favorites and it’s no surprise that’s it’s one of the most popular in Arizona. We Care Spa, Palm SpringsThis spa is an oasis in the middle of the desert.  Drive out from LA and spend the night, weekend – or even full week there.  It’s a spa, detox retreat, and haven for anyone who needs to rest, recharge and cleanse.  Cameron Diaz wrote her body book based off a ton of information from the spa, Ryan Seacrest, Gisele, and Matthew McConaughey are all regulars and I once saw Tom Ford walk in wearing his signature suit and gold aviators in the dead of summer LOL!  Ask for Juan for a Thai massage and Ron for reflexology – thank me later :) Soho Beach House, MiamiI head to Miami every winter (it’s such an easy, sunny getaway for New Yorkers!) and love holing up at the Beach House for a few days.  They recently renovated it and I can’t wait to see what it looks like now.  Their spa is ultra cozy and feels like someone’s living room.  They often host bridal parties or events in one of their pamper rooms overlooking the pool.  You can’t go wrong with any of their treatments. Sugati Spa, Park CityI had one of the best massages of my life here.  It’s a Japanese spa with big wooden soaking tubs that you can soak in before you go in for your massage.  It’s right on Main Street in Park City and such a great option if you decide to skip skiing or are sore from a full day on the slopes! Belmond Grand Hotel Timeo, TaorminaAhhh this brings back memories!  This hotel in Italy is INSANE and the little spa at the bottom of the hill is a must see.  Lounge by their picturesque pool after your massage, then have lunch, dinner, or cocktails overlooking the property.  Their sister hotel Villa Sant’Andrea is equally as stunning so you’ll definitely want to head over there as well!
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