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Main article: Food

What I Eat in a Week: Oatmeal, Smoothies + French Fries



Hey Merbabes! I recently did a poll on my story to gather inspiration for my next blog post.  The overwhelming winner of said poll was 'what I eat in a week'! So here we are. I kept starting then stopping tracking my daily food intake because I was a little shocked by the amount I ate when it was written down on paper.  On Monday I decided to finally commit, I tracked everything I ate Monday-Friday and I am excited to share with you all!

A little background on my diet, I have been completely vegetarian for over five years now, meat wasn't a large part of my diet growing up so I don't miss it.  I keep my dairy intake on the low, it gives me headaches + pimples, so I save dairy for special occasions, like Jeni's Ice Cream + Kelly's (thats my mom) mac + cheese.   I truly believe in listening to your body for the answers to your dietary needs! When you listen to you body there is no need for unnecessary restrictions or counting calories.

With that being said, lets jump into day one!

Monday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal. I eat the exact same breakfast everyday.  Everyday.  Steel cut oats with chia seeds, flax seed, apples, banana + pineapple.  Topped with berries + mango.  It's a lot of food + it's my absolute favorite way to start the day.

I also drink a cup of hot lemon water + hot green tea with my oatmeal.

Rehearsal Snack: Dance rehearsals run right through lunch time so I always have a smoothie with me.   Monday's smoothie was made with frozen blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, beetroot powder, Garden of Life Plant Protein Powder, and Forager cashew milk.

Lunch: Monday's I usually get home after 2 + make myself a quick leftovers lunch.  This week I was truly blessed by a fridge full of Easter leftovers.  I had dairy-free egg strata loaded with veggies + diced sweet potatoes.

Dinner: Monday night dinners are my favorite of the week, because its rice + beans night.  I had brown rice, black beans, corn, avocado, and salsa!

Snack: Since I did a late afternoon SoulCycle class I was hungry again a few hours after dinner.  I had peanut butter + jelly toast with my nightly cup of tea.

Tuesday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal.  See above.

Smoothie: frozen blueberries frozen banana, spinach, arugula, kale,  Garden of Life Plant Protein Powder, Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen, + Forager Cashew Milk.

Lunch: I had a lunch date with momma at True Foods, one of our favorite spots!  We ordered cauliflower to share +  I ordered my go-to ancient grain bowl.  The grain bowl is topped with glazed sweet potatoes, snap peas, onions, mushrooms, and the best cilantro pesto.  With my grain bowl I ordered a cup of Ginger Tusi Tea, its the warmest, coziest cup of tea out there.

Dinner: For dinner I threw red peppers, mixed greens, avocado, + salsa over leftover brown rice.  I love rice!

Snack: Oranges, dark chocolate, cup of tea.


Wednesday:

Breakfast: Oatmeal. Duh.

Lunch: Sandwich with homemade hummus, mixed greens, red pepper, pickled carrots + onions. Sandwiches are a staple in my diet, I will never get over how good a PB+J is.

Dinner: Snuck over to Bad Hunter for an early dinner.  This obviously consisted of their to die for veggie burger (sans cheddar) + fries!

Snack: Apples + oranges with a cup of tea.

Thursday:

Breakfast: You already know.

Smoothie: Same as Tuesdays!

Dinner: Whole wheat pasta with kale, zucchini + walnut pesto, ugh to die for.  I just had a bowl of leftovers while writing this post.  Pasta is my favorite food, I could eat it every single day.

Snack: Apples, oranges, dark chocolate with a cup of tea.

Friday: 

Breakfast: Oatmeal!

Smoothie: Peanut butter, frozen banana, blueberries, arugula, spinach, Vital Proteins Matcha Collagen, Garden of Life Plant Protein, + Forager Cashew Milk.

Lunch: Hummus with carrots, tomatoes, crackers + pretzels!

Dinner:  Urbanbelly at home, obviously I had my favorite rice + veggie bowl with tofu.  This bowl is jasmine rice topped with arugula, eggplant, kimchi. cucumbers, tofu, spicy sauce, and the perfect soft boiled egg.  I can't go longer than five days without consuming this bowl.

Snack: Homemade matcha chocolate, find the recipe on Instagram!


That's what my week of meals looks like.  This was a pretty basic week for me, and one where I ate pretty clean!  To be honest the week before was filled with ramen + tacos + I have no regrets! Balance + moderation is key. Eat well +  Eat lots! 





apr 8 18, 15:42
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Palm Springs Hit List: 48 Hours in Palm Springs


Hey Merbabes!  Not only am I about to give you the run-down of the not to miss places in Palm Springs + Palm Desert but I'm going to show you how to do it in 48 hours.  Whether you're taking a long weekend away or are heading to the desert for Coachella (hello queen bey) these are the stops you need to make along the way.


Day 1: 

Grab Breakfast at King's Highway


This cool little dinner is tucked in the Palm Spring's Ace Hotel + Swim Club.  I can't think of a better way to kick off your weekend in Palm Spring's than with a killer breakfast (or plate of tacos) in this former Denny's.

Instagram.

Drive out to Salvation Mountain


After you fill your bellies, get ready for a drive.  The drive out to Salvation Mountain is about 90 minutes + worth every single second.  I can't fully explain the feeling you first arriving at Salvation Mountain but its basically like getting hit with a wall of good vibes.  Explore all the colorful nooks + climb up all the colorful paths, you will feel like a new person with a whole lot of Instagram content.

On your way home stop at one of the Salton Sea beaches, the water smells a little funky but you'll get some dope photos + be able to say you were at the largest body of water in California.

Instagram.

Stop for a Treat at Ice Cream & Shop(pe)


After a morning of driving around, you deserve a treat.  Head to the cutest destination in uptown Palm Springs at the Arrive hotel, Ice Cream & Shop(pe).  I grabbed a vegan date ice cream cone + had to seriously hold myself back from purchasing everything at the shop.

Instagram.

Enjoy Dinner at Birba


This is the place to go to dinner in Palm Springs.  It's an all outdoor restaurant fully equipped with fire pits, heaters, and blankets to give you major cozy vibes while you dine.  The tricolore pizza is a serious must-have, imagine a tricolore salad on top of a beautiful white pizza, divine!

Instagram.

Day 2:

Brunch Poolside at Chi Chi


Located at the Avalon Hotel this is where my ideal day would start every single morning.  Enjoy a turmeric latte while sitting poolside + eating an açaí bowl or a veggie burger, um yes please.

Instagram.

Go for a Hike in the Indian Canyons


This wasn't a stop we made on my last trip but this is still a serious must in my book.  I haven't seen anything that compares to the beauty of this spot, palm trees, water falls, and v accessible trails for the nature challenged aka me.

Instagram.

Shop at Fine Art of Design


I first discovered Fine Art of Design at their pop-up in the Ace Hotel, after eating at King's Highway, duh.  I snagged a Dolce + Gabbana mini dress that is to die for, this time around I snagged a kimono + a little jacket that I am already trying to incorporate into everything I wear.  After shopping at Fine Art of Design head down the street to El Paseo, its basically the Rodeo Drive of Palm Desert.

Instagram.

End your Evening at The Parker


The Parker is probably the coolest place I have ever stepped foot into.  It's all designed by Jonathan Adler + a serious interior dream.  I went to Norma's for brunch but I can only imagine the cool evening vibes this place exudes.  My ideal evening at the Parker would be chilling in the lobby then ending the evening with dinner at Mr. Parkers.

Instagram.

Enjoy your 48 hour getaway bb!

mar 8 18, 18:22
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The Best Brunch in Chicago: 10 Spots You Need to Hit


Hey Merbabes! Today, I am getting serious.  We are talking about my favorite thing on this planet.  Brunch.  The most popular question I get in my DMs is where should I brunch in Chicago.  I figured it was time to put together a master list of my all-time favorite destinations.


Below are 10 places I absolutely love + you can catch me at every weekend.


The Allis



My go-to, fave, weekly destination. You already know.  I’m all about cozying up with a cup of hot green tea + grabbing my favorite all day breakfast, (sans salmon).  I love coming here during the week for a chill spot to eat + “work” aka sip on tea with my laptop open.  If you’re heading out on a weekend, I recommend making a reservation!

Hood: West Loop


Maison Marcel



It’s probably a good thing this little spot is all the up in Lakeview otherwise I would never leave.  A cup of tea + a little avocado toast is the way to my heart.  The food is fab, but the decor is what will make you fall in love with this space.

Hood: Lakeview

Cafe Robey


This is one of my new favorite spots.  Their avocado toast is possibly my favorite ever, I add a poached egg for the yolk factor.  The tables are white marble + the lighting makes this spot perfect for Instagram.  I also really appreciate their mugs, they are clear glass so you can show off your pretty cup of tea.

Hood: Wicker Park

Bad Hunter


This is also one of my favorite not-brunch spots but if you go for brunch, get the Bad Hunter burger with an egg.  It makes the perfect veggie burger even more perfect.  Just watch the video.  That's all.

Hood: West Loop

Clever Rabbit



Clever Rabbit is a veggie-focused restaurant (fave) with a strong brunch game.  I have a habit of choosing one item on a menu + ordering it for the rest of my life...at Clever Rabbit its the Rabbit Breakfast.  I mean look at it, what else could you ask for?


Hood: Wicker Park

Little Goat



Little Goat has totally become a tourist destination but that will never separate me from my beloved Parathas Burrito.  I recommend going during the week, its perfect, quiet, cozy diner, grab a cup of tea, get your brunch, + always get fries.

Hood: West Loop
Gram: @littlegoatdiner

Cafe Marie Jeanne



This spot is a hidden gem, with some of the best brunch in the city.  My favorite part about it is the breakfast a la carte, it’s basically build-a-bear for brunch. I love getting scrambled eggs, toast, greens, + mushrooms! Drooling just thinking about it.

Hood: Humboldt Park

Grange Hall



This is another spot that I hit all times of the day but also has an incredible brunch menu.  I am crazy about their veggie burgers, I will go for one of those as early as 10am, but their brunch menu is not to be overlooked, they have large selection of killer vegetarian (+ not) brunch dishes.  Blueberry basil pancakes I’m looking at you.  

This is one of the only places I can think of that I ever vary my order, that’s how good it is.  

Hood: West Loop

The Winchester


I love this little spot.  That is basically all I want to say.  Good vibes, super good brunch.

Hood: UK Village

La Sirena Clandestina


This spot feels like summer.  Sip an iced tea, while you eat your way through the best (+ biggest) kale salad ever.  They currently have a lovely veggie omelet but I fell hard for a vegetarian rice + bean bowl, please bring it back.  

Hood: West Loop


mar 1 18, 18:00
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Mermaid Eats: The Allis


The Allis is my go-to day-time destination.  Whether it’s breakfast, brunch, or lunch I know I can grab my favorite meal, like ever, and relax with a cup of tea.

I always gravitate to the Allis Breakfast, I order mine with scrambled eggs, sourdough toast, and no salmon.  If I’m looking to spice things up I’ll order an avocado toast, their avocado to bread ratio is the best in the city and topped with a perfectly poached egg.


If you’re really feeling fancy, stop in for afternoon tea.  It’s no Sketch, but you will have a totally chic + instagram worthy time.  

jan 20 18, 19:12
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Mermaid Eats: Bad Hunter


I have been a vegetarian for five or six years now and the thought of eating an animal no longer has any appeal to me.  BUT, I always had serious envy when I saw someone eat a burger.  I love veggie burgers but never felt like I was eating an actual burger, it’s just not the same.
 That being said, I had been craving a burger for about five years when my savior Bad Hunter opened up.  Bad Hunter has some seriously amazing food but I always neglect all of it and go straight to the burg.  Their veggie burger is my favorite in the city, and straight up the best of all time.  Its topped with the most addictive aioli and comes with a side of perfectly crispy fries.  

jan 20 18, 19:00
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I Love You So Matcha: Guide to the Best Matcha in Chicago



Matcha is an essential part of the Mermaid Waves diet, but not just for its amazing taste.  Matcha is packed with antioxidants, literally packed.  The antioxidants in one cup of matcha is the equivalent of drinking 10 cups of green tea, because when you drink matcha you are ingesting the actual tea leaf.  Matcha contains a specific kind of antioxidant called a catechin that contains potent cancer-fighting properties.  Your girl matcha is also known to reduce anxiety due to L-theanine that is found in the tea leaves, L-theanine is known to induce relaxation without any drowsiness.  I swear it works, whenever I am feeling overly anxious, if I can't go to Soulcycle, I drink a cup of matcha and immediately feel like I can breathe again.  Matcha also boosts energy levels due to its unique blend of nutrients, not so much the caffeine levels. Plus the L-theanine helps reduce any caffeine "crash" and the mood-lifting effects can last up to six hours post matcha enjoyment.


Matcha has been my drink of choice for a minute now but it wasn't always easy to find in Chicago, today I am feeling blessed that Chicago has finally boarded the matcha train.  Chicago may not have Cha Cha Matcha or Alfred's Tea, but we have a pretty solid lineup of destinations to get your matcha fix.  Trust me.  No matter what neighborhood of the city I am in I know where the nearest (and best) matcha is.  Whether you're in the mood for a refreshing iced matcha, a hot matcha latte, or something in between I've got your back bae.



Wicker Park: Fairgrounds is one of the newer destinations on this list, but just as valid as any other.  Fairgrounds Coffee and Tea has an impressive assortment of matcha drinks, my favorite is the on tap Matcha.  Its smooth, refreshing and has a super light flavor.  Its a great option if you can't handle straight-up matcha but aren't in the mood for a latte.


West Loop: The green tea latte from Sawada is my current obsession.  If I am sort of in the area of West Loop, which I am literally all the time, I have to make a stop at Sawada.  I have been sipping this tea for over a year now but just recently did I fall in love.  They must have upped their quality of matcha or changed the milk to matcha because all of the sudden it is the perfect drink.  I am not usually a huge soy milk person but I found this latte tastes best with soy!


Old Town Whole Foods: I love Real Good Juice, I love their smoothies, their cold pressed juices, but this matcha "latte" stole my heart.  Its a tad sweet yet still has the earthy goodness of your favorite matcha.  Its the perfect on-the-go matcha, I love to throw it in my purse in the morning and crack it open for a midday pick me up.


West Loop + Wicker Park: Urbanbelly may not be the place you expect to grab the perfect matcha but thats just because you don't know any better.  The mint matcha at Urbanbelly is the epitome of refreshing, its sweet, cool, and has a fresh mint flavor that will cure any summer-time struggles.  I often walk to Urbanbelly, because I live dangerously close, and love cooling down with a mint matcha while I eat my favorite rice + salad bowl.

Honorable Mentions:

Matcha Latte at Le Pain Quotidien 

Vanilla Matcha at Davids Tea 


may 26 17, 21:15
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Babes in Boston: A Mini Restaurant Guide


Hey Merbabes! Last weekend I snuck off to Boston to visit my one of my favorite people in the universe.  When I was 16,  I spent the summer at Boston Ballet, so I was quite excited to go back to this cute little city.  The majority of my time outside the ballet studio was split between eating ice cream and shopping at urban outfitters, what else would 16 year old Dani do?  That being said I was excited to rediscover Boston and see what else the city has to discover.

I had a blast with my girl and also had some seriously good eats!  Aubrey and I are both vegetarian, as well as Aubrey being gluten free and myself being dairy-free (like 95% of the time).  We have a lot of restrictions between us but we both love to eat.  Dietary restrictions really don't feel like a restriction when you know the right places to go, so I am excited to share these finds with you.


I'll be honest, I never do anything without the motivation of food.  I basically booked my ticket with the intent of heading to one spot in particular, if you followed my trip on snapchat and Instagram I am sure you already know where.   Below I am sharing four of the places we went and loved, plus what I ordered for some serious dining inspo!

Fomu:


I recognize that I should have put the ice cream place last on the list, but it deserves to be first.  Aubrey and I went two out of the two nights I was in Boston because it was that good.  I am pretty picky about my ice cream, because I do not like to splurge on dairy unless its seriously worth it.  Fomu's ice cream is plant-based and made with coconut milk, aka its a gift from Jesus.

Day one I got F'Oreo and Peanut Butter, I highly recommend this combination.  The F'oreo is filled with huge, house made chocolate cookie chunks, to die for.  The peanut butter was (don't laugh because there is no other way to describe it) insanely peanut butter-y,  I would eat it everyday.  Day two I ordered the fresh mint chip and chocolate, the chocolate was just as good as you would expect, and the fresh mint chip was exactly that.  It tasted like real mint, not your favorite mint chip ice cream you grew up eating.  They also had ice cream sandwiches with vegan cookies, vegan brownies and more!

By Chloe:



Sorry Aub, but this is the real reason I came to visit Boston.  JK, but By Chloe is my happy place, one of my past By Chloe meals is literally the wallpaper on my laptop.  I have been multiple times to their New York location, so I was excited to check out the Boston Spot.  In case you are not already obsessed with By Chloe, here is a quick rundown: it is all vegan and all insanely delicious.  The Boston location is just as adorable as the one in NY but even bigger therefore even more cuteness.



I got my favorite guac burger and sweet potatoes fries, with a matcha of course.  I am one of those awful people who order the same thing each time they go to a restaurant but if it ain't broke don't fix it, ya feel?  Aubrey got the avocado pesto pasta made gluten free and a matcha as well.  If you go to By Chloe you have to get fries, and even more importantly you have to have the beet ketchup.  30% because it is delicious, 70% because its PINK.

Loco Taqueria:



This place was a hot destination and a little tricky to get into.  We ended up making a reservation for five people at 5 p.m., which was the only way we could get a table.  We made it work and were expecting big things of this meal.  Loco was a super cute spot and it was popping for 5 p.m.



We ordered pineapple guac and chips to start off.  The pineapple guac was seriously such a beautiful thing and something I need to recreate this summer.  Ok, I'll probably have my mom recreate it but you get the point.  For my meal I got the grilled avocado tacos (I ordered mine without crema)! I am very set in my taco ways and eat my favorite vegan mushroom tacos once a week, so I was concerned that these would not live up to my taco standards.  They did.  There was grilled avocado, brussels sprouts, and pumpkin seeds plus I added a heavy dose of lime juice.

Jugos:



Saturday morning was one of the best mornings I have had in a long time.  I snuck out early in the morning and made my way to Equinox for yoga.  First, I needed some breakfast because I can not function without a full breakfast.  I was quite excited when I realized that a few steps away from Equinox was Jugos, I have been wanting to try this juice spot since I was in Boston three years ago.  It was finally my time.
 

I grabbed a matcha con leche juice and some oats.  It was the perfect breakfast on the go, I literally sat on a bench outside (it was only about 50 degrees) and was perfectly content.  I am always down for a matcha latte, duh, and this one was perfectly packaged to take with me to yoga then to ballet class.  I always eat my oats hot, I am not a huge "overnight oats" person due to the fact they are eaten cold, but I was in oat heaven and didn't mind these cool oats one bit!  My only regret is that I didn't make it there more than once.

Where are your favorite Boston eats?
XO

apr 18 17, 00:12
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Eat Out Eat Clean: Healthy Restaurants in Chicago



Hey Mer-babe!  I love food, but you probably already knew that; with my love of food comes my absolute love of eating out.  There is a common misconception that all restaurant food is bad for you, and that is so false.  There are so many restaurants that offer clean meals even in the land of deep-dish pizza (aka Chicago).  I don't mean there is one healthy thing on the menu, all of the spots I'm sharing have dedicated their culture to providing healthy options.  Not only do these spots offer clean and healthy menus but they all offer amazing vegetarian and vegan options.

Below are three of my favorite destinations in Chicago for a healthy meal out.  Plus I am sharing exactly what I order, because I can never quite stick to what's on the menu.   Bonus points if you already know where that vegan pizza I'm eating above is from!


True Foods Kitchen

https://www.instagram.com/p/BNfKpAiAXMl/


 True Foods opened around Thanksgiving and I have been there every week since, except for I believe one unfortunate week where I didn't make it in.  It has long been one of my favorite restaurants, it was a mandatory stop whenever we were in Phoenix or Santa Monica, so I was thirlled that True Foods was coming to Chicago.  I either start with a Matcha Horchata or a Ginger Tulsi Tea depending on the time of day.  The matcha horchata is perfectly sweetened, I love my matcha straight up and don't love a lot of sweetness to my teas, this drink is my favorite matcha latte in the city.  For my meal I alternate between two favorites, the butternut squash pizza or the ancient grain bowl.  The pizza is vegan and topped with an almond ricotta that is to die for, as a non-dairy lover like myself it is a dream.  I order my pizza with no dried cranberries, just a preference, I think they are weird.  The ancient grain bowl is far beyond any other grain bowl you have had before.  It has the most amazing glazed sweet potatoes, and lots of veggies.  True Foods has tons of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu, and almost everything can be made gluten free if you ask.  They are super accommodating to allergies and willing to fit your personal dietary preferences.  


Sweet Green


Sweetgreen is another exciting and recent addition to the Chicago food scene.  This is honestly the only salad I have ever had outside of my home that qualifies as a meal in my eyes.  It fills me up for hours which is seriously hard to do,  I could eat an entire pizza and my stomach would still be growling within three (maybe four) hours.  I couldn't just order off the regular menu because that would be too simple, so I custom order a salad each time I go.  I have perfected my salad by now, it has: spinach/kale (depending on my mood) and mesclun as the base, topped with portobello mushrooms,  avocado, roasted sweet potato, onion, spicy broccoli,  sometimes hot chickpeas (depends on the mood as well), and medium to light spicy cashew dressing.  The spicy cashew dressing (vegan ) is honestly life changing. 

 Left Coast Food and Juice

https://www.instagram.com/p/BFmTmojnI0F/


Left Coast is another healthy paradise, everything on the menu is marked from vegetarian, to vegan, to gluten free, and dairy free.  It makes ordering a breeze for just about every dietary restriction.  There are almost too many options at Left Coast, I have had so many different things from the acai bowl to avocado toast, but I think I have finally discovered my forever meal.  The Montecito Hash is so flavorful and has the perfect yolk break factor.  I order mine with no lemon yogurt or queso fresco making this meal vegetarian and dairy free.  Plus they serve breakfast all day with makes Left Coast a real winner in my books, along with salads, grain bowls, and wraps. 

jan 11 17, 19:00
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