Costa Mesa, CA

Hey chicos,

If you’ve been following my adventures during the past month through my blog, Instagram and/or Facebook you probably know that 2 weeks ago I went to Costa Mesa for the weekend to run the OC Marathon.

We were in L.A. (post coming soon!) and I decided kind of last minute that it was a great idea to explore a new area the best way I know: running! I love traveling and getting immerge into new cultures. Since I move to the U.S. I really feel that every area, state and even city is like its own little country. I guess because this is so big comparing to my small Venezuela where I was born and raised that just driving a few hours in any direction can be a complete adventure.

When I was around 10 I went on a big road trip with my family through the whole coast of California and I’m sure we passed through Costa Mesa, but since it’s been 20 years since then I figured this was a good time to go back.

I went by myself and tried to find an eco-friendly hotel but I had no luck. I was also staying there for only a night and since I didn’t have a car I needed to find something convenient close to the finish line so I could walk. I decided to stay at the BLVD Hotel. It was in a good location (0.8 miles from the convention center where the expo took place and the finish line) and they offered eco-friendly bath products that were paraben free and not tested in animals! You can tell that the place used to be a motel and was recently renewed… Or at least that’s the look they were going for. It had a cute pool that unfortunately I didn’t have the time to enjoy and my favorite part was the wall papers. They also offer free coffee in the lobby or you could just make your own at the room since they’re equipped with coffee makers.

Since I knew I only had an evening to enjoy myself and explore some cool areas I did some research to make sure I was going to the right place and make the most out of my little time. I found two really cool earth-friendly malls and decided to check them out… They’re one across from each other so it was pretty convenient. Apparently this is a developer who is transforming regular spaces into the most gorgeous and magical shopping oasis.

The Camp Site: an eco-friendly paradise. While I was walking around this outdoor space my eyes couldn’t believe it… This is how every mall should look like! There were plants everywhere, hamacs and wood benches. They offer a variety of wellness services, shopping and healthy dining. Here are the places that really caught my attention:

  • Seed: great store! Shop with a purpose is there mantra and no wonder why. This big space is loaded with fair-trade products. Whatever you want you can find here. Jewelry, handbags, clothes, beauty products, candles, you name it!
  • Lollipop Nail Studio: an all organic nail salon.
  • Project Juice: this organic cold-pressed juice bar looks amazing but unfortunately I got there too late and it was closed.

There’re more restaurants than stores at The Camp. Many of these restaurants looked delicious but I decided to eat something fast to carbload for my race so I ate at Native Foods Café, basically the vegan version of McDonald’s. I’ve seen this place many times while living in Chicago and always wanted to go but never got the chance to. I had a burger with sweet potato fries and it was very yummy.

The LAB Antimall: developed by the same people than The Camp. This place is another piece of nature in the midst of chaos. I found this space to be more colorful and open and it has way more stores than restaurants. There were beautiful swings and trees with purple flowers that were in full bloom. They had a barber shop, jewelry kiosk and even an airstream that sells baby clothes! I didn’t stay long because I had to wake up early for my race but it was definitely worth the visit.

These two places are called malls but don’t expect big spaces… They’re just the right size. Walking through them I realized that there’re a lot of people out there that truly care about our planet and it really gave me hope. If you are ever in the area definitely visit them, you’ll be fascinated!