San Diego Suja Queen : Annie Lawless talks Travel, LA Hot Spots & Healthy Living

In Editor Picks by LA Travel Magazine

The powerful yet down to earth Co-Founder of Suja, Annie Lawless has a truly inspiring story. Having been diagnosed with Celiac disease as a young girl she started juicing quite early on and when frustrated with the options available decided to create her own line in her kitchen. Today Suja is known as one of the best juice companies in California. Even we are huge fans, if you couldn’t tell from past issues. The uber successful health and wellness guru didn’t stop there though, she and her partners recently launched Suja Elements, the brands new line of smoothies and with that came The Elements Cause Collective which donates 20 cents per bottle to nonprofits. We love influential women that work hard and give back so we sat down with this kind hearted go-getter from San Diego to talk travel and where she hangs when visiting LA.

LATM: Where was your first trip abroad?

AL: London and Paris with my grandparents! I was in the 6th grade and hadn’t traveled much up to that point. London is still one of my favorite places in the world and I have so many special and vivid memories from that trip.

LATM: What is your ideal vacation?

AL: I’ve taken a few trips with my boyfriend where we started in a city and did the fast paced, shopping, walking, eating and sightseeing thing for a few days, then traveled to a beach destination to kick back, spa, and relax for the second half.  We’ve done this with Hong Kong followed by Koh Samui, Rome followed by Santorini, and London and Florence followed by the Amalfi Coast. For me, this is a perfect balanced vacation because you get it all – the action + excitement and the relaxation + serenity. When I come home, I feel like every itch has been scratched and I’ve truly had a nourishing vacation.

LATM: If you could travel with anyone in the world who would it be and where would you go?

AL: My wonderful boyfriend! He is the boy version of me so we travel extremely well together, laughing and smiling the entire time. We have a lot of the same interests and are always excited for new adventures and exploring wherever we are. He really knows how to enjoy life, which has taught me to slow down and truly be wherever we are without needing to be so connected to my work life back home. The one place we’ve been together many times that is always so incredibly magical and romantic for us is Italy. Everywhere we’ve been, the people, the food, the pace of life, and the history just agrees with us. In Italy, there is never a care in our world and I love sharing that with him.

LATM: What is your favorite thing to do when you have time off from work?

AL: When I have a shorter amount of time away from work we spend a lot of weekends driving up the coast to Santa Barbara and Big Sur, which is such a great way to see California. If I have more than a couple days we usually plan a trip abroad because we love to take full advantage of any free chunks of time to travel. If I am staying home, my favorite thing to do is cozy up in the house cooking, reading, doing yoga on the deck, and walking the beach out front. I am not home a lot, so when I am, it’s hard to get me to leave!

LATM: Name your favorite places in LA: Best Hotel/Best Restaurant/Best Activity or     Attraction & Best Place to get your drink on

AL: Best hotel: Chateau Marmont because it’s iconic, has a sexy atmosphere, and the people watching is everything.

Best restaurant: Gjelina. It’s not a “hidden gem” and has become quite popular, but every time I go there my friends love it and Venice has such a different, fun vibe for a night out.

Best activity: Hiking Runyon Canyon! Everyone loves Runyon for a reason. It’s the perfect difficulty level than you can go with friends ranging in fitness levels and the view is breathtaking. I love getting out there in the early morning before it gets too crowded because it’s just so magical.

Best place to drink: Laurel Hardware! The cocktails are so amazing and the atmosphere is so cool. You need to order the Gangster if you’re there, which is my favorite light and refreshing blend of cucumber vodka, watermelon, and lime!

LATM: What is your go to work out while traveling/on the road?

AL: Walking and hiking! If there aren’t any trails nearby, I just rely on walking everywhere all day for my workout because that’s the best way to see a place. When there are great places to hike, I usually start every day with a long 1-2 hour hike. It’s the most mind clearing, cathartic thing in the world!

LATM: Where is your favorite destination to travel for a “Girlfriends Getaway”?

AL: Rancho Valencia in my own city, San Diego! When it’s really hard to coordinate everyone’s schedules to get out of town for an extended period of time, RV is the perfect and most relaxing, rejuvenating getaway. They have the most unbelievable spa and yoga pavilion, and a great bar/restaurant called the Pony Room that becomes such a hot spot at night. Whenever I’m with a group of girls, we can stay on the property completely contained for a couple days with zero need or desire to go anywhere and we feel like we’ve completely disconnected from life on the outside. The perfect girls day is starting with yoga in the morning, brunch by the pool, massages, a light later lunch with rose, a mani/pedi, drinks and dinner at the Pony Room, and late night dessert and coffee at the Hacienda. It is perfection.

LATM: What are three things you never travel without?

AL: My phone because it’s my camera, a cashmere wrap because it’s my blanket, sweater, cover up, pillow…you get the point, and a journal because I am never more overflowing with ideas and inspiration than when I’m travelling.

LATM: What is your most memorable travel experience (good or bad)?

AL: Two years ago I went to the French Alps to watch my boyfriend ride his bike on Alpe d’Huez for the 100th anniversary of the Tour de France and then we went on a yacht to Monte Carlo, St. Tropez, and Portofino with 34 friends! It was such a decadent, luxurious trip and I’ve never come home more exhausted (in a good way) from a vacation!

LATM: Any tips you can share on staying healthy on vacation?

AL: Yes! One thing I’ve never really understood is the way people go off the rails with their diet on vacation. A lot of people will eat really clean to get in shape for a trip then totally go crazy because “they’ve earned it”. I think that’s a big mistake because you want to feel good while you’re traveling and you don’t want to come home feeling bloated and bad about yourself. My biggest tip for my clients that travel a lot is to eat the way they usually do even if they aren’t eating the foods they usually do. We know what our bodies like and how they feel when they eat a certain way. When I travel, I go ahead and enjoy the local dishes, but I don’t start eating processed foods, added sugars, or anything fried because I don’t do that at home so why should I start now? The same goes for alcohol. When I’m home, I’ll have 1-2 drinks at dinner on the weekends or out with friends, so I’m not about to start having 3-5 on vacation and waste the next day with a gnarly hangover. The key is enjoying yourself, not destroying yourself.