11.18.15

When we meet interesting women with a passion for both wellness and great design, we’re grateful to have an excuse to ask them twenty questions. Or, in this case, eighteen.

Girl boss, Ara Katz, is a fantastic story-teller, as evidenced throughout her career as a creative, including her current role as co-founder and CMO of mobile shopping app, Spring and, perhaps, moreso, through her strong sense of personal style. That style and Ara’s passion for wellness drew us to her immediately. We knew her take on things – from fitness to balanced living – would resonate with readers, including her strong stance on fitness: “…Our bodies are too important to be shoved between conference calls and meetings. My physical activities are on my calendar alongside everything else. Period.”

As women like Ara embody best, great personal style and a commitment to wellness need not clash in the slightest. It’s one of our strongest through-lines here on The Chalkboard and we know our readers care about great design in their pursuit of great health as much as we do, whether it comes through a killer pair of leggings or a gorgeous salt cellar for all that pink salt. We’re staunch believers in keeping the process of getting vibrantly well stylish, fun, and aesthetically-pleasing. It’s the fine details that end up keeping us enthusiastic about eating well and working out!

While catching up with Ara at her home in Venice to talk wellness, balance and staying fit (she’s currently pregnant and navigating the waters of prenatal yoga like a boss,) we were introduced to a few of Ara’s current healthy got-to’s. Among them, this stunning wellness tracker by Mira, unlike any we’ve seen. The gold bracelet with technology embedded to track daily activity looks more like statement jewelry than fitness equipment. The Mira can blend into an arm party like nobody’s business or be worn alone, as seen here on Ara, as one of the chicest ways to track activity we’ve ever come across.

Truth be told, we love the look of this wellness tracker just laying around the house! The sculptural little bracelet looks right at home on Ara’s well-curated coffee table – and is sure to inspire activity if one lingers too long over coffee. Check out more images of the Mira inside Ara’s gorgeous home, above, and read through her inspiring insights on “living well” below…

My alarm is set for:

5:58 a.m. (Quirky habit I have had since I was a kid to put an “8” in my alarm setting.)

Can’t start my day without:

Looking to my right at my husband, who is usually sleeping at that time, and to my growing belly, and pinching myself with gratitude wondering how I got here. Okay, maybe also a matcha latte with almond milk and protein as close to waking up as I can (the one life-changing tip I got from Tim Ferris’ 4 Hour Body).

6:30 am:

Because of the time difference with NYC, my day starts early with calls with our Spring team so I’m usually on Abbot Kinney walking to Intelligentsia around 6:30 a.m. 

Fave breakfast spot in town:

Gjusta – it reminds of me of New York.

Fave healthy breakfast:

Two poached eggs with a side of avocado and pico de gallo (sometimes with greens and grilled corn tortillas).

Productivity tip:

Write every single thing down. Make lists. The less space you take up trying to remember things, the more room there is for real work, creativity and getting shit done. I email myself all day just so I don’t waste time trying to remember anything. There are great flow and productivity studies to support this philosophy.

Uniform of the fall:

With my pregnant belly, it’s an oversized pair of vintage Levi’s and my favorite NLST white tee (I may or may not own more than 8 of them).  If I have to go to an event, I roll up the jeans with a heel and throw on a blazer.

Fave meeting spot:

I’m a creature of habit – all my meetings are either at Café Gratitude in Venice or in the rare times when I venture east of the 405, at Soho House in West Hollywood. Both are great ways to run into people and catch up – if I sit at either long enough, I see lots of people I’ve wanted to catch up with.

Healthy lunch spot in LA:

Superba Food + Bread – pureed vegan soups and best nut milk. Ever.

How you sneak in physical activity:

I don’t sneak it in at all. Our bodies are too important to be shoved between conference calls and meetings. My physical activities are on my calendar alongside everything else. Period.

Healthy date idea you love:

I love the spontaneous date moments. The other day my friend came over in the early evening and we were so hot, we ditched our plans and walked to the beach and jumped in the ocean. We’re both New Yorkers so we were kind of like, “Oh, this is why we live in LA.” 

Another friend and I often eat at Gratitude in Venice and then on a Monday or Wednesday night, head to Denise Kaufman’s two hour yin yoga class. Denise is an incredible human – she has taught yogis like Madonna and many others over the years and fun fact: she was on the bus with Ken Kesey in the 60’s and was one of the Merry Pranksters. Kesey gave her the name, ‘Mary Microgram’ and that is now her Instagram handle.

A fave L.A. hike:

I usually go to Malibu, but I recently met a real life plant forager so my next few hikes will be in the Santa Monica Mountains learning about foraging and plants. I want to be prepared for the zombie apocalypse or singularity….

Trainer you love to work with:

Two women have really helped me through pregnancy and expanded my understanding of my body – Jessica Suver at Paradiso Cross Fit in Venice and Erin Sherlock who trains in the East Coast method of classical Pilates.

Fave healthy dinner spot:

Shima on Abbot Kinney. Beautiful design and ceramics with brown rice sushi and vegan options.

Fave dish to make at home lately:

[Insert my husband, Chris, laughing hysterically here.] Despite my love for wellness and all things body, I don’t cook at home, though I’m sure that will change with the baby. I spend more time in my kitchen experimenting with natural skincare ingredients than I do with food.

Bedtime rituals:

I’m religious about skincare (even though I’m always experimenting) – so I wash my face with an aloe-based non-foaming cleanser followed by a serum and moisturizer. For my body, it’s coconut oil and other oils I try for my belly. A good clockwise belly rub is a nice moment to connect with the little human inside me at the end of each day.

Before I read or watch something (recently: Mr. Robot, Inside Out, Star Wars Episodes, Fear the Walking Dead (in my opinion much better than the original), Neil de Grasse Tyson’s StarTalk, The Affair), Chris and I read to my belly for a bit since we get so little time together in our two start-up household.

What I’m reading:

This is what’s currently on my nightstand as I often find myself reading some books in pieces and I like to keep these unfinished books close to me (another quirky habit I’ve had since I was little). Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, Old Man’s War by John Scalzi (I’m a big scifi fan), Sacred Commerce, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (for the belly), Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth, Brain Maker by Dr. David Perlmutter, Looking at Mindfulness by Christophe Andre (awesome book interpreting art) and Digital by Design.

Favorite tea or nighttime supplement:

Dandelion tea (currently for my strange third trimester itching) and Sunfood’s Magnesium Body Cream or Spray. I’m not great at sleep (yes, I know how important it is), but I’ve always been a bit of an insomniac so the magnesium is really calming.


From our friends

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