An Eco-Conscious Guide to Paris

Ahhhh, Paris. Before I got to experience the beautiful City of Love, I misjudged you. I was told to skip Paris. That Paris was a city filled with garbage and snobby Parisians. I am SO glad I did not listen to them, because out of my euro trip, Paris was my favorite. So much that I actually started a plan to move there! But don’t worry New York City, I’m not done with you yet.

Aubrey Hepburn said, “Paris is always a good idea.” She was right. It was cheaper for me to go through Paris than fly from Nice to Munich, so I thought why the hell not spend a few days in Paris?

I never thought Paris would be so eco-conscious. I explored Paris the way I explored any other city- by foot- and stumbled upon some wonderful sustainable foodie spots and shops. Check these eco-babies out:



Le Pavillon des Canaux

Out of my three days in Paris, I went to this lovely psychedelic, Alice and Wonderland themed, artsy coffee shop twice. They have coffee, organic wine, and plenty of farm to table noms- all of which you can enjoy in a bathtub upstairs while you people watch out the window. It’s definitely a locals spot and the only reason I found out about it was through my amazing Airbnb host. I loved it so much I went twice, and I still couldn’t get enough.

Gentle Gourmet

OKAY. HANDS DOWN. THE BEST. VEGAN FOOD. OF LIFE. Just thinking about it makes me cry. I found this restaurant a little bit out of the way from where I was staying (19th ARR.) but worth every struggle. It was a rainy day in Paris, and I was ready to just pass this place up, go home, and snuggle in my bed. However, a friend of mine (Hi Gaby!) convinced me to not skip out. I decided to take myself out on a date and splurge on my dinner. It’s not cheap- I spent about 40Euros- but I had no regrets. I had the Saint-Jack which is oyster mushroom pan-fried scallops (dead.), black rice risotto (YUM), seaweed, and green apple. To top it off, I had some biodynamic wine and the craziest vegan chocolate cake with some sort of raspberry dressing. It was for sure an “I can die happy now” meal for my belly.

Cloud Cakes

I honestly feel like I ate my way through Paris, but I’m not mad about it. I started one of my days here and although there was a couple totally breaking up next to me I STILL happily enjoyed my vegan pancakes and coffee. Cloud Cakes is the definition of cute and cozy. It’s small, but they have a great menu and a bunch of delicious vegan pastries you can help yourself too! But seriously- get the pancakes.

Krishna Bhavan Restaurant

After my 6-hour train ride from Nice to Paris I was so disoriented from hunger and CRAVING Indian food. Instead of going straight to my Airbnb I went on a little detour through Gare du Nord neighborhood which is the “Little India” of Paris. I walked by a restaurant that had a sign that read “100% Pure Vegetarian” and my stomach screamed at me to go inside already! I ordered the Menu Midi for 14.50Euros and got the spinach/lentil curry with some rice and chai tea. Don’t worry vegans, they have plenty of options for you too! There are two locations so make sure you hit up the Gare du Nord location and don’t be shy in exploring the neighborhood. The fabric colors, smells of incense and curry, and different cultures are so vibrant!




Out of all the vintage stores I went to, Kiliwatch was my favorite. You can easily spend two hours in this store. I was on the hunt for some awesome black denim jeans and it was SO hard picking one because their denim section is out of this world. Each section of the shop catered to a different style. If you’re more into a Bohemian style, they got you. High fashion? Preppy? Punk? Goth? Kiliwatch really has it all. They’ve even got different decades! It was almost overwhelming how many options there are! This store was pricier than others but well worth a visit. Even if you’re just looking- you’re bound to find a treasure in there.


This shop had a more low-key vibe, which I liked after coming from Kiliwatch. It’s a smaller thrift store, but even then had so many options. They had a ton of vintage dresses and skirts while I was there, and it was so hard not to splurge. They had a little something for everyone. It’s almost like opening a treasure chest of vintage gems. I ended up getting a 90s vintage long-sleeved crop top that was WAYYYY cooler than me. But when you’re at a store like that, you do feel super cool. 8) The owner was very helpful, so don’t be shy if you’re looking for something specific! Although we all know that when you’re thrifting, the more open-minded you are, the more bang for your buck.

Mad Vintage

This tiny hole in the wall boutique looks unappealing from the outside, but on the inside it’s vintage galore. Catered to a younger, hip crowd there really is something for everyone in that tiny little shop. It has just the right amount of stuff- not too much to overwhelm you or too little to leave you feeling like you’ve wasted your time. Mad Vintage is also in Rouen, Caen, and Reims if you find yourself exploring the rest of France and craving some vintage shopping!



When I first stumbled upon this story- it was closed. I couldn’t believe my eyes looking through the window! A zero waste AND vegan shop?! LaMazuna has everything: toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, lotion, shampoo, conditioner…it’s absolutely amazing. Especially for a traveler like me. I like to travel as minimal and zero waste as possible. Every product I buy has to be vegan. This store hit all of my requirements! I promised myself I would not leave Paris without paying homage to this shop. I’m so glad I went back. I bought a bunch of toothpaste as souvenirs for my friends! It is a bit pricey (9.80 euros each), but it’s a great stepping stone to making your own zero waste vegan toothpaste! The woman at the store was very helpful answering all my questions even though her english and my french were very minimal. Such a cozy, warm atmosphere. Everything is sold here so if you are flying you won’t have a problem with the liquid requirements!



I found this wine shop totally by accident (THIS IS WHY I LOVE WALKING A CITY!). Paris was rainy, and I had another hour to kill before Gentle Gourmet opened. It was close to La Seine, Notre-Dame, and Shakespeare & Co, so after checking out those spots I walked and saw this tiny little wine shop that read “biodynamic wines”. I had a mini freak out since I completely forgot I was leaving for Munich to see my best gal pal from high school the next morning (I’m such a bad friend) and would’ve shown up empty handed! I walked in confidently and said, “tell me what you recommend for a red wine that’s no more than 50Euros!” to which he responded, “I don’t have the poison you’re looking for- only good wine.” Coming from New York City, I was un-phased by his condescending tone and said, “Yeah I know I read your sign and I’M HERE FOR THE BIODYNAMIC WINE!” Finally, I got the badge of approval and he walked me through a bunch of wonderful choices in my price range. We nerded out over biodynamic farming for a couple of minutes and I happily left with the best Bordeaux I’ve had in my LIFE. And I drink a LOT of Bordeaux. Ha!

That sums up all my fav eco-spots in Paris! If I were you I’d grab a baguette, a bottle of wine from L’Etiquette, and a blanket to have a picnic at Parc des Buttes-Chaumont. Read a book you bought from Shakespeare & Co and breathe in the fresh air. It was the perfect way to end my trip in Paris and I just can’t wait to go back and do the same damn thing all over again!

10 Charming & Eco-Friendly Airbnb Rentals Around the World

This post was originally published on Breathe Travel.

If you’re anything like me, you travel with a purpose. Whether it be to challenge yourself by breaking your comfort zone, see the many different cultures all over the world, or to go on a much deserved relaxing vacation. Maybe, it’s all three! Being able to see the world is such a privilege, which is why we should do everything in our power to take care of it.

Why not travel consciously to the most amazing, beautiful places? Here are 10 eco-friendly Airbnb rentals around the world to get you started on your conscious travels:

1. Eco-friendly Villa in Natural Park, Fuerteventura, Las Palmas de Gran Canarias, Spain

This beautiful home is located at the foot of an ancient volcano! How cool is that?

The structure of the home is made out of wood with a photovoltaic system (solar power energy ftw!) and water purification for reuse. It doesn’t stop there- the hosts also collect rainwater. You’ll be reducing your carbon footprint AND doing it in style, surrounded by the most amazing beaches and lagoons in this charming villa.

2. Authentic Bedouin Experience, Wadi Rum, Jordan

Ever dream of sleeping under the stars in the Valley of the Moon? I’ve got you covered. This Airbnb is for the more adventurous, as you are completely off the grid. There is NO electricity or running water. Just the laughter and hospitality of a Bedouin family.

If you have any plans on going to Jordan, stay here. You’ll never experience something more authentic than this. This is a unique opportunity to learn about the traditions, culture, and daily life of a Bedouin.

3. Off-Grid itHouse, Pioneertown, California, United States

If you ever visit the Los Angeles area, make the trek to this award winning eco-beauty! The house is 100% completely off-grid. It’s powered by solar panels for energy and hot water, nestled remotely in the beautiful California high desert. You’ll be off the grid, in touch with nature and a simpler way of living.

No need to venture out to Joshua Tree, it’s all here right in your backyard! This is the perfect place to humble yourself and soak up the natural beauty around you.

4. Super Cute Retro Airstream, Wimberley, Texas, United States

Talk about glamping at its finest! You might be wondering, where the hell Wimberley, Texas is! It’s about an hour south of Austin, perfect for a romantic getaway from the city. The owners of this adorable airstream really go out of their way to make this property as green as possible.

You’ll be equipped with fresh organic eggs, local organic coffee, and some zero waste, eco-friendly dish soap and laundry detergent. The airstream is not off the grid, but they do use low-wattage light bulbs! I love how eco-conscious this airstream is. Don’t forget to take a dip in the hot tub and enjoy a private, spacious outdoor shower under the trees!

5. Eco-Friendly, Minimalist, VT B&B, Windham, VT, United States

The Stone Wall Inn is surrounded by 12 acres of gardens, 3 ponds, and tons of beautiful vistas. You can take advantage of Vermont’s outdoor adventures such as hiking and kayaking, or you can cozy up by the fire.

What makes this B&B so great? It’s GREEN CERTIFIED! The b&b is heated entirely by natural sources (wood and solar) and utilizes reclaimed wood and construction materials, earth-friendly cleaning products, natural linens, the list goes on. The Stone Wall Inn really goes above and beyond to make your stay as accommodating and eco-friendly as possible.

6. Explore Rural South France & Coast, Feuilla, Languedoc-Roussillon, France

Is your heart singing with wanderlust right now? This beautiful homestay in the countryside of France sits on the edge of the wine making village of Feuilla. Yes. You read it right. WINE! You’ll get the best of both worlds surrounded by breathtaking views of mountains and beaches.

La Rassada is an eco-friendly property built using natural materials such as hemp for insulation, lime render, and eco-paints. There’s solar hot water, indirect solar heating, a biodynamic filtered spring water system, and everything is either recycled or composted. The host is also known for her mouth-watering delicious breakfast made with local and/or organic produce!

You’ll be happy, comfortable, and traveling green! As the host says, “Being “eco” definitely does NOT mean we compromise on comfort!!!”

7. Rainforest Tree House w Hot Springs, Cooper, Alajuela, Costa Rica

This handcrafted treehouse is nestled deep in the jungle, where you’ll be surrounded by monkeys, exotic birds, butterflies, and other types of wildlife. Guests also get 24-hour access to the 12 natural hot and cool spring pools. This Airbnb is definitely off the beaten path, but only 45 minutes away from great tourist activities and destinations like volcano hikes, ziplines, and the La Fortuna Waterfall.

Plan to spend a good amount of time here, as most guests regret not staying long enough. You’ll never want to leave!

8. Friendly & Central Eco-Hostel, Reykjavík, Capital Region, Iceland

Want to see the Northern Lights? Take a dip in the Blue Lagoon? Say no more. This award-winning and eco-certified hostel is where you belong. It’s located in the heart of downtown Reykjavík, walking distance from most of Reykjavík’s bars, clubs, cafes, and restaurants!

The staff here are also known to be super helpful and friendly. Their aim is to encourage “a style of traveling that increases people’s knowledge of their environment, concern for nature and respect for the cultural values of cities and towns in all parts of the world.” Definitely sounds like an eco-winner!

9. Farm View Cottage, Montagu, Western Cape, South Africa

This charming cottage has everything you could ever ask for. Stunning views, hot springs, endless amounts of wine, beautiful hikes, and if you’re after the Big Five, you’ll be nearby some of the finest game farms!

The cottage is situated on an organic farm, where you will be invited to feast on local produce. You’ll also be provided with home-made, natural shower products! Montagu was voted Town of the Year in 2012, not only for its gorgeous views, beautiful architecture and excellent hot springs- but for the kindness and hospitality of the local people.

10. Natural Life At Tiny Cottage, Sakuho, Minamisaku District, Nagano Prefecture, Japan

This minimalist tiny cottage in Japan’s beautiful countryside was handmade by the owner and his friends. It’s completely off the grid- powered by solar energy panels and there is no running water. Have no fear, there’s a public bath nearby!

If you love cooking, this cottage is for you. You can buy and eat organic foods made by local farms! This tiny way of living is such a unique experience. There is no doubt you’ll feel inspired and refreshed by the stunning views of mountains, singing birds, and the smell of fresh, crisp air.

ACE Backpacks origin story

ACE’s Origin Story

Let me just start with the fact that I never, ever, thought that I would be designing backpacks. All I knew was that I wanted to dedicate my life doing something that made the world a better place.

I wanted to be a truth seeker. Find the truth. Tell that truth. Then share it with the world. Where does a truth-seeking 18-year-old go? Journalism school! I pursued a degree in Journalism at the University of San Francisco. Storytelling immediately became my biggest passion. It wasn’t until October 9th, 2012 while I sat in my Journalism Ethics class, I knew how important that would be to me.

That day, Malala Yousafzai was shot by the Taliban for going to school. My professor came in that morning and put on the news. She looked at us with tears streaming down her face and said, “The truth matters.”

To say that Malala’s story impacted me is a downplay. Her story inspired me to dedicate my entire life to storytelling and girls education.

After I graduated college I landed a job at a media company, packed my bags in San Francisco and moved across the country to New York City. Just when I thought I had it all figured out, my big career move wasn’t for me. I was miserable working at a desk 9-5 feeling as if my passions and creativity were drifting away. All I knew was that I was never going to find my dream at a desk job. So I quit.

I spent two years trying to figure out my career path. Was it graduate school for Journalism? A writing job at a reputable news outlet? A freelancing gig? I knew my passions but not what I wanted to do with them.

I needed to do some serious soul searching. How you might ask? I left my office job and became a barista at the coolest coffee shop in the city (s/o Pushcart Coffee) and nanny for the coolest kid I know in the Upper West Side. I saved enough money after a year of work to put my entire life in a backpack and headed to Uganda.

Still unsure of what my career path may be I still knew I wanted to dedicate my life to girls education.

Here I was in a special little town called Mbale. I always dreamed of the red dirt roads and the beautiful green mountains in Uganda. The sound of boda boda drivers and the smell of rolex’s brought me so much excitement to get out of bed and explore.

One morning I walked out of my apartment and saw hundreds of students in uniforms walking proudly to the local primary school, balancing books on their heads.

Of course, my immediate reaction was, “These kids should have backpacks – just like students in America do!”

It was at that moment the idea hit me. I need to make backpacks for these kids! I will sell a backpack in the United States and give a backpack to a child in need.

Excited about my idea, I ran home to tell my housemate who appreciated my enthusiasm but told me the harsh reality:

Roughly 80% of these students will not make it to secondary school.

That was unacceptable to me. These students didn’t need backpacks. What good is a backpack if kids don’t have access to education? The struggle wasn’t carrying books. It is a plethora of issues: child labor, early marriages, lack of sanitary pads, transportation, disability…the list goes on. However, the universal challenge is poverty.

This changed my original idea to give free backpacks to kids to using the backpack as a symbol of education.

Something that will advocate for education, create jobs that lift people out of poverty and empower children across the globe.

A backpack isn’t just a thing to carry stuff in. It means so much more.

Coming back to New York in 2016, I returned to my coffee shop job and continued nannying. Starting ACE has been a constant work in progress, but I’m doing exactly what I’ve felt destined to do. A seed was planted in my heart that day I saw those kids walking to school in Uganda. It’s been a wild journey watering that seed every day. This is where the story of ACE began.