WILD ONE BRIANA MENENDEZ | A Thriving Urbanite
I was very much looking forward to interviewing this Aspen native mainly because over the past few months of collaborating and meeting at different wellness events we hadn't really found the quietness amongst it all to actually chat. I was curious to know how she got here, where those gorgeous dark curls from and how she started her business Urban Wellness. So on a sunny midweek afternoon I poured her a cocktail with a touch of GOLDEN elixir, as she just informed me she was suffering a little from post party fatigue, and she started her story.
Briana grew up amongst the serenity of the mountains in Aspen, Colorado with one younger sister. Her dark brows and long curls are a stunning combination of the Argentinian and Persian origins of her parents. Both of which have influenced her life and impacted her definition of health.
From Aspen, Briana journeyed to Colgate in upstate New York (which I sadly had to ask, “as in the toothpaste?”) to complete a degree in creative writing and art, before a Start-Up in Boston called her name. Here in Boston she dove head first into the world of marketing, media, entrepreneurship and client management. With a slight air of embarrassment Briana informs me that it was the brand icon, the Pillsbury Doughboy, that sparked her love for marketing and advertising from a very small age. I don’t blame her! He’s pretty cute and flubbery.
Anyway, after a few consecutive years of applying, Briana joins the ad agency Hill Holliday as their Account Manager. This wonderful insight highlights to me Briana's incredible quality of knowing her desires and her tenacity in working towards achieving them. She loves her job and is essentially living her dream life, however it’s funny how life shifts and dreams shift and after many years away from the home-cooked, organic foods of Aspen her health has started to take a bit of a nose dive. Like so many fabulous woman I know, she was suffering from burnout, adrenal fatigue, and hormone imbalances. She was becoming ever increasingly intrigued with nutrition and wellness and knew the time had come to explore it in more depth which lead to her taking on health coach studies at the Institute of Integrative nutrition.
Briana started to thrive, her acne cleared, she had more energy and was well and truly in the world of nutrition. She was offered a promotion but felt she had outgrown Boston so quit her job, packed a bag and moved to Sonoma County to pick blueberries on a farm. If this isn’t a wonderful example of Willness Co rewilding, I don’t know what is!! She went right back to the basics, living in a canvas tent with 6 others, milking cows, collecting hens’ eggs and rising and sleeping in unison with the sun. The days were physically tough but she wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
And this really was the beginning of her business Urban Wellness
Farm life was great, for a bit, but she new it was only temporary and was ready for her next big undertaking. In May of 2017, she moved into the city and launched her nutrition and health coaching company, Urban Wellness, and by August she was helping clients all over San Francisco combat the very things that she herself had survived. She also works at the wonderful Pad Yoga Studios where she has found a community she loves. You can feel the enthusiasm and kindness in Briana when she talks about Urban Wellness. She simply wants to help busy professionals in our urban setting to live a healthier, happier life. She’s been there, she knows the drill and also knows that although we fantasize living on a farm, carefree, rising with the sun, she’s been there too and there has to be a happy medium.
Briana starts the day with a cup of tea and affirmations. While she sips Numi earl grey from a white and gold polka dot mug that reads ‘cup of cheer’, she lists her top 5 priorities and 3 things she is excited about for the day.
Every evening she notes 3 things she is grateful for and attests that expressing gratitude is one of the most important aspects if life.
When asked this question my guests (and myself) naturally go to the ideals of getting back to nature, so I prompt her to give an urban example of what helps her feel. The answer? Taking a shower. ‘You’re so naked and primal’. It’s an opportunity for her to get out of her mind, enjoy the smells of organic shampoo and be in the moment.
Briana thinks for a moment when I pose this question. I agree it’s a tricky one but I believe what is tripping her up is not so much what her favourite wellness trend is but rather that although this is now a trend for her it’s always been a part of her life. Her mom makes a mean bone broth with hints of turmeric and it was always been a staple growing up. Of course bone broth is known for it’s wonderful nutrients and gut healing abilities but for Briana it’s also a touch of home. She enjoys a mug before dinner and sites Belcampo as having the best in the city.
The light from the sun has moved further west during our interview and now catches periodically on Briana’s brass earring which swings rhythmically as she moves closer to our cactus ready for her fast five favs. It was such a joy to have this beauty in my home for a chat and I am so very much looking forward to collaborating with her in the coming weeks.