Wellness Gone Wild
A family of three shows us where they like to go for treats and treasures
On Small Business Saturday in 2018, January Newland, who was four months pregnant, and her husband James Gaulke, quietly opened Wild Island Collective, a plant shop, eco-boutique and wellness studio in Normal Heights. “We sold so many plants that we had to make a plant run early the next morning to restock,” January says.
The shop is really January’s life coming full circle. She studied exercise science and kinesiology in college and has worked in the health-and-fitness industry for 10 years. But it was a childhood spent in Hawaii surrounded by lush landscapes and experience working beside her plant-loving mother, who works in the shop a couple of days a week, that made her want to create a wellness space she dubs “The Jungle.”
Among the foliage (all of which is for sale), January and James stock green, toxin- and chemical-free beauty and home items. They host classes, including yoga, breath work, lactation support groups and more; offer sauna healing sessions; and January teaches a weekly WILD class that she says isn’t a workout but a nervous-system tonic that uses mobility and organic movement, heat and strength, and breath work to shake things up. And they host retreats to places like Palm Springs and Fiji. (Sign up for all classes and sessions, and get more info at wildisland-collective.com.)
When they aren’t in the shop, January, James and 9-month-old Jack get out, enjoy the beach as well as healthy drinks, snacks and meals nearby.
Though there are four San Diego Dark Horse locations, we start the day at the original, which happens to be just up the street from Wild Island Collective. “This is a daily stop for us,” January says. Beyond the fact that the company sources direct-trade coffee from smallholder farmers worldwide, January and James say they love the friendly, creative vibe, supporting a local thriving business and, obviously, the joe. James orders a breve cortado, and January gets an oat-milk latte, but we’re told The Champ, an espresso drink with steamed milk, honey and cinnamon, is not to be missed. 3260 Adams Ave., 619-344-6962, darkhorsecoffeeroasters.com
January and James come to this collective of more than 70 dealers selling vintage clothing, furniture, art, jewelry, collectibles and more every couple of months to snag treasures—decor for their home, the shop and occasionally, something to wear, too. “We love anything with a tiki or Hawaiian feel,” January explains. “Anything that feels South Pacific catches our eye.” Today, they purchase hanging planters, a hammock chair, a mug and, for January, a tropical-print button-down shirt. 3602 Kurtz St., 619-291-3000
3- Mission Beach
The beach is January and James’ happy place. “If there’s an open hour in the day, you’ll likely find us running down to the nearest stretch of sand for a quick ocean dip or a walk through the sand,” January says. The couple, who initially bonded over a shared love of adventure, the outdoors and surfing when they started dating, often take their three rescue dogs and Jack to the beach on Mondays or Tuesdays, their days off. “One of us stays on shore with the crew while the other body surfs, swims with fins or stand-up paddles,” she explains. “It’s great for stress reduction.”
After some time in the sun, the pack always walks up to this tiny cafe for smoothies. In 2015, Arleigh Rose opened this organic juice bar and eatery, which also serves coffee and acai bowls. Arleigh, chef, founder and owner, sources her produce from local farmers markets, makes her own nut milks and butters, and sells her juice cleanses and homemade granola online.
Being regulars, James and January add spinach (off-menu) to their matching Cali Chrome smoothies, a blend of banana, peanut butter, protein, date, cacao, granola and almond milk. January says she also typically gets a Gold Digger cold-pressed shot, which is a swig of ginger, lemon, turmeric and black pepper—great for the immune system. 3733 Mission Blvd., 858-488-0800, juicewavesd.com
The couple stocks up when they visit this wine shop with Jack. They come to the bar for a date night. The Little Italy store (and bar) offers a good selection of natural wines made through organic and sustainable farming practices. “I love sparkling anything, especially rosé, and James is really into ciders,” January says. “We’ve started trying these wild-fermented ciders with no added sugars or colors. They’re really good.” Selections going home with them today include a rosé cider, Tiny Tigers Cider from Tilted Shed Ciderworks in Sonoma County and a Lambrusco rosé. The shop does sell online, but with a rotating inventory of more than 400 offerings, only a small sampling makes it there. You can also check the website for the current wines-by-the-glass options if you’re heading to the bar. 2161 India St., 619-564-6589, vinocartasd.com
The iconic free-to-the-public Balboa Park historical structure that sits adjacent to the Timken Museum of Art has become a new favorite spot for January, James, even Jack. “He’ll just look up at the ceiling as we meander through,” says January of her infant. The couple visits once a month for inspiration (#plantgoals), walking around the more than 2,100 plants that include collections of cycads, ferns, orchids, other tropical plants and palms, all thriving in the wood-lath (no glass) conservatory built for the First World’s Fair: The 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition. From there, they typically explore the surrounding gardens. “The whole experience provides us with a beautiful way to connect to nature,” she adds. 1549 El Prado, 619-239-0512, balboapark.org