When we met Melissa (@melikinis) in person last summer in Miami, we weren’t surprised by how amazingly nice and cute-as-a-button she is! We sipped on smoothies and coffee, and took no trouble in asking her if she wanted to be part of the program (almost like a wedding proposal), and it’s been true love since. (P.S.: Do not wear black pants in Miami during mid-july).
For this week’s Adventurer feature, we decided to chat with this Florida-based graphic designer and influencer, and talk about her experiences on social media, her plant-based lifestyle, and her Florida faves.
Eidon: So Mel, we know you as an Eidon Adventurer, but you pretty much are a Bikini Adventurer. What made you venture into blogging, and how did it end up being about swimwear?
Melissa: Since I grew up in a little small beach town in Brazil I always found myself wearing bikinis! I grew a passion for the styles, colors and feel of wearing minimal clothing and soaking up the sun, hehe. I eventually took this and paired my passion for swimwear with travel. I think it's a great combination a lot of girls can relate and get inspired from.
Eidon: The social media world can be a crazy place... You can get lost in it, get completely swallowed up by it, but then there are some amazing things that can come out of it. What are some of the things that social media / Instagram have brought into your life?
Melissa: It has brought me the ability to communicate with the people that I enjoy and are passionate about the same things! It has made me share and connect with so many cool people and I love it.
Eidon: It's crazy to think that you're from Florida, because your pictures (which are always so stunning) give us the feeling that you're living in the middle of the jungle! How do you find these hidden spots?!
Melissa: Thank you! I just love to explore! I am constantly trying to find secret locations (that usually aren't that secret). It's not as hard as people think to find these beautiful locations, sometimes you just need to explore your city's backyard and you'll be surprised at the places you'll find!
Eidon: You're very open with your followers on your lifestyle, especially on your transition onto a plant-based diet. What were your reasons for it?
And for anyone with dietary restrictions, it gets so much complicated once we get out of our home base and travel. Have you found it hard to be vegan and travel?
Melissa: My main reason was for health, but I quickly learned about the cruelty and environmental damage that comes with the meat and dairy industry. And no, it's not hard to find vegan options while traveling at all! If you really think about it, most of the food we eat every day is already vegan, we just don't add the animal product to it. There's always restaurants willing to cook meals that don't include the meat and adding a few extra veggies instead. While traveling, yes it can be trickier to find a complete vegan meal (like at an airport) but there's always a way around it if you do some planning before on options available (Thanks to apps like Happy Cow! Haha).
Eidon: What are some of your favorite hidden spots, or favorite eats/hangs in West Palm Beach and Florida that our readers should definitely check out?
Melissa: If you’re in Florida in West Palm Beach area you NEED to check out Christopher's Kitchen. It's my favorite vegan restaurant and it's amazing! They have vegan pizzas, burgers, and ice cream, and it's all home made in the restaurant. They also have a ton of fresh juices made on the spot.
If you go south to the Miami area, there's vegan restaurants galore! Just look at your GPS for all the yummy options.
As for hangouts, Juno Beach in Jupiter city is one of my favorites because it's so clean and natural still! All the beaches down south are way too developed for my liking so if you’re into a more natural and peaceful type of environment Juno is perfect!
Quick facts about Mel:
- Her main guilty pleasure… “Making smoothies at midnight”
- She’s a night person “Adult life is making me sadly into a morning person by force…” We feel you, Mel.
- Which Hogwarts house would she belong in… “The house of people that don’t know anything about the Harry Potter movies…” SHOCKING.
- Her biggest fear… “Wormes…They just freak me out.”
- Favorite spot where she lives… “Ocean Reef Park, which is a small beach park near my house no one really knows about! So it’s always empty!
Bonus: She has a cuper cute little dog called Mahalo.
Check out more of her amazing pics on her Instagram!