Jo Swani's got Moxie

Why do you love the South End and what made you want to stay in this part of the city with a family?  I love that the South End has a small neighborhood feel in a big city. There’s a real community here and I love the camaraderie the locals share. Raising two young kids here has been pretty easy, fulfilling and fun. We just pop out of the house and there’s always something to explore. Yeah, we don’t have the space of the suburbs… but there are always pros and cons. I love that we can walk anywhere and both of our commutes are miniscule. It means a lot on a daily basis that my husband and I can be home almost every night to be with the kids. And how can I not mention the fabulous restaurants—that’s a given. The South End has a great positive energy.

What your go-to stores for gifts?  M. Flynn is my go-to store for gifts—they have so many beautiful things at a lot of different budgets. Follain has a lot of giftable ideas. For holiday gifts, I gave a bunch of friends these amazing lavender exfoliating soaps. I also like Sault for men’s gifts. I find it’s hard to buy for men but you can always find something there.

What store do you spend too much time in? Foodies! I feel like I’m always grocery shopping.

What restaurants in our neighborhood are kid approved? My family loves to go out to dinner at Mela, Myers + Chang, Fuji at Ink Block, Stephi’s on Tremont and Frenchie’s brunch. All of them are super kid friendly and you can get a great meal while the kids stay happy.

Best Way to burn calories in the neighborhood? Hands down Recycle Studio. Classes are high energy and so much fun. 45 minutes, you’re in and out, with an incredible workout. I also run outside a lot. My favorite loop is down to the footbridge on Arlington, one loop around the River on the Mass Ave bridge and by the Museum of Science, and then back. It’s about 6 miles and is a great morning boost.

Tell us one, under-the-radar, South End thing that people should know about. Revolution Juice is a whole body wellness gem on Huntington and West Newton. Best juices in the city! Everything tastes so fresh and invigorating. If I’m feeling like a cold is coming on I’ll get the echinacea lemon ginger booster. Daily I love the Go to Green, acai bowls and vegan soups. Owner Heather Costa will work with you one-on-one to determine what might be best for you at that moment.

Favorite South End Splurge? A perfectly made vodka gimlet and oysters at the bar at Boston Chops.