In the late 1920s, the Great Depression was rendering most Americans professionally and financially paralyzed. But in a small California kitchen, Merle Nethercutt Norman was putting a plan in motion to formulate her own skincare products and share them with family and friends. She truly believed in her formulas, knowing that by getting them on as many faces as possible, she would develop a following of customers. She was right—within a few years she and her nephew were opening their first studio in Santa Monica, and they eventually unveiled a series of independently operated stores that enabled women to take ownership during a time of gender-based limitations such as men-only restrooms.
Today, in approximately 2,000 stores across three countries, the three basic principles of Merle's original vision still apply. Each studio is independently owned and fosters an in-depth knowledge of the company's own line of makeup and skincare products. Just as Merle shared her creations with close friends and sallow mannequins more than 80 years ago, today's aestheticians embody the business's "try before you buy" philosophy. A menu of complimentary studio services—from foundation checks to express facials—allows patrons to sample the lauded brand before committing to the purchase of products or full spa treatments.
The most practiced students at YogAsylum are not the ones who can touch their toes—they’re the ones who know how far they can safely reach. Fueled by the belief that yoga is an individual experience, the instructors prioritize personal exploration of physical limits over competition. They put this principle into action while leading classes that accommodate guests of any experience level and cover styles such as Ashtanga, Vinyasa, and Hatha. Using provided props, bolsters, and blankets, they help students ease their bodies into more challenging poses. Because they advocate a holistic approach to spiritual health, they offer more than drop-in classes—they provide energy healing and spiritual counseling in addition to therapeutic massage in their wellness center. They also hold musical events, special workshops, and a registered Yoga Alliance teacher training program that has been approved by the Wisconsin Educational Approval Board.
YogAsylum is one of the largest studios in Wisconsin, and was built from scratch to incorporate eco-friendly principles and elements of feng shui. Its cork floors diminish joint discomfort in students stretching beneath energy-efficient bulbs, and movable walls can easily resize the space to accommodate bigger groups and alter the difficulty of life-size games of Pong.
The Loaf & Jug Restaurant was opened more than 35 years ago to serve the customer overflow from the nearby Proud Topover Restaurant. Serving fresh, deli style meals for the lunchtime rush has been their goal, and over the years the restaurant has gathered its own loyal following. Recently they moved to a new, more modern space to accommodate their growing clientele and this spot is also available for private parties and events.
When customers enter, the first thing they see is a large menu board and below that, a pastry chef tossing and pressing fresh piecrust. Once, they’ve torn their eyes away from that hypnotic sight, customers start their order by filling out a form for a sandwich or quiche, soup, and toppings. As the request goes down the line, staff members prepare dishes using the best quality ingredients available, including locally grown apples and sourdough bread from Boudine in San Francisco. Patrons move along the counter, keeping their eyes focused on their orders, and trying not to drool when looking at slices of banana crème and Door County cherry pie. Once meals are complete, patrons can take a seat by the two-sided fireplace that divides the dining room or–in the summer months–they can eat on the outdoor patio to enjoy a side of fresh oxygen with their meals.
Nicole Felkl is a holistic health and nutrition coach and the head of Tranquil Spirit Wellness. A life-changing massage caused a detour from the special-ed field she was working on and sent her into massage therapy, where Nicole realized she could still do her part to help impact clients' lives. That was 11 years ago; shortly after, she took up aesthetics. Today, Tranquil Spirit serves as the culmination of her studies and specialty training, which also includes pre-perinatal massage, LaStone Therapy, rainbath therapy, and soft-tissue treatment techniques. Nicole's goal is to give her clients a non-judgmental space to release stress and surrender what ails them to a soothing massage or a rejuvenating skin-care treatment. The menu of massages includes relaxation, therapeutic, and hot-stone massage as well as infant and special-needs massage. Her facials aim to resurrect the healthy radiant glow that once occupied the face before stress and aging signed their name with wrinkles and lines. Clients can opt for customized European facials with add-ons such as foot massages and aromatherapy for a relaxing and restorative head-to-toe treatment.
In the 15 years since its opening, Adventure Rock Climbing Gym has upheld its objective of granting guests of all ages and experience levels a chance to learn how to climb. The staff meticulously maintains amenities including 12,000 square feet of textured climbing surfaces and bouldering caves. Sculpted ar?tes and cracks challenge forearms as intrepid wall-climbers chart a course up colored pathways to seek council with the sentient ductwork at the faux mountain's 35-foot peak. Under the helm of experienced instructors, students learn the ins and outs of ascension via climbing classes. As climbers scramble upward on more than 40 top ropes, air-conditioning keeps faux mountainsides from awkwardly perspiring geode sweat drops. While the indoor facility offers a controlled environment in which to learn and practice, Adventure Rock?s staff also unleashes patrons? inner adventurers via private outdoor climbing classes held at Devil?s Lake as well as portable rock wall rentals for all manner of party or event.
With its half-timber historical façade, Arriba Mexican Restaurant & Lounge wouldn’t be out of place in an Alpine ski village. But step inside and the space practically glows with south-of-the-border charm: walls are swathed in warm magenta and yellow hues, and the original tin ceilings are gilded in gold.
The pleasant incongruity extends to Arriba’s menu, which landed the eatery the No. 10 spot on CityVoter's 2011 list of best Mexican restaurants. Traditional Mexican cuisine, such as shrimp fajitas and deep-fried chimichangas stuffed with housemade chorizo, takes center stage, but the restaurant also hosts Friday fish fries and serves thick burgers piled with southwestern toppings such as chorizo and guacamole.
Arriba's adjacent lounge hosts live music, potlucks, and open mics. Here, guests can sip libations from a vast drink menu that features 18 varieties of tequila, seven flavored martinis, and precisely one flavor of water.