El Cerrito Yoga's sweat-eliciting studio beckons students with an intensive schedule of hot-yoga classes open to all ages and yogic skill levels. Inside the studio, heated well beyond room temperature by a giant hen that nests atop the roof, 90-minute sessions help students lengthen muscles and purge bodily toxins. The postures—starting on the mat and moving into standing asanas—target the entire body by isolating individual muscle groups, joints, and tailbones as it forges stronger limbs and cores devoid of lounging toxins. As instructors lead students through limb-strengthening poses, concentrated breathing exercises complement the physical movement to improve mental focus as students infuse lungs with the fresh, filtered air flowing from the HVAC systems.
With sessions convening as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 6:30 p.m. throughout the week, students have ample opportunities to schedule classes around nebulous stargazing plans. Mirrored walls ensure proper posture, and water is available to promote a well-hydrated, safe, and effective workout. Patrons can also take advantage of available showers and changing rooms, or seek out the nearest walk-through car wash afterward.
Bay Beauty Spa is exactly as advertised: a relaxing spa retreat located mere blocks from the shores of the San Francisco Bay. Though the spa has only been open for a short time, its therapists and aestheticians have already devised a full menu of beauty treatments for the skin and body. These treatments include pore-cleansing facials, head-to-toe exfoliation, and massages that incorporate everything from gentle strokes to hot stones. Top off a day of pampering with a professional makeup application that can help you get glammed up for a wedding, date, or driver's license photo.
Boasting a bacchanal of wallet-friendly selections from local and international wineries (most bottles are under $25), Vintage Berkeley promotes an atmosphere of grape-loving camaraderie. Pick up a limited-edition bottle of 2007 Tayerle pinot noir ($15), culled from old-vine fruit in the Rio San Lucas vineyard in California, or a vivacious and slightly fizzy 2009 Muralhas vinho verde ($15) from Monco, Portugal. To lubricate a languid backyard barbecue or a daunting brick of cafeteria meatloaf, pick up a bottle of 2007 Chateau l’Estagnol ($10) from the Rhone Valley—with solid tannins and rich notes of blackberry and cherry, it has a meaty finish to tame even the heartiest of rib eyes. Celebrate an end-of-summer LAN party with a bottle of 2009 Preston sauvignon blanc from Dry Creek Valley in California, made from organic grapes and featuring flavors of lime, chive, and fig ($16).
Though Joe Alexander has worked in the mattress industry for years, he opened Nest Bedding to be unlike all the others. He achieves that by making sure the shop's sock of memory-foam and latex mattresses are entirely organic and made with nontoxic materials that are only dangerous to monsters trying to hide beneath them. The store's staffers, for their part, never pressure customers to make a purchase, and instead help them decide on the perfect bed only when they're ready. Visitors to each Nest show room will find a wide assortment of mattresses, naturally derived sheets, pillows, and crib bedding. For a bed that fits their sleeping style perfectly, Build-A-Nest kits allow guests to assemble their own organic mattresses to specification, from the base layer underneath to the comfort layers and cottony covering on top.
Far more than an emporium of colorful textile patterns, Urban Burp holds over 5 tons of vintage fabric dating back to the early 20th century, collecting original vintage threads that weave memory and nostalgia into their very fabric. The studio takes its unusual name from the intense experience of recognition that seeing and touching a piece of familiar pattern can bring. "All that emotion has been shoved down into the lower chakras and all of a sudden it takes one piece of fabric to bring you back to that place," owner Electra Skilandat told The San Francisco Chronicle. She continues to elicit that response with bolts of cloth decorated with the floral designs and abstract art of the 1920s, or the bold color mixtures and fractal patterns that were popular in the ‘50s and ‘60s.
Skilandat traces her love affair with textile design back to her childhood in Boston, where her mother lovingly hand-crafted all of her clothes for school and play. Over the years, Electra amassed a collection of over 1,000 bolts of fabric and experience in interior decor. After the death of her only son, she rediscovered her creative instincts, opening the fabric shop with upholstery and drapery services that would precede Urban Burp's stunning display of warp and weft. As guests peruse the studio's ample supply of original vintage pictorial and patterned designs, sewing patterns, and notions, Skilandat unfurls her decades of wisdom during interior decor consultations.