Growing up in Benton, Kansas, fourth-grade pals Monte Ysidro and Jason Bell were probably more focused on seeing the chalkboard clearly than opening a collection of high-end optical boutiques. And yet, beginning in 2002, that's just what they did, starting out humbly in a 10'x10' kiosk at a local mall. Today, friendly staffers at each Specs location point guests in the direction of designer frames and prescription sunglasses by brands such as Gucci and Versace. The crew also employs advanced technology to create lenses with high-performance coatings, custom-fit curves, and high definition, which allow wearers to make out the moon's facial expression.
Under Jacob’s Well’s high ceilings, the clattering of coffee cups and the fresh-baked aroma of pizza crust crisping in a brick oven sails through the space. Natural light spills over a checkered floor, and old maps and framed prints dot the walls as staff members artfully decorate lattes, topping cups off with flowers, perky-eared bunnies, or fire-breathing dragons. Sometimes their “latte art” veers into the abstract, leaving guests to interpret whether their java resembles a rocky mountain crag or the Greek symbol for caffeinate. Frequently, local musicians provide a soundtrack for patrons decoding their cups, mingling music with the coffeehouse’s usual upbeat banter.
“Stepping into the restaurant is like visiting the home of an Ethiopian friend,” writes the Austin Chronicle about Habesha Restaurant & Bar. Woven straw mesobs—hourglass-shaped tables designed for communal eating—are central to the restaurant’s traditional decor, along with Ethiopian artwork. The friendly staff is always happy to welcome newcomers, explain the menu, show them how to properly stretch before a meal, and make dish suggestions.
However, it's the authentic eats that form the backbone of Habesha Restaurant & Bar. To start, head chef Selam Abebe uses grains from Idaho to prepare injera, a traditional Ethiopian flatbread used to scoop up bites of food in place of utensils or your neighbor’s hand. She then prepares vegetarian and meat wot, tibs, and fitfit using recipes and techniques from her homeland. As the child of Ethiopian restaurateurs, Selam has had plenty of experience preparing the traditional dishes—she’s been cooking professionally since age 20.
Meals at Habesha Restaurant & Bar often end with a coffee ceremony, a sign of friendship and respect in Ethiopian culture. Servers carefully roast green coffee beans, grind them, sing them a lullaby, and then steep the grounds in hot water to create a rich, black coffee that they serve with hot popcorn.
Following the CrossFit ethos, Rocklin CrossFit designs high-intensity workouts that build strong, resilient bodies. Depending on their fitness level, participants may begin the muscle-manufacturing process with exercises that use only their body weight, such as squats, pushups, and tonguestands. As tone and technique improve, trainers tack on tonnage with the sonorous bells, dumb, and kettle bars, as well as plyometric boxes and medicine balls. Cardio blasters such as rowing, running, and rope jumping are also indigenous to workouts.
Many people are stalked by monsters in their nightmares, but participants in the Oz Endurance Monster Run are stalked by them during their waking life. They start their race on-road before meandering into a network of park trails, pursued by ghouls, monsters, and the most terrifying prospect of all: extroverted squirrels. The hordes attempt to “kill” runners by dousing them in colored water gun spray. At the race’s close, officials dole out awards to both “The Living” and “The Dead,” and tired racers can kick back in the park’s amphitheater for snacks and a horror- movie screening. A portion of the proceeds benefits local high-school and collegiate theater programs.
Inside Bella Salon & Spa, tiled floor-to-ceiling columns, chandeliers, and marble fireplaces evoke an atmosphere of luxury and elegance. For clients, those descriptors are also manifested in the form of haircuts fashioned by stylists and imbued with color and highlights. Elsewhere in the salon, nail technicians clean, groom, and decorate digits with OPI’s Euro Centrale collection of polishes, among others, and a massage therapist kneads away stress and aches.