Twenty-four wine bottles line the circumference of two stainless-steel cylinders, both of which add a futuristic flourish to the middle of the room. With the touch of a button, the machine dispenses a 1-ounce sample of any of the wines—red at room temperature, whites at 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Praised on Foodbeast, this self-serve tasting bar, called the Enomatic wine system, lets guests sample an array of wines before committing to a long-term relationship with a single—or several—bottles. This method is just one of several ways OC Wine Mart & Tasting Bar owner Julie Lim takes the intimidation out of wine buying.
At her boutique wine store, Julie fills the shelves with vintages from both well-known and under-the-radar vineyards, with some of her favorites including Silver Oak Cellars, Caymus Vineyards, and Cakebread Cellars. She and her team thrive on helping guests find the best bottle—whether they're hunting for wine, craft beer, or a fine liquor. Once guests feel confident in their selections, the staff can help them compile gift baskets for holiday parties or year-end performance reviews. Committed to green practices, the staff eschews foam packaging in favor of molded-pulp shippers, derived from 100% recycled materials. Such practices earned Julie a place on OC Metro's list of 20 Women to Watch, plus her boutique a place on Gayot's Top 10 Wine Bars in the United States.
Shesha Marvin was nervous as he gazed out on the dance floor, certain that his pounding heart could even be heard over the booming music. He had always been uneasy on his feet, choosing to lurk by the punch bowl at parties rather than asking girls for a dance?but now, at last, was a chance to overcome his fear. He took a deep breath and stepped out onto the floor, where he was immediately swept away in a rush of lively beats and glimmering lights.
After than fateful night, Shesha was hooked. He began dancing six nights a week at local clubs and, eventually, in Disneyland shows, favoring the lindy-hop and swing styles. He traveled the world to compete in international championships, even performing live on Dancing with the Stars. Today, Shesha brings his years of passion and expertise to his own dance studio, Atomic Ballroom.
Atop the hardwood floors of his spacious studio, Shesha and his instructors lead students of all experience levels through the steps, twirls, and transitions of the East Coast swing, the American fox trot, and the Argentine tango. The instructors can even help couples choreograph a dance for their wedding while providing expert advice on how to sashay gracefully in heels or how to twirl the bride without destroying the reception hall with F5-level winds. Every night of the week, they host a group dance party?from Sunday night tango to Saturday night Ballroom, and belly dance throughout the week.
Founded with the goal of bringing the community together through social events that promote physical fitness, Spearman Clubs keeps its members active via a host of well-maintained athletic amenities and all-ages activities. Each of the three clubs features outdoor pools brimming with salt-filtered water free of chlorine or river rafts, as well as sauna and steam rooms for post-swim sessions. The sleek, palm-tree-laden clubs also boast tennis courts?all equipped with hitting walls and ball machines?upon which players of all experience levels can practice their backhand during lessons and programs helmed by seasoned pros.
The Laguna Niguel Racquet Club bustles with activity as members shape up in Pilates classes or stave off hunger pangs at the Top Spin Bar & Grill. Personal trainers help visitors at the Tennis Club at Monarch Beach cloak their muscles in iron, and an onsite spa sends weary bodies into fits of unfettered relaxation. Skilled muscle manipulators erase aches from tense backs at the Racquet Club of Irvine, where therapeutic massage services serve as a soothing conclusion to a day spent splashing about the pool and hitting the courts.
Yoga Shakti Wellness Center's director, Diana Pipaloff, has unwavering confidence in her instructors' abilities. It's appropriate, because most of them learned their practice at the center. Their 500-hour training program, which includes post-graduate mentorships and internships, equips graduates with Yoga Alliance registration. Once trained, a select few of these yogis begin work at Yoga Shakti Wellness Center's locations in Irvine and Huntington Beach.
At each location, students stretch and breathe during more than 10 types of yoga classes. Shakti yoga, the center's flagship style, leads participants in combining sun salutations, poses, and energy work to move toward increasing their physical and spiritual strength. Other options from the more than 100 classes offered each week include prenatal yoga and gentle yoga, which elucidates yoga's foundational poses and philosophy.
However, the staff isn't super-glued to their yoga mats. They also teach ayurveda, a lifestyle that combines dietary changes with massage, meditation, and other purification therapies.
Total Training Boot Camp shares several key attributes with military-style training, the most obvious of which is an amped-up level of intensity. The differences, however, are just as notable. Trainers never attempt to motivate their students with harsh words and yelling, instead opting to inundate them with positive support. Students need every ounce of encouragement they can get as they struggle through workouts designed to achieve a three-pronged objective: burn fat, sculpt muscles, and improve the quality of daily life.
Each punishing boot-camp session engages the legs, abs, arms, shoulders, and internal hard drive to slenderize the body in as short a time as possible. Total Training Boot Camp's workouts challenge athletes of all levels; their scalable nature and wide appeal helped the company place as a finalist for CityVoter's Best Boot Camp in 2011. Aside from the flagship boot camps, trainers offer personal-training sessions that customize workouts to specific body types and goals.
Ornate crown moldings, limestone floors, and marble surfaces aren't typical gym décor, and that's the point. An unparalleled attention to detail went into the design at Living Fitness, resulting in a space that pairs cutting-edge exercise equipment with the sort of service and surroundings one would typically see at a high-end resort. In the locker room, towering mirrors reflect custom wood cubbies, fresh Mascioni linens, and guests amping themselves up for group FitBarre classes and high-intensity Bikini Bootcamp. Curtains of textured lighting spill across the sprawling facility, which houses Keiser pneumatic strength-training machines, FreeMotion high-incline treadmills, and a sun-soaked Pilates studio. Tailored to each client's goals, Living Fitness's personal training combines traditional strength training with balance, core stabilization, and power exercises that begin with a complete fitness assessment and an optional Rocky movie night.