The friendly aficionados at Mill Valley Music provide a reprieve from digital downloading by treating hands, ears, and eyes to stacks of tangible entertainment. Every bin is bursting with freshly recycled vinyl, CDs, and DVDs (averaging $5–$10), all properly housetrained and eager for a new home. Latest hits, greatest hits, classic movies, and hard-to-find, out-of-print treasures await hunters and gatherers of palpable media. Virtually every genre of music—including rock, country, classical, and jazz—is represented. Since the stock changes daily, each visit to Mill Valley Music provides perusers with a new, non-pirate-related adventure.
Sausalito Picture Framing's team of meticulous artisans harnesses more than 20 years of experience when customizing borders to flatter and conserve artwork of all sizes and types. The quaint storefront's walls showcase multitudinous molding samples, waiting patiently to grace the edges of paintings, tapestries, and blue ribbons from hot-dog-eating contests. A library of image-preserving mounting options includes acid-free matting, archival hinging tape, and UV-shunning glass, helping keep keepsakes' colors vibrant for years to come. The shop also hosts a 44-inch Epson 9800 Ultrachrome K3 inks printer, capable of printing family portraits in such high quality that parents often realize their twins aren't identical at all.
As an artist, Jay Joya views frames as pieces of art in and of themselves. He salvages old barn wood and rustic scraps to craft frames that he paints by hand. In addition to the details he puts into his custom borders, Joya's acid-free matting and high-quality glass and acrylic ensure works of art remain preserved for years. A stock of more than 80 sizes of ready-made frames is always at hand to frame pieces in any style, from landscape to portrait to panorama. Beyond art and photography, Joya and his staff help clients frame or shadowbox items such as mirrors, heirlooms, and perfectly cooked steaks.
TIME 4 YOU Fiscal and Physical Fitness is a business with the rare double mission of training your body and your wallet at the same time. Their workouts have a goal that might seem strange at first: the trainers want their clients to be in the gym for as little time as possible. They're not lauding minimal effort, though; they simply want their clients to spend as much time in nature as possible, so they train them outdoors. After a sweat session, they can sit down with clients and offer an opinion on their investment portfolios, just like famed investment banker Jack LaLanne.
Over the years, the most important facet of this charmingly creaky-floored haven has remained the same: an abiding love for all things literary. You can read it between the lines of the handwritten "shelf-talkers"?small, colorful signs detailing the staff's personal recommendations. You can hear it when you speak to the friendly booksellers themselves?according to Frommer's, the store's "extended sections in psychology, cooking, art, and history; collection of modern first editions; and rare graphic comics are superseded only by the staff's superlative service." And you can feel it in the air as you climb the winding staircase to the second floor to explore tucked-away alcoves surrounded by original gaslight fixtures.
The store's carefully curated and ever-changing inventory ranges from categories such as poetry and philosophy to sports and children's books. The enormous selection and the staff?s astonishing command of it all have earned Green Apple numerous awards, including the title of Bookstore of the Year 2014 in Publishers Weekly, Best Independent Bookstore in the San Francisco Bay Guardian's 2010 Readers Poll, and Best Overall Bookstore and Best Used Bookstore in 2011 and 2012. The owners spread the joy of reading beyond the shop?s overstuffed walls by partnering with worthy causes such as the Asia Foundation's Books for Asia program and Friends of the San Francisco Public Library.
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.