In 1973, when Ramona Clayton was 19, she moved to Germany where she earned a PhD in molecular biology and worked with sterile medicines. But she also began making pottery—a hobby that would become her profession when she moved back to the United States in 2004. Rather than going through the licensing hassle necessary to work as a microbiologist in the States, she opened terramonary stoneware & porcelain, where, in addition to making stoneware and porcelain pieces to sell, she teaches others her craft. The studio's name—and Ramona's reason for returning to California—comes from her husband, Terry. Starting out as high-school sweethearts, they lost touch not long after graduation. After 22 years apart, Terry found her on the Internet, called her, and asked if she remembered him. She did. "He signed his love letters with 'Terramonary,' which is just an anagram of 'Terry' and 'Ramona'," she recalls. To Terry's delight, she thought it would be a catchy name for the business and even used her science know-how to break down the parts of the word into Latin and alchemic roots that symbolize the four elements. Ramona fires her long-lasting pieces in the kiln outside her studio, which sits on a concrete porch where she and her students also glaze their pieces. Inside, the wheels and workstations are in a separate area from her showroom, which brims with decorative pieces as well as plates, cups, and serving pieces that are safe for ovens, microwaves, dishwashers, and time machines. "My goal in life is to make pretty things useful—or useful things pretty," she says. "If it's too delicate or it's just decorative, people are afraid of it."
Walnut Pier Health Club's cardio and strength equipment is utilized throughout 15 courses that get bodies moving. The accommodating daily schedule begins at 4:30 a.m. on weekdays, making it the ideal choice for fishermen who prefer to cast their hooks in outdoor heated pools that host aquatics classes. Stationary bike wheels rotate clients into healthy leg orbits during the Cycle classes; Zumba pumps Latin-inspired beats to inspire soaring heart rates; and myriad other aerobic classes usher members into the robust, perspirational world of fitness. In the on-site sauna, tuckered muscles recover and rest after vigorous workouts, energetic classes, and flexing for giggling courtesans.
Curves' 30-minute workout whittles women with a signature circuit of hydraulic resistance machines designed to work with female bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. Ladies can hop into the circuit circle at any of 13 strength-training stations, each of which works to tone two major muscle groups. After 30 seconds of repetitions, they step onto a nearby recovery board, which welcomes women to walk, jog, or speed-skate in place for a half-minute. This cardio burst jolts the heart rate, torching more calories as exercisers move onto the next resistance-training machine. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage participants’ machine maneuvering and Play Doh–based muscle making.
When Monica Wason moved to Salinas, she was in the midst of planning an addition to her family. Though she soon discovered that there were no prenatal health venues near her new home, she was undeterred. She decided that she'd simply open one herself, and founded Green Belly as a wellness center for fellow pregnant women. Soon, her clientele expanded to include postnatal and non-pregnant women as well as men, prompting Monica to broaden her efforts. She funneled her experiences as a nurse and massage therapist into pampering services, and hired a teaching staff to help lead yoga, Pilates, and belly-dancing sessions. Today, she continues to welcome guests from all walks of life into Green Belly's lime- and cream-colored rooms to fulfill their wellness needs. As sun beams through the studio's skylight and bay windows, her aestheticians work to brighten faces with Jadience skincare products. She exclusively stocks the spa with organic products, complementing the center's nature-inspired décor while also honoring the trees who taught her slow-breathing techniques.
Snap Fitness 24-7, bustling with cardio and strength-training gear, throws open the doors to its state-of-the-art facilities 24/7. Before exercisers put sneaker to treadmill or lift their first weight, personal coaches meet with them to talk about their fitness goals before suggesting a personalized fitness plan based on each client's strength, and cardio condition. The gym keeps members motivated with regular check-in calls and demystifies healthy eating with custom online meal plans designed by nutritionists.