As they enter the training circuit at Curves, female guests come face-to-face with the smiles of other women. And just as points on a circle share a common distance from the circle's center, workout participants share the experiences of those nearby by trading stations throughout the 30-minute training session. One minute is spent on a piece of strength-training equipment built for feminine frames and designed to work two opposing muscle groups with a single movement. Exercisers then move on to a recovery station, where they run, jog, or dance to maintain heart rates and keep platforms in place during momentary losses of gravity.
The Garrone family, now in its fourth generation, has been selling their homegrown organic mushrooms at Bay Area farmers’ markets for over fifty years. Proudly keeping the tradition alive, they ship orders in from their own 60,000-square foot farm in Monterey Bay, where the steady ocean breeze and northern coastal fog preserve ideal growing conditions.
In addition to filling up market stands, they stock their storefront operation, Far West Fungi, with 42 varieties of mushroom. They also line the shelves with exotic food products such as saffron tagliatelle, truffle honey, domestic fennel pollen, and Tahitian vanilla bean. Here, customers can load up on specialty mushrooms in person or opt for next day air delivery via the online shop. The internet store also allows shoppers to peruse all manner of truffle-related products, including oils, sauces, and oversized foam fingers that read “down with morels”.
The courtyard behind Muriska's Beauty Lounge is filled with bright greenery and flowers, all of which are just as vibrant as the colors expert stylist Gina Medrano uses to revamp clients' hair. In addition to color, Gina offers stylish cuts, frizz-banishing Brazilian blowouts, and extensions, which add length and volume. To aid her in beautifying clients, she uses products from L'Oréal Professionnel, Alterna, and Moroccanoil.
Aptos Beauty Boutique's staff of well-informed makeup mavens guides customers through shelves stuffed with beauty products from brands such as Murad, Smashbox, and OPI. Upon request, staff members can set skin up on a date with a compatible foundation hue discovered through a complimentary color-matching service, or help customers to embellish their eyelids with vitamin-E-enriched Smashbox eye shadow and golden illuminations peeled from medieval cosmetology manuscripts ($16). Alternatively, scrub down with milk, lavender, or verbena L'Occitane bar soaps ($10) or tint fingernails and toenails with a cornucopia of OPI nail-polish shades ($9). Aptos Beauty Boutique also cossets head foliage with hairstyling products such as Enjoy strong-holding gel, which can add volume and durability to Statue of Liberty–shaped beehives ($18).