A drool-worthy pedicure, a breezy blouse, expertly blended MAKEUP, and other picks for looking and feeling your best.
Local Jewelry Designer
Julia O’Reilly never makes the same piece twice. Unusual? Perhaps, but then again, she isn’t your typical jewelry designer. Trained as an interior decorator, O’Reilly began making jewelry as a hobby, and before long, she had progressed from making charm bracelets for her children’s teachers to bejeweling San Francisco’s glitterati. When she spotted a pair of her earrings on TV—worn by KRON-TV movie critic Jan Wahl—she realized, “You know what? I can do this.” Since then, O’Reilly has sold rings, necklaces, earrings, and pendants, making playful and elegant jewelry from sundry materials: platinum, pearls, shells, and silk, or as she puts it, “Whatever my mind says to work with.” While her bold cocktail rings and tasseled necklaces pay homage to her native Turkey, she doesn’t limit herself to any one aesthetic. As she says, “We carry many, many histories together.” And she’s happy to provide the jewelry to match. Clayton, (925) 672-5967, juliaoreillydesigns.vpweb.com. —Megan McCrea
It’s not every day you can buy both a gauzy mint dress and the antique dresser it’s draped upon. But at Prim, you can literally overhaul your closet, with everything from soft knit sweaters to flirty sundresses to vintage doorknobs and mirrors. After successfully launching the dreamy boutique on Pleasanton’s Main Street last February, husband-and-wife team Demetrious and Alicia Shaffer brought their collection of restored antique furniture, delicately scented perfumes, and romantic clothing and accessories to a second location in the Danville Livery. And it’s not just Prim’s well-curated collection of covetables that makes it a must-stop for breezy blouses and bohemian accessories: Many of Prim’s vintage-inspired offerings, including a pleated chiffon dress we cannot stop thinking about, ring in under $100. Consider us sold. 510 Sycamore Valley Rd. W., Danville, (925) 820-2224; 520 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 399-5648, shopprim.com. —Kristen Haney
Inside a dark nightclub, a fist-pumping, booty-shaking crowd shouts breathlessly, “I’m sexy, and I know it!” But this is no ordinary night out. It’s Raquel Call’s Zumba class. “I encourage my students to sing because it’s good for the soul,” explains Call, the Brazilian-born instructor. Call was won over to Zumba after taking her first class. “At first, I was scared,” she recalls. “But as class went on, I was smiling and happy. I realized this is what I need to change my life.” Call keeps the steps simple so everyone can participate, and her teaching philosophy is similarly straightforward. “The happier a student is, the better,” she says. “I want to see them smiling and laughing.” Raquel Call teaches in Concord and Walnut Creek, brazilzumba.com. —M.M.
For Susanna Stroberg-Gora of Opivu Cosmetics, makeup is all about the science. To create the Danville salon’s beauty products, she worked with chemists to craft expertly balanced cosmetics derived from natural and organic ingredients. The end result? A full spectrum of superfine powders, custom-blended luminescent foundations, sable hair makeup brushes, and spot-on shades of lipstick that vary in tone based on your complexion. (The red took seven years to perfect.) The line’s appeal is largely due to Stroberg-Gora’s eye for color. She fixed problematic browns by avoiding reds and oranges, and neutralized troublesome pinks with violets, in lieu of the traditional greens. Stroberg-Gora also introduced a water-resistant mascara that contains a natural lash thickener. Now, that’s some science we can get behind. 111-A Town and Country Dr., Danville, (925) 838-8482, opivucosmetics.com. —K.H.
Oftentimes, it’s hard to distinguish between nail salons in the East Bay. Walls of nail polish? They’ve all got ’em. Menus boasting specialty treatments and rejuvenating wraps? Snooze. But chocolate? Lavande in Lafayette stands out by offering the $43 Like Water for Chocolate pedicure. Begin by soaking your feet in a cocoa milk bath scented with a hint of vanilla. After your nails are buffed and heels exfoliated, your feet are treated to a chocolate scrub with a drool-inducing aroma. After you rinse in the stainless steel tub, the nail technician slathers your stems in a Dead Sea mud mask and tucks your tootsies into wraps that vaguely resemble plastic baggies. Once your feet are de-bagged and the mud is removed with a warm towel, it’s time for the last chocolate-themed treatment: a Swiss cocoa mousse massage. Finally, toes are topped with the polish of your choosing, and you’re left with sparkling toes, buttery soft skin, and a craving for chocolate cake. 3589 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette, (925) 299-8877, lavandenailspa.com. —Kristen Haney
It takes a lot to get me out of bed and into spandex by 5:30 a.m., especially when buckets of coffee aren’t involved. But the rest of the women at Gumsaba’s sunrise boot camp bounced with energy as they ran through such moves as suicides, high knees, and sit-ups in challenging routines designed by Michelle Brown, a lithe second-degree Bok Fu Do black belt and one of Gumsaba’s founders. Gumsaba roughly translates from Washo into “we’re going to have a big time,” and it’s a philosophy that radiates throughout the hour of outdoor circuit training. Even when my abs screamed and my arms felt like lead, the energy of the other women was infectious. “It’s much more than just a class of people interested in bettering themselves,” says Brown. “They understand that they all play a really important role by inspiring each other and working together.” Men and women’s boot camps in Danville, Lafayette, and Walnut Creek, (925) 683-5630, gumsaba.com. —K.H.
Sometimes, the greatest rewards come from doing it yourself, like canning your own jams. But when it comes to your hair and lashes, whether it’s perfecting a vibrant auburn shade or styling a shiny blow out, it’s usually best to leave it to these practiced hands.
Hair Colorist and Women’s Salon
Boxed hair dyes, while convenient, can result in everything from skunky stripes to brassy oranges. To avoid the embarrassment of DIY disasters, turn to Christine Gutierrez of Tribez Salon for subtle highlights and multidimensional hues. 111 Town & Country Dr., Danville, (925) 362-8600; 4062 Blackhawk Plaza Cir., Danville, (925) 553-7600, tribezsalon.com.
Sure, you could clamp your curler for a little added eyelash oomph, but head to the trained pros at Walnut Creek’s Lashfully for meticulously applied false lashes for a big night out, or a semipermanent set for lasting length. 1629 Cypress St., Walnut Creek, (925) 296-0910, lashfully.com.
Anyone who’s struggled with a round brush and blow dryer knows a self-applied blow out is a nearly impossible task. Pleasanton’s Gary Patrick Salon offers all-day “happy hour,” which includes a shampoo, blow dry, and a choice of bouncy volume or sleek locks for $25. 350 Main St., Pleasanton, (925) 462-2375, gpsalon.com.
Just because you’re a guy doesn’t mean you should make do with a second-rate hack job. Katharina Hair Styles for Men hooks up the fellas with enviable coifs. Now, you can look charmingly disheveled with minimal effort. 306 Rose Ct., Danville, (925) 451-2499. —K.H.
More Reader Picks
Accessories: Alina B., 32 Broadway Ln., Walnut Creek, (925) 952-9037, alinab.com.
Anti-Gym Workout: The Bar Method, 3211-C Crow Canyon Pl., San Ramon, (925) 830-8825; 1946-A Mt. Diablo Blvd., Walnut Creek, (925) 933-1946, barmethod.com.
Beauty Store and Day Spa: Changes Salon & Day Spa, 1475 N. Broadway, Walnut Creek, (925) 947-1814, changessalon.com.
Boxing Class: UFC Gym, 1975 Diamond Blvd., Concord, (925) 265-8130, ufcgym.com.
Consignment Shop and Vintage Shop: Labels Luxury Consignment, 2629-A Ashby Ave., Berkeley, (510) 356-4144; 1367 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 952-4566, labelsluxury.com.
Exercise Clothes: Lululemon Athletica, 2956 College Ave., Berkeley, (510) 666-0418; 1201-A S. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 274-1253, lululemon.com.
Facial: Skin Ovations, 822 Hartz Way, Ste. 102, Danville, (925) 968-9217, skincareovations.com.
Fitness Center: Renaissance ClubSport, 2805 Jones Rd., Walnut Creek, (925) 938-8700, renaissanceclubsport.com.
Men’s Casual: Atlas, 1356 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 933-8050, atlasshops.com.
Men’s Suit: Daskalos, 1243 Broadway Plaza, Walnut Creek, (925) 937-1808, daskalosfashions.com.
Personal Shopper/Stylist: Carolyn Rovner, Danville, (925) 202-9332, c2style.com.
Personal Trainer: Pedro J. Bernardy at Renaissance ClubSport, 2805 Jones Rd., Walnut Creek, (925) 980-9466, pedrobernardy.com.
Pilates Studio: Turning Point Studios, 1840 San Miguel Dr., Ste. 100, Walnut Creek, (925) 952-9331, turningpointstudios.com.
Shoe Store: Footcandy, 1365 N. Main St., Walnut Creek, (925) 937-3668, footcandyshoes.com.
Store for New Moms: The Nest, 806 Sycamore Valley Rd. W., Danville, (925) 820-2220.
Waxing: Skin Ovations, 822 Hartz Way, Ste. 102, Danville, (925) 968-9217, skincareovations.com.
Yoga Studio: The Yoga Fusion, 2217-N San Ramon Valley Blvd., San Ramon, (925) 705-1228, theyogafusion.com.