Spotlight: Best Mix of Stress Relief and Wine Tasting
Bay Area Mindfulness and Therapy Center
Think of the Bay Area Mindfulness and Therapy Center as a gym for your brain. As with most gyms, the more you show up—even virtually—the better you feel.
Your personal trainer at the center is Joree Rose, a marriage and family therapist who began practicing meditation and mindfulness about 10 years ago with the guidance of masters such as Jon Kabat-Zinn and Bob Stahl.
Rose’s down-to-earth approach includes Wine’d Down, a 90-minute evening session in which she guides small groups of friends through a meditation and mindfulness discussion over a glass of wine. When COVID-19 hit, she took Wine’d Down online.
“The idea with Wine’d Down is not to numb out, but to use your glass of wine to tune into your senses, bringing more awareness, presence, calm, and intention into your life,” Rose says.
In addition to Wine’d Down, Rose provides therapy, coaching, meditations, and mindfulness techniques through her Danville practice, which she opened in 2016. Among her free online offerings on her Journey Forward Facebook group are meditations six days a week, mindfulness tools offered four days a week, and a live Q&A on Saturdays. Podcasts from her Surviving to Thriving summit, featuring 25 meditation and mindfulness experts from all over the world, are available for purchase on her website (joreerose.com).
Her advice for dealing with stress caused by the pandemic?
“We have an opportunity to grow through this challenge,” Rose says. “We can’t fix it, but we can remember to breathe, to reground ourselves. If you take a breath, it will calm the brain, calm the body. Now may be a time to slow down, get intentional, and really decide how we want to live our lives.” mindfulnessandtherapycenter.com.
Empire Barbershop, Concord, empire-barbershop.com.
We have tried so many barbershops in the past, but never experienced anything like [Empire Barbershop]. We have seen very professional barbers and high-quality work at this place that go beyond your expectations. We made personal connections with mostly everyone that works at Empire; [it’s] as if they’re like family.” —Elizabeth Gonzalez, San Pablo
Runner-up // Livermore Barber Shop, Livermore, livermorebarbershop.com.
The Extension and Blowout Bar, Danville, theebbar.com.
Runner-up // Salon 77 West, Danville and Pleasanton, salon77west.com.
Changes Salon and Day Spa, Walnut Creek, changessalon.com.
Runner-up // The Woodhouse Day Spa, Walnut Creek, walnutcreek .woodhousespas.com.
Bollinger Nail Spa, multiple locations, bollingernailsalon.com.
Runner-up // Tips N Toes Spa, San Ramon, tipsntoesspa.com.
WOMEN’S HAIR SALON
Salon 77 West, Danville and Pleasanton, salon77west.com.
Runner-up // Citrus Salon, Martinez, citrus-salon.com.
Skin Ovations, Danville, facebook.com/skinovations.
Runner-up // Changes Salon and Day Spa, Walnut Creek, changessalon.com.
Body Love Cafe, Walnut Creek, bodylovecafe.com.
We can all struggle with getting and staying healthy, and it’s important to have someone truly listen to your individual needs. To me, that someone is dr. [Brandy] Zachary of Body Love Cafe, along with her amazing staff! They take their time during each visit, provide sound solutions, and, most importantly, always remind me that my needs come first. I can present any health-care concerns and know that brandy will either have the answer or will refer me to someone who does. Body Love Cafe is absolutely best in the Bay!” —Henry E. Mobley III, Oakland
Encore Medspa, Walnut Creek and Pleasanton, encoremdspa.com.
Runner-up // Skin Spirit, Oakland and Walnut Creek, skinspirit.com.
LASH AND BROW SALON
Lashify Studio, Lafayette, lashifystudio.com.
Kam has been taking care of my lashes at Lashify Studio for over five years. She knows exactly the way my lashes should look and pays special attention to my needs. My lashes look natural and age-appropriate. Her business is beautifully appointed and very clean. I have an appointment every three weeks, and she is always welcoming when I arrive, and when I leave I feel just wonderful!” —Janice Richardson, Clayton
Runner-up // The Lash Lounge, Oakland, Alamo, and Walnut Creek, thelashlounge.com.
Apres Soleil, Walnut Creek, apressoleiltans.com.
Runner-up // Aurora Organic Spray Tans, Walnut Creek, auroraorganictan.com.
BEST SALON TO CHASE AWAY THE GRAY
Stem Salon, Walnut Creek
This large, airy salon in downtown Walnut Creek is a local favorite for premium hair care of all kinds—it’s a top choice for everything from head-turning haircuts to glossy blowouts. But for impeccable hair color, look no further than one of Stem’s most artistic color specialists. For nearly 18 years, Sheena Bautista has been using state-of-the art products and techniques to keep her clients’ tresses looking natural, shiny, sun-kissed, and enviable. “I create tailor-made hair color for every one of my clients,” says Bautista. “I want each of them to feel beautiful and unstoppable.” stemsalon.com.
BEST PLACE TO FIX THE FLAWS
LaserAway, San Ramon
Facial hair? Regrettable tattoos? Acne scars? If you’ve got some bodily features that you’d like to be rid of (and, let’s face it, who doesn’t?), LaserAway, in San Ramon, is the place to go. Talented specialists use advanced lasers to eliminate these trouble spots; they also offer a wide range of additional skin and body treatments, including CoolSculpting and Botox. With its convenient location in City Center Bishop Ranch, LaserAway makes it easy to book a quick lunchtime refresh. (There are also other East Bay locations.) laseraway.com.
BEST SPOT TO ADD A FINE POLISH
Saunders and James, Oakland
Saunders and James—a chic nail salon in Rockridge—held its grand opening in February, just weeks before shelter-in-place took effect. Luckily, Diablo visited a few times before the shutdown to see why salon founder Michelle Saunders James is such an in-demand manicurist. Saunders James, a Bay Area native who spent the past 12 years in Los Angeles tending the nails of celebs like Pink, Kate Beckinsale, and Mandy Moore, provides an extensive menu of services. Her laser-sharp precision and eye for color distinguish her manicures, which are remarkably long-lasting. “It’s about a clean, elegant aesthetic,” says Saunders James. “You wouldn’t come here if you wanted, say, Cardi B nails. Nails don’t have to be elaborate to look great.” saundersandjames.com.
BEST HOUSE OF WAXING
LunchboxWax, Walnut Creek
LunchboxWax, an appealing salon located in the Orchards at Walnut Creek, makes the often-dreaded process of waxing painless, comfortable, and—dare we say?—almost fun. You can get your eyebrows shaped in 30 minutes, your lip area tidied up in 15, and your legs defuzzed in 45. The comprehensive services menu offers an education in itself, listing body parts that many of us never would have considered waxing before. LunchboxWax has additional locations in Concord and Brentwood. lunchboxwax.com/walnut-creek.
MOST CHARMING APOTHECARY
Old World meets New Age at this extraordinary apothecary, located a block from the lively shopping district along Berkeley’s Fourth Street. Filled to the brim with botanical and mineral products, this small shop feels like a throwback to an earlier, simpler era. It’s a resource for all-natural soaps, teas, spices, plant oils, and more, most of which are organic, local, and wild-harvested. Alembique’s personable owner, Babak Nahid, is always happy to help visitors navigate their way through the shop’s many offerings, which include regular classes and workshops on making your own products. alembique.com.