Shops & Services

Writers’ picks

Best way to smell like the Yuba River

Frontier Angel Soap

Frontier Angel Soap bars are crafted in Grass Valley and feature such fanciful scents as Red Dirt Road (so named for Nevada County’s ubiquitous red dirt), High Sierra and a new one called I Dream of Tangerine. Each bar is made with all-natural ingredients, with rough-hewn edges and a pretty, decorative wrapper. The Yuba Wild scent, inspired by the river, smells of eucalyptus, fir needles and lavender. There’s also a line of goat-milk soaps that sound good enough to eat, made with “local goat milk, olive oil, rice bran oil, and coconut oil.” These soaps are sold locally at both the Sacramento and Davis food co-ops. B.G.

Best year-round bet for something old

57th Street Mall

As much fun as the Antique Faire under the freeway at 21st and X streets may be, it takes place only once a month. But one can get lost in the aisles of vintage and antique wares six days a week at the 57th Street Mall. The huge store consists of multiple dealers that have varied goods: glassware; jewelry; furniture; old-school, obsolete doodads. On a recent visit, the findings included the typical yet wonderful—medicine bottles, photographs, women’s clothing— and the surprising—a harmonium and a book about Brad Pitt. Guess that officially makes Brad Pitt old. 855 57th Street, www.57thstreet S.

Best place to find a Halloween costume

Hi-Fashion Fabrics

Finding a Halloween costume that isn’t already being worn by eight other people at the party is not an easy task. Making your own is the only way to ensure originality. Whether you’re going to be dressed as Hulk Hogan circa 1987 or Sookie Stackhouse, Hi-Fashion Fabrics has what you need to turn an otherwise blah attendee into the best-dressed party guest. The store’s huge selection of tulle, tapestries, elastic material and buttons make it a go-to spot to find unusual goods for unique costumes. The employees are very knowledgeable and more than willing to pull down 50-pound skeins of fabric fromthe top shelf without complaint. 4106 Franklin Boulevard, (916) 451-5648, L.H.

Best place for cheap (and good) musical soundtracks

Downtown Goodwill

To heck with the brand-name secondhand clothing and markdown new stuff in the front—when you hit up the Goodwill boutique on L Street, go directly to the back of the store where it keeps all the CDs. Yes, CDs are passé, but do you know how much it costs to download the soundtrack of a Broadway musical on iTunes? Instead, buy gently used box sets—we picked up the original London cast of Miss Saigon on two CDs for $2.95—at reasonable prices. And despite the overwhelming presence of Top 40 titles, it’s also got a decent selection of classical and jazz CDs. 1621 L Street, (916) 441-4407, K.M.

Best place to act like a yard crasher

Silverado Building Materials & Nursery

Sacramento is home to numerous backyard-renovation TV shows. Yard Crashers, Yardcore and Turf War all got their start here. Unfortunately, watching these shows doesn’t mean I have the faintest idea what to do with my own yard full of overgrown weeds. Thankfully, with products from Silverado Building Materials & Nursery, there’s the potential to make a vast improvement. Silverado carries just about every brick, Buddha and backyard botanical one could ever need. Now, if only I could run into Ahmed Hassan while I’m over there milling around aimlessly. 9297 Jackson Road, (916) 361-7374, J.M.

Best way to vinyasa in local threads

Morris Terry

Morris Terry is a local clothing company that makes a line of yoga tanks, bras, pants and shorts. With tie-dye flourishes and pleasant cool-toned colors, these clothes don’t just look good; they make yoga better. No more tugging and adjusting when you rise out of a sun salutation—these clothes fit like a glove and stay put. They’ll hold their shape wash after wash, through every downward-facing dog and half-moon executed on your path to enlightenment. And at prices ranging from $45 for shorts to $65 for full-length pants, they’re not that much more than the shoddy exercise gear at the big-box stores—and worth every penny. Find them online or at Asha Yoga (1050 20th Street, Suite 110) B.G.

Best place to indulge a foot fetish

Happy Day Spa

Longest, craziest day ever? Kick off your heels and take a load off already. The Happy Day Spa, tucked away in a nondescript south Sacramento shopping center (the local chain has locations in Roseville, Folsom, Granite Bay and Natomas, too), offers an array of luxurious massages, but its reflexology foot massage is a true stress buster. Priced at just $25, this hourlong massage reportedly detoxifies your internal organs which, in turn, supposedly helps to push that stress right outta your body, toes first. Whatever the science behind the methodology, it feels damn good—as does the bonus neck-and-shoulder massage. The spa’s mood lighting, lush towels and whisper-quiet environment also offer sweet relief. 6911 Stockton Boulevard, (916) 428-8880, R.L.

Best place to get your Vidal Sassoon on

AJF Salon

You want to get that “Girl, I just got my hair did” look without going to the salon and dropping most of your paycheck on your coif, right? Well, now the at-home stylist can master the art of the DIY blowout at an AJF Salon hair-drying technique class. Trained stylists school you in the fine art of contorting your body in such a way as to get that impossible-to-reach 3-inch section of the back of your mane perfectly styled. Just bring your own tools, styling products and the $25 registration fee, which is applied toward your purchase of those essential hair-styling goodies, and AJF will supply the wine, cheese and what’s sure to be a hair-raising tutorial. 3016 J Street, (916) 446-2940, L.H.

Best use of found objects

Real Life Dollhouse

The distinctive pieces fashioned out of reassembled materials at Sacramento jewelry design outfit Real Life Dollhouse are a lot like their creator: a clever mix of vintage and modern with a dash of rock ’n’ roll for good measure. Designer Julie Cassotta, who cultivated the nimble finger work required to create her original pieces by working at her family’s guitar shop, pacified her frustration with broken necklaces and loose baubles in her own jewelry collection by reinventing them. From scraps of wood collected at the shop to unearthed shards of ebony, soapstone and abalone, the collection is a tribute to Cassotta’s delicate touch—and her willingness to let the materials evolve naturally into their new lives as necklaces, rings and bracelets. L.H.

Best place to get a head massage before a haircut

Honey Salon

Getting a new haircut should be a relaxing and enjoyable experience. Once you have that vinyl cape wrapped around your neck, all boring thoughts of work should be exchanged for bits of casual gossip. The fashionable stylists at Honey Salon go out of their way to make sure you are as relaxed as possible before going under the scissors. Not only are you offered a tasty libation to ease your stress, but they also spend a lengthy amount of time on your head with a wonderful scalp massage and hot towel wrap. 818 19th Street, #100; (916) 442-6636; L.G.

Best place to feed your hat addiction

Village Hat Shop

If you’ve ever had a hat addiction, you should check out this store for your fix. Old Sacramento’s Village Hat Shop has, arguably, Sacramento’s most diverse selection of hats. It’s got every new and old style, and even a back room full of silly hats (think fake dreadlocks, octopus tentacles and the Hatter). If you’re new to the world of headgear and not really sure what you’re looking for, the store’s website has a useful hat glossary, photos and plenty of reviews. 123 K Street in Old Sacramento, (916) 444-7475, J.M.

Best place to ride your caffeine buzz

Extreme Java Jungle Café

Don’t just get coffee next time you’re in downtown Roseville— get coffee Disneyland style. The Extreme Java Jungle Café is a light and airy cafe that, naturally, features life-sized replicas of giraffes and apes. You didn’t hear it from us, but rumor has it, on occasion, one might actually get to ride the monkey. All the rest—the cafe’s espresso drinks, extensive food menu, and beer and wine selection—is just the whipped cream on your mocha. 400 Vernon Street in Roseville, (916) 788-7424, R.L.