Best of the Twin Cities 2011
Variety is the spice of life, right? Sure, but we think the wondrous mix of things to do, eat, drink, buy, and enjoy in the Twin Cities is better described as, well, pretty sweet. It’s a veritable Candyland out there, and on the following pages we highlight the things that make us feel good as gumdrops. The tastiest focaccia (the best Dara’s ever eaten). The hippest cover band (they know Weezer’s The Blue Album front to back). The most honest auto-body shop (they do exist). And, yes, the best candy store. Admit it, we’re spoiled rotten here. And that’s a good thing.
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Bridal Beauty Service
Julie Swenson’s outpost in northeast Minneapolis is a haven for beauty addicts. The buzz about Swenson’s fairy-godmother-like touch resulted in enough business to build a team and bricks-and-mortar in the first place. Put simply, Swenson instills quality control and a style aesthetic that women love. Psst: when Juut master stylist and celeb expat Pearson Knight is in town, he often makes time for a few cuts and styles at Beauty Lounge.
☛ 20 University Ave. NE, Mpls., 612-741-0288, mplsbeautylounge.com
Beth Freschi has a dulcet-toned voice and an air that radiates pure Zen. Which isn’t surprising considering she worked more than 15 years in in-patient psychiatric care. Today, she’s a life coach and the queen of calm, teaching others how to relax. She holds group classes at the Lauderdale Wellness Center as well as other locations. (Moms and daughters, don’t miss the James J. Hill program on Mother’s Day!) If it stresses you out just thinking of making time for a class, pick up one of her CDs—she makes it possible to fall asleep without a running to-do list circling your brain. Ahhhh…
Hair Removal and Facials
Blink for Beauty
Christina Snead and Brook DuBois are beautiful on the inside and out, so it’s no surprise that they gravitated toward the beauty industry and opened up shop together. Christina handles the threading—she’s learned from the masters from India and New York—and Brook has the lightest, kindest touch, resulting in the best facials in town. Threading is nearly painless—seriously—and even if it did sting, Christina is so charming you’d forget about it in a second. Brook focuses on eco-friendly, all-natural skincare, and her Pure Luxe facial will nearly levitate you from her table.
☛ 700 Washington Ave. N., Mpls., 612-338-5211, blinkforbeauty.com
Let’s get one thing straight: this kind of photography in no way resembles the leaked iPhone photos of Kim Kardashian & Kompany. Instead, photography industry pros Katie Thering Berger and Jeannette Nargelenas of Blush Twin Cities shoot women in the most gorgeous lighting and sumptuous settings, wearing only their pretty underpinnings…or less. Women commemorate their post-baby body, a recently finished marathon, a 50th birthday, or give a “little black book” of their photos as a gift to their newly-minted husband. They’re sexy and beautiful, sure, but what women really get out of it is the total empowerment and the satisfaction of knowing just how beautiful they really are.
“If you can’t tone it, tan it,” exclaims makeup artist and fairy UV godmother Melanie Richards. A wave of her airbrush wand and everything appears more swimsuit-ready, without even a hint of the dreaded oompa-loompa tint. Best of all, Richards comes to you, so it’s your secret—unless, of course, you host a “tan-tini” party (drinks and a discount!). The whole thing takes just minutes, and the solution includes a bronzer for immediate gratification (the actual tanner darkens over the next 24 hours). It’s a glow straight off the beaches of Saint Tropez, sans expensive airfare.
Former Juut creative director and hair wünderkind Charlie Brackney created major buzz this year when he and business partner, Jessica Reipke, opened Haus Salon. Smartly, he corralled some of the best in the business to create branding (Mike Cina), a website (Stuart Lyle), and interiors (Jonathan Gomez Whitney) for this elevated style experience that somehow manages to stay unpretentious. Especially worth noting are the smartypants details, such as taking client before-and-after shots, which are stored on stylists’ iPads so the next time you come in and say, “Remember that rose-gold color with the layered haircut?” they can pull up the photo and replicate it. Brilliant.
☛ 4240 Nicollet Ave. S., Mpls., 612-827-4287, haussalon.com
Best Local Product
For Saving Time
By Elizabeth Dehn
[ Readers’ Pick ]
Voted on by Minnesota Monthly readers at MNMO.com
The Beauty Room