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68 BEST OF MONTEREY COUNTY® 2023 shopping and services for putting platinum through your lip, the inviting energy of the staff will. Though they offer everything from 2Pac-style nose rings to solid gold belly button piercings, the classics never go out of style. Every type of ear piercing remains the most popular. Body bling is here to stay. Best Head Shop NorCal Smoke Shop 765 Lighthouse Ave., Monterey (831) 645-9021, “…and this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected.” -John Steinbeck, East of Eden (1952). Pretty heady stuff. This longstanding Monterey landmark is dedicated to the premise that it is of the very nature of consciousness to have to expand itself. And expand they do with the area’s best selection of, well, expanders. And there is some mind-blowing artistry here, too. Best Cannabis Dispensary Big Sur Canna+Botanicals 26352 Carmel Rancho Lane, Carmel (831) 250-7756, bigsurcannabotanicals. com Nobody is a stranger at Big Sur Canna+Botanicals. One step through the door and guests are greeted with warm smiles and a cannabis menu as deep as a wine list from a fancy restaurant. If you know what you’re looking for, you’ll find it on the shelves. If you’re not sure how to approach a dispensary or unsure quite how elevated you want to get, the knowledgable budtenders will steer you in the right direction. Best Chiropractic Best Alternative Healthcare Provider Barkalow Chiropractic & Physical Medicine 550 Camino El Estero, Monterey (831) 655-3232, You no longer have to rely on cracking your knuckles and neck while staring pensively into the distance as you write the next Great American Novel. Barkalow Chiropractic’s team of three local Doctors of Chiropractic is taking the comfort of Monterey County into their own hands. In addition to adjustments and massage, Barkalow offers alternatives like cryotherapy and laser therapy. Brand new to the Best Of list, Barkalow Chiropractic & Physical Medicine snags two wellness titles this year. Best Yoga Studio Om Studios 631 Cass St., Monterey (831) 241-5373, Although much of Steinbeck’s writing was spent observing the surroundings of the western United States, he probably was stuck stooped over a desk and typewriter a lot of the time. If only Om Studios had existed back in Steinbeck’s day, one of their thoughtful and knowledgeable instructors could correct his posture in one of their many yoga classes. Om is the best not just for in-studio classes, but for their ability to get people hooked into gentle movement with their on-demand classes, private courses and 21-day new student deals. They’ll truly meet newbies where they’re at—even if it’s hunched over a desk in front of your computer. Best Yoga Instructor Gina Puccinelli (831) 578-5382, Gina Puccinelli’s students know her best for her calm voice, her gentle ease while guiding classes through poses— finding balance, strength and serenity—and also her wit. It is no question why many loyal students have practiced with her for years. She meets people where they are at and brings them along on what is clearly her life’s passion. Catch her classes and workshops at various locations including the Monterey Sports Center or virtual options available on Zoom. Best Boutique Fitness Studio CarmelBarre 3730 The Barnyard, Suite G21, Carmel (831) 238-9766, Modifiable to all levels, barre is an excellent exercise choice for any body. What makes CarmelBarre the best, though? The answer lies in the community—founder Arianne Bautista Marsh has amassed a team of instructors with boundless friendly energy and passion for fitness. Do not be fooled by the cheery tone of these spitBest New Business | Oscar's Playground