Best of Baltimore
Best of Baltimore 2023
Our annual celebration of the best that Charm City has to offer.
Edited by Rachel Hinch
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TYRONE SYRANNO WILKENS
RECORD AND BOOK OASIS
Vinyl & Pages by Cuples Tea
Dive into a world of sonic and literary wonders at Vinyl & Pages. Situated in the vibrant Bromo Arts District and nestled next to Cuples Tea House (owned by the same passionate folks), this store has swiftly become a must-stop for those seeking a notable selection of new and used music and books that proudly embraces diversity through the Black Books Matter initiative. The shop’s commitment to supporting entrepreneurs and creatives nurtures a cultural hub for the community to explore and connect.
The Jade Collective
A Dundalk santuary for all beauty seekers. It goes without saying that the lash, brow, and skin treatments here are A-1, but what really excites us are their expanded services: cosmetic tattooing, teeth whitening, spray tans, and, for the daring, tooth gem application, fine line tattooing, and permanent jewelry. Operated as a collective, this salon promotes independent entrepreneurship, including training and mentorship courses for emerging industry pros to provide Baltimore the best in the beauty game.
This Towson gym goes far beyond your typical fitness scene. Wellness seminars? Check. In-club partners for physical therapy and IV vitamin therapy? Absolutely. But that’s just the beginning. At your fingertips is a co-working lounge consisting of a juice bar and retail racks, an infrared sauna, and massage chairs. Along with the rolling list of amenities, The Mine offers a plethora of fitness options through five specialized studios: yoga, barre, Ride+ (spin), Yard (boot camp), Form (highintensity, low-impact training), and, of course, a sleek open gym.
Janet Mallon’s hair wizardry has the power to flip any old ’do into a work of art. Renowned for her achievements in corrective solutions (i.e., fixing that horrible at-home dye job) and imaginative color (neon green, anyone?), Mallon draws upon more than a decade’s worth of experience as she conjures the tresses of your dreams. Her talents have graced several international color campaigns, not to mention many a mane in Hampden. Besides her knack for colorful makeovers, Mallon advocates within the beauty industry to put people and the environment first, with inclusivity and sustainability serving as the pillars of her intentional approach to hair color.
COMMUNITY FITNESS PROGRAM
Free Baltimore Yoga
All year long, Free Baltimore Yoga pops up at community spaces to guide you toward your inner Zen. Catch them at spots like NoMüNoMü in the winter and your favorite neighborhood parks in the summer. This program is open to the public and promotes well-being without the normal cost barriers. Instructors make a point of creating a welcoming and relaxing space for everyone, as reflected through their fundraisers for organizations such as Baltimore Safe Haven and their #RestEasyBby effort, which offers dedicated classes so that BIPOC can savor intentional rest.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICAH E. WOOD
If you’re seeking a transformative wellness experience, get thee to Woodberry’s Sedona House. Step into a world where unique class offerings, such as meditation and breathwork, are center stage, elevating the art of self-care to new heights. The inviting and relaxing atmosphere creates a serene sanctuary to escape the hustle and bustle of life. Inspired by owner Amanda Jones’ life-changing travels in Sedona, the salon’s services deliver tools and practices that promote feelings of empowerment and rejuvenation.
Prepare to indulge in pure bliss at Indu Wellness, Lauraville’s relaxation destination. They have it all, from tension-melting massages and skinnourishing facials to expert waxing and lash enhancements, as well as acupuncture and reiki—they even have a steam room. Indu’s team members are indeed masters in their fields, employing holistic methods from both the East and the West to provide the most beneficial results, whether you’re looking for a little TLC or help with nagging aches and pains.
Currency Studio is an ever-evolving industrial space in Station North that blurs the line between a showroom and an art installation. Inside are hand-painted garments, hand-printed tote bags, and furnishings that embody a unique blend of artistry and functionality. Each piece is produced in-house by dynamic duo Michael Haskins Jr. and Erica Lee Page and is a testament to their unwavering attention to detail. The lifestyle collections at Currency Studio, most recently displayed through new clothing drops and “Vintemporary,” a pop-up market hosted alongside Good Neighbor, continue to push the boundaries.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY TYRONE SYRANNO WILKENS
Far from your run-of-the-mill clothing store—this carefully cultivated treasure trove in a repurposed church in Hampden effortlessly blends the best of contemporary trends with timeless vintage pieces. With an eye for quality and a penchant for design, Hunting Ground carries a range of items that caters to all tastes, stocking even home goods and beauty items that will elevate your aesthetic game. The curation is everything at this hip boutique, striking a perfect balance between chic and accessible.
Lizzo + Bemi
The most iconic fashion moment of the year happened onstage at CFG Bank Arena in early May when Lizzo came to town. As she worked the crowd around the stage, a young man handed her a granny-square sweater crocheted by Lauren Byrd, known as “Bemi,” who was working at the arena and celebrating her 40th birthday. The back of the sweater, featuring Lizzo during her performance on Saturday Night Live, was a tribute to Chicago artist Annie Lee’s “Blue Monday.” Lizzo was thrilled and immediately put it on. “I like this sweater. I might keep this cardigan on,” she told the audience to wild cheers. And then she started singing “Good As Hell.”
Nothing quite compares to the vibrant world of Bmore Flea. The weekly market brings together a kaleidoscope of vintage and retro treasures just waiting to be unearthed. But it’s not only about the finds—it’s the palpable sense of community that sets Bmore Flea apart. Chat among passionate vendors, run into old friends, sip on locally crafted brews, and indulge in yummy bites that add an extra layer of flavor to this stylish rendezvous. Our recommendation? Make a point to visit Bmore Flea when it’s hosted by Ministry of Brewing.
Lilly Arvind Skin Clinic
Located next to Catonsville hair salon Ash + Oak—a powerhouse combination, if you ask us—is Lilly Arvind Skin Clinic, the go-to for a heavenly facial. Owner and aesthetician Nilam Johnson has the golden touch, a result of nearly 20 years on the job. No one in Baltimore is better suited to help you combat acne and keep your skin tight and bright. The salon’s menu of services contains essentials such as hydro dermabrasion, nanofusion facials, and oxygen treatment, each initiated by a skin analysis and one-on-one consultation to tailor results to your specific needs.
New Vintage by Sam
Sam Smith intertwines style and mindful living through New Vintage by Sam. Her latest endeavor, Dressed in Motherhood, started as a workbook for mothers rediscovering their wardrobes after pregnancy and continues as a platform where Smith shares her journey through insightful “stylosophies”: lessons learned on authenticity and being comfortable in your skin. Her jewelry brand Healing Hardware takes the concept to a tangible level; the bracelets are made of African Krobo glass beads believed to possess healing properties that boost overall health and prosperity and serve as symbolic inspiration.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICAH E. WOOD. PHOTO ASSISTANCE BY ALLISON TATE.
NEW HAIR SALON
Domane the Salon
This new gem has quickly become the talk of the town—and for good reason. Owned by stylist Debbe Salvino, whose acumen and artistry have made her a sought-after name in the hair world, this Lutherville-based salon offers only the highest quality services. Specializing in lived-in hair color and beautifully coiffed, hand-tied extensions, Domane offers uniquely customized looks. With over 20 years behind the chair and as one of the visionary minds behind the educational platform Two Mane Babes, Salvino makes sure that all her stylists are on the leading edge of the latest industry techniques.