Fariba Sasson isn't just a painter. She's also a floral designer, a jewelry maker, and a clay sculptor. For the multidisciplinary artist and owner of Clay Bundles, mixing media is what it's all about. This approach helps her and other artists discover designs they might not otherwise have created, such as clay art adhered to an acrylic painting or a 3D bust of one's landlord springing from a glass window. She and her instructors teach this approach during hands-on classes that include mosaics, canvas paintings, and clay projects inside picture frames. They also host parties and family art nights where participants can unearth their artistic skills in a supportive environment.
When Lori Shannon first announced her intent to run a marathon, people responded with more than a hint of incredulity. Lori had no experience and, at 5’3” and a size 16, she didn’t cut the form of a typical distance runner. Even so, she set to work and completed the 1993 New York City Marathon, proving to herself that with the proper training and dedication, she need not live life as a spectator. Since crossing that first finish line, Lori has never looked back; she has since run multiple marathons, competed in triathlons, and ridden her bike cross-country.
Seven years later, Lori founded See Jane Run in San Francisco, hoping to empower women to test their limitations and bolster their own fitness and self-confidence. The female-operated fitness company has since grown to encompass four West Coast locations that sell women’s running gear, including shoes, sports bras, and aerodynamic shower caps. At its four retail locations, like-minded runners come together with free weekly run clubs, giving them a group setting in which to train to meet their own individual goals or prepare for one of See Jane Run’s half marathons or 5Ks.
The selection of rustic knickknacks and furniture at My Backyard by Tassajara Nursery gives homes and gardens an off-the-beaten-path look. The shop—a sister store of Tassajara Nursery—lines its shelves with a countrified hodgepodge of items, including one-of-a-kind birdhouses, fountains in a range of sizes, and impressive pottery pieces. Assorted lanterns and wreaths imbue gardens with pastoral warmth, and hand-painted dressers and imported Peruvian furniture bring country comforts indoors. Friendly staff members greet visitors with a helpful hand and an eye for decorating that has been passed down from an ancient Cyclops clan of interior designers.
Geoffrey Scott boasts 4,000 square feet of fashion-forward women's apparel, jewelry and accessories, outerwear, eveningwear, and look-stunning-mowing-the-lawn-wear for $8 and up, with many fashions under $100. Various designer labels such as Nanette Lepore, Diane von Furstenberg, and Lucky brand—as well as jewelry from must-have Alexis Bittar and Geoffrey Scott collections—patiently wait on racks and shelves to be chosen in a clothes draft. Bundle up in a double-breasted tweed coat ($98) over a flirtatiously draped dress ($69), or strut the streets in a pair of inscribed shiny leggings ($49) while flashing a stone-studded triple-pyramid ring ($40), the female answer to a Super Bowl Ring.
A frequent winner of Diablo magazine’s Best Maternity Couture Shop in the East Bay award, Stork’s Nest delivers a chic bundle of maternity and baby clothes and nursery accessories. Maternity clothes in a variety of styles, from seersucker dresses ($96) to vertigo pants ($64), snuggle up to their baby-size offspring. In addition to chromosome-specific Baby Brother onesies ($33) and Toni Tierney bluebird dresses ($51), gender-neutral clothes such as Trumpette knit hoodies ($27) keep both boys and girls stylish and un-naked. Stork's Nest also carries a cozy collection of nursery accessories from chenille baby blankets ($32–$64) to mobiles that sing nightly Metallica lullabies.
Every morning, florist Susan Crane rises before the sun and steals away to her home garden, sprinkling her plants with water as she revels in being outdoors. By 6 a.m., she’s on her way to a premier flower mart, where she handpicks blossoms to bring to her Bloom Artistry studio. There, Crane meets with clients, from betrothed couples to office managers, to devise handheld bouquets, centerpieces, and color-coordinated vases to suit a wide variety of occasions, living spaces, and personal styles. Wedding bouquets wrapped in ribbons and accented with pearls coordinate with grooms’ boutonnieres as well as with current trends, which Crane continuously studies at Southern California School of Floral Design and by sneaking peaks at roses' fashion magazines.