For Urban Outdoor Skills staff Pascal Baudar and Mia Wasilevich, living sustainably is more than just talk. Baudar has been sourcing his own food since his childhood in Belgium, and Wasilevich—a self-taught chef—lives off her own urban garden. Together they run Urban Outdoor Skills, teaching their students self-reliance through classes where they pickle and can their own foods or make organic soaps from wild aromatic plants. Underlying every session is a bounty of expertise in foraging from the surrounding mountain wilderness: nettles and yucca become piquant sauces, seeds become breads and crackers, and flowers become wood-sprite birthday cakes.
In 1962, the Richards family began a surfing expedition, outfitting explorers of the Pacific waves under the banner of Val Surf. The shop has remained a family-owned haven of board-sports gear and apparel ever since, boasting bragging rights as the first-ever dealer of Quiksilver products and a partner with Burton Snowboards from its inception in 1977. Like beavers with master's degrees in woodworking, the staff?s passion is its profession, with surf-, snow-, and skate-enthusiast employees ready to match guests with proven brand-name gear from Volcom and Billabong or lesser-known offerings from up-and-comers such as Fourstar Clothing and RVCA.
Since 1937, Burkard Nurseries has beautified gardens throughout Southern California with a selection of chromatic flowers, robust shrubs, and the supplies to keep them healthy. Though the nursery originally specialized in hybrid flowers, it now defies specialty with a wide range of plants including citrus trees, exotic bulbs, and an extensive list of roses. Third-generation owner Frank Burkard, Jr. also offers professional landscaping for public spaces, private gardens, and deserts envious of the ocean floor’s mysterious reputation.
Indulge Wine School's staff of educators, such as Kris in Jacksonville, a wine expert and blogger, expands wine knowledge with ease, having turned the revelry-steeped tassels of nearly 3,000 graduates. Classes of 12–20 take place in venues throughout the United States, as students swirl and sip their study materials and nibble complimentary appetizers. Every class ends with a Q&A session, during which potation professors shine a light on oenophilic mysteries including tannin content and regional differences. Afterward, students continue to ferment knowledge at home with a complimentary electronic copy of Indulge's book A Fun and Informative Introduction to the Wonderful World of Wine, a food-and-wine-pairing chart, and a top-10 list of wine-buying tips.
Though fresh cut flowers may only shine for a moment, The Flowerman has endured for much, much longer. Three generations of florists have served the flower shop, which has been filling area homes with blossoming color for more than 80 years. It’s these familial ties and deep roots within the community that have inspired readers of the Pasadena Weekly to recommend the flower shop in the 2011 Best of Pasadena poll. Specializing in weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, and funerals, master designers create unique arrangements that are appropriate for each occasion. Customers can choose from the large collection of flowers organized by occasion, price, or the flower’s type, color, or ability to woo honeybees.