Emilie Davidson Hoyt's interest in natural beauty products can be traced back to a single bar of lavender soap tucked beneath her pillow. A memento from one of her father's business trips, the fragrant bar remained close to Emilie while she slept, comforting her with its calming aroma. Throughout her childhood, Emilie suffered debilitating migraines that made her ultrasensitive to the chemicals and fragrances typically found in cosmetic products. Her condition was so bad that one of her high school teachers predicted she wouldn't succeed in college or keep a steady career.
Not only did Emilie graduate from college, she went on to found her own natural skincare company, LATHER, which initially only made olive oil–based soaps. Those soaps have since been mentioned in The New York Times, and the company has gone on to produce a full line of body, face, hair, and home products, which have appeared in other renowned publications. Emilie’s products nourish customers not only at three retail locations, but also at spas, boutiques, and hotels across the globe.
LATHER’s holistic, organic-leaning products beautify users without synthetic fragrances, artificial colors, or animal testing, and contain paraben-free preservatives and sulfate-free cleansing agents whenever possible. They also serenade olfactory senses with essential oils, vitamins, and rare fruits and herbs, and now arrive in earth-friendly EcoPure packaging, which, unlike a mummy's “No Microbes Allowed” t-shirt, accelerates natural biodegradation. LATHER maintains environmentally conscious practices, such as an in-store container recycling program and donations to worldwide reforestation projects.
A massive saguaro cactus towers over the entrance garden to California Cactus Center, shadowing a stone pathway surrounded by potted bromeliads with its sky-scraping height. The nursery deals exclusively in desert plants from around the world, stocking dozens of cacti species and other succulents and drought-happy botanical specimens. Inside the center, trays of tender succulents spread out over long tables as dangling strings of decorative rocks and glass sway gently above them. Dusted tones of lavender, sage, and scarlet-edged olive grace each leaf, and tillandsias—air plants that require no soil to live—sway gently within glass domes. Metal gates emblazoned with cacti lead to a section of clay and ceramic pottery, as well as decorations including brassy crescent moons and smiling suns. Outside, lily pads float in a peaceful pond as barrel cacti stretch their knobby heads from between agave plants, prickly pears, and prolific palm fronds. The nursery’s staff can guide patrons in any of their botanical pursuits, whether choosing the proper plants for their yard, maintaining their landscapes, or figuring out whether or not their saguaro actually likes wearing its sombrero.
Students in Modern Music School's international net of 70 locations get more than by-the-numbers technical training. Instead, the focus is on enjoying the art, and though the teachers are classically trained, their lesson plans home in on rock, jazz, funk, pop, or virtually any other genre. Beginners thrive in the laid-back, fun-first atmosphere, which encourages them to set their own pace on the path to stardom, both in practicing their instrument and in converting to an all-leather wardrobe. The school's highly individualized method readily lends itself to private lessons, and the band program not only helps fledgling stars strengthen their chosen style but also rounds up potential gigs when the group feels stage ready. Other performance opportunities are available at regularly staged concerts through the team program and every morning in students' own showers.
Arthur Murray has been a leading name in franchise dance since 1912, when the entrepreneur began selling mail-order dance lessons. Expanding his reach, he enlisted teachers to spread his signature dance lessons on first-class steamships and skyrocketed to fame in the '30s after introducing the public to such dances as the Lambeth Walk and The Big Apple. By the 1950s, Arthur and his wife, Kathryn, were hosting their own highly popular TV show on ABC, The Arthur Murray Dance Party, which ran for 12 years. Today, Arthur Murray's team prepares students for rug cutting at special events and weekend nightclub jaunts. Throughout lessons, instructors teach the foundations of two to four dances from a long list of styles that range from Latin to country-western, helping students to learn basic step patterns, timing, and the ability to lead or follow.
With locations throughout California, including LA, San Diego, Santa Barbara, Sacramento, San Jose, Inland Empire, Ventura County, and Orange County, the knowledgeable staffers at Planet Beauty stock the store?s shelves with enough top-quality beauty products to outfit a regiment of beauticians. Guided by experience as aestheticians, stylists, and makeup artists, they help guests navigate the roster of premium brands, which includes bad-hair-day-banishing products from Frederic Fekkai and K?rastase. Skincare potions from Peter Thomas Roth clear facial canvases before applications of Smashbox blush brighten cheeks or Divaderme lash extender make eyelashes visible from orbit.