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.
Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
A Southwest-based company for more than a century, Frazee Paint and its team of manufacturers are well acquainted with the unique climactic conditions of the region. Always pulling from the latest technology, their technicians design each of their paint and coating products to withstand dry heat, sparse rainfall, and showers of chewing tobacco from passing cowboys. Their quality paints, wall-coverings, wood-care products, and painter's tools stock the shelves of more than 125 retail locations throughout California, Arizona, and Nevada, as well as international dealers in Mexico, China, and Guam.
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 Kérastase. Skincare potions from Dermalogica and Peter Thomas Roth clear facial canvases before applications of Smashbox blush brighten cheeks or Divaderme lash extender make eyelashes visible from orbit.