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.
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.
As guests peruse aisles of annuals, perennials, roses, trees, and shrubs at Classic Nursery, they are admiring a selection of backyard-ready plants that has been honed by the nursery's owners for more than 20 years. The chlorophyll-savvy staff can help to direct customers toward high-maintenance plants or the blooms that will flourish in all types of sunlight and soil. The staff can also recommend just the right organic compost, seed cover, or potting soil that will expedite plant growth or feed a vase that’s a picky eater.
After a silent winter and spring, the rock-climbing wall and go-kart track are waiting impatiently for summer to arrive, eager for the influx of laughter and ebullient burst of life that comes with it. The empty cabins and sports fields spread across Camp Cottontail’s 200-acre land share the sentiment, as they’ve been locked in this cycle of yearning for summer since the camp’s construction in 1958. The sprawling camp finally comes alive once flocks of young campers take over, orchestrating a symphony of sounds of kids splashing into the pool, giggling over arts and crafts, and singing around a crackling bonfire as night unfolds around them. Following in the footsteps of generations of campers before them, the kids spend each balmy summer day immersed in well-planned daily programs comprised of high-energy activities.
A past camper whose influence is felt throughout the camp is Lynn Pedroza, who assumed ownership of Cottontail in 2009. Having spent every summer since 1984 as a staff member, Lynn bought the camp with the sole intent of upholding the previous owners’ dedication to granting campers the best summer possible. Her commitment to the camp’s tradition of excellence is reflected in her meticulously selected staff of counselors and instructors, all of whom undergo extensive background checks and are certified in CPR and first aid. The staffers take campers under their wings, teaching them new skills such as how to shoot an arrow or how to save a friendship with a meaningful lanyard bracelet. Optional offsite activities and special trips bolster the camp experience. While daily schedules are determined by each camper, the camp comes together for beloved events including Skit Night, Counselor Dress-Up, and the camp dance.
The founder of online baby boutique California Cozy is a mother of two herself, so she carries products she's personally tested and adored. Perhaps not surprisingly, that's left her store stocked with items from award-winning brands such as Aden + Anais, Barefoot Dreams, and Melissa & Doug. Her celeb-approved collection has been featured in People and Us Weekly, particularly perennial favorites such as Little Giraffe's chenille baby blankets—which snagged Most Ridiculously Soft Baby Blanket in the 2012 Cribsie Awards. The diverse selection also includes mealtime essentials, furniture, and toys, which no doubt led to California Cozy's selection as a finalist for Red Tricycle's Most Awesome Baby & Maternity Shop award in 2012.