My Backyard's selection of rustic knickknacks and furniture 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.
From the warm glow of their craft-filled atelier, Stella Luna's enlightened illuminators fan the fires of artistic potential with their mosaic-candle-making sessions. With the help of a seasoned wickspert, would-be light shapers start by choosing from more than 30 shapes and 40 scents, creating an ebullient blueprint for their fledgling flame holder before piecing together each wax-based mosaic masterpiece (starting at $16 per candle).
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It's fair to say that the desire to work with animals is in Jennifer-Lee Wilson's blood. She started young, watching her father tend to animals and their owners in the family's pet store. Then in 1998, she opened A Lucky Dog. Here, she leads obedience training classes that inspire owners to encourage their pets to sit, come, and stay with rewards such as treats and toys. As a certified dog trainer and animal behaviorist, she's found that positive reinforcement is the best way to teach a dog proper behavior— whether he's in a park full of rambunctious puppies or at a Texas hold 'em tournament and has just gone all in.
Jennifer and her dog-loving staff also provide doggie day care and handle pet sitting duties. Unlike typical boarding facilities, they actually come out to pet owners' homes to feed and walk their four-legged charges. They go this extra mile, both figuratively and literally, so that the animals can stay in familiar, stress-free surroundings.
The Futon Shop specializes in organic convertibles. They pull this off with 100% chemical-free mattresses stuffed with USDA-certified organic cotton, pure Dunlop natural latex, and soy-based foam. Best of all, all mattress, including their memory foams and gels are handmade in San Francisco, cutting down on The Futon Shop's carbon footprint by eliminating lengthy shipping journeys.
After spending years as a salesman for top mattress lines, Steve Shore needed a new mattress himself. Rather than opt for a steep employee discount on one of the mattresses he sold, the enterprising Mr. Shore collected various natural materials and had them assembled into a mattress that met his exacting specifications: a comfy sleep cushion made with no potentially toxic components. The result was such an improvement over the big-name mattresses he sold that Mr. Shore and his son eventually decided to produce a line of organic mattresses based on the prototype, on which Mr. Shore slept soundly for more than a decade.
Now, the Shore men sell their mattresses under the Eco-Cloud name in The Natural Mattress Store. Made from high-quality steel coils topped with natural latex, Eco-Cloud mattresses resist accumulating allergens and nightmare blueprints and retain their shape and support for years. Organic wool and cotton covers help keep sleepers cool and snug in bed by deflecting body heat and wicking away moisture. Each Eco-Cloud mattress comes with a 12-year, nonprorated warranty. In addition to the Eco-Cloud line, The Natural Mattress Store carries more than 20 organic mattresses, as well as eco-friendly, solid wood bedroom furniture from Pacific Rim Woodworking, Bedworks of Maine, and Vermont Furniture Designs.