Since 1981, the family behind Special Occasions & Gifts has filled its brick-and-mortar store with accents to decorate the home. Scented candles, centerpieces, and artwork line the shelves, which also tempt browsers with glittering Crislu stud earrings, rustic Bella Toscana marble housewares, and decorative tiles from artist Sid Dickens. In order to meet the demands of out-of-town friends and customers, Special Occasions & Gifts opened an online store in 1993, the same year the Internet was discovered.
Las Flores Family Winery produces fine, handcrafted wine from local grapes. Two chums can enjoy a tasting tour (a $5 value per person) of the small boutique winery. Use the complimentary glass to taste the 2007 syrah ($16), whose liquid character sparkles with the honorable tastes of peppery spice, vanilla, and darkish berries, pairing perfectly with beef, lamb, veal, or hard cheese. The One Night Stand—a blend of merlot, tempranillo, syrah, and cabernet sauvignon ($20)—takes its name from the winery owners’ bedroom, which only has one nightstand. A superb all-purpose table wine, it features flavors of cherry, black pepper, and oak. Tongues will gladly wrap themselves around the light and fruity 2008 chardonnay ($17).
Before looking through the camera lens, the expert photographers at Picture People spend time getting to know their subjects and establishing a strategy for conveying their personalities in print. Then, film-ready clients pose in the bright camera room, airing teeth amid colorful backdrops and creative props. Following snapshots, subjects make their way to the selection station to choose their favorite poses from their session, which may be treated with sepia tones, color accents, and decorative borders to suit any wall, wallet, wallpaper pattern, or trophy walleye.
Picture People offers a variety of creative tips to help enhance mantel-dominating final results. The studio ensures satisfaction with a 100% guarantee on finished products.
Hot Dog on a Stick Founder Dave Barham opened his first Hot Dog on a Stick in Santa Monica in 1946, and the company has since burgeoned into an employee-owned franchise that's more than 100 eateries strong and spans 11 states. Best known for a 100% turkey hot dog dunked in corn-bread batter made from Dave's mother's recipe and cooked in soy oil, Hot Dog on a Stick also pioneered the dipping and be-sticking of mild american and spicy jalapeño jack cheese. Smiling employees in red-, white-, and blue-striped uniforms with, as Dave put it, "a splash of lemonade," hand over cherry, lime, sugar-free, or original lemonade that they make fresh every two hours by squeezing Ventura County lemons until they cry.
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces—including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis—await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln-workers help glaze and fire it for them before customers retrieve the finished piece a few days later.
Thousands of styles of shoes from cobblers such as Nike, Jordan, Converse, Skechers, Adidas, and Puma reside at WSS Footwear. A 62-store Southern California footwear chain, WSS allows customers to browse their extensive shoe selection online and find a store nearby. New styles, such as Nike Running shoes, arrive daily alongside classic Vans Authentics, which come in sizes to accommodate the feet of both adults and future adults. Women's fashion shoes ready feet for holidays parties, weddings, or walks in the park, and WSS also offers trendy clothing and accessories such as hats, backpacks, and sports balls.