Ace Hardware's well-stocked aisles abound with home goods, tools, and furnishings for nearly any home-improvement project. Pick up a Steel Grip six-piece screwdriver set ($8.49), a Stanley rip hammer ($9.49), and a whole bunch of screws, anchors, and bolts (prices vary), and you'll be ready to finally mount every buffalo nickel and steel penny in your coin collection. Home improvers can illuminate their newfound décor with a 6-pack of Ace bent tip light bulbs ($17.94), the better to see by while making use of a Purdy four-piece premium paint-tray kit ($19.99). For those who need to match paint to a favorite coverlet or choose a hue that complements a pleather recliner, most stores offer a paint-matching service free of charge. Keys can be copied, and barnacle-encrusted carpet cleaned with the help of a rented carpet-cleaning machine (inquire about pricing at your preferred location).
Every garment that comes into The Cleaners Club goes through a six-step cleaning process the starts with an inspection and ends with custom packaging. The employees behind the process all have a minimum of five years of dry-cleaning experience and underwent a two-month training program before being hired. This dedication to quality service and educated staff has been The Cleaners Club mantra since the company's inception in 1985, and it's helped them develop long-standing partnerships with corporations including Ralphs and Vons. Both locations use nontoxic hydrocarbon solvents designed to cleanse garments and upholstery without perchloroethylene—an environmentally unfriendly chemical used by many dry cleaners and Mother Nature's rebellious nephew.
In the fall, as the newly risen sun beats down over the Pacific shore, brightening its pristine, ivory sands, hordes of mud-caked runners shout and gambol along the 5-kilometer Del Mar Mud Run. Racers slosh through pits, crawl through steel pipes, and creep down mud slides as they scramble toward the finish line. Dressed in optional—but encouraged—costumes, participants receive numbered bibs for identification, and to prevent sullying their perfectly soiled shirts with water. After completing the run—most finish the course in around 40 minutes—contestants rinse off at private changing areas before joining the Mud Fest, an outdoor celebration where live music provides the soundtrack for beer, food, and games. Past runs have attracted camera crews from reality television shows such as VH1’s The X Life and TLC’s Project DryClean, as well as local news stations such as Fox 5 and NBC.