Laura De La Cruz, the smiling face behind Laura De La Cruz Photography, believes that life should be celebrated and documented at every turn, which is why she takes great pride in creating beautiful photography that individuals and families can cherish for a lifetime. Rather than asking clients to assume unnatural poses or hold a bouquet of rattlesnakes, Laura likes to let real moments unfold that she can then capture with her lens and artistic eye. She specializes in photography for a variety of occasions including weddings, engagement sessions, children and family portraits, and special events such as quinceañeras and birthday parties.
Some of Sea Stallion Scuba Outfitters's certified dive instructors fell in love with the ocean after moving to the West Coast from landlocked states, and others caught the diving bug on Caribbean vacations. But no matter how they came to love the sport, all of the instructors translate their passion into superior tutelage to help students earn their underwater independence through SSI-open-water-dive courses from beginner to instructor levels. These same staffers exercise their expertise to sell diving, snorkeling, and underwater-photography equipment from top industry brands, in addition to tweaking existing gadgets to ensure safe below-surface adventures. Though based in the Pacific Ocean, Sea Stallion encourages sea-hopping with yearly excursions to exotic locales, such as the Bahamas, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the recently discovered Eighth Sea.
The sounds of conversation and laughter compete with the clinking of glasses in The Wine Artist’s lofty venue. The space sprawls over 2,500 square feet, with plenty of room to host private parties, bridal events, corporate events, and private cooking classes. Events at The Wine Artist feature unique wines, gourmet catering, and experiences such as wine bottling and team building activities.
Specializing in succulents and drought-tolerant plants, Living Green Nursery pumps oxygen into the atmosphere with its massive selection of retail and wholesale plants, many of which are grown on the shop's extensive grounds. A sprawling net reaches over verdant rows of potted plants and trees ($2.99+) and lush patches of vegetables and herbs ($2.99). Living Green Nursery's excellent selection of water-retaining succulents and other drought-tolerant vegetation helps achieve any hydrophobic gardener's wildest dreams ($1.99–$19.99). In addition to its extensive cache of plants, Living Green Nursery also offers several options for outdoor furniture ($199–$2,500), flower-complementing pottery ($8–$200), and fountains ($99–$300) for bathing avians or squirrels looking for a place to wade while drinking a gin and tonic. After selecting the flora of their choice, blossom boosters can head over to Living Green's planting station where the nursery's green-thumbed gurus can assist in the assembly of colorful customized containers of their new photosynthesis-dependent friend.
After only two years of playing the Suzuki violin, 6-year-old Australian native Hannah Reid played her first concert: a Suzuki graduation at the Sydney Opera House. It would be the first of many concerts and instruments to come: by high school, Hannah was well versed not only in violin, but flute, piano, and singing. Since graduating from Australia's prestigious Sydney Conservatorium of Music, she's continued honing her musical chops by playing both classical and rock music.
At Reid Music Academy, Hannah draws on her lifelong musical passion—as well as 15-plus years as a teacher—to instruct students of all ages in a plethora of musical skills. Whether her pupils want to learn classical piano melodies or improvise jazz solos on the sax, Hannah tailors each piano, voice, and woodwind lesson to her students' favorite musical styles. Besides instruments, Hannah teaches music theory, songwriting, and performance skills, which helps students overcome stage fright more effectively than training kids to play blindfolded their entire life.
The meaning of art may be subjective, but Mission: Renaissance believes that the basic, technical skills needed to create art are learnable, regardless of a student’s age or experience. The instructors at the studio, which was originally founded in 1975, illuminate the Gluck Method, which focuses on the classic rendering techniques that the great masters used on their first computers. The classes can accommodate students as young as 5, and they explore a number of different mediums—including charcoal, watercolors, and oils—while giving attendees the experience they need to appreciate art, as well as create it. Spread across 19 studio locations in southern California, attendance is capped at around six students per instructor, which allows them to offer artists more personalized feedback and more fitting nicknames.