Though Ardy Conway and her staff of certified trainers at Ardy's Pilates Studio work primarily with three apparatus—the Reformer, the Cadillac, and the chair—they are well equipped to weave more than 500 Pilates exercises into their custom workouts. Ardy draws on more than 20 years of experience as she and her team tailor private and semiprivate sessions to individual goals, such as relieving joint pain or improving at golf. The instructors also host group Reformer classes, which max out at six students to keep classes personal and allow competitive sextuplets to remain at the same fitness level.
Custom Workouts might feel a bit smaller than your average chain gym—that's part of its appeal. The private setting allows gym-goers to work out on top-notch equipment without feeling intimated or overwhelmed. Staying true to its commitment to the individual, the gym also offers personal training with a reasonable price tag. But those who crave the motivation of peers can opt for group classes such as Zumba and spinning.
In 1973, when Ramona Clayton was 19, she moved to Germany where she earned a PhD in molecular biology and worked with sterile medicines. But she also began making pottery—a hobby that would become her profession when she moved back to the United States in 2004. Rather than going through the licensing hassle necessary to work as a microbiologist in the States, she opened terramonary stoneware & porcelain, where, in addition to making stoneware and porcelain pieces to sell, she teaches others her craft. The studio's name—and Ramona's reason for returning to California—comes from her husband, Terry. Starting out as high-school sweethearts, they lost touch not long after graduation. After 22 years apart, Terry found her on the Internet, called her, and asked if she remembered him. She did. "He signed his love letters with 'Terramonary,' which is just an anagram of 'Terry' and 'Ramona'," she recalls. To Terry's delight, she thought it would be a catchy name for the business and even used her science know-how to break down the parts of the word into Latin and alchemic roots that symbolize the four elements. Ramona fires her long-lasting pieces in the kiln outside her studio, which sits on a concrete porch where she and her students also glaze their pieces. Inside, the wheels and workstations are in a separate area from her showroom, which brims with decorative pieces as well as plates, cups, and serving pieces that are safe for ovens, microwaves, dishwashers, and time machines. "My goal in life is to make pretty things useful—or useful things pretty," she says. "If it's too delicate or it's just decorative, people are afraid of it."
Led by local artists, classes at Wine and Design Orcutt promote a strong sense of community and accessibility. The artwork for each class is chosen from a collection of more than 2,500 original paintings, all created by Wine and Design studio artists. After receiving a warm welcome and a paint brush, visitors sit in front of a blank canvas and follow step-by-step instructions from the session's artist, who paints along with them. At the end of the class, visitors marvel at their finished composition, which can add a bright, cheerful tone to walls in living rooms, bedrooms, and meat lockers. Sessions are available for both children and adults.
Walnut Pier Health Club's cardio and strength equipment is utilized throughout 15 courses that get bodies moving. The accommodating daily schedule begins at 4:30 a.m. on weekdays, making it the ideal choice for fishermen who prefer to cast their hooks in outdoor heated pools that host aquatics classes. Stationary bike wheels rotate clients into healthy leg orbits during the Cycle classes; Zumba pumps Latin-inspired beats to inspire soaring heart rates; and myriad other aerobic classes usher members into the robust, perspirational world of fitness. In the on-site sauna, tuckered muscles recover and rest after vigorous workouts, energetic classes, and flexing for giggling courtesans.
Success as a child actor depends almost as much on parents' managerial knowhow as it does on a kid's acting skills. During three-day weekend excursions at The Acting Camp?held at the more than 300-acre El Capitan Canyon?aspiring performers and their guardians develop their respective roles in each youngster's career. Under the tutelage of John D'Aquino ? a veteran of hits like Seinfeld and Hannah Montana ? kids refine techniques such as auditioning on camera and improvising.
These sessions culminate in prepared scenes that groups of campers perform for casting directors, agents, and managers from networks like Nickelodeon and the CW. Beforehand, these insiders as well as parents of working child actors meet with parents to discuss the business end of the entertainment industry, where money and Beanie Babies exchange hands at a rapid rate. Amid all these career-focused activities, The Acting Camp leaves plenty of time for families to relax and bond with fellow attendees.