With more than 17 years of experience, scrupulous shutterbug Monica Michelle captures alluring poses and come-hither glances in private, inhibition-ousting boudoir photography sessions. Studio sittings begin with a styling consultation, allowing promising pinups to prepare for the camera's flattering gaze by donning smoky eye shadow, styling pillow-tousled hair, or slipping into an enticing pair of fishing waders. A one-hour shoot gives the freshly dolled up enough time to strike a multitude of intriguing poses in the comfort of Monica's private studio. After a series of artistic and professional touch-ups to their preferred pose, newly snapped centerfolds receive two 5"x7" prints and a high-quality digital image ideal for giving to romantic partners or sprucing up hum-drum driver's licenses.
With spring spreading like a bag of spilled gravy, now is the ideal time to throw open the windows and get home-care projects underway. Pick up a Stanley six-piece screwdriver set for $6.99, a VPT rip hammer for $8.49, 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. Illuminate the newfound décor with a 12-pack of Ace light bulbs ($21.48), the better to see by as you make use of a Purdy four-piece premium paint-tray kit ($19.99). If you need to match paint to a favorite coverlet or choose a hue that complements a pleather recliner, each store offers a paint-matching service free of charge. Get keys made for $1.99 a pop, or clean a barnacle-encrusted carpet with the help of a carpet-cleaning machine ($30 a day to rent).
What started as a creative way to pay a debt led to the founding of Lemos Farm. Owner Bob Lemos' grandfather was repaid with a cow, so he bought land for the cow and her new calf in 1942, and over the years, the property morphed into a dairy farm, an alien robot, back into a dairy farm, and then a space for horses. Eventually Bob and his father, Arnold, peppered the land with Christmas trees, pumpkins, pony rides, and haunted houses, beckoning families to the sprawling grounds.
Visitors escape urban drudgery and revel in the decidedly country ambience, whether aboard hayrides or visiting the petting zoo for an introductory course in farm-animal massage therapy. During the holiday season, families wander the aromatic rows of the Christmas tree farm, where Douglas fir, incense cedar, and other pines await.
At 2,600 feet up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, one might expect to find sprawling views of the ocean and surrounding forest and not flourishing vineyards. Yet there are more than 70 wineries dappling the hills at various altitudes, privy to the dewy, cooling breezes of the sea and the richness of the rocky soil. The San Francisco Chronicle speaks to their scattered presence, deeming them "less a cohesive wine region than a patchwork of vineyards." Still, this characteristic isolation has resulted in "a perfect laboratory for winemaking not held hostage to fashion"—no one style dominates in this rustic setting.
Pinot noirs and chardonnays populate the western front, and the east yields cabernets, merlots, and zinfandels. The majority of the vineyards are small and family owned—a fact reflected in their meticulously bottled libations and the matching sweaters of their holiday photos—but though they exist in chosen hermitage, many of them welcome visitors to their scenic sites. They host weddings, festivals, and open events such as Pathway to Pinot Paradise, a self-guided tour of the pinot noir hotspots.
Toque Blanche supplies home chefs with a selection of fine cookware for fashioning domestic delectations, earning it the best kitchenware title on the 2010 San Francisco Baylist. Cuisine artists can kit out kitchens with clay La Chamba pans, made of mica-infused black clay that absorbs and diffuses heat (starting at $19.95). Mandolin slicers from Kuhn-Rikon ($19.99) cut veggies into perfectly sliced 1/8-inch pieces and keeps fingers intact. Gadget collectors can evade metric-system mind games with a stainless-steel, seven-piece measuring-cup set from RSVP ($32.99), and opt for an ovenproof meat thermometer from CDN ($10.99) to monitor the fevers of fire spirits.
Tracy Beckerley consults with clients who want to examine their subconscious motivation and explore cognitive processes for any issue, challenge or life-evaluation. She has been trained and has qualified as an intuitive counselor since 1995, backing her expertise with training in psychotherapy, hypnotherapy, interactive counseling, acupressure, and reiki. She works with businesses, individuals, or couples and always seeks to balance the mind, body, and spirit.
420 pounds of butter. 900 eggplants. 210 gallons of honey. This isn’t a recipe for a record-breaking dish, but rather, a portion of the ingredients that go into making this festival delicious. A crew of chefs and bakers spend the three-day event whipping these products and more into Greek dishes and pastries, employing the same recipes and culinary techniques that their forefathers used. This celebration of cultural history and traditions is the foundation on which the Belmont Greek Festival is built.
Hellenic enthusiasts of all ages and backgrounds descend upon the Greek Orthodox Church of the Holy Cross to enjoy food and festivities. A calendar of engaging events includes cooking demonstrations, performances by folk-dancing groups, and tours of the church’s Byzantine-style interior. The outdoor amphitheater hosts live plays, evoking the feel of an ancient theatre thanks to its open-air design and centaur ushers. Kids can take to the Fun Zone for games, rides, and bouncy castles, and shoppers visit the agora flea market to find Mediterranean books, artwork, jewelry, and clothing. The Church of the Holy Cross spreads cheer after the weekend is done by donating part of the festival’s proceeds to local charities, which in the past have included the Children’s Advocacy Council and Samaritan House.