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).
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.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.
Like fancy suits, sofa sets are sewn from the same cut of fabric. These matching sets provide a well-rounded look in living rooms, but near misses tend to clash due to their small differences. At 20 show rooms throughout the western US, Mor Furniture for Less arranges complete-room sets so customers can envision the collections in their own homes. Furniture for living rooms, dining rooms, and children's rooms can be found in each store along with individual lamps, tables, and entertainment centers. The stores also carry complete sets of beds, dressers, and nightstands so that homeowners don’t receive criticism from design bloggers in their dreams.
Mission Hills Nursery draws from a long tradition of horticulture, as it was founded in 1910 by renowned green thumb and urban-green-space advocate Kate Sessions. Year after year, rows of roses, shrubs, and vegetables have sprung up under the staff's doting hands and dangled morsels of plant food. A section for gardening accessories equips yard workers with trowels, thorn strippers, and organic fertilizers to motivate crops without scourging them with caustic chemicals. In addition to tending to its plants, Mission Hills Nursery's staff arranges landscapes with garden-design services and teaches clients to arrange their own through gardening classes.