Wine, whiskey and beer flow freely as DJs spin rhythms and food trucks heap paper plates with nachos, barbecue, and decadent crepes. As the public unveiling of the 2012 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition's winning libations, the Fun Decanted festival gives its attendees a chance to sample the competition's victorious roster for one evening. When not filling their souvenir glasses with tastes of the winning wines, beers, and spirits from all over the world, guests join classes on how to produce, taste, and write online dating profiles for a range of wines, beers, and olive oils. A silent auction lets guests bid on wine-related prizes, and all event proceeds go to benefit The Learning Centers' developmental programs for children and technical-school classes for adults.
The Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition has showcased and awarded domestic and international libations for nearly 75 years. In the same way a restaurant chooses its chef via midnight raids of the applicants' refrigerators, the competition's panels of professional judges use a series of blind tastings to ensure a non-biased approach in winner selection. The competition also emphasizes wine education by inviting industry experts to lead classes on topics such as wine growing, grape selection, and food pairing.
Puddingstone's panoramic views provide eyefuls of the San Gabriel Valley's rocky ranges from every perspective, whether it's the mountains' natural grandeur or their reflection off the placid waves of the resort's namesake lake. While its picturesque plateaus set breathtaking scenes for weddings and other special events, the resort's 20 semiprivate hot tubs are its premier attraction. Nestled within its own cabana—complete with a private changing room, CD player, and controls for water temperature and light—each of the open-air hot tubs instantly conjures romance and relaxation. As candles flicker and sparkling cider chills on the surrounding deck, bathers take in beautiful views of the sun setting over Puddingstone Lake and the valley below. Hot-tubbers may bring a cooler and basket of snacks to enhance the evening, so long as containers aren’t made of glass and patrons wait at least 30 minutes before swimming laps.
San Dimas Pet Grooming transforms dirty, tangled locks into fluffy fur for dogs of all sizes with gentle bathing techniques. In addition to its grooming services, San Dimas can also provide pet sitting and boarding and conduct nonanesthetic dental services.
In 1976, Joan Barnes—a Californian mom frustrated with the lack of spaces where she could take her kids for safe and age-appropriate play time—took matters into her own hands and founded Gymboree Play & Music. In the decades since Gymboree’s founding, Joan’s vision of a safe place where youngsters could build confidence and creativity has come to fruition and spread to 30 countries around the globe. Staffed by attentive and expertly trained instructors, each Gymboree outpost adheres to a curriculum of activities designed by experts to foster the development of children’s’ cognitive, physical, and social skills through structured play and close readings of Goodnight Moon. The staffers also conduct entertaining classes that cover subjects ranging from music to sports, imparting valuable lessons of imagination and physical activity to developing minds. To further set apart her business, Barnes employed nationally renowned playground designer Jay Beck to design the proprietary play equipment at her centers.
For more than 15 years, Marshall Canyon Equestrian Center has welcomed horse enthusiasts for riding lessons and gallops across its sylvan expanse. Guided trail rides require no previous horseback experience, leading as many as 10 riders to witness area wildlife, rumble past clear babbling streams, and admire flowers left by spurned centaur lovers. The center’s instructors, Jennifer and Donna, lead lessons in the riding disciplines of Western and English, specializing in teaching new riders proper horsemanship essentials in the well-lit arena. Marshall Canyon also boards horses in fully covered 16’x16’ stalls, where they enjoy daily cleaning and healthy portions of alfalfa.