A family of four poses amid crisp fall leaves, late sunlight casting a warm glow across their smiling cheeks. A newlywed couple beams at each other under a canopy of palm trees. Staff members of a new salon hold a giant pair of scissors, poised to cut the ribbon and the hair of their first giant customer during their opening ceremony. ultra-spective's photographers can capture groups and individuals in nearly any context, and they take a distinctive approach to each—so much so that the studio boasts six different divisions, for family portraits, high-school seniors, art portraiture, weddings, boudoir shoots, and business photography. An all-female team with expertise in lighting and airbrushing directs the boudoir shoots, where they guide subjects in poses designed to make them look svelte and beautiful. For family shoots, they'll gladly venture to a selection of reliably picturesque parks where split-rail fences lean, redwoods loom, and sycamores dapple golden fields with shade. The studio itself has plenty of personality, with chandeliers and black walls lined with hot pink sequins.
Koko FitClub Smartraining system, which debuted in Entrepreneur magazine's 33rd annual Franchise 500 rankings, gives patrons personalized control over their own fitness with 30-minute custom workouts at automated stations. Each person's tailored regimen begins with a body-composition test, which helps trainers to build a program based on weight loss, toning, or whale-wrestling goals. Staff members then load workout plans onto the client's Koko key, which plugs into Smartraining machines. The workout equipment greets guests by name and instructions steer limbs through a medley of strength and cardio maneuvers, all of which take place at a single station. Because the system stores each visitor's progress, workouts adapt daily to keep muscle groups from starting a fight club out of boredom. A personal website tracks fitness data for at-home viewing.
The FAA-certified instructors at Future Eagles Aviation put clients behind the controls of actual aircraft as they teach them the ins and outs of aviation. Students amass skills such as navigation and cockpit familiarity on the ground in adventure flight school before lifting off in a Cessna 172 training aircraft for 30 minutes of flight time. Kids can also take to the sky during Future Eagles Aviation’s youth aviation summer camp, a weeklong foray into the world of cloud skimming and Peter Pan mimicry during which kids aged 10 and older practice on simulators and log real flight hours in training aircraft.
Etched into the hills of Livermore Valley wine country, the award-winning Poppy Ridge Golf Course challenges fairway-navigators to conquer its 27-hole, Scottish heath-inspired layout. The course's four sets of tees per hole help golfers adjust for their skill levels, and master architect Rees Jones's extensive bunkering makes the sparingly used quicksand trap that much more surprising.
More than a century ago, an industrious farmer named Gerard enlisted the help of bees to pollinate his family estate. Inadvertently, the buzzing insects fertilized a new passion for Gerard, one that would become a family tradition.
Four generations later, Gerard?Z Honeybees' bustling hives create more than a dozen local and monofloral honeys from such plants as star thistle, orange blossoms, and avocado blossoms. Because the honeys are completely raw and natural, they maintain the micro-nutritious qualities often left out of industrial varieties, and they may help allergy sufferers to acclimate to their local pollen varieties.
Gerard?Z holds year-round beekeeping workshops and honey tasting seminars at local wineries, nurseries, and farmers? markets throughout the Bay Area and Central Valley. During the classes and tastings, bee experts demystify the process of maintaining a hive, and people get the chance to taste the difference between clover honey, buckwheat honey, black sage honey, and Doritos honey. Gerard?Z also helps to maintain the delicate honeybee population by finding homes for wild swarms or colonies that have built hives in unwanted places and might otherwise fall prey to exterminators.
After the disappointment of being unable to afford a photo booth at their own wedding, the husband-and-wife duo behind Moments To Memories Photo Booth Rentals decided to help others enjoy the silly and sweet snapshots that cement celebrations in people’s memories. Today they dispatch booths that fit up to 15 subjects and prop boxes that overflow with floppy hats, bright sunglasses, and vintage props and picture frames. Throughout each event, a professional attendant remains on hand, aiding guests to ensure a smooth, fun experience as they add personalized text blurbs and create color or black-and-white prints that they can take away just 10 seconds after the flash. Customers can also acquire a USB drive with digital copies of the images and order additional prints online as well as memory books for showing to future generations or brides who hit their heads on the way out of the reception hall.