As a child living at the foot of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Ralph DiTullio spent his Sunday afternoons brewing hearty sauces side by side with his grandfather in preparation for the family dinner. As the smell of tomatoes filled the kitchen, his mother and grandmother cut and boiled fresh pastas. On other occasions, he found himself in the cool darkness of the garage, where his grandfather smashed and fermented his own grapes to make wine. Today, nearly all the recipes at Nonno's Italian Cafe build on the hearty Italian dishes Ralph’s mother and grandmother used to make. In the small mountaintop cafe, Ralph cultivates this same sense of familial bonding with new patrons and usual crowds alike, proffering updates on current weather and traffic to callers from the valley below.
While Ralph begins each day crafting potato-filled breakfast burritos and freshly baked turnovers, his lunch and dinner menus transition into traditional Italian fare, such as pastas stuffed with cheese or topped with artichokes and meatballs. He and his culinary crew fire pizzas outside in a wood oven, stacking each with Mediterranean vegetables and barbecued meats with greater care than an artist painting a still-life jenga tower. Every Friday and Saturday, the staff fires up the barbecue for sizzling steaks and sausages. To complement both hearty and light fare, the culinary crew keeps a cellar of nearly 2,000 wine labels and up to 70 beers, replenishing their stock with selections from mostly small international vintners and brewers. They present a changing roster of these wines at weekly tastings to suit different themes and keep the wines from becoming codependent with the house crystal. While all sampling services are kept at small sizes indoors, they can spill outside to bocce-ball courts with courtside seating for up to 150.
Like any small business owner, Ofella Slater started out small. She always loved makeup, and her natural talent with the makeup brush was so evident it inspired family and friends to constantly seek her help as they prepared for big events. That hobby soon turned into a professional calling, and before long Ofella found herself doing makeup for brides and fashion shows??when she wasn't busy strutting the catwalk herself, that is. Her modeling career hasn't gotten in the way of her work at O Spa Salon though??in fact, it gives her a keen understanding of what it feels like to be both in front of and behind the camera, allowing her to build a rapport with the teens, brides, and everyday clients that sit in her makeup chair. She even leads comprehensive makeup lessons where she shows clients the colors and techniques that look best on them and invites clients to bring their home makeup bag so that she may pinpoint which items should stay and which should be cannoned into space.
Ofella and her aestheticians know that makeup is no replacement for healthy skin, and so they offer a slew of skincare services. Ranging from chemical peels to advanced hydrafacials, each and every treatment's goal is to revivify worn down skin or maintain naturally healthy complexions using nourishing ingredients such as pumpkin and vitamin C, as well as advanced tools such as microdermabrasion. To complete head to toe transformations, O Spa Salon also offers hair styling, tanning, and nail services and employs a licensed massage therapists who kneads away stress with five different styles of bodywork.
C.J. Easter understands the value of physical fitness. As a former defensive back who faced some of college football's most fearsome offenses during a four-year stint with the Stanford Cardinal, he could only be as effective as he was lean. With visions of sleek physiques in mind, Easter earned his personal-training certification from the American Council on Exercise, founded Performance Science Training Institute, and set to work devising a fitness system of his own.
The gym's exclusive Metabolic Movement Training (MMT) System is the result of all that hard work. The system is designed to jump-start the metabolism, so it continues working long after the session is complete by helping the body burn fat all day long. After a dynamic warmup to boost flexibility and coordination, trainers lead students through progressive resistance training to strengthen bones and muscles. Next, exciting, short-burst cardio intervals work to condition the heart and lungs and boost endurance, and a final core-training session chisels the midsection. Every exercise includes modifications and progressions to ensure students at every fitness level will glean benefits, and every session ends with a cool-down and stretch to leave bodies feeling better than when they came in.
The institute's team of instructors also augment MMT exercises with counseling on how to make responsible nutritional decisions and set goals that are both challenging and achievable. This all-over approach doesn't simply help people get fitter; it helps them remake their entire lives in a healthier, happier image.
When Cliff Hodges, the founder and CEO of Adventure Out, graduated from MIT with a degree in electrical engineering, he knew a traditional desk job wasn't for him. According to Technology Review, he quickly gave up his engineering career for the wireless world of the great outdoors, where he began to hike, climb, and surf his way around the world, always staying true to his philosophy of environmental respect and protection.
His travels and business accomplishments have gained some measure of notoriety; he's coached on MTV's Made, consulted for ABC News, and was selected as one of four winners of the 2011 Santa Cruz County Civic Service Award: The Nextie. Adventure Out was also identified for meeting survival skills training standards by The New York Times best-selling author Tim Ferriss in The 4-Hour Chef.
Today, he and his program consultant Tom McElroy lead excursions into the California wilderness to teach backpacking and survival skills, including the tracking of animals and wild ice-cream trucks, and they also guide novices through surfing, rock-climbing, and mountain-biking sojourns. Through fundraising, Adventure Out has helped save Castle Rock State Park from closure and a portion of their proceeds is put directly back into the park.
After spending years as a salesman for top mattress lines, Steve Shore needed a new mattress himself. Rather than opt for a steep employee discount on one of the mattresses he sold, the enterprising Mr. Shore collected various natural materials and had them assembled into a mattress that met his exacting specifications: a comfy sleep cushion made with no potentially toxic components. The result was such an improvement over the big-name mattresses he sold that Mr. Shore and his son eventually decided to produce a line of organic mattresses based on the prototype, on which Mr. Shore slept soundly for more than a decade.
Now, the Shore men sell their mattresses under the Eco-Cloud name in The Natural Mattress Store. Made from high-quality steel coils topped with natural latex, Eco-Cloud mattresses resist accumulating allergens and nightmare blueprints and retain their shape and support for years. Organic wool and cotton covers help keep sleepers cool and snug in bed by deflecting body heat and wicking away moisture. Each Eco-Cloud mattress comes with a 12-year, nonprorated warranty. In addition to the Eco-Cloud line, The Natural Mattress Store carries more than 20 organic mattresses, as well as eco-friendly, solid wood bedroom furniture from Pacific Rim Woodworking, Bedworks of Maine, and Vermont Furniture Designs.
In 2001, Carrie Rezabek Dorr’s only venue for her Pure Barre workouts—a blend of dance, Pilates, and strengthening stretches—was the basement of an office building. Crowds drawn by Carrie's choreographing expertise and the infectious music of her routines necessitated expansion, however, and Pure Barre soon spread its franchises across the country, spurred by mentions in Glamour, Cosmopolitan, and Health magazines.
Pure Barre guides students through precise isometric movements that craft lean, not bulky, muscles. By flowing through scalable maneuvers that balance limbs against a ballet barre, participants can lift and tighten traditional problem areas such as the thighs, abs, seat, and arms. The workout is accessible to all fitness levels, and can help new mothers get back in shape. Intimate classes with a limit of 15 attendees ensure personalized adjustments and tips, allowing each guest to get the most from the workout's alternating strength and stretch drills.