With a verdant variety of shrubs, trees, roses, and vines, the friendly plantologists will help you wade through the veritable ocean of foliage. Beginning green-thumbers can take advantage of a jumbo planting kit, including ample plant food, vitamin B1, and planting compost—everything a person needs to lure an unsuspecting plant into captivity ($15.97 for the regular kit; $29.97 for the jumbo kit). Advanced yard-enhancements abound in the form of trees and shrubs, such as a selection of 5-gallon citrus trees, good for accenting a living space and forming a focal point for the worship of the Lemon Pledge gods ($34.99). Armstrong can also help organic gardeners reach full-flavored nirvana with a bevy of 3-inch plant varieties ($2.99; selections vary by season and location).
In 1976, two UC Davis graduate students bought 20 acres of land in the highly arable Capay Valley. One of the students, Kathleen Barsotti, was working toward her master's degree in ecology and was determined to grow vegetables and fruits in an eco-friendly way: organically. The organic-food movement hadn't yet entered the public consciousness, and Kathleen worked overtime to convince restaurants, stores, and consumers of the taste-able merits of her process. Over time, given the possible health and environmental benefits of certified organic food, she succeeded. The farm sprouted to 300 acres to accommodate the increased demand. Today, a second generation runs the farm as well as a shop inside San Francisco's Ferry Building. Dubbed Farm Fresh To You, the store furnishes customers' bags or portable cornucopia horns with all sorts of soil-sprouted goods, including heirloom tomatoes, sweet peas, and fresh asparagus. The farm also teams up with fellow Yolo County and Pacific Northwest farms to deliver boxes of seasonal produce to area homes.
Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
Arcadia Thai Spa's inviting, homey reception area matches its private treatment rooms. In both the lobby and treatment quarters, orchids and soft textiles create a natural sense of comfort. Whereas sunlight floods the reception area, dim light prevails in the treatment rooms, originating from votive candles and the incandescent eyes of live panthers. In these quiet rooms, beauty professionals perform Thai-style spa treatments.
Skincare treatments for the face primarily target conditions related to aging. The Hydra Medic acne treatment neutralizes bacteria and repairs lesions with potent botanical ingredients. Designed for older skin, the Vita Cura 5 treatment dissolves damaged skin tissues, uncovering fresh new skin with fewer age spots. During Thai massages, therapists use their hands, knees, legs, and feet to relieve clients' muscular pain and train for the Twister world championships.
Bear Essentials Gift Shoppe's well-versed shopkeepers stock their 4,000-square-foot mecca with exemplary giftables suitable for satisfying a laundry list of people and occasions. Pick up a Tyler candle for a thoughtful hostess gift ($6.95), or swaddle a favorite baby with a new blanket ($9.95), sealing in security and sealing out thoughts of looming future spelling bees. Shoppers sheathe mascara within the stylish confines of a Vera Bradley cosmetic bag ($22), bestow solemn flair upon empty mantels with a Willow Tree nativity set ($74.95), or take chicly to the skies bolstered by a Baggalini travel bag ($43.95). After customers conclude an easy afternoon of perusing the shop's eclectically grouped items, Bear Essentials Gift Shoppe's staff prepares each present with complimentary gift wrapping, adorning gifts with a decorative flourish and taking the stress out of trying to wedge a Tiffany lamp into a festive tin.
At The Frame House, design professionals tailor custom frames and shadowboxes to suit the tastes and surroundings of discriminating decorators. Painting possessors and particularly judgmental walls will enjoy the efforts of the store's skilled team of frame facilitators, who listen closely to customer requests before launching each project, such as fitting 10"x12" custom blackwood frames, mat, and glass ($77) around oils on canvas or chalk scrawls excavated from the sidewalk.