Mae de la Calzada founded LadyParts Automotive Services based on a simple observation: "When a woman's car breaks down, lives break down." Recognizing the strain of being a wife, mother, professional, and friend all at once, de la Calzada saw a way to ease at least one burden women often face. This vision helped her to turn the intimidating ordeal of auto repair into an empowering experience.
Today, when women—or men—walk into LadyParts Automotive Services, they are greeted by automotive technicians who eschew technical jargon and instead speak in the simple, clear language that both cars and drivers instinctively understand. Claiming certifications in hybrid repair, LadyParts's mechanics work on virtually all makes and models of vehicles, performing services that range from 50-point safety inspections to major repairs. To enhance each visitor's experience, the staff coordinates free shuttle service and furnishes a waiting area with free wireless Internet access, a 50-inch plasma-screen television, and well-maintained restrooms.
To further demonstrate its goal of turning auto repair into an empowering experience, LadyParts's team leads car-care clinics in which technicians demystify automobile maintenance. Such efforts have earned LadyParts Automotive Services consistent press, a vast network of loyal cars ready to do its bidding, and recognition that includes a 2011 Best Car Repair win from ABC7 The Bay Area A List, as well as a top-five finish in the 2012 race.
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.
“Hueco” translates roughly to “little cave,” a tribute to the Peruvian hole-in-the-wall restaurants that serve ceviche and charcoal-roasted meats at any hour of the day. El Hueco attempts to capture the feeling of a hangout in the little mountainous country with traditional dishes crafted by lauded chef Jaime Laos. “Laos,” the San Jose Mercury News noted in an article, “has come a long way since his grandmother taught him to cook in a one-faucet house they shared with eight others in Lima.” He now creates a full menu of traditional small plates and entrees, which rely heavily upon the seafood, South American chilies, and sweet potatoes that make up the bulk of Peruvian cuisine.
From the steaming vats of beef stew cooked in a corn-beer sauce to the pan-fried chicken cooked in a blend of porto butter and chocolate, Laos introduces clients to the ancient flavors of Peru. Guests experience how Peruvian chefs prepare mixed vegetables and quinoa. The soft grain was cultivated by Incans hundreds of years ago, but is now becoming popular in North American health-food stores and slapstick movies about people falling into vats of different things. After bowls of ceviche, traditional desserts at the eatery pair root vegetables with a splash of sweet molasses.
Named after a little girl who loves cars, Sophia's Euro Asia Motors has nurtured roadsters inside a 26,000-square-foot facility for more than 10 years. Their team of ASE-certified mechanics—one of whom can work on diesel vehicles—maintains autos with oil changes, brake adjustments, and tires by Michelin, Pirelli, and Hankook. As a Certified Auto Repair center, they back many of their repairs with a 12-month or 12,000-mile warranty, which is honored at more than 30,000 locations across the country—only three shy of being honored at all the buildings of any kind in the country. Their I-CAR-certified techs restore autos to showroom condition before sealing their handiwork with a lifetime warranty. If guests can't wait in Sophia's cozy waiting room furnished with booth-style couches and a TV, staffers will pick up and drop off their autos or provide free rental cars for qualified repairs. Sophia's mechanics have also been known to demonstrate a commitment to their community by such generous acts as delivering bath towels to shelters and hosting car washes to benefit local after-school activities.
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.
Named Best Honey in 2008 by the Dallas Observer, Round Rock Honey's 100% natural local wildflower honey is harvested from more than 90 sites by owners Konrad and Elizabeth Bouffard and their crews of trained beekeepers. With precision, they remove the liquid gold from hives by centrifuge, ensuring that pollen, trace minerals, and complex sugars are never compromised during the honey harvest. They then pour the honey through a stainless-steel sieve to remove potential bee legs and wings, wax caps, and miniature tiaras before bottling it and selling it to specialty stores, farmer's market visitors, and online customers.
A similar procedure happens in other parts of the country at Round Rock's beekeeping schools. During classes, Konrad Bouffard and Beekeeping Academy teachers impart their beekeeping knowledge upon suited-up students while they extract honey from a live beehive. Along the way, novices learn about the finer points of raising bees and keeping them healthy, as well as bee handling and lullaby-buzzing.