Upon entering Go Cycle Studios, it might feel like you’ve accidentally walked into a club: hip-hop, rock, and dance music streams from the expansive sound system, reverberating off the exposed brick walls and polished concrete floors. The cycling and fitness center’s owners, Jimmy and Lisa, use this atmosphere to set the mood, but they’re serious about exercise. They and the other instructors tailor spin classes and other fitness programs to challenge riders of all levels, from beginners to those who want to work up to jumping a police barricade. Under their instruction, riders sweat astride Keiser stationary bikes, each outfitted with monitors that display RPMs, heart rate, approximate calorie burn, and miles covered. Before or after class, students can head to the back patio to sip coffee in the fresh air or furtively discuss ways to hasten the comeback of handlebar streamers.
Founded by two wilderness guides in 1992, Moosejaw has merged an Everest-sized variety of top-flight outdoor goods with thoughtful, friendly service, leading CityVoters to name the retailer the Best Outdoor Apparel store for two years running. Beloved brands such as The North Face, Patagonia, Mountain Hard Wear, Marmot, and Arc'teryx decorate the walls, and Moosejaw's own product line has fanatics worldwide. Outfit a summer surfing trip with some funky boardshorts ($19.99–$59) and some Hyperflex Mesh gloves ($23.95) to ensure maximum tread when open-face slapping disorderly waves. There's an extensive array of footwear to pacify and protect your lower paws. Lace haters and hip Dutch tulip farmers can slip on the snug Merrell clogs ($70). Moosejaw's glut of gear covers a wide range of activities, from snowboarding and rock climbing to indoor sunglassing and extreme strollering.
English Gardens began as a single, family-owned nursery in 1954, and has since blossomed into a full-service landscaping and garden center with multiple locations, all owned and operated by second-generation family members. Each location facilitates both indoor and outdoor gardening projects. The florist department brings the outdoor flourish inside by arranging fresh-cut floral bouquets and gift baskets for all manner of occasions. Workshops and in-store presentations also allow the green-thumbed experts to impart advice on common gardening and decorating topics such as building a kitchen herb garden or housetraining a dogwood tree. During the summer season, English Gardens holds a summer planting sale as well as weekly in-store gardening tutorials every Saturday at 10 a.m.
Though SEE Eyewear’s specs are only found in their stores, their designs sprout from imaginations around the world. Winner of reader's choice awards in cities ranging from San Francisco to Nashville, SEE Eyewear stocks its frames directly from fashionable frame crafters and passes on the savings of doing business at the source to customers. The company calls on fashion designers from France, Italy, and other style-conscious countries to create one-of-a-kind designs to be featured on store shelves and client faces. Before that happens, though, each potential frame goes through a rigorous design and review process to ensure its distinctiveness and quality before it can be added to the national eyewear shop’s exclusive coveted selection.
From cat-eye to horn-rimmed and perfectly round to wayfarer-inspired, the cost of each frame includes single-vision lenses, giving customers the simplicity of a flat price that doesn’t require customers to pay an extra prescription fee or mine their own bifocal quarry. SEE Eyewear also trains its staff members to be aesthetically savvy so they can find the perfect fashion-forward, vision-correcting specs for any face shape, mood, or fashion sense.
At Baja Fresh, spice-yearning patrons can swing by to sample comforting casual fare without the hassle of building a catapult powerful enough to reach Mexico. Grab a burrito or taco served inside the stuffed blanket of a tortilla, or get a bowlful of delectable insides with the shell-less version—or get a combination. The meats that make up each meal are never frozen and are all-natural. Optional ingredients to lay the groundwork for handheld feasts include fire-grilled or charbroiled chicken and steak, slow-roasted pork carnitas, black or pinto beans and cheese, and specialty seafood options; a vegetarian-friendly version includes peppers, chilies, and onions layered with freshly simmered black or pinto beans, cheese, sour cream and pico de gallo.
After working for 24 years at what he calls a "real" job, Bob DiTommaso left the office environment to pursue his passion: photography. It wasn't an easy switch—his career move required long hours and lots of hard work—but Bob says he wouldn't change a thing. The effort paid off in the end, when he opened his own studio, Robert DiTommaso Photography.
Bob works mainly in family and children's photography, but his interests run the gamut from portraits to landscape and sports photography. Regardless of subject, the seasoned shutterbug brings a keen eye for capturing the ineffable in each and every shoot. And he prints his images in-house on a wide-format professional ink-jet printer.
When he's not taking great photos, Bob is teaching others to do so during photography workshops that take place in-studio or on-location. He even leads photography safaris, multi-day trips that trek through national parks and other breathtaking locales in search of the perfect shot of Bigfoot buying deodorant.