A Southwest-based company for more than a century, Frazee Paint and its team of manufacturers are well acquainted with the unique climactic conditions of the region. Always pulling from the latest technology, their technicians design each of their paint and coating products to withstand dry heat, sparse rainfall, and showers of chewing tobacco from passing cowboys. Their quality paints, wall-coverings, wood-care products, and painter's tools stock the shelves of more than 125 retail locations throughout California, Arizona, and Nevada, as well as international dealers in Mexico, China, and Guam.
Melanie Ramiro's work isn't all about airbrushed Hollywood glamour. "I probably find more beauty in the primal nature of things than in an artificially created façade," she explained to Steve Robles, a former coworker. This devotion to realness is evident in the work she's done with women from all walks of life—including single moms, married women, and breast cancer survivors. No matter the clientele, Melanie caters her shoot to individual visions, be they sweet—filled with softly lit, high angle shots of women in classic pinup poses or tangled in sheets—or sultry, featuring darker lighting, higher contrast, and a larger dose of femme fatale. "I like my work to tease and tempt but never give it all away," she says, and her work achieves this through the use of plain backdrops, minimal props, keeping the focus solely on her subjects. As a former dancer and acrobat, Melanie's eye is naturally drawn to interesting lines and flattering poses, a skill that helps women of all shapes and sizes feel comfortable in front of the camera. "I want my images to be show-stoppers," she exclaims, "I want people to be breathless for a moment when they first see them. I want a strong reaction."
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Highland Springs Resort's friendly staff has been welcoming guests since 1884. The present-day grounds include a thousand-year-old black oak tree in the Cherry Valley foothills, more than 20 acres of farmland ripe with organic herbs, and miles of hiking trails accessible with a visitor guest pass. The deluxe inn room, which echoes the resort's rustic, simple feel, hides behind green and growing charms, including gardens, vined verandas, and plumes of shrubbery rearranged daily by millions of heavy-lift butterflies. Located roughly 80 miles from San Gabriel, Highland Springs Resort is close enough to bookend your work week without spending all of it in the car.
Loosely translated as Manor House, Masia de Yabar Vineyard and Winery mimics the style of a Spanish villa—a gently gabled, terracotta roof caps low stucco walls with arched outlooks. The villa hints at the Yabar family's Spanish ancestry, as well as their passion for winemaking. Today, the Yabar family oversees the production of a handful of wines and leads tastings in an earth-toned room. During tours of the vineyard and winery, they demystify the process of making wines by showing visitors their purple toes. In the shade of palms, they host art classes and live concerts, welcoming guests to relax on the patio with a spicy-sweet malbec or a full-bodied cabernet franc.
As a young girl, Beth Wickham never had to fight the other children for dolls; she only had eyes for the camera. Today she lives out her lifelong passion for photography by capturing clients during many of their biggest moments, such as weddings, baby’s first step, or Grandma’s first handstand. After her shoots, she professionally edits photos, making them gallery ready by reducing redeye and softening any unwanted blemishes.