Tim Brewer does a good job preparing tax returns for your plain vanilla tax situations. I am sure he is fully capable of handling more complicated stuff, but the service I have got from his office for out-of-ordinary tax issues has been OK, not great. For personal returns he will schedule a yearly review with you, take your paperwork, and then mail you a return for review. You sign it, mail it in, and end up with a handy, well-organized copy of the tax documents for your file.
PROS: Organized, pro-active, practical advice
CONS: Service just OK for out-of-the-ordinary issues
Peerflix is an online service that is a great alternative to buying or renting DVDs. The way it works is similar to a co-op: members make a list of DVDs they have and DVDs they want. When someone wants a DVD you own, you mail it to them. You earn credits for that. With those credits, you can then receive any of the DVDs in your 'want' list. Membership is free and it costs only $0.99 per trade. You can check it out at www.peerflix.com.
PROS: Cheap way to get new-to-you DVDs
CONS: Inventory availability depends on other users
Knowledge Beginnings is a day care/pre-school center on the grounds of the Stanford West complex, right next to the Stanford Medical Center. The space is fairly new, spacious, bright, well divided and overall very inviting. The teachers seem knowledgeable and caring. The prices are high, but standard for this caliper of accredited facility. The catch: if you're not affiliated with Stanford, you'll most likely not get in there for many, many years. So if you are thinking about getting pregnant and want this place for child care, get your name on their wait list now.
PROS: Great facilities
CONS: Not accessible to the community at large
Pearl a wonderful, knowledgeable, and caring esthetician who will give you good, solid advice regarding your skin care needs. She uses high quality products, often times custom blended for you, and is also very well versed in natural skin care, i.e, less chemicals. Her space is very comfortable and inviting. She really takes the time to discuss your particular skin needs. And she is great at waxing brows too!
PROS: Natural approach, good products
I have found that M&M nursery is a good place to check out if you know what you want. While the staff is helpful in pointing you in the right direction if you know what you want, if you come in quite clueless regarding what to buy, odds are that you will walk out equally so. The prices seemed OK to me, but I didn't shop around much. The location is convenient and there is parking right there by the entrance.
PROS: Good, open space
CONS: Not many suggestions on what plants to get
The Catro Village cleaners is a good choice for all those special pieces of clothing that require a bit more TLC in getting cleaned. They do a good job at OK prices for all sorts of garments. For plain, everyday shirts and stuff like that there is a good and cheaper place up the hill on Diamond and 20th.
PROS: Good quality garment care
CONS: Long vacations during the summer
Reggie Niles run the Home Inspection Center in San Jose, doing home inspections up adn down the Peninsula. He is a former engineer with a ton of home building experience. His inspections are thorough, detailed, and in depth. He takes his time and walks the homeowners to be through every little detail of their new home. In the end, you have a thick book with an evaluation of your new house and great instructions on how to care for it. Better yet, he is full of good referrals for any work you actually want to do to the place afterwards.
PROS: Patience, experience, detail-oriented
Atlas Trujillo installed a new A/C system at our place and replaced an old furnace. At the end, we were very happy with the work they did and the deal we got. The installation crew was nice and very experienced. The sales person was nice enough, but he really wanted to sell us whatever he wanted to sell, not as much what we wanted to buy. So we did a lot of research on our own, figured out what we wanted, and went back to them with the exact specifications for which we wanted a quote. That worked!
PROS: Experience, reputation
CONS: Know what you want or you'll end up with what they want to sell
We recently used the guysa t Clark's to redo the hardwood floors in our place. The quote was reasonable, Clark himself very knowledgeable, and the service during and after the job was good too. They did a fantastic job re-finishing our old hardwood floors. We also asked them to lay out new flooring in a portion of the house and that part of the work was just OK - some of the nails are coming loose already.
PROS: On time, on budget, great re-finishing work
CONS: Not as happy wiht new floor
We used One Big Man and One Big Truck twice in our moves. They are just great. The guys who work there are polite, efficient and smart about the way they do their moves. The costs are well laid out in advance and very reasonable. Not the best solution if you have a big house or are moving far away. But if all you need is one big man (or tow) and one big truck, you can't go wrong with them.
PROS: efficient, corteous, good value
CONS: local moves mostly