I am living in Placerville California which is Northern. You are around the Santa Cruz area which is warmer in winter than our winters up here. Usually Italians are the bees that do well here, especially if you have warmer weather as well.
When I started beekeeping, I started with deeps and medium supers. But I quickly learned that it is better to have all your supers one size then you can use your frames anywhere you need them. I then transitioned to all medium supers.
Also you have to make the choice to use foundation or go foundationless. I started with foundation, but then transitioned to foundationless. If you are going to read Michael Bush's book, he has information on how to do this.
You can read Beekeeping for Dummies, which is the book that got me all excited about beekeeping. But now I do some things different than that book. As I mentioned, I use all medium supers, and let the bees draw out their own comb (going foundationless).
There is lots to learn, but you can get help here on the forum.
I use the traditional beehives with 10 frames. If I had to start over, I would start with 8 frame equipment because it makes it easier to lift the heavy supers.
Michael Bush's book is the book I would refer to for anything you need. I basically follow his advice for all my beekeeping needs.
Hope this helps some.
How far is Soquel from Sonoma County?? You can take a great beekeeping class with Serge Labesque who is one of my beekeeping Guru's. If you are interested I can try and research when he teaches classes.