State investigator Suzan Armstrong sifts through heaps of paperwork, carefully mulling over government cases. Though her eyes focus on the documents' dense text, her thoughts momentarily drift away to daydreams about erecting a creative haven where people can funnel their imaginations into a slew of colorful crafts. In January of 2007, Suzan's reoccurring daydream materialized when she hung up her investigative briefcase, broke the glass on her emergency paintbrush holder, and opened her own franchise of Color Me Mine—named one of the top 10 places for kids' birthday parties by Parents magazine.
The 1,750-square-foot studio brims with décor and fixtures crafted by its own staff members, including custom-tile floors and a grandfather clock made from shards of shattered pottery. Patrons browse well stocked shelves of ceramic plates, vases, and—thanks to an exclusive partnership with the magic magnate—Disney characters, then garnish their chosen bisques around crafting tables in the main studio or long tables in the private party room. Experienced staff members stand closely by to help with bisque or paint selection and answer any questions about materials, design ideas, or how to emblazon Tinker Bell with a perfect Mona Lisa smile, then glaze and fire each creation to forge a bounty of long-lasting keepsakes.
Ever since The Alaska Club opened its first location in 1986, they've been striving to serve their members by adding amenities, classes, and opening new locations. Though each location?s offerings vary, they supplement their well-stocked fleets of cardio machines and strength equipment with cycling studios, climbing walls, basketball courts, swimming pools, and play centers for the kids. The club also offers spa services including hydromassage beds, tanning, and saunas.
Group fitness classes include yoga, step aerobics, and Pilates, and personal trainers stand at the ready to help clients focus on fitness goals. The clubs also offer swim lessons and summer camps for kids, setting in stone their commitment to making The Alaska Club a place for the whole family, not the half-formed family, which needs at least seven more years to gestate in the laboratory incubator.
Helmed by experienced trainer and former Buffalo State Bengals hockey captain Rocky Reeves, Rock Hard Fitness squeezes functional workouts into a convenient 30-minute package. A maximum class size of 12 ensures that each recruit receives trainer attention as well as group motivation. During strength-training sessions, exercisers of all levels bolster muscles with strength circuits, which alternate weightlifting with bodyweight exercises to prevent dumbbells from developing a superiority complex. High-intensity boot camps goad students to maximize their potential with dance, techno, and rock music that encourages shimmying betwixt reps. Core and cardio workouts then fortify heart health as they tone perspiring torsos and torch calories. Patrons should report to the Rock Hard studio for their indoor routines, which, like most psychic dentists, do not require prescheduled appointments. To help clients tackle their wellness goals as quickly as possible, the studio also offers personal training, meal-planning assistance, and Isagenix nutritional supplements.
As the clients of the month might tell you, the dedicated Fit Pros at Body Renew Alaska know how to get results. The team—which includes a female bodybuilder, a National Guardsman, and a trainer who helped one client lose more than 200 pounds in a year—takes a five-step approach to making weight loss permanent. Each client's journey begins with a fitness assessment, in which a personal trainer takes measurements, helps create realistic goals, and introduces the gym equipment. Patrons use an online tool to make healthful food choices and train their metabolism, and they can improve cardiovascular endurance during a variety of boot camps and classes, such as Zumba, kickboxing, and circuit training. Throughout the process, a crew member dispenses one-on-one feedback and encouragement, answering questions about the fastest way to burn fat or how to convert a pair of worn-out sneakers into a chipmunk hotel.
Let's Cook Alaska's talented teaching chef, Josie McKinney, fell in love with cooking at a young age. By the age of 12, she was preparing Thanksgiving dinner for her family. Now, as a mother of four, she shares her joy of cooking by inviting students into her “dream kitchen,” where they develop culinary confidence by working with her recipe box full of diverse meal ideas. In her cooking classes, she aims to transform cooking from chore to adventure. Josie’s fun, hands-on teaching style encourages students to get their hands messy by trying techniques for themselves and clean by stuffing them into their friends’ mouths. While students prepare entire meals, Josie circulates among them dispensing tips. Classes stay small—around 4 to 10 students—to ensure lots of individual attention and extra servings to go around when the class sits down together to enjoy their creations. Menus rotate with a monthly theme, such as comfort food and international fare, prepped with fresh, local ingredients.
Laughing Lotus Yoga of Anchorage’s founders, Kim and Svia, have shaped their studio around the mantra “freedom in practice”—the idea that clients should interpret yoga to best suit their own needs. In this mantra's spirit, the 11-yogi staff instructs classes in diverse modalities, such as stress-relieving Hatha, mind-and-body-balancing Kundalini, and Vinyasa flow, a mashup of styles. To further personalize lessons, instructors can tailor asanas and stretches to injured clients in private sessions, to expecting mothers in prenatal classes, or to children stressed from memorizing all the rules of freeze tag in yoga for kids aged 3–5 and 6–10.
An on-site healing team pampers physiques with traditional massages, Thai bodywork, and Rolfing. The studio’s boutique stockpiles yoga gear from brands such as form-fitting lululemon and festively tie-dyed Shining Shakti.