Raised in a family that often gathered for social meals, Amanda J. Smith picked up an interest in cooking at an early age. Later, she cultivated her talents at Le Cordon Bleu in Orlando and studied under chefs such as CulinAero's Doug Kieley, who she names as a mentor. After deciding to launch her own business, Amanda outfitted a mobile catering trailer with a gourmet kitchen capable of food preparation onsite at parties or during highway drag races.
"I have everything I need at my fingertips to create all kinds of fresh, flavorful meals," she told Southern Family magazine this year. Those meals range from bacon-wrapped beef tenderloins and ornate spreads of sliced ham to petite cheesecake bites topped with berries. Amanda also sets up culinary stations at events so guests can select their own hors d'oeuvres or sample sweets arranged around a chocolate fountain.
At Trim-A-Tree Farms, patrons choose their Christmas tree from a plot of still-planted leyland pine trees and chop it down themselves or have an able-bodied staff member cut, net, and load their catch. Guests stroll through rows of lush green trees ($7.50/ft.) in search of the right plant to fill lonely living-room corners as the aroma of pine needles induces memories of a past infatuation with an air freshener. Between passes through the farm, warm up with steaming mugs of hot chocolate or melt fingers over a bonfire's licking flames as little ones trot through fields atop Star, Trim-A-Tree's trusty chestnut pony, during complimentary pony rides. Though additional items are not included in this Groupon, ornaments from the gift shop revamp trees, and adventurous souls can indulge in free temporary tattoos that take the shape of holiday icons or Scrooge's evening gruel.
Professional shutterbug Darlene Grasham seeks honest, candid shots that capture cherished moments of seniors, couples, and families. During shoots inside the studio or great outdoors, professional lenses look for both posed and photojournalistic shots. Children can frolic through verdant fields brimming with natural light, or business executives can flash their pearly credentials before a neutral studio backdrop. Shots aim for natural scenes, avoiding the staged, stiff portrait poses commonly pasted on action figures of politicians. Following the shoot, Darlene uploads proofs to a private online viewing gallery, where subjects can choose their favorite pose to wring through a digital editing tool. Retouched prints then glide onto a shiny CD or traditional print.
At GOGA Studios, 10-minute sessions on whole-body-vibration GOGA platforms pair with infrared saunas, himalayan salt lamps, and ionized water to detoxify and rejuvenate bodies. Each experience at GOGA centers on the FDA-recognized vibrating platforms, which oscillate and simulate a walking motion. This causes muscles to contract up to 30 times per second for a multitude of benefits, such as weight loss, toned muscles, decreased stress, and an improved shimmy. Sessions in the infrared sauna further aid weight loss by stimulating the body’s metabolism with warm, soothing infrared light.
With more than 370 locations and 300,000 patients, HealthSource Chiropractic and Progressive Rehab brings well-trained doctors and, thus, pain relief to all corners of the continental United States. Each office’s staff provides treatments designed to quell lower-back and leg pain, vertigo, scoliosis, migraines, and carpal tunnel. Rather than rely on what they call passive chiropractic care—roller tables, heat packs, ice packs—the staffers at HealthSource mostly prescribe an active care plan to patients. This means they will perform rehabilitation routines alongside chiropractic adjustments to soothe muscle spasms, increase flexibility, and straighten posture so much that local schoolmarms begin suffering from midlife crises en masse.