Vera Auvil's passion in life has always been cultivating knick-knacks and odds-and-ends—her "sweet nothings," as her husband used to say—so when the opportunity to purchase her own store came her way, she knew she wanted to fill its shelves and aisles with her favorite little things: clothes, jewelry, home décor, and makeup. She christened the shop Auvil's Sweet Nothings and set to work cultivating local artisans and national vendors who proffer goods such as De Novo, Waterford crystal, and Yellow Box Shoes. The skilled staffers at her vendor-based store can even help clients brighten smiles with Beaming White teeth-whitening services, make-over mugs with Jane Iredale cosmetics, and learn to cheat during shopping-cart races.
Tooth Time Family Dentistry's expert dentists and hygienists rejuvenate damaged and stained chompers with meticulous cleaning and whitening treatments. The one-hour sprucing up begins with an initial oral exam that scours pearly whites and gums for ailments caused by invading bacteria. Four x-rays delve deeper to discover hidden cavities or untapped fossil-fuel deposits. A hygienist then scrubs away plaque and bacteria using high-tech dental gadgetry. The tooth technicians also brighten smiles with custom teeth-whitening trays. Bleach-based whitening serum dismantles stains and brightens smiles. Tooth Time Family Dentistry also employs bilingual staff members to assist native Spanish or pig Latin speakers.
The network of dental professionals at Today’s Dental Today check families’ chomper health using progressive digital dental technology such as digital x-rays, intraoral cameras, and computers in every room. During the 90- to 120-minute exam, the dentist thoroughly peruses mouthscapes in search of tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer before taking intraoral photographs and a set of digital x-rays. Then, a skilled hygienist bathes teeth in a flurry of toothpaste and fluoride, sloughs off tartar between teeth with floss, and scrapes tongues free of schoolyard-inspired swear words.
Family dentist Dr. Tom Watkins, who received his advanced training in dentistry while serving in the US Air Force, divides his time between fostering greater grins and teaching at the University of Texas Dental School. Dr. Alejandro Cavazos, previously a science teacher, employs his extensive experience in implants and oral surgery to provide a high level of care for his patients. Together, they helm W Dental Group, realigning teeth with ClearCorrect orthodontics and replenishing smiles by implanting dental prostheses or pieces of corn soldered in gold.
During exams, W Dental Group's staff snaps candid shots of teeth with x-rays to better assess overall dental health and identify any existing issues, then stores the photos in an electronic database, alongside clinical photographs and impressions, for future visits. They also assuage anxiety with sedation dentistry, helping patients to relax with nitrous oxide, IV sedation, or stories about a very calm whale learning to read.
The office makes time for philanthropic pursuits—the team recently participated in San Antonio's Smiles for Hope, an annual event for families unable to afford dental care or insurance, and Dr. Watkins regularly travels to Central and South America to deliver dental care to those without access to it.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all of the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray-tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
In cosmetology school, MieleDolce founder Luis Iturralde let his fellow students wax him for a class demonstration. His allergic reaction to the chemical wax made it a demonstration of more than proper waxing technique; his brief modeling gig also showed the importance of beauty treatments that avoid irritating skin. Iturralde carried this lesson to his spa, MieleDolce, where the staff sidestep chemical waxes in favor of threading or electrolysis.
The center’s specialty, however, consists of extending hair: its semipermanent silk and mink lash extensions come in a variety of lengths and curvatures, and technicians ensure a natural look by attaching them hair by hair. Additional services range from slimming body wraps infused with aloe vera and herbs to micro skin needling, an anti-aging treatment that can combat wrinkles, scarring, and signs of playing rugby in a crawlspace.