In 1975, photographers Kristen Cole and David Marr founded their eponymous workshops in Sturbridge, Massachusetts, with only a darkroom, some developing equipment, and a classroom that could barely hold five students and a small grizzly bear. After 20 years of educating New Englanders, the talented duo relocated its expanding school to Boise to impart the duo's commercial and artistic expertise to students in the Treasure Valley. Cole/Marr Photography Workshops now illuminates the art of image capture in Boise's renovated Cultural Center, which houses the school's three darkrooms, studio and framing areas, digital workstations, and a photo library. Open to new framers and advanced snappers alike, the workshops' curriculums span fundamentals of both traditional and digital photography, with seminars on topics such as the darkroom process, Photoshop editing, and portraiture. Pupil and instructor galleries inspire with beautiful shots, many taken during photo safaris led by Cole and Marr to destinations as diverse as the contents of a communal diary.
Under the guidance of new ownership, the instructors at Bikram Yoga Boise have no problem welcoming beginners to the practice. After all, each of them remembers the experience of their own first lesson. Some took part in a 60-day class challenge and some simply saw it as a new adventure in fitness, but all of them fell in love almost immediately with the benefits inherent in sweating and stretching.
It helps that the style accommodates all skill levels. Because students perform the 26 poses to the best of their ability, they needn't have any experience or a life-sized rubber stand-in to begin taking classes. The postures build off each other to stretch muscles, ligaments, and other tissues throughout the body as the surrounding heat in the studio?up to 105 degrees?makes them more pliable. The warmth also boosts circulation and the release of sweat, which helps to purge the body of built up toxins. As practitioners become accustomed to the poses, they can benefit from increased strength and range of motion.
In 1971, Michael Sowers taught himself how to throw clay in a high-school art class. The classroom had a functioning pottery wheel, but the instructor didn't know how to use it, so Michael began checking out instructional books from the library to support his fledgling interest.
Ever since, he's been molding masses of clay into plates and vessels, preserving their shapes with the heat of a 2,350-degree kiln. His work is as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing—subtly hued french butter dishes hold a quarter pound of butter in water, keeping it fresh for up to a month, and grater plates come equipped with a built-in shredder for garlic, ginger, parmesan cheese, or CIA documents. Sowers seals each piece with a lead-free glaze used by potters since the time of the Ming dynasty, ensuring that customers can safely send his pottery through a dishwasher or heat them in a microwave or oven.
There is no typical climb at Urban Ascent. With the help of a belaying partner to safeguard their ropes, visitors can scale up to 43 feet of weathered rockface on endurance climbs, or they can stick closer to the ground in the ropes-free bouldering area. Urban Ascent’s team challenges climbers by regularly revamping the 14,000-square-foot gym’s routes, rearranging footholds and installing pop-out boxing-glove gags to add an element of unpredictability to climbs. During private climbing lessons, instructors fine-tune veteran climbers’ techniques or teach newbies basic fundamentals. The staff also imparts climbing-safety basics to first-time belayers in 20-minute tutorials. Urban Ascent hosts summer camps, afterschool climbing activities for students, and corporate team-building workshops.
Like fancy suits, sofa sets are sewn from the same cut of fabric. These matching sets provide a well-rounded look in living rooms, but near misses tend to clash due to their small differences. At 20 show rooms throughout the western US, Mor Furniture for Less arranges complete-room sets so customers can envision the collections in their own homes. Furniture for living rooms, dining rooms, and children's rooms can be found in each store along with individual lamps, tables, and entertainment centers. The stores also carry complete sets of beds, dressers, and nightstands so that homeowners don’t receive criticism from design bloggers in their dreams.
Featured on ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition in 2011, Bouncin Bins sells and rents colorful inflatable bouncers of every ilk, from giant slides to obstacle courses. An online catalogue helps party planners select and rent a range of high-grade vinyl inflatables for their celebrations. In addition to themed bounce houses, it also offers dunk tanks, water slides, and interactive inflatable games, such as boxing rings, bungee runs, and oversized sumo suits for wrestling or forcing people to respect your personal space on the train.