When Joseph Pilates first developed his fitness system, he worked with bedridden patients, removing their beds’ bedsprings and attaching those springs to the walls. In order to build their core strength, he encouraged them to push against the coils. At Align Pilates, owner Loralee Stephens carries on Pilates’s tradition with her own array of nontraditional fitness equipment. Her studio’s Pilates reformers, the modern incarnation of Pilates’s bedsprings, provide resistance for full-body toning exercises. Straps hang from the studio’s ceiling, which students use for airborne pushups, sit-ups, and stretches in TRX suspension classes, rather than just for elaborately hanging up their coats. Even during more stripped-down sessions with only a mat for equipment, Stephens and her team fulfill Pilates’s mission of strengthening cores and building long, lean muscle.
An online supershop of readables, BlueDolphin.com offers more than 1,000 magazine titles spanning nearly every imaginable genre. The site's mags are supplied by publishers at already discounted prices, allowing readers to get their literary fill without hocking their grandmothers' priceless porcelain flyswatters. Browse through the selection of titles available for $20 or less to find a year's worth of affordable reading, or choose your favorite category—from news and sports to computing, cooking, and gambling—to line up a suitable bedtime companion, such as Good Housekeeping, Rolling Stone, or The Beer Connoisseur. To help ensure word diets stay balanced, BlueDolphin.com also streamlines the subscription experience with MagTracker, a free online service that makes keeping tabs on your mags easier than bilking an aging schnauzer out of his 401(k).
Bowling Green Overstock houses a myriad of high-quality, name-brand furnishings ready to fill houses' walls at near-wholesale prices. Create a home office with the elegant Expression desk ($398), or use the Aaron dining set, which includes four padded barstools, to transform a shed into the family's favorite high-stakes gambling den ($225). Communal areas can stylishly support multiple sitters or nappers with the Allendale-Mist leather sofa set ($225–$1,398). Pick and choose items from the sophisticated Alberto bedroom set, such as a nightstand ($98) or mirror ($48). Slumberous slates such as Ashley Sleep's Augusta memory-foam mattress, stacked with a meaty 8 inches of body-caressing foam ($298–$848), are ideal for replacing mattresses worn down from years of tossing and turning or months of breaking the falls of amateur firefighters stuck in trees.
Your Groupon grants you aerial access to a Cessna 172 ($49–$50 per half hour, depending on location). As you hop into the cockpit, study the navigational dials and instruments. Firmly grip the yoke. Then see how many witty quips you can squeeze in over the intercom before it's time to fly. Each lesson is copiloted by one of Givens' expert instructors ($20 per half hour). Having logged countless flight hours, your copilot will keep your confidence and nose up as you take in the basics. Though it may be difficult to resist showing off for friends, save the barrel rolling for professional stunt pilots and Donkey Kong.
A family-centric salon, Spa Fabulous specializes in the beautification of mothers and daughters by offering adult and child spa treatments. Clients can partake of hair, nail, and facial treatments, or opt for a spa party, which lets partiers prance down a glitter runway showing off new coifs and nails. The salon also offers a lineup of craft activities as well as ear piercings, feather extensions, and Shellac nail polishings.
Live goats scamper across a verdant vista dotted with farmhouses and open prairies at Lady-K Farm, a working dairy farm. Its owner, Karen, spends much of her days shepherding the farm's goats. She supplies bottles of their milk for local families and also uses it to create fresh-smelling bars of natural soap. In addition to wrapping bars in pristine packaging for wholesale, Karen has taught soap-making classes for 15 years to help others harness the milk's skin-softening benefits. Karen also sponsors an annual Goat Husbandry Conference to teach prospective goat owners how to care for the animals, especially when they dress in sheep’s fur in blundered searches for their own identities.