Recipient of the National Wildlife Federation's 2007 Photographer of the Year and National Geographic's 2008 Best Nature Photographer awards, Aperture Academy founder Stephen Oachs has dedicated himself to passing on camera know-how to newly minted picture snappers alongside a team of pro teachers. His beautiful, wood-floored studio and gallery hosts classes that usher beginners through their first forays into photography. These sessions impart such advanced techniques as high-quality printing and using Photoshop to give red eye to every family member who refused to say "cheese." Workshops spirit students to beautiful locales throughout California, giving budding photographers the chance to hone their skills in stunning natural environments.
At Let's Play in Spanish, children brush up on their Castilian communication skills through interactive, playful teaching methods. Each of the four weekly classes lasts for 50 minutes, which is enough time to master a few words and the first volume of Don Quixote. Kids ages 2–7 can matriculate with a trusted guardian, learning the language from native Spanish speakers. The program's nontraditional methods encompass singing, theater, games, and Peruvian toucan wrangling. Students can supplement lessons by purchasing educational CDs, DVDs, and books specifically designed for the curriculum. Check out the locations and schedules page to choose the same day, time, and instructor for each week's class.
If you’re ever going to make good on your New Year’s resolution to climb the outside of the Bank of America Corporate Center, you’re going to need some well-maintained nails. Today’s deal will cover you with a deluxe manicure and pedicure at My Nail Spa–Peninsula in Cornelius for $25 (a $58 value). Geographers agree that the spa is technically a promontory, but you won’t mind once the skilled nail technicians hand you your choice of beer or wine and start to work on your dainty digit-helmets.
Chef Alyssa of Culinary Craftwork, a licensed and insured professional chef, acquired her passion for food as a youngster whose parents took her on travels around Europe, where they dined in Michelin-star restaurants. Her passion crystallized while she worked her way up to head chef through starred Manhattan restaurants, edging into kitchens with her short frame and tenacious attitude. Now she shares her 20 years of expertise during private in-home cooking classes as well as private dinner parties and small catered events. To help students become more adaptable to their kitchens, Alyssa's three- to four-hour classes focus on building improvising techniques rather than strictly following recipes, finally freeing cooks from 10-volume compendiums on how to, say, make coffee sweeter. Her classes revolve around preset or customized menus, and include the cost of food and Chef Alyssa's shopping, planning, and prep.
The expert trainers at Energeia Boot Camp take personal stock in motivating each member to reach his or her fitness goals. Through a combination of fitness coaching, nutrition advice, and positive support, they take an active role in keeping their charges accountable to themselves. Their more than 30 boot-camp sessions per week meet morning and evening, rain or shine, leaving clients with no excuses to stay home to try to remain perfectly still for 24 hours. The sessions challenge members with an ever-changing lineup of routines that incorporate running and stair climbing, conditioning drills, and strength and resistance training that campers tackle at their own pace. This variety keeps muscles from becoming accustomed to the workouts, rendering them ineffective, and prevents workout burnout.
To further motivate their patrons into action, the staff members help them track their progress during regular fitness assessments. Clients can also sign up for personal-training sessions to make progress toward their goals in a one-on-one setting.
After two decades spent perfecting his secret barbecue recipes on friends and family, Ed opened Big Ed's Buzzard BBQ Inc. to bring his sauce-slathered brisket, pulled pork, and St. Louis?style ribs to the masses. Today, the barbecue master piles plates high with eight styles of smoked and spiced meat, and his chefs fashion multicourse meals full of saucy barbecue, homestyle sides such as honey-jalape?o corn bread, and desserts including peach cobbler.
Meals can be enjoyed at home or onsite at get-togethers. The shop caters a full range of staples for private events, including whole-hog roasts, pintsize sides, and binding agreements to kiss the cook. When he's not cooking, Ed can be found teaching competition-level classes, where he spends five hours covering barbecue basics.