All About Yarn owner Pilar learned to knit and crochet from her grandmother at the age of 5. She learned at first by watching, and then by imitating, and eventually, she was skilled enough to make her own patterns. When Pilar later immigrated to the United States with her husband, tasks such as learning English, working, and raising her family filled her time. Now that her children are grown, though, she spends her time doing what she most enjoys: knitting, crocheting, and sharing her skills with others. She conducts lessons with patience and care, and she also stocks a wide variety of yarns and instructional books.
The bride stood under the photographer’s lights, resplendent in her wedding gown, as her family looked on from a distance. As she and her photographer, M. Chen, prepared for the shoot, she was handed a package—a prewedding gift from her soon-to-be husband. When she lifted the lid, she immediately burst into tears. Inside laid a photo of a great dane puppy—the dog she’d always wanted, which her husband planned to give her on their wedding day. As she ran to hug her mother, Mr. Chen ran after, shooting image after image, capturing the exact moment she fell into her mother’s arms. These quick reflexes have been honed through his nearly 30 years as a sports photographer and professional fly swatter, and he draws on photojournalistic techniques to compose a traditional portrait or snap once-in-a-lifetime, candid moments.
Regardless of specific approaches, he consistently draws from the landscape style of Ansel Adams and the dramatic lighting techniques of Monte Zucker. His work as a photojournalist and private portrait photographer has earned him more than 300 publications in the glossy pages of New York Daily News, Popular Photography, ESPN Magazine, and Professional Photographers of America magazine. When not snapping on-location engagement shoots, family portraits, or boudoir sessions, he passes on his technique through traveling photography seminars, hands-on workshops, and by gently tapping the heads of his students. Though formerly designed only for professional-level photographers, these classes instill confidence and camera basics in beginners. As he frequently finds new class examples and takes feedback from his students, Mr. Chen frequently fine-tunes the curriculum after each seminar.
Housed in a former lemon warehouse, Casablanca Bar & Grill fills spacious eating areas with the aromas of piquant Mediterranean cuisine. Chefs skewer beef, chicken, shrimp, and lamb kebabs and sauté seafood such as scallops and frog legs. Tender falafel balls can be dunked into tahini sauce or rolled across white tablecloths into the mouth of a dinner companion.
Live entertainment at Casablanca Bar & Grill engages eyes as well as mouths. On Friday nights, belly dancers swivel their hips as they weave through wisps of smoke from flavored hookahs. Paintings in ornate gilt frames keep watch over the festivities, and an outside wooden deck lets diners watch the sky for menu recommendations spelled out in clouds.
In its inaugural year, That Dam Mud Run corrals energetic participants onto the sprawling grounds of Santa Fe Dam Recreation Area to test their endurance and determination in a 5K mud run. As they sprint along mud-laden roads, runners are faced with a brigade of professionally built obstacles that they must scale and conquer in the form of dirt mounds, tires, jump walls, and mud pits full of muddy mud people. After crossing the finish line, participants can cleanse themselves in one of the 30 onsite showers before swilling sips of craft brews in the beer garden, grooving along to live music, or perusing the bevy of eco-friendly booths during the Action Sports & Eco Fair. A portion of the proceeds go to the Gavin R. Stevens Foundation, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness and funds for those living with blindness due to Leber’s congenital amaurosis.
The 16th century comes booming back to life during The Original Renaissance Pleasure Faire, which has re-created the culture, cuisine, and history of the Elizabethan era for more than five million attendees since its inauguration in 1963. Atop 13 stages sprinkled across 20 acres of festival grounds, live performers don traditional garb to demonstrate Renaissance music, dancing, battle customs, and blogging techniques. The talented actors stay in character throughout the bash, mingling with the crowds to perform alongside artisans purveying leatherware, clothing, and perfumes.
Workshops instruct visitors on how to make period crafts, after which guests can refuel with samplings of traditional Renaissance cuisine, such as hefty turkey legs and shepherd's pies, or more modern fare such as strombolis, coffee, and sweet confections. Rides and games challenge kids to toss javelins, race turtles, and recite Shakespeare's complete works on giant swings, and interactive RenQuest exhibitions hone little ones' sword-fighting skills and trivia knowledge.
The exercise enthusiasts at Women’s World Fitness Center chase guests toward fitness goals with a posse of group workouts designed especially for women. With the help of an attentive teacher, Group Power students add muscle tone, subtract calories, and find the square root of pi through a series of squats and presses. Zumba and Cardio Salsa pair easy-to-follow moves with Latin rhythms to dance away stress. Up to 15 pedalers bolster their cardio health in music-fueled spinning sessions, and exercisers of all levels learn jabs, hooks, and empowering self-defense maneuvers in kickboxing classes. The gym also promotes sound minds to fill healthy bodies by offering Pilates, two types of yoga, and an atmosphere that fosters collaboration and encouragement rather than full-contact jumping-jack duels. Consult the schedule for class dates and times.