Juicy tidbits of chocolate-dunked fruit arrive on the doorsteps of family and friends, done up in colorful bouquets and candy boxes by the skilled fruit arrangers at Edible Arrangements' more than 1,100 franchises worldwide. The company's in-house chocolatiers drizzle albion strawberries and daisy pineapples in a trio of chocolate flavors. Once properly chocolated, the workers organize the preservative-free sweets into lush arrangements that resemble flowers in bloom. Customers can choose to plop their bouquets in a variety of vessels, including vases, mugs, and sports- or holiday-themed containers that add a personal touch to the edible gifts. Alternatively, customers can opt to adorn gifts with the cheery, red lids of candy boxes, nestling 12 chocolate-dipped morsels inside to build anticipation and determine if loved ones have x-ray vision as they guess whether fruit will come dusted in shredded coconut or drizzled in white chocolate.
With a verdant variety of shrubs, trees, roses, and vines, the friendly plantologists will help you wade through the veritable ocean of foliage. Beginning green-thumbers can take advantage of a jumbo planting kit, including ample plant food, vitamin B1, and planting compost—everything a person needs to lure an unsuspecting plant into captivity ($15.97 for the regular kit; $29.97 for the jumbo kit). Advanced yard-enhancements abound in the form of trees and shrubs, such as a selection of 5-gallon citrus trees, good for accenting a living space and forming a focal point for the worship of the Lemon Pledge gods ($34.99). Armstrong can also help organic gardeners reach full-flavored nirvana with a bevy of 3-inch plant varieties ($2.99; selections vary by season and location).
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.
After vacationing in France in the early 1970s, retired physicist Carl Sontheimer was inspired to go back to work. He?d seen a new gadget?a mechanized food processor for restaurants?and wanted to retool it for passionate home cooks like himself. His machine was efficient and versatile: mixing eggs into puff pastry took 15 minutes for a human, 10 minutes for a trained chimpanzee, but just 15 seconds in the food processor. Immediately, revered chefs including Julia Child, Jacques P?pin, and James Beard applauded the invention, and Beard even wrote an entire cookbook dedicated to the machine. Decades later, Cuisinart?s line of innovative products ranges from waffle makers and rice cookers to eco-friendly nonstick pans.
Behind a glass partition, The Sand Witch’s cooks drape colorful ingredients across sourdough, wheat, and white bread. Paninis slip with a sharp hiss onto a grill, melting pepper jack across fistfuls of jalapeños, or causing chipotle pesto to ooze warmly around red peppers. Staff add and remove ingredients such as pepperoncini peppers and sun-dried tomatoes as desired, leaving patrons to make leisurely decisions without anyone yelling about which wire to cut.
Sit 'n Sleep's friendly staff of sleep consultants take slumber seriously, spending months to learn the ins and outs of sleep health, mattress selection, and customer service. With their extensive expertise, these wink whisperers help snoozers find the perfect person-size pillow on which to repose or languidly mispronounce French poetry; choose from a panoply of twin, full, queen, king, and Cal king varietals. Guests can find restful vibes manifested in a bevy of mattress brands, from Sealy to Simmons, and types, from memory foam to latex.