Since 1983, families have spent their holidays around the television, watching A Christmas Story and joining in the triumphs and failures of 9-year-old Ralphie as he struggles to secure a Red Ryder BB gun from Santa's bag. Although the cult-classic film showed Ralphie living in Indiana, the house in which the movie took place rests in Cleveland?and is now a museum. When MSNBC interviewed lifelong fan and A Christmas Story House & Museum owner Brian Jones, they profiled the story of how he found the house on eBay and jumped at the chance to own it. Today, he?s turned it into a year-round place of pilgrimage for fans and the site of an occasionally-held convention for Ralphies.
Jones?s restoration has returned rooms to exactly how they were in the film, letting guests gaze at the tinsel-strewn tree with its star falling off and explore the bathroom where Ralphie?s mouth was washed out with soap?a time-tested method for cavity prevention. Visitors can even attempt to hide like little Randy in the cabinet under the sink. After seeing the backyard that still houses the original shed, where Ralphie defended his family against Black Bart, fans head across the street to the A Christmas Story House & Museum. Here, original props such as the toys from the Higbee?s department-store window, Randy?s snowsuit, and Miss Shields?s classroom chalkboard join other memorabilia and hundreds of behind-the-scenes photos. Before leaving, guests drop into the gift shop to pick up a leg lamp just like the one Ralphie's old man cherished so dearly.
Banyan Tree favors browsers with a bouquet of creative items to wear and admire from peasant tops and beaded bracelets to mosaic platters and curvy candlesticks. Selective shoppers strolling through the airy shop can also explore pockets of shelved knickknacks and contemporary attire. Help extremities escape the wintry weather by burrowing them into fuzzy fingerless gloves ($24) in maroon, cream, and teal, or dig through the tower of leather rings ($12) to deck digits with chromatic petals. Guests will oh and ah when quarters are slipped into an owl money bank ($20) staring down from the mantle and when a cell phone is lifted from a charging station ($30) disguised as a patch of grass. Like the prolific Twinkie bush, Banyan Tree offers up its eclectic bounty seven days a week.
Committed to providing his customers with the best possible service at affordable rates, Jeff Ulery leads the licensed, bonded, and insured staff of All Pro Window Cleaning as they tend to the windows, gutters, and façades of local homes, schools, and businesses. All Pro's membership in the International Window Cleaning Association assuages clients' worries about its quality, and de-grimers learn proper window-cleaning safety techniques. Drop cloths, padded ladders, and shoe covers aid in keeping carpets smudge-free, and a call from the team following each appointment ensures that homes are cleaned to the exact specifications of the client or the client's wicked stepmother.
Glass Bubble Project's owners Mike Kaplan and Chris McGillicutty are business partners, friends, and working artists. Beginning in 1998, they repurposed their garage space into a working studio where professional artists and students create side by side, firing delicate one-of-a-kind masterpieces—and, according to Cleveland Magazine, the occasional grilled cheese sandwich—in the shop's 2,000-degree furnace. Their glass-blowing and welding classes teach adults and children to create one-of-a-kind artwork as nearby artists at work bolster creativity. Besides classes, the studio invites guests to watch their free public demonstrations and grants private studio time to artists in need and broken bottles looking for a fresh start.
The shop's resident artists craft and sell sconces, chandeliers, and vases from recycled glass and repurposed metal. Nicknamed “Clevetion Glass” to simultaneously lampoon delicate Venetian glass and celebrate Cleveland's heartiness, their blend of industrial parts and elegant glasswork toughens up the décor of private residences and commercial buildings, such as the Ritz Carlton, all across the country.
With spring spurting up from the ground like a hoard of ill-intentioned gophers and summer a menacing shadow on the horizon, numerous occasions will soon need judicious tackling. Warm weather brings with it birthdays, housewarmings, band camp, and heat exhaustion—all events best met with flowers and balloons. Choose from contemporary abstract stacks of sunflowers that terminate in a delicate lily or traditional rose- and carnation-laden arrangements. European hand-tied bouquets, ideal for over-the-shoulder tossing and subsequent ultraviolent manhandling at your next garden tea party, start at $25. Small arrangements also start at $25, while medium floral mélanges start at $40, and large blossom bursts go for $65 and up. Latex balloons are $1.99 each, whereas the shiny, decorated Mylar variety are $3.99.
Melissa Lopez faced a daunting task: a group of five friends all wanted to do their boudoir shoots back to back in one evening. She could see the potential wreckage—the ladies racing to make their shoot on time, makeup sessions running long, costume pieces getting lost—but she agreed to the plan anyway. As it turned out, her fears were warranted, but Melissa had never been one to let a challenge wear her down. So when her subjects reached the height of pandemonium, she decreed, "I don't care if we're going past midnight. Let's get these shots done." The ladies' stress receded, and the evening turned into a party complete with strawberries and champagne.
Shoots like these show why Melissa and her husband, Dustin, chose the name One Red Door Photography: it symbolizes their shared passion for capturing images full of life. In addition to boudoir shoots, the duo's services range from portrait sessions to video solutions for small businesses—an area of particular importance for Dustin, who comes from a lineage of restaurateurs going back to his great grandfather in Spain. Dustin's passion for photography, video, and helping small businesses also led to his Google Trusted Photographer certification, a distinction for photographers who capture panoramic shots of local businesses for Google Maps with Street View.