Mattress Choice's sleep specialists take the time to educate guests as they lead them on tours through a showroom stocked with more than 30 models. They explain the technology and benefits of each mattress to guests who lie on as many mattresses needed until they find the comfiest fit. Familiar brand names such as Simmons Beautyrest and ComforPedic make up the showroom’s roster. A stockpile of accessories provisions sleepers with other necessary items—frames, Tempur-Pedic pillows—that pile atop already-snug mattresses to make them even more comfortable after long sleepwalks or sleep break dancing.
Socially conscious crafters can take home a hand-stitched measuring-tape cat (Vietnam, $8) from Mai Vietnamese Handicrafts, while frugal fashionistas can sport dancing-girl earrings made from recycled soda cans by KICK Trading Ltd. (Kenya, $12) or a marbled bead choker from TARA Projects (India, $16). Decorate the great outdoors with Manos Amigas' ceramic bird wind-chime (Peru, $44), or beautify the indoors with the world children wall hanging (Haiti, $84) from Comité Artisanal Haitien. Fair-trade staples, such as Equal Exchange coffee, tea, and chocolates, make tasty gifts for Father's Day, Secretary's Day, or Father's Secretary's Day.
"Wired and Fired is the best date [we] have ever been on," wrote Haley and Jeff, whose first meet-up went so swimmingly that they married less than two years later. Perhaps the duo bonded over their shared creativity: at the studio, blank white dishes, figurines, boxes, and banks await fresh coats of paint and glaze from brush holders. Artists also can stop by the Bling Bar to spangle their bisqueware with colorful gems poured from the bartender's shaker. Pieces emerge glossy and dishwasher-safe from the kiln about three days later.
Wired & Fired isn't just popular with the cupid-struck set—the kid-friendly environment is also a favorite hangout for families, especially when Family Night on Wednesdays offers discounts for tots. (Tuesdays are Ladies' Nights.) Children and adults alike can hold their birthday parties or private get-togethers at the studio, where they're invited to bring their own snacks, pizzas, and even 21-or-older beverages. Partiers can daub paint onto pottery or learn to fuse glass into jewelry, bowls, and vases. Those preparing a custom gift may call upon the talents of Wired & Fired's on-staff artists.
With more than 6,000 square feet of showroom space, Consignment Furniture Depot offers an ever-changing inventory of new and lightly loved home furnishings and features brand-name designers including Drexel, Lane, Bassett, and Ethan Allen. Consignment Furniture Depot shoppers can peruse its photo directory to get an up-to-date sampling of available lighting, rugs, and mirrors, as well as Marcia's collection of refurbished furniture. Outfit rooms with leather couches ($200+), love seats ($125+), and a tall wooden dresser-and-mirror combo ($140) or give mattresses some regal outerwear by grabbing a modern black queen-bed set ($105). With a computerized inventory system, Consignment Furniture Depot promises simple, straightforward pricing and offers periodic markdowns based on how long pieces have been living in the showroom and whether or not they come to life after hours.