What began as a one-person startup in Prince Georges county has grown into a 24/7 operation of three impeccably trained pressure-washers and structural cleaners, traveling throughout the Maryland, Northern Virginia, and DC areas to render homes and businesses spotless. ETB Solutions' technicians tackle an enormous range of cleanup and maintenance services, from cleaning carpets and upholstery, to power-washing homes and flushing out air ducts with eco- and pet-friendly products. And the techs can customize regular service programs to fit each home and budget, with scheduled cleanings each day, week, month, or in-law visit. The cleaners also connect with insurers to clean up after disasters such as floods and septic back-ups, and work hand-in-hand with builders during construction projects to ensure buildings are free from mold.
BounceU lets tots take many small steps for kidkind in an inflatable playground, in which they can bounce in a safe, secure environment. Youngsters can carom around the squishily stocked stadium on oxygen-filled energy expenders such as slides, basketball courts, boxing rings, and hamster wheels. The five-bounce pass is valid toward any combination of open-bounce sessions, including Preschool Playdate, Family Bounce Night, and All-Ages Open Bounce.
In 2001, Dr. Robert Samit had a vision, which was a pretty appropriate phenomenon, considering that he's an optometrist. He saw in the future a network of eye doctors, united under the banner of a single company that provides quality vision care—plus a huge selection of value-priced and designer eyewear frames—to patients throughout Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
Together with company president Sue Healey Downes, they now boast a whopping 51 locations throughout the region, each with a licensed Doctor of Optometry on hand. They equip this army of eye examiners with the latest technology. When a doctor determines that a corrective lens is called for, he or she prescribes them before MyEyeDr.'s team of eyecare consultants helps patients choose from a huge array of frames from such brands as Chanel, Oakley, and Ray Ban RX.
View a video from MyEyeDr. here.
GNC's opulent aisles display a wide variety of vitamin and mineral and herbal supplements, as well as sports nutrition, diet, energy, bodycare, and other health products. The Mega Men Sport multivitamin ($19.99 for 90 caplets) supports muscle recovery and energy levels while aiding speedy male metabolisms without dangling steaks in front of their treadmills. Fuel feats of female strength with the Women's Ultra Mega Active multivitamin ($19.99 for 90 caplets), ideal for vigorous women. Two pounds of Pro Performance 100% whey protein ($35.99) distract taste buds with the flavor of chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry while smuggling 20 grams of high-quality protein into the body in each scoop. Promote healthy bones with a calcium supplement, such as coral calcium, sustainably harvested from the Okinawan Sea to provide a healthy 2-to-1 ratio of calcium and magnesium.
A water-survival instructor for more than three decades, Rita Goldberg established the British Swim School following a career on Great Britain's national swim team. Children age 3 months (with a parent) and older can hone their gill skills during the school's 30-minute swimming lessons. Beginners start by learning how to float on their backs—a crucial technique that lets swimmers rest, breathe, and spot life-preserver-shaped clouds. Classes, which are taught year-round in the locations with heated indoor pools, consist of small groups of students learning techniques from the basics to more advanced swim strokes.
In 1964, Bob and Coni Keyes decided to transform their 80-acre hog farm in Waterford, Wisconsin into something brand new: a pick-your-own vegetables and raspberry farm. Inspired by their own 13 children, they decided to gear the experience toward families and kids. It wasn't long before the operation expanded to include interactions with their animals, and the farm became a destination where children could come to experience agriculture and farm life. Eventually the Keyes' children grew up and left the nest, but that they didn't necessarily leave the family business. Instead, many decided to start their own petting farms in their new towns—which is how Green Meadows started in Ijamsville.
Today, farmers there take visiting kids on fun, exploratory hay rides tied to a game of I Spy in which riders look for specific things hidden in the surrounding fields. Afterward, they head to the baby animal barn to cuddle with the farm's youngest fuzzy residents. Other attractions include plastic duck races and a new slide made from a combine. The team also encourages visitors to try milking a cow and feeding the animals.
Before Irene Abdou became a full-time professional shutterbug, she labored for humanitarian causes and non-profits in Africa and Asia. She pours her experience with the gritty realities of life into each image she captures, imbuing them with sophisticated photojournalistic qualities that speak to both activists and art aficionados. Her work has been honored and published by organizations such as the World Health Organization, UNICEF (United Nations Children's Fund), the Global Health Council, the National Parks Conservation Association, and Traveller Magazine. Irene was named a selected artist at the 2008 Chelsea International Fine Art Competition, which was sponsored by Agora Gallery New York. To continue her work as a travel photographer, she received a grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. In an effort to stay true to her philanthropic roots, Irene donates to Operation Smile—a charity that provides volunteer surgeries to children suffering from facial deformities in developing countries.
In addition to these accolades and pursuits, Irene has also been acknowledged for her ability to document personal milestones. She won Wedding Wire's Bride's Choice Award in 2011 and 2012. Besides the knot-tying ceremonies, her portfolio chronicles each point around the circle of life, from the birth of a new child to baptisms, mitzvahs, engagements, and anniversaries. To help consumers discern between photogs and fauxtogs, she offers a guide to choosing a photographer entitled The 5 Fundamental Concepts, which answers important questions such as "What can I do if my photographer turns out to be a scarecrow?"