When Omar Morineau was 17 years old, a local businessman named Cal handed him an airbrush and car-paints, entreating the teenager to “learn how to use ‘em.” The self-taught youth was soon plastering flashy graphics on sports cars, and before long had moved on to custom surfboards and his own mural business. Then he thought he’d get some higher education. A stint at L’Acedemia di Belle Arte in Florence informed his expressive technique, which ranges from anatomically accurate, occasionally surrealistic oil paintings to stylized graphic designs for bands, businesses, and the lemonade stands of overly ambitious five-year-olds. Today, when he isn’t laboring on his latest commission, the enterprising artist promotes creativity through classes for all ages, with early-childhood sessions aimed at fostering a love of creation and workshops for older students focused on launching careers in two-dimensional and computer arts.
Music Together cultivates a warm, welcoming community of children and their adult counterparts in 45-minute music classes, which introduce developing brains to grooveable tunes with an accommodating schedule. A friendly instructor trained in teaching, music, and impersonating tubas leads up to 12 Beatles-in-training through structured musical explorations, helping little ones to test out rhythms on drums, keep time on triangles, and belt out songs. Newborns to 4-year-olds co-mingle in the same classes, creating an open environment in which younger tykes mimic social skills and musical talents modeled by the older children. Parents and guardians participate in the classes, sitting cross-legged on the floor with their mellifluous youngster, socializing with other adults and intermittently showing off their yodeling skills.
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Recently featured in the New York Times, Thrillist, and other popular publications, Peasants & Travelers proffers packs that turn an overburdened buck into a refined gentleman carrying off class, taste, and multifarious personal effects. Made with attractive, nontraditional materials, the Urbane Village saddle bag offers an alternative to a messenger bag and carries with comfort using a cross-body strap that extends up to 60 inches ($95). Lend a warm shoulder to the Metro-Envelope iPad bag, a flat, compact organizer with magnetic closure, dress-shirt lining, and plenty of room for stowing protective eye cushioning when not engaged in rough-and-tumble staring contests ($59). For short business trips, the Metro-Weekend bag has a lightweight design, interior and exterior pockets, and enough room for several days of travel or one day of travel spent collecting state birds ($139).
Inside the Douglaston School of Music and Art, certified yoga instructor, Daniela Crocchiola, uses her years of experience and extensive training to guide students through hot vinyasa yoga and ballet bar classes. Brought to her mother's yoga classes as a young cobra, Crocchiola learned the benefits of regular stretch sessions at an early age and credits the practice for helping her grow physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. While working in Manhattan in fashion and cosmetic marketing, Crocchiola studied a variety of yoga styles, such as Bikram, ashtanga, and kundalini, and obtained 200 hour yoga teaching certifications recognized by the Yoga Alliance and by loyal downward facing dogs everywhere. In addition to being a certified yoga instructor, Crocchiola's skills equip her to lead Pilates and ballet bar workouts.
Though Malika and Adeyinka Awobajo's baked goods are decorative and tasty, they are made with more than dessert in mind. The pair, who founded Mika?s Cupcakes in May of 2011, began constructing confections years prior in order to help feed and care for homeless families in the area. Today, they apply a portion of proceeds toward helping the homeless population in the Bay area, as well as set some money aside for a future youth transitional shelter.
Mika's ovens breathe life into a multitude of signature cupcakes, which come in both classic and inventive flavors. Nearly hedonic ingredients such as amaretto and mocha infuse Indulgent Treats cupcakes, whereas sundae cupcakes come with a cherry on top to render them as sweet as a kindergartner's plea to go see CSPAN on Ice. Fondant-coated gourmet cakes serve as personal-sized desserts for giants, and cake pops offer convenient sugar consumption during games of double dutch. Strawberries and pretzel rods doused in chocolate take a dip into chopped almonds or chocolate chips, whereas granny-smith apples submerged in caramel break the surface smothered in chocolate or nuts.