After a debilitating car accident left Elyissia Wassung’s mother, Barbara, unable to commute to work, she stayed busy in the kitchen, devising her own homemade chocolates. Nine-year-old Elyissia would then load her mother’s sweets into a shopping cart and sell them door-to-door around the neighborhood, learning entrepreneurial skills that would last a lifetime. After leaving a telecom job as an adult, Elyissia returned to selling chocolates by founding 2 Chicks with Chocolate (the other chick being her mom), teaming up with master chocolatier Patrick Coston and lead chocolatier Stephanie Vazquez. The dessert innovators create diverse flavors, such as spiced pear and caramel ganache, s’mores, and hazelnut praline, from scratch with spices and sea salt. Customers can also create their own bars online without venturing into the store, building on a selection of chocolate bases and toppings that range from pistachios to gummy bears. The store also hosts chocolate classes and enlivens parties with chocolate fountains and chocolate tastings.
Winner of more than 100 mixed-martial-arts competitions, Tiger Schulmann shares his pride and love for fighting and self-defense with both adults and children in gyms across five states. From first-time grapplers to expert muay thai fighters, students of all fitness and experience levels are welcome to dive into a class at Schulmann’s. At more than 47 locations, adults can take classes in kickboxing, MMA, and jujitsu—the last of which instills students with the skill and confidence to take down opponents of any size, strength, or telekinetic ability. Kids, meanwhile, can learn martial arts for fun, or gain useful experience in bully prevention; the kids’ classes help victims immediately identify and safely diffuse situations when pitted against an aggressor.
Sometimes it's hard to find the motivation to go to the gym?especially when you're comfy on the couch and there's a good movie on TV. Enter Retro Fitness's Cardio Movie Theater, which screens movies from the last few decades in a room equipped with tons of cardio machines. If movies aren't your thing, other areas of the gyms have treadmills with DirecTV and iPod capabilities, stationary bikes with internet connections, and free weights you can pretend are microphones and sing into.
These high-tech touches have helped Retro Fitness become a national phenomenon, with more than 100 locations across the country and an appearance on Undercover Boss. In addition to countless machines, the gyms boast personal trainers, cross training, and a schedule of group classes. Before working out, members can hit the pro shop for Under Armour gear, workout gloves, and other accessories; afterward, they can replenish their bodies with protein-infused smoothies from the Retro Blends smoothie bar.
Typically, bubbles are associated with getting something clean?they remove stains from clothes, or lift dirt from elbows. But at Bubble Palooza, bubbles experience a bit of an identity crisis. Here, relieved of their duty as degunkers and loaded up with non-toxic color, they help transform a three-mile route into a vibrant, foam-filled wonderland. Along that route, and oftentimes buried beneath bubbles, participants clad in white run, walk, and skip their way from one end of the course to the other. In the process, those same participants are blasted by a bubbly rainbow of foam, becoming magnets for the greens, blues, and other colors carried by a seemingly endless deluge of bubbles. After the event, the color-saturated participants gather to celebrate at the Bubble Bash, where they listen to music, dance, and attempt to lure an untamed bubble into coming home as their pet.
What do New York Fashion Week 2011, the Fall Into Beauty Tour, and Jerseylicious have in common? They all featured the award-winning makeup looks of Ereny Milad. Winner of WeddingWire's Brides Choice Award 2011 and 2012 and The Knot's Best of Weddings 2012 and 2013, the MAC Pro makeup artist and owner of LUSH ARTISTRY also served as a resident makeup artist at New York Fashion Week from 2008–2012. Harnessing her skills of contouring, highlighting facial features, and hiding blemishes, Milad—along with her staff of expert beautifiers—brings out clients' natural beauty with a slate of services including glamorous makeovers, airbrushing, and bridal makeup. Milad also leads hands-on classes, during which students learn the secrets behind her dramatic runway makeup and understated everyday looks for cleaning the bathtub.