Dragonfly Cakes, together with their chocolate counterpart Coco-luxe Confections, field a skilled team of confectionary clairvoyants that are ready to share their gourmet candy-crafting skills with the cacao-hungry masses. The build-your-own-chocolate-bar class instills beginner chocolatiers with the mediation skills needed to tame the melancholy attitude of rich and pensive dark chocolate by schooling them in chocolate-tempering techniques. Students can then combine fresh and flavorful ingredients to create six customized edible ingots ready to be devoured on-site or in the privacy of your own dessert den. Artistically inclined academics looking to expand their sugar-sculpting skills beyond the slab can opt for the petits fours class, where a morsel midwife will lead a demonstration of the birth of baby bite-sized cakes before setting sugar students free to focus on finishing, dipping, and decorating their own litter of 12. Dainty and elegant, these picturesque pastel delicacies make a welcome addition to baby showers, tea parties, or parallelogram-based diets.
The Love Lab founder and renowned massage-industry expert Meagan Holub has helped some pretty discriminating clientele to relax and unwind. From Forbes CEOs and professional athletes to rock stars and royalty, her therapeutic massages have melted away the stress that is inherent in any A lister's life. According to Holub's blog, gift certificates for one of her massages were given away in VIP gift bags at the 2012 MusiCares event honoring Paul McCartney, so they made their way into the hands of celebrity musicians, such as the Foo Fighters, Katy Perry, and Coldplay.
But Holub talks massage with as many down-to-earth, everyday people as she does famous folks, thanks to a compassionate streak she's demonstrated since childhood. As a young girl and teenager, she rescued stray animals, volunteered at Easter Seals camp, became a physical-therapy assistant, and served as an aide for a person with paraplegia. Today her passion for helping others translates into The Love Lab's services, including group massage classes and private massage lessons that teach individuals and couples to execute the same techniques so sought after by Hollywood stars. Holub and her team of certified massage therapists also instruct employees at workplace events, where they demonstrate stress-relief techniques, which come in handy the next time the boss requires mandatory overtime to help her solve the Sunday crossword.
Amid the mythical landscapes and thrilling martial-arts battles in the film Mortal Kombat, you might see Richard Branden performing swift punches and mighty kicks as an outland warrior. Richard?s role in Mortal Kombat is just one of his many motion-picture credits, which include a stunt-double role in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and the Yin-Yang Man in WMAC Masters. The internationally renowned warrior has been practicing in martial arts since 1976, earning more than 35 international titles and six gold medals in chinese kung fu. A firm believer in the practice?s ability to enhance discipline and focus, as well as strength and agility, Branden opened Studio Kicks Palo Alto to help students of all ages reap martial arts? many benefits.
Bright red and blue mats sweep across the floor of the expansive studio, where Branden's staff conduct a variety of combat-centric classes. The trainers lead energetic circuit-training routines and kickboxing combinations in adult fitness classes, helping students improve form and technique as they work toward sliming their physiques and toning their muscles. Youngsters and adults alike can enroll in the martial-arts program, where instructors guide students through movements, techniques, and training exercises that aim to boost power, flexibility, and strength. In addition to improving physical fitness, the program?s curriculum seeks to bolster self-confidence, much like an Armani blazer with the padded shoulders and biceps already sown in.
Surrounded by craggy peaks, three men in bright-red helmets stand in the midst of wilderness, surveying the mountains around them as their group of hikers break for a snack on the rocky ground. This interface with the majesty of nature is all in a day's work for this trio of adventurers—Paul Mangasarian and Jakob and Daniel Laggner. Still, their passion for open-air exploration grows with each expedition they lead. Paul, Jakob, and Daniel cofounded Treks and Tracks with the dream of orchestrating excursions into nature that combine ancient means of travel—such as sailing, horseback riding, and hitchhiking on a centaur—with modern sports ranging from surfing to rock climbing. Though they focus on introducing novice outdoorsfolk to unspoiled wilderness around the world, Treks and Tracks' cofounders also strive to leave the awe-inspiring surroundings they visit as pristine as they found them by rigorously upholding practices of environmental stewardship on each expedition.
Darryl Kalthof of Bay Area Flying Lessons holds an FAA certificate as an airline transport pilot and ratings as an advanced ground instructor, honors earned over a distinguished two-decade career as a certified flight instructor. Today, he oversees a fleet of Cessna and Piper airplanes that act as airborne classrooms for his pupils, who range from 10-year-olds taking their first mechanical flights to advanced pilots earning certificates in commercial, multi-engine, and tail-wheel aviation. Lessons make use of the airspace surrounding San Francisco Bay, yielding panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean as well as many notable landmarks, including Dumbarton Bridge’s low ribbon of road and Stanford Stadium’s 70-foot animatronic statue of Bill Walsh.