Imagine for a moment diving into the ocean, resurfacing with not only memories of the sub-aquatic environment, but a full reel of photographs, too. Underwater photography is just one of the many courses offered at Scuba Quest, a family-owned company that has shown students how to safely explore the seas for more than 25 years.
Scuba Quest began as a single shop, but has since spread to six locations across the state of Florida. At each, the company’s NAUI-certified instructors lead refresher courses, beginner classes, and comprehensive certification programs. Rather than climbing into fish tanks while pet-store clerks are on break, Scuba Quest's students can put their new skills to the test in unfamiliar waters during the company’s exotic diving excursions around the globe.
Tampa Olive Oil Company vends gourmet olive oils, balsamic vinegars, and other culinary accessories designed to add depth and character to meals. Fruity or grassy olive oils from Greece, Italy, and Morocco sidle up to their flavored brethren, which are infused with aromas such as basil, truffles, or roasted peppers. Customers can use the oils to flavor hearty roasts and sautés or combine them with classic and flavored balsamic vinegars for a light, tangy salad dressing.
Other artisanal offerings, including spices, specialty oils, and scented sea salts, round out Tampa Olive Oil Company's selection of edibles. In addition, serving accessories such as oil sprayers, pour spouts, and dipping saucers help customers discontinue their usual practice of serving condiments through a fire hose.
Aiming to make family travel safer and stress-free, A to Z Baby, Beach & Bike Rentals offers a wide selection of clean and well-maintained island hopping necessities. Escape territorial sand crabs at a leisurely pace on a stylish beach cruiser. Stupendously handy merchandise is available for beach and baby needs, including Boogie Boards ($2 per day), strollers (starting at $2 per day), family beach cabanas ($4 day), and umbrellas designed to block sun, rain, and annoying laser pointers (starting at $3 per day). Multiple locations are spread over various islands to make pick-up and drop-off a cinch.
LTM Party packs a kaleidoscopic selection of costumes, party favors, tableware, and gifts into more than 50,000 square feet of retail space. This Halloween, disguise an infant as a walking, talking peanut ($14.99) to help him or her infiltrate a nefarious legume-smuggling ring, or turn back the clock with a caveman wig and beard ($15.99 each). Customized, full-color banners ($19.99–$33.99), which buyers can design online, can advertise a bake sale, high-school graduation, or alien-abduction anniversary, and color-coordinated tableware ($1.99−$12.95) helps ensure that knives and forks tastefully match collars at a dog’s wedding ceremony. In-store experts can offer advice or help customers navigate the abundance of additional merchandise such as classroom supplies, balloons, and rental tuxedos.
Charlotte Sewing Studio’s friendly staff tutors the needle-challenged in the art of clothing construction. Avoid the shame of sporting threads that are so last century with one of the Begin to Sew series’ three classes, which each meet for three-hour sessions for three weeks. Fashionistas flummoxed by the foot pedal should sign up for Class One, which orients attendees to the basics of the sewing machine, demystifies the secrets of straight stitches and seam allowances, and sends students packing with something to show for themselves in the form of a lined tote bag. Needlesmiths who have sewn a seam or two can skip ahead to Class Two, where sew pros will translate the foreign language of patterns and oversee spinning bobbins as students create a pair of insomnia-eradicating sleep pants. Class 3 helps seamsters strengthen skills while creating their choice of project, choosing between a sleep shirt and pillowcase, a simple skirt, or a dress sans sleeves. Call studio for available class times.