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.
Dr. Ronald T. Weiland doesn’t “believe in fad diets,” as he notes on his website. Rather, he trusts in simple mathematics: fewer ingested calories plus more burned calories equals weight loss. At Ameri-Cal Weight Clinic, he and his staff put this equation into practice during comprehensive weight-loss programs that rely on healthful foods, aerobic exercise, and prescribed appetite suppressants. This mix of support, services, and tools is readily available at eight clinic locations throughout the Bay Area and one that only appears on leap years.
Cameron is a guy who was pretty clueless in the kitchen, and though having been a meat-eater his whole life, is becoming more sensitive to animal cruelty issues. Kathy is a woman who, because of religious practices, has to abstain from eating meat and dairy for nearly half the year. Though their impetuses for changing their diets were quite different, the solution to their problems was the same: The Vegan Garden—a meal delivery system that specializes in plant-based cuisine.
The Vegan Garden designs meal plans for a variety of clients, whether they're longtime vegans or people curious about transitioning to an animal-free diet. The Pioneer Meal deal, for instance, lets newbies sample staple vegan dishes by signing up for one week's worth of meals, desserts, and dinner bibs. Committed vegans can opt for more long-term plans, which include two months' worth of custom or preset menus. There are also specialty packages for weight loss and gluten-free diets.
The meals themselves are made using mostly organic ingredients local to The Vegan Garden's home base in San Francisco. For the sake of variety, menu options are inspired by many international and regional cuisines, such as Middle Eastern, Thai, Mexican, French, Caribbean, and Southern. Soy- and tofu-based dishes include everything from huevos con chorizo and veggie chow mein to jambalaya and verde pesto pasta. Meals come fully prepared and only need to be warmed to the diner's desired temperature before they're ready to eat.
Though their guests aren't human, the staff at Good Dog Day Care still treat them like they are. They spend time learning each dog's individual quirks and personality traits to determine the best way to care for them. Under supervision, pups roam free, sniff, and socialize at an indoor play space padded with clean rubber floors. Vinyl fencing dampens upsetting noise, and it can also be used to separate dogs who are embroiled in a bitter chew-toy custody dispute. Additionally, an area of antimicrobial turf grass, designed especially for dogs, serves as the bathroom suite.
Canine guests can also get to know each other during training classes, which range from obedience training to puppy socials. Though socialization is encouraged, Good Dog Day Care realizes that sometimes dogs need time to themselves. This is why when dogs are kept overnight, they board their overnight guests in private sleeping spaces outfitted with custom flooring and dog beds. Staffers even follow the owner's feeding schedule to ensure that every dog maintains its routine.
When you turn the key in the ignition of a motorcycle, the engine that rumbles to life below you has the power of a hundred horses. That’s a lot of force to handle, which is why the teachers at Motorcycle University take their training so seriously. They aim to create safe, responsible riders, starting with extensive basics classes taught on their closed, off-road practice range. They cover even the simplest steps of riding a motorcycle– from switching it on to basic turns – during three-hour classes, providing plenty of opportunity for students to hone their skills in the saddle of the school’s own bikes. They also know that some students require more practice than a single class allows, so they welcome those students back again to repeat the same course at no charge, based on the instructor's recommendation.
The staff members at Sylvan Learning's numerous study facilities understand that each child learns differently. Therefore, they don’t try to implement a uniform tutoring system; instead, they design custom lesson programs based on the results of standardized testing, diagnostic tools, and one-on-one interviews.
Tutors work with students from kindergarten through grade 12, illuminating topics ranging from basic reading and writing to remembering complex algebraic formulas without having them tattooed on your chest. Many of Sylvan’s instructors work in local schools, so they are intimately familiar with common curricula and understand how to gear lessons toward optimal results. After-school and summer classes can ready high-schoolers for the rigors of the ACT or the SAT, or they can help students to wow college-admissions officers with their superior essay-writing skills.