Russian Banya of Dallas whisks visitors from deep in the heart of Texas straight to Old-World Europe for traditional banya and sauna sessions and Russian delicacies from Citysearch's Best Deli of 2009. Upon entering the unassuming storefront, which was recently profiled on Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods, visitors receive a robe, towels, slippers, and keys for a locker and safe-deposit box, and staff members direct them toward the facility's showers. Once cleaned—which normally takes two full renditions of "Singing in the Rain"—visitors can choose to lounge in the wet heat of the wooden Russian banya, the dry heat of the wooden Finnish sauna, or the 100% humidity of the tiled steam room.
Though the staff recommends novice sauna sitters cool down naturally after their first session, they offer an invigorating 42-degree plunge pool for more experienced visitors to hop in after steaming. The staff also doles out optional venik massages that use chilled bundles of steamed birch, oak, or eucalyptus leaves to help to open pores and pump up metabolisms.
After draining themselves of sweat, toxins, and the desire to experience life as a steamed carrot, visitors can refuel with natural fruit juices and a menu of made-from-scratch Russian, Ukrainian, Uzbek, Polish, and Armenian food at the BYOB deli. The eatery serves lunch and dinner, hosts events and parties, and stages live music every Saturday.
When The Island Spot owner Richard Thomas was growing up in Jamaica, his mother, Mama Joyce, would always make dinner for the family. On Sunday, they'd head to the farmer's market for mango, passionfruit, soursop, and other fruits to make into juice, which she'd serve along with dishes such as jerk chicken and curry shrimp to a crowd of extended family. Today, Richard uses those recipes to give diners at The Island Spot an authentic taste of the Jamaican food he grew up eating—chicken and beef patties, or meat pies, braised oxtails, smoked jerk chicken, and escoveitched fish fillets.
"I would bathe in the rub they put on that chicken," wrote a D Magazine reviewer about The Island Spot's signature jerk chicken. The Dallas Observer named The Island Spot's jerk chicken the best in Dallas in 2012, due in part to its smoky flavors and the experience of digging in: a "burst of perfume that starts as a wisp and builds to a billowing smokescreen."
Diners sipping rum punch or playing Jenga with a plate of jerk-chicken nachos can admire Richard's family portraits and snapshots of his favorite places in Jamaica as reggae, soca, or steel-drum music plays. On the first Friday of each month, a reggae band treats diners to live jams that transport imaginations to a breezy, sun-soaked island.
By engaging children on their own level, the teachers at Kids R Kids childcare center and learning academy recognize their students for what they really are: developing brains trapped inside tiny, perfectly spherical heads. The programs hew to a philosophy of "Hug First, Then Teach," meaning they encourage a child's development on an emotional, intellectual, social, and physical level. Also essential to their teaching approach is family involvement—when new skills are introduced, the instructors make sure the parents know about the approach and aren't politically opposed to arithmetic.
They rely on their own curriculum, Brain Waves, which takes a neurologically based approach that combines educational lessons with good nutrition, regular sleep schedules, and secure relationships. Additionally, the Brain Waves curriculum helps develop brains with many forms of language (including sign language) and exposure to technology in a controlled environment.
BounceU's 10,000-square-foot indoor playground of plush and inflated superstructures was designed as an ideal place to host a party or just let kids jump and climb to their hearts’ content. With bright reds and purples kick-starting imaginations, kids crawl through cushy tunnels, climb up air-filled walls, and glide down bouncy slides. At each inflatable, kids discover fun ways to interact and exercise, burning off excess energy while developing balance, motor skills, and the ability to hold a conversation with a helium balloon. The center also makes an ideal venue for school field trips, fundraisers, or team parties. Committed to fostering childhood development, the team at BounceU organizes camps, such as Create and Bounce, where kids bounce and play before diving into creative projects such as painting or working with clay.
Abiding by the Center for Outdoor Ethics’ Leave No Trace principles, the adventurous guides at North Texas Outdoor Pursuit Center train bodies and minds to venture into deep wildernesses or up sheer cliffs without marring nature with evidence of their excursions. A map room and library help climbers plot eco-conscious regional excursions near Mineral Wells or the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge or explore wilderness courses that reveal Guadalupe National Park’s steep summits or Ouachita National Forest’s uniformed raccoon park rangers. Dominated by a soaring 120-foot climbing wall, the center’s gym bustles with preparatory activity as guides test students’ ascent abilities and improve their form with instructive, one-on-one critiques.
During a Men’s Fitness photo shoot for the article “One-Off Workout: A Cardio Replacement Routine,” fitness model Tim McComsey lifted a barbell and held a dead-lift pose as the cameras flashed. The article explains five exercises requiring stellar form, and shows pictures of McComsey executing each one accordingly. As a National Academy of Sports Medicine–certified trainer at TRyM Fitness, McComsey demonstrates the same level of expertise while he shows how to perform lifts properly during personal-training sessions, fitness boot camps, and piano-tossing tournaments. Most of his workouts rely on a mix of plyometric, TRX training, and bodyweight exercises. To augment his clients’ results, McComsey draws upon his dietitian training to offer online meal plans.