Father-and-son team Robert and Fred Lee worked as homebuilders for years before going into business selling lights in 1965, so they knew how quickly something impressive could rise from a humble foundation. Sure enough, Lee Lighting, their small family company, grew to include a vast online retail shop and one of the largest lighting dealers in Texas. They've even purchased Savoy, a company that designs fixtures to bring cheer to dining rooms and make rooms full of ventriloquist dummies less terrifying.
Lee Lighting stocks shelves with a diverse selection of indoor lamps from brands including ELK Lighting, Quoizel, and Hudson Valley. Staffers certified by the American Lighting Association move beneath the dazzling crystal sprays and faux candles of chandeliers. They suggest outdoor lighting to transform backyards into regal terraces. They also stay abreast of lighting trends to help patrons select lights that will stay in style.
At Cloud 9 Martini & Tapas Bar, conversation passes between friends alongside tastes of 45 cold, sweet, or bitter martinis and 18 shareable tapas plates. A blue-lit, martini-shaped bar acts as a stage for mixologists’ concoctions to enthrall eyes and tongues with fruity, chocolaty, and gentlemanly flavors. The Baxterini’s classic recipe of Beefeater gin, vermouth, and olive juice gains approving nods from traditionalists, whereas the Smores replicates a summer treat—complete with flaming marshmallow—without the hassles of camping or starting a bonfire on your kitchen table. To expand a martini-centric evening, Cloud 9 also serves up handmade Chimay beer as well as SweetWater and Turbodog craft brews.
Around the rest of the lounge, sofas and chairs stacked with pillows serve as a convivial perch where guests share tapas. Cherry peppers pop with goat cheese and prosciutto, and quesadillas mix sweet and savory with a dollop of mango chutney atop a filling of apple and brie. On Saturday, DJs accompany bites with energy from their decks, infusing the space with up-tempo beats for dancing or karate montages.
At all of Monkey Joe’s colorfully decorated locations, youngsters aged 2–12 can literally bounce off the walls in a well-lit indoor playground that abides by a Safety Access Child Control System. Exercise disguises itself as fun as sock-clad kids rocket down slides, scale climbable obstacles, and jump across springy surfaces surrounded by safety mats. Toddlers aged 3 or younger tucker themselves out in their own play area with smaller obstacles, thoroughly sanitized inflatable surfaces, toys, and games. Parties, which can include pizza and ice cream, reach a fever pitch with visits from Monkey Joe himself. While kids vent all their excess energy on the playground, parents can watch flat-screen televisions, drink refreshments, and use the WiFi to surf the Internet in the adult area.
Although visitors to Area 51 Fireworks might not come face to face with an alien, they'll most definitely find a little extraterrestrial influence. For instance, among shelves of sparklers and roman candles are Screaming Alien whistling bottle rockets, which shriek as they launches, much as a group of aliens would when watching The Real Housewives of Mars. There's also fountains, parachutes, spinners, and firecrackers, all awaiting a light to set the night sky ablaze and signal the mothership for a pickup.
The moment his father first put a golf club in his hands, the then 11-year-old Bruce Parker knew it was the beginning of a lifelong dedication to the game. Bruce went on to star as the No. 1 golfer on his high-school team for four years and play on scholarship for the Georgia State University team. Through it all, Bruce never thought of leaving golf to pursue a career in the more glamorous world of croquet. When asked, Bruce still says that spending a day at the links is his favorite activity.
Today, Bruce puts his pin-hunting prowess and enthusiasm for the game to work while conducting lessons at The Effortless Golf Center. A driving range with both grass and artificial-turf hitting areas, lights for after-hours practice, and high-caliber practice balls provides an ideal training ground for Bruce to cure all forms of golf-game maladies, such as a slice-prone swing or a driver that has an irrational fear of fairways.