Tobin Wagstaff has traveled quite an interesting path: he founded a nonprofit music school, and, in a turn of events profiled on ABC’s Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, hobnobbed with rock royalty Kiss. All the while, Studio Percussion has been teaching pupils to tickle the ivories, strum the guitar, drum up a storm, and sing their favorite tunes, whether they’re jazz ballads or traditional Klingon folk songs. The instructors—all of whom remain active in the industry—help to whisk their pupils into the limelight during performances at UF sporting events, city music festivals, homecoming parades, and even family jam nights, during which participants take turns reciting their ancestral lineage to music.
Bead All About It, a chic, full-service bead shop, stocks a colorful selection of crystals and beads from around the world. Create one-of-a-kind body ornaments with the vast array of gemstones, including Swarovski crystal, Kazuri, Japanese Delicas, seed beads, and Czech glass, which range dramatically from $0.05 filler beads to $55 marvels. Beyond autonomous artistry, shoppers can sign up for one of many monthly classes ($20–$65), each centered around a theme such as Victorian Lace ($20), Crystal Decadence ($20), and Flower Delight ($20).
A part of Gainesville's bead scene for almost two decades, Gifts of Avalon stocks 2,500 square feet of jewelry-creation necessities as well as locally-crafted and imported pieces for purchase. Craft mavens and jewelry-making newcomers alike will find a rainbow explosion of beads lighting up walls and blanketing tables. Among the offerings fit to complement any epidermis are Swarovski crystal beads ($4 and up), fashionable carved gemstones ($4–$19), Czech seed beads (varying prices), and more. Further bling building blocks include an array of pliers and wire cutters ($8–$12), flexible stringing wire ($7.50–$18 for a 30’ spool), assorted needles ($2.25 for 4), and trade books. The expansive shop also stocks ready-to-wear pieces that make a hearty boon for gift buyers, modern-day fashionistas, and the relapsing spirit of Marie Antoinette.
Nestled in a charming vernal garden, Secret Garden Bakery's dough mixers whip up a fresh bounty of specialty treats that change daily to satiate sweet hounds. Nosh on a straight-from-the-oven chocolate-peanut-butter cheesecake bar, layered with graham-cracker crust, peanut-butter morsels, and sprinkles of chocolate ($1.75 each). Secret Garden Bakery's cookies make worthy care-package cargo or snacks for the Latvian cricket team inexplicably living in the garage, with flavors such as classic chocolate chip and root beer ($0.75 each), whereas a thick hunk of coconut-cream cheesecake ($4/slice) glides effortlessly down esophagi. Sucrose-seekers can celebrate the advent of dairy with a moist, heaping slice of sour-cream spice cake smothered in orange frosting ($3.50/slice) or enjoy a palm-sized chomp of a gourmet cookies-and-cream cupcake ($1.50 each), topped with cream-cheese icing and a mini Oreo.
With a variety of quality tanning beds and UV-free airbrush tanning, Aruba Tan imbues chromatically challenged hides with sun-kissed glows. Those looking to jumpstart their skin's vitamin D factories can get the bronzing benefits of a day at the beach with a session in basic 20-minute ($40) or mid-grade 15-minute ($50) beds. For faster, more-efficient penny impressions, Aruba Tan also boasts high-intensity 13-minute beds and 12-minute booths ($60). UV-shy meat suits can opt for an airbrush tanning session ($40) to get a golden misting that helps improve their complexion and increases their chances of ending up on a famous actor's mantle during Oscar season.
With more than one million book titles to choose from, Barnes & Noble stocks one of the retail world's largest selections of bound pages, along with a huge assortment of educational toys and games. Keep sprightly scribes from using walls, furniture, and siblings as writing surfaces with the help of LeapFrog’s Scribble & Write ($24.95 online), or indulge kids’ natural passions for outer space and solid detective work with a LEGO Space Police Smash ’n’ Grab set ($19.95 online).