The floral artists at Johnson Floral Company arrange vibrant arrays of daisies, roses, and carnations into displays for birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, and other occasions. Wish an ailing friend well with the Complete Happiness bouquet ($36.99), which complements vivid white daisies with a rich-green glass vase. Newborn babies can purchase the New Dream bouquet ($41.99), a bright burst of pink carnations, yellow roses, and blue irises, to reward themselves on a birth well done. A cuddly bear protects a green ceramic vase full of purple lisianthus and limonium flowers in the Big Hug bouquet ($37.99), and a heart decks a cylindrical white vase teeming with roses and stargazer lilies in the Love and Romance bouquet, which includes a free engagement ring at the bottom for recipients who eat the whole arrangement.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach Contempo Spa is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray tan skin, and massage muscles. Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
In 1971, Michael Sowers taught himself how to throw clay in a high-school art class. The classroom had a functioning pottery wheel, but the instructor didn't know how to use it, so Michael began checking out instructional books from the library to support his fledgling interest.
Ever since, he's been molding masses of clay into plates and vessels, preserving their shapes with the heat of a 2,350-degree kiln. His work is as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing—subtly hued french butter dishes hold a quarter pound of butter in water, keeping it fresh for up to a month, and grater plates come equipped with a built-in shredder for garlic, ginger, parmesan cheese, or CIA documents. Sowers seals each piece with a lead-free glaze used by potters since the time of the Ming dynasty, ensuring that customers can safely send his pottery through a dishwasher or heat them in a microwave or oven.
Like fancy suits, sofa sets are sewn from the same cut of fabric. These matching sets provide a well-rounded look in living rooms, but near misses tend to clash due to their small differences. At 20 show rooms throughout the western US, Mor Furniture for Less arranges complete-room sets so customers can envision the collections in their own homes. Furniture for living rooms, dining rooms, and children's rooms can be found in each store along with individual lamps, tables, and entertainment centers. The stores also carry complete sets of beds, dressers, and nightstands so that homeowners don’t receive criticism from design bloggers in their dreams.
Because no two bodies are alike, The Relaxologiists at Mattress Land use their exclusive bedFit diagnostic technology to determine the ideal snooze position for each customer, as well as the ideal mattress. Comfy Sleep surfaces come from premier brands such as Beautyrest, Sealy PosturePedic, Stearns and Foster, and SleepFit. Shoppers can also upgrade to latex mattresses or Custom mattresses made for each sleepier with separate sides, which accommodates the differing body types of spouses and accidentally conjoined mad scientists.
The Nature Company cultivates gorgeous ground cover for barren backyards with a chlorophyll-drenched cornucopia of leafy greens. Gardeners playing the field can test out a commitment-free summer fling with a new installation of annuals ($3.50), or find something lasting with always-there perennials ($3.50+). Green-thumb owners can break McCormick’s monopoly on spice-rack regulars by growing a backyard army of soup-spiking herbs ($3.50), or plant a new shrub to ward off a nosy neighbor ($8.95+). The Nature Company stocks mostly locally grown plants, which are able to give directions to passersby or recommend a good neighborhood restaurant, and regular leafy shipments ensure an oft-changing selection of window-box accessories. The on-staff horticulturist and gardening gurus consider all the nuances of weather and region when helping backyard toilers to execute their elaborate garden schematics.