Originally branded as the Top Hat Drive-In, Sonic didn?t acquire its nationally recognized name until 1959?six years after its inception in 1953. Today, the franchise operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation?s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics?including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and Ford Thunderbolts?which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast as well as the brand?s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic?s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: best value menu, best milk shake, and best drive-thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
In 1947, on New York City's Park Avenue, the first Fred Astaire Dance Studio—cofounded by the eponymous toe tapper himself—opened its doors to the public. More than six decades later, now boasting schools across North America, the dancing institution still adheres to the legendary Mr. Astaire's curriculum and instruction techniques.
Specializing in social ballroom and competitive dances, the schools' current consortium of professional instructors shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through dance lessons that span from classic ballroom and foxtrot romps to the modern steps of salsa, swing, or mambo. In addition to classes, the studio hosts social practice parties where up to 40 students hone newly acquired rug-cutting capabilities. As foot-charming music blares from the speakers, instructors work to cultivate a lively social setting where each guest can dance, mingle, and surgically correct their second left foot without fear of embarrassment.
Although they’re greeted by the sound of snipping scissors and the sight of a light-yellow room filled with black leather stylists’ chairs, guests of Natural Image Salon and Day Spa can get much more than just a haircut. In addition to stylists who specialize in creative hair color and keep abreast of the latest trends—such as the feather hair extensions that secret agents use to blend in while spying from trees—Natural Image staffs aestheticians who perform a full range of spa treatments.
These experts dab skin with products made with natural ingredients, relying on botanical plant peels and Swedish body wraps that blend herbs, minerals, and sea clay. As well as pampering skin with Aveda facials and sea-salt-glow exfoliations, the aestheticians render it hairless during waxing sessions. Nail technicians add the final touch to appearances with gel manicures or layers of OPI polish.
In the comfort of serene, private rooms, massage therapist Tracie Nichols treats clients with a medley of kneading styles to address their individual ailments. During her more then seven years of experience, Tracie has specialized her skills around massage styles that assist in pain management, such as deep-tissue, trigger-point-therapy, and fibromyalgia massage. As a frequent student in the field as well as a practitioner, Tracie has added an array of other muscle-soothing styles to her repertoire, including hot-stone massage, cold-stone therapy for migraine sufferers, and cupping methods believed to infuse the skin with a more youthful, saucer-esque appearance. Clients may choose to add aromatherapy elements into their sessions, infusing the regular oil with calming scents, or culminate their service by dipping hands and feet into softening paraffin wax.
The technicians at Natural Cleaners revivify garments while respecting the earth's delicate ecosystem, eschewing traditional petroleum-based solvents for GreenEarth, a nontoxic formula made of silicone derived naturally from sand. Five Milwaukee-area storefronts bustle free from fumes and pollutants as suits, dresses, and coats shake off dirt during dry or professional-grade wet cleanings. Wedding-dress cleaning and preservation primes gowns for years of heirloom storage or Miss Havisham costume contests, and an in-house seamstress alters hemlines and cuffs to create dashing silhouettes. Household textiles also kowtow to Natural Cleaners' expertise as draperies, bedspreads, and feather pillows return home spic and span.
At Underwater Connection, southeast Wisconsin’s only PADI five-star instructor-training center, an award-winning course director and a team of skilled instructors educate both undersea novices and emergency-service professionals in the art of scuba diving. Following safe, low-stress basic diving courses in a pool, teachers and students move to the open water to cover techniques that include rebreathing, underwater videography, and recovering toy-boat wrecks from flooded bathtubs. Underwater Connection provides all equipment for classes, relying on its factory-trained equipment mechanics and Aqualung Master Technician, who refill tanks and do in-house repairs on gear from brands such as Dive Rite, Poseidon, Oceanic, Aqua Lung, and Scubapro.