NaturaLawn of America devotes itself to caring for both lawns and the environment, eschewing harmful chemicals in favor of eco-conscious products. Natural, organic-based, and biodegradable products are administered to create healthy outdoor spaces that repel intrusive pests such as fleas, ticks, mosquitoes, and aging golf-course greens searching for a place to retire.
Technicians determine the individual needs of each lawn to develop custom treatment plans, taking soil tests and enhancing lawns with zero-phosphorus fertilizers, seeding and aeration treatments, or regimens that focus on balancing nitrogen, potassium, and sulfur. The pest-control professionals also fight off invasive species, applying milky-spore grub control—which uses a naturally occurring bacteria—to evict japanese beetles and european chafers. The lawn liaisons deter Lyme disease–carrying creatures with Tick Ranger and send moles on their way with biodegradable repellents or inside jobs to infiltrate the neighbor’s vegetable garden.
At Rita’s Ice, a variety of frozen treats refresh customers and satisfy sweet-tooth cravings. Their signature Italian ice blends ice and fresh fruit in flavors such as banana, cherry, piña colada, mango, and strawberry. Meanwhile, custard arrives in cups or cones, coated with hot fudge or caramel, as the mysterious gelati blends both Italian ice and custard into one delectable creation. Also available are milkshakes, hot chocolate, coffee, and Philadelphia-style hot pretzels.
Annoyed by bites and wary of diseases carried by mosquitoes and ticks, Mosquito Squad spritzes its signature barrier spray across more than 20 states. Technicians protect home acreage with an EPA-registered spray, which kills adult mosquitoes and ticks using synthetic chemicals that emulate a compound found in chrysanthemums. They take care to avoid blossoms and harming helpful bugs such as honeybees and sentient VW Beetles. As an alternative, staffers can spritz an all-natural spray, whose scent confuses and repels pests for about two weeks. Mosquito Squad can also equip yards with remote-controlled automatic misting systems, as well as spray lawns and municipal places before outdoor events.
Kelly Ballentine Colacioppo is a third generation appliance salesperson. Her father owns a restaurant equipment store, so it’s fitting that her store, The Cook's Station, outfits home kitchens with professional-quality equipment. The selection of top brands includes GE Profile, Bosch, and BlueStar, whose 22,000-BTU gas ranges feature extra-large ovens and custom-configured burners modeled after those found in professional kitchens. Cookware from the Culinary Institute of America’s Masters Collection is designed by certified master chefs, and bakeware from Nordic Ware aims to create the perfect bundt cake. Unique gift collections from Nora Fleming, Beatriz Ball, and Casafina are also available. For those starting completely from scratch, the staff includes a licensed kitchen designer, a licensed contractor, and diagrams that illustrate the differences between forks and spoons.
However, The Cook's Station is not just about prepping kitchens—it’s also about prepping the people who use them. A full calendar of foodie events includes cooking and equipment demos, and an online cache of recipes gives chefs new meals to experiment with. Monthly Uncorked events explore wine and tapas pairings, and a knife sharpening service ensures blades are always ready to slice up veggies or that frustratingly impossible soufflé recipe.
Forrest Briggs claims the South as his home, and indeed he grew up and attended college there. As a photography student, he earned admission into several galleries and juried exhibitions, but his post graduate work honed his eye. He travelled the world, learning to speak fluent Vietnamese and becoming trapped in Nepal during the 2006 coup d’état, all the while documenting his journeys through his camera. The temporary expatriation sharpened his skills, helping him excel at photographic composition, natural lighting strategies, and more abstract concepts such as how to make photos “pop.”
Now, as a photographer and teacher, he passes along these lessons to a new generation of shutterbugs, while lending his eye and skill to clients in search of classic portraiture and boudoir shoots. He also has an eye for shooting martial arts action, working behind the scenes at mixed martial arts events and even pulling a stint as the personal photographer of Cheryl Murphy, nine-time US Nationals Karate Champion.
EmilieCarol, the photog behind EmilieCarol Photography, specializes in snapping candid, fun, and flattering images against the backdrop of the great outdoors. Whether capturing a loving smile between engaged or newlywed couples or photographing the wedding itself, she invests in each shoot, throwing herself into capturing small gestures and details with an eye for artistic composition that can play down the poor timing of an alien invasion. When not shooting weddings, family portraits, or senior pictures, EmilieCarol sends off prop-laden photo booths to parties and events under the supervision of one or two attendants.