Board-certified Doctor of Chiropractic Naveed Elahi takes a multidisciplinary approach to pain relief, disease prevention, and whole-body health at Health First Wellness Center. The practice specializes in chiropractic medicine, a science that aims to alleviate such common conditions as headaches and neck pain without the use of drugs, surgery, or noogies. In cases where traditional chiropractic medicine does not apply, the doctor rounds out the treatment menu with acupuncture and clinical massage therapy, two ancient modalities that can reduce anxiety and improve sleep. Furthermore, personal training and nutrition counseling help patients ward off the specter of disease in a more reliable manner than hanging garlic cloves on their treadmills. In addition to med-spa services including laser hair removal and VelaShape body smoothing and contouring, Health First Wellness Center offers yoga, Zumba, and Pilates classes.
The Build-A-Bear Workshop features a customized companion-making process that allows parents to work with children to create a timeless toy. Kids hop in the friend-assembly line and choose an animal (anything from bears and bunnies to fennec foxes is available), add sounds and messages, then stuff it with huggable stuffing and a special satin heart. The Stitch Me station seals seams and inserts a special barcode used to locate lost bears, and the Fluff Me station optimizes huggability. Clothing options appear, then bears are named and released to their makers. Full-sized friends cost $10 to $25, sounds range from $4 to $8, and bearcessories start as low as $2 for socks.
LorEnn's Hallmark boasts six locations peppered around the Chicagoland area, each brimming with a broad assortment of cards and gifts designed by Hallmark's talented team of artists. Shelves filled with the brand’s signature greeting cards help thoughtful shoppers find just the right words or cartoon thought bubble to express feelings of love, congratulations, or sympathy, with creative designs for all manner of occasions. Colorful gift bags await to conceal Precious Moments figurines, ornaments, books, and decorative housewares, and albums and picture frames help preserve and protect photographs or other memorable keepsakes from the ravages of time and indoor rainstorms.
More than 50,000 books line the shelves at Elgin Books and Coffee, many available for 50% to 90% less than their cover prices. Visitors can wander through the chandelier-lit shop perusing classics, out-of-print texts, biographies, cookbooks, and many other types of published matter. An attached café offers an inviting space in which to sip java or tea and read.
All big movements start small, but many would be surprised to learn that Ten Thousand Villages—a nonprofit and retailer with 390 outlets nationwide—began out of a car trunk. In 1946, Edna Ruth Byler started the organization out of her car, taking a name from a quote by Mohandas Gandhi, who said, “India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages.” Her willpower and determination allowed her vision to grow into a nonprofit that today supports more than 130 artisans in 38 developing countries. These artisans' wares go on sale at the organization's nationwide retail outlets, which brim with items including jewelry, home decor, and refrigerator cozies.
Everything is made using environmentally friendly processes, and every artisan is paid a fair wage. The money raised from sales goes to supply the artisans—who might otherwise be unemployed or underemployed—with education, food, housing, and healthcare. The organization has risen to such stature that it won the People’s Choice Award for Green Business of the Year in 2005, and has acted as one of the founding members of the World Fair Trade Organization.
When children go to piano lessons, they raise their guard and treat the gift of learning music like a trip to the dentist. The instructors at New Song Music are well aware of the old-fashioned traditional piano-teacher stigma, which is why they keep their pupils in their comfort zones by bringing their lessons to the student's homes. With years of experience, a surplus of patience, and computer software that tracks students' progress, New Song Music helps transform tots into Rachmaninoffs in fun lessons that sharpen skills and stir creative juices.