Story Time For Me beams interactive picture books directly into toddlers and elementary school children via the magical Internet. Widened eyes can read at their own pace while illustrations come to life with animation, music, and sound effects—sharpening reading and cognitive skills into sharp number two brain pencils. Each story is enhanced with narration read by professional actors who infuse grade-A excitement and drama into wholesome stories containing socially relevant themes that range from taking care of pets to saving the environment. Children follow along as words are highlighted on screen. Clicking on difficult words will cause the narrator to repeat that word again. Each story concludes with discussion questions that inspire conversation and spark imagination candles inside human jack-o-lanterns. Story Time For Me always adds more stories so that kids can stay up on the latest adventures of characters such as Fern the Fox, Ben the Mouse, and Flame the Dragon without subscribing to their inane Twitter feeds.
Inside the brightly-lit confines of Fat Cat Art Cafe, shelves brim with bare-bisque pieces in the form of plates, mugs, and bowls. Visitors wield non-toxic, lead-free glazes and paints, embellishing items with designs such as flowers, abstract squiggles, or a squirrel's handprint before accommodating staff members fire the pieces, readying them for everyday use. Not just a paint-your-own pottery studio, Fat Cat Art Cafe offers specialty sessions such as Clay Day, where participants learn to make their own pottery pieces, and summer camps, where campers delve into daylong or weeklong projects such as creating a mosaic plaque, building flower pots out of clay coils, and making clay jars to store one?s nosehairs.
Apple Annie’s bright, spring-green walls accentuate pristine white shelves lined with candles, gourmet foods, jewelry, and gifts. Shortbread lemon straws($1.95–$21.95) infused with tart flavor come dusted in powdered sugar to track the fingerprints of pilfering refrigerator repairmen, while hot-pepper raspberry preserves strike the perfect balance between spicy and sweet ($8.95). Candles ($10–$30) in numerous sizes and scents cast a rustic light in homes and a modern aesthetic in dank caves. Apple Annie’s line of Waxing Poetic jewelry drapes delicate charms across skin real estate with unique and intricate necklaces ($33.95+). Tote morning java in an insulated travel mug in silver or black with pale pink accents and personalized with elegantly lettered initials ($16.95). Apple Annie’s also spruces up presents with free gift-wrapping.
Quick Quakes whips up protein-infused smoothies for time-strapped, nutrient-needing civilians. Under the leadership of a smooth and health-savvy owner, the staff concocts drinks designed with energy, nutrition, and satiation in mind. Their menu is extensive; standard Quakes ($3-$6) come in 30 flavors as varied as chocolate peanut-butter cup and strawberry banana. Specialty Quakes ($5-$7) traverse many of the food-pyramid compartments and include options such as the pre-workout Foreshock Quake and the post-perspiration Aftershock Quake. Patrons can take it to the next level with protein, caffeine, fiber, or vitamin C add-ons ($0.30+ each) or scale back by ordering any drink sugar-free.
The craftsmen at both Image Gallery Frame Shops pour more than 20 years of experience into each piece as they crown artwork, family photos, and precious mementos with traditional and eco-friendly mouldings. They combine these frames—many of which are harvested from managed and sustainable forests—with acid-free archival mats and conservation-quality glass to ensure memories withstand the test of time. Upon request, they can also use nonreflective museum glass to keep portraits from being startled by their own reflections.
In addition to custom framing, artisans stretch canvases, display three-dimensional objects in shadow boxes, and repair broken frames. When they aren't working in the shop, framers travel to customers' homes to assist with design needs and custom mirrors. For those with bare walls, an online gallery provides access to more than 3,300 images, which can be printed on paper or canvas and shipped for free to either shop for framing.
Alyssa Farmer opened Lace Bridal Boutique in August 2011 to help brides-to-be envision their big day with designer dresses and gorgeous accessories. Relying on an attention to detail, Alyssa and her consultants give soonlyweds one-on-one attention as they search for the perfect feather fascinators, rhinestone earrings, and veils. Their expert eyes rove over guests as they don sample dresses from designers such as Mikaella and Paloma Blanca. The shop's chandelier light casts a lambent glow that glints off the gowns and glittering accessories and illuminates chocolate-colored walls and pristine white trim.
Alyssa also curates a bedazzled selection of special occasion dresses—including looks from MacDuggal, Tony Bowls, and Sherri Hill—which wrap physiques in perfect style for prom, homecoming, or a date with a candelabra.