Founded by a childbirth educator recently profiled in Worcester Mag, Mothers & Company’s natural-parenting community center supports expectant and new moms with relaxing yoga classes while its store supplies them with organic and natural baby products. The store's collection of cloth diapers, baby carriers and slings, pumps, and other accessories facilitates a natural and organic transition into parenthood. The store’s homeopathic, all-natural Hyland's Calms Forté sleep aid soothes parental nerves with chamomile, slipping them into restful sleep filled with dreams about even more sleep ($7.50); a pair of absorbent, washable Bummis training pants stretches with Lycra to fit around little legs and bellies as they trot toilet-ward ($11).
Neal Portnoy’s creative caricatures adorn the walls of celebrities such as Jay Leno and Jack Nicklaus. Part entertainer, part athlete, and part artist, Neal prides himself on his ability to entertain crowds while simultaneously creating stunning works of portrait art, caricature art, and commemorative pieces. Wielding only felt-tipped pens, Neal recreates scenes in stunningly vivid illustrations, which have been commissioned by organizations such as the Children’s Miracle Network and media guides for countless NCAA schools. He also draws on his keen sense of humor to delight audiences and subjects with customized caricatures that are comical, yet also characterized by an intuitive sense of grounded reality.
Only one addition could make the limbo, hula-hooping, or the monkey dance even more fun: bubbles. Worcester Bubble Parties' bubble machines spit out floating spheres of all sizes as fun, age-appropriate music plays. Kids can jump around in the iridescent orbs to the beat, try to catch and pop wayward bubbles, or wait until the machines power down and join in activities such as the limbo.
The staff at Zoots Dry Cleaning extracts stains and stress by pairing eco-friendly dry-cleaning services with the convenience of extended evening and Sunday hours, 24-hour drop-off and pickup services (available at most locations), and an automated drive-thru system. Team members clean clothes, draperies, bedding, and rugs with a biodegradable solvent as opposed to harsh PERC chemicals, and some staff are trained to expertly excise stains from the delicate lace and beadwork of bridal-gown bodices. Most stores also have a tailor on location who is able to alter ensembles in a snap. Customers get e-mail notifications when orders are ready or they can download a smartphone app to keep a close eye on the status of their dirty laundry.
Of the 27 varsity teams that comprise the Holy Cross Crusaders, five have been competing at the college level for more than a century. During that time, the men's basketball and baseball teams have taken home NCAA championships, while the football squad has been a mainstay in the Patriot League for more than 20 years. Boasting a 98% graduation rate among all student-athletes, the Crusaders keep fans and students engaged with a variety of sports, as teams in everything from ice hockey to lacrosse try to topple the Division I headquarters' wall of impenetrable brackets.
Professional bartenders teach in classrooms set up as fully functioning bars. The facilities present lifelike conditions for students to learn skills such as the proper shake and pour for a variety of cocktails, muddling raw ingredients, and getting the right amount of head on a draft beer. Courses also cover the technical elements of bartending, which may include setting up drink stations, understanding liquor laws and board-of-health requirements, and operating payment systems that accept both credit cards and gold ingots.