Though it advertises itself as the largest no-kill shelter in the Twin Cities, Animal Ark’s homey facility seems more like a relaxing retreat for the more than 1,000 homeless cats, dogs, and rabbits that come through its doors each year. Cats bask in sunlight within feline apartments as dogs lounge atop soft raised beds in their own spacious kennels, sinking teeth into chew toys and treats. Of course, time at Animal Ark isn't all leisure. Canines awaiting their forever homes stretch their legs across a large outdoor play yard, aptly named the Ark Park, where ample trees and greenery mix with park benches where dogs can train their human friends to sit.
Potential owners can also get to know adoptable pets online. The website posts a first-person profile of each available animal that lists its breed, personality, and master’s degrees.
Joe and Courtney Norgaard, the owners of Local Roots Fine Foods, create made-from-scratch soups with locally-sourced ingredients. Late summer flavors harmonize in the gluten-free garden vegetable soup loaded with zucchini, onion, red potatoes, and carrots in a fire-roasted tomato base. Creamy red-potato-and broccoli-chowder makes bellies purr with its natural decadence, and free-range chicken noodle soup might tempt family members to fake the common cold. All of Local Roots Fine Foods' products are free of hormones, antibiotics, and preservatives, and each of the sampler's six 32-ounce containers arrives filled with enough soup to feed 2–3 people.
A massage can already be a vulnerable experience, so the question of how much pressure for the therapist to apply can be tough to answer, especially given that everyone experiences pressure differently. Fortunately, there are basically three possible responses—light, medium, or firm—and considering the following factors may help you decide:
Pain Tolerance: If you find yourself extremely sensitive to touch, request light pressure. Likewise, people who can tolerate rigorous—possibly even uncomfortable—pressure should choose firm to get the most out of the muscle manipulation. Always trust your body; if firm pressure feels too intense, ask the therapist to ease up.
Why Are You Here?: If your top priority is relaxation, then light or medium pressure is for you. If you want to work out knots, relieve concentrated tension, or pop the balloon animal you swallowed, then firm pressure may be required. If you're looking for a mix of outcomes, explain them in detail, pointing out specific areas and desired results. For instance, you might say, "I want to loosen my back muscles but break up knots in my shoulders," each of which requires a different amount of pressure.
Don't Sweat It: Massage therapy is designed to improve the body's overall function, whether by promoting relaxation or relieving aches and pains. So even if you choose a pressure level at the start of a massage, you're not locked into it—you can request lighter or firmer pressure at any point during treatment. A good massage therapist appreciates and responds to feedback, which helps them develop a personalized session that feels good and fulfills your expectations.
Mother-and-daughter team Pam and Emily Philipp founded Operation Glass Slipper in 2006 to help high-school girls prepare for their proms. Girls who cannot afford the high cost of attending and outfitting themselves for prom can confide in a trusted adult from their school or community to obtain a referral to the program. The girls then choose a dress, purse, shoes, a necklace, and earrings from Operation Glass Slipper's inventory, which is made up primarily of new shoes and accessories and donated dresses, although the organization must purchase additional dresses to fill gaps in sizes. The girls can also bring a female companion to help them shop. Since its inception, Operation Glass Slipper has outfitted more than 1,000 girls for prom each year.