With more than two decades of experience in the entertainment, fashion, and bridal industries, Gilda specializes in making her clients look and feel beautiful. Whether she is giving a European-style precision haircut, applying camouflage makeup, or administering laser skin-tightening or hair-removal treatments, her focus is always on her clients.
In order to continually improve her craft, Gilda attends international trainings taught by elite beauty educators, and keeps her eyes peeled for cutting-edge beauty trends. Before appointments, Gilda and her staff meet with clients to discuss their aesthetic aspirations and facial features before collaborating on a plan of attack, whether it be a new hair color, makeup application, or texture alteration, such as Japanese straightening or permanent waves. Waxing, threading and laser skin treatments round out the menu of salon services, which clients can enjoy while sipping complimentary mugs of coffee or glasses of wine. For those who cannot make it into the salon, Gilda still makes house calls to beautify brides-to-be and partygoers.
Each of Merrifield Garden Center’s three locations overflows with thousands of plants throughout the year, encompassing such variety that a reporter for CNN’s Eatocracy claimed “I might as well endorse my paychecks straight to them…because I always want to grow what they've got.” Knowledgeable garden experts, 25 of whom have been with Merrifield for 25 years or more, guide customers through row upon row of flowers, trees, shrubs, and other plants, or help them sort through an extensive selection of bulbs and seeds. Visitors may also bump into the founders themselves, or their children and other family members, 38 of whom still work at the thriving business that started 40 years ago. Merrifield doesn’t just proliferate plants, however; amenities such as cafes in Gainesville and Merrifield and a dog park in Gainesville make each garden center into a leisure destination as well. Three of its garden gurus run an hourlong TV show that's been going for more than two decades, and other staff publish gardening advice on the website and Facebook. The staff also work to protect the environment with a variety of eco-friendly initiatives. Besides stocking native plants and water-saving devices for their customers, they also compost more than 20,000 tons of soil and 25,000 cubic yards of brush left over from their comprehensive landscaping services every year. The Gainesville location also gathers old concrete, metal appliances, and rusted Optimus Primes for recycling free of charge.
An authorized AT&T retailer, AT&T Portables sets itself apart from the crowd with customer-service-oriented staffers who guide shoppers through the process of picking phones and accessories from an extensive inventory. Each employee is well versed in the bells and whistles of the latest smartphones from Apple, Samsung, Blackberry, and Nokia, helping shoppers translate tech specs into real-world pros and cons. Customers’ chosen phones are accompanied by a range of protective and stylish accessories, as well as cellular plans that provide an appropriate amount of minutes, text messages, and bandwidth for sending and receiving urgent cat videos.
As a kid, following your nose inexplicably led to a bowl of Froot Loops in a suspicious rusty cage. Now that your olfactory system has matured, you'll likely find today's deal at the end of your scent trail. For $25, you get $50 to spend on handmade, natural bath and skincare products at Melt. You can browse virtually on the Internet, but this Groupon is only redeemable at Melt's eight retail locations. Melt's moderate prices afford you the opportunity to purchase multiple last-minute holiday gifts for mail carriers, moms, and people you forgot about, while still having enough left to use in a MacGyver-esque escape plan.
Founder-director Isabel Benemelis grew up in Cuba, surrounded by the mambo tunes and Afro-Cuban rhythms that earned the country its reputation as a musical hot spot. At age 4 she took up the piano, and by 7 she found herself "mesmerized by the music of Beethoven, Chopin, and Bach" whenever it hit her ears. This immersion in multiple genres influenced Benemelis when she built her school from oboe reeds in 1995: faculty members specialize in classical music, but ably veer into jazz and Latin scores if students have an interest. During one-on-one, 30-minute lessons, they teach adults and children older than age 4 to play piano, guitar, saxophone, bongos, and a host of other instruments. In keeping with the school’s multidisciplinary roots, many instructors are also fluent in English and Spanish.