Exhale Spa seeks to transform its clientele inside and out. The founding team of fitness professionals and aestheticians sought to create an environment where they could empower visitors with pampering spa treatments, invigorating fitness classes, and lifestyle education, helping clients attain a sense of control and holistic balance. Now with 19 locations across 11 cities, Exhale Spa and its signature services have earned mentions in numerous national publications, including People magazine, the New York Times, and O, The Oprah Magazine.
Exhale's signature Core Fusion classes incorporate dance-inspired stretches, yoga poses, and Pilates exercises into total-body workouts that build long, lean limbs and sturdy abdominal muscles over time. For an even more varied workout, the instructors introduce boot-camp techniques, cardio exercises, or multiplication tables to select sessions. Yoga classes present a similar amount of breadth and variety, drawing inspiration from a number of introspective and physically oriented styles. To help hasten physical transformations, nutrition and wellness coaches teach attendees about the impacts of diet. These sessions build an awareness of healthy eating habits through custom meal plans and by teaching clients how to identify the edible parts of a fruit basket.
Many of the center's traditional spa services seek to inspire confidence. Facials pamper and refine skin using everything from green tea and fruit extracts to microcurrent technology, and mani-pedis revitalize digits before glazing nails with a vibrant new coat of color. Bodywork treatments look beyond physical relaxation and focus on holistic concerns. Massage therapists can use Eastern or Western modalities to soothe overstressed musculature, and acupuncture treatments and reiki sessions jump-start natural healing processes by encouraging the free flow of inner energies.
The hookah's natural habitat is not a nightclub with crashing music and empty drinks slamming against tables. The hookah experience, according to Kimm Smith of Hookah House, should be unrushed and mellow. "It's very meditative," she says, "and should be shared with people you care about." This was the atmosphere in which co-owner Zo spent his childhood in Algeria, where people would spend long hours gathering with friends and families in hookah lounges. He and his Bostonian wife, Michelle, wanted to bring that aspect of Algerian culture to the United States, both to spread a feeling of community and as an homage to the marriage of their distinct backgrounds.
As the fruit-tinged smoke of shisha rises from between murmuring visitors, it passes rich fabrics, which drape the exposed-brick walls, and bright lanterns dangling from a marigold ceiling. Stories seem to overflow from the furniture and textiles, gathered during the couple’s travels in Algeria or preserved from Zo's former life as a sommelier in Paris. This is where patrons linger, resting shoeless feet on bright cushions and pillows as they converse or check email on the free wireless internet. Atop inlaid tables, servers place Turkish coffee, house blends of Moroccan tea, and small plates of Mediterranean-inspired dishes.
On some weekend evenings, live jazz stirs guests to twist among tendrils of smoke before a DJ steps up to spin a range of music, from Earth, Wind & Fire to Jimi Hendrix. Belly dancers, with bells and scarves for all to borrow, demonstrate to patrons how to pass lie-detector tests with just their hips. A psychic-in-residence reads coffee grounds most nights, translating the earthy onyx shapes into predictions about the drinker's future.
It's 1980-something. Glen, a young boy, dons a pair of glasses with one blue lens and one red, excited by this new technology that's supposed to make things on the screen pop out at you. During the next two hours, Glen ducks swooping avians during the revival of Alfred Hitchcock's ¬The Birds in 3-D, terrified, yet thrilled. This is one of Glen Gray's earliest memories about the theater his father built more than 30 years ago. Today, Glen lives out those moments each day as the proprietor of Movies of Delray, where the projectors roll a medley of Hollywood features and foreign, art-house, and independent films.
Gold walls and burgundy curtains lend the lobby an art-deco air, and a large chandelier illuminates more than 60 pencil drawings of movie icons of yore, such as John Wayne, Elvis, and Marilyn Monroe. This old-fashioned lobby disguises the updates within: brand-new bathrooms, granite countertops at the concession stand, and, in the theaters themselves, digital surround sound and updated seating. Rows of black leather seats cushion moviegoers with high backs and wide benches so cozy that Glen claims guests have fallen asleep in them, only waking up at the end of the picture or when Bruce Willis turns out to have been a metaphor all along.
In celebration of film, professor Shelly Isaacs graces the theater with screenings of obscure Oscar-winning or Oscar-nominated foreign films. After each screening, he discusses the film with audiences, dissecting and analyzing the cinematography, characters, and plot.
Occasionally, Mood Swings Aveda Salon and Skin Spa moonlights as a studio. Sometimes camera-toting members of the media stop by to check out this season’s trends or new hair products. Other times, models strut or flutter from imaginary wind gusts during Urban Tribe and other fashion photo shoots. Perhaps most importantly, Mood Swings periodic studio space hosts educational seminars for its talented team of stylists, who learn advanced tips in coloring and other techniques from Aveda professional instructors.
This commitment to the art and science of hair justifies Arizona Foothills magazine selecting Mood Swings Aveda Salon and Skin Spa as its best salon of 2011. The praise coincides with that from AZCentral.com, which named Mood Swings Best Trendy Salon for “translating cool, avant-garde styles into wearable, everyday looks.” Stylists craft these looks with natural, plant-based products from Aveda, and supplement the service with pampering that can include a complimentary scalp massage, hand facial, and finishing touches to clients’ makeup. A comprehensive services menu treats the entire body, ranging from natural skin products that rejuvenate complexions to pedicures that soothe feet with a dual-jet therapeutic whirlpool after unsuccessful attempts to walk barefoot across a hot charcoal grill.
The highly trained technicians at Jiffy Lube tend to about 24 million customers each year with services such as the Signature Service Oil Change package, which promotes the longevity of each vehicle. Staffers acknowledge that oil plays a crucial role in maximizing the lifespan of each car?it cools the motor and prevents moving parts from deteriorating. More than 20,000 technicians who have completed an extensive training program certified by the National Institute Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) nurse vehicles at Jiffy Lube.
In addition to performing oil changes, Jiffy Lube's savants perform air-filtration, brakes, electricity, and windshield services, among others. The technicians' quality pledge includes a commitment to transparency, which stipulates that they will inform car owners of any necessary services, only complete a service after it has been approved, and refuse to replace windshields with saran wrap.
When Dean Lavallee opened the first Park Avenue BBQ in 1988, he had one lofty mission in mind: to serve the best barbecue ever made. Despite the seemingly impossible nature of his goal, he and his team continue to rise to the challenge, dry-rubbing their meats to smoke and char-grill on-site. They use all-natural, grain-fed, domestic pork for their traditional and Carolina-style barbecue pork—pulled by hand—and only use fresh, never-frozen ribs that are smoked daily over hickory. As diners chow down on hearty homestyle sides, seafood platters, or buffalo wings tossed in one of six sauces, they can admire the dining room's pictures of their city's most prominent people, places, and robot mayors.
Park Avenue BBQ arranges their meats into fun, hearty dishes such as the Dempublican sandwich, which combines smoked pork and beef brisket separated only by cheese and bacon to create a sizeable sandwich that the team has dubbed "porkalicious". They whip up Funnybonz, which look and taste like miniature ribs, using tender, lean pork that's prepared by cooking up regular ribs beneath a shrink ray. In 2008, their dedication to each dish caused Cityvoter's users to name Park Avenue BBQ the best barbecue in town.