Mother-daughter team Juli and Breanna, who just graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in metal smithing, share their love of artistic expression at Bee Creative Studio, where they invite guests to join them in painting pottery and fusing glass. Visitors browse the ranks of piggy banks, plates, and figurines of frogs and dragons before picking up paintbrushes or the end of their braids to dip in paint. Finished pieces stay at Bee Creative while the experts glaze and fire them, and their creators can pick them up in five to seven days.
Those who want to wear their art can paint designs that Bee Creative transfers onto T-shirts, baby’s onesies, or aprons for keeping clothes clean while cooking or performing mad, mad science. Or, guests can delve into the world of fused glass, layering colors for jewelry, plates, and sun catchers that the studio experts fire and ready for pickup in a week. In addition to its open studio hours, Bee Creative hosts parties for birthday celebrants and brides-to-be.
Opened in 1989, Drop Zone Paintball Park's six fields sprawl over 89 acres of land, which play host to combat during sun or rain showers. In one field, a castle scenario corrals players into elevated turrets to defend against opponents who fire from surrounding towers across a makeshift moat. Elsewhere, trees lining ravines offer safe cover so shooters can take careful aim at their foes or draw their sweetheart's initials upon the trunks. Along with space for paintball and tournament-style speedball, the park's designers designated a special zone near the castle field where nonplayers can watch the action from a safe distance.
Juice Stop uses fresh, nutritious ingredients to whip up their low-temperature, high-energy smoothies ($3.26–$4.35). Make over your morning routine with a Coaches' Choice smoothie (non-fat milk, chocolate, yogurt, and cappuccino mix), or jog through a Single Track (watermelon, raspberry, mango, strawberry, yogurt, sherbet). Protein-packed options such as the Bench Press (banana, strawberry or chocolate, with muscle powder and protein) are hearty enough to replace a meal or glue the legs of a G.I. Joe onto a Barbie. All smoothies are blended from scratch (no mixes are used) and fresh veggie and tropical fruit options are available as well.
A rainbow of men's and women's apparel and accessories populates the forest of racks inside Arizona Trading Company, where staffers buy, sell, and trade a thoughtfully curated, ever-revolving stash of gently used threads. They take in modern and vintage attire alike, scrutinizing each item to ensure that no evidence remains of the superhero who previously owned it. Handbags, shoes, and Pendleton flannels neighbor household gear, jackets, and seasonal inventory throughout the fully stocked shop. A smattering of brand-new accouterments, such as sunglasses and jewelry, interrupts the vast spread of lightly worn attire.
More than a decade ago, Carmen and Lynn Milazzo began making candles in their kitchen. They blended their wax with ingredients such as vegetables and fruits, an experimental alternative to the chemically fragranced candles they'd seen on the market. This hobbyist craft operation has since expanded into the online Mia Bella store. Now, the pair ships more than 100 scented-candle varieties throughout the country, helping customers fill their homes with the aroma of fruits and oven-baked dough without having to paint the walls with pie filling.
Mia Bella's candles burn for at least 60 hours, releasing fragrances distilled from soft wood, South Pacific fruits, baked goods, and fine wines through nearly soot-free palm wax dyed to soft blues, pinks, and bright oranges. Flameless candles disperse scents as they melt above the heat from a low-watt bulb, and candles housed in retro designer jars mingle aromas with potpourri as they burn. Carmen, Lynn, and their staff also mix a range of soaps and lotions from ingredients such as bamboo, lavender, and Japanese pear and grind makeup foundation from natural bismuth ingots.
As a child, Suzanne Ashley knew that one day clothing would stop growing from trees and someone would have to do some heavy stitching. So for more than 35 years, she has donned thimbles and basked in the humming heartbeat of sewing machines, crafting her own designs and improving fit and fashion for others. After a brief stint in New Jersey selling handmade accessories and imported clothing from Mexico, Suzanne returned to Lawrence to pamper wardrobes locally. Within her own Ashley Alterations, Suzanne can expertly hem a dress, take in a jacket, or use the humongous needle on the shop’s sign to ward off equipment-embezzling haystacks.