Steve Shapson has always taken a do-it-yourself approach to his food, having cultivated wild mushrooms and started his own home-brewing store. One day, a customer entered this brewing facility in search of a thermometer, and Steve quickly discovered the man had something other than brewing in mind. As the customer explained his newfound passion for amateur cheese making, Steve enthusiastically dove into the concept, inviting the fellow foodie to his store to help him discover the process. Since then, he's become The Cheesemaker, striving to pass on hard-earned knowledge that he maintains can't be found in conventional cheese-making guidebooks.
Steve teaches techniques for making hard and soft cheeses, butter, yogurt, and kefir in onsite workshops that last either just a few hours or a full weekend. During hands-on workshops, he explains both proper and improper techniques, often citing mistakes he's made in the past as examples and telling cautionary tales about arranging rival cheeses next to each other on a serving platter. To supply his workshops and fill out his take-home cheese-making kits, Steve gathers a range of cultures and inoculants necessary for developing different cheeses, as well as basic-to-advanced gear such as curd knives, strainers, and warming vats.
First a teacher, and then a stay-at-home mom, Melissa Spredemann turned to indoor cycling to help her get into shape. With 12 years of experience under her belt, she decided to become certified to teach others the exercise form she loved so much. Just one year into teaching, she knew she wanted to pursue her passion full-time, so she opened Velocity Cycling Studio to share stationary cycling's benefits with others. She handpicked a team of instructors, each chosen for their commitment, enthusiasm, and innate ability to bike while not covering any distance. Melissa made the conscious decision to open a niche gym, focusing on indoor cycling and only indoor cycling. In the studio, an army of Spinner NXT bikes with SPD clips seats students as they bike through poses, drills, and movements designed to mimic outdoor riding. Thumping tunes pump up pupils as they ride, keeping them motivated to pedal to the upbeat tempos. Unlike big-box gyms and arranged friendships, Velocity Cycling Studio never requires a contract—guests simply pay per ride.
Since becoming a certified stylist in 1997, Frances has been an educator for Global Keratin and has worked international beauty shows and New York?s Fashion Week as well as hair styling academies in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Atlanta, Chicago, and Miami. Committed to continued education, she has also pursued advanced training with both the Aveda Institute and the Redken Exchange in Manhattan.
Frances continues to propel standards at her own salon, Belleza, where she specializes in an array of services including keratin, extensions, and as a color specialist. For clients with thinning or fine hair, she offers solutions geared toward busy lifestyles. The Evolve Volumizer system is a unique non-surgical and semi-permanent hair replacement system that enhances volume, texture, and color without glue, chemicals, adhesives. Those seeking more traditional hair services can enlist Frances' skills for an edgy razor cut or lengthen their follicular beauty with strand-by-strand or MicroTip micro-extensions.
In 1947, on New York City's Park Avenue, the first Fred Astaire Dance Studio—cofounded by the eponymous toe tapper himself—opened its doors to the public. More than six decades later, now boasting schools across North America, the dancing institution still adheres to the legendary Mr. Astaire's curriculum and instruction techniques.
Specializing in social ballroom and competitive dances, the schools' current consortium of professional instructors shepherds students of all ages and skill levels through dance lessons that span from classic ballroom and foxtrot romps to the modern steps of salsa, swing, or mambo. In addition to classes, the studio hosts social practice parties where up to 40 students hone newly acquired rug-cutting capabilities. As foot-charming music blares from the speakers, instructors work to cultivate a lively social setting where each guest can dance, mingle, and surgically correct their second left foot without fear of embarrassment.
Named after the early-morning first shift for crew aboard seafaring vessels, First Watch ensures chefs arrive at work with the rising sun, chopping fresh produce, baking muffins, and mixing french toast batter each day. As guests arrive, perky servers greet them with an entire pot of Sunrise Select coffee, as well as the morning paper and free WiFi. Since 1983, First Watch’s carpe-diem philosophy has spread to more than 100 locations across 13 states, pleasing crowds with thin, sweet crepes and fluffy whipped eggs, hash brown skillets, and enormous multigrain pancakes. Recently placed at the top of a Consumer Reports list of best family restaurants, First Watch takes the customer experience seriously. Chefs focus entirely on crafting nourishing sunrise feasts and midday meals, shunning afterthoughts of steaks and burgers for edible masterpieces of omelets, belgian waffles, homemade biscuits, and wholesome lunch salads and sandwiches.
Owner Anna Zuckerman's late husband opened Sydney b. A Children's Boutique to make a mark on the world with "Sydney", their daughter's name, on it. Today, Anna and her staff keep the boutique stocked with hard-to-find, high-quality children's clothes from brands such as Zutano and Deux par Deux. They travel to New York, Atlanta, Chicago, and elsewhere to keep the shop filled with dresses, tutus, and charm bracelets, and there are plenty of toys, outfits for boys, and baby gifts as well. The team has a rule of thumb that customers shouldn't be able to find anything in the shop at a big-box store—they exclusively seek out unique finds that are well worth the expense.
As customers admire rows of Primigi shoes or Hello Kitty–themed goodies, tykes can watch kid-friendly shows or assemble puzzles. The staff also offers ear piercing to help little ladies pair their couture finds with a pair of pearls or their grandmother's heirloom gauges.