Sisters and native Charlotteans Neha Negandhi and Monika Shah didn’t let respective stints in Seattle and Alaska keep them away from their hometown arts scene. Inspired by similar BYOB painting sessions seen during their travels, they harnessed their diverse experiences with event management and Alaskan train tours to open their own studio, where they encourage students of all artistic levels to tap into their inimitable creativity just as they did. Joined by an impressive cast of local artists, the sisters unfurl a calendar stocked with a barrage of painting options, allowing students to portray a sailboat with an impressionistic mast or a seahorse wearing a gilded saddle.
The dedicated musicians at Falls River Music help students create beautiful notes during private weekly music instruction with a brigade of professional instruments. During 30-minute drum, guitar, violin, bass, or trumpet lessons, children or adults work toward personal goals, such as learning how to read music or mastering solos that erase “Freebird” from minds. Falls River Music provides instruments for use during classes, which, though not required, students may rent for home practice at an additional cost.
When not practicing their tuneful arts, musicians can send in their stringed instruments for expert repairs or test out new sounds plucked from the shop's large selection of acoustic and electric guitars, amplifiers, and effects pedals. Falls River Music offers a 14-day trial period after purchase of new equipment, encouraging musicians to fully explore their new sonic possibilities before declaring themselves satisfied.
The musical menagerie also hosts a full coffee bar and lounge area, where parents may relax during children's lessons. Falls River Music also allows intermediate-level students to put their skills to use each Saturday at 1:30 pm at a two-hour jam session ($10/hour), which may include performances or recording with other musicians and note aficionados.
Selim Oztalay had been having sweet dreams of opening his own Italian gelato shop for many years. Growing up in Germany allowed him to not only be exposed to a variety of cultures, but also a variety of artisan gelato flavors that he missed when he moved to the United States. Hoping to expose American tongues to fine Italian flavors, he opened Gnam Gnam Gelato & Bistro. Named after the Italian saying for "delicious," Gnam Gnam makes visitors say just that with a rotating selection of more than 80 inventive gelato flavors made fresh and onsite daily. Servers heap scoops of the bistro’s namesake treat disguised as eggnog, tiramisu, and Nutella, and the spaghetti gelato reimagines its savory counterpart with vanilla gelato, strawberry syrup, white-chocolate shavings, and a longing for the old country. Those with larger hankerings can be sated with entrees from the full menu which features made-to-order artisan paninis, fresh salads, and combo meals.
Endorsed by financial author Dave Ramsey and highlighted on Oprah Winfrey's Life Lift blog, eMeals charts out a week's worth of dollar- and health-savvy dinner recipes to relieve the burden of kitchen-related stress. Each week, organized grocery lists—categorized by family size, dietary desires, and store preferences—showcase flavorful culinary creations for discerning palates. Plans developed by working parents capitalize on sale items at stores such as Walmart, Publix, and Kroger, and an "any store" list can be used to navigate the aisles of other favored grocers. Family meal plans serve seven meals for three to six people, whereas plans for two are tailored to singles, couples, or a pair of sock puppets on a date atop a chest of drawers.
Special paleo, gluten-free, clean-eating, low-fat, and portion-controlled meal-plan options aid nongeneric eaters in assembling targets for their teeth and fitness regimens. The classic version of the Walmart family plan supplies culinary sustenance to families of three to six for an average weekly cost of $75–$85 and takes advantage of the store's regularly discounted prices. A duo can fill a Publix cart for $50–$60 a week, including side dishes.
Born of founder Jane DeLaney's desire to feed her family stress-free dinners provisioned from an organized list without coupons, eMeals allows shoppers to spend more time at the table and less time wandering about the grocery store uttering monophonic 10th-century chants in dismay.
Every Menchie's location around the world looks much the same: pink, yellow, and lime-green decor framing the eponymous mascot, a smiley twist of yogurt with a cone for a body. It's an identical template that allows for nearly infinite variations at each outpost's row of 14 or 16 rotating yogurt pumps, where guests can self-serve swirls of flavors such as pistachio, peanut butter cup, cake batter, and fruity raspberry pomegranate tart. Then, they can ladle scoops of nearly 60 toppings—including sprinkles, cookies 'n' cream, hot fudge, and locally grown fruits—onto their creations. Nonfat and no-sugar-added varieties join gluten- and lactose-free options for those who have food sensitivities or just hate the taste of gluten.
Owner of The Paper Trail and avid crafter Karen has made paper her medium of choice for more than a decade. Why? Because “scrapbooking is all about leaving a paper trail of you…what we have done, who we are,” she writes on her welcome page. Not only do Karen and her staff supply patrons with the goods to leave their own trail––from patterned paper and albums to pearls and rhinestones for embellishing crafts or friends while they sleep––but also the techniques. Through regular classes and events such as scrapping parties, they teach the art of cropping, crafting cards and scrapbooks, and even building photo albums from scratch. They also create invitations and cards or custom albums for customers.