Dan Doke discovered his passion for photography as a teenager, eventually turning his beloved hobby into a career after purchasing his first studio in his 20s. After building a thriving business with portrait and senior-photo portfolios, Doke moved his studio closer to his family and began to focus on wedding photography full time. Today, the seasoned shutterbug dangerously overloads his mantelpiece with a wealth of awards and honors, ranging from a membership in the Society of XXV to his status as a Photographic Craftsman from the Professional Photographers of America. Doke’s polished black-and-white and color prints have graced the covers of more than 30 magazines, including Gala, La Bella Bride, and Studio Photography, and his expertise won him a spot in 2005 as a photographer at an inaugural ball for President George W. Bush, where he was responsible for capturing candid portraits of heads of state, governors, lawmakers, and dignitaries. Along with the team of photographers he has personally trained, Dan produces high-contrast, post portraits of families and pets that range from traditional outdoor and studio shots to high-concept editorials.
At Vivo Fencing Club, a trio of decorated Hungarian coaches share their wisdom and expertise with beginner-through-elite-level fencers. Head coach Arpad "Arpi" Horvath has been involved in the sport since 1989, later going on to become a two-time NCAA champion during his time at St. John's University in New York. Today, Arpi and his fellow coaches rely on the Hungarian fencing approach—which focuses on the whole fencer—to teach students of all ages and abilities. They offer classes for students as young as six, allowing youngsters a chance to gain discipline and develop useful skills while their friends are still struggling with the mountains of paperwork that come with running a lemonade stand.
If Art McDermott, owner of Matrix Strength & Fitness, handed you his stack of certifications, you might get winded by the time you flipped through them all. Art holds rank as a certified nutritionist, a strength and conditioning specialist, and even an adjunct professor at the University of Massachusetts. Instead of using all that wisdom to create the most powerful supervillain the world has ever seen, Art uses his expertise to help clients transform their bodies at Matrix. The private training center specializes in personal training, nutrition counseling, and sports performance in addition to a class schedule packed with boot camp workouts and speed and agility sessions to build endurance and strength.
Helaine Marie has refined her hair-coloring technique over the last two decades and now creates rich tapestries of color with her certifications in Wella and Framesi. She opened her eponymous salon in 2004, inviting expert aestheticians to grace the rooms of an intimate, fairy-lit space draped in lilac curtains. A certified Master Colorist, Marie specializes in complex corrective programs and foils, including her signature highlight treatment. The Foliage Foil evokes the glow of the woods in autumn with blends of copper, crimson, and the deep gold of slowing photosynthesis caused by winter's Midas touch, each mixed individually to warm clients’ natural hues. To remain a well-rounded stylist, she earned two certifications in re-texturing and trained her shears with KMS California, mastering their cutting techniques to become a style council trainer. Helaine Marie is also certified in the Ouidad cutting technique and the Pureology system and carries both product lines in their entirety, in addition to offering the ammonia-free, oil-based Chromatics Color Line.
Experienced framers Barry Stahl and Bob Clayton built Big Picture Framing from scratch in 2000, holding meetings around an old card table as construction roared around them. Today, framers at 15 area locations craft custom frames to display artwork, photographs, and record sleeves, and shadow boxes protect three-dimensional items such as ballet slippers, macaroni art, or a swarm of wasps. Patrons can dictate all design choices, choosing from metal and wooden frames in a multitude of colors and styles, or ask for recommendations from one of Big Picture Framing's resident experts. Big Picture Framing also stocks pre-framed art, prints, and posters to spruce up bare-walled homes or a drab doghouse.
At Paws Club, pooches carouse in the outdoor play area before retiring to the sofas and beds of the social lounge indoors. In that air-conditioned space, they relax while listening to soft music. If feeling more active, they romp around the large supervised backyard or prance through sprinklers. All the while pups remain under the watchful eye of bonded and insured staff and pet sitters who love to play and interact with their furry guests. Canines staying overnight are housed in cageless boarding and pampered with late-night treats. A toll-free phone line is available, as well, so owners can check in on their pets while away.