Accomplished artists themselves, both Tracy Malmstrom and Gail Carson—"Ms. Tracy and Ms. Gail" to their young students—have taught art in elementary schools. After a deluge of requests for private lessons, Tracy founded ArtCastle in 2006 and Gail signed on in 2011. Together, they nourish the artistic spirits of children 6 and older through drawing, painting, printmaking, and a plethora of other mediums.
As the young artists hone visual skills while silk painting or practicing batik-watercolor techniques, Tracy and Gail also strive to bolster their problem-solving abilities, listening skills, and confidence. In addition to after-school and home-school art sessions, the duo offers Friday kids' night out parties in which kids belt out karaoke, scarf down pizza and desserts, and amaze their parents with a finished work of art at the end of the night. Summer camps and classes keep kids active on break and Saturday workshops teach youngsters of all ages a new artistic skill each month, such as how to construct a new best friend out of papier-måché.
Helmed by a husband-and-wife team of competitive power lifters, Stroud’s Fitness sculpts bodies into tiptop shape with personal training, boot-camp classes, and a workout space brimming with strength-training tools. Available Monday–Saturday, 45-minute personal training sessions pair clients with certified trainers to set fitness goals and build workouts that make muscles burn with satisfaction, like an insult uttered from the lips of a sarcastic fire swallower. Clients can practice recently learned lifts and curls with free weights of various sizes or trample stress on a sturdy treadmill. One-hour boot-camp classes work each major muscle group with bodyweight exercises, dumbbells, resistance bands, and yoga poses. To raise heart rates and burn calories, some workouts incorporate 40-second bursts of kickboxing and plyometric moves such as box jumps and bunny hops. Standard boot camps take place weekday evenings and Saturday mornings, and low-impact sessions lure exercisers into the 20,000-square-foot facility Monday–Thursday at 10 a.m.
When hairstylist Shelton Ogle opened his first salon at 21, he quickly realized the secret to maximizing the number of gorgeous haircuts he could render: a well-trained staff. So two years later, he opened his beauty school, Ogle School of Hair, Skin & Nails. Now in its 40th year, the school leverages its accrued experience and knowledge to teach aesthetic arts ranging from skincare to hair coloring. In the school’s salons, students practice on the public, cutting hair into elegant, customized shapes, texturizing strands with relaxers and perms, and highlighting nails with manicures, rather than with rings with built-in strobe lights. A testament to Shelton’s success in building his vision, he was even able to develop a weekly show for PBS about the beauty industry.
Jana Edele, the founder and artistic director of the Velvet Kittens of Le Cabaret Burlesque, created a new way to get in shape with Burlesque Body Sculpt. During one-hour classes, instructors lead students through flirty burlesque routines that incorporate hip rolls and shoulder shimmies. In addition to boosting confidence, the sessions work all major muscle groups for increased strength, stamina, and flexibility.
DuVall’s School of Cosmetology epitomizes hands-on education. Though students do spend time in the classroom, most of their training is spent in the 11,900-square-foot school’s salon and spa, where they perform a roster of services on real people under the guidance of their instructors. Cosmetology students shampoo and cut hair, add length with extensions, and add hue with highlights. Students partake of elite training from instructors versed in the Sassoon method, a system honed by Vidal Sassoon himself during his more than 50 years as a top stylist. Meanwhile, aspiring aestheticians perform facials with products crafted by Dermalogica, a skincare brand that is produced without such common skin irritants as artificial colors, fragrances, and puns. Those outside of the training program can also take advantage of the school's pedigree by basking in carefully mastered beauty services performed by students at a fraction of standard salon prices.
At Metroflex Gym Midcities, you can grunt through your last bicep curl and slam that dumbbell to the floor in triumph—and no one will chastise you for the resounding thud. The husband-and-wife team behind the MidCities franchise opened the gym after they became tired of the rules, lack of loud music, and outright napping that they found at most corporate gyms. Today, they run the kind of gym they feel comfortable in, where high-energy music motivates workouts and members sweat it out in non-climate-controlled rooms. Exercisers can get toned with traditional fitness machines and free weights, or join in on cross-training and boxing classes that build muscle and general athleticism throughout the whole body.