Project Mom grants mothers of all stages and ages a mini break from the frenzies of home during a relaxing day convention. Saturday's festivities put the spotlight on several experts in maternal matters, from Lilian Hopes Designs to Kara Abrahamson and Jennifer Brandt of Planting Seeds Christian Counseling. Relaxation stations throughout the convention melt away stress between breakout discussions on a variety of topics, including frugal nutrition, wrangling teens and tweens, party planning, and managing toddler during those pre-hours before preschool time. Free giveaways reward guests with luxurious prizes, such as spa passes, and complimentary swag bags send moms home with gift cards, beauty products, and fly swatters for disciplining mischievous imaginary friends.
Imagine the moment when a shy, introverted young girl steps in front of a room full of people for the first time and speaks with confidence and clarity. This is a regular occurrence at Drama Kids International, where experienced teachers use a unique, copyrighted curriculum to help shape and focus outgoing children or draw shy children out of their shells. Classes for kids as young as 5 refine speech techniques, dramatic movement, and imagination, giving them the confidence to perform in front of an audience or finally ask their parents to change their names to Thespis. For older kids, aged 12–18, Drama Kids International offers the DKI Acting Academy, where serious theater kids can expand their speaking, acting, and auditioning skills through exercises and performances.
A lifelong poker player and theorist, founder and head instructor Sean Hansen knows that gambling doesn’t have to be a gamble at all. Big Slick Poker Academy helps students of all skill levels—from absolute novices to experts whose grandfathers were decks of cards—learn the logic and strategy behind one of the world’s favorite card games. The keystone Red Chip introductory course is designed for beginners and experienced players who want to fix holes in their game. Over four weeks, students learn valuable skills such as basic profitable strategy, bet sizing, reading tells, and no-limit theory. BSPA also leads seminars on topics such as starting hands and basic bet sizing, offers individual pre-coaching evaluations for advanced players, and shares bare-bones fundamentals during "The Fish Bowl," a free monthly round table discussion for absolute beginners.
Big Barn Bar-B-Que's specialty dry-rubbed and pecan-smoked meats stock hungry mouths with succulent tastes backed by a cavalcade of sides. The menu enumerates a choice of 10 different meats, including two-meat plates that pair together savory combinations of carnivorous fare such as a tender arrangement of chopped brisket, classic baby back ribs, or jalapeño-cheddar sausage. Sides such as coleslaw and potato salad celebrate refreshing, cooling textures, and crisp fried okra and onion rings tantalize taste buds more completely than PhD students learn the alphabet. As duos, quartets, or sextets revel in smoky delights and share tastes, iced teas, fountain drinks, and coffee anoint liquid intake apparatuses in preparation for a finishing course of just desserts—seasonal cobblers packing a palatable punch of fruits such as strawberry or peach and Mama's famous banana pudding, which reveals a union of fresh-blended bananas and crisp vanilla wafers.
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.