Tia Harris, a mother and a Montclair resident since 2008, couldn't have predicted that an activity she enjoyed as a relaxing hobby would later become her full-time career. She was laid off from her previous job in 2011 and found herself turning to beading as a stress-reducing creative outlet. Embracing her entrepreneurial spirit, Harris decided in 2012 to open TiaMarie Beading Studio, where she shares her passion with other jewelry enthusiasts. She told Barista Kids that "We are striving to create a sense of community and a fun place for creative ideas to come together."
To accomplish the studio’s goal, Harris handpicked her team of multitalented instructors, which includes a former interior designer, a certified fine-arts teacher and writer, and a graphic-design expert. In addition to teaching classes, the friendly crew regularly hosts birthday parties and girls' nights out, where ladies can learn the art of wire wrapping—one of the oldest known jewelry-making methods next to training cobras to coil around your wrist.
Though she's been a professional artist for more than 25 years, April Tracey's career began with a momentous decision. After receiving her BFA from Queen's University, April was accepted to the MFA program at the Rhode Island School of Design. However, she instead decided to strike out on her own, launching an art gallery, supply store, and school. Now she offers her discerning eye to students through critique services. April pores over pieces in all mediums, offering compassionate criticism in person or via Skype, email, or messages hidden behind the work's frame.
Since 1964, Guitar Center has paired musicians with guitars, keyboards, drums, Pro Audio gear, and necessary accessories, including DJ and recording equipment to capture newly made melodies. An iPad music-stand adaptor ($39.99) connects an iPad to a music stand, allowing musicians to access online programs and music apps on-stage, or to publicly dedicate a song to their online Scrabble partner. A clip-on tuner ($29.99) keeps notes pitch-perfect, and Guitar Center’s array of sheet music produces a wider variety of sounds than singing from a thesaurus, with options that include the C-surfing The Real Blues Book ($31.49). Stitch tighter harmonies by threading notes onto Slinky guitar strings ($3.79), or use the value of today's Groupon toward a larger purchase, such as the Epiphone Les Paul Special II guitar ($169–$179.99). Guitar Center rounds out its collection of gear with Pro Audio and DJ equipment, keyboards, and drums, allowing every band member or solo cymbal player to stock up on their chosen form of expression.
Kickboxing classes deliver a knee to the face of fat, burning up to 860 calories an hour with the high-energy striking moves of martial arts and boxing. All four limbs get in on the bag-bludgeoning action at iLoveKickboxing as each class (a $15 value per class) provides a full-body workout that tones arm, leg, and tentacle muscles while tightening the body’s core and improving balance. Hitting the heavy bags won't skin your knuckles once you don the included boxing gloves, which also double as excellent spring-loaded props for re-creating Three Stooges gags.
Some of the best views afforded visitors by the Empire State Building can actually be found on its second floor. That's where NY Skyride's virtual skyline tours take place. Guests gather upon a large, moving platform that drifts in sync with footage projected onto an 18-foot high definition screen. The experience brings visitors up close to the highest peaks of architecture the city has to offer. The virtual tour explores three dozen famed landmarks within 30 minutes, while narration by actor Kevin Bacon points out interesting facts about each sight, such as its historical significance or how many degrees away from it he is.