Rows of LCD televisions cast a glow across Power Play Gaming’s cavernous gaming room, reflecting the competitive glint in players’ eyes as they attempt to slay their enemies with intricate button combos. The battles and races that play out on each screen represent the pinnacle of modern video gaming, with selections from the latest Xbox 360, Wii, and PlayStation consoles on prominent display. Players can test their luck in solo adventures by the hour or declare their participation in one of the regular tournaments by slapping their desired opponents with a controller. The gaming center also specializes in parties, during which groups of up to 20 friends can join together for multiplayer jaunts through cyberspace.
While waiting for the end of a party or regular gaming session, parents can sip complimentary coffee, recline in massaging chairs, and surf the Internet on waves of free WiFi. The gaming hot spot is open Wednesday–Sunday for casual gamers, though parties can be scheduled outside of regular business hours.
Pelican Outdoor Products in East Brunswick is a well-stocked purveyor of winter-sports equipment and accessories that knows how to get the most out of gear. Bring in a dinged-up snowboard or set of skis and the experienced staff will meticulously buff and wax your mountain-gliding apparatus until its as smooth as a pick-up artist. After restructuring the base for a gentler and more balanced ride, cracks and small gashes will be filled with a special plastic to reduce drag and enable downhill descents fast enough to outrun charging yetis and freeze the subsequent tears of joy.
Helmed by husband-and-wife duo Mat and Christine, Enduring Images Photography craft fine portraiture inside their studio or in on-location shoots. Mat tapped into his inner artist to start the photo studio; now, he both takes photos and touches them up using Photoshop, giving portraits an added luster and professional texture. Christine runs the show, helping plan photo sessions and events to make sure that they run smoothly, for the best experience for everybody involved. The two operate out of a richly appointed studio with plush sofas and an array of colorful backdrops and sets.
A bouquet seems simple at first, sprays of baby’s breath filling out the broad orange petals of lilies and the brushstroke curls of roses. Without an eye for color and composition, though, the huge range of flowers that are available can be intimidating. The School of Floral Arts & Design develops talented florists and hobbyists through classes and courses that introduce theories of composition and design. Instructors with decades of experience cover everything from design to business sense, and pupils leave carrying mini topiaries, centerpieces, and seasonal wreaths. Professional courses help florists enhance their craft with lessons on designing bouquets and corsages.
Build A Basket creates thoughtful gift kits to aid expressions of gratitude, love, and confusion as well as celebrations of birthdays, holidays, and special occasions. Benevolent benefactors can assemble a personalized endowment by choosing a container, whether a small, antique-style sea-grass suitcase basket ($15.99) or a large wicker basket ($15.99). From there, gifters can sift through an extensive miscellany of care-package wares from gag gifts ($2.50–$24.95) to indulgent spa products ($2.50–$38.99). Present panniers also come prefashioned for golf devotees ($2.99–$25.99), pretend princesses ($29.99), and Valentines with a red-velvet sweet tooth ($34.99). Hundreds of individualized options await gift givers short on time, inspiration, or basket-weaving prowess.
A Steinway grand piano was not designed with a three-year-old in mind. These beautiful, expensive instruments—15 to 20 of which sprawl across Lindeblad School of Music's showroom—look too imposing and elegant for a person who still dreams of growing up to become a helicopter. But at Lindeblad School of Music’s recitals, these ivory-tickling toddlers climb the Steinway's bench, dangle their legs over its pedals, and begin to pluck rich, gorgeous sound from machines hand carved from African mahogany and other opulent woods. It’s not that the Lindeblad family doesn’t know the worth of these instruments—after all, they’ve been restoring them for four generations. But the recitals epitomize one of Lindeblad School of Music's educational principles: a dual emphasis on practice and performance. As they’re taking lessons, students are preparing to play before an audience on a superb piano or realistically painted refrigerator box. The faculty who help them all possess an inclination to instruction as well as diversity in their musical experience. Before a course of piano, voice, or guitar lessons, the school's director, Dr. Vogel, pairs students interested in a specific genre, such as classical or jazz, with teachers from that field, most of whom have a master’s degree or a Ph.D. During their children's lessons, parents can wait in a reception area equipped with a coffee machine, WiFi, and a television playing music programming. For students enrolled in regular lessons, Dr. Vogel invites parents to biannual conferences with their child's instructor for progress reports and goals assessment.