Inside the brightly-lit confines of Fat Cat Art Cafe, shelves brim with bare-bisque pieces in the form of plates, mugs, and bowls. Visitors wield non-toxic, lead-free glazes and paints, embellishing items with designs such as flowers, abstract squiggles, or a squirrel's handprint before accommodating staff members fire the pieces, readying them for everyday use. Not just a paint-your-own pottery studio, Fat Cat Art Cafe offers specialty sessions such as Clay Day, where participants learn to make their own pottery pieces, and summer camps, where campers delve into daylong or weeklong projects such as creating a mosaic plaque, building flower pots out of clay coils, and making clay jars to store one?s nosehairs.
Trey and Mamie Herron of Skinny's Nutrition Studio—which was given a shout-out by Well-Being] magazine—work to make fitness something that touches each part of daily life. They host healthy happy hours, lead excursions into the outdoors, and fuel it all with protein-based meals and wellness plans. In the shop, glasses line the counters beneath verdigris walls, brimming with 41 smoothie flavors, aloe shots, and energy-boosting teas, and patrons discuss fitness goals after wellness assessments. Weight-loss challenges harness the healthy powers of competition, unlike a friend who claims to be able to swallow more Legos.
McGraw Rental loans a cornucopia of equipment to constructive customers looking to boost their home's appearance or function. Grill monarchs can reign over far-reaching barbecue provinces by loading up on propane, which friendly, skillful employees inject into bottles using half the number of crazy straws required by amateurs. Essential and diverse hardware and home supplies include double A batteries ($2.69/4-pack), 7 1/4-inch Marathon circular blades ($9.95 each), and crossfire safety glasses ($9.99) that shield eyes from everyday projectiles and low-flying commercial airliners. Brown jersey gloves ($1.69) protect snow-sensitive fingertips, and duct tape ($4.49/roll) miraculously mends serious structural problems plaguing shoddily constructed mansions.
Lakeland Yard and Garden boasts more than 30 years of botanical know-how, maintaining plants, fountains, garden accessories, and soil on its 17-acre spread of agricultural amusement. Knowledgeable green gurus can assist patrons in finding their ideal plant pals, perusing a selection of rose plants one might secretly plant in a loved one's pillow ($13.99+). Habitat dwellers can breeze through the selection of hanging ferns to fill baskets and insert green into the colorless air ($19.99+). Thumbs turn green in the presence of topsoil, mulch, trees, and sand, imported from prestigious growers across the country. The horticultural amassment extends beyond plants, blooming with decorative patio accessories, clay pottery, and birdbaths, which can be used to lure the neighborhood’s elusive rainbow-afro-haired finch.
Trained by physical therapists, the streetwise staff at StinkyFeet Athletics use gait analysis for shoe fitting and years of sartorial experience to recommend the best gear for athletes of all levels and goals. High-tech clothing from Brooks, K-Swiss, and ASICS ($22+) keep sportspeople warm on cold days, cool on hot days, and just right when smothered in honey and fleeing an irritated bear family. Toes can avoid swampy shoe caves with Swiftwick socks ($11.99+), and encumbered runners can avoid sweaty-palm cell-phone drops with a lightweight Spibelt ($20). To prevent exercise-induced chest pain without downing chemical capsules, strap on a Moving Comfort sports bra ($35–$45), or, to support arches without an intervention by Brunelleschi, lace up sneaks from the likes of Newton, Brooks, and ASICS ($100+).
For more than 60 years, Toys“R”Us has been helping kids be kids and grown-ups to revisit their childhoods by providing one of the largest selections of top-brand toys, electronics, games and everyday baby essentials. Founder, Charles Lazarus, revolutionized the toy business by modeling his stores after supermarkets, providing a variety of options to suit varying ages and interests and offering customers to help themselves and have fun in the process. Today, that sense of playfulness is evident at nearly 600 stores in the United States alone, including a flagship location in Times Square where kids are greeted by a 60-foot Ferris wheel, a 5-ton animatronic T-Rex, and a life-sized, 4,000-square-foot Barbie house.
Beyond everybody's favorite bikes, trains and video games, each Toys“R”Us store keeps its shelves stocked with the season’s must-have toys as well as nostalgic standbys that never go out of style. Time-tested brands such as LEGO, Radio Flyer, NERF and Fisher-Price share the shelves with an expansive selection of electronics for older kids, including Wii U and tablets. And though the company has inspired generations of boys and girls to try their hardest not to grow up, it also strives to ensure budding brains develop right on track by devoting a significant portion of its stores to “smart-play” with a wide selection of electronic learning toys and software.
Toys“R”Us—whose extended family of brands includes Babies“R”Us and FAO Schwarz—has earned a number of awards and recognitions through the years, including a spot on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies in 2012. The company has also drawn considerable recognition for its expansive charitable efforts, which include partnerships with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Save the Children. This year also marks the tenth consecutive year that the company has partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to collect new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations in its stores to benefit the organization.