S.W. Randall Toys & Gifts' impressive catalogue features more than 20,000 specialty toys and games by brands that include Hasbro, Mattel, and Milton Bradley. During safaris through one of the store’s ample toy pastures, a Toysmith explorer telescope ($16.95) offers aid to patrons observing the gluttonous habits of Hungry Hungry Hippos ($22.95). A rousing game of Twister ($18.50) can vastly improve flexibility and hand-dot coordination—both important skills to demonstrate at college orientation sessions—and for those seeking shenanigans beyond what Trouble the board game ($14.95) has to offer, a multivoice changer ($14.95) easily befuddles McDonald’s drive-thru attendants with its 10 distinct sound modulations.
To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, “She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.”
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand’s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
Though having only recently celebrated its second birthday, the August Wilson Center commands a striking architectural confidence. Its two-story steel-and-glass sail juts into the night sky with the bravado of a toddler who just lassoed his first neighborhood cat. Within the steal and glass, a 486-seat theater hosts plays, dance performances, and lectures while multiple exhibition galleries display art and cultural treasures for the community. The center draws on the legacy and culture of African Americans from Western Pennsylvania, infusing each curation with a celebration of rich history.
Perched in the Steel City's Cultural District downtown and staffed by passionate volunteers, the nonprofit ToonSeum pays homage to the art of the cartoon with rotating exhibits, kids' classes, and hands-on entertainment for all ages. Exhibitions have ranged from collections of original work to special displays honoring artists such as Pennsylvania native, Keith Haring. Contributing to the museum's ongoing educational mission, local cartoonists often donate their own time to teach fun-filled workshops or share the bleak realities of living with a talking cat.
Over the past two decades, Chef Frank Imbarlina has honed his culinary acumen throughout the Northeast, helming a Manhattan catering service and creating several restaurants with lauded menus and concepts. At The Epicure's Palate, Imbarlina employs his gastronomic wisdom to expand beyond the offerings of standard restaurants or catering companies. His staff of personal chefs tailor to each individual’s dietary needs, creating unique menus of natural and organic foods. Wine or beer dinners treat intimate crowds of friends to exotic varietals and craft brews over a personally prepared meal, or the chefs can whip up a wine or beer tasting that spreads the joys of imbibing to as many as 200 people. In-home demonstrations include explanations of techniques and ingredients used in the preparation of artisanal cocktails and exotic cuisines, culled from such disparate locales as Syria, Malaysia, and the neighbor’s kitchen.
Pittsburgh Water Limo’s fleet of Coast Guard–certified water taxis have ushered patrons down each of Pittsburgh’s three rivers since 1999. At the helm, captains combining more than 150 years of experience oversee safe transport as guests imbibe beer, wine, or bottled water while the skyline steadily rolls past. The taxis charter regular trips to Pirates and Steelers games or ferry passengers looking to sightsee the city.