Culinary Connection curates handmade home goods and recycled sculptures. An Italian handmade Medici dinner plate with painted fleur-de-lis ($40) makes a bold statement while also making up for a chef's poor pronunciation of italian pastas. Sparkling home decor includes candles ($33–$329) and candle holders ($48–$78) and hand-blown glass decanters ($75 each), which can aerate an entire bottle of wine in two minutes. And on the purely aesthetic end, a one-of-a-kind Baby Longhorn yard stake ($29)—constructed out of recycled metal—adds orange hues to any yard, garden, or low-maintenance petting zoo.
Enchanted Faeries Studio seems less like a venue for family photos, and more like a portal to another world. During sessions, children don flowing dresses or fantasy woodland costumes, as well as shimmering wings. They pose for pictures by sitting atop giant toadstools, holding bright lanterns, or even puckering their lips at a hopeful frog figurine. The staff members touch up the images with ethereal effects—they can add flames to a brandished sword, or create a mirror-like pond to complete the forest environment. Parents can even wear wings of their own in a group portrait, and later purchase photo packages of prints and DVDs.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of ?hard-to-find tools,? and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone?s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.