Like a playroom still under quarantine from a massive imagination explosion, the shelves of My Favorite Toy Store overflow with colorfully packaged toys of every size and shape. Throughout the two stores—located in Elmhurst and Downers Grove—several play sets provide hands-on demos, from the classic building blocks fortifying castle keeps to the wooden tracks helping toddlers to reenact scenes from Strangers on a Train. Meanwhile, helpful staffers provide advice on appropriate age ranges for each toy in stock, gift wrap any purchase for free, and host kid-friendly events such as youth art festivals that line the walls with the works of young Picassos.
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Inspired by their mutual passion for babies, sisters Jackie Wilkinson and Debbie Feiler set out to apply their experience raising 11 children by opening Beautiful Beginnings in 1995. Bright lights twinkle from the high ceiling, illuminating high-end colorful wares designed to outfit youngsters or decorate nurseries. A design team aids parents in selecting all the pieces to create a custom space for a baby, from pairing complementary wardrobes and cradles to matching beds with the perfect size boogey monster. For parents-to-be, attentive designers stand at the ready to assist them in creating a registry.
Inside a bustling factory and design studio in Chicago, needles embroider children's names on rocking chairs, receiving blankets, and mammoth toy boxes. Nearly every Hoohobbers item is highly customized—whether with monogramming, personalized color and pattern options, or a choice of fabrics. This feature isn't the only one that appeals to design-minded parents. Furniture, accessories, and household goods for babies, toddlers, and children are portable, lightweight, and durable. Unfortunately for neglected screwdrivers, allen wrenches, and stress balls, the items require no assembly. Their practical yet modish designs often appear in magazines, including Chicago Parent, Life & Style, and People and regularly win awards, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Best of Chicago title for infant and toddler gear in 2009 and 2010.
The Adobe- and Microsoft-certified instructors at Photo Art Studio prepare pupils for careers in graphic design, web development, and photography during 14-hour certification programs. The digital photography course drills novices in handling and cleaning their cameras, regulating light, and convincing jumping beans to hold still for track-team portraits. During Adobe Photoshop classes, students survey the program's myriad manipulation and touch-up options by applying such flourishes as modified hues and formatted text over their own compositions. Other courses in software such as Adobe Flash and Dreamweaver focus on animation, image design, and web development respectively. The studio also hosts in-depth classes on Microsoft Office software to instill practical administrative skills.
Us Weekly reports on the most glamorous aspects of celebrity culture and Hollywood lifestyles, enticing readers with exclusive photos and insight into the lives of stars. The weekly magazine dishes the latest gossip, from hookups and breakups to celebs’ wise and foolish fashion choices. Readers can also glean tips on beauty and style.