Far from being an artist possessed, Patty Sisco derives the same benefit from painting as she does from a long bubble bath. "All you are thinking about is your brushstrokes, not your bills," she told the Bloomingdale-Riverview Patch, speaking to the therapeutic value of her classes at Sketch and Sip. These sessions supply students of all backgrounds—including those who have never before lifted a brush—with canvas, tools, and a step-by-step demonstration on how to create their own vibrant masterpieces. As they work, Patty encourages her guests to imbibe drinks they've brought from home and plays serene music to prompt creative flow. She moves throughout the room to offer tips on technique and helps with corrections in case students’ hands slip or they change their minds about adding a goatee to their horse portrait.
Though the classes, which have been featured on NBC's Daytime, are responsible for much of the studio's reputation, Patty also plans other community craft events. Each week on Wacky Wine Glass Wednesday, visitors embellish cups with fetching colors and patterns, and a full-time potter teaches specialty ceramics lessons that result in handmade tableware. Artists can even customize an image for their friends or family to paint during private parties, teaching children to color in SpongeBob SquarePants and encouraging coworkers to bond by sketching each other's staplers.
With machines set up in rows to encourage competition, many ordinary gyms cater to men's bodies and psychology, right down to the urinals that were "accidentally" installed in the women's locker room. At Curves, you'll move around a circuit of hydraulic resistance machines that have been designed to work with women's bodies and promote weight loss, protect against osteoporosis, and deal with arthritis. An experienced trainer is always nearby to help manage your machine maneuvering and your muscle making. Instead of fiddling with weight stacks and losing your momentum, the hydraulic machines use your body weight and fitness level to create resistance that matches your abilities, decreasing the risk of soreness or injury. Because traditional lift-and-lower motions create bulky muscles, each machine uses push-and-pull motions to create toned, lean muscles perfect for crushing a grapefruit without looking like you can.
The artists at Wine and Canvas awaken their students’ inner Rembrandts and Van Goghs with classes that pair a featured painting with specialty cocktails and wines. The mobile studio’s monthly calendar includes themed classes in which instructors expound on the nuances of painting Parisian street lamps, Japanese flowers, or Venetian cityscapes. The master painters—many of them local artists—provide step-by-step instructions while students mimic each stroke and periodically dip their brushes into glasses filled with crimson cabernet. Each of the studio’s various drink-friendly venues boasts a specialty libation selected to incite creativity or conversations with fellow painters. When the artistic frenzy concludes, students return home with a finished masterpiece large enough to conceal any wall safe or mirror portal.
CrossFit Body-Mechanic’s coach Casey Schmidt—who placed among the top 21% of athletes at the 2012 CrossFit Games Open—blasts away body fat with what he calls “the sport of fitness.” He and his students compete against their own best times, heaviest weights, and highest number of reps to become leaner, meaner functional athletes.
Young Chefs Academy provides a fun, safe, and motivating environment for kids to become acquainted with the art of food and food presentation. Engaging chef instructors instill lessons of kitchen etiquette and safety in youngsters growing up in a world full of laser can openers and sharp pasta rakes, giving children a capable handle on their surroundings as they journey into the land of food. Classes educate a variety of age groups, with specially catered classes for the kindergarten elite and junior line cooks, combining nutritional meals with basic food-prep skills that teach how to correctly follow a recipe to edible fruition. Senior flambéists are offered advanced classes that dig deeper into kitchen secrets and hone specific skills and techniques that expand the parameters of cooking creativity.
As a former national-level figure skater and ISSA-certified personal trainer, Jessica knows what a full-body burn feels like. However, she didn't know that a stationary bike could replicate the feeling, until a fellow trainer encouraged her to climb aboard a RealRyder cycle. Jessica became a devotee after just two rides. Determined to share her newfound passion with others, she gathered a team of certified instructors, populated two studios with RealRyder ABF8 bikes, and opened their doors to prospective pedalers of all fitness levels.
Inside Ryde For Life, Jessica and her staff host 45- to 60-minute classes synced to each teacher's music playlist. They lead stationary teams atop RealRyder bikes, whose specialized frames allow riders to lean, bank, and steer as they would an on-road bike. In addition to pumping up cardiovascular systems, sessions engage the core, upper body, legs, and the scalp muscles that hold helmets in place.