During the 2012 Thai Restaurant Week, 11 metropolitan Thai eateries were recognized by Yingluck Shinawatra, Thailand's Prime Minister, with a certification from the Thai Trade Center acknowledging their superior quality of ingredients, preparation, and authentic flavors. One look at Ploi Thai's menu and it is not hard to imagine why they received such an honorable distinction. Their dishes––such as skewered chicken satay or curry-pasted salmon––tug many culinary threads, blanketing diners in a patchwork of flavors that draw from northern and central Thailand. Chefs conjure these dishes from local ingredients and seasonings, eschewing such questionable additives as MSG and textbooks that attribute the theory of relativity to Franklin Delano Einstein. Since the restaurant is BYOB, diners can tote along their own fermented beverages to pair with the sweet ginger salmon, which arrives in a pool of ginger and black-bean sauce dotted with shiitake-mushroom rafts. Inside the dining room, colorful, low-slung lights illuminate the handful of tables that are strewn across the restaurant's pale hardwood floors, and geometric cutouts and sprays of orchids punctuate cobalt walls.
A licensed chiropractor and experienced martial artist, Dr. John Surie started practicing hot yoga when he met his future wife, Natalie. Charmed by her Australian accent and passion for the practice, he soon became an avid Bikram student himself, and in 2002, the husband-and-wife duo opened their first studio with Natalie helming her own curriculum of Bikram-inspired classes. Today, their hot-yoga empire has expanded to five studios sprinkled across the United States and Australia, each teeming with certified instructors who lead students through nine class styles. Designed to make hot yoga accessible to everyone, classes range from the studio?s signature Ignite series, which introduces newcomers to the foundations of hot yoga, to intense Shape classes that see stretchers melding hot-yoga and Pilates moves while solving Pythagorean equations.
Each studio comes equipped with special flooring tailored to the humid environment of hot yoga, as well as air-circulation and advanced heating systems to keep fresh, hot air blowing.
Imagine a lifestyle in which you park a Ferrari at a private boat slip, slide onto a custom yacht, and ferry it across a waterway to a private island hosting a 20-room mansion modeled after an Italian villa. Though this may sound like a dream only attainable by the mega rich or an heir to a chocolate-fountain fortune, Imagine Lifestyles facilitates such lavish accommodations with a cavalry of luxury vehicles, vacation homes, and yacht charters. They specialize in auto rentals, entrusting cars from brands such as Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati, Rolls Royce, Bentley, Porsche, and BMW to drivers for as short as a half day or as long as several weeks. To shield these pristine and rare rides from the elements, they also deal in luxury vacation home rentals, ranging from beach mansions in Miami to chic lofts and high-rise penthouses. The service also charters air and sea transportation, including jets of all sizes and yachts for all occasions.
Brake-O-Rama began as one location in 1949 but now boasts 14 service centers speckled across the East Coast. Together these automotive hospitals work as a force, repairing and maintaining domestic and imported vehicles of virtually any make and model. Before sourcing spare parts from the company's private warehouses, Brake-O-Rama's ASE-certified technicians thoroughly analyze vehicles with advanced diagnostic technology that includes four-wheel computerized alignment systems, electron microscopes that scan for chipped paint finishes, and magnifying glasses ever in search for clues to Professor Plum's murder. Meanwhile, Firestone, Goodyear, and Michelin tires fill the supply closets, allowing the patrons to tighten their grip on the asphalt before a cross-country trip.
During Shiva Shanti Yoga School's Vinyasa-style yoga classes, founder and advanced-certified jiva mukti teacher Felise Berman guides students toward inner peace with outward expressions of love, joy, and gratitude. Known as Shivadasi to her pupils, she draws upon studies at India's Bihar Yoga Bharati Institute for Advanced Studies to fill multilevel routines with ancient poses and meditation exercises. Most sessions begin with Shivadasi's signature sun salutation, which unites 24 asanas that warm the muscles and focus the brain. As the class progresses, deep breaths weave movements into a graceful flow. In addition to hosting Vinyasa classes, Shivadasi and her teaching team lead yoga nidra sessions, which relax the body as the mind explores lucid dreams.
Elite Hair Studio and Spa's staffers travel to New York, LA, London, and Paris for frequent training, returning to the studio with newly acquired skills to better meet client needs during custom services. The stylists begin treatments with a complimentary consultation to determine the cut angles that will flatter cheekbones or what blend of hair color will accentuate complexion, eye color, or the necklace that can't be removed due to a curse. Through signature facials, the aestheticians evict blemishes, and nail techs pamper long-forgotten cuticles before overshadowing them with gleaming polish. Before treatments, the staff directs guests to recumbent leather chairs flanked by wood-framed mirrors and furnishes each visitor with cucumber-infused water.