At age 7, Nathan Hadsall eagerly unpacked his first magic set. By the time he was in high school, he was already performing full-time. When he began studying psychology and philosophy, he realized that even his academic pursuits could play into his magic. Now, with Sleight of Mind, he astonishes partygoers with his feats of illusion. Whether performing tried-and-true parlor tricks for an intimate group of friends or crafting on-stage illusions for larger gatherings, he puts on a show-stopping performance. With his signature blend of mentalism, hypnotism, and illusion, he encourages audience interaction, eliciting peals of delighted laughter.
At 18,000 feet in the air, the view is peaceful: Monterey Bay and Santa Cruz sprawled out below, bordered by the immense blue of the Pacific Ocean. And yet, this view is also exhilarating?it means you're about to leap out of a plane and fall at 120 miles per hour. Luckily, if it's your first time with Skydive Monterey Bay, you'll be strapped to a tandem instructor.
These coaches take their guests up to one of the world's highest jumps, in one of the fastest jump planes. Their mission is to balance the right amount of thrills with the utmost consideration for safety, whether they're with a skydiving newbie or an experienced parachuter. In addition to leading?and filming?first-time jumps, they host one-on-one lessons and accelerated freefall training for students who want to dive on their own. They can teach visitors to pack their own parachute, fall in different postures, and frighten William Shatner on the wing of a plane, all before coming back to earth. And according to their FAQs, landing is as gentle as "stepping off the curb."
With more than 386 locations dotting North America, JCPenney Optical's ubiquity is matched only by its extensive selection of contact lenses and designer frames that includes brands such as Armani Exchange, Liz Claiborne, and Nicole Miller. Despite this wide reach, all lenses are cut at the same optical laboratory, ensuring a consistency of quality and a pretty good idea of where to look if your glasses run away from home. Each location has an independent state-licensed doctor of optometry, who can perform vision exams and help clients determine which type of vision correction will work best.
Named one of Parents magazine's Top 10 Birthday Chains in 2010, Color Me Mine's international franchise of DIY ceramics studios cater to an older crowd as well. Hundreds of unadorned ceramic pieces—including vases, flatware, and busts of Elvis—await the attentions of muses of kids and their keepers alike, as do glazes in earthy tones and bright crimsons to frighten bulls away from china cabinets. Guests follow simple step-by-step instructions that leave plenty of room for creative expression. When painters are satisfied with their work, the professional kiln-workers help glaze and fire it for them before customers retrieve the finished piece a few days later.
Bride and groom take their seat at the center of the table; the wedding party sits beside them. An ethereal glow emanates from the gauzy curtains behind their seats: blue, purple, green. Silky white roses blanket the table and chairs, and yellow petals circling purple-bottomed vases and green candles add a pop of color. The setting may sound like a fairytale, but it's actually a head table created by the event decorators at Alluring Occasions.
Whether they're creating a one-of-a-kind backdrop for a bride and groom, table settings for a sweet sixteen, or decor for another special event, each of their creations is touched with whimsy. Of course, how much whimsy all depends on your personal preferences. The decorators cater to each party host or special guest when they design a bash, so settings range from colorful and opulent to chic and understated.
NorCal Jump keeps kids not only active, but airborne. The company rents out a regularly updated supply of rainbow-hued bounce houses, which can each hold up to 10 leaping youngsters or Venus de Milos. The play structures range from standard models adorned with decorative banners of cartoon characters to a more elaborate style with an actual inflatable Spiderman on its roof. In select houses, tots can slip down inflatable slides, dart through obstacle courses, and dunk on kid-sized basketball hoops. A team of trained staffers delivers and sets up each house and can bring along selections from the business’s supply of waterslides and cotton-candy machines.