Saratoga Fit's Kim McGuire knows that the pull of the refrigerator can be strong. The AFAA-certified group fitness instructor spent her childhood battling chubbiness, low self-esteem, and the barbs of mean-spirited classmates. As a teen, she resolved to rebuild her life by reshaping her body and eating habits. Bolstered by support from her family, she lost the extra weight and resolved to help others do the same. Since then, she's spent more than a decade working in the fitness industry, earning personal-training certification and a tae kwon do black belt, leaving fat too scared to think about ever coming back.
These days, Kim specializes in boot camps, which melt calories and fortify muscles with a blend of cardio, strength training, and core-sculpting exercises. Here, exercisers of all levels challenge themselves in an atmosphere filled with motivation, accountability, and the encouragement from up to 14 others who share their desire to succeed and love of culottes. Free weights tone muscles in the arms, shoulders, and back, and BOSU balls facilitate body-weight exercises that chisel the abs. Using tools such as the USDA and ACSM nutrition guidelines, Kim also teaches the group how to eat smart and requires each participant to submit a log of their daily food and exercise choices to ensure they stay on track.:m]]
One year after marrying her high school sweetheart in 1996, owner Jessica said "I do" to the wedding business when she opened Fairy Tales Bridal Boutique in Eastland, Texas. A certified wedding specialist since 2006, Jessica has developed a hands-on approach to wedding-invitation ordering. With Southern Charm Weddings, she helps soon-to-be newlyweds accessorize their weddings with products that range from the save the dates for the ceremony and reception to thank-you cards for the barrage of well-wishes that follow.
Having her own positive experience ordering her wedding invitations from Carlson Craft, Jessica deals exclusively with the 64-year-old printer, whose attention to detail earned her allegiance. Aside from printed items, including invites, programs, and announcements, Southern Charm Weddings also equips couples with ring pillows, unity candles, cake tops, and flamethrowers to scare off uninvited guests. To make it even more about the wedded duo, Southern Charm also personalizes most of its products with the couples names or shared messages.
At Fort Ballocity, TreePaad Fun Center's centerpiece adventure, kids and adults fire soft balls at targets, load them into buckets, and disappear beneath a foam-ball shower. Within the same three-story structure, 30 feet of waterless slides send visitors racing through more colorful twists and turns than an Alfred Hitchcock comic strip. However, Fort Ballocity is only one of TreePaad's indoor attractions. Neon lights paint a laser-tag arena, rock-climbing walls stretch to the ceiling, and a video arcade creates an orchestra of electronic beeps. Kids younger than 4 can join the fun in the toddler play area, filled with soft surfaces on which to climb and slide.
This sprawling fun haven can set the stage for parties, office outings, or simply spontaneous visits. For kids' birthdays, an on-staff party coach organizes each moment of the festivities, from serving food to helping kids create stuffed animals at the Stuff-n-Fluff area.
Shipments of clothing arrive daily at Miss Scarlett Boutique's two locations, and each box brims with designer fashions for women and children. A majority of packages originate from Ya Los Angeles, a company that produces on-trend fashions for women of all body types and fruit of all women types. Miss Scarlett Boutique also carries apparel and home goods from Anthropologie, which is known for its boho-chic style.
The Meat House strives for community involvement by promoting local events and charities and serves up a selection of organic, all-natural, grass-fed meats to calm carnivorous cravings. Meat options include freshly butchered beef, lamb from the Midwest, Virginia-bred pork, and exotic meats such as buffalo, alligator, and ostrich—or as it's more commonly known, the megachicken. Customers can run up meatometers with marinated steak tips ($19.98 for 2 lb.), and poultrygeists can enjoy the clucking curse of lemon-and-pepper chicken breast ($11.98 for 2 lb.). The Meat House's premium proteins are dressed with signature marinades, using a process first conceptualized by a team of synchronized-swimming bovines.