After a debilitating car accident left Elyissia Wassung’s mother, Barbara, unable to commute to work, she stayed busy in the kitchen, devising her own homemade chocolates. Nine-year-old Elyissia would then load her mother’s sweets into a shopping cart and sell them door-to-door around the neighborhood, learning entrepreneurial skills that would last a lifetime. After leaving a telecom job as an adult, Elyissia returned to selling chocolates by founding 2 Chicks with Chocolate (the other chick being her mom), teaming up with master chocolatier Patrick Coston and lead chocolatier Stephanie Vazquez. The dessert innovators create diverse flavors, such as spiced pear and caramel ganache, s’mores, and hazelnut praline, from scratch with spices and sea salt. Customers can also create their own bars online without venturing into the store, building on a selection of chocolate bases and toppings that range from pistachios to gummy bears. The store also hosts chocolate classes and enlivens parties with chocolate fountains and chocolate tastings.
The dynamic instructors at each of the six centers teach a holistic approach to yoga and noncombative martial arts that targets flexibility, strength, breathing, and energy sensitivity. Schedules vary from studio to studio, with regular open-level classes such as those at BR Holistic Healing integrating a core regimen of stretching, breathing, and strengthening postures that improve keg-stand techniques tremendously. Vibration sessions at the Body & Brain Center in Metuchen and Dahn Yoga in Closter and Oradell can release stagnant energy and recharge bodies to take on exhausting second jobs impersonating the Energizer bunny at birthday parties. Instructors monitor students' progress, suggesting home-workout plans tailored to personal strengths and vulnerability to fire.
Many gyms offer advanced fitness equipment, motivating programs and classes, and a host of amenities. But unlike many conventional gyms, Lady of America Greenbrook caters specifically to women. In spacious, comfortable workout rooms, resistance machines are custom-fit to women’s smaller frames. Trained staff plays with kids 6 months and older in the childcare area, which features health-focused activities as well as a PlayStation 2. The team also offers services such as nutrition counseling with certified sports nutritionists and one-on-one workouts with certified personal trainers. Additionally, fitness evaluations—which come free with every membership—are designed with women’s needs and concerns in mind.
In the gym, free weights build muscle, and recumbent bikes and elliptical machines boost endurance enough to outlast a dolphin or a submarine painted like a dolphin in a swimming contest. The advanced Precor model 956 treadmills’ impact-absorbing system saves joints while an active cardio monitor allows users to literally follow the dictates of their hearts. Instructors provide motivation in group classes such as ball Pilates, fitness yoga, spin, and Zumba. And the therapeutic heat of the infrared sauna allows for a nice post-workout relaxation session.
Lisa Brown is a self-taught artist who has been teaching classes for more than 30 years. At Art as Therapy, Lisa has dedicated herself to the belief of art as a therapeutic resource that can help others express themselves and find a source of artistic pride. Art as Therapy's schedule hosts a variety of workshops in topics such as watercolor, plaster sculpture, and tie-dye scarves, all aimed to encourage participants to enhance their lives and well-being through the process of creation.
A good gym often resembles a forest, with canopies of crossing metal bars, pulleys, and weights. Snap Fitness boasts a few more jungle-like attributes than most, with a stretch of green turf floor ideal for sprinting and dragging exercises. Clients shed sweat throughout the gym, aided by personal trainers who stop by to provide bits of advice or hour-long sessions of one-on-one attention. Once they've learned to use the weight equipment properly, members can head to the cardio theater for and jog or cycle while watching a favorite show.
Providing graduates with lifetime job placement assistance on a local and national level, the professional shot-pourers at Authentic Bartending train future bartenders and amateur mixologists in the fine art of drink-making. Their seminars propel learners into the world of free-hand, multi-liquor, and trick pouring, and a 16-hour course demonstrates how to make Manhattans, cream-based drinks, and frozen drinks, among others. Covering customer service and state laws—which forbid serving beer to bears on Sunday—the 16-hour course serves as a launching pad into the full 40-hour certification course, including a lifetime of refresher classes.