CT Bridal Event's fifth-annual nuptial expo enriches wedding plans with new ideas, provides free samples of baked goods, and supplies marital merchandise from more than 30 vendors. Guests can launch bouquets skyward to assess their aerodynamic qualities before perusing photography samples and bakery selections topped with couple figurines, monograms, and edible wedding certificates notarized with permanent icing. Love Me Two Times showcases discounted designer wedding gowns, mother of the bride and groom gowns, party dresses, and fistfuls of elegant jewels. Visitors can wander over to a bridal museum that documents fashion and makeup tips through wedding history, from recent nuptial extravaganzas to Marie Antoinette's infamous cake gown, which incensed the bread-wearing populace of France.
Though Lauren Cooksey started out with just a Salvation Army camera in hand and three children in tow, the photographer and single mother was determined to fulfill her dream of achieving a successful career in her chosen art. Her talent and sheer willpower paid off; today, Lauren continues to snap shots under the moniker Cooksey Photo and has even enlisted one of those aforementioned toddlers, Tracy, to join her mission.
With 20 years of industry experience behind them, the mother-daughter photography team captures candid images of individuals and families, crafting prints with warm, sepia tones brushed with custom color. During photo shoots, the duo uses handmade sets and props to coax out the personality of each baby, graduating high schooler, or beloved mannequin. Afterward, they select the best image to edit before dressing it up with daubs of digital color. Finished prints from a family session spruce up a lonely end table, or a print from a pet photo shoot can enliven a mantel in a doghouse. The new in-home studio, which opened in June 2011 is also child-friendly.
Created by an early-childhood educator and mother, The Bright Spot is designed with the development, education, and interests of small children in mind. Fun-size frolickers will find a variety of play areas to suit their personalities, keeping them interested and capturing their imagination. Activities for children and parents are presented in classes like Curiosity Quest for preschool/kindergarten age ranges, in which kids create craft projects and experiment with science concepts like weather, gravity, and the human body's four basic humors. Environmentally friendly cleaners and VOC-free wall paint help protect little ones from harm, and the spacious play area is compact enough to keep careful watch.
Over the course of 20 years, family-operated Just Like New has inspected apparel, accessories, and home furnishings from thousands of consigners, accepting only the pieces that meet strict quality and style standards. At the start of each fashion season, the family treks to New York City to gather enough designer duds to restock two 5,000-square-foot locations. Clothing, shoes, and accessories by classic brands such as Coach and Ann Taylor adorn shelves and keep mannequins from being charged with public indecency, and a children's section outfits youngsters in apparel purchased exclusively from catalog brands and specialty stores. Just Like New's jewelry selection glitters with 14-karat gold and sterling silver; vintage and costume jewelry occasionally makes the cut by way of jingling the shop owners' favorite songs. Vintage glassware, furniture, and artwork make unique design accents for the home.
Court House Fitness & Wellness boasts more than 40,000 square feet of conditioning facilities and equipment, as well as an array of tailored wellness programs, supplying gym-goers with a direct conduit to a healthy lifestyle. A sprawling floor of free weights, cardio equipment, and strength machines allows visitors to fly solo. Group fitness instructors lead more than 110 classes a week, including the Latin calorie conquistador Zumba and mind-body benders yoga and Pilates. Basketball, volleyball, and racquetball courts sing their competitive siren songs to athletic passers-by, and an 86-degree pool hosts an array of rousingly submersible activities. During the four one-on-one personal-training sessions, certified muscle-molders develop an exercise routine, teach proper form, and push clients to succeed at their fitness goals. The gym keeps the same hours of operation for every day on the Gregorian and Mischievous Kitten calendars.
The Stone and Paddle’s California-style thin-crust pizzas acquire their subtle crunch while baking atop a hot stone in a 600-degree oven. Gourmet toppings such as hot sausage, shrimp and artichoke, and spinach and gorgonzola grace the pies, which share table space with flatbread sandwiches that are also stone-baked. Though chefs must return nightly to the steel-encased bunker where they safeguard their secret dough recipe, guests can enjoy a new location in Rocky Hill, linger on the shaded patio at the Vernon location or watch sports on Manchester's flat-screen TVs.