While many children learn by performing hands-on tasks, school systems have yet to figure out how to incorporate gardens, imagination workshops, and towering aqueduct mazes into their budgets. With 90,000 square feet of hands-on exhibits, the Children's Museum of Houston, which was recently featured in The Wall Street Journal, sparks creativity by allowing kids to explore 14 learning stations. Ranked No. 1 among the 10 best children's museums in the nation by Parents magazine, named one of the 12 best children's museums in the country by Forbes.com and one of the 10 best by USA TODAY, and voted Best Museum in 2010, 2012, 2013, and 2014 by the Houston A-List Poll, the museum has accrued a lot of praise. The Huffington Post has also given a nod to the Children's Museum of Houston, which encourages children to explore their curious nature with a variety of interactive exhibits. Exhibits include the interactive EcoStation, a solar-powered outdoor utopia with activities such as stream creation and leaf rubbing that inspire kids to think about environmental responsibility. At the Invention Convention workshop, kids can explore engineering possibilities with building blocks, propellers, and even basic robotics. The sprawling cityscape of Kidtropolis invites children to participate in a simulated economy. The experience requires them to earn paychecks, budget money on pretend debit cards, vote for political candidates, and learn how to obsessively check milk expiration dates at the onsite grocery store. Their newest cultural exhibit, Heart and Seoul: Growing Up in Korea, explores the county's fashion, film, music, and cuisine, aiming to bring modern-day South Korea to the Houston area.
To call The Body Shop a mere skin and body care store is to miss half of what makes it special. Late founder Dame Anita Roddick was a pioneer for ethical business practices; upon opening her first store in Brighton, England, in 1976, she developed company values such as "Defend Human Rights" and "Protect The Planet." She somehow balanced principles and profit, partnering in global campaigns with UNICEF, Greenpeace, Amnesty International, and the United Nations, all while ultimately expanding her brand into 2,500 locations in over 60 international markets. After her death in 2007, then-British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said, ?She campaigned for green issues for many years before it became fashionable to do so and inspired millions to the cause by bringing sustainable products to a mass market. . . . She was an inspiration.?
Indeed, the Body Shop exhibits an eco-friendliness and social consciousness that's hard to come by in a company of its size. Its products have been fair-trade since 1987, and its Against Animal Testing movement led to an EU-wide ban of animal testing of cosmetics. The products are made from ingredients harvested from around the world: shea butter from Ghana goes into body scrubs and butters, and Indian artisans craft wooden massagers and tote bags that are screenprinted by hand. But all that isn't to say the company's production practices overshadow its final products. Skincare treatments such as the brand?s iconic body butters, facial products, and gift collections often appear in Allure, Marie Claire, Lucky, Seventeen and other national publications.
Though Casie Caldwell loved posh restaurant salads, she couldn’t afford to eat them on a regular basis. And casual salad bars, though inexpensive, were too often stocked with limp iceberg lettuce and tasteless tomatoes. Frustrated by this state of affairs, Casie quit her corporate job and opened Greenz, where she filled reasonably priced salads with gourmet ingredients such as brie, portobello mushrooms, and daikon. Her hard work quickly paid off; Greenz’s tasty, healthy food drew a wealth of media attention from the likes of WFAA’s Good Morning Texas, the Dallas Observer, the Dallas Business Journal, and Examiner.com. Soon, Casie was launching additional Greenz locations across the state.
Although their menus vary slightly, each of these spots draws diners in with fresh ingredients in creative combinations. Goat cheese and crumbled bacon rest on foundations of mesclun greens, baby spinach, and chopped romaine. Hawaiian influences come out in a salad topped with pineapple and seared ahi tuna, and Asian flavors yield a medley of panko-breaded shrimp, daikon, and wasabi peas. Diners can also design their own salads or transform them into wraps that, like babies born during a blanket shortage, are snugly swaddled in tortillas. The menu also extends to meatier options, such as a barbecued-pork sandwich or the turkey-chili soup featured on CBS DFW’s list of the Best Bread Bowls in DFW.
Andrea Martin founded Jackie's Play & Stay so no dog owner would have to endure the same experience she had after boarding her four-year-old border collie, Jackie. After dropping her off on a Friday, Andrea picked an ill Jackie up on Sunday. Her rapidly declining health suggested some form of poisoning, and she soon passed. Determined not to let Jackie's death be in vain, she founded a daycare and boarding facility where owners could feel secure every time they parted with their best friends.
Today, Andrea and her caretakers earn owners' and dogs' trust by getting to know each four-legged guest individually to ease their transitions in and out of Jackie's Play & Stay. They also keep the 14,000-square-foot facility meticulously clean, using disinfectants that target canine viruses and fungi. Believing that a tired dog is a happy dog, the staff supervises indoor and outdoor play and socializing. They provide small dogs with their own play space, and welcome dogs to relax on their own if that's what they prefer. The facility’s suites for overnighters are climate-controlled, with dog beds and relaxing music that plays through the night. The staff also encourages owners to leave their pets with a familiar item, such as a favorite blanket or the neighborhood fire hydrant. Beyond daycare and boarding, Jackie's Play & Stay extends to grooming and training, where dogs learn everything from basic obedience to how to drive stick. Today, Andrea and her caretakers earn owners' and dogs' trust by getting to know each four-legged guest individually to ease their transitions in and out of Jackie's Play & Stay. They also keep the 14,000-square-foot facility meticulously clean, using disinfectants that target canine viruses and fungi. Believing that a tired dog is a happy dog, the staff supervises indoor and outdoor play and socializing. They provide small dogs with their own play space, and welcome dogs to relax on their own if that's what they prefer. The facility’s suites for overnighters are climate-controlled, with dog beds and relaxing music that plays through the night. The staff also encourages owners to leave their pets with a familiar item, such as a favorite blanket or the neighborhood fire hydrant. Beyond daycare and boarding, Jackie's Play & Stay extends to grooming and training, where dogs learn everything from basic obedience to how to drive stick.
Part-time personal chef Steven Bailey was growing tired of bland, industrially processed food. As detailed by D Magazine, Steven was determined to do something about his frustration, so he hit the road one weekend in his Volkswagen Rabbit and began scouring Texas farms and markets for fresher ingredients. The more organic, locally grown food he brought back, the more friends and neighbors started requesting some for themselves. The growing demand led Steven to start Urban Acres, where customers can track down organic produce, dairy, and grass-fed meats from local farmers and artisans who never use pesticides, hormones, artificial flavoring, or shoddy magnetic force fields.
As a member of Urban Acres, members pick large, medium, or small shares of organic fruits and veggies, as well as meat, coffee, and granola shares if desired. Urban Acres also sells locally grown grub to members and nonmembers alike at its Oak Cliff Farmstead, which D Magazine says "brings a bit of country to the big city." There, visitors can find shelves and counters fashioned from reclaimed wood, a bee colony on the roof, and produce snuggled in boxes of hay. Urban Acres also offers hands-on educational opportunities to learn about small-scale urban farming.
Con’s Organic Spa owner Con Ciecko isn't just an expert in the beauty industry. She's also a reiki master and a medical tattoo technician. These specialties, along with her education and training at Michigan and California institutes, have prepared her to execute services that both beautify and relax her clients. Besides kneading muscles with several massage modalities, she cleanses skin with organic facials, bronzes limbs with airbrush tanning, and administers makeup applications for weddings or black-tie viewings of TV weddings. Joined by a skilled staff that includes her daughter Kiya, a massage therapist and nail technician, Ciecko infuses her new spa confines with a welcoming and personable vibe as she helps her clients develop their own signature looks.