In a massage room awash in shades of plum, one of Serenity Spa Wellness Center's licensed therapists plunges deft fingers into muscular structures to weed out pesky pain points and break up congregations of tension. Increasingly relaxed breaths drift out of the private room, past cedar-colored planks, and toward the far-infrared sauna, which uses dry heat in an effort to draw toxins from the body or elicit confessions from ice-cream smugglers. Aestheticians blend ingredients for facial treatments and combine fragrant swirls of essential oils, catering to individual skin and health issues. In the reception area, hands warm around mugs from a coffee bar, and floral-patterned or zebra-print chairs cradle guests.
The friendly staffers at iFurnish's family-owned showroom outfit abodes with name-brand wood, leather, and upholstered furniture. Contemporary and classic sofas join ottomans to fill living rooms, and dining rooms host tables sturdy enough to handle Thanksgiving's traditional anvil-eating contests. Several plush and memory-foam mattresses provide solid support for sleeping or jumping, and a wide array of home accessories, from lamps to wool rugs, decorates any room. Color whippersnappers’ chambers with kids' furniture such as bunk beds, desks, and dressers that easily conceal escape tunnels leading to the pantry.
America's Beautiful Florist has built itself into a regional institution, delivering fresh, sweet-smelling wedding arrangements, roses, and floral vases throughout the suburban DC area. Professional florists enliven wedding ceremonies and receptions with personal consultations and original designs of bouquets, boutonnieres, and centerpieces. Anniversary and Valentine's packages spark romance with velvety red roses and silky white tulips, while birthday and “get well” arrangements awaken warm feelings with collections of sunny yellow roses, sprays of daisies, and extra doses of cures for the common cold.
In 1965, Popular Mechanics ran a small classified ad for Brookstone, a new catalog company that packed its pages with functional products and detail-oriented descriptions. Brookstone quickly expanded to meet the high demand for its collection of “hard-to-find tools,” and opened the door to its first retail location in 1973. Today, Brookstone’s more than 300 nationwide retail locations allow customers to test-drive its ever-growing lineup of interesting products, which range from Bluetooth-enabled massage chairs to power adapters designed for international travelers and their electronic passports. Staying true to its roots as a catalog company, Brookstone houses an even larger selection of products, each waiting patiently to be shipped, on its website.