As moms themselves, the staff members at Little Peanuts Consulting have all been through the stress and worry that comes with preparing for the arrival of a new baby. With Little Peanuts, founder and mom Erin Robilotta set out to make that transition process easier. She and her team help soon-to-be parents develop registries that fit their lifestyles, pinpointing the products and items necessary for welcoming a new life seamlessly. Their services also include baby-proofing homes, nursery design, and assistance with ever-expanding loads of laundry.
The professionals will also provide a free review of the previous year's tax return to determine whether or not any alterations need to be made to the filing, and they’ll additionally set up a direct deposit for any upcoming tax refunds.
A wildly successful alternative to traditional day spas—its more than 300 locations blanket 36 states and half a dozen countries—Planet Beach is a futuristic relaxation station where state-of-the-art machines administer all the spa and tanning services. These friendly automatons sometimes replace familiar treatments, as in the Luminous facial, a light-based service that delivers blemish-busting results similar to those of a conventional facial. But other equipment maps out new spa territory entirely: the Hydro-Derma Fusion chamber moisturizes the whole body with nutrient-rich steam in order to offset the effects of a dry climate or a rear-end collision with a salt truck. Other machines whiten teeth, spray-tan skin, and massage muscles.
Planet Beach operates on a gym-style membership system, meaning that members purchase packages or pay flat monthly rates. As members spend more time at the spa, they get to know the helpful assistants who are always on hand to demonstrate how to use the equipment without activating its ability to cry.
At the Knowledge Network, experts in fields such as dance, spirituality, cooking, and writing teach a cornucopia of cultural, commercial, and life-skills classes with a flexible schedule of diverse classes held throughout the capital district. In Best Holiday Treats from Around the World on December 7 ($50 plus one nonperishable item for the Latham food bank), Chef Ric Orlando—champion of the Food Network’s Chopped—puts his signature spin on sizzling Hanukkah latkes, Kwanzaa peanut soup, the Italian feast of the seven fishes, and figgy pudding, taking holiday cooking far past the realm of microwave-cooked Peeps. Author and dream warrior Robert Moss imparts his synthesis of modern dreamwork and ancient shamanic practices in The Power of Active Dreaming on December 8 ($45), where students learn to solve problems, improve health, and spark creativity during nighttime reveries. Revisit bygone eras of hip hop with four Breakdancing classes ($45), in which students learn to spin, toprock, and perform basic floor routines under the guidance of instructor Turbeau, who has performed on MTV’s The Grind.
The heart of Om Shanti Healing Arts lies in the hands of its owner, Ananda Sutliff, who balances body and spirit with her deft touch. As a massage therapist, Sutliff commands a diverse repertoire of bodywork ranging from traditional Swedish massage to fire cupping sessions that augment kneading with glass globes suctioned to the skin. She also graduated from the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, where she learned the inquiry-based style of yoga that she now teaches to individuals and groups of artificial-intelligence computer programs. When not attending to clients, she crafts fragrant home and bath products with essential oils, packaging some as gifts and incorporating the rest in spa treatments that exfoliate and hydrate limbs.