Inspired by the feminine curves and glamor of 40s and 50s pinup girls, photographer Karina and her assistant Kim aim to make women of all shapes and sizes feel good about themselves at Chicago Pin Up Photography. Karina uses vintage props and accessories such as vinyl records and evening gloves to wind back the clock at each photo shoot, snapping pictures of women from their most flattering angles and tingeing them with nostalgic flair.
Lance Farrell drew from his extensive background in tae kwon do to take down opponents in the ring for many years before he realized he could use his powers to help others combat obesity and health issues. He developed Farrell's Extreme Bodyshaping to provide patrons of all fitness levels with a comfortable place in which to undergo a mental and physical transformation, much like a crushed-velvet cocoon. He stripped away the sparring and contact drills from his fighter training, leaving just the components that burn fat and build muscle.
When students sign up for a program, they're grouped into teams of peers who encourage one another through moments of weakness and provide a sense of accountability. The instructors and coaches guide these teams toward fitness on a 10-week quest based on four pillars—cardiovascular exercise to burn fat, strength training to build muscle, nutrition coaching to map out a healthy diet, and enthusiastic trainers to provide motivation. At the end of each session, each of Farrell's locations rewards a student with a $1,000 prize—or a year’s worth of high-fives—congratulating them on their dramatic physical transformation. Students who stick around and strive to get healthy over the course of a year get a shot at the $10,000 prize, though winners have reported that leading a healthier life is a greater reward than the money.
Founded in Oak Park, Illinois, in 1996 by pet owners who were sick of bothering neighbors to care for their furry charges when they were busy or away, Out-U-Go! keeps beloved animals happy when their owners are unavailable. Certified members of Pet Sitter International, Out-U-Go’s fully licensed and bonded pet professionals undergo a rigorous screening process, putting in time at the company's Dog Walk University to learn how to deal with willful pets, calmly handle emergencies, and internalize animals’ fear of vacuums. New customers start off with a free meet and greet, with sitters coming to the house to meet dogs, cats, and smaller critters, and discuss special needs and routines. Services range from daily walks to full-time housesitting and pet taxi rides to groomers, vets, and kennels.
Eco Gym's machines don't make the power grid sweat: instead, they draw power from exercisers' movements and from solar energy. The health club reduces its monthly dues as members increase their workouts and generate more energy, a process reflected in a handy monthly workout-report bar. In the gym, exercisers can hoist weights, work out on resistance machines, and enter hyperbaric chambers where the lungs can process three times more oxygen than usual.
Doctor of Chiropractic Chris Tomshack opened the first HealthSource office in 2006 and has watched his business take flight, growing to more than 250 offices nationwide. The expansion is due in part to progressive-treatment protocols and business systems and in part to the experience Dr. Tomshack gained while in the US Air Force and the MBA program at the University of Toledo, and at Palmer College of Chiropractic, where he graduated summa cum laude. At each of his offices, a team of chiropractors, licensed massage therapists, and trainers helps to alleviate ailments such as disk degeneration and fibromyalgia. The team can also tailor treatments to alleviate pain from carpal tunnel syndrome, migraines, or arthritis, and its progressive-rehab program works with body areas that are known to cause trouble, such as weak lower backs and rebellious pinky toes.
Bead boutique sells semiprecious stones, Swarovski crystals, and the country’s largest selection of Venetian beads, while hosting flexibly scheduled crafting workshops in its design studio. Interested jewelry-makers can schedule classes to suit their schedule, and instructors will gladly host even one-on-one sessions to demonstrate introductory beading and show how to crochet necklaces from strands of silver wire. The shop hosts beading parties for kids' birthdays, and parents can craft at grown-up events such as BYOB Ladies' Night and Fiscal New Year’s Eve celebrations.