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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Air fills each piece of playground equipment at Inflatable Adventure Zone, which allows sock-footed kids aged 2–12 to safely jump, climb, and bounce. Kids can scale the towering double slide to reach the room’s highest vantage point, or frolic in an assortment of character-themed obstacles, from a Finding Nemo fortress to a Dora and Diego jumper for the shorter set. A snack area provides juice boxes and light snacks, as well as a place to discuss the bounce castle’s durability against invading packs of feral children.
Alter Ego Photo Booth lures out the glamorous, goofy, and gleeful sides of party guests with its spacious, interactive photo booths. The company features a roster of three themed booths, each equipped with studio-quality printers that spit out unlimited images on durable, self-laminating photo paper. Built-in iPod speaker systems, color-changing LED light shows, and green-screen technology enhance in-the-booth experiences, and on the outside, Alter Ego sets up candy bars, edible props, and other fun extras upon request.