With more than 50 years in the business under its belt, Banting's Nursery continually colludes with Mother Nature to smuggle extra oxygen into the air with an array of fresh plants. Twig and vine enthusiasts looking to foray into gardening will delight in exploring a wide selection of adoptable flora, from citrus trees and tomato plants to colorful flowers. The shop's knowledgeable shrubologists can explain the sunlight preferences and water lifestyle choices of beauties ranging from the tropical hibiscus ($12.95 for a 3-gal.) to the plumbago ($5.95 for a 1-gal.). Three gallons' worth of knockout roses ($19.95) double as a flying-fisted home security system, and the fragrant, pale-petaled frost-proof gardenia rolls its eyes blithely at winter's advances ($14.95 for a 3-gal.).
Jazzercise is 60 minutes of cardio, strength training, and stretching that incorporates moves from hip-hop, yoga, Pilates, jazz dance, kickboxing, and resistance training with handheld weights. Dancing with the Stars multiple-champion Cheryl Burke is a big fan of Jazzercise's improvisational workouts, though luckily you won't need her dance moves to get the most out of your class. If you're prone to first-class jitters, though, you can review the basic moves online before you go. Expect to burn off up to 500 calories with each go-round.
Packed with party supplies and gifts, Whimsy has a special knack for inflating handheld blimps of all kinds. Helium addicts can peruse the shop's lengthy catalogue, grabbing an over the hill balloon ($2.99) to celebrate a relative's birthday or successful mountain climb. A floating eyeball balloon ($7.99) thanks optometrists for a job well done, and a 3-D dirigible bumblebee, lobster, frog, or turtle ($9.99 each) lets pet lovers practice their nurturing skills and trick-training abilities. Whimsy takes orders by phone, email, or fax.
An affordable and monumental selection of plush beds, sturdy end tables, and stylish home accessories mingles good-naturedly in Ashley Furniture’s wondrous warehouse. Pick up an Aero ivory armless chair ($216.77) and use it to accent your next book-club meeting’s discussion of Lego Star Wars. Augment somnolence with mattress sets from household brands such as Sealy and Simmons and finish flooring your sleep space with a Roarke Masai 5'x8' rug ($162).
A local business since 1950, Jefferson Feed's 24,000-square-foot store teems with premium pet, lawn, and garden supplies. Rolls of verdant sod and select Woerner turf options wait to be cut and delivered to customers' lawns by a convoy of delivery trucks, and fountains, statues, and planters stand ready to garnish gardens. Hefty bags encase pet food from more than 20 premium brands such as California Natural, EVO, and Purina, and a slew of 60 different types of aquariums can house fish and reptiles or imprison misbehaved pet rocks. The store also partners with local animal shelters and rescue groups to offer dog and cat adoptions, and its onsite team of groomers gussies up four-legged friends with premium Capstar products.