Sylvia Chan loved painting when she was a child, but the only formal training she received was in high-school art classes and while studying fashion design. Her love for the art stayed with her later in life, though, and she eventually founded Picasso and Wine, creating a supportive, stress-free environment where guests could exercise their passion for painting while getting guidance from local artists. These highly social art parties remain open to any skill level, and the studio provides all the paints, canvases, and brushes. Each session presents attendees with an original work—such as a city skyline or a fall landscape—and tasks them with creating a faithful rendition of the piece while using sips of wine, beer, or gourmet tea to jump-start their creative impulses. The instructors offer helpful tips for capturing the light or painting anti-theft symbols into the background, and they allow partygoers to take their pieces home afterward.
To Grant Jennings, wine is more than just a way to unwind at the end of the day—it’s his career. When he isn't teaching wine classes, he’s at home curating his own blends or working with the UC Davis winemaking program. His dedication to the craft infuses the atmosphere at Brix Wine and Spirits, where the staff members pick up on their boss' enthusiasm and happily guide customers through a collection of wines and beers selected to appeal to the discerning palate. The cozy shop, complete with exposed-brick pillars and golden-cylinder light fixtures, also offers locally produced beverages and small-production wines‚those varietals that are often too short to ride the upside down rollercoasters. The staff also hosts wine classes, beer classes, private wine tastings, and alcohol-education events.
Trek Bicycle Store of Loveland outfits pedaled chariots and their masters with sleek accessories and clothes and heals sick cycles with tune-ups and repair services. Feeding nearly every biking need, Trek Bicycle Store hosts a plentiful buffet of shoes, cargo bags, energy snacks, tire pumps such as the Bontrager TurboCharger, and accessories that include Serfas Force 5 sunglasses ($50). The Bontrager Circuit helmet is super strong without acting as a head anchor; its lightweight design allows air to pass freely while preserving the cranium's tough candy shell ($99). Comfort and style await lower halves in the durable and baggy Endura Firefly shorts in black or titanium gray ($59.99). Training devices, such as the Bontrager Node 1 computer ($79.99), keep track of land speed, heart rate, and cadence on a single screen, ensuring hearts are monitored with a focus normally reserved for puppies yet to be housebroken.
Pictures propped against walls, crammed in closets, or framed with picture-thieving magpies can't be beheld. Today’s Groupon increases your art's visibility with $50 for $100 worth of custom framing or any product or service at The Great Frame Up in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. The Great Frame Up's quality frames take the art of hanging art beyond such jejune measures as tacky industrial-strength sticky tack, staple-tape taple staping, and hiring long-armed men to hold your art against the wall.
For more than 60 years, Toys“R”Us has been helping kids be kids and grown-ups to revisit their childhoods by providing one of the largest selections of top-brand toys, electronics, games and everyday baby essentials. Founder, Charles Lazarus, revolutionized the toy business by modeling his stores after supermarkets, providing a variety of options to suit varying ages and interests and offering customers to help themselves and have fun in the process. Today, that sense of playfulness is evident at nearly 600 stores in the United States alone, including a flagship location in Times Square where kids are greeted by a 60-foot Ferris wheel, a 5-ton animatronic T-Rex, and a life-sized, 4,000-square-foot Barbie house.
Beyond everybody's favorite bikes, trains and video games, each Toys“R”Us store keeps its shelves stocked with the season’s must-have toys as well as nostalgic standbys that never go out of style. Time-tested brands such as LEGO, Radio Flyer, NERF and Fisher-Price share the shelves with an expansive selection of electronics for older kids, including Wii U and tablets. And though the company has inspired generations of boys and girls to try their hardest not to grow up, it also strives to ensure budding brains develop right on track by devoting a significant portion of its stores to “smart-play” with a wide selection of electronic learning toys and software.
Toys“R”Us—whose extended family of brands includes Babies“R”Us and FAO Schwarz—has earned a number of awards and recognitions through the years, including a spot on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies in 2012. The company has also drawn considerable recognition for its expansive charitable efforts, which include partnerships with the Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and Save the Children. This year also marks the tenth consecutive year that the company has partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to collect new, unwrapped toys and monetary donations in its stores to benefit the organization.