Best Of :: Shopping & Services
Gentlemen, when our old lady was pregnant with the Little Genius, as we've taken to calling our firstborn son, we discovered that nothing soothed flared hormones and other things starting with "h" better than an unexpected purchase from a happening maternity store. None of that Liz Lange "fashion" they're selling at Target, none of that bargain-rack nonsense from Motherhood in the mall, but swanky silks from the likes of Pickles & Ice Cream, where the tops are tops in good-lookin' and the bottoms don't make Mama's bottom look twice the size. Pea in the Pod has a few things Pickles doesn't--including the awesome Nicole Miller over-the-shoulder diaper bag Dad bought after watching Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, and don't ask--but Pickles seems to have a cooler shade of clothing, including a better selection of Japanese Weekend apparel than the JW Plano store, which is in one of the 32 malls along the Dallas North Tollway.
This bookstore on the first floor of the main Dallas public library is like a perpetual yard sale. You never can tell what books you might find, but they're guaranteed to be cheap. You can walk out the door with an audiotape, a couple of hardcover books and some paperbacks for less than 10 bucks. At these prices, the time spent looking for something interesting is worth it.
Handbooks, mouth books, bum books. Crossroads Market and Bookstore has sex manuals of every type. And they're just there on the shelf, not behind a counter or hidden beyond a velvet curtain. Just there by the cookbooks and romance novels and magazines and various knickknacks and greeting cards. But accessibility is only part of the issue. No one will look at you funny if you browse. Sure, you may giggle and blush to the shade of red found on the rainbow flags all around Cedar Springs, but no one will care. Not even the cashier, the woman standing in line to buy pie at the cafe or the guy using the Internet. Not that we would know, of course.
If you're looking for a way to get on Bowser's good side, this is the place to call. Co-owners Braden Tripp, a former chef, and Jonathan Pickens have a list of freshly made goodies that will have your pet slobbering more than usual. The menu has everything from Bow Wow Bagels ($4 a dozen) to Paw Paw's Old Fashioned Oat Meal Cookies ($5 per dozen) to Canine Cheese Sticks ($6 per dozen). None of the treats contains preservatives, artificial flavoring or color, and they're not all hot out of the oven. They'll even deliver frosty Pupsicles (with peanut butter and bananas) for the pooch who's been in the sun all day.
Yes, get a pet...and love it, and care for it, and KEEP it! In doing the research for this tender category, we were privy to far too many animals abandoned in moves or given away because they cost too much to feed (what?). And, of course, there's the unfortunate "he was cute when he was young, but now he's grown and, well, not so much." We advise never to utter those words near us. That's why we adopted our little babe (turned over for no apparent reason) at the Animal Adoption Center. It's a nonprofit, no-kill shelter, and it's in dire straits. For providing such amazing service and surviving for years on donations and the aid of volunteers, they've been "awarded" the daunting task of raising $50,000 or being forced to close. That sucks, because they care. For the adoption fee, the center has arrangements with vets in the area for complimentary spaying and neutering, and all animals are up-to-date on shots. Five years later, we're still grateful to the center for providing us with such an amazing companion, and he's grateful to them for making sure he lived to see adoption.
At some point, almost all of the big mall computer stores decided they couldn't afford to hire salespeople who actually know anything. Micro Center is the exception: Prices are competitive, but Micro Center also puts smart salespeople on the floor. Their own line of computers is usually a good buy, and the shelves almost always offer a fuller line of choices, from peripherals to software, than what you will find anywhere else. Another miracle: When the salespeople don't know the difference, they say, "I don't know the difference."