Best Of :: Shopping & Services
That software you bought last year so you could learn a little conversational Spanish held so much promise, but here you are ... still struggling to figure out how to gender nouns and when to roll your Rs. That's because language acquisition doesn't really work that way. A computer can help you with rote repetition and memorization, but can never take the place of interaction. Full immersion in a foreign language is how you really get the bilingual ball rolling. It's a lot like diving into a pool to learn to swim, with context and social cues as your life preservers. Spanish House is a full-immersion language school founded locally by a pair of teachers. It offers nine graduated levels of group and individual classes so you can aprender Español on the double. Classes are small and informal and teachers are trained educators and native Spanish speakers. Spanish House also offers weekly lessons for children in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade, plus a day care, preschool and elementary school — we know little ones that deftly back-talk in two languages after just a few semesters of Spanish House instruction.
A well-run boutique needs a welcoming atmosphere, trendy clothes and pristine changing rooms. Oh, and booze. Rio Ritz has all of this in spades. Earlier this year, Thais Moses took her online shop and moved into an old house in Uptown. You'd be hard-pressed to find something with a price tag upward of $50 in her well-curated shop. It's a one-stop shop for an outfit or a sparkly accessory for a night out. When you walk through the doors, you're greeted with a friendly smile from the shop girls and a freshly poured mimosa. Even the most apprehensive shopper is bound to enjoy the experience of spending a minute perusing the racks in this quaint, stress-free setting. No shopping mall required.
At first glance Ross at Peak Thrift Store looks like the kind of place that is too dusty and cluttered to even bother with, especially for those of us who aren't "extreme thrifters." The space is a little stuffy and unorganized, but there are plenty of treasures hiding behind those piles of old magazines. It's true that most of the furniture here is fixer-upper material, but isn't that why you have all those damn DIY boards on Pinterest in the first place? You may want to take an allergy pill before you go, but all those bargains will be worth it.
We were heartbroken when Christine Visneau announced she'd be closing her Little Bean children's shop a few years back. And even though the shop was sold at the last minute and quickly reopened, Visneau's line of chic home-sewn children's clothing was no more. We really missed buying those vintage-inspired, beautifully constructed girl's dresses and infant rompers — and we also missed the compliments they garnered when worn by our kids or given at baby showers. But after a two-year hiatus, Visneau's seamstress days are back ... and this time, she's made togs for grown-ups, too. We love the easy lines and comfy fabrics she uses to construct on-trend tops, dresses and caftans in her East Dallas home. Her day job as a fashion stylist makes her one hell of an accessorizer, too, and Vee Caravan's online-only shop is stocked with eye-catching jewelry and other adornments. And much to our delight, the baby garments have returned as well — making this Dallas-based corner of the Internet a true one-stop shop.
There was a time when this little store off Henderson Avenue was Dallas fashion's best-kept secret. You could pop in and buy something cuter and cheaper than Urban Outfitters or TopShop and none of your friends would already own it. Now the secret's out. The clothes are still cute, but you might have to fight your way through SMU students and trendy moms. But it's still worth the trip, because if you're looking for a colorful kimono, a black jumpsuit or whatever the latest trend might be, they'll probably have it. And if you're lucky, it will be in your size.
"A lot of Highland Park moms," the clerk behind the counter at Gemma Collection replied when we asked who shopped at the University Park store. That's not a bad clientele to have when you're selling reasonably priced jewelry. The pieces in Gemma's large assortment of necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc., are affordable – ranging from around $50 to less than $200 mostly – but they don't look cheap. (If your customers live in the Bubble, even the low-priced stuff had better be tasteful.) Gemma features several local designers – Chandler Nixon, Taylor Custer and Holly Zaves Designs, among others – so there are pieces to fit a range of tastes, from polished stone to dainty monogrammed items and religious icons.