This tiny shop on the trendy Knox-Henderson strip is bursting with vintage and costume items (both old and new) at not-too-shabby prices. One staffer assembled an entire '80s outfit here--from Cyndi Lauper's tutu to Madonna-style fingerless gloves--in less than an hour. We were also impressed by a cap made entirely of flattened Coke cans and a glow-in-the-dark rosary. But they don't limit themselves to just clothing, shoes and accessories; other notable finds include a Kodak Brownie camera and nude women painted on black velvet. Every corner of the store is crammed with vintage goodies, including the walls and ceilings, so it may take a little patience, but there are treasures to be had. Remarkably, proprietors Debbie and Leslie seem to keep the entire inventory in their heads--useful when you just can't find that perfect mod halter-top.

Froggies 5 & 10

It's depressing to note how the classic Slinky spring toy has degenerated into a column of plastic rings: Plastic just doesn't scale stairs or chase cats as well as shiny metal. Relive your Slinky jubilations at Froggie's. They stock a Slinky cornucopia including the original Slinky, the Super Slinky, Slinky Jr. and the Slinky Dog from Toy Story. Froggie's even has a Slinky watch that, with a touch of a button, plays the Slinky jingle while a Slinky walks across the watch face. And don't think Slinkys represent the entire pinnacle of must-have novelties. Because Froggie's also stocks Andy Warhol dolls dressed in leather jackets and Campbell Soup T-shirts and a Spam puzzle that comes in a can. No watch that plays the Monty Python Spam song, though. Yet.

When a friend is getting married, the hassles abound, especially for the women. First, there's the hideous bridesmaid dress that costs way too much. Then there are the dyeable shoes to match the hideous dress you will never wear again. And then it's bridal showers and engagement brunches and bridesmaids luncheons, and the list goes on. But there is one part of the wedding extravaganza that's fun for all: the bachelorette party. And Just For Play has what you need to get this party started. There's all kinds of fun stuff, from tame to raunchy, depending on how crazy your particular bride friend is willing to get. And in case you missed the lingerie shower, Just For Play has plenty of that, too. Their Playboy line offers a variety of lingerie items that are cute, fun and sexy all at the same time. Oh, yeah, Just For Play probably has stuff for bachelor parties, too. But don't strippers usually bring their own supplies?

Best Place for a Cinephile with Loose Change

Premiere Video

Premiere Video

Aha! Thought we'd left 'em out, didn't you? We know, we know: No duh. This has long been Dallas', well, premier video store, known citywide among cinephiles for its awesome collection not only of new movies but foreign films, out-of-print classics and other gems you're unlikely to find anywhere else. But Heather, Sam and all the other kool kids at PV have given us a new reason to love this place, as if that's possible. For less than a couple of hundred bucks, you can go to Premiere and buy an all-region DVD player--nifty if you're into buying DVDs outside the States. Or renting them. See, Premiere now stocks discs from all over the world--some titles of which haven't even been released here, in stores or, for that matter, theaters. We were tempted to keep this a secret--we want that copy of, oh, Y Tu Mamá También all for ourselves--but we love this place and these people so much we're willing to spill the beans.

The best-dressed new-millennium baby is as likely to wear a solid black, Metallica-logo-emblazoned romper one day as he is to wear a Swedish jester's cap and clogs from chichi baby direct-mail retailer Hanna Anderson. Baby style is all over the place, and we like that. The best selection and fairly decent pricing of cool baby clothes and linens is at a nearly newborn store in Lakewood. Susan O'Neill opened her Bebe Grande last year, with inspired selections of unique, artful baby clothing from 0-24 months, and by the time you read this, she'll have added more toddler togs in the 2T-3T-4T range. Simply irresistible are O'Neill's savvy instincts to buy and sell all the best French stuff--Catamini, Les Bebes de Tardis, Petit Bateau--and unique imports such as her line of hand-embroidered South African-made tiny outfits from Gordonsbury. Bebe Grande has a good selection of nursery bedding, good toys such as Lamaze and Manhattan and offers new releases of classic children's books. It's a cozy shop, overall, with baby pastel walls and décor, which you may notice on the way to the sale rack.

A pink stove? Sixties divan? Dukes of Hazzard lunch box? Vintage adult gag gifts? Watercolor painting of amputee friends? We found all of the above at Metro Retro. And you thought your grandmother had great stuff...if given the opportunity and the funds, we could furnish an entire abode with the random findings that are Metro Retro. A tip: Make several trips around the floor; you won't find that perfect item on the first time around. Another tip: Ask for help or just chat with Laura and Andrea. If you can't find that perfect Bionic Woman doll or spinning ashtray circa 1954, they'll keep an eye out and let you know. Make it a regularly scheduled destination and the shop won't let you down. When you happen upon a gem, you'll know. Let's just say we bought that painting and we're saving up for the divan.

Suits? Who wears suits? Everyone we know is in something casual, and this venerable department store has one of the widest casual selections around. The Polo and Tommy sections are huge, and the hipper Guess and Lucky Brand areas are big enough to satisfy. Even the house brand, Daniel Cremieux, with its slightly European designs and quality fabrics, is worth checking out. As for shoes, they carry those cool Cole Haan/Nike Air jobs and a bunch of European walking brands that will have you bopping out to your car on some pretty cool cakes.

Contrary to what you might think, these critters don't fight crime, terrorize Tokyo in Godzilla movies or wreak havoc with computer networks. Instead, these large beetle larvae satisfy the cravings of pets, including large birds, small primates and reptiles such as the Texas box turtle. They also make swell fishing bait for those of us who cling to the dream of pulling a wall trophy out of White Rock Lake. Super worms are high in crude protein, and reptiles are especially attracted to their "thrashing" activity, making them as much fun to catch as they are to eat. And at World of Pets, these fat feisty little brown critters are just a buck a dozen. They'll even throw in a piece of nutritious egg crate at no extra charge. But keep a lid on this, before some flamboyant chefs start using them in their niçoise salads.

What? How can the Dallas Observer give Best Video Store to Blockbuster, that evil, excessive-late-fee-charging corporate Godzilla? Simple. For one thing, convenience counts, and we don't have to explain why this company edges out its competitors on that note. Sure, Premiere Video, which has owned this award since 1907, has a better, more eclectic selection. But not everyone lives off Mockingbird Lane, we have to remind ourselves, and convenience does count. While it may be true that Blockbuster recently fought off complaints about its late-fee policy, at least you can still rent videos that don't have to be returned the next day. And you have to give the Dallas-based company credit for evolving: Although the store still focuses on the latest blockbusters, its new releases now include a much broader selection of independent films. If you missed that Spanish thriller that was recently playing at the Angelika, chances are good you can now rent it at Blockbuster.

Tucked away in a little shop next to the Hong Kong Market, P.J.'s Salon isn't hip or swanky, and it isn't expensive or pretentious, either. They won't offer you white wine and cheese, but they will give you a good haircut that's cheap and fast. And if you need more than a haircut, P.J.'s can also give you perms, colors and highlights. Don't be afraid to bring in pictures of your desired styles, either. You may not leave with J. Lo's booty or Britney's belly, but you can have their hair. Fave stylist Ming has been known to work wonders. And another plus: Next door there's a pretty decent Asian restaurant that's used to salon traffic. So if you get the munchies while you're waiting for that perm solution to kick in or for your dark brown locks to go blond, give this place a try. They won't care about the plastic cap on your head or the 45 foil pieces protruding from your scalp.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of