The Labyrinth Metaphysical Herbal Apothecary
The Labyrinth, located appropriately on Bell Street, is also next to Shake-Rag, the highest-priced musical junk store that exists in the South. So when you pull up to the quaint purple house decked out in wind chimes, don't hold the eyesore next door against them. You may enter to buy incense for your, um, extracurricular activities, or maybe you need some homemade bath salts for a Sunday soak. Regardless, Mary Jane will greet you with an honest smile when she asks your name. Come around enough times, and she won't allow your departure without a hug. OK, you're not the "getting hugged" type, or "being spiritual" type, or "connecting to the higher planes" type. For those readers who are into the hokey-pokey hocus pocus (we know you're out there), this is the place to get all kinds of goods, including books, candles, stones, herbs, salts and, of course, the best darn incense.

Pandemonium
Ever wonder what happened to those rockin' concert T-shirts your older brother/cool uncle/baby sitter wore? We're talking Styx, Journey, KISS, Foreigner, Pink Floyd. Well, they're at Pandemonium in near-mint condition. Hell, even your little sister's New Kids on the Block and Tommy Page shirts are here, though it would take some balls--or a very refined sense of irony--to walk out the door with those. One day there will be a Nelson concert T-shirt circa After the Rain. That is, just as soon as we give up hope on marrying Gunnar. Or was it Matthew?

Whether you get yours rimmed with muscle-bound hunks or Vargas girls; trimmed in granite or wood; garnished with leaf reliefs or rhinestone studs; Near and Far has the frames that will make your snapshots pop.

Design Within Reach
Industrial designer Raymond Loewy believed that "good design keeps the user happy, the manufacturer in the black and the aesthete unoffended." We believe Design Within Reach must have embraced this same maxim when it gathered together some of the best modern home décor and started opening studio locations on both coasts. Known to many fans only by its catalog, DWR's Dallas studio, which opened in February, is the first location in flyover country. We've gone through life dreaming about the Le Corbusier chaise longue, and now we can recline on it. We've seen a million Eames knockoffs, but now we can smell and caress the real deal. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Jean Prouvé, George Nelson--if these names are sweet on your tongue, Design Within Reach will be your candy store.
It's pretty much guaranteed that when you first visit "the Pig," you'll immediately make a plan to introduce the shop to someone else. The sign says "Home, Garden, Gifts, Stationery," and while all those things are there, what it really should say is, "We have a gift for most anyone." Co-owners (and sisters) Mona Kanther and Laura Robbins have stocked their store with an impressive variety. They offer bath goodies such as the Bella line; garden statues, arches, fencing embellishments and planters; a room full of very sweet baby things; our favorite Circle E candles that burn forever; and handcrafted jewelry, some of which is made by local artists. Stationery? Got it. Unusual bird feeders? Got 'em. Outlandish prices? Nope, don't got 'em. So the lowdown is basically this: Their stuff is awesome, there's something for every style and we've never seen better prices.
Lula B's Antique Mall
We never walk out of Lula B's without something. We may find it in a booth near the doors; we may find it in the back corner with all the farmhouse-looking kitchen gadgets. It could be a 1950s aluminum pitcher with a Bakelite handle, or it could be an E.T. night-light. But it's there, and only many, many minutes of walking slowly and craning your neck into the cramped booths will find it. Sure, you could save some time on eBay or by shopping at a department store for stuff you actually need. But this is like a safari, and a safari without effort is just a zoo.

Electrique Boutique
Whether you were born a woman or paid thousands of dollars to become one, Electrique Boutique has shoes in your size. Likewise, whether you need new kicks for dancing to jazz at the Samba Room or to Kid Rock tunes onstage at Baby Dolls, this store can hook you up. You'll find SMU girls trying on platform sandals with beaded straps sitting next to drag queens squishing their tootsies into thigh-high, five-inch, red patent leather boots. At Electrique Boutique, you can break a new trend or pick up some heels that would break a lesser woman's ankles. Just know that if you ask for thongs, you're not going to be handed a pair of rubber flip-flops.
Boutique Pet Shop and Aquarium
This little puppy has survived the Petco invasion and is doing just fine, thank you, mostly because of the array of treats and specialty foods, combined with good service and other benefits (like top-notch dog grooming), you can find here. If you're not in East Dallas, it's a bit of a jaunt, but your widdle puppy wuppy is worf it, ain't he, ain't he now, good boy, good boy, yes you are, yes you are...

Nothing's too good for our newborn, which is why we're willing to spend a small fortune on small clothes that'll be good for a short amount of time--a few weeks, maybe a couple of months if we're lucky. This Lakewood store is the place to shop for those who want to pamper their Pampers-wearer: The racks are lined with beautiful import clothing (Petit Bateau, especially, which costs a fortune but lasts forever, or until Junior can hold his head up unassisted), the shelves are stacked with blankets so soft and sumptuous you'll fight the kiddo for 'em and the walls are decorated with the kinds of accessories and knickknacks you read about in those British baby magazines in which Damon Albarn and David Beckham are always pictured looking like the coolest dads that side of the Atlantic. Mostly we shop here so one day we can tell our boy, "We bought all your clothes at Bebe Grand, and look at the thanks we got." Guilt, it's priceless.

Best Independent/Amateur Photographer Resource

Dallas Darkroom

In college, we'd lock ourselves in the journalism department's darkroom, crank up the classic rock station and print black-and-white photos until the wee hours of the morning. While the other students were doing beer bongs, we were inhaling the sweet aroma of developer, toner and Photo-Flo. Nowadays, the cost of setting up a personal darkroom--and the recurring nightmare of our dog plundering the boxes of photo papers--is prohibitive. That's why we were glad to hear about Dallas Darkroom, a photo studio and darkroom that's open to the public. You can drop by to print some photos or develop a roll of B&W, or you can call to reserve the photo studio and lighting equipment (all at hourly rates). The staff also offers classes for beginners and advanced photography students.

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