You're putting in a dream kitchen. Why not dream big? French-Brown has specialty tiles--murals, hand-painted, Italian, mosaics, metallic, glass, marble--that you don't see at most tile retailers or Home Depots. Shopping the good stuff gives you ideas. Expensive, yes, but if you are tiling a backsplash or the wall behind a stove, you won't need much. Find the accents at French-Brown and supplement with less expensive field tiles. Or use a handful of handmade tiles for a killer fireplace surround. French-Brown also offers floors in exotic woods, unique parquets, slate, cork and high-end vinyl for the modernist. Open on nights and weekends by appointment only.
Your Ford Expedition's car key with the fancy transponder inside pooped out? Golden's Keys can make, cut and reprogram it for $60, cheaper than many dealerships, and they'll do it in 20 minutes. Lock yourself out of said vehicle? They'll come to your rescue. Threw out the lover who talked you into buying that overpriced SUV in the first place? They'll change the locks on your house after-hours if necessary. (Right now, Golden's only does Ford transponder keys but hopes to add more manufacturers in the future.) This may be a number to keep on the refrigerator door.
Lush Cosmetics
Fly to London without moisturizer? Land in Paris sans gloss? With the new airline carry-on regulations making the "new normal" a new horror for the dry-complexioned and dusty-lipped, Lush offers what they swear are products that won't end up confiscated at the security gate. They sell moisturizers in solid form called "body butters." They also have solid shampoos, cleansing bars and slices of soap that turn into yummy bubble baths when they hit water. Lush's skin softeners and enhancers are natural and fresh (they're marked with expiration dates) and feel luxurious to the touch. NorthPark's is Lush's only Texas store.
You gotta love a shop that carries rhinestone tiaras and scepters for that little princess in your life. Om Imports has walls draped with inexpensive (seriously, like $4) necklaces, pendants, earrings, bracelets, rings and belts that glitter with imitation jewels. From fake diamond studs to chandelier earrings to necklaces guaranteed to turn your cleavage into a cascade of sparkle, Om will deck you out for that big event. No one has to know your necklace and earrings together cost less than a sawbuck.
Can't spend the time combing flea markets looking for cool stuff? Junkadoodle does it for you. This shop west of Inwood Village finds new and old stuff perfect for a casual home. (We usually hate plaques with cute sayings but almost made an exception for "Put on your big girl panties and deal with it." Almost.) Weathered dressers, funky chairs, offbeat art, refurbished light fixtures and iron bases for glass tables are in abundance. Western and Mexican kitsch abounds. Call it shabby chic or movie ranch rustic, Junkadoodle's style is witty and fun.
When you are painting your ceiling, paint from Lowe's will do. But serious painters head to Walnut Hill Paint for its variety and high level of service. Great for color-matching while you wait, the store carries ordinary brands such as Benjamin Moore but also stocks brands you may see in Metropolitan Home, including Pratt & Lambert, Martin Senour, Williamsburg Historical, C-2 Ultra Premium and metallics. They're also a great source for Cabot and Olympic stains, Dura Seal and Cook's Oil Glazing. They can also help you figure out the products and tools you need and often give hands-on training in faux finishes. Tell people your decorator did it.
With great gear for someone who will never get closer to a cow than steak at Del Frisco's, Cowboy Cool is a little shop with a big rhinestone heart. Our favorite boot: Liberty's 62 Muerto, a hand-tooled black number covered with bone-colored skulls and only $2,200. Jeans by Parasuco have Western details. Shirts come with snap buttons and names such as "Johnny Cash." The handmade silver belt buckles are a great way to get the feeling without breaking the bank. Owner Heath Calhoun's goal is a custom-made look bought off-the-rack. If you want to play the rock 'n' roll star who gets away from it all at his/her ranch in Wyoming, this is the shop for you.
If you want a Wal-Mart-sized selection of guns, go to Cabela's. But if you're looking for a gun to place under your pillow and you want the man who sells you that gun to treat you like a friend and not just another customer, go to Ray's Hardware and Sporting Goods. At Ray's, the men behind the glassed-in counters understand that buying a gun is a personal decision. Some gun owners want a pearl handle on their six-shooter. Others want a chrome-plated sawed-off shotgun. And some want the same model gun Robert E. Lee used during the Civil War. At Ray's they've got all that and more, which is why this is the favorite spot of elephant hunters and SWAT team leaders.
In the Brazilian Amazon the locals favor a thick red juice that tastes best when it's served in a wooden bowl. The juice, called acai, comes from little berries that grow high in trees. Until recently, acai wasn't available in the United States--even finding it outside of the Amazon was tough. Now you can buy it online in powder form. But the closest thing you're going to get to the real stuff is bought in pulp. Locally it's at Coisas Do Brasil. They also sells candies unique to Brazil, such as bananas sprinkled in sugar.
We were gonna mention the Virgin Megastore in Mockingbird Station till we remembered, yeah, that sucker's a furniture store now. Then we thought, oh, well, how about Tower Records on Lemmon Avenue? It's never taken home one of these coveted accolades, and it does have a pretty decent import section. Then we remembered, oh, yeah, Tower's in bankruptcy and probably not long for this world. So we're going to settle on an old favorite, and not just because bits and pieces of some of our collections now reside in the racks. Seriously, this is supposed to be the best, right? So what else do you call a store (two, actually) that stocks everything new, used and in-between (we call 'em "imports") and has room enough for more local discs than former Observer music editors' shelving units? Don't get us wrong: Good Records is great, absolutely, and tops when it comes to the in-store. It just doesn't have the stock, and cool only gets you so far when you want and can't have.

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