There comes a time in a hipster's life when decisions have to be made. The costume party is in two hours, and a decade must be decided upon. Will you wear '80s chic or '60s mod? These are the hard questions, especially when time is of the essence. Whatever your quandary, the Counter Culture store in Deep Ellum is guaranteed to have what you need at a reasonable price. The staff is always available to help with a wayward zipper (or four, depending on your outfit), and the store's small enough that they can easily point you in the right direction for your thrift clothing needs. Avail yourself of the scarf bin, too, but remember: Avoid the Mockingbird Station location like last year's asymmetrical bangs. There, you'll pay twice the price for similar vintage gear.
In The Graduate, Mr. McGuire says it best: "I want to say one word to you. Just one wordAre you listening?...Plastics." He wasn't talking about jewelry, but it still applies. Especially when it comes to Adventures in Synthetics. Using plastics, as well as other uncommon materials such as foam and styrene, Dallas jewelry designer Mary Ann Atkinson creates unique pieces of jewelry that dance on the line between space-age and whimsical but never flirt with tacky. The clear bracelet coils are bold but unsuspecting on the wrist, and their simple, colorful, graphic embellishments are vital and special--no two are alike. The graceful pieces are, without a doubt, wearable art, and their packaging is just as thoughtfully designed to serve as a flattering frame.
If you need regular massages to make your life and limbs loose again but don't want to work a second job to pay for it, the students at the Texas Massage Institute can give you a rubdown on the cheap. For only $30 an hour--nearly a third of the normal rate--students at TMI will give you the TLC you need. If you pulled a muscle, have serious back pain or any other recurring problem, we recommend that you see an experienced massage therapist. But for runners and cyclists who need someone to work out the everyday aches and pains that go with the sport, TMI is your Costco.
A few years ago an earnest but out-of-it Dallas publication of the local city monthly magazine variety, trying to break into the "Best of" field (fat chance!), described the monthly Buchanan Markets show at Fair Park as the city's best "flea market." Oh, no, no, no. Flea market it is not. Buchanan's, held toward the end of every month, except during the State Fair, is a glorious bazaar where the discerning eye may discover true treasure. And maybe some junk. But not very much junk. No, this is a true antiques show--the best in Dallas. Check for dates at buchananmarkets.com. 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday (when it's being held); 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday. Three bucks a head for adults, kids under 12 free. Free parking and shuttle available.
Plano's attempt at New Urbanism, the Legacy Town Center looks at first like a real town square featuring quirky shops, charming apartments, a movie theater and plenty of people happily ambling about on a Friday night. There's even a guy hanging out on a sidewalk, playing guitar. Of course, this vision of urban living is curiously homogenous--everything is all white and all the businesses and residences seem to be targeted to members of the same lofty tax bracket. The Legacy Town Center is to urban living what Euro Disney is to Europe, what corporate rock is to the Ramones, a too-smooth imitation of the real thing. But still, in today's centerless neighborhoods, it does give hometown-hungry Plano-ites somewhere to gather.
If you're looking for a toaster, coffee table, vintage toy, collectible mixing bowl to replace the one you broke, even a wedding dress, there's a good chance you'll find it at the all-volunteer Gift and Resale Shop, operated by its next-door neighbor, White Rock Center of Hope. Some 54 churches in the area and two civic organizations united in 1988 to provide emergency aid to the needy in this part of Dallas, and since that beginning, more than 200,000 people have received help and hope through this charity's efforts. The shop opened in '98 and accepts tax-deductible donations that they sell at extremely affordable prices.
We've seen it dozens of times at this tucked-away branch of the java chain. She comes in first, a little nervous, not sure exactly whom to make eye contact with. Order a frapp or wait to see if he shows up and offers to buy? She sits, checks her lip gloss, tries to look relaxed. Then he arrives: Dockers, Polo shirt, a little too much cologne. "Are you?" he says. "I am!" she says. They take a table by the window and start the "tell me about yourself" routine, filling in the stuff they couldn't say on Match.com. Meanwhile, Amanda, Aileen, Albert, Jeff and the other nice baristas efficiently whip up the mocha-choke-a-lattes and will even bring them to the table, like in a real caf. The date-friendly ambience means the music's never too loud, the whir of coffee machines (stuck way at the back of the shotgun-style room) don't drown out a good joke and the parking lot is close by if escape from a potential date-turned-stalker is needed.
Dallas Costume Shoppe
Halloween is really just around the corner, and it's never too early to begin preparing an outfit. Afraid of humiliating yourself by trotting out another unimaginative store-bought atrocity? Fear not, there is help. For more than 100 years--that's right, a century--Dallas Costume Shoppe has answered the call of Halloween revelers searching for the perfect ensemble. Owner Michael Robinson is on hand to offer snappy sartorial suggestions, and with thousands of in-stock pieces to choose from, you are sure to find a look that screams you and "Boo!" The vast stock spans all styles and eras, from nuns and knights to hookers and hobos, from kings and queens to cowboys and can-can girls, from centurions and soldiers to vampires and vixens. Not just a Halloween staple, Dallas Costume Shoppe also specializes in legitimate costuming for commercials, films, corporate events, photo shoots and theater. Be sure to say hello to Mr. Mata, a veritable Dallas institution who has celebrated the All Hallows' Eve season with Dallas Costume Shoppe for more than 60 years.
This huge store seems to go on forever, and it's crammed full of eclectic furniture and accessories with a Southwestern edge: Hand-tooled leather couches, rugged coffee tables, antique rugs, dining tables and chairs, lamps and art you don't see at generic furniture stores. Even if your house doesn't have a cowboy attitude, you can find pieces that mix and match with other styles, especially ethnic art and accessories. We especially love the generously sized easy chairs. Though there are plenty of different leathers and fabrics in stock, you can also special order. If you shop on the weekends, they might be giving away free margaritas or some other cool beverage to make the hot work of shopping easier.
When you bought your house 30 years ago, you remember thinking, "This olive shag carpet is where it's at." Or maybe you used a word such as "groovy" or "boss." No matter your past floor-covering transgressions, Floor & Dcor will help you atone. We drooled over beautiful tumbled travertine and glossy black marble. We marveled at the reasonable prices on laminate--starting at just 69 cents a square foot. We've had friends come from as far away as Denton and Canton to shop at this warehouse of wondrous flooring options. They also carry structural and decorative items such as sinks, mirrors and moldings. We'll keep mum about the shag, as long as you don't tell anyone about our blue scallop-shell sinks. Hmm, meet ya there?

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