We are not wealthy people. We do not wear silk suits or tip barkeeps $100 bills. Neither are we drug addicts. We don't feel the compulsion that rules them. Unless, that is, the air conditioning goes out at home on a Sunday night in August, then by God, we whip out the wallet and call for service RIGHT NOW, because rather than face the night in Texas without refrigerated air, we'll spend like a Rockefeller with a snoot full of toot and no preset credit limit. Must...have...air...conditioning. Lucky for us, the folks at Total know our need and will actually send a technician when you call, nights and weekends. Better still, they don't show up wearing eye patches, carrying parrots and cutlasses. Twice this summer, Total was the first to show up, once on a Sunday and once at 11 p.m. They told us what they charged coming in and showed up with the parts needed to feed our chill jones. Cheap? Well, we're talkin' A/C repairmen here, but they're reasonable and honest, so we could sit comfortably afterward in that sweet, cool air.
There's something so very therapeutic about stringing beads. And satisfying too. When you're done, you have new jewelry. At this nook in Lakewood, they teach beading and jewelry-making classes that'll make you feel like you've gone away to summer camp again. Make necklaces, bracelets or earrings using the glass, ceramic and gemstone beads they carry. Mix onyx with turquoise or pearls with wood. Be bold, be creative. Be still for a minute. That's what it's really all about.
Pet Supplies Plus
Our cats have eating issues. Our dog is fat (hey, we're working on it). As multiple pet owners, we suffer from a freakishly keen sense of smell that calls for a particular brand of cat litter. At Pet Supplies Plus we walk in, load a cart with both types of special cat foods, diet dog food, our perfect litter, kitty vomit stain remover (don't ask) and a few toys and treats for good measure, and we go home happy. The goods are priced for mutt budgets. And we've found things here no other pet commissary carries. Like, the calming spray for carsick kitties. Doggone fine store.
Neiman Marcus
They don't make them like Darla Fulp anymore. She's old-school Neiman's, the kind of retail employee who would have made Stanley Marcus proud. At other stores, the help ignores you when you need another size and goes on break when you're stripped to the skin in that hot dressing room. Not Ms. Fulp, who will do whatever it takes to make you a happy customer, even if that means finding you a Diet Coke and a cookie to quell that late-afternoon shopping slump. Her specialties are ladies' lingerie and loungewear. She can find you the perfect bra, with a pretty slip and panties that match. She's a godsend for elderly customers who have problems with zips, buttons and hooks. And she's super-friendly, but not in that creepy overfamiliar way. Shop with her once and she'll remember you, your mom, your sister and your aunt and give you a hug next time you're in her department. Ms. Fulp, from the bottom of our cleavage, we salute you.

Best Dressy Men's Clothing Store We Can Afford

Billy Reid

Billy Reid @ NorthPark Center
A month later, we're still trying to recover from the tragic fact our feet are too wide for the handmade lace-up cap-toe cordovan boots at Billy Reid's. Apparently, he thinks his male customers have feet the size of an 8-year-old ballerina's. But the fact we so hate that we can't fit into the shoes we love, love, love and are still pimping this pimpin' store only confirms our affection for Reid's sole Dallas outlet, one of only four in the entire country. We do love the clothes, chief among them the selection of leather boots, not to mention shirts that look and feel tailored just for you, most of which run well under $150 and even half of half that during the annual close-outs. But the joint also has a vibe you don't expect, in or out of a mall setting. Hardwood floors and comfy antique couches and cozy dressing rooms are part of what makes this place our home-away-from-home when we're out shopping. That, and the fact assistant manager Jeff Denton seems to recall everyone's name and size after one visit, be it you, us or Outkast's Andre Benjamin. Oh, and they do sell women's clothes too—and if we were a lady, we'd look amazing in that cream Camel cardigan.
Winedale Tavern
Parked in the middle of the loudest, smelliest stretch of Lower Greenville, where overcrowded bar-slash-STD-troughs dominate the landscape, the Winedale Tavern is a sliver of a place with a long, long bar that's conducive to just one activity: drinking. No cozy booths inviting yuppie groups to get all Friends in the corner. No flashy neon lights draw crazed groups of girls who "just wanna dance" to overplayed '80s hits. Just four tiny tables are crammed against the walls, used for storing copies of yesterday's paper and empty ash trays. No, the Winedale wants you up at the bar, where you'll always find the same 10 people, an attentive bartender and a reliable game of Photo Hunt. All you need to bring is one friend, a good attitude and lots of quarters for the jukebox.
Betty and Cesare Nadalini raised a large family on Swiss Avenue for years. Then fate intervened and forced them to go live in a gorgeous villa in Tuscany. Boo-hoo, right? There they now produce a handmade "estate-bottled" extra virgin olive oil made only of olives from their own farm. You can read about it and order some at tuttatoscana.com, or for about 35 bucks a half-liter you can buy it at Flavors from Afar. The tastes of Tuscany don't come cheaply, but because of the Dallas connection at the source, every drop of this olive oil has some local flavor too.
Whole Earth Provision Co.
In our early 20s, we loved high heels. We found no pump too spiked and no toe too pointy. But those evenings of sore feet soon were followed by ouchy ankle pain and stiff knees, which made us question our dedication to torturous fashion. Time to make the comfy shoe chic again. At Whole Earth Provision, they stock dozens of foot-loving brands including Earth, Dansko, Merrell, Wolky, Birkenstock, Keen and the expensive-but-amazing MBT. And if phrases like "anatomical footbed" or "orthotic compatible" rock you on your heels, be assured these kicks have a toehold on boho chic.
Cat o' Nine Tails wearing out? Leather Masters has a nice crop of whips, gags, sleep sacks, "puppy tails" and other paraphernalia geared to the bondage and S&M experience. Straps, strops, caps, pants, vests—if you want it in leather, chances are good they have it. This shop also offers get-togethers for like-minded kinksters. Community service, hey, you can't beat that.
The husband-and-wife team of Luit and Jamie Huizenga specialize in European-style floral arrangements, meaning lush, colorful and presented in unique vases, luminaries and handmade pottery containers that go far beyond the containers offered by most florists. Jamie met Luit, a native of Holland, while both were budding floral designers and have been on the Dallas floral scene for several decades. They started Dr Delphinium Designs in 1989 and sold it after about a decade to run a ranch on Colorado's Cebolla River. They returned and started Cebolla, which also sells antiques, pottery, chocolates and candles. They had been back on the Dallas floral scene only a few years when Oprah dubbed Cebolla her favorite florist in Dallas. The Huizengas' signature designs contain blooms of wildly contrasting color palettes in a compact arrangement; there's nothing spare or minimalist here, unless you count their living orchid arrangements as minimalist.

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