Circa 2000

It's an iffy proposition—crowning a new men's clothing store as the Best of Dallas, particularly when it's in Plano, particularly when it's not that new and particularly when there remain such sterling contenders as the upscale Pockets Menswear and the Uptown Daniel Taylor Clothier Inc., and the up and out there H.D.'s Clothing Co. But Circa 2000 is no pretender to the throne—it's the real deal with its formal and business and casual and sporty attire. It offers trendy European styling that cuts against the conservative grain of its Plano clientele. And yet it appeals to fiscal conservatives, charging prices that seem more reasonable (though still no bargain) than its competition.

Galleria

With their new-found sensitivity toward sexism, Republicans might react with outrage over the following observation: There are fewer men's shoe stores than women's because men wear fewer shoes than women. There, we said it. Make of it what you will, Sarah Palin. And with Larry's Shoes shuttering so many stores, the pickings are even slimmer these days. So we again resort to our dependable standby, Nordstrom at the Galleria, whose founders began as a shoe store in 1901 before transforming themselves into a department store, but have never lost their commitment to the foot. With more than 50 traditional and fashion-forward brands to choose from, with a selection that includes the big, the small, the narrow and the wide, and with seasonal sales that are worth waiting for, Nordstrom has the kind of selection that would appeal even to those men who want to defy any sexist stereotype.

There's no point making salad out of your lawn with a dull mower blade. Take that blade off and take it to Casey's, where they will sharpen it while you wait for about $7.50. Be sure to ask how to put it back on (don't ask us how we learned this lesson the hard way). Better yet, take the whole lawnmower to them and let them mess with it. Then take it home, crosshatch the grass and sit back to admire your work.

Zola's Everyday Vintage

Their racks of mod Twiggy frocks and granny dresses are cute, but the best buys at this Oak Cliff vintage shop are the accessories and handbags handpicked for sale by store owners Annette Norman and Diedra Sutton. They have keen eyes for quality. Best of all, they keep the markup low, meaning collectability is possible on a budget. From fringy hippie shoulder bags of the 1960s back to the tiny gold meshes of earlier decades, the handbag assortment will keep you pawing over the choices for hours. Recent finds include a 1920s gold evening purse for $36 and a girly-girl Whiting and Davis clutch, circa World War II, for $75. And you know that silver lamé number went home with us for $20. That's the sort of vintage bargain you just have to bag.

By applying more than 25 years of know-how in Dallas-based delivery services, two brothers (Tony and Robb Hormillosa) and two friends (Alex Ham and Robert Lelievre) are changing the future of the courier industry with Go Green Couriers. By using only hybrid vehicles and bicycles, officing remotely and turning to online billing/ordering systems (read: paperless and therefore waste-free), the company aims to reduce its impact on the environment while still providing the standard four-hour, two-hour, one-hour and immediate delivery services companies rely on to get business done. And not only are they reducing that nasty carbon footprint, but they can also provide research and notary services too. We can only hope that other delivery companies will turn over a new leaf and follow in the low-emission tracks of DFW's first "green" couriers.

In business for 16 years, Park Cities Pet Sitter does more than walk your dog. Available year-round, with a supervisor on call around the clock, they will water your plants, pick up your newspapers, even sleep over with an anxious pooch. Prices are somewhere between not-cheap and fair, given that this place carefully screens its caregivers and sends out only animal-loving sitters who treat your pet with love. Home visits run from $18 to $24 depending on how many pets you have. Overnights are $75 to $85. If you have ever faced a choice between joining friends for a great vacation or staying home to comfort a lonely pup who's prone to kennel cough, you know the value of a good pet sitter. Whatever the price, it's worth it to trust the paws who pat your pooch.

Veterinary Specialists of North Texas

It's emotionally trying when a loved one is diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness. Some experts acknowledge that when that loved one is a furry innocent with four paws, it can be even tougher to deal with. It takes talent, skill and strength to treat our best four-legged friends, and a calming, reassuring disposition to deliver the diagnosis to pet owners. Dr. Richard Scroggin and his team of Veterinary Specialists of North Texas—Cheryl K. Harris, DVM; Philip L. Treuil, DVM, MS; and Sandra M. Axiak, DVM—are friendly but professional and go to the ends of modern technology to find the answers to kitty and doggie maladies, including various forms of cancer. Scroggin, in particular, is patient and caring in his examination of animals and in helping owners determine the best course of treatment. He nobly takes the "if it were my baby" approach when advising distressed humans and, thankfully, delivers information in laymen's terms. It's a gift to have the unconditional love of a pet, and with Scroggin and VSNT, we can give the kind and thorough treatment these sweet creatures deserve.

The Silver Pyramid

Depressed about this year's lack of new Harry Potter tomes? Get your fix of crystal balls, mystical creatures and divinations at The Silver Pyramid, a den of magical objects. The shelves are stocked with a variety of rocks and stones that hold special "energies," as well as crystal orbs, jewelry, quartz and "singing" bowls for meditation. Consult the pendulums, which respond to yes-or-no questions to provide guidance. But don't go to the Pyramid in a hurry. Owners Steve and Kathy Collins enjoy providing customers with detailed explanations of the products. Future cloudy? We predict you'll get some insight here (or at least have a good grin looking at all the stuff).

Homebrew Headquarters

Wine has always been the ultimate enclave of snobbish foodies and wannabe gourmands. Other alcohols still haven't really caught up, though people are starting to discover that beer is more than just a fast route to cirrhosis of the liver. Microbreweries have sprung up around the country to meet the demands of beer connoisseurs. But for some, even a microbrewery isn't micro enough; if you want something done right, you've got to brew it yourself. And Homebrew Headquarters will be glad to help you do that. Don't be deceived by its strip-mall appearance: A couple hours in this place and they'll set you up with everything from carboys to malt to a recipe book of tasty brews. And don't be afraid to ask questions; these guys speak the language of lager...and stout and ale and pilsner and...

It's not like you need more than one try to guess who's going win best record store, but not every music junkie can reside within walking distance of Greenville Avenue. Living north of the dial, some of us need to find a dealer a bit closer to home to get our fix. Tucked in a strip mall just off Texas Highway 190 in Carrollton, CD Addict carries new and used records, CDs, videos, DVDs and posters. Oh, and buttons—cannot forget the buttons. Shoppers can flaunt their fondness for everything from a favorite indie band or glam icon to an '80s TV show or classic horror flick. With a rotating supply of nearly 1,500 different ones to choose from, expressing your self via pinback becomes a simple task. (Unless, of course, you have a hard time deciding which flair you can't live without.) Last year, the independently owned shop celebrated its fifth anniversary. Living up to its name, fully loaded fixtures of CDs line the length of the store, and the back wall houses the racks of vinyl LPs and 7-inches, of which they stock a fat selection of rare and hard-to-find indie, hardcore and punk releases. No music snobs either; you'll get the same treatment whether you walk up to the counter clutching Death Cab for Cutie buttons, Neutral Milk Hotel on vinyl or Justin Timberlake on CD.

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