BEST E-CIG STORE 2013 | Vape Lounge | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

For the uninitiated, an e-cig is basically a battery attached to a heated atomizer that turns a more-or-less nicotine-laced liquid into a vapor that you inhale in place of smoke. Arguably much better for you than real coffin nails — the FDA would quibble over that point — e-cigs come in a mind-numbing array of shapes and styles ranging from the disposable, God-awful expensive Blu thingies sold at convenience stores to elaborate, rechargeable behemoths with refillable liquid tanks, lights, power meters and, we suspect, enough power to jump-start a car. Vape Lounge has all the gewgaws a serious gearhead could desire; a friendly, patient staff who'll explain how to use them; and an enormous menu of vapor flavors ranging from the vaguely tobacco-like to a whole host of candy- and dessert-flavored concoctions, for those inveterate smokers who have always wanted to put away those Marlboro Reds and try something a little more piña colada-flavored. (You can sample any flavor before you buy.) If you're looking to kick the smokes, a visit to Vape Lounge is worth a trip to Carrollton. It may or may not extend your life, but it won't waste your time.

One level above the lobby of The Ritz-Carlton in Uptown is 12,000 square feet of pure luxury. The spa and salon here treat you like a revered guest, even if you're just a slob who drove over from your rental in Lower Slobbovia. With a dozen treatment rooms (each with in-room shower), two VIP treatment suites for couples (if you're that lucky) plus "healing waters," dry cedar saunas and eucalyptus steam rooms, this joint is a haven of health, a sanctuary for sagging skin and strained sacroiliacs. Our picks for best treatments: the restorative facial using infusions of pure oxygen pumped right into your complexion and the Texas Eight-Hand Massage. Be sure to arrive an hour or two early to chill in the quiet relaxation room, where complimentary hot tea, Champagne, fruit and tiny cups of nuts and M&Ms are delivered by friendly but not-too-chatty staffers. Lie back and say "aaaaah."

Actually going shopping for books is something of a dying art these days, what with Amazon Prime, e-books and all that tech-y stuff. But when it comes down to it, nothing compares to the tactile pleasure of being able to turn the pages of a weighty hardcover (not to mention inhaling that unmistakable musty smell that all bookstores possess). When you want to do some book browsing that doesn't involve clicking a mouse, head to this incredibly well-organized used book store, where the selection ranges from best-sellers to the more obscure. Bring in your old library to swap for fresh reads — or cash — or just browse the shelves. There's also a decent selection of old VHS, cassettes and vinyl.

Whether you have dreams of rocking Beyoncé's flowing honey-colored mane or want to rock a pink ombre faux-hawk, the hair wizards at this Uptown salon can make it a reality. Each of the 20 or so stylists and colorists are chic, professional and up-to-date on all the latest trends, from so-hot-right-now pastel hues to intricate braids, and they have a knack for figuring out how to translate your dream style into something that's wearable for you. If your hair just needs a little pick-me-up, head for the Blow Dry Lounge and sip a glass of bubbly while your locks get pampered with a deep-conditioning treatment (a killer neck massage is a major bonus).

Sure, the name and location of this new salon are unexpected, but once you find your way inside you'll wonder how you ever got by without it. Located on lowermost Greenville and owned by Xristofer Crowder, this spot is more than a hair salon, it's a transformation room. You walk in burdened with everyday messiness, with your hair pulled back in a ponytail and your face reflecting the stress of where you've been. Then, you sit with these specially selected stylists and all of that static simply discharges. The catty, gossipy salon stuff you've grown accustomed to does not exist at Free Xpirit. Instead, you're in calm, uplifting hands. It's pure positivity. And you know what the best part is? Those hands can really sculpt a head of hair. Plus, they'll talk you through a long-term growth or styling plan, shaping and coloring your hair through its various stages. Sure, it's not an inexpensive cut and color, but you leave feeling great about yourself. And that splurge is worth every penny.

If you know what you want and it can be found anywhere on Spotify, head to Mad World Records in Denton or Good Records on Greenville Avenue. If you want a bottomless crate to dig through, head for Bill’s Records. But for the most rewarding record browsing experience in Dallas, there is no topping Half Price Books, particularly its flagship location on Northwest Highway. There you’ll find a meticulously organized and surprisingly large collection of songs that sound better scratchy, or never made their way to digital translations. There’s plenty of Dallas history there as well, particularly in the country and blues sections. And the prices are built for people looking for something functional rather than the shrink-wrapped artifacts found elsewhere in town.

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