BEST GRAPHIC DESIGN AND LETTERPRESS 2013 | Lilco Letterpress, Lily Smith-Kirkley | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Letterpress isn't for everyone. Printing this way is a personal process, requiring time and attention to detail that is often lost in the digital age. But Lily Smith-Kirkley wouldn't want to do business any other way. Her one-woman company, Lilco, specializes in handcrafted branding, identity, stationery, wedding and collaborative efforts. From design to press, Smith-Kirkley will give you a one-of-a-kind badass product. This year, after winning $10,000 and a car through the national Scion Motivate award, Smith-Kirkley took the leap and left her day job to focus on Lilco full-time, so expect to be seeing even more of her work around town soon.

Your dog's got fleas, again. If he were a human, he'd be Perpetual Lice Kid, and you'd be The Mother of Perpetual Lice Kid. Sounds like it's time for a serious bath at Urban Dogg. This self-wash grooming headquarters costs $12.95 on weekends, which initially you might balk at. After all, he's a dog and garden hoses exist. But you live in an apartment, don't want your drains clogged with mutt hair cast-offs, hate chasing him around the bathtub and don't have one of those handy detachable nozzles. At Urban Dogg you harness your pup in what looks like an industrial kitchen sink with a drain-through bottom. The water is pleasantly warm and you can turn a dial to select from a few different shampoo options. Plus, there are a bunch of tools, like brushes, giant shop-vac-like blow dryers and yes, even a metal fine-tooth comb especially designed for flea removal. If you're not the DIY washing type, call ahead and schedule one of UD's ridiculously friendly groomers to do your dirty work. They won't judge you for hands-off parenting.

You could bathe your dog in the bathtub at home, then spend the next hour mopping water off the floor and plucking soggy fur from the drain. Or you can take them to Dirty Dawgz, hose them down in one of the walk-in tubs, then brush out a sweater's worth of fur and blow them dry. The staff will clip nails and clean ears at no cost. For those who can't face the chore booze-free, there's a wine night. Also, dogs get to bathe free on their birthday. Don't know your dog's birthday? Make one up. They don't check birth certificates.

Marie Tedei is a tireless advocate for the local food movement, and her words have the weight of a farmer behind them. Tedei is the person behind Eden's Organic CSA. Tedei is quick to mention that a CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, is as much a relationship between the farmer and the customer as it is a transaction involving money and vegetables. As a member, you commit to a yearlong relationship with the farm. In exchange for your money Tedei puts together a basket of the seasonal vegetables when they are available, generally from October to July. Start and end dates vary from year to year because it's farming, not a factory. You can pick your share up on her farm in Balch Springs or at the Green Spot in Dallas.

Pittsburg, Texas, with its absurdly large pavilion bust of hometown chicken magnate Bo Pilgrim, is not the first place you'd expect to find a co-op dedicated to sustainable organic agriculture. But somehow, Comeback Creek Farm has managed to carve out a niche. You can find them sometimes at White Rock Local Market selling their excess carrots or kale, but the more reliable way to enjoy their bounty is to sign up for their community-supported-agriculture program. Pay for your share of the harvest in advance, then pick up every weekend at any of their numerous local drop-off locations.

This is where Whole Foods employees go when they decide their employer's too corporate. Rather than cater to soccer moms and organic-food faddists, the Colorado-based chain has clung to the unapologetic kookiness of the 1970s health food store. Care to engage in a spirited discussion on the relative merits of sprouted versus regular tofu? Curious about the immense health benefits of hemp seed oil, hemp seed milk and other hemp-derived products? Natural Grocers is the place to go. Even if you're not into any of that, it's a handy and affordable place to stock up on organic produce, pick up bulk nuts, grains and dried fruit, and soak up the health-food ambiance.



Curse you, Elements, for selling exciting, flattering looks by hard-to-find designers. And double curses for knowing exactly what from those collections would look perfect for exactly the right occasion. You're like ensemble wizards peddling thread-stitched wishes and you've cast a couture spell. From limited-run coats and dresses to decadent accessories, Elements keeps it pulled together showing designers from Australia, Europe and a few American cities, Dallas included. Well-ordered and affectionately displayed, there's a calming feeling when you step into the shop. That peaceful luxury only intensifies when those shop gals break down exactly what looks good on you — trust us, you'll want to take notes. You'll also want to take copies of your receipts to your accountant, just in case these investments are tax deductible.

Sure, a million places offer blowouts and there's a nail salon on every corner, but why would you go to those spots when you could sit in empowered style at Studio 410? They specialize in taming down unruly, wild hair into sleek modern styles through cuts and color, but they also turn out specialty do's, like killer beehives and blowouts that won't leave you looking like a pageant queen. Tweak that style out further with a set of specialty-designed art nails and clear your head in the musical glow of Beyoncé hits, a cornerstone of Studio 410's backtrack. The shop's spirit animal, Miriam Ortega, is street fashion in motion, so pick her brain on ideas for gussying up your everyday look. (Spoiler alert: It might involve false eyelashes. Double Spoiler Alert: We love false eyelashes.)

It's big, and isn't that all that matters? Well, it's comfortable and easy to find, and it's ready to fill your needs at any hour. Plus, the staff is nice. And other penis puns. The three Dallas New Fine Arts locations (and their sister stores Paris Bookstore and the gay-friendly New Fine Arts Alternatives adjacent to the Mockingbird Lane store) pack an impressive array of toys, lubes and DVDs (which people who haven't heard of the Internet still buy, apparently). They also have private viewing booths with dollar-fed previews, locking doors and couches that are surprisingly clean. There are even smoking rooms in case you and whoever accompanies you need a cigarette after you get done ... um, previewing a title.

Dallas' best-kept shopping secret is perched atop Bolsa. The charming little millinery boutique is the last of its kind, harkening back to an era when folks dressed to leave their homes and hats were staples rather than luxuries. House of MacGregor is the hand-sewn brainchild of Cassie MacGregor, a sparkly eyed girl with a massive smile who's determined to beautify the world around her, one hat at a time. She studied her niche textile path in New York, working with designers and creating her own looks. When she moved back to Dallas five years ago, she took the plunge and opened Dallas' only shop working exclusively with hats. Now this adorable atelier is a mandatory visit for any discerning Derby-goer, but it's also the perfect spot for everyday retail therapy. Sure, you can buy any hat in the shop and Mrs. MacGregor will size it for you, but she'll also design your new look from scratch if you're searching for something uniquely you. Call ahead, book a visit, then celebrate life's excesses through headgear.

Bishop Arts, Bolsa, West Davis Street, the Kessler, all that very successful activity in North Oak Cliff didn't just happen by accident, nor did it happen because of one guy by any means, but if you had to pick somebody who was there at the beginning, it would be David Spence. In 1995 Spence, a lawyer, left a career in nonprofit community development to buy and save aging structures that everybody else assumed were just food for bulldozers. Over time he showed he could not only rescue old apartment and commercial buildings from the wrecking ball but turn a profit in the process. His example left footprints for other investors to follow in, and they have, with splendid results.

Courtesy of Richardson Bike Mart

Good chance you're not going to ride that new bike for long, that it'll be collecting dust or clothes hangers in a couple of months. The folks at Richardson Bike Mart won't acknowledge that — they're too encouraging, too nice, too hopeful, which we thought was outlawed last decade — but they seem to intuit it, because they never steer to equipment you don't need or can't afford. They bring your bike to you, whether it's a $500 Trek Hybrid Shirt-Hanger or a $5,000 Cervelo Garage-Wall-Art, and they match it with only the accessories you need to keep you safe, and, against all odds, to keep you riding.

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