Everybody in East Dallas living in an old house or apartment building held their breath when Lakewood's Ace Hardware got kicked out of its longtime location in the Lakewood Shopping Center across from Whole Foods. Sure, other places have hardware. But nobody has the experienced, knowledgeable staff that proprietor Khandoo Nagar had assembled over the years at Lakewood Ace. For a year or so, the store was in semi-sketchy quarters while a brand-new building was being constructed. But now they are at home in a slick, conveniently located new space at Gaston and East Grand avenues. And they still know what you mean when you say you need one of those "prongy-type deals" to hold the lampshade up.

Figure anybody can sell you some shiny gewgaws. But what do you do if the jeweled piece you thought was perfect for your sweetie turns out to get shrugs and winces when you hand it to the recipient? No need for psychodrama over whose taste is better. Take it for a makeover to Ralph Austin Jewelers, an unprepossessing little shop in the Skillman Shopping Center in East Dallas. They'll take that ring (or bracelet or necklace) and modify it, or melt it down, make a new design, 3-D print a model, create a mold, cast it anew and, using your gold and stones, give your sweet thang the hunk of jewelry of his or her dreams. Prices are reasonable. Service is 24-karat friendly. Yep, this place is a gem.

A "cookie" by any reasonable definition, is not an amorphous slab of pseudo-meat. It is an unattainable morsel of baked goodness that the laws of nature dictate becomes available only via the benevolence of an incautious 2-year-old or unrelated catastrophe. But when Dr. Candace Major, veterinarian extraordinaire at Plano-Arapaho veterinary clinic in Richardson, scoops two fingers into her ever-handy canister and calls the globule of protein that emerges a "cookie," who are you to argue? It is delicious, and you will eat it, and you will be oblivious to the poking and prodding that non-cookie-appreciating humans swear ensures your longevity as a dog.

Say your kid is a bit hyperactive. Or maybe he or she is just perpetually distracted. Getting a kid's teeth cleaned might seem like a potential nightmare, and it can be if you choose the wrong dentist. Dr. Lara Kirstin Holly of Children's Dentistry of North Dallas is the right dentist. Not only will she effectively clean and examine your child's teeth, she also has the uncanny ability to entertain her young patients in the process and keep them from whining or wriggling out of the chair. Everybody leaves smiling.

In a perfect world, no one would travel to Houston from Dallas. Ever. But now and then, Dallasites must descend into the murky depths of Harris County and, conversely, Houston residents, sad creatures from said murky depths that they are, must visit here. Right now you can drive or fly. But soon(ish), given that the projected launch date is 2021, Texas Central Railway could offer a new option. The company's proposed Dallas-to-Houston bullet train will whisk passengers from one city to the other in a mere 90 minutes. Barely enough time to gird yourself for Houston's brain-frazzling humidity. But at least it will be a quick trip back.

texascentral.com

In the Solomonic tradition, Dallas and Fort Worth split their differences and built their massive international air hub in the no-man's-land between the two cities. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport is equally close to each of the region's two economic hubs, but so far away from each that it's a pain to get there. Getting to DFW Airport is still a chore, but, thanks to DART's extension of its Orange Line, it's a little easier and now much cheaper. For a $2.50 one-way ticket, you can ride from Plano's Parker Road station to DFW by light rail train. Stops in between include Arapaho, Park Lane, Mockingbird Station and the Arts District. OK, it takes 92 minutes. But you don't have to sit in traffic. Take something to read.

You can't hail a cab on the street in Dallas, which has always made going car-free a little taxing. Also the lack of competition among cab companies (plus the city's byzantine taxi regulations) wasn't good for the consumer. That changed with the advent of the Uber app. Anyone with a smartphone can now book a ride and be certain that a car will arrive in short order and that the driver will be courteous and competent (or should be). In December 2014, city officials bowed to the clamor of their Uber-riding constituents and legalized the service and other ride-sharing apps. We app-reciate that.

Lego

Some kids like all types of toys. Others are so thoroughly consumed by a certain brand of interlocking plastic brick systems that they eschew other playthings and would probably do the same to food, water and sleep if not occasionally forced to put down the LEGOs. For the second type of kid, heaven is the LEGO Store at NorthPark. It's packed floor-to-ceiling with LEGO sets of every variety, from Star Wars to Ninjago to Chima, and with parents and kids, locked into the fun of picking out toys together.

Getting naked in public is generally frowned upon, but at Spa Castle, it's just part of the experience. Once you get past the awkwardness of shucking your clothes in front of complete strangers of all stripes, you'll easily melt into the relaxing experience that is Dallas' biggest Korean spa. Once you've soaked (totally naked) in the tension-soothing hot tubs and showered, you can put your clothes back on and head out into the spa's large outdoor water park. Or, you know, you can just stay in the gender-segregated nude areas and enjoy a day relaxing in your birthday suit. At this place, no one is going to judge you for wanting to stay in the buff.

Lula B's Antique Mall

All the furniture at Lula B's has been owned by someone else at one point, but you can bet that they were cooler than you — this ain't your grandma's antique mall. Each of the booths curated by different vendors from all over Dallas-Fort Worth is full of treasures of all kinds, from kitschy decor to mid-century masterpieces. The best part of shopping at Lula B's is digging for all the good (cheap) finds that linger on dusty bookshelves. On any given visit, you could walk out with a vintage designer chair or an orange 1970s sofa the size of a Buick. Whatever your aesthetic, there's something for your apartment at Lula B's.

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