Sometimes we need to gift a kiddo with something a little more substantial than whatever a dash through Target 10 minutes before party time yields. In those cases, Madre is our go-to. Technically, it's an interior design boutique aimed at the Highland Park set. But the cozy little space also houses Little Bean, which brings in noteworthy trinkets, toys and togs that make memorable gifts. Our favorite finds: Gunner and Lux dinosaur necklaces, GAIA mini kitty purses, and a magical Maileg Princess and the Pea playset. Madre also monograms chic baby blankets, carries colorful children's cutlery, and stocks whimsical prints from artist Caitlin McGauley and photographer Gray Malin — there's no shortage of giftables in the cheerful West Lovers bungalow.

Going to the dentist isn't the nightmare that it used to be. Case in point, if you go to the Dental Loft at the Shops in Park Lane, after they lean you back in your chair they'll hand you a remote so you can watch the new David Cross stand-up special on a large flat screen dangling overhead. While you watch they'll still use that sharp, pointy metal thingy to scratch at your gum line — they haven't innovated away from that unpleasant task — but you're much less likely to fixate on it when you're busy binge-watching. And perhaps even better than the Netflix, if you can believe it, is the time and care Dr. Rekha Reddy takes to explain the state of each of your teeth to you. The X-rays the hygienist takes at the beginning of your appointment also go up on the TV and Dr. Reddy walks you through every one, laying out all of the options for addressing any issues she discovers. Visits to the dentist used to be mysterious and boring at best and painful at worst. Now they don't have to be any of the above.

Best Way to Avoid Surgery After Dumb Injuries

Airrosti

Maybe it's because many people don't till fields all day anymore. Sitting at a desk or even working retail can be exhausting, but it doesn't even begin to warm up the body for running straight to CrossFit, or some such workout, and going wild with box jumps and TRX straps. People get hurt. Torn this, strained that. Even not doing strenuous exercise, but doing basic repetitive stuff like riding a bike or sitting in a bad position can offer all sorts of fun chronic issues. So, the trained pros (licensed doctors of chiropractic and physical therapists) at Airrosti use their skills to diagnose injury, or source of pain, and treat it ... fast. Fast, as in really, really quickly. The goal is for patients to keep moving, to get back to what they enjoy and sometimes that's after only one to three visits. While the noninvasive treatment can be intense (providers use focused manual therapy, sometimes referred to as soft tissue therapy), the "active recovery," or rehab exercises that follow, helps ease out discomfort, plus it's homework for maintaining the healing process and preventing future ouch. There's also the convenience of Airrosti: Most providers are located in family clinics or medical offices around the city, and, sure, in the occasional CrossFit gym.

Situated uptown is an unlikely but much-appreciated specialty supply store serving the artists, designers and architects of Dallas. Asel Art Supply has a wide variety of professional art supplies, blowing away competition from craft store giants Michaels and Hobby Lobby. Founded in 1951 by Kenny Asel and his brother Herb, the store is now employee-owned and family-operated. From canvas rolls to Sumi calligraphy ink, this store caries more hard-to-find artist supplies than any in the area. The staff is friendly and helpful, often chatting up customers about what they are working on. And for working artists in Dallas proper, the location can't be beat.

Nordstrom at NorthPark

Someday maybe all shopping will be done online. Home 3-D imaging sensors will let consumers try clothes before they buy and busy little drones will drop off packages at the click of a button. The department store will go the way of the dodo, dinosaurs and network news broadcasts. The world will be a much sadder place if it ever loses Nordstrom, a store that understands that clothes shopping is not simply a utilitarian chore, but a delight, a hobby and a quest (and in extreme cases, a religion). Whether high-end designer wear, everyday business attire or athleisure clothing, Nordstrom's spacious, well-ordered racks and frequent sales offer loads of hidden treasures and surprise values. Its salespeople are classy and helpful, without a hint of snootiness. And it's return policy is so liberal and hassle free that we wonder why the store even bothers to have dressing rooms. Take it home. Try it on. You can always come back for a little more fun. Our only quibble? We really miss the piano player.

Readers' Pick:

Nordstrom at NorthPark Center

It's an outdated concept to say that men don't enjoy clothes shopping. Some guys are good at it, and they know where to go. But there are still a bunch of us out there who feel confused, misshapen and frustrated when we walk into a store. We need help but don't want to feel diminished about it, the 21st century analog to a 1950s man walking into an auto garage. For these fellas, there is Men's Wearhouse on Preston Road. The selection (from suits to office wear) is good, the tailoring done on the premises and the prices are reasonable. But what makes this place work is the staff: subservient enough to make you feel like a big shot, knowledgeable enough to stop you from making a fashion mistake and friendly enough to point out discounts and deals. And when they up-sell you, your wardrobe is usually better off for it.

Readers' Pick:

Stanley Korshak

Elluments

Not all vintage clothing is created equal. Just ask anyone who ever wore Army surplus fatigue pants to a sister's wedding or thought the Goth look, being black, was just fine for granny's funeral. But enough about our family. You people are classy and deserve the best. The expert curators at this Deep Ellum shop know the difference between classic vintage clothing and used duds and have created a boutique full of designer finds from Oscar de la Renta, Ferragamo, Burberry and countless others. They buy as well as sell. Not from us, of course – no mass-market crap here — but from people who know how to dress in clothes that keep their looks and value. Keep tabs on Elluments' Facebook page, where they frequently post outfits of the day that could soon find their way into your closet.

Readers' Pick:

Dolly Python

Nail polish has been in use since about 3000 BC, and until the advent of the gel manicure a couple of years ago, it seemed like techniques for applying it hadn't changed much since then. Gel, and now "dipping powder," allow for manicures that dry instantly and never chip. These inventions have made nail maintenance a lot simpler, but all that high tech comes at a cost, which quickly adds up if you want regular treatments. That's why we love Melrose Day Spa on Oak Lawn Avenue, which offers 20 percent off all services Monday through Thursday (gel is $35, dipping powder is $36). Go on your lunch break and you'll find it's never too crowded to accommodate walk-ins. The manicurists work with care and they will even rub your neck between steps. Multiple TV screens set to news channels will help you stay caught up on the latest while you're pampered. Or if that's exactly the kind of information you're trying to escape, there are plenty of trashy magazines, too. Ancient China may have had polish, but it couldn't have competed with all that.

Readers' Pick:

Hollywood Nails & Spa

It's odd. For a city that perennially ranks low in bike friendliness, Dallas and its environs has a surprising number of great bike shops. Richardson Bike Mart is the big daddy, Performance and REI have the low-cost chain end of things covered, out in Grapevine Mad Duck Cyclery justly bills itself a "concierge" shop offering custom builds and service and there are many more great shops serving on- and off-road. Our fave though is Dallas Bike Works, the shop that hits the sweet spot in supporting the local cycling community and offering a range of prices and brands, among them our beloved Jamis, a steel-framed beauty that takes all that Dallas' unfriendly streets can dish out, soaks up bumps like a sofa and is still nimble as a colt. The pleasant staff doesn't try to up-sell customers and offers the same level of friendly, knowledgeable service to noobs and experienced riders alike. Better still, their shops are located in bike-centric Oak Cliff and right off White Rock trail, making them the perfect spots to wheel in for fast, affordable repairs or meet up for group rides.

Readers' Pick:

Richardson Bike Mart

Some of our friends have good reasons never to go back to Las Vegas. Some have had moments in Vegas they just can't remember. (The two groups often overlap.) Elite Casino Events, one of the area's better known casino party companies, has expanded its services for those who want memories of Vegas without the threat of an arrest warrant. The company already has a Vegas-class staff — dealers, bartenders, waitresses, showgirls alike — so deciding to launch their own photo booth service wasn't a big gamble. It was just another extension of the VIP experience they provide. Elite has a Las Vegas Strip photo booth that "puts your guests right on the Vegas strip" as their in-house photographer snaps hundreds of red-carpet pictures, available as prints and online. It turns out that what happens in fake Vegas doesn't have to stay in fake Vegas.

Readers' Pick:

Premiere Photo Booth

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