Best Place to Buy Candles 2017 | Sample House | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

A nice scented candle can change your entire day. Whether it's next to you while you're taking a relaxing bath or sitting on the dining room table freshening up the entire home, a candle can do a lot. And easily the best place to buy a candle in Dallas is Sample House. With seven locations in DFW, including Dallas, Plano and Southlake, Sample House carries more than a dozen favorite candle brands with hundreds of scents. Want something cool and refreshing? Or maybe something that reminds you of the holidays? Or maybe you just don't want to bake anything but still want that smell. Sample House has any scented candle you could possibly imagine and probably more. Don't just pick one up at a grocery store next time you're in need of a candle; head to Sample House instead.

Affordable, cute clothing that every woman in town doesn't already own can be hard to come by. We know this because as soon as we see a woman sporting the newest addition to the TopShop section of Nordstrom's, we immediately recognize it. That's why boutiques are everything, and Dear Hannah in Snider Plaza is no exception. The styles of the clothing and jewelry range from preppy to boho to a little bit hipster. No matter what you're looking for, Dear Hannah has a skirt, top or dress perfect for any occasion.

Readers' Pick: Nordstrom

Guys, if you're going to dress up, do it like you mean it. Go old school and keep it classy. Ken's Man's Shop has been a North Dallas staple for decades, but don't take that as a warning. It's more of a testament to the enduring appeal of traditional, locally owned stores. This is not a stodgy establishment despite the feel of a traditional haberdashery, and the personal attention is welcome in this age of big-box stores and clothing shops that feel like bad Eastern European nightclubs.

Readers' Pick: Nordstrom


It might not become cold often in Texas, but when it does, we can barely handle it. Snow might not be falling from the sky, but we are still running from our heated cars to the heated indoors anytime we are forced to get outside in the winter. That's why jackets are imperative, and Saint Bernard has the best of the best outdoor wear in Dallas. Whether it's a simple North Face jacket, a thick, fur-lined coat or a Patagonia fleece pullover, Saint Bernard has everything you could dream of when it comes to outerwear.

Sarah Schumacher

Your best friend is knocked up. Scratch that, you are knocked up. What to do? Go shopping. It alleviates the stress of the larger question: What will happen to my life? Answer: It doesn't matter because you get to design a cute nursery and pick out adorable baby clothes and toys. Baby Bliss in Snider Plaza near SMU has the market cornered on curated baby goods. From eco-friendly bamboo onesies by KicKee Pants and Milkbarn to colorful wooden toys, an expectant mother can expect to feel excited. Baby Bliss has smaller items like faux ice-cream cone teethers and the more expensive but practical must-haves like UPPAbaby and Bugaboo strollers and stylish nursery furniture and decor. Give your friend the cheeriest nursery pillow to get her through the tired hours of early infancy. The best part of Baby Bliss? Sister store miniMe for toddlers and tweens is connected to give you older-kid options when you get past babydom.

Hannah Ridings

Hey, no one said being outdoors in Texas was enjoyable. Most of the time it's unbearably hot, and when it's not, it's still not exactly pleasant. But some things are just better outside. Like a Fourth of July party. Or a family reunion cookout. Or a pumpkin-carving contest. And when you gather family and friends outside to take part in these events, you need the perfect outdoor decor. That's where Jacksons Home and Garden comes in. Whether you need an outdoor sofa for your patio, a barbecue grill or a fire pit to make s'mores in the middle of July, Jacksons has everything you could dream of. Along with furniture and cooking utensils for your outdoor events, the store also has plenty of things to make your garden the envy of the block, including the most beautiful pottery to hold your beloved plants. With the right purchases, you'll soon have your own garden and outdoor sanctuary — even if it is hotter than hell.

The era of the camera store has ended for the most part. Dallas is lucky to have held onto a few stellar shops that serve specialists and the analog market well. One of those institutions is Competitive Cameras. The family-owned store has kept its inventory relevant to the specialty (lenses and bodies for medium- and large-format film cameras) and popular recent offerings for digital recording such as camera gimbals and GoPro equipment. It carries the best brands in photography from Canon to Tamrac. Competitive Cameras outfits some major corporate clients, including Neiman Marcus and The Dallas Morning News, but also is able to assist the novice photographer in setting up his or her first DSLR. The staff is very knowledgeable, almost to the point of being fervent about a shopper's purchase decisions. Competitive Cameras has been a Dallas staple for 35 years. Here's to hoping it lasts another 100.

Sarah Schumacher

Tucked in an East Dallas strip mall off Peavy Road next to Goodfriend Package is a magical little storefront full of goods screen-printed by artists. Dylan and Pamela Dowdy founded Dowdy Studio in 2008. They started selling their goods in a trailer outfitted for festivals and markets. Their specialty is screen-printed shirts by hand. They also create prints on messenger bags, pillows, framed art, clocks and coasters. Dylan and Pamela contribute artwork ideas and drawings and experiment with various inks on different color fabrics. Their work features whimsical illustrations like an elephant submarine, a skull-shaped Polaroid camera and an ice cream cone built like a sandwich. If you visit the shop, they may custom print a design for you using your T-shirt and ink of choice. They offer T-shirts in sizes 2T to XXL and baby onesies of all sizes.

Sometimes, the smallest accessories in a home draw the most attention. In this case, it's coasters — geometric cuts of plywood that sit on our tables and stop house guests in their tracks. Gaston Made, a husband-and-wife duo who operate a little wood shop off Gaston Avenue, combines a modern and sleek design aesthetic with precise woodworking. The results are tabletop accessories like the aforementioned coasters, planters, an improbably stylish knife rack, hexagonal shelving and affordable side tables that are a mid-mod enthusiast's dream come true. Ogle Gaston Made's angles, edges and impeccable quality at local pop-up markets or in its Etsy shop. Local shoppers can pick up their loot in studio.

If you've long maintained a black-thumb status, you probably just haven't met the right plant. Succulents are what plant killers come to for redemption: If you can handle putting them in good light and watering them when the soil dries out, you can keep them alive despite your shady houseplant past. And if you think you're ready to commit, Sol and Succulent can get you started. Designer Katy Murray goes next-level with her arrangements, infusing your interior space with growing, breathing greenery that grabs plenty of attention — without taking too much of yours. Find succulents (and the occasional cactus) that mix texture, color and type in handmade concrete pottery, terra cotta earthenware, wooden containers, glass terrariums and other delightful arrangements at local markets and festivals. Murray also accepts custom orders at her website.

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