A long-standing Dallas institution, Utay was founded in 1930 when watchmaker Oscar Utay opened up shop on Main Street. The business was passed onto his son Eddie, and since his retirement it has been owned by Misti Gryder. The mom and pop store is now a female-owned and female-run business, a shining effort between Gryder and master jeweler Hailey Guild, who specialize in custom jewelry — making one-of-a-kind bits of luxury that are as exquisite as they are personable. It's also a great spot to repair your family jewels; the shop is all about legacy.

Getting married requires more than swiping right on the right person. You also need to be a wizard accountant and skilled event planner. That's why it's important to find a dress that's Marchesa-chic on a non-Marchesa budget. You'll do more than enough overspending on flowers. Though there's something for every kind of bride whether classic or boho, Lovely Bride is known for its modern bridal couture — no-frills, with flattering construction and tastefully sexy, because your pastor and/or grandma will be present. The store also stands out for its customer service. Salespeople aren't pushy (you'll get enough of that from parents pressuring you into inviting relatives you've never met), making at least part of your wedding planning stress-free.

Dallas has plenty of vintage stores to indulge your greatest style fantasies, but we're stuck on Rare Heart. The Oak Cliff store is a whole mood — a goldmine for timeless fashionistas, with plenty of That '70s Show-like costume finds (you know, vintage band tees, denim) and retro dresses for those outdoor picnics you've been meaning to throw to keep a social (distanced) life. But we left our heart on the racks that hold the store's best offerings: a selection of beautifully delicate slip dresses. Rare Heart is a bit pricier than your standard second-hand jumble sale of old clothes, but it's worth it for its excellent curation. These aren't merely clothes; they're investments that'll pay off from eternal wearing.

Buffalo Exchange

These days, there's only one style that matters to teens: anything '90s. (Yes, we refuse to acknowledge the early 2000s). Who would've thought that our worst looks — mom jeans and general Larry David vibes — would be all the rage again? Some of the decade's looks do hold up, though, and Lower Greenville's Buffalo Exchange is on it. If you're going for a Manson-inspired look (either Marilyn or Shirley) this is where you can find your Docs, platform black boots or plaid minis. The store's selection, of course, isn't only limited to the Sassy and MTV era, but you'll mostly only find only what's hot right now. You can also trade or sell your own clothes, as long as they're cool, of course. The kids approve.

Best Place to Buy Something Pink
XochitlGonzalez/KathyTran

If you think pink, let your thoughts take you to Talking Out of Turn. The Bishop Arts corner shop features an array of colors, but the store's facade, signage and displays have us dreaming in pink pastels and living la vie en rose. The store's selection is cute and offbeat and every product looks edible (but please don't try them): calendars, notebooks and other stationary, mugs, bags and planners that make organizing your time actually fun. It's a great place to find office supplies with a bit of quirky inspiration to get you excited about going to work again.

Sprinkles Cupcakes

There's nothing more specific to the human condition than experiencing a random craving for a sugary treat in the middle of the night. And sometimes, what the heart wants, exclusively, is a well-made cupcake. Nothing else will do. Sprinkles came up with a solution to our frustratingly specific appetite. The bakery has an ATM where you can withdraw your cupcake of choice through machines in two North Texas locations. The Dallas ATM, so far, is always better stocked up, even though there's a line formed in front of it seemingly at all hours. Make your selection and get your little box of goodness from the robot, you hopeless human.

Best Place To Get Tickled
Ashley Woodruff

For some of us, getting tickled feels like a form of medieval torture, but hey, if you're one of those who actually laughs at tickling, and you're even willing to pay for this service, there's a place that can make it happen. After 20 years running a tourism nonprofit that paired hopeful travelers with volunteer work destinations, COVID put a stop to Kimberly Haley-Coleman's plans. But she was tickled at the idea of a new venture and is now the owner of a space where customers can get tickled pink. Almost literally. Before the tickling sessions begin, guests are served a glass of rose wine and pink cookies. They are then taken into a Moroccan-style tent where they choose 25- or 50-minute tickle sessions and their weapon of choice, too: feathers, combs and other devices, or even a firmer scratch.

If you head to Mando's Spot to pick up a pipe or papers before the session, you'll find yourself tempted to return afterward to satisfy some other craving as well. Along with its good selection of vaping and smoking paraphernalia and legal highs such as Delta-8 THC hemp and kratom, Mando's has shelves of fascinating snack flavors from around the world. You can venture beyond barbecue with Lay's Numb & Spicy Hot Pot, Grilled Squid or Cucumber flavor potato chips; conquer cottonmouth with a bubble milk or peach oolong tea; and satisfy your sweet tooth with Skittles from Israel. Save some quarters for a couple plays of the vintage Mortal Kombat II machine on your way out.

Finding a tire shop in Oak Cliff is easier than finding a nail or screw in the road, which is also very easy to do in Oak Cliff and most of Dallas, thus the plethora of options. San Luis has made several of our tire replacements about as pain-free as that can be. They've done even more quick, cheap patch jobs on leaky tires that we suspect most of the bigger chains would have insisted were irreparable and in need of replacement, along with two others that are starting to show some wear and hey, as long as you're replacing three, you might as well do all four for just a little more. On our most recent purchase, a pair of new SUV tires came to less than $100 apiece, and not only did they throw in a free rotation with the tires, they called to let us know the price from their supplier went down and passed the savings on. Think Firestone or NTB is gonna do that?

There is no shortage of roofing companies stopping by to do free inspections following any big storm, and that monstrous hailstorm back in April was particularly productive. What's the saying? April showers bring new boats for roofing contractors? Something like that. Regions Commercial Roofing replaced several roofs on our block along with ours, and they all look great. The project manager walked us through every step of dealing with the insurance company, answered our questions about color and composition choices and options such as adding gutters, made himself available at any time during the process and gave us cost estimates that were accurate to the penny — no surprise charges, just a nice new roof over our heads.

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