If you've ever tried to make your own curtains, you know it's one of life's top-10 thankless tasks. Instead of spending weary hours over the Singer, call Paul Brown, who's been making swags for the stars since 1968. Whether you want gothic floor-to-ceiling velvet or the lightest sheers, your wish will be granted. 21 Drydock Ave., Boston, MA .
There was so much dissension on the staff over this one that our only solution was to choose a fabulous little place fifty miles away. It has no checkered tablecloths (no noncheckered tablecloths either), no murals or Muzak. What it does have is excellent food—baked veal chops, homemade escarole soup, gnocchi, and various daily specials—at prices that belong at a cafe in the foothills of the Apennines. 141 Atwells Ave., Providence, RI .
The scrappy cousin to the city’s more "sophisticated" booze festivals, this roving celebration of local craft brewing has an earnest, startup-y appeal. The freshly tapped offerings exude a just-out-of-the-brewmaster’s-brain brilliance, and the young crowd is a friendly one. Local vendors, from Roxy’s Grilled Cheese to Union Square Donuts, help tipplers pace themselves for the duration. Various venues, drinkcraftbeer.com.
Diana Rastegayeva of Massachusetts COVID Vaccination Help took us one step closer to vanquishing COVID by bringing together tech-challenged and underserved residents with volunteers who could help them navigate the formerly complex online vaccine-booking system. By early June, her team of Good Samaritans had booked more than 25,000 shots, making them some of Boston’s best community organizers.
Shopping online is fine, but isn’t it more fun to know where your favorite new sweater actually came from? After a successful launch last year, the 2021 installation of this collaboration between WS Development and the website Black Owned Bos. returns to Seaport Common one Sunday a month through October 17, letting Bostonians discover art, skin-care lines, house plants, adult and children’s clothing, and more exclusively sold by local Black entrepreneurs. Ready, set, shop! bostonseaport.xyz.
In a year when many weddings were postponed or canceled, Mark Spooner stayed booked and optimistic throughout. His sunny outlook manifests in his photographs, which highlight the most tender moments: a push-back of the hair, a touch on the arm, or a joyful glance at loved ones, all captured with a soft atmospheric glow. Another positive: the bevy of helpful resources on his website, invaluable for couples and fellow wedding pros alike. markspoonerphoto.com.
You can spot Mike’s signature string-wrapped cannoli boxes in the hands of practically every tourist, and that’s exactly why some of our crabbier natives don’t give the place its rightful due. Honestly, though, the cannolis deserve all of the attention they get, with a crackly-crunchy shell overstuffed with dense, sweet-and-cheesy ricotta. Just one bite reminds us why out-of-towners — and yes, plenty of locals, too — will always line up for them on Hanover Street. Multiple locations, mikespastry.com.
This Brookline institution is known for its top-notch puppetry shows in all different traditions, served up with sightlines designed for the little ones. But did you know you can also have the puppets take the stage just for your munchkins? Schedule a private performance or a workshop to give the kiddos an inside look at what happens behind the backdrop, or simply block seats at a regular showing. Then take over the lobby to blow out the candles on the most memorable of celebrations. 32 Station St., Brookline, MA 02445, puppetshowplace.org.
Picture a living room, bathed in natural light. A handsome wood buffet rests along one wall. Bold artwork hangs above it, adding color to a neutral palette bolstered by sofas in creamy beige. It’s the type of tableau we’ve come to expect from creator Craig Tevolitz, of Platemark Design. Balanced. Refined. Exceptional. 45 Newbury St., Boston, MA 02116, platemark.com.
What separates a good massage from a great one? The subtle distinction between attentive and overly chatty; the iota of pressure that wobbles on the line of satisfying pleasure and wince-inducing pain. At Viyada, the Thai-inspired décor creates a serene space, with thoughtful comforts at every turn; most important, though, are the expertly able massage therapists, who specialize in techniques ranging from Thai and Swedish to deep-tissue. All you have to do is show up—and relax. Multiple locations. 437 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116, viyadathaispa.com.
Tucked away on the fourth floor of an unmarked brick building, the Boston location of this national franchise can be easy to miss from the street. But passing it over would be a mistake: Not only does Bella carry gowns from the likes of Hayley Paige and Jenny Yoo, the shop's personable stylists make choosing one a breeze, offering helpful tips on everything from the most figure-flattering cuts to stress-free ordering. 715 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02116, bellabridesmaids.com.
Picture a boxing gym. If you're imagining a stark room with a ring and fluorescent lighting, you've clearly never been to EverybodyFights. George Foreman III's upscale boxing haven turns the stereotype on its head with boutique-inspired classes, spa-grade locker rooms, and a serious sound system. 15 Channel Center St., Boston, 857-250-4140; One Federal St., Boston, 857-990-3108; everybodyfights.com. 15 Channel Center St., Boston, MA 02210, everybodyfights.com.
At her SoWa and Charles Street boutiques, Barakat cultivates independent artisans with unique backstories and connects them with customers on her social-media pages. It feels like one big happy family, and Barakat's approachable demeanor and fawning customer service—she'll gamely bring goods to you if you're double-parked, for instance—feel almost motherly. (Multiple locations.) 524 Harrison Ave., Boston, MA 02118, decemberthieves.com.
This lovable Porter Square trattoria specializes in subtlety, right down to its dim lighting, intimate ambiance, and exposed-brick walls. The straightforward dishes—delicate house-made gelato and hand-rolled pastas with simple sauces, almost all available with a dusting of shaved truffles—are best accompanied by one of the restaurant’s dozens of regional wines. 1682 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138, giuliarestaurant.com.
With “five for $25” underwear specials and hundreds of shapeless T-shirt bras at the big-box stores, it’s easy to settle into complacency when it comes to lingerie. The local outpost of London brand Rigby & Peller, however, will make you reconsider those dowdy undergarments. With cup sizes ranging from A to K and stylists intent on helping you find that perfect fit, it’ll be hard to leave with just one new bra (or lacy teddy, or silk PJ set). Copley Place, 100 Huntington Ave., Boston, MA 02116, rigbyandpeller.com.